Reviews/Previews

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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Music Review: Tommy Vercetti - Under The Sun EP (incl. Prunk & Djebali Remixes) [UNCANNY]

UNCANNY is Juliche Hernandez's newborn label that makes clear from the very start that it's got the fire in the game. After successful releases on labels such as Downhill Music, MadTech, hedZup, PIV and Audionik to name a few, the Spanish producer has decided to create his own space - locked up between two index fingers - to share his idea of house music. UNC001 is courtesy of UK fabric resident Tommy Vercetti who marks the debut EP with 2 rousing house originals followed by 2 Djebali remixes and another version by PIV-head Prunk.

 

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"In The Groove" is all about the bass, rolling and powerful directly on the floor. Vercetti's style funky stabs get the track bouncing while silky vocal from Florence Bird gently creates the proper mood. Drums lay on the piece solid, never coming out of the mix too much, in perfect balance. Plucky sounds on top are crystal-clear and remember us of some synth-poppish vibes we really dig. That playful melt of old and new is what got us to discover Vercetti in the first place. This one is an assured "hands in the air" dancefloor anthem as it spreads the positive vibes all over the place; we're only waiting for this situation to be over to smile at our friends when the kick drops again.

 

 

 

PIV head-honcho Prunk remix slows down and gets sexier, introducing more percussive elements, congas and a deeper kick. The vocal is pitched down, sounding smooth and lush. While the track goes with its not-too-gentle pace, liquid pads flow on the sides, forming a classy atmospheric layer. This remix confirms Prunk as a master in making this mellow-kind of pieces and that's not disappointing: we're headbanging from start to end.

 

 

 

Up next is "Under The Sun", the second original from Vercetti who this time delivers a more modern feeling roller. His trademark stab remains the main act, and it dances, moving and slapping with joy. Drums are thick and the hats sound like perfection, not too sharp, sandy; all the ingredients are dosed at the right point. The dubby and deep bass finds its moment on the second drop, alone with the delicious percussions, hitting hard on our feet and breast. Old school housy string lifts us up for the break until we dive back in the groove. 

 

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Closing the EP is not one, but two remixes from Parisian groover Djebali, who serves two versions of  "Under The Sun".

 

The DEA mix is a real club banger, with the main synth driving deep and moving across the pan, never settled. The atmospheres turn out to be strangely mysterious and dark, infusing a sinister mood to this version. Some subtle acid arps whisper in the ears, shaking along with the hats, while the analogue sounding bass gives that grain on the bottom with the kick. Its sequence is pressing, tight on the groove and really pushes the track endlessly.

 

On his other version, Djebali brings back some classic housy Apollonia-vibes by removing extra-elements, keeping only what is strictly necessary. The groove is bare and essential and the massive bass cuts really well in the track and creates that sucking feeling. Glitchy percs play in the background with high-pitched synths, while on the break, the DEEP mix takes a sharp turn and kicks in with a new synth with a plot twist. But no worries, the groove is just around the corner and we're soon back to it for the last dance.

 

 

 

Words by Francesco Quieti & Francesco Zambianchi

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Music Review: Various Artists - Empirical Test Vol. 1 [Bohrium Records]

Madrid-based Bohrium Records is ready to drop its very first chapter called "Empirical Test Vol. 1". This various artists compilation consists of four sublime tracks by four different talented producers, which have already been hammered by heavyweights like Priku and Gescu. 

 

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Click HERE to buy BHR001 - Empirical Test Vol. 1

 

The first empirical test is courtesy of Romanian rising talent Cojoc. With his "Frics", we are immersed from start to finish into an ocean of sinister sounds and twisted hypnotic synths. The groove winks to minimal-techno, making us understand the power of repetition trough well-balanced elements and extra-tight hats. As soon as the track proceeds, perception of time is lost, and we slowly dig deeper in this dark gem, falling relentlessly into the loop. Swishy effects are framed by the straight-forward attitude of the drums, while the main vocoderized synth talks to us, escalating to the breaks. 

 

 

 

Up next is the more driving techno-oriented "Mal So Mal So" by Switzerland-based Marques Sigi. This one is a headstrong minimal roller with subtle but sticky acid mood with prominent snares, trying to surface in a wide sea of sound. The synth line spreads in huge reverb and outlines a deep ambience, drums are on top and epic reverse sweeps bring us in a completely new dimension. As well as the track progresses, we can taste some piano-ish sounds as well as some horns, all melt in a beautiful and abstract way.

 

On the flip, the newborn project of Akela (aka Angel Mosteiro and Joel Vazquez) goes deeper and melodic, kicking things off with carillon-like arp alongside majestic pads. Metallic sounds give goosebumps while they travel from one side to another while the breakbeat kick is tight and clean, stinging elastic on the high-tech groove. The synth horn arising introduce the breaks, with LFO's rate constantly changing throughout the track, giving life to a virtuous movement that slows down and speeds up the entire track. "Space Runner" reminds us something from the 80s and the 90s, bringing to our memory epic soundtrack themes and dark-wave records, due to the old-fashioned synthesizers used, almost wanting to celebrate a time now remote.

 

 

 

Wrapping up the record is the powerful "The Muggles" by Panama's Avidel. This one's a pure ro-minimal club tool, conceived for after-hours moments due to the delicious drum patterns, dense of micro variations. Kick is boomy enough, in contrast to the stabby synth insisting on the sixteenths. Dreamy pads, noise fills and SCI-FI arpeggiators do the rest, leaving the subby bass going rigid on the beat, while everything else is sounding so fluid. The break represents our only time to rest, while we float in the evocative texture.

 

 fotoeffetti.com

 

 

 

 

Words by Francesco Quieti & Francesco Zambianchi

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Music Review: Sound Process & Giorgio Maulini - Fourth Addition [Addition by Subtraction]

We shone a light on the Addition By Subtraction imprint a little while ago in our 20 Record Labels to Keep An Eye on in 2020 article. Here, we take a look at their next outing which sees them put out their fourth release with the handy title 'Fourth Addition.'

 

Music should not be restricted by the somewhat dubious borders of a so-called 'genre.' In essence, 'Fourth Addition' entails an all-inclusive selection of Tech and Deep House alongside Minimal and Techno to offer something for everyone and for those with an open mind.

 

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Click HERE to buy ABS004 - Fourth Addition"

 

Argentinian export Sound Process kicks off the A-side with a lovely rolling tech-house number titled 'Hoxton', perfect for when you need to step things up a gear on the dance floor! Having released on labels such as 20/20 Vision and Little Helpers, the Buenos Aires-based producer and DJ has been well renowned in the scene for around 10 years now and was able to showcase his sound alongside Fuse head-honcho Enzo Siragusa earlier this year in his home country!

 

 
 

 

Closing out the A-side is an exciting new joint venture between two artists who are undoubtedly one of house music's hottest properties at the moment! PIV President Chris Stussy and DJOKO aka Stussko combine their reputable and well-distinguished sound and provide eclectic diggers with a track suitable for various types of listening and use. We are big fans of these guys and everything they seem to pump out of the studio is pure gold and there's no chance to the routine here!

 

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Born in Venezuela but residing in the beautiful Swiss Alps, Giorgio Maulini showcases his stripped-back sound to kick off the B-side. The Minimal House specialist is the founder of the amazing Underground Town, a vinyl-only record label aiming to influence the underground music scene in Switzerland. Having signed artists such as Silat Beksi, Michael James, Mihai Pol, and Kepler in recent releases, his refined yet uplifting style is clear to hear throughout his track 'Send Me Your Location' and is the perfect sunrise set-ender for those looking to close things up in style! Perfectly constructed drum hits and percussion blend with infectious pads and lead lines to create pure magic!

 

Last and by no means least, rounding off the release is the highly acclaimed and respected Voigtmann. The German producer and DJ has been rocking dancefloors and festivals for many years now and delivers a unique take on Maulini’s original to present his minimalistic techno-inspired sound ready to jump-start the dance floor! His rework oozes pure class from start to finish with a trippy and melodic bass, spacey glitches, and shuffling hats and shakers to really get you moving! Support has come in so far from the likes of; Archie Hamilton, Ben Rau, Djebali, Diego Krause, Fabe, Michael James, Stephan Bazbaz and Toman just to name a few.

 

You can buy the record from clicking right here and you can check out snippets of the 4 awesome tracks below...

 

 

 

Words by Dom Fletcher

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