Pariah has made some intriguing singles with Blawan as part of Karenn, but there hasn’t been a proper release from UK producer since 2010’s Safehouses EP. On June 11, R&S will release the Rift EP, which features three new Pariah tracks. “Signal Loss” is a spare, minimal track driven by chopped up vocals and soft piano chords.
The first thing that must be pointed out about Deutschmann’s Loganic collaboration, “Darkroom Tales,” is that title. What a title. The music that bears it is every bit as hedonistic, decadent, and seedy as you’d hope: high-octane house that starts at a gallop — replete with deep, barely audible moans and sharp breaths — and never, ever slows down. It hungrily collects new elements to add to the dizzy conveyor-belt effect until it’s a hurtling mass of moving bells and whistles. Shakers, mallets, a vaguely alienating vocal sample (“What it’s gonna be? What’s it gonna be?”), handclaps that slice up the bars into uneven, colliding chunks of broken rhythm — it’s quite a ride. And if it weren’t grandiose enough, an ‘ardkore-worthy synth riff floats up from the abyss to dominate the track’s midsection, a victory lap for a track that builds energy so masterfully it’s hard not to get sucked into some kind of outrageous motion even if you’re just listening on headphones.
Label head, Tristen, provides an edit that’s a little more Aim friendly, blurring the original’s incisive slam into pleasant deep-house chord smears and turning the original’s darkroom blackness into photo-negative white. The sexily swung groove is still there, but here it’s weighed down by the lumbering kick and deconstructed melody, more like an added little bonus to an incredible track that didn’t need reinterpreting in the first place. A label so well defined as Aim jumping off on a tangent can sometimes be a dealbreaker, but “Darkroom Tales” is easily one of the most infectious and impressive tracks of the young year so far.
Moodymann is the nom de disc of Detroit native Kenny Dixon, Jr. An iconoclast with a funkdafied hairdo, Moodymann has built up a devoted listenership over the past two decades with his unique, mutant productions. Often pitched between high-fidelity and infidelity, Moodymann tracks are for those moments when hitting the dancefloor feels the same as rustling the sheets. Purveyor of the label Mahogani Music, Moodymann now connects with Scion A/V to deliver Picture This, eight exclusive tracks of Motor City magic.
There’s nothing new to be found in Iron Curtis’ new EP for Mule Electronic. Whereas his remix for Coldfish and 12-inch for Mirau last year were otherworldly things that seemed to exist just a bit outside of anything that was happening in dance music, the Berlin-based producer seems to be slowly regressing to the mean. It’s not a bad thing: There’s great pleasure to be had in “Großreuth 1“‘s old-school chord progression, “Save the Night“‘s similarly bouncy bass-driven melody or “80 G“‘s constantly upbuilding theme and clumpy climax.
Unlike previous work though, Way Back Home seems content to rest in the realm of purely functional. There are no breakdowns that last just a bit too long, or sounds that seem comically out of sync with the rest of the track. The rough edges have been sanded off, proper production techniques have been acquired and now we’re merely left with three songs that are merely pretty darn good, instead of transcendent. Needless to say, consistency is a trait worth chasing. After all, a darn good EP is better than a mediocre one. But when consistency becomes the watchword, innovation starts to become that much further away.
“Considered a bit of a classic in the field of disco/house, this reissue of Daniel Wang’s mighty 1993 classic debut comes at a time when all things proto-disco are enjoying a surge in interest, and this sounds like a veritable ‘How To’ manual for the genre. Wang’s tight sample-based productions are a bonafide joy to the ears - this is an edits 12” where the joins have been smoothed over to the point where it all sounds incredibly organic.” - Boomkat.com
“DJ Koze gets to be as weird as he wants. As a solo artist, he might have made his first mark with the solemn chimes of “Brutalga Square” but it’s been a long journey from there. Like his work with International Pony, Koze flourishes when he’s been willfully playful. Witness the demented remix of Atlas’ “Battles,” the Joe Meek-worthy vocal tweaks of “Smornin” and the chipmunk choir of his remix of Matthew Dear’s “Elementary Lovers.” 2008 has been a banner year for bizarro-Koze – the shimmer-funk remake of Matias Aguayo’s “Minimal” to the messy-dystopia mashed from Sascha Funke’s “Mango.” Then there’s “Zouzou” on Total 9, which might be first worthy follow-up to Matt John’s “Soulkaramba” and a track so perverse it led hyperbole-resistant Hardwax to describe the annual compilation as “Euro dance pop and one exceptional track by DJ Koze.”
Koze usually releases one lone single a year, which is often obscured by the heft and weight of his remix work. “Let’s Love” takes the same model as last year’s excellent “All the Time” –- a solid front-side that sets up the bombshell on the flip. “Let’s Love” might squeak and croon “you come into my heart” as a friendly introduction, but the sighs of sun-burned synths and Doppler chimes make for a nice evocation of late summer nights. The track is subtle, timbres from every sound slide around and swirl out of the ether. And it doesn’t prepare you for “I Want to Sleep,” which, slowed to a throb, follows down the rabbit-hole house revival. But there’s no sunny vibes or tasteful chord stabs for “I Want to Sleep,” instead finding a groove that compresses the low-end like a trampoline –- at first bounce it’s a little uneasy but quickly becomes mesmerizing. As grasshoppers and frogs set up the humid scene, a women talks, inhales, enunciating every phrase. The tone of her voice is sensual, words race forward only to end lackadaisically, tiptoeing around the groove. Given the foreign language, it’s impossible to understand most of what she says, but the unfamiliar speech leaves you lulled by the grain and texture of her voice. And when she finally says “I want to sleep,” which might be the weirdest coup of the track, it hits like a slingshot.” - Little White Earbuds
Surprisingly, there’s little in the way of a review, on current swedish house monster, Axel Boman’s 2008 pre-Pampa release, Jungle Jesus EP, released through Ourvision Recordings.
Without taking the time to write a complete EP review, I’ll say this about the EP; the release is ripe with everything any tech/deep-house aficionado wants to find in a good release. The tracks on Jungle Jesus fit beautifully on the dancefloor or in a dimly lit room, filled with cannabis clouds and opium teas.
Jungle Jesus’ title track is incredibly reminiscent of Isolée’s ‘Beau Mot Plage’ but somehow finds a way to show you that, despite the similarities that Jungle Jesus and Beau Mot Plage share, Boman knows how to make old ideas sound new; even then, 2008 wasn’t exactly yesterday. Four years after this incredible EP was dropped, Boman finally gets the attention he deserves, coming into his own with ‘Holy Love’ the fourth release on DJ Koze’s legendary imprint, Pampa Records (more on this release and Pampa below)…
“Axel is in fact the Swedish word for shoulder, but born and bred Stockholmer Mr. Boman could just as easily have been named Rumpa, the Swedish word for ass, since most of his life has been dedicated to moving just that body part. It was around 1992 that Axel’s ass started dragging the confused youngster into all sorts of weird situations – dodgy warehouses, blooming fields, sweaty basements – just about any place that had a nice sound system and someone pumping a fat bassline through it. With his older brother already being a collector of the latest techno and house records, Axel started keeping a strict diet of fresh beats which has kept him alive and kicking ever since. Building a reputation for himself in the small but very friendly Stockholm club scene, he was soon acknowledged as one of Sweden’s most skillful and best looking dj dudes. Naturally, production activity followed shortly. Working out of small studios in his hometown as well as in Gothenburg (where Axel took his master degree in fine art), tracks like the underground hit “Arcimboldo” on Ourvision Recordings soon landed in the crates of connoisseurs like DJ Koze, Magda and Seth Troxler. His sounds is raw, playful and drenched in oceans of soul – just the kind of stuff the dancefloor’s of today are longing for. 2010 was the big breakthrough year for Axel and his ass, with the epic screw house anthem “Purple Drank” being released on DJ Koze’s new Pampa Records imprint, going off to London to participate in the Red Bull Music Academy and starting up his own label Studio Barnhus together with Petter (Border Community) and local idiot Kornél Kovacs. 2011 saw Axel release a ton of new material and remixes on labels like Permanent Vacation, Moodmusic, Glass Table, Hypercolour, Tartelet and of course Studio Barnhus.
Since emerging in 2003, UK man Claro Intelecto has pursued the deeper side of techno, and now makes his Delsin debut with a 3 track EP entitled Second Blood, which precedes the release of his full length album on the same label in march 2012.
With a discography which includes a number of 12”s, EPs and full lengths on labels like Boomkat’s own Modern Love as well as Ai Records and others, Manchester man Mark Stewart is known for dropping bomb after bomb, with these new efforts being no different.
First up, the title track Second Blood is a lazy, scuffed and romantic sounding deep dub cut that lurches from one beat to the next with a lazy smile and soft eyes. Plenty of echo and reverb have it drifting off into the distance as warm pads and rising strings add subtle tension.
Another lazy roller but this time with brighter melodic flashes, next effort ‘Heart’ is just as lateral, dubwise and soothing as the title track, melting your mind into a dreamy state of hypnosis before b2 ‘Voyeurism’ lifts you out of your trance with a firmer kick drum, more cutting claps and groove that bounces a little more than it rolls. Some taught acid notes appear eventually, rounding off a cerebral, dead of night EP made as much for home listening as it is gentle Sunday afternoon comedowns. Essential stuff.
London’s George FitzGerald is one of the more interesting producers operating in the teched-up bass-heavy kinda-house kinda-garage sector of the UK right now. While his first single on Hotflush placed him in a garage pigeonhole somewhere close to Joy Orbison, since then he’s established a techno sound that doesn’t really sound like anyone else anymore—one that is more suave than savage.
“Silhouette,” FitzGerald’s debut EP for Will Saul’s Aus label, might be a little too suave. Following the label’s recent meander into uber-polished house and techno, “Silhouette” is so perfectly opalescent that it provides almost nothing to grasp onto as it slides by on stabby dub techno chords. The surface-level sensory overload of pretty sounds and innumerable vocal samples feels…well…merely surface-level. John Roberts continues to prove himself an unpredictable remix wizard (following his handclap-happy rework of Darkstar’s “Gold”), taking the slippery smooth ride of “Silhouette” on a severe left turn into staggered breakbeat house, each drum hit like a carelessly thrown rock scuffing up FitzGerald’s minted groove.
On the other side “Reset” sees FitzGerald finding a better fit for his new-agey techno sound, pooling vocal samples into an oily slick (as on his fantastic “We Bilateral”) over a straightforward and chunky kick drum, claiming some of the focused energy that “Silhouette” lacks.
In a recent interview, I:Cube mentioned how difficult it is to finish an album. He finally triumphed over the chimera and delivered a new EP Lucifer en Discothèque as a prelude to his forthcoming album (he must have fought the chimera for real!) After 15 years of an almost constant production, how can any artist possibly avoid the pitfall of repetition while re-inventing his style? Cube delivers a masterly answer! As its name implies, Transpiration (perspiration in English) is sure to make dance floors sweat around the globe. Whats fascinating with these new tracks, especially Transpiration, is the way Chaix manages to reconcile the old with the new, his 15-year heritage of production with all the recent technological developments. This track reveals various influences, for instance Todd Terry, Godfather of the 90s NY House, as well as Sheffield rave parties of the same era yet revisited without an ounce of pomposity. Jah Menta sums up everything that makes I:Cubes style a menta(l) vibe and a down-to-earth beat with mesmerizing softness It seems like Cube really met Lucifer after all! From the realm of Beelzebub, he brought back a track that starts like a trance based on a heavy and powerful beat mingled with synth parts seeming to weave concentric circles between Hell and reality Heres what Cube says about his album, due to release in February: « I spend a lot of time listening to music, I use samples (the very heart of my approach!), I put everything together and then I compose on synthesizers and machines. In short, Im back to my old self. Now I know how to achieve what I want.
Smallville Records present another adventure into sweetest house music. Twentyfour Ways presents four beautiful sunset tracks by the Benjamin Brunn, Christopher Rau and Smallpeople and special guests C-Beams aka Break SL & Sandrow Mitzschke from Dresden. Enjoy the essence of Smallville Deep-house combined on one 12inch EP.
German producer Kassem Mosse pretty much owned 2010, consistently releasing records that touched on the raw, thumping end of house and techno. His remix of Commix was a particularly fine moment – indeed we here at Juno Plus crowned it our number one track of the year. His 12″ for Dial sub-label Laid was a melodic shuffling delight, while his remix of Braiden’s auspicious debut on Joy Orbison’s Doldrums imprint turned the mutant house original into a sublime piece of raw, dusky techno.
His influence should not be underestimated in the UK – he’s widely revered by dubstep and bass music producers as well as house and techno heads, and his sound appears to be what a lot of British dubstep-cum-house producers – most notably the aforementioned Joy O – are currently striving for.
Here Mosse (real name Gunnar Wendel) returns to the excellent Berlin based Workshop imprint, with “Track 1″ hogging the A Side, characterised by a tense mechanical rhythym and a looped up female vocal which remains central to the track as Mosse adds deft analogue tweaks which create a cavernous sonic landscape. The real heat, however, is on the flip; first Mosse takes things unfeasibly deep on “Track 2″ with chords that on first inspection appear to emanate from beneath the speakers, before the EP’s true gem, the all too short “Track 3″, brings the EP to a bruising finale with scorched kick drums juxtaposed against a gently undulating synth progression.