Monday, 29 February 2016

Various Artists – Special Series 01 – Hizou Deep Rooted Music

OTHER than ‘hola’, ‘cerveza’ and ‘el ritmo de la noche’ – a throwback to my hedonistic young raving days and a very vague recollection of a long-forgotten Balearic stormer rather than some Eurodance pap, honest guv – my Spanish skills are pretty ropey. Shame, because not only do I love the country, its culture and folks but I also have a real thing for the nation’s finer champions of the deep house.

An increasingly significant figure in that movement is the Mallorca-based Satore, owner of both the Hizou and Future Reactions imprints, the man behind the short-run vinyl pressing venture WeRecordVinyl and first-rate producer in his own right too.

Here he launches the first in a special series of ultra-limited edition vinyl releases focusing on a rather different side to his taste. It’s clearly a more techno leaning and, in a broader sense, European vibe compared with the main label, which is heavily influenced by the classic house sounds of Chicago and Detroit.

But fear not because it’s still deep and it’s still bloody good.

My manlove for the producer known as W&P Hgg [aka Hugo Giner] and his Valencia-based label Cornuta Sound is well documented across t'internet. So to see him turn up again on another of the imprints I cherish is almost too much for me to bear. Besides myself doesn’t even get near it. Moreover, his contribution Techno Is Back is a superb and delicately balanced barnstormer with a massive dose of funk and soul thrown into the mix to keep those of us onside who are a little afraid of the word ‘techno’.

Mind you, despite my enduring admiration of Mr Giner, I have to confess to a severe crush on Speak My Language by the debuting Ithkuil [clever title and artist name link-up from a very smart and talented producer. Go Google]. The track itself is a beautifully understated and melancholic number that like all the best productions offers a little something for the soul, mind and, of course, feet. Absolutely gorgeous.

The Gauss duo of Owen Jay and Natan H simply pick up from where they left off with previous top-notch releases on their own self-titled label and British imprint Contrast Wax. Diversey River Bowl is yet more seriously weighty raw-as techno with a melodic core.

Finishing off with a flourish is Aalto, a dreamy and darn catchy acid-flecked offering from the excellent Jaime Read [aka LHAS] and that man Jay again.

Currently available to order direct from Hizou right here, then eventually via Juno, show the label some love and snap up a collector’s piece worth pushing the boat out for.

Check out:
Hizou @ Facebook
Special Series 01 @ Juno

Friday, 26 February 2016

Various Artists – Big & Tall – Soul Print Recordings

LET’S be frank, Serbia doesn’t readily spring to mind when thinking ‘deep house’. Go on. Be honest. It doesn’t, does it? But the folks at Soul Print Recordings are having a real stab at changing all that.

Fair play to them too. In only a handful of years the Belgrade-based collective has released a solo EP apiece from Chicago stalwart Brian Harden and France’s finest Life Recorder, as well as enlisted Anaxander, Andy Ash, Deep Space Orchestra and Simoncino for remix action. They clearly mean business.

For this the fourth outing, the Big & Tall EP, the imprint has secured talent from across Europe, Japan and right on its own doorstep to present a real belter of a five-track release.

Side one is all about the deepArtSounds representatives. The excellent Allstarr Motomusic [aka George Btp] is in-house producer and creative director behind the Switzerland-based label, while up-and-coming Japanese artist Tominori Hosoya [aka Tomi Chair] has guested for the Zurich outfit.

Here the two are bang in form once again with a couple of real beauties. George Btp wears his musical heart on his sleeve as Allstarr Motomusic and his well-documented influences [read about them here, there and everywhere] are clear on the ear with Get Da; you can make out a little Ron Trent and indeed Prescription in general, discern a touch of Anthony Nicholson and catch a smattering of Glenn Underground. Classic, soulful house music. George would make no apologies for that and neither should he do so. Timeless.

Hosoya’s take on the deep house oeuvre, God Bless Us, is more insistent and punchy but every bit as soul-warming and pleasing.

Over on side two there’s a triple treat. Much experienced duo Owen Jay and Melchior Sultana [of UQ and Batti Batti fame] renew their fruitful partnership with the beauteous Recollections Of Detroit. It pretty much does what it says on the tin, the track being an evocative and soulful nod to the Windy City’s finest.

Diego Gamez, who also has previous with Underground Quality, turns in another fine effort too with the delicate, melodic and most satisfying Bon Nuit. Not to be out shone by the others, one of the label’s very own bosses, Petkovski, wades in with Red Sparkles, yet another divinely deep and sultry offering which, yes as it happens, sparkles. Enough said.

Check out:
Soul Print @ Bandcamp
Big & Tall EP @ Juno

Lanoche – Inmensamente – So Unreal

IF it’s Spanish, deep and vinyl-only then I’m all over it like a rash.

Debuting Madrid-based imprint So Unreal had me right from the off without even knowing it. Still, it certainly helps if the release in question is a bit tasty too. Fortunately the Inmensamente EP from newcomer Lanoche is exactly that.

Even so, if ever an opening track from a brand new label was going to scream ‘buy me’ to these ears then it is Te Quiero. It’s a refined, classy and beautifully crafted hunk of deepness that grooves along just nicely and is laden with ambient, atmospheric and ethereal undertones. One of the best cuts to hit my turntable so far this year. 

Extasis is no makeweight either. A burbling bassline and edgy, leftfield aesthetic, however, are the order of the day here. Even so, despite eschewing the smooth sophistication of the lovely Te Quiero, it’s still a super little number. 

Having wooed the audience into a false sense of security with the inspired deep house of Te Quiero and Extasis, side two is the 14-minute title track, a strangely beguiling and alluring journey into lo-fi experimentation and film soundtrack territory. Not to everyone’s taste no doubt, but well worth staying the distance.

Check out:
Inmensamente EP @ Juno
Lanoche on Facebook

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Andy Vaz – House Warming – Yore Records

HOUSE music and the long player haven’t always been the cosiest of bedfellows. From the year dot there has been a school of thought that the genre doesn’t lend itself to the album format and that it was designed strictly for clubs and couldn’t, shouldn’t, wouldn’t work in the comfort of your own home.

But rendering an LP as simply two or three 12” records, or a series of independently-released twelves such as Fred P alter ego Black Jazz Consortium’s Codes & Metaphors and Frank & Tony’s Presents collection, has given that theory an almighty boot into touch. Not only that but the market for – or at least the desire to produce – house albums appears to be in very rude health indeed.

Just a brief glance at my own relatively recent purchases/needs/wants illustrates that point: Moomin, Melchior Sultana, Brawther, Baaz and the aforementioned Fred P to name a few. That list could of course stretch much longer. More importantly, the relevance and quality of house music albums has never been better.

Entering the fray then, though an old hand when it comes to the long player, is head of Cologne-based Yore Records, Andy Vaz, with this his third vinyl album.

Handsomely conceived and executed, pleasing on both the eye and ear, House Warming is truly a thing of beauty. From the opening strains of the cheeky and angular eponymous opening intro, a musical red herring rather than a portent of things to come [take a gander here], to the grand finale that is the rousing Infinite Monkey Theorem, there’s something for everyone of a house-bent here and much to wallow in and gorge yourself on.

You want seriously-soulful emotive house dripping in quality, Vaz has got it for you. Check out Nobody (featuring Eva Soul) and My Emotions. Fancy a little light acid-tinged action without a hint of clich̩? Vaz has got that covered too Рcheck out Help Me, Oppidum Ubiorum and the mighty Want U Back. And for straight-up honest-to-goodness proper house music, and I do mean proper, Vaz is again your man: Things & Strings, personal favourite Smiling Guitars and, not forgetting, the chunky title track itself.

But then anyone who has taken even a passing interest in the man’s music in recent years – if you haven’t, shame on you – would expect nothing less from him. As head honcho, in-house producer and general creative force behind the consistently brilliant Yore, Vaz has been around long enough to know what it takes to put together a house album with both sincerity and style. All killer no filler is generally the phrase du jour on such occasions but for once it really is true.

Listen. Buy. Enjoy.

Check out:
Yore Records online
Andy Vaz on Facebook
House Warming @ Juno