Review: Representing Californian house music culture with its heart on its sleeve, 12 Inches Deep return for a second volume of "West Coast Dance Traxx" that features four up and comers from the underground. Ricky Tinez captures a perfect hazy summer mood on the dub mix of "That Day" - a true product of his environment. Akumen brings a sweatier vibe to "Inner Life (All Of Music)" which captures a little Chi-town pressure and then blows it wide open with some choice organ licks. Le Smoove is on a serious garage tip with "G Groovez" and Urbanite reaches skywards with the utterly infectious "Triple Filtered", spilling good vibes out from every angle.
Lebawski - "Clouds Of Thyme" (Kled Baken remix) (6:33)
Barbosa - "Quinoa" (Ray mono remix) (6:44)
Review: Ghent's Muzi Cartel crew step into the label game with this assured four tracker from promising emergent talents. Viktor Udvari is up first with "For Our Love", a fired up but delicately executed techno jam with plenty of harmonic balance to make for the most satisfying trip skywards. Mrsch takes things deeper and groovier on "Pas Cu Pas", leaning heavy on the bass and leaving a little more space in the mix for maximum meditation. Kled Baken's remix of Lebawski gets into a minimal house roll with spaced out licks of vocal and hazy pads, and Ray Mono nudges Barbosa's "Quinoa" into murky depths for a proper underground roller.
Review: As the title suggests, this essential double-pack offers up a quartet of tracks from Glenn Underground's 2009 album "Silent", a set that has never been released on vinyl. Epic opener "CVO's Prelude" is one of the Chicago veteran's most fluid and life-affirming tracks, with extended jazz piano solos and positive chord sequences rising above a sumptuous Latin-house groove. "Negro Muzic" cleverly combines groovy deep house with jazz-funk flourishes and '70s funk style studio party samples, while "7 Minutes Of Funk" is a warmer and more organic sounding dancefloor jazz-funk workout. Those looking for some bumpin' beats should check closing cut "Shake It", where tasty lead vocals sit atop a classic deep house backing track.
Review: Ever-dependable hero of deep house since the good old days, Glenn Underground is back with fresh goodies for his Strictly Jazz Unit imprint, and if you liked what he's done before then there's no doubt you'll like this as well. "Shiloh (A King's Return)" is a steady roller, defined by the synth-sax freestyling over the top of a crisp beat and bluesy chord workout. "We, The Party (Let's Get Down)" is a more soaring affair, with some neat kinks in the drums and a sumptuous spread of Rhodes action all delivered in that quintessentially Blue Note GU flavour.
Review: Trustworthy techno outpost Chronicle are the kind of label you can still get behind when they drop an unnamed artist. Whoever's behind Cycle De Motifs, the bar remains reassuringly high for those wanting fresh firepower in the serious techno game. "GPS" is a fist-shaking piledriver, but it's not without its cerebral nuances between the surging low end. Who needs a kick when you can have a relentless sub to carry you through the night? "C-Signature" darts out into equally intriguing territory with a creeping, insectoid array of sound design working around a minimal beat. "Gateway To Infinity" piles the eerie, looping figures on and continues spiraling outwards, and "Nepthys" plies an old-skool drum machine jack in the finest Plastikman tradition.
Review: Just 4 The Beat's first release of the year was well worth waiting for. It comes from Eastern Europe's Urban Haven, who is now based in London but clearly takes great inspiration from deep and soulful Chicago house masters like Glenn Underground and Ron Trent. His first ever EP is an impossibly classy one, and "Roots (Reprise)" is a glorious highlight that starts with luxurious synth puddles and a romantic, conversational sax line. After a three minute build, you sink into a Latin flecked deep house groove of the highest order. This is as musical as house gets and is, unsurprisingly, already big with Mike Huckaby and Kai Alce.