Monday, 24 March 2014

Various Artists - Kiss The Sun - Batti Batti Records

Just like the most successful football squads, there is strength in depth at Batti Batti Records. Each release is cohesive, coherent and collectively classy no matter what the line-up due in no small dose to the formidable backbone of the outfit formed by irrepressible label boss Owen Jay and his gifted long-time collaborator Melchior Sultana.

So why change a winning formula? Thankfully they haven't and this the Maltese imprint's sixth outing is as on-point and essential as the previous five must-have releases. Deeper heads will also be delighted to discover that the Kiss The Sun ep not only features the return of Natan H and Brian James to the Batti Batti fold but also the welcome addition of Ernie from the truly wonderful Minuendo Recordings. The deep house force in the Mediterranean is clearly strong and the links forged lately between Malta and Madrid have resulted in the link-up with Mr Minuendo himself.

And it is indeed Ernie who opens up this four-track beauty in style. Hoth Stuff is hot stuff and pure Ernie; chunky, funky, soulful and with plenty of dancefloor nous. The man from Madrid knows how to push all the right buttons when it comes to grooves of a deeper inclination and this is no exception.

The eponymous title-track from Brian James, a compatriot of Jay and Sultana and a man who really seems to be hitting his stride as a producer, is every bit as infectious and even more fantastically heads-down and groovy, a real gem.

Label stalwarts, the midfield generals of Batti Batti, Owen and Sultana do what they do best with their offering Contrasts, which again features the vocal talents of Mykle Anthony; beauteous, sun-drenched vibes that shimmer and shine and that you hope will never come to an end. Sublime from first groove 'til last.

Back on the team is the consistently-excellent American producer Natan H, who made his label debut back on BBR02. Inspired by a trip to Israel, his cut Negev has quality oozing from every note, as deep and dark as house can get whilst remaining head-noddingly and foot-tappingly exciting and inspiring. An awesome foursome from Batti Batti yet again.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

LAAK/Banfield Audio - Calisto - Monochromatic

Being based in Argentina, many miles from the physical deep house hot spots, has not stopped the Monochromatic label from having its finger well and truly on the pulse. With four releases in little more than a year featuring Specter, Amir Alexander and Brad Peterson, the Banfield Audio boys behind the label are back with another 10" special featuring not only themselves but also yet more highly-coveted underground talent.

Taking a breather from their own well-respected label Austere, LAAK come up trumps for Monochromatic with the superb Calisto (it's a genus of butterfly or old typeface. Take your pick). Delicately textured as you might expect from LAAK, the track is as flighty, jaunty and optimistic as anything produced thus far on their own imprint and contains a melody so ridiculously catchy that it will take root in your mind and soul for some considerable time. You have been warned. 

By all accounts it is not the last of LAAK's away day adventures with forthcoming excursions coming soon on Rough House Rosie and Malcolm Moore's long-running deep house label Altered Moods.

Meanwhile back on the flipside, Banfield Audio deliver with aplomb more of the Motor City-inspired sound that has become their trademark. Waves From Detroit does what it says on the tin, layers of synth and melody combining to produce the kind of ethereal yet mechanical vibe that is reminiscent of work straight outta the D and touches a nerve with many a vinyl buyers these days.