Who, What, Where, When & Why (Disco version) (5:10)
No Promises (Disco version) (6:46)
Review: Best Records do it again, dusting down a searing slice of robo-funk from the early 80s that will pop your lock every which way. B Funk was a one-off project from Mario Boncaldo and Tony Carrasco, best known for their incredible work as Klein & MBO. They released the "Magic Spell" album in 1983, and it was loaded with richly produced Italo disco and proto house sounds - there's a good reason the original release has been fetching such crazy prices on the second hand market. Now Best have cherry picked two of the finest cuts from the album, sought out the extended disco versions from Carrasco's vaults, and given them a glorious new pressing.
Good Good Lovin' (Hifi Sean & Yam Who? edit) (3:58)
Review: Recently, legendary American dance producer Arthur Baker discovered two tracks in his storage on 1/4" tape recorded in 1979. He asked Hifi Sean (aka Sean Dickson of The Soup Dragons) to rework them - who brought on board Riot Recordings boss Yam Who? and they quickly got to work resurrecting these soulful disco anthems. On the A side, we have the souled-up disco power of "Reachin'" featuring Minnie Gardner's powerful vocals, then get prepared to get down proper to the group vocals and epic brass section in the uplifting "Good Good Lovin'" (Hifi Sean & Yam Who? edit) all accompanied by Baker's immaculate production style.
Review: Cosmic don Baldelli commences a new six part project that will culminate in a mix and some beautiful six-piece 12" sleeve art collage. Igniting as he means to go on, each cut shakes and struts with distinctive aspects of Daniele's signature style: "Thyratron" is a ballroom jazz anthem-in-waiting with lavish piano splatters over an insistent disco chug, "Diffrazione" takes us much deeper into Baldelli's psyche with soaring, heavily processed guitars and synths freaking out over a pulsating bulbous bass bed while "Inner Light" brings us back into reality with a mildly Nordic piece of pop-oriented disco, all sensual, breathy vocals and a twinkling synth groove. Bring on the next chapter.
Taylorpo (Warehouse Preservation Society remix) (5:23)
Massive Birth (Mind Fair remix) (5:43)
Review: Coolly stepping out like a white-suited player on a Miami club strip, the high expectations set by any mention of Italian disco pioneer Daniele Baldelli are easily matched by the opener and title number. And things really only get better from there.
'Massive Birth' is an intelligent, freeform outing on a half-time, DJ Rocca's ever-tight drum programming clearly having some influence on the complex percussive patterns. On the flip, Mind Fair have their way with that original, turning it into a more grounded four-four workout if you listen beyond the top layer of rolls and snare crashes. For many, though, this one will be all about the Warehouse Preservation Society remix of 'Taylorpo', which puts Italo right back at the top of the disco agenda, sounding at once space age yet nostalgic, and unquestionably, unstoppably danceable.
Review: In recent years, Daniel Baldelli's original productions have tended towards the funkier end of the cosmic disco spectrum. That's certainly what you get here, as the Afro-cosmic pioneer once again joins forces with regular studio partner Marco Dionigi. Of course, there are nod to the chugging, arpeggio-heavy world of Italo-disco - see the Balearic disco dreaminess of "Irradia" and cosmic funk-rock shuffle of "Slightly Mad" - but even these mind-altering journeys come blessed with crackling funk guitars and tasty Clavinet sounds. Our picks are opener "Rusty", a bassline-driven, funk-fuelled Idjut Boys style dub disco number, and the pleasingly percussive, flash-fried funk of "Start The Engine".
Review: Cultures Of Soul have absolutely hit the nail on the head by getting Benjamin Ball on their side, and it's shed a light on one of South Africa's best boogie artists from the 80s. This is the sort of gear that'll make just about any decent collector jump with excitement, not only because of the quality of the music, but also because of its sheer rarity. The wonderfully loose "I Just Keep Dancing" is form Ball's debut LP Paulina, and it really is the sort of tune that'll please just about any sensible crowd. Ball's own vocal flex has enough funk in it to outdo the James Browns out there, and coupled with those snappy drums and raw electro bass makes means that this is the rarest of gems. Soul Clap's remix makes for a nice addition, but it's clear that no man can test the vibes of Benjamin Ball. What a killer!
A Tour In Italy (Pellegrino mix - Mediterranean version) (7:06)
A Tour In Italy (Tony Carrasco mix) (7:04)
A Tour In Italy (Tony Carrasco mix - dub version) (6:14)
Review: Not to be mistaken for the charity pop behemoth, this Band Aid were a band from Bologna that released a handful of albums and singles in the early 80s. Best Italy have dug out this loose and limber slice of sunny funk and given it a spruce up with a little help from Early Sounds crew member Pellegrino, whose "Mediterranean Version" of "A Tour In Italy" adorns the A side. It's all peppy brass, dreamy guitars and a kooky vocal line about the titular tour, guaranteed to break out some smiles on the dancefloor. On the B side you can indulge in Tony Carrasco's original vocal and dub versions, all of which equally exude summery vibes to keep you warm through the winter months.
Review: IIB next release comes from French duo Baptiste & Pierre. 2 tracks of warm tropical goodness. Virage is a deep mellow afro tinged tropical workout. Muted guitar hook and nature sounds conjuring up far flung deserted beaches. Ruf dug beefs it up a touch and moves it indoors giving it a more afterhours feel. The second track has the same evocative feel as Virage with added atmospheric pads and a bouncy melody. Like a closing track on an 80's road movie. Full of emotion. Italian maestro Deep 88 creates a truly authentic slice of early ninetoes deep dreamy house. Perfectly wrapping the original in warm analogue drums. Another quality release from IIB.
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.
Review: When it comes to exotic, off-kilter edits, you'll struggle to find a stronger series than Jonny Rock's Disco Hamam. This fifth volume is every bit as essential as its predecessors. Beards In Dust claims the A-side with "At The Dawn", a tidy revision of a druggy and "chuggy" version of a blue-eyed psychedelic funk-rock roller that comes complete with some serious sing-along sections. The heady world of Turkish music - a constant source of inspiration at the Disco Hamam HQ - comes to the fore on the B-side. Tales Of Voodoo's "Sharky" is a deliciously percussive, dancefloor-friendly fusion of Middle Eastern exoticism, funk-rock guitars and heavy disco percussion, while Esen Gunduz's "Deve Gucu" is an even sweatier, Italo Disco-era stomper that sounds like something you'd have heard in Istanbul clubs circa 1985.
Review: Favourite France drop some absolute truth with this killer reissue of Beckie Bell's 1980 classic "Music Madness", from the album 'In Need Of...'. This is he funkiest disco you can possibly ask for, a chirpy, upbeat tune that calls for the good times. It's the sort of track that can be slapped on in just about any set, anywhere, and Bell's vocals are as infectious as the tight groove that pushes the track forwards. There are a couple of remixes, though, which bring out the best of the original and make it even more playable than before. The first one is a more beat-heavy reinterpretation from Voilaaa, while Tom Noble injects the perfect level of houseness into the equation thanks to a slamming 4/4 and some extra percussion. Perfect, and very much recommended if you've somehow slept on the original.
Archie Bell & The Drells - "Where Will You Go When The Party's Over" (A Tom Moulton mix) (9:06)
People's Choice - "Jam Jam Jam (All Night Long)" (A Tom Moulton mix) (7:42)
Teddy Pendergrass - "I Don't Love You Anymore" (A Tom Moulton mix) (8:46)
Lou Rawls - "See You When I Git There" (A Tom Moulton mix) (9:39)
Review: During the latter stages of the "Philly Soul" era, New York remixer Tom Moulton delivered a string of inspired, DJ friendly reworks for the Philadelphia International label. For proof, check this fine selection of classic Moulton mixes for the storied imprint. Check first his version of Archie Bell and the Drells' "Where Will You Go When The Party's Over", which he brilliantly teases out and increases in intensity over nine spellbinding minutes. The funkier flex of People's Choice's "Jam, Jam, Jam (All Night Long)" is a sweaty, low-down treat, while the Teddy Pendergrass rework is a soaring disco classic in the Philly Soul style. Best of all, though, is the string-drenched disco celebration that is his mix of Lou Rawls' "See You When I Git There".
Review: The sneaky scalpel fiends behind the Belpaese Edits imprint are back with more inspired reworks of obscure, little known and overlooked European - and mostly Italian - gems from the 1970s and '80s. First up is "Vieni Con Mi", a wonderfully overblown chunk of loose-limbed jazz-rock/disco-soul fusion blessed with breathy female vocals, mazy flutes, wah-wah guitars, heavy bass and drumming so wild it may well be capable of raising cadavers from their graves. Flipside "20 Secoli Di Favole" is similarly minded, if a little closer to Baldelli "cosmic rock" territory - all ragged rock riffs, manic female vocals, groovy bass and intergalactic analogue synthesizer lines.
Review: Back in August, Shadowy Italian re-edit crew Belpaese impressed with their first self-titled EP, which offered up decidedly cosmic and Balearic-minded reworks. There's more on offer on this similarly fine second set of revisions. On side A you'll find "Dai Vivo", an extended, near ten-minute revision of a quirky European disco-rock record of the kind that Daniel Baldelli may once have rocked at the Cosmic Club. On the reverse, "Moribonda" is a fine version of a synth-laden, turn-of-the-'80s Italian disco-pop/funk-rock record (think Greg Kihn Band and you're close), while "Sara Uno Smacco" is a sleazy, slo-mo disco delight.
Review: Last year, Sadar Bahar made a visit to the Utrecht studio of veteran electro producer and analogue synthesizer collector Ben Spaander (AKA Cosmic Force). Having got on incredibly well, they decided to record tracks together under the Ben & Sadar's alias. This debut 12" is something of a treat: a two-track, sample-free romp through heavyweight disco-funk fusion. They begin with killer boogie jam "We Are Righteous People", where jammed-out guitar riffs, wavy saxophone lines and rubbery slap bass lines wrap themselves around an all-action drum machine groove. Flip for the guitar-wielding madness of "Bouncing Atoms", whose Cream style riffs and bluesy solos ride a cowbell-heavy disco groove.
Review: Analogue synthesizer enthusiast Bezier first surfaced on Dark Entries in 2012, delivering the hard-wired retro-futurist fantasy Ensconced. Two years on, he's finally ready to release the follow-up, the similarly sharp and sci-fi themed Telemores. As with his previous output, the influences are obvious - think Radiophonic Workshop, electro, minimal, new wave and Italo-disco - but he smartly steers clear of pastiche and empty revivalism. Instead, we're treated to a range of dancefloor-friendly instrumental cuts, cyborg jams, and intoxicating robot rinse-outs. Closer "Fukushima", in which he doffs a cap to the synthesized horror-disco of John Carpenter, is particularly potent.
Review: You wait ages for a Bezier record, and two come along at once. Following hot on the heels from his excellent Telemores mini-album for Dark Entries, synthesizer enthusiast Bezier drops a surprise 12" for the affiliated Honey Soundsystem. As usual, the French producer has his sights set on mining the past for inspiration. "Mina (Everywhere)" begins in typical fashion - all spacey synthesizers and twinkling melodies - before morphing into a relentless chunk of dirty, Italo-and-EBM inspired house. The pleasingly sunny "Serengeti Drive" is more of a stripped-back Italo-disco bubbler (admittedly with dream-wave flourishes), while "Mysteries of the Deep" offers an intergalactic romp through cold-wave pastures with only cheap old synths and drum machines for company.
Review: Vintage hardware enthusiast Bezier doesn't release much, but what he does deliver is invariably excellent. This outing on Honey Soundsystem follows similarly inclined outings on Dark Entries and HNTTRX, all of which impressed with their far-sighted feel and sparkling synthesizer motifs. Cosmologist heads straight for the jugular, with "Cosmos" delivering a delicious blend of Italo-disco style arpeggios, Euro-disco melody lines, and occasional blasts of eight-bit electronics. Flip for the skittish, proto-house influenced drums, moody horror chords and proto-techno electronics of "Ether", and the deep, melodious and attractive instrumental synth-pop of EP closer "D Quelle".
Review: The Iceland-born, Norway-based producer, B. G. Baarregaard, channels the great tradition of Scandinavian electronic disco on this delectable four-tracker, maintaining a crisp and funky edge to his productions while making sure every inch of the wax is dripping with old-skool warmth. "Tokyo 1988" stands out with its perfect lashings of boogie rubbed into the joints, while "Kick The Burger" slows things right down for a cool and deadly cruise through electro funk of the highest order.
Review: Stupendously rare Italo gem from the criminally under-prolific Trieste-based Big Ben Tribe, this quirky poplet first came our way in 1984 on Gong. Last spotted changing hands for hundreds on auction sites, Dark Entries have done the disco world a favour and licensed a reissue. Untouched and naked in all its 80s glory, the synth patterns, abstract lyrics and arrangement were way ahead of their time and clearly influenced many electronic pop and Balearic bands who followed. Vocals just a bit too much for you? No worries, just flip for the instrumental. Tarzan loves summer nights, and we love Dark Entries for unearthing this utter classic.
Review: New York's Quinn Luke aka Bing Ji Ling is always up to some crazy shit. Whether it's far-out strains of exotica, electronic folk, or even some straight-up hill-billie funk, the nomadic artist is always one to look out for. He's up on Spain's excellent Lovemonk label, perennial leaders in leftfield disco and balearica, with the raunchy, funk-tastic guitar riffs of "Twilight", a tune that is so cool and laid-back it could be enjoyed by pretty much all walks of life. There's three version, though, all by Jose Manuel; the main remix drops in a house beat and something of a Latino sound, the dub goes deeper into the bass elements of the mix, and the Voyage Voyage mix takes the listener on a more daring journey, backed by a progressive edge. We love it.
Review: Although little known in the UK, Sicilian singer Mario Biondi has sold huge amounts of records in his native Italy. It's not surprising, really, given the quality of his Barry White-esque deep and soulful vocal style. Here he pops up on Schema, offering up the seductive, slow dance-friendly silkiness of "Never Stop Dreaming" and the warm and groovy Philly Soul revivalism "Stay With Me". That track is given the once over by fellow Italian LTJ Xperience. Interestingly, his full vocal remix is faster, warmer and looser than his normal metronomic productions, while retaining his usual DJ-friendly grooves. His soulful house style instrumental Dub is pretty darn tasty, too.
Review: The mysterious Bitter End return and its 'anonymous' controller is kicking off proceedings in a particular wonky mood. "Itchicrickitch" leads from the left foot with an off grid kick and bassline that gets all the wilier when the gutsy tribal cries weave into the mix for added intensity. "Princess (Ascension)" flips back to the label's more signature theme of outlandish funk as we're pumped from here to Jupiter and back on a synth driven disco piece that's laced with wry shades of highlife guitars and a rising hook that sucks you deeper and deeper into the groove. Bitter sweet.
Review: Crafty disco edits delivered in fine fashion once again by the cheeky Sheffield native Bitter End for the seventh edition. On the A side we have the hypnotic and low slung chugger "Dimension Extension" which is perfect for those long hot sexy summer nights. On the flip, we have a more straight-up disco vibe on the sultry, slow-mo, modernised 1977 inspired funk-soul nugget "Be There Again".
Review: This week's lesson in simple musical mathematics is demonstrated by Tensnake and Aloe Blacc. The former's inexorable rise in 2010 has perhaps been matched by the worldwide popularity of the latter's "I Need A Dollar", so getting Mr Niemerski on board to remix the track was a smart move. The end results are typically appealing, with Blacc's vocals looped brilliantly around a burning deep house arrangement that peaks in all the right places. The central energetic pulse of cavernous bass stabs and slick hi-hats are inundated by massive swathes of soaring chords as the track progresses, with the requisite breakdowns augmented by choral vocal refrains. Totally euphoric in its intentions and execution, this is bound to have devastating effects when implemented at the right time.
Review: More bone-shaking sounds from the mysterious edit crew as they hit their sixth EP. As always, it's a full flavour fusion laced with stacks of spice. From the desert striding twangs and percussive rattles of EP opener "Yearning To Fly" right through to the final Roland rollicking of the vibrantly trippy new wave slap-bass popping sheller "For Pete's Sake", it's another deeply dug set rife in references and plastered in psychedelic flourishes.
Review: With releases on a who's who list of labels that are pushing experimental, underground house and techno including L.I.E.S, Creme Organisation, Echovolt and Strange Life, William Burnett has been steadily putting out releases that have gained a lot of respect without having to shout too loud about it. So much so that as well as running his own stella WT Records label, William is now often cited as a producer's producer. Deep and full of dub aesthetics that encompasses a world of it's own, his music is not just driven by a need to keep the floor moving, but are also about taking your headspace somewhere else. Progressing things a stage further is the Black Deer project. Recently launched, but in gestation for some time, it's introspective slant, plus loose referencing to his upbringing in Texas, allows William more freedom for experimentation. The Last Tortuga is taken from the same sessions that yielded the Willie Burns The Overlord EP on Trilogy Tapes as well as Black Deer's Trail Of Tears EP on Rush Hour, this 6 track EP has been due on the label for sometime, but it's been worth the wait as his sound has developed and expanded to take in ambient, drone and krautrock and highlights his musicianship in a new light.
Review: Having previously impressed on Argot and Home Taping Is Killing Music with her blends of evocative deep house and floor-friendly Chicago rhythms, The Black Madonna tries a different approach on this debut for the recently launched Night Owl Diner label. You could certainly describe both tracks as "Balearic", and there's a real air of wide-eyed positivity about the tumbling melodies, swirling synth-strings and mid-80s pop production of head-nodding deep house cut "Stay". It's pretty darn tasty, all told. Almost as good is "Requiem", which appears to be built around a loop lifted from Cherrelle and Alexander O'Neal's "Saturday Love" (with, of course, additional synths and tuneful electronics).