Guarapachanga (A Nicholson Miquifaye remix) (9:14)
Guarapachanga (A Nicholson Miquifaye reprise) (5:56)
Review: The New York-based (U)nity is made up of Michael Valeanu, Axel Tosca Laugart, Chris Smith, Max Cudworth and Amaury Acosta. They formed the band in 2006 as a project to explore Afro-Cuban jazz, funk, soul and contemporary electronica. They say they've been influenced by everyone from Chucho Valdes to Art Blakey to Led Zeppelin to Kendrick Lamar, and you can definitely hear all of that in this jawdropping work. "Guarapachanga" is special in that it was the first song written by the band back in their days as music students at The New School. It's derived from the style known as guarapachangeo - the most advanced form of Cuban rumba, heavily improvisational and based on very complex rhythms and melodies. On this recording, (U)nity is graced with a guest performance by Grammy Award winner Pedrito Martinez, a master rumbero, one of the greatest conga players ever, an innovator who has left a permanent mark on Cuban music. Martinez is also a priest in the Yoruba religion and a historian of Cuban culture.
Over its eight and a half minutes, "Guarapachanga" twists and turns and journeys through a mind bending array of different tempos and modes, from Latin jazz to hip hop, ultimately ending with a trippy ambient soundscape. The whole thing is overlaid with free spirited melody, soul and the Afro-Cuban essence that is the band's lifeblood. The white-hot live playing gives it the feel of the best early-morning jam session, yet it packs a sonic punch that will make it sound incredible on a good sound system in the hands of adventurous DJs in the world-beat or spiritual-house vein. If you didn't know "Guarapachanga" was a contemporary work you might mistake it for a Loft classic; yet it's also as fresh and exciting as anything you'll hear this year.
Review: Florence based label Bosconi is back with 100 Hz aka UK legends Lee Renacre and James Chapman who have been around since the late eighties. This is their second release on the Italian imprint; their Mila EP was their first for the label back in 2009. On the A side we have a re-issue of their 1989 track "Shoot The Bar" a sturdy and cyclical house groove on the tougher side of things with a nice double bass holding the track above a tight rhythm and dreamy Rhodes piano. "Primary Colours" sounds more like minimal, but given more of an edge by all the dusty and lively analogue machines that power it along. Its bumpy bass and restrained synth stabs supporting some simplistic rhythms and works quite well. Finally "Oliva Funk" is more of a classic NYC house cut, those rapid fire cowbell strikes will help it bear even more resemblance to classic Kerri Chandler style vibes.
Review: 100Hz have consistently snuck out 12"s since the early 90s, but their productivity is at an all time high and their Modugroove label is the perfect vessel to get more of their smartly crafted tech house treats into the ears of discerning DJs and dancers everywhere. This second release on their label kicks off with the atmospheric twinges of "Klon 6 Step", a sizzling, simmering cut for transcendental moments on the floor. "Wild Fudge" is a snappier affair peppered with folky string plucks that sound fresh in the club track context. "Infrastructure" takes things on an emotive tip with a range of strong melodic leads, and "Tinky Tink" ramps up the unease with a creeping jam for the less salubrious end of the night.
Review: More wicked grooves from the vaults of UK legends 100 Hz. Comprised of Lee Renacre, James Chapman and Doran Walker, the team behind the seminal Format imprint have had retrospective works reissued on the likes of Bosconi, Slow Life and Howl in recent times - so indeed you can recognise the trio's influence on a new generation of underground house producers. Here they inaugurate Doozy Cult from Lisbon, with some timeless snapshots of bleep techno as heard on the cyclical hypnotism of "Tomfoolery", the tunnelling minimal techno of "Lapiz Boof" and the ethereal shuffle of "Neptune" on the flip - that is just as suited to present day afterhours parties as it was way back when.
Review: French producer 1977 aka Matsa, delivers a bold and subtle blending of ambient textures, deep pads and raw rhythms perfectly mixed with some minimal sequences. In Brief, a fine and complete piece of electronic music, made with constant attention to detail. Starting out with the hauntingly emotive ambience of "Tkg" where sub bass pulsations lurk between the crackling of surface noise, pitch shifted vocals and transcendental chilling pads, then the dusty and emotive deep house of "Soso" which is informed equally by Fred P as it is by the likes of Lawrence. On the flip, there's the rather Fred P sounding "Mondat" which is the highlight a smoothly emotive deep house number while "Toine" gets dubbier and subterranean in a way that UntilMyHeartStops fans will appreciate.
Review: 2DeepSoul are the core crew behind Inner Shift music, so as you might expect they've got a keen instinct for the finest strains of pure deep house as you'd happily dig from the likes of Patrice Scott or Fred P. They open up the Windows EP with the dreamy haze of "Clarity" before "Contour Lines" brings a pulsing, techy lead into the mixture of sweeping pads and snappy beats. "Someday" is a rich, harmonious ambient excursion, and then "It's A Sign" finishes the EP off with a truly meditative trip for the smoothest deep house cruisers to lock onto.
Review: German imprint Quintessentials' mission statement is to keep underground house music on the map. It claims to hold a candle to those old house records: they love that raw yet soulful vibe. For their 56th (!) release they have tapped Mexican producer 4004, who has had releases also of late on FACES, Poetry In Motion and Late Night Jackin'. Smoky late night groove "No Dreams" gets things off to a good start with its smooth Rhodes, bumpy bassline and hypnotic bongo action. We particularly enjoyed the pumping NYC basement vibe of B side cut "Fanta Club" while "Black Alley Shuffle" gets back to the program in sexy and dusky fashion complete with some dusty rhythms, diva vocals and further mood lighting with the impressive use of filter sweeps.
Review: Having successfully joined forces with Samo DJ on two tidy EPs for Public Possession and the Trilogy Tapes, former cos/mes man 5ive makes his long-awaited solo debut. First up is the undeniably cosmic and spacey deep house chug of "Planet Be", where shimmering synth riffs and bubbly electronics cluster around a sparse, tribal-tinged groove. He successfully breaks up the beats and ups the dreaminess on languid ambient house cut "Almost Heaven", before wrapping what sound like Harmonium lines around a bustling Afro-house groove on "Contrast". 5ive rounds things off in impressive fashion via "Entropy", an ultra-deep affair that sounds like dub techno for the dream house generation.
Review: There's a lot to be said for club music that aims to both soothe the senses and move the feet. We can think of few better examples than "Some Song Teachers", the title track from this Public Possession collaboration between Cos/Mes member 5ive and label-hopping Swede Samo DJ. While underpinned by a sturdy, tactile rhythm track, it's the blissful electronics and undulating, rising and falling synthesizer melodies - new age influenced, but also intensely positive and mood-enhancing - that make the track so addictive. Flipside "Dilemma" is similarly smile inducing, offering a tasty twist on melodious, dusty deep house. It's nowhere near as striking as its' predecessor, but it's still a very fine track indeed.
Review: ** FIT REPRESS ** Naturally for a producer who prefers to remain anonymous and call themselves A Drummer From Detroit and name their debut EP Drums, both tracks here veer into dextrously percussive house territory. Amidst the dizzying, jazz influenced rattle of Shake Shakir style rhythms that characterise the A Side workout our erstwhile protagonist weaves in desperate vocal strains and overtly dramatic piano and horn stabs which only serve to increase the panic inducing pace. The flipside treatment is slightly slower in its execution, yet increases the jazz funk melodic elements which make it the less a hectic and more involving production.
Review: Laboratory Instinct grace our shelves with the third in a quartet of 12 inch releases that act as the vinyl version for A Guy Called Gerald's recent and rather sleek ''Tronic Jazz'' album. Your attention on Side A will dominated by the spectral dalliance with vintage Detroit techno mechanics of ''Iland'', with expertly layered syncopation reverberating around to a backdrop of cavernous throbbing bass and dreamy synth lines. This contrasts nicely with the neo techno futurism of ''Just Soul'' with melancholic strings slipping between tense off-kilter drum programming and bubbling atmospherics. Proceedings shift up a gear on ''Round Eco,'' which pulsates with menacing KiNK-ish energy, with an odd vocal murmur forming the driving groove around which Simpson wraps glacial keys and deviant bass twinges. Closing track ''The Dip'' oscillates wildly with B movie sci fi synth lines and scratching metallic tones.
Review: Smile & Wave appears from out of nowhere with two unknown names heading up the first release. There's no indication of who is behind A Houseband or Russian Hackers, but both of them have done a damn fine job of bringing two sure fire killers to wax. The first is "Another Love Another Happiness", which as the title candidly suggests is yet another version of the oft-sampled "Love & Happiness", this time framed in a bubbling, dubby deep house context for the mellow heads to soak up. By way of contrast Russian Hackers get busy with "303", bringing some forthright jack to the table.
Review: While the name may be new, A New Line (Related) is supposedly the work of an already established musician, although Kimochi was never a label that cared about hype. The music stands just fine on its own, digging into the kind of dusty and dusky house and techno formations that the label has forged its hand-sprayed identity on. There's plenty of ambient techno twirls to be enjoyed on the likes of "Dancing On Soft Borders", while the beats melt away entirely on "After A Short Illness" and grandiose EP closer "RIYL Failures". Once again Kimochi comes up with the kind of meaningful variations on the 4/4 framework that keep our record bags full and our souls enriched.
Review: Yam Who?'s Midnight Riot is back with another volume of funky, party starting edits, so come and get your fix. Aashton's "Pride" samples the diva vocals of you know who on this smooth and soulful number. Peza's "Black Gold" is pure classic disco, reminiscent of Salsoul, possibly? Fabiolous Barker's "The Paradise" has that retro and Balearic vibe that fans of labels like Love On The Rocks and Efficient Space will certainly dig. "The Jam" by Rayko is a re-edit of you guessed it: Technotronic's "Pump Up The Jam".
Review: The "Coordinates" series is a fresh project from Freerotation regular and concept-embracing techno producer Aboutface. According to the detailed blurb provided by the label, each track "explores the aural terrain of two sets of location coordinates around the world". So, if you stuck the co-ordinates listed as the A-side title into Google Maps, it would point to the Chiapas region in Mexico where our hero encountered (and recorded the sound of) bats. On the resultant track, his ultrasound bat recordings rise and fall around a glistening, life-affirming workout inspired by both the Motor City and early UK ambient techno. Side B, whose title co-ordinates point to a location in Lincolnshire, is an ultra deep ambient house masterpiece laden with tropical rainforest noises and poignant melodies.
Review: "Is the Cornuta Sound's return after a long resting time. This new 10" contains one of the most saved songs by Above Smoke (Deep Explorer) that runs into the jazz world and an outro take for djs. The flipside brings a great rework by the label boss (W&P Hgg)."