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Review: Various Sound-Off 2 Sampler

Label: Fuel

Here comes Salim Rafiq, who's infused his previously straight-ahead Miami Bass sound with some adventurous shit by picking tracks like these two for Fuel's second Sound Off mix. Cold Fusion boosts "Rinds Gulasch" with some hearty and complex electro programming, while The Dexorcist's "Connect One" runs some classic electro with fanatically big bass. Read more » 

Review: Calibre Make Me Wonder

Label: Signature

Funky guitar stabs, vocal hooks, Amens and some authentic hand claps make this a sure dancefloor hit. Check the flip's "Got To Have You" for a lazier vibe and one of the catchiest b-lines you'll hear all summer. One to make you sweat. Read more » 

Review: Tom Clark King Tide

Label: Morris Audi

German DJ/producer Tom Clark has started three record labels (the now-defunct Gold Plate Music, Highgrade Records, and Laufwerk Musik) while producing for other imprints like Poker Flat, Rampe D and SuperBra, and maintaining a residency at Berlin's famed Tresor club. Clark's debut album offers solid minimal tech-house that flows from organic textures, although tracks like "Flying Carpet" move smoothly and somewhat uninterestingly without really going anywhere. Read more » 

Review: Various Decks and the City Vol. 2: Chicago/DIZ

Label: Take

From deep and dubby to jacked and jerky, Chicago's native son Diz stays true to his roots on this tight mix. After a somewhat forgettable start, with cuts from Sysco and David Duriez that otherwise might be standouts on a lesser compilation, Diz hits his stride on his own collaboration with Iz, "Love It, Dub it." When Mark Farina announces that it's "Time to Jack," you know the goods are on their way, and the ensuing funk builds to a fitting finale with Joshua's bleeping, tracky masterpiece "Hustlin." If the crew is as strong as Diz's, no harm representin'. Read more » 

Review: Various Brazilian Live Affair Volume 4

Label: Far O

For sexy, you can't really go wrong with swirling Fender Rhodes, sultry Portuguese vocals, a light bossa beat and strings. That's good news for this compilation, which, thanks to Patricia Marx's "E O Meu Amor Vi Passar," starts off on exactly the right note. It's also got a great mix of classic masters (e.g. Marcos Valle, Joyce) and up-and-comers. For all its progressive electronic sounds, BLA has a legit base in tradition, as a few of the tracks are dug up from secret Brazilian vaults. Read more » 

Review: Sutekh Micro-Solutions To Mega-Problems

Label: Soul Jazz

Following mate Kit Clayton's debut offering for Soul Jazz's new MSMG series, Sutekh offers a selection of trademark tech-house tomfoolery. "Mouth Party" stutters on vocal samples, like Akufen going vaguely garage. The deliciously titled "Scraping Nails" recalls tropicalista Tom Z? colliding with a humming refrigerator while "Boulez's Toes"-referring somewhat mysteriously to French arch-Modernist composer/conductor Pierre Boulez-proclaims it a party. One of Sutekh's finest moments. Read more » 

Review: Goapele Closer

Label: Skyblaze

Folks are just getting a listen to this Oakland soul chanteuse, and this slab (from "Even Closer", the remix version of her "Closer") finds rubs by Zion I's Amp Live and his man Mike Tiger. The title track's minimalist downbeats and warm atmosphere do it right, and the duo then surprises with a bumpin' 2-step mix. The flip's "Childhood Drama" sees producer Johnson giving the track fat hip-hop beats and a nice Peruvian flute riff. Charged. Read more » 

Review: A GRAPE DOPE Missing Dragons Ep

Label: Galaxia

Even more than fellow Tortoise drummer John McEntire, John Herndon has been a key player in Chicago's bustling post-rock/electronic-jazz scenes. Going solo as A Grape Dope, Herndon flexes his precise programming and quirky percussion chops to excitingly diverse effect over this EP's six tracks. Action: Showered Us" splutters out of the gate like a sloshed Squarepusher rupturing out-jazz and drill & bass, while "Red Hot Attack" (with Anticon's Doseone) puts odd Windy City torque to Dirty South hip-hop. Read more » 

Review: Europa 51 Absstractions

Label: L

Europa 51 come round rapping sultrily on your door with one question and one question only: at what point do you go from being influenced by the meandering pastoral postures of Tortoise and the breathy, vocalized foxtrots of Stereolab to sounding like a college dive bar-inhabiting cover band? Read more » 

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