Review: One of the deepest reaching projects from the multifaceted Vibraphone stable resurfaces for an extended trip through ambient sonics that marks possibly the most daring departure on the esteemed Italian label to date. The harmonious tones undulating throughout Sketches From Space are instant soothers, taking the odd cue from techno but defiantly beatless and meditative. It's a surprising addition to the long and winding Vibraphone story, but also feels like one of the strongest steps forward the resurgent label has taken since returning to the fray. Just try sinking into "Lagrangian Point L4" and you'll see exactly what we mean.
Review: Ensuring they keep things pushing forwards while also celebrating their past, Vibraphone call upon rising talent Gemil to deliver an EP that is purely fresh material. "Forces & Gravity" is perfectly honed to get the maximum response from the dance with its muscular production and catchy vocal sample, but if you want an even more focused affair the remix strips things down to the bare necessities and works just as effectively. On the B side "Horizon" gets a touch more playful in its synth work with interplaying riffs creating a dazzling whole, and then "Solar Storm" brings the heads-down, hard-swinging heaviness into the mix in a devastating finishing blow.
Review: The journey back into the vaults of seminal Italian house music label Vibraphone Records continues apace with this gem from 1993. K2 was a one-off project for central label figures The True Underground Sound of Rome, and this Loss Of Gravity 12" represents one of the most sought after rarities from the Vibraphone catalogue. The on-point breakbeats of "The Journey", the wistful tones of "In My Garden", the plush ambient refrains of "Lirica" - every inch of this record is steeped in class that belies the age of the music. Need we say more - this is a buy on sight reissue that won't stick around for long.
Review: KNLB first appeared with the Initialize 12" on Vibraphone in July of this year, and it's not taken them long to return with another slab of on-point, upfront house music loaded with flair and imagination. "Up Again" is a heavy, chugging and bumping jam that should inspire all manner of screwed up faces of appreciation on the floor, and then "Fog Machine Smell" simmers things down to a more measured house groove. "Half Life" brings a few more dubby elements into the mix, and then the club mix of "SIN" sends the record spinning off in a wonderfully dusty reverie of detuned pianos and late-hitting drums.
Review: Having recently appeared on Bosconi Records and Altzmusica, Daisuke Kondo is a producer on the rise at present. This outing on Vibraphone adds fuel to that particular fire with four distinctive cuts that push to the outer edges of house music without losing sight of the groove. "Hold On To Love" is, on the surface, an upbeat, disco-infused house jam, but there's a certain trippy approach Kondo takes in the processing department that edges the music into a different head space. "Life" meanwhile gets gritty and bass heavy at one end of the frequency range, and airy and melodic at the other. "Feelin Blue" gets even dustier and scratchier with its sample treatment, and then "Fallen Star" lays down some unflinching machine beats with wonky, distant piano licks.
Review: After first appearing on the label back in 2016, Florence-based Italo house stalwarts Minimono return to Vibraphone with another selection of illustrious dancefloor gems for subtler moments in the dance. "Oldest Friend" is an airy, dreamlike track laden with upper register chords, tones and FX pinging around in a reverie of deep house delight, while "Questions" gets locked into a loose, swinging groove with some mysterious pads swirling around the middle distance for added atmosphere. "Some Day" is a more rugged affair that bumps and wriggles in all the right places, while "Eleven Days" explores broken beat territory without losing the hazy atmosphere that permeates the EP.
Review: Having previously appeared alongside Tommi Vicari Jr on a 12" last year, Opto Mystics strike out on their own with this 12" for Italian powerhouse Vibraphone. New Horizon very much represents the new school approach with the long serving Italian house label, keeping that deep, melodic quality but embracing new rhythms, tones and approaches. "New Horizon" almost has an Akufen quality to it, while "Bucky Triangle" could easily transmit from the Motor City house scene. "M.I.Y.E." is a swirling blur of gorgeous synths, and "Suddent" finishes the EP off on a surprisingly experimental tip.
Review: Second time around for "High Flyer", the sole single from The Underground Sound of Rome side project Ricardo. It first appeared on Vibraphone Records way back in 1992 and has since become an in-demand chunk of original Italian deep house. This re-mastered reissue includes the same versions as the original pressing. The A-side boasts the original mix, which while Italian in origin sounds like a sublime mixture of dreamy, Nu Groove style NYC deep house and New Jeresey garage. Arguably even better is the "Angel Mix", whose ethereal, elongated chords, epic ambient build-up, undulating bass and humid electronics are much closer in tone to the kind of "dream house" tracks that were all the rage in Italy following the success of Sueno Latino's 1989 single of the same name.
Review: Having previously appeared on Vibraphone with the Isole Del Tramonto 12" back in 2016, Nick Anthony Simoncino returns to the perennial Italian deep house label with a full album, his fourth following previous turns on Thug, Mathematic and Creme Organization. As you would expect, Mystic Adventures is a masterclass of classic drum machines and synthesisers, loaded with the passion and mystery that Simoncino has always managed to imbue his music with. The highlights are too many to list - if you're familiar with his other work, then Simoncino has everything you need on this LP. If you're not already wise, these nine new tracks are a wonderful introduction.
Slipping Into Darkness (Vincent Floyd remix) (7:12)
As You Are (7:17)
As You Are (Nick Anthony Simoncino remix) (7:00)
Review: Vibraphone Records continues to deepen its contemporary repertoire by inviting Andrew Soul into the fold with a vocal contribution from house music legend Robert Owens. "Slipping Into Darkness" is a beautifully rendered deep house gem with expressive piano work, rubbery bass synth tones, but in some ways the minimalism of Vincent Floyd's remix gives Owens' vocals a chance to take centre stage. "As You Are" is a crooked, broken beat exploration on the fringes of deep house, and Owens' voice sounds resplendent in the more experimental surroundings before Nick Anthony Simoncino comes on board with a 90s flavoured, darkside remix of the highest order.
Review: The seemingly bottomless vaults of Vibraphone Records come up with the goods once again as The True Underground Sound Of Rome present a second instalment of their seminal Minimal Vision. The mood is instantly dreamy on "Cyclops", while "Vertigo" gets more than a little psychedelic, dare we say New Age-y. This tone rings true throughout the record, pulling together more sought after gems and previously unreleased delights from the catalogue of this vitally influential Italian house music force. Just try listening to "Once Upon A Time In Labaro" without being transported to another time and place, all proto-trance synth pulses and Blade Runner samples.