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".
Review: Back in the heyday of the Scando-Disco scene, Jann Marius Dahle had a flurry of records as Fjordfunk and under his own name. Rightly recognised by the leaders in that scene, he's been quiet for the best part of 20 years, but now he returns with the stunning, fully-rendered wonderment of "Infinite Zest". This is an album bursting with colour and musicality, as gorgeous instrumentation meets with tenderly executed disco with a distinctly Norwegian mood. From the starry-eyed synth interplay of "Alina" to the noodling funk of "Nussing", Marius Dahle's skill as an arranger and producer is a revelation. A well-deserved, long awaited return to the fray from a rightful peer of Prins Thomas, Lindstrom et al..
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: REPRESS ALERT! Best Record Italy take the time machine all the way back to 1979 to revisit the wonderful Italo-Disco delights of Adolf Stern, whose "More... I Like It" represents the strangest end of the genre as it was taking shape. With heavily processed vocals injecting some serious strangeness into the chirpy disco backdrop, it's the kind of track to turn heads without a doubt. "Twenty Seven" on the B-side is equally magical in its capturing of the era, with the more obvious surface elements underpinned by a truly intoxicating line in synth arpeggios. Once again Best comes up trumps refreshing the history of Italian music of all shapes and sizes.
Review: REPRESS ALERT!: Giorgio Gordano and Giorgio Dolce originally produced "KKK" back in 1983, and the track was taken into the hearts of the blossoming Balearic scene hovering around DJ Alfredo at Amnesia. It's as gentle and sweet natured as Italo disco can be, and of course it makes perfect sense that Best Records would dig it out of the archives and give it the shiny new reissue it deserves. The "Club Mix" of "KKK" is a feast of simple, charming programmed melodies and crisp drum machine rhythms with the innocence of the early 80s in its heart. The "Dub Mix" and "Bonus Beats" on the flip are handy for the technical DJs out there, but the "Club Mix" is where it's at for the lovers.
Review: Hold tight for another dose of seriously sassy Italo brilliance lovingly reissued on Best. This time it's Plustwo and their outrageously fun "Melody" getting the treatment, with the A side given over to the catchy vocal version and the previously unreleased dub version. "Stop Fantasy" on the flip is another sugar-coated trip through poppy dancefloor perfection, with some cheeky acidic undertones for those listening with the right ears. You'll recognize this one as a crossover hit that's snuck up in deep digging sets - now you can get your mitts on it too.
Review: Afrodesia may come on like another dusted down gem from those dedicated detectives at Best, but it is in fact a modern construction from the talented studio trysts of Mystic Jungle and Whodamanny from the Periodica camp. These Italian producers have more than proved their knack for crafting sublime, honey-smooth jams with a nod to the golden studio era of the 70s and 80s, and they're more than up to the task on this killer 12" of heavy funking jams with a dose of boogie and a nod to Ivory Coast disco. It's quite simply perfection, rendered with love and attention to detail, but utterly natural in its feel and flavour.
Don't Want This To Be Over (feat Satchmode) (5:16)
Sommeron (feat Imugi) (4:39)
Twilight (feat Izo FitzRoy) (5:47)
Echo Park (2:33)
Same Blood (feat The Palms) (4:54)
Say The Word (feat Nic Hanson) (5:44)
24 Hr Fling (feat Wolfgang Valbrun) (3:48)
Sweet Time (feat Izo FitzRoy) (3:29)
Guilty Discomforts (feat Wolfgang Valbrun) (4:39)
Out In The Daylight (feat Gavin Turek) (3:14)
I Think (feat Berenice Van Leer) (3:01)
Naked (feat IVAR & Berenice Van Leer) (5:26)
Review: Since debuting in the early 2000s, Dutch trio Kraak & Smaak have established themselves as one of Europe's premier purveyors of eclectic, funk-fuelled dancefloor positivity. It's little surprise then to find that their new album "Pleasure Centre" - their sixth studio set in total - is another joyous romp. This time round, they've drawn more influence from West Coast style blue-eyed soul and yacht rock while continuing to offer nods towards boogie, P-funk, synth-pop, '80s soul, jazz-funk and Rotary Connection (see the superb "Twilght", with vocals by rising star Izo FitzRoy). It's a wonderfully warm and attractive blend, with the result being a superb collection of dancefloor cuts and heady downtempo numbers that all adds up to their best album to date.
Review: Hot on the heels of a re-work of Bobby Caldwell, edit stylist Caserta is back with another golden nugget. This time he turns his attention to the one and only Luther Vandross and serves up two equally essential but very different tunes that pay homage to his unique voice. The King Street Mix is all hip swinging claps and nodding bass riffs that are organic and heartfelt, whereas the Henry Street Mix nods to the '90s heyday of New York. With warm neon organ stabs that will get any floor pumping, both interpretations have Luther's soulful voice front and centre.
Just An Illusion (Ilija Rudman Night Institute mix) (3:04)
Don't Look Any Further (Ilija Rudman True Colours mix) (4:38)
Review: Off the back of the awesome "Sagittarii" LP on Stevie Kotey's Bear Funk earlier in the year, Croatian deep disco hero Ilija Rudman is back with a couple of sweet re-edits on Brooklyn Highs. He takes on Imagination's classic "Just An Illusion" for a "Night Institute Mix" where he pitches this sexy late night lovers anthem down a few notches for that good ol' low slung effect. On the flip, he delivers a respectful edit of Dennis Edwards and Siedah Garrett's 1984 classic "Don't Look Any Further" for a "True Colours Mix", which again goes for that slo-mo vibe just nicely.
Review: There is something about good 7"s that makes them seem extra special, and this is a prime example from City Baby Records: a double a-side of timeless grooves that are disco tinged exquisites from start to finish. The outfit behind them is Freaky, a soul gang from Minneapolis who apparently hide away deep in Tokyo's underground disco scene. "Running" is a delicate affair with neat bass riffs and happy chords that make for dreamy listening. "Sailin" is slower and more deep cut, with tooting leads and the sort of carefree vocals that will melt anyone's heart.
Review: Return to 2001: Swiss brothers Shakedown drop an iconic house anthem that debunked the standard XXL funk du jour with a much spacier, synth-based 80s boogie sound. Still relevant and heavily played, Defected have commissioned three on-point artists for the 2018 contemporisations: Peggy Gou gets her acid tweaks on, Tiger & Woods pitch down the vocal and dust off the Street Sounds electroid feel and Purple Disco Machine cooks up an unapologetic funked up house jam that wouldn't have gone amiss on Classic back in the day. For good measure Shakedown return with their own signature Galactic Boogie version that pumps with strong Moroder tendencies. Good night.
Review: Solomon's Diynamic label has become one of the most visible host outlets in the world. It has a very focused sound that is often progressively melodic, with linear drums working up to a grand crescendo. Elax is the latest to add his own slight spin on that tried and tested format with these two elongated grooves. "Bescio" is littered with percussion and slapping hits that demand you move your body in subtly persuasive ways. "With Lou" is more textured, with a rasping synth lines rumbling over hiccupping drums and hits that are all designed to get big rooms under their spell.
Review: Dualismo Sound has a great track record when it comes to unearthing and reissuing gems from Italy's small but vibrant Afro-Cosmic scene. This 12" from Meo (real name Daniele Mei) is another. Both A-side tracks were initially released back in 1987 and are appearing on vinyl for the first time since. "Cikuana" is a jolly, synth-laden affair that inhibits similar sonic territory to some of Tullio de Piscopo's 1980s work, while "Alturas" does a great job in wrapping Flamenco guitars and new age synths around a rubbery electronic bassline and gentle drums. Epic flipside "Fiesta", meanwhile, was first featured on 1986 album "Sesta Traccia" and makes great use of both evocative fretless bass (a staple of Balearic records from that period) and snaking sax lines.
Review: The Fantastic Voyage label kicks off with a summery joint from RFX, otherwise known as Pharmacy Records mainstay Romain FX, straight out of Hong Kong. There's an undeniable African lilt to these tracks, shot through with a classic 90s house twist - just check the infectious bump of "Indaba Kabani". "Gambian Neptune" has a snappier feel, channeling the vibe of 80s extended dubs with its strident drum section and bombastic atmosphere. "Nigerian Charon" has an interesting mixture of vibes going on, part Art of Noise mash up and part peak time synth sizzler, while "Sudanese Xena" heads into the heat of night, conjuring up a seductive, swirling mood to get truly lost in.
Review: Melbourne producer Hysteric is becoming a go-to man for those looking for killer re-edits of obscure, left-of-centre Italo-disco and synth-pop oddities. Here he serves up a fresh batch of reworked gems for new label Fuego International, following inspired outings on Bordello A Parigi and Public Possession. The title track is a steamy, exotic Italo-disco gem blessed with electrofunk flourishes and AOR disco guitars, while "Discotheek De Marathon" is a throbbing, synth-heavy chugger that makes great use of extended drum solos and synthesized cowbells. Flip for the sweet, Afro-Italo fusion of "Pescara Beach", and the pitched down, electro-influenced new wave shuffle of "Southend Pier".
Review: Glaswegian disco overlord Al Kent is particularly fond of dusty, hard-to-find records that combine great grooves with the kind of sugary, flowing orchestration that marks out some of the greatest late-'70s dancefloor records. It's these records that he tends to re-edit. He's at it again here on a surprise two-track GAMM outing. Check first A-side "The Light Of You", a peak-time ready Stevie cover version disco cut that adds a myriad of instrumental solos to a heavily orchestrated backing track originally recorded by latin disco soul outfit LaSo. It's rather good, all told, as is the wild flipside Latin jazz-funk workout "Sing A Song". It's pretty sweaty and even boasts some serious eyes-closed guitar solo action (along with tons of authentic South American percussion).
Review: Always adept at reading the crowd and armed with decades of experience behind the decks, well-travelled man and Discoweey label boss Hotmood makes his debut on UK-based Giant Cuts with four summery tracks on "The Rhythm EP". Combining slo-mo boogie, groove laden disco and quality house sounds, he kicks things off with the sleazy late night funk attack of "The Rhythm Is There", before going deeper on the bass-driven soul loops of "My Darling (Dina)", leading up to the thumpin' B1 cut - a remix by Doc Jam that's chock-a-block with dancefloor dynamics and closing out with a fusion of jazz-funk, disco-house and evocative tropical jazz samples on "Tropical Space". Fans of Tropical Disco, Ravanelli Disco Club and Samosa will especially love this.
Review: Defected offshoot Glitterbox is a label that embodies the old school spirit of early house and disco - polysexual, positive and hugely expressive. The latest single is another testament to that with majestic producer Qwestlife serving up a perfect fusion of disco lushness, house groove and funk bass on "Fever". Add in hip swinging claps, Grammy winner Siedah Garrett's vocals, a sprinkling of Sugarhill Gang and Grandmaster Melle Mel and you have a real bobby dazzler. Deep digging disco don Kon serves up a joyous remix as well as a beatless reprise for DJ trickery.
The Klub Family - "When I Fall In Love" (feat Sybil - Knee Deep Disco club mix) (6:35)
Whitney Houston - "I'm Every Woman" (Clivilles & Cole House mix 1) (10:43)
Review: The glorious Defected affiliated label land party Glitterbox continues to bring back some of the colour, gloss and glamour that made early house and disco so great with this second edition of their Hotter Than Fire series. Melvo Baptiste once again selects a load of fantastic tracks that brim with soul, diva vocals and timeless basslines. Highlights are plentiful throughout, but our picks of the bunch are "Chic Mystique" awashed with serious 90s New York vibes, all out Soul Train groover "Gotta Keep On Trying" by Tenderness and Jungle Brothers who bring some of their street wise hip house styles to the throwback "What 'U' Waitin' 4?".
Can't Touch Me Anymore (Marcel Vogel remix) (5:24)
Can't Touch Me Anymore (Reconstructed remix) (6:38)
Can't Touch Me Anymore (Dino Soccio remix) (6:31)
Can't Touch Me Anymore (5:11)
Review: Strike One was a British Funk act who was behind one of the fastest selling British 12 inch singles of their mid-eighties ear. That single is "Cant Touch Me Any More" and is presented here by High Fashion alongside some expert new remixes. The original is a real gem with playful bass and well-swung claps all topped off by the expressive vocals of Sabiha Kara and Tobi Bakker with Dick Maun on saxophone. The Marcel Vogel remix is a sympathetic one that adds bass weight and some contemporary touches, while Dino Soccio goes for a more cosmic touch.
Review: Hotmoods hits double fingers with another stellar selection of steamy disco sizzlers. This time served up on a heavyweight 12", "Esta Noche" leads the charge with Todd Terje style melodic magic chugging away to the skies. "Shabba" features joyous vocal harmonies and splashes of synths that take you to the beach, and "Looking Back" ups the funk with busy bass playing and a lead synth that rings out with infectious happiness. Last of all, "Wanna Be Lost" gets more romantic and up close and personal with female vocals layered over elastic drums. All in all, an essential slab of wax for any disco DJ.
Isabelle & The Rain (Mr K 7" Breakdown edit) (5:28)
Review: 1971: Isaac Hayes redefines what a movie theme can be with the worldwide sensation "Shaft," single-handedly making wah-wah rhythm guitar and racing hi-hats a prime ingredient for the decade of music to come. The huge success of "Shaft" meant Hayes was in demand to bring his vision of cinematic funk to other films, and in 1974 he scored (and starred in) the Blaxploitation B-movie Truck Turner. It's from this soundtrack that "Pursuit Of The Pimpmobile" is drawn. The progression Hayes made as a composer is clear: "Pimpmobile" uses complex layered guitar lines with brass and string sections that build and cascade over each other and takes the "Shaft" formula to an entirely new level.
The song became a firm favorite with funky DJs in the '70s, from the refined space of Mancuso's Loft to Bronx and Harlem jams. Indeed, when the Zulu Nation DJs began spinning at a downtown roller disco / dance club called The Roxy in the early '80s, it was firmly entrenched as one of their favorites. Another resident DJ at The Roxy was Danny Krivit, who was already well acquainted with the song and the effect it had on dancers. For this latest addition to Most Excellent Unlimited's steadily expanding catalog of Mr. K 7-inch edits, the master editor distills the sprawling nine-minute original down to a fit five-and-change, maintaining all the muscle that made this one a perennial champion of New York City's varied dancefloors.
The quirky "Isabelle And The Rain" was also a key cut for deeper DJs, uptown and downtown, albeit often on bootlegs as the original was, and remains, extremely scarce. Very little is known about the obscure jazzy cut, the work of a largely anonymous bunch of Los Angeles studio veterans led by keyboardist Mike Lang, whose electric piano solo is the song's defining feature alongside the driving drums, which get plenty of space to shine on Mr. K's Breakdown Edit.
The audio fidelity and peerless editing of these essential tracks - virtually nonexistent on 7-inch vinyl before now - makes the latest from Most Excellent Unlimited a can't-miss addition to the playout box of any DJ with a funky floor to rock.
Review: The My Rules crew is back with its first release of 2019 and doesn't disappoint: this time they've come up with a much fawned over cosmic disco classic from Belgian outfit Candy Darling & The Viscounts. The original "Movin'" is a previously Japan only 12" promo mix of a disco cover of a Lee Hazelwood surf song that has edgy stabs and a squelchy bassline to die for. The flip side houses a special rework by Mt Rules label boss Justin Van Der Volgen. He tweaks the inner workings of the tune to draw out the key bits for utter dance floor destruction. Form the bar to the cub to the afters, this one is primed and ready to detonate.
Review: Texan psych-funk fun time outfit Golden Dawn Arkestra get some remix treatment via this double pack from Razor-N-Tape, which leads in with Austin Ato's positively dreamy deep house version of "Children Of The Sun". JKriv takes on "Cosmic Dancer" and makes it into a slick disco-fied workout that adheres to the RNT vibe, while Dicky Trisco takes the track and makes it into a suitably interstellar strutter heavy on the synth lines. Then then the second slab of wax offers up a side each to the original versions, from the Afrobeat-indebted "Children Of The Sun" to the sweet and starry-eyed disco of "Cosmic Dancer".
Review: Having previously persuaded some of the re-edit scene's biggest names to contribute reworks, Razor-N-Tape has now recruited the Grand-daddy of the scalpel scene: 1970s disco original Danny Krivit AKA Mr K. He begins with "Stuff", a deliciously epic revision of an atmospheric and joyous disco cut rich in snaking synth solos, evocative instrumentation and glassy-eyed vocals. Krivit teases the tune in slowly, eventually cutting loose as the nine-minute edit reaches its final few minutes. Side B is all about "The Story", a jaunty and musically complex instrumental disco number that contains some fantastic orchestration, spacey 1970s synthesizer flourishes and heady female backing vocals.
Instant Funk - "I Got My Mind Made Up" (Late Nite Tuff Guy remix) (7:21)
Orlando Riva Sound - "Body To Body Boogie" (Late Nite Tuff Guy edit) (5:30)
The Salsoul Orchestra - "Ooh I Love It (Love Break)" (Late Nite Tuff Guy Muscle edit) (6:42)
Review: Salsoul has always been good at getting contemporary producers to reinterpret classics from its bulging catalogue, with recent years bringing fresh edits and reworks by The Reflex, Moplen, DJ Pope, Dimitri From Paris and Late Nite Tuff Guy. Here the latter returns with a second helping of tastefully tooled-up revisions. The Australian producer kicks things off with a warm and woozy hybrid disco/house take on Instant Funk's "I Got My Mind Made Up" that's quite a departure from the original mix. Over on side B, he turns in a languid and groovy, mid-tempo house version of Orlando Riva Sound's overlooked "Body To Body Boogie" before successfully revising Salsoul Orchestra's much-loved "Ooh, I Love It (Love Break)" whilst retaining most of the original vocals and instrumentation.