Sunday, 28 February 2010

Free Utah Saints DJ mix

Right then, was hoping to get a batch more reviews up today but internet connection has been playing silly buggers and consequently am a bit behind with stuff… however in among today's pile of downloads was a Utah Saints DJ mix which I'm apparently allowed to repost, so here's the link

I've always had a soft spot for Utah Saints… bit on the cheesy side I know, but 20-odd years ago, when they were still called MDMA and I was still a long-haired gothy grebo type, they gave me a lift while hitchhiking once. London to Sheffield in two hours cos they'd rented a flash car for the day, having just signed their first record deal. Happy days!

Anyway, enjoy their mixin' and scratchin' and that, and I'll be back shortly…

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Leix & Ronro - Wapa EP

What with hype sheet talk of support from Garnier, Hawtin, Loco Dice and Nic Fanciulli, I was expecting this to be a bit techier and tuffer than it really is.

What you actually have, though, is a pretty groovy, deep-ish houser with tinges of both disco and jazz – just the way we like it. There are six mixes on offer. As is so often the case lately, it's the Nima Gorji Remix I'm feeling the most, though props must go also to Javi Murdok & Jose De Divina for their slightly deeper rub, and to the two 'breaks' mixes which aren't 'breaks' in the sense of they'd get reviewed on the breakbeat pages of magazines, just that they're deep house based on a funky, James Brown-ish breakbeat rather than a 4/4 kick.

Out: Now

About: This is on Climatic Sound, who are based in Ibiza. The label is run by the aforesaid Jose De Divina and Javi Murdok, who say they're all about "house and deep house of the highest quality" and "promoting the creativity of fresh talent". Sounds fair enough to me. They've been going less than a year and this is only their fourth release, so show some love by visiting their MySpace. Oh yeah, and their last release was an EP by Marco Violi, whose latest release is just a few reviews down the page from this one…

Pete Heller - Tune In, Drop Out

Normally a release from an artist of Mr Heller's stature would have to go in iDJ rather than on here, but this came in WAY too late. But that's good in way cos I'm not limited to 40 words for telling you how good it is!

Cos yes, this is very good indeed, as Mr Heller goes back to his roots (or at least to an earlier phase of his musical life) with a slice of proper jackin' acid house bizniss. It comes in Original and slightly more understated Dub flavours: I'm feeling the Dub more myself but both will do the damage for sure. And that's about all there is to say, really, except:

Acieeeeed! Acieeeeeeeed! Acieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed!


Out: Now

About: If you don't know who Pete Heller is then I'm very surprised you're reading this… but just in case, or if you're just in a clickin' n' readin' kinda mood, here's his Wiki entry. This particular slice of 303-based jollity comes atcha on Heller's own Phela Recordings.

DJ Bee - Ten Years

Seems like a while since I've reviewed anything on here from the Ceremony/Cabrio stable, so let's rectify that forthwith with a peep at this new offering from DJ Bee, AKA Juan Camilo Salinas Ochoa.

We're in fairly standard Cabrio territory here, with Ten Years, like most of the label's output, neatly straddling the deep/prog borders. There are three mixes in total: the Jazzloungers Remix is the one for these ears, not to mention the housiest. But that's not to say there's anything wrong with the other two (which are the Original and the deeper Jesus Gonsev Remix), either…

Out: This week just gone. Like everything else I've reviewed today.

About: This is on Cabrio, which is an offshoot of Ceremony and I've never really worked out what the difference is between the two! Anyway, they're based in Estonia and run by Dave Storm, as I'm sure you already knew… if not, head over to their website for some education.

DJ Da - Victoria Matta

The Street King label was set up by King Street to put out more electronic-sounding house that wouldn't sit so easily on King Street or Nite Grooves. As a long-term fan of both it's no surprise then that most Street King output to date has left me cold; this, however, is probably the imprint's best to date.

King Street describe it as "for fans of Plastic City, Asad Rizvi, the tech side of Dennis Ferrer", and I'd say that's a fair enough assessment. Victoria Matta itself is a tough, electronic, slightly proggy groover that builds and builds to a proper brain-melting, big dark room crescendo in the middle. On the flip, Restart starts out as more of a low-slung, down n' dirty kind of affair, before introducing first layers of percussion, and then some ear-piercing synths.

Not sure I'd actually play either, to be honest, but both tracks are good examples of this genre of house and would go down a storm at (eg) DC10. Never let it be said that This Is Why We Dance is narrow-minded!

Out: Now

About: Well, we've just discussed Street King and its role in life, haven't we? But here's the King Street website if you want to find out more, or to HEAR THIS TRACK (go to Catalogue>Digital singles>Other labels)

DJ Le Roi feat E-Man - Can I Get

While we're on the subject of MN2S, should also tell you about this team-up from a pretty heavy-hitting twosome, Switzerland's DJ Le Roi (something of an MN2S regular) and New York's E-Man (best known for his Steely Dan cover Caves Of Altimara and of course providing the vocal for Jon Cutler's It's Yours).

Can I Get is another deep house affair, but from that end of deep house that veers into soulful (as opposed to the end that veers into techy, or the end that veers into downtempo/chill-out). Hard to know what else to say about it cos it's its very understated-ness that's it's main selling point, and while the mixes do vary, they vary in a way whose subtle nuances really need to be heard to be appreciated. There's five of 'em, though, and I'd back the Fade-In Mix for dancefloor action, even though I think I slightly prefer the Snub Mix from a listening point of view. All the mixes feature, vocal-wise, just a repeated 'can I get a…' snip and some occasional heavily-treated background vox, buried way down in the mix, that kind of remind me of Tina Moore's Never Gonna Let U Go.

Out: Now (since Monday)

About: This is one of the deepest offerings from the MN2S mothership for a while… and here's the website.

DZeta & Basile - Revolution EP

Some slightly tuffer, techier vibes here. Only slightly, mind.

Davide Zeta and Claudio Basile both hail from Italy, but are based in London. Here they serve up three tracks for MN2S imprint 1 Trax, and all three have enough in the way of driving beats and fat-arse basslines to suit a range of deep house, tech house and who knows, maybe even techno floors. Oasi is slightly more housey than the other two, L.y.t.e is a little bit techier and La Revolucion features a smattering of Spanish vox, but that's about all I've got to say - not feeling particularly eloquent today, sorry! It's a good EP, though.

Out: Now (again, since Monday)

About: As stated this is on 1 Trax, and DZeta & Basile themselves I've just told you about. The 1 Trax/MN2S website can be found here.

Paolo Mixato - Buffalo Mornings EP

Out since Monday, this is an excellent deep house three-tracker all the way from Russia.

Can't tell you huge amounts about the artist or the label, but I can tell you that Kiraro's Mornings, Buffalo Street and Greta Garbo are three sterling slabs of dancefloor-oriented deep house action. Kirara's Mornings stands out, fusing techy grooves with garage-y vocal snips in the way that's so popular in Deutschland right now, and kind of reminding me of vintage Strobe material. But the deep disco of Buffalo Street comes a close second and the 2020-ish Greta Garbo is no slouch, either!

Out: Now (exclusively through Juno, I believe)

About: As stated, this comes from Russia, more specifically from the beautiful city of St Petersburg and more specifically still from fledgling St Pete's label Konura (this is only their fourth release). Find out more by visiting their website and MySpace.

Coyu - D.E.G EP

After the Diynamic EP (below), here's another sometime Diynamic artist, Coyu, this time with a release on newbie label (this is their fifth release) 7 Oz.

The D.E.G EP gets off to a flying start just by having a picture of a Vespa on the label - I do like scooters, me - but that's not the end of the good news, thankfully. Put the needle on the record, as they say, and you'll find D.E.G is right lively little rumpshaker of a tune, funky and musical enough for house floors but upbeat and driving enough for techno floors too (I'd warrant, I'm not saying I've tried).

The original's all about the crisp beats, rumbling bass and eastern-sounding trumpets, the Brothers Vibe Vibed Piano Dub shouldn't need much explaining (and is my pick), and Matthias Mesteno's mix is a more understated, deep techno-ish kind of affair. Something for a range of jocks there, then.

Out: Now (but only since Monday)

About: Yeah, 7 Oz Records, then… not come across 'em before but they're in Rome and they've got a MySpace so go explore! Spanish producer Coyu, meanwhile, had releases last year on District Raw, Saved, Trapez, Liebe*Detail and 2020Vision, as well as on Diynamic as mentioned, so he's doing all right is the lad…

Various - United EP

The latest from Solomun's label Diynamic is this four-track sampler showcasing some new names – Julien Sandre, Furrr & Hazendok and Markus Homm - alongside the much better-known Acumen.

The artists involved come from France, Holland and Romania, but the overall feeling here is deep house that's roughly 2/3 Berlin to 1/3 San Francisco. Homm's rumbling Gone To Soon (sic) could certainly be thus described, anyway. Furrr & Hazendonk's Rupert is more on a West Coast kinda tip, with a little nod to Chicago – the kind of thing you might expect to hear on Salted or Loveslap! –while Acumen's Nice Victory is a touch more electronic and German-sounding.

But the killer cut for me here is Julian Sandre's Satisfaction, which comes on like classic handbag (think Full Intention's I Love America or Sister Bliss's Oh! What A World) put through a San Franciscan washing machine… it rocks, basically, and that walking bassline just doesn't stop. The overdubbed chunks of (posh female and sexy, sultry female) spoken vocals almost don't work, but then somehow they do as well… and that's what makes the tune, really. It's perhaps not as 'credible' as some of the other tracks here, but I defy anyone to sit still…

Out: Now (since Feb 22)

About: This is on Diynamic, as stated - click here for the website.

Mirco Violi - Deadly City EP

This is just out and it's like an object lesson in how to do house music properly… weirdly though I haven't got much to say about it. Just four tracks of solid deep house grooves aimed fair and square at the dancefloor, but with enough musicality to be good for home listening as well.

According to the PR, Mirco Violi grew up on the likes of MAW, Sneak, Frankie Knuckles and Carl Craig, and it shows. Here he presents two tracks, the ace Deadly City with its slightly worrying “crackhouse!” shouts, and the puerescently-titled but still ace Major Boobage, which has some great sounds reminiscent of old Victor Simonelli/Tommy Musto/Joe-T records on labels like Sub-Urban and Nervous. Tommy Rujig then presents a slightly techier take on Deadly City while Sercan provides a deeper rework of Major Boobage. I'd happily play any one of the four, but Sercan's rub possibly edges it.

Out: This week

About: This is on new label Blackrose Records, who are based in Italy – more info at their MySpace.

DJ Sneak & DJ Soydan - The Latin Kardes EP

As regular readers will know, I'm not the biggest fan of Latin flavas. But since Carlos Souza AKA DJ Sneak is, y'know, ACTUALLY Puerto Rican, it's a lot less annoying when he does it than, say, some chump from Catford.

So yeah, Latin flavas unsurprisingly abound on this four-tracker, albeit in not too OTT a fashion. Corazon is the most full-on Latin track, Baba mixes up the Latin with some chunky, driving disco-house and an extremely infectious piano hook, but my fave is Ata, which is more your standard Sneak style fucked-up disco, another driving cut that'll take no prisoners on the dancefloor.

Out: Now

About: This is on Yakuza Recordings, who despite being named after a Japanese organised crime syndicate are actually based in Waterford, Ireland. The label is in fact run (partly) by DJ Soydan himself, who's German-born but of Turkish origin, and you can find out more here.

Mark Holmes & Raspe - Vintage Warmer

I was gonna review this one in iDJ, only it's out end Feb and the label managed to get me something more upfront instead. So here it is.

Vintage Warmer is quite aptly named, cos it could indeed have come straight out of the early-mid ’90s. But that's no bad thing: with a rumbling, squelching bottom-end, some nicely understated pianos and insistent beats, it's the kind of thing that'd appeal to deep house and prog lovers alike, or could even work on bigger/more commercial floors.

Out: This week, I think. Or roundabout now, anyway.

About: This is another fine offering from Manchester Underground Music. Got their debut label comp now so watch this space for more on that, in the meantime hit up their website for more info.

Mark Holmes is a resident at Sankeys, by the way, and has stuff forthcoming on Baroque and Sci+Tec, while I don't know much about Raspe save that he's another Mancunian fella.

Dahaus - Material Ltd 007

Chuggy tech-house is the order of the day here, with a side order of Latin and just the tiniest jazz garnish.

There are three tracks on the vinyl – Cecilia, Shades and Dinero – plus a bonus cut, Tango, on the digital release. And while all four fit the basic blueprint outlined above, there's just enough variety to maintain interest: Dinero has a slight Arabic/Middle Eastern kinda feel to it, Shades has snips of jazz/blues-style vox, Cecilia is a touch more funkified while Tango is more your heads-down chugger.

Out: Now (since Feb 22)

About: This is on Material Limited, sister imprint to Mark Broom and Mihalis Safras's techno label Material Series. Find out more here.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Some albums, quickly

Once again the long-players are piling up… so once again, gonna have to rattle through a few of 'em quite succinctly, just to keep things rolling…

Various - Rebirth Essentials Vol 4 (Rebirth)
I guess you could call this deep house, though a more accurate description might be 'deep techno, but with soul.' Or just, y'know, good electronic music. There are ten tracks, mostly from new names (new names to me at least), though some more familiar names crop up on the list of remixers – try Deetron, Andre Lodemann, Melon. As the name suggests, it's the fourth label comp from Rebirth, the Italian label run by Shield - more info can be found by clicking here.
Out: Now

The Rurals - Rural Soul (Peng)
The long-running Devon outfit have always had two sides: the deep house side aimed squarely at the dancefloor, and the more downtempo/soulful side, where Tweek's voice really got a chance to shine. Now, with Tweek gone and The Rurals Mk I no more, the finest of those downtempo/soulful moments from their 237 albums to date get gathered together here. Personally, I was always a fan of the more dancefloor side of things and there are a few moments that are bit too sickly/R&B-ish, but this is still worth checking and, if that side of the Rurals' canon is what floats your boat, it'll probably be your favourite album yet. Peng website here.
Out: Now

Various - Nang presents The Array Volume 1 (Nang)
Celebrating their first birthday, London's hip nu-disco label drop their first label comp, which rounds up some of the imprint's finest moments to date as well as a handful of previously unreleased cuts. Highlights for me include Sare Havlicek's White Russian (Lazy Summer), the ace Sugardaddy version of Love Honey and King DJ's funk-fuelled Clothes & Counters, but there's plenty more goodness on offer.
Out: March 1

Various - Zen & The Art Of Disco Maintenance (Tirk)
Meanwhile they haven't been slacking over at Nang's parent label Tirk, either. Here they serve up a further 15 tracks of nu-disco/deep house/and thereabouts goodness – if you like the Nang comp, you really need this to go with it, and vice versa. Tracks come from the likes of Bottin, Sorceror, Space (twice), The Love Supreme and TIWWD faves The Time & Space Machine, with a surprise fave for me being Night Dance from those two hoary old chillers Pete Gooding and Chris Coco.
Out: March 1

Various – Rare Underground Classics (Loaded)
And finally, after all those nu-disco and downtempo vibes, let's head back to the dancefloor and back to the ’90s (mostly) with this digital-only collection of some of the Brighton label's finest moments. Pizzaman's Babyloop (for the benefit of any youngsters, that's Norman Cook in non-Fatboy mode) is just one of 15 vintage nuggets that'll bring a nostalgic grin to the face of any ageing ’90s raver; others come from the likes of Playboys, Ramp, Damien J Carter and Soul Grabber. If you ever partied at (eg) Vague, Most Excellent, Luvdup, Holy City Zoo, Club UK or Wobble, then you SO need this… if you didn't, this is what you missed.
Out: Now, I think?

Adryan - The Jazzer's Slight Return EP

Cunningly, The Jazzer's Slight Return EP from the brilliantly-named Adryan Pietrasch (of Lemon Popsicle fame) comprises two tracks, Slight Return and yes, The Jazzer. And post-minimal deep/tech house is what's on offer.

As with a lot of this kind of tackle, there's not huge amounts to say. Slight Return has some nice organ action on its Original Mix that the Mattias Vogt remix sadly dispenses with, along with the long-ish breakdown, the result being a more Berlin-sounding pass that's probably better for dancefloor action, but loses some of the original's quirky charm. The Jazzer is more of a spaced-out, late night kind of affair, and my pick of the EP; this time its Russ Gabriel who takes the remix veins, keeping things nice and deep but giving the track a slightly more cinematic/proggified feel that's not strictly necessary to these ears. All four tracks are playable, for sure. But I'm definitely feeling Adryan's originals over the remixes.

Out: Now

About: This is on Dieb Audio, a young techno/tech-house label based in Melbourne and Athens. This is the label's 14th release and you can learn more by visiting their website.

Summed & Dot - Jazzyman EP

Despite the title, this isn't as jazzual as you might think: there are jazzy touches here and there, and on the lead track Jazzyman itself a "this is jazz, man" vocal sample, but overall the vibe is classic house – the best comparison I can come up with would be early Nervous tracks.

The original of Jazzyman, then, is straight out of the early-mid ’90s, with a wukka-wukked guitar part, raw 4/4s and various random TV samples (I spotted Bill Cosby and Family Guy, any advance?). The Massimo Di Lena Remix comes on like a New York Mix of the same, with its rumbling bottom-end and bursts of near-tribal drums; the confusingly-named Massimo Di Lena Remix (Digital Exclusive) then loses the guitars and brings the percussion to the fore for a slightly more contemporary sound. And finally, Ilass brings the EP to a close with a little more of a rollin' disco flava.

All told, it's solid stuff.

Out: Now

About: This is on All Inn Records, who are based in Romania… and it's only their third release so now's a good time to get on the case! Here's their website and MySpace.

Summed & Dot, meanwhile, are an Italian/Italian-American twosome who answer to the names of Filippo Bologna and John Catalano in real life. They're both 25 and live in Palermo, Italy, where they also run a successful fancy dress hire business. And yes, I made that last bit up.

Markus Newton - Mocean EP

This EP from Hamburg's Markus Newton features four mixes of Swim, plus bonus track Automotion.

Deep, groovy tech-house is the order of the day. Swim is notable mainly for its spoken word samples with some dude talking about how "our music insists upon dancing"; across the four mixes (the rerubs come from Daniel Kyo, Dixie Yure and Tom Ellis) you'll find various elements from understated rave pianos to female vocal cut-ups to off-kilter jazz beats, but 'deep, groovy tech-house' pretty much covers it. Automotion, meanwhile, sounds like just AN Other German houser for its first 2:50 or so, then in come some lush Jersey-style organs and a "work that shit" vocal sample to turn it into a proper dancefloor delight for the deeper heads. You heard the man…

This week

About: This is on Flumo, a Spanish label you can read all about here. In Spanish.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Brisker & Magitman - Butterfly EP

According to the hype sheet, the Butterfly EP is what you get if you take "the best Israeli progressive talent" and "lock them up in a techno lab." Well, that's one way of putting it. Another would be that this is yet another perfectly functional, if hardly life-changing, record from the house/techno border.

Butterfly comes in two mixes, the more proggy Original and the Weekend Warrior mix, which has a more stripped-down, slightly syncopated kinda feel. I'm preferring the latter, but of both you'd have to say that, they'll work on the dancefloor, sure, but can you really see anyone sticking 'em on YouTube in 10 years' time (or whatever the 2020 equivalent of YouTube will be) and going, "This is my favourite record ever"?

Cos I can't, TBH. Still, like I say, they'll work for now, for a range of jocks from tech-house to prog. So that's all right, then.

Out: This week

About: Brisker & Magitman are, as the press release is keen to point out, progressive housers from Israel, with releases on Twisted Frequency, Audiotherapy, Baroque and many more. Here's their MySpace and a full discography at The ’Scogs. This particular release comes atcha on Subsonic Music, who are based in a land down under and have a MySpace here and a website here, and who I gather are behind the Aussie dance music festival of the same name.

Kaiserdisco - Early Bird EP

Three tracks of fairly typisch German post-minimal house/techno here. It's all quite chuggy, and the beats are quite nice and crunchy and, er, that's about as much as I've got to say, really.

On the downside, you've probably got 50 records that sound like this already. On the upside, well, this is as good as any of 'em, and you clearly like that sort of thing or you wouldn't have 50 records of it, would you?

Out: A few days ago (Feb 17)

About: Kaiserdisco are two bearded gentlemen from Hamburg called Frederic Berger and Patrick Buck. They've had previous releases on Micro.fon and (Traum Schallplatten offshoot) My Best Friend, and here's their MySpace. Das ist alles.

Forensics - Lost In Yaman

That master of all things cinematic and scary in the world of dubstep, Forensics, teams up once more with Indi Kaur, who vocalled the excellent Exile (which was also reviewed on TIWWD, back in August – see here). And once more the results are really quite startlingly good.

This is quite upfront, I believe, so no YouTube vid this time, sorry. But if the deep, dramatic side of dubstep paired with hauntingly beautiful subcontinental female vocals sounds like your kinda thing, check for this!

Out: Who can say?

About: Forensics is actually a very friendly chap called Krystian Taylor. Forward-thinking young man that he is, he's got his own blog where you can download lots of mixes, a MySpace (natch) and also a Virb page, where you can hear this track for yourself.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Moody Twin - Moody Twin EP Pt 2

One thing you could never accuse those Star-Fi Recordings boys of being is predictable. After lots of wonky techno-house fusions, they served up some deliciously old skool vibes on last month's I Am The Woodstar EP You R The Muzik and then here… well, where do I start?

Feel Like I Wanna Move is kind of quirky synthpop with a house underbelly, vaguely Hot Chip-ish I guess you could say. Jah Jah Tech is just slammin' if you like it deep: think early ’90s Larry Heard (the A Corner Called Jazz and On My Way era) going a bit dub around the edges. Metroplexual is chilled out Balearic nu-disco, and then finally Summer Sundown is tailormade for sunrise (!) sessions at some hypothetical early ’90s rave, with its mellow house grooves and a hefty sample from Bowa's classic Different Story.

Which is quite possibly, and entirely coincidentally, one of my favourite house records ever. And now I'm probably going to find out that the vocal's actually a Minnie Ripperton or Patrice Rushen sample or something, and look stupid. But fuck it, it's Bowa to me. At least I don't think it's from Infiltrate 202. Or Tiga. Or Freestylers. Anyway back to this EP, and yes, quality stuff all round, which is all the more impressive when you look at how varied the tracks are.

Out: This week

About: As stated this is on Star-Fi Recordings, which is Tim Stoakes and Steven Wood's own label. Tim n Woody… Moody Twin… see what they did there? Anyway, here's their website.

And seeing as we were on the subject, here's one of my favourite house records ever

Groove Assassin - Journeys EP

It's a pity this came to me quite late cos I'd have liked to get it into iDJ, but hey ho. That's what the blog's for, innitbludyagetmi?

So yes. Groove Assassin is one Nick Moss, who was formerly a Groove Assassin. By which I mean he used to be one-half of the Groove Assassins duo, who you may remember from stuff on Black Vinyl and Glasgow Underground back when we were still calling this "the new millennium" and arguing about were we really going to call it "the noughties"? What happened there I'm not sure* but now he's no longer a Groove Asssassin and simply Groove Assassin. Just so's we're clear.

Anyway I'll stop blathering on and tell you about this EP cos it's really very good y'know. Across five tracks, Mr Moss brings us a take on house music that's oozing soul without being wimpy, deep without losing sight of the dancefloor, classic-sounding without being dated and, er, other good stuff without any bad stuff. On Afrik Bounce and Fulani's Groove he even manages to bring in some strutting, syncopated African rhythms without going all tedious and noodly. Which most people don't seem to be able to manage.

My pick of the five tracks would be Back To Windy City, more of a straight-up deep affair than the rest, but it really is all good, as they say.

Out: This week

About: This is yet another bomb from the mighty Nite Grooves… can't give you a link cos normally it's but it seems to be out of action at the mo'. Odd.

* About the duo-solo thing, I mean, not about calling it the noughties which we patently did.

Kotey Extra Band - Hot Ring

Hmm, haven't had much nu-disco on here of late, so let's rectify that with this, the latest from Steve 'I'm also in Chicken Lips, don't you know?' Kotey.

Three mixes to pick from: the archetypally Bear Funk original, a slightly freakier (and slightly more house-ified) mix from Bottin or, my pick, the somewhat mellower and lusher Fernando Remix, complete with some great space disco synth stabs.

Not a lot to say really, it's just nu-disco innit? But it's cool. It's also apparently "inspired by the Riz Ortolani soundtrack for The Girl In The Yellow Pyjamas," though that means nothing to me, and it's gonna be followed by a Kotey Extra Band around Easter, which I do understand.

Out: Yesterday

About: This is on Kotey's own Bear Funk label and, as stated, fairly typical of the label's synth-tastic, Italo-influence take on the nu-disco genre. To get your browse on in a Bear Funk stylee, click here.

Jay Tripwire - A Long Time Ago, From The Future EP

A solid EP from Mr Tripwire here, with a total of seven tracks.

Never Go Back is the main event I guess, seeing as it comes in four mixes. The Main Mix is all deep Chi-town throb with a female voice intoning the title over and over again… from there you can take your pick cos there's an acapella, a No Chords Mix which is essentially the drums and vox, or a Dub that's basically the drums, chords and bassline.

Elsewhere, Dreammashine is a sort of discofied deep number, Motivational Speakers is a late night thing that's so laidback it'd be pretty much an ambient track if it weren't for the drums, but the pick of the whole EP for me is Acidspace, which is classic-style Chicago deep with a gurgling 303 and just a hint of that Berlin kinda vibe.

Out: Yesterday

About: This is the latest from 1Trax, which is probably my favourite imprint in the MN2s stable right now. Click here for the MN2S website.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Various - Ayobaness! EP

Subtitled The Sound of South African House, this is a four-track, four-artist EP featuring, er, house music from South Africa… what bit didn't you understand? It's actually the sampler EP for an album of the same name, but that won't be out till May.

The EP opens with Ayobaness by Pastor Mbhobho, which is the kind of Afro-infused thing that Louie Vega loves to play so much. It's okay, not hugely my bag but the tribal rhythms aren't overdone and, unlike a lot of this stuff, there's a decent bassline. It also appears to have Bartender Moe on vocals. DJ Mujava's Mugwanti is more Afrobeat-type tackle, yada yada yada…

But then things get more interesting, cos of COURSE Sath Efricans make Afro-flavoured house, but Aero Manyelo's Just In Time shows they can also make groovin' techno-house crossover bizniss. That's the standout track for me, but DJ Steavy's Ungazocala also shows that you can still use Afro riddims without having to sound sub-Fela, as he blends the tribal drumming with electronics that are more than slightly reminiscent of early Belgian techno, before it all went stupid.

It'd be easy to see the more Afro tracks finding favour with UK funky crowds, but for me it's the other two that are more interesting, as they provide further proof that, having long been more of a party destination than a hotbed of production talent, South Africa is really starting to step up onto the world house stage. I'll await the album with interest.

Out: Now, and I think you might have to go to iTunes to find it.

About: This is on Out Here Records, a German label now six years old and specialising in all things African. Here's their website and look! They've even got a Wiki entry. There's posh.

Alif Tree - Clockwork Remixes Pt 2

Right, well I've not heard the Clockwork album or even the Remixes Pt 1 EP so I'm not really that qualified to comment on this one, to be honest. But just in passing, there's three rubs featured that are the winners of one of those remix competition thingies, and they come from newcomers (or relative newcomers) John Gazoo, Homegroove Project and Broke.

Of the three it's John Gazoo's steady deep house groove that's working best for me: nice solid warm-up or post-club tackle. The Homegroove Project is in more of a downtempo, cinematic kinda vein: it's okay but doesn't do much to really excite, though as I'm not much of a downtempo, cinematic kinda guy you may disagree if you are. And finally, Broke return to the house flavas with a mix that's so deep it's practically horizontal, but that will please the heads for sure. It's good but Gazoo's mix still just edges it for me.

Out: Now (a whole eight days ago in fact, I am getting slack, must try harder)

About: This is on Compost Black Label, one of my favourite labels of recent times, though this isn't their strongest release. Compost Records nu-jazz Munich deep house Michael Reinboth blah blah… sod it here's their website cos I'm sure you don't really need me to explain! That's not a diss BTW I'm just feeling a bit lackadaisical today.

Erm, as regards the artists, John Gazoo is apparently a latter-day mod from Dusseldorf, Broke are a pair of brothers and Homegroove Project are called Ian and Paul. Don't say I don't go in-depth for you here, people.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

An early contender for record sleeve of the year

Got sent this today… I THINK it's the sleeve for a new Drop Music sampler, or possibly they just liked the picture… anyway the Drop release is going in iDJ but I wanted to share the cover art with you.

Cos, y'see, if and when I get to heaven, I like to think it will be a cross between a 1970s first-class airline departure lounge, and the on-board bar/club thing on Buck Rogers In The 25th Century. Service will be provided by various Betty Boo and Gina Lollabrigida lookalikes, and I'll be hangin' with Rick James, Peter Tosh and Charles Bukowski. And I reckon this fine piece of artwork has, unwittingly, pretty much captured the spirit of my own personal nirvana. So well done, Notts-based fellas.

Oh yeah and the single is pretty good too, but you'll have to buy iDJ to read about that one…

Filipsson & Lindblad - Belfast

Not a cover of the Orbital track, no… as you'll know if you've already acquired the LP A Splendour In The Grass from which this is taken. Which you really ought to. All the cool kids have.

In single form, Belfast comes in three mixes: the Original from the album, plus rerubs by Sleazy McQueen and Ulysses. The original's a kind of deep house-meets-nu disco chugger, featuring a synth line that was driving me crazy cos I couldn't think what it reminded me of… until I remembered it was Pro-Gen by The Shamen. Add in some Ital/Balearic-sounding pi-pia-piano and there's a decidedly nostalgic feel to this one. I'm surprised there isn't a Beloved remix.

Instead, Ulysses mostly loses the ivories but bring forward the synth, while simultaneously giving the track a hefty dose of funk n' swagger, while Sleazy McQueen's Gabe Bass Mix (presumably not named after this Oklahama lawyer, but who knows?) by way of contrast ditches the synth and foregrounds the piano, and again ups the bottom-end welly.

Synths & pianos, mostly synths with more bass, or just piano with even more bass, then. The 'DH-meets-ND chugger' bit applies whichever one you go for.

Out: Today

About: This is on Nang, who along with sister label Tirk seem to be on a mission at the moment to bring you new releases with the same kinda frequency that Channel 5 brings you those annoying 'showbiz news' slots, ie every ten minutes. Not that a new Nang bullet isn't about a million times preferable to some vacuous stage school muppet bringing you the latest 'hot gossip' vis à vis the tedious Brangelina saga* or this week's Madonna baby. Anyway while I'm wittering on I'm keeping your from their website, and that's just rude. Sorry.

*Although, now we've touched on the subject, I'll say this to Mr Brad so-called Pitt, because I'm pretty certain he reads this. 1. You're a fool in any case because Jennifer is 10x the uber-honey the scary-mouthed Ms Jolie could ever be and 2. Have a good look at yourself on the front cover of today's Metro (or was it yesterday's?). You appear to be wearing some kind of Bob Marley-esque tam. Ask yourself: is this a good look for an IC1 male? Who isn't, y'know, Bob Marley? Clue: she's left you, hasn't she?

Monday, 8 February 2010

Santiago Salazer - Your Club Went Hollywood

This is kind of like a deep house answer to Duque & Baxter's What Happened? (of which I got sent some corking new mixes a month or so back BTW but never had time to blog 'em), in that it has a similar (spoken) lyrical theme of damning commercial dance culture and yearning for a return to 'the underground'.

The original is a lush late-night deep houser, with a curiously stop-start shuffle to the beats that means they almost sound broken, though they aren't. S'nice. The Aaron Carl Remix is equally sumptuous, but this time with a more rolling, semi-Afro/Latin kinda beat, and has a breakdown in the middle with some great dancing-in-outer-space synths. You also get an acapella, plus the bonus cut Chela's Groove, which is an insistent instrumental affair with, again, a little Latin flava and some great Buck Rogers synth antics.

Out: Today

About: Santiago Salazar is also known as DJ S2, of Underground Resistance fame. And this comes atcha on Wallshaker Records, Aaron Carl's label out of Detroit. This is the first time I've come across Wallshaker but on this evidence I'd like to hear more. Funny how Detroit always did make some of the best house around; check out the Detroit Beatdown comps for a start. But I digress. To find out more about the shaking of walls in the Motor City, see their MySpace.

DJ Geri - Chords Of My Life

DJ Geri hails from Barcelona. He hosts a radio show called Trance State and the hype sheet for this boasts of his having played alongside Armin Van Buuren and Judge Jules.

Not sounding good so far, is it?

Don't let that put you off though cos what we actually have here are two quite acceptable slices of chunky prog, with enough funk in their bones to appeal to quite a lot of house DJs. Honestly! The two tracks in question are Chords Of My Life (obviously) and Spiritual, and for those moments where you need to give the dancefloor something a little more energetic, they could be just the ticket, even if prog isn't normally your bag (as it isn't mine).

Just proves you can't judge a book by its cover. Actually, I find you almost always can. But you can't judge a progressive house record by its accompanying press release. I can't really see that catching on as a saying, mind you.

Out: This week

About: This is on Plastic Fantastic, that home of all things proggy. I'll be honest, a lot of their stuff is too trancey for me, or too electro-y, or just too monotonous and full of mathematical chord progressions – it's a prog label after all. But they do enough decent stuff like this to that it's worth a listen to find out! For their website, click here.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Speakerpeople - Parallel World

Just out in stores this week is Parallel World, which is the debut album from London soulful house trio Speakerpeople - AKA studio bods Andy Paterson and Simon Newman, and singer Julian Asher.

I must admit, over the past year or two I've kinda veered away a bit from the more soulful side of house – it's more about the deep tech for me these days. A whole album of soulful male vocal numbers therefore doesn't excite quite like it might have done a few years ago, but that's my fault, not theirs… and in any case I'm glad people are still making this kinda stuff.

What kinda stuff? Well, Julian's voice is in that Peyton/Seal kinda vein, is the best I can describe it. Musically, we're talking yer basic straight-up house: it's perhaps a touch lacking in refinement and it's not, truth be told, particularly 'soulful' in feel, but then I'll take steady 4/4 kicks and synthy squiggles over noodly Afro beats and endless flutes and vibes any day, so I'm not gonna mark 'em down for that. Ironically perhaps, the track I'm liking best actually isn't house at all but rather the downtempo number Nothing. The title track's quite nice n' bouncy, too.

Overall the verdict is, 'a fair start'. I'm not sure a whole album was required: in the old days, the best two or three cuts would have been released as singles/EPs with remixes from some more established names, and that might've showcased Speakerpeople's talents better.

But I'm reminded of Todd Terry's words: "To all the critics: I'm waiting to hear YOUR fucking album". As he's quite right (being God n' that) and I haven't actually got one, best I can say about Parallel World is that you should check it for yourself if you get the chance.

About: This is on the Deep Recording label, based out Deep Recording Studios who you can find online here. It doesn't actually mention this album on the site, though, and I can't seem to find an actual Speakerpeople site, not even a MySpace… strange. Who knows, maybe I've dreamt the whole thing?

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Sean Brosnan - Satjam

I had an email from Sean Brosnan a few weeks ago, very politely asking if he could send me a link to his new tune. Mr B, if they're all as good as this you can email me links all day long matey!

If you dig deep house and nu-disco (and if you're reading This Is Why We Dance I'm guessing you probably do) then you're gonna love Satjam, which sounds like it's been Touched By The Hand Of Dave, such is the lushness of its house-disco groove. Driven by a simple loping (yes loping, not looping) funk b-line, the Original comes complimented by remixes from disco veteran Ray Mang and new kid Eddie C. I'm liking the way Mr Mang brings in a little raw old-school house flava, I'm liking the full-phatness of the bassline on the Original, I'm liking the druggy, hypnotic, lazy feel of Eddie C's mix… basically, all three are wicked. Acquire this forthwith.

Out: This week (Monday Feb 8, to be precise)

About: This is on Needwant, which is a new UK label run by Sean himself, who describes the music policy as "somewhere between house and disco". They're only three releases old and the first one came from The Revenge, which is about as good a way to kick off a new label as you can get right now! More info at their website and MySpace.

Daco - Aquarium EP

Right, I'm a bit confused, cos this is on PAPERrecordings, or Paper to be less arse-lickingly brand-tastic, and didn't the Paper crew come back as We Are Woodville? Mongo no understand.

Anyway if you like it deep and musical there's plenty to enjoy on this four-track EP, from the disco/lounge-style harmonised vox on the title track, which remind me of that ace middle bit in Sleeve & Lowman's classic So Fine, to the tripped-out late night atmospherics of Play Your Mind, via the 4hero-esque bruk beat horizontal-isms of Feel Your Love and the jazzy grooves of Something For You. Quality from start to finish, though Aquarium would be my pick of the bunch.

Out: Now, I think.

About: Paper was of course one of the leading labels in the British deep house or 'nu deep' scene of the mid-late ’90s. They closed their doors in 2001 or thereabouts, reemerged under the We Are Woodville alias but now appear to be back, back, BACK! and here's the website where you can catch up.

Scott Langley/SP Trax - various

Scott Langley is taking over the world! Someone stop him! Nah, not really, but he and his SP Trax label do have releases coming thick and fast at the minute… so this is just a roundy-uppy type thingy to get ’em all in.

First up, we have Leeroy & Sugarshaker’s Come To Me, which is the latest from SP Trax. This comes in three mixes, labelled Original, Electro and Dirty Tech. No surprise then that it starts at the more poppy, accessible end of the electrohouse spectrum on the Original, then gets a little dirtier and druggier as the mixes go on.

Then also on SP Trax there’s Joe Brunning’s Latin Freedom, the original of which could almost be called Latin Kiss when it starts out, before it introduces a subdued keyboard riff and a “music, music” vocal loop. Rachel Ellektra’s Deep Down Dub captures that mid-’90s Tenaglia/Vasquez kinda vibe, Scott Harrington’s Endemic Dub takes us on a vintage Chi-town trip, while the Scott Langley Freedom Mix and Will Clarke Remix maintain the Balearic-ish stance of the original.

AND FINALLY we have the main event for our purposes to day, which is Inaya Day’s Better Days – the first of several collabs with big name divas coming your way from Mr L soon. Only got the Funk Mix here but it’s good, a tuffer, almost tribally kinda groove. I’d like to have heard more from Ms Day, whose contribution is limited to a couple of looped snippets on this mix, but still.

Out: Now, and there's more on the way.

About: More info on Scott Langley and his world domination enterprises can be found on his MySpace, or the SP Trax MySpace, or better still his actual website, which he runs from a hidden stronghold under the sea.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Jairo Catelo - The Wicked Crew EP

I'm not the world's biggest fan of African rhythms, chanted vocals, hand percussion and such, but on La Onda here they're balanced nicely by the use of a strong 4/4 kick as well, with insistent vocal stabs joining the party to create a rhythmically-inclined floor workout that'll keep ’em moving for sure. Suspicious Minds, however (which comes in original and Afrilounge Remix forms) is a more full-on Afro-tastic number; it'll no doubt please those that like that sort of thing but leaves me a tad cold.

The real action for these ears here, though, is actually the bonus cut… which, oddly, doesn't seem to have any connection to Jairo Catelo at all. Go figure. Feygin's B Local is a more straight-up affair driven by looped, treated vox, handclaps and cowbells to start with, slowly introducing a pulsating b-line and an understated organ part before the main near-falsetto soulful male vocal refrain makes itself felt. I believe once upon a time in deepest, darkest New York City, they used to call this kind of thing 'garage music', but no-one seems to remember that any more…

Out: Now (3 Feb)

About: Jairo Catelo hails from Spain, Feygin from NYC, Afrilounge from Germany… what a truly international affair house music is these days. Kiara Records, meanwhile, is still quite a new-ish imprint based in Barcelona, and you can find 'em on MySpace, where you can currently hear all the tracks on this EP.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Sound Diffusion - Enliven Guitar

This curiously-titled offering is the latest from Manchester Underground Music, but the producers are alleged to hail from Eastern Europe, and go by the names of Aleksandar Vidinovski and Darko Spasovski. Whether this is true or whether it's a couple of chancers from Openshaw having a laugh, well, who can say?

No matter, this is quite an interesting release whoever made it, sitting right on that house/techno border. It comes in three mixes: the Original has a funkier kinda feel, the Robot Needs Oil Mix is a little bit techier in a Berlin-ish kinda way and then the Curious George & The Agent Mix adds a little tribal/ethno flavour with its extensive use of hand percussion and, later on, a haunting, ethereal female vocal that wouldn't have sounded out of place on a 4AD record 25 years ago.

Whichever mix you choose, we're looking more at something for use in the mix than at a peaktime killer in its own right… but you can't just play anthem after anthem, can you?

Out: This week

About: Manchester Underground Music is a new-ish label aiming to help promote fresh talent in and around Megacity 0161. You can check out all of the label's releases to date on their YouTube channel, or find 'em on MySpace.

Watch this space for news of the soon-come debut Manchester Underground Music compilation, featuring a host of new artists and producers plus a few better-known names…

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Mindlo & Essential I - Deep Thoughts EP

And the good deep house grooves keep on coming… this time in the form of a four-tracker from Next Dimension Music. Like it deep n' dreamy? Then read on…

Deep Thoughts itself is a shuffling, midtempo deep houser with tribal overtones; Liberty and Rhythm Unites are another two percussive, rhthmically-led groovers, but this time with with less of the Afro leanings and more of a late-night feel; and finally there's Secret In You, which is the highlight for me as it's less about the beats and more about the juxtaposition of some lovely sub-aquatic synths with fractured, disembodied snippets of an almost operatic-style vocal. It's a genuinely original and unique-sounding piece of music, and that's quite hard in the world of deep house, so hats off!

Out: Now, through Traxsource.

About: Next Dimension is a digital-only label that's apparently been in business since 2005, but I'll have to confess this is the first time I've come across them. I from Bradford, I know nothing! Anyway the label's run by Joseph Mercado who under various guises has had stuff out on both King Street and (the original) Strictly Rhythm, and they've got a website where you can find out more… but it doesn't seem to have an actual discography so here's their Discogs entry as well.

Meanwhile, Mindlo & Essential I are from South Africa, apparently, but that's about all I know.

Azuni - Here You Come EP

Anyone who follows this blog will know that Drumpoet Community is one of my favourite labels right now, and as long as they keep putting out house music as good as this, that doesn't look like changing any time soon…

Just the two tracks on offer, Here You Come itself and Believe. The former almost approaches a big-room kinda feel in the way it builds from a simple riff that's present throughout, except of course that it's a bit more subdued/subtle than such a description suggests.

It's Believe that's the real killer here, though. Again, a simple riff predominates, a nicely understated little two-note organ motif in this case, with a sampled male vocal (stabs at first, building to full lines of speech) and a hip-swaying rhythm giving the track a real old-skool New Jersey feel. If you loved labels like Movin', Eight Ball and Strobe back in the day, you'll know what I'm talkin' about; a more modern comparison would be the more bumpin', garage-y end of west coast house.

Once again then, sheer quality from DPC. Go seek.

Out: Now

About: Drumpoet Community I've raved a lot about on here, if you've just come in they're based in Zurich and they totally kick booty. Here's their website. Azuni likewise hail from Zurich and apparently they've just had an album out on Sthim Audio which I'm now gonna try and find. Meantime here's their MySpace.

Chopstick & JohnJon - Friday Night Lights EP

Four tracks of post-minimal deep straight outta Berlin, courtesy of Chi-Thien Nguyen, AKA Chopstick and perhaps best known for his work as one-half of Eyerer & Chopstick, along with one John Muder.

Not a lot to say, really, just four deep, stripped-down numbers, except that there's a touch more soul in the sparse electronics than most of this sort of tackle, thanks to the subtle use of snippeted vox and some lush piano chords. Clear Eyes also features a quite funkified bassline, albeit one which is barely there; the same track, on the Trickski Remix, slowly (very slowly) builds into something resembling old-school Chi-town deep, and I think it's this latter pass I'm feeling the most.

Out: Now (since Jan 27, to be precise)

About: This is the first release on new label Suol. Somewhat confusingly, it carries the catalogue number SUOL013; that's because Suol is actually the new name for Baalsal Music, the Berlin minimal label which after three years and 12 releases has now opted to pursue a slightly housier path. Bring yourself up to speed on Baalsal's history here, or hit up Chopstick on MySpace.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Danny Byrd feat Liquid - Sweet Harmony

It's not like Danny B or Hospital Records need any help from me, but what old cheesy quaver could resist this: the Liquid classic gets a 2010 in a liquid funk stylee!

There's actually two mixes: one in yer straight-up typical Hospital liquid style, plus a Jungle Mix which brings more of the old skool rave flavas. I'm loving both personally, even if the vocal IS too fast… if pushed I'll go for the Jungle Mix just cos of the Pavlovian response those rave airhorns induce!

Out: This week, and you can hear/buy it here.

About: Well, if you don't know about Hospital then you clearly don't like D&B so there's no point me banging on, so let's just post the obligatory link to their website, and then leave it at that. Except to point out, in a pointless trivia/six degrees of separation kinda spirit, that Danny Byrd's dad used to be iDJ's accountant, which I always though was quite amusing.

John Oudo - Work Me Over

Okay, your humble correspondent is v. tired due to lots of actual proper work and mucho commuting so excuse slight slowness of updates this week, but got a fair few goodies to tell you about… let's kick off with this, which is getting a full release this week having, I'm told, already shifted not a few units on Traxsource in promo form.

In its Main Vox Mix form, this is a traditional-style soulful house offering that wouldn't sound out of place on King Street. That's the mix I'm preferring for personal listening, but with my journo/blogger head on, perhaps more interesting are the Afro Vox and Afro Instrumental mixes. Interesting cos these could easily cross over onto UK funky floors and the inclusion of such rubs is is a definite trend in soulful house at the mo' (just like you had the obligatory bruk rubs five years ago). IN FACT, there's a whole article about exactly that in the next issue of iDJ so don't forget to grab a copy!

Anyway enough of the shameless plugs, back to this and there are some lovely chords and nicely counterpointed male and female vox, so yeah, definitely worth checking for all the soulful lovers!

Out: This week

About: This comes atcha on Bigspin Music, which is John Oudo's own label. It would appear to be only the third release from the label so if you wanna be the first kid on your block to be hip to the Bigspin trip, amaze your family, astound your friends etc, then hit up their website forthwith.