Review: Following the recent dip into the Theo Parrish archives that was The Twin Cities, Phil Weeks' Robsoul imprint looks to another one of Detroit's adopted sons in the form of Rick Wade. Like that recent Parrish reissue, Weeks re-releases another three tracks from Wade's bulging discography. The upbeat disco loops of "Players Theme" was originally released on French label Funky Chocolate in 2002 and still sound fresher than anything being plied by the Soundcloud dwellers today, while "Can't You See" from 2003 provides a more soulful take on house music. On the flip, the tracky funk and cascading string melodies of "I Feel Good" originally graced Wade's own Harmonie Park imprint in 1998, but sound no less vital today. Essential.
Review: The rise of the titans right here! (pardon the pun). Two of the biggest hi-tech soul merchants from the United Kingdom team up here on Spanish imprint Suara, for some epic and futurist dancefloor drama on "Rise". Strict rhythms accompany layer upon layer of warm emotive pads and soaring synth leads - as you'd expect from the duo. Their further homage to Detroit (via Glasgow and London) continues on second original offering "Variable Slope" which brings the funk with its bleepy bassline and killer groove for a life affirming dancefloor journey. There's a couple of killer remixes too. French sonic wizardry from the one and only Voiski: who delivers a scorching rendition, plus a lovely neon-lit classic house perspective from the controversial Marquis Hawkes. If that was not enough, a sombre, deep electro re-take on the aforementioned "Rise" by Leipzig's Lake People caters to a more downbeat moment.
Review: Earlier this year the Kolour Ltd label issued the (rather indecisively titled) It's House Not House EP which featured DJ Sprinkles, Rick Wade and Bicep; understandably it was quite well received by the house (not house) vinyl buying public and sensing they are onto a winning formula Kolour now issue a second volume. It's an equally international affair too with the UK represented by the ubiquitous Waze & Oddysey and the like minded Zoo Look whilst Leipzig and South African are represented in the shape of M.ono & Luvless and Terrence Pearce respectively. W&O demonstrate a slightly more contemplative mood melodically speaking amidst the swooping vocal hooks and club ready beats on "Playin Musique" whilst "Auckland Joggers" showcases the inherent musicality of M.ono & Luvless. On the flip Zoo Look come through with a deeply layered slab of contemporary UK house whilst "The Fantastic" from Mr Pearce lives up to it's name and then some.
Review: Having first appeared on Toolroom way back in 2013, Richard Dinsdale AKA Weiss is one of the label's longest serving artists. He's also one of the most prolific, with this strong outing being his 16th single for Mark Knight's imprint. "Let Me Love You", a bouncy contemporary cover of Kariya's 1988 house classic, has all the makings of a massive hit. The A-side original version combines classic elements - bold piano riffs and synths that subtly doff a cap to Kariya's version - with heavy electro-house bass and bumpin' beats. Over on side B, Dinsdale pumps it up further on a jacking piano-house take that's sweatier than a sauna full of gyrating, leather-clad bikers.
Review: The first volume in Frits Wentink's Two Bar House Music and Chord Stuff series won plenty of plaudits when Wolf Music slung it out last summer. Happily, the eccentric Dutch producer seems to have raised his game even further on this fine follow-up. Check, for example, deliciously trippy opener "Theme 5", where vocal snippets, organ riffs and sci-fi synth sounds are drenched in tape delay and wrapped around a skewed deep house groove, and the bolder, bass-heavy bustle of saucer-eyed peak-time wobbler "Theme 7". Elsewhere, he combines the dreamy dustiness of Mood Hut style deep house with the cheeriness of Italian piano house on "Theme 8" and gets locked into a soulful, deep and bass-heavy vibe on the similarly impeccable "Theme 6".
Review: Those with a love for turn-of-the-'90s UK house and techno may be familiar with Westworld, one of the many aliases of video game music composer turned rave producer Matthew Gray. Here, two of the most potent cuts in the Westworld catalogue get the rework treatment, with Running Back boss Gerd Janson at the controls. The A-side is all about Janson's tweak of "Dreamworld", a piano-sporting Italian dream house tribute that the producer has wisely chosen to smooth out and make even more dizzyingly loved-up. 1990 single "The Slam" gets the scalpel treatment on the flipside. Interestingly, Janson has chosen to ignore the original's bleeps and heavy sub-bass, instead focusing on the track's rolling hip-house elements. He's also delivered a tasty DJ tool in the shape of the beats-and-effects vibe of the "Dub Siren Beats" tweak.
Review: Chicago veteran Boo Williams made his first appearance on Glenn Underground's Strictly Jaz Unit Muzic label way back in 2008. Surprisingly, this is the prolific producer's first appearance on the imprint since 2009. "The Big Score" was worth waiting for. The track, nestled on the A-side, sees Williams lace a snaking saxophone line and "Inner City Blues" style pianos over a bongo-rich, densely layered deep house drums. It subtly builds throughout, with the thrilling sax solo increasing in intensity as the track progresses. On the flip, Glenn Underground offers his own 'Reprise' interpretation, ratcheting each of the elements up a notch and putting further emphasis on the piano parts.
Review: Boo Williams may release far less music than he once did, but every 12" he releases retains the same high quality threshold that has long marked out the Chicagoan's work. This two-tracker is a brilliant example. Both tracks are ear pleasing, musically rich and dancefloor focused, offering a near perfect balance between club-ready grunt and emotion-rich tunefulness. A-side "Out of the Gate" sets the tone, with Williams' layering chiming melodies lines and dreamy chord progressions atop a near techno tempo, bass-heavy house groove. On the B-side, he pays tribute to long time pal and occasional studio buddy Glenn Underground via the tumbling synthesizer chords, bubby acid lines, melancholic flourishes and jacking drums of "Reckless Ending".
Review: Here's something to cheer fans of classic Chicagoan deep house: a surprise re-press of Boo Williams and Glenn Underground's much-lauded (and surprisingly hard to find) 1995 collaborative EP on Maad. The release has always been coveted by those in the know partly due to its' surprisingly eclectic nature. So, while there are classic, organ-laced, typically bumpy deep house jams (see "Motion Sickness", the vibraphone-laden "Cronic Groove" and deliciously bass-heavy, acid-flecked "Bee W G5"), the duo also used the opportunity to indulge their techno fantasies. The EP's final two tracks, "Lights Out" and "Stopen Niggaz", are both relentlessly tough, with ragged electronics and bombastic, fast-paced rhythms.