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.
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.
My Love Is For Real (feat Haddaway - live At The Cathedral)
Review: We've long thought that Austrian artist Wolfram Eckert is destined for greatness - or, to be more specific, crossover success - but to date his authentically produced but often tongue-in-cheek take on Euro-pop has yet to catch on with the public. "Amadeus", his long awaited second album, has all the ingredients to be a massive hit. Rich in bold synthesizer motifs, knowing nods to classic new wave and Euro-disco hits, atmospheric electronics, on-point grooves (we can hear nods to Italo-disco, Hi-NRG, acid house and the Pet Shop Boys) and high profile collaborations (Egyptian Lover, Haddaway, Peaches and, bizarrely, Pamela Anderson all appear), it's an album that brilliantly combines a mature synthesizer sound with the catchy hooks and giddy rush of the best pop music.
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".
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: 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: 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: 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: Luca Murgia is Two Thou - an alias which has seen him land intriguing releases on Burek, Fields & Forests and his own Gifted Culture label. Now he's been snapped up by Uzuri with some star-gazing cuts that straddle broken beat, deep house and something more altogether cosmic. "Clavinet Discourse" is the consummate lead track, a true showstopper with astral synth flex and a sharp, snappy beat. "Talking Song" has a more pronounced deep house bump and leads that wouldn't sound out of place on Strictly Jaz Unit - the dub version does away with the leads if you want something subtler. "Thousands Of Chimes Together" completes the set with a spiritual throwdown to invigorate any open-minded dancefloor.
Review: Despite being one of London's premier dancefloor-focused fusionists of the last two decades, Simbad Stanislas has not released very many albums. In fact, "Collections" is only the soul and jazz loving producer's second full length outing, with his first, "Supersonic Revolution", dropping way back in 2007. This, then, is a long overdue excursion. It contains tracks recorded (but for the most part never released) between 2003 and 2017, and includes collaborations with a wide range of vocalists and fellow producers. Musically, it's as vibrant and addictive as you'd expect, delivering tracks that effortlessly join the dots between soul, hip-hop, jazz, broken beat, jazz-funk, deep house, two-step garage and much more besides.
Review: The unstoppable Cromby lets rip on Unknown To The Unknown. His first release on DJ Haus's U2TU motherlabel, he's gone in all rave guns blazing. "Cruising" is a thumping Detroit-edge acid meteor shower. Wave after wave of 303s and rising big-blast pads, there's some serious momentum in this track; just mix it in and watch it demolish. "Gigolo" shakes its money maker with a little more uplift as chords climb and chime throughout the mix, constantly reaching higher and higher. A little like Cromby's profile right now.
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: 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".