April 1999 Reviews

This month's guest reviewers are the ones & twos, a techno & house tag-team from Toronto, Canada. (Click on the link for contact & realaudio sets).

Jason Justin / Imitryx / Great Lakes Records

Jason Justin provides the first release on Great Lakes Records -- a new label dedicated to promoting house & techno in (you guessed it) the cities surrounding the Great Lakes. The a-side cut is 'Powered Out', a searing techno piece with hissing hihats and a metallic, echoed feel. The track progresses nicely throughout, with unique synth work moving in and out of the soundscape. 'M-I-M' opens up the b-side with a pumping bassline, a repetitive acid line, and bouncy snare patterns. The track then proceeds to go full throttle with plenty of crazy progressions, backspins, and echoes. 'Par 4', the last cut, was a bit of a surprise after the last two -- a nice, deep, disco house track. Solid percussion, smooth production, and interesting sequencing make this one the pick for me. An excellent ep with tracks that work well in the mix and hold your interest with constant variations. (4.5/5)

Flux Mode / Kinetics EP / Escape Records

M. Turcotte and Nick Holder, under the 'Flux Mode' moniker, present us with a fantastic release on Toronto's new Escape Records imprint. 'Tumba' is a jacking tribal number complete with cowbells and tribal chant, and definitely my pick of the release. 'Equalibrium' is a considerably more abstract number, starting out with strange percussive patterns. A smooth, lilting melody drops into the track after a couple minutes, really tying the percussion together. If you've been enjoying the type of work Nick Holder has been doing on his DNH label and his recent 'Sambafrique ep' on NRK you'll definitely want to check this out. (4/5)

'Red Nail Relics Vol. 2' / Derrick Carter and Chris Nazuka / Bombay Records

Derrick Carter and Chris Nazuka drop deep house goodness on Montreal's Bombay Records' second release. 'Life is Like a Circle' is my pick, with its superb male vocals, techy synths, and passionate keys solo. 'Te Opus Diem' is on the flip, a more laid back , meandering deep house affair. A solid deep house release perfectly timed for the spring. (4/5)

Miguel Graca / I Found Love / Bombay Records

Miguel Graca with a deep garage bomb on Bombay Records. 'I Found Love's solid male vocals are put to three well produced cuts. The 'Main' mix features funky guitar work and a strong walking bassline holding it all together. The 'Morning Dub's tribal percussion works well, while the 'I Found Dub' is my pick off the ep, with it's stripped and pumping bassline. Fine work from Mr. Graca that the househeads should keep an eye out for in April! (4.5/5)

Kerri 'Kaoz' Chandler / The Deep Thoughts EP / 83 West

Kerri Chandler's latest release on Toronto's 83 West label is a fine collection of deep house in a signature Kaoz style. 'It's a Jazz Thang' describes itself perfectly with its sizzling sax solos, uplifting flute, diva samples, and deep and bouncy bassline. A beats track closes the a-side. Flip it over for 'Get Up' -- a powerful sax solo and vocal samples combine to provide a dramatic deep bomb. 'Eternal Life' is the most unique track on the ep, with a hard chugging bassline, plenty of sub bass, and dope gospel sampling. Great quality in each track make this one to watch out for. (4.5/5)

Peter Grove / Spellbound b/w Wraparound / Woodwork Recordings

Peter Grove's third release on his London, Ont., based Woodwork Recordings shows why his records have been getting so much press recently. 'Spellbound' starts out with a throbbing, insistent bassline, and gradually builds layer after layer of complexity, with crisp highs, pulsing synth stabs, and haunting vocals -- incredibly deep and intense, quality techhouse. Wraparound is a solid deep techhouse groover, with infectious rhythm and swelling bass. Each of these tracks has a fullness and quality about them that grabs the attention and doesn't let go. (5/5)

Machine & Nigil Caenaan / Pornohouse

St. Catherine's' label drops a quality techno release with material from two artists -- Machine and Nigil Caenaan. Hieroglyph is bouncy and percussive while retaining a deep feel through the constantly shifting patterns. 'January's End' is a truly unique piece, using a constantly pattering array of percussion and a lilting, introspective melody riding smoothly over the top. Machine's two tracks are of a more minimal, eclectic flavour. The first (untitled) is a gradual progression of blips, ticks, tocks, and buzzes with a throbbing bassline in tow. Constantly progressing, with an impressive array of high-end trickery, this track works well in the mix -- although a club owner had to check the grounds on the decks when this dropped! The last track on the ep is an extremely deep electro cut -- not a floor filler, but a nice mellow listen once you get home. A solid first offering from Pornohouse. (4/5)

Revolver / Due Corde, Secant, Risoluta / Revolver

A fine technohouse release to be found here on Toronto's Revolver label. 'Due Corde', the main cut, is a deep groover that retains dancefloor appeal with it's dubby synths and relentless bassline. Cool sampling and an atmospheric feel make for a heavy ride. Flip over for 'Secant', a serious plodding techno cut with warbling, pulsing, synth stabs and crisp high ends adding to the mood. 'Risoluta', the last track, funks it up a little bit with it's clicky highs and claps. The bare synth line and the solid, subby, kick underneath hold the tension well in the track until midway through, when a progressing bassline and shakin' snares drop into the mix, really opening up the track for the floor. The solid production values and sheer joy of mixing these tracks make this a must for any deep techno fans out there.

Nasa Giggilos - [white] - Penetrate Records - PEN 005

This is the third Penetrate release that I've come across, one being the Johnny Fiasco 12" and the other a Low Ridaz 2x12". The A-side is my pick -- the first being a filtered house track with some nice short and low vocal samples working well with the high ends in the mix. The second track can hold its own a little better -- a great tech-house groove with a soulful ambience about it, although the break near the end doesn't really do the track justice. All in all, a great low-key tech-house feel. 7/10

Merrick Brown - Crime of Stealth - Tektite Recordings - TITE 03

While I've seen Merrick around on Internet lists and have heard of Tektite before, this is my first exposure to one of their releases. All I can say is I'm anxious to hear the two I've missed. "Stealth Crime" fits nicely into the low end, late nite dubby techno and house that feels so right. "Left Wondering" is this crazy cyclic number that makes me think "techno in a windstorm" -- some really great rhythms throughout the track, not to mention this heavy subbass that really fills out the sound. "Fat Purple Textures" starts out kind of odd and quirky. It sounds a little funny in the mix but you can get some interesting combinations with it. When the groove drops, it sounds pretty heavy on a big system. My copy sounds like the high ends were cut a bit in the mix though - almost like they were 'in the other room'. Still a great 12". 9/10

Sylk 130 - The Reason (remixes 2x12") - Ovum Recordings - OVM 114

Sylk 130's vocal mixes get a good workover on this double. My picks are "Sneak's Phonky Deep Mix" and both of the "[Doc] Martin & [Mark] Bell" mixes. The vocal gets a good work over in Martin & Bell's mixes and Sneak applies more of a cyclic drive to his mix. It sounds similar to the formula used in his "Stardust" remixes, but this one works a little better in my opinion. The "Martin & Bell Dub" works more around the synth stab and brings the vocals in so it sweetly rings off the walls while the "Martin & Bell Remix" is more of a straight up vocal remix with some muted horns working in the mix. 8/10

Ricky Bradshaw - The Jump? Skip! EP - Moody Recordings - MDR 9616

The "Higher" remix caught my ear right off. I know I've heard this sound before - there's no denying that vibe! Straight up beats that filter down to a bass groove and kicks in nicely with this bumpin' vibe. "Black Keys" (Filtered Jazz Mix) works in so many ways. It's exactly what it says and it sounds sweet in a house set or thrown in with some solid chugging techno. For best results, turn your sub up. The flip has two workings of "Ricky's Guitar" -- an energized guitar riff which breaks into a more grooved out beat. The track doesn't quite "grab" you like the guitar leads you to expect. ;) Not bad, but I prefer the A-side. 8/10

Terrence Parker - Strong Songs LP - Chisel Records - CH 2000

Well, the D-Train certainly arrived in my town. I can just picture Terrence ripping the dancefloor up with doubles of "Motor City Express". This is one rough whumper! Serious chug and a nasty "get sweaty" bassline that you can't help but shake to. "It's Too Late" will certainly take you back a few years with some sweet combinations of new and old "sounds" in house music. This one really picks the floor up and gives it a stir -- great disco-house vibe. "What I Say Goes" just reeks of Detroit house in my ears, and the smell is sweet. The fact sheet defines it for me as TP's "Sunday morning church chords" -- that's what really grabs me. The bassline comes through nicely on a big system. Many hoots were heard! "Est Estoy A Tiendo" gives you a bit of that organ vibe that I've heard in TP's sets with a heavy synth bassline and a swingin' vocal. "Cold Blooded" is this liquid number with a big female vocal "chant", if you will, over some sliding keys. You really have to hear it. "Zume Song" is some great gospel organ chords with an electric guitar solo over the top. Interesting to say the least. ;) 9/10

Latino Circus - In Your Soul 2x12" - Yoshitoshi Recordings - YR 031

Cevin Fisher gets down and dirty with Deep Dish on some sweet tracks. Alex Tepper and Andy Roberts on the production and Pete Hammond putting together some sweet sounds on timbales. Cevin's two dubs are great for doubling up and his "Deep Blue Mix" is a solid soul searcher -- a sweet tech-house sound. Alex in Wonderland puts together a mix with Deep Dish on the edit that is the doozie for me. I'd buy the double pack just for that one. And "Amen" for the "Latino Beats"... the neighbors think otherwise though. 10/10

Copyright © 1999 Scott Lazaruk. Reprinted with permission.

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