Sunday, 4 November 2018

Rob Belleville - Implacable Force - Common Dreams

SOME people might say it takes a certain degree of chutzpah for a producer to incorporate the nickname of the pioneers of Detroit techno into their own working name. Other people might say it’s nothing more than a fine tribute to the genre’s legendary originators rather than some kind of ersatz tribute act. Whereas others might say, what the hell is chutzpah?

All the same, good on you Rob Belleville, whose nom de plume is a reference to the so-called Belleville Three of high-school pals, musicians and techno dons Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson. Because a little honest homage never did any harm.

Moreover, the experienced Dutch producer has long been his own man anyway with a lengthy discography stretching across labels such as Pong Musiq and Sander Prins and Tim Gaal’s aDepth audio. Now he’s gone and rocked up with a four-track vinyl release on Common Dreams, the lovely little boutique imprint run by respected producer Brad Peterson.

And whaddayaknow, it’s a perfect match.

Indeed, eponymous opening track Implacable Force is almost a calling card for the label itself; satisfyingly dreamy pads, intricate drum patterns, a distant-future vibe and an inherent intelligence. Proper electronic music for the grown-ups.

Yet there is so much more to this wonderful EP than clever house and techno. Sungazing is a real crowd-pleaser as it were for the deeper heads, myself very much included, with a more mellow and uplifting aesthetic, whilst the gorgeous Rise N’ Shine embraces a similarly optimistic, summery and euphoric lilt.

Winding up proceedings is Sands Of Time, an accomplished and more chilled, almost ambient-like take on this house and techno thing. Not only electronic music of the highest order from Mr. Belleville (it’s not his real name you know), an EP to revisit again and again.

Check out:
Implacable Force EP @ Juno
Rob Belleville on FB

Friday, 26 October 2018

Tominori Hosoya - Halfway - TH Pressing

THERE can surely be few people in the house and techno arena that are as hardworking, energetic and downright nice as Tominori Hosoya. The Japanese artist, who also moonlights under the alias Tomi Chair, has been carefully honing his craft over the last decade or so but it is in recent years that he has really found his sound and place in the electronic music sphere with a slew of beautifully-emotive releases.

The likes of Batti Batti, Blind Jacks Journey, deepArtSounds, Minuendo, Soul Print Recordings and many more who know a thing or two about quality electronica have all invited Tomi to grace their labels. And for the past four years the inimitable and peppy Hosoya has used his own imprint, TH Pressing, as an additional outlet for his considerable talent.

Now all of that drive, endeavor and graft have reached an obvious conclusion with the release of the highly-impressive Halfway, the debut album from Hosoya and on his own label to boot.

Halfway goes all the way in both ambition and execution. It’s the record that the peerless Hosoya was always destined to make, an almighty venting of the man’s creative urge. And the sigh of relief from the hugely-likeable producer is near palpable.

But that’s not to say this album is in the least bit hurried, ill-conceived or half-cocked. It’s not. Indeed it is quite the reverse; measured, thoughtful and articulate. Beauteous, in fact.

Lush chords, ethereal sonic patterns and a distant air are the DNA common to this collection of ten musical love notes. From the melancholic optimism of We Wish 2 Cherry Trees Bloom Forever to the joyous Happiness To Trust and from the spirited Beautiful Lives to the wistful The Future I Dream, each and every track has a tale to tell, a footnote in Hosoya’s imagination.

In today’s saturated market where truly worthy releases can all too easily be overwhelmed by the deluge pouring through shops, e-tailers and inboxes daily, Hosoya has crafted an aesthetic, identity and sound that are genuinely all his own. He deserves to be heard. Do yourself a favour. Go listen.

Check out:
Tominori Hosoya/Tomi Chair @ Facebook
Tominori Hosoya @ Discogs
Tomi Chair @ Discogs
Tominori Hosoya/Tomi Chair @ SoundCloud
Tominori Hosoya @ Juno

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Another Fistful Of Twelves

I LOVE it deep. There, I’ve said it. Whether it be house, techno, down-tempo, dub, Balearic, jazz or any other genre or sub-genre you care to mention or even make up, it matters not. And putting your finger on it or trying to define the what, when and how are not that simple either. I guess it's a spiritual thing, a body thing, a soul thing. Hang on, I think that’s been done before. But you get my drift.

And what makes it all the more interesting is that that indefinable quality that gets you right there, yes there, can come from almost any angle and from artists both long in the game and new on the block. A clutch of releases on heavy rotation here at bringdownthewalls proves that point perfectly.

Exhibit one, Gene Hunt. Anyone who has made tracks in Larry Heard’s living room, got their first release on Housetime, a sub-label of the infamous TRAX imprint, some thirty years ago and DJed at the Music Box under the tutelage of Ron Hardy, amongst SO many other achievements, is a certifiable legend. More than all that though, the Chicagoan also happens to be one of the nicest and most genuine individuals in house music evidenced by a memorable and still talked-about performance at much-missed London club night Thunder five years ago.

Here he pops up for a second time on the sterling British label Inner Shift Music [his Planted Seeds EP being one of the standout deep house releases of 2014]. Distant Lands [check it out here] is a more than worthy return as the amiable US house veteran proffers three cuts of pure unadulterated quality. Kayla Dream is a brilliantly bright and breezy production that stands toe-to-toe with previous Inner Shift releases, whilst the more jackin’, techno-leaning Distant Voyage, I would suggest, is right up the alley of ISM co-owner Brad Peterson. And then there’s Open Up Your Eyes, a wondrous, marriage of gospel-like incantation and funked-up mechanical delivery. Superb.

Amsterdam-based label and DJ collective Late Night Burners may not have been around long but on the evidence of their first couple of releases and a slew of ridiculously-good podcasts they certainly have a bright future. Outing number two, the Feels Like Forever EP [listen here], has been on my wish-list since it was aired on Josey Rebelle’s must-listen Rinse FM show earlier this year and comes courtesy of imprint co-owner Roman Coşkun. The title track, the one championed by Ms Rebelle, is proper. No messing, old-school, deep-as-fuck house with brains and brawn, exactly the way I like it. Sunwards is more down-tempo and introspective yet delivers big on emotion and style. Over on t’other side Steps almost steals the show as it shifts up a gear and lets fly with a gorgeous melody-driven track underpinned with a comfortingly cushioned kick, whilst Tales From The Reef [featuring 92SDO] rounds off this highly-recommended foursome with another polished slice of deepness. Buy, buy.

Spanish label Troubled Kids has always been a quality not quantity affair. Fewer than 20 carefully-chosen vinyl releases in ten years is evidence of that. The latest is no exception with stalwart producer, DJ and one of the imprint’s owners Jesús Gonsev teaming up with that man of a thousand faces, ok, numerous aliases then, George Btp aka Allstarr Motomusic, Dan Piu, Zarenzeit and one half of the mighty Theory Of Movement to produce an essential four-track EP of sumptuous house under the oddly-named The WineLambs guise.

A Genuine World [here we go] is about as accomplished, sensual and damn-near perfect as it gets. Falling In Your Arms featuring the smooth, sultry tones of Shareen is a lush and emotive trip to deep house heaven, whilst the intriguing Poti Poti is a much brisker and angular little number but delivered with no less aplomb.

Sandwiched between these two is the not-to-be-missed title track, both the excellent and jaunty original plus a bold, no-nonsense, I-need-this-in-my-life reshape by man [or could that be woman?] of the moment Grant.

Talking of whom, the mercurial and mysterious American producer [the other half of the aforementioned Theory Of Movement duo alongside deepArtSounds head George Btp] is also back with a solo EP on his own eponymous label. Cleverly entitled Grant 004 [check it here], it finds the man picking up pretty much where he left off with Grants 001, 002 and 003, that is serving up more high-quality house of the deep, delightful and downright dope variety that some of us simply can’t get enough of. Another must-have.

Another favourite here at bringdownthewalls HQ also makes a welcome return. Lithuanian-born and, dare I say, London-bred producer Arnheim [aka Simas Savickas] comes home to his own imprint Barbara Recordings with the three-track broken beat, jazz-inspired gem that is Making Way [listen here].The young producer, still only in his early twenties, is really forging a name and a sound for himself and his latest offering will only enhance his rapidly-burgeoning reputation. The beauteous Get On With The Looking is of a quality that belies his tender years and though there are echoes of the much-influential Moodymann, this is no pastiche. Do You Know is a choppier and stuttered offering though no less assured, whilst Becoming Welcome at 17-minutes, yes seventeen minutes, is a stunning, down-tempo tour de force on a serious jazz tip. Bravo young sir.

Young at heart no doubt but an old hand for sure, Madrid-based artist Ernie presents the latest twelve from his always-excellent label Minuendo. Although the man himself is absent this time, the EFIMERA EP [take a listen] still makes the grade thanks to contributors both old and new. The A-side is given over to seasoned Batti Batti alumni [amongst many other outlets] Owen Jay & Brian James who wade in with a brace of daring experimental house cuts, Niko’s Groove and Imagery, which hit the spot more and more on each listen. Uncompromising acid stormer Vulbitch Bazaar from newbies Blue Vulva & The Electronic Crooner is another veritable grower with more soul than you might think on first listen, whilst Seafood from young Spanish producer Untitled [a name to watch for sure] is something of its antithesis being an achingly-beautiful production steeped in the very best traditions of classic deep house.

And whilst on the subject of top-notch deepness, it would be criminal to overlook Various Inspirations – Volume Three [listen here] expertly curated by main man René Jazzman Wolski for his super label Deep Inspirations Show inspired by his long-running radio programme. Featuring six tracks from as many different artists, the digital-only EP, is a little belter. Both Neuronphase and Roberto Bronco appeared on the recent Various Inspirations Wax Sampler twelve and here they each chip in with a terrific track apiece [Light and Hati respectively] that owe a debt of gratitude to jazz as well as house. Inno Sacred’s AfterlifeReplika’s Roy’s Love and Sir Sabzee’s Little Something are decidedly deep and dead good too, we’d expect nothing less, whilst that most-excellent of chaps Elpierro makes an appearance with the wonderfully soulful, hypnotic and inspired We Give, We Get.

No release round-up these days would be complete without a mention of Tominori Hosoya. It’s the law. Not only arguably the hardest-working man in house and techno, he may be the nicest too. Recent forays from the Tokyo-based artist have included the super-limited, vinyl-only self-released Moments EP [here] on his new Lights label. Featuring four tracks from the man himself, the project perfectly showcases Hosoya’s deeply emotional, emotive and expert take on tech house and techno. If that wasn’t enough, he also got to remix the legendary Ron Trent’s Dancin’ [there] as part of a special package from Chicago imprint Headphoniq, turning in a laudable effort that is jam-packed with all the Tomi trademarks you would expect. And with a number of other projects still under wraps but definitely heading our way, it’s shaping up to be another big year for the likeable Hosoya. Tomi, we salute you.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Various artists – Various Inspirations Wax Sampler – Deep Inspiration Show Records

LONG-RUNNING broadcast, the Deep Inspiration Show, has become something of an institution. Lovingly curated by the inspirational and knowledgeable Jazzman [aka René Wolski] since 2010, it has become a by-word for quality selections and a go-to for those wanting to hear proper house. An arbiter of impeccable taste and a flag-bearer far and wide for the best in deepness, the Jazzman is now a purveyor too with the launch of his own label of the same name.

It would be fair to say that the word ‘deep’ looms large over this fine debut, the Various Inspirations Wax Sampler featuring, as the name suggests, various artists whose work has been lovingly handpicked by the inimitable Jazzman himself. And so it should, given the pedigree of the man in charge. We would expect nothing less.

So there is definitely no surprise whatsoever that the EP kicks off with no tops-off, arms-aloft, ‘how many pills have you necked’ club banger but a finely judged, beautifully constructed and instantly lovable hunk of slow-grooving, yep, deep house. It comes in the shape of Sawdust from Estonian artist Neuronphase [aka Anti Aaver], a producer of genuine quality who has slowly but surely been muscling his way into the consciousness of the heads in the last couple of years with a brace of appearances on London-based Monsieur Cedric’s Série Limitée Records. Those who dug those Detroit-inspired tracks will love this too and with a solo release on Phonogramme in the offing, Neuronphase is a name to keep a beady eye on.

Little-known South African artist Deep Sentiments won’t remain little known for long if he keeps producing music as delightful and damn infectious as his vinyl debut Sleepless Zombies, a calling card not only to be proud of but also alert aficionados and labels alike.

Marco Nega has been plying his considerable and very talented trade for many years now. Most notably with Altered Moods, Batti Batti, Bu-Mako Recordings, Inner Shift, Underground Quality, Waehlscheibe and more, all labels that seriously know their shit. He’s a big favourite chez moi too and it’s very easy to see why the Jazzman got him on board. In return, Nega delivers the goods big style with Believe In Being Loved, a mature, classy and dead-drop-gorgeous cut. Hypnotic, melodic deepness at its absolute finest.

Icelandic artist Viktor Birgiss, main man behind the Lagaffe Tales imprint, prides himself on his ‘deep, technical and highly danceable’ style. He’s not wrong. Because his contribution here, That Time When, is exactly that. There is a real innocence about this sweet and almost simplistic little groove that is anything but simple. Rather it is simply superb.

Keeping the deep theme going ’til the very last, downtempo dude Roberto Bronco completes the collection with his brief-but-dope Deep Nights Outro, an enthralling teaser that inhabits that exciting grey area between hip-hop, house and, indeed, jazz. Nice.

Check out:

Thursday, 15 February 2018

2DeepSoul – Windows – Inner Shift Music

EVEN a brief shufty around this site rapidly reveals our deep affection for the Inner Shift stable generally, 2DeepSoul in particular and especially the good folks behind it all. Which makes it even more surprising that we didn’t wax lyrical when the essential Windows EP got its vinyl release towards the back end of last year. Fortunately we have the opportunity to make amends now that it has been made available for the download community.

After many years in the game Brad Peterson and Rai Scott know their way around this deep house malarkey that’s for sure. And over the course of five EPs together as 2DeepSoul a “sound” has distinctly been honed. Whether by accident or design I know not, but it’s there. In many ways opening cut Clarity is it, that sound, right there in a nutshell; dreamy, ethereal, morish. Contour Lines is more of the same to a point, but with a little more tech and a distant vocal sample, not a typical motif of the duo, added to the brew.

Proceedings get even better and more ear catching over on t’other side, as they might say in northern parts. Someday has the lady’s talented fingerprints smeared all over it, Rai Scott being a self-confessed ambient head at heart and, indeed, body and soul. It’s indulgently deep and delicious too, a track that in all honesty I think I could listen to all day long or even longer. It’s A Sign rounds off this fine affair. It’s more mesmerising than a mesmerised Franz Mesmer and house just as I like it; slow burning, deep and meditative.

Check out:
ISM on Facebook
2DeepSoul on Facebook
2DeepSoul on discogs

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Allstarr Motomusic/Manuel Costela – Love Souls – TH Pressing

LORD knows when he gets time to sleep that man Tominori Hosoya. If he’s not diligently and lovingly compiling his first album, then he’s busy dropping deep house bombs for a rake of well-respected labels. And then there’s his very own burgeoning imprint TH Pressing, which is back with its fourth vinyl-only EP, Love Souls

Only this time he’s taken more of a back-seat role and left the music to a couple of old hands on this rather charming release.

First up is Allstarr Motomusic aka George Btp, the driving force behind and the face of DeepArtSounds. His love of Prescription Records is no secret and indeed both Ron Trent and Anthony Nicholson have represented Btp’s Zurich-based label. There is a hefty nod in that direction with the beguiling Night Romance, a cut that Btp wrote coincidentally whilst in Tokyo, the home of TH Pressing. Sumptuous and comforting on the ears, the track chugs along delightfully and is elevated to the level of must-have by the sensual delivery of Debra Jones Davis [Altered Moods Recordings]. If there is a better spoken-word vocalist doing the rounds right now then I’ve yet to hear them.

And on the subject of classy songstresses, erstwhile DeepArtSounds collaborator Sarignia Bonfá pops up again here on Light Of The Soul. Not as breathless and pulsating as the previous track, it is nonetheless a satisfyingly deep, thoughtful and jazz-inspired offering that still stands head and shoulders above most releases searching painfully, insincerely for a similar vibe. You either have it or you ain’t.

Manuel Costela takes care of the flip. Head of both Bucketround and 2phonic Recordings, the Madrid-based artist has been plying his trade under different guises for a decade plus but there is real momentum building right now with a slew of productions appearing or in the pipeline on his own imprints or those of others. Here he delivers a couple of gems.

The soulful lilt of Sunshine Love is backed by a truly chunky groove and as such it is easy to hear why Hosoya snapped this up. But overlook Hurt at your peril. This warm, Rhodes-driven, electro-inspired number is an absolute joy from start to finish, seven minutes of sonic sunshine. Tip, as the hipsters say.

Check out: