***** Datafreq Vs. Hozerz (Paper+Sound Paplus6 – 2020)
What sounds like a mystery entry from the catalogue of Definitive, Toronto’s nineties imprint with yellow labels, is actually a collaboration of Dave Rout, Kris Helstrom and Heiki Sillaste – all seasoned artists from the Canadian metropolis. When looking at the array of styles the artists have been dealing with, one could expect anything, from industrial to ambient. But Sillaste’s Paper+Sound label has summoned the three under the sign of smileys, Rout as Datafreq and the other two as Hozerz. The trio has programmed two long cuts on the ‘shake your body’ theme, as the result of an improvised live PA at The Toronto Roland Inspiration Centre, a showroom and performance space. With trusted companions like TR 808, TR 707, TB 303, they build up caustic soundscapes of about 12 minutes each, when after atmospheric intros both jams offer variations on classic acid sounds. My favourite is the second one, which goes deeper, even into krauty realms, in the squeeze of cowbells, hi-hats and smoking drum patterns.
**** Various Artists – Abstract Logic (Soiree Records International SRT174 – 2020)
After thirty eventful years and a plethora of deep house tracks under its belt, one might think Soiree International Records would lead a quiet life in a cozy cocoon of complacence. This is not the case for the label, which is the main platform of the label owner Derrick Thompson and his Drivetrain alias. In the same Soiree is consistently inviting international talents to the EP compilations that have become the label’s main format in recent years. Surprisingly, “Abstract Logic” leaves aside deep house this time and takes a closer look at acidic tracks. After a strings intro, the label boss starts with a wildly grooving, vocal sampled 303 piece (“Concerto In Acid”) in the footsteps of the best Chicago traditions. DJ Sinjin (“The Fear Of Darkness”) is close to sinning with progressive house, being as suitable for dance action as Jani Ho’s muscular Detroit chords in “Fast Cars”. For the end, Teknobrat is in a more playful mood with abstract-minded chimes, but when vitriolic riffs are taking over “Rail Transfer”, it becomes clearly a glorious conclusion of the acid theme.
**** Torolf Stendik – Seafront EP (Meltdown Deejays Recordings MLTDWN-004 – 2020)
I can’t ignore the feeling that a search for Torolf Stendik’s indentity would lead to Norwegian shores of the North Sea, but this is not a neighbour’s guest appearance on the Finnish label Meltdown Deejays. Torolf is actually Vesa-Matti Kivioja, an experienced player of the Finnish scene and behind the label’s most releases. Before going further, I would like to remind of his recent experimental tracks under the alias Vesu’s that came out on Going Good last year. “Vasklotbron” sets the mood with dry tribal beats in an performance that essentially becomes an acid house party, co-hosted by melodic riffs. “Sandö Sequence” is in a similar vein and flirting with tech house, before the Swede Harald Björk turns the track “Bryggan Jam” with his “Like A Phoenix Version” into a ten-minute wanderlust, for scenic views in a gentrified harbor area.
***** Trackmaster Dre – Grandmaster Acid (Odd Even ODD/EVEN 034 – 2020)
A spectacular session from Trackmaster Dre who rushes through a theme park of Chicago acid, picking up influences from left and right. The Russian artist who has been producing under Tripmastaz for several years, returns to André Kronert’s Odd / Even label for the third solo EP, bringing to us three strikes of classic acid house for the sweatiest moments in clubs, once they reopen. “Grandmaster Acid” might stem from Bam Bam’s Westbrook Records catalogue, with grim vocal samples and pulsating percussion, while “Blockhead Deuce” ups the tempo amidst harder grooves. Surrounded by percolator’s steam, mechanical jam “4th” concludes the release in style. The feeling of having heard it before doesn’t leave me alone, but all tracks are of full-bodied kind and asking for more.