House Music Reviews

The Selador Showcase First Edition – Various (Selador)

Dave Seaman and Steve Parry’s Selador Records celebrates a successful first year with the first edition of ‘Selador Showcase’, a massive 12-track collection boasting originals from some familiar and not-so familiar talents.

Dave Seaman gets proceedings off to a fine start with his tech-house/deep-house mutant ‘Justified Replacement of Lulu’. The tech-house sensibilities can be felt in the propulsive bassline and percussion, while the subtle organ theme and evocative ‘I dream of home’ vocal refrain tip their hats to the deeper side of house. The result is a really compelling slice of modern house music.

‘Panacea’ sees Brett Jacobs turn in a bassy tech-house, which builds with suspenseful pads and the somewhat overused ‘annihilating rhythm’ sample made famous by Major North. It’s low key, but grungy and effective. Dee Montero’s ‘Fade into Noir’ displays the showcase’s softer side, offering up a slice of gentle deep house with arpeggiated melodies, understated bass, and Aya’s sweet vocals. The proggier, chugging bassline that picks up halfway through works well, and the track is certainly pleasant enough, but it failed to really grab me. Melokolektiv and Alessio Pagliaroli’s ‘Can’t Lose My Rhythm’ is a hypnotic, slow-burning track, which gradually adds eerie pads and urgent bleeps over its low-slung basslines, before the melancholy main melody and vocal samples are allowed to creep in. There’s a retro-flavour to the production here, which works really well – very cool stuff indeed.

Luke Mandala‘s ‘Infinite Agave’ has been one of my favourite records of the past couple of months, and so it’s great to see it finally get a release. Quickly laying down a foundation of killer percussion, awesome bass and vocal work, and acidic squelches, the track builds to a surprisingly lush and moving climax with a catchy miramba-like hook and great melodies.

Rychard returns to the label with ‘Acidic Burn’, offering the album another highlight. What really makes the track is the interplay between the absurdly chunky, funky bassline and the piercing, full-on 303 lines that really pick up during the breakdown halfway through, all underwritten by fittingly powerful drum and vocal work.

‘Armanus’ is menacing, moody, and richly-orchestrated tech-house from Chaty, Tamez, and Gabriel I, with a real Eastern flavour and a mesmerizing chiming central hook. I have to say, I felt that the sound design and production values were a bit stronger than the melodic ideas developed over the course of the track, but it’s still a really nice record, and I’m glad to hear Selador have more on the way from these guys. Justin Massei’s ‘What I Don’t Believe In’ is another brooding, bassy tech-houser, but despite a cool vocal sample, nice squelches, and shuffling metallic percussive elements that pick up after two and half minutes or so, this didn’t really sustain my interest throughout its running time. ‘Sway’ is up next, and it sees Kucna Muzika turn in a slice of chunky deep house boasting a wonderful bassline, and driven by razor-tipped hi-hats and restrained stabs. The production is fantastic, but sadly the vocal that runs through the track didn’t do it for me at all – I’d have loved a dub version of this though.

On ‘Inner Voice’ Robbie Akbal pitches a slightly grating vocoder part over a light, airy deep house sound, with a nice rolling bass part that mirrors the main hook. I wasn’t too keen on the sequence following the breakdown however, though I can see it appealing to the summer crowd. Santosh Khan’s ‘Floating Pin Wheel’ quickly builds a great groove, lifted by a clever use of subtle vocal samples and melodies. The breakdown is surprisingly melodic and uplifting, and after the track picks back up those themes rise over a simple riff to give ‘Floating Pin Wheel’ its finale. Great stuff.

Finally, we have Marc Marzenit’s ‘Alchemist Desert’. Marzenit’s also gives his track an eastern flavour, with a fantastic, deeply hypnotic bassline, distinctive vocal samples, and a brassy, trancey hook that emerges most fully during the breakdown. As you’d expect from Marzenit, it’s really compelling and unique.

While not every track here appealed to me, the overall quality is high, with the collection being at its best when showcasing the chunky, twisted, modern take on house music that I tend to associate with Dave Seaman’s current sound – tracks like ‘Acidic Burn’, Seaman’s own ‘Justified Replacement of Lulu’, and my personal favourite here, ‘Infinite Agave’. Overall, the first ‘Selador Showcase’ very effectively marks the label’s arrival as a real presence on the scene – I’ll be looking forward to hearing what they’ve got in store next. 8/10

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