Review: They may not have released many records, but samba/soul/jazz fusionists the Han Litz group have been mainstays of the Dutch scene for a decade. Here they return with a wonderfully breezy, samba-soaked collection of cuts that's remarkably their first ever outing on wax. The A-side begins with two warm, afternoon fresh tracks that sound like authentic Brazilian samba jams from the 1970s, before Litz and company indulge in a little flute-heavy jazz ("Preludia") and Afro-tinged broken beat/jazz fusion ("Yemaya Olodo"). Also impressive is closing cut "Epiphany", which has been transformed by Yoruba Soul man Osunlade into a sumptuous shuffle through deep house/samba fusion complete with Flamenco style Spanish guitar solos.
Review: The new incarnation of the famous fabric mix series serves up a big one here with Ibiza kingpins and US house torchbearers The Martinez Brothers laying down a fulsome 23 track mix. It brims with the sort of energy that they always have themselves in the booth and takes you on a contemporary trip through the bendy minimal of Cabanne, Frak's percussive workout and some tropical curveballs from The Bayara Citizens. The Brothers also impress with two of their own tracks - "Jam Joint" and "Mistakes" - full of wonky synth work and shuffling drums, and it marks another highpoint in their longstanding career.
Review: Two years on from their last outing of note - the deliciously melodic and atmospheric "Elephants EP" - PHCK returns to All Day I Dream with a surprise debut album. The German trio is in fine form throughout "More Than A Machine", effortlessly moving between the hazy, slow burn dreaminess of glassy-eyed opener "Heaven's Gate", the deep Afro-house shuffle of "Whiteout", the tech-tinged ambient house hypnotism of "A Flock", the chiming melodies and hushed grooves of "Harps" and the hard-to-pigeonhole flex of "Essential Return", where a metronomic drumbeat is overlaid with metallic Indonesian instrumentation and woozy freestyle vocals.
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.
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: "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: Kamaal Williams has described The Return, his now reissued debut solo album, as "a natural evolution from the Yussef Kamaal project". Yet while that was made in collaboration with drummer Yussef Kamaal and played around with jazz in its myriad forms, The Return sees the man sometimes known as Henry Wu stamp his own mark on proceedings. So while "visionary jazz" (as the press release puts it) is his aim, this manifests itself in a range of ways. Contrast, for example, the leisurely jazz-funk flex and stoned feel of opener "Salaam" with the more groove-driven, dancefloor vibes of "High Roller", where sinewy strings tumble down over hip-hop influenced live house beats, meandering Herbie Hancock style synths and a superb bassline.
Review: Eliphino continues to explore his emotionally charged, modern sound with this new mini LP for Secretsundaze. Following the trend laid out by his previous turns on Hypercolour, The Love Below and Meda Fury, he unfurls a richly harmonic sound that places emphasis on melodic progression to tell a particularly personal story, ranging from the emotive "Studio Time" to the crooked break-flecked "Old Lemons". "Second Sunday" flirts with electro and "Breaking Up Is Hard" veers towards jungle, but throughout Eliphino's personality binds the record together in fine style. Thoroughly contemporary and unbounded by genre restrictions, this is the sound of someone making the record they want to make.
Review: Having previously impressed on Argot and Home Taping Is Killing Music with her blends of evocative deep house and floor-friendly Chicago rhythms, The Black Madonna tries a different approach on this debut for the recently launched Night Owl Diner label. You could certainly describe both tracks as "Balearic", and there's a real air of wide-eyed positivity about the tumbling melodies, swirling synth-strings and mid-80s pop production of head-nodding deep house cut "Stay". It's pretty darn tasty, all told. Almost as good is "Requiem", which appears to be built around a loop lifted from Cherrelle and Alexander O'Neal's "Saturday Love" (with, of course, additional synths and tuneful electronics).
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: 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.
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: 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: German artist Ben Rau has been amassing a fine back catalogue on two of his own labels, Inkal and Meta, since first debut on Fuse in 2011. Seth Troxler and The Black Madonna have been dropping plenty of his material in recent times and this firmly club focused new 12" is another useful weapon. "Out There" in particular is a big house track with propulsive drum programming and busy bass that will get large crowds bumping. "What Is Love" on the flip is a deeper but driving cut with spaced out pads that will be perfect for later in the night when things get more cosmic and introspective.
Review: Ovine build on the momentum of their first EP with another new house offering that is beautifully deep. It features two tracks each from Dan Piu and Pohl, and they all hack back to dreamy Italo, classic Mr Fingers and the more pensive Chicago greats. "Depresismatica" is a real highlight with its meandering basslines and infinite cosmic horizons. "Mello Phone" offers more pixelated melodies and busy beats and "Space In The Distance" has the sort of freaky edges and dusty analog textures house lovers always fall for. Already, then, this is a label that is setting a high standard.
Review: Returning to production with his first LP in 13 years, Will Saul's "Open Too Close EP 1" is said to be a journey through the influences that have helped shape the Aus Music boss' career and his forward-facing, unblinking passion for new music. It is a concept which reflects on Saul's extensive experience as a selector, with all tracks being dancefloor ready and exactly the sort of material he'd be proud to play in his own DJ sets. Split across two releases, the first volume features the deep and emotive swagger of "Openings" and "Visions", the evocative classic house vibe of "Pingalatu" calling to mind anthems of The Windy City from the late '80s and the hypnotic Todd Terry influenced rhythmicity of "Moorings".
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.