- Deep house labels are many, but Brighton's Black Key, despite only launching in late 2011, is already one of the more reliable imprints around. To date, Johnny Cade, Andy Ash and Chamboche have all served up nicely aged EPs which, rather than coming over as lifeless soundalikes, showcased some genuine melodic artistry and dealt in enough idiosyncrasies so as to stand out from the crowd. So too this new Various Artists EP, which calls upon three established but firmly underground talents each quite different from the next.
BLM takes the first track, having previously appeared with an EP all his own on Underground Quality. That should give you an idea of his sound—stripped, grey scale and smoky—but what marks him out on his own are the roughshod melodies he favours. Here a heavyhearted, grainy piano hook lurks beneath serrated stabs as a subliminal deep house groove thuds below. An up-close male whisper adds intimacy to the otherwise dubby and shadowy affair, making it as ripe for early evening as it is the dead of night.
Following essential cuts for secretsundaze and Cityfly, "Red Rectangle" finds Flori toying with sketchy techno chords, faint claps and thin, icy synth lines to create a cavernous yet heady brew that bares all the hallmarks of Levon Vincent's majestic elegance and DJ Qu's seductive hypnotism. No Matter What boss James Johnston completes the connoisseur package with a swirling, moody joint lit up by a touch of disco melody and laced with late night atmosphere.
A BLM - My Sound Tool
B1 Flori - Red Rectangle
B2 James Johnston - Lights Off