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Chris Kaos, Karl K and Jason Kennedy Soul on Fire

Label: Atlas

This Philly trio should be one of the big new names for 2003. "Soul on Fire" is a sultry vocal workout that switches to filtered tech, while the other side's "Dat Phunk" tells you "you got to work it, kid," and you really don't have much choice in the matter. Read more » 

Martin Dash Model Turned Programmer

Label: STiR15

This seems like a bit of a strange career move, but swapping the catwalks for the studio turns out to have been a good move for Dash. After contributing to the much-applauded City Slickers series and releasing a slew of 12"s, his name should be familiar to those with an interest in both house and fashion. "Motorcycle Emptiness" is vaguely reminiscent of Germany's electronic pioneers, with its slipping beats, wonder synth, pleasing keys and thunderous bass. Model Turned Programmer represents a melting pot of styles that combine at a laid-back, yet distinctly housey tempo. Read more » 

Dylan Chicago

Label: Freak

This one from badman Dylan opens up with filtered housey sounds and a "take a walk on the house side" vocal before breaking down and letting the vocals rip. The drop comes after one of the freshest turnarounds I've heard in a while, comprising sexy Chicago string stabs. Boh selectah! Fire fire fire! Read more » 

SusAnne Brokesch So Easy Hard to Practice

Label: Disko B

This New York-based Austrian native's second album on German imprint Disko B is an ambitious tapestry of classical music influences fused with ambient, techno and house touches. So Easy... is temperamental, swooping and dipping from one sonic mood to another. The opening track contrasts Brokesch's own voice uttering sounds and words with a grand backdrop of sampled and processed music by Franz Schubert. After this dramatic opening, things become even more bi-polar. Read more » 

Omid Distant Drummer

Label: Beneath The Surface

This long awaited solo debut by LA underground producer Omid (who also records as O.D.) on his own Beneath the Surface label is a solid collection of instrumental hip-hop tracks. From the demonic distorted bassline of "The Sad King" to the frantic drums of "Island Covenant" and the sad Arabic strains of "Ease in the Middle Piece," it becomes obvious that the man knows his way around a sampler. But while Distant Drummer brings the beats, it's not entirely groundbreaking, at least not as amazing as some of Omid's production for emcees like Busdriver and Freestyle Fellowship. Read more » 

Osunlade Offering

Label: R2

This gem of an album doesn't really break new ground-there's nothing particularly flashy, attention-grabbing or innovative here. What distinguishes Osunlade's Offering from the rest of the Afro-Brazilian, nu-jazz and broken beat set is the reverence, earnestness and sincerity with which he treats each of the tunes on this compilation. There's no quick-mixing or clever cutting about, just one impossibly soulful song flowing directly into the next. Read more » 

Andre Afram Asmar Race to the Bottom

Label: Mush

This disc finds underground-hip-hop hotbed Mush deviating into radical multicultural inventiveness. On his second album, LA producer Andre Afram Asmar unearths dub's roots and then fertilizes them with exotic seeds from Africa, the Middle East and Crooklyn. Asmar consistently keeps things eerie and disorienting, but he retains a soulful humanity amid the studio sorcery. Race To The Bottom is as sonically radical as mystical iconoclasts Muslimgauze and Badawi, but with a more uplifting spirit than either. Read more » 

The Militia Music for the Masses EP

Label: Cargo Industrial

This four-man collective-featuring the talents of Stakka, Friction, Skinny and K Tee-continues on in the rolling sci-fi vein these producers love so well. "Music For the Masses" and "Electrolux" are relentless, pounding Amen crushers, while "Low Key" and "You and I Know" are swingy machine-funk with precisely placed female vocals. Considering drum & bass's current warmth, these tracks sound a bit austere, but they'll still have some dancefloor currency. Read more » 

Model 3 Substance EP

Label: Soundproof

This debut release on Dallas label Soundproof features a triplet of tight house tracks for those who like it deeper. The pick of the three is Cle's stripped-down, modern acid house cut "Sustained Way," which absolutely kicks on a loud system. Read more » 

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