Rhode & Brown
Wave 100 EP
Slam City Jams
Rhode and Brown (aka Friedrich Trede and Stephan Michael Braun, the gents behind Munich's sparing Slam City Jams) explore some sterlingly classic vibes for this generous slab of intoxicating house music, following their many excursions on Munk & Kapote's Toy Tonics. 'Wave 100' has echoes of Raze's 'Break 4 Love', lovelorn chords wrapping themselves around a slinky bassline. 'Sparkle' ups the stakes, a restrained, perfectly balanced italo-style house moment to savour. 'Love Lane', meanwhile, with its skippy 909 vibes, is a joy to behold.
'Introducing Brian Neal EP'
Brian Neal is a Detroit producer whose work thus far has gone largely unheralded (it perhaps doesn't help that there's a prolific gospel trumpet player of the same name), but thanks to a bit of patronage from Reggie Dokes and his Psychostasia imprint, hopefully all that is to change. This intro is intoxicating, particularly the lush, soul-stirring strings of 'Voodoo', and the deep undulations of 'Ooooobaby', not to mention the freewheeling 'Feel Me', which throws down jazz flutes like it's nothing. Usually, that's a yellow card. Happily, not in this case.
XOA & Wayward/DrumTalk
Fort Romeau's Cin Cin label debuts this three-way collaboration EP, showing off the skills that have been bestowed on X.O.A and Wayward, and Crosstown Rebels alums DrumTalk. First up, on the A-side, X.O.A. and Wayward hurl together clattering Latin drums with warm synth chords for a frisky dub on 'Koto', while Afro vibes permeate the sumptuous, rolling 'Wayo Wayo'. On the flip, DrumTalk go all loose and wild on the intense 'Ariel', a DFA-style bombshell. Meanwhile, the deep, chugging disco of 'Red Haze' is enveloping, a pulsing bassline providing the propulsion, with unexpected sitars at the break. Superb.
Play It Say It
Seb Zito, of Fuse and Seven Dials fame, turns out this relentless, driving slab of after-hours house music for Seth Troxler's Play It Say It, a deep and understated vocal workout — though the vocalist involved must, for reasons unknown, remain anonymous. It's a tad frustrating, but nonetheless, Fuse main man Enzo Siragusa himself turns in a trippy, murky, underwater version on the flip, while the dub pares things down to the basics for the deeper dancefloors. Scorching.
Figuratively found down the back of the sofa, these muscular jams from the don himself Kirk Degiorgio were drafted in 1995, before being lost and recently uncovered again on an errant DAT. Despite their advancing years, this is all fresh as a daisy. 'Sphere' is an airy technoid excursion, lovingly crafted and sparingly produced. 'Perspective', with its deep pads and gutsy stabs, is a lesson in restraint, but it's an astonishing mix from the originator Juan Atkins of 'Asa Nisi Masa', with its rhythmic gating, which clatters this EP out of the park.
French producer Romain Nouhi aka Sunrom concocted this in the bucolic setting of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, just on the outskirts of Paris, for the fledgling The Bricks imprint. It is as classy as its rarified surroundings. Title track 'Spirale' blends layer upon layer of blissful arps, hanging strings, and mallets, all to joyous effect. 'Pray', meanwhile, breaks up the kick drums, with breathy vocal samples, plucked guitars and a dramatic, melancholy bassline. Elsewhere, Paxton Fettel of Copenhagen hurls in a sturdy remix of a track called 'Superfly', an understated, hands-in-the-air piano anthem, while DJ Normal's brooding breakbeats offer old school prog vibes to 'U Doing'. A special release.
'The Conditioning Track'
Asquith, the man behind Lobster Theremin, uses his own name for the first time here, on this self-released single, following excursions under guises such as Chicago Flotation Device and Tom Hang. Suffice to say it's large. The NYC mix goes full-on dark garage, with a slamming loop, sliced and diced vocals and a soul shattering bassline. The North London mix is no less forgiving, rave stabs lightening the mood slightly — but this is still driving, clattering club music of the first water. Handle with care.
Argentine producer Jonas Kopp drops five stunning slabs via his Untidy alias: dusty, crackling warehouse tracks that sound like they've been discovered buried at the bottom of a crate somewhere. Alphabetically annotated, 'A' is a surging jam, tempered by irresistible electric piano chords; 'B' is deeper, bigger, a throbbing monster best experienced through towering stacks as the sunlight floods in; 'C' goes dubby, with blasts of synth scything through the murk; 'D' swings like old Deep Dish; and 'E' beams its ecstasy vibes in from deep space.
Helium III is an incognito collaboration, the details of which the two gentlemen involved wish to remain a closely guarded secret. But suffice to say you will most likely know them. So instead of being framed by who's made it, it's best to just let go and drift off into this lush, pad-heavy slab of ambient house music and take it for what it is. It's a thing of intense beauty, an almost whispered female vocal and lush synths tempering its throbbing bassline, and hardly betraying the fact that it was made "literally about two minutes after switching the studio lights on". Stunning work.