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: Rotterdam-based Ukranian Antenna is the next producer to step up on Clone's Royal Oak offshoot. The Pinkman regular is in fine form, laying down a quartet of cuts that blend a range of classic house and Detroit techno influences in attractive, dancefloor-friendly ways. While the title track's fusion of British 'intelligent techno' and vintage Detroit sounds is undeniably impressive, it's the undulating acid lines, spacey tunefulness and distorted beats of "Happy Dance" that hit home hardest. That said, opener "Lake of X" - a Larry heard style chunk of spine-tingling analogue deep house - and the similarly intoxicating "Atomic" are also superb.
Review: LA cosmic soul merchant Benedek returns with his first fresh material since 2017's exemplary sophomore set Bene's World. Fitting the season with balmy charm, "Earlyman Dance" is every bit as slinky and blue light as the title (or indeed Benedek's reputation) suggest. Balearic, jazzy and just pinch of yacht; both the original and the Canyon Version are pure sunset jams. "Maca" continues the slinky theme with a hip-wriggling, liquid rhythm while the much more mystic, spacious "Tengu's Mystery" takes us much deeper into the unknown folds of the night and the heavily reverbed slo-mo "Sixtern" chugs us all the way to sunup. It's not early. It's not late. Benedek, as ever, is bang on time.
Review: Daniel Paul and Jens Augustowsky have been steering Cabinet Records for twenty years now, establishing the label as one of Berlin's most reliable outlets for techy, housey fare and contributing their own weight in productions under various aliases. Cab Drivers is one of their longest-running collaborations with Playroom their 11th 12" release under the name in those two decades, and their studio understanding is quite evident in the productions. Both the ten minute title cut and "A Less Complex Situation" are understated but wholly effective DJ tools with the subtle acid modulations of the former just edging it.
Review: Classic techno flavours are the order of the day on mysterious new imprint Lunasa. A quartet of very impressive various artists feature on this EP here, which will no doubt appeal to all you retroverts out there. First up, Tbilisi-based Cobert (Partisan/Amazing Stories) delivers some killer sci-fi funk on " Ortsutshi", the much loved Riccardo (Imprints/Metropolita) gets on a wacky, heads-down electro tip on "Clone" and legend Derek Carr is on fine form as always on the evocative second wave Detroitism of "Existence Is Futile" which is just sublime! Great stuff and highly recommended for fans of Libertine, Art of Dark or Time Passages etc.
Review: On paper, this looks like a match made in heaven. On one side of the studio, experienced Italian deep house don Deep88; on the other, soul-loving Detroit house sort Javonnte. In its original form, "Fly Away" offers a superb hybrid of both producers' styles, with Javonnte's impassioned vocal and rolling beats working well with Deep88's Larry Heard style chords and bassline. Deep88 gets a chance to explore this avenue further on his dreamy and on-point Adriatic Mix, while Javonnte weighs in with a slightly chunkier Dub. Arguably best of all, though, is the seductive jazziness and soul-flecked deep house positivity of Melchior Sultana's impeccable rework.
Review: It's astonishing to think that Frak's Borft Records has now notched up three decades. The Swedish imprint remains as eccentric and essential as ever, as this label debut from inspired Norwegian oddball DJ Sotofett proves. By his standards, "Ol Pa Ibiza" and the stripped back "Ol Pa Klubb" are pretty straightforward, with the Sex Tags man laying ricocheting dub notes and percussion hits over a rock solid drum track and booming bassline. "Ol Pa SM-Art Bar" sees him channel the spirit of early British bleep techno and the darker end of Belgian new beat on a clandestine mid-tempo chugger, while "Drikkepause" is a quick-fire shot of ambience built around echoing bells. Finally, he heads for a dirty warehouse on the acid-laden, EBM informed sleaziness of "Nekta Ol Par City Club".
Review: NDATL continues with collaboration from DJ Spinna (NYC) & Hugo LX (Paris) Your flight begins with "Liquid Keys" smooth lush workout with an ear tingling solo on top. "Meteor Man" moves into a house break flow with beautiful horn injections. Then we move into uncharted territory with the sublime "Prickly" a quirky instrumental groove that encompasses the listener while on this Astral Flight!
Review: Red D and San Soda's FCL project has previously scored a number of significant club hits, most of which dug deep in the crates for inspiration. There's a similarly retro feel about Lady Linn hook-up "Cherry Pie", which successfully fixes bold organ lines and short-but-sweet vocal snippets to a rolling, old school New Jersey house groove. Speaking of New Jersey, original NJ deep house producer Jovonn handles remix duties, delivering a warm, breezy, analogue-rich interpretation that drags the track closer to classic Nu Groove territory (think Bobby Konders, rather than the Burrell Brothers). It's a fittingly rich and melodious rework of a soon-to-be-popular club jam.
Review: Following that Initials-only split 12" from Hank Jackson and Anthony Naples, Proibito keep up the heat with a label debut for Hi & Saberhagen. The Glaswegian pair were brought to many people's attentions last year thanks to Andy Thomson's perennially on-point Huntleys & Palmers label who put out a self-titled debut from Hi & Saberhagen. It evidently made an impression on young Tony Naples who has coaxed a triplet of cuts out of Hi & Saberhagen for this Qyzyland 12". Their approach takes in freaky electro synth tones, occasional coldwave notes and stripped back drum workouts, spread across three fine, full-bodied tracks with "Tom Party" our pick!
Massimiliano Pagliara - "I Am Running All My Drum Machines At Once & Dancing"
Mike Dunn - "A Groove"
Playground Productionz - "Orgy"
Eli Escobar - "Tension" (vinyl mix)
Alcatraz Harry - "Ode To Frankfurt"
Lory D - "Deep Acoustic"
Tomahawk - "Forever Free"
Anno Stamm - "A Night Out With Therese"
Denis Sulta - "Dubelle Oh XX"
Konakov - "Clonki" (part II)
Mr G - "Transient"
Basic Channel - "Q11" (part I)
Fango - "Vena Cava"
Tessela - "Up"
Ricardo Villalobos - "Logohitz"
Dean & Deluca - "A2"
Robert Hood - "The Pace"
Overmow - "Convulsions"
POM POM - "POM POM 18 B2"
Review: Up next on DJ Kicks' acclaimed mix series is Numbers doyen and Glaswegian iconJackmaster. In his own words, the 24-track mix sees the charismatic Scot 'delivering an honest journey, unearthing a serious passion for the obscure boundaries of house and techno.' This double LP lifts out eight of the tracks most other DJs will want to get their mitts on, and joins the dots between his hometown of Glasgow with Denis Sulta's festival destroying bass driven epic "MSNJ", then NYC; with Eli Escobar's gutsy EBM-flavoured 'Tension (vinyl mix)". Berlin's status as a dance music mecca is referenced with Dutch transplant Anno Stamm's dark house stomper "A Night Out With Therese" and the legend himself Ricardo Villalobos, with his minimal techno classic from 1996 "Logohitz". DJ Kicks throw in a CD of the mix too!
Sam Shure - "Nandoo" (Oliver Koletzki remix 2018) (7:23)
Oliver Koletzki & Niko Schwind - "Camps Bay" (Oliver Koletzki remix 2019) (7:24)
Review: Since releasing his debut single way back on 2005, Stil vor Talent founder Oliver Koletzki has become a prolific remixer. Here he gathers together some of his favourite revisions on one handy, DJ-friendly 12". Intriguingly, some of the standout moments are a little breezier, deeper or more melodious than you'd perhaps expect - see the bongo-driven bliss of the Koletzki & Schwind "Camps Bay" fix-up - but even this picturesque excursion is still 100% dancefloor-ready. We are also loving the moody, big-room ready mix of Howling's "Stole The Night", a jaunty dub-house take on Channel X's "Snug Descent" and the exotic and tribal remix of Sam Shure's "Nandoo".
Review: For the third release on their Thank You sub-label, Berlin's Sound Metaphors crew has decided to reissue an obscure but highly sought-after chunk of Balearic house from 1989. "Arsa" was the one and only 12" from Madrid Groove, a Spanish duo comprised of Pedro Arranz and Ram-J. The title track is particularly potent, featuring as it does a saucer-eyed blend of thrusting acid bass, loved-up piano riffs and oodles of sun-baked flamenco guitars. Also impressive are the New Jersey deep house influenced brilliance of "Madrid Groove" and "Suave", a tasty fusion of swinging, electro-influenced house drums, thickset synth bass, fluid piano solos, ultra-dreamy chords and "Sueno Latino" style female spoken word vocals.
Review: Good news for all of those who don't shop in Rush Hour's Amsterdam store, as Masalo's much-hyped debut solo single is finally available outside of that legendary Dutch institution. It's certainly been worth the wait. Both tracks doff a cap towards the spacey and intergalactic end of the Italo-disco spectrum, with Masalo opting for unfussy drum machine rhythms and throbbing, arpeggio style basslines. A-side "New Dance" is the more obviously disco-centric of the two tracks, with jaunty riffs, lilting synth-pop melodies and ricocheting, proto-house style drum fills rising above a suitably druggy groove. "Cycles", meanwhile, is a little deeper and more outer space in tone, an effect emphasized via sampled vocal chants and crystalline synthesizer melodies that appear to drift across the sound space.
Don't Waste Another Minute (with Merachka - TP Classic Piano mix) (7:33)
God Loves Detroit (The Resurrection) (8:09)
God Will Provide (6:53)
Just Like Muzik (with Merachka - main mix) (7:17)
Latter Rain (with Coco Street - The Healing Rain mix) (3:36)
Latter Rain (with Coco Street - TP After The Storm mix) (9:59)
Let's Go (7:40)
Lift Yo Hands Raise Em High (feat Coco Street) (7:41)
The Sabath (7:19)
Will You Ever Come Back To Me (3:18)
Review: As the title suggests, Terrence's Parker's first album since 2014 was inspired by the two constants in the experienced producer's life: his Christian faith, and the ongoing struggles of Detroit. Musically, it's an unashamedly retro-futurist affair, with Parker largely delivering a range of feel good tunes that draw heavily on techno, gospel, New Jersey garage and Chicago house. Highlights are plentiful, from the warm sci-fi ambience of "The Sabbath" and rich, late '80s soulfulness of "Transition", to the bubbly techno shuffle of "Let's Go" and the rush-inducing piano house stomp that is "Don't Waste Another Minute". "Latter Rain", which is served up in two distinctive versions - the beat-less, string-drenched soul of the "Hearing The Rain Mix" and the classic US garage skip of the "After The Storm Mix" - is also superb.
Review: There's little info out there about the identity of those behind the Pantamamba project. It would be interesting to know who's responsible, though, because this debut 12" is really rather good. The general idea is the fusion of electronic sounds and drums - think dream house chords, classic New Jersey deep house bass and, in the case of sweaty closer "SLXSA-42", ragged TB-303 acid lines - with live percussion and instrumentation borrowed from various traditional forms of South American and Asian music. It's not a wholly unusual idea - others have a made a career from such fusions - but rarely has it been done in such a giddy and thrill-a-minute way. As debut EPs go, NK Experience is certainly one of the more intriguing we've heard in recent times.