Jacques Renault, Out of Sync EP (LPH032)
Despite being an obsessive record collector for most his life; a globetrotting DJ who’s toured the world dozens of times over; a go-to remixer for numerous labels, both high profile and fledgling (DFA, Mute, Permanent Vacation, Warp, Defected); co-owner of several imprints, LPH itself being one of them; and producer behind a handful of house and disco tunes that started trickling out in the mid-aughts, Jacques Renault has managed to never release a true, honest to god EP comprised of originals. That’s about to change with Out of Sync, a four-tracker that exemplifies all Renault is, has been, and aspires to become—and that serves as a lead-up to his debut full-length, which will hit shelves next year.
Sync starts with a chunky house jam (“I Like It”) built upon loose, gritty drums, a characteristic central to essentially every cut Renault has churned out. The song, co-authored by longtime house auteur Andy Meecham, a.k.a. Emperor Machine, is relatively brief and to-the-point, a forthright ditty that will doubtlessly tear up dancefloors and that acts as a neat intro to what else is contained on this record.
That one’s followed by “Akron,” a woozy, ethereal synth-laden house boogie that evokes moments from Renault’s past, namely the days of yore when he was actively producing, as Runaway, with his partner, Marcos Cabral.
The flip begins with “Make Up,” a driven thumper that’s interwoven with acid-y melodies and an industrial, jagged sharpness. Finally, the record closes with “M.A.N.,” a contemplative cut that shuffles and bumps along, and that manages to feel grounded yet upward-gazing. How appropriate considering the fact that the acronym stands for “music at night,” which could easily be a slogan for most everything Renault does and has a hand in.
The EP ends gently, albeit with a certain spark, an upswing that implies this most definitely is not the last of what Renault has to unleash into the world. Indeed, these first four tracks represent only the beginning.
Luke Solomon, Things Wot I Done, Vol. I EP (LPH031)
Over the course of his twenty-plus-year-long career, Luke Solomon has made one hell of a name for himself: he’s released dozens of singles and EPs on labels like Crosstown Rebels, Rekids, Cajual, and Playhouse, to name a few; founded his own imprint, Classic, with longtime friend and co-conspirator, Derrick Carter; dropped four albums; and had a hand in well over 100 remixes. As one might expect, it’s a tremendous honor to now welcome the veteran DJ and producer to LPH, where we think he fits in perfectly, despite being the artist in our ranks with the most impressive tenure.
Things Wot I Done, Vol. I kicks off rambunctiously, with “Let the Rhythim,” a sharp, powerful house tune wrapped in a barbed wire knot of chunky synth hooks, loose drums, and looped vocals you’ll find yourself immediately singing along with. “Wot U Du” is the acid-y complement to “Rhythim,” a more malevolent tune that sounds crisper and more focused, rendering it, arguably, more destructive.
The flip is commenced with a remix of “R U Ready?” by 50Weapon’s Benjamin Damage, a buddy whom we’ve been courting to work with us for a year. His cut—which is the first effort yielded from his new hardware-centric setup—is a twisted, acid-laced techno one that’ll immediately ignite any dancefloor. The EP is finished with the Solomon original, which is no less punchy than Damage’s version, but a little more bizarre and wonky; it’s loaded with effects, unexpected twists and turns, and screeches that’re plopped in, seemingly, at random. The 12” ends as it begins: with a bang.
As the title implies, this is presumably part of a series and we already can’t wait to see what Luke does next.
COEO, Sunkist EP (LPH030)
We’ve been sitting on this one for a while. COEO first came to our attention over a year ago, and while we scooped up the tracks included on their LPH debut, Sunkist, right then and there, due to scheduling snafus and a bursting-at-the-seams calendar, we weren’t able to place the EP for months and months. That said, considering the sheer euphoria and brightness of the record, it seemed only right to unleash it into the world in August, when the days are longest, the BBQs most frequent, and you can’t walk a block without passing a rooftop party or backyard blowout.
COEO, which is comprised of Florian Vietz and Andreas Höpfl, two Münchners, already have a couple releases to their names—an EP for Dabit, an appearance on a Sccucci Manucci comp—but we humbly consider this to be their first proper solo EP; it includes four originals and a remix.
With “Sunkist,” it’s immediately clear that these kids are fans and followers of garage. The track is built around a bouncy bass riff that lingers and weaves like smoke from a cigarette. Atop that is laid chopped-up vocals, buttery smooth keys, and a touch of simulated vinyl crackle for good measure, all staples of tunes that worm their way into your ear and stay there for good.
The A-side is filled out with a remix from Graeme “the Revenge” Clark, a longtime friend as well as frequent LPH party guest. Clark consolidates the bits and pieces of the original into something squarer and more to the point—but no less summery or peppy—while adding his own flare (some polyrhythmic drums, extra chords, new vocals, bleeps and bloops). From there, we gently ease into the B1, “Be,” a cut built in a similar way to the A1, but with a bit more in-your-face punch and a pressing air. The record is concluded with “Thinkin’ ‘Bout You,” a swinging, sax-laden tune that flutters around the upper registers more so than the others.
The fellas presented us with such a wealth of awesomeness that we figured we’d tack a bonus song onto the package, something we’ve not done in a couple years. “Good Love” acts as a sort of summary of the tracks that preceded it: it’s fidgety and twitchy—but not in an overwhelming way—and, simultaneously, easy on the ears, a glossy, sugary confection you’ll find yourself returning to time and time again.
Curses, Bark in the Dark EP (LPH029)
If you’ve been even the most casual participant in or observer of the NYC dance music and club scene over the past decade, you’ve most definitely encountered Luca Venezia, a.k.a. Curses, who once was better known as Drop the Lime, a central figure in the Trouble & Bass crew. Where DTL was all stripped and chewed dubstep and grime, Curses is clearly of a house bent, albeit one that’s been cut with plenty of heavy bass, breakbeat-leaning drums, and a frantic energy that one wouldn’t find on classic Chicago 12”s.
As a longtime friend and fellow New Yorker, it was only a matter of time until we came together for a record. The resultant EP—which is called Bark in the Dark and serves as a sort of unofficial companion to Curses’ recent release on our sister label, Throne of Blood—is equal parts unabashed cheese, hands-in-the-air euphoria, and bone-chilling witchcraft. The title track is a tongue-in-cheek, sax-laden stomper that chugs along for nearly eight minutes, the first three of which tantalizingly build to what can only be described as a nasty drop. A remix by Glasgow’s Naum Gabo (J.G. Wilkes of Optimo fame and James Savage, who released an EP on LPH in 2011) fills out the A-side. It’s an explosive reimagination that seems to have been constructed from stems spiked with Rohypnol, acid, and a touch of ketamine. If Curses’ O.G. rendering is Krusty the Clown, N.G.’s tweak is Sideshow Bob; an antagonistic, malicious, schizophrenic bundle bound by paranoid rage.
The flip finds Curses shifting gears and exploring the dark corners of the smokey, strobe-sprinkled basement megaclub you might see him playing “Bark” in. “Eyes on You” is a creepy crawler, a house cut that’s built around a slinky yet haunting keyboard line and drums that have so much swagger and punch to them that they seem drunk off their own confidence and assurance. “Need You” is a bit peppier and squarer, but not by much. In lieu of the Twilight Zone-lifted melodies in “Eyes,” there’s a plethora of pads you’d be likely to find in choice Balearic tunes and beats that also feel straight out of the late 90s, but the whole thing is constructed and arranged with such cheer and given a bass-rooted modern spin that it’s impossible to not shuffle along to it, start to finish.
Urulu, Moon Unit EP (LPH028)
Fervent followers of LPH will immediately recognize this record as the second from Berlin-by-way-of-London-by-way-of-L.A. producer, Urulu, to grace the label. (If you want to get technical, yes, the first did arrive via LPH WHITE, an LPH imprint.) Where Left Coast—an ode to Taylor Freels’ home state—was all high-octane, jacked party-ignitors, its follow-up, the provocatively and aptly dubbed Moon Unit, is a spacier, loopier, and looser offering. The title track is a dense, syncopated, seven-minute-long jam that assuredly, confidently builds to an organic and euphoric climax, thanks to the live feel of the drums, the nuance of the bass, and the improvisational vibe of the arrangement as a whole. “Moon Unit” is, uniquely, equal parts peak hour decimator of dancefloors and music for, say, cross-country drives or 10K morning jogs.
“Sounds Like Sumo” feels like an epilogue of sorts. More noodling and melodious than the lead-in cut, “Sumo” finds Freels stretching out a bit. It’s like a waltz composed by Esquivel for use on The Jetsons that’s been edited and rejiggered for inclusion on this undeniably modern EP.
“Lunar Larry,” which kicks off the flip, is both the 12”’s most luscious and its most abstract. A fuzzy, woozy synth melody wafts through the whole thing. About halfway in, a theremin-esque line enters giving the entire piece a trippy, psychedelic tone. The record is concluded with Ben La Desh’s remix of “Moon Unit,” which is especially propulsive and trackier than the original without feeling hollow or soulless. If the three songs that precede it are explorations through alien terrains in outer space, Ben’s remix is the explosive return trek—via rocket ship, of course—back home.
Tanzlife, Biscuit Symphony EP(LPH027)
This is a singular, idiosyncratic piece of work unlike any other that’s come out on LPH. The product of Polish producer, Tomek Matuszczak, Biscuit Symphony is, as its name suggests, an epic yet whimsical and bizarre journey through its auteur’s eccentric—albeit charming and catchy—tendencies.
The title track is a boisterous ditty that has the structural components of some gnarly, throwback acid jam that’s been given a fresh coat of glossy lacquer. Over the course of seven-and-a-half minutes, it zigs and zags, curves and bends, peaks and troughs in unpredictable yet always exciting and fresh ways. “Horizon” is the worn and sore dance partner of “Biscuit Symphony”; it’s just as focused, layered, and oddball in vibe, but it has a detectable air of weariness to it, which is enhanced by the soft, ambiguous R&B vocals.
The B-side finds Tanzlife picking the pace back up, like a shot of espresso was all he needed. Flush with cartoony noises and frazzled strings, and glued together with hooky synth melodies, “Raw Orange” is a fiery little nugget of fun. With its followup, “Talizman” (hard to not consider it the producer’s unofficial theme song), Tanzlife simplifies a bit, but doesn’t compromise quality, energy level, or digestibility in the process. The strobed, pulsating, rhythmic synth line that’s sewn into the crux of the entire tune evokes classic Mugwump trickery without coming off as a simple rip. Finally, the EP ends with a beatless cool-down cut. The aural version of a big ol’ bong rip in a planetarium stargaze, you can practically see the waft of smoke curl in front of your eyes and part to reveal glints of synth washes and spoken word samples as your mind’s eye paints the aurora borealis or Milky Way.
Atsushi Yano, Chewy Tunes EP (LPHWHT04)
LPH’s unpredictable sister label, LPH WHITE, is back with another juicy 12”, one that marks the imprint’s first foray into Japanese clubland. Atsushi Yano, a Kobe-based producer, serves up three—as the title indicates—chewy tunes, all doused with African rhythms and set ablaze with fidgety keys, chopped-up vocals, and groovy bass lines. Filling the release out is Jacques Renault’s no nonsense, squared-up, lead-footed remix of “Stomping On the Verge.”
André Laos, Roundabout EP (LPH026)
In the past year or so, LPH has increasingly been turning its focus to Sweden, grabbing records by HNNY, M.D.C., and Name In Lights, and remixes from Kornél Kovács and Shakarchi & Stranéus. The label’s next release, an EP by Gothenburg-based newcomer, André Laos, indicates owners Nik Mercer and Jacques Renault have no intention of disassociating themselves from the nation!
The EP—titled Roundabout and loosely themed around traffic signals—will indubitable make its way to myriad spring and summer playlists; it’s warm, smooth, juicy, and has just enough kick to make you woozy in the head while you succumb to its infectious hooks as they crawl up your spine and pluck your heartstrings. The fun starts with “Detour,” a supple disco-infused boogie decked out with punchy keys, fuzzy female vocals, shimmering hats, and carefree drums that are ever so slightly behind the beat. If the track was a drink, it’d be an icy daiquiri, sweating in the sun. Following the original is Session Victim’s remix, a decidedly more sultry and patient—albeit shorter—statement. Flush with horns and stuttered synth licks, the Germans’ version sounds merrily drunk on wine and a full stomach.
Flip the record and find “Yield,” another tropical ditty, though, unlike “Detour,” it’s urgent and more intense. Here, the rolling drums are sharp and pronounced, the vocals keenly in focus, and the melodies more rigid, but that doesn’t mean the tune won’t decimate dancefloors! The 12” is concluded with a melancholic ballad of sorts called “One Way” that will give you gosebumps as it sways you to sleep (or out the door or into the moonless night, depending on where you’re at). A robust and confident final statement, “One Way” makes it clear that Roundabout is only the first of many chapters to come in Laos’ book. Stay tuned.
Squarehead, Dead Reyt EP (LPH025)
Squarehead, a Sheffield-based up-and-coming talent, is the lucky producer to nab LPH’s 25th release, a landmark to say the least. (As such, the label is printed with touches of silver inks.)
Hot off a thrilling 12” for Manucci’s Mistress and a nasty one for Shabby Doll, Squarehead’s LPH contribution is, as one should now expect, all lean muscle and no fat. “Dead Reyt” gets the record going at a feverish pace; a propulsive and peppy bass gets you moving straight away, with well-placed synth washes, vocal drops, and an arpeggiated, loopy melody making it playfully suspenseful and engaging. When it sputters out after seven minutes, you either hit repeat or eagerly move on the next cut, “Got2Know,” an equally forceful and headfirst piano house boogie.
The B-side begins with “Vishen,” an elastic, whimsical jam that’s laced with a bouncy synth hook and sporadic bits of extra fills, claps, and supplemental bass licks. The 12” closes with “Someday,” a rigid, square house tune built around a sprightly steel drum part and swinging hats that coalesce into a euphoric conclusion to this already lighthearted yet masterfully arranged and executed collection of originals.
Jacques Renault, The Fake Out EP (LPH024)
LPH’s second record of the year is quite a doozy. Once again, label co-founder/-owner, Jacques Renault, steps up to the plate, equipped with some TNT laced with his special sauce.
“The Fake Out” is a nasty, no-nonsense house cut that’s equal parts paranoid, schizo jitteriness and deliberate, forceful thump. The track begins with a fidgety synth motif and throbbing bass warble, both of which extend through all seven minutes. Guttural vocal samples are dropped in, lock-step, with the beat, adding to the overarching bleakness until it all simply ceases. This is Renault embracing the searing sharpness of his personality illustrated so vividly on a number of the productions he and Marcos Cabral did as Runaway, namely “Indoor Pool,” which came out on LPH in 2011, and the Rekids/DFA classic, “Brooklyn Club Jam.”
The flip features two complementary remixes, one by Welsh producer the Organ Grinder, the other by fellow New Yorkers No Regular Play. The former picks up where J.R. left off, but rejiggers the original into something more resemblant of a song, with a build, a bridge, a climax, and, finally, a comedown. It’s no less menacing, however, which isn’t too surprising; the Organ Grinder is known for his twisted and intense style. NRP, on the other hand, breathe a bit of warmth into the cold expanse that is “The Fake Out” by augmenting it with soothing keys and a smoother—and catchy—bass riff. After taking off so explosively, it feels nice to land with grace and finesse.
Francis Inferno Orchestra, Hezbolla EP (LPH023)
Let’s Play House is kicking the new year off with its own Times Square ball drop: Francis Inferno Orchestra’s three-track solo EP, Hezbolla. The wonky, off-kilter, eccentric package manages to be two disparate and often contradictory things at once: a guaranteed chaotic, debaucherous barn-burner and a deep, heady epic journey.
The title track is just as violent and nasty as its name might imply, but it’s underscored by the sort of lightheartedness and good humor that FIO is known for. The first five minutes are a jumble of distorted, fuzzy kicks, toms, and bouncy bongos that all magically coalesce into a euphoria buttressed by bright horn samples, chopped-up vocals, and a groovy bass riff. When it finally sputters out, it’s hard to believe all of ten minutes just flew by.
The flip starts with “Vibrations,” a saccharine, buttery disco-tinged cut that’s all glitz and glam, a hypnotizing cocktail of sublime, sparkling melodies and glistening keys. Bookending the 12” is “Hezbobongo,” a sort of bonus beats rendering of the A1, thrown in to keep the party chugging along and offer DJs some fun toys to fiddle around with in the booth.
Hezbolla will be followed by a second EP on LPH WHITE featuring two remixes of the title track and another original.
Jacques Renault, “Got to Believe” (LPHWHT03)
LPH WHITE’s latest is another made-for-the-club sureshot winner from label co-founder and -owner Jacques Renault himself. If you’ve caught one of his sets around the world sometime this year, you’ve most likely heard the house banger―and consequently gone nuts. It’s impossible to resist the temptations of the bombastic drums, fat bass, chopped up vocals, and dubby synth hooks included within. A shining example of Renault doing what he does best.
Fantastic Man, Heartbreaker EP (LPH022)
About 18 months ago, Let’s Play House released its most significant EP to date: Fantastic Man’s It’s Essential. Since then, the Australian producer—whose real name is Mic Newman—has gone on to release a handful of other records, tour the world, and even remix a song for LPH’s co-owner/-founder, Jacques Renault. A followup to the 12” that started it all was always in order and it’s with great pleasure that we finally present it to you now!
Heartbreaker kicks off with its title track, a spooky, acid-tinged burner that gets the blood flowing. Following that is “Zero,” a lighter and brighter tune that shuffles along with grace and a certain carefree aesthetic that evokes 80s synth pop. On the flip, Fantastic Man returns to the darkness with “Keep Out,” a sinister house cut that slowly, patiently boils, bubbles, and stews over the course of six-and-a-half minutes. The EP concludes with a fidgety, swirling remix of “Keep Out” by Suzanne Kraft, flush with modular synth noodlings and jams.
Rhythm Operator, Hope EP (LPH021)
Let’s Play House turns its eye back to its home country for its 21st release, a four-track EP by Rhythm Operator.
The record commences with a collaboration between the mysterious producer and a new duo from Munich, Rhode & Brown, called “Fiona’s Room.” Like the banger he shacked up with Ejeca for on for W&O Street Tracks (“Raid”), the tune is a no-nonsense, club-igniting party-inciter enveloped in frantic, staccato keys, chopped-up vocal samples, and a warm, smooth bass riff. Following that bigness is a sort of palette cleanser, dubbed “Real Hustle,” that’s all swirling, visceral synth washes, spartan hats, and ambient sound effects.
The flip finds R.O. somewhere in between “Fiona’s Room” and “Real Hustle.” “Hope” is a driven and deliberate cut that chugs along with angular precision underscored by an organic, fuzzy melody, giving it extra weight and plenty of soul. Chamboché takes those elements and squares the track up further, morphing it into a robotic, high-octane shuffler. Hope is nothing if not diverse, a 12” that feels at home both in a nightclub and on a home stereo.
montel, Eastside Kings EP (LPH020)
After a two-year-long tenure, Let’s Play House Records’ twentieth release finally arrives! This one features four originals by newish affiliate, montel, who released a song on the second LPH V/A compilation EP. The Belfast-based producer is an especially busy and active man: he runs his own label, Seven Music, and collaborates with a partner in South West Seven. On his own, montel specializes in cranking out some the best deep house and UK garage around, and Eastside Kings is a shining example of his talents.
The EP starts with “Peace In the World,” an infectious, assertive stomper that hooks you with a simple keyboard riff and vocal sample. The energy doesn’t let up on “Runnin’,” though that cut is decidedly deeper and smoother. The flip finds montel turning it back up to 11 with “Ecstasy,” a dramatic club anthem, and “Get Down,” a funky, elastic burner that closes the 12”.
HNNY, Mys / Kela EP (LPH019)
Just in time for the summer peak comes an EP by Swedish producer, HNNY. The lead song is a sentimental, romantic serenade, decked out with lush vocal samples, fortified by a simple, bouncy bass and jazzy drums. Young Marco speeds the tune up and creates a longer instrumental lead-in that sounds like cutting room floor scraps from an Altered Images studio session in the early 80s. A cheerful and perky reinterpretation that is made all the more bittersweet thanks to the late (yet rewarding) incorporation of the fragile swoonings of the original.
The flip supplements “Mys” aesthetically and sonically, which makes sense—consider it the second half of this two-part composition. It’s still a saccharine and gushy little nugget, but one that’s a bit more beat-heavy and layered (plenty of sax!) Gothenburg natives, Shakarchi & Stranéus, morph the tune into a deeper, loopier ditty that will surely set any floor ablaze with it’s sharp edges and sleek synth washes.
Whether you’re embracing your loved one to these four songs while sprawled out in a cushy patch of park green or boogieing on a dancefloor, we know they’ll do the trick and meld to the moment you’re in.
Urulu - Left Coast EP (LPHWHT02)
LPH WHITE’s second offering picks up where the first one, by Waze & Odyssey, left us. That 12” featured a remix by London-by-way-of-Southern-California house up-and-comer, Urulu, who produced all four of the tracks included on this EP.
Left Coast is an ode to Taylor Freels’ home turf, but don’t think it’s all blissed-out Balearic burners one might listen to while rolling down a palm tree-lined stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway. Every one of the four songs is a cranked-up, high-octane, peak-hour monster.
Waze & Odyssey - Feelin’ You EP (LPHWHT01)
Let’s Play House’s latest endeavor is a no-nonsense imprint, simply dubbed LPH WHITE, which, as the name implies, takes a cue from those mysterious, classic, unmarked dance records of years past.
The debut 12” comes courtesy of London-based duo Waze & Odyssey, who, as is to be expected, deliver a couple of top-notch club bangers (the deadly “Feelin’ You” and deeper “Gonna Make This”) that will immediately shred any dancefloor to pieces. The one remix included in the package is by London-by-way-of-Southern California up-and-comer Urulu.
Jacques Renault, Back To You: Remixes EP (LPH018)
s Play House began the first half of 2013 with a single by label co-founder Jacques Renault, and now the guys are kicking off the second with three fresh remixes by international heavyweights Tom Trago, Fantastic Man (a.k.a. Mic Newman), and Francis Inferno Orchestra.
The 12” initiates with Trago’s interpretation, which takes most of the infectious and instantly recognizable elements of the original (the thumping drums, the hummed melody) and pumps them up to the next level. Complementing his maximalist approach is Fantastic Man’s pared down rendering, which strips the tune of most its bells and whistles, instead obsessing over the horns and elastic riff that the track is built around. It’s a slow burner, but one that will relentlessly, deliberately tear up dancefloors.
The flip features Francis Inferno’s spacier take on Renault’s work. Like the Paradis mix found on the first single, it launches the song to outer space for a more cosmic exploration, only gently gliding back down to earth at the very end.
Tippy Toes EP (LPH017)
With Tippy Toes’ eponymous debut EP, LPH not only puts out its first record by a previously-unreleased artist, but also delves into the world of pure, unadulterated out-of-the-box house music. The duo—comprised of friends Morgan Wiley, of Midnight Magic, and Abe Seiferth, an established and revered engineer—have been around in some way, shape, or form for a few years (originally comedian and musician Reggie Watts was their vocalist), but only settled into their current state sometime around the summer of last year. There are two halves to Tippy Toes: one revolves around live synth freak-out jams that can extend for hours; the other—seen vividly on the EP—focuses on them distilling those elements into five-to-seven-minute-long tracks suitable for at-home and club play.
With the first note of the kick-off track, “Up and Up,” it’s clear that Wiley and Seiferth are good-humored and keen on making music that’s both endlessly enjoyable and deeply complex, nuanced. The boogie centers on a a few dueling bouncy basslines, Balearic synth washes, and tweaked-out acid licks. “Swizzlestick” is a bit tougher, the bass thicker and denser. But the easy listening-style guitar hooks and spacey keyboard lines lighten it, allowing the song to float into the sky. With the last track on the A-side, “La Parguera,” Tippy Toes remove drums from their production entirely to yield an enchanting, meditative song that evokes some of Tangerine Dream’s trippier moments of the 70s.
On the flip, though, the vacation is over and the duo is back to business. “The Naughty Dip” sounds exactly like you think it would—a noodling, delay- and reverb-heavy saunter that climaxes with one hell of a nasty drop. “Under Toe,” a sharper, more deliberate body-mover, concludes the party by incorporating elements of the other four tunes into an epic grand finale, fireworks and all.
M.D.C. & Name In Lights, Stockholm Stories EP (LPH016)
LPH’s second release of the spring is also the NYC label’s second split 12”. But instead of featuring a couple of sun-soaked L.A.-based outfits as with Cosmic Kids and Fingerpaint’s Reality On The Horizon EP, label heads Nik Mercer, Jacques Renault, and James Friedman set out to Sweden to grab three tracks by M.D.C. (otherwise known as Muslim Disco Club) and Name In Lights, plus a remix by Studio Barnhus’ Kornél Kovács.
The appropriately named Stockholm Stories EP kicks off with M.D.C.’s “Alma,” a sultry snake-charmer of a boogie built around a funky bassline that’s equal parts Middle Eastern groove and disco thump. The Kovács remix is decidedly more club-oriented—it prominently features police sirens and some very American vocal samples, including one by a certain Queen we all know well.
On the flip are two originals by Name In Lights, the production trio M.D.C. is a member of. “Curious Yellow” is a moody, deep house burner with an elastic bass and elegant synth washes throughout. “Blue Swede” runs with that vibe, but cuts to the chase, instead focusing on a more straightforward build, fortified with plenty of hi-hats and a bouncy, hypnotic hook that distorts your sense of time.
The record functions as a sort of dethawing agent helping us transition from the cold, severe, and dark winter into sunnier, brighter days ahead.
Cosmic Kids / Fingerpaint - Reality On The Horizon EP (LPH015)
With Reality On the Horizon, Let’s Play House continues to prove it’s not afraid to push the boundaries of house music while simultaneously broadening the spectrum of talent its roster embodies. The EP features four tracks by two Los Angeles-based outfits who have been around for a few years, primarily as taste-maker DJs—Cosmic Kids and Fingerpaint, a.k.a. Tyler Blake of Classixx.
The record kicks off with the one collaborative composition, “Manteiga.” And, like the S. American butter it’s named after, it’s a silky smooth jumble of disco samples and whimsical piano riffs, bright and brassy horns, and a bass-heavy melody that evokes the quintessential French house of the 90s. Following the party that “Manteiga” started is Fingerpaint’s “Change Yr Mind,” a slightly more somber affair that oozes melancholy from start to finish.
The flip finds Cosmic Kids getting deep and heady while not losing their penchant for cranking out groovy boogies that are impossible to switch off repeat. “Higgs Boson”—which is just as ethereal, spacy, and, yes, cosmic as you would expect a song named after the theoretical particle would be—functions as the duo’s exploration of their darker side. “Whisper Softly,” on the other hand, is the closest you’ll get to the house version of a 90s R&B ballad of TLC proportions.
It’s rare to find someone able to naturally create music that can both pluck every single heart string and get your body moving all night long, but Cosmic Kids and Fingerpaint somehow deliver just that—and knock it out of the park!—on their EP. Blast off to the stars with Reality On the Horizon!
Various, Various Artists EP #2 (LPH014)
As with their first various artist compilation EP, Let’s Play House has chosen to grab tracks from a handful of artists both new and old to the label and party. Portuguese duo Johnwaynes released the I Can See EP on the imprint in July of 2012 and Belgium’s Mugwump has been part of the company’s NYC party stable since 2010. The newcomers here—montel and Last Waltz—are obvious shoe-ins for inclusion in the roster.
As with the last V/A, this one tells a cohesive aural story. montel kicks the thing off with a no-nonsense jackin’ house boogie, underscored by a slightly-out-of-tune and elastic bass that infects your whole body. Johnwaynes darkens the mood a bit without loosing montel’s sense of urgency. The track throbs forward with the assistance of another thick bass, scattered synth ditties, herky-jerky hats, and breathy overlaid effects, giving it a cavernous vibe.
Brussels-based troublemakers Mugwump start the flip with a tune that seamlessly fits into their cannon—it sounds so familiar that it’s hard to believe it’s only just come out. As always, the duo’s foundation is a choppy, hook-laden bass that’s wrapped in playful synth lines, water-submerged effects, and big drums suitable for the largest of rock stadiums. Then Last Waltz wraps the whole affair up with their own melodious house boogie. As with the A2, theirs is more somber and spooky, yet just as catchy and addictive as the brighter montel and Mugwump songs. Imagine this EP as a miniature rendering of one of LPH’s warehouse parties: it’s big, bold, and lots of fun, while still having an obvious sense of a buildup, peak, and comedown.
Jacques Renault, “Back To You” (LPH013)
Let’s Play House begins 2013 much as it did the label itself, with a record by co-owner, Brooklyn-based DJ/producer Jacques Renault. Unlike LPH001, though, which featured a Runaway original, LPH013 was crafted by Jacques on his own. And this is not a track to skip over or sleep on—it’s the man’s first in three years!
“Back To You” begins unassumingly, with an off-kilter beat, some submerged, wobbly effects, and a brassy horn loop. Gradually, over the course of six and a half minutes, though, it builds to a satisfying climax that will undeniably move bodies on any dance floor and stay stuck in your head for days to come, thanks, in part, to the main melody being augmented by a hummed hook and a couple of congas. As always, Renault is a master of swagger-filled percussion that’s just a little off—a signature (and utterly addictive) characteristic of the weathered producer’s.
The flip features a very special remix—the very first by Beats In Space darlings, Paradis. The Parisian duo turns the original on its head, stretching it into a nine-minute-long house ballad of sorts, fully equipped with soaring vocals, a soothing, fluid, and thick bass line, and a few extra bells and whistles, like a maraca and triangle. Paradis sands down the rough edges of the A1 and crafts a cavernous, mesmerizing counterpart that brings the party to a dignified, contemplative, and peaceful close.
A second remix EP will follow the single with verions by Francis Inferno Orchestra, Mic Newman (a.k.a. Fantastic Man), and more. Stay tuned for more information!
River & Phoenix, Follow Your Dreams Pursue Your Nightmares EP (LPH012)
Let’s Play House finishes it’s first full year with its 12th release, which, like the first—Runaway’s Indoor Pool EP—features one original track and three remixes.
The A1 comes courtesy of River & Phoenix, a new nom de disque of Australia’s Young Edits. Earlier in 2012, he released his debut EP—Castle Rock—on Editainment, hence the playful moniker. This song, however, is not an edit. “Follow Your Dreams Pursue Your Nightmares” is a thumping, to-the-point peak hour jam that immediately sucks you in with its densely-packed bass line, sharp snare hits, and choral washes. A barn-burner from start to finish.
The remixes come courtesy of three LPH party alumni/affiliates—Lauer, the Dead Rose Music Company, and Tiago—providing the record with a grip of unique interpretations. Lauer squares up the tune, giving it a harder beat and four-to-the-floor groove. The flip finds Dead Rose injecting a heavy dose of early 90s house mayhem into the mix, namely thanks to a fidgety, schizophrenic keyboard riff. Finally, Tiago wraps up with a smoother, sexier rendering that shuffles along in time with some… aroused female huffing and puffing. Not to be outdone, Tiago submitted a second mix, which is a digital-only exclusive. It’s a bit more driven, but just as cosmic and spacey—a swirling synth ditty weaves its way through the track until its abrupt end, making it the most hypnotizing of the bunch. We have just one question: If this is the dream, then where’s the nightmare?
San Laurentino, Dreamers & Wanderers EP (LPH011)
With San Laurentino’s Dreamers & Wanders EP, Let’s Play House brings forth a hauntingly beautiful record ideal for the winter ahead—this is music in which to take shelter from lengthening shadows; a warm place in a cold, cold world.
Hungary’s San Laurentino has only been around for a few years, but already the man has proven himself to be a well-equipped, creative, and singular producer of the highest caliber. His last extended-player, Forbidden Fruit, released early in 2012, came via the legendary Live At Robert Johnson imprint. It comes as a surprise, then, that this is only his fourth official recording.
The four tracks included in this package are better perceived as four movements of one piece—each is a shimmering, emotive, and fragile aural journey that revolves around elastic, warm synth melodies that meander as they mystically progress with deliberation. Underscoring them all is a sober and forceful beat and syrupy-smooth bass line. Sprinkled throughout, like glistening stars in a cloudless night, are earthy syncopated rhythms, distorted, fuzzy effects, and chord modulations that make the listening experience all the more engaging.
At its core, Dreamers is rooted in deep house, but San Laurentino has taken the style and elevated it to something more formal and composed in structure and aesthetic; he pours the energy and vitality of the dance floor-focused genre into a more sentimental and sensitive vehicle, yielding something heart-wrenching, hopeful, and simply awe-inspiring. These are dreams transferred to a sonic sketchpad.
THE M.E.B., Dead Faces EP (LPH010)
The duo comprised of Ben Shenton and Chicken Lips’ Dean Meredith returns to Let’s Play House Records with their second EP for the imprint. This one, much like the first, features two originals soaked in spooky, bone-chilling deep house vibes. The record kicks off with “Dead Faces,” which, as the title implies, is a sort of anthem for a zombified discotheque. Its square beat sounds almost like a march, but it’s offset by eerie, reverb’d-out spoken vocals, acid-y synth warbles, and a chunky yet crisp melody, making it grade A dance floor fodder. An accent of cowbell and wells of static-y distortion turn it into a mesmerizing burner.
The Neville Watson remix that kicks off the flip morphs the track into a speedier and more aggressive affair. Watson magnifies the fat bass line and stretches the whole thing out for maximum impact. Following that is the second original, aptly dubbed “Killerwatt.” The tune runs with the aesthetic of “Dead Faces,” but with more clairvoyance: where the latter is all mushy and disorienting, the former is a sharp, assertive number, crafted during a moment of sobriety.
Finally, Sebastien San’s digital-only remix of “Dead Faces” rounds the package out. Sebastien takes the balls-to-the-wall route and turns every element of the original up to 11, adding plenty of rave-y bells and whistles along the way. If the A1 is for your stumbling, brain-dead party-goer, Sebastien’s version is for the drunk-out-of-their-skull fist-pumper, hungry for his next drop.
The Dead Rose Music Company, Tonight EP (LPH009)
LPH’s second offering from the Dead Rose Music Company is one thing if nothing else: proof of the mysterious Leodensian producer’s technical chops and comfort with a variety of dance music. March’s Four Songs EP was a triumphant collection of slow-mo disco-house; each tune was a buttery, sweet confection, perfect for penthouse pool parties and early night energy-builders. Tonight is TDRMC exhibiting his honed control of straight-up house. The two originals (“Tonight” and “Not Enough”) are deep, thumping after-hours burners, flush with prominent drums and groovy bass lines, clipped synth stabs, and sultry vocals. “Tonight” is the obvious fist-pumper while “Not Enough” is the more subversive surprise attacker.
Two of the guy’s compatriots—Ooft! and KRL from the Wolf Music pack—offer up their takes on the tracks to fill the rest of the 12” out. Ooft!’s stretches out the core components of “Tonight,” remolding it into a bumping boogie that teases your ear relentlessly until it finally breaks into full-on party mode. KRL’s version of “Not Enough” takes the opposite approach, amping everything up to a high octane crest and morphing the cut into a stuttering deep house classic without losing an ounce of the original’s warmth. The package is as tight as one would expect from TDRMC but a welcome change of pace and excellent showcasing of how mature and well-rounded the British DJ and producer is.
Various Artists - V/A EP (LPH008)
The 12” kicks off with a new track by the Dead RoseMusic Company. It’s slower and more peaceful than the party-starting jams featured on last March’s Four Songs EP but still showcases TDRMC’s knack for pumping out edits that can’t really be called edits (“recompositions”?) Newcomer and Tusk/Hornwax affiliate Pixelife delivers the sturdy A2, a thumping, muscly deep house groove that stomps along with deliberation.
U.K. darlings Bicep enter on the flip with a yet another classically rooted take on modern garage (of the UK and NJ varieties). Closing out the proceedings, Brooklyn disco powerhouse Midnight Magic delivers LPH’s first recording by a live band. Tiffany Roth’s sensual, full voice, the group’s glistening horn section, and a penchant for churning out ear-catching hooks combine to create an instant classic.
The four tracks aptly cull together the best of LPH and outline a sort of magnified cross-section of the company’s M.O. and aesthetic.
Johnwaynes, I Can See EP (LPH007)
LPH’s Nik Mercer, Jacques Renault, and James Friedman continue their global exploration of house, disco, and techno with their seventh release. This time the boys head to Portugal for a couple original tracks by Johnwaynes, as well as remixes by the imprint’s very own Renault and Finland’s production wiz, Roberto Rodriguez, here using his Manolo pseudonym.
The EP kicks off with its title track, a smooth, hooky tune that creeps into your ear and stay there, in large part thanks to the catchy whistled melody, bouncy bass line, and looped bell effects. Renault’s remix injects a heavy dose of adrenaline into the original’s bloodstream, transforming the tune into a slithery, slippery, acid-based peak-hour pleaser while still keeping the memorable riffs intact.
The flip is a darker affair. Where “I Can See” is uplifting, hopeful, and cheery, “Holy Sin” is hard-edged, tight, fidgety, and frantic—the aural embodiment of a paranoid, drugged-out crowd, dancing with abandon into the wee hours of the night. The Manolo remix dims the lights even more, adding an additional tone of ominousness, spookiness. Rodriguez enhances the bass chug while simultaneously stripping the cut of any warmth it might have had—imagine a robotized dub set to images of the apocalypse.
Fantastic Man, It’s Essential EP (LPH006)
For their sixth release, Let’s Play House has headed Down Under to scoop up Australia’s Fantastic Man, a second identity of DJ/producer Mic Newman, with which the Melbourne-based artist explores—and exposes—another side of his musical and stylistic skills.
And the four original songs on the It’s Essential EP most definitely mark a bit of a departure from Newman’s trademark sounds: he’s exchanged the thumping, peak-hour, hands-in-the-air chaos and messiness of hits like 2009’s “Sizzled Sally” for a more refined and subtle breed of deep house. The title track is crafted around a swinging keyboard line, horn samples, and jazz combo drum breaks. That’s not to say it isn’t made for the club—the throbbing bass line is hooky and infectious and will keep a crowd grooving all night long. “Wie Gehts” runs with the aesthetic of “It’s Essential” a bit further, though instead of a keyboard riff, it builds around a smooth, ear-tickling guitar melody and a sultry vocal.
The flip begins with the chillest tune of the bunch—“Sanctuary”—which certainly lives up to its name. This time, Newman springboards off a charming, dreamy piano line he underscores with an acoustic bass line and warm toms. Atop it all he spreads a thick layer of buttery synth warbles, making the track all the more magical and enchanting. Then “Scenic Route” kicks in and the decidedly clubby Mic Newman returns, although this time we’re meeting him at 4 AM instead of midnight. The jam plods with a deliberate yet stripped-down stride that’s filled out with glistening synth stabs and a persistent hi-hat-driven beat. Finally, the song folds into itself, as though it’s buckled under the strain of heavy eyelids and weakened muscles from a long night on the town.
Toby Tobias, Paradise Lost EP (LPH005)
Londoner Toby Tobias has had a rather productive year so far and it’s with great pleasure that Let’s Play House can claim him as its newest roster member. The Paradise Lost EP finds the man doing what he’s done best since coming out in the early aughts: dropping deep and frothy house with a steely underbelly. The title track begins with a muddy synth line upon which ambient, meandering melodies are layered, all led by a distant voice singing nonsense. Like a snake-charmer, he lures you in slowly and subtly until a thick, heavy bass pops out of nowhere and keeps you bobbing along until it fades away.
Marcos Cabral’s remix cuts to the chase: the Brooklyn- based producer quickly injects the song with a hefty dose of adrenaline, speeding up the feel with a snappier 4/4 snare while also removing most of the vocals to yield an overhauled version that sounds like a carved-out, ghostly re-rendering of the original.
The flip kicks off with “Choc-Ice for 4”—a funkier affair that prominently features a fat disco-y bass line offset by cold, precise synth stabs and a keyboard riff that sounds like it might’ve been used in an easy listening song. The tribal vocals Tobias sprinkles into the jam give it an off-kilter weirdness that keeps it interesting.
Tokyo Black Star finishes up the release with a helter- skelter and chaotic take on “Choc-Ice.” Dissonant, disturbing, and druggy, it most definitely lives up to its name—if the Akiba in question were from Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner and the song came on while Rick Deckard was roaming the misty, disorienting alleyways of Tokyo.
Naum Gabo, It’s On EP (LPH004)
The third release for Let’s Play House of 2012 also comes from the UK, but this time, label heads Nik Mercer, Jacques Renault, and James Friedman have gone north to Glasgow to recruit Naum Gabo (Jonnie Wilkes of Optimo and James Savage) for two originals.
The 12” starts off with “Ah & Oh,” a creepy, frantic house boogie that quickly hypnotizes with its loopy synth progressions and chopped-up vocal samples. The song eventually disintegrates into a thinned-out smattering of glitches and blips, making for a seamless transition into the more bass-heavy second track. “It’s On” boldly conveys a sense of lunacy and impending (dance floor) doom, as though, unless you keep stomping along to the distorted bass warbles, the club will collapse at any moment.
The flip features a remix of “It’s On” by the infamous, legendary Chicago house DJ and producer Tevo Howard, who trims the fat, making for a more streamlined yet muscular rendering of the original. An acid version of the mix will be offered as a digital exclusive to Beatport.
the Dead Rose Music Company, Four Songs EP (LPH003)
Brooklyn’s Let’s Play House keeps building momentum with its second release of 2012. This time, label heads Jacques Renault, Nik Mercer, and James Friedman have teamed up with an artists shrouded in mystery— the Dead Rose Music Company—to put out an EP featuring four original songs that confound definition…
The partnership behind TDRMC developed as many DJ/production outfits do- from a shared love of old records—and quickly led to countless secret, underground parties. Since then, they’ve had the pleasure of spinning alongside folks like the Magician, Soul Clap, Mark E, and Horse Meat Disco. Additionally, they’ve dropped a handful of sultry, smooth dance tracks for the likes of Future Classic, Sleazy Beats, and their own imprint, Taikomochi.
The Four Songs EP is a collection of tracks that aim to be cinematic in their production approach: these are epic mixes meant to stand the test of time, fueled by huge drops, warm, syrupy bass lines, and ear-tickling effects. While the four songs are technically edits, Dead Rose have left their inimitable fingerprints all over them. Each tune has the air and ambiance of a groove you got into at a party, but can’t remember fully the morning after; they’re visceral and almost dreamy, like the jumbled recollections of last night’s disco fading in and out of strobe-lit smoke on the dancefloor.
The M.E.B., Il Principal EP (LPH002)
Brooklyn’s own Let’s Play House returns with its first release of the new year: a couple of original house jams by Chicken Lips’ Dean Meredith—here teaming up with fellow Londoners Ben Shenton and Tim Silver— and a couple of remixes, courtesy of the mysterious house maven Chicago Damn and production guru Brennan Green. As usual, the party-starters behind LPH (Jacques Renault from Runaway and On the Prowl, editor Nik Mercer, and TOB’s James Friedman) have assembled a four-track 12“ fit to be played at their biweekly ragers as well as any other dancefloor hungry for something a little unexpected.
"Il Principal" begins unassumingly with meandering, atmospheric washes but quickly picks up and morphs into a fidgety, spastic boogie that immediately sucks you into an unforgettable groove. Chicago Damn’s take on the track is a deeper affair, flush with ambient beats, splashes of synths, and a thick bassline that pulsates through your body—a perfect late-night burner.
The flip’s “M5-M6” picks up the pace with its catchy keyboard line and and a zigzagging hook that weaves its way throughout the tune. Brennan Green’s remix adds more bells and whistles to great success. He augments the keys with an additional riff, throws in some extra toms and a dash of horns, and injects the bass with a seductive warble. As expected, his mix expertly wraps up the already solid package with a bang custom tailored for the dance floor.
Runaway, Indoor Pool EP (LPH001)
The debut release features a deep, dark house jam by Runaway (Jacques Renault’s production venture with NYC staple Marcos Cabral). “Indoor Pool” opens with a sharp, driving beat and spooky synth swirls that swell into a heavy, muscular bass groove, jacked up by a driving kick, phased effects, and vocal samples.
The three remixes come courtesy of a veritable who’s who of the slow-mo disco-house scene, including New York’s Slow Hands, UK stalwarts and edits dons Soft Rocks, and Washington, D.C.’s genre-bending and - morphing production team Beautiful Swimmers. Each one sheds light on a different aspect of the original, offering variations equally melodic, retro and driving.
Fittingly, the cover artwork features pictures from an indoor pool photo shoot by local photographer Ruvan Wijesooriya, who shot the cover of LCD Soundsystem’s “This Is Happening.”