M&M Vs Andrei Swipe - "Analog Express" (Don Carlos remix) (7:29)
Review: There's an undeniable air of quality that lingers over the 12"s emerging on 14th Level Of Paradise, the mysterious label presenting originals, edits and repressed tracks for true house devotees. First up is a little known track from Sasha Makin and Suntetic, given a shimmering polish by Don Carlos and Steven Perri to become a heavy funking masterpiece, before Joe Claussell drops in a percussive dub delight on Monday Michiru's "Higher". On the flip, Vincent Inc and LA get things pumping with the slow but chunky, jazz-licked "Red Room", before Carlos returns for another deep house reverie as he remixes M&M and Andrei Swipe's "Analog Express".
Pieces To Share (Kyle Hall & Steve Lehane mix) (3:14)
Nothing To Fear (4:00)
Review: Some ultra-limited business here from Kyle Hall, which remarkably marks his first release of 2019. The Detroiter is in fine form from the off, first peppering a hip-hop tempo "beatdown" groove with 8-bit sounds, jazz-funk synth doodles and rich Fender Rhodes motifs on "Rising" before breaking up the beats and channeling Kaidi Tatham/Dego on the warm and luscious "Full Play". Turn to the flip for the similarly inclined, loose and languid, analogue-heavy melodiousness of "Pieces To Share" and the delay-laden sunrise shimmer of "Nothing To Fear", a glistening and smile-inducing number that's almost overwhelmingly positive.
Review: Alphonse has already dropped a pair of 12"s on Especial in the past, but he's on especially excellent form this time around. A veteran of the halcyon rave days of the 90s, he's got a lot to draw on to conjure his particular kind of machine jams. "Moan Up" is a truly dazzling track, all twinkling synth lines interweaving around a crisp old school groove. As well as the loved up peaks of the original, there's also a beatless mix of the track that lets the melodies shine on their own. "White Pepper" takes things moodier and lets some sultry sax wail over the top, while retaining some of that boxy drum machine energy. There's even space for some tasteful guitar wailing - excellent.
Catch Me If You Can (Jorge Savoretti Ethereal dub) (7:08)
Review: Michael James' "Winds Of Change" EP was a big look for Constant Black, and now the eminent minimal house label draws on a hit list of sharp shooters to deliver some deadly remixes. Huerta is up first with an angular but rolling dub twist on "Catch Me If You Can", before Nick Beringer pings things in a wonderfully hazy direction with his "7am Dub" of "Stormy Skies". Pascal Benjamin gets into a tight, focused funk on his version of "Reservoir", and then Jorge Savoretti flies in an "Ethereal Dub" of "Catch Me If You Can".
Review: The Aesthetic label is steadily growing as yet another strong side to the Constant Sound empire, and they're sounding fit as a fiddle with this latest drop from Niko Maxen. "Aesthetic 04" leads in with "Calibans Dance", a swirling, dubbed out affair with intriguing percussive tones to add an intriguing edge to the stripped back house groove. "Lessons" has a heads down, twitchy demeanour it's impossible to resist, and then "Twelvty" summons up some elegant synth strokes that hover in between the shuffling beats. The latter provides more than enough inspiration for Kepler to deliver an astounding remix that plays around with bouncy arps and pointed house rhythms in his inimitable style.
Praying For You (Louie Vega NYC Fender Rhodes Solo) (4:55)
Praying For You (Louie Vega Vonita dub) (5:43)
Praying For You (KDA remix) (6:10)
Praying For You (album version) (6:11)
Praying For You (Louie Vega Expansions NYC dub) (5:41)
Smile (David Morales remix) (7:01)
Review: Earlier this year, DJ Spen and Teddy Douglas's long-serving gospel-house group Jasper Street Co returned to action with their first album in 16 years. It's from that album that "Praying For You" is taken, though the selling point here is not the LP mix but rather a suite of reworks from Louie Vega. Our picks of the bunch are his jazzy and breezy "Main Mix", the brilliantly bass-heavy "Vonita Dub" (think righteous call-and-response gospel vocals and a killer groove) and the sleazy "KDA Remix". The latter is a basement-bothering stomper rich in fuzzy organ stabs and spacey electronics. The smooth, slick and pleasingly colourful David Morales remix is also rather good (it reminded us a little of vintage Frankie Knuckles rubs, which is no bad thing).
Review: Roberto Surace's "Joys" was undoubtedly one of the unofficial summer anthems out in Ibiza this year. It's the tune you could hear bleeding from bars, car windows and clubs from May until September and was a firm favourite in the sets of White Isle kingpin Marco Carola as well as the likes of wAFF and Andrea Oliva. Its earworm vocal is what wins you over from the off - a soulful voice that melts into crisp boom bap drums with a rattling conga adding a sense of summer craziness. After much demand, Defected has finally put it out for all to enjoy.
Review: In 2009, two years after the original version appeared on Somi's debut album "Red Soil In My Eyes", Joaquin "Joe" Claussell and Brian Bacchus joined forces as Soul Feast to remix Fela Kuti cover "African Lady". A decade on, Claussell has decided to reissue the package's most potent and percussive moment, the layered "Drum Dub" on a tasty seven-inch single. While there are key elements of Somi's original version present - the killer bassline, some delay-laden horns and fleeting glimpses of guitar - the mix is dominated by layered Afro-house percussion. This time round, the mix comes backed with an "Acapella EFXS" version, which contains all of Somi's superb vocal and is closer in tone to the duo's 2009 club mix. Like the A-side, it's superb.
Review: Hot on the heels of a re-work of Bobby Caldwell, edit stylist Caserta is back with another golden nugget. This time he turns his attention to the one and only Luther Vandross and serves up two equally essential but very different tunes that pay homage to his unique voice. The King Street Mix is all hip swinging claps and nodding bass riffs that are organic and heartfelt, whereas the Henry Street Mix nods to the '90s heyday of New York. With warm neon organ stabs that will get any floor pumping, both interpretations have Luther's soulful voice front and centre.
Poisoned Words (Ricardo Villalobos remix 1) (6:35)
Poisoned Words (Ricardo Villalobos remix 2) (13:39)
Review: The Mandar dream team of Lazare Hoche, Malin Genie and S.A.M revisit "Poisoned Words" with a double dose of remixes from none other than Ricardo Villalobos. The minimal overlord lives up to expectations on both flips of the original track, needling into the tiniest sonic details and holding down an insistent groove that will sit beautifully in the mix. The A side features a simmering version that revels in wriggling sound design with ample space to flex and mutate, while the B side stretches out into a quintessential Villalobos wormhole of a remix. Unmissable sonics from one of the scene's true legends.
Review: Fresh from delving into his ambient side on the pastorally-enhanced "Loom Dream" album for Whities, Leif revives his self-manned Tio Series with another double-shot of delicate but impactful cuts outside the conventional slipstream of modern techno. The rhythms fall crooked, the synths trickle, bubble and cascade around the groove and the atmosphere remains humid and heady, especially on ear-snagging B-side "Rumex". "Montpelier" sports more explicit dubby flourishes and a spread of sonic flora and fauna in the middle distance that truly brings the track to life.
Review: Plastik People cast their gaze back to a garage house staple and give it a new lease of life on this cool and deadly white label. The original "Blues For You" by Logic is a pinnacle on the Strictly Rhythm catalogue - some might say untouchable - but Danny J Lewis and Marc Cotterell are here to tell you otherwise. Lewis lands on the A side with a version that keeps the structure of the track intact, and speaks those iconic hooks through a different set of instruments that gives the track a new lease of life. Cotterell meanwhile smooths the garage jerk of the original out into a more linear house thrust while working the vocal samples with glee - it's a respectful approach that simply repositions the groove of the original to give it a fresh flavour.
Review: Two years after they offered up the first part in the "Retrofitted Future" series, Primary Perception partners Mahy and Nichel Cruz return to Slow Life with volume three. They hit the ground running with "Valis", a crunchy romp through bold analogue bass, twisted acid lines and spacey electronics, before bouncing their way through more melodious, warm and ear-catching territory on the aptly named "Sci-Fi Jazz". Side B boasts two versions of "Funky Emotions" - the low-slung, bass-heavy and decidedly futuristic original mix and the altogether deeper and dreamier "Break mix" - as well as utterly gorgeous ambient track "Space Is An Ocean".
Review: Given that Fantastic Man's last outing on Kitjen, 2016's "Galactic Ecstasy", was one of his more interesting and on-point releases to date, hopes are high for this belated return to the German label. First up in "Solar Surfing", a spacey affair built around stuttering machine drums, intergalactic electronics and a thickset bassline. Acid-fired workout "Native Power" follows, with psychedelic TB-303 lines and minimalist bleeps riding a flowing electro groove, before closing cut "Avocado Conception" sees the Australian combine Balearic-minded synthesizer flourishes and bubbly acid lines with a slower groove. Like the rest of the EP, it's ear pleasing but surprisingly off-kilter.
Review: In 1996, Dreamscape's Ed Marshall donned a new alias, Aplomb, and delivered the first fruits of his new project to New Age House Records. Only one track was ever released on a limited label promo, "Wondering". World Building's Ari Goldman, who previously put out a compilation of Marshall's work as Dreamscape, is a fan and has decided to rescue it from obscurity via this single-sided 12". The track itself is hard to accurately pigeonhole, combining as it does dense, carnival style drums, female scat vocals, warm bass, dreamy deep house chords and synthesizer flourishes reminiscent of early '80s jazz-funk. Either way, it's a sunny and groovy chunk of obscure house positivity that's well worth a place in your collection.
Review: "Der Say Ah" has long been a banger on dance floors tuned into international sounds. It's the sort of bouncy afrobeat and sax-laced classic that has been fetching huge amounts online. DJs like Gilles Peterson and Nightmare on Wax have been playing it for yonks and now, after many years of it being out of print, it is back courtesy of Push The Fader. The Akoya Re-Rub mix here was mixed by Ben Kane who worked on D'Angelo's Black Messiah, so this sounds beyond good. The 7" version comes from DJ Spinna with extra keys from Ticklah, psyched out bass and extra dub feelings.
Review: Valencia's Pepe has built up quite a discography over the last few years, with this fine outing on Church following similarly impressive releases for Let's Play House, Lobster Theremin, Loose Fit and Sprung. The EP's impressive title track is available in two variations: the sparkling, breakbeat powered "Roll Mix" - think hip-house style drums, weighty dub bass and occasional dreamy chords - and a "Bleep Mix" that beefs up the sub-bass while adding some suitably sparse, computer game style electronic melodies. Another clear highlight is "You Must Not Be Me", a fine combination of rush-inducing, sunrise-ready electronics and bustling breaks, while closing cut "Recollection" is a rather lovely drift into opaque ambient territory.
Review: Pretty much anything Call Super has touched in recent years has turned to gold. This new collaboration with Parris is no different: it is a self-released project with a fictional backstory involving an ageing writer called Mortise Koshimitsu who lived in a small apartment. The music itself is uptempo but deep, with shimmering wooden hits gliding on elastic drums as ambient synth beauty bleeds into the spaces left behind. "Majenta" is a more cavernous and dreamier track that is as good for home listening as it does for tasteful dancing.
Review: Overthink is a Barcelona based label run by Nicolas Etorena, who taps homeboy Luis Malon here for four cuts of wonky retro rave and techno shenanigans on the "Champions Fantasy EP". The man has appeared on labels like Slow Life and Opia in recent times, so you should already have an idea of what's to come: from the electro-fied alien funk of "Terrify", to straight ahead peak time bangers like "Is TLM" with its savage 303 squelch, nodding to classic Yorkshire sounds. Driving B side cut "Vincha For All" receives a bouncy rework by SUR main man Jorge Gamarra that'll get you staring right down into the vortex.
Review: Mainz-based house hooligan Butch teams up with good studio pal Christian Vogt (Yellow Tail/Rebirth) once again for their new thumper - a remix of Andy Gibbs of The Bee Gees' 1980 hit "Desire". Said to have been circulating for more than a year on selected USB sticks, it's finally available for all. The sexy and low slung main remix is sure to burn up any dancefloor, and is backed by a groovy and swing-fuelled dub version, a handy and functional drum tool and a nifty vocal tool too. It's what Gerd Janson & Co. best described themselves as "blue-eyed R&B house.. made to please and evoke those unifying and uplifting dancefloor moments".
Review: Munich duo Rhode & Brown have been bringing the good stuff to Toy Tonics for some time now, and they're sounding especially vibrant on this new joint. "Nine To Shine" is a sweet and soulful, 90s flavoured deep house jam with catchy vocals and a bittersweet mood to help you throw off the baggage of the working life once the weekend rolls around. "Honeymoon Affair" piles on uplifting piano chords and smooth acid bass for a full-fat house burner, while "Sumthin" chops up some serious funk samples for a massive dose of feel-good. "Your Beauty Is A Spoiler" completes the set with a wistful mood centered on an impeccably edited soul hook, making this a house 12" with plenty of mileage for a multitude of situations.
Review: Atjazz & Jullian Gomes released their "Big Bad Crazy" album nearly a year ago to wide acclaim, and here is one of the LP's standout tracks which receives a rework from Freerange/Delusions Of Grandeur chief Jimpster. He replaces the sensual late night deepness of the original version of "It's My Time" with a slinky, hypnotic and absolutely mesmerising vibe, awash in shimmering melodies, delay drenched snippets of the original vocals and an absolutely addictive bassline. There's a handy instrumental on the flip too. Braintree's finest delivers the goods once again on this hit that's sure to have wide crossover appeal.
Review: Tomorrow Is Now, Kid! are never shy to support exciting new talent, and so it goes on this sublime 12" from breakout producer Poko Poko. The "Petrichor EP" kicks off in bouncy fashion with the sweet and lilting "Hurdy Gurdy" before shifting stance to the sweet boogie inflections of "Iglozub". "Stipperflip" presents a more dusty, rattling strain of deep house that positively quivers with hand-crafted energy, and the title track completes the set with a seriously funky, soul-soaked get down packing one of the coolest basslines we've heard all year.
Review: J Room steps up with a contribution to the minimal tech house conversation that sees emergent artist Jale making a strong statement with three powerful original tracks and a remix from Cosmjn. Jale's style leans on Detroit string synths for a sense of melancholic grandeur, and densely packed rhythm sections that bump as much as they punch. "Orbital Dream" takes things in a dreamy after hours direction, and "Eclipse" works up some rugged synth trysts that snap around a subtly broken beat. Cosmjn's remix of "Orbital Dream" is not to be slept on either as it subtly adjusts the accent of the groove to make an immersive tech house roller par excellence.
Review: Ever-dependable hero of deep house since the good old days, Glenn Underground is back with fresh goodies for his Strictly Jazz Unit imprint, and if you liked what he's done before then there's no doubt you'll like this as well. "Shiloh (A King's Return)" is a steady roller, defined by the synth-sax freestyling over the top of a crisp beat and bluesy chord workout. "We, The Party (Let's Get Down)" is a more soaring affair, with some neat kinks in the drums and a sumptuous spread of Rhodes action all delivered in that quintessentially Blue Note GU flavour.
Kerri Chandler - "Peace Of Mind" (D'Julz remix) (6:46)
Lafayette - "Better Late Than Never" (Kettama Garage remix) (5:00)
Jiletta Riley - "The Way It Was" (Marquis Hawkes Classic club vocal) (6:57)
Review: There's little better, house-wise at least, than vintage Kerri Chandler productions, though these fresh remixes of tracks by the New York maestro would certainly run them close. German producer Henrik Schwarz steps up first to re-imagine Chandler and Jerome Sydenham's "Powder" as a fluid but hypnotic chunk of building, synthesizer-heavy house in his usual melodic, tech-tinged style, before D'Julz turns in a wonderfully warm, locked-in revision of "Peace of Mind" full of drum machine handclaps, woozy chords and fizzing electronics. Over on side B you'll find a superb Kettama Garage mix of Lafayette's Chandler-produced classic "Better Late Than Never" - think late '90s UK speed garage and you're close - as well as a partoculalry reverential take on Jiletta Riley jam "The Way It Was" by Marquis Hawkes.
Review: Since making his debut in 2015, Chris Stussy has released a remarkable amount of music. Yet it's hard to fault any of his 22 previous EPs, which tend towards the chunkier, tech-tinged end of the deep house spectrum. His latest four-tracker is naturally full of top-notch cuts, too. Check first opener "Edge of the Mirror", where wonderfully melodic musical elements wrap themselves around a tough electronic deep house groove, before diving into the bass-heavy early morning hypnotism of "Forever Moving", which sounds like something you'd have heard at Twilo in New York circa 1996. "Synchronicity" is a string-drenched treat blessed with a fantastically rush-inducing breakdown, while "Electro Girl" is a fine fusion of tech-house electronics and oven-hot deep house grooves.
Don't You Let Go (feat Kenny Wesley - DJ Spinna Galactic Soul remix) (8:21)
Don't You Let Go (feat Kenny Weslet - Caserta At Work remix) (7:17)
Review: Sol Power Sound has had a solid 2019 but they aren't done yet: this new one features an all star cast with remixes by legendary DJ Spinna and LA's Joseph Caserta. DC-based vocalist Kenny Wesley is at the heart of the operation and features on "Don't You Let Go", with multi-layered drums and dub weight soaring to the skies. "Number One Station" features Daniel Meinecke and is a golden broken beat with all the hits and scattered percussion that make this such perfect body music. Spinna's remix is pure feel good, good time house music with old school spirituality, while Caserta pays more than a subtle tribute to Masters At Work's famously chunky drums with his "Caserta At Work" remix.
Review: Detroit producer Scott Grooves returns to his Modified Suede imprint with Bitter Sweet, following on from the jazz-driven Motor City funk of "The Journey". This 12" sees the underappreciated Grooves on typically excellent form; the title track offers a piece of dusty, subtle Detroit house, where fuzzy Rhodes piano are joined by jazzy string melodies and a mechanical groove in a similar manner to Kevin Reynolds' similarly slow burning "Liaisons", while "C Track" offers a sublime piece of rolling house whose urgent yet gentle piano chords are caught in a swell of bottom heavy bass and rattling hi-hats.
Review: Rory "Hammer" Hamilton has released on numerous labels since making his debut in 2015 - Optimo Music and Sulta Selects Secret Service included - but it seems like he reserves his best work for the imprint he's most associated with, Feel My Bicep. His latest EP for the Northern Irish outlet is certainly strong, with A-side "Parabola" offering an attractive, ear catching mixture of undulating neo-trance riffs, sustained sub-bass notes, relaxed machine beats and suitably psychedelic electronic effects. The same balance of rush-inducing melodic bliss, tactile synth bass and crispy drums comes to the fore on B-side opener "Panoptic", while closing cut "Entropy" is a slightly more psychedelic but no less melodic jaunt through big synth riffs, emotive chords and bustling drums.
Review: The latest Hands Off joint features three artists making waves in intriguing corners of the deep house firmament. Desos opens up the A side with the dreamy groove of "Dubs", before Space Age lays down the classic, Mr Fingers-flavoured haze of "Sunday Rain". Desos returns on the flip with another subtle yet punchy cut, keeping the melodies submerged and sublime on "Jaaa" before Common Mode takes things in a distinctly dubby direction with "Beauty Queens".
Review: The latest drop on Mr KS & Friends comes from Sylan 101, an artist making a truly accomplished debut brimming with musicality and fresh beat constructions compatible with, but not beholden to a deep house vibe. "Nostalgia (Healing Of Time)" is a smoky broken beat groove with gentle piano chords and muted trumpet, while "Brief Encounters" draws on subtle guitar licks and harmonious pads for decoration over snaking drums. "Been There Once" heads in a more mysterious direction, throwing some spoken word refrains into the mix and keeping the instrumentation more subtle and atmospheric.
Review: Japanese artist Sunao Gonno's idiosyncratic sound has appeared on labels such as Endless Flight, International Feel and Beats In Space over the years, where he's dabbled in shoegaze, kosmische and psychedelia as heard on 2015's breathtaking "Remember The Life Is Beautiful" or on last year's contemporary jazz outing "In Circles" with Kazuhiko Masumura. An accomplished DJ also, he's no stranger to Berlin's Panorama Bar, where Nick Hoppner (Touch From A Distance) has long held a residency. The two artists collaborate for the first time on "Lost", featuring three sublime sonic journeys: go deep into the exotic on "Bangalore" with its world music influence, or chill to the vivid downbeat tones of "Love Lost" until "Start Trying" returns to the program with its neon-lit aesthetic plus breakbeats reminiscent of the rave era.
Review: Natural Midi has been one of the primary homes to Scott Grooves' tunes, easily the most underrated producer from the Detroit area, and he's back on his own label with four new beauties. Grooves has been churning out exquisite deep house bangers since the 90's, a very specific brand of dance music that incorporates everything from jazz, to disco and funk; his basslines are always warm and soothing, while his percussion is dusty and the synth lines musical. In an age where 'outsider' house rules, his grounded approach is always a breath of fresh air to us. The opener "Finished" is a funky house swinger choc-a-bloc with gorgeous claps and stuttering toms, and "Inspiration Sound" scratches the 4/4 off for a bit of broken trip-hop - a certified winner. On side B, "The Sauce" is moody, spaced-out and offers subtle keys, while "Nitty Gritty" slams out a dicing little percussion with a lo-fi feel. Absolutely terrific.
Hesperia Soul (David Anthony Afrohouse remix) (6:29)
Review: Jovonn's "Hesperia Soul" first landed back in 2018 and instantly became a classic amongst deep house lovers thanks to its enriching violin leads. Now it comes again with various remixes from perfectly picked artists: the first is Kaytronik who dubs things out but doesn't take away from the magic of the violin, then Sean McCabe rebuilds it on more bubbly and rubbery house drums that will work bigger crowds into a lather. Last of all is David Anthony's Afrohouse remix which has chunky drum programming and a darker, more menacing bassline. Those violins still manage to steal the show, though.