Sunday, 31 January 2010

Roger Sanchez presents… Battle Weapons Vol 2

The S-Man puts his name to a five-track sampler EP on his own Stealth imprint. The tracks come from Carl Hanaghan & My Digital Enemy, Jason Chance, Jesse Voorn and Nathan Cozzetto, and the over-riding theme is stomping big room cuts with tons of dancefloor energy.

Hanaghan & MDE’s Subida has a nice retro piano hook, but I’m not so sure about the vocal – lucky it comes in Vocal and Dub mixes, then. Jason Chance’s Diesel is another ‘accessible’ kinda club cut, while Jesse Voorn turns in the more electrofied and hip-house vocalled Rocket and, finally, Nathan Cozzetto gives us Repair which is a slightly wonkier, Berlin-influenced thang.

All told, a useful package if you, y’know, play in big nightclubs, n’ that. Battle weapons indeed.

Out: Now

About: See the Stealth website for more.

Sonotheque - Sugarblues EP

A nice varied EP of deeper vibes here, from a label and artist I must admit I don’t really know anything about.

Still, taking ’em track by track, the titular Sugarblues fuses house, jazz/blues and the teensiest little bit of techno in that St Germain kinda stylee. It’s very playable, albeit nothing we haven’t heard before. The ever on-point Bearweasel then turn it into a heavyweight slab of deep dub techno that’s definitely worth checking.

Over on the flip, meanwhile, Latex Dreams is a funky-ass deep houser with touches of both disco and jazz, while digital-only bonuse cut Calor is a more horizontally-inclined number from that point where deep house shares a cheeky doob with ‘chill out’, with a forlorn-sounding female Latin vocal.

Like I said, then, nice and varied and well worth a punt. Assuming you’re not playing the peaktime slot at your local electrohouse night of course…

Out: Now

About: This is the 25th release from Metroline Ltd, about whom you can learn more at their website and MySpace; you also HEAR THESE TRACKS at the latter.

Various - Jubilee EP

Erm, in what way is this an EP, please? There’s 13 tracks by 13 different artists. That makes it an album, surely? But anyway, Jubilee EP is what it says on the cover…

Like I said, then, 13 tracks from 13 different artists, most of whom (except Dragosh, Luca Bear and Andrew Grant) are new names to me and probably will be to all but the most ardent Lawler/VIVa devotee. The kind of track-y, percussive, borderline-tribal dark room house we’ve come to expect predominates, but to be fair, across the 13 cuts there’s actually quite a pleasing amount of variety, with the disco inflections of Luca Bear’s Deon catching my ear in particular.

Thanks to that variety, and the sheer quantity of new or rising talent on display, this is worth checking by househeads of most persuasions.

Out: Now

About: This is called (the) Jubilee EP cos it’s the 50th release from Steve Lawler’s VIVa MUSiC label, so happy birthday to them. With VIVa events taking place across the globe as well as what’s clearly proving to be a successful label, a big hats off to Mr Lawler for helping new talent break through as well! More info here

Various - Munich Disco Tech Vol 6

The latest in Great Stuff’s ever-checkable Munich Disco Tech series, and as ever there are some fine nuggets to tempt you.

The biggest surprise for me was Par Hammar’s Bang, cos the press release describes it as “a banging technotrack”… methinks they’re havin’ a bubble cos in real life it’s as jaunty and as hip-wigglin’ a slice of boompty-boomp house as you’ll hear all year. Me like!

Next up, Vincent Thomas turns in two tracks, Heureka and If I Had Known This Before. The latter’s a cover apparently but I’ll ’fess to not knowing the original, suffice to say both Vincent’s offerings are very respectable Deutscher house workouts, Heureka throwing in some cheeky disco soundsalike moments and a neat little jazz bass drop while the aforementioned …Known This Before, er, doesn’t.

And finally we get a surprise appearance from the Slovenian don of loopy, funky techno, the all-conquering Umek himself, who teams up with one Jay Lumen to deliver Sinful Ladies, a midtempo (for techno), percussion-y number that’s pleasant enough, but probably best filed under ‘warm-up’.

Out: Now

About: Great Stuff shouldn’t need any introduction by now, and anyway I’ve not got time… so here’s the relevant internet hyperlink thing and let’s be done with it.

Onionz - Set U Free

After not reviewing anything by this uber-prolific NYC producer for ages, here’s two in quick succession (see also the review of Dancing For The Dead, below).

This time out we’re talking a throbbing house slab that’ll appeal to deep house floors, Ibiza terraces and big rooms alike - no mean feat. It comes in Big Room Mix, Original Smooth Mix and Joshua Collins Mix flavours; they don’t vary hugely in overall mood/tone, but the Original Smooth Mix does thrown in a crazy-ass funk break in the middle that’s absent from the other two, while the Joshua Collins Remix is a little less in your face in the synths department.

Out: Now

About: This is on Onionz’s own relaunched Elecktrik Soul Records. For more info visit

Cubik & Origami - Bought & Sold

This is the latest from Prismatic Tracks, the Moulton Studios-based label that’s fast building itself a rep to match that of more established San Francisco labels like Transport, Salted and Loveslap!

The original comes from the chunkier, techier end of deep house, but features a quirky male vocal that calls to mind David Byrne’s performance on Lazy. It’s complemented by no fewer than six remixes from Q-Burns Abstract Message, Artie Flexs, George Cochrane (x2) and Pete Dafeet (x2). Not gonna go into all of ’em cos there’s a lot to get through today, but my pick would be Pete Dafeet’s slightly deeper, slightly more abstract (and vocal-free) Club Dub; most of the rest push the chunky/techy factor, except for Q-Burns’ rub which is more of a drifty, late-night kind of affair.

Out: Now

About: See above as regards Prismatic, or check ’em out online here. Origami meanwhile has previously collaborated with label boss Andrew Phelan, while Cubik & Origami have had two genre-blending long players out as a duo but this is the debut for Prismatic.

Monday, 25 January 2010

tONKPROJECT - One Night Stand

This was first out on Proton Records in 2008, apparently, but I don't remember it from then. Not to worry cos it's now back as the debut release for Etoka Logue, a new off-shoot of Etoka Records.

This is a proper late night, deeper-than-deep affair… one of those tracks that you'd probably need a very specialist/educated dancefloor to play it to. I'd dance to stuff like this but I think most people would class it as a home listening affair. There are three mixes apiece of One Night Stand itself and Portclub, with the dubbed-out Ebencrib Remaster Work Edit of Portclub and the proper driftaway Artette's Aphrodisiac Edit of One Night Stand particularly worthy of your attention. Those are just the pick of a very fine crop though, and there's also a more floor-friendly dub of One Night Stand from Youandewan, a producer I need to find out more about I think cos his name's cropping up quite a bit lately, and always on very good stuff…

Out: Today

About: Etoka Records are based in Liverpool, and were responsible for the excellent (if unimaginatively titled) Various Artists Pt 2 compilation featured on this blog not so long since, which is definitely worth checking. Etoka Logue is one of several new offshoots they've got launching, so things must be going well for them, which is good. Hit up their website for the full skinny and links to EtokaLogue, EtokaShapes and EtokaMiniature.

MANIK - Park To The Slope EP

What was I just saying* about 'acid' and 'deep' not going together very often? Well, in typical Sod's Law, anything-to-make-me-look-stupid fashion, here comes another track where they do. Oh cruel fate why do you mock me, etc.

Anyway, the track in question is one of three on this EP, and is entitled N Train To Astoria. Here, though, rather than using the 303 super-subtly like the Bonnie Drasko record, it's a bit more like the tune has two faces - the deep one first, then the acid side takes over, then we go back to the deepness. Something of a journey of a track, then, and it's a journey I'd recommend you and your dancefloor taking ASAP. Moving on, Rau Down Low is a fairly no-nonsense tracky number sitting on that techno/house borderline, while title track Park To The Slope itself is more yer straight-up dancefloor deep house, with a nice jazzy, off-kilter, west coast kinda feel. Despite MANIK actually being from New York.

Out: This week

About: MANIK is a 24yo producer from New York (as stated) who also records as Chatterbox. This is his debut for Ovum Records, which of course is Josh Wink's label, and whose website is currently being refurbished so for now you'll have to make do with their MySpace.

*see Bonnie Drasko review, below

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Bonnie Drasko - Acid & Fresh EP

It's not often the words 'acid' and 'deep' go together, but here they go together like, well, two things that go together really rather well.

It's the title cut where the real splendiferousness is to be found, starting out as a slab of lush, musical deepness before those 303 scribbles and screeches introduce themselves about two minutes in… nice. Manual Perez turns in a slightly tuffer remix but it's the original for me. Rounding out the EP nicely is We Choose To Go To The Moon, a slice of bouncy dancefloor deep busting a hefty chunk of sampled JFK speech (I looked it up and everything) and a mid-to-uptempo lolloping groove underpinning an incessant staccato/stabby riff and yes, some more nicely understated acid twittering.

Out: Your guess is as good as mine…

About: Acid & Fresh is the work of a 29yo producer from Catalonia, Spain called Marcel F, and is brought to you by Lace Recordings, who are French. You can find out more by hitting up their MySpace… and if you do, like I just did, you'll notice this release was announced on their blog way back in October, so why they've decided to send it in January, fuck knows. I'm confused now, but to be fair it doesn't take a lot.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Ricky Inch presents Clazz

Ricky Inch headlines an eight-track EP which is all about the jazzual vibes, and very lovely it all is too.

I should mention at this point I have a soft spot for appalling ’70s/’80s jazz-fusion and smooth jazz – for the uninitiated that's like jazz-funk, only not quite so funky. It feels only fair to point this out cos some of this does sound quite like that, only with a 4/4 kickdrum stuck underneath. But if you've ever harboured a secret longing to jump into the Cortina and go cruising down country lanes, top down, sun-soaked meadows on either side of you and a Swedish/Essex blonde laughing in the passenger seat like you're in some dreadful ’70s shampoo commercial, then cuts like D'Flower's Rain Before will suit you down to the ground, or more accurately down to your white socks and loafers. Just as they do me.

Other tracks, such as Elastic Sound's TechJazz or Vinyl Dharm's Infidelity have a more contemporary, more overtly (deep) house-ified feel; yet others like St Maarten's Rues De Jazz have that more midtempo St Germain/Souffles H kinda vibe going on. Overall, though, this EP is a must for anyone who likes a little jazz in the house…

Out: This week (Jan 27), you can hear it/buy it here

About: This is on Ceremony Records, whose releases have covered pretty much the whole of the deep house spectrum, from techy/proggy to more soulful. This is the jazziest thing I've heard from 'em by far, but anyway you can find out more here.

Various - Training Camp Vol 1

Again, a bit late on this – it's been out since Jan 13 – but hey. I figure a six-tracker from Get Physical showcasing the label's rising stars has gotta be worth at least a cursory mention…

I say six-tracker, but that depends what you buy. The vinyl has three tracks, from Jet Project, Ross Evana and Axel Bartsch; go for the digital download though and you get three more, from Andre Krom, Daniel Mehlhart and Darlyn Vlys.

As it's already out you can hear 'em for yourselves at Beatport et al so I won't go into every track, suffice to say the general vibe is the housier end of that Berlin sound. It's probably La Pause from Vlys that's floating my boat the most, with its unexpected bursts of ’60s spy theme dramatics in among the driving house rhythm, though the stripped, garage-y beats ’n' vox of Crom's Now Show Me are pretty gosh-darned fine 'n all. Not to say the other four aren't.

Out: Now

About: Get Physical is of course M.A.N.D.Y, Booka Shade and DJ T's label. They've been going since 2002 but in case you've been living in the proverbial cave, here's the relevant website.

If on the other hand you know all about Get Physical, but you want something to read anyway, then here's a website about raising lambs with lots of cute pictures of tiny baby sheep. Awww.

Micky More - A Touch Of Jazz

Out for a couple of weeks but can't be overlooked cos it's ace. One for the lovers of upbeat, fairly trad-sounding house/garage music, the sax-sporting A Touch Of Jazz does what it says on the tin, basically. With a host of live musicians brought in to play on it, it's a sumptuous, classy-sounding affair in its original MM Classic mix form… then a host of top-drawer remixers (Groove Junkies, Scott Wozniak, Alex Dimitri plus the mysterious Andy & Dave) get drafted in to rework it.

Not gonna go into every mix, but check Andy & Dave's for maximum pumped-up energy (not in a horrible OTT way though), the MM Organ Dub for proper deep Jersey lover's treat and of course gotta prop the slightly more bumpin', left coast-y rub from Groove Junkies seeing as it was Evan that sent it!

Out: Now on Beatport promo only, here's the link so you can hear/buy it.

About: This is on Street Of Soul, a new label outta sunny Italy run by Micky More AKA Michele Mingo – this is only the second release as far as I can see. For more on the label visit their MySpace.

Sugar Daddy - Love Honey 2010

You'll know this already. In 2005, Tom Findlay of Groove Armada teamed up with a chum as Sugar Daddy and dropped a three-track EP of re-edits of Man Friday's disco/electrofunk/proto-house classic 'Love Honey (Love Heartache)'. Well, now it's back with two new mixes courtesy of the re-edit king himself Greg Wilson, and Ilya Santana.

Wilson's edit stays pretty faithful in tone to the (Sugar Daddy) original, as is his wont, while Ilya Santana gives it an altogether more Balearic, stoned kinda feel. Can't really decide which I like best, you gotta give Santana props for flipping it but his mix just doesn't have those killer acid squelches, does it? So we'll call it a draw.

Out: Now (but only just this week)

About: Another winner from the mighty Tirk (click the link for more info)

Lots of silly Polish rave - FREE DL's

Okay right, we'll get back to the underground tech-house and other worthy stuff very shortly, but before we do, this one's for all the ageing cheesy quavers. Click on THIS LINK, go to their Downloads page and there's several hours' worth of 'rave breaks' for the taking, including the full album pictured here plus a couple of long DJ mixes.

For those not down with the latest developments in hardcore, rave breaks = exactly like old rave (except maybe a tiny bit faster). It's like it's ’91/’92 all over again! All very silly but it reminds me of when we were young and all the fun we had…

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Various - Fventi EP

Another EP featuring a bunch of up-and-coming artists – four of them, to be precise, all duos and all from Italy. This time with a slightly less techy feel than the Safari Electronique EP below, but still quite tracky and underground.

Outart give us Cheri, which is a tuff, heads-down tech/tribal groove tailor-made for the hipper Ibiza terraces – you can see why they've been getting support from the likes of Loco Dice and Carl Cox. Doslive's Avvocat is musically quite similar (maybe a little less Berlin, a bit more Chicago), but distinguished by its vocal which is… I don't know, Moroccan or Turkish or something? It works okay, though. Autre's Closing Party Session features a mid-’90s tribal beat and shuffly, jazzy brushed snares, then brings in a killer sax line halfway through – a proper epic, frazzled workout of a terrace tune. And then finally AeN's Una Tantum is a more traditional houser, with a walking disco b-line and nods to the harder end of vintage US garage.

There's no crossover-friendly singalongs here and, equally, no daring, paradigm-shifting sonic experiments. Just four solid dancefloor movers, any and all of which I could see working well in a lot of sets by a lot of different DJs.

Out: Today

About: This is an introductory showcase EP for Fventi, the brand new, oddly-named offshoot of the equally oddly-named IANVS71, which itself is a new label to me, though they're already six releases deep. The label is based in London/Ibiza and run by Amor T and System Of Survival. All of which I only know from Googling them five minutes ago, so instead of me just reading stuff and then typing it out again, find out the rest at their website, MySpace, Facebook fan page and (blimey) YouTube channel.

Various - Safari Electronique Sampler EP #009

A five-track sampler for Arnaud Le Texier's Safari Electronique label, featuring four tracks (five on the digital version), mostly from new artists plus Le Texier himself.

It's the digital-only bonus cut Zuma Mama by Sonorheque that's the clear standout. A reasonably upbeat number, it features a highly distinctive two-part riff comprising of whistling and what sound like heavily treated chorused male vox (but could be a kazoo or something); it's hard to describe, but once you hear it, it'll be stuck in your head all day. There's some more conventional female African vocals later on in the track, but it's the whistling you'll remember this for. There's not enough whistling on house records, if you ask me…

Also worthy of note is Jazz Set by Antonio De Angelis & Luciano Esse, which is a techy affair on the whole, the 'jazz' part consisting of some nice chords that come in about halfway through, plus some heavily treated vocal snips. Elsewhere, Arnaud Le Texier & Antonio De Angelis's Breath Of Night is fairly standard Berlin-type deep house/tech business to start with, but gets a bit jauntier when the vocal hook (again heavily treated) comes in; Sinc's Ex Bitch is a dark-ish, deep-ish dancefloor stomper with snippets of diva vox, and quite NYC in feel; and Micro On & Vincente's Feel It is a mostly percussive cut and more of a set-filler than anything.

Overall, the vibe is tracky and underground, with hummability low (apart from that riff on Zuma Mama) but dancefloor energy high.

Out: Today!

About: As stated, this is on Le Texier's own Safari Electronique. Here's their website and MySpace.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Marc Romboy – Talking All That Jazz

This is just ACE. It starts off sounding fairly typical of the kind of deep, techy house that the Germans have proved to be so good at in the past few years… and even if that was all there was to the story it'd still be a good record, don't get me wrong.

BUT! then you get what is unarguably the single best drop I've heard in years… it's not often a record takes me completely by surprise but this one did. I won't spoil it but suffice to say it's one of those moments that'll take the floor aback and give it a whole new lease of life. And it makes this the sort of record you want to run outside and drag people in off the street shouting "listen to this!"

Two mixes: the Original from Romboy himself, plus a remix from Patrick Lindsey & M. in Fresh. Without giving too much away, the latter is sparser and thus renders THAT drop even more effective.

Out: Tomorrow (Jan 20). Buy it, it's great!

About: This is on Systematic Recordings, which as you're no doubt aware is Romboy's own label and has put out stuff by the likes of Booka Shade, John Dahlback, Tommie Sunshine and Stephan Bodzin. Even Blake Baxter once. For more info, visit their website.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Greg Dorban & Andy Bunney - All Around Pt 2

This first came out three months ago, with mixes from Park Street and Deep Inc; now it's back with fresh rubs from Pete Gust, JazzLoungez, Filin Brake and Dorban himself.

As before, Chappell's voice (for tis he on mic duties) might be a bit off-putting for those who don't like it too soulful, but the underlying grooves are certainly very solid, with my pick of the new mixes being from JazzLoungerz, I think, though Gust's deeper take is pretty good too.

Increasingly, though, one thing bothers me. Lyrically, this song is all about how house music can uplift your spirits and see you through the darkest of times – sentiments I can wholeheartedly agree with. But: "If you're down/search the sound"? Come on… that just isn't grammatical, is it?

I'll forgive 'em though cos like Chappell sings, "you know it's about that house thing"…

Out: Now

About: This is on Reelgroove, who (along with Andy Ward-helmed spin-off Sounds Of The Booth) are doing probably more to push traditional vocal house/garage in the UK than anyone right now. For more info see their website and MySpace.

Onionz - Dancing For The Dead

Onionz must be one of the hardest-working men in dance music – but often I get sent 'bits' rather than full releases, which is great as a DJ but not much use as a reviewer. This, though, is out this week on Endemic Digital, so for once the boy from NYC can get the props he deserves.

So, to Dancing For The Dead. Not the cheeriest of titles, and I'm not really sure why it's called that cos it's an instrumental number, but there you go. It comes in five mixes: the Original plus mixes by Chris Fortier, Justin Steel, Greg Mak and Tom Lennox. They do vary but not huge amounts, all being quite dark 'n' driving and operating in that kind of 'deep meets tech meets prog' zone. Greg Mak's mix just edges it for me, but any of ’em will be conducive to people in darkened rooms gyrating their bodies rhythmically on a special area of floor designated for the purpose.

Out: Now, well yesterday in fact. Fresh as a daisy that's being pushed up as we speak, then!

About: You shouldn't really need me to explain who Onionz is. So I'm not going to. Just, here's his website if you want to know more. And here's the website for Endemic Digital, too.

FREE ALBUM from Artie Flexs - The Journey

If you've been paying attention to this blog at all, you'll be aware of rising star Latvian producer Artie Flexs. His brand of house works largely somewhere around the deep/tech border, with just the teensiet hint of prog thrown in here and there. And now guess what? Those crazy impetuous fools are giving away a whole Artie Flexs album for free... I seriously doubt you've seen a better offer online all day.

The album's called The Journey and I'm not gonna say loads about it, for once the music can do the talking. But, y'know, it's good or I wouldn't be putting it up. The promo download also includes both mixed and unmixed versions, so DJ types can do their ker-razy wicky-wacky mixin' n' scratchin' and wingin' em in outta nowhere thing, and normal people can just put it on and dance around their living rooms/bedrooms/lifesize statues of a naked Brian Blessed. Which is nice.

You will need to register for the Lost My Dog newsletter to get the album, but as they're among the country's leading purveyors of fine quality house music, an email from them once a month or so shouldn't prove to be too onerous a burden. Certainly nowhere as near as onerous as lugging the Brian Blessed statue back from the shop was.

To download the album FOR FREE, just click HERE.

About: Lost My Dog should be familiar by now… assuming you're a house music lover/TIWWD reader that is. If you've just stumbled across this page by accident by Googling 'Brian Blessed naked' then a) Lost My Dog is a very fine house music label based in the north of England and b) you should probably have a little word with yourself.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Groove Junkies ft Diane Carter - Midnight 2010

Groove Junkies should perhaps really be called The Groovy Junky now cos it's just Evan these days, but never mind! Apart from losing 50% of the personnel, not much else has changed – you can still rely on the GJs for some good old-fashioned uplifting house music.

That said, this is a remix/reisssue package so presumably Parrish was still involved; what's more, on the lead GJs mixes Midnight is actually a somewhat deeper, chuggier affair than normal. There IS a female vocal from Ms Carter, but even though said vocal is quite diva-tastic, a full-on screamer this is not: more of a heads-down stomper that just happens to have a lady singing on top of it, if that makes any sense.

The Stuttering Munx and Di Pascali mixes are a bit more funky/soulful in feel – I'm not gonna go into all six of them but there's a funky-ass break in the Di Pascali mix that's particularly worthy of your attention. There's a considerably tougher mix from remix comp winner Johnny Dirtbag, too, and finally, this also comes complete with a Stuttering Munx Countdown Tool (it was released just before NYE, y'see) which is obviously a bit irrelevant right now, but that'll be a useful thing to have in the box when NYE rolls around again. Which they seem to do in about six weeks these days.

Out: Now

About: This is on the Groove Junkies' own MoreHouse, as ever. Their actual website is currently having a revamp so for now here's a link to MoHo Stereo where all sorts of streamy mixy podcasty radioy goodness awaits your listening pleasure.

Suroh - Sentimentios

Apparently these are actually the '2010 Remixes', but I don't recall ever hearing the original so you'll have to forgive the lack of any comparison. We'll just have to treat this as a new track.

So, the remixer in question is none other than Sandy Rivera, and whatever the original might have sounded like, in his hands Sentimentios becomes a decent slab of house that's kind of deep but in a big room way… that is, it's quite driving and accessible, but it's also heads-down and non-cheesy, the sort of thing you might expect to hear Sanchez play in Ibiza, for instance. In fact, let's be honest, Ibiza is exactly where this is aimed at.

And yeah, if you heard this at, say, Pacha, then it'd no doubt sound great. Personally I can't be doing with the wailing ethnic vocal at all, but you might like it, and anyway there's a Dub that dispenses with it entirely, so that's okay.

Out: Now (but only just – came out on Monday)

About: This is on Blackwiz, which is Sandy Rivera's own label and distributed in the UK by MN2S. Find out more from their MySpace or at the MN2S website.

Friday, 15 January 2010

FREE DL: Solo mix of Wiley

More free tuneage courtesy of the Fat! camp… this time in the form of the Solo Loves Garage Mix of Wiley's Never Be Your Woman. Worth checking if you like your UK funky kinda stylings. This mix WILL be on the commercial release, but that's not out till 1 March, whereas this is right here, right now and for free, which is one of my favourite prices. To grab the free download click here.

In other news, finished this month's iDJ house reviews and as ever there was loads of great stuff that there just isn't room for in the magazine, or that came in too late, plus some very fine but non-house bits that are worthy of your attention, so keep 'em peeled… more v. soon. Assuming I haven't eaten too many biscuits and exploded, that is. Or had to nip out to buy new jeans. Note to self: buying a kilo box is a bad idea.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Krummstoff – In A Fog EP

At pretty much the opposite end of the spectrum from the Stonebridge single below, here we have a three-track slab of deep, groovy tech-house from Ashot Babayan, AKA Krummstoff.

In A Fog itself is groovelicious in the extreme: it's got all the bounce and swagger of left coast house, yet echoes in its instrumentation/use of sounds/structure of dub techno as well. It should, accordingly, move any more educated dancefloor that likes it deep.

It then gets remixed by Da Funk, who by day is boss of the excellent Acryl label: his take on In A Fog is more minimal, hypnotic and rolling, and just cries out to be heard on a big system for maximum effect. And rounding out the EP we have In A Ditch, which is another deep dancefloor workout, again with that dubbed-out kinda feel.

Quality stuff all round, then.

Out: This week. So go seek!

About: The In A Fog EP is only the eighth release from Low Flow Records, who are based in Armenia and say they're "mostly oriented at putting out cutting-edge deep house, deep tech and tech house vibes, spreading around the full palette of what is called deep." Sounds like a good plan to me! The label's co-owned by Babayan and Garry Mkrtchyan, and to HEAR THESE TRACKS (and the rest of their catalogue) you can visit their MySpace for now - the actual proper website is still in development.

Stonebridge & Dayeene - The Morning After

Okay, this is a sight more poppy/commercial than you'd normally read about on here. But c'mon… it's Stonebridge and Dayeene, who together brought us Around The World and It's Alright back in the day, so gotta be worth a peep.

Some five mixes in total, then, varying from the more radio-friendly to the more pumping/Ibiza-tastic. The clubbier mixes come from Richard Vission, Robbie Rivera and Sgt Slick. The latter's mix is the one I'd go for… but you'd still have to be in a reckless, 'don't fear the fromage' kinda mood, yagetmi? That said, though: Dayeene. Don't know what it is about these two Swedish ladies but their cojoined tonsils will carry most things for me. Twas ever thus, and so it is here.

Cheesy but fun, then, would be the overall verdict…

Out: Now, I think?

About: This is on Armada Music, who normally specialise in godawful trance, so this counts as a quality house record compared to most of their back catalogue! Generally speaking not a fave imprint, then, but if you must find out more, click here.

Meanwhile, Stonebridge should need no introduction – Sweden's foremost house producer/DJ from back in the day, still cited as a major inspiration by the SHM, no stranger to the pop charts, etc etc. He's also quite a nice bloke, as it goes, and this is the first single from his forthcoming long-player of the same name. You can learn more (and HEAR THIS) at his own website.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Maxime Cescau, Demarkus Lewis & Poussez

A bit late on these cos they were supposed to go in iDJ, only then there was some confusion about when they were coming out and… oh, well it's a long story. All you need to know is, these are two more fine releases from London's Artizan stable, and they've been available since just before Xmas so if you've not picked up on 'em yet, now's your chance!

First up is a joint venture between label co-owner Maxime Cescau and deep house legend Demarkus Lewis. Tussy Pickler is the lead track on this release, and it kind of reminds me of something that might have come out on Yoshitoshi back in the mid-to-late ’90s. Its combination of techy beats and slightly garage-y organ/synth sounds works for me, anyway, and while it doesn't 'do' huge amounts there's enough in the way of builds and drops to keep things interesting. It comes backed with Big Bird, which is in a slightly deeper vein, the beats a little less abrasive and the synth stabs replaced by nice dreamy washes. Nice.

And secondly (and most recently) we have The Waves by Poussez, who are of course no other than Cescau again and his fellow label co-owner Jafar. Again an instrumental, this is more of a prog-style cut, but it's deep enough to appeal to deep house floors as well, methinks. Particularly circa 5am in those eyes-wide-shut moments.

Out: Now

About: Artizan Music is, as stated above, based in London and run by Jafar and Maxime Cescau. They've been a bit quiet of late and hence despite being in the game a few years these are only their 9th and 10th releases, but I'm assured they're back in the saddle now - watch this space (or the pages of iDJ) for the soon-come Solar Stripes EP by Deporto. In the meantime, here's their website.

Rod Stewart @ 65: why Rod kicks ass

Just a quick post to celebrate the God-like genius of Rod 'The Mod' Stewart, who gets a bus pass today. Some of you may be laughing. Well, yes, he has made some awful records in his time and yes there was the whole tartan and spandex thing.


1. He was one of the original London mods and used to look like this ☛ (there's an even better pic in Mods! by Richard Barnes but I haven't got a scanner). Coolest man on earth.

2. When his records aren't a bit rubbish (Sailing), they're frequently f***ing brilliant. For my money, THE best white male soul voice, bar none. Listen to You're In My Heart, just for starters.

3. In the 70s, when gay-bashing was rife, he wrote The Killing Of Georgie Pts 1&2 as a paean to a late friend of his, and it's one of the most heartfelt, moving songs I've ever heard. Click to hear. Make sure to play it all the way through to Pt 2.

4. He was bessie mates with John Peel. Nuff said.

5. Fuck and I nearly forgot to even mention The Faces! (click for The Faces live on OGWT, ’72)

Rod, happy birthday – ThisIsWhyWeDance salutes you!

PS There's a full biog here if you wanna find out more.

***UPDATE 15/02/10
The Faces video has been deleted it seems; so here's a chimp going mental instead.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Some albums, quickly…

Right then, switched on the computer to do some serious blogging but ended up chatting bobbins on Facebook for ages instead.... so just quickly, here's some good albums I've been sent lately and haven't mentioned yet. Mostly these are out now/have been out for a bit, which is another reason they're just getting a quick round-up...

Various - Various Artists Pt 2
Second label comp from Liverpool-based Etoka Records, who describe themselves as specialising in "deep house, electronica and downtempo". This comp is OUT THIS WEEK and definitely worth checking for, can pretty much guarantee you won't have heard of most (if any) of the 10 artists involved but that's what makes it so exciting! Quality deepness ahoy. For the Etoka website, click here.

Various - Fashion House: New York
Latest installment of this series from Germany's Clubstar label. Ignore the glammy shoe-shop packaging cos inside there's some quality deep/underground bizniss from the likes of Tiger Stripes, Blaze, DJ Chus, Loco Dice, Hanna Hais, DJ Meme etc.

John Morales - The M&M Mixes
Nineteen of this 1970s/80s NYC producer's tracks from the vaults, mostly his alternative takes on Salsoul/Tommy Boy/Sleeping Bag classics like Breakin' Down, Weekend, Barely Breaking Even etc. Sometimes the delight is in the subtlest of (re)touches, so this is well worth investigating for all the disco spotters! Out now on BBE.

Toro Y Moi - Causers Of This
Not out till Feb 22 but don't know where/when I'll write about it otherwise. Sort of a chilled take on that whole 80s/electro retro pop vibe… a bit Pet Shop Boys gone Balearic or Mika goes Big Chill, and already getting props from The Guardian and Dazed & Confused, which would normally be enough to put me off. But, for all that, it's actually surprisingly pleasant listening. Emphasis on surprisingly.

Various - Sherm Sticks & Other Nasty Joints
One for those whose tastes are a bit more adventurous, this 60s/70s wig-out is described by the label as "a mix of psych funk, prog, Afro, glam, cosmic, rock and disco". I think it's meant to conjure the eclectic spirt of clubs like The Loft and Paradise Garage, judging from the title… there's some 20 tracks in total so not every one can be a killer but there are some gems here, not least Rasputin's freakified blues-psych take on Spoonful, which you'll know as a Cream (in the Bruce/Baker/Clapton sense) classic, or at the other end of the scale, Syphax's handclappin' disco stomper Skatedance. This is also OUT THIS WEEK, on INgrooves. Cat no LSD002!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

I Am The Woodstar - You R The Muzik EP

Ha! No sooner do I big up I Am The Woodstar for "pushing house and techno in strange new directions" in the 2009 review, than he goes and releases an EP of old-skool flavas that, well, doesn't go in any strange directions at all, particularly. Thanks A LOT, Steven!

Never mind, cos this is crackin' anyway. Taking the tracks one-by-one, House Of Funstar is a bouncy, boing-y, midtempo houser with techy leanings. It actually reminds me a lot of the classic Let Yourself Go by Control… but as that's an obscure b-side from 1992 it probably doesn't mean a lot to most people. Suffice to say I loved Let Yourself Go and I'm loving this, too. Oh and it comes with a Lo-Fi's Chilled Mix from Mr Wood's label partner Time 'Lo-Fi' Stoakes as well, which does what it says on the tin – mucho Balearic.

Moving on, Hyper Inactive is pure rave techno nostalgia: this could easily have come out on Rising High, Warp or Kickin' back in the proverbial day. Hear it and you can almost smell the Vicks! Four Thirty Already?, while still essentially a rave/techno cut, is a much housier affair, with a rolling disco bassline. And finally Your Time Is Now is an out-and-out euphoric techno track, dare I say it bordering on trance even, with an indie-ish male vocal. "Ibiza-friendly" is the phrase here I think; it's not my favourite but this is a strong EP all the same.

Out: Well, there, you see. I'm not sure. Now-ish, I think. Or soon-ish if not, certainly.

About: As ever with the starry-eyed woody one, this comes atcha on Star-Fi Recordings. Website here. MySpace here. A brief history of plumbing here. Click which you will, but the first two will tell you more about Star-Fi, to be fair.

Ruben Mancias ft Michelle Weeks - My Change

One for the soulful house crew here, which is no surprise given the presence of the mighty Ms Weeks on tonsil duties. But think the rollicking, good times, diva-tastic side of soulful, à la Purple or Generate Music, rather than the noodly, 'ooh look at me, aren't I ever such a clever muso, with my Afro-Cuban jazz records and my adenoidal whining?' side of it. Which is a good thing in my books, as you may have guessed.

Mancias has in his time been a resident at both NYC's Club Shelter and San Francisco's equally legendary The End-Up, so clearly knows a thing or two about moving a dancefloor. Mix-wise, you can choose between Main, Dub and Instrumental mixes from Mancias himself, or slightly deeper rubs from both Groove Junkies and DJ Dealer, who supply a vocal and a dub mix apiece. To be honest there's not a huge amount to choose between any of ’em, but if pushed I'd plump for either the Main Mix or DJ Dealer's vocal rub (sorry Evan!)

Those who think anything with a female vocal = H** K**** cheese won't like it, admittedly. But luckily we know better, don't we? Oh yeah and there's some killer pianos, too…

Out: Today!

About: Devotion is the label run by Mancias himself and forming a subsidiary of the mighty Shelter empire. You can learn more about this spiritually-minded dude at his MySpace and also the MySpace for Devotion itself.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Ivan Pica & Luis Damora - Apple Temptation

This nearly got overlooked – I'd originally flagged it as an also-ran, TBH, only then it was sat in my iTunes and after about the fifth time of iTunes rolling onto it and me going "ooh, what's this?" I decided it was worthy of some TIWWD love after all.

So yeah, it's not like Apple Temptation does anything particularly spectacular that other such tech-house groovers don't… it's just that it does the usual kinda things quite pleasingly. The spookily disembodied spoken female vocal comes from one Silvya Moore, and there are Original, Patric La Funk and DJ Wady mixes to choose from. The Original is a very Berlin-sounding affair, DJ Wady's is in a similar vein but more upbeat and driving and a little bit tribal round the edges, while Patric La Funk gives it more of a prog, almost trancey feel: I'd stick to the Original or DJ Wady m'self but there you go…

Out: Now (Jan 4)

About: This is on Automatica Records, who are based in Madrid and who can be found on MySpace here. I don't know anything about them, so instead I'll tell you that it's just started snowing heavily here in Bristol which has, somewhat randomly, brought to mind that episode of Little House On The Prairie where there was a massive blizzard. Strange what lurks at the back of your brain, innit?

Deekline - I Don't Smoke 2010

Am I missing something with this record? I mean, I don't hate it or anything, in fact it quite makes me smile, but I don't see why people love it quite so much as they do. I always thought the original was very silly at the time, and hearing it now just reminds me of that UKG pisstake with the EastEnders theme ("I'll have a can of Coke… coke… coke…").

Still, love it people do, and it's gonna be all over the radio and clubland like a rash for the next few months. So just in case you weren't aware, I Don't Smoke is indeed back, with new mixes from Crissy Criss, Tim Healey, Utah Saints, Krafty Kuts, Ed Solo and Deekline himself. Between them, they've got lots of bas(s)es covered, from warehouse to D&B to breaks to dubstep, so yeah, this should do well. Much to my own surprise, it's the electro-infused Utah Saints rub I'm liking the most.

But I'm still left wondering a) why, having informed someone you don't smoke, would you then go on to list all the things you don't smoke? And b) is that really a sample of Jim 'horrible cunt' Davidson doing his oh-so-hilariously racist 'my mate Chalky' routine?

Out: Late Jan, I believe

About: D'you know what? They haven't told me what label this is on, but as Deekline has about 35 of 'em we'll assume it's one of those. Which is another thing that gets me about this track: Deekline has done some great breakbeat garage and tear-out breaks over the years, not to mention his work with one of the most underrated talents in dance music ever, Donna Dee. So it seems a shame he's best known for a novelty track. But hey.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Rhythm Section - Comin' On Strong

Did anyone happen to see A Night At The Museum on TV last night? Cos this is like the breakbeat equivalent: a little bit of rave history come to life…

If you think you don't remember Comin' On Strong from back in the day (it was first out in 1991), it's the one with the piano break and the girl's voice going 'feel the rhythm… to the rhyth-errmmm' and also what sounds like the same 'ooh (something-or-other)' sample that The Tingler (FSOL) used, or very similar to it… as well as a dark, dark bassline and some toytown rave synths. Proper rave justice! It also just happens to be one of the earliest releases from Mr Rennie "Smiley Happy" Pilgrem, along with Ellis Dee and various other peeps… and thanks to the Renster it's now back, back, BACK! with a 2010 refix. Or rather a bunch of 2010 refixes cos there's no fewer than nine mixes on offer here (including the original).

Just quickly then, Nick Newton's two mixes keep the old skool flavas: I'd go for the fairly self-explanatory Piano Chugger Mix rather than the Sasha-esque 'early prog'-isms of the Transbreak Mix but both are cool. Rennie gets out his retro/nufunk chops on the Retro Funk Mix, Caper dubsteps things up, Slum Dogz takes us into D&B territory and there are Ellis Dee and Grim Pil rubs for the more straight-up breaks heads. Even 18-year-olds in skinny jeans and those stupid trucker caps are catered for with an electrohouse/warehouse/wonk mix from Black Noise.

I'm liking pretty much all the mixes except possibly the last one. Being an old cheesy quaver at heart, it's the original that's making me smile the most, but there's something here to suit… well, not everyone's tastes, but lots of people's.

Out: late January, I think.

About: This claims to be on RSR, which I guess probably stands for Rhythm Section Recordings. Or possibly Rennie's Silly Raveup, or something. Dunno, but you shouldn't have too much trouble finding it I don't think, judging by the amount of promo welly they've been giving it.

PS: They didn't send cover art so above is a picture of Rennie sporting his trademark affable grin. I stole if it off the internet, so if it happens to be your photo, please don't sue me for using it without permission, just ask and I'll take it down.

Ilija Rudman – Call Me Tonight

After the techy sounds of Elliott Wright, below, let's jump right across the spectrum to this latest from Croatia's Rudman, which is a slab of nu-disco that's very funky indeed – albeit in a slo-mo kinda way and without losing any of that essential sang froid.

Call Me Tonight kicks off with a bassline you have to listen to closely to realise it's not a real slap bass; when you do it is of course a bit disappointing, but you soon get over that thanks to the track's nigh-on perfect blend of more organic elements (cowbells, that bassline and what sounds suspiciously like a xylophone) with archetypally nu-disco super-glacial synths. It's one that'll suit the disco dollies and chin-strokers alike. It then gets a makeover from the currently The Revenge, AKA Graeme Clarke from Glasgow, who brings a housier feel to the party, ditching the synths, accentuating the bassline and opting for a 4/4 kick over the swung, almost two-step feel of the original.

Rounding things out is Night People, another Rudman original with more of a boogie kinda feel, thanks to some great geetar action – insistent Chic-y chops and some 70s jazz-funk pedal work. Think some long-lost Larry Levan or Nicky Siano dub of Imagination and you're in the ballpark.

With three high quality, varied tracks then, this is a rather splendid EP for the disco lovers, and it's OUT ON JAN 18.

About: This is on Red Music, which is Rudman's own label. It's only their 16th release in six years, which bodes well on the quality control front… though I must admit I think this is the first Red Music release I've heard. But on this evidence, I might have to do some hunting… In the meantime, they've got a website but it seems to consist of a picture of a motorway at the moment, so here's Rudman's MySpace as well, which has a great deal more in the way of information (though it'd lose to the website in a 'who's got the best picture of a motorway' competition).

Elliot Wright - Dejar

Two mixes of this latest from Wright. Both start well, with one of those whooshing, scraping noises that to me are the very essence of tech-house (y'know, like in Presence's Sense Of Danger). Both then settle down into a groove: tech-y synth sounds, fat rolling bassline and a male voice saying 'How do you know?' (at least I think that's what he's saying) over and over again. The only major difference I can see between the Original Mix and the Fall Edit is that the latter dispenses with the somewhat self-consciously 'funky' elements of the percussion, and is the better for it.

People often accuse deep house/tech house of being 'boring', and it's fair to say Dejar doesn't do a huge amount, or go anywhere very much. But I LIKE deep and tech house and I could listen to those stabby synths and sub-aquatic beats all day… so there. If you're like me, then, you'll want to know that this is OUT THIS WEEK.

About: This comes atcha on Scott Harrington's Endemic Digital imprint. ED is home also to the likes of Colin Dale, Onionz and Greg Mak, whose current single Voyage recently picked up a 9/10 'Recommended' review from yours truly in iDJ, so it's definitely a label that should be on your radar if it's not already: find out more by clicking here.