Though not the first time Harry Agius has turned out for Will Saul's Aus Music, this is patently the finest. Loose of beats, as ever, Agius throws down all he's got for 'Duster', the title track lush with a heart-rending string section melding with the machine noises. Over, 'Reflex' appears just to be noise, all scattered percussion, but when the four drops, it ties together like Jeff Lebowski's rug, like some digital Afrobeat. 'Pitch Drift', meanwhile, with its pulsing synths and woozy fire-alarm pads, has a true depth of funk. This is a piece of work indeed.
Filsonik knows his onions. Coming up with New York icons like Mateo and Matos, and taken under the wing of Shelter legend Timmy Regisford, he's house music to the marrow. These days ensconced in Dennis Ferrer's Objektivity crew, he unleashes this brooding, bumping groove for Jamie Jones' Hot Creations. This is what comes out when you spend a couple of decades in nightclubs, not to mention some of the best nightclubs on the planet. He makes it sound easy, but it's not. It's just not.
Throne of Blood
He of The Grid and Beyond the Wizard's Sleeve fame, Richard Norris turns out for Brooklyn's eminent Throne of Blood, and 'Freaks' is indeed a freaky, unsettling, tom tom-heavy workout, with a bassline filthier than Jodie Marsh's Twitter account. "Freaks control the city, and I am one of the freaks" as it proclaims. Well, quite. On the flip, 'Yeah' boasts a delicious Fingers Inc bass, while Blackstrobe don Ivan Smagghe and Hardway Bros pick apart the title track. Sterling work here.
'Il N'ya Pas De Crocodiles à Cocody EP'
The title of a track by Cameroonian musician and artist Francis Bebey, who released a number of electronic excursions in the mid-'70s and early '80s (how's that for niche?), this EP from Les Points — an Italo-Swiss collaboration comprising producers Nicola Kazimir, Audino, Louh and Barbir — is simple but mind-blowingly effective. Deep, dark and jazz-sodden, both 'The Cocody Groove' and 'No Voorwerpe' ('no objects' in Afrikaans) would be enough on their own, but the title track is a glitchy masterpiece that will have you rewinding the break until you're sick of it. Were that possible, of course, which it isn't.
HNQO & Dake feat Rai Knight
Resplendent on Defected's DFTD diffusion imprint, this spooky, wildly sexy slab of throbbing brilliance will lodge itself in your brain and flatly refuse to leave. HNQO & Dake, rising stars of Brazil's house music revolution, are the pair responsible, having hooked up with Detroit vocalist Rai Knight, who turns in a siren-esque spoken word vocal that is quite impossible to resist. Haunting marimbas, rattling hats and production so shiny you can see your face in it, this is a class act.
'Talk To You'
Danse Club Records
It's another stunner here from the Brodanse duo Scott and Austen Smart's Danse Club Records, this time showcasing German-Danish axis Drew Hill — aka Michelle Drew and Philipp Hill. Silken, lushly-produced vocal house is the gist, Drew and Hill crafting a gloriously deep groove. The irrepressible Groove Armada take the bones and flesh them out with a stomping Italo piano, turning a thing of subtlety into a thing poised to bring dancefloors to their knees. And no bad thing. Brodanse's dub isn't too shabby either.
Not So Much
Mosca's first release on his spanking new Not So Much imprint was decent, but this second excursion is a far more interesting proposition. The Greyhounds' big-room thunderousness sounds like dub-heavy filler, at first, but when it breaks into ambitious, melancholy strings, it becomes a different animal entirely – suddenly it's all mood and menace, and it's quite superb. Over, Clinical Trial is sturdy, steadying fare, a dark and dangerous thing of bleak beauty.
Moodymanc Vs Lenny Middles
'Well Cut 001 EP'
Well Cut Records
The first salvo from Moodymanc's very own Well Cut Records finds the Dubble D don and 2020 Soundsystem mainstay embracing his Balearic chops with 'Tarriff', an unctuous and blissful slo-mo houser, flecked with tranquilised pianos. The party then begins in earnest with 'Minor Madness', a bumping chunk of dancefloor catnip, before Detroit stabs and subtle acid underpin a sensory overload in 'Mirror', a collab with Lenny Middles. Middles also pitches up on 'Entertainer', all tough rave chords. Handle with much care.