Monday, 19 January 2015

Various Artists - Collective Continents - Inner Shift Music

New year, new faces at Inner Shift Music [ISM]. But what isn’t new is the label’s commitment to high-quality electronic music as their latest various artists release, Collective Continents, ably demonstrates.

With the owners 2DeepSoul [aka Brad Peterson and Rai Scott] taking a back-seat on this occasion, it’s left to their handpicked line-up of four more-than-capable debutants to keep the fires burning.

Deep house poster boy Jacksonville - straight outta Glasgow via Yorkshire these days - marks his label début with the kind of glorious, infectious and sparkling groover with a soupçon of the eighties that he’s been delivering for some time now on his own label Doppler. The impressive The City Sleeps is arguably Inner Shift’s most full-throttle offering to date yet still sits comfortably within the imprint’s carefully-crafted sound and mindset. So much so that Jacksonville has also landed a forthcoming solo EP with the excellent Edinburgh-based label.

California-based José Lau [Altered Moods/Deepselect/Downbeat] serves up another début to remember although his cut I Can Yet Love is much more chilled and languid, less frenetic than our friend Jacksonville‘s number, yet still seriously catchy and promising enough to suggest Lau too will return at some stage.

Recently unmasked as Owen Jay [Batti Batti/Underground Quality] and Natan H [ManMakeMusic/Ethereal Sound], Gauss make a first appearance on Inner Shift with Denormal, the kind of superior, obtuse and devilishly-brilliant techno that has graced their own label of the same name and ear-marked that imprint too as one to watch.

In-form Marco Nega, fresh from an ear-catching slot on the latest Batti Batti EP, shines here too with the gorgeous Night Hiker (Boost ‘N Time edit), a beautifully restrained and emotionally-charged synth-driven production that floats effortlessly from start to finish and brings the EP to a close with the gentlest of landings. Hit ‘buy’ immediately.

Check out:
Inner Shift @ FB
Inner Shift @ Juno

Monday, 12 January 2015

Various Artists - Tribal Roots - Batti Batti Records

It is pretty cold round these parts this time of year, not to say a little cheerless following the festive overload, but if there is one thing guaranteed to warm the cockles then that is a new release from the beauteous Batti Batti.

And Tribal Roots, the eighth EP from the ever-consistent deep house label, is a particularly heart-warming treat.

Indeed, featuring old favourites, stalwarts and newcomers too, tracks inspired from across the house and techno spectrum plus more deepness than a Jacques Cousteau expedition, Tribal Roots once again showcases the Malta-based imprint at its very finest.

Take the title cut from label boss Owen Jay and regular partner Melchior Sultana. Just when I thought I had the measure of the pair, that I understood their dark twisted tendencies versus their moody Mediterranean-influenced leanings, they go and flip the script and knock out a track so outrageously funky and infectious that all you can really say is ‘wow’. Teaming up with drummer and percussionist Antoine from Malta’s leading live act, Tribali, the track is a lengthy bongo workout par excellence, underpinned carefully by Jay and Sultana’s restrained kick, that suddenly bursts brilliantly and warmly into deep house heaven with the sound of summer stamped all over it. Simply stunning.

It is a tough act to follow for sure but fortunately the other artists on board are more than up to the job. 1Dan, a returnee to Batti Batti, is one of those producers who seems to have slipped below the radar for many but really shouldn’t have. He’s obviously not escaped Jay’s attention and here on the rather splendid Recovery Process serves up some tough beats balanced by a melancholic undulating synth and an erotic-temptress vocal sample.

Marco Nega, another member of the Batti Batti family, is also back with Inside Out, yet another slab of soulful and infectious deep house featuring the vocal talents of Leen Vivid. On another occasion this excellent cut may have grabbed top billing but hasn’t such is the strength in depth on Tribal Roots.

Proving this point ably is closing track Depth Of The Ocean from the underground’s First Lady, Rai Scott. It’s trademark Scott; ambient, atmospheric and delivered with aplomb. This time with more of a techno-bent, Depth Of The Ocean is the kind of quality deepness that has elevated Scott to sought-after status on the circuit. It’s her first appearance on Batti Batti. I doubt it will be her last.

Check out:
Batti Batti Records online
Batti Batti @ FB
Tribal Roots @ Juno

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Skew - Peckings - The Bush

As debuts go, it is impressive. Very impressive. But then Ben Micklewright, the talent behind new project The Bush, is an impressive chap.

Not content with his work as much-rated producer BLM and co-owner of the ever-impressive Fear Of Flying label, Micklewright has also recently gone halves on another excellent project, The White Man and The Arab. Now comes a new venture inspired by his West London neighbourhood and a new moniker drawing on his wide-ranging musical knowledge and multifarious influences.

Under the pseudonym Skew, Micklewright gets the project off to a flyer with an unapologetically deep four-tracker named after his local record shop, the legendary Peckings.

The eponymous opening cut is about as airy, spacious and downright desirable as deep house gets. Less is more may be the mantra, but it nevertheless takes real ability, dexterity and skill to make it work this beautifully. Og18 is similarly cerebral and gorgeous, full of atmosphere, emotion and meaning for those up for buying into its musical spirituality.

Though a little more chunky - and there’s nothing at all wrong with that - Legome is equally effortlessly cool, unashamedly laidback and, put simply, ace. Lockdown barely breaks sweat either, sub-aqueous layering, muted kick et al draped in a dreamy cloak being the order of the day here.

Like a fine wine, the still-young Micklewright continues to mature well with age and this delightful collection is right up there with his best work. More Skew, more Bush, more please.

Check out:
Skew @ FB
Skew @ Juno