Gordon Starck EP
'Gordon' is one of those tracks that you just know isn't all it seems. It starts innocently enough, just a murky bassline, a kick, a hat and a clap, some low level burbling going on in the periphery. Then the break drops, and the party starts, an irresistible, brassy rave line to bring wall to wall grins. Later, shimmering arps complete a blissful picture. 'Starck' pulls a similar bait-and-switch, all Italo pads and sweeping bleeps, before dropping some rasping synths in the final act. Manfredi Romano and Running Back's Gerd Janson have pulled off some serious disco devastation here. Chapeau.
Alex Albrecht pres. Melquíades
Scissor & Thread
Out of Francis Harris's Scissor & Thread, Alex Albrecht's Melquíades project is quietly devastating; thoughtful, peaceful house music to soothe the soul. 'Portal' breathes and swells, with pianos and thick layers of floating pads. 'Tower Of The Sun' drops a dubby bassline below synth blasts and moving, emotive textures. 'Schaefer Street's heartening piano chords and gated pads are a thing of understated joy, as good for Sunday afternoons as 5am on a Saturday morning. Sistrum don Patrice Scott ups the track's club credentials with a chunkier, rattling loop, while still grasping the soul and bringing in more piano.
''I'll Take You''
No effing about with this sparse two-tracker from Strictly Rhythm and Madhouse alum Dennis Quin for Joris Voorn and Edwin Oosterwal's Rejected, which after a sparse start to 2019 has hurled this bombshell into the breach. Tough, New Jersey beats and a nagging vocal loop that hints that hands will soon be in the air are the order of the day. And when the Crystal Waters organs arrive, it's all over. No point in resisting. This is simple, brutal and brilliant. The dub, as is traditional, strips things right down to the barest of bones, bringing up the percussion and letting the diva do the heavy lifting.
'Comforting Fantasies EP'
Bristol-born, New York-dwelling DJ Nature is back on his hometown imprint Futureboogie, following the exceptional 'Ultimate Delusion EP' from last year. 'Flutter' chugs relentlessly, building percussion and hurling in distant vocals. 'Silconada', a most singular groove, with its rolling, Latin-leaning flavour, purposely disorientates, with maddeningly off-key arps, before dropping everything to chuck in achingly soulful electric pianos, before slowly re-introducing the mayhem. His own remix of the track, under his Nature Boy alias, shuffles in more percussion and tempers the madness for those not 100 percent sure they want to break the dancefloor. Superb.
'Easy Still/Wash Good'
Proper, heads-down house music from Sheffield's Thatmanmonkz, via his own Shadeleaf Music imprint, following equally earthy moments on Classic, Delusions Of Grandeur and Dirt Crew. Two sides (it needs no more), with 'Easy Still' leading the charge, a bumping, achingly soulful vibe for the Moodymann/Parrish crew, with the excellent Pete Simpson, aka A Brother Is, on vocal detail. Over, 'Wash Good' comes out swinging, with diva howls, wonky, rasping synths and Detroit-style vibrations direct from the Steel City. So very good.
New Jackson/Will Lister
More hot heat from Fort Romeau and Ali Tillet's Cin Cin imprint — this time a double header from Dublin journeyman New Jackson, who tipped up on the label's sixth release in 2017, and Phonica cohort Will Lister. Jackson's 'Glass Stabs' busts out, well, glass stabs, with undulating bursts of Orbital-esque synth over a chugging, languid groove. 'Moonfeel' is an intricately crafted slab of gathering madness, soaring pads raising hairs and causing shivers. Lister's 'Disruption' brings a subtle break, euphoric blasts and rolling bass, while 'Windblown' couples dub house vibes with building acid. It's all fabulous.
'Signature EP 2'
On a hot streak, Marina Trench grabs a second spot on DJ Deep's Deeply Rooted imprint, following the 'Signature EP Part One' released earlier this year. 'Thema Urbain' jams a wobbling bassline beneath electric piano keys and a jacking groove, crisp claps piercing through. 'Ahead's thunderous kick eclipses all, synths pulsating in its wake, a slapped bass and ethereal vocals bringing width and volume. With rattling rides and rhythmic claps, 'Navigo' is all-enveloping, widescreen tech-house with a Detroit urgency, label boss Deep digging down to the foundations on a dubby re-rub.
'Want It EP'
Detroit jazz don Jon Dixon recruits fellow Motor City cohorts Amp Fiddler and Dames Brown for this deep, soulful vibe on his own 4evr 4wrd imprint, letting the keys run wild and the vocals soar on his sprawling '6 Mile Edit' of 'Want It'. The smartly understated '7 Mile Remix' caters for a less peak-time audience, while Waajeed's dub embraces organ vamps and crisp clicks, before the full soulful grandeur descends. Darius Quince's swing-heavy, hi-tech jazz interpretation, with its surging piano chords, is just made for playing outdoors this summer. Very classy business.