Review: Last spotted burning hearts as Amberflame on Claremont 56, Theomatic boss Andrei Zakharov dusts off his AN-2 controls for three blissful, starlit downbeat instrumentals. "Sigint" slithers and writhes with salubrious, warm soapy levels of liquid funk while "Mint" is a slow-motion jog through a field at sunrise, living up to every fresh and lush connotation its title suggests. "Dusky Downtown" adds a little warped mysticism as the bassline seems to fall over the sludgy breaks and the synths melt in the spaces between. To top it all off, Andrei also throws in a chunkier, slightly more upbeat Amberflame remix, too. Safe travels.
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".
Alex Simon - "Runnin' Out Of Time" (instrumental) (5:27)
Mark Goddard - "Tiny's First Journey" (4:26)
Foe - "Blow Up Girl" (Beautiful Swimmers Big Head Self mix) (4:26)
Nature Love - "You Turn Me Around" (Karu mix) (6:11)
KW Griff - "Be Ya Girl" (4:15)
The Horn - "Whiddon On Down" (4:29)
Hieroglyphic Being Presents Analogous Doom - "Living In A Zome" (4:35)
Spirit Garden - "Electra City" (6:44)
Review: Gatto Fritto set the bar high with his selections for last year's first "The Sound Of Love International" compilation, so it's a thrilling surprise to find that this follow-up - featuring cuts selected by Max D (Andrew Field-Pickering) and Ari Goldman AKA Beautiful Swimmers - boasts an even more inspired track list. The Washington DC-based duo evokes the spirit of the Croatian festival behind the series via the synth-heavy Afro-Balearic bliss of Plunky's "Africa Sunset", the new age dancefloor shuffle of Svend Undseth's "Aquilla Aquela", the vintage deep house dreaminess of Mark Goddard's "Tiny's First Journey", the pitched-up R&B vocals and hot-stepping B-more beats of KW Griff's "Be Ya Girl" and the sparkling piano riffs and smooth New Jersey house grooves of Spirit Garden's "Electra City".
Bappi Lahiri - "Dance Music" (Brother Cleve Studio 29 remix)
Review: Ahead of the second Bombay Disco compendium, Cultures Of Soul tease us with two show-stopping Brother Cleve edits. As with the inaugural album, this collection celebrates the subcontinent's more obscure cinematic soundtracks and what's known in India as the item number, the cabaret style dances performed in Asian cinemas. "Jab Chaye" remains in its original incarnation with mild touches on rhythm and arrangement while "Dance Music" has been given a complete flip-around with chunky jacking beats that complement the frenetic tabla drums consummately. Album teasers don't get much more exciting than this.
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: Prins Thomas has decided to shake-up the Full Pupp release schedule a little, launching the Full Pupp Splits series to showcase tracks from different artists on one slab of wax. For the first installment, he first turns to long-established label artist (and occasional Norwegian passport office pencil-pusher) Daniel 'Blackbelt' Andersen. His "Dolphin Sandwich" is a deliciously tasty affair, with bold but breezy synthesizer riffs, huggable grooves and yearning, sun-kissed chords. In contrast, newcomer Christian Engh offers up something darker, chunkier and more bass-heavy, drawing influence from both Dutch revivalist Italo and the analogue-rich Norwegian disco with which Lindstrom made his name.
Review: 2010 looks like it's going to be a very big year for Parisian producer Thibault Berland aka Breakbot. As part of the Ed Banger family he's been producing a steady slew of quality remixes for Metronomy, Justice, Sebastian Tellier and Late Of The Pier, and now he's stepping up with excellent new material of his own.
In the vein of seriously smooth late 70's rockers like Hall and Oates and Michael McDonald, the title track has tons of charm courtesy of a vocal from Irframe. Add to that the modern production of Holy Ghost or Discovery-era Daft Punk and it's a pretty special disco-flavoured slice of sophisticated French pop.
Another man who's becoming hot property for 2010 is German producer Siriusmo, who turns in a remix that matches Breakbot's sense of retro fun and studio mastery. Far from Siriusmo's more Techno roots, this mix is almost a Psychedelic rock song, complete with cowbells and chiming 12-string guitars. It's weird and wonderful, and has more than a nod to Archie Bell and The Drells' seminal "Tighten Up".
Review: Ed Banger favourite and electro-synth-pop demi-god, Breakbot saw his "One Out Of Two" track remixed by a healthy squadron of electronic artist this year. First up it was Oliver, who painted a fascinating disco-not-disco portrait of the original. Sneak Dream went all ape shit on everyone, forming a solid and tenacious tech house groove with a thumping good kick! There's also the original of "Programe" included here, a summery pop track with subtle hints of electro; and finally, Get A Room plant a serious electro bomb, one that explodes and releases its ferocious synth on yo ass...!
Review: Africa Seven ignites 2017 with an outstanding addition to their African Funk Experimentals series with this precision curation of Cameroonian Ekambi's best work. Taken from albums such as Djambo's Djambo's, Africa Oumba and his two eponymous albums, the far-reaching collection ranges from downhome low-swung bluesy funk disco ("Soul Castle") to glistening highlife vibrancy ("Lambo Lena") by way of thumping French disco ("Nyambe"). Brilliant by name, brilliant by nature...
Review: Southern Italian sort Giovanni Damico has been in a good run of form of late, as anyone who picked up his recent EP on Lumberjacks in Hell with confirm. This retro-futurist three-track excursion is rather fine, too, with the White Rabbit Recordings founder brilliantly joining the dots between jaunty Afrobeat, rubbery boogie and spacey electrofunk. All three tracks boast classic Afro-funk guitars, with killer A-side "To Fela's People (featuring Villy)" also boasting punchy horns, tactile synth bass and some life-affirming hip-hop rhymes. Over on the flip, "Baba" is a more traditional Afrobeat workout - albeit with the addition of some mind-altering analogue bass and vintage synth flourishes - while "Afro Stomp" is a bouncy, Baldelli-inspired chunk of Afro-cosmic disco.
Review: The bond between Sascha Dive and fellow German operation Ornaments Music dates back to 2008 when the Deep Vibes boss put out the Deepest America 12". His love for the original US deep house sound remains unabated on this new 12" for Ornaments, Tribute, with the title track notable for some deft sampling of cult Detroit DJ The Electrifying Mojo. Around his legendary tones, Dive crafts a bone shaking house groove with chords positively dripping with emotion. Bust out the B side and Underground Quality's Jus Ed lays down a killer phased out Deep Sleep remix of the track whilst Dive adds his own filter heavy Disco version. A fine 12".
Review: It's quite a surprise that perennial Italian disco jammer DJ Rocca hasn't linked up with Rothmans before, but on the label's first release of 2016 he makes up for lost time with a grip of tracks positively dripping with full-fat synthy goodness. "Kratos" packs in a serious Italo thrum with its wonderful arpeggio bassline, bursting with optimism as every buoyant lead line piles on top of the forward-marching beat. "400 Fonk" meanwhile flips the script with a cheeky, bouncy beast of an analogue jam to get heads nodding like Wally Badarou just took the controls. Daniele Baldelli then blasts "Kratos" into the stratosphere with his muscular "Electropsychomix".
Review: In the space of a year Bahnsteig 23 has positioned itself as a label of note with a strong run of 12"s that draw on a rich spread of influences from cosmic disco to world music to provide a little more spice in your dancefloor selections. Portland's Elliot Thomas takes his Etbonz alias out for its first proper outing here after a split 7" with Dro Carey some years back. This single-sided jam serves to raise the intrigue around the project further still with its dense, organically enhanced production and dreamy atmosphere, keeping the tempo slow and simmering for the early part of the party.
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.
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: Laurent Garnier began the LBS (Live Booth Sessions or Loud Bass & Samples) concept in 2010, as a means of experimenting with live techniques. The crew incorporates Garnier himself, as well as Benjamin Rippert on keyboards and Scan X on machines. The Timeless EP begins with "Jacques In The Box" delivering a full-impact slice of techno sprinkled with surging synthesisers and climbing polyphonic key strokes. The percussion seems to melt into one element as the kick drum drives this fast, hard and slightly euphoric techno jam. Loud Disco's mix of "Our Futur" will surely capture the ears of any large crowd caught in the reverie of a darkened nightclub, with a notable chord progression and sharp, saturated snare drum.
Review: Russian DJ/producer Phil Gerus has been around for a few years, but it's only in the last couple that his reputation has begun to build. This outing on Tensnake's True Romance label follows on from a fine 12" for Lumberjacks Boogie imprint, and a digital-only electrofunk exploration on Futureboogie. The real stunner is A-side "Wearing Her Black Boots Again", a thrusting, Italo-disco exploration full of dirty synth arpeggios, delay-laden percussion hits and rubbery, punk-funk bass. On the flip you'll find the sax-laden, AOR disco shuffle of "Make Time" - blessed as it is with some great blue-eyed soul vocal samples - and the sweaty, drum-machine heavy P-funk rearrangement "Detective From Kamakura".
Review: Balearic bliss.... Guiddo steps up to Beats In Space for the first time, and he's brought Georges Perin along for the ride, too. The title track is so slow, you'll be checking the RPM; confidently sedate and pensive, it's all about Perin's soft falsetto and soaring chorus as Guiddo's chords breeze gentle beneath. "I Miss You Now" comes with a similar introspective narrative but a much more prominent bassline that punctuates a sweet sultry stomp throughout. Finally we hit "Last Bite". Nodding towards the pastures of Tellier, there's an incredibly dreamy pastoral vibe thanks to the piano hook and far-away vocals. Powerful.
Review: Two out-and-out rarities from Hancock's Columbia-era output. Strictly the sole preserve of DJ promo back in 79/80, the clue is in the title 'special' disco remixes. Smooth, soulful and arranged with such style, every element of Herbie's essential ingredients is brought to the fore in its own time with its own space. "Stars In Your Eyes" swoons with a soulful ballad feel while "Saturday Night" pumps and jumps with party-pulling allure. Simply essential.
Review: The latest transmission from the luxuriant world of Smallville is a various artists collection that continues to weave elegiac tales via deep house means. Iron Curtis is up first with some plaintive acid in the form of "Daniel", which works pads and tender beats around the heartfelt squelch with grace. Moomin is a little more prominent in the beat department for "I Whisper A Prayer", while also feeding a hint of disco romance into a slow and simmering cut. Jacques Bon has his own acid tale to tell, and does so with a bigger nod to the jack but still keeping things respectable given the surroundings, leaving it to Rvds & Rau to happily float off on a buoyant throwdown in "Umbe Data", all positive chords and hopeful strings over a simple beat to show it's not all mournful in Hamburg.
Sandy Barber - "I Think I'll Do Some Stepping On My Own"
Bill Avery - "Disco Fever" (re-edit)
Spooky & Sue - "I've Got The Need"
Vessie Simmons - "I Can Make It On My Own"
Scarbrough - "Make Love To You"
The J's - "When Did You Stop"
Larry Brown - "Breaking Training" (parts 1 & 2)
Review: In recent years we've become accustomed to disco compilations appearing at a furious rate. While many of these compilations are undoubtedly worthy of attention, the volume of releases can sometimes be bewildering. This eight track selection from Al Kent, the second in his Disco Love series, ticks all the right boxes, however. Even by the highest crate digging standards, these tracks are pretty obscure; many won't have had much of an airing since their original release. Those into the rich, soulful side of disco - that brand of string-laden dancefloor material most associated with the Philadelphia International label and studio -will find much to enjoy. Perhaps the most noteworthy is Scarborough's delightfully sweet "Make Love To You", an epic of biblical proportions that lasts longer than most drunken one night stands. See also Valerie Simmons' super sweet "I Can't Make It On My Own" and the rousing orchestral manoeuvres of "I've Got The Need". This luxurious gatefold double album also comes replete with extensive track notes from compiler Al Kent.
Review: A 45 suiting the funky northern soul sound, re-reissued here on a great sounding Record Shack release. Both highly sought after versions of "What I Did In The Street" featured here: from the raw and original Gulfstream label version, backed with the smoother, disco release that came later. Originally released in 1978 as a B side to Betty Padgett's "Tonight Is The Night", King was a Florida based vocalist and this terrific song was her sole release.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Compared to some of the ultra-obscure releases buffed up and reissued on Best, Loui$' "Magic Dance" is something of a perennial classic, but that doesn't diminish its value in getting another airing. Loui$ released a modest wedge of killer party anthems in his 80s peak, but this debut 12" in 1985 was the glittering prize. Of all the versions of this release, the rare Blow Up Records edition is the one that gets a look in here, and it's all about that special disco mix of "Pink Footpath". From gutsy analogue bass to shimmering lead pads, it's a dreamy dancefloor jam in every way.
Review: The output of German producer Lucky Charmz is usually reserved for local imprint Lehult but here the Hamburg/Lisbon/Lund based fellow is back on Moody for the Seaside Greetings EP. Starting out with the dreamy and sampledelic deep house of "Ola Do Mar" or the cheeky disco-funk edit of "Sleepy Hollow" which has a very familiar hook. On the flip "Got Away Clean" goes for some lo-slung/slo-mo house for a change of tempo, as does the aptly titled "Deep Dive" for some truly emotive soulfulness.
Saturday Night Special (Lost alternative mix) (3:20)
Belle Isle Daze (Lost alternative mix) (4:11)
Review: One of the most remarkable things about Saturday Night Special, the 1975 debut album by the Lyman Woodard Organisation, is how two musicians - accompanied by various sessions drummers - could make such a rich and layered set. It still impresses that Lyman Woodard and Ron English could create so many superbly evocative and cinematic jazz-fusion workouts almost on their own. The set has long been regarded as one of the best musical commentaries on a particularly low period in Detroit's post-industrial history, and many of the tracks are suitably poignant - even those clearly aimed at the dancefloor. Critically, this reissue deals with one of the major issues with original copies - their poor pressing - by stretching the same tracks over two slabs of wax, rather than one.