Ten Toes Down EP
Dirt Tech Reck
This is scorched earth house music from the unstoppable Waajeed. “Whether it’s stress from the political climate in the world we live in, or resistance to my soulfulness from the industry, ‘Ten Toes Down’ is my mantra to stay true… but true to myself first,” he proclaims. There's no resistance here. None. 'Heavy' features Candi Lindsey, formerly known under her Wu-Tang Clan alias Blue Raspberry. It is heavy indeed, and Candi brings absolutely everything. 'Deeper In The Blue', with its wonky, rasping jazz chords and skat vibes is fierce, while the tribal 'Too Black' is bumping perfection. Full marks.
Blazing business — as ever — from Hamburg's Lehult on its Lehult Sub spin-off imprint, this time from local boy Erobique, formerly of International Pony fame with DJ Koze and Cosmic DJ. Bouncing summer vibes ooze from the brassy bassline of 'Beachboy'. You can almost feel the sand sticking to your Hawaiian Tropic. 'Magic Monday', meanwhile, filters some rasping acid, while bursts of heavenly chords send this whole thing stratospheric. Vinyl only, and worth buying turntables for.
Dwson, hailing from Cape Town, joins the Freerange fray after releases on Get Physical and South Africa's own Stay True Sounds. And this is towering stuff, with title track 'Bermuda' layering glistening chords over heavily swung arps and sweeping atmospherics. 'Isolation' is the one, however, with floating sweet pads over metallic synth pulses. A busted up, percussive re-rub from Freerange regular Manuel Tur completes an impressive look.
Eddie Leader's Hudd Traxx brings Japanese producer Shingo Suwa into the fold, a rare diversion from his own Merkur Schallplatten imprint. This is frisky business indeed, the sharp rave jabs and clattering percussion of 'Coexistence' leaving you punch drunk. 'Chord Trax' goes for the dub jugular, big room vibes and no bassline. 'Burning Cave', with its hollow synths and bulbous bassline, is a churning party-starter, while 'Acid Plug', with its rolling 303s and snares, gets its groove just right.
Retrofit boss Jay Shepheard kindly shares these trippy, twilight vibes with Audiojack's Gruuv imprint. 'Diode', with its varied and various bleeps, shakes and chugs, thick with loose, swung percussion. On the flip, 'Phaze 4' is laden with murky, free party vibes, all stuttering synths, echoes of raves gone by and a snare hit for the ages. All you need is a leafy canopy to complete the look. Audiojack jumps in on the remix, hurling in congas with abandon.
Masks is Max Ravitz and Alexis Georgopoulos, and with treble so flat you could post it, this is dusty, lo-fi house of the first water. 'In This Room' has a burbling bassline and wild 909 rides, while a mix from Bookworms ratchets up the fizzing drama. 'In Another Room', with its swirling interference, stutters, stumbles and falters, a wonky, syncopated groove that, later, drops some deep acid. 'Emotional Response' brings the toms, and then — praise be — pulsing piano chords.
Ross From Friends
RFF, aka Felix Clary Weatherall, returns, following debut album 'Family Portrait', with three tracks of richly crafted vibes that have shifted things on from those lo-fi beginnings into something rather more sophisticated. Title track 'Epiphany' is less house than an epic, emotive breakbeat number, howls of female vocals punctuating Eastern melodic plucking. 'The Revolution' preps for the disco with an oddball sample, while 'Phantom Ratio', with its disorientating arpeggios, is a spine-tingling delight. Think Koze meets Daniel Avery.
Marquis Hawkes & DJ Haus
'Haus Vs Hawkes EP'
Haus and Hawkes cooked these four blazing club tracks up last summer during a marathon session in Berlin. 'Let The Rhythm Set You Free' busts out the tough breaks, a humping kick and twinkling synth stabs. 'Feel So Real' loops up rave vocals and pounds a distorted kick until you're reduced to jelly. Over, it's all about the filters. 'Dr Pepper' goes to town on a joyous snippet of '80s delight, sliced and diced with swinging rides, while 'Epic Boogie' is, as described, an epic boogie.
Fabulously emotive house from Alphonse, returning for a third EP on [Emotional] Especial, having since tipped up on Klasse Wrecks and last year on Hypercolour. 'Moan Up' is so Italo-Balearic it's practically wearing flip flops on its moped, all shimmering bells and twinkling arps. 'White Pepper' pulls out the smoky saxophones, and feels like it's been pulled from a DAT full of Scritti Politti B-sides found down the back of Simon Le Bon's sofa. Both come with a beatless ambient mix, and both are magnificent.