Review: The Sitar Beat series is built with the DJ in mind - collecting some of the wildest, heaviest and most psychedelic Indian funk recorded and presenting it loud, and ready for the turntable. The first four volumes were assembled by one Indian music aficionado... For the first time, a "guest compiler" was brought in to lace you with some obscure goodies for volume five. As always, we continue the dig into Indian deep funk and psycho-psychedelic masterpieces recorded for the Bollywood film industry. And this time we're even going straight to Indian VHS Videotapes to issue incidental music never before released on vinyl... Sitar Beat Volume Five offers up the sought after title track from RD Burman's "Burning Train" soundtrack alongside Indo-disco (including one helluva Kraftwerk rip off!) and promises to be the first time that many of these songs are heard by the record-buying public - at least in this form. Edits remove any bobbing and weaving, leaving funk that only flies straight ahead!
Review: They say great things come in pairs, and this is certainly true for these two new Sofrito bombs. However, unlike its companion, SSS016 is more of a boogie monster, and Gordon Henderson's "The Highest Bidder" is a tune that is just so easily hummed thanks to its inimitable vocal, while "Hard World" is more of a stone-cold floor-filler with its fast-paced groove and gritty electronic feel. Both unmissable, both total killers. No surprises here - Sofrito doing what the label does best.
Review: There's a mild Latin theme running across both sides of the latest Big Crown 45". First up Paul Ramous covers cult Latin funk band Mandrill's "Fence Walk" with a surging, urgent sense of soul while on the flip we're taken back to the Bay Area late 60s/early 70s as Afro Blue Persuasion's Ulysses Crockett lays down a laid back, slightly fuzzy freeform vibraphone jam in the form of "Funky Resurgence". Sprightly, light-touched and primed for spring, Big Crown have spoilt us big time here.
Review: Those Scandinavian merchants of mischievous beats known as GAMM turn to the Catalonian sun for their latest twelve inch excursion, as Pablo Sanchez adds to his production CV with two cuts. The A Side sees "Yes We Can Can" from Pointer Sisters tuned inside out and embellished with some mid tempo bombastic disco dub sensibilities that further demonstrates the Barcelona based producer's skill at chopping samples. On the flip Sanchez melds some of Thelonius Monk's finest jazz flourishes to a classic jeep beat bump which should satisfy anyone who is down with the likes of Keepup! Records.
Review: Mastered by the legendary Didier from Finnish label Timmion, Detroit's Funk Night bangs out another highly limited dinked 45 for the dirty funk lovers among us. Once again it's another 7 inch from the Fun Shingaling night in Russia. Two artists, two tracks: first up The Snow Surfers serve up a jangly guitar stomper with drum heavy organ funk and an incessant bass groove. On the flip, United Boppers Unit's "R&B" is aided by an infectious raw piano and more of that jangly guitar.
Review: For those of you with a sweet tooth for gamm, raw fusion, and some soul-jazzy delicacies, here's the first release from the label Down The Bush. They start with a combination of all new artists from the label. U-man drops 'Champion' on the A-side, kind of electric soul with some rough dubbing reggae vibration, followed by a totally different remix by not-so-new-comer Chalice Cooper for a bit more of a Latin touch. The B-side introduces Callaloo with a nu-jazz bomb called 'Green Note' and there again, followed by a revamp dub cut version from main man behind the label, U-man, simply called 'Bush Wants You'.
Review: Not to be confused the Mancunian duo of the same name (RIP Electric Chair), the UBs aka Yeahman and The Undercover Brother dig deep into the archives of legendary funkateer Kenny Smith. Across this neat ten inch the duo present trademark Melody and Instrumental versions of two Smith classics. The A Side brings the soft funk rock vibes to "Everyone Knows I Love You", the Northern Soul gem Kenny made for the Kogan imprint, with the brassy leanings of the second version quite delightful. Break diggers will be licking their fingers at the raw materials on offer with "Think All About Number" a heavily vibing funker filled with plenty of brass and organ attitude.
Impeach The President (UB instrumental mix) (4:19)
Review: Nubian Crackers member The Undercover Brother (AKA veteran Queens, New York-based beat-maker Victor Piagneri) fires up his U.B.'s project and delivers another taster for the forthcoming "Ultimate Covers w/Breaks" LP. On the A-side you'll find his instrumental interpretation of Frederick Knight cut "Uphill Peace Of Mind", a heavy, stripped-back revision rich in killer drum breaks, Red Hot Chili Peppers style funk-rock guitars and life-affirming piano solos. Turn to the flip for Piagneri's vocal-free version of The Honey Drippers' 1973 anti-Nixon anthem "Impeach The President". He allows the track's much-sampled opening drum break a little more room to breathe, before carefully layering up Hammond organ riffs and a snaking saxophone solo that effectively replaces the original vocals.
Review: The archives of Estonian artist Uku Kuut continue to prove fertile stomping ground for the PPU label, with this latest transmission drawing from unreleased material he recorded with his mother Maryn Coote. Coote is quite an established musician in her own right, recording a couple of albums as Marju Kuut, as well as collaborating with compatriot Uno Loop and it's clear her musical background helped shape Uku's formative direction. If you've partaken in any previous Kuut retrospectives from PPU, the four tracks here will be a real delight, with "Mayday" and "Dreamboy 84" particular highlights. The former is an alternate tape mix of a track from the Vision Of Estonia LP issued by the label back in 2012, whilst the latter features Marju's vocals in full swing.
Review: Originally out in 1985, Peoples Potential Unlimited reissue this soul boogie jam from Uku Kuut (who was born In the Soviet Union, raised in Sweden and now lives in Estonia) featuring Marju Kuut on vocals. On the flip is a mellow instrumental in homage to Uku's home for the past 20 years, now available for the first time on cute 7" vinyl. Top release!
Review: Theoretically there will come a point where People's Potential Unlimited runs out of obscure funk and boogie from the eighties. And that day will be a very dark one, as every release from the Washington based label is a real delight, with PPU030 no exception. Originally out way back in 1983 on LA imprint Montage, "Give It Up" sees Ultimate Choice plough a decidedly p-funk slant on boogie and it would take a veritable curmudgeon to not be hooked as soon as that tight funk riff drops. It's the sort of track you feel right in your hips, is rough around the edges and has a killer vocal hook. Flip over the stripped down rump pump of "It's Hot" with a rhythm that sounds like it's been sampled more than a few times!
Review: Another killer issue from the 5 Borough Breaks crew, unearthing yet another classic hip hop anthem rarely seen on 45. Taking it back to 1989, Ultimate Force's "I'm Not Playing" catches a young Diamond D in full flow over a looped blues lick. Famed for its appearance on Shadow & Cut Chemist's "Brainfreeze" mix, the original 45 will set you back a hefty sum. As always, flip it over for the original sample source - step up Blues master Albert King's "Cold Feet".
Ultimate Force - "Tuff" (So Damn DjarOne remix)) (4:05)
Large Professor - "Key To The City" (Kesta remix) (2:56)
Review: There's been a lot of online chatter about this blink-and-you'll-miss-it release, a perfectly pitched debut from the DJar One's freshly minted Beats House remix series. Fittingly, Djar One handles side A, offering up a suitably fat and insatiably funky revision of Ultimate Force's "Tuff". Utilising thick drum beats, on-point scratches, hazy horn blasts and occasional snatches of the "Apache" break, the French DJ/producer re-imagines the cut as a floor-friendly boom-bap smasher. Pal Kesta is in similarly good form on the flip, where he offers up a heavy but bouncy take on Large Professor's "Key To The City" that's full of razor-sharp scratches, breakdancing-friendly drums and all manner of classic hip-hop samples. Wherever the party's at, these two remixes will definitely do the business.
Review: New London reissue label Zel Zele launches with a reissue of a 'holy grail' by Umit Aksu Orkestrasi - a band formed by Turkish pianist, composer and arranger Umit Aksu. Originally released in 1975, Bermuda Seytan Ucgeni is an outstanding experimentation of forward-thinking jazz-funk, played by some of Turkey's most talented musicians. On the A side," Bermuda Seytan Ucgeni" is the sound of the '70's at its finest featuring a roaring horn section. Experience the uplifting vibes of "Bogazici Koprusu" on the flip, which is reminiscent of old Italian library recordings, as described by the label.