Review: REPRESS ALERT: Especial is delighted to welcome Baris to the roster. Known for his edit series of obscure Turkish Psychedelic, Rock and Disco, here he takes the producer's chair to present "200". Working with musicians and singers to create a completely original production. The song's message for equality (of the sexes) highlights the bigotry and backward political and religious boundaries his country faces and acts as a siren to the current troubles. Handed to Emotional Recordings over 5 years ago but with no label to release it at that time, now we are delighted to be able to release 200's message. The original is backed with remixed from new production duo Khidja, as well as East London's finest, The Asphodells. Teaming up with guitarist Balabas, Romania's Khidja turn in a deep and introspective interpretation mixing their own heavy eastern influences, while the B-side sees Weatherall and Fairplay don their Asphodells mantle for two renditions that firmly lay it before the ALFOS alter. With artwork (by Jamie Paton) highlighting the struggle for fairness and freedom in his homeland, we hope the release can be seen as a support for their tribulations and highlight the talent that lays East.
Richard Sen - "Night Navigator" (Scott Fraser remix)
Scott Fraser - "Ask Your Control" (Richard Sen remix)
Review: Friends for many years, Richard Sen and Scott Fraser come together with a dose of mutual admiration and back slapping by remixing each other on this 2 track EP. However, what makes this collaboration different is there are no original versions appearing, just these remixes. By completing an unfinished track of each the other, the pair have taken the respective unarranged music and gone back to their East London studios to, in essence, finish the other's songs in the form a "remix". Known for a myriad of deep electronic dubs in the last few years, Scott provides plenty of surprises with his remix of Richard's Night Navigator. A driving 10+ minutes 'piano-house' opus, the late 80s Italian / Balearic vibrations run straight through his interpretation of that classic Mediterranean sound. Not for long though, as firmly dragging things straight back to the dark and wet streets of Hackney, Richard takes Scott's Ask For Control and creates a tough, percussive, deep dub remix that would propel any basement dance floor through the early hours.
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.
Sexy Merlin - "See You In The Dark" (Jamie Paton remix)
Guy Schalom - "Habibi" (Jamie Paton remix)
Blancmange - "Feel Me" (Jamie Paton remix)
Gatos Negros - "Overdrive" (Jamie Paton remix)
Review: Jamie Paton has been a regular fixture on [Emotional] Especial since the label first came to light, conjuring up a seductive blend of leftfield dance music with a broad range of influences. This time around he's turning out some of his remixes, leading in with the sweaty, dense throb of Sexy Merlin's "See You In The Dark". Guy Schlalom's "Habibi" by way of contrast becomes a lighter confection peppered with bubbly synth lines and an almost poppy persuasion. Blancmange's "Feel Me" has a more cosmic lilt in its voluminous tones, and "Overdrive" by Gatos Negros drifts out on an off-kilter kind of boogie for all manner of deviant dancers to get head-nodding to.
The Quiet Before The Red Stop (Selvy remix) (5:22)
Review: Stuart Leath flexes his contacts book with an all-star cast of producers and respected scalpel artists called on to rework cuts from the recent Never Seen The Dunes EP by Khidja. Any 12" featuring the collective talents of Discodromo, In Flagranti, Red Axes and Selvy on mixing desk duties should get you excited and this crew bring the disco heat. "Never Seen The Dunes" is given the Discodromo treatment, adding pulsating bass, driving arpeggio, all while allowing the bump of the original to keeping pushing things on. This is followed by In Flagranti's inspired 'Autobahn' retake of the deeper vibes of "Aura" which is apparently a huge favourite of the label. A matured cruiser that keeps the swing, it all leads to those strings and Eastern flavours gliding over for the perfect finale. Things head darker on the reverse, with Tel Aviv's shinning stars Red Axes, manning the controls for the scatter bounce of "Indecis" for the stand out remix. Twisted vocals, brooding FX and reversed guitar all atop a mesmeric kick, things just keeps going higher and higher. Finally "The Quiet Before The Red Stop" is tweaked by Selvy of The Very Polish Cut Outs and Transatlantyk fame, adding some club bump to Khidja's Balearic original.
Review: The pairing of Jeffrey Sfire with Samuel Long (aka PC Music producer Sophie) produced some discoid synth-pop manna for the CockTail d'Amore label when it first appeared back in 2013. Now the duo have been handed over to [Emotional] Especial, who have tasked two choice remixers with turning out some fresh versions of the tracks from the original EP. Timothy J. Fairplay keeps the wave dark and cold on his remix of "Sfire 2", using noirish synth lines to interplay with Sfire's on-point vocal. Meanwhile Willie Burns ramps up the atmospherics with some heavyweight pads on his first remix of "Sfire 3" before turning the original into a cheeky peak time burner for his second.
Love Is Enough (Jamie Paton Cloudy dub-out) (7:41)
Love Is Enough (Luke Solomon dub) (7:03)
Love Is Enough (Khidja dubstrumental) (6:27)
Love Is Enough (Alphonse dub) (5:57)
Review: Previously spotted on Emotional [Especial] with the fantastic Love Is Enough 12", Plus Instruments get the remix treatment in a classic '80s style with the Dub Is Enough single. The producers tasked with delivering versions vary wildly, but they make for a strong combination. Jamie Paton's "Cloudy Dub-Out" is masterful, simmering the elements down to a sensual bassline and delicate ripples on top, while Luke Solomon brings his bumpy, off-kilter house style to the table. Khidja has a more dramatic, synth laden approach and Alphonse creates a dusty, funky roller out of that killer bassline groove.
M&M Vs Andrei Swipe - "Analog Express" (Don Carlos remix) (7:29)
Review: There's an undeniable air of quality that lingers over the 12"s emerging on 14th Level Of Paradise, the mysterious label presenting originals, edits and repressed tracks for true house devotees. First up is a little known track from Sasha Makin and Suntetic, given a shimmering polish by Don Carlos and Steven Perri to become a heavy funking masterpiece, before Joe Claussell drops in a percussive dub delight on Monday Michiru's "Higher". On the flip, Vincent Inc and LA get things pumping with the slow but chunky, jazz-licked "Red Room", before Carlos returns for another deep house reverie as he remixes M&M and Andrei Swipe's "Analog Express".
Vincent Inc - "Rayskoye Mesto" (Vincent Floyd remix) (6:43)
Lola Allen & Vincent Inc - "Gonna Be Alright" (5:00)
Lola Allen & Vincent Inc - "NuDisco Book 1" (7:25)
Vincent Inc - "Time Machine" (Julian Sanza remix) (6:22)
Review: 14th Level Of Paradise come good with another stunning selection of high grade jams from core members of their crew. Vincent Floyd drops a remix of Vincent Inc that leans in heavy on a wistful early 90s sound that splits the difference between B12, Stasis and Larry Heard. Lola Allen and Vincent Inc's "Gonna Be Alright" takes things slower and spacier, while their "NuDisco Book 1" locks into a classic slice of disco funk to set the floor ablaze. Julian Sanza remixes Vincent Inc's "Time Machine" to close out the EP, taking a sophisticated, sweet natured approach to disco house.
Review: Chicago batboy Jamie 3:26 is one of the few Windy City producers who is still waving his city's flag up high; alongside other house and techno artists like Hieroglyphic Being, they are defining the Chicago sound of today. This particular producer's style is suave and supremely sleek in its execution, a quality that is clearly audible from this second instalment of Basement Edits. The first, "Acid Whump" couldn't be from anywhere else and, although the UK also has a long tradition of heavy acid house, this particular tune sounds like it really is from the source of it all. "Bostitch Time", on the other hand, is more leftfield in all senses; there's a jazzy percussive beat pushing it forwards, but the track's sonic coating is filled with strange and wonderful synth sounds that render it something of a misnomer. Excellent cuts.
Review: We don't know who he is. We don't know what he has in store for the future. But boy are we hooked on Elegant Borzoi. Both originals are crystal clear in their scope and cosmic sheen. Chunky, slinky and bubbling with elements of disco, house, funk, all tied up with strong shades of Balearic; "Mystique" is a tropical charmer that nods its head to the dubby lushness coming from Norway 15 years ago while "Lawnmower Woman" fuses Italo with sleazy 80s funk with a purring, catlike sense of playfulness. Remix wise Woolfy and Projections HH fatten up the bassline and add a little star gazing charm while Project Sandro brings home the slo mo bacon. Delicious.
Review: Hawaiian legend Al Nobriga played a vital role in the island's club and chart scene throughout the '70s and early '80s before chasing his dreams to Nashville (and consequently shattering them). Long before the brutal crush of industry reality, he recorded several albums including They're Playing My Music in 1977 of which these two tracks come from: "My Last Disco Song" lives up to its title with it sturdy dancefloor hook and polished sense of funk while "Break Away" shows Al's softer side as we sail on yacht across positively Balearic shores.
Review: The Apersonal crew offer up a selection of varied, on-point edits that reflect the wider scope of what the label is all about. Trujillo is up first, taking Robbie Ellington's "Don't Cry" to emotive new heights, before Cisco Cisco have some fun with the "Shaft" theme tune. The Portuguese duo fly in some cosmic flourishes to shape out the dancefloor prowess of this timeless crowd pleaser. KMA tackles "Storm" by Rare Silk, stretching out the illustrious instrumental flow of this dreamy Balearic roller to become a thing of beauty. With respectful approaches to the source material and enough personality in their styles to make it a worthwhile exercise, the Apersonal crew excel themselves on this release.
Hola Como Estas feat Paulo Olarte & Daniel Grau (6:02)
Everytime I Think Of U (Telephones Activated Mix) (8:24)
Review: It's been relatively quiet from Trujillo recently, but now the Venezuelan producer casts out a transmission from his Berlin base to let everyone know that all is well and we can get back to the business of smooth grooving. "Everytime I Think Of U" speaks to the Balearic tendencies embedded in the producer's aesthetic, with a reflective vocal swirling amidst dreamy guitar chops and swooping synth warbles of a strictly blissed out nature. Telephones does a sterling job of remixing the original version into a warm and funky deep house jam peppered with organic delights.
Review: Following his recent strong turn on Cocktail D'Amore, Jules Etienne makes a trip back to Apersonal Music with more of that island groove for the smoothest slack-wearers in town. "Free As A Man" is a beautifully laid back but funky offering that speaks to all kinds of good times. Jex Opolis turns in a remix of the track that has a little more bite to suit the later demands of the dancefloor. "Don't Wanna Talk About It" sees Etienne linking up with Disco D and winding all kinds of slick strutting business into his sound, and then "Rhythm For The Garden" heads off into wonderful tribal percussion that serves as a handy tool for DJs who want to get some rich drum sounds into their set.
Lenny Fontana, Tension - "A Place Called Heaven" (Joey Negro dub Groove) (6:58)
Jay Denes, Ada Dyer - "You Make Me Whole" (Joey Negro Rhodes dub) (5:17)
Julian Sanza - "To Love" (5:16)
Frankie Knuckles, Satoshi Tomiie, Andrea Mendez - "Bring Me Love" (Eventual dub) (6:56)
Review: Some serious no-nonsense house grooves for all true-school DJs to cop, dug out from the annals of club music history. Things kick off good and proper with Joey Negro's insanely powerful "Dub Groove" mix of Lenny Fontana's "A Place Called Heaven". Negro's on the buttons once again with the classic, pumping "Rhodes Dub" of "You Make Me Whole" by Jay Denes and Ada Dyer. On the flip, Julian Sanza drops the squelchy boogie inflected "To Love" before the record ends on a serious bang with the dream team of Frankie Knuckles, Satoshi Tomiie and Andrea Mendez's "Bring Me Love (Eventual Dub)". This is as actual house as actual house can get - the real deal, crystalised in four evergreen gems pressed on one handy record.
Review: After the strength of the Runaway 12", Armstrong is back with another pair of smokin' hot edits to get your disco sizzling in all the right ways. "Hangover" stretches out over 13 heavenly minutes of groove that sounds like the kind of source material Moodymann would be more than happy sampling. "Melting Pot" is a more Motown-esque vibe with jangly guitar chops and sweet organs bringing the emotional punch. Clearly dug by someone who knows their onions, and edited for maximum extended pleasure, this is how edits should be done.
Review: As proprietor of the Cabana Disco label and American Athlete blog, Pat Les Tache aka TJ Gorton has impressed all with an encyclopaedic knowledge of disco and afro funk. Gorton founded the Athlete Edits imprint to accommodate the rare heat in his impressive record collection that doesn't fit the Cabana ethos. The inaugural release promises much with the A Side dedicated to the bumping disco burn of Black Jack's "Disco Machine". On the flip Gorton takes us on a tropical disco ride with a superlative refix of Konga's "Jungle" which features plenty of rolling bongo edits. The best is perhaps saved till last with a retweak of Ashra's "Bamboo Sands", which focuses on the dad rock guitar and adds some real depth to the bass with suitably cosmic results!
Review: More unreleased gold from Lafayette Afro congressman Bobby Boyd on Athens Of The North. Big 80s boogie funk, "Rock On" delves deep into Boyd's later material with a light Latin flare and a little p-funk sleaze and a full flavoured guitar solo. The main hit, however, is the dancefloor blunderbuss remix by decorated engineer of the time Bob Blank. With a discog that includes the likes of Larry Levan and Arthur Russell, he adds strong shades of proto house to the mix with big kick drums and an arrangement and dynamic that still boots floors and doors down to this day.
Review: Fizzy boogie from Minneapolis circa 1982; Nobody cut through with a raw, energetic sound and countered with soothing, evocative soul that shimmers with their gospel roots. "I Saw You" sits somewhere between Prince and Rick James but polished with super freaky female front vocals, it's wholly unique and backs up the first pressing's pricetag of $500. "Heaven's Love" is the perfect counter with its emphatic harmonies and stately instrumentation. A serious timepiece from AOTN.
Review: One of 2016's finest funk stories was, without question, when AOTN suddenly dropped this incredible unreleased album by criminally slept-on Jacksonville troupe Fruit. A stunning piece of work, even by Fryer's standards it was a coup-de-grace. Now two of the album's finest, funkiest, sweatiest jams are available on limited 45. Instant floor burners, just like the rest of the album, before the tracks are over you'll feel you and your floor have known them forever.
Review: For their latest dive into the depths of funk history, Athens of the North travels back to 1978 and the debut of John Hawes and Velma Bunch's obscure Hard Drivers project. The record initially appeared on Hawes' own short-lived imprint, and his since become a sought after 7" amongst serious collectors. "Since I Was A Little Girl" is a disco-era funk gem, with guest singer Vivian Lee providing a brilliantly confident vocal to compliment Hawes and Bunch's driving, horn-heavy backing track. On the flip you'll find original B-side "Straight Talk", a touching torch song full of harmony backing vocals, impassioned builds, and lyrics capable of melting even the stoniest of hearts.
Review: A regular triple-figure fetch on the auction sites, it was only a matter of time before Henry Thomas & Rise's beautiful 80s soul doublet experienced the strong-armed justice of Fryer. Not just reissued but sourced and tracked down - this is just the start of what will hopefully be a whole load of criminally slept on and unreleased soul from Henry and his troupe. "My Dreams Are Clouded" is a verified club banger with its FM synth ripples and low-down bass bumps while "Don't Wait Too Long" is the ultimate come home record. Slinky, swooning and soaked in raw dollops of emotion - Henry Thomas is, once again, on the rise.
Review: Starcluster featuring Marc Almond with a 2007 version of high energy synth disco. 'Dachlucke' is a killer track
with a powerful drive and classic synths reminiscent of Jean Michel Jarre. On the flip is the lead neo-disco track
'Smoke And Mirrors' with vocals from Marc Almond, a great piece that will inspire dancefloor wildness, and could
well be headed for a pop chart near you soon. Bonus track 'Winter On Ice' is another sweet serving of pop synth
club music. And all delivered in a nicely art-worked Aube sleeve by the hot Berlin artist Marc Brandenburg.
Review: Munich's Portuguese maestro Lino Rodrigues aka Alkalino returns with the third volume of his edit series on Audaz where he's made the transition to the vinyl format finally! On the A side he takes the razor to a certain classic by The Escorts on the uplifting and summery feel good jam "Make Me Over". On the flip there's "La Mia Musica" an early '80s electronic pop ditty that sounds like a Spanish version of "Popcorn" by way of Bobby Orlando. Two respectful edits by one of the current heroes of the scene, who after DJing for 30 years is finally getting worldwide recognition.
Review: Cologne's AVA Records present Tito Wun with his first solo record on the label. Featuring six heavy hits, it is a real label special. This will be Wun's fourth appearance on the label, not forgetting his full length with label staple Damiano Von Eckert entitled Mr. Pink, What Have You Been Smokin'? in 2013. Starting off with the low slung groove of "1023 Sunset Blvd", things make a tropical turn on "Iguacu Hash" which will take you deep into the exotic. On the flip, there's a fine edit of a good old soul classic on "NeEdit" and finally "5am" gets back into some dusty/slo-mo house action which has earned him releases on the likes of Money $ex and Tartelet.
Review: You'd probably have to take out a loan to buy an original, second-hand copy of Master Force's sole single, 1979's "Hey Girl", so this dinky reissue is more than welcome. The title track is a dewy-eyed slice of two-step soul sweetness rich in Curtis Mayfield style lead vocals, glistening guitars and trumpet solos that sound like they've been lifted from an early Herb Alpert recording. Arguably better for dancefloor plays is "Don't Fight The Feeling", a Clavinet-heavy disco-funk affair that boasts some brilliant group backing vocals and heaps of authentic New York flavour.
Review: Surely the freakiest house party in town, Bahnsteig 23 is the gift that keeps on giving. The relentless release schedule keeps up right here with this unmissable missive from Cherrystones, a learned selector and all round sonic oracle who regularly rubs shoulders with Andy Votel and that ilk of muso's muso. As you'd expect there's a rich spread of vibes on offer here, from the Afro-disco rub down "Simba Dub" to the Eastern psych lilt of "Belly King". "ExOhSkeletons" brings out some gutter punk styles and loops them into a strangely hypnotic form, and "Topical Meat Wave" imparts some pan-seared drama onto a French disco-funk. "KonGkinG" is a shouty new wave funker, and then the record wobbles out on a suitably deep B3 cut for the weirdos, all Oizo-esque synth blurts and sloppy live drum grooves.