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TR20 – Bear Hug (Kyubu Records)

Kyubu Records has been one of 2014’s best new labels. Their first 3 releases featured cutting edge original material from label artists TR20 and Bowline along with an outstanding complement of remixes from Andre Sobota, Barry Jamieson and Quivver. This week sees the label returning for their fourth overall release and a brand new EP from TR20 who also supplied the labels first two releases. Their latest EP entitled ‘Bear Hug’ contains two brand new original productions along with remixes from Bowline, MUUI, Han Haak and Che Armstrong.

The ‘Bear Hug’ original leads the release off with a wickedly percussive groove and some moderately warped electronics. The shuffling beat patterns grab you right away as they sound super fresh and very floor friendly. Heavy bass stabs along with some crunchy acidic bits and sweeping textures further enhance the already brilliant groove as the track reaches an exhilarating peak. It’s abundantly clear that the TR20 guys have been hard at work in the studio of late and this goes down as one of their most satisfying works to date. The first remix is supplied by Simon Wright and Denis Le Breton aka Bowline who are returning to Kyubu for their second appearance. Their ‘Boreal Acid’ interpretation of ‘Bear Hug’ sees the duo staying quite true to the original groove but the addition of some funky acid stabs adds a uniquely moody vibe that results in a great alternative to the original. The second and final remix of ‘Bear Hug’ comes from MUUI who is one of electronic music’s most under-appreciated artists. His recent work for Crossfrontier Audio and his own Paranoid Dancer imprint has been spectacular and his ‘Bear Hug’ interpretation continues that strong momentum. MUUI’s wonky techno rework of the track complements the previous two versions quite well. It offers something unique and different while still retaining the warped, percussive sensibilities of the original.

The second original from TR20 ‘Obie Juan’ is next and it finds the duo focusing on a much funkier, more dance floor oriented sound. Filled with catchy vocal edits, hook heavy bass modulation and a wealth of strong rhythmic elements ‘Obie Juan’ proves to be the ultimate complement to the more heady ‘Bear Hug’. The track builds mightily towards a big second half climax which features a barrage of spacey electronics and rolling rhythms both of which make for my favourite moment on the EP. The first remix of ‘Obie Juan’ comes from Han Haak who is making his first appearance on Kyubu Records. The UK producer made serious waves in 2013 with releases on Sound Avenue and Selador Records. The Nick Muir engineered project has been quiet thus far in 2014 and the ‘Obie Juan’ remix here is his first release of 2014. For all the hype which surrounded this mysterious project last year the productions which actually saw the light of day more than lived up to expectations as does the interpretation of ‘Obie Juan’. It has been the best performing track in our Hype Charts off the EP and with good reason as it sees Hans transforming the original into a cool slice of melodic tech house. The tracks well carved groove, bouncy rhythms and spooky breakdown are just some of its notable elements and it’s certainly a worthy complement to the outstanding original. The second and final remix of ‘Obie Juan’ is provided by Che Armstrong. The UK producer runs the excellent Axon Recordings imprint and has also had his productions featured on Spring Tube, Lowbit and Nueva Deep. For his ‘Obie Juan’ interpretation Che has stripped the track right down and re-worked the groove with a barrage of clever edits and dynamic stabs. For as strong as Han’s remix is Che’s is easily on par and carries a contemporary club vibe which is one of the freshest and most unique sounding on the EP. Brilliant work from Che and a massive fourth release from Kyubu Records with a staggering amount of quality music to choose from. Don’t miss it.

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juan deminicis, strange, Moonchild Records,

Juan Deminicis – Strange (Moonchild Records)