Review: 1982's "Life Without You..." by the Expansives is a longtime italo disco classic, the sort of tune that makes you pass out upon finding it in its original format in one dusty record store bin. However, it's alright, that's not likely to happen because this is as rare as hen's teeth and that is also why the lovely Dark Entries crew have reissued it for us. The original is magical and explorative, a photo house tune with visionary robotic vocals and FX tricks that make you wonder just what sort of stuff Franco Rago, Gigi Farina and X.Monneret were toking up in Italy back in the 80's. That instrumental, too...so highly recommended.
Andrew Weatherall's A Shrub From Outer Space (8:06)
I See You In The Shrubs (Donald Dust Other Thumper) (5:50)
Review: Eyes of Others is an Edinburgh-based producer who claims to make "post pub, couldn't get in the club music". Having previously released on chugging psych-disco specialists Nein, "I See You In The Shrubs" marks the producer's first outing on Paradise Palms. On the A-side you'll find his 12" Mix, where half spoken/half sung, Arab Strap style vocals drift across a trippy soundscape built around lo-fi drum machine rhythms, bubbly analogue synth-bass and just the right amount of blazed, out-there electronic noises. The top revision comes from the mighty Andrew Weatherall, who reaches for the heavy dub bass, languid live drums and exotic, cascading electronic melodies. To complete the package, Donald Dust re-imagines "I See You In The Shrubs" as an Italo-disco influenced nu-disco throb-job.
Review: More create digging porn wax from Perugia's most respected selector Fabio Calzolari as he digs through some of his finest finds and shares them with the world. Four cuts in total, each one hits the spot; "Fever" is all glammed up and front of the queue with its chugging guitars and lolloping pianos and falsettos, "Don Fulgenzio" is vintage Italian sing-along disco funk, "Arucu" is loaded with cosmic flurries and sleazy guitars while "Airton" closes the show as it pushes us deep into Sao Paulo with its hypnotic hip-shaking filtered relentlessness.
Review: It's fair to say by now that Timothy J. Fairplay really does have the midas touch. From his days in electro punks Battant through to engineering in the studio for the who's who of the London scene and an unstoppable succession of great solo releases just like this one, we're always keen to hear what he's up to next. "The Cat Prowls Again" is a hypnotising and majestic serving of disco dancefloor drama that's executed like only such an accomplished engineer and expert of London dancefloors that Fairplay is. On the flip "A Strange Servant" continues on in the same vein but it's kind of like a modern re-interpretation of John Carpenter or Goblin but given a strong backbone of dancefloor energy to work modern audiences.
Review: Still mysterious, obscure and now even harder to decipher any actual facts due to the omnipotence of BTS, Fake Love hit their sixth volume of obscure edits since launching earlier this year. Once again it's a full cuddle of shades and flavours. "Track One" leads with more sleazy disco action, all slippery and blessed with a classic 80s flyboy rap, "Track Two" takes us deep into the heart of Lagos circa 74 where vital afro horns are laced over a fully primed disco groove, "Track Three" winds up this particular edition with a little Amazonian magic. Dust off those air pipes, you're going to need them...
Review: In 1977, Libyan musician Ahmed Fakroun flew to Milan to record some new material. The results were showcased on a pair of 7" singles, the most sought-after of which is being given the reissue treatment by Italy's Groovin label. The real winner here is "Nisyan", an Arabic interpretation of blue-eyed soul that fixes a baggy, sun-kissed sensibility, ear-catching Moog solos and a killer groove. "La Ya-Hob" is, if anything, even baggier and dreamier, with Fakroun delivering touchy-feely vocals over exotic, Middle Eastern synthesizer lines and a rolling, soft touch jazz-funk groove. Both cuts are equally breezy and jaunty, lingering in the memory for hours after each rotation.
Let's Not Start A Fight (Let's Get Down Tonight) (4:40)
Do Me Like That (4:37)
Review: Star Creature continues to thrill and inspire with each successive seven-inch single. The label's latest comes from debutants Family of Geniuses, a seven-piece boogie band from Chicago who back heritage influences with brilliant new songs. You'll find a perfect example on the A-side, where "Let's Not Start a Fight" - a sweet, perfectly-pitched boogie club cut that sounds to us like Escort making original electrofunk - sparkles from start to finish. Over on the flipside they doff a cap to the label's roots, offering up a brilliant cover of E Live's "Do Me Like That", the 2015 bomb that helped put Star Creature on the map.
Hooked On Your Love (John Morales unreleased edit) (8:13)
Review: Serious Philly boogie business: In 1979 the Aleem brothers teamed up with serial hit maker Leroy Burgess for this outstanding bass slapping floor burner. Listen closely and you'll hear a young Luther Vandross on backing vocals as the twins bounce off each other with their signature high ranges. Meanwhile on the B we have a previously unreleased edit from one of the most vital, direction shaping remixers of the time; John Morales. Expect nothing but 8 minutes of pure disco bliss. We're hooked on this!
Review: There was a time when original copies of Fantasy Life's sought-after 1985 Italo-disco gem "Over & Over" were changing hands for several hundred pounds online. While prices have come down a bit over the years, it remains a rare and hard-to-find delight. Happily, Dark Entries has saved us all a few bob by serving up this licensed reissue. The original version really captures the charming essence of Italo disco, matching chugging, motorized arpeggio synth-bass with cheery (some would say cheesy) synth-pop melodies and a catchy, impassioned vocal. Turn to the flipside for the dub style instrumental, which reminded us a little of some of Bobby O's early productions for the Pet Shop Boys (who were, fittingly, huge Italo-disco fans at the time).
Step Into My Life (John Morales M&M main mix) (9:58)
The Two Of Us (Al Kent vocal) (11:01)
The Two Of Us (dub) (10:59)
Review: Daniel Maunick and David Brinkworth's second Far Out Monster Disco Orchestra album, Black Sun, was something of a rip-roaring, sun-soaked treat: a wholehearted tribute to Brazilian disco and jazz-funk that wowed us on its release a couple of months back. This 12" sees two of the album's standout moments get the remix treatment. Veteran New York disco-mixer John Morales handles side A, brilliantly extending and rearranging the brilliant "Step Into My Life" with the help of a few dub delays and a healthy dose of reverb. Al Kent goes all Balearic disco on side B, turning in a near 120-minute, pitched-down revision of the gorgeous "Two of Us", before dubbing out the same track in a similarly dreamy fashion.
Where Do We Go From Here? (Andres alt remix) (7:02)
Where Do We Go From Here? (LTJ Xperience remix) (8:40)
Review: The past six years have seen Far Out call on the great and the good to rework material by the Dave Brinkworth and Daniel Maunick-led ensemble, Far Out Monster Disco Orchestra with John Morales, Mark E, Theo Parrish, Marcellus Pittman, Dego and DJ Spinna among the contributors. La Vida man Andres is pulling ahead of the competition in terms of appearances on the series, having contributed two remixes in the space of a year. He's back for a third time with an alternate mix to "Where Do We Go From Here" alongside LTJ Experience man Luca Trevisi. Whilst the Andres mix of the track that featured on a 12" earlier this year was an exercise in chopped simplicity, there is a touch more complexity to this alternate take which shows off his ear for warming musicality. The LTJ take is super deep and super good!
Review: Newcomer Feon up next on Optimo Music, with some some gorgeous and sunkissed balearica. The London based producer wrote these tracks in a brisk 10 day session, shortly after the experience of Ayahuasca ceremony - which is evidenced in the psychedelic sound of the first track. He has explained that the production involved his vocals being layered 30 times in different harmonies, then put through a space echo and you can sure hear it! This one was awesome. On the flip, we have the trance inducing muscle disco of "Holland Fly By" with its super cosmic influences enough to propel your mind into the stratosphere. Finally there's something much more experimental on the solemn, breaks-driven tripper "Without Sound".
Review: Feeling lucky? With grooves as raw, sizzling and energetic as these, there's a strong chance you might be. Hot on the heels of their "Mesquite Beat" 45 comes this equally earthy and frank doublet. "'Bout To Blow" is a big pant swinging blues affair while "Saints & Beggars" takes us up a notch with a whirling 6/8 signature whirling waltz where the horns and drums take the lead and we follow in their every dreamy footstep. Look out for the album Mesquite Suite coming on Tramp very soon.
Review: Pleasure Unit is doing a damn fine job building up a catalogue of discoid deviance from the likes of Skatebard, Lunar Concept and Loose Change, and now it's the turn of debutant project Field Of Dreams to lay down some 80s-tinged grooves for the smoother kind of dancefloor. "Pourquoi" features Queenie, and it shows off the individual heritage the two producers in Field Of Dreams have (one was in 90s chart toppers D:ream no less), all plush chords and slinky grooves with an alluring French vocal thread coursing through the middle. "Draw The Line" is a more synth-rich affair that leans towards the moodier end of acid-tinged disco, and then "Line Drawn" drifts out into Balearic boogie of a dubby nature, providing plenty of variation for the warm up or melt down dancefloor.
Review: Hot Digits head honcho Fingerman now launches Wax Digits, bringing his killer re-edits to the vinyl format and inaugurates the series in great fashion by recruiting some homeboys and Aussie legends alike, such as DJ HMC under his Late Nite Tuff Guy guise; he edits the Malcolm McLaren classic on "My Buffalo Girl" for modern dancefloors. Perth drum and bass legend Greg Packer it seems has turned his deft hand to disco re-edits of late and "Another Night" is a great one of The Peech Boys classic on West End Records. Five Valleys collective Situation do pretty sweet remix of a certain Diano Ross classic on "Thru The Mirror.
Review: We're not sure whether Daniele Baldelli championed Fireplays' "Allein" when it first dropped on 7" way back in 1982, but it's the sort of cosmic disco/cosmic rock fusion cut that fits his original Cosmic Club template. This reissue marks the track's first ever appearance on 12", with the bubbly original - all walking disco bass, fuzzy rock riffs, guttural German vocals and spiraling synthesizers - being joined by an extended "Singlemann Replay" from Tiney that's effectively the 12" extended version the original release never had. Also worth a listen is original B-side "Hormone", a muscular, tongue-in-cheek fusion of camp disco elements and Moroder style arpeggio bass. This too is given a cheery edit style extension, this time by Tom Bolas.
Review: First Choice's era-defining disco funk anthem "Love Thang" gets dusted off by Salsoul. Timeless struts, silky bass flurries, huge orchestration and gutsy vocals; this still sounds spotless today. Complete with an acapella and instrumental, the real boon here is Kon's edit. If anyone is going to edit such a classic appropriately it's this guy; with a more mix-friendly, break and vocal focused intro, dynamic stripdowns and build ups and a big drum-focused pay-off, Kon reminds us how artful editing can be in the right hands... Again.
Review: This is a new re-edit series of mysterious origin, said by the shadowy figures behind it to be "just made for fun". So what's in store? Well, the A-side contains a tasty, chopped-up and leisurely overdubbed version of an old Marvin Gaye recording (from the Motown legend's disco period) that was previously bitten by the Instruments of Rapture crew back in the mid 2000s. Arguably even better is the sensual B-side, which somehow manages to make a deliciously seductive Sade track even deeper and more loved-up. While some may argue that the world doesn't need any more Sade re-edits, this is undoubtedly one of the strongest and most alluring we've heard to date.
Review: After releases for Discos Capablanca and Moon Glyth, Minneapolis collective Food Pyramid align with Especial for a remix EP based around "Oh Mercy", a track from their 2012 album Mango Sunrise. Apparently a long term favourite of label boss Stuart Leath, the warped breakbeat jam-fusion of the original is ripe for reinvention and gets the remix treatment from Especial in-house team Apophenia, Inhalt and Jamie Paton. It's the full on italo pumper remix from San Francisco's Inhalt that really impresses too, with Especial right to compare it to Timmy Regisford classic remix of "Rules To Survive" by NOIA.