Nuno (SEA) – Higher

September 25, 2015 in Singles

Nuno (SEA) Higher EP Something DifferentMore resolutely non-Bieberesque deep house goodness on this latest from Liverpool’s always on-point Something Different Records.

In its Original form, Higher is a garage-tinged affair with dramatic (but muted/filtered) chords, crisply rolling beats, atmospheric pads and a looping female “higher babe” vocal. Marcus Raute’s Jazz-A-Mood Mix takes us into (even) deeper territory and sports some lovely brushed snares (one of my favourite sounds in the world), while to complete the package you also get Just My Luck, a gorgeously sparse n’ dreamy number built with post-club sofa surfing in mind.

Again, all good, but Raute’s mix of the title track just nudges it for yours truly.

Out: This week

About: As ever, you can find Something Different on Soundcloud and Facebook. This also happens to be the label’s 80th release, so congrats to Jesus Pablo and the crew on reaching that landmark…

4004 – About Us EP

September 25, 2015 in Singles

4004 About Us EP Late Night Jackin'So… according to Wikipedia, Justin Bieber makes deep house records. Needless to say, this has left me resembling a comedy irate retired colonel in a 1970s Terry & June episode, red-faced with rage to the point I can hardly see. Deep breaths… WE know, don’t we, readers? So let’s listen to some proper deep house records before I burst a blood vessel. First up, this fine three-tracker from San Diego label Late Night Jackin’.

Doesn’t Really Matter gets the ball rolling, an unhurried but still floor-friendly affair built around insistent garage-y organ chords, shufflin’ beats and diva vox, with some space disco synth stabs thrown in for good measure. Xtra Hold has more of those ace NJ organs, barely-there fem vox and vaguely Latin-y beats, while finally 4 Time is a hazy, lazy cut aimed more at warm-up/post-club play, with sampled film dialogue, jazz drums, trippy Clangers-like sounds and vinyl crackle.

Doesn’t Really Matter is my fave here but it’s all good… and, most importantly, none of it sounds like Justin fucking Bieber.

Out: This week

About: You can find Late Night Jackin’ on Soundcloud and Facebook. I’d strongly advise you to check out the former, in particular, as they have several podcasts and freebie tracks awaiting your downloading pleasure.

Philipp Lichtbrau – Dreaming EP

September 24, 2015 in Singles

Philipp Lichtblau Dreaming EP Innocent Music DeepCream-crackered today! So just the one review for you tonight, as Philipp Lichtblau serves up some deep techno/minimal vibes for Slovenia’s Innocent Music Deep.

On the A, Dreaming itself is a mid-paced cut with deceptively heavy kicks underpinning what’s otherwise quite a sparse, twitchy kinda track, with disembodied, whispering voices lending the whole thing a vaguely disquieting air.  Flip it over and you’ll find (apppropriately enough!) Tired, which despite the name is a little livelier, with heavily reverbed piano chords, hefty bass drops and glitchy FX a-gogo.

There’s no shortage of stuff like this around, admittedly, but fans of the genre should be more than satisfied with this particular example.

Out: This week

About: You can find Innocent Music Deep (and the rest of the Innocent Music label family) on Soundcloud, on Facebook or at their own website.

Tirrenia Vibe – Super Model EP

September 22, 2015 in Singles

Tirrenia Vibe Super Model EP Family GroovesAfter all that leftfield, wonky bizniss from Lowroom and Submarine Vibes (below), let’s move into more dancefloor-centric territory with this latest from Croatia’s Family Grooves, which is the work of the Italian duo of Luigi D’Esposito and Gerardo Cinquegrana.

Super Model itself is a mid-paced, breakbeat-driven tech-houser that, as some of you may have already suspected, lifts vocal snips from RuPaul’s 90s hit of the same name. Something of an early 00s Loaded/Southern Fried feel to this one, but despite the vocal sample raising a smile it’s the B’s Rocking Number One that’s floating my boat more with its disco-style claps and hand percussion, nagging piano riff, organ chords, chunky-funky bassline and snatches of diva vocal wails.

Out: This week on Beatport, everywhere else from 5 October

About: Find Family Grooves here, here and here.

Arara – Strike Three

September 22, 2015 in Singles

Arara Strike Three EP Submarine VibesMore leftfield/experimental deep grooves now courtesy of Bosnia’s Submarine Vibes label.

Three mixes of Strike Three to choose from. The original’s a sort of wonky, future lounge thang that’s one-part Roy Ayers, one-part Yellow Magic Orchestra and one-part The Man With The Red Face. Actually, that’s a pretty rubbish description so you’ll just have to hear it for yourself, which  – in a rare instance of me being arsed – you can do below.

The man like Yigit Atilla serves up a much smoother deep house remix, while German producer Wanderlust’s mix sits somewhere between the two and brings the tinkling pianos to the fore. Atilla’s rub would be the obvious choice for dancefloor play, but the original deserves props too, simply for not sounding like much anything else that’s around right now.

Out: This week

About: You can find Submarine Vibes here, here and here.

Salva Stigler – Space Input EP

September 22, 2015 in Singles

Salva Stigler Space Input EP Lowroom RecordingsWe kick off tonight in minimal pastures with this three-track/five-mix EP from Preston’s Lowroom Recordings.

Space Input Piano is up first, which in its Original form kicks off with a rather strange section of dusty, looped jazz piano that’ll have people thinking the needle’s stuck – it’s over a minute before some lovely warm 4/4s and an understated but solid bassline join the party. And that’s about it… there are some choppy FX in the mid-section but you can file this one under “serious head-nodders only”!

It’s by far the standout track of the EP, but elsewhere, Cold Hands is a more standard-issue deep techno/minimal affair, while Reca operates in similar territory but gets a bit more trippy n’ twisted. As for the remixes, Dan Noel’s take on Space Input Piano loses the disconcerting intro and plumps for glitchier drums, while Igor The Koi smooths out Cold Hands on a mix that could work on deep house as well as minimal floors.

Out: This week

About: You can find Lowroom Recordings on Soundcloud, on Facebook or at their own website.

Various – The Hype Vol 1

September 21, 2015 in Singles

The Hype Vol 1 Criminal HypeAnd speaking of chunky, techy, bassy, bouncy-ass house music (see MadTech review below)… after two albums from much-respected NYC veterans we jump to the opposite end of the spectrum with this first label comp from fledgling Welsh label Criminal Hype.

“Vast vibes across house and techno… no fillers” is how the hype sheet describes it. But as simply copy and pasting that sentence doesn’t really count as a review, I’ll say instead that there are 10 cuts on offer, from the likes of Italobros, Ki Creighton, Ozzi and Dene Antony (that is: not complete newbies but not household names either) and that the music taken as a whole spans tech-house, G-house and that variety of 2015-style house that some folk like to grumble about because “it’s really just 90s garage”… like that was a bad thing? Echoes of Tyree Cooper on Cal Johnstone’s Dooper are enough to win it ‘highlight’ status, with other standouts including the slightly deeper, more musical vibes of Jonathan Squillace’s Acta Non Verba and Ian Jay & Matt Williams’s Need It, a track that takes me back to 1001 bass drops on various speed garage and bassline house floors over the past two decades. Again, though, you’ll find your own faves because the standard is high throughout.

I love albums like this – they make me feel like the future of house n’ garage music is safe for a while yet…

Out: Now (but only since yesterday)

About: You can find Criminal Hype on Soundcloud and Facebook.

Various – MadTech 03

September 21, 2015 in Albums

Various Madtech 03 Some albums are difficult to review because they’re so same-y, it’s hard to find much to say; some because they’re so eclectic they’re near-impossible to describe within a set word count; some because you rashly agreed to review someone you know’s album without listening to it, and it turns out to be shite. And then some albums – like this third compilation from Kerri Chandler’s MadTech stable, f’rinstance – are hard to review because every time you listen to them, you’re simply unable to stop yourself turning off the lights, pumping up the volume and bouncing around the room in ways that aren’t really dignified for a 45-year-old man.

I think that says pretty much everything about this set, really! So I’ll just point out that across its 14 tracks there’s a mix of familiar names (Leftwing & Kody, No Artificial Colours, Yousef, Max Chapman, Mirco Caruso) and some newcomers, and that if chunky, chuggy, techy, bassy, bouncy-ass house music that’s aimed straight at the dancefloor and bang on the money for 2015 is what you were looking for… you just found it. Unmissable.

Out: Now (but only since Friday, properly)

About: You can find MadTech on Soundcloud, on Facebook or at their own website.

Masters At Work – House Masters Vol 2

September 21, 2015 in Albums

Masters At Work House Masters Vol 2 DefectedYou might have thought that, with the first Masters At Work House Masters set (released in 2014) weighing in at a hefty four CDs, that’d be it – the definitive MAW comp done and dusted, no more to see here, move along now. You’d have been wrong.

It’s partly shrewd marketing on Defected’s part, of course: if you leave out a few classics from Vol 1 and say “here’s a non-obvious collection that delves a little deeper,” you’re holding a To Be In Love-shaped ace up your sleeve. But it’s also testament to the sheer quality – not to mention sheer volume! – of Messrs Vega and Gonzales’s back catalogue that, two years on, here we have another four-disc set and there’s not yet even a hint of barrel-scraping.

With 39 tracks, most of which most TIWWD readers will know, I’m not going through them one-by-one. Suffice to say that Kenny and Louie’s own productions as MAW and Nu Yorican Soul take up seven of the tracks (yes, including To Be In Love), with the rest comprising their remixes of everyone from pop and R&B acts like Eternal, Kele Le Roc and even Debbie Gibson, to 4hero, Cajmere and Roni Size, not to mention more than a few disco and jazz-funk classics from Loose Joints, George Benson, Chic, Double Exposure et al given a little MAW magic.

Highlights for this reviewer include a take on Desiya’s 1991 classic Coming On Strong that’s somehow avoided my ears for nearly a quarter-century, and the Masters At Work Dubb (sic) of Deee-Lite’s Runaway, just cos Deee-Lite are criminally under-rated generally so it’s good to see ’em get a look in here. But you’ll have your own faves I’m sure, once you’ve grabbed yourself a copy of this. Which you need to, obviously.

Out: Ah, now, y’see… this actually came out about 10 days ago but, erm, an idiot of my acquaintance misfiled it. Sorry bout dat.

About: You know where to find Defected by now.

Ray Okpara & Christian Nielsen – Alibi EP

September 20, 2015 in Singles

Ray Okpara & Christian Nielsen Alibi EP Danse Club RecordsOkay, so the plan was to keep things seriously deep tonight… trouble is, I’m an idiot and realised I hadn’t done this one! So we end on a more floor-friendly note with some very fine chuggin’ house grooves courtesy of Danse Club Records.

Alibi itself, in its Original form, is quite lively by deep house standards, and features a hip-shakin’ bassline, whooshy synth stabs/drones and crisply rolling beats, atop which sits a slightly blue-y, falsetto male “shoulda known, shoulda known from the start” vocal that breaks out in full towards the end. It’s accompanied by a Dub that loses the vox and most of the whooshy synths. The other original included here, Never Stop, starts out with no-nonsense 4/4s, a hesitant-sounding bassline and watery noises, slowly adding snatches of spoken male vocal as the b-line becomes more insistent. A not-vastly-dissimilar Dub then completes the package.

All good, but it’s the Original of Alibi that’s the killer.

Out: This week

About: You can find Danse Club Records on Soundcloud and Facebook.