Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Faze Action – Tattoo Man

For about 15 years now, a new Faze Action record has always been a reason to get excited in my books. Last year they gave us the simply brilliant Stratus Energy long-player, their most overtly, unashamedly disco outing to date… so can they maintain?

Course they can. Tattoo Man is, if anything, even more out-and-out disco than the Stratus Energy album, with a vocal that makes me think of first-gen French disco, for some reason, in particular. It comes in four mixes: the full-vocal Live Extended Mix, the cowbell and squelch- bass-tastic Agogo Dub, the instrumental Special Disco Mix (all rumbling low-end and six-string histrionics) and the more Italo-inspired Rudy's Midnight Machine Mix, which is the rub most likely to appeal to the nu-disco beards… but I'd happily drop any/all of 'em.

It's proof that Simon & Robin remain the kings of the glitterball swing. More soon lads, please!

Out: This week

About: This is on the boys' own Faze Action Records or FAR for short… and it was apparently recorded pretty much live in the studio, which might explain why it sounds like the best out-take live performance from Thank God It's Friday that never was!

Here's the Faze Action website [though I would point out that the "iDJ review" of Stratus Energy on the front page isn't actually FROM iDJ – trust me, I wrote the iDJ review, and it wasn't that one!] and here's their MySpace as well.

PS The cover also appears to be some sort of homage to the Rolling Stones' Tattoo You as well, I can't help noticing… look!

Chaim - Love Rehab

Remember that Ashley Beedle remix of Bent (I think it was Everlasting Love) that used a sampled Captain & Tenille vocal to such devastating effect? Well, imagine that vocal over a backing that's part nu-disco, part deep house – but with the dynamics of one of those 'prog with vox' tracks that were so popular in Ibiza circa 2001-2002 – and you'd end up with something like Love Rehab. Which, by the way, I like a lot.

New Year's Eve is up next, which comes on like a 60s spy movie theme reworked for the deeper dancefloors. Finally on the vinyl there's Locations, a sparse, breathy, percussion-led workout for the very late hours (but the late hours when the floor's still got bags of energy), while digital buyers also get a dub of Love Rehab for their disco dollar.

Excellent stuff all round.

Out: This week

About: See, this is quite interesting, cos Chaim hails from Israel – previously better known for its prog/tribal and dodgy psy-trance than for its quality deep house – and this is on Bpitch Control, a label which used to always be FAR too techy and glitchy for me, but which lately has put out some proper quality house music and no mistake guv'nor. Which goes to show: you can't take your eye off the ball for a minute in this game! Anyway, here's the Bpitch Control website and here's Chaim's MySpace.

Various - Lost My Dog Miami sampler

I know it seems a bit late in the day for a Miami sampler, but this only came out last week, honest! On which note, BTW, apologies for the slowness of updates this past week or so, normal service should be resumed from the weekend…

So to this EP, as good a demonstration as any as to why Lost My Dog is unarguably one of Britain's best deep house labels right now. The EP kicks off with Bleep District's Don't Stop Now, an energetic kind of affair with a touch of P-funk to its robotic backing vox, near-falsetto lead and fat, squelchy bottom end. Imagine Prince jamming with Miles & Eliot and you're in the right ballpark.

Next up is In Love by Glom, a proper bouncy 'dancefloor deep' jaunt distinguished by its odd-sounding vocal, which consists of a heavily-treated female voice repeating the title and the words "leave us be" (I think). It's not so much a show-stopper, more just reliable floor fodder, but it's good all the same.

Floating my boat more though is YSE pres Frank Carter III's Guessing Game. This latter is a chunk of good old-fashioned garage/soulful house with a full male vocal – but with nary a muso noodle nor a nasal whine in sight. Quality, and all too rare a treat these days.

And then finally there's Phazz by Roland Nights, which ain't nothing but a relentless snare-tastic groove for the first four minutes of its life, then slowly stirs in a little bit of disco and a little bit of jazz; again, it's a track aimed fair and square at the deep house dancefloors but once there it'll work its magic for sure.

So: a varied EP from a mixture of brand new and better-known names, with the quality threshold extremely high throughout. Go seek.

Out: Now (since April 19, if you must know)

About: What with Lost My Dog having become one of Britain's best-loved deep house labels, you shouldn't need me to tell you much about 'em, but here's their website for you anyway.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Snuff Crew - Jack 2

More retro-flavoured acid jackin' from Germany's Snuff Crew on this, their second long-player, which follows hot on the heels of last year's self-titled Snuff Crew.

As with that debut offering, what you're gonna make of this depends to a large extent on how in love you are with proper first-generation acid house from Chicago, cos there's not a huge amount of variety here, and practically nothing at all in the way of innovation. But if seven jack trax in the spirit of Pierre/Adonis/etc, laden with robotic vox, sparse 909 kicks and 303 tweakery galore sounds like fun, you're gonna SO dig this.

I do, anyway. Like the man says on More Fun (along with She Is Not Mine and Crazy Drive, one of the standouts on this album): JACK THIS HOUSE!

Out: This week

About: This is on Gigolo, or rather latest offshoot Digital Church Of Gigolo, and you shouldn't need me to tell you about them… so here's the obligatory website link and let's be done with it.

Jahcoozi - Barefoot Dub [Remixes]

Having raved about the album in iDJ, thought it kinda behoved to bring the single to your attention on here…

Barefoot Dub was one of my fave tracks from Barefoot Wanderer, being one of the most overtly dubby. Object Object & Raw Milk's Remix and Instrumental here though are more dancefloor-oriented, slightly tripped out dubstep takes. On the B you get the Milanese Remix of Jahcoozi's slightly bizarre cover of The Cure's Close To Me, which comes from the leftfield/cinematic end of dubstep à la Forensics, only with some German rave synths thrown in.

And then as if that wasn't confusing enough, you then get the Click Box Medley Mix of Barefoot Dub/Close To Me, which doesn't bear huge amounts of relation to either track TBH (bar a snippet of vocal) but which IS, I'm glad to report, as irresistibly groovy a slab of discofied technoid funk as you're gonna hear all month, and definitely my pick from this EP.

Out: This week

About: This is (as I think I've made clear already) the single from Jahcoozi's album Barefoot Wanderer, which is well worth investigating. It's on Bpitch Control, most of whose output is too glitchy and techno-y for me, which just goes to show, er, something; anyway here's the Bpitch Control website.

Jamie Jones - Ruckus EP

The latest from the much-hyped Mr Jones, but in this case you can do the proverbial believing thing, cos this is ace. The one-sheet calls it "an infectious fusion of dubby house and jacking disco with strains of cosmic funk" and to save time I'm just gonna agree with 'em… I'm especially liking the way Ruckus starts out quite soulful and gentle but then gets seriously down and dirty as it progresses, but the bouncy, jackin' deepness of Say What is also worth a mention.

Out: This week

About: This is the debut from a new imprint called Hot Creations, set up by Jamie Jones himself along with production chum Lee Foss. More info at their MySpace.

Dani Casarano & Felipe Valenzuela - You Say Me EP

This would be fairly me-too shuffly tech-house were it not for the killer organ line on the lead track You Say Me, which is paired with some kiddy-chorus vocals à la Joubert Singers buried quite subtly in the mix, for what ends up as an altogether more soulful-sounding affair than it sounds like it's going to be at first. The UES Remix is a slightly bumpier/jerkier affair, but while I'm preferring this one rhythmically you lose the organ-and-choir effect, which is a bit of a shame.

And then finally there's bonus track Tony-Sonny, which is a pleasant if somewhat throwaway little deep/soulful houser with a very prominent classical-sounding piano line and some more nice chorused vox.

Out: This week

About: This is the first release on Casarano & Valenzuela's own Melisma Label, er, label. Which might actually just be called Melisma Records after all… anyway here's their MySpace, where you can currently HEAR Tony-Sonny on the player.

Dani Caserano is Swiss, Felipe Valenzeula is from Chile, which might explain the slight Latin tinge to the above cuts. Apparently they've been working together for 10 years, and according to Disco G's, both have had releases out on UK label Metroline Limited, but I think this is the first I've heard from them. I'd like to hear more though...

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

FREE Gadi Mizrahi & Soul Clap track

The most excellent Wolf+Lamb have kindly sent me this excellent chunk of soulful, discofied deep house goodness to share with you… so I'm sharing it and will let the music do the talking!

To download, click here

About: This is being sent out to promote W+L's new label Double Standard… oh and Gadi Mizrahi & Soul Clap will be playing at T-Bar in London at the end of July as well.

Optick & Ciprian Lemnaru - Connected EP

Some tech-house all the way from Romania here that, crucially, remembers to have some house in with the tech...

Lead track Maya is, in its original form, a nice deep-ish, chuggy groover that's got echoes of both San Francisco and Berlin. There's also a more downtempo-y Marten Fisher remix thereof, but that's bit too techy for me and also introduces a dodgy indie-ish male vocal, so let's move swiftly on to Kukta, which takes us back to the dancefloor. This time we're in more straight-up European/techno territory but it's a decent little bubbler all the same.

The original of Maya is the one for me, though.

Out: This week

About: This is on 90 Watts records outta the Netherlands, who also brought us the rather groovy Guilty Secret by Presetone recently (reviewed on this blog on 8 April). Here's their website.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Chaser - Bite The Bullet

Chaser may seem like a new name but this is actually from Funk D'Void, AKA Francois Dubois, along with partner-in-crime Nigel Hayes.

Funk D'Void is another artist who for me makes techno that appeals just as much to househeads, and so it is with Bite The Bullet, a heads-down workout that would work equally well on house, techno or prog floors, especially these days. It's accompanied by a remix under the Dubois banner, which is a more sedate, late-night kinda proposition altogether, but still very pleasing.

To round out the EP, Messrs Hayes and D'Void (ha ha) then team up with Scottish house/techno stalwart Aqua Bassino on Odyssey. This features insistent, uptempo tribal/Afro drums which aren't my thang, really, and it takes a while to get going, but once the subtle b-line and the looped "bring it all back to blues" vocal get going, it does grow into something that's really rather likeable.

Out: This week

About: This is the latest from Urbantorque, and would appear to be their 115th release. Which makes me feel very old, cos I remember when they were a new label just starting out, and when we licensed URTR006, Beautiful You by Dealer's Choice, for an iDJ cover CD (the Boxfresh House one) back in 2002... still, good to see 'em still going strong! Here's their site of web

Monday, 19 April 2010

Ante Perry & Olivier Gregoire - Honey Penny

Let's start the week with some tech-house, shall we? Do you think we can find any being released right now, readers?

Tee hee. Okay, so you're thinking, "Oh god, another tech-house EP", and to an extent I'd agree with you. But this four-tracker from Messrs Perry & Gregoire is worth checking if just for the deep, rumbling bass and cut-up female vocals on I'm So, or the jazzy tinges and lovely warm chords found on Swing.

As it goes the other two tracks are pretty decent too, so yes, worth a look this one, definitely.

Out: Wednesday (April 21)

About: This is the latest from Systematic Recordings, which is Marc Romboy's label and has in the past featured releases from both these artists individually, as well as the likes of Robert Babicz, Spirit Catcher, Eyerer & Namito, Zoo Brazil, Stephan Bodzin, John Dahlback and of course Romboy himself. Website here.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Tim Andresen - Burnin’

Nothing world-shattering to report here but a solid offering from Mr Denmark, as ever. Think tech-house gone disco and you’re in the right kinda ballpark, with insistent, tough-but-not-too-tough kicks, a rolling bass and a looped ‘burnin’’ vocal stab the order of the day.

There are Original, Dub and (deep breath) David Gausa Sutil Back To The Disco Mix mixes to choose from. The latter is probably my pick, so I won’t moan too much about the stupid, pointlessly long name.

Out: This week

About: As per, this is on What Happens, Tim’s own label who of course are based in Denmark. Website here and here's some info on Tim Andresen as well.

The Brunch Club - Lost In Creation

Bit of a sad story behind this one. It’s the debut release from a trio based in San Jose, California by the names Lucas Rodenbush, Christian Hunt and Joel Starr. However, Joel Starr has tragically passed away since this was recorded, after contracting meningitis.

Told you it was a sad story. All the more so because this rocks, and house music is the poorer for having lost a talent it didn’t even realise it had yet.

Anyway, the music, and yes, there’s plenty to delight the deeper heads here. Only Lost In Creation itself is really floor fodder, though – the other two cuts, Like Minds and Old Friends, are definitely to filed under ‘late night listening’. All three boast some wicked meandering guitar from Joel himself, in the tradition of the best Cali jazz-fusion of the 70s.

Out: This week

About: This is on Scenic Music, a new label run by The Brunch Club’s Jucas Rodenbush who’s had stuff out as E.B.E before on labels like Plastic City, Yellorange, Grayhound and Soma.

Sean Biddle - Chicago Revolution

Very little in the way of info given here, and they haven’t even sent me a sleeve, but it’s a decent slab of discoid house all the same.

The original’s a simple looping disco groove, Alternative Reality’s LA Mix is a bit more tuff n’ pumping and makes more use of the “from Chicago we’re coming at you live” vocal and crowd noise, and then the Disfunction Remix is tougher still but still pretty disco-tastic, with some additional sampled fem vox thrown in for good measure.

Out: Who can say? Some time around now but they didn't tell me.

About: This is on Nocturnal Recordings, a UK label not to be confused with the Shapeshifters' label Nocturnal Groove. Find 'em on that t’internet here.

Gregor Tresher - The Life Wire [Remixes]

The third and final remix 12 from Tresher’s album The Life Wire, with fresh rubs this time out courtesy of DJ Madskillz & 2000 And One, Martinez and Daniel Sanchez.

Martinez’s take on the album’s title track is tough and jacking - it’s good but perhaps a little techy for me personally. I’m preferring the deeper pass of the same track from Daniel Sanchez… but the real gem here is DJ Madskillz & 2000 And One’s mix of Escape To Amsterdam, which is big and bouncy without being too cheesy, with a lolloping, go-all-night kinda groove.

Out: This week

About: This is on Tresher’s own Frankfurt-based Break New Soil imprint, who can be found on MySpace here.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Deep Soul Unit - Limits EP

South Africa is really coming into its own as a haven of production talent right now, emerging the way Eastern Europe did a few years ago. This latest from Deep Soul Unit won't hurt matters.

Despite the name, this is deep more than soulful. A Day In The Forest is a midtempo bordering on downtempo affair with sampled sounds of rainforests, birdsong and so on. One for warm-up use, methinks. Deep Memories is an exercise in late-night driftaway loveliness with some LUSH chords, while Both World is in a similar vein but a little more synth-y and a tiny bit proggy.

What this EP highlights nicely is that for every Afro-centric township artist coming out of SA, there's also plenty of straight-up house music without, y'know, all the congas and chanting n' that. Not that it's not good for South Africans to put their regional stamp on things, but I'm not a huge lover of Afro vibes generally and for me some of the stuff the likes of Vega are pushing is a bit like if all French house records had accordions on them. This, on the other hand, is just deep house, plain and simple.

Out: This week

About: This is on Joseph Mercado's Next Dimension Music label. They're based in Arizona, but online they live here (website) and here (MySpace).

Friday, 16 April 2010

Juliet Sikora, Tube & Berger - La Boca Loca

This could be written off as just your bog-standard 'right now' kinda tech-houser, were it for the inclusion of some peculiar noises that lend the track a unique character. These are hinted at by the sleeve, because the track's distinguishing characteristic is what sounds like an elephant trumpeting (but is probably just a muted trumpet, I'm guessing). There's also, on the original mix, a little parping burst of the same that sounds remarkably like someone saying "fuck off", but probably isn't…

Mix-wise the Original has lots of rattly Latin percussion, the Simon2 remix is more your straight-up tech-house, but the pick by far for me is the Daniel Steinberg remix, which adds a hefty funky bassline slightly reminiscent of The Fog's Been A Long Time, some ace Joey Negro-esque space disco stabs and just the teensiest, weeniest bit of acid (as well as a very brief vocal interlude in some language I can't identify). It's this mix that's earned it its place on this blog, really.

Out: This week

About: This is on Kitt Ball Records, who are based in Solingen, Germany. This is their 16th release, they're previously best known for their charity compilation It Began In Africa, and you can find out all about 'em by visiting their website and MySpace, at the latter of which you can currently HEAR THESE TRACKS as well.

Ah, now you see, no sooner had I finished writing this than I realised the website actually tells you that the funny noises in question are actually from a 'mouth trumpet'. Which I'd not heard of before so I looked it up on Wikipedia

Jefferson Velazquez - Hail… Holy Life EP

Another superb EP from Etoka Records, definitely one of my labels to watch for 2010.

The overall feeling is ultra-deep but the tracks are all quite different, which is no mean feat when you think about it. Lead track Abused Views comes in three mixes: the original is a squelchy deep tech-houser, the Microbodies remix is more overtly housified and Si Muir slows it down a touch for a mix that's part Balearic, part 'smack house'.

However, it's the other two tracks that are the most interesting. Wheel Of Fortune sits somewhere between deep house and (say) The Orb, and features one of the weirdest disembodied vocals you'll ever hear. It's trippy as f*** and really rather good, the whole thing underpinned by a sumptous, slo-mo acid bassline. And then finally there's Bruxelles, which displays more of an influence from US house/garage and is just a treat for the soul!

Out: This week

About: Etoka has come seemingly out of nowhere in the past year or two and, some 24 releases in, seems to have a pretty much unerring knack of unearthing quality deep house from unknown producers. Ignore them at your peril.

To assist in your non-ignoring of them, here's their website and MySpace. Oh, and here's a MySpace link for Jefferson Velazquez as well.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Penner & Muder - Another EP

This pair have an album about to drop on Moodmusic, though I've not heard it yet so can't say if it's any good or not… but in the meantime, here's a single on Wazi Wazi to be going on with.

There's three tracks on offer. Presence Of Another Man is a midtempo deep house/motoric funk chugger, with a soulful male vocal bemoaning the slow death of relationship due to the unwanted involvement of a third party. It's like a mournful Bill Withers jam for the 21st century!

The accompanying Presence Of Another Dub drops the vocal and adds some great organ and female vocal stabs in the middle, and then finally Walk On By continues in a similarly languid kinda vein, this time with some nice mellow keys giving it more of a late-night kinda feel.

Presence Of Another Dub is the pick of the three for me, but it's good stuff all round.

Out: This week

About: Wazi Wazi is the label run by Nils Penner himself in cahoots with Klas-Henrik ‘Sasse’ Lindblad (of Filipsson & Lindblad fame, who you might remember did that ace A Splendor In The Grass album last year).

They're just three releases deep, and I can't seem to find a website or MySpace for them or even a Discogs entry. So instead here's a link to, which happens by sheer coincidence to be about one of my other favourite things, robots. Gotta love the robots.

Lutzenkirchen - Somebody & The Music EP

I always think Tobias Lutzenkirchen is kind of the househead’s techno producer. I guess you could call this tech-house… but to me it's more housey techno, if that makes sense.

Whatever you call it, it's pretty damn solid dancefloor-moving stuff all the same. The Music features a slightly disembodied and near-spoken black male vocal eulogising "the music" over looping beats and percussion, and would be my pick of the two cuts cos Somebody, while treading a similar path in that it too uses a very house-y style vocal, is a little more overtly techno.

Still, like I say, both will keep bodies moving on the floor. Which is the point, innit?

Out: This week

About: As you may have guessed from the pic, this is on 1605 Music Therapy, the Slovenian label run by the mighty Umek – another man with the knack of making loopy techno that appeals to house peeps. Well, it appeals to me, anyway. Find 1605 Music Therapy online here

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

FREE Josh Wink track!

Haven't had a freebie on here for a while but what a corker This Is Why We Dance brings you today… a new remix by Spanish DJ David Tort of Josh Wink's all-time classic Don't Laugh by Winx. Reponsible for not a few mangled minds when it first came through the speakers to take 1995 dancefloors unawares, this giggle-tastic groover now gets some spanking new Iberican drums and a whole new lease of life into the bargain. Be the first kid on your block, etc…

It's being released as a free taster for the latest in the Nervous Nitelife series, the flagship mix album marque of reborn legendary label Nervous Records. Nervous Nitelife 08: David Tort is out on June 8 and features tracks from Frankie Feliciano, Stylus Trouble, D-Unity, MYNC/HCCR/Jose Nunez and Gui Boratto, among others, as well as several cuts from Tort himself.

Out: Today, if you mean the Winx remix: just click below. June 8, if you mean the full album.

About: You surely won't need me to tell you that Nervous was one of the holy triumvirate of NYC labels (along with Strictly Rhythm and Eight Ball) that dominated the US house scene of the ’90s, as well as their logo seemingly being on every third raver's T-shirt here in the UK! They disappeared off the scene for a few years but they're back now, with the Nervous Nitelife series at the forefront of their release schedule.

David Tort, meanwhile, has played at clubs like Avalon in LA, Pacha NY, Space in Miami and Amnesia in Ibiza, and has over 40 remix credits under his belt.

And so finally, to download the Winx track, just CLICK HERE.

[NB: You're best right-clicking/ctrl-clicking and choosing Save link as, otherwise you'll have to let the track load before you can save it]

Greg Mak - Liquid Memories

That little bit tougher and druggier but still in the house arena, this would make good warm-up fodder for prog/tribal types, or could provide somewhere a little bit harder to go for the deep house DJs.

There are four mixes on offer. My pick would be the Gary Woods Mix, which contrasts some menacing synths and an ominous bassline with a deceptively jaunty rhythm. But elsewhere the Original is pleasantly spacey, the Victor Kill Remix is heads-down dark prog, while Scott Langley's approach is just a touch more experimental with some nicely varying textures.

Out: This week

About: This is on Endemic Digital, whose deep, tech and prog house releases have featured many times both on this blog and on the house pages of iDJ. Look out for the first Endemic Digital compilation Choice Cuts Vol 1, out on May 17. Here's their website.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Moebius - Light My Fire

Yes, the Doors song… as covered in a new wave-meets-disco style by LA band Moebius in 1979, and now remixed for 2010 by French bod Mirwais (or not, as you see fit – an extended edit of the original is also included).

The vocal's a bit out of tune but this was something of a staple for Daniele Baldelli back in the day, apparently (and also a Top 10 hit in France). And now it's back to delight the cardigan-wearing Shoreditch hipsters. So there.

Out: This week

About: This is on a new label called Light Sounds Dark and has the catalogue number LSD001. Can't seem to find out much about 'em but they did that Sherm Sticks & Other Nasty Joints album last year, about which Kris Needs said in Record Collector, "Light Sounds Dark are obviously aiming for those demented souls craving something fresh, freakily danceable and previously nearly impossible to obtain." Which would seem to sum things up nicely. If you want to obtain this now, try Phonica.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Greg Stainer - Sax Is Back EP

Neither Mr Stainer nor Seamless Black Label are any strangers to this blog, so I'll just quickly say that this is of the high calibre we've come to expect.

In particular, Stainer seems to have the knack of neatly straddling the commercial/cool divide, with his brand of house being accessible enough for wide appeal, yet credible enough to appeal also to the cognoscenti. So here, Peek A Boo is Berlin-y but upbeat and musical, while lead cut Sax Is Back is a deep house dancefloor workout that any head worth his or her salt will recognise as borrowing its main hook from Surface's 1983 Salsoul cut Falling In Love (which, if you think you don't know it, was later the basis for Cloud 9's garage classic Do You Want Me), with added lashings of the eponymous woodwind instrument thrown in before it all goes off into a massive percussion-fest. But in a good way.

I'm not really convinced by the other track, End Of Drop. It comes in two mixes but both are too close to Ibiza-style trancey-pants house for my liking (though the Basin Dub is less so, to be fair). But this is still worth picking up for the first two.

Out: This week

About: Another goodie from Seamless Black Label, then. Website here, and if you hear the name 'Seamless' and think, 'Hmm, that's a tad too commercial for me', then do just remember that Seamless Black Label is where they put the deeper/more underground/better stuff!

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Affinity - Static

Don't write about drum & bass on here much, mainly cos I don't get sent very much of it. Which is a shame cos I do like it…

It's the Moving Fusion & Ant Miles of Static that you want to head for: it's a right proper tear-out and no mistake guv'nor! It harks back to the early days of D&B/jungle circa 1993, via tech-step circa 1996, but with the pristine sheen of a contemporary Hospital records production, too. Nice.

You also get a dark and mangled dubstep remix from Reso plus the tearing, tech-y breaks of the original, but it's the D&B mix for me by a mile. Or by 1.6km, if you're metrically inclined.

Out: This week on vinyl, from April 19 digitally

About: This is on Never Say Die, quite a new dubstep and breaks label with a penchant for the harder styles (or at least that's what they've concentrated on so far). They've had stuff out before from Ctrl-Z, High Rankin, Freestylers, Noisia and Foreign Beggars; check out their MySpace and website for more info. Be quick and you can HEAR THESE TRACKS on the MySpace, too.

Various - We R 2

The Star-Fi Recordings crew celebrate their second birthday with an album featuring nine spanking new tracks from the Star-Fi family of artists. Woohoo!

One thing I like about Star-Fi is you never know quite what you're gonna get, cos they cover quite a lot of ground musically - and so it is here. There's disco re-edit shenanigans (Good Parts' Dance On The Groove, a rework of Love International's 1981 cut of the same name). There's lickety-split contemporary funk (Illa Thrilla by Tim 'Lo-Fi' Stoakes), there's bleepy, glitchy techno (X and Y by Moody Twin), there's breaks-gone-dub-techno (Stoakes again with Techfunkology), there's slo-mo nu-disco (Moody Twin's Raw Silk-biting Metroplexual), there's festival-friendly, Dreadzone-style skank (Don't Dub No Bass by I Am The Woodstar), and more.

Occasionally there's an idea that doesn't come off, but on the whole this is a refreshingly varied and party-minded set that's well worth checking.

Out: This week

About: Star-Fi have had mucho props on here before, so I won't bang on, but here's their website and MySpace.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Various - From The Stars Vol 1

Another month, another compilation from the Nang stables. It's hard to keep up. This one's a bit different, though, cos while it features the usual Nang suspects – Bottin, Architeq Love Supreme, Sare Haviclek – there's a sci-fi theme throughout. The tracks are all called things like V, Space 1999 and Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy.

As you'd expect, a lot of the tracks have a slightly more filmic, soundscape-y feel than normal, but otherwise it's pretty much business as usual, and you surely know by now if Nang's particular take on nu-disco – synth-led, inspired by Krautrock and ’80s Italo, and bordering on the proggy at times – is your cuppa tea or not*. Assuming it is, though, there's plenty to keep you interested here, with Ichisan & Nakova's groovy Space 1999 being particularly worthy of mention.

Out: Now

About: Visit the Nang website for more info

* Right, just before I jump into my spaceship and zoom off, writing the above reminded me of a joke I made up…
Why do anarchists drink chai? Because proper tea is theft!

Various - Drumpoems Verse 2 EP2

The second sampler EP for the Drumpoems Verse 2 album, which you may remember was TIWWD's compilation of 2009. In what seems like a slightly odd move, though, not all the tracks are actually on the album…

So: Hunee's You Took My Love and DC's Riot both still sound as good as they did on the album. But you also get Kawabata's ace deep houser Feelin' It, which the hype sheet compares not unreasonably to vintage Prescription material… and best of all you get Upside Down by Johannes Lehner, which is the real reason you should hunt down this vinyl immediately.

You might think covering a Diana Ross disco/boogie classic in a cold, Detroitian techno style is a bad idea, but that's cos you haven't heard it. Alternatively, you may remember Blake Baxter's One More Time, which did a similar trick with Let No Man Put Asunder. If you do, and if I tell you that this is every bit as good, you'll know you SO need this record.

Out: Yesterday, so I'm a bit more up-to-date than I was ten minutes ago. Phew.

About: This is of course on Drumpoet Community, and just serves to confirm their position as one of the very best labels in house music right now. Find out more by clicking here.

Your Only Friend - The Glass EP

Your Only Friend are Steve Ferano and Tres Manos, and they're to be congratulated in coming up with a record I don't quite know how to describe. I guess you'd call it deep house, but really it's more like downtempo/trip-hop put through a deep house filter; St Germain meets Air in San Francisco, would be another way of putting it. It's good, though: with a dash of jazz here, snippets of sampled rap vox there and THC'd out mellow house beats, it's perfect warm-up/comedown material.

The three tracks - Sandy Bitches, Back From The Dead and Spelunkin - don't vary hugely stylistically, so not gonna go into each one. But they are three tracks, not three remixes of one track, if you know what I mean. And surely one new musical blueprint is enough for any EP.

So yeah, good. More, please.

Out: This has been out since April 1, so is a whole nine days old. I'm so behind the times.

About: This is on YOF's own label Your Only Friend Recordings. Here's what the hype sheet says about 'em:

The duo met in Barcelona at one of the cities infamous ‘Estate’ warehouse parties and immediately became good friends. After many drunken stupors and endless laughs it quickly became apparent that they both shared a unique taste in getting tw**ted and Underground House Music. Though they come from different backgrounds, Tres Manos from the U.S. club and warehouse scene and Steve Ferrand from the U.K. free-party and festival scene, they were both heavily influenced by old Chicago and Detroit house music as well as the U.K.’s early 90’s Deep House sound. What brings them together now is the shared desire to contribute to the House scene by taking it back to its deep, soulful, and gritty roots, but perhaps more importantly to not take any of it too damn seriously!

If that's got you intrigued, click here to visit their website. Oh and look, we've changed fonts completely. Not sure how/why that's happened...

Till Von Sein - Sundowna

You might have heard this: it's the one that starts off with the kid's voice going “You better ask somebody”. At least I think that’s what he's saying.

This was apparently inspired by a “sundowner” session in South Africa, and it comes in four mixes. The original’s a kind of beach-tech-house affair; the Dyed Sondorom & Shonky Remix is a clubbier take but still with what sound like muted vibes to lend it summery, outdoors-y kinda feel; Joeski’s Deep Down Mix does what it says and goes down a deeper, late-night, blissed-out path; and finally the digital-only Layo & Bushwacka! Tropix Mix is yer straight-up Berlin-ish minimal/tech-house, only relocated to the heart of the rainforest.

I can imagine hearing the L&B! mix on big speakers in an outdoor club – somewhere in Rimini, say, or Rain in Miami – and thinking it was the best thing in the world. Right now, though, it's the Joeski rub that's doing it best for me. But it's all good, as they say.

Out: Now

About: This is on Guy Gerber's Supplement Facts label, which is based in Israel, dontchaknow. Website here.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Tale Of Us - Upon A Time EP

Another artist debut, this time from a pair of musicians based in sunny Madrid. Karm and Matteo Millieri are their names, and as well as Barraca Music, they've had stuff out between them on ViVA, Isgud and BlaBla, among others.

Their debut as Tale Of Us is a five-track EP. I'm not gonna go into every track one-by-one, but the overall feel is deep house with a vaguely Afro/tribal feel to it, but not in an OTT, annoying kinda way. There are some decidedly jazzy overtones, too, particularly on The Backing Band, which is one of my favourites out of the five tracks – I'm a sucker for brushed snares. But then you've also gotta give it up for Into, with its more floor-friendly, bubbly techno flava.

Quite a varied EP, then, and well worth checking.

Out: For a week or two but ne'ermind.

About: This is on Barraca Music, who were also responsible for the excellent Andrew Grant EP Tre Pro Quimby recently (see 'Round-up thingummy Part 1', below). So that's just two releases in, and I'm digging both. Find ’em online here.

Presetone - Guilty Secret

This is the debut from Presetone, two guys from Holland who between 'em have DJ'd all over, and had stuff out on labels like Renaissance, Stealth and Little Mountain.

The original of Guilty Secret I guess comes under the tech-house banner – they call it "minimal tech house" themselves – but it's a little too glitchy and fidget-y for me. The El Mundo & Satori Remix takes us down a slightly deeper, housier path and is better, but it's when you get to the Marcus Gehring Remix that the fun really begins. His take is deeper again but still dripping in da funk, with some lush organ stabs and a pleasantly driftaway, 5am kinda feel. This is the one I'll be dropping, certainly.

Out: This week

About: This comes on 90Watts, which like Presetone themselves is based in Amsterdam. They seem to be still quite under the radar - according to their website they've had 30-odd releases out over the past 18 months but they're not even listed on Discogs yet as far as I can see. So hit up their site or visit their MySpace to get on their groovy train early!

Hostage - Dub My Disco

All right, so this is really quite cheesy. Which won't surprise anyone, given that it comes from Hed Kandi. But I'm gonna give it a TIWWD mention anyway, for two reasons…

1. Hed Kandi have done quite a lot of stuff, ranging from the really horribly cheesy and awful (see: much of their recent output), to the only mildly cheesy and really quite okay (see: their early Nu Cool comps). Lately most of their stuff I couldn't even bring myself to download, but this isn't bad – not as handbag-y, commercial club-friendly vocal house goes. The girl can sing, there's no horrible electro noises or OTT trance-lite breakdowns/drum rolls… if you heard this after a few sherberts you'd probably even dance to it. And we should surely encourage such improvements.

2. The Unashamed Disco Dolly™ job description does include a penchant for the occasional slab of fromage… otherwise what would there be to be unashamed of?

So yeah, two mixes of the title cut, two of Get High. I'd stick to the Solitaire mix of Dub My Disco but overall, this is a sight better than most stuff they've done of late…

Out: Now

About: This is on Destroy The Disco, which is the new, more electro/neon-friendly face of Hed Kandi in case you weren't aware. I'll let YOU look 'em up online if you've a mind to.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Tania Vulcano & Tato - Teflon

Most of the mixes here are pretty typical of that post-minimal, slightly proggy, heads-down kinda techno-cum-house that you can imagine makes former 'tribal' types like Ms Vulcano feel right at home, in that it's, y'know, all right… it just doesn't go anywhere or do anything.

So this mightn't have made it onto TIWWD, were it not for the not-at-all-snappily-titled Igor Tchkotoua From Pig & Dan Remix, which is an ace slab of much housier deepness. To be fair, this mix doesn't go much of anywhere either, but that doesn't matter cos it's such a lush groove you can listen to it without getting bored for ages…

The Pig & Dan Remix isn't bad either, nor's the Indarts Minidub Mix… but really it's all about Igor's remix here.

Out: Yesterday, I believe.

About: This is on Isgud Records, which is Tania and Tato's own label. Here's their website and MySpace.

Mikael Delta - Tech Me Away

Right, not gonna say huge amounts about this one cos it's essentially a techno release, and techno is by no means my field of expertise. But for one thing, I said I'd give it a mention, and for another, this six-track mini-album is actually pretty deep n' groovy as techno goes. Oh yeah, and it's got Billie Ray Martin on it as well…

Anyway, when I say 'techno', that's speaking technically, if you see what I mean. This has much more in common with tech-house or deep prog than it does with any jackhammer nosebleed bollocks. It's still a bit too techno/electronica-ish for me personally, but I can definitely see the appeal, and Disco Over Me, with its (fairly unsurprising given the title) nu-disco overtones, is the track that just might lure me in…

Out: Since April 1

About: This is on Klik Records, whose website can be found here. They're based in Athens and say that they “find inspiration somewhere among the sounds of electronic music, ranging from deep house, fusion jazz, tech-house, techno, ambient among others…”. They've previously released stuff from artists as diverse as Timo Maas and Terry Lee Brown Jr, Silicone Soul and Way Out West.

Mikael Delta meanwhile is something of a Greek star, it would seem – read about him on Wikipedia or visit his website or MySpace (you can hear some of these tracks at the latter)

Uneaq - I Know You Get Down

Not had much straight-up west coast on here for a bit, so just in case you were starting to think the Short Bus Kids are the only house crew left in California (and even one of them lives in Amsterdam), here's one from San Jose-based Uneaq.

Coming in simple main, instrumental and radio mixes, I Know You Get Down is a midtempo deep houser with jazzy leanings and a quality vocal from Jessica Marquez, and will suit those of an Om/Naked Music mindset nicely. 'Bout all I can say, really, except that if you think of Ralf Gum's work with Monique Bingham, this is in similar territory. S'good.

Out: Now

About: Uneaq are the trio of Jessica Marquez, Joshua Marquez and Andrew Lozano, and have been playing together for nine years, starting out as a soul/jazz/hiphop outfit before discovering a taste for the 4/4. Here's their website and MySpace. They've had stuff out before on Om and Motion Music, among others. This comes atcha though on Clique Trax - est. 2009 and just seven releases young! Again, here's a website and MySpace to find out more.

In 'other west coast news', was chatting on Facebook to my boy Parrish [Wintersmith] this morning, of ex-Groove Junkies fame. The big man tells me he's taken some time to regroup and refocus post-GJs and has some new heat coming soon, so watch this space!

Roberto Auser & Alden Tyrell - Blondes & Brunettes

Not quite within Bear Funk's usual nu-disco remit, this is instead a mix of heavy low-end funk, echoes of eastern-tinged psychedelia, and the kind of mantric repetitiveness common to both deep house/deep techno, and Krautrock. And I like it, a lot.

In fact, it's one of Bear Funk's best to date. I'd go for Roberto's Bar Mix rather than Alden's Club Mix: on the latter, some of the raw funk feel is toned down in favour of a more linear kickdrum, and while you can see why the mix is there, it doesn't quite have the eccentric charm of the former. If you must have it clubbed up, then Steve Kotey's spacier remix (which has some distinctly Orb-like tendencies!) is a better bet.

Props to Bear Funk for trying something a tad different, cos in this instance, it works brilliantly.

Out: Since yesterday

About: This is on Kotey's Bear Funk label, about whom more can be found here. A Roberto Auser full-length, Secret Carnaval (sic) is due on the label soon.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Moza - Somewhere On Cuba

Some deep, deep house all the way from Moscow here, courtesy of one Nikolay Demidov.

The hype sheet calls this "Nordic deep house with a slight tinge of darkness" and I'd say that's pretty fair. It's certainly worth pointing out that despite the title this is no carnival-esque Latin romp, but rather, midtempo and slightly tripped-out tackle that's best suited to late night sofa surfing. Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream…

Four tracks in all and while I've not got much to say about them beyond the above, this is WELL worth checking – one of the best slabs of ultra-deepness I've been sent so far this year.

Out: Since March 30

About: This is on Support House, who are based in St Petersburg (one of the best places I've been, incidentally). Visit them on MySpace to HEAR THESE TRACKS for yourself!

Friday, 2 April 2010

Max Sedgley - Something Special

I recently saw an ad for car insurance, or a bank, or Iceland, or something; anyway it had Happy on it. Which is surely proof of how broad-ranging the appeal of Sedgley's brand of still-just-about-credible dance-pop really is.

And so it is here. The original of Something Special is a slightly Jacksons-ish pop number with a female vocal from Tasita D'Amour; you want to call it cheesy, and it is a bit, but it's so flawlessly-crafted and uplifting (and that bass is so fat) that to do so would seem churlish.

For the clubs, meanwhile, you have remixes from Neighbour, Crazy P and Spiritcatcher. The latter's Dub is the place to head if you're looking for a properly housed-up take; Neighbour go kind of nu-disco meets breaks with the full vocal intact, while the Crazy P mix throws in a Blackbyrds-ish funk geetar break for something that's very move to-able, if a tad lightweight.

So yeah, it's all good really. Expect to be thoroughly sick of this by about July at the latest; for now, it's all good clean fun.

Out: Now

About: This is on Jalapeno, that bastion of all things new-old funk with a party twist. You want a website link I suppose? Here you go, then…

Short Bus Kids - Don't Talk EP

One day, DK Watts and Lance Leber will make a record I don't love. This latest five-track EP on their own Bounce House isn't it.

The title track is, in their words, "signature Short Bus Kids deep, druggy house"… and I don't really think I can add much to that! The Zip Yo Lip Rework of Don't Talk then ups both the pace (slightly) and the funk ante, with some crazily noodling organs placed quite low in the mix for a more immediate, yet also slightly more out-there feel.

Let It Roll is a more sedate affair, with some nice pads and some drifty male and female vocal snippets; Freestyle is a bouncy 'dancefloor deep' affair with (unsurprisingly given the title) a hip-house vocal; and finally Want Your Love is more percussion-led number with a little bit of a disco sheen but a little late-night trippiness, too.

All told, just more ace deep house out of the Bounce stable. Keep 'em coming boys!

Out: Now

About: This is on Bounce House, as stated, which is DK & Lance's own label and based in San Francisco. This is the label's 20th release and you can find out anything else you need to know* here.

*Well, I say anything else you need to know. Anything else about Bounce House or Short Bus Kids, I mean. Not if, like, you needed to know the specific gravity of barium. You'd be better off with a physics page, in that instance.

Ntanos - Let It Fade EP

Never let it be said that TIWWD leaves you short of Greek tech-house, as following the Mihalis Safris offering here's one from fellow Athens chappy, Ntanos. Actually I'd describe this as from the techier end of deep house, rather than as tech-house per se. But still.

What we have here, then, are three mixes of Let It Fade, plus bonus cuts Let's Begin With and Mokoslokos. The three mixes of the chuggy title cut – the original, plus rerubs from Zumo and Ekkohaus – don't vary much, though, and I've said about all I've got to say about it already, really, so let's move on to Let's Begin With. This is a more straight-up housey (ie less techy) affair, with a little of that west coast/east midlands, bumpin' kinda feel to it, chopped-up vox and some lush organ sounds. It's not hugely original or anything but if it ain't broke… me like! And finally there's Mokoslokos, which is more of a midtempo affair with a chunky, electronic funk all of its own… and might actually be my fave cut here.

Ntanos is a producer I've tipped before on these pages and, while this EP isn't the best I've heard from him so far, it's well worth checking and won't harm his growing reputation in deep houses circles one jot. Nice sleeve, too. Reminds me of spirograph drawings, but if you said that to Ntanos he probably wouldn't know what you were talking about because he's only 23 years old, damn him.

Out: Now

About: This is on Flumo Recordings, who I think are Spanish and who have previously put out releases from the likes of Justin 'Peace Division' Drake, Nils Nurnberg, Florian Krause and Bristol's own Mr Happy, Nick Harris. Find 'em larking about in the ether here.

Mihalis Safris - Yellow EP

From the quirky deep house of Barrytone, to the more heads-down tech-house of rising Greek star Mihalis Safris.

Not got huge amounts to say about the four tracks featured here, really. There's Mambo, which has slight middle eastern touches about it, there's San Trope which nods at filter disco, there's the Oxia Remix of San Trope which ditches the filters and veers in a more loopy techno kinda direction, and then there's Place Roisin 33, which just sort of chugs away in a kind of post-prog, post-minimal, techno kinda way.

Of the four, the original of San Trope and Mambo work best for me, while Place Roisin 33 is definitely the weakest track. But when all's said and done, it's basically just reasonably solid, if hardly groundbreaking, fodder for the tech-house floors.

Out: Now

About: This is on Material Series, which is the Athens-based label run by Safris and UK techno bod Mark Broom. Check 'em out on MySpace, whydon'tcha?

Barrytone - Smokin' Tunes

A new producer makes his debut on California's Pro-Tez Records.

The A-side here, Smokin' Tunes itself, takes a little while to get going, kicking off with three and a half minutes of a rolling bassline, skippy percussion and that's about it. But persevere, cos then everything goes seriously crazy-assed jazzual, with some quirky 'vocal' samples - all right, basically the sound of someone having a massive toke – thrown in for good measure. I'm not really explaining it very well, but it's ace, basically. Oh yeah, and there's some trumpet as well. Is it just me or is the trumpet the new sax?

On the B, meanwhile, lies Captain Kook, another quality piece of quirkified deep house, this time doing the cha-cha-cha and bumping behinds with your Auntie Gladys on the dancefloor. One for putting a smile on people's faces.

Out: This week

About: This is on Pro-Tez, who are based in California as stated and can be found here. But for European distribution it's got the seal of approval from the mighty Kompakt.