Review: Disordered Rhythm Metronomy may be a puzzling (and, let's face it, rather strange) artistic alias, but the two men behind the project, Ricardo Villalobos and Edward, have produced some of the most distinctive leftfield techno of the last decade. As a result, you'd expect their first joint EP to be a killer... and it is. A-side "Vormlock" is a rubbery, off-kilter treat, with the experienced duo peppering an elastic synth bassline and sparse, skittish drums with glitchy stabs, tipsy lead lines and all manner of wonky, out-of-this-world noises. Over on the flipside you'll find title track "Down", a deeper and dreamier chunk of spacey minimalism in which typical Villalobos style percussion and softly squelching bass comes cloaked in some suitably intergalactic synthesizer chords.
Review: We were rather impressed by the first volume in the CCCP Edits series, a re-edit imprint seemingly dedicated to offering up reworks of obscure, largely unknown musical gems from Soviet-era Russia, so hopes are sky-high for this second instalment. We shouldn't have worried. Opener "Nochi" is a deep, woozy and off-kilter chunk of two-step garage/jazz-funk fusion, while "Ne Mojet Bit" is the most Balearic electro track we've heard in yonks. The fun continues on the flip, where the glassy-eyed deep pop-goes-two-step flex of "T=H2O" comes accompanied with the hip-house era breakbeat-house warmth (and jazzy keys) of standout track "Hare, Krishna".
Now That I Got To Know You (instrumental dub) (8:22)
Review: The honeyed, effortlessly soulful vocals of Reggie Hall have been a feature of Chicago house since the late 1980s, when he appeared on a Dance Mania release by Victor Romeo. He's released plenty of music since then, though this hook-up with Glenn Underground - who produced the music - and fellow house veteran Byron Stingily (who provided backing vocals) is still his first outing for almost 12 years. The A-side full vocal version is simply superb, with Hall's superb, impassioned, gospel-inspired vocals riding a bouncy, Osunlade style groove, jazzy guitars, sustained church organ chords and all manner of intricate musical details. Glenn Underground dons the CVO alias to deliver a slightly tougher, more groove-driven B-side "Dub" that nevertheless includes plenty of sun-bright musical warmth.
Review: Is East End Dubz the hardest working producer in the 21st century tech-house scene? He's certainly prolific, as his sprawling discography attests, but what's more impressive is the consistent quality of his releases. He's hit the mark yet again on this EP for his self-titled imprint. A-side "Wobble" is particularly potent, featuring as it does a fizzing fusion of insatiably funky bass, surging acid lines and shoulder-swinging beats. "Slammin" is closer in tone and style to the producer's trademark tech-house glitchiness - all mangled electronic motifs, straightened-out Villalobos drums and deep bass - while "Izit" is a tidy, acid-flecked box jam that increases in weight and intensity as the track progresses.
Review: Nobody does tough rolling tackle for the peak time quite like the Audiojack boys. The Leeds-based duo head up the revered Gruuv imprint and have left their indelible mark on The White Isle with their legendary parties. Indeed, their sound is a worthy addition to the Mannheim-based 8bit imprint; Jorge and Nick Curly, like Rial & Birkenshaw themselves, churn out proper tech house that is aimed squarely at the main room. The track in question is "Are We Here", that sees them deliver something a bit more restrained than usual. This is a smooth and euphoric slow burner that's perfect to build up to the bangers in your set, harnessing all that 'energy'. Speaking of which, that's the operative word throughout the B side cut "Higher" with its deep and bass-driven pulsation that's sure to get the sweat dripping from the walls.
Get Over U (Mr Director's 'Feels Good' dub) (9:04)
Get Over U (Director's cut mix - Sami Dee edit) (6:15)
Review: SoSure Music have re-released Director's Cut's 2012 funky house anthem "Can't Get Over U" with a couple of modern reshapes for modern dance floors. The duo was comprised of 'Godfather of house music' Frankie Knuckles with veteran producer Eric Kupper. Berlin's Chambray (REKIDS/&Friends/Dirtybird) injects a bouncy lo-fi shuffle into his rework, while industry legend Tedd Patterson keeps that classic vibe alive - like only he can - on his version. On the flip, we have Frankie's own 'Mr Director's 'Feels Good' Dub' (a vinyl exclusive) of which Frenchman Sami Dee serves up a brilliant edit as well.
Review: REPRESS ALERT! In another life, the crew behind Reverberations (nicknamed Reverb to many) released literally hundreds of titles on various labels including their own. 25 years after their launch, their music is more in demand than ever before. This special release on the later incarnation, RvS, handpicks four in-demand tracks and remixes by Silverlining, Ravi McArthur and their collaboration, Impossible beings. Do not miss!
Review: We may not be able to gather to dance outdoors under a blazing sun or a blanket of stars, but there's no harm in a little musical daydreaming. That's what the latest multi-artist Ravenelli Disco Club release is all about: summery escapism that comes with a big dollop of rush-inducing disco release. Ethyene sets the tone with the colourful boogie-house fusion of "Let Love" - all twinkling synth motifs, echoing percussion hits, thickset grooves and hazy vocal samples - before Carlo raises the temperature via some jazzy deep house heaviness in the vein of Derrick Carter's "boompty" era. Over on side B, Hotmood's "Magical Flight" is a surging, string-drenched disco-house roller, while Rees' "The Way You Mood" is a tooled-up take on what sounds like a classic Philadelphia International cut.
Please Don't Make It Funky (The Patchouli Brothers Re edit) (5:05)
Review: "Please Don't Make It Funky" is one of those delicious curiosities that dusty-fingered crate diggers unearth every now and then. Recorded and released in limited qualities in 1980, it was apparently an attempt by Frank Pisani, then a veteran American singer who had last tasted success in the rock and roll era, to capture the disco/jazz-funk zeitgeist. While it was a commercial flop, the track is undeniably attractive and fun, with squelchy synth sounds, ear-catching horns, fluid piano solos and Pisani's blue-eyed-soul vocals rising above a tidy groove. This surprise - but most welcome - reissue backs Pisani's cheery original with a fresh re-edit by the Patchouli Brothers. This includes some filter trickery and a DJ-friendly arrangement, but otherwise sticks close to the original mix.
Review: Ron Trent has long been an archetypal deep house producer, no matter what alias he assumes. Here he becomes RT Factor on the Electric blue label. Of course, it is another high class and timeless offering that features just one epic 15 minute deep house journey. All the usual traits are present and correct - supple and rubbery drums, spiritual chords and majestic key playing that all effortlessly drift in and out of the mix to make for something smooth flowing and compelling throughout. All these years after starting out and re-writing the rules, Trent is still the man to beat at this deep house game.
Review: Last year Local Talk offered up Soulphiction's latest album (his first for almost ten years) over three separate slabs of wax. Here they complete the package via a "VIP Edition" 12" single featuring a brand new cut and a previously unheard revision of album highlight "Feelin' Good". The simply titled "Version" mix of that on the flip is delicious, with the Philpot founder layering expansive piano motifs and dizzying solos over skippy, U.S garage-influenced beats and a warm, toasty bassline. Arguably even better though is the fresh cut, "Niederbeat Gospel (Dub)". Living up to its title, the track is a thickset chunk of bluesy gospel house dustiness built around swinging beats, beefy bass and layered vocal samples from a crackly old gospel recording.
Review: Hold tight for more absolutely essential garage fodder from the Plastik People camp. This sharp and snappy two-tracker kicks off with Highrise, aka Darlington-based producer Dinn Warde who's been making increasingly large splashes with his jungle productions as Dwarde and more recently his on-point garage productions. His mix of "Want You Back" is a tightly wound, bumping slice of 4x4 with cool and deadly organ stabs. By contrast, label boss Marc Cotterell brings a more outwardly soulful flavour to his original version, leaning on uplifting chord sequences and putting the vocal front and centre. Depending on the mood you're looking to set, this record has you covered in two distinct and supremely classy ways.
Review: It's early days for Meftah, who you may have spotted remixing Amp Fiddler on Mahogani Music alongside Jahn Cloud, but this low key 12" highlights him as a serious talent to keep tabs on in the Detroit music community. There's no hiding his musical roots and influences, as dusty keys, live bass and loose, expressive percussion intertwine in a mellow, bluesy haze. This is cut from the same cloth as Kenny Dixon Jr, Theo Parrish, Jay Daniel and scores of others, but Meftah has his own mellow mood to impart on these five addictive, seductive trips through deepest jazz-inflected house.
Review: Since he made his debut five years ago, Johannes Kolter AKA Djoko has happily flitted between labels, in the process offering up a string of rock-solid releases. "Endless Explorations", his first vinyl outing of 2020, sees Kolter add another label to his discography, French dub techno imprint Berg Audio. Kolter sets the tone perfectly on opener "Ikarus", where fluttering, pleasingly spacey dub techno riffs and sustained chords ride a crunchy tech-house groove, before joining forces with T JACQUES on the acid-sporting, late '90s style tech-house-funk of "Instincts". The funk-fuelled, acid-sporting fun continues on bold, melodious, intergalactic and hugely enjoyable flipside opener "In Flavour" - check the jazzy keys and garage-influenced swing - while deep space closing cut "Asteroids" is smoother than a baby's backside and every bit as potent.
Review: Mannheim's Fabian Winkels is somewhat of a hero within his local scene, having long been an active DJ and producer that headed up the now defunct local institution Parker Lewis, operating his own Salty Nuts label and having been involved with local names such as Sukhumvit, BE9, Valioso and of course Kusi. He once again blazes the analogue signal path in wonky and minimalist fashion on his new cut titled "Def Yours", a typically bass driven and tripped-out jam that's perfect for Sunday mornings aboard the Hoppetosse. On the flip, there's a remix by Rominimal godfather Rhadoo, who works his unmistakable magic as always.
Review: Ukranian producer Kirik is the second fixture on J Room, bringing a plush and melodic sound for his fifth EP of the year (look out for other sterling turns on Colors Of Crocus and Bosom LTD amongst others). "No Boys Club" leads the way with expressive keys darting around a crisp minimal house groove, while "Be Easy" ups the shuffle while maintaining the plush melodic content. JALE are on hand to remix "No Boys Club", turning the original into an addictive, wriggling minimal cut that gets right under the skin, and then "Furtive Footsteps" closes the EP out with a more mechanical workout peppered with artful sound design.
Review: This slick package of high grade weaponry is the second and final part of the Gargoyle Classics reissues series. It turns attention to Baltimore in the mid 90s, a time when techno, IDM, electro, rave and breaks were all freely colliding with one another. The result is a four tracker that you would have a hard time placing given its timeless appeal. From the slick electro techno funk of "I Said" to the more bouncy techno remix via the turbo charged bass of "Ten After 3" and freaky sci-fi work out that is "Do You Believe" (Space Evader mix), this is perfectly red hot tackle.
Review: Talk about the power of pure rhythms. 'Yek 166-3', to reference just one of four iterations here, is as propellant as anything you're likely to hear in a club, but if heard mid-party would be one of the most challenging curveballs you could ask for. Comprised entirely of tribal-like top end percussive structures set at breakneck pace, it's a great place to start with this release overall - a package that's as much about artistically accomplished complete tracks as it is providing workable elements for use in something larger. A DJ's delight, this isn't to say all four arrangements don't deserve to be heard individually. '134-17' growls and shimmers in a way that's subtly complex, ideal for headphone or big rig play. '128-10' is more about poised dark tech atmosphere, while '127-17' exists within looser frameworks, leading to more serene and relaxed results.
Review: It was fairly quiet on the release front for Brooklyn's Parang Recordings last year, but they finally kickstart 2020 with a bang, proudly presenting their first various artists compilation EP, featuring both emerging and established talents with a range of sounds from diverse backgrounds. On the A side of the Snowbirds EP we have a couple of ascendant producers the from the rather fertile scene of Offenbach am Main: Lil Sorry's "High Noon'' is a bleeped-out retro techno bonanza treads the same sonic path as local outfits like Traffic and Pager. Speaking of the latter, the next track's sunny and evocative deep house groove (Lord Of Leisur's "Coffee 'N' Chups) is reminiscent of label boss Phil Evan's early work. On the flip we have some of Spin Fidelity's deep and emotive electro funk but he'd already won us over with the title "Juno".
Review: Consistently on form house master DJ Steaw is back with more of his essential nuggets. "Freee" (House mix) has something of a classicist feel, with its straight up drums and star gazing synth lines disappearing off into the cosmos. A sweet and tender vocal finishes it in style. "Freee" in original form is a perfect bit of late 80s jazz funk, disco and boogie fusion that rides low while making your temperature rise. "Walk In Broadway" closes out with more peak time grooves, pounding kicks and an old school bassline that nags down low throughout.
Review: Despite his truly idiosyncratic sound, Zefzeed has long been one of the most underrated talents within Romania's prolific minimal techno scene. Having a consistent output over the years on mainly smaller imprints, it's nice to see him getting the recognition he deserves on an established label here - returning to Cluj-Napoca's Midi Records. The 'Strip Tease' EP features two typically arcane and complex tracks in the style you've come to expect from the Timisoara-based producer and DJ. On the A side, we have the mesmerising and otherworldly bounce of "Sloppy From Two Fingers" which is perfect tackle for getting weird at the after hours. On the flip, "Stripped To The Bones" is a similarly subdued affair and bordering on near psychedelic moments, complete with the huge bassline, clipped drum programming and woozy sound design that will intensify the effects of sleep deprivation and paranoia. Tip!
Review: Malin Genie welcomes an extensive EP treat from Lava Lap, an emergent producer with an affinity for the kind of braindance that will have fans of Jodey Kendrick beating their drum machines with approval. The acid is slippery, the structures ever-shifting and a wealth of expression spills out of every bar. There are faster drum & bass paced bits, melancholy detuned electro and much more besides. Far from just being clever music though, it's also amazingly emotional and so impeccably produced. Any electronica head should be all over this.