Review: Kris "Karizma" Clayton doesn't do things by halves. Wall Of Sound is his first full artist album since his 2007 debut A Mind of His Own and in CD format features a slightly daunting 39 tracks spread across the two discs. This accompanying double vinyl release pares down the tracklisting considerably but still brandishes some fifteen cuts, ensuring it's still quite the epic and will take a few plays to truly get your head around its intricacies and stylistic shifts. It's safe to say, though, that it's a pretty tasty set, effortlessly flitting between soul-flecked instrumental hip-hop, broken beat, intense percussion workouts, slick US garage and deep house in all its forms.
Review: The first volume in the mysterious EEE series simply flew off the shelves. It featured a tidy, on-point rework of one of the most celebrated jazz-house records of all time. This time round, the mystery remixer - who seems to prefer subtly beefing up tracks with new beats and one or two new musical elements - sets his or her sights on a classic chunk of moody British synth-pop from Basildon's finest. The new rhythm track sits somewhere between metallic electro and hypnotic tech-house (think clipped, fizzing electronics, and squeezable kick-drum sounds), while much is made of the original synthesizer strings and recognizable vocal. It's a tidy and undeniably floor-friendly version, all told, and will no doubt be very popular with DJs.
Review: Cadenza head honcho Luciano has arranged a special series of EPs to coincide with the 15 year anniversary of his revered imprint, launching the first one here to begin the festivities. This chapter is dedicated to the summer season and contains five enchanting tracks with exquisite sounds. There are moments of lush and hypnotic freefall like on "The Amazing Lilou" and equally impressive when he dives deep into the exotic like on "Hiding Hearts" or "La Tirana Del Oriente" - the latter featuring wonderfully employed classical instrumentation. Elsewhere, lose yourself in the sonic sorcery of "Magik Mechanics" and its superb melodic minimalism - classic Luciano. Each episode of the series will be released every season.
Review: The latest slab from Dutch delights SlapFunk sees a return from regular contributor Julian Alexander. Since he was last on the label, Alexander has been teaming up with Blind Box Series and Rawax, but he comes back home with an assured six track EP that highlights his continued progression as a producer. The release is bookended by short but immersive ambient cuts, with the primary focus being four forthright minimal house burners that continue the fine tradition of SlapFunk as a whole. From the snaking beat and cheeky b-line of "Nibyc" to the hard-stepping thrust of "Asco 52," there is plenty here for fans of the label's sound to lap up.
Review: "The wait is over as we finally have a new release ready by one of the originators of Icelandic techno. It's been a while, but worth the wait - as he delivers a straight-shooter, destined to find place in the record bags of all serious djs for years to come.
The EP consists of four dub-influenced techno tracks - each one exploring the depths of sonic and emotional landscapes. Some might even say glacial and atmospheric, yet perfect for a late night spin at the clubs.
Thule Records is considered by many to be a pioneers in the field of dub-influenced techno music and was a starting point for many of Iceland's most renowned electronic musicians.
Review: Techno stalwart Mr G was inspired to make the tracks showcased on his latest album while prepping "jazzy tracks" for a Worldwide Radio appearance alongside pal Kieran Ifill aka K15. Subsequently it's a fair more varied and musically expansive collection than we've come to expect, with tracks ranging from the vibraphone-laden house shuffle of "Praise" and bluesy downtempo grooves of "Strollin'", to the smoky jazz-dance business of "My F'ed Up Mixer", percussive "Hollywood Swinging" and bruk-up, jazz-funk influenced beauty of "That Blue Moon Feeling". It relies far more on dusty samples, hazy audio textures and non-linear beats than much of the producer's vast body of work, but that's no bad thing. In fact, it could well be one of his most ear-catching and entertaining excursions yet.
Review: According to hard-working scene stalwart John Dimas, the 14 tracks that make up this belated debut album all reflect his "personal journey on this planet". The Greek producer has long been renowned for producing tasty house and techno treats that look far and wide for inspiration, so it's heartening to find that One Against Time sees him exploring those major influences - think IDM, hip-hop, ambient, D&B, acid house, dub, Detroit techno, tech-funk, Drexciyan electro, two-step garage and wild Chicagoan acid - in far greater detail. It's an approach that pays dividends from start to finish, with Dimas serving up evocative and ear-catching cuts that sound distinctively rich and melodious, despite the variety of styles and tempos on show.
Review: The prolific Luv Jam has been busy as ever this year, gracing Lets Play House, Tsuba and Rawax with his own distinct brand of understated club functionalism. He now adds the Rawax affiliated Housewax to his sizeable discography with the four track deep Tropical 3.4 12". Commencing with the title track, Luv Jam's in restrained and stripped back form, as a deep acid line tries to emerge from the ether beneath a playful analogue bassline and the minimum of percussion. "Sailaway" sees him collaborate with vocalist Molly Knew on a moody and echo laden production that has a similar feel of set opener to it, whilst the flip holds more productions where Luv Jam's musicality shines through.
Review: UK techno legend Colin McBean returns on his always reliable Phoenix G imprint with A Good Place? A dozen servings of tough and steely house music that properly brings the funk as you'd expect from the man once behind such legendary and seminal acts like The Advent and G-Flame & Mr. G. There's also a few wonderful surprises too; such as the broken beat/nu jazz deepness of "One For The Headz" or the dusty disco loops of "Interluded (part 1)". But otherwise it really is business as usual, such as on the hi octane stormer "Nothin' (Cause We Are Strong)" with its "French Kiss" style melody, the deeply emotive "In The Sun... Finally!" or the raw and rusty dust covered jack of "G's Jazz" it's all killer no filler on here we assure you!
Review: Having bossed 2017 thanks to a wealth of top-rated 12" singles, East End Dubs is looking to push on in 2018. He begins the year as he means to go on, showcasing his tech-house wares via a rock solid two-track missive. "Hope" is notable for featuring a thrilling percussive breakdown, where restless drum machine fills increase in intensity before dropping back into the producer's swinging groove and spacey electronic textures. Flipside "Haze" is a little bolder and cheerier in tone, with East End Dubs offering to focus the action around a nagging electronic hook, rumbling sub-bass and the kind of crispy drums that reminded us of late 1990s UK garage.
Review: Last seen excelling on The Corner, NYC techno man Phil Moffa adds Hypercolour to his prospering profile with Rogue Music, a 12" hook up with the irrepressible Seth Troxler. Whilst this may not be the most immediate of collaborative endeavours you could think of, there is still plenty to enjoy here with "Blue Rawls" a perfect balance of stripped back, bone shaking rhythm and a growing sense of textural foreboding. It's the sort of track you can lay down after a frantic bout of drums to really hypnotise the dancefloor. Complementing this, "Meet The Butcha" heads off into seven odd minutes of bugged out house territory and leaves us clamouring more from the pair.
Ways Of The Sun (Peter Kruder Into The Black Hole remix) (7:22)
Ways Of The Sun (Manuel Fischer remix) (8:38)
Ways Of The Sun (Armitage remix) (6:43)
Review: Second time round for the much-loved "Ways Of The Sun", Frankey and Sandrino's 2015 collaboration with vocalist La Oberg. This time, there's no original mix to admire, but rather a quartet of fresh remixes. Jimi Jules steps up first, wrapping dubbed-out synth splashes and La Oberg's evocative vocal around a loose and languid dub disco-meets-deep house groove, before Peter Kruder re-imagines the track as an acid bass-propelled chunk of analogue deep house goodness. Over on side B, Manuel Fischer dishes up a sunrise-ready organic tech-house take while Armitage slams down a loopy and hypnotic peak-time revision that subtly builds throughout.
Review: What a collaboration this is! Two of the modern masters of hypnotic techno (and dynamic live acts alike) team up for some elaborate, melodic and and truly entrancing auditory journeys for Hypercolour. Mathew Jonson should need no introduction: the Canadian producer bursting onto the scene in the mid noughties with releases on itiswhatitis and his own Wagon Repair imprint. Sebastian Mullaert also has a long history in electronic music; at one time part of duo Minilogue in addition to recording for Kontra Musik and m_nus more recently and running his great WaWuWe label. Strap yourself in for an epic journey across all its 12 minutes of glory on St "Pollen 4 Life (main mix)" where a medley of dreamy and gliding arpeggios dance away over subtle and minimal elements; a trademark of both respective producers. The dub version on the flip is much tougher and darker; aimed squarely at the dancefloor to get into some of those more tunnelling, vortex like moments.
Review: As The Cyclist, Derry-based musician Andrew Morrison first surfaced back in 2011 with a cassette on Crash Symbols but came to wider attention with last year's excellent Bones In Motion LP for Leaving Records. The fifteen tracks spilled with tape saturated magnificence from every angle, and since then Morrison has diverted some of his creative energies into the more dance floor-focused Buz Ludzha. That project debuted on All City earlier this year with a 12? of "distorted '80s house" called Love Repetitive Rhythmics, and it's the Dublin label that now issues his latest LP as The Cyclist. If anything Flourish is a more focused set than his debut, building on his established style but veering down exciting new sonic avenues and in "Tape Grunge Rave" possesses one of this year's best track titles.
Review: Amphia co-founder Cristi Cons has been rather quiet of late, having previously impressed with a swathe of solo and collaborative EPs in early 2016. Here, the Romanian producer returns to action for the first time in 2017 via a rock solid collection of cuts, which come stretched across two weighty slabs of wax. As you might expect, all four tracks sit neatly into the now familiar Romanian tech-house style, which combines the crackling textures and production intricacy of minimal techno with the head-nodding shuffle of tech-house drum programming. Our highlight is probably super-odd closer "Mutual", which boasts some serious sub-bass and plenty of odd electronic noises, though the slightly more symphonic "Perceptual" is not far behind.
Review: Elusive producer Disk has been busy of late, delivering two low-key - but also highly regarded - EPs in the last few months. This latest 12", which also appears via his Whiteloops imprint, boasts another two tried-and-tested dancefloor treats. First up is "High Hill", a bustling chunk of rolling dancefloor voodoo built around chunky deep house drums, flash-fried samples and fluttering tech-house flourishes. He takes a totally different approach on the B-side, paying tribute to the dreamy chords, loved-up breadowns and skittering breakbeats of early British hardcore productions. It sounds like 808 State's "Pacific" was a major influence, though the breaks on Disk's production boast a much funkier swagger.
Review: Japanese micro-house champ So Inagawa has long been serving up delectable singles for labels such as Minimood and Trimsound, and it seems high time that he delivered an album, ten years after his first single was released. This long player for Cabaret allows Inagawa to stretch out his styles without losing focus on what his distinctive sonic identity is. The grooves stay slight and serene throughout, with delicate threads of instrumentation woven in and amongst the needlepoint drums, and the overriding feeling is one of strung-out jazz. Closing track "I Will Do It The Same Way" perhaps says it all, this is an album of consistency that hits upon a refined style and maintains it throughout.
Review: Apollonia co-head and all-round Parisian legend Dan Ghenacia steps up for his label's latest release. On The Egg EP, you can really hear the various shades of French house presented by a true expert who lived and played throughout the city's best times for over two decades. From the sexy and slinky late night bounce of "A La Coque" which could have been easily played at his Batofar residency at the turn of the millennium, and the tripped-out and slammin' shuffle of "Mykonos Huevos" (taking the best of early '90s Chicago) to the emotive dancefloor drama of "Sunny Side Up" taking on the very best of Detroit influences such as Terence Parker or Blake Baxter.