Various – Remastered by Steffen Muller Pt 2

December 13, 2015 in Singles

Remastered by Steffen Muller GruuvWhat we have here is the second installment (somehow I managed to miss Pt 1 a couple of weeks back) of a new 10-track label comp from Gruuv – being released as two EPs – that sees nuggets from the label’s back catalogue lovingly remastered.

If you thought remastering was something that normally happens to old mono Beatles albums and the like… you’d be right. But as the hype sheet explains: “Mastering engineers are the unsung heroes of the music-making process. They spend countless hours alone in soundproofed rooms, fine-tuning the music of other producers. Five years ago when we started Gruuv we didn’t fully understand its importance, but since Marc Romboy introduced us to this guy we’re convinced, and on big systems the difference is obvious. He understands our sound and presents the best version of the music. So we thought why not let him loose on our early Gruuv catalogue and get them re-mastered to his great standard.”

Getting the treatment this time around are cuts from Audiojack (x2), Marc Romboy, Nolan and A1 Bassline, while Pt 1 featured tracks by Kid Culture, El Mundo & Satori, Deepgroove & Thieve, Uner, Dog Days and, yes, Audiojack again. Diehard Gruuv fanatics will no doubt have most of the originals already, so will have to make a call on whether improved soundsystem performance is worth shelling out again for; for the rest of us, expect deep and tech-house of only the highest calibre, as we’ve come to expect from the label.

Mr G’s Ibiza Dub of A1 Bassline’s Intasound is a particular highlight for this reviewer, while special mention should also be made of Audiojack’s ’20 Year Tribute’ cover version of Plastic Dreams – a terrible idea on paper that actually works surprisingly well.

Out: This week

About: Find Gruuv on Soundcloud and Facebook.

Some albums, quickly…

November 30, 2015 in Albums

Time once again tonight to catch up with some album releases from the past couple of weeks that I didn’t quite get around to… all are out now but still fresh!

Various – Ten Years Of Leftroom
Ten Years Of LeftroomHard to believe Matt Tolfrey’s Leftroom label has been in business for an entire decade but such, seemingly, is the case. To mark this landmark, they’re releasing this 10-track collection which takes in old favourites, some new remixes and a clutch of new material as well. Tolfrey himself either provides, collaborates on or remixes a full 50% of ’em, while his partners-in-crime include the likes of Route 94, Audiojack, Kate Simko, Jay Haze and Laura Jones. Together, they serve up a heady cocktail of meaty house and sinuous techno that’s dark, often trippy, and perfectly in keeping with the label’s always forward-looking remit. Oh, and you get a 37-minute mixed version thrown in as well. More info here.

Danny M – Deeper Vol 1
Danny M Deeper Vol 1 New Politics RecordsThe New Politics Records stalwart comes with his debut artist full-length here. If you know the label, you’ll already have a pretty good idea what to expect and sure enough, contemporary-style ‘bass house’ with strong nods to both vintage UK/speed garage and the mid-00s bassline house era is pretty much the order of the day throughout. If you’re not a fan of the style, then it’s fair to say this won’t be the album to change your mind, but if you are then cuts like the dreamy Need You, or the big n’ strutty Rock The Disco with its familiar vocal sample, will more than satisfy. More info here.

Various – Ekletik Beats Vol 004
Eklektik Beats Vol 004 EDM UndergroundAnother label comp here, this one coming from Greece’s unfortunately named EDM Underground, who for those that don’t know them have nothing to do with cake-throwing, pyrotechnics and electotraptrancestep, and everything to do with quality underground house music. Across this 17-track collection you’ll find deep and tech vibes ranging from the laidback and jazzy to the peaktime and stompy, and while some names – BiG AL, Pano Manara, Vincenzo De Robertis, label boss Analog Trip – should be familiar to TIWWD readers, most of it’s been made by relative newcomers – making the high quality standard throughout all the more impressive. More info here.

Various – Jazzy Best Pt 6
Jazzy Best Vol 6 Apparel MusicAnd from a label called EDM that have very little to do with EDM, we move on to a compilation called Jazzy Best that has very little to do with jazz! Okay, there’s a brushed snare here, a mournful sax parp there, I’ll grant you. But a Peterson-esque noodlefest this definitely isn’t; instead expect 20 tracks of the finest underground house music – mostly on a deep dancefloor tip but with one or two techier moments and a few more downtempo excursions – coming from the likes of Echonomist, Sarp Yilmaz, Sek and a raft of lesser-known names. ‘Jazzy’ it may not be, but ‘best’? Not far off, I’d say… More info here.

Various – Krafted Vol 1
Krafted Vol 1 Krafted MusicLastly for tonight’s little round-up but by no means least, we have this first-ever label comp from Krafted Music, which consists of 13 full-length tracks plus a continuous mix by Paul Moore of Soultrak. Ger Gleeson, Danny Satori and Christ Burstein are probably the best-known names that feature but as with the comps above, this isn’t about big names, it’s about quality house tuneage. And on that count these 13 slices of underground deep and tech goodness certainly deliver, with Prudence’s Notice Me and Sean Grainger’s Climax – MONSTER tunes, the pair of ’em – worth the price of admission on their own. More info here.

As ever with these round-up thingummies, sorry to all concerned that each of these albums didn’t get a little more in-depth love but there’s only so many hours in the day!

Various – 5 Years Of Gruuv EP 4

July 27, 2015 in Singles

5 Years Of Gruuv EP4Another week, another 5 Years Of Gruuv EP… and another glowing review from me.

Audiojack & Kevin Knapp’s On The Record gets the ball rolling, a heads-down chugger with bass that makes your ears go funny and a looped, spoken vocal saying “what the rhythms say from the record”, or possibly “let the rhythm sing from the record”? Hard to say but it’s good. David Pher’s driving Wild Eyes starts out all tuff n’ techy, but then introduces hand percussion and spoken poetic vocals that lighten the mood somewhat. Paul C & Paolo Martini then give us Big Black Car, a percussive roller that’s got ‘Ibiza terrace’ written all over it, while finally Tuccillo’s Aftertrack is another quite percussive, eyes-down kinda cut augmented by male vocal snips and nice big, chunky bass.

On The Record takes the gold for me here, but the quality standard’s high throughout yet again.

Out: Now

About: You can find Gruuv on Soundcloud and Facebook.

Various – Five Years Of Gruuv EP 1

June 14, 2015 in Singles

5 Years Of Gruuv EP 1 GruuvAudiojack’s Gruuv imprint is five years old, and they’re celebrating the landmark in style, with a series of six V/A EPs to be released over the coming months of which this ‘Daytime’ EP, as the more astute among you may have guessed, is the first.

Poland’s Marcin Czubala is up first with Alpine, a pigeonhole-defying cut that takes elements from a wide range of house styles (tinkling Italo-house pianos, a fat 303 bassline and crisp techy beats) and as such should find favour on a variety of floors. Audiojack’s own In One Ear works tribal drums, a fat n’ funky bassline and some fine Doors-y organ work into a ridiculously groovesome rumpshaker. Ekkohaus’s Burnin’ Up is all no-nonsense drums, muted bassline and reversed (?) synth sounds, while Dachshund’s Imminent is a killer disco-injected deep house jam and finally Channel X’s For You has a huge bassline, sparse drums and a looping, treated “this one’s for you” vocal.

Contemporary deep and tech house grooves (pun intended) at their finest… there’s a reason they’ve lasted this long y’know!

Out: This week

About: Find Gruuv on Soundcloud and Facebook.

Spirit Catcher – Superimposed

May 3, 2015 in Singles

Spirit Catcher Superimposed GruuvMixes to suit a range of house tastes on this new EP from the ever-checkable Gruuv and Belgian scene veterans Spirit Catcher.

In its Original form, Superimposed itself is a summery, spangly slice of instrumental house music with Balearic/prog overtones. S’good but label boss Audiojack’s tuffer, bassier refix is the one that’s floating my boat the most, albeit the dreamier, late-night pass supplied by Borrowed Identity is none too shoddy. The other original cut included, Remember To Forget, is a team-up with Dubai producer Raxon. Even more epic and prog-leaning than the title cut, it’s accompanied by a Memory Remix from Kindimmer that takes us into deeper pastures, with a nod to Chi-town sounds of yore.

All good, but the Audiojack mix is the killer.

Out: This week

About: Find Gruuv on Soundcloud and Facebook.

Audiojack – Psychonautics EP

February 20, 2015 in Singles

Audiojack Psychonautics EP Gruuv RecordingsWe stay in tuff, jackin’ territory for tonight’s last offering, a very fine three-tracker from Audiojack coming on his own Gruuv imprint.

Scarlett Groove is up first, a chunky, driving but still quite deep houser with a wobbly synth topline, snatches of barely-there female vocal and occasional “are you ready?” and “dance!” interjections. Luna follows, which tops jauntier rollin’ beats and a fat-ass b-line with a male saying “it’s like this”, Italo/sci-fi synth squiggles and French Kiss-like orgasmic fem vox. And then finally we come to Psychonaut itself, a deep, dubby and bubblin’ tribal workout for properly locked-on floors.

Definitely a case of all killers, no fillers here… acquire!

Out: This week

About: You can find Gruuv Recordings on Soundcloud and Facebook.

Nancy Whang & Audiojack – Like An Eagle

March 28, 2014 in Singles

Nancy Whang Audiojack Like An Eagle GommaLCD Soundsystem’s Nancy Whang teams up with Leeds house crew Audiojack for what is promised to be the first in a series of cover versions of 70s classics.

Even if you’re not familiar with Dennis Parker’s 1979 disco hit Like An Eagle, you may recognise its “aaah, ah-ah-ah-ah” – it was sampled by Par-T-One on I’m So Crazy back in 2001. Whang’s cover is a Balearically-inclined nu-disco gem and comes in Radio and Extended mixes, while Black Loops & Maik Yells give us a down n’ dirty, house-ified remix.

The latter’s plenty playable but it’s the Extended Version that’s floating my boat the most.

Out: This week

About: This comes on Munich’s Gomma imprint… find them here, here and here.

Audiojack – These Days EP

September 11, 2012 in Singles

Audiojack These Days EP Gruuv

A five-track EP here from Leeds duo Audiojack on their own Gruuv label. And what a fine EP it is too. In total you get three mixes of These Days itself, plus Night Watch and, er, well, we’ll come to that in a mo’.

In its Original form, These Days is jackin’ contemporary dancefloor deep house bizniss, with a spoken vocal about the good ol’ vinyl days, disillusionment with modern music… all the usual shizzle we’ve heard before but we’ll forgive ’em cos there’s also one SERIOUS motherfucker of a fat b-line. The Jimmy Edgar Interpretation (what a great name for a mix… it’s like it was done in the 1940s at BBC Maida Vale Studios, by a man in a tuxedo with Bryclreemed hair) all but ditches the vocal but adds some heavyweight garage-y bump n’ swing and female vocal oohs and awws, while the Sacha Robotti 2029 G.I.T.S. Remix is a big-room tech-house pass.
Elsewhere, Night Watch is another BIG track with rock-solid 4/4s, disco stabs, another phat n’ funky b-line and some old-skool piano licks applied very sparingly, while to round out the EP the lads give us their ’20 Year Tribute’ take on Plastic Dreams. It’s a brave move, but it works… so it’s hard not to smile really.
Night Watch and the Jimmy Edgar rub of These Days that stand out for me but like I said, it’s a fairly spiffing, top-hole sort of gramophone record all round really, what? As our imaginary friend at Maida Vale would say.
Out: This week
About: You can find Gruuv on Facebook and Soundcloud. And, seeing as they’re Yorkshire lads, here’s Audiojack’s own Soundcloud as well.