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OMENA

Omena is Finnish for apple. It's also a record label set up by Tobias Lidstrom aka Tooli, a DJ who also co-runs Local Talk Records and One Offs. For the label's second outing they bring us the simple, effective and downright deadly delights of Mella Dee. The producer serves up the perfect sountrack built for basements, dimmed lights and late nights. Mella Dee's solo sound has evolved from a true passion for all things garage, a dedication to hip hop, combined with a love for house music which was heavily influenced by the darkness of UK funky and dubstep.
Title track 'Estate' slams heavyweight beats four to the floor while swinging the drums for a UKG attack. Hefty! As you'd hope from a track called 'Warehouse', we get retro rave touches over more of those solid house beats. Things don't let up on the EP closer 'Cut 'Em Off' as the snare rattles and the acid bass throb is so large you'll itching to spin the track on a mega soundsystem.


Sofa Talk already showed us his prowess on the refined label Banoffee Pies. He is bringing that delicate balance between bubbly jazz and deep house to the well known Omena label. 
Four tracks of gentle house with bubbles of jazz, funk and broken beat. All of if propelled by some deep house beats creating a perfect mix for a gentle dancefloor warmer. 

'Balancing Acts' is a double feature including the more dancefloor oriented Prequel mix. Keeping faithful to the original, puts more emphasis on the beats to keep things going. 

This ep will sit well among fans of Herbie Hancock, Kaidi Tatham and any Banoffee Pies follower. 

STAFF COMMENTS

Sil says: Nice and classy. Champagne rather than beer is the drink to order when you listen to this 12". The Prequel mix is gorgeous and so it is 'Scissors and Shapes' with its flirtations jazz licks. Great stuff!

With an album on Kerri Chandler's Kaoz Theory plus EPs on his Madhouse and Madtech imprints, Benson Herbert and Leo Picking - aka Voyeur - are steadily making their mark on the house music legacy. Keeping that old school flame burning in the modern age takes a supreme grasp of poise and flair, as the genre competes with ADHD-fuelled kids, max'ed-out headroom and a plethora of splinter styles all utilizing the latest VSP / DSP processing trends.

With that said, the "Awakening" EP is quite an accomplished effort. The title track updates templates set out by afro-house luminaries such as Osunlade and Joe Clausell and is full of rampant vocal chants & whoops, a full percussion troupe and is set alike via deep throbbing stabs and unrelenting buoyant energy.

"Mundunugu" is a more spiritual affair, tailor made for Francois K's section and Body&Soul on a Sunday. Deeeep congas, suspended pads and tribal vox transport us into everlasting heart of house music, always beating from its natural core.

Casino Times muscle in on remix duties, aptly constructing a brand new vibe off the "Awakening" stems. The pair keep a heavy percussion presence but thoroughly intoxify the rest of the mix with long analogue fx sweeps, bleep melodies and squiggly lead lines - excellent!

Sneaking in before close of disc is bonus track "The Nomos", which, like the first two tracks, will keep any afro / rhythmic-centric house-inclined dancefloor satisfied, invigorated and ready to dance! 


STAFF COMMENTS

Sil says: Gents and ladies, 'Mundunugu' is da bomb. Tribal house without going full on. It is restrained and groovy. The vocal samples brings it all together. The rest is as good but this one is my fave. I am getting one.

Fresh from a debut on 100% Silk, Berlin artist Westcoast Goddess continues to set forth a vision of psycho-spiritual house music with this debut release on Omena.

"Springtime Forever EP" consists of 4 tracks dating from 1998 to the present, each representing a joyful season of the artist's heart.

Beginning with the Roule-indebted "Summer Song '98" - coursing with searing strings, flanging hooks and a loose house beat, this instantly transports the listener to a better time; before fear, surveillance and narcissism really grabbed hold of our society (Dave's just informed by that there was plenty of narcissism in the late 90s... but hey ho - ed).

"Better The..." is a highly musical number, with interplay between various synthesized elements, a stomping house beat and some brilliant keyboard solos. It has that getting-towards-the-end-of-the-session exuberance that you need when the DJ's only got a few records left to play and should find itself soundtracking a thousand 'lights-on' moments across clubland.

"No One Has 2 Know" sees an authentic NY house banger rolled out with aplomb. Complete with vocal, pumpin houz beats and tight synth stabs it's a no brainer for any main room or festival crowd.

"Blisstonia Babies" completes the set with another high end show boater; rich piano chords paired with lavish synthlines, trilling keys and arm-raising strings; an absolutely stonking house anthem with spine-tingling musicality and fathoms-wide smiles throughout. Nothing has embodied the feel good spirit of house music as much as this track this year! Massive.

As always, Ivo Kiusalaas has provided the label art.


Seb Wildblood's Omena LP, "The One With The Emoticon" gets remixed by a plethora of new and established talent from the global dance music village. Coastal house groovers Telephones are first to engage, imbuing "Wet Plants" with those crystalline blue skies and windswept hair styles that's fast become their standard. Tailor made for speedboat rides across the Adriatic! New girl Yu Su has previously released on cult labels Arcane and PPU. Here she coaxes "The One With The Emoticon" into the bedroom for a delicate and sensual rubdown that sounds super dreamy. Stockholm head and Studio Banhaus director, Kornel Kovacs is enlisted for a deliciously tasty retake of "Wet Summer"; injecting some radiance and futurism into its stems via some well synthesized sounds and disjointed rhythms. Finally, DK puts "Interlude" into the clouds via synth-choir vox, ascending keyboard parts and sumptuous pads; placing the track above the midday haze, gently riding the thermals without a care in the world. Amazing stuff here.

Casino Times is the project of producers Joseph Spencer and Nicholas Church - a musical partnership that is rooted in house and techno but with influences that stretch far and wide. After releases on Futureboogie, Permanent Vacation and Wolf, the pair come strong with this label debut for Omena. "System Translator" begins the journey, showing off their duo's penchant for crisp beats, vocodered melodies and dreamy atmospheres. A nice collection of sounds which work in an ethereal and elevating symbiosis. "Keyboard Warrior" recalls elements of Instant House with its lively tribal perc, wobbly leads and deep house rhythms. Growing steadily throughout, the track's inner fire and ferocity burns strong and should keep the true house music flavour alive on any dancefloor it graces. Flip for the glacial and concentric shuffle of "Simulation Bamboo". Like ice skating around a technicoloured, touch sensitive serious of platforms, raindrop arpeggios and phazed strings converge on the track, making for a hallucinatory listen primed for the club. Finally "Man Machine Interface" concludes with a sleazy slo-mo boogie track; perfect for the ALFOS crowd with its jagged industrious beats, dark lead and sci-fi-aligned aesthetic. Excellent stuff! 

STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: Casino Times bringing a classy, restrained but undeniably space-aligned theme to the dance. Four tracks that smother the listener in a luscious synthetic blanket.


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