Here’s another addition to the ‘still-diggin’-it’ category: Max Graef’s remix of Mr. Scruff’s “We Are Coming,” and Scruff’s own remix of “Feel Free” (Ninja Tune).

Mr. Scruff - We Are ComingI love the rolling percussion that Graef employs, with keys and horn stabs reminiscent of early ‘90s house music. It’s a relatively new tune, but somehow, it takes me back. Added bonus: It’s the ‘extended club mix’ without even saying so.

The Scruff “Re-tweak” of “Feel Free” is my favorite. It chugs along while the various strings weave elegant tapestries without losing the free jazz ethos. The horn and the flute are hardly bit players. This whole mix just jams, but there’s so much deep house underpinning the percussive element that it’s a joy to listen to over and over again.

Get a copy here.

EMPRSS - DOWNI am still digging this Emprss tune a month later.

Ralph Allan’s vocals are perfectly matched by the production techniques employed by Leo Crossing and Johnny Goddard. There’s a soundtrack quality to “Down”, which is the single teasing the 2015 Empress album.

A chase scene, an opening or closing theme…the beats and rhythms form a brooding juggernaut that invites Allan’s pained delivery of equally dark lyrics.

Andreya Triana - Everything You Never Had Pt. III first heard Andreya Triana via Bonobo when they dropped “The Keeper” in 2009 (from Black Sands). Her Ninja Tune debut, Lost Where I Belong, was a longtime favorite–didn’t leave the rotation for a while. I was lucky enough to catch them both live when the North Borders tour came to Chicago.

Triana’s new EP, Everything You Never Had Pt. II, is out now on Counter and her new album drops in 2015. I can’t recommended this enough, and there’s even a Lapalux remix.

Submotion Orchestra - Alium

The room’s reaction was rapid and confident. “This is the new Bonobo, right?”

No, but close.

Other guesses included “this must be Jazzanova” and “sounds like Cinematic Orchestra to me”.

I was happy to explain that it was Submotion Orchestra we listening to that evening. Those earlier guesses were easily forgiven: This fusion of bass-driven electronica, jazz, and soul is championed by some notable others.

But the veteran 7-piece band from Leeds has deftly used these common threads to deliver Alium, a solid follow-up to 2012’s Fragments. Soul music with big bass and garage-tempo rhythms. Classic ‘90s R&B with acid jazz and dubstep characteristics. There are moments of epic bass music and then, suddenly, I’m nostalgic for my favorite R&B songs.

Alium is out now on Counter (I am loving this label right now). I hope they tour for the album and make it to Chicago. I would love to hear “Time Will Wait” live.

I knew that Jon Hopkins’s Asleep Versions was a remix EP of sorts. That was my approach when I listened for the first time anyway. By the end of the 25-minute piece—a medley of four reworked songs from the Immunity album—I felt like these versions could have been the originals.

jon hopkins asleep versionsRaphaelle Standell’s vocals add a haunting quality to “Form By Firelight,” and King Creosote nails the assist on “Immunity” in similar fashion.

The epic versions of “Open Eye Signal” and “Breathe This Air” are essentially scores for dreams, which is likely the point. This EP is simply beautiful.

Watch the studio trailer for Asleep Versions.

Listen to “Form by Firelight” (with Raphaelle Standell).

Check out Jon Hopkins and Domino Records.


Keinemusik (Photo by Sebastian Pielles)

Keinemusik (Photo by Sebastian Pielles)

Happy Anniversary, Keinemusik!

Nov. 17 marks the release date of the Berlin collective’s Workparty Five EP, which will be available on double vinyl with a specially designed gatefold cover. That second piece of vinyl is part of the anniversary celebration: It’s a bonus disk that features an exclusive Keinemusik remix of each track.

Each of the crew’s producing members (Adam Port, David Mayer, Rampa, and &ME) contributed a tune and the result is a wonderfully crafted blend of deep and tech house. The infectious synth-vs-percussion battle of “Mod” opens up the EP, followed by the minimal, drum-fueled “Smoke”. The urgent groove and tribal drumwork of “Birdland” will certainly urge bodies onto the dancefloor, while a classic, hands-in-the-air-at-5am vibe pervades “Place,” which features Stereo MC’s. I know…pretty happy about this one.

Check out the Keinemusik crew on SoundCloud, Twitter, and their website.

Nicole Moudaber

Nicole Moudaber

Say “five-city warehouse tour” to most people and they look at you funny. Kind of a blank stare. But that’s not the case with techno fans, and certainly not the case for Nicole Moudaber, who has embarked on one such warehouse tour, named “MoodRAW”. From festivals to nightclubs, she’s well-known for fun, yet intense take on dark techno.

With this tour, Moudaber is aiming for the underground, which these days is a byword for pretty much anything but underground. But for longtime fans of the sound, many of whom got their first taste of techno in warehouses, Moudaber’s production certainly evokes some good memories. Those days, all it took was one dark room and a powerful sound system.

The accompanying EP release on MOOD, titled “The Whippin’ I’m Dishin’’ certainly matches that dark-techno-in-a-warehouse spirit. Nicole’s original mix sets the tone for remixes by Gary Beck and Robert Dietz.

Moudaber’s MoodRAW Warehouse tour hits Chicago on Nov. 7.

Since the launch of his Knee Deep In Sound label in March, Daley Padley (Hot Since 82) has been on quite a tear. With a summer of events, releases, and A&R work behind him, Padley is set to embark on a North and Latin American tour in support of the Knee Deep In Sound mix album he’s compiled. The album will be released on Nov. 17 and not only serves as a debut for many of his recent signings, but also as a vehicle for some new and exclusive Hot Since 82 productions.

Hot Since 82 kicks off the Knee Deep In Sound tour with an appearance at Spybar on Oct. 30.

Check out a promo video for Knee Deep In Sound.

Check out Hot Since 82 on SoundCloud.

Les Sins photo by Andrew Paynter

Photo Credit: Andrew Paynter

Chaz Bundick’s (Toro Y Moi) dance music project, Les Sins, is currently touring in support of his upcoming album, Michael, and will appear at Smart Bar on December 5th.

Michael seems heavily inspired by classic house and techno, but some 80’s and hip hop sneak in on occasion. The album doesn’t follow a clear musical path–rather, it seems like a collection of tunes, like a bag of records. All of which bodes well for fans attending the Chicago tour date, as the influences on Michael feature heavily in standout Smart Bar DJ sets.

Listen to “Why” ft. Nate Salman.

Watch the video for “Bother”.

Listen to “Bother”.

Listen to the entire album on NPR’s First Listen.

MAKJ press photo


MAKJ just made it to the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs list and he’s only 24. Well played, sir.

The producer/DJ, also known as Mackenzie Johnson, kicks off the Halloween weekend in Chicago at Studio Paris on Wed. Oct. 29 as part of his national tour. He’s fresh off a highly-successful European tour and collaborations with Lil Jon and Bassjackers, making 2014 a great year thus far for MAKJ.

Check out tickets and tour information.