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Latest reviews

Al Kent is the kind of experienced producer with a midas touch who can pull off the single-track, single-sided 12" and not leave anyone doubting the value of the wax. On this occasion the Million Dollar Disco man is getting busy with 'Rain', working an iconic, evergreen vocal performance over a beautifully extended, joyous and passionate eight minutes of soul stirring disco perfection. This is party music at its most fierce and flamboyant, not to mention with the kind of illustrious musicality other genres just can't touch.
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Has it really been five years since Migration? Time has flown, but the evergreen appeal of Bonobo holds true as he lands back on his spiritual home of Ninja Tune with another hotly anticipated opus. Fragments finds Simon Green digging deep, having forced himself to work outside of his usual tour-centric comfort zone during the global shutdown and developing a lot of new material in the isolation of the Californian desert. While that air of solitude formed a foundation for the album, he then folded in ample collaborations from Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Jordan Rakei, O'Flynn, Joji and Kadhja Bonet, resulting in a stirring soul soup of richly developed, danceable rhythms and patient musicality with that unmistakable Bonobo touch.
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Djoko - Rapture EP
12"
$12.74
Following an action-packed 2021 that included releases on Up The Stuss, Shall Not Fade amd Berg Audio, tech-house/deep house fusionist DJOKO (real name Johannes Kolter) kick-starts 2022 with another quietly impressive EP. The German producer opts for a positive vibe, intergalactic chords, glassy-eyed electronics and rolling, funk-fuelled house beats on 'Rapture', before peppering a low-slung, garage-influenced groove with turn-of-the-'90s bleeps and classic house vocal samples on 'Inside of Me'. Over on the reverse, 'My Crib' is a typically atmospheric, sunny and melodious tech-house box jam, which Sidney Charles successfully turns into a more dubby-sounding peak-time shuffler. Excellent stuff all told.
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27 years after it first hit record stores in the United States, Kerri Chandler's Finger Printz EP returns on white vinyl. This is a very good thing indeed, because it remains one of the popular deep house DJ/producer's most consistently on-point EPs. It begins with 'Where Is Love', a chunky, peak-time ready workout built around swinging drums, a tuneful bassline and the kind of synth stabs that Chandler would later redevelop on all-time anthem 'Bar a Thym'. 'I Feel It' is a more hypnotic late-noght number featuring hard-wired organ stabs, skippy New Jersey druns, jazzy keys and seriously weighty bass, while 'I Remember' is a sweatier concoction for those sweat-soaked peak-time moments. Closing cut 'The Boom Can', meanwhile, is funky, deep, warm and groovy in equal measure.
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Martina Topley Bird - Forever I Wait
LP
$23.76
Martina Topley Bird's new studio album and fourth full length Forever I Wait is another triumph with some high level collaborations. Featuring on the 12 tunes are the likes of Robert Del Naja of Massive Attack, Rich Morel, Benjamin Boeldt and Tiadiad, but this is the artist's first self produced and self curated work. It makes for an expansive listen that reflects on the "fragilities of life" on its quest to make peace with what life is. Musically the record has a haunting, early trip hop quality while Topley;s voice always cuts through with its mysterious and soft edge but lyrically poignancy.
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Anyone with even the smallest interest in disco and boogie will have heard Unlimited Touch's 1980 classic 'I Hear Music In The Streets'. It's a stone-cold killer that should be approached with caution. Louie Vega, of course, is respectful, and these versions are not remixes but rather re-makes, with the Masters at Work man being joined in the studio by all manner of guest musicians and vocalists - including original members of Unlimited Touch. The standout version is the near 11-minute A-side 'Touch Mix', an all-live post-disco version rich in classic disco bass, guitars, electric piano keys and spacey chords. The short-ish 'NYC Expansions Dub' cans the vocals and emphasises the various instrument solos, while the 'LV Classic Boogie Mix' is an almost note-for-note remake of the 1980 original.
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Valentin Huedo / Igor Marijuan - The Mountain
12"
$13.87
Although he's been active as a producer since the mid 2000s, Valentin Huedo still has only a handful of solo and collaborative 12" singles to his name. This outing on the popular All Day I Dream label is a welcome return to action all told and marks his first vinyl release since 2014. Female singer Bird provides attractive and seductive lead vocals on superb EP opener 'Tonight', a warming chunk of hybrid deep house/tech-house fusion rich in sustained chords, bubbly electronic lead lines and glassy-eyed intent. Huedo's ability to deliver tactile, sun-kissed dancefloor gold is successfully showcased on the melody-rich 'Salinas Sunrise', while Igor Marijuan hook-up 'Neo' is a sparkling, gorgeous and effortlessly summery affair capable of calming your mind while moving your feet.
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Critically acclaimed jazz pianist and composer Joel Fairstein hails from Knoxville, Tennesee. He was just 24 years old in 1978 when he recorded his debut album Umbra with an ensemble of 18 different sidemen. It has since become something of a collector's piece and now gets its first ever worldwide reissue after first being released on a private label. The fantastic jazz fusion sounds have been transferred directly from master tapes so sound superb. It's a soothing, mellifluous album that has aged to perfection with piano jams like 'Tn' next to funky workouts like 'Womanized.'
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