Tropical Dar EP
All Inn Records
You’ll struggle to find a better debut this year than the Bulgarian-born, Berlin-based Laylla Dane's 'Tropical Dar'. She has a truly technical sound that feels proto-tech house on the trippy, percussive ‘Swirl’; atmospheric, technoid, deep but agile on ‘Menta’; and darker, lost in reverie on ‘Tropical Dar' itself, before label co-head Polarize serves up a driving, acid-tinged roller on his Re-Ishmael edit. All in all, this is sheer class.
'Better Places feat Ay J (Martin Landsky Remix)'
'Better Places' from rising Durban-based talent XtetiQsoul is an emotional Afrobeat vocal house bomb, with soothing harmonies from Ay J. Martin Landsky’s remixes contains much of the original's soul energy and Ay J’s vocal lines, but he adds a pounding beat and bass rumble to carry the track into the breakdown, and allows it to rebuild the story with the kind of brooding tension that will delight peak time dancefloors.
Leon & Shaf Huse
'Can't Truss EP'
Heavy on the groove, hefty on the bass, deft sampling and exquisite layering are what give ‘Can’t Truss’ a tasty edge. It's high-octane stuff, with boundless percussive energy and relentless bass movement on both this and the B-side Once Again’, though the similarity to Shaf’s own ‘Get Em Up (Superfett)' beat on the B is apparent.
'Dark Smiles Vol 1 EP (feat Tony Loveless)'
Percussive, soulful, deep and above all, fun: Tuskegee’s latest release comes from Chicago legend K-Alexi Shelby. The package is heavily rhythm focused and bold from the outset with the snare-filled opener, ‘Cherry K Moon’, while K-Alexi delivers deep vocal textures on tracks ‘Dark Smile’ and ‘Run With Jackals’. Shelby and Loveless then collaborate and set temperatures racing with 'Anal Probe's show-stealing TR-909 percussion, and they gracefully complete the package with the spacious tool ‘Fly Shit’.
'Mercury Rising EP'
The mercury may very well be rising for Archie’s career, but his signature style of tech house has been firmly in the red for the last 12 months. ‘Right Hook’ epitomises Archie’s sound: intricate drums, never over-cooked; a solid hook, in this case, the muted organ-like stab; and his acidic bass roll. Archie follows with the soothing ‘Mercury’ and ‘Limbo’, two sides of the same coin, with the former complementing the sunset and the latter helping you through the sunrise.
'Misdeed EP (Ninetoes Remix)'
Oblack gives Alex Kennon the reins for an infectious, deep and tribal teched-out EP. ‘Misdeed’ features mid-range percussion that underpins a vocal-licked affair; it's both groovy and trippy when reaching the mid-section. Ninetoes reconstructs ‘Misdeed’ into a high-functioning tool, with a squelching bass and upright, minimal drum arrangement. Meanwhile, Kennon and Romanian talent Just2 collaborate for the clever, upfront bass assault 'Like This'. It’s a wide, grumbling roller that will get all tech heads nodding.
'Needle To The Groove (James Solace Remix)'
Want to be heard? Make an impact. Seff’s hardy, tech-no-house hybrid 'Needle To The Groove' certainly has plenty. It’s big and chunky, but for all the gusto it possess a gentle, melancholic undertone that gives it some broader appeal. However, James Solace’s (Burnski) remix delivers an epic twist on the original, with emotive air-like strings, haunting, distant vocal effects and a progressive, driving feel that harks back to the Ibizan golden era. The impact here is a very different kind, but an impact all the same.
Chapter 24 Records
After the impact he made on Chapter 24’s recent 'Seven Stories: Comedia' VA with ‘Avrio’, Greek producer Thodoris delivers a bold three-track EP titled ‘Species’. Opening with the percussive trip ‘Hornbill’, Triantafilou develops a trio of tense themes, with the Afro-rhythmic ‘Elephants’ playful to begin with, before emotive synths take things into a darker area. Thodoris wraps the EP up in captivating fashion, raising the stakes with more pace and hard-working synth layering on ‘Capybara’.
'The Way Of Kings EP'
Play It Say It
An in-form Argy follows up on his recent EP on Cuttin’ Headz with the majestic ‘The Way Of Kings’ on Seth Troxler’s high grade Play It Say It. His eponymous opener is an enchanting, rugged technoid stew, which sets the tone before he turns to an Amazonian rhythm on ‘Los Animales’. Its tripped-out melding of drums and repeated “come again” vocals are countered by wild, intergalactic synths. Argy rounds off this fast-paced package with the hella catchy ‘Move Like A Panther’ (featuring Elbee Bad). Don’t just stand there, move!