Wednesday, 15 October 2014

V/A – Between Earth & Space – Minuendo Recordings

Perhaps it is my imagination but there seems to be a rake of fine house and techno washing around right now. Must-have labels have been knocking out must-have releases like there is no tomorrow and this week sees the return of one of the best imprints that the underground has to offer, Minuendo.

Under the steady guidance of the wonderful Ernie, the Madrid-based label has produced killer after killer in recent years and firmly established itself as one of the most important imprints amongst the deep house connoisseurs.

Minuendo’s brand new twelve, Between Earth & Space, will do that reputation no harm at all.

Leading the way is the irrepressible Joey Kay, who’s got form stretching back to when Jack had a groove when it comes to sublime melodies and infectious grooves. It is the last few years, however, that his music has begun to find a more appreciative audience. And more recently, his Altered Tempos EP on Troubled Kids back in the spring is one of the strongest deep house releases this year. He is in fine fettle again here for the Minuendo massive.

The Chicago-based artist’s I Wonder (vocal remix) is about as seductive, sumptuous and seductive as soulful house gets without being naked. Follow-up track In A Trance flips the script entirely and is Kay at his most angular, robust and spikey, yet with a groove that is entirely mesmerizing.

Secret weapons are becoming a bit of a habit for Jesus Gonsev, producer and boss of the aforementioned Troubled Kids. He near on stole the show recently on the Batti Batti EP Giuseppe’s Groove with his wonderful contribution, Drift. He’s doing his utmost to grab the limelight here too with the beautiful Seppuku, a track so achingly divine you could rewind for hours.

Surprise package, however, is Allstarr Motomusic featuring Nicole B. from the deepArtSounds crew. The increasingly popular Zurich-based label is a firm favourite round these parts and with the sassy, summery classic Chicago house sounds of Little Trinidadian Girl, the imprint has been done well and truly proud. 

Check out:
Between Earth & Space @ Juno
Minuendo Recordings 
Joey Kay @ Soundcloud
Troubled Kids Records

Monday, 13 October 2014

V/A – Austerity Cuts Vol. 1 – Austere Recordings

Less is more they say. Perhaps not though in the case of the much-loved Austere Recordings which has been away for way too long. Fast-approaching a year since the label’s last outing, they are finally back in business however with an EP well worth the wait, Austerity Cuts Volume 1.

And for release number seven the imprint has plumped for its first various artists EP featuring a clutch of new names alongside a well-respected older hand.

French DJ and producer Life Recorder is now firmly established as one of the underground’s brightest talents following a series of exceptional releases for the likes of Soul Print Recordings and the grossly underrated Bokhari. Here he is on the kind of form that caught the attention of Aesthetic Audio’s Keith Worthy with a sparkling techno cut, From Above, that glistens from every chord and delights at every turn.

Young newcomer Arnheim is clearly a talent to watch out for. Remember the name because there is undoubtedly much more to come from the London-based upstart on the evidence of this über-deep diamond. A self-confessed jazz fan, his melancholic piano-driven piece Late Night In The Loft more than holds its own, exuding class and evoking images of long-lost smoke-filled dive bars. Nice.

Gradul Lashton, a moody pseudonym if ever there was, debuts on the label with the wonderfully dreamy and redolent Summer Solace, a track in no particular rush that meanders jauntily and languidly from start to finish. Superb.

Rounding off proceedings is Fat Dog’s All That I Own. It’s a blissful, bluesy and elegant contribution dripping in soul and warmth, not least because of the gorgeous Marvin Gaye undercurrent. And you can never get enough Marvin.

Check out:
Austerity Cuts Vol. 1 @ Juno
Life Recorder @ FB
Arnheim @ FB

Saturday, 11 October 2014

V/A – Depth Sifters – Future Reactions

Statements of intent don’t come much bigger, better and bolder than new label Future Reactions’ debut EP, Depth Sifters. Because apart from featuring industry stalwarts Rick Wade and Norm Talley, it has quality running through every inch of its grooves.

Although clearly rooted in the very best traditions of house music and with a deep understanding of the genre and its history, such is the confidence of the debuting imprint that it opted to open up its first release with newcomer Cris J.

Easy to see why though as his cut Around Philly is bursting with funk, chunky as fuck and with its ever-popular ‘mean streets’ style voice-over it totally nails the classic house sound.

Legendary beatsmith Rick Wade, of course, has been there, seen it, done it and with Clizias Theme brings a sumptuously soulful edge to proceedings, whilst veteran Detroiter and erstwhile Beatdown Brother Norm Talley’s Str8 Housin is, as the name suggests, no messin’, house music. Proper.

Young Spanish talent Satore is by no means out of his depth either in such illustrious company as his outstanding offering Moodment (Upstreet Mix) cuts the mustard and some. 

No doubt the first of many must-haves from yet another label to watch.

Check out:
Future Reactions @ FB
Future Reactions @ Soundcloud

LAAK - Our Ways – Altered Moods Recordings

Another day, another deep house pearl from LAAK.

It’s been a rewarding few years or so for the enigmatic Birmingham-based duo that has built a reputation as one of the best production outfits in town with a slew of captivating releases, mostly via their own handsome label Austere Recordings. It’s a status that has been cemented further by carefully chosen guest appearances such as the recent sought-after Invocations EP on Contrast-Wax.

Now comes this. If anyone knows a thing or two about quality deepness it is Altered Moods owner Malcolm Moore. So it is absolutely no surprise he went knocking at LAAK’s door. And it is even less wonder that the resulting Our Ways EP is bang on and utterly essential.

Opening shot Our Ways Run Together is the kind of melodic, understated and wistful interpretation of classic deep house that has become something of a stock in trade for the production pairing; soul warming music for even the weariest of listeners.

The beauteous Discarded Memories is similarly spiritually affirming and uplifting, subtly groovy too, a comfort-blanket of a track indeed, whilst New Dawn is another blissful and hypnotic assault on the ears.

Completing the line-up is I Can’t Help (This Feeling), the bounciest and most robust of the four-track selection, which calls to mind the best work of veteran producer Soul 223.

Check out:
Altered Moods Recordings @ FB
Altered Moods Recordings @ Soundcloud
LAAK @ Soundcloud

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Jordan – Meanwhile In Ridgewood – Ornate Music

Ornate Music has over the last few years calmly and resolutely developed into one of the more essential independent labels especially for those of a certain inclination. Agnés, Dubbyman, Sai et al are testament to the imprint’s innate quality.

But the London-based imprint also knows a hot young talent when it hears one and in snapping up New York-based Jordan for its latest release, Ornate has its metaphorical finger firmly on the pulse.

Because if Jordan’s recent and excellent Division Point EP for Finale Sessions was a heady and smouldering brew of house and techno goodness then Meanwhile In Ridgewood is positively aglow.

Beginning as it does with the title track, a reference to the talented producer's neighbourhood, the five-track EP finds Jordan take flight with a delicately balanced number that melds ethereal and earthy to near-dammit perfection. Indeed, he does it throughout this must-have release.

Sophie is just as gutsy yet with a deft and soulful touch too, whilst Through The Fog is something of a standout for those of us who like their deepness with a groovy glow.

Ambient-inspired Visage is a bold and experimental showcasing of Jordan’s undoubted talent. It’s stunning too as is the drop-dead gorgeous piano-driven remix from label-mate and one of Britain’s best current producers, Leif.

Check out:

Ornate Music @ Facebook
Jordan @ Facebook