Monday, 30 November 2009

Artie Flexs - Damaged EP

You can usually rely on Lost My Dog for some solid deep house action, and this four-tracker from Latvian newcomer Artie Flexs doesn't disappoint. On this evidence, the fact that he's gonna have a debut album out soon is definitely good news, especially as it's apparently gonna be available for free download – more news on that when I have it.

In the meantime, the tracks here mainly plough a deep house furrow, with two warm, instrumental dancefloor groovers – The Blame and Precious - and two cuts that mess about in that deep/prog hinterland, In Control and Damage (still in a dancefloor way, though, not a drifty pointless way, in fact In Control is quite techy). Unsurprisingly it's the former two I'm feeling more, especially the bouncier Precious, but this is a safe use of your Earth pounds all the same.

About: It's good to see Lost My Dog doing well, the label's pretty much a stalwart of the UK deep house scene these days… which isn't bad going after less than 50 releases. More info can be found at their website and MySpace. Oh yeah, and the Damaged EP is out now.

King Cosmic - Freaky Queen

WTF is going on in Leeds at the moment? This is yet another new label based in "the heart of the West Yorkshire conurbation", which makes at least 17 since 9.30 this morning. Slow down, tyke-y house types!

Nah, s'good. Anyway, yeah, Freaky Queen, which is OUT TODAY and is a pretty groovy tech-houser except I'm not feeling that vocal at all, possibly because it reminds me of Iggy Pop singing Wild One (not that there's anything wrong the Ig, you understand). So it's lucky then that Bulgaria's KiNK provide a throbbing, vocal-free retro acid remix, which is my pick of the crop here. Other mixes come from Timmy Stewart, whose mix is quite like the original without the vocal, but unfortunately also sans the bouncy bit at the end, and Paul Hardy, who goes for a slighly more dramatic, bigger room feel.

About: Don't know anything about Hot Milk Records, apart from that they're brand new and this is HOTMILK001. And they're in Leeds, obviously. But here's the label's MySpace, and also there's a Resident Advisor label profile thingummy here.

King Cosmic, meanwhile, is Leigh Williamson, who used be half of Cosmic Groove Transmission. CGT had stuff out on [briquerouge], DiY, Low Pressings and Odori, while as King Cosmic Leigh's also recently graced Ireland's excellent Elevation, so he's got quite a good CV already.

Andrew Phelan & Origami - Other People's Parts

An EP/mini-album in which the Moulton Studios-based duo show what they can do on the remix front, with their takes on tracks by (deep breath) Ross Couch, Sleazy McQueen, Pete DaFeet, Short Bus Kids, Fingermonsters, Just Jason and George Cochrane.

Overall, what's striking is just how atypical of the Moulton 'sound' most of the remixes are, with Phelan & Origami pursuing, on the whole, slightly tuffer paths. That's not to say there's not plenty of west coast bump n' swing herein, just that lush pads and sultry female vocals are largely given a swerve in favour of crunchy beats, uncompromising synth lines and a glitchier feel, making for an EP that's more contemporary- and more European-sounding than you might expect. Or maybe it's just me that's not been paying enough attention!

I'm not going to go into every track but Pete Dafeet's 94 is a particular highlight for me, with the Short Bus Kids' P-Ground Hos and Sleazy McQueen's Through The Speakers also deserving an honourable mention (and I've surprised myself a bit with the latter cos it's quite electrohouse really). Oh yeah and Fingermonsters' Elevator is great, too (and a bit more typically San Fran, albeit with a bit of a Nordic slant… and Stephen Hawking on vocals). Otherwise suffice to say this is a quality selection of underground house 2009-style, and excellent VFM to boot.

About: This is on AP&O's own Prismatic Tracks – for more info click here.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Spirit Catcher - Sedona

If you've heard Spirit Catcher's previous releases on the likes of NRK, 2020Vision, Moodmusic or Silver Network, you know what to expect here. That's not to say it's not very good, cos it is! Just that Jean Vanesse & Thomas Sohet do what they do – deep, chunky house music for the dancefloor – and this doesn't alter the blueprint much.

There's three tracks on offer. Forever And A Day is quite bumpin' and west coast-y, Future Fools is a bit more contemporary/Berlin-ish but still with da funk in full effect, and something of a party-starter with its insistent "spin the record/let's get naked" vocal (oh and if it starts THAT kind of party for you, then I'm jealous… but enjoy). And then finally the title cut Sedona is a slightly deeper affair than the other two: it's still floor-friendly but you could equally well put this on after a club, in those wee smoky hours, in the way that you wouldn't Future Fools, for instance. And it's got some nice Detroit-y chords as well.

So, not huge amounts of ground being broken, but three varied and hi-calibre deep house tracks. And it's been out since Monday, so go seek.

About: Spirit Catcher have been around for quite a few years now so I'm sure you're "aware of their work" but here's their website anyway. This particular release is on Marc Romboy's Systematic label, who you can find here.

Double 99 - Ripgroove 2009

Right, seeing as we've been talking harder stuff (see Dom Almond, below), here's some more in-your-face bizniss in the form of three new (or new-ish) mixes of Tim Deluxe's speed garage classic from 97.

Three very different mixes, too. One's a reasonably faithful (and hence slightly pointless) rub by Cirez D, which was first out in 2006. It's only really of interest cos Cirez D is actually Eric Prydz and it's good to know not everything the boy from Sweden touches sinks to Call On Me-like depths of unfathomable awfulness… beyond that you might as well just play the original. There's also a version from The Count (as in 'and Sinden'), but we'll gloss over that one (it's very contemporary-sounding for sure, but it's not a bass sound I'm a fan of, and we'll leave it at that).

So really the reason this is here is the Kinsy remix. This is a remix competition winner… which is perhaps a bit surprising, cos he turns Ripgroove into a no-holds dubstep workout, and it ends up sounding like this is how the track was always just WAITING to be heard. Big up yaself Mr K! Let's hear more soon, please.

About: This is on Skint, one half of the Skint/Loaded pairing down in Brighton. Visit their website and you can currently HEAR all the above mixes, plus the 2nd and 3rd place runners-up in the competition that Kinsy won, too…

Dom Almond - Pirate Radio/Up Or Down

This is a bit of a different one for TIWWD but thought it'd make a nice change of pace after all the deep n' techy house below (and this is meant to be a blog unhindered by pigeonholes in any case).

Pirate Radio is basically a slab of tear-out breakbeat with a slight old skool rave feel to it. Not normally the biggest fan of tear-out - I mostly prefer my breaks on the funky/house-y side - but this pleases with almost jungle-style warping bass and plenty going on generally. However, Up Or Down is even better, fusing Bukem-style ambience with house-y/techno-y synths, ragga shouts and relentless firing snares. Sounds a bit of a hotch-potch but it works, in the same sort of genre-agnostic kinda way that, say, Dooms Night or 138 Trek worked.

About: This comes on Pure Filth, which is NOT the nu-jazz/broken beat stable from London, but rather one of several labels helmed by Ollywood and sailing under the Hardcore Beats flag… for more info on Pure Filth/Wicky Lindows/Future Perfect and Hardcore Beats itself, click here. Be quick and you can grab some FREE TUNEAGE from Schema as well!

Friday, 27 November 2009

Berny & Guru - Choose One EP

The title track of this three-track EP uses that very (some might say overly) familiar "six million ways to die" sample. Does anyone know where it first came from? One forum reckoned from a Cutty Ranks track but I'm not 100% sure…

Anyway, that sample aside, Choose One is a nice beefy slab of rolling tech-house. Then you get Watch Your Step, another upbeat affair with a very mid-’90s Brit-house kinda feel to its main synth riff, that then goes a bit Balearic as it goes on, while finally Kinky Girl is a tuffer workout with tribal drums and a breathy female telling us she's "a very kinky girl"… sadly no Rick James sample though!

About: Berny & Guru are a pair of Italian producers who seem to be on the up right now, while this comes on Seamless Black, a label that's had more props on here than most. This isn't SBL's best ever but it's good solid stuff all the same. Seamless website here, or you can hear Choose One for yourself on Soundcloud here.

CALiGULA - The Countdown/Mainline

CALiGULA bill themselves as "an SF-based disco/house outfit" **EDIT: EXCEPT NOW THEY'RE IN NYC, SEE BELOW** and here they step up with two very playable cuts. The Countdown starts off sounding like Funky Green Dogs, then does a very passable Daft Punk impression (think One More Time) before bringing in an 80s-ish vocal. Sounds awful on paper, actually sounds quite good in real life. Oh yeah, and there's also an actual countdown in it, which I guess might come in handy if you're playing out this NYE.

Of far more interest though is Mainline on the flip, which is basically a reworking of Sir Jam-A-Lot by Captain Sky. Which would be in one sense a bit poor, if Captain Sky wasn't one of funk's greatest forgotten talents; as it is, most people won't realise, and those that do will smile knowingly at the kick-ass funk bass riff before shaking their booties on the dancefloor. I'm guessing.

About: This appears to be on a San Francisco-label called INgrooves (cat no ING004) but its not shown on the only INgrooves website I can find, and the hype sheet talks about a label called Massive Experiment. So I'm a bit confused.

Different Language - On The Up EP

Another new Yorkshire-based imprint, though this one lives not in Leeds, for a change, but just up the M62 in Hull.

Hull used to be a bit rubbish but as I've not been there for about, ooh, 15 years or so, I'm gonna give the city the benefit of the doubt and work on the assumption it is now officially the Singlemost Grooviest Town on the Planet. Pretty much all I'm basing that on is this EP, but to be fair this EP is pretty darned groovy. If low-slung tech-house grooves are what you're after it is, anyway.

Different Language apparently used to run parties in The World's Most Happening Metropolis (that's Hull to you and me) and clearly they learned a thing or two about what rocks a dancefloor and what doesn't. For instance, samples of Johnny Morris pretending to be a gnu: they very rarely rock a dancefloor, and so Different Language have very cleverly not included any samples of Johnny Morris pretending to be a gnu on here. See how it works?

What they have included is, y'know, some crisp drums and fat basslines and blippy synth noises and stuff. I'm preferring bonus track Idioma to the three mixes of On The Up itself cos Idioma is a bit funkier and less tech-y, but that's just me.

About: Like I said, this is another new-ish UK label, based in the new Music, Fashion & Impenetrable Cool Capital of the Universe… AKA Hull… and trendy cutting-edge Hull types that they are, they've got a website and everything. Hurrah!

Finally, for more information on the hustling east coast mecca of all things fabulous that is Hull, click here.

Raymundo Rodriguez - 3 Colours EP

Call me very literal-minded but I find it quite confusing that this is called the 3 Colours EP when there's only two tracks. But there you go.

Anyway… A-side The Oompa Dance is a Latin-infused midtempo deep house groove. It's okay but a bit forgettable, TBH, and when B-side Yeah's Theme first got going with its metallic-sounding kicks and Chi-town bassline I wasn't that impressed either… and then in came some lush chords and jaunty keyboard sprinkles to show me I was wrong and make me very glad I'd not hit the forward button. Not a world-beating, must-have, murder-your-granny-if-you-have-to kinda release, then, but worth checking for the garage-y keys on Yeah's Theme all the same cos they'll have heads nodding along nicely.

About: This is on UK label Black & White Orange, about whom I don't know enough evidently seeing as this seems to be their 29th release! You can find 'em on MySpace here.

Anil Chawla - The Zone EP

The name of Anil Chawla is most readily associated with progressive house, thanks to his Global Underground connections, but there's nothing especially proggy about the original mix of Red Zone, which is instead a deep chuggy groover that'd be ideal for when you're got 'em warmed up nicely but aren't quite ready to push them that bit harder. If you know what I mean, Mr DJ.

White Zone is another nice chuggy affair, though this one does have a little bit of a proggy tinge to it (as well as what may or may not be some very understated cowbells). It gets taken further into prog territory with a Kasey Taylor & Pena remix, which is okay for those that like that sort of thing, but far better to these ears is the Kruse & Nurnberg mix of Red Zone, which is an even deeper affair than the original and my pick of the EP.

All told, it's a lil' bit proggy but quite good, then. Those who are prog-allergic shouldn't be put off cos the K&N mix of Red Zone is quality.

About: This is on Flow Vinyl, which is a label that hasn't really caught my attention before despite this being their 20th release. Anyway they're from Portugal, which means it probably isn't pissing it down and freezing like it is here, and this is their website.

Brett Lawrence - This Freaky EP

A three-tracker from new boy (as far as I can tell) Lawrence which is OUT ON 30 NOV. Through The Eyes Of Others is a mid-paced deep house chugger, most suitable for warm-up or afterhours play. Oblation is a far more floor-oriented affair with its prominent walking bassline and layers of trippy synths, while finally This Is Freaky is a sparse, almost boompty-ish driving percussion-led number with a treated voice intoning the title. Sort of like going to a disco with the bloke out of SAW.

About: This is on 2Pin Records, which is yet another new label based in sunny Leeds, a mere 12 or so miles from where TIWWD grew up. Big up the West Yorks massive! Ahem. Anyway here's their MySpace.

Tom Lennox - Northern Soul EP

Musically, this has nothing to do with northern soul whatsoever so I'm guessing the title is maybe an homage to Mr Lennox's Manx roots?

Whatever, the title track is big, ominous slab of brooding, bass-y tech-house. 10243 is in a similar vein, albeit somewhat sparser, and with its BIG drums you could imagine Junior rocking the Sound Factory with this one for sure. The Hacksaw Sick Space Dub of 10234 then takes us into slowed-down, weirded-out techno-meets-dubstep territory, I guess you'd call it. And then finally Square One is another techno-informed number.

About: Tom Lennox is a London-based producer who's worked with the likes of Terry Farley, Colin Dale and Onionz. The Northern Soul EP comes atcha on Forbidden Fruit Recordings: a new UK label based in Leeds, you can find their website here and their MySpace here.

Audiojack - Kicks For Kicks

I'd have been delighted to put this in the house pages of iDJ but it came in way too late, so it's going on here.

This is Leeds-based crew Audiojack with a three-tracker of unapologetic house beats. As befits its appearance on Get Physical it's got that slightly harder, more tech-ified edge but as befits Audiojack's association with 2020 it's firmly rooted in ass-shakin' house music too so that's okay. The title track Kick For Kicks has a big, rolling bassline and some nice aquatic-sounding synths, This House is an irresistible hip-shaker with one of those bitch/diva-style spoken vocals you don't hear so much these days and In The Hills mashes up elements of techno, jazz, disco and funk into a surefire stomper (you'd want the floor properly warmed up before you dropped this, though, I think).

About: This on Get Digital, the digital-only Get Physical offshoot, and it's OUT ON 9 DEC. In the meantime find the label website here.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Rene Breitbarth - It's All About Doris EP

Not got huge amounts to say about this one, but it's basically Berlin house meets female-vocalled jazz (are we to assume that's a Doris Day sample?), with the emphasis on the jazz side of things. For those deeper or lounge-y warm-up sets this is solid gold easy action baby, yeah. Or something.

The four tracks are called Doris, More Doris, Almost Doris and No Doris. The original I've just described (sort of), More Doris is a more overtly house-y number but in a very swing-y kinda way, kind of like a slightly calmer version of old Classic/MFF material; Almost Doris goes a fair bit deeper, dad, and then No Doris is more typical Breitbarth (from what I've heard, which isn't loads) in that it's kind of slightly wonky Berlin deep house. Wonky in a general sense, I mean, not as in 'wronk' or silly noisy micro-genres kinda wonky. In fact, scratch wonky. Let the W word be struck from the record. Let's say it's kind of slightly off-kilter Berlin deep house.

Phew. Don't mention the wonk. I did once but I think I got away with it.

About: This is on Deep Data, Rene's own label out of Berlin, and it's OUT THIS WEEK. For more info on the label and to download a 1hr promomix, click… right… here.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Ben Rymer - La Trinciatrice

A brand new offering from former Fat Trucker Ben, currently working with London's Disco Bloodbath crew. Heavily Italo/cosmic in influence, the Main Mix of La Trinicarice is strictly for nu-disco sets and is okay if you don't mind those slightly cheesy analogue synths. But better to these ears is the Dream Dub, which could work equally well on deep house floors. It also drops down in the middle to a big fuck-off rave-y bassline, which kind of explains the title: 'la trinciatrice' is Italian for 'the shredder', nuff said!

About: This is on Serge Santiago's Arcobaleno label, and in a rare instance of TIWWD being as upfront as I'd like it always to be, it's not out till January so you'll have to wait… here's the Arcobaleno MySpace to be looking at in the meantime.

Ill.Skillz - Back Track/Stella Nova

Don't get sent a lot of drum & bass any more, which is a shame… but this landed last week so thought I'd mention it. Two quite different tracks on offer here. A-side Back Track starts out all gentle and liquid-y, then turns into a proper full-on parping jump-up affair… s'okay but those farty basslines aren't my thing so much, not being 16 n' that, so I'm preferring Stella Nova on the B, a two-stepper with some cheesola 80s synths that kind of remind me of the big riff from The Final Countdown.

Actually that sounds awful on paper, doesn't it? But Stella Nova is actually rather good. Trust.

About: This is on Ill.Skillz_Recordings, which is D-Kay & Rawfull AKA Ill.Skillz's own label, obviously, and it's their 11th release. Find Ill.Skillz on MySpace here.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

EMKYU feat DDB - Gabrielle

Yes, that Gabrielle, as in Roy Davis Jr's UK/speed garage classic and no, I didn't think that sounded like a very good idea either. But EMKYU and DDB surprised me.

Some quite different mixes to choose from, too. The DJ Leo & Guy Robin Underground Mix features a full soulful vocal over midtempo house beats and a fat Chi-town b-line, and will appeal most to former UKG ravers who've gone and gotten all grown up and now listen to soulful house. The Dubstramental of the same is fairly self-explanatory, except to say that, thanks to that bassline, it should work equally well on both 'deep' and 'soulful' floors. The Qualifide Remix, meanwhile, has just a little of that 'UK funky' flavour to the percussion, but otherwise is pretty faithful to the original.

In fact, it even managed to bring on some of the same goosebumps. Now where am I going to find a pair of buckle-front loafers and a four-button suit in 2009?

About: This is on a new UK label called ATDA, and that's about all I know at the moment… they haven't given me a release date even. Tsk.

Mikas - Elipse

This was sent to me under the heading of 'Minimal - Techno - Progressive', and it's fair to say it's a sight more proggy and driving a houser than you might normally encounter here on TIWWD. The reason it's here, though, is that it's also got bags of energy, it's got that all-important wiggle to its stomp and it's just, well, fun, with a big nagging synth riff that'll stay with you.

That said, it's only really the Club Mix that's working for me. The Manual De La Mare Remix is just a straight-up techno thing and not that interesting to these ears. Don't mind the darker prog shades of the TKM Remix so much, but really it's the Club Mix every time.

Oh yeah, and it's OUT THIS WEEK, too.

About: This is on Progressive Grooves, which is Mikas's own label and based in Canada - full info can be found on their website. You can hear Elipse for yourself there, too. Meantime, I'd just like to point out that this is indeed called ELIPSE… which isn't actually a word, as far as I know. Don't know whether they meant eclipse or ellipse, but just so's you know I didn't type it wrong…

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Various - West Coast Wanderers

Right then, sorry it's been a while… been alternately busy/lazy. Anyway the good news: more great music has landed on the TIWWD doormat lately than in any month previously known to mankind. Well, lots, anyway. The bad news: you'll have to buy iDJ magazine to read about the very best, most upfrontest bits! And also, reviewing records for iDJ (where I don't babble shite about poetry and stuff but instead get to the point) is gonna take up quite a lot of my time in the immediate, so it may be a few days yet before TIWWD becomes the non-stop two-legged reviewing machine you know and love once more.

So before I immerse myself in the world of pain that is sticking to word counts (and the point), just a quick heads-up on another excellent EP from the ever-reliable Peng, that bastion of deep house based in the unlikely surrounds of rural Devon. West Coast Wanderers is a six-track affair, with contributions from label boss Andy Compton (both solo and as The Rurals), plus newcomers Thursday Lads and Pete Mo, and slightly, er, oldercomer Jay Tripwire.

Compton's solo offering Clear Day is a mellow, midtempo deep houser with a jazzy, almost torch-style vocal. Tripwire's Cleansing Tones couldn't be much more different, a lively upbeat affair with a vaguely acid-y kinda feel until the lush piano chords kick in to reassure us that we're still well and truly within Deepsville City Limits. Skyrise from Pete Mo is a musical, string-drenched instrumental number that should work in the more soulfully-oriented house clubs; Sirseil and Shiva Song are a couple of floor-friendly Rurals deep house cuts, the former edging it for me with its jazz-funk flourishes; and finally the Thursday Lads deliver another spaced-out deep houser in the form of Shark Soup, which is groovy but which I'd like even more if the percussion was just a wee bit less busy. But that's just me.

All told, then, with six varied tracks for your cash this is a well worthwhile purchase for all the deep house jocks out there.

About: Peng – "the southwest's deepest, funkiest record label," as they so modestly put it themselves – should need no introduction (gonna have to find a new way of saying that), nor should Digipeng, the digital-only offshoot… but in case you've just joined us, here's their website anyway. So all that remains to say is this is out on November 27…

Monday, 9 November 2009

Mack & Steel - Sunshade

Don’t know a huge amount about this one - for one thing, I can’t remember who sent it – but for what it’s worth, Sunshade is a pretty decent slab of deep house in that post-minimal kinda stylee.

There’s four mixes on offer: the Original (which I’ve just said about as much about I as I can, really), plus one from Echofusions and two from Ryan Luciano. The latter’s Deeper Mix is described by the hype sheet as “a deep house marathon”… but it’s more like a prog epic, if you ask me, so I’d stick to his Remix instead, which is also quite proggy but brings in some nice wikky-wakky guitar licks. And doesn’t go on quite so long. Finally, Echofusion’s Deep Cut Remix, and here it’s back to the post-minimal feel, only this time out the b-line’s brought forward a notch and the breakdowns are drawn out, for a slightly more textured kinda ride.

About: This is on Unrivaled Music, they're a new London-based label and it’s their second release. That’s about all I know right now… have a look at their MySpace and you'll get the idea they're really very new cos they've still got 'Tom' as a top friend!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Hauswerks – Chunk

A very aptly-titled release, this, as it really is nothing more than a simple and v. 'chunky' tech-house groove in its Original Mix form. The Haus Mix adds some more shuffly percussion, and then Alix Alvarez delivers a rub that really brings the track’s moody qualities to the fore.

That’s about all there is to say, really. It's just a now-sounding piece of house music designed to keep floors moving, end of. Oh, and I guess I should mention that it’s OUT THIS WEEK, too.

About: Hauswerks is known to his mum as Colin Barrett, and this is on 1Trax, an offshoot of the MN2S stable concentrating (these days) on darker, techier house styles. Click here for more info on all of MN2S's shenanigans.

Korablove - Pani Chacha

Pani Chacha starts out as yet another slab of chuggy tech-house, albeit this time with a little carnival/Latin-type flavour thanks to the use of some very understated horn sounds. It then takes on a strange Balkan/gypsy-type twist halfway through, which makes sense given that it’s apparently named after a drink from Georgia that’s popular among the Romany.

Given the current obsession with all things gypsy, I can see this going down well. There’s also a remix from SCSI-9, which is slightly more subtle, and eschews most of the gypsy elements in favour of creating a simple looping groove. BTW you can HEAR THIS at their MySpace.

About: This is on Pro-Tez, which is a new label to me… so here’s their MySpace and we can go on a voyage of discovery together. Or something.

Timid Boy - Diana Legal EP

Another very solid three-track deep house EP. Title track Diana Legal itself comes two mixes: the Original has a stripped-down, New Jersey kinda feel and jazzy flourishes, while DJ Yellow turns in a Mindz Kontrol Ultra Remix that’s not hugely dissimilar, except it ditches the jazz touches in favour of some insistent (but not too in your face) samba percussion. Marimbas and shakers ahoy!

Meanwhile, I’m a bit of a sucker for unlikely-sounding spoken vocals, so bonus track Beyond The River had me hooked from the get-go. It’s led by sampled speech which sounds like Garrison Keiler or some other US chap prone to gentle nostalgia; the backing is fairly standard deep house with the teensiest hint of jazz, but it’s all about the vocal on this one.

About: Timid Boy is a young guy from France who’s had previously had stuff out on the hip and happenin’ Time Is Now label. This, however, comes atcha on Monique Musique, which is a Canadian imprint. Here's their MySpace and here's a little more info at Resident Advisor.

Ross Warm - I Am An Original

You might quibble that there’s nothing particularly original about the preacherman-style vocal here – and you’d be right – but all the same, I Am An Original is an okay slab of house in its Original Mix form… tuff enough to work a big floor but not stupid, not devoid of soul but not drippy, either… even if it does sound like something Fluential might have put out circa 2002.

The reason it’s here, though, isn’t the Original Mix but the rather jaunty remix from Magic Fly, AKA one Rob Watson (who also records as Doktor Watson and Wicked Devil. it says here). In Magic Fly’s hands, I Am An Original is turned into an uptempo breakbeat/ska romp that recalls the not-shit side of (whisper it) big beat. Like Rock The Funky Beat for instance (of which more soon, BTW).

About: This is out on November 16, and it’s on a new label outta Nottingham called Unpopular Music, whose electic roster of artists I notice includes San Fran house bods Andrew Phelan & Origami as well as local indie kids Brown and Brighton boy Warm. “The concept of the label is non-genre-specific, with no niche pandered to and no style written off.” Jolly good, then.

Output 09.4 - Deep Under/Pacific Rim/Check 1

For proof that the deep house scene is alive and well in the UK, look no further than this, the latest in a series of mysterious EPs emanating, I believe, from Manchesterford-On-Sea.

The best way I can describe lead cut Deep Under is, imagine that slightly garage-y/disco-y deep houser you heard at the best DiY or Smokescreen rave you never went to, just as the d***gs finally took their toll and you had to go curl up in a warm, fuzzy ball somewhere. Get the idea? Good, now fast forward a couple of hours… till the sun’s come up and it’s a bright sunny dawn, and there’s still half a dozen stragglers dancing in a somewhat weary and spangled fashion, while more sensible, mumsy hippy women are handing out cups of tea… and there, that’s what Check 1 sounds like.

The Balearic, E2/E4-aping Pacific Rim isn’t quite up to the standard of the other two, IMHO, but it’s still a solid bet for free party soundsystem action. All told, then, for lovers of underground UK deep house this is sheer quality you don’t wanna miss.

About: Ha ha, don’t know… there’s not even a proper artist name given. How underground you want it?! All I know is the Output series comes from a guy called Matt…

Dazzle Drums - Meteor Shower/Express 4000

This Japanese duo have been making quite a name for themselves over the past few years, and this is their fifth release for King Street’s sub-label Nite Grooves.

“Who’s got a dark techy secret? Dazzle Drums do!” reads the hype sheet, and it’s certainly true to say this is a techier offering than you’d maybe expect from the pair. Meteor Shower is all about the big dark room drama, and makes interesting use of some very glacial, European-sounding synths. Express 4000 is equally big ’n’ dramatic, but this time with a little more house sash-ay to its big throbbing bassline and militaristic snares. Just a little, mind.

About: Nite Grooves hasn’t had a mention on here before I don’t think but it’s basically just another name for King Street, which is of course one of the best-established, best-loved and, well, best of all US house labels. Now click here to surf to their pages of web, whydontcha?

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Skwerl – Liron/Treble Agency

While we're on the subject of Detroitian chuggers (see Kasper review, below), here's two more from Skwerl, AKA Vianna's Michael Baim, who you might remember from a previous single, All Woman, which came with mixes from Sandy Rivera and Karizma.

Here though he treads a slightly more techno-inspired path – though that's techno only inna Derrick May/Kevin Saunderson kinda sense as opposed to 160bpm metal kicks! There's lots of nice truncated string stabs on Treble Agency, while some warm pads on tech-houser Liron would see this fit in nicely alongside (eg) H-Foundation, Peace Division or even the less 'quirky' Dirtybird tackle.

About: This is on the mighty Gigolo, a label which needs no (etc). Go here for more info.

Kasper - The Pressure

No frills, here, just three solid instrumentals in a very US 1990s kinda style… which is just how we like it! A-side The Pressure is a midtempo chugger with some minor-key, er, keys. On the B, UK tech-house veteran Mr G delivers a remix of The Pressure that's got more of a Detroitian flavour – you could have told me this was Octave One and I'd have believed you – and you also get Vibrations, which again is very ’90s sounding, this time conjuring visions of New York circa 95/96.

Like I said, it's all solid stuff: even if none of the tracks is what you'd call a surefire floorfiller in its own right, any of ’em will keep ’em grooving nicely. I think Vibrations just pips it for me.

About: This is on Bass Culture, a new label run by legendary Parisian house bloke D'Julz (this is only the third release, and it's out "in November" so now-ish, I guess). Kasper meanwhile is a producer/DJ/promoter from Madrid and I can't tell you much more than that. Want to know more? Try Bass Culture's blog and MySpace.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Ralf GUM & Monique Bingham - Little W 12th Street

This has been out since 26 Oct, but it's just too heavyweight a pairing to ignore! When Ralf & Monique team up the result must surely be a no-brainer for those who like it deep ’n' soulful, right?

Well, yeah, but I should first of all point out that this is 'deep and soulful' only in the sense of being vocal and, y'know, not a pile of commercial cheese. It's not 'deep and soulful' in a worthy/chinstroke-y/muso-y sense, but in fact rather an uplifting and lively little number that kind of reminds me of a (much) more upbeat Diamond Life. The Sealee/Vega/McKnight track, I mean, not Sade. Not really sure why except that lyrically, both are little vignettes of New York street life.

Anyway that's the Main Mix. Then there's a remix by DJ Spinna which starts off more sedate, adds some post-bruk big squelchy bass, and then goes off into a jazz-funk-tastic synth wigout that'll, like, take you places daddio; there's also a more left-of-centre mix from Benny Pecoraio that's even deeper but still movable, a Deeper Dub from Ralf that's pretty self-explanatory, and a handful more dubs and instrumentals that I can't really be arsed going into right now, cos the real story here is all about Monique's voice, which here seems to have acquired a little of that throaty, raunchy quality that made Shay Jones possibly my favourite house vocalist of all time.

Just to recap: that's Monique coming on all sexy and growly atop crisp house beats, fat basslines and some psychedelic synth tom-trippery from the mighty Spinna. What's not to like?

About: This is on GOGO Music, which is Ralf's own label and based in Germany. Check 'em out at their internet page. I can also vouch personally for Ralf and Monique both being lovely people, if that counts for a hill o'beans anymore in this crazy mixed-up ol' world of ours.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Mystikos Quintet - Wup Bup

Got sent this a few weeks ago and it's out already but what the hey… unless you're a keen follower of the downtempo/jazz scene in Indiannapolis there's a fair chance you won't have heard it!

I must admit I'd not heard of (the?) Mystikos Quintet before, but this is apparently their fourth long-player, which would go some way to explaining how they get their tunes sounding so damn polished. They describe their music as "hook-laden, groove-centered [sic] downtempo, jazz-tronica and acid jazz", and I'm not really sure there's much I can add to that, save to say it's a pretty fair description, and maybe to add that it doesn't quite do 'em justice, because from those words alone you'd never guess at the raw funk of Bonehead Jazz or the dubby deep house stylings of Basic Channel, two of the album's highlights for me (along with the uptempo, soul-infused I Can Give You Good Lovin' Baby, which I bet is a killer live). You wouldn't think automatically, "Hey, I bet they've used a sampled jazzman vocal, in the manner favoured by loads of west coast house bods, but on a jazz tune, which when you think about it is quite unusual." Nor would you guess that with track titles like Midnight Herb and Roach Clip, the album comes complete with some helpful, not-very-subliminal-at-all-really suggestions as to how this album might be enjoyed to its fullest. Guess that's where the phrase 'jazz cigarette' comes from, innit?

Overall, this is an album that's rooted firmly in jazz but equally right at home in the 21st century; it's not afraid to shake its booty on the dancefloor now and then, but mostly inclined towards late-night listening in smoky rooms. And it's really quite good, so go HEAR THE TRACKS yourself at the MQ website (below).

About: This is on Jersey Blu records, about whom I know nothing… ditto Mystikos Quintet themselves, but here's a link to their website to be going on with.

Monday, 2 November 2009

This Saturday at Swag!

This one's for all the budding producers… this Saturday (7 Nov), the excellent Lost My Dog Records is holding the first in a series of Connect events, which gives aspiring artists the chance to talk to industry types face-to-face.

This first Connect event takes place at Croydon's legendary vinyl emporium Swag, AKA the spiritual home of tech-house, this Saturday. Guests include the equally legendary Terry Francis, so be there or be a geometric shape consisting of four interconnecting straight lines of equal length, joined at 90ยบ angles…