Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Onur Ozman - Tyrannic EP

Sticking with the deep vibes, we've not had anything on here from our friends at Acryl Music for a bit I don't think, so let's rectify that right now and discuss this latest from Turkish/German wunderkind Onur Ozman.

The Tyrannic EP sees young Mr Ozman exploring some of his most out-there pastures yet on the title track Tyrannic itself, a meandering affair with lots of glitchy sounds like alarm clocks and… er… other things. One for when you're in a leftfield kinda mood. On Change, by way of contrast, he serves up what sounds like a homage to house music à la Strictly Rhythm circa 1991, with raw old skool drums, bags of space in the production and some cute jazzy touches… niceness! And then only on Capricorn Day are we back on more familiar, contemporary-sounding deep/tech house ground – this sparse, chugging affair has Berlin written all over it, yet also has enough funk/soul in its veins to suit the more diehard traditionalists.

Change would be my pick but all told you've got three very different-sounding tracks that all do their jobs very well indeed.

Out: This week

About: Switzerland's Acryl Music has long been a favourite of this reviewer… hit up their website or Facebook to find out more

Dave James - Back To My Deep 2012

If you've been hearing any of the string of superlative remixes that Mr James has been turning out of late, you'll know exactly what to expect here. Very deep, dubby house and techno is his stock-in-trade, and here on a rare outing as an artist/producer (as opposed to remixer) he serves up two fine cuts of just that.

Back To My Deep itself sits on the housier side of the fence, and is a sparse, moody organ-led groove that's nonetheless full of sonic warmth… not to mention some cool analogue synth wobbles. Seriously good late-night tackle. On flipside No Man's Land, meanwhile, we venture into just-slightly techier territories… but without doing anything drastic like actually getting off the sofa, you understand!

Sheer quality deep, deep house music, for those that know. Highly recommended!

Out: This week

About: This comes on Unrivaled Music, who've also been the label where many of those aforesaid remixes were given life.

Monday, 30 January 2012

So many tunes, so little time 6 - part 2

Because I promised it… and because there are some proper gems here that deserve a mention… and because NONE OF THESE RECORDS ARE MORE THAN 14 DAYS OLD, damn it, so enough with the 'resolutely upfront' shit already… here are some bits and bobs from the week before last. I'll be quicker this time, and I guess you can always file 'em under 'oldies but goodies' if you must…


Acos CoolKas feat Nata Tomata
Don't Fly Away EP
Sumptuous slo-mo/nu-disco/downtempo vibes on the Original and Maneken mixes… then that boy Jimpster steps in to house things up. Nicely done.

B.Cliff
Rollin' EP
Rollin' by name, rollin' by nature, as NYC's B.Cliff serves some jaunty tech-house vibes for your dancin' pleasure. Five solid tracks but the BNZO Remix of Rollin' in particular is, er, rockin'!

Dima Sinclair
SinclaDizko EP
Typically driving, proggy grooves from Eternal Music here, but infused with elements of nu-disco on Tokyo Dizko, while on Whisky Bar moves more fully into glitterball territory and is definitely worth checking out for yourself.

Kerkez
Garage Loop
This doesn't have a lot to do with garage, despite the name. What you get instead are three very solid cuts in a leftfield-ish house kinda vein, Club Cuts busting a pleasing combo of trad-style vocal loop with tuff, techy beats while Sleeping Raver makes surprising but effective use of a hoover sound…

Luke Gibson
Don't Talk EP
Coming on Carlo Gambino's promising new Leeds-based imprint Midnight Social Recordings, here's some proper bumpin' deep house for your dancefloor. With five varied and playable mixes, it really deserved a bigger (and timelier) write-up than this – particularly the RJ Fletcher rub of Mello Daze. Sorry Carlo!

Omar El Gamal
Plan 100 EP
Some tuff, driving tech-house – bordering on techno – courtesy of Essex stalwarts Hype Muzik (part of the Stripped Digital stable).

Overcast Sound
Popoloco EP
And, for a complete change of pace, some ultra-laidback vibes here from the ever-experimental, ever-checkable Falk, who are based just down the road from TIWWD in Bath. They're calling it 'deep, hypnotic dub techno', and who are we to argue?

Rasadon Ramzees
Life Is Beautiful
Two startlingly different mixes on this offering from Zipped Records. We'll pass swiftly over Atomikk Pulse's tech-trance take, though, and head for the Rene Beer Remix, a lovely piece of slo-mo/downtempo bizniss infused with a dub sensibility.

Roc & Presta
Dance And Sing
…get up and do your thing! Insistent party-starting female vocal loops over what SWEARS it isn't a Stardust loop, but sounds like a heck of a lot like one. Dancing almost certainly ensues, one would imagine.

Umek & Stefano Noferini
Goes On
And finally, we end our catch-up session with this rollicking disco-techno slab from two heavyweights of the European techno scene. You'll move to this even if you're normally allergic to harder sounds, methinks.

So many tunes, so little time 6

Time for a round-up of some other nice bits and pieces that have come TIWWD's way of late, kicking off with the 'best of the rest' from last week...


Blaze & Ultra Nate
A Wonderful Place
Actually credited to Blaze presents Underground Dance Artists United For Life feat Ultra Nate, but I couldn't be bothered typing all that. Ha ha. Anyway, this is a treat for the soulful lovers in the four mixes promo'd by Sean McCabe, while Tomo Pigeon's Dub takes Ultra into darker, techier territories than we're used to finding her in. What the not-promo'd Fanatix mix sounds like, I can only guess... Neil and Aaron, where's the love, boys, where IS the love?More info

Hennings Project ft Nixon
Do You Believe It
Seamless have regrouped into Seamless Soul, Seamless Deep and Seamless Traxx. This is the first release under the Seamless Soul banner, and another full-vocal treat for the trad lovers. Remixes from Ricky Inch and Frankie Feliciano merely seal the deal.

Jay Lumen
Can You Dance
On this surface, this is a fairly hard tech-houser that doesn't do a lot other such tracks don't… until the very familiar vocal sample comes in (hint: we've already mentioned its originators in this very post). A brave move, but it works. Flip The Drummer is a slightly funkier, more rolling take on a similar sound.

Greg Fenton
Alarm/1303
Sticking with the harder sounds, here are two solid cuts from my newest Facebook friend Mr Fenton. 1303 is perhaps a bit too out-and-out techno for TIWWD's purposes but Alarm should work on the tech-house floors, having a tad more swing in its veins.
Various
Platform Vol 2
The second installment of 1605 Music Therapy's new sampler series is much harder and more full-on techno-tastic than the first, but Farrel 8's Phunktion might be one for the more headstrong tech-house jocks. Might, I said.

Donjr
Behind The Line
We come back into housier territories now… well, on the Justin Steel, Lucas Tesselhof and Ben Coda mixes we do, while the Original and Wade Bennett rubs are more suited to techno floors. Tesselhof's big-basslined rub is my pick.
More info (look under Endemic)

Just 2
Moyo/Perfect Groove
Finally from last week, here's another perfectly serviceable slab of tech-house courtesy of this Romanian duo and Southpark Recordings. For house lovers, the Dave Martins & Alex Pro Remix is probably the best bet.

Coming up: some bits n' bobs from the week before that are LONG overdue some props…

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Randal Soeung - What It's For

More top-drawer deep house courtesy of a producer from Arkansas and, on remix duties, the UK's very own Jesus Pablo.

The Original of What It's For sits right on the deep/prog borderline with its crunchy kicks, extended atmospheric breakdown and big, surging bassline. It's good stuff… but Pablo's remix is even better, as he eschews the blissed-out, terrace vibe and heads instead down a much jauntier path, armed only with some truly tinkling old-skool pianos. And when I say 'only', I mean very nearly only, with just some sparkling drums and an obscenely fat b-line for company…

In other words, it's a proper househead's delight…

Out: This week

About: This comes on San Francisco's Headset Recordings. Find 'em on Facebook and Soundcloud, or their blog.

Various - Bounce House Winter Sampler Vol 2

God bless Bounce House and their uncanny knack of coming up with the bumpin' dancefloor deep house goods every time! There are three tracks in a total of five mixes here, and like Errol once sang, every one's a winner, baby...

First, you have two rubs of Andrey Slam's Shut The Funk Up. This is a fairly traditional disco-fuelled left coast house romper in its Original form, while a 420 Ceis Rebang ups the jerky/spastic factor turn it into a more jackin', Sneak-y workout. Next up is label co-owner DK Watts with This Weekend. The Breakin' Up Mix here is a lo-slung and funked-up to the max dancefloor cut in the SBKs vein, with some Hammond (?) stabs to die for, while the In The House Mix has the more driving 4/4s and general drifty feel to make it perfectly suited for small/after hours play. And finally This Beat Is Hot, also from DK, is an exercise in big kicks, analogue synth fribbles and floaty, disembodied vocals.

Vital stuff from a vital label, nuff said!

Out: This week

About: Here's where you can find Bounce House online.

City Soul Project - Future Retro EP

Something of a collision of UK deep house heavyweights here, as City Soul Project come to 3am and Howard Sessions, Rob Small and Al Bradley get on the remix tip.

In its Original form, lead track How We Used To Do It is typical of the kind of sultry, top-quality late-night deep house we've come to expect from this pair, starting out with big spacey chords and crisp 4/4s before building into a jazz-tinged keyboard workout aided by a fat b-line and the occasional space disco stab. Howard & Al's Lip Service Remix then strips the track right down into a proper sparse throbber for the deepest of floors, while Rob heads in the opposite direction, tuffening up the beats a little in a way that could help this reach out to the tech-heads.

Three quite different mixes, then, but all will suit their purpose to a T. Throw in bonus cut 1984, a fairly self-explanatory nu-disco/electrofunk squelcher, and you've got an EP that's really something of a must-have. Go seek.

Out: This week

About: You can find 3am Recordings on Facebook and Soundcloud.

Noon - Don't Be Rude

If you like your deep house a little on the leftfield/quirky side, then this latest offering from SFX Recordings should suit your needs nicely.

Don't Be Rude comes in just two mixes, the original and an Olivier A Remix. The original is a chuggy and driving piece of dancefloor tech-house, with rolling beats, some lovely warm chords and a very distinctive vocal sample ("Oh! Here's to you/don't be rude/leave the room") – albeit the latter is used quite sparingly.

It's on the Olivier A Remix that the vocal really comes into its own, where it's looped more extensively, along with a snatch of what appears to be Steve Jobs talking and some "come on!" vocal stabs, atop a more skippy, stuttery deep house cut. Microbursts of jazz piano then add the musical touches to what is almost the perfect deep-in-the-zone groover for very, very late nights.

Super stuff – more, please!

Out: This week

About: SFX Recordings is Noon's own label and they're based in Paris*. You can find them on Facebook, on Soundcloud or at their own website.

*Which is interesting cos this reminds me somewhat of one of my own secret bullets from about ten years ago and that was French as well. But I'm not telling you what it is, so there… a boy has to have some secrets


Owen Howells – Zipped Up EP

Fans of deep/glitchy/minimal techno step right this way, as Owen Howells serves up this three-tracker for Zipped Records.

I'll be honest and say the Stanky Remix of Deptford isn't for me – too glitchy by half I'm afraid. But never mind, because you also get Bam, which somehow manages to infuse its spastic techno rhythms and disconcerting (backwards?) vocal samples with something of the spirit of classic b-boy electro. And more importantly, you also get It's All Kicked Off Now.

Easily overlooked if you don't give it a chance to linger, the latter turns out to be as fine a piece of sparse, dubbed-out deep techno as you'll hear this week. Skin up, sit back and enjoy…

Out: This week

About: You can find Zipped Records on Facebook, and you can currently HEAR THIS on their Soundcloud page

Saturday, 28 January 2012

ALBUM Shades Of Grey - Soul Machine

In contrast to the Dominic Martin LP reviewed below, Soul Machine from Shades Of Grey is an album that will perhaps have slightly broader appeal in the current climate, its techier approach to deep house being a little more in keeping with current musical trends.

That said, they've called it Soul Machine for a reason, and while a little techier than Family Affair it's certainly no ketamine-addled exercise in proggy post-minimalism. Highlights for this reviewer include the big room tech-soul of Midnight Lover (featuring a male vocal from Beckford), the pleasingly Chicago-ish First Kontakt, the throbbing, Balearically-inclined No Interruptions with its sampled Celeda vocal (yeah, you know… the one about the London Tube network, tee hee) and the appropriately old skool Lost In The Past.

S'cool… but wait, there's more! Because on CD2 you get the same 11 tracks remixed, with Peter Horrevorts, Soul Minority and The Timewriter probably the best known of the names taking care of business. And to these ears it's here that some of the deal-makers can be found. The more downtempo opener (and title track, obviously) Soul Machine really comes into its own when given a serious injection of low-end squelch by Eric Volta, while Horrevorts' rub of Back To The Future brings the funky party vibes as well as what may or may not be a Brass Construction sample. But the absolute killer is the Soul Minority Remix of Lost In The Past, which makes excellent, smile-inducing use of a vocal sample made famous by one J. Vasquez.

You do have to dig about a little bit, but there are enough gems here to make this worth checking for sure.

Out: Last week but the CD got mixed up with a pile of paperwork in the other room y'see and… well, I'm a bit rubbish, what can I say?

About: This comes on Beef Records, which is Shades Of Grey's own label… here's their website, MySpace and Facebook pages. You can also check out their podcast. Shades Of Grey themselves, I should probably also tell you, are an Australian-based duo consisting of Oz native Nick West and Czech national Michel Schwa.

ALBUM Dominic Martin - Family Affair

The first of two full-lengths coming under the TIWWD spotlight on this cold January evening is the second in Lost My Dog's Family Affair series, which acts as a showcase for artists associated the label. Harold Heath brought us the first installment early last year, and now it's the turn of Scotland's Dominic Martin.

It's an album that'll suit those who like their deep house leaning towards the more traditional, house-y side, with long, lingering pads, rich Rhodes chords, crisp hi-hats and soulful vocal snips a-gogo. The left coast-ish Guesswork is one highlight, the garage-y Hard Yards (remixed by Jonny Fiasco and featuring a full female vocal from Astral T) another, the even-more-garage-y Homage New Jersey yet another, the latter supplied in both original and Giom Remix flavas.

But to be fair, there really isn't a duff track in sight. If you're a PROPER deep house head – as opposed to a trendy whippersnapper Hoxton type who was into minimal techno and wonky French electro until two years ago – you'll find plenty to love here.

Out: This week

About: I've sung Lost My Dog's praises countless times so let's just have the obligatory website, Facebook and Soundcloud links and leave it at that.

Patrick Podage & Nikola Kotevski - Life Must Be

More top-drawer deep house vibes – and it's been a good week for them – from Savoir Faire Musique.

In its Original form, Life Must Be is a slow, shufflin' groove with a jazzy, almost beatnik kinda vibe… if you were a beret-sporting, chain-smoking French philosopher type, this'd be the house record for you! Remix-wise you're then spoilt for choice: Martijn's mix is a slightly more driving take that's nonetheless faithful to the feel of the Original, while Eliot Wright serves up a mix that ups the dancefloor quotient quite considerably, with more urgent percussion and a 'bigger' sound overall.

I repeat: top-drawer deep house vibes, not much more to be said.

Out: This week

About: Keep up with all of Savoir Faire Musique's goings-on at their brand-new blog.

Various - 43 Degrees And Cloudy

Denver's currently on-fire 5 And Dime return with another V/A ep that'll delight those who like their house from the deepest end of the spectrum.

Proceedings kick off with Zach De Vincent's Phase II, a classic-style sumptuous, dreamy deep houser with lush pads, muted percussion, floaty synths and a whispered male vocal intoning the title. Tony Rodelli's gorgeous The Way We Go comes next, a slightly more upbeat but nonetheless very mellow number with piano chords to die for. And then finally we have F Stop's It's Complicated, which is somewhat techier in its sound palette but still a near-horizontal affair made for post-club sofa sessions and lazy Sunday mornings.

Top stuff all round, so another winner from 5 And Dime.

Out: This week

About: 5 And Dime are only a handful of releases old but every one's been a cracker so far. Find 'em online here, on Facebook or on Soundcloud.

Melomano - In Deep We Trust

A five-track EP from Unrivaled Music that shouldn't need too much explaining from me… the clue's in the title.

For your dollar you get three mixes of Ahh, plus That Thing (In Deep We Trust) and Limai. It's Tony S's piano-sprinkled rub of the former that works best for me, while the standout track overall is probably the laidback, late-night ride of the 'title' cut, with its mournful sax and microscopic vocal cut-ups.

But it's a strong EP all round, and one that well lives up to its name.

Out: This week

About: This comes from the ever-prolific Unrivaled Music stable

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Seraphine - Costa Lounge

Some more quality house music here from Deepwit, in the form of a four-track EP featuring two mixes of the title track and two of Another Boring Love Story.

Costa Lounge in its original form is a very playable, if not exactly groundbreaking deep house number, featuring suitably warm production overall, some luvverly organ stabs/chords and gently rolling midtempo beats… it's not a dead-cert peaktime stormer or anything but will keep the right floors moving nicely, and it comes accompanied by a remix from Tom Bednarczyk which doesn't do much that's hugely different in terms of structure or sound palette, but does somewhat shift the sonic emphasis to the bottom-end elements of the track a little more, which is never a bad thing.

Moving on to Another Boring Love Story, and I'll be honest here: pleasing as the underlying dreamy, midpaced groove may be, the male/female counterpoint vocal is to these ears over-egged to the point of being somewhat irritating. You may disagree, of course – opinions, arseholes, etc – but to me it's all about the Alvaro Hylander Remix, on which the label owner uses said vocal more sparingly atop a somewhat deeper, dubbier backdrop, making for what ends up being a simply gorgeous cut perfect for afterhours, warm-up or post-club play.

Out: This week

About: Seraphine is a Polish producer who's had stuff out on various labels and who's making his third showing on Deepwit Recordings here. You can find Deepwit, who are based in Denmark BTW, on Facebook, on Soundcloud and of course at their own website.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Nitin - Latenightlife Remixed

Not sure if I got sent the original EP of this when it was out early last year, and I'm not at home right now so can't check or (assuming I did) compare these new mixes to the old ones*. But that doesn't really matter… all you need to know is, this is great.

On this remixed version of the EP, you get two mixes apiece of Blink Twice and The Nine In One. Anthony Collins' remix of the former is a mellow deep house take with lots of gentle jazz piano, while Nitin himself supplies a Re-Edit on which he's collaborated with Colombian group Sexteto Tabala. Together, they deliver a version laced with hypnotic tribal percussion and slightly more use of the female vocal, which sounds to me very much like a sample from Coldcut & Lisa Stansfield's People Hold On, though I guess it could not be.

Moving on to The Nine In One, this features another sampled vocal and comes with rubs from Subb-An and Brett Johnson. Brett's 4 Steppers Only Remix features, er, steppy beats and the kind of fat n' squelchy bottom end you associate with broken beat; it's quality 'late night' stuff for sure, but if you need something a little more driving then the Subb-An Remix – a prog-tinged deep house throbber – should see you right.

Between them, then, the four mixes explore different musical territories, but they all do so very successfully, making this an EP lovers of more leftfield deep house need to be checking for sure.

Out: This week

About: This is number 45 from James Teej & co's Toronto-based My Favorite Robot. Nitin himself, it's also worth mentioning, is co-owner of the excellent No19 Music, who've also featured on this blog before now.

*Actually I guess I could probably find them on YouTube or Beatport of something but, y'know… I'm lazy.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Groove Motion - Hazy Days

Our second slab tonight of driving, piano-led house… with some deeper, mellower rubs to boot.

The original here would play very nicely with the Betamac EP below, being another big, stompy houser with some very retro hands-in-the-air piano action as the main event. It's even got the obligatory dreamy-wibbly-Balearic bit in the middle – another treat for those feenin' for some back to the old skool vibes, then.

Pleasingly, though, it also comes with a brace of more subtle passes. The Dave Fortnum Remix leads the track away to the sunloungers, gives it a cocktail and tells it to enjoy the sunset, while label boss Fresh 27 supplies a bumpin' Deeper Dayz Remix for the proper all-night deep house floors.

I'm digging all three to be honest so, yeah, result.

Out: This week

About: This comes on Fresh 27's own Kula Records, who specialise in 'deep, souful and vocal house music' – this is their 13th release.

Vitamin D - Love May Come

For someone who's not usually a fan of dusty hip-hop and lo-fi sample epics, I seem to be reviewing a few on here lately, mostly courtesy of Cold Busted. And here's another f'rinstance, a two-tracker from the label boss himself.

Love May Come is a scratch n' paste affair, fusing 70s soul and Hawaiian (well, steel guitar and birdsong) flavas into a lazy, sun-drenched loper perfect for Sunday sessions and summer chillage. Over on the B, Work Week Creep is a moodier, breaksier affair. If Norman Jay played the former, then Shadow or Tobin might play the latter – not that I'd presume to second-guess any of those respected turntablists but you get the idea!

Good stuff, basically, and a nice change of tempo for TIWWD. Gotta be done sometimes.

Out: This week

About: As I've mentioned several times lately, Cold Busted are based in Denver, Colorado and can be found on that there Big World-Conquering Book Of Face

Betamac - Polytrippin'

Right, I still owe you a 'So many tunes…' roundup from last week (cos there were quite a few other decent bits and pieces sent in) but for now let's crack on with some of this week's releases, starting with this from the ever-checkable Beats Me Music.

Over four tracks and five mixes (label boss Rob Clarke supplying a refix of Sleepwalker), the general order of the day is unashamedly retro-tastic big room house, with big fat synth b-lines and tinkling pianos that just SCREAM 1992, and just a little hint of classic prog to boot. How this might sounds to an 18yo today I couldn't really say… for this old raver this EP just brought a big silly grin to the face.

Naming favourites is superfluous – you're either in the market for some classic pumping, driving house sounds right now or you're not. And if you are, you're probably going to want to play all of these.

Out: This week

About: Here's where to find Beats Me online

Monday, 23 January 2012

ALBUM Various - Elevation: 10 Years

Lately there've been several brand new labels featured on this blog… today, though, we're here to talk not about a label launch, but about the fact that Ireland's Elevation Recordings has reached the landmark that is their 10th anniversary.

A week may be a long time in politics, but a whole decade is a bloody long time in dance music, so all respect is due to Darran Nugent and associates over in Cork for keeping the Elevation flag flying all these years. That said, it does help that they have a knack of sourcing some incredibly good music… and naturally that applies just as much here.

With tracks on offer from Snuff Crew and Julian Sanza as well as a host of newer names, this is an eight-track journey through quality house music 2012-style, packaged the old school way on sumptuous double vinyl. It really is all good, to coin a phrase… but if I was pushed to name highlights then Aldo Cadiz's Waripolazo stands out for me with its left coast-ish bump and chopped-up hip-house vocal, as do Sanza's Elevation with its sumptuous disco vibe and – perhaps most of all – Metrica's Tit, a jerky, tech-y strutter with one of the oddest vocals you've ever heard. But like I say, the quality meter is set to 'Full' throughout so picking a fave is hard!

Congrats again on the anniversary, Elevation peeps. The rest of you – grab yourself a copy of this and enjoy.

Out: Last week actually, sorry. My bad, sometimes I forget about albums…

About: You can find Elevation on Facebook, MySpace and Soundcloud.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Mr Pepper - Here, There & Nowhere

Some more tuff n' jackin' tech-house here – mostly – courtesy of Mr Pepper and Dance Through Life Records.

The EP is made up of four original tracks, with no remixes. Here, There & Nowhere itself is a struttin', energetic affair that should keep floors moving nicely and possibly induce the throwing of some silly shapes. Take It has a bit more of a musical/melodic feel, while Bash is a no-nonsense bouncer that's thankfully not overly hard and techy, with – like the title track – another distinctive rhythmical synth hook. But the real treat here to these ears is Theory Of Pleasure, a more laidback/soulful affair with some lush pianos kicking proceedings off before the track settles into a classic rolling house groove.

A strong second release from this new NYC-based label.

Out: This week

About: Dance Through Life seem to mostly exist on Facebook at the moment, internet-wise, but here's a little write-up about 'em on Resident Advisor as well.

Lula Circus - Irreversible

Another brand new label here so, everybody, please say hello to Agora Audio, which is the brainchild of Erich Bogatzky, a Berlin-based producer whose name you may know from releases on Plastic City and Dieb Audio. For the first release on his new label, though, he turns to Italian producers Lula Circus.

Irreversible itself is a contemporary-sounding midtempo house chugger with discernible Italo influences. It's accompanied by Irresistible, a more upbeat and percussive affair with a slightly Balearic feel and, in the organ section in the middle, a little nod to 90s handbag. The latter also comes complete with a remix from Doomwork, another Italian duo with a CV that includes releases on Audiomatique and the mighty SAW Recordings, who strip the track down and take us into more jackin', heads-down tech-house territory, with some proper big-room drama in the way the track builds and drops.

A solid start for a new imprint.

Out: This week

About: I've told you about all I know! But here's where to find Agora online: on Facebook, on Soundcloud and at their own website

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Proper Heat - Just A Little Bit

Nang are describing this one as 'disco house', but you could just as readily file it under 'nu-disco' and I don't think too many people would argue with you.

Well, the Original Mix you could anyway. The Club Mix is a little more overtly house-ified, with a distinct nod to 80s groove/boogie in some of the sounds used as well. The Joe Morris Remix then takes us on a slightly more laidback, headnoddin' kinda ride, while the Polar Rundfunk Remix is a slightly deeper take sitting on the deep house/nu-disco borders.

Nang seldom disappoint on the disco tip; this is no exception. I do wish they'd include the sleeve art in their promo downloads though, it'd make us poor bloggers' lives that much easier…

Out: This week

About: You surely where to find Nang Records online by now, so having given you the link just in case I'll move on to telling you that Proper Heat are the Lithuanian threesome of Martin Virgin, Saxtone and Karolis Ramoska. We're told to expect an album sometime this year and on this evidence, it'll be one to look out for.

Pretty Criminals - Rhythm Love

Given that I've raved about pretty much every Savoir Faire Musique release to date, and given that I put Pretty Criminals in iDJ's Rising Stars Of Deep/Tech House feature less than a year ago, then a new Pretty Criminals single on SFM should be pretty much a no-brainer, yes?

Well, pretty much. It's fair to say that Rhythm Love isn't the most groundbreaking or radical deep house record in the world, but then you don't need every record to be (and if they all were, none of them would be anyway). But as solid bets go, this is very solid indeed, with mixes ranging from the midtempo shuffle of the original to the more insistent and driving Dual T Remix (my pick for floor play) to the sparser and slightly more leftfield Soul Sway Dub.

Out: This week

About: Just to remind you, Savoir Faire Musique is brought to you by Scott Harrington of City Soul Project, and is based in Southend On Sea… find 'em on Facebook, Soundcloud and Mixcloud.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Various - Various Artists Part One

London's Dogmatik lay out their stall with this five-track EP featuring a bunch of artists associated with the label – some familiar names, some not.

Stojche's Distance leans towards deep/minimal techno but will suit those floors that like it like that, while Dimi Wilson's Oloo is a perfectly reasonable but unexceptional slab of modern-sounding house, the best thing about it being a rather large b-line. Dusky's Tyto Alba impresses a little more with its west coast-ish low-end bump and soulful vox, while Mark-E's Horns Of The West is noteworthy for its interesting fusion of a proper old skool Chi-town backbeat with more contemporary lead/melodic sounds (though when I say 'contemporary' I really mean Italo-ish, which is older than vintage house so go figure!). But the real treat here IMHO is Keep L.O.V.E by Bubba, a wicked deep, dark rumbler of a house groove that wouldn't have sounded remotely out of place at the Sound Factory, and that features some distinctive 80s-style vocal cut-ups.

The EP's worth picking up for the latter alone. There's also a Part 2 coming which features label boss Alex Arnout along with Gavin Herlihy and a certain Maya Jane something or other, so keep 'em pealed!

Out: This week

About: Dogmatik can be found on MySpace and Soundcloud.

Alex Alterskye - What You Got EP

Say hello boys and girls to a brand new label dedicated to "underground and deep house" – Hull-based Freche Fruchte. For their first release, they offer this EP from label boss Alex Alterskye.

In its Original form, What You Got itself is a distinctive-sounding houser that fuses tuff, techy beats with a LARGE funky bassline and snips of soulful male vocal, and should work well in big dark rooms. Tom Demac comes with a remix that to be honest I'm not quite so into, so we'll look instead at the other two originals. Static is a contemporary-sounding techy affair that'll do the do as long as you can handle the slightly annoying vocal sample that loops throughout, but the cream of the EP for me is Full Mood, an altogether groovier affair with a vintage NY/NJ feel about its sound palette, and some wicked sax parps to boot.

Out: This week

About: Freche Fruchte may be brand new but they've got their social media locked down all right – here's their website and here they are on Facebook, Soundcloud and Podomatic.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Enigma Dubz – Hard To Smile EP

Okay, time to flip the script a bit now and get on a future garage tip.

Well, I say 'future garage' but TBH, there's nothing particularly future-y about opener Between Me And You… with a roomy, boomy bottom end, heavily swung beats that verge on two-step, lush, lingering chords and snippets of barely-there soulful male vocal, this could have come out back in the late 90s/early 00s UKG glory days no problem. That's a compliment, by the way!

Hard To Smile is a more obviously contemporary affair, sampling Tupac's Smile for the vocal and laying it over a typical UKG backing at first, but then bringing in a (whisper it) trance riff. And at first you're thinking, oh no! – but you know what? It actually kinda works. It comes across like the trance riff's being used as just AN Other sound source, the way for instance Massive Attack might use an orchestral synth stab… as opposed to just someone chucking in a trance riff for instant get out of jail free idiots-at-Glasto appeal. I can think of a few bigger names in the grime/dubstep/etc sphere who could learn a thing or two here… softly does it!

So yeah, Hard To Smile has you worried for a minute but it all turns out fine in the end. And then there's Issues, another old skool-sounding cut which rocks a huge bassline and ragga vox, and sounds like the kind of thing I used to pick up from Release The Groove back in iDJ's earliest days*, back when I was just the garage reviewer!

As a good friend posted on my Facebook the other day, "It's all gone 1997 blud!". Some of us would say that's no bad thing :-)

Out: This week

About: This comes on Four40 Records, sister label to LU10 and Lepento and always worth checking – they do a lot of gnarly tear-out stuff that's sometimes a bit too full-on for this blog but they do turn out deeper gems like this as well.

You can find Four40 on Facebook, Tumblr, MySpace and Soundcloud… by the miracle of which, here's the EP…


*Shouts out at this point to Neil, Jeremy, Marcia, Angel, Adamm, Chas and the one and only Gary D!

Santiago Santamaria - One Night

One more straight-up deep house gem this week before we turn our attention to other genres. Santiago Santamaria hails from Argentina and recently made an appearance on Deso Records, but here he delivers a four-track EP for UM Records.

You get two mixes apiece of One Night and Digg It. The original of One Night is a dreamy, floataway late-night treat – listening to it is like laying back into a hot bath. The Alvaro Hylander Remix then manages to go a tiny little bit deeper, which is quite an achievement! Digg It, meanwhile, is a midtempo groover in its Warm Mix incarnation, while the Jon Delerious Keep It Deep Mix, er, keeps it deep… one for the warm-up sets and afterhours sessions.

Quality stuff all round, not much more to say really!

Out: This week

About: UM Records is part of the untitled music stable, who are also behind Facebook's excellent Deep House Page.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Various - Deep In Tech Part 2

After the various artists EP from 5 And Dime below, let's jump straight from one of the world's smallest and newest house labels to one of the world's biggest and longest-running, with another V/A offering courtesy this time of the mighty Nite Grooves/King Street.

You've got to hand it to King Street, really. Traditionally the label's been best known for US-style soulful house n' garage flavas, and they still do plenty of that… but they've also embraced the more contemporary, techy/European house sound as few labels of their ilk have. Old dogs can not only learn new tricks, it seems, they can actually do them pretty damn well! As such, if it's deep, driving tech-house grooves for strobe-y basement rooms you're after, this is well worth checking.

On offer, then, are four tracks from four artists. Chris B's Fiji and Converge+'s Quest are the tracks that lean most strongly to the techno side of the tech-house equation, the latter being notable also for a dark, rumbling, almost speed garage-ish b-line, while Kera's Convoi Exceptionnel and OMB's Stay With Me have a little more of that dreamy-druggy-proggy 'lost in music' kinda feel going on.

But these are fairly subtle (and highly subjective) distinctions. And again, I'm loathe to pick a favourite here because all four tracks will do their job admirably, and for an EP featuring four more-or-less newcomer artists, that's no mean feat.

Out: This week

About: You surely know where to find King Street online by now? As regards the artists involved, you might like to know that Converge+ is Japanese producer Hiroshi Endo while Kera hails from the Netherlands.

Various - 43 Degrees & Cloudy

Well, the deep gems just seem to keep on coming this week… here's another quality offering, this time from new (this is their third release) Denver-based label 5 And Dime Recordings. As the eagle-eyed among you will have noticed, it's a V/A affair, the A's in question being Zach De Vincent, Tony Rodelli (previously of MUM fame) and F Stop. Between them, they turn in three quite different but still complimentary tracks.

De Vincent's Phase II is probably the most obviously floor-friendly of the three, a fairly traditional-sounding deep houser with a dreamy feel and a nice warm bottom end. The Way We Go from Rodelli is still driving enough for floor play but is perhaps best suited to warm-up or post-club sessions; that's by no means a slight, though, because the lush Rhodes chords on this track are to die for. And then finally there's It's Complicated from F Stop, a sparse, brooding affair with the influence of deep techno writ large.

If pushed I'd pick The Way We Go as the standout but I'd sooner not have to, because in all honesty all three tracks here are the business. Making this a label you definitely want to be keeping an eye on.

Out: This week

About: Rather than moving to Denver and stalking them from behind the mailbox across the street, you can keep an eye on 5 And Dime by visiting their website, Facebook or Soundcloud pages. Seriously, that's the way to go. Not the false moustache and binoculars, so much.

Oh yeah, and you can HEAR THIS on Soundcloud as well. And indeed, here it is…

5 and Dime Recordings - 43 Degrees and Cloudy by 5 and Dime Recordings

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Max Volkholz - Darley

After something of a deep house splurge last night, we stay on a similar tip tonight with this latest from Gartenhaus.

In its Original form, Darley is a pleasing midtempo piece of instrumental house music with the very slightest hints of prog, mostly just in the sound selection. Andre Detoxx's mix doesn't do anything hugely different but does take the track even deeper, making this a rub better suited for home listening than for floorplay, while finally bonus cut Harris is a (very) slightly techier affair but still one for the most specialist of deep floors.

All told, this EP's something of a connoisseur's/purist's choice, perhaps, but definitely worth investigating.

Out: This week

About: This is number four from Gartenhaus, who are based in Copenhagen.

Monday, 16 January 2012

J Kar - Baby Dreaming

The last in a trilogy of top-drawer deep house releases tonight comes from rising Greek star J Kar, AKA Dimitris Karipidishas, on Jesus Pablo and Di Rivera's new Something Different imprint, from whom this is just the third release.

No-one's making any use of the G-word but if the original of Baby Dreaming isn't pure straight-up garage in the deep Jersey mode then I don't know what is. Just lovely. Then throw in a brace of remixes from Harold Heath – a Dub which takes us off into outer space and a Re-Rub which beefs up the drums inna vintage Vasquez stylee. Add to that Los Rios, which comes in deep n' sparse Original or even deeper and much spacier Desos Remix flavas, and you've got another complete no-brainer of a purchase.

Out: This week

About: The Desos Remix, BTW, comes from the same Deso – AKA Brian Løgstrup – behind Deso Records, whose praises I was singing on here of late. But this comes as I said on Something Different who you can find on Soundcloud and Facebook.

Christian Sanchez & Frej Le Vin - UpBoogie

Two on the bounce from Endemic I know, but trust, you NEED this tune… not least because it comes with a range of mixes that'll suit a range of deep/tech house jocks.

In its original form, UpBoogie is an upbeat, floor-friendly slab of deep house with a disco sheen that wouldn't sound out of place in an Inland Knights or Short Bus Kids set. It's not likely to win over many mainstream floors because it doesn't actually DO a huge amount… but for the likes of you and me that's not really a problem, is it?

Remix-wise, you get the brilliantly entitled Jazz Menson's Strasse Beats & Smoove Keys Re-Dub, and the more prosaically monikered D00sh Remix. The former is a down n' dirty kinda rub whose initial relentless strobelight bump n' thump is slowly tempered by warm Rhodes chords and tiny snips of fem vox – and is a proper treat for the heads – while D00sh's mix is, unsurprisingly, a gritttier tech-house take, but with some wicked keyboard action thrown in.

Three very varied mixes, then, but top marks all round. Like I said, you NEED this.

Out: This week

About: Oh, look! Here's that Endemic Digital link again!

Andrew McDonnell – Fatu Hiva EP

Let's get Monday off right with some quality deep house vibes to ease the pain of the working week. First up, this three-tracker from Andrew McDonnell, coming to you courtesy of those Unrivaled Music peeps.

The title track Fatu Hiva stands out with its looped n' sampled jazz/blues vocal, which sits atop slow-rising synths and a solid, unhurried beat. But elsewhere on the EP, you'll also find Remember That Stupid Cop, a heads-down, mesmerising, somewhat proggier affair, and Tiny Dancer, which has no connection with the Elton John record as far as I can make out, but is instead another dark, proggy slow-burning houser.

Perfect warm-up/comedown tackle all round.

Out: This week

About: Unrivaled Music is, as you know, part of the Endemic Digital stable

Sunday, 15 January 2012

So many tunes, so little time 5

Just the usual Sunday night round-up of some other bits n' pieces that are out this week…

DJ Chus & Supernova – Italoberican Grooves
If you dig those uncompromising, no-nonsense drum cuts then you know Chus has been doing this kind of thing longer than most, and as such knows a thing or two about dark percussive tribal grooves. Nuff said.

Gemini - Tribute Vol 2
Last year, Robsoul Recordings from France put out four vintage Gemini tracks, in deference to the Chicago house legend's influence on their sound. Here come four more, dating I believe from the early 90s and show just why Gemini is held in such high esteem. Highlights for me are the discofied Wanna Push You – like Sneak before the fact – and the deep, spacey groove of Spirals.

Self Definition – Lost Land EP
Two tracks of deep D&B from the ever-reliable Plush Recordings. For me, the more liquid, uptempo Lost Land itself has the edge over the more moody, cinematic Incognitus, but that's a matter of personal preference really – both are quality.

Various – Platform Vol 1
A techno five-tracker from 1605, starring Kiko, Marco Bailey, Pe & Ban and DJ Manraks, Fer BR and Hellomonkey. Some of what's on offer is a little hard/linear but Fer BR's Feeling So Close, a rolling disco-techno affair, and Hellomonkey's similarly Sneak-ish Yes are well worth checking on an energetic tech-house tip.

ALBUM Mister T - Gentle Music

Because it was before Xmas it seems like ages now, but it was actually a mere 24 days ago that I reviewed the album Seven Wonders by Mojo Rising, saying that not a lot of such downtempo, dusty kinda vibes make it onto TIWWD. Well, here we are 24 days later and here's another album of mellow, funk-fuelled goodness from the same stable, Denver's Cold Busted.

Mister T hails from Athens, Greece and Gentle Music is his debut full-length. Within its grooves you'll find raw retro funk (Everything Is Wah, Rastas Funky Well), quirky electronic lounge vibes (Cocktails, Memories) and lo-fi near-instrumental hip/trip-hop (Hip Soul, Lazy Sound, Back To Bristol), ending with the scratchy, vibraphone-laden Living Room. I can think of no better way of describing it further, than to say that I'm writing this on a Sunday afternoon and that's probably the perfect time to hear this album, as well.

Perfect lazy, laidback vibes for sofa-surfers and lounge lizards everywhere, then. And the second winner on the bounce from Cold Busted.

Out: This week

About: If you dig your downtempo funk/trip-hop/lo-fi grooves then Cold Busted have plenty more where this one came from. Check out their radio show as well.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Satin Souls - Aziza

DJ MFR re-visits a classic Transport cut that was first out in 2001, and again in 2003.

The DJ MFR Movido Re-Dub of Aziza is the mix that's most likely to elicit a smile of recognition, thanks largely to the Spanish female vocal (though that said, everything had a Spanish vocal round about then, didn't it? To quite an annoying extent, as I recall). Its shuffling groove and sax-like synth squiggles will certainly do the do when it comes to keeping bodies moving, though I can't help thinking it'd sound far better if you heard it at, say, a pool party in Miami, rather than on a cold winter's evening in Bristol.

That comes accompanied just by an Instrumental Tool, so we can keep this one pretty short! But yeah, if sun-drenched, Latin-leaning soulful house vibes are your thing you should dig this one for sure.

Out: This week

About: Good to see Transport still going strong – find 'em online here

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

David Navo & Julio Navas – Thank U

In which Fresco Records bosses Navo and Navas celebrate 20 years of working together by putting out this upbeat, party-oriented tech-house dancefloor workout, just in the one mix, "as a big thank you to all their faithful fans and followers."

With a spoken vocal (saying "thank you," naturally enough), handclaps/whistles/cheers and a simple looping groove that runs throughout, it's a fairly uncomplicated kind of track but that's no bad thing – it'll keep asses moving on the floor and that's the most important thing, isn't it?

Congratulations on the anniversary, chaps.

Out: This week

About: Just in case there was any doubt, this comes on the pair's own Fresco Records, who are based in Barcelona.

B-Team – You Wild Returns

"Funky" has to be one of the most over-used and oft ill-applied words in the English language… as any DJ who's ever been asked if they've "got anything funky?" while they were playing a Brass Construction, Meters or Fatback record will testify! But sometimes it's the only word that'll do, so in the words of the Prodigy (almost)... this is some funky shit right here.

I must confess the original release of You Wild must have passed me by, so I'm coming to this remix EP afresh. But that's okay because they've handily included the original, which is… well, yeah, some funky shit for sure, in a midtempo, chopped-up, breakbeat/nu funk kinda way. The first of the remixes, Part 2, is basically just a looser-limbed jam on the same theme, while the Trotter Remix beefs up the beats to nudge us more firmly in a house-ified direction.

But while all those three are cool, for me the standouts here are the Neighbour Remix of You Wild, which takes us into classic electro territory (by which I mean proper Patrick-cagoule-and-a-roll-of-lino electro, not the shit-80s-synth-pop dross that seems to pass for electro these days), and bonus cut Electric Nostalgia 99, which lives up to its name nicely by taking us on a trip back to the early days of house in the mid-80s. Check that bassline for some SERIOUS phatness, people!

Out: This week

About: This comes on a label I don't think have featured on here before, Super-Hi-Fi. They're based in Virginia in the US of A, specialise in 'breakbeat/house/funk' and can be found on Soundcloud and Facebook.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Diego Metzer - Influencias EP

Yep, it's another one from the Endemic Digital stable… I know, but they do keep on coming up with the goods! In this case, the goods being a two-tracker of uber-deep, drummy house from Argentina's Diego Metzer.

Influencias itself is all insistent, rolling tribal percussion and Papua New Guinea-esque chants and wind instruments, plus some kind of horn – I'm guessing sax but it could feasibly be something else – making the odd back of stage walk-on appearance. One for slowly melding with the sofa to.

On the flip, Raices Devotas, credited to Diego Metzer pres Don Diego, starts out as an even more chilled-out affair, this time opening with mournful piano chords, before a solid 4/4 kick comes along to remind us that this is actually house music we're listening to and you're supposed to dance to it. Which you easily could, with this one… but it'd be just as at home on the aforesaid sofa as well.

Two solid bets for those that like it very, very deep.

Out: This week

About: Here's a link you may have seen before on this blog.

James Dexter – Show Me EP

Three original tracks painted in various deep, techy and soulful shades add up here to another fine release from the excellent Tokyo Red Recordings.

Playing With Time is a soulful deep groove with some of that early (’95-’96) UK garage gloss to it… back in the days when it was all about Tuff Jam and those MK dubs. Show Me is another garage-tinged cut, this time looking back to vintage Jersey, and then finally Sunset is a slightly techier affair, but still with soulful vox to add warmth – it's this track that you suspect might be getting the plays from the east London trendsters, though if pushed Playing With Time is the the pick of a strong bunch for me.

Quality vibes for those that know.

Out: This week

About: Tokyo Red is of course my good friend DJ Sydney's label… find 'em on MySpace or at Sydney's own website.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Stranger Danger – Play Deep/Next Knock

Some raw, uncompromising deep house shiznit here, courtesy of Tarantic Records and Stranger Danger, AKA Dominic F from Oakland.

Play Deep itself is a slightly techy deep house dancefloor cut with a familiar vocal sample, a disconcerting trippy breakdown in the middle and plenty of dat good west coast bump either side of it. Next Knock, meanwhile, is a funk-driven groove with occasional spoken vocal snips about "getting down" and suchlike; think Salted Music, think Tyree Cooper, think live jazzual sax, think early/late hours dancefloor bliss, especially in stripped-down Amit Shoham Remix form. The original is a slightly more accessible, party-hearty number while BradElectro beefs things up a little for bigger floors, but Shoham's mix is the one for me here.

Out: This week

About: Here's where to find Tarantic Records online, and here's Stranger Danger on Soundcloud where you can check out plenty more of his stuff

Dilby - Cuts N Bruises EP

Let's kick off the week with some no-nonsense beats, on this deep/tech floorshaker from Unrivaled Music.

Accidents Will Happen starts with a long drum-led intro, before eventually an oddly muted organ sound joins the party… and, once you throw in a few tiny vocal snips and the odd synth stab, that's actually about it. One for those 4am, locked-on moments for sure. On the B, Running With Scissors takes a slightly less stripped-down approach, and adds a little twist of disco for good measure.

Two solid cuts that will move house dancefloors of many persuasions. Cover's a bit scary, though.

Out: This week

About: Unrivaled Music is, of course, part of the Endemic Digital stable

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Kohib – Make Fire (Remixes)

If you were wondering why it's been a bit quiet on the blog front, well, it's the first week of January and there's not a lot coming out. But that's cool cos it gives me a chance to catch up with one or two bits we missed… like this remix version of Kohib's 2010 debut album Make Fire.

Kohib is a DJ/producer from the north of Norway called Øivind Sjøvoli, who's been active on the scene in Tromso since the late 90s. The remixes in question come from Stoyvind, Syntax Erik, Boska, Frisvold & Lindbaek, Dennis Jr and Lepetitgarcon and they cover various musical bases, some a little poppy for this blog. But the tracks you need to be heading for here – IMHO – are Frisvold & Lindbaek's epic psychedelic disco take on Tales From A Nomad, the funky lounge vibes of the Dennis Jr Mix of Fang Song and, for peaktime frolics, Stoyvind's rub of Push Me Down.

A mixed bag, then, but one that will repay closer investigation.

Out: A couple of weeks ago… my bad…

About: This comes atcha courtesy of Norwegian imprint Beatservice

Friday, 6 January 2012

Murray Richardson - Memory Loss EP

In case you're suffering a little memory loss yourself, let me remind you… Murray Richardson may not be the biggest name in house music but he's been doing this shit for a long time. Since making his debut on 2020Vision in 1999, he's gone on to release tracks on the likes of Nordic Trax, Low Pressings, Kickin', and in recent times Baker Street… the Leeds-based house imprint for whom he's now put together this latest EP.

The man's got some pedigree, is what I'm saying… and it shows. On the EP you'll find three mixes of Memory Loss itself, plus bonus cut Sometime Sweet Susan. In its original form, Memory Loss is a tech-house affair based around a chuggy, stuttery bass riff and crisp, hi-hat heavy percussion; synth and vocal stabs then join the party to build the track into a very solid floor-mover with classic Chi-town overtones. H&M's Remix gives the track a little more urgency and a dose of acid, while Gareth Whitehead emphasises the epic/euphoric elements on a rub that will please the more prog-leaning jocks.

Somewhat ironically, though, it's actually Sometime Sweet Susan I'm feeling the most; not only because I'm a contrary old git generally, but also because of its slightly more funktified b-line and the looping, cut-up "your love for me is" vocal sample, which lends the track a certain 'heads-down, locked-on groovin' at 3am' quality.

I think "quality" is a suitable word to end on, actually, so let's leave this one there.

Out: This week

About: The Baker Street website should tell you all you need to know about the label, or you can keep up with Murray's goings-on generally here.