Reviews/Previews

Music Review: Vincent Floyd - Music Therapy EP (incl. Nico Lahs Remix) [NICEPEOPLE]

After the highly acclaimed ‘Positive Vibes’ EP by Orlando Voorn and the follow-up "Feel Good" EP, courtesy of label-head honcho Giuseppe Scarano, NICEPEOPLE drops a blissful brand new wax from the veteran Vincent Floyd. The US maestro is famous for having released house classics in the mid-'90s for labels such as Dance Mania, Relief and Gerking Records. In 2014 he experienced something of a career renaissance, with the release of ‘Moonlight Fantasy’ on Rush Hour, and since then he’s been totally on fire.

 

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Vincent kicks things off the lovely "Music Therapy", delivering a laid-back track, perfect for some sunny (after hour?) moments. The track offers some joyful and retro-sounding drums, with the hi-hat being sharp and clean at the right point. The melodic pluck has something retro too, hitting high into a majestic progression, assisted by vintage arpeggiators and deep stabs that give to the track some extra-power. 

 

 

 

Thus, "What We Have Done" is an amazing 808 ballad, with the closed hat that presses right on the kick drum, almost getting over it. Again, the track is filled with celestial sounds, starting with the epic pads that set to the track almost a holy mood. The beat insists in short loops, simple but effective, while melodic elements give an housy romantic touch. Overall, the atmosphere is playful, making this track sounds like a real 90s anthem as if it were coming out of a lonely stereo near a basket camp.

 

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On the flip, Italian powerhouse Nico Lahs, turns the original of "What We Have Done" into a jackin' dancefloor tool with a harmonious repartee of housy stabs that flow above a clean interplay. The groove is nothing but classic, with a powerful kick that perfectly fit with the long-tailed snare, blinking an eye to the last century house. The jazzy and soul chords do the rest, adding energy to the original but without ruining the smooth house feels.

 

 

 

Rounding out the package is the more melancholic jam "You Never Knew Me". With fewer elements in the drums, the beat moves syncopated and rigid, almost felt uncomfortable. Some retro synths are arranged around a deep and steady arp sound, whilst moogish melodies arise from the filter sweeps. melodies are glidy and cut in the mix easily, laying on top of everything else. The arp cycles inexorably, with only the rimshot breaking its regularity, as if, at least, he really knew him.

 

 

 

Words by Francesco Quieti & Francesco Zambianchi

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Music Review: Maifaunu - Microwave EP [Midas Touch]

Macarie's label Midas Touch is about to drop another juicy release. The entitled "Microwave" EP comes from the hands of elusive producer Maifaunu who debuts on the label following the previous formula of 001: three originals + one remix, which this time is courtesy of prolific Romanian Cosmjn.

 

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Click HERE to buy "Microwave" EP - MDT02 

 

Opener "Microwave" is a curious tool that sucks you in the loop since the first moment. Processed hip-hop vocal shots are melt together with nervous drums loop, pressing shakers and rhythmic percussions, remembering, in a way, some ancient tribal rituals. Dub stab oddly hits, far away, super delayed. The rich sound environment gets lost in the intricated texture of the groove. Almost experimental, it's easy to lose the main beat and just float in the irregularities of the piece.

 

 

 

Up next, "Order In Chaos" slows the beat down, turning the things emotional with a sort of hidden melody in the interplay of all elements. A melancholic chant that emerges from the complexity of drums and synths. The sound palette is wide and variegated, with Maifaunu showing his skill on crafting incredible puzzles with many different sounds that fit together. Within this expanse of sounds, it's the snare the pillar of the groove and everything comes back to it, making of it the start and the end of this endless cycle.

 

 

 

B1's "Son Rise" takes the drum patterns to a whole new level introducing an exquisite ethnic flavour. Congas and percussions melt in a thick, vibrant whole. Some distant female voices in the background create a dark and spiritual atmosphere, in contrast with the acid splashes that barely emerge during the long piece, creating a wavy motion.

 

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 Cosmjn

 

Romanian established Cosmjn remixes A1. His version of "Microwave" features a thin kick that cuts nicely in the mix alongside reversed FXs, diverse congas and odd synth stabs, all together bouncing in a void. Proper SW stuff.

 

 

 

 Words by Francesco Quieti and Francesco Zambianchi

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Music Review: YOUniverse - Ride EP [Chelsea Hotel Records]

Chelsea Hotel Records is back after a 2 years hiatus with a mesmerizing EP by YOUniverse. Launched in 2016 by Italy's veteran Leon, the vinyl-only label has seen, since the first release, an incredible array of artists joining the line, including Egal 3, Faster, Mr. Tophat & Art Alfie, David Gtronic, Ada Kaleh and Leon himself. The dub-tech gloomy rhythmic patterns, typically used some years ago, were merged with influences of any sort, offering unexpected jazzy riffs or introspective minimal trips. The label's 9th output is courtesy of the Turin-based duo of YOUniverse, who makes his CHR debut with the three-tracker "Ride" EP.

 

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Click HERE to buy "Ride EP" - CHT009

 

Opener "Ride" is a delightful techy-minimal jam with dubby flavour. 909 drums are fat-sounding and tight on the heat, with scratchy percs that create a surgical thickness and well-balanced stereo width. The classic deep stab is omnipresent and grooves smoothly, changing and evolving throughout the piece. Some pads make their appearance in the break, powerfully answer to the main stab, enriching the whole track with a romantic feel. The nervous bass rubbery rolls from start to end. When the drums get pitched high and disappear, the floor under our feet is missing and we're flying. Sit back, relax, enjoy the Ride.

 

 

 

The acid "Yellow Line" digs deeper, adding more melodic elements and creating a polished interplay. High pitched hooks fill the air with magic, creating a frame for pads and harmonic stabs. Drums are dried out, with straight-forward snare rolls and hats. Since the very first second, the gentle acid line comes in, introducing some motion with the filter sweeping from top to bottom. The lively chords and pads are perfectly matched with the profound sub and make of "Yellow Line" a great dancefloor-oriented tool both in terms of sounds and arrangement, keeping laid back feelings for the sunniest afternoon.

 

 

 

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Rounding out the package is the splendid "Stability". Energy comes from the elegant bassline that gently cuddles the listener over its 7 minutes ride. The synth hits, always there, keeps the tempo. Stab rises and appears super smooth, finding its place in the mix effortlessly. Again, 909 drums are reduced to the essential with an irresistible but simple groove which stays in front while synths go in and out agile. Proper B-side stuff.

 

 

 

 

 

Words by Francesco Quieti & Francesco Zambianchi

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Music Review: S.M.A.L.L. - Easy Babe EP [Djebali]

As soon as you hear the name of Djebali, your hips gently start to oscillate and you realize that your foot is tapping the ground. The Paris-based groove ambassador has constantly provided dancefloor rollers over the years, releasing some of them on his homonymous label. For the imprint 10th catalogue, he invites French producer S.M.A.L.L. who's also 1/2 of the prolific duo Politics Of Dancing with Easy Babe EP, rounding out the package with his own version. 

 

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Click HERE to buy DJEBEX10

 

"Easy Babe" is a straight and direct house tune with lively drums and solid kick drums with just the right amount of punch, depth, and click. Scattering percussions and tiny shakers provide an extra dose of groove, while hypnotic sounds perfectly match together with a powerful and funky bassline from which it's impossible not to be dragged gently. Deep vocal shots make everything rotate and flow, with a subtle but yet effective piano melody adding that romantic touch. Not a bad re-debut for someone's who released his last solo EP back in 2013. It was worth the wait!

 

 

 

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S.M.A.L.L. (1/2 of Politics Of Dancing)

 

On the flip, label-head Djebali introduces more groove elements, starting from some congas, toms and twinkling bells. Clap is fat and prominent and gives a good swing to the track due to its little forward shift on the 2 and 4, but the hypnotic mood stays as the old fashioned overall sound. The bassline is just huge, 100% bouncing to the groove and holds the piece up until a warpy stab joins the jam. The vocal is pitched higher, sounding uplifting. Some dub FXs and light plucks create the right scenario before the drop, giving life to another banger from the label owner.

 

 

 

Enjoy this 1-hour stream from the man himself and make you sure to follow him on Instagram as well!

 

 

 

 

Words by Francesco Quieti & Francesco Zambianchi

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Music Review: Per Hammar - Pathfinder LP [Dirty Hands]

After six years in the making between Malmö and Berlin, Per Hammar will release his first studio album on his Dirty Hands imprint this May. Spanning 12 tracks, for release on digital, triple vinyl and streaming, the album is designed for the dance floor and represents the evolution of one of Sweden’s finest artists from his musical beginnings in 2004 to the current day.

 

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Click HERE to buy Pathfinder LP 3x12"

 

On the opener "Mother", Per Hammar kicks things off with a slow intro of rattling sounds and noisy textures, to which his trademark dubby synth makes is appearance. With the harmonic elements being prominent, the old-school-sounding kick along with the profound bass, it starts with SCI-FI sounds for 3 minutes, then it makes a plot twist. With a long airy intro, that's the perfect way of starting out an LP.

 

 

 

"F Dubb 1000" resumes Per Hammar's typical "Dubb" entitled track name - do you remember his Linjbaan Dub and Remote Dubb right?- and gets more minimal, woody with intriguing metallic percs rigidly keeping the seductive beat up. Kick is a little back this time, creating some room for the atmospheric layer for a high definition track that hides behind a crystal clear musical thought by Per Hammar.

 

We wouldn't expect "DX Sport" to be on the B-side, being that bold and upright. The Swedish's signature perc is creating the pace and everything follows up fluently, transmitting a ton of swing on it. Kick doubles often, recovering the groove every 4 bars. Dub delayed stabs kicks in with soul and drama, while the interplay between drums and synths works perfectly and polished, creating a whole homogeneous amalgamation.

 

B2 gets deeper and soulful for what is in our opinion one of the top 3 from the album. Here the things go intimate and emotional, but always keeping the style we all start to recognize. "Late For The Trance Gate" is the exact track that you hear when you unlock the passageway to another dimension. Since the very beginning, the track offers a full-bodied groove winding above solid kicks and melancholic pads that turn out to be just a prelude for sharp textures, scratchy noises and the epic female vocal parts. A pad on the break lifts us by 2 centimetres from the floor, take off... Proper goosebumps track this one. Just when the track has lulled everyone into that ethereal mood, suddenly it changes direction: an acid bassline makes all the dreamy elements disappear, leaving the listeners suspended in a void right in front of the tougher second drop is to, naked of the harmonics. Pad comes back and again we fly to the sky.

 

 

 

"Low Bats" abandons the straight 4/4, exploring dusty breakbeat sonorities. The loop underneath sounds very old-school and rolls with the snare. Bass is fluid and creates a solid layer on top of the irregular kick. Here, the Swedish producer is wisely using more regular elements to stabilize the groove, also to make up for the absence of massive harmonic elements. Berlin influence is very explicit.

 

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The catchy entitled "If You Have A Mind It Will Wonder" tells us a fairytale of a bygone era, where children used to play near luxuriant rivers. They are precisely the protagonist of the track, with their joyful voices in the background that bring harmony in the whole piece. For the whole duration, the groove remains almost unchanged, with Per Hammar's trademark combination of silk drums and everchanging playful FXs. Harmonics appear very dense, and on top of them, more melodic elements create a deeper and more intimate feel of joy.

 

 

 

Up next, is the club banger "Novo Line". Here, the acid synth lines themselves are responsible for the groove structure, jumping and fading away with a lot of dynamic. Drums are tight and get immediately us moving, helped by extra vocal chops and splashes of dirty sounds to prepare for the heavy and teachy drop. What did you expect? We've told you that this one is made for the floor.

 

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Thus, "Inter City" is one of Per Hammar's profound dubbs. The stab gets processed with an everchanging delay, moving throughout the piece. Toms roll unceasingly, creating a sweet rotation on the steady groove, while as the track proceeds, the main stab gets answered by another one, seemingly processed. This is a very essential piece, where arrangement plays an important role, creating surprise and contrast.

 

The last wax kicks things off with "Galatea". From the very beginning, we are moved by the resonant tom endless movement, which constitutes an important element of the whole melodic part, also making the right dose of loopiness. Dub pads on the background suggest some distant harmony, while low toms are playing together with the profound bass, creating a complex texture of deep hits. A flickering stabby sound emerges from the most remote areas, stuttering in a huge desolate space. Some distant vocal shots here and there is a challenge to be heard, creating mystery while the track unveils little by little.

 

 

 

E2's "Passenger Blend" features a gnarly bassline that pulls and pushes the piece, creating a wavy feel. The entire track is imbued on a sinister and gloomy mood, almost awkward in some parts. A sort of flute sings with difficult an odd melody made of long and heavily processed notes. Percs are bond together and they complete each other's line. As the track progresses, another second bass, more steady and gritty, scratches on the kick. A track for distant memories that leave the listener floating on a bubble of apparent innocence: the passenger blend.

 

We're getting close to the end. Per Hammar is trying to advise us by using cold and faraway sounds already since a couple of tracks. "Midnight Print" is no exception: electronic bleeps make up a full layer of tiny objects and sketches of noise, while the bass gets in and out of our focus with a wise and delicate cutoff move. The harmonic minor melody played by a glidy lead takes us in a disturbing eastern mood. Calmly, drums stay on the beat, never getting too in front, with the exception of the clap, which results pretty shifted backwards, slowing down the entire track.

 

 

 

The closing track is called "Manchester Lone Star". Here, the Swedish artist fires his last shot, heading into an endgame... In fact, it's not the usual beatless piece that we're used to seeing as a last track on the album, but another powerful edgy tool that starts with insistent toms and a stutty synth. The voice is at the core of many of the sounds used, processed and used in many different ways. And out of nowhere an airy pad comes to us with an epic progression, sporting its power on the breaks and but soon fading away right before for the rough tech drop. The drums, bass and kicks blink an eye to Guti's stuff, while on top, the northern melodic soul of Per Hammar comes out full-on-force throughout a sort of guitar that gets sentimental and its line perches on the pad. This piece has something enchanting and deep, revealing his vision of music, made of soul, bold contrasts and a solid technique, sanctioning the end of the Pathfinder LP. 

 

 

 

Words by Francesco Quieti & Francesco Zambianchi

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