Namatjira – Friends Without Benefits

August 31, 2015 in Albums

Namatjira Friends Without Benefits 3rd AvenueDutch producer Joost van der Vleuten, AKA Namatjira, has been producing since the late 00s and first featured on this blog back in 2011; only now, though, has he got around to his debut album. But it’s been worth the wait.

Opening in downtempo mode, then building slowly to a climax but operating mostly around that point where deep and progressive house collide, just nine songs make up Friends Without Benefits‘ 1:17:43, with only opener I Did Not Cry clocking in anywhere under the eight-minute mark. Long, meandering, melodic (and in seven cases out of nine, instrumental) excursions are the name of game throughout – but while that sounds tedious when I write it down, the album in question never is.

If you’re looking for instant party-starters you’re gonna be disappointed, but this album isn’t about immediate, high-octane thrills. There are cuts that’d work on the dancefloor – Piiramo and the oddly-titled Mosquitoes Love To Play Hide And Seek, in particular – but really this is an album that’s about sitting back and enjoying the ride, preferably late at night and while suitably, ahem, ‘unwound’. And in that context, it works a treat. Trust me.

Like I said, it’s been worth the wait.

Out: Now

About: This is brought to you by Belgian label 3rd Avenue, who can be found on Facebook or at the website of parent label Sound Avenue.

Various – Ibiza Sleaze 2015/Ibiza G 2015

August 31, 2015 in Albums

Sister labels Sleazy Deep and Sleazy G both released label comps last week, and there’s another one coming this week… so hopefully they’ll forgive me for doubling them up in one review.

Ibiza Sleaze 2015 Sleazy DeepLabel boss Rob Made is at the controls for the Sleazy Deep comp, with 15 tracks that take in nu-disco, indie-dance and deep/tech house in varying shades. One or two of the indie-dance cuts get a bit too pop-tastic for these ears, I have to say, but it’s not a problem because there are some cracking tunes elsewhere – Dino Grand & Roni Iron’s diva-vocalled, speed garage-nodding Your Love is an absolute beast, while Ripley & Murdock’s You, Ilya Garbuz’s Inside and Tamar Sabadini’s cheeky Warehouse are also well worth checking.

Ibiza G 2015 Sleazy GAs for the Sleazy G comp, I’ve gotta say I’m rather impressed. It’s always tricky when a label pins its colours so firmly to the mast of any one sub-genre; partly from a ‘label lifespan’ point of view and partly because you do run the risk of ending up with a back catalogue that all sounds exactly the bleedin’ same! It’s to Sleazy G’s credit, then, that while the essential G-house blueprint – strutty tech-house drums and rap samples galore – is essentially adhered to throughout the 24 tracks selected and mixed by Doug English and Ross Regs, the album never gets boring, taking in influences ranging from classic acid house and speed garage, to very contemporary bass-heavy house and just a hint of nu-disco.

Out: Now

About: Find Sleazy Deep on Soundcloud, on Facebook or at their own website, while sub-label Sleazy G has a Facebook page all its own.

Riya – Sublimation

August 31, 2015 in Albums

Riya Sublimation Spearhead RecordsSome albums to catch up tonight, starting in D&B territory with the debut full-length from one of the scene’s favourite vocalists, Riya.

With a long track record in the D&B industry that dates back even before she started singing in the late 00s – she used to be on staff at DogsOnAcid – Riya (real name Laura Pacheco) has been able to call in some pretty heavy-hitting names to handle production and guest vocal duties here, with the likes of Hybrid Minds, Dynamite MC, Frank H Carter III and Total Science all making an appearance. The result is an album that takes in many shades of drum & bass: the emphasis is on uptempo, liquid-y rollers, but there’s room too for some darker cuts as well as one or two unashamaed stadium/Top 40-friendly belters.

It’s already been made D&B Album of the Month in Mixmag, so even bigger things look assured…

Out: Now

About: This comes on BCee’s Spearhead Records, who you can find here, here and here. There’s an interview with Riya at UKF, too.

Reewa Rathod – Enroute Ganeshaa

August 30, 2015 in Singles

Reewa Rathod Enroute Ganeshaa SP RecordingsOkay, last one for tonight, so let’s end with what’s very possibly my favourite record of the week.

Regular readers will know that I’m a sucker for Indo-house fusions and here, Indian chanteuse Reewa Rathod’s gorgeous Hindi vocals are most definitely the star of the show, placed atop a backing from Carlos Francisco and percussionist Javier BR Gonzalez that’s reminiscent of that early 00s ‘dark tribal’ sound, with added strings. The results are quite simply breathtaking.

There’s an accompanying instrumental as well but, frankly, why would you miss out on that voice?

Out: This week, on Traxsource; everywhere else from 11 September.

About: This is brought to you by Francisco’s own Essex-based SP Recordings, AKA Sure Player, who you can find here, here and here.

Pop Out And Play – Spray Crazy

August 30, 2015 in Singles

Pop Out And Play Spray Crazy EP Lucky Sun RecordingsFirst out on 2014 on the late lamented 5 And Dime, this deep house nugget from Simon Tappenden and Wil Russell, AKA Pop Out And Play, gets a re-release with new mixes courtesy of Tom Lown’s Lucky Sun Recordings.

The original’s quite a lively affair by deep house standards, with a shimmery, Balearic disco kinda feel, while Mr Lown’s own remix  is a deeper variation on the same theme. Harold Heath’s remix opens with old skool Chi-town drums and gradually works its way up into a deep, acid-tinged bubbler, but the standout for yours truly is Mark Slee’s Deep Feelings Dub – a warm, meandering slice of driftaway late-night deep house par excellence.

Out: This week

About: Find Lucky Sun Recordings on Soundcloud and Facebook.

Polar Lights – Declaration

August 30, 2015 in Singles

Polar Lights Declaration What's In The BoxSeeing as it’s Sunday night, let’s start with some very deep and chilled vibes courtesy of Moscow-based label What’s In The Box.

Declaration (feat Llarion Dyakov) itself, in its original form, is a drifty, dreamy, Balearic kinda jam with fluttering Spanish guitar, mournful violins and lazy, muted beats, while the accompanying Kisk Slowly Remix adds a trippier edge – think early Orb gone a bit jazzy and you’re somewhere in the ballpark. You also get two mixes of Don’t Tell Me (feat Keely Timlin). I have to be honest and say the original veers a little too close to smooth jazz-lite territory for me, but no matter cos Darko Kustura is on hand with a sultry deep house remix to see you through those blissed-out post-club hours nicely…

Out: This week

About: What’s In The Box is a subsidiary of Highway Records and can be found here, here and here.

Pedro Campos – Down Your Jazz

August 29, 2015 in Singles

Pedro Campos Down Your Jazz Waldliebe FamilienRemember how bored we all got with the absolute deluge of Balkan-gypsy-jazz-electroswing stylings in tech-house about four or five years ago?

Well time is the great healer, they say… because while this lively little trumpet- and clarinet-laden number does fit quite neatly into the aforesaid box, in the current climate it’s a sound that’s once more sounding remarkably fresh! In fact I’m loving it, truth be told. Over on the B, Loca Viernes is a more current-sounding cut with looping Spanish vox, carnival drums and a heads-down, DC10 kinda feel overall, and perhaps the one that’ll see more dancefloor plays… but fuck fashion, the A’s the one for me here.

Out: This week

About: This is brought to you by Romania’s Waldliebe Familien, who live here and here.

Luke Gibson – Fusion EP

August 29, 2015 in Singles

Luke Gibson Fusion EP Sidetrak RecordsShufflin’ beats and dancefloor-oriented deep house vibes are the order of the day on this four-tracker from Sidetrak Records, who – by sheer fluke – are the second Middlesbrough-based label to feature on TIWWD tonight…

3:03am is up first, all shufflin’ hi-hats, hefty kicks, dreamy synth washes, a hint of bubblin’ acid and a male voice intoning the title repeatedly. Fusion itself lifts a snippet from a very famous NYC house vocal from back in the day (I won’t spoil it for you!) and places it atop a lolloping three-note organ riff, a rumbling funky bassline and swung Jersey beats. Now is a more driving cut with another rumbing funk b-line and something of a disco-tinged feel all round, while finally Stoupe sports crisp, no-nonsense beats, an understated SG-ish bassline and chopped-up fem vox.

Again, all good but Fusion and Stoupe in particular stand out.

Out: This week

About: This is the 17th release from Sidetrak Records, who you can find here and here.

Jero Nougues – Unleashed

August 29, 2015 in Singles

Jero Nougues Unleashed Savoir Faire MusiquePredictably high-calibre deep house fare here from my young Argentinian friend Jero, coming on the always on-point Savoir Faire Musique.

Just two mixes of Unleashed to choose from. Jero’s original is a smooth, drifty number with Balearic/proggy tinges, while my not-quite-so young Danish buddy Tim Andresen brings a refix that starts out a fair bit pacier and struttier, but drops down deeper as it goes along.

Liking both rubs but if pushed, Tim’s has to take top honours.

Out: This week on Traxsource, everywhere else from 7 September.

About: Find Savoir Faire Musique on – you guessed it – Soundcloud and Facebook.

Filth & Smell – Groovin’

August 29, 2015 in Singles

Filth & Smell Groovin' Inner City RecordsSome fine garage-tinged deep house vibes on this offering from Inner City Records.

Groovin’ itself, in its original form, is a jazzy, bumpin’ little, er, groover with cheeky bites from Roger Sanchez’s You Can’t Change Me by way of a vocal… and was that a snatch of Colonel Abrams’ Trapped I heard as well? Label co-owner Roland Nights’ remix is very similar but just a teensy bit smoother, while completing the package is A Better Place, a stripped n’ sparse 4am rumpshaker that pays homage to the deepest sound of New Jersey.

Excellent work all round, but the title track takes the gold.

Out: This week

About: Find Inner City Records on Soundcloud and Facebook.