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.
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.
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.
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.
Review: Phil Gerus is a rising talent that fits right into the (Emotional) Especial mould with his sharply realised 80s bombast and dynamic electro funk production style. Treating body-popping club tracks as a vessel for heartfelt expression, these tracks have it all from Linn Drum boogie to fully capable instrumental chops, all shot through with Gerus' choice new wave vocals. Lauer hops on board for a seductive remix of "Still Blind" that ups the sensual intensity of the track while keeping the club foremost in his mind, before Jamie Paton steps up on the flip with a couple of freakier turns that dub the original out into deadly, spooky jams for more adventurous party people to get loose to.
Review: The 1 Life crew had a strong start with the likes of Kerri Chandler, DJ Spen & Karizma and Joey Negro contributing to a disco-fied house sound. Volume two on the label is no slouch either, ranging from Vincent Inc & LA's smoky "Cafe Tropical" before launching into Rico De Almenda's sassy, joyous take on "Watermelon Man". Venus Attack Project get into a deeper, percussive mood on the incendiary "Grass Culture" before Vincent Floyd completes the set with the heartfelt acid bubble of "Trail Of Tears". From organic sounds to box jams, these tracks speak directly to the foundations on which house music was built.
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.
I'll Make The Living (If You Make The Loving Worthwhile) (4:56)
All About The Paper (4:40)
Review: Like a lot of 1960s soul singers, former Dukeys member Gene Chandler eventually turned his hand to disco in the 1970s. While not all of his disco records were successful, 1982's "I'll Make The Living (If You Make The Loving Worthwhile)" still resonates, as seen by its regular appearances in Horse Meat Disco DJ sets. As this reissue shows, it remains a sweet and touching chunk of mid-tempo dancefloor goodness. It boasts some particularly special slap bass, as well as spacey synths, cut-glass strings and a wonderful lead vocal by Chandler. "All About The Paper", in which Chandler offers common sense financial advice (of sorts), is a little heavier and punchier with its grandiose production.
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: It's been four years since A&R Edits ceased releasing music after serving up nine essential EPs between 2013 and 2015. This return to action has been masterminded by Merseyside scalpel fiends Greg Wilson ("GW") and Henry Greenwood, whose fine revision of Neneh Cherry's "Buffalo Stance" kick-started the imprint six years ago. A-side "Disco Mondo" is a rolling revision of a lesser-known breathy disco jam of (we think) Italian origin. It boasts a metronomic groove, wah-wah guitars, elongated organ chords, congas for days and a few well-placed swirling electronic effects. Over on side B, "In The City" is a dreamy chunk of mid-tempo, Italo-disco influenced synth-pop.
Review: Acid Jazz has pulled off something of a coup here by persuading legendary '70s soul man Leroy Huston to part with a couple of previously unreleased cuts. A-side "Positive Forces" was recorded by Hutson in 1977 and sits somewhere between the sweeping, orchestrated bliss of Philly soul, the soaring dancefloor celebration of disco and the loose-limbed instrumental goodness of jazz-funk. It's an absolute stunner, all told, and sounds like it was tailor-made for spins at sweltering summer festivals. On the B-side you'll find a previously unreleased instrumental version of 1975's "All Because of You". While a vocal-free version has previously been released, this particular mix includes a little more drum action at the beginning to assist with mixing.
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: REPRESS ALERT: Benjamin Smith and Paul "Mudd" Murphy are back with a Balearic gem - The Distance, featuring Quinn Lamont Luke. The release comes with a vocal and instrumental on the A side, and a remix on the flip by legend and consummate production ace - Ron Basejam. The lyrics and vocals by Quinn Lamont Luke are captivating and playfully tease us with emotional yearning. And it's Quinn who provides a stunning jazzy guitar performance that will have you air guitaring all over the dance floor, which sits splendidly alongside the beautiful layers of rich electric piano and Balearic disco grooves. The remix by Ron Basejam recasts the track as an instantly affable yacht-rock-esque anthem, that will fill your hearts and have you reaching for the Campari. This is a sumptuous groover, with layer upon layer of blissed out disco warmth. A sublime masterclass in musicianship and production that will bring joy to the most discerning of ears.
Review: Last summer, Evo and Soulstice launched Adventures in Paradise with a fine 7" of tooled-up funk reworks by J Sole and J Boogie. Here, the label returns to action with two more guaranteed party-starters. Fittingly, Evo makes his first appearance on the label with B-side "Mandingo Boogie", a killer edit of a low-slung disco-boogie heater rich in rubbery bass guitar, twinkling electric piano parts, spiraling electronic effects and punchy horns. While impressive, we can imagine DJs getting far more rotations from DJ Smash's cheeky A-side, "Your Pants Are Hot", which peppers a snappy, synth bass-propelled groove with samples from a well-known Godfather of Soul favourite.
Review: Given that one of the founders of Al & The Kidd Records, Carl Kidd, was the musical driving force behind turn-of-the-'80s Washington D.C combo Light Years, it's perhaps unsurprising that the re-born disco-era imprint has a wealth of previously unheard material from the band to share. The label's latest "45" showcases two of these cuts. On the A-side you'll find the Clavinet-heavy D.C disco-funk of "It's Up To You (How Far You Go)", a decidedly cosmic wig-out with urgent vocals and instrument solos aplenty. Flip for the spacey synths, rising horn lines and Mass Production style disco-funk hustle of "Do It To The Max".
Review: Ray Mang's Mang Dynasty alias is next up on Bristol label Alfresco Disco, serving up the kind of bubbling disco house that sets the West Country party crew's infamous sessions alight. "Crash The Box" is speckled with psyched-out acid and an infectious bassline, giving the remixers more than enough trippy ingredients to get busy with. The Tee Mango "Revision" creates a more twitchy, dubbed out version for freakier spinners to get creative with, and then Lord Leopard amps up the funk with a remix that puts the bass at the front of the action.
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: Digger and editor extraordinaire John Zahl returns with three more deep dug oddities from the disco cosmos. Early 80s stadium synth boogie with Italo stamped deep into the core and some fantastic horn stabs, "Show Me Luv" kickstarts the party all synths blazing. It's backed up by an Alexander O'Neal meets-D-Train smoocher "Oh Jaaaz" before "Let Me Treble" closes the show with a vibe that you could imagine Abba sounding like if they spent a day on the beach jamming on high doses of peyote. Divine.