James expertly delivers fierce grooves on all four tracks of this EP, a varied yet cohesive showcase of sound, just as the EP format should be. James’ entire production screams quality, his balancing of layers giving each track an extra edge. ‘Creature’ and ‘Confusion’ are the two downright naughty rollers, while 'Renegade' will liven up even the most wired late-morning dancefloor. Lastly, ‘Split’ shows all the markings of another roller, before breaking down into euphoric bliss.
'Gonna Get It EP'
Straight up dancefloor fire is the Hottrax mantra. Up steps Federico Grazzini for his debut, delivering exactly that. Lead track ‘Gonna Get It’ patrols with serious intent, packing a peak-time synth hook. On the flip is a classic B-side dub called ‘Purple Fur’. It's deeper, controlled and more focused on keeping a vibe going on the dancefloor, and sees syncopated, muted synth stabs and a tight bottom end combine to great effect.
Raw District & Fabrice Lig
'Lay Your Weapons Down feat Just Her'
Deep, low-end bubbling title track ‘Lay Your Weapons Down’ is reminiscent of Crosstown Rebels circa 2011, among others — Visionquest, No.19, Hot Waves et al. Just Her’s sumptuous vocal ices this sultry cake. Alex Kennon adds a techy and teasing remix, which showcases Just Her’s vocal in the breakdown, before getting back to hefty business at the drop. Raw District collab with fellow Belgian DkA on the insular, subby and textured ‘Dans Tes Bras’.
Poker Flat Recordings
This one from the Upon.You boss and Poker Flat regular is a galactic trio of muscular tech-house. ‘Other Days’ features the spoken words of Dave Aju, while Marco throws globular bass bursts into play, developing an atmosphere that builds as the driving undercarriage booms on. ‘Repro’ is trademark Resmann, as he assaults the ears with a vivacious bass-heavy stepper, leading with a harmonic synth rhythm. The EP closes with the deep and dynamically percussive ‘Searching’.
'Positive Distraction EP'
The seasoned (power) house producer, Carrier, fires on each and every cylinder here for Cassy’s ascendant Kwench Records. There's a trio of flavours, opening with the punching technoid grunt of ‘Dream Nation’, followed by the EP's title track, ‘Positive Distraction’: a classic, stepped groove bassline beast accompanied by alluring phrase hooks to keep you wanting more. Carrier closes the EP with a ballsy percussion dub called ‘Seed Of Gratitude'. If you get distracted this month, just make sure it’s by this.
'The Feeling EP'
‘The Feeling’ is the dirty, nu-disco-come-tech-house secret you need to hear, now! On the B-side, there's high-NRG tech-house from the grunting, sawing synth boomer, ‘Boundaries’ — one for all you purist nu skool gremlins. This marks Mason’s third offering on Repopulate Mars, and the label's 50th release, and is utterly deserving of the catalogue milestone.
'Time Guard EP'
Lazare Hoche Records
This, surprisingly, is Lazare’s first solo release, breaking away from his usual Mandar (with SAM and Malin Genie) duties with a slick double act of rolling, technical house. The title track ‘Time Guard’ is a deep, mood-raising masterpiece, while on the flip, Hoche delivers an energetic framework with the percussive and bumpy grooved ‘Maths’. It’s out now, and next month a very special reworks package drops, with revisions from Archie Hamilton, Noha and Jesse Perez.
'Underground Activity EP'
The Italian duo introduce their new label Bamboleo in style, with a superb four-track EP. ‘Underground Activity’ is big and bassy, yet flaunts floating, dubby transitions, before locking back into the bass groove. It’s a tribal affair on ‘Solution’, a classic main room sound that could roll on all night long and you’d never get bored. ‘Stop Talking’ is the feel-good, clubroom energy raiser. They close with a kind of synthy reprise of ‘Stop Talking’ titled ‘Destination’.
The 'Understand' EP is a hefty two-track label debut from seasoned tech-house superstar Nic Fanciulli on Radio Slave’s seminal house and techno imprint, Rekids. The lead track, ‘Understand’, is a kick and bass power play, which edges into techno realms, while the flip, ‘Where U At’, comes out swinging and fronts an equally hefty low-end punch. A pair of peak-time bombs that make Nic’s label debut very much worth the wait.