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Grooveman Spot – Runnin’ Pizza review

If you pay little attention to the Japanese scene, Grooveman Spot may have passed you by. While European and US listeners may know him best for last year’s sneakily discofied deep house release on Motor City Drum Ensemble’s imprint (with a languid remake of Michael Wycoff’s “Looking Up To You”), the Tokyo-based DJ/producer has almost a decade’s worth of releases behind him.

Runnin’ Pizza is his third album, following two acclaimed sets of wonky hip-hop experiments and dayglo dancefloor grooves. This time round he’s decided to go for a more house-heavy feel, utilising jazz, hip-hop, electro-funk, disco and electronica influences to pep up his dancefloor-friendly 4/4 flavours. These fusions are at times joyously eccentric, at others deep and meaningful, but they’re always brilliantly forward thinking. At the heart of the album is a series of slo-mo cuts that ooze quality. The slow acid/electrofunk throb of “Chocolate Funk” is a particular delight, and recalls the similarly slow-but-heavy workouts of Eglo mainstay FunkinEven.

There’s also a brilliant, bongo-laden journey into midtempo rave (“SHG Rhythm”) and a woozy acid-meets-disco percussion jam called “Do That Dance”.  Both are fantastic. Elsewhere, the Japanese producer turns his hand to smacked-out Balearic beats (“32 Midnight”), cosmic head-nodders (“Take Back”), Idjuts-ish dub disco (“Don’t Need”) and slick 80s grooves (“Ur Love”) – all with equally impressive results.

Matt Anniss