Sunday, May 16, 2010

House Music Reviews from DJ Dennis of Selekta Recordings

Dancefloor Mayhem is proud to announce a partnership with DJ Dennis - who will be providing us with some reviews of new house music releases. DJ Dennis is the founder of Selekta Recordings - a label based in Philadelphia focusing on house music but they also release techno, breaks and downtempo music. I have worked with Dennis for quite a few years, we were both writers / DJs for the Selekta website that used to feature live DJ shows, archived DJ mixes, event reviews, music reviews and book reviews. The record label is a nice extension of the original vision of the website.

Zweikland feat Esteban Garcia – Destination Unknown – Solardish Recordings

Solardish’s sixth release is packed full of genres made for multiple dance floor freaks. 5 different remixes, ranging from tech house, to progressive, to deep, and one that sounds like a mini DJ set accompany the original on this release. The original mix of ‘Destination Unknown’ is a playful mix of sub-bass, bubbling under twangy synth stabs, accentuating the drum buildups and big swoosh sounds; a great track to help a DJ bring their set up a notch. The ‘Beach Lounge Mix’ drops it down with swooning pads, and a mellow break beat. Those who are fans of dub tracks off of the Defected label will enjoy the string buildups and pounding bass of Paul Gilmore’s remix, seriously well thought programming and sweetness throughout. For those of you who like to play the deep tech, and want to focus on bass frequencies and trippy vocal snippets, peep out the Alvaro Hylander remix. Systemfunk’s remix is the version which I see having the most overall appeal to crowds. Its mix of commercial sounding chords and pianos, over reverbed and echoed keys, mixed with just the right bit of percussion makes for a solid track. YUG’s remix is HUGE. This truly sounds like they recorded an Ableton DJ session with all the parts of the song and were triggering all of the wirey effects and sound loops on the fly. It’s fun, powerful, and will definitely be a factor in burning away some of that rubber off of the soles on your dancing shoes.

Bang Bang – Broken – Lost My Dog

This 7 track EP from South Africa’s Bang Bang is the 29th release from Lost My Dog. “Broken’ is a glorious piece of funky, deep house wrapped around a fabulous male vocal. Its original mix, as stated before, focuses on funky house rhythms, spaced out effects, and an original sounding male vocal, which is a blessing in disguise. So many vocal house tracks these days have male vocalists that sound exactly the same, or are TRYING to sound like other vocalists. So Bang Bang, thank you for sounding like YOU, and not anyone else! The other remixes walk down a path that shows the many painted colors of the genre of house. Giom’s deep and techy mix rides smooth, strong drive, yet never going over the top. Pete DaFeet’s remix should find its way into a Joe Claussel DJ set, heartbreakingly soulful, and solely focused on the beauty and power of the vocal. Yse’s remix drops the tempo, around 119/120 bpms, and has a skip to its drum programming. Lush pads and ethereal atmospheres surround synths and beat drops. Even though it’s a slower tempo, don’t let it fool you, it’s just as moving as the rest. Oh yeah, there’s a DUB version too! Sean Smith’s version is a mix of classic Chicago warehouse and Detroit underground vibes. And Bang Bang wraps up this EP with their own ‘Shattered Dub’ which takes the elements from their original, stretches out the grooves for those long mixes where your dance floor wants to keep feeling and gyrating to what you got going on.

Click Here to buy this release from Beatport.

Ilija Rudman – Calypso – Red Music

Croatian Ilija Rudman seriously creates his own time capsule of funk and dance within this 2 track EP off of his own label, Red Music. How many producers do you know can still say they are making all of their music on a complete ANALOG studio set up? Fan of Rong Music or the dub sets of Mancuso? Yes, you will enjoy Ilija’s newest release, ‘Calypso’ to the fullest extent. Its simplicity is why it will stand the test of time. Straight up ‘disco’ tempo at 120 bpms, it will allot any DJ to drop this in the middle of a House, Disco, Funk, or Urban set and have it move asses on the dance floor. Funky plucked bass, classic conga rhythms, big toms, hand claps, and MORE COWBELL that has the welcoming groove which will help set the pace for whatever direction you want to take it in your set.

Click Here to buy this release from Beatport.

Tovar – No One EP – Candy Music

The man who brought us the Bob Marley remix of ‘Say Something’ from a while back is in full effect with his own EP on Jay West’s Candy Music. This time around it’s a 3 tracker of straight up original work. Expect to hear his signature style of ‘bump n funk’ house throughout all 3 tracks. ‘No One’ is a floaty and fun house ride with consistent reverbed synth stabs, and underlying sub bass, a track that is very ‘heady’ with its repetitious groove. “Give Me More” delves into the dub house atmosphere, with some spacious echo effects, and blippy synth melodies, percolating over one seriously heavy bass line, all the while playing around with really great panning effects throughout the song. “Taking Control” is my favorite booty bouncer on this EP. Straight up funky house with beautiful flamenco guitars, female vocal drops, and uplifting breaks and pads. Even though this EP might be a different flavor from those who were feeling his ‘Change Has Come’ EP on So Sound, followers will be pleasantly surprised to see the path he is creating and traveling. I am sure you will see this in many DJs’ top ten lists when it drops later this month.

Click Here to purchase this release from Beatport.

Easy Street – Dancin – Hawt Music

Easy Street is Neal G. (owner of Hawt Music), and Mikey Valazquez and Gelly Kusuma (aka Easily Influenced). The threesome come together for Hawt Music’s 2nd release, and team up with fellow club rockers DJ Sneak and Bobby Valentine for a ‘HAWT’ ass release. The vocal hook on this release is sure to be used over and over upon its release, as its seriously infectious, and will have the crowds humming right along after they’ve heard it a couple of times. ‘Baby I been watchin' you…watchin' every single move…please don’t stop that thing you do…please don’t stop DANCIN!’ The bounce of this vocal begs your body to move, and the original mix from Easy Street just kicks it into gear setting the standard for the rest of the mixes. Sneak’s ‘Reheat’ mix is a Chicago stomper, and is a fine example of what Sneak is known to deliver. Pounding kicks, multi layered filtered vocals, and a thunderous drive is infamous in his productions, and he delivers! Bobby Valentine’s remix adds to the package with a pummeling bass line, and some looped key riffs that echo off into the distance, a bit more of a tech house groove than the others on this EP. Wrapping up the EP is the ‘House of Stank’ mix which is a bit more playful, with its horns, twitchy bounce, and sample progression. Hawt Music has put together some FIRE for you!

Click Here to purchase this release from Beatport.

Inaya Day – Better Days – Broken Records

This might sound funny to some folks, but I truly felt like I was in 4 different clubs in 4 different parts of the U.S. when I heard ‘Better Days’ and all its remixes. Jesse Saunder’s Broken Records bangs out another group of diverse house music. When listening to Scott Langley’s remix, all I could imagine was a New York club, playing huge, bangin', tribal vocal house to some hot sweaty crowds. His vibe is very ‘big room’ on this, and I could imagine a room of 1000 or more swinging their hands in the air. Lucius Lowe’s Disco Mix and Disco-Strumental are driving, string laden, piano dropping monsters; very ‘FreeMasons’ in production style. I can see some of the glam clubs in L.A. shining bright on the glittering dance floor with these two mixes. Aphreme’s mix is the full on vocal and has that gospel uplifting affect to it. His mix of the backing chorus and the spoken word are deep in all the right places, and uprising to your spirits. The ‘Dubber Days’ is truly my favorite. It stouts the male spoken word, talking about times when the ‘Better Days’ are here, and what to expect from them. Its deeper groove, and simplistic bass line will create a hypnotic effect on the dance floor, having your crowds entranced, listening to his message. This is a righteous and complete package from Broken Records and Jesse Saunders.

Click Here to purchase this release from Beatport.

Jevne – Moderize – Native Soul Recordings

Onethirty Records owner, Jevne, drops a remix project to his boys in Albuquerque at Native Soul Recordings. This 5 track EP showcases the talents of Asad Rizvi, Jay Tripwire, and Sebby Fresco. On the original ‘Moderize’ mix, you simply cannot get enough of the live bass (done by Jevne himself!) He slices up a female vocal, plays with it over some synth work, and smoothes it out with some cleverly placed chord work. Sebby Fresco throws things way left field on this EP with a SICK dub step rendition, warbling sub bass, rattling percussion, and chilling soundscapes. Asad’s remix is way more laid back, and is a chillin' deep house groove filled with church organs, solid kicks, and a hypnotic melody that comes in and out throughout. Tripwire also stays in the deep house realm, but adds a bit more bounce with a fatter bass line, acidic tendencies, and a tech house progression. Jevne also tosses in another mix. This time his ‘Tekness’ mix rocks a heavy kick, and sparse arpeggiated synths, filtering in and out of the frequencies to jack with your head. What’s great about this EP is that each song could find itself in a different hour of the night throughout a DJ’s set, helping each hour become stronger and stronger. I’m looking forward to more from Jevne in 2010!

Click Here to purchase this release from Beatport.

Dj Mourad pres urban Tactics EP – Minimal Soul Recordings

I’ve been lucky enough to hear Mourad progress as a producer for over a decade now, as he is also a producer on my label, Selekta Recordings. Mourad always has a flavor that is distinctively his, no matter what genre he decides to work on. His release for Minimal Soul is another solid collection of tracks that showcase his ability to allow his inner funk and techno muse speak out. “Waistline Mover” is an acidic and special house tempo’d track with classic techno elements; acid arps, synth stabs, and a warehouse party vibe. "Stubby Sunday” breaks the mold of traditional Detroit-esqe techno, with an offbeat clap, wirery slabs of synths layered over looped strings, and some heavy drum work. “Funky Brothers,” tempo at 135bpm may be a bit fast beat wise for most, but its ethereal elements make it feel like a glide over a circuit board in a micronaughts world. Wrapping up the EP is one of my favorites, “Beyond the Sun.” I like to explain it as ‘dub-electronic jazz’ as it truly has the elements of dub, but infuses acid, and reverb elements on his pads that give it its electronic feel, and the eerie horn melodies portray its jazz. For those that want to take a step across traditional genre borders, I highly recommend you add Dj Mourad as a favorite artist; his ideas and productions are vast and wide, and full of surprises.

Melissa Rapp – Lapsed – Tarantic

San Francisco’s Tarantic Recordings whips up some funky and wonderful house beats in their latest release. Melissa Rapp’s voice is very reminiscent of what you would hear on past Kaskade tracks, yet also has some definite Lisa Shaw emotions in her vocal expressions. This EP shows the talents of remixers Amit Shoham, Andrew Phelan, George Cochrane, and BradElectro. Amit’s mix is based around a funky slap bass, and double kicks, full of life and vigor in its production. On the collab between Mr. Phelan and George Cochrane, prepared to get beat across the head with a huge warbled bass, phat kicks, with an array of classic drum machine samples and spacey arps that surround Melissa’s luscious vocal. Fans of Mylo will be drawn straight to the BradElectro mix, with its array of snazzy synth work and funky electro bass line. However much funk and dance floor material is on this EP, DO NOT let it deter you from checking out the original mix. The original mix is in the vein of Morcheeba, soulful and deep, midtempo utter loveliness. This is something that I would see Giant Step in New York picking up for a compilation, or part of their series of soul music. Tarantic, thank you for introducing me to some fantastic new music.

Click Here to purchase this release on Beatport.

Reynold feat Janvier Jones – To Know You – Trenton Records

Groovy Rhodes set the stage for this wonderful vocal house track. The original mix has a deep and classic vibe, respectably as it’s inspired from the time when label owner, Sam Rouanet (Reynold) spent time in Chicago, home of House Music. Janvier Jones’ vocals are sultry and pleasant on the ear, never overbearing or goin the ‘diva’ route, keeping it sweet. ‘Let me Rock U from the Top Down…the top down…ya’ FANTASTIC! Reynold also has a ‘long ass mix’ that tosses in some mellow acid lines for those longer mixes, and adds some more reverb to the vocal on the extended mix…simply making it a longer groove. Manual Peres and Alvina Red work it a bit more up-tempo, keeping Janvier’s vocal in the same fashion of the original, but mixing it amongst some razzy bass, and expansive pad work. This mix is more for the deeper underground joints, and more focused for a later hour on the dance floor. Last but definitely not least, is the Hakan Lidbo remix. In my first set of reviews I covered Hakan’s release on Depth, and this remix is a total flip from that release. It’s still just as top quality, however, his ability to change up his musical styles is so vast. His filtering of Janvier’s vocals throughout the mix is a little creepy, but creates a mysterious vibe. His ability to take a dub beat, and make it fully danceable is a true talent. Trenton Records, you’ve created an excellent well rounded set of HOUSE!

Click Here to purchase this release from Beatport.

Brett Johnson – Missing You – Eight Tracks

The ‘Missing You’ EP has a tempting platter of flavors to choose from. Brett Johnson’s original mix offers up some hefty bass, that rolls underneath a jackin' house beat, but not meant to be a full on peak time track. Its infused elements are moody, and dreamy, not to light, yet not to dark…like your floating inches above the dance floor, yet can still feel the stomp from the other dancers. His ‘Space Bump Dub’ goes into a more techy realm, and pumps up the bounce element, adding some space between the echoed vocals and pad work. Q-Burn’s mix goes the furthest away from the original, as it dives deep into the bellows of dub, purely focused on different layers of bass and freaky synth work, it will absolutely grab the attention of your crowds, both for its simplicity in its elements, and for its power of those components working cooperatively. And from the mind of San Francisco’s Alland Byallo, be prepared to be beat over the head maliciously with heavy tech house. His driving force of beats and mechanical ambience interlaced within will beckon you to move incessantly.

Click Here to purchase this release from Beatport.

Red Axes – Red Axes – Statra Records

New York based Statra Records, known for its voluptuous amounts of top quality house releases, adds another one to their roster. New to Statra, but making waves in Tel-Aviv, Red Axes (Djs Dori Sadovnik, Niv Arzi, and Udi Naorv) drop 3 tracks that are a tall tell tale of what you can expect from the moving forward. Not so much electro, but stealing away the mind melding high pitch squelch and synth/pad concoctions, they intricately work them together with powerful and dominating tribal house rhythms. “Midnight Safari” wraps some effects around some crazy jungle noises, and tight drum programming. On ‘Say No More’ the Red Axes set their foundation with a huge bass line, toss in some shanty shaker business, add an entrancing arp that gets a little filter work, and some French sounding horns with a bit of phasing and flanging. ‘White Murder’ is rockin’ a Latin influenced horn hook that will blow you back. Entrancing dub-matic echo work throughout the track helps progress its driving deep techno feel. This is my first introduction to the Red Axes, and I will continually be on the lookout for any of their future releases.

Click Here to purchase this release from Beatport.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

thank you so much for supporting me and posting up the reviews for me. It means a lot to me to be able to share these words about such fantastic music with all of your community that you have created and brought together! much respect! - dj Dennis