Review: Funkyjaws is the Belarusian DJ and producer Sergey Abramov, who you might have previously spotted on Kolour LTD and Shadeleaf Music, often alongside Four Walls. Now a new start up label from St Petersburg has called on Abramov to inaugurate their imprint with his incredibly funky touch, leading in with the sweaty Afrobeat thump of "Ole Ole" and following up in fine style with the sprightly "Heavy Salsa Pushka Bassline", where salsa rips, rudeboy breaks and disco strut gleefully bounce off each other. "Untitled I" and "Untitled II" continue the West African trip with another two brilliant edit workouts with plenty of oomph where it counts.
Review: If ever there was a record that warranted a one-track single-sided pressing, it would be this one. The legend of this track harks back to the golden years of dubplate culture, when a track's infamy could be felt months before it dropped. Sherelle lay waste to the place when she dropped Fixate's utterly devilish bootleg of Double 99's timeless garage classic "Ripgroove," which artfully nudges the track back into the rudest jungle styles the original made such good use of. It had to get an official pressing, and who better than original label Ice Cream Records to do the business? This one is going to fly out, so don't hang around.
Review: Robin Ball's Memory Box dips once more into the acid-laced honey pot and comes up with the lysergic maestro Luke Vibert, who delivers a crucial gurgler in "X To C" that ranks amongst his most incisive 303 workouts in recent memory. A snappy 808 drum line and quintessential vocal chops make this an all-round masterful jam for heads down moments in the dance. Robin Ball himself steps up on the B side with two equally proficient cuts, from the big and bold peak time propulsion of "Gripper" to the punchy tech-noir of "The Edge".
Review: Petr Serkin has been delivering classy funky house variations to Freedom Sessions and elsewhere for some time now, and after a three year break his dependable touch does the business once again on this new missive. "City Worms" is a gorgeous house track that draws on classic instrumentation - slinky live bass, gossamer Rhodes chords, brushed drums and wah wah guitar chops - to create an immersive groove. "Remember That Summer" takes things deeper, using similar ingredients but spelling out a smokier mood. "Water Planet" takes on a light and breezy disco funk veneer as viewed through a misted out lens, and "Jazz Drummer" takes a mellow trip into some seriously swinging drum cuts.
Review: Having slipped out a few choice drops on tape and vinyl for No Bad Days and Fruit Merchant in the past year, Native Cruise charts a course for Paesaggi Records to deliver the label's second release. The music has a humid quality that it's oh so easy to get stuck into, from the laconic house roll of "Late Nights" to the moody sundowner "Desert Theory". Things get even dreamier on the flip as "Bermuda Clouds" unfurls a dazzling polyphonic cascade of digi-synth work before low-slung closer "Whispers" brings the ship into dock in oh-so smooth style.
Review: Having demonstrated the breadth of his artistic vision with the excellent One Against Time album last year, John Dimas returns to Half Baked with a focused 12" of dancefloor heaters that keep the vibe varied but the beats ever-present. "5putn1k" is a cheeky, boxy workout with plenty of swing and some wriggling bassline flex. "@L5d" takes a trippier route through spaced out synth lines and a subliminal rhythm section for maximum lock-in, and then "5p@c3 T@lk" heads skywards with a gorgeous tapestry of melodious expression strapped to a rock-solid groove. "@rkyn" completes the set with a snagging 2-step funk and plenty of the space in the mix for the meditative crew to get all eyes-closed to.
Review: The Micronesia label has always impressed with its various artists releases, although they're never in a hurry to get another record together. Finally volume three is here, and it features another intriguing cast of characters. Rudolf C brings some crisp and crackling deep house bedded down with hazy pads and sprinkled on top with curious cosmic trills. LK is back on the label with a mellow roller, while Leonid gets things hot and sticky for the clamoring throb of "Cosmic Origin". Alpha Crucis pings off into super-deep backroom quarters with the gorgeous "About U", and DX2OV keeps things chilled but funky on the dust-caked "Cone".
Review: Previously seen (and heard) on Whiskey Disco, Barefoot Beats and Basic Fingers, Toronto twosome The Patchouli Brothers have crossed the Atlantic and set up home on G.A.M.M. As the title suggests, this is the first in a series of re-edit EPs for the storied Swedish imprint. First up is "All Good Things", a fine re-arrangement of an obscure disco gem that comes loaded with sweeping strings, soulful vocals, killer grooves, Chic style guitar riffs and just the right amount of spacey synthesizer action. Over on the flip, they work their magic on a bustling cut that sits somewhere between the sumptuousness of Philadelphia International releases and eighties disco-funk.
Review: It would be safe to say that Kayroy (real name Finian Langham) is on a roll. This is his third must-have EP of 2019 and his second outing on Whiskey Disco. It begins with "Rosella", a superb revision of Crown Heights Affair's "Say a Prayer" that strips out most of the vocals and layers up tasteful overdubs to give the track a more cosmic and dubbed-out feel. "You're The Reason Why" is a loopy but groovy rearrangement of a dewy-eyed laidback disco classic, while "Silk & Satin" is a riotous rework of a heavy disco-funk number rich in sharp, rising horn lines, screaming guitars, sweaty drums and toasty bass. Arguably best of all, though, is the fizzing, dubbed out Italo-disco-goes-poodle-perm-rock insanity of "One Night In Prague".
Review: From Patron and Wolfskuil to this first drop on Or:la's new label Cead, Utrecht producer Lewski is fast establishing himself in the buzzing space that exists between techno, electro and more experimental fare. "Guadala" has an uptempo bite, but there's plenty of dubby immersion to be felt in the bubbling synth drops and splashy reverb trails. "Jara" has its own kind of crooked intent, pockmarked with acid swerves and interlocking rhythms to get synapses firing. "Mariachi" takes things back to the peppier end of the tempo spectrum, clearly aiming for the peak time without making any cliched moves - no mean feat - and then "Descacorde" switches things up with a stomping electro house workout that brings a wholly different flavour to this excellent EP.
Review: Man of many names and even more styles, Daniel Maunik follows up his "A Vicious Circle" EP with three more beguiling outernational adventures. Already a member of the Far Out family through the Far Out Disco Monster Orchestra, these singles represent a heavier, more intense mood as Daniel whips up dancefloor storms in the best unconventional ways. "Dirty Trix" sets the scene with a classic French filtered feel before the juiciest of basslines takes the lead, "Until The End" is pure jazz in its jittering key hook while the title track "Sombra Do Dragao" brings the EP to a fizzy percussive frenzy. Perfect summer business.
Review: After offering up EPs titled "Hard Times" and "Changing Times" in 2017, Kaidi Tatham returns to First Word to complete the trilogy with "Serious Times". Of course, the music contained within the EP's tightly packed grooves is as joyous, rich as intricate as ever. Check, for example, "Don't Cry Now", a samba-soaked, sun-kissed affair that wraps harmonic freestyle vocals, twinkling electric piano lines and darting jazz-funk bass around a seriously shuffling groove. Tatham's much-discussed jazz-funk influences are once again given an airing on "Sugar", while his fine piano work takes pride of place on instrumental hip-hop head-nodder "Zallom". Best of all, though, is opener "Cost of Living", which emphatically weaves together all of these strands and more besides.
Review: The thinking behind this impressive, deliciously loved-up and glassy-eyed EP from Chicago producer Aguila seems devilishly simple. The New York-born artist clearly decided to fuse three key musical ingredients: the rush-inducing electronic bliss of the best vintage trance, chords and sounds from turn-of-the-90s Italian and New Jersey deep house, and the shuffling breakbeats more readily associated with rave-era UK house. We're loving the kaleidoscopic electronics, rushing synthesizer melodies and fireside-warm grooves of "Trance Atlantic", not to mention the sunrise-ready rush of "El Sol Rojo", which is as breathtaking in its colourful melodiousness and life-affirming potential as 808 State's peerless "Pacific State". The rest of the EP is just as revelatory and spine tingling, making this one of the most inspired label debuts we've heard for a while.
Falling Deep In Love (Joey Negro 12" Disco Blend) (7:11)
Review: Horse Meat Disco has been promising a debut album for some time, but there are now signs that it might, at last, be on its way. Here they present their second high-profile single for Glitterbox - a superb collaboration with legendary disco vocalist Kathy Sledge. In its original form, "Falling Deep In Love" is the kind of groovy, string-laden, sing-along disco treat that sounds like it could have been written and produced by Chic greats Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards. It's utterly ace, all told, and deserves to be one of the tracks of the summer. On the flip, Joey Negro offers up a "Disco Blend" that combines the quartet's original instrumentation and Sledge's fine vocal with slightly more weighty, house-style drums.
Review: The ever-consistent Rutilance returns with old friend and fellow Frenchman Vincent G. Previously appearing on their last V/A collection with "Control Freak" here he takes control of our every sense with four sublime grooves. Each one coated in a dreamy haze the trip ignites with evocative, early DJ Gregory style "Lust" and comes to an end with the thunder-thigh kicks and warehouse dynamic of "Sub Experience". In between we have more deep dream escapades with "Nite Rider" and classic 93-style New York feels on "Aeterna". Ageless!
Review: For the latest missive on their reissue-focused Attic Salt Discs imprint, Dusty-fingered duo Colin Volvert and Otto Kraanen have snapped up the rights to a sought-after 1984 cut from Belgian new wave band 1000 Ohm. You'll find their original vocal and instrumental versions on the A-side, with both sounding like a delightful cross between bubbly Italo-disco, Bobby 'O' style Hi-NRG and the imperial synth-pop of the Pet Shop Boys. Arguably even better than both original mixes is Vanzetti and Sacco's more dancefloor-focused flipside edit. While this does make use of 1000 Ohm's Heaven 17/ABC style vocals and cheery melodies, there's far more focus on the druggy arpeggio groove and chunky drum machine beats.
Review: Trustworthy techno outpost Chronicle are the kind of label you can still get behind when they drop an unnamed artist. Whoever's behind Cycle De Motifs, the bar remains reassuringly high for those wanting fresh firepower in the serious techno game. "GPS" is a fist-shaking piledriver, but it's not without its cerebral nuances between the surging low end. Who needs a kick when you can have a relentless sub to carry you through the night? "C-Signature" darts out into equally intriguing territory with a creeping, insectoid array of sound design working around a minimal beat. "Gateway To Infinity" piles the eerie, looping figures on and continues spiraling outwards, and "Nepthys" plies an old-skool drum machine jack in the finest Plastikman tradition.
Review: Australian producer Andrew Wilson (House of Dad / Wilson Tanner) dons the Andras Fox alias once again for his latest outing for Munich's Public Possession crew, who describe the Boom Boom EP as a 'reprogramming of world music influenced dance music .. subtle and unwired'. From the Afro house influenced bounce of "Jingo" or "Rubber", moving from said aesthetics in to classic house on the upbeat "Conch" or the quite euphoric trance reduction of "Ipx 7" - this record is bound to be a major festival hit this season and guaranteed to sound good on any listening device you choose!
Review: Mihai Pol is undoubtedly the current favourite of Romania's storied minimal techno scene at present, and continues with his consistent output with a new one for Berlin by way of Frankfurt's Subtil here - after some thrilling outings on Telum, Synaesthesia and Ibiza's More Than Music. Pol's signature groove is bouncy and uplifting as heard on the reduced funk of opener "Lost Ark" which was no doubt tested thoroughly on Bucharest's afterhours scene. On the flip, two more cuts await: the tough bass-driven entancer that is the title track ("Making Waves") which could be used to easily lead in to the peak time, or the heady and infectious tool that follows - fittingly titled "Mentalist"
Review: Last time we heard from James Ruskin, it was in collaboration with fellow UK techno veteran Mark Broom. Here he flies solo on Blueprint - the label he co-founded way back in 1997 - for the first time in five years. Title track "Reality Broadcast Off" is thrillingly wonky and unsettling, with Ruskin peppering a sturdy late night techno groove with waves upon waves of minor-key arpeggio lines and seemingly out of time motifs. It's great, all told, and most likely capable of inducing hallucinations in suitably refreshed dancers. He continues on a similarly off-kilter theme on the slightly more positive sounding - but no less mind-mangling - "We Are Everywhere", before rounding off a rock solid EP via the squelchy acid motifs and rumbling bass of "Disaffection".
Review: Following up last year's Moments EP, Dea Dvornik and Enrica aka Eris return to Japanese imprint Cabaret with yet more impressive minimal electro shenanigans. The Italian/Croatian duo are in fine form on the Champions League EP, which kicks off with the deep and trippy bass-driven jam that is the tile track, followed similarly by "Redemption In Friedrichshain". On the flip is the most upbeat and lively track by the pair here named "Moloko" which will mix well with the rest of the label's recent discography - this bleepy and funky old school techno groove is absolutely infectious!
Review: On celebrating 22 years of Josh Wink's cult acid classic "Sixth Sense" on his legendary Ovum imprint, they've invited one half of Masters At Work, Louie Vega, and Israeli techno hero Shlomi Aber for a set of remarkable updates. Vega looks after the A side with a couple of sweltering reworks: from the bouncy, bass-driven groove attitude of the main remix which retains industry veteran Ursula Rucker's powerful vocal performance, to the handy dub version up next. On the flip, Aber certainly has come a long way since the days of Chicago Days/Detroit Nights - it's about spending all weekend at Berlin's Berghain these days - getting on some proper tunnel vision with his steely and austere rework.
Review: Ben Sims has been busy of late, what with the Tribology compilation and its strong run of companion singles. Now the UK titan is revisiting the project once more with these additional tracks from household names and newcomers alike. Marcu Bruno leads the charge with the frankly massive "Any Given Sunday", which slams a whopping great techno chord front and centre and rides it to perfection. Cadans brings a bit more tribal pressure to "Bite", and it sounds just as mighty. Mark Broom takes things in a simmering, rolling direction on "Loop It" and Avision finishes the record off with shimmering stomper "Rebel".
Review: Miami-based label Fake Society return with their third release, this time a various artist EP featuring four servings of sublime minimal tech house - all rolling, ethereal and as hypnotic as you like! They haven't been shy either, tapping some of the scene's biggest names at present such as Romanian heroes like Lizz (who provides the mesmerising Sunday afternoon bliss of "Destruct") or Bucharest wunderkind Sublee - sounding a bit different than usual on the breakbeat driven "Found Jazz". In between is label boss Camelia on the bass-driven groove of "Protostar". On the flip, ascendant producer Los Bastoneros delivers the blissed-out dub of "La Joaca".
Review: Since 2015, Jacob Chenaux has been serving up singles made in collaboration with fellow Offenbach resident Martyne. Here he goes solo for the very first time with a four-track outing on Traffic. He eases us in gently via the crunchy techno-funk of "Frostnach" - all bouncy drum machine beats, rumbling bass and minor key organ melodies - before heading to deep space via the sci-fi bleeps, supersonic noises and robust drums of "Challenjour". Flip to the B-side for the wayward early morning techno throb of "Jericho" and the rubbery goodness of "Wrath", where Motor City style chords and chiming melodies rise above unfussy machine beats and a squelchy analogue bassline.
Review: Gabriel Reyes Whittaker is The Abstract Eye: an L.A.-based producer also known as GB (Gifted & Blessed) and Frankie Reyes. Regarding the dynamic pace of the music industry, he asks the question, what's real anymore? For him, it comes down to the feelings this music evokes. Last year saw the much needed reissue of his underrated 2011 opus Cool Warm Divine on Holland's Rush Hour, and this new record is another emotive release which explores classic electro and techno sounds - borrowing from the best of the genre's recent past but reinterpreting it in his own distinct way. From the old school deep techno bounce of "Land, Sky & Sea" to the chill groove of "What's Real Anymore?" or the mellow electro of "Butterfly Patterns" - thia is as real as it gets.
Review: Illyus & Barrientos are the rising Scottish tech-house duo that are staples of top labels DFTD and Glasgow Underground, and who had a breakthrough year in 2018. They kick start this year with a future anthem on the label they now call home: Toolroom. There is a couple of worthy new bangers here: from the exhilarating funky house explosion of "The One" and its infectious disco loops, to the fierce tech-house stomp of "Shout" named after the pitched-up diva vocals throughout - that will no doubt whip the crowd into a frenzy. This in combination with a tough rolling, bass-driven groove that is aimed squarely at peak time dancefloors in the main room and it's a hit prediction right here! Expect to be hearing it a lot in 2019 for sure.
Review: Fresh from another killer collaboration with regular studio sparring partner E-GZR on Wania, Laura "LNS" Sparrow goes solo and offers up the second volume in her ongoing "Recons" series. It's another confident and hugely entertaining affair, with Sparrow flitting between electro-influenced space funk ("Recon Two"), deep and dubbed out breakbeat shufflers ("Ecumene"), sunrise ready analogue deep house warmth ("Prahvist"), bleep and bass influenced machine techno ("Lehkist") and spacey ambient beauty ("To Be Continued"). Old pal DJ Sotofett is also on hand to remix "37th Degree" in a typically warm and woozy dubbed-out manner.
Review: After a lengthy studio apprenticeship alongside her father Robert in Floorplan, Lyric Hood is finally ready to make her solo production debut. As you'd expect, there are naturally some similarities between her work and that of her legendary father. "11:11", for example, is heavy, driving and claustrophobic, with slowly shifting, hard-wired electronic looks and subtle but panicked stabs buzzing around thumping techno beats and metallic percussion hits. It's the kind of thing Papa Hood may have released on M-Plant back in the day, which is no bad thing. A-side "Nineteen" is arguably even better. Its' sampled drums and loopy, warehouse-ready motifs are funky as hell and twice as hot, while the subtle vocal samples buried in the mix tip a wink to Floorplan's gospel-tinged techno.
Review: Artificial Intelligence welcome Austrian duo Air K & Cephei back to the fold with this gorgeous four-tracker. Their first full EP for the label, they've delivered in all directions; "All You Know" is a vocal hurricane armed with an equally hair-raising bassline, "Smiles" is an introspective-yet-sensual piano-tickler while "Reflections" is a genuine cosmic crusade built with layers and textures that go on for days. Finally "My Way" closes the show with a nice bit of closure. With added touches from Concept & Shnek, it's a powerful orchestral piece with all the essential drama you need in a summer set. Epic.