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.

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