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Various/John Morales – The M+M Mixes Volume 2 review

2009’s M+M Sessions Volume One was undoubtedly one of the most essential disco/electro-funk compilations of recent times. Over the course of two discs, it brilliantly chronicled the productive studio partnership of celebrated NYC engineers and mixers John Morales and Sergio Munzibai. Its disco digger-friendly mix of unreleased extended versions, after hours dubs and unreleased demos perfectly demonstrated the duo’s immense talents and deep knowledge of what would work a dancefloor. No disco collection was complete without it.

Naturally, hopes are high for this second instalment. This time round, Morales (the sole survivor of the M+M partnership) has dug even deeper, dusting down previously unreleased versions of some lesser-known bangers. For disco completists, then, The M+M Sessions Volume 2 is a more exciting prospect than its predecessor.

With 22 strong tracks to choose from – a number featured in both vocal and instrumental formats – picking highlights is tricky. It’s perhaps no surprise that some of the real stand-out moments come from Leroy Burgess-related projects – see the deliciously dubbed-out take on the Fantastic Aleems’ “Get Down Friday Night”, the uplifting “Hooked On Your Love” (another Fantastic Aleems cut) and Logg’s “Dancing In The Stars”. More of a surprise, perhaps, is Morales’ epic remix of War’s “Slippin’ Into Darkness”, which is the sort of lo-slung, reverb-laden dub disco workout that will appeal to fans of the Idjut Boys and DJ Harvey. Those of a more 80s disco persuasion will enjoy the version of Evelyn Thomas’ “Heartless”, which sounds like a cooler, underground version of Jocelyn Brown’s “Somebody Else’s Guy”.

These are just a few of the highlights; in truth, there are many. There’s a whole heap of Salsoul-related goodies, including Morales’ soon-to-be definitive version of Inner Life’s brilliant “Caught Up (In A One Night Love Affair)”. Oh, and a couple of quite remarkable, previously unreleased dubs of vocal disco anthems. Well and truly essential.

Matt Anniss