(01) (--) Marlow – In The Backroom (LP) (Sonar Kollektiv)
Hot on the heels of the musically moving Mius album, the carefully nurtured Sonar Kollektiv label is back with another masterful album of borderless house, hip hop and soul. It comes from long time operator Marlow and features 17 tracks that are deeply absorbing and adventurous. What’s more, plenty of top guests like Pete Josef, Ursula Rucker, Flowin Immo and others all lend their own vocal and instrumental textures to an album that is full of real musicianship and genuine depth. Starting with some weird and wonderful, scattered jazz sounds and great spoken word samples, the album progresses through swaggering bass with creepy oboes, low and slow deep house with vocal star Stee Downes and skewed tech that is full of off time sine waves and jangling synths. ‘Can’t Stop’ is super sweet neo-soul with broken beats and swooning keys, ‘Watch Your Step’ features gentle grooves and thought provoking rap vocals from Capitol A whilst ‘And His Mind Blown’ is a lurching sample heavy soundscape that has hip hop at its heart. The second half of the album lays down summery grooves and colourful melodies, darker trip hop cuts and spacious, eerie downbeat passages as well as cool electro funk and 80s sintered jams that are as emotive as they are interesting. This is a far roaming, compelling piece of work that marries great instrumentation and proper arrangements with subtle grooves. The result is a perfect album that gets way beyond the dance floor.
(02) (--) Golden Bug – Accroche a Moi (La Belle)
‘Accroché à moi,’ is four minutes of sexual deep disco with menacing bass and libidinous French vocals. Tinkling percussive sounds and whirring machines add detail to the groove and are sure to help send dancefloors wild, especially after the airy breakdown and trippy guitar licks at the mid point.
Then comes the equally exquisite ‘Un paradis artificiel,’ which is twice as long and half as slow. It is a languorous, curious number with odd sci-fi sounds, long legged drums and dubbed out vibes that get peppered with spoken French mutterings, acid twitches and oodles of echo and reverb. Dirty and dark, sleazy and subversive, it is a truly unique offering that is full of character.
(03) (--) Rim & Kasa – Love Me For Real (Nik Weston Edit) (BBE)
Having fallen in love with the recent reissues of ultra rare records by Ghanaian afro-disco pioneer Rim Kwaku Obeng, both versions are now extremely DJ friendly. “Love Me For Real” by Rim & Kasa is an instantly seductive disco killer with an ever-growing groove, cleverly looped up by Mr Weston for maximum impact. “Gas Line” has a real funk edge thanks to it’s tight horn section and call-response vocal. Nik’s edit takes it new heights, keeping that addictive groove going and going.
(04) (--) Justin Jay featuring Josh Taylor – Make You Mine (Incl. Lee Curtiss & Alex Nazar Remix) (Repopulate Mars)
Sturdy kicks and echoing drones lead the way in ‘Make You Mine’ to generate a ominous aesthetic combined with Taylor’s poignant vocals. ‘Climbing Trees’ then raises the energy as a sultry low-end, mesmerizing atmospherics and infectious guitar licks do their work. Concluding matters, Visionquest’s Lee Curtiss and Alex Nazar’s remix of ‘Make You Mine’ boosts the tempo of the original, incorporating a heady bassline and trippy synths.
(05) (--) Munk – The Bolero Bunuel EP (Gomma)
The Bolero Bunuel: Based on a jazzfunk bassline and some live drumming. The melodies remind you some strange arabian sci-fi things. The Naked Baam: reminding the first Motorbass tracks, back from Paris 1995. Filterfunk! The Oboe Onyx: Boards of Canada could have been somewhere in the studio when this was made. The beat is weird… not quantized. This new Munk EP comes out with Remixes from LAUER and RED AXES.
(06) (--) The Supermen Lovers – Absolute Disco EP ( La Tebwa, Word Up Records)
Absolute Disco is the eighth EP in a series the artist started 15 years ago. It was written in his studio in Paris and is inspired by the “strange atmospheres” of the city in which disco is still very much alive. Made using a mix of analog and digital machines, the stunning opener ‘It’s OK!’ is what you’d call the very definition of a ‘floor filler with its slick and driven combo of kicks and samples all sounding impeccably produced. French Touch at its best, it’s hard not to stomp along as this one goes up through the gears. Then comes ‘Fair Enough,’ which screams its lungs out with the most hypnotic vocoder work and trippiest guitar you could dream of: this is the other side of The Supermen Lovers and is him sounding like a band from Mars playing Pink Floyd in 2016. Next up, the colourful ‘Baroud’ is the ultimate DJ tool thanks to its playful and rubbery tech house feel, whirring machines and pumping groove. This one flips the script again and offers a third and final bit of dancing dynamite that is charming and cheeky at the same time.
Soundcloud preview –
(07) (01) Quantic Presenta Flowering Inferno – A Life Worth Living feat. U-Roy & Alice Russell (TruThoughts)
(08) (--) Tim Green – Only Time Remains (Get Physical)
Ahead of the release of his highly anticipated Body Language mix for the famed Get Physical series, top drawer producer and selector Tim Green offers up two exclusive tracks from it – one original, and one remix. Up first is Green’s own fantastic original, ‘Only Time Remains.’ It finds the artist is melodic mood, with his seductive, rolling beats all overlaid with churchy chords and grand atmospheres that really are epic and absorbing. The bass, too, is big and bold and angelic vocals lend a hypnotic feel to the irresistible groove. The remix of Junge Junge’s ‘Beautiful Girl’ featuring Kyle Pearce shows Green adding his own unique flavours to the track. The result is a tantalising nine minute affair that slowly unfolds and sucks you deep into Green’s spacious and grand world of smeared pads, tender melodies and subtly rising vocals that are emotive, dreamy and spaced out.
(09) (--) Kalyma – LayDown (inc. Aaaron, Florian Busse & Stereo MC’s remixes) (Connected)
In original form, ‘LayDown’ which was “made to enable smooth transitions in the dynamic range of a diverse house DJ set, without losing energy and create a special intimate, percussive vibe”—is the sort of emotionally impactful house track that really makes clubs take note: with its poignant and careful bass notes, tender vocals and shuffling drum it is warm and inviting, pained and moving and makes you sway without realising it. The first remix comes from one of Kalyma’s producer friends, Aaaron, and as a remix is deep and bubbly, with subtle little melodic hooks and dainty synths all making it feel like a late night adult lullaby stitched to a house groove. Germany’s Florian Busse goes for a darker, more troubled vibe with prying bass and glitchy claps making for a menacing groove. The acclaimed Stereo MCs then lend the cut their own touch with another masterful remix. It is slow burning and atmospheric, with spaced out synths and gentle melodies raining down above soft but sumptuous drums.
(10) (--) Jona Sul – Milkboy (Southern Fried Records)
New regular Southern Fried Records artist Jona Sul is back with his third EP on the label. ‘Milkboy’ is another expressive electronic affair featuring four tracks that go way beyond the dance floor. The excellent ‘Jerzey’ goes first and is a pleasantly heartbroken mix of spritely synths, broken beats and dehumanised vocals. Reflective and shiny, it’s an uplifting tune with a lazy but infectious groove at its core. Equally easy to love, ‘Elmer’ is another summery cut with elastic drums, shimmering chords and a real outdoor festival feel. On the flip, the goodness continues with ‘Bayside Casio,’ a perfectly ramshackle groove with tumbling percussive patterns, deep looping bass and pained synths that come together in the same magical ways of a classic Caribou track. Lastly, the top title track ‘Milkboy’ is loose and skittish, freeform and full of suggestion as it drops into a slick minimal groove, with shuffling drums, subtle working in of vocal mutters and rich layers of sun kissed synths.
(11) (04) Jonas Rathsman featuring Josef Salvat (Complex)
This is a tech-blues odyysesy, an introverts primal scream, where complex emotions and urges are vented and perfectly complemented by Rathsman’s explorations into the dark corners of electronic music. Enjoy the journey. With the release only in the hands of a select few tastemaker DJs, ‘Complex’ has been making waves at the recent Miami Winter Music Conference, “receiving hands in the air welcomes and even a sit down ovation” according to label boss Damian Lazarus. ‘Complex’ is set to be the first underground anthem of 2016. The release comes with two carefully chosen remixes. First up is Swiss techno stalwart Deetron, who steers the song into percussive acid oblivion while Serge Devant offers up his deep house expertise for a dramatic and driving offbeat cut.
(12) (03) Metronomy – Old Skool (Warner Music)
The Joe Mount fronted project Metronomy is back with a new single which takes the classic bullet points of what made Metronomy such a hit. A bouncing electro beat, a high vocal with distinct 80’s pop sounds and most importantly a groove that is undeniable. The song is full of fun and speaks of Mount’s return to his English Riviera days. Even managing to include Beastie Boy Mix Master Mike on the latest venture. If summer ’08 was the summer of love, perhaps summer 16 could be the re-kindling of the romance? ‘Old Skool’ and is taken from the forthcoming LP out on July 1st titled Summer 08.
(13) (05) Rude Audio – Rudest EP (Zirkus Records)
The Rudest EP sees the band refining their trademark sound, and fusing their love of woozy dub with throbbing electronics. Crystal Pylon demonstrates Rude Audio’s ability to weave the kind of hypnotic, Balaeric spell that merges an early 90s sensibility with something shiny and new. Knockemdub takes their Radio 6 championed tune Knockemdead, which featured the dulcet tones and melodic sound of rising star Eucalypta LV and rams it through the dubby, smoke filled orgone accumulator that comprises the collective’s hidden studio basement in the backstreets of south east London, to produce a mutant dub monster with half an eye on the appalling political melee that is Britain in 2016. Half Moon Lane Glitter reflects the band’s love of short and sweet stompathons – pulsating electronics meet Lamis’ staccato piano, uptown. User taps into their oldest love, crunchy, chugging, dubby analogue sounds, to create something that operates in the hinterland between melodic and relentless
(14) (--) Technophile, Rolbac – Pandoras Box EP (Fantome de Nuit)
Opening up the account is ‘Pandora’s Box’, a supple tech house tune that is filled with neon chords and sombre synths and driven by warm gusts of bass and slick drums. ‘Melqart’ is just as rooted in the edge of the galaxy with its cosmic feel, kinked drums and space ship like sounds. They are smooth and synthetic but full of electronic funk, while ‘Lunar Station’ keeps up the futuristic and sci-fi vibes with its freaky acid line and widescreen tech grooves. Showing a different side that is just as interesting, ‘Cosmic Frog’ is a slower jaunt through the cosmos with churning drums and technoid synth lines. Breathy female vocal sounds add an all important something that will ensure this one really stands out, and Superfreq and Rebellion duo Dance Spirit then round things out with a top version of ‘Melqart.’ The Americans layer in spine tingling melodies and perfectly reduced minimal beats, clicks and machine-made sounds, and in doing so conjure up a delightful late night cut for cosy back rooms or freaky after parties everywhere.
(15) (07) Stereogamous Featuring Shaun J. Wright – Don’t Fight It (Twirl! Record)
he release opens with the original mix of ‘Don’t Fight It’, a sleek, modern- house cut with a solidly funky bassline groove. Stereogamous’s polished production shines throughout while Wright’s dulcet tones and rich harmonies perfectly compliment this sparkling banger. Music For Freaks label boss, Justin Harris, brightens the package with splashy percussive patterns, moody strings and a punchy bassline, Harris creates a peak hour version certain to work on any dancefloor. Rounding off the release is Twirl’s own Alinka with a dark, brooding remix. Using truncated and effected elements from the original to perfect effect while also adding a haunting, yet subtle, acid line and synth pads, Alinka crafts a titillating workout that’s sure to please.
(16) (08) SubRosa – Beyond The Clouds (Whyte Label Music)
‘Extraterrestrial’ is a smooth, futuristic Tech House stomper! Dipping in to the realms of Techno with its driving progression and eclectic choice of sounds. This bubbling skanker warms the floor nicely and the dark ‘Extraterrestrial’ Sample is unforgettable. ‘Anunnaki’ follows the Extraterrestrial theme but with a more mechanical and industrial feel. This stabbing, subbed out roller has an infectious groove. Dark, progressive and ‘Techy’ this one is sure to give your sound system and good work out! ‘Microbes’ is the icing on the cake! UK Underground at its finest! Hints of Techno and Garage but full on House and bundles of UK Bass. This one is a definate club rocker, starting mellow then coming in for the kill! Haunting pads and bubbling bassline’s wrap nicely into the driving beats!
(17) (--) Wehbba – Turning Point EP (Incl. ANNA & Huxley Remixes) (Knee Deep In Sound)
Title track ‘Turning Point’ opens the EP with a selection of crisp, natural percussion licks, swirling synth leads and driving sub tones before the second original production ‘The Bridge’ reveals a skipping groove line, thumping kicks and an ever evolving lead throughout its 7 and a half minute journey. Next up, Anna’s powerful remix of ‘Turning Point’ takes things darker with its moody and cavernous 4x4 arrangement, sharp claps and deep crescendos unveiling a gritty and murky groove. Lastly, Huxley’s alternative to ‘The Bridge’ strips back the heavy sub bass of the original, replacing the darker elements with rhythm engaging melodies full of swing, shuffling hats and vibrant tones to round off the EP.
(18) (--) Various Artists – We Are Opilec! Vol. III (Sampler) (Opilec Music)
The much loved We Are Opilec! compilation series hits volume number three in summer 2016. Featuring fantastic tracks compiled by label boss I-Robots, this edition is mostly dedicated to new talents from different countries around the world. Ahead of the full release comes this excellent six track sampler that more than whets the whistle for the rest of the album. Opilec takes its title from a book by writer and cubist painter, Josef Čapek, who is also said to have invented the term robot. As such it is a project deeply influenced by thinking about how technology is not an enemy of humans but a helpful extension of our mind. Italo disco, Chicago house and Detroit techno, early 80’s synth, electro and Krautrock sounds all make their way onto the label and they proudly claim “no sound is too taboo” as this diverse and worldly new release proves. The six tracks are fascinating indeed and with artwork coming from Tamami Saito of Little Yorke Japan this is once again a fantastic project carefully conceived and compiled by the tireless I-Robots and his Opilec label.
(19) (--) Aeolian – Dawning (White Label)
Up first is the brilliant ‘Dawning,’ close to eight minutes of dark and brooding techno that escalates with a saw tooth synth line and ever busier drums. Punchy and upright, they are joined by nimble one finger bass prods and will really ramp up the energy levels in any room. Some fantastic synth work at the breakdown proves Aeolian has very real production chops already. Then comes the fascinating ‘Cluster,’ another long-form track that has lots going on and unfolds with real narrative. Here weird pads circle round you, broken beats punch down low and gloomy and gloopy synths pepper the mid ground. It is full of off kilter sounds and freaky atmospheres and is as tense and lithe as it is direct and dancey.
(20) (09) MONKEY SAFARI – ‘Bernstein’ EP (JOHN DIGWEED & NICK MUIR Mix) (Hommmage)
This release demonstrates Sven and Lars’ move into the limitless domain of the “experimental” since the launch of their new label ‘Hommage’. As their career grows and transforms, it becomes more and more clear that they have found a medium in which to display their differing genre preferences and production styles. Monkey Safari is demanding the attention of industry heavyweights as evident by their 2015 collaborations with artists like GUY GERBER, KÖLSCH, MARC HOULE, WOLF + LAMB, JOSH WINK, as well as one of dance music’s most iconic producers, MOBY. In 2016, the evidence of Monkey Safari’s growing allure is made clear by the two otherworldly remixes released on the ‘Bernstein’ EP. JOHN DIGWEED & NICK MUIR’s remix of ‘Plexus’, brings in a more soulful, synthy take on the original. In UNER’s remix of ‘Bernstein’, the Spanish producer’s musical training radiates through, making it a sure-fire hit this summer.
(21) (--) Michel de Hey – Basic Eggs EP (Label: Hey!)
‘Basic Eggs’ is a real stomper, with big and irresistible drums and cutting synth stabs. It’s a physical booty shaker with crisp production that jumps right out of the speakers and straddles the line between house and techno with ease.
Tightly coiled tech house is the order of the day on ‘Tracklights’, with its knotted bass and whirring machine funk making you jiggle your whole body. Skipping hits and real percussive looseness classify this as a sure-fire ‘floor filler.
Last but not least, ‘Feverish’ drops into a more silky, low slung groove. It is romantic and heartfelt with warm pads and gentle beats caressing you with its coy sense of funk. Tight drums and clean chords add to the lushness and will mean you are truly carried away. All three cuts here are functional yet fun, and suggest that Michel de Hey is in a fine run of form ahead of lots more to come.
(22) (10) FAROE – A Lot Better Now (Iam faroe music)
Words EP is a hypnotic full body of work, full of slick percussion and electronica that will please fans of of Grizzly Bear, James Blake and Sohn. Faroe brings emotions with restraint, balancing a cold electronic production with the honest clarity of his voice.
(23) (11) The AfterAffects / Rush Hour EP (Rubber Taxi Records)
Rubber Taxi are proud to present The AfterAffects with a four track EP that is consistent in quality throughout. “She takes Pictures” has a slight Euro vibe to it, and is indeed about a faded French chantuess who can’t quite accept her days of fame are over. It is both atmospheric and unique sounding and takes a few interesting turns along the way. “Rush Hour” is the most downtempo track on the EP and creates cinematic imagery of life in an urban environment in the 70s. With a glitchy Rhodes vamp over a slow breakbeat this track is a journey of the imagination into a long gone time. “What you do to me” has a driving energy with hypnotic vocal lines looping around the thrusting music. Someone at Rubber Taxi described it as Marching Electro Kraut Rock and that wouldn’t be too far from the truth. “Sunshine Sometimes ” has more of a House feel to it than the others. This ones for a summer night, splashing out imagery of good times and love in the universe. It’s lush groovy but still maintains an edge at the same time.
(24) (12) Earl Jeffers – Gloria (Ten Thousand Yen)
Earl has been the C in C.R.S.T in some of their earliest releases to the spanking ‘Goodfoot’ ep as Chesus. and more recently his twisted disco remix of Daneeka’s ‘What’s it Gonna Be?’ with Seven Davis Jr. As Earl Jeffers he’s really found his sound and we are stoked to have him back on board with his best EP yet. These tunes have been flaming all year in the clubs. Proper essential stuff.
(25) (--) JR From Dallas – World House Experience LP (Gourmand Music Recordings)
Early June 2016 will see the release JR From Dallas’ ‘World House Experience’ LP via Gourmand Music Recordings, comprising eight original compositions from the French artist. JR From Dallas has been carving out his unique house sound for over a decade now releasing via the likes of Phil Weeks Robsoul Recordings, Forest Walker Records and of course his very own Gourmand Music Recordings. Over the years JR has picked up support from many leading names in the industry such as Mark Farina, Hector Moralez and Roger Sanchez, and here we see him back on his very own Gourmand Music with his second long player for the label. Across the ‘World House Experience’ LP JR From Dallas showcases his diverse, energy fuelled house sound across eight original compositions, collaborating with some Gourmand Music regulars along the way such as DJ Lulu & DJ Gas, HateLate and Nouskynousk. JR radiantly displays his Hip Hop sampling sensibilities throughout the projects with cuts like ‘La Nuit Sombre’, ‘Gourmandise Jazz’ and ‘Watching’ fusing a wide spectrum of dusty drum hits, funk-infused sample licks and the signature MPC swing.
(26) (--) Re.You – They Vibed (connected)
‘They Vibed’ is a tense and moody tech roller. It has skewed synth stabs bringing menace, tribal percussion instructing you to dance and poignant spoken words. They come from South African slam poet and dance lover Lazarusman who delivers with great pathos and tops the cut off in style. On the flip is the brilliant bit of future music that is ‘Try To Sleep’. It is an energetic, springy groove that feels like an early summer day with hypnotic, spiral movements in the synths and cinematic whispers and shimmering hi-hats adding a very 808’esque feel to the groove.
(27) (--) Mia Wallace – Sworn (Incl. Mr.C & Corbin Davis Remixes) (KGBeats)
Title track and original production ‘Sworn’ kicks off proceedings with a dark, rumbling lead line from the off, before a series of haunting sonics, sharp claps and robust kicks are unleashed as the production evolves throughout it’s near 8 minutes. Next up, the iconic Mr. C’s stripped back remix offers an alternative that is packed with groove, emphasising and building on the strong lead line with an assortment of stuttering vocal samples, glitchy pads and snaking synths. Lastly, Detroit’s Corbin Davis steps up to deliver a dark and eerie remix, with combination of thundering 4x4 percussion, soaring sweeps and echoing sequences concluding the release.
(28) (13) Flavia Lazzarini – Aubergine (Zig Zag)
Italian DJ, producer and remixer Flavia Lazzarini’s ‘Aubergine’ album features 11 tracks of house music informed by 80s and 90s sounds, as well as real Roland hardware and the vibrant New York scene of yesteryear. Things kick off in colourful slow motion style with the long legged disco vibes and lovably lose handclaps of ‘Mambo.’ Then comes the groove driven ‘MK’, which could well be a tribute to the legendary house producer of the same name with its cool dubbed out drums and neon chords stabs. ‘Chicago Department’ is another deep and warm house tune with soft focus chords and slick rubber kicks, then ‘Rough People’ switches up the mood with some rugged synthesiser lines and freaky sine waves making for a more wonky groove. Always colourful and well produced, the album roams through more menacing territory on ‘Darkness,’ super slowed down soul on the suitably romantic ‘I Love You’ and then builds masterfully once more with the big bass rumbles and sensual hand claps of ‘No Title.’ Up beat house comes no finer than ‘Groovematic,’ the title track introduces some left of centre wind instruments and cascading bass riffs and the experimental depths of ‘Silence’ and cosmic rotations of ‘Piano Beat’ then round things out in sumptuous style. This is an ambitious, far ranging album that touches on myriad styles with equal charm and is sure to win Lazzarini ever more fans around the world as a result.
(29) (--) Physical Therapy – Baktadust EP (Work Them Records)
Physical Therapy makes his debut on Spencer Parker’s Work Them Records with a medley of club-focused techno cuts ‘Baktadust’ comes in the form of two tracks: the fast tempo main mix that combines peppy piano riffs and metallic effects, as well as a slower ‘fried mix’ featuring cleaner chords and a sultry bassline. ‘Push Me’ then demonstrates robust percussion, a rumbling low-end and eerie tremolo atmospherics before shadowy echoes and off-kilter kicks conclude the release in ‘Spasm’.
(30) (14) Lindstrøm – Closing Shot (Smalltown Supersound)
Following last year’s pop-laced “Home Tonight,” Lindstrøm has released “Closing Shot,” a buoyant bit of blue-sky disco that harkens back to the effortless ascendancy in his earliest singles. Over quickened drums, claps and patient filter play, Lindstrøm overlays soft pads with one of his classic synthesizer melodies; at times. Once the track blooms into its central theme, the fluid melody and anthemic build recall recent Todd Terje material. “Closing Shot” is the kind of jam Lindstrøm has been holding back for far too long, and it deserves all the attention such a return to form warrants.
(31) (15) Sandeman – No More Conversations (Get Physical Music)
Stuart Sandeman returns under his Sandeman guise with a new composition and new musical angle for Get Physical. ‘No More Conversations’ sees Stuart embrace a brooding, raw and dark feel via bumpy rhythms, gritty dub stabs and rumbling sub bass alongside a constantly wandering and modulating arpeggio synth lead and sporadic bass as the record unfolds into a peak crescendo of glitched out synths and heady percussion.
(32) (16) Alejandro Molinari – Break the Bricks EP (Blindetonation)
The opener ‘Break the Bricks’ is five minutes of corrugated synths, undulating rubber bass and carefully uttered male vocals that lend a human touch to the abstract sounds all around. ‘StereoMatches’ is slower and more trippy, with freewheeling synths riding up and down the scales whilst slap funk drums bring the infectious groove below. ‘Peso Muerto’ is deeper and more stripped back, with elastic drums and meandering sine waves making for a rather haunted and excellent atmosphere, then ‘Human Machine’ layers up fat drums and plodding bass stabs with twinkling keys and dehumanised vocals that make for a brilliantly robotic groove. ‘Machine Experience’ is then back to direct dance floor action with driven kicks, cosmic energy and prickly percussion making you sit up and take note before this well formed EP closes with the expertly menacing and industrial disco darkness of ‘Thanda.
(33) (--) Various Artists (Kahuun, Henrik S) – 96-16#3 EP (Ploink)
Bergen’s Kahuun demonstrates a concoction of keys, effects and atmospherics with ‘Sherlock’. Faarikaal Records founder Henrik S’ ‘Phobos’ then ventures into sci-fi realms with spacey aesthetics and echoing stabs.
(34) (15) Delorean – Contra (PHLEX)
There are no guitars here; its a synth-driven, four-to-the-floor effort (admittedly, there are some real drums in the mix) that often lands somewhere between dreamy ’80s pop and contemporary house music. This track from the new is a playful nod to the legacy of electronic music, but it’s also meant to signal what the LP is primarily about: the music itself. Without question, the album owes a heavy debt to house music, but Muzik isn’t mired in nostalgia or anthemic bombast. There’s a simplicity to its nine tracks, and that’s by design, but there’s nothing slight about the music on offer—this is a modern electronic album marked by emotional heft and thoughtful nuance.
(35) (18 Underworld – If Rah (Smith Hyde Productions)
Underworld’s Karl Hyde and Rick Smith could never be pigeon holed into a scene, creative shape-shifters in a dance music landscape with genre and micro-genre artists. This has been as much by design as a consequence of the times in which they’ve lived and recorded. ‘If Rah’ finds the duo slipping, as they so often do on albums, into a mid-tempo range, yet again defying you to label them.
(36) (19) Mason – My Ritual / Let It Go (Animal Language)
‘My Ritual’ opens the release with a medley of warming playful chords, radiant melodies and an infectious vocal throughout to reveal a production geared for the summer. ‘Let It Go’ then switches up the aesthetic, with a focus on darker, deeper tones. A series of gritty bass lines, crisp claps and resonant vocal licks are accompanied by a bumpy groove throughout to complete the two-track offering.
(37) (--) Trackers (aka Gavin Herlihy & James Barnsley) Hexagon EP (inc. Diego Krause & Politics of Dancing Remixes) (Vessel Records)
‘Hexagon’ paves the way forward with shuffling percussion, arpeggiated synths and mesmerising effects, before ‘Memory Game’ delivers crunchy snares and dubby echoes. Unison Wax and Beste Modus founder Diego Krause then takes his hand to ‘Hexagon’, creating a rhythmic rendition built on intricate drums and hypnotising atmospherics, until French duo S.M.A.L.L & PACO arrive under their Politics Of Dancing pseudonym to convert ‘Memory Game’ into a bass fuelled dancefloor workout.
(38) (20) Tantsui – Around the River EP (The Soundgarden)
Moscow based trio Tantsui provide the perfect release to launch the label with, the two tracks have a very special, unique sound — charming, interesting, melodic, but still groovy and dancefloor-friendly. The release sets the bar high and is a bold statement from a new label with lots of exciting music to share over the coming months and years.
(39) (21) Mauro Picotto – AYALA (Alchemy)
Mauro’S original mix embraceS his ability for creating melodious and hypnotic atmospheres, fusing mesmeric pads with snaking bass grooves, looped synth stabs and delayed square wave bass hit to create an intricately unfolding eight minute voyage. Up next is the ‘Heartmode Instrumental Mix’ which introduces old school piano hooks, bubbling background atmospherics and sweeping arpeggios to create a bright contrast to the originals darker, brooding feel. The ‘Picotto Dub Mix’ then rounds off the package taking things back into dark realms via stripped back rhythms, dubbed out synth swells and a menacing bass hook that continually evolves over the records seven minute duration.
(40) (--) Mirko Loko – Alba Mons EP (Incl. Livio & Roby Remix) (Visionquest)
Mirko makes a welcome return with the ‘Alba Mons’ EP and deliver two original cuts in his signature stripped back and hypnotic style, up first is the original mix of ‘Evolyon’, a seven-minute snaking journey through electronic synth sequences, dynamic and ever-evolving rhythms and subtle background modulations throughout. Romanian duo Livio & Roby step up on remix duties to follow, making their own mark on ‘Evolyon’ with low-slung crunchy drums, thundering low end pulses and bubbling snippets from the original synth lines billowing away in the depths of the record. The package is then rounded off with the second original from Mirko, entitled ‘The Hutchinson Effect’ and embracing an off-kilter percussive feel accompanied by glitched out synth whirrs, sporadic pad swells and a chugging bass groove that ebbs and flows throughout its near nine-minute enchanting groove.
(41) (--) Kenny Glasgow – Prototype (No.19 Music)
‘Prototype’ features firm drums that are perfectly programmed to sound busy and urgent. Up top is a melange of Kenny’s beguiling singling, wordless and wooing vocals and unhinged synths that will freak out dance floors. The whole thing is full of subtle effects and little twists and turns, as well as playful ad libs from a charismatic female voice, and it is all expertly layered so as to make you want to move your every limb. Well crafted for maximum dance floor impact but also richly detailed with sounds that keep your mind more than occupied, this is another stunning single from Glasgow and No.19 Music that will have the world in excited anticipation of the full length to follow.
(42) (22) Gemini Brothers – Lost Babylon (inc Moscoman, In Flagranti and Daniel Kyo remixes) (Night Noise Music)
Night Noise Music continues to offer up refreshingly inventive music, this time from Romanian siblings Gemini Brothers who serve up one standout original then get remixed with élan by Moscoman, In Flagranti and Daniel Kyo. The Gemini Brothers have been crafting a singular disco sound for the last three years now. Made up of sibling production duo Ionut and Razvan they have a rugged, machine made disco style that is physical and cosmic and has previously dropped on Bearfunk, ISM Records and Glenview Records, often with support from the likes of Faze Action and Andrew Weatherall. Up first is their expertly spangled, churning dark disco chugger ‘Lost Babylon.’ It has tough arps, spitting cosmic sounds and spiralling synths that take you ever higher as the macho but slow groove rolls on with serious weight. It’s a real crowd shocker that will make a big impact in any set. Celebrated cosmic duo In Flagranti then manage to inject their unique sense of tantalising psych-disco fun in a remix that is wild and colourful as well as being nailed to a deep cut groove.
(43) (23) Echoel – Ordinary EP (8Kō Records)
‘I Wanna Live’ opens things up in confident and accomplished style, with lazy mid tempo beats and off kilter synths making for an inviting groove. Aloof male vocals add to the loveable laziness of the whole thing and it makes for a fine opener as a result.
‘Next up, ‘You Are My Friend’ picks up the pace and is a rubbery, squelchy house affair with panning pads and watery synths sounding fresh and original. It’s a fulsome and charming house cut, to be sure. Then comes ‘Ordinary,’ another slick production that is well driven with smeared pads and arpeggios filling out the woody hits and drums. Expertly dehumanised vocals lend a Kraftwerk feel and overall you feel as though you are racing along a motorway late at night. The succulent and seductive ‘Spin’ is another effortlessly motorik house track with well defined drums and round bass underpinning acid stabs, undulating little hooks and roaming piano chords. It’s classy club music that will get whole ‘floors under its spell. With the invention on offer in this standout EP, it is fair to say both artist and label are already impressing despite being so new to the scene.
(44) (24) Luke Solomon & Jonny Rock – Frangpian to L.A EP (Futureboogie)
“Luca Frangpian” stomps like any classic disco dub should do, leaning on a hook that some keen ears may recognise, its funky bass lick and incessant cowbell wrapped up in guitar licks and idle piano keys. A “Dub Mix” dispenses of the bass riff and let’s the synths get all ‘freaky deaky’ on yo ass. “Groovin To LA” on the flip features an understated vocal hook, filtering around vintage disco tropes of parping horns and sweeping strings, as the beats, that elicits that trademark sound that Luke has made his own, rattle away gratifyingly. DJ Fett Birger & Jayda G take “Groovin To LA” on a wander to the seaside for a breezy and kitschy reinterpretation. Crashing waves and coastal sounds waft in and out of a gentle melodic rendition, the distorted yet supple percussive beats propping up the kooky Summer vibes just right.
(45) (25) Mr Bird ft. Greg Blackman – Over Again (Ashley Beedle’s North Street Mix / A TOM MOULTON MIX) (Ramrock)
‘Over Again’ is your new found favourite Modern soul sounding classic, a love letter, embedded on a long-lost, dusty mix tape that you rediscover at the back of a drawer with its hand written track list that still makes you smile at the memories. With it’s simple, effective and touching home-made soul flavour, ‘Over Again’ is a musical marriage made in heaven by two funky cats at the top of their game – producer, DJ and Multi-Instrumentalist Mr Bird and Vocalist, Songwriter and all round Powerhouse Greg Blackman, whose unforgettable voice creates memorable, thickly layered soulful jams, flowing effortlessly over Bird’s diverse palette of rhythms. Filled to the brim with strut, sweetness and memorable hooks, ‘Over Again’ is timeless – the limited vinyl 12” features the ‘Low-Fi Classics’ version previously only available as digital on BBE as well as new mixes from house music legend Ashley Beedle and the exclusive to Ramrock Blue vinyl only mix from the Godfather of the Disco 12”, Tom Moulton.
(46) (26) Various Artists – Genus (inc. Einmusik, Third Son & Pete Oak) (Polymath)
Third Son’s Polymath concept will ask different artists to create pieces inspired by their perception of a singular theme with three artists each contributing a production under the same track name. The flagship release will include tracks from Einmusik, Pete Oak, and Third Son himself, all named ‘Genus’. The 3 tracks certainly have their place on the dance floor, but also go further to challenge the listener, rather than conform to accepted norms. Third Son’s version of Genus is a display of both musical and production dexterity. The track opens with a simple yet powerful theme developing into an arpeggiated swirl of harmonically related ideas that is as compelling as it is hypnotic. The middle section reaches it’s climax with class, recapitulating to the basic ground thumping (and speaker pounding) idea we were first introduced with. Einmusik and Pete Oak ’s versions are equally interesting to the aforementioned. The former plays on more traditional counter melody and harmony to contribute to the ‘Genus’ theme. The highly layered ideas intertwine and gel together perfectly to create a homogenous, important piece. Pete Oak’s version relies on more modern ideas, including a wide, goolish bassline and melodic plucks to conclude the release in style.
(47) (27) Boddhi Satva – Nankoumandjan (BBE)
Deeply spiritual musician, producer and founding father of ‘Ancestral Soul’, African powerhouse Boddhi Satva returns with a very special 4 track EP. Having previously released on Louie Vega’s ‘Vega’ label and Osunlade’s Yoruba Records as well as running his own ‘Offering Recordings’. Full of African and Latin influenced rhythms and powerful vocal performances, ‘Awakened Spirit’ perfectly reflects Satva’s idiosyncratic, mystical approach to music. Translating as ‘The White Bird’, opening track ‘Ngnari Konon’ is “an ode to peace in Africa and the rest of the world” says Satva. It features Grammy Award winner & UN ambassador Oumou Sangare, one of Africa’s greatest female voices. Featuring the late vocalist Mangala Camara, hypnotic second track ‘Nankoumandjan’ is named after an ancient warrior from the Mandingue Empire. Potent third track ‘Benefit’ features legendary UK soul vocalist Omar, who simply soars over Satva’s blend of African and Caribbean musical flavours. Final track ‘Fighting Spirit’ closes out the EP with Brazilian percussion backing up a dense and potent House groove, dedicated to Boddhi’s father who sadly lost his battle with cancer in early 2014.
(48) (28) FLVN – Logan (inc. Lordakat & Kiwi remixes) (Night Noise Music)
First up here is ‘Logan’, seven minutes of seriously weighty, bass heavy slo motion disco that suck you deep into its grinding groove. Darkened vocals add menace to the drums and the whole thing is brilliantly macho. First to remix is fellow Bordeaux talent and Rock to the Beat Records man Lordakat, who does so with real feeling an ups the ante, drops in some big crashing hits and squealing synths that bring a haunted and hellish feel to the chugging drum line. The resulting remix is a truly writhing monster. The other perfectly well formed original is ‘Luster’, a track build on vast rubber kicks that ring out into a dark and sparse inner city night. Searching synths and gurgling machine sounds bring an unsettling feel and make for perfect post-apocalyptic disco vibes. London based Kiwi aka Alex Warren then steps up with another remix, dark and housey in nature, it has epic synth chords ringing out like early John Carpenter and is a dramatic, emotive cut with a real sense of space and grandeur that places you right in the middle of the action.
(49) (29)Paul Morrell featuring Vicky Jackson – Sweet Melody (Perfectto)
Paul Morrell has been a firm fixture on the UK house music scene for over a decade, if he isn’t familiar to you now he soon will be with his brand new single Sweet Melody on Perfecto Records. With vocals from Vicky Jackson & a piano riff that screams classic it’s set to be a staple in DJs sets over the Summer. Remix duties come courtesy of Ozzut who adds his own future house touch!
(50) Black Square – Archive Ft. Sarah Hezen (Crunch Recordings)
‘Archive’ featuring the vocals of Sarah Hezen sets an ominous tone, with portentous chimes and metallic scratches, joined by a weighty broken beat and soaring, affecting strings. Halfway between Massive Attack in their rowdier moments and The Prodigy in their calmer. ‘Archive’ comes with a mind-bending video from Ben Hartley-Marjoram and is an appositely ambitious statement of intent.