Higher Reputation EP
Archie Hamilton supplies a superb remix EP, which features three early '00s cuts re-upped from their proto tech sensibilities into 2020, with his signature stylings. Nils Hess’ ‘Alcohol Is My Favourite’ gets some percussive pace, while Two The Power’s ‘Noise & Music’ leads with the iconic drums and a revision to the bass progression. But it's the remix of Peace Division’s classic ‘What Is This Sound’ that will draw plaudits, a genuinely perfect remix which uplifts the classic PD tune into the modern era.
You better make sure you have some capable bass bins, as Ste Roberts’ fifth dispatch will put them to the test as he delivers four exquisite cuts of unrelenting underground house that hark back to early tech-house with splashes of electro, breaks and techno. His entire white label series under the name STE is a serious collection of underground moods and vibes. This is one of the best yet.
The Underyourseat label boss gets busy on Cesare vs Disorder’s deep and trusty Serialism imprint, as he delivers four varied but equally tripped-out cuts for them. The opener, ‘Audiopatia’, kicks things off with a bleepy electro construct, which Javier builds upon in the pacier ‘Bad Reference’. The heady, driving and bumping ‘Early Faces’ keeps up the tempo, before he drops into a globular, deep groover to cleverly complete the EP titled ‘Soda Studio’.
Ray delivers his first full release for fast-rising Parisian imprint, HedZup, following his inclusion on its 2018 ‘Collection II’ VA. This EP features two moody but groovy tone setters in ‘Biometric’ and the more rolling ‘Envoy’. Ray’s slick and unorthodox track, ‘Songspire’, builds tension through atmospheric pad layers until the relieving breakdown five minutes through, where the layers expand, before imploding into the groove on the drops. Stephan Bazbaz’s remix funks the low-end up, making this one more suited to daylight hours.
Black Girl/White Girl
'Cinderella 99 EP'
Of Unsound mind
The Amsterdam duo find that sweet spot between disco and tech-house with lead track ‘Cinderella 99’, of their two-track EP of the same name. They steer away from their usually frantic style on 'Disco Peacock’ — despite the name, it’s less disco than the opener and more tribal, but it packs a heavy punch and is an ultimate groove tool to be reckoned with.
Sydney’s infamous party series, S.A.S.H, launches its label with a trio of releases from the residents. Jack Hough steps up first with three bubbling originals, the highlight being ‘No Flat Earth’s ripened, acid toned bass. The package is pumped up by a pair of Djebali remixes, which cater for day and night vibes.
Mannheim’s BE9 Collective member and Salty Nuts label owner, Fabe, returns to FUSE London’s grittier imprint Infuse with a typically astute four-track selection. With his knack for a killer bassline groove and always-punchy beat structures, he's a serious name to listen to in 2020, the highlights on this EP being ‘Chocolate Cake’, with its elastic bounce, and ‘Blue Shooz’s forward flowing bass and beats.
'Street Rave EP'
Stepping slightly left of the spotlight he’s found as one half of hype house duo Granary 12, Ewan McVicar drops a lively three-track EP on Patrick Topping’s new imprint, Trick. 'The Street Rave EP' feels inspired by much of the '90s dance sound — elasticated basslines (‘Street Rave’), heavy-hit piano leads and wailing vocals (‘Got To Move’), and a touch of some heavier bass and UKG stylings on the collab effort with Sam Akers, ‘Lose Ya Mind’.