Saturday, 31 December 2011

Various - Fusic Vol 1

Launched earlier this year, Fuse London is the record label arm of the successful Fuse club night, which is at 93 Feet East on Brick Lane and promises "deeper shades of house and techno". Which gives you a pretty good idea of what to expect from this six-artist, six-track sampler EP… innit? (as they say in Shoreditch)

So yeah, six deep/tech house bombs are what's on offer here, and they'll get the cooler floors moving for sure. Ben Rau's The City and Alex Arnout & Seb Zito's Moments Of You stand out for me, but you're sure to have your own faves, with cuts featured also from Enzo Siragusa & Luke Miskelly, Jun Akimoto, Rich Nxt and Ittetsu.

Bit of lickety-split review this one cos, y'know, it's New Year's Eve. But yeah… this is quality stuff, making Fuse London another label I'll definitely be keeping an eye on in 2012.

Out: Last week, but again, it was too good to leave.

About: I've told you most of what I know about Fuse London… except that the aforesaid Mr Siragusa is resident at the club so I'm guessing the main man at the label as well. They don't seem to have an actual label website yet – that I can find anyway – but here's the one for the club night. And seeing as that doesn't actually tell you much, here's a write-up about 'em on Resident Advisor as well.

Southeastern - P2000

Based in Odense, Denmark, Deso Records are just a year old and 20 or so releases deep, but in that time they've already carved themselves an enviable reputation among the deep/tech house cognoscenti. This latest will nothing to tarnish that reputation whatsoever.

P2000 comes in just Original and Lerager's Lost Tongue Remix forms. The former is deep, unhurried and uncluttered, with a classic Chi-town bassline and just enough of a yearning female vocal to add some human warmth to what is a truly first-rate slice of melancholic machine soul. Meanwhile on the B, Denmark's Lerager beefs up the beats somewhat and transforms the track into a jackin' small-hours cut built with basements, red lights and feelings in mind.

Make no mistake, this is absolutely top-drawer tackle – check it out as soon as you get the chance.

Out: Last week, but I only got it yesterday and it was too good to ignore.

About: Find Deso at their own website, or on MySpace and Soundcloud. No, really, do – if I had to pick a label that's really pricked up my ears in 2011, this'd be the one.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Philip Arruda - Feels Like Space

The last of the year from Canada's very hip Roots + Wings imprint is this very now-sounding slice of tech-house from Philip Arrruda.

Just the two mixes to tell you about. Arruda's original uses some traditional-sounding NY-style tuff percussion to drive the track forward, topped off with an endlessly wibbling synth and snatches of male (spoken) vocal, while The Junkies' mix tones down the snares and instead goes slightly deeper and groovier.

Either one should keep the floor moving nicely.

Out: This week

About: Roots + Wings are based, as you probably know by now anyway, in Toronto, Canada. You can find 'em on Facebook and Soundcloud, and here's Philip Arruda's own Facebook page as well

Sean Biddle - Livin' In Ecstasy

Okay, so this might not be the coolest, most underground, chin-strokey-est release ever mentioned on TIWWD but hey… NYE's a-coming and it's time to loosen up and dig out those big, silly party tunes.

In which case, this shiny disco-house tribute to the sisters Sledge should do the job nicely. It doesn't do much you don't expect, but then with a track like this you don't really need it to… all you want is for it to fill the floor, and that it most certainly will. Especially if there are any girls around.

Out: This week

About: This comes not on Sean's own Bid Muzik but on Mac and co's Nocturnal Recordings.

Gabriel Rhome - The Shell

Some quality techno/tech-house sounds here from those Essex stalwarts Hype Muzik.

Actually that said, really both The Shell and The Thinning are just straight-up techno… it's all a bit abstract n' glitchy for me to be honest but there are plenty of people that love that kinda stuff and this should suit them to a T. But never mind that, the reason this is getting reviewed on here is the deep and slightly proggy tech-house of Focused Slice, which has a lazy, menacing groove all of its own. Sterling, sleazy stuff.

Out: This week

About: Keep up with Hype's goings-on at their blog

Freaky Funk – No-One EP

Freaky Funk is the nom de guerre of a house DJ/producer from Montenegro, who in real life goes by the name of Nikola Jovicevi. That's about all I know about him but I can tell you that, here, he's delivered an EP for Macedonia's Artefact Records that should appeal to a range of house jocks.

Sitting somewhere between 'deep' and 'funky' on the house music sliding scale of subgenres, the four tracks here – No-One, Never, Like You and Funk Awake – tread that fine line that Om once made their own: credible enough to appeal to more discerning heads, but with enough of a disco shimmy to tempt more a more casual audience to their feet as well.

There's perhaps not that one killer cut that means you need to stop what you're doing and buy this record immediately, though No-One itself, with its disconcerting spoken vocal samples, does stand out (and so merit its title position). But overall, it's quality stuff for sure. Let's hope we hear more from Freaky Funk soon.

Out: This week

About: I'm pretty certain Artefact Records are making their debut appearance on this blog today, but they're based in Skopje, Macedonia (despite having a .co.uk web address – go figure) and can be found on Soundcloud, Facebook and MySpace, or at their own blog.

RJ Fletcher – Afterthought EP

Well then, it's been a few days, what with Jesus having a birthday and all… but now we're back, back, BACK! so let's get the TIWWD ball rolling again with this four-track EP from Mr Fletcher, which marks his third outing on Deep Edition.

Afterthought itself is, in its original form, a perfectly decent slab of deep, techy house music with a vocal consisting of sampled movie dialogue (or what sounds like sampled movie dialogue). But I'm feeling the Atapy Remix more: this is a considerably deeper, more stripped-down and slightly more experimental/leftfield pass, tailormade for post-club sessions or sleazy afterhours joints.

On the B, meanwhile, you'll find Boom Talk and Doublethink. The former is a no-nonsense slice of dancefloor deepness with one of those 'house veteran discussing his feelings about music/favourite drum machine/first time at The Loft/etc'-type vocals, while the latter pursues a similarly uncompromising and artistic approach to Atapy's rub of the title track.

It's Boom Talk that's floating my boat the most, I think, but this is another very solid offering from Deep Edition all round.

Out: This week

About: This is number 25 for Deep Edition, which is a landmark of sorts so congratulations to the northeast UK-based label… find 'em on Facebook and Soundcloud.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Nik Fratarolli - Synesthesia

Nik Fratarolli is a name that should be familiar to TIWWD readers by now, but this marks the debut of a brand new name - Nik's own label, Sangoma Music. And a fine debut it is, too.

It's a simple two-track affair. Synesthesia itself is a deep tech number with proggy overtones in its slow-building structure, while on the B, Livin' In The Box is dubby deep house of the finest calibre (and possibly my pick of the two, I think, though both are very good).

As I said, an excellent debut – more soon please Mr Fratarolli!

Out: This week

About: This is what the hype sheet has to say about Sangoma Music: "This is all about getting blown away by magnificent tracks... there'll definitely be no fillers on Nik's watch. No digital bonus mixes. No generic dub versions. No DJ tools. No compromise. But there is room for artistic license: the sound of Sangoma is a building process of experimental sounds on top of deep and tribal foundations, inspired by the likes of Moon Harbour, Freerange, Tsuba, Plastic City and Crosstown Rebels."

Sounds good to me… you can judge for yourself by hitting up Sangoma on Soundcloud and Facebook. In the meantime, I also notice that Nik is a Manchester lad and was a regular at clubs like The Hacienda and The Boardwalk back in the early 90s, so who knows, we may well have hugged each other or shared a bottle of water (or poppers) 20 years ago without realising! Funny how these things go, innit?

Various - Morally Casual EP

Some really nice deep/tech house vibes on this v/a EP from 5 And Dime Records.

The three tracks are Under Water by Zach De Vincent, Quadratic Souls by Wyatt Earp & ben A, and Transitional Period by Mateous. And, to be honest, I haven't got huge amounts to say about any of them, but all three are quality instrumental grooves that'll suit warm-up sets or post-club sessions to a T.

This is only the second release from this label so take time to check 'em out, people! You won't be disappointed, this is very cool stuff indeed.

Out: This week

About: 5 And Dime are based, like a lot of people these days it seems, in Denver, Colorado. Find out more at their website and Facebook page.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

ALBUM Mojo Rising – Seven Wonders

Here's an album from a label I don't think have featured on here before, Denver's Cold Busted.

Cold Busted specialise (from what I've heard to date, anyway) in leftfield electronica, dusty Shadow-esque lo-fi hip-hop and other such esoteric thrills, but to me this album is a bit more accessible than some of their stuff, and all the better for it. They're calling it "a worldly and texture palette of funk, dub and electronic music", which kinda works; think a more party-oriented Ninja Tune and you're somewhere in the ballpark of the general vibe here.

Opener Stonehenge samples both The Specials (A Message To You Rudy, to be precise) and James Brown, The Lighthouse is a lounge-tastic shuffler with a xylophone (!) to the fore, The Tomb is a thoughtful, slightly melancholic downtempo trip, Catacombs is a slab of hip hop-inflected downtempo funk, Hanging Gardens is a bit like The Orb doing Italo and… well, there's more but you get the idea.

Quirky, experimental genre-mashing's all very well, but it often just isn't that much FUN. Seven Wonders, on the other hand, is. There's a reason not a lot of downtempo/experimental albums make it onto TIWWD… the fact this one has should tell you all you need to know.

Oh yeah… and loving that cover, too!

Out: This week

About: Find out more about Cold Busted by hitting up their Facebook page, radio station or blog.

William Heath – Minimal Subliminal

Well now, here's a confusingly titled record… cos it isn't particularly minimal, and it certainly doesn't sound like anything on Subliminal either. It is rather good, though.

Actually, I guess Minimal Subliminal is a little bit 'minimal'-ish in its sound palette – lots of random blips and clicks. But there's not, y'know, one of the above every 20 seconds and that's it, or anything. Instead, I'd say the overall vibe is deep-ish techno, but with a definite spring in its step… so more of a dancefloor cut than the phrase 'deep techno' often implies, I guess.

But then what do I know? I never claimed to be any great expert on techno, I'm a house boy! "I don't know about techno but I know what I like," to coin a phrase. And I like this.

Just the one mix so that's all I've got to say, really.

Out: This week

About: This is on Manchester-based label Zipped Records, run by Zac Cawdron who's been a big supporter of the TIWWD Facebook page since it started, so thanks for that Zac! There are plenty more goodies from Zipped coming soon so keep an eye on their Facebook, Soundcloud and MySpace pages.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Olie Bass Weight - Triton/The Void

Ha! Just when you were all nice and relaxed from the Proj3kt Dharma single, here comes some heavy, heavy dubstep to filth out your ears.

But not in a bad way. See, while the bottom end on the two tracks here is certainly dark and doomy enough to warrant Olie adopting the name he has, this is no horrible wurgh! wurgh! wurgh! kiddy chav-step gnarl-fest. The two tracks here are deep and dubby enough that even my girlfriend likes it (who is not, it's fair to say, much of a dubstep lass)… yet they've got enough low-end grunt to satisfy the most mangled of bass-face ravers at the same time.

Triton is the deeper of the two, The Void the more twisted and scary, and I think I'd plump for the former if pushed. But both are eminently checkable for sure. Excellent work.

Out: This week

About: This is the latest from Denver-based Section 8. If you'd like to know more, here's an interview with Michael Ramirez, who runs the label.

Proj3kt Dharma - Forgotten By The Universe

And from the bouncy, ravey, big-silly-grinny vibes of Munich Disco Tech, let's jump right to the opposite end of the spectrum with this latest from Denmark's Deepwit Recordings… if you like it deeper than deep then this is for you.

The original of Forgotten… is slo-mo house taken to the Nth degree, with a three-note organ riff, an echo-drenched, breathy female vocal and the most fragile of high-end percussive sounds drawn out over four-and-a-half luxuriant, lazy, head-nodding minutes. This chilled beauty then gets reworked into a dubbed-out post-club deep house groove by Jeff Fontaine & Deep Spelle on their Lost In Space Remix; into a Balearic/Italo-flavoured smoocher by tONKPROJECT on his From Another Galaxy Remix, which reminds me of those glorious Irma and Antima dubs from the early-mid 90s; and into a quirky warm-up number with techy tinges by Addex.

Just gorgeous. Now sit back and relax…

Out: This week

About: Find out more about Deepwit at their website, from their blog, on Facebook or on Soundcloud. You can currently HEAR THIS at the latter.

ALBUM Munich Disco Tech - The Final Chapter

"Nothing is forever," as Ultracynic sang back in those halcyon rave days of yore. And sadly, that's a truism that applies right now in the case of one of the best EP series of recent years.

Yep, Great Stuff Recordings' superb Munich Disco Tech series is coming to an end with this 14th installment. But what a way to go out, because on this album-length release are no less than 13 tracks, all of them made for moving bodies on dancefloors – no more, no less.

Given that there ARE 13 tracks, I'm not going into each one individually. Suffice to say that the kind of funky, jackin', party-oriented house/tech-house you've come to expect is the order of the day, from 22 artists in total (there are quite a lot of collabs y'see) some of whom you'll have heard of (Christian Cambas, Marco Lys, Mihalis Safras & Kiko), must of whom you won't… yet.

More bounce to the ounce indeed. MDT RIP, but thanks, it's been good!

Out: This week

About: You can keep up with the rest of Great Stuff's adventures in the worlds of house and techno here.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Monsieur M – Appletini

I wish Savoir Faire Musique would hurry up and put out a rubbish record, just so's that we could break this seemingly endless loop of me telling you how good their releases are… you'll think I sleep on Savoir Faire pillowcases. Well, I don't*, but the fact is, that longed-for day has yet to arrive – this is yet another bomb from the Savoir Faire stable.

The original of Appletini is like an object lesson in how to create the deepest of deep house without losing the music's essential danceability… it's the kind of track that's equally at home on the floor or on the sofa, and that's a harder trick to pull off than it might seem. With a dubby, almost sub-aquatic feel coupled with hip-shaking beats that just don't stop and a floaty female vocal which sounds like it's intoning "hot looking babes" over and over but I guess might not be, it's pretty damn near perfect, IMHO.

Mix-wise, John Diloo takes us deeper still into proper post-club dub territory, also adding some 'did I really just hear that?' warped sax stabs, while Dimi Wilson's rub uses a different female vocal and reminds me a little bit of Mission Control's classic Outta Limits, which is no bad thing!

Truth be told, all three rubs are absolute killers… d'you know what? If Savoir Faire do ever decide to bring out a range of bedding, I just might have to buy some.

Out: This week

About: Here's where to find Savoir Faire online. Monsieur M himself is Turkish-born but raised in Athens; John Diloo is also from Greece, I'm not sure about Dimi Wilson though.

*I actually sleep on very boring plain white pillowcases, if you must know

Timmy P - Mode EP

A three-track EP here from the mysterious Timmy P, on which he touches several house bases.

Mode itself is the most uptempo and driving of the three cuts, with a tuff techy beats n' bassline groove counterpointed by insistent female wails – not to mention a wee snippet of a VERY familiar male vocal from way back in the day (I won't spoil it but you'll know it the second you hear it) – and… er, well that's about it really but that's all you really need.

Moving on, 1880 is another fairly chunky number but with a slightly more late-floor kinda feel… which brings us nicely to the real star of the show for me, Afterparty, which appropriately enough is a deeper proposition altogether, starting out with fairly no-nonsense kicks but soon warming up with lots of atmospherics, gently tinkling keys and floaty, disembodied vocal hooks.

Afterparty's my pick but it's a strong EP all round.

Out: This week

About: This comes on Manchester Underground Music

Monday, 19 December 2011

12 FREE deep house trax!

Another bargain bonanza of gratis goodies 4 ya here, as Kahua Music and Stompy team up to offer you a whopping dozen deep house cuts for the pricely sum of zero pence.

Martijn, Lost My Dog, Home Audio, Nik Frattaroli, 3am Recordings, Dubble D, Howard Sessions and Hudd Trax are just some of the artists and labels involved, all names which should be very familiar to TIWWD readers by now, so you know you're onto a good thing. But hurry, cos the offer expires on December 28.

To get the tracks, head over to Stompy by clicking here, pick the tracks you want and then, when you get to the checkout, enter the promo code 'thedeepend'. Simples.

ALBUM Various - Inner Circles Vol 1

This actually came out last week, but it somehow went in this week's folder. Never mind, there's no way this one was getting overlooked.

Inner Circles is a sampler showcasing Lower East, a UK label I clearly haven't been paying enough attention to cos there are some proper house gems here. Alexis Raphael's Skalamoosh fuses a gloriously old school organ sound and bang up-to-the-minute midpaced house beats to devastating effect, Max Chapman's Afterparty takes us back to Chicago, Cozzy D & Dodha's White Lightening (sic) is a groovy afterhours shuffler, Lee Brinx's She's Pretty revisits vintage acid vibes in a Snuff Crew kinda way and, best of all, there's Dirty Cash by Dexter Kane & Gav Memnos, which revives the vocal from Stevie V's rave classic in the form of a superlative slab of sleazoid tech-house funk.

Lower East peeps, I will be paying more attention from now on for sure!

Out: This week

About: If you happen to be playing catch-up like me, there's a little write-up about Lower East on Resident Advisor or you can find 'em on Soundcloud, Facebook and MySpace. Or indeed at http://lower-east.com/

Sunday, 18 December 2011

So many tunes, so little time 3

Time once again for a round-up of all the other good stuff I didn't manage to get around to – and there's a lot of it this week!

Alex Flatner – Break House
Tuff, chunky tech-house on Munich's Circle Music, with a vocal inspired by a certain Commodores funk classic. Remixes come from Martinek, Warren Fellows and Deepgroove, the latter just pipping it for me though the Original's also very cool.
More info

Andrea Mattoli & Danilo Cris – Shoot EP
More tech-house vibes on this three-track EP from Italy's Diva Records (which is Mattoli's own label). The emphasis is mostly on the tech side of the equation but Reflex should suit house jocks nicely while Staker mixes a techno backdrop with a house vocal.
More info

Dmarco – Roots EP
Retro piano house is the order of the day on the title track, as Dmarco revisits uplifting rave-y sounds of yore. B-side 3.15 is proggier and a bit too Dutch-sounding for me but the A's a killer.
More info

Gianlucca Peruzzi ft Romero MC – La Ritmo
Our second of the week from 3am Recordings is, as the name suggests, a heads-down, drummy affair, garnished with a spoken Afro vocal and some of those currently en vogue old skool Chi-town sounds. Remixes come from Gareth Whitehead (my pick) and Matteo Floris.
More info

Graham Laverty – Speaking Of You EP
More quality from Martijn's Deep Edition stable! Speaking Of You itself is a meandering Balearic cut with another 303 bassline and comes with a slightly more floor-friendly remix from Nikola Gala, while Martijn himself supplies a remix of the more sparse and abstract Mainline.
More info

Greg Delon – Soul Down
Based in the south of France, Greg Delon delivers this slab of brooding, atmospheric deep/progressive house on his own Woh Lab label. Just the one mix promo'd but it's worth checking for sure.
More info

Maceo Plex – Under The Sheets
Crosstown Rebels star Eric 'Maceo Plex' Estornel offers up a slow-building (and slow-moving generally) slice of contemporary-sounding leftfield house on Canada's No 19 Music.
More info

Marko Nastic – Belgrade Connection EP
A total of three tracks and nine mixes on this value-packed EP from Brazil's Clash Music, courtesy of Serbian techno mainstay Nastic. Expect a mix of driving tech and dubby deepness.
More info

Nick Turner – InnerVisions EP
Some homegrown deep house goodness from Middlesborough's Nick Turner, plus remixers Basic Soul Unit, Arttu and Djebali The J. If you like your house so laidback it's horizontal, you'll enjoy the five sofa-surfing gems here greatly.
More info

Optim & Walken – Lost EP
Slightly experimental/leftfield house vibes on this split/collaborative EP on Electric Sheep Recordings, particularly on the standout Spell Therapy by Gary Optim, which comes on like Harold Budd trying his hand at deep house.
More info

Presslaboys – Enjoy The Sound
Some disco-flavoured house vibes on Factoria here, underpinned by glitchy, techy beats on the original and Rainbox & Omar J rubs, or a more crowd-friendly 4/4 thump on the Hamza Remix.
More info

Wez Saunders – My House EP
In the same week as the startlingly good Endemic Digital comp drops, label boss Wez somehow has also found time to put together four deep/tech house chuggers for fellow Essex label Hype Muzik. All four will do the do but the fat n' squelchy What About It and You lead the pack.
More info


Thanks also to Bison, CJ Styles, D-Unity, DJ Wild, Djamel, George Pear, Giorgio Luceri, Kenny Ground, Jon Fitz & Andy Mason, Lala By, Mak & Pasteman, Makka & Howard Sessions, Mike Duz, Ohm Hourani, Scope and Taso, for all the other bits n' bobs I got sent this week – sorry guys there's just not time to cover everything!

And finally, hello to new Manchester label State Records, who make their debut this week with Sonny Wharton & Sick Electrick's tough, driving tech-houser Blagger.

Al Bradley - Power To The Peaceful

There are times when you hear a familiar vocal sample and you think, oh God, not again. If, for instance, I never hear another dubstep/garage/D&B track with that 'six million ways to die' sample, I won't be complaining. On the other hand, there are those times when you hear a familiar vocal sample and you think, 'I can't believe he's used this… but it works'.

And in the case of Jetstream here, it certainly does work. The sample in question exhorts you not only to continue pushing, but to do so more forcefully, and sits atop muted Sound Factory-esque drums and a simple looping piano riff on the Original mix, or (my pick) an epic slab of Mr Fingers-ish deep/Balearic house on the Joe Morris Coloured Smoke Remix. It's great.

And that's only the B-side! On the A, the Original Mix of Power To The Peaceful pitches sampled Civil Rights-era speech over a sparse, echo-y deep house backing starring some gorgeous Rhodes work, while Gambino's Unruffled Mix is a midtempo near-breakbeat shuffler featuring some fat, squelchy analogue synth sounds.

Excellent stuff all round, but Jetstream just pips it for me. So I'll keep on pushing it harder.

Out: This week

About: This comes not on Al's own 3am Recordings but is in fact the second release (I believe) on Carlo Gambino's Midnight Social Recordings.

ALBUM Various - Endemic Digital Three Years Old

Release of the week for me without a doubt… and I don't think I've ever actually said that before. But regular readers will know I'm a bit of a fan of the Endemic approach to deep and tech house generally, truth be told… so this compilation celebrating the label's third birthday was always going to be a bit of a no-brainer.

On CD1, you get 11 brand-new tracks put together especially for this album by some of the label regulars, including Adam Coley, Lee Daines, Smak, Dave James, Soulight and of course label boss Wez Saunders. Wez's Always Remember You and Stefan K's deep delight Loyal stand out for me, along with Miami Ice's retro organ bouncer Kehta, but it really is all good, to coin a phrase.

Across CDs 2 and 3, you then get a further 20 gems culled from the label's back catalogue… and with tracks/mixes from Onionz, Pretty Criminals, Mitch Davis, Echofusion, Maher Daniel, Nik Fratarolli, Harnessnoise and other names that should be very familiar to readers of TIWWD, you know it ain't gonna be rubbish.

I'm not gonna go into individual tracks cos time is short right now and there's 31 of 'em… suffice to say that if deep and tech house (with a little bit of groovy techno) is your thing, then you seriously need this. Happy birthday Endemic, keep 'em coming!

Out: This week

About: Here's a link that's also probably quite familiar to you by now…

Saturday, 17 December 2011

FREE TRACK from Owen Howells & Stanky

More free goodness for you, this time from Owen Howells & Stanky. Caffeine Persuasion is a forward-thinking slab of experimental/abstract techno with a dub influence, tailormade for late nights, sofas and jazz cigarettes…

It's being put out there to help raise awareness of their recently-formed Shades Of Grey collective/label – not to be confused with Shades Of Gray the artist who we had a freebie from last week! And when I say 'out there', I mean here, obviously… enjoy!

ALBUM Sleazy McQueen - 5+1

Florida's Sleazy McQueen mans the decks for the first label compilation from Boston-based label Headtunes Recordings, featuring 16 tracks in both mixed and full-length, unmixed formats. Headtunes have featured on this blog a number of times, so you should have an idea of the kind quality straight-up house, long on classic sounds, to expect.

With cuts on offer from a host of today's hottest names – Grant Dell, Jesus Pablo, Peckos, Do It Proper – as well as some producers that are brand spanking new, there's plenty to delight, but special mention must be made of Sleazy's own Big Times, Big Tings (presented here in Cole Medina's Buffalo Times Mix form) and Cosmic Boogie's Feel It. The latter is the closest you'll ever get (now, anyway) to dancing to Chi-town house at Ku or Amnesia circa 1987, while the acid-dripping former is a plastic dream come true for lovers of old skool sounds brought right up to date…

Elsewhere, Grant Dell's House Tribute should raise a smile among older heads who remember House Of Gypsies' Samba from back in the day, while Need Ya (also from Dell) comes on like Booker T & The MGs got a gig as house band at Berghain. There are disco frolics from Mario Dujic, squelchy slo-mo vibes from Do It Proper, soul-infused grooves from Noise Destruction and more besides.

Excellent stuff all round, and it's being released to mark the label's 6th anniversary (hence the title), so happy birthday guys, here's to the next six years!

Out: This week

About: There's an interesting story behind this album, because Headtunes used 'crowdsourcing' site Kickstarter.com to raise the cash they needed to release it. So respect to all those who contributed! Click the link for the Headtunes website, or find 'em on Facebook or Soundcloud.

ALBUM Jan Ken Po - Unlimited Man

This album's actually credited to Max Essa presents Jan Ken Po… JKP being a new alias for the nu-disco stalwart as he changes tack ever so slightly. "More Berlin, less Monaco – that's the ethos," says the hype sheet. "Essa's touched a new base."

And indeed, this album's a little more house-ified and consistently dancefloor-oriented than previous outings by this British producer based in Japan. But only a little. The beats may be a notch more driving, but the influence of Italo/cosmic disco still looms large and of course, Max's large collection of vintage analogue synths still has a crucial role to play. So while there are tracks here such as lo-slung dirty funker Palm Beach Boy Trees that you might be surprised have come out of Essa's studio, others, such as Metropolitan Scene or First Touch, are almost unmistakeable in their sheer Essa-ness.

As such, if Unlimited Man is meant to be a dramatic reinvention of Mr Essa's musical self, then I'm not sure it entirely works. But if you're a Max Essa fan – and I certainly am – then there's plenty to enjoy here.

Out: This week

About: This comes on Max's home, the mighty Nang Records

Friday, 16 December 2011

Evren Ulusoy – Nocturnal

Now we go really deep, with this superb offering from Turkish house maestro Evren Ulusoy on Sebastian Davidson's ever-excellent Nightbird Music.

In its Original form, Nocturnal is all crisp beats, dreamy pads and bags and bags of reverb, topped off with a sultry female vocal that recalls classic NY/NJ house n' garage and underpinned by a jaunty but unhurried Chi-town b-line. Deep Class boss Fer Ferrari tuffens up the beats a little and adds some disco sprinkles, Dub Makers bring the bassline to the fore and turn the track into a sparse-but-intense 5am soundsystem delight, and Satoshi Fumi adds some analogue warmth and tinkling ivories for a more sultry, smoochy post-club ride.

Essentially the four mixes are just subtly different shades of very deep house, then… but nonetheless, this is class in a glass.

Out: This week

About: You can hook up with Nightbird Music via their Facebook and MySpace pages, while you can find out all you need to know about Evren Ulusoy at his own website.

Mauritzio ft Levern - Wanna Be Remixes Part 1

The first set of remixes of this soul-infused house cut on the recently(-ish) revived Black Vinyl come courtesy of label boss Alan Russell.

His Wadadli Soul Vocal Remix will be the one for the soulful floors without a doubt, with plenty of live instrumentation and Levern's voice to the fore. But it's the Wadadli Breaks Remix that's doing it for me more. This keeps the full vocal, but underpins it with a muffled breakbeat that harks back to the early days of UK house, and a ponderous, jazz-style bassline that isn't going to let the frantic percussion hurry it along any (once you hear the track you'll see what I mean).

All of which adds up to a raw-sounding house cut made for big speakers…which is after all what it's all about, eh?

Another set of remixes are presumably to follow, given that this says Part 1, so I'll keep you posted…

Out: This week

About: Mauritizio and Levern are actually called Mauritzio Baiocchi and Levern Johnson and hail from Italy, in case you were wondering… and you can find out more about Black Vinyl here. And no, I have no idea what 'wadadli' means either.

Moodymanc - Father EP

A predictably high-quality release here from Moodymanc, AKA Danny 'Dubble D' Ward of 2020Soundsystem fame.

Father itself is a shimmering, midtempo house cut with spoken vocals – whose source is unclear, but which are in the vein of the dub poetry of Mutabaruka or LKJ – and a few E2/E4-like sprinkles. Proper deepness! It's 'proper lush' as they say down here in the west country, but the more dancefloor remix from Detroit hero Rick Wade is possibly even better, his Daddy's Disco Mix doing what it says on the tin with considerable aplomb.

On the B, Sugar Hill is a slightly techier number, with another spoken vocal – "Cocaine, Sugarhill/New York City, Sugarhill/the music is black, Sugarhill", tuff, bouncy beats and some ker-razy freeform jazz saxophony. It comes accompanied by a DJ Tool mix that's a whole six minutes long.

Like I said… high-quality stuff indeed. The EP, I mean, not the cocaine.

Out: This week

About: This is the fourth release from new London-based label Landed Records (click the link for their website or find 'em on Facebook).


Thursday, 15 December 2011

Total mega-armaggedon FREE DUBSTEP death overload!

Well well well… for those of you that like dubstep, here's something of a treat. LU10 Records have clearly been at the Christmas sherry a bit early and, suddenly full of festive cheer, they've decided to give you some tuneage for free. A free track? No. A free album? No.

A free whole whopping bloody great 70 tracks? That'll be the one.

Yeah, you read that right… that's 70, as in one more than something a bit rude, tracks of speaker-bothering, gut-churning, in-your-face gnarly dubstep and grime… with a few poppier UK funky cuts and some deeper gems to be found in there as well. And a bit of electro. And some bassline. Oh, and a half-hour mix from Hybrid Theory & Saila as well, so make that 71.

The phrase 'rude not to' doesn't really cover it. So here you go, then…

Holly – An Owl On My Piano

I'm not sure Mexican label Elite Records have featured on here before… or if they have I don't recall. But let's rectify that right now.

An Owl On My Piano itself is a solid-enough driving tech-house workout, though I will say I'm preferring Argenis Brito's stripped n' dubby rerub to the slightly more hectic and more out-and-out techno original. She's Overdosed is, as befits the title, a somewhat darker cut that Simon Reynolds would probably call 'redolent of dystopian paranoia' or something… we'll settle for just 'darker', shall we? It's not the kind of thing I'd instinctively play myself but I'm quite prepared to believe that if I ever found myself dancing in a wooded glade at a 'teknival' in Serbia or somewhere, it would suddenly sound like the best record in the world. I can see that happening, yeah*.

But the real gem for me on this release is Break Yourself. Heading off at a complete tangent from the rest of the EP, this is an unashamed party track based around a hefty sample from The Message. This might not be the one to get the chin-strokers excited but it'll be the one to get the girls on the floor, believe.

Out: This week

About: You can find Elite Records on Facebook. Despite this being ER097, it's apparently the first Elite release from a Mexican producer, which they seem pretty happy about. I'm surprised it's taken that long but this IS, to be fair, a release to be happy about anyway.

*By which I mean, I can see myself loving this record in the right place at the right time. I don't mean I could actually see myself GOING to a 'teknival' in Serbia. Still, never say never eh?

Nick Harris - White Leather

Label boss Nick Harris comes up with a (Christmas) cracker on this latest release from the mighty NRK Music… who, weirdly, I don't think have featured on here before, or at least not for a while.

In its original form, White Leather is a fusion of old and new, as today's tuffer, techier beats (but slightly slower tempo) combine with vintage Chi-town house sounds. Works a treat from where I'm standing. There's just the one remix on offer, from Crosstown Rebels/Bpitch Control fave Kiki: unsurprisingly this is more your straight-up techy mix, but it'll do the job on the right floors.

Meanwhile, you also get three mixes of Sunrise Over Volta. In its Original form, this is a mean and moody instrumental deep/tech-houser with a throbbing bottom end. Hector Murillo, who's had stuff out on labels like Desolat, Tsuba, 2020Vision and Mobilee, then delivers two remixes, cunningly entitled Hector Mix 1 and Hector Mix 2… both add a spoken vocal and emphasise the techier elements, taking us (almost) into deep/dub techno territory.

Out: This week

About: For all you need to know about Bristol's biggest and longest-running house label, click here. Oh, and here's their blog as well.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Deepfunk – Crystals [Remixed]

The original of this was out last year… and there's just the one remix to talk about so this'll be a quick post!

Deep, throbbing progressive house is the order of the day here… but of the non-tedious variety, and with enough jack in its veins to ensure that it could find friends outside of the usual prog suspects.

Nothing hugely innovative going on then, but it's a solid pumping club track, and there's certainly nothing wrong with that – particularly when it's also got a little more depth than many tracks of its ilk.

Out: This week

About: This comes on Essex label Stripped Digital. Oh, and my girlfriend thinks it has a very pretty cover, if that helps sway your buying decision any.

The Rhythm Odyssey - Devil's Tease

If you're going to do old skool house, then it helps I guess if you're an old skool guy… and if you happen to be British then it doesn't come much more old skool than being one of the founders of Bizarre Inc. Enter Dean Meredith, of Bizarre Inc and latterly Chicken Lips fame, wearing his Rhythm Device hat.*

Sorry, got a bit bogged-down in footnote then**. Where was I? Oh yeah, Devil's Tease… which in its original form is pure straight-up house music, as in a Chicago 1985-88 kinda way. Featuring a vocal by James from The Main Stem (that's somewhat after the style of Robert Owens), it's accompanied by instrumental and slightly deeper Basement versions, plus The Drums, The Bass and, most importantly, The Acid passes, the latter of which… oh come on, you don't really need me to explain that bit, do you?

If it ain't broke, they say… it's the The Acid mix that's doing it best for me but this is a treat for the old skool lovers all round.

Out: This week

About: This comes atcha on Chicken Lips' own Lipservice imprint.

*In the wake of the Levenson enquiry and its probing of journalistic standards, I feel obliged to point out that I have no idea if Dean Meredith actually OWNS a Rhythm Device hat or not. I made that bit up. Hey, maybe I could get a job at the Daily Mail! Remind me: who's doing their deep house page at the moment?

** Specifically, the footnote directly above this one. But you knew that, I'm just doing this to annoy you now.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Formatique - Ping Pong

After the laidback loveliness of Claes Rosen, let's jump to the other end of the spectrum with this upbeat and driving slab of dancefloor silliness from Formatique. Silliness isn't an insult, by the way… it's just that when a record's vocal goes "ping… pong… ping-pong" in a daft voice then it's hard to get too chin-strokey and earnest about it!

The original of Ping Pong, then, is (er) a driving and upbeat tech-house cut that wouldn't sound out of place on Great Stuff or Klang. It's accompanied by remixes from Justy and H2. The former's rub is perhaps a little too techno for me personally but reading the feedback it looks like plenty of DJs are loving it, while H2's pass operates in more of a cool, leftfield house arena. Well, as cool and leftfield as you can get while still having a daft voice go "ping… pong… ping-pong", anyway.

Solid stuff for the floor that's bound to raise a few smiles. The throwing of some remarkable shapes may also ensue, with any luck.

Out: This week

About: This one comes atcha courtesy of Manchester Underground Music.

Claes Rosen - Into The Bloom

THIS JUST IN! as they used to say. Y'know, in 20-odd years of doing journalism stuff I don't think I've ever put that before… anyway, yeah, this is hot off the download right this very second. And it's just lovely.

Into The Bloom is, in its original form, a beautiful piece of electronic music that sits somewhere between deep house, lounge-y jazz and chill-out. With gently shuffling percussion, beautiful piano chords, space-y synths and mangled vocal sounds, if I was still doing the podcast right now (which I will again, one day…) this'd be the opening track on the next show for sure. Gorgeous.

But if you want it a little more dancefloor-oriented, then worry not cos there are no fewer than five remixes on offer, courtesy of Adam Byrd, Nicolas Agudelo, Luiz B, Ricky Inch and Elvin Ong. These mostly sit somewhere between progressive house and nu-disco/Scandolearica, though my pick of the rerubs would be Byrd's post-club/afterhours deep house take.

There should be something here for lots of you to play, though – this is classy stuff, and possibly the best yet from Spring Tube.

Out: This week

About: Spring Tube are Russian, don't you know?

Monday, 12 December 2011

Mr Leman - Deep N' Funky

Well, it's called Deep N' Funky… what else do you need to know?

I guess you need to know it uses both what sounds like it might be a Temptations vocal sample (but I could be wrong) and a somewhat 'abstract' female vocal loop, the pair of which sit atop a simple, driving drum beat and some nice Rhodes (?) chords buried deep in the mix. And I guess you need to know that the Desos Slow House Remix does what it says on the tin, while the Danny Lilwall Deeper Mix is a stripped-down drum rework for druggier floors.

I guess you need to know that Mr Leman is really Danish producer Rasmus Leman.

Mainly, you just need to know that this is some uncompromisingly raw, underground shit right here. And that it lives up to both the much over-used descriptors of the title.

Out: This week

About: This is only the third release from Copenhagen-based Gartenhaus, and suffice to say they've made a good impression so far. You can find 'em on Facebook or Soundcloud.

Rob Small presents Uncle Rico - All That Jazz

Rob Small takes time out from mastering for the world and his brother, to deliver this three-tracker for 3am under his Uncle Rico guise.

The original of All That Jazz explores the area where jazz and deep, dubby house/techno… to remarkably pleasing effect, it must be said! Universal Solution's Remix tones down the jazz elements (bar the spoken vocal) in favour of a smoother deep house ride, while the Jamie Adam Tune Remix takes us in a proggier direction. But while both are playable for sure, neither competes with the original for sheer out-there freakiness.

House music for the mind as well as the body. To coin a phrase.

Out: This week

About: The mighty 3am Recordings don't need any intro from me by now, surely? But click the link anyway – it'll take you to their Soundcloud page where you can HEAR THIS for yourself.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

No Artificial Colours - If The Rumours Were True EP

Some no-nonsense deep, down n' jackin' tech-house here made strictly for underground dancefloors… and on a brand-new label, to boot. What more recommendation could I give it, really?

As far as the three originals go, Dangerous is a sleazy, bottom end-heavy midtempo bump n' grind number (and one of my faves), ThugMode is a Berlin-ish tech-houser with a slight nod to UKG in its skippy, staccato feel, while Tooo Skool For Cool is a chuggy affair with sampled vocal snips that remind me a little bit – in the tiniest bit of a way possible, in fact – of Alabama Blues. Label boss Rob Made also contributes a remix of ThugMode (my other fave) that drops the tempo and takes the track into more discofied territory, without losing any of its late-night, wonky quality…

As well as the obvious tech-house references, one suspects those involved may have more than a few EBM and new beat records in their collection as well… personally I've never hung around in heavy gay S&M clubs on the Reeperbahn (call me a stick in the mud) but this is sort of what I imagine they might sound like. Sleezy Deep indeed.

Out: This week

About: Rob Made is in fact Robin Tabor, of F*** House Music fame, and Sleazy Deep is a new outlet for "underground deep house funk". Find 'em on Soundcloud (where you can HEAR THIS), Facebook and at their own website.

Sportloto – Will I EP

It's Sunday morning, and time to get on the nu-disco train with Sportloto, a Russian chap by the name of Andrey Rublev who've had who's had previous releases on Nang, Bearfunk and Compost.

On this four-track EP you get 'Original Instrumental' and Crazy P-ish Vocal mixes of Will I itself, which features Italo-type synths above a floaty, Balearic backdrop, plus a Fabrizi Mammarella Remix which is a stripped-down take that's all about the lo-slung electrofunk/proto-garage bassline, and comes topped off with a little gentle acid squelch as the track goes on. Bonus track Metamorphis [sic], meanwhile, is an upbeat affair that leans more heavily in an Italo direction, with shiny-cold 80s synths a-gogo.

It's the Mammarella Remix I'm digging the most but suffice to say Nang fans won't be disappointed here.

Out: This week

About: You can HEAR THIS and much more from Sportloto at his Soundcloud page, while here's the link for Nang Records.


Saturday, 10 December 2011

Picx - Kind Of Situation EP

More lush deep house here courtesy of Spain's Cray1 Labworks label.

The EP opens with two mixes of Kind Of Situation itself. The original is deep/tech house with garage-y female vocals and the merest hint of prog, while the Mr Bizz Old School Rework goes for the dancefloor jugular with militant snares and a throbbing Chi-town b-line. Moving on, My Love is an even more upbeat n' stompy deep house dancefloor cut with jazz sensibilities (think brushed snares and parping sax), before Soul Connection rounds out the EP with a more sophisticated, late-night, lounge-bar-in-space kinda feel…

Sterling stuff all round, and highly recommended.

Out: This week

About: Find Cray1 Labworks on Facebook and MySpace. This is their 30th release so nice going, amigos :-)

Sek - Turning Back EP

Not sure that Ama Recordings have featured on here so far, so let's remedy that right away with a look at this four-track EP from Greek producer Sek.

There are four original tracks featured, of which I think the moody Morgan Is Tough, with its sampled Last Poets vocal and insistent low-end throb, is my fave. But all four operate in fairly similar musical territory, so rather than go into a detailed breakdown of the instrumentation, mood and BPM of each one, what I think is more interesting to say about this EP is that it bridges the gap perfectly between the more funky/organic deep house sound of labels like Salted or Bounce House, and the cooler, techier vibes coming out of Europe.

As such, it should appeal to all manner of deep house disc-spinners. Go seek.

Out: This week

About: Although this is the first time they've really registered on the TIWWD radar, I'm reliably informed that Ama Recordings is run by Ray Okpara, is based in Mannheim, Germany and is six releases old. Every day's a school day, eh? Anyway, if you want to know more, these Soundcloud, Facebook, MySpace and Resident Advisor links should keep you going for a while…

Sebastian Davidson - Earthrise EP

Great to be back in touch with Sebastian Davidson and his Nightbird Music label, cos this is another high-quality offering from this ever-reliable stable.

Earthrise itself is a languid, piano-led house number with hints of disco and some sampled female vocal wails. Johnny is a slightly chunkier affair but still pretty unhurried, with a mournful, soulful kind of air about it. And then finally Last Love Found is just a tiny bit techier in its sound palette, but retains the overall warm-up/post-club vibe.

Earthrise is the pick of the three tracks for me I think but overall, what we have here are three prime house slices from the deeper side. Keep 'em coming Monsieur D!

Out: This week

About: Anyone who read iDJ when it was still alive will remember that Nightbird Music featured in our 'rising stars of deep house' round-up shortly before the mag closed. You can find 'em on Facebook, MySpace and Soundcloud, and here's a little write-up on Resident Advisor.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Festina Lente – I Don't Want You EP

The second of the week from the UK's Beats Me Music, who are definitely on something of a roll.

The title track of this EP will appeal to those who like their house music with a soulful edge, being a melodic number featuring some lush piano chords, busy Afro-influenced percussion and a mournful male vocal. It comes complete with a Richie J Remix and both are cool, but I'm more into Put It Where You Want, an uptempo deep house cut with a spoken vocal, some nice squelchy bass/synth sounds… for this one you can choose from an energetic original mix or a rerub from label boss Rob Clarke, who goes a bit more late-night with it and drops a little acid into the mix while he's about it.

Sunset Now, a drifty n' trippy but quite uptempo groover with floor-exhorting vocal stabs ("move your body!" etc) rounds out another very checkable offering from this up and coming imprint.

Out: This week

About: As I believe I told you just a day or two ago, the still fairly 'fledgling' UK label Beats Me Music are based in sunny Eastbourne and have impressed muchly to date.

Da Funk – Need For Faith

Some deep and groovy house vibes for you here on Switzerland's Acryl Music, courtesy of label boss Da Funk and an impressive cast of remixers.

The Original of Need For Faith is a floaty, slightly proggy instrumental affair. Pete Moss's remix is just a little more stripped-down and echo-y, Elmar Schubert's rub adds a little organic funk and swing and is perhaps the pick for the deep house floors, Q-Burns Abstract Message brings out the track's late-night qualities on his mix, while finally a rub from UK deep house legend Si Brad sticks fairly closely to the original but adds even more of a blissed-out, 'dancing in Ibiza as the sun comes up' kinda feel.

Very solid stuff all round.

Out: This week

About: Acryl Music has long been a favourite of TIWWD so show some love! The link takes you to their main website and here's a Facebook link as well. Oh yeah… and this would appear to be their 50th release as well, so congratulations to Daniel and co, here's to 50 more!

FREE TRACK Shades Of Gray – Illusions

Before we get on with the evening's reviews… here's a little treat for you. Shades Of Gray, AKA Mikel Schwa and Nick West, have an album forthcoming on Beef Records in January called Soul Machine, which is really rather good. But more about that nearer the time… for now, you'll have to content yourself with this taster track, Illusions, which is being released into the cyberwild ahead of times.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Christian Sanchez & Frej Le Vin - The Joy

Some more quality deep house grooves here from Unrivaled…

The Original mix of The Joy wins a friend in me by dropping down almost immediately into a BIG sparse organ groove right from the get to. It then slowly starts to build, until by the end it's turned into something quite proggy and Balearic. In Micha Klang's hands, the track becomes a slightly techier affair, with some nice space disco stabs and a hip-house approach to vocals, that's aimed more fairly and squarely at the dancefloor. And then finally, with an overall 'less is more' philosophy and no sense of urgency about actually going anywhere much, the Hook & Seimon remix brings the EP to a close and is one for when it's time to lean back and slowly sink into the sofa…

Or to put it another way: warm-up, peaktime and post-club mixes included. Tee-hee. But seriously folks, this is great – in all three flavas.

Out: This week

About: For more, hit up Unrivaled Music.

Dylan Debut - Tidy Bit Of Skirt EP

Dylan Debut is apparently a Bristol lad, though I must say our paths have never crossed. Must keep up better, cos this EP rocks.

Gave You Love is another track that harks back to the classic Naked sound, with a simply gorgeous (and familiar) vocal atop dreamy synth meanderings and crisp, unhurried beats. The title track is a cheeky dancefloor romp that spruces up the deep house beats with some frankly ludicrous early 80s jazz-funk/electrofunk synth-bass frolics, while Hold Me Tight (featuring Thea C) is a slow-groovin' space-disco smoocher Dave Lee himself would be proud of, with that funky-ass fretless bass making a welcome reappearance. And finally When In Green reminds me of classic 'nu Brit deep' of the mid-90s, which is never a bad thing. I think the title might be a suggestion as to when it'll sound particularly good…

A varied EP then that shows off a lot of talent, and without relying on big-name remixes either. Let's hope there's more soon.

Out: This week

About: This comes on the currently v.hot Beats Me Music, who are based down on the south coast. This is only number 9 but they're already on my watchlist for sure, they ought to be on yours too.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Ghostnotez - Bilk 123

Better known perhaps for slightly more soulful vibes, here UK underground house label DCS Trax serve up something tasty on more of a deep/tech tip.

That said, while the midtempo, slightly trippy tech-house of the Original Mix and the predictably high quality rerub from Jay Tripwire, which harks back to the classic Chicago deep house sound of the late 80s, are both very good, the mix I'm actually feeling the most is Jevne's. And that does instill a little more soul back into the groove, sounding not dissimilar in fact to Naked Music's early output… just a little bit techier.

Still, whichever mix/style you plump for yourself, this is a very solid bet. Note that it's billed as 'Part 1', as well, so more mixes are no doubt soon to follow.

Out: This week

About: As stated, this comes on the always-checkable UK imprint DCS Trax.