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Tech Breed EP
Rick Wade
Holic Trax

Can't say no to a bit of Rick Wade. Indeed, 'Tech Breed' is a shade techier that his usual, soul-drenched output, but 'Groovy' and 'Whoa Children' bring the funk. Yessir.

Still Lemonade
Skream
Crosstown Rebels

In something of a curveball, former stadium dubstep superstar Skream hooks up with Damian Lazarus's Crosstown Rebels for this big room houser. Suffice to say it's very large indeed.

The First EP
Ezikiel
Cadenza Lab

Luciano's Cadenza can find itself all too ponderous, but this from Jamaica-via-Zurich producer Ezikiel for the spin-off imprint Cadenza Lab lets loose, notably the bubbling 'Watch A Bassline'.

Can I Turn It Up
Mike Dunn
Caus-N-ff-ct

The legendary Mike Dunn gets re-rubbed here by Ibadan bossman Jerome Sydenham and Sweden's Martin Brodin. Vision Factory of Berlin and their balls-out epic-ness is tough to resist, though.

Can Of Worms EP
Wbeeza
Third Ear

The persistently visionary Warren Brown, aka Wbeeza, returns to the eminent Third Ear after setting up his own pFly Music. It must have been tempting to keep this gear for himself, but we win either way. 'Circles' loops up hats until they're a wall of white noise, while echoes of disco swirl in the distance, and 'Upside Down' is a soaring future house standard, dripping with class. 'If I Ever' breaks into neck-snapping boogie, while 'Can Of Worms' blusters into a world of syncopation. So good.

Freerange 200
Various Artists
Freerange

It's long been rumoured that if your label reaches 200 releases, you get an official telegram from Andy Weatherall and a lock of his beard hair. Only asking Freerange bossmen Jimpster and Tom Roberts might we know the truth of the matter. In the meantime, this EP is a superb distraction. Jimpster's 'Head Spin' is shuffling and tribal, while Matt Masters and Pippo Ceretti's 'Xenophilia' is all acidic. On the flip, 'MYLNY' shows Aussie Andy Hart's deft grasp of swing, while Shur-I-Kan's 'Raindance' builds and builds before bursting with warmth. Congrats to all who have sailed in her.

House Music
Mr Tophat & Art Alfie
Karlovak

This is the penultimate release in Karlovak's KVK series, pretty much all of which have attained 'buy on sight' status. As ever, it's Mr Tophat and Art Alfie at the reigns, but they've truly gone to town here. Rarely does a track merit a 15-minute run-time, and 'House Music' doesn't really, but still this is an epic, chugging bombshell, whether you choose to play all of it or not. 'The Glitch' is hardly a radio edit at 10 minutes either, but its brooding, big room reverbery is nonetheless captivating for that.

Zachtjes
Nachtbraker
Hudd Traxx

Following business on the likes of Dirt Crew and Detroit Swindle's fledgling Heist Recordings, Dutchman Nachtbraker clubs this one out of the park for easily Huddersfield's finest house label Hudd Traxx — nearing 50 releases and 10 years in the game. Loose and staggeringly funky, 'Zachtjes' is an incendiary piece of work, with a solid mix from Borrowed Identity. 'Oversteppen', on the flip, slow burns its way to glory, a glorious slab of space house.

Why?
Ben Mono
Madtech

Nailing the Madtech sound like an absolute boss here is Ben Mono, previously of Munich's venerable Compost Records, and latterly unleashing deepness through Gomma and Strictly Rhythm. Title track 'Why?' is a pulsating, serpentine groove, all metallic percussion and off-beat stabs. It's solid, as is Russian producer Xandi's scything, occasionally acidic version. Over, 'Rather Kill Me' brings the garage, wobbling its way through a lean four minutes, delivering all that's needed and nothing more. Bravo.

Spayce
andhim
Get Physical

Cologne pair andhim present the latest excursion of their 'super house' sound. And to be fair, for all its self-aggrandisement, it is pretty super. And it's house. So here we are. Despite spelling issues, 'Spayce' has got oodles of swing among all the bleeping electronica, a clattering anthem, layered with glorious noise. 'Domplatte' is a tad more understated, but it lacks not ambition. When the drums roll back in after each classy break, all becomes abundantly clear. Very good indeed.

Work That
Chambray
Ultramajic

Arguably a little frisky, tempo-wise, for the house page, granted, but this from Chambray — aka Berlin's André Rost — through Jimmy Edgar's Ultramajic label is just too special to resist. In 'Anew', Detroit pianos hammer themselves through the pounding percussion. A dancefloor not reduced to rubble by this might not consider itself a dancefloor at all. Ditto, 'Work That'. And 'In Effect'. And 'Those Jawns', which closes out an EP that should be handled with extreme care.

Year Of The Horse
Good Guy Mikesh
Riotvan

A thoroughly blazing selection here from Leipzig's Mikesh, alumnus of Maceo Plex's Ellum imprint and classy spots like Hamburg's sterling Liebe*Detail. 2014 was actually the year of the horse (presumably when he made it), but matters such as the timely accuracy of the Chinese zodiac will likely be far from your mind when 'Power Plant' washes over you. It's bliss. 'Havok In The Stable' has the feel of DJ Koze's peerless Pampa imprint — joyous house music with a twist, the break-inducing shivers. 'Standing' goes for the off-kilter beats, while 'Phoenix' is gut-wrenchingly beautiful. One of the best of the year, for damn sure.