Review: Steadily building up a prominent identity in the bustling minimal house and techno thoroughfare, The Untold Stories return with one of their signature various artist compilations to present some lesser known practitioners of the hypnotic groove. Jerome C gets a rugged angle on the swing to his beats on "An Intelligible Scrawl", while Volta Cab nods to a classic Tobias jam with "Street Knowledge". MD Wallholz's "Ein Bisschen Ruhe" is a shivering slice of experimental electro, and Jonas Sella brings an unhinged French flavour to proceedings, but truthfully every jam on this solidly packed release has its own distinct character that fits into the meandering tale the label is unfurling.
Zinja Hlungwani - "Ntombi Ya Mugaza" (Burnt Friedman remix)
Review: Honest Jon's continued endeavours to choose the interesting remix artists to tackle the high BPM joys of their Shangaan Electro compilation sees them turn to that venerable Detroit magician and erstwhile Wu Tang Clan member Theo Parrish. The Sound Signature boss comes through with a masterful thirteen minute plus rewiring of Mancingelani's "Vana Vasesi" which retains the thunderous tempo and brilliantly chaotic rhythms yet instils the track with a woozy, intoxicating swing via the twisting synth waves. Complementing this, iconic German producer Burnt Friedman turns in a remix of "Ntombi Ya Mugaza" by Zinja Hlungwani which is far less frenetic but no less enjoyable, flipping the track in a dub wise style with off kilter drum programming, spine tingling keys and staggered vocal affectations.
Claude VonStroke & ZDS - "Comments" (feat KE) (6:11)
Claude VonStroke Vs Eddy M - "Getting Hot" (6:06)
Claude VonStroke & Green Velvet - "Jolean" (6:49)
Review: West Coast party starter Claude VonStroke is back with more of his rump-wiggling, unhinged and bass driven house bangers. This time round the Dirtybird boss serves up a trio of collaborative tracks that bring the fun: "Comments" with ZDS is riddled with chattery claps and ghoulish bass stabs, "Getting Hot" (vs Eddy M) is a pumping house cut with bulbous bass and rapped vocals, while "Jolean" with Chicago pioneer Green Velvet is a sleazy and low slung groover with bright, manic synths and withering chords all making for a frenzied future disco house vibe.
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: Z Lovecraft (AKA Rhythm Section International family member Mali Baden-Powell) made his debut last year via an EP on No Bad Days that cheerfully joined the dots between acid, deep house, hip-hop and early hardcore style breakbeats. There's a far mellower feel to this three-track outing on Guru Meditation, even if breezy opener "Verge Dub" does underpin jammed-out electric piano chords and dreamy electronics with shuffling breakbeats and a bustling sub-bass motif. "Arklight Dub" joins the dots between dub techno and spacey deep house, while nine-minute B-side "Hannah's Theme (Bliss Version)" is the kind of fluid, exceptionally picturesque shuffler that could have come from the studio of one of Italy's leading dream house crews during the ambient house era.
Review: Rising star Al Zanders (real name Alex Buchan) returns to action, with regular vocalist Sheyi getting a shared credit for the very first time. Her contribution to A-side "Get It Together" is particularly strong, with her distinctive vocals perfectly complimenting Zanders' ear-catching combo of jazzy broken beat grooves, Maurice Fulton style electronics and cosmic soul synths. The bruk-up synth-soul vibes continue on near Balearic B-side opener "Satisfy", before Zanders abandons all caution with the ten-ton sub-bass, crunchy drum machines and sweaty broken beat rhythms of late night delight "GIT (Dub)", a notably heavier instrumental revision of the A-side opener.
Review: Sex Tags Mania chief Sotofett has had an ongoing friendship with Sydneysider Carlos Zarate, since appearing on the latter's Thug imprint with their collaborative Planetary Involvement EP back in 2016. Much like their previous outing, Arjun is another brazen tribute to the classic sounds of Detroit techno. From the classic hi-tech soul aesthetic of the title track with its celestial pads backed by bombastic electro-bass beats, plus sleazy G-funk leads. Speaking of which, the intergalactic funk of "Afroz" likewise gets its bass-heavy boom on, with melancholic strings and a wonky synth bass that's reminiscent of the Motor City's first wave - in particular Derrick May's Rhythim Is Rhythim releases.
Review: George Btp has many strings to his bow, from his work as Dan Piu to his Allstar Motomusic aliases and his deepArtSounds label. His Zarenzeit band with Robert P has been quietly cruising since the mid 90s, although first surfaced on deepArtSounds in 2016 with the Black Inside album. Now the project returns with a limited 7" release for fellow deep house traveler Dubbyman's Deep Explorer label, and the results are as seductive and subliminal as you would expect. "Before Midnight" fuses swirling galaxies of high end synth work with a snappy electro funk backbeat, which Dubbyman reworks on the flip into one of his trademark deeper than deep dancefloor cuts.
Review: Over the last four years, Toulouse twosome Zendid have maintained a steady release schedule, dropping highly regarded EPs on such labels as Elephant Moon, Infuse, Timeframe and Discobar. Here they return to the latter label with a fresh four-track missive. As the title suggests, opener "Space" tends towards to intergalactic, with futurist electronic beeps and weightless chords clustering around a rolling, sub-bass-heavy tech-house groove. "Virgin Virgin" is a deeper, looser and slightly warmer mid set box jam, while "Berlin 6" is a stripped-back, funk-fuelled stomper rich in glitchy stabs and mind-altering bass. The EP also includes a tasty bonus in the shape of Maayan Nidam's smooth, deep and bass-heavy remix of "Space".
Review: Sweden's Local Talk is a label that is not afraid to go beyond the classic 4/4 sound formula to explore different styles within house music. Following up some great releases by the likes of Soulphiction, S3A and Boddhi Satva, their next release is by genre pushing, London-based legend Dean 'Saint' Zepherin whose legacy goes way back to 1988 when he released "Give Me Back Your Love" under the pseudonym Boyz In Shock - which is credited as the UK's first soulful house record. The A side holds the nu-jazz flavoured soul explosion of the title track that's sure to get some great vibes happening on the dancefloor, followed by the sensual Latin flavour of "Flying High" on the flip - which is perfect for those long hot summer nights to come.
Review: Since making his debut six years ago, Seb Zito has made quite an impression. Here, he christens new label Seven Dials following acclaimed outings on Fuse London, Rawax and, most recently, Hund Records. As the title suggests, much of the EP is inspired by dancefloor styles of the 1990s, though thankfully not the extensively mined hardcore and jungle sounds that have inspired rather a lot of producers of late. "95-96" is a swinging and bass-heavy affair, seemingly inspired by the darker end of U.S garage (think Tenaglia and David Morales' Red Zone dubs), while "Bubbling" offers a lighter and snappier take on the same core sound. Also worth a listen is Chris Greschwinder's re-make of "95-96", which adds a little two-step swing and suitably bombastic sub-bass.
Introspective - "When The Rain Comes Down" (feat Jenifa Mayanja - Michael Zucker Finale mix)
Review: Finale Sessions founder Michael Zucker steps into the limelight with his first full EP for the label in the five years it has been running. Zucker has of course featured on a handful of split releases from Finale but he doesn't waste any of the space afforded here with a quartet of superb and varied productions. Leading the way, techno track "His Spirit" bristles with life and percussive energy whilst "Inner City Peace" will likely raise some interested eyebrows in West London thanks to its killer broken beat programming. Face down, Zucker dips into his personal archives for an unreleased and rather crisp remix of Introspective and Jenifa Mayanja hookup "When The Rain Comes Down" whilst the wonderfully named "Spiritual Graffiti" ends the release on a high note.
Review: Having previously impressed with two suitably atmospheric EPs on Propersound, Zug has decided to launch his own imprint. This label debut is naturally rather delicious, with the producer offering up a quartet of analogue-rich cuts that effortlessly combine the sci-fi sounding futurism of Detroit with the comforting melodiousness of Larry Heard. Such is the quality throughout that picking highlights is tough, though we're particularly enjoying the gentle grooves and alien melodies of "Constancia" and the suitably dubby, intergalactic pulse of EP opener "Alegria". Elsewhere, "Bienestar" combines bleeping melodies, dreamy chords and shuffling, tech-house style beats, while "Celebracion" sees him wrap far-sighted electronics around a bustling, two-step influenced rhythm track.
Review: Brawther's Negentropy label has already carried gold star material from Ron Obvious and the man himself, and now it's the turn of debutant producer Zweizig to show off his wares. This assured 12" leads in with the ambient intro "Gewissen" before the crisp minimal funk of "Rhythm Tension" kicks in with its shimmering and shuddering sound design pinging around the dexterous beat. "Zephyr" is a smoky affair with a snappy broken beat and lots of subtle organic matter writhing in the middle distance. "Rehash Repeat" takes things deep and dubby to complete the set, all mellow hiccupping rhythm accents and hazy melodic phrases.
Review: Since 2014, Spain's Park & Ride label have been offering a truly outstanding selection of collaborative releases from the finest talents of the deeper side of contemporary tech-house. This time, they return with the Paris compilation, driven by the sounds of some of Europe's finest. Among our favourites on here, we have the opener, Saverio Celestri's majestic "Interstellar", a hybrid trip between house and industrial electro that sounds as if it were cut straight from the machines through which it was conceived; "Rob In The Hood" by Seuil is another sublime slice of grainy, stripped-back dance music with a clear ode to the coldwave scene, and Alex Picone's "Sunday" provides a charming, graceful analogue house cut with a broken rhythm and some glorious background sonic manipulation. Yes.