Review: Given that they started out 12 years ago making soul-fired 21st century jazz-funk and bustling broken beat, it seems fitting that their latest single features the honeyed lead vocals of Xantone Blacq, an artist whose early singles explored bruk and future jazz. "You Said" is a wonderful chunk of laidback disco-soul tailor made for sun-kissed afternoons and sweltering early evening dances. Blacq is in fine form singing over the duo's Nile Rodgers style guitars, Bernard Edwards-seque bass and intricately programmed percussion. Over on the flip the pair dons their J & J guys to offer up a largely instrumental edit for those who prefer to get lost in the groove.
Billy Squier - "The Big Beat" (extended Breaks Special edition) (2:54)
Le Pamplemousse - "Gimmie What You Got" (extended Breaks Special edition) (4:12)
Review: We've said this before, but there's something brilliantly simple about the Beats & Breaks label's "Extended Breaks" series of seven-inch re-edits. There's no superfluous fluff or needless rearrangement, just solid and matter-or-fact extensions of key drum breaks to both aid mixing and light up dancefloors. For proof, check the mysterious re-editors' take on Billy Squier's 1980 heavy rock workout "The Big Beat", which prioritizes the track's fat, bottom-heavy drums and the singer's impassioned vocal yelps while stripping out most of the gnarled guitar riffs. If you need a bit of a breather from the heavy dancefloor pressure, the crew's subtle revision of Le Pamplemousse's drowsy, synth-laden deep disco shuffler "Gimme What You Got" - a string-laden slice of sun-kissed sweetness - should do the trick.
Review: Fernando Zapico AKA Z@p is one of those producers whose work is always worth a listen, primarily because his quality threshold is very high. This two-track missive on My Own Jupiter picks up where his recent EP for Japanese imprint Cabaret left off, delivering faintly foreboding futurist techno whose sci-fi inspirations are clear to hear. A-side "Brutalismo" sets the tone, with paranoia-inducing analogue bass, creepy synth stabs and swirling electronic textures rising above a punchy drum machine-driven groove. "We Control The Sound" is notably denser and a little darker, with sturdier beats, moodier chord sequences and a bone-chilling breakdown.
Review: Having previously dipped into the back catalogue of a host of disco, house and U.S garage acts, Groovin' Records has decided to offer up a trio of tracks from jazz-funk maestro-turned-disco don Eumir Deodato. First up is John "Jellybean" Benitez's superb 1982 remix of "Keep On Movin", a dreamy disco club-cut rich in bold slap bass, swirling chords and sweet female vocals. Benitez is also at the controls on "Keep It In The Family (Remix)', another 1982 rework of one of Deodato's most famous disco-era anthems (check the clips - you'll be singing along within seconds). To round things off, the label steps back to 1978 with the hard-to-find and in-demand 12" version of jazz-funk/disco classic "Whistlebump".
Review: The first vinyl offering on any label needs to be something pretty special, and evidently No Fuss Records haven't forgotten that golden rule of releasing. Who better to draft than Saison, a duo with an established reputation for soulful, groove-fulled deep house that's guaranteed to make an impression on the floor? Probably nobody, hence the decision. 'I Need Ya' is a classic vocal workout, brass stabs and looped, filtered lyrics clearly positioning the track as a good times anthem. There's more than a little chug underpinning the Werkshy remix of 'Something Made Me', which stomps its way into a male chorus that should thrust fists skywards. 'Senor Blues' is more of a journey in comparison to its siblings, gradually unveiling its pianos and opening the arrangement up as the track expands from understated beginnings to room-filling proportions.
Politics Of Dancing X Chris Carrier - "Track 1" (6:45)
Politics Of Dancing X Nail - "Track 2" (7:35)
Review: Politics Of Dancing continue their adventures in the studio with friends and kindred spirits, this time teaming up with two tech house titans that paved the way for the sound they're immersed in today. Fellow Parisian Chris Carrier sounds right at home sparring with S.M.A.L.L and Paco on "Track 1", where an irresistible bassline groove underpins some acid licks that burrow deep into the night time frame of mind. On the flip Nail is the partner of choice, and the UK veteran helps whip up a crisp and chunky workout heavy on the drums - a serious DJ workout for those craving solid gear for their sets.
Review: Nebraska's Friends & Relations series continues to serve up the finest disco-sprinkled house delights, following on from the previous installment of Disco Dubs with another on point reduction of dusty grooves through the mixing desk. These jams are stripped back and oh so heavy, with FX flaring in all the right places to give an eerie, trippy tint to the jams. It's like walking into the deep end of the session where Walter Gibbons jams with King Tubby uptown, and you'd be right in thinking that's a match made in far-out disco heaven.
Everyday (feat Reginald Omas & James Creole) (2:46)
Play This Game (Money) (1:53)
Cassava Pone (2:23)
We Can Change Now (feat Reginald Omas) (3:28)
The Thing (To Do) (1:41)
How I Do It (2:53)
Roots Now (feat Al Dobson Jr) (2:13)
Get You (I Say) (1:35)
Music Throughout The Night (2:44)
Hold You Down (feat Shepard Manyika) (2:07)
Latin Sisters (1:50)
Ancestral Rivers (2:20)
Phone Call Away (feat Reginald Omas) (1:52)
Real Diggers Only (1:14)
The Moon Revolution (0:40)
Review: Straight out of that bubbling South London jazz scene, Jeen Bassa comes correct with his debut solo album, rightfully landing on his natural home 22a. Anyone hip to the happenings on Tenderlonious' label should know the deal by now - Bassa much like his brothers Mo Kolours, Al Dobson Jr., Reginald Omas Mamode IV is gifted with that killer instinct for fresh approaches to beat science rooted in jazz culture but springing forth with restless, infectious energy. "Cassava Pone" is as cool headed and richly realised as you could hope, and there's a strong cast of guest spots from his nearest and dearest to further flesh out the sound. Perfect for summer months but with plenty to keep you cosy any time of year, this is a modern classic in the making.
Body Language Pro (Sleazy McQueen & Cole Medina remix) (6:37)
Let Me Come Into Your Life (6:49)
The Lone Dancer (6:45)
Review: You could be forgiven for expecting this EP on excellent upfront house imprint Lovedancing to be more of a curveball. After all, The Juan MacLean isn't known for mainstream posturing. It certainly comes with stacks of character and a clear intention to be heard. Bold, commanding and aimed squarely at feet, if mind-meltingly looped pumpers are your thing consider this an early Christmas. All four tracks are built from repetitive hooks, the most inescapable- 'Let Me Come Into Your Life'- will satisfy fans of Mr G's softer side, while 'The Lone Dancer' is destined for sun-drenched terrace bar systems. 'Body Language Pro', meanwhile, has more than a few nods to the French house heydays, with Sleazy McQueen and Cole Medina developing those elements into a beast that's slower to build in but guaranteed to work up a sweat.
Tears For Fears - "Head Over Heels" (Sketches From An Island Sunrise Mediation) (9:03)
Trance - "Ambiente" (7:49)
The Advisory Circle - "Sundial" (3:32)
Richard Torrance - "Anything's Possible" (4:26)
Swing Out Sister - "After Hours" (4:51)
Mark Barrott - "Mokusho" (5:13)
John Stammers - "Idle I'm" (Colorama Coloured In remix) (3:17)
Review: Given their insanely strong Balearic credentials, you'd expect any album compiled by Pete Gooding and Mark Barrott to be stacked to the rafters with drowsy, sun-kissed gems. That's certainly the case with the latest volume of the La Torre Ibiza series, which is the third in total. There's much to enjoy throughout, from the exotic dub shuffle of Jah Wobble and Bill Laswell's "Alseema Dub" and the Penguin Cafe Orchestra-esque "Mornings At Made's" by Pacific Coliseum, to the new age ambient warmth of Satoshi & Makoto's "Crepuscule Leger" and the glassy-eyed blue-eyed soul brilliance of Richard Torrance's "Anything's Possible". Barrott's production and remix contributions are naturally stunning, with his epic Sketches From An Island remix of Tears For Fears' "Head Over Heels" being particularly worthy of mention.
Review: Last year Paulo Mosca made his vinyl debut on Where We Met as one half of Venetian duo Micro.Solchi. Here he makes his solo bow via a four-tracker on Slow Life rich in vintage influences. "Interstellar Interruption", for example, sounds like the kind of far-sighted UK-US techno fusion that could have been featured on a Nexus 21 EP from 1990, while the organ-sporting techno-funk of "Cosmic Love" boasts bleeps that could have been taken wholesale from an early Warp 12". The producer's inherent funkiness is showcased further on brilliant opener "What's Their Name?" - all squelchy bass, Derrick May style drums and jaunty sci-fi lead lines - while "Star Wars" wraps decidedly spacey pads, warped lead lines and dubby bass around a shuffling breakbeat rhythm.
Review: Having previously blessed us with "Ocean Side" two years back, Benedek and Tom Noble return to Superior Elevation with two more Balearic gems. One for the night time, one for sunrise; "World Gruuv" hits the boogie spot with spiralling keys wandering freely up and down a tight shimmering synth-bass led groove. Meanwhile "Profesora" on the B brings us back into reality softly with its addictive percussive hook, aquatic backing and totally tropical taste. Imagine Art Of Noise on Claremont 56 and you're on the right route.
Review: The 1 Life crew had a strong start with the likes of Kerri Chandler, DJ Spen & Karizma and Joey Negro contributing to a disco-fied house sound. Volume two on the label is no slouch either, ranging from Vincent Inc & LA's smoky "Cafe Tropical" before launching into Rico De Almenda's sassy, joyous take on "Watermelon Man". Venus Attack Project get into a deeper, percussive mood on the incendiary "Grass Culture" before Vincent Floyd completes the set with the heartfelt acid bubble of "Trail Of Tears". From organic sounds to box jams, these tracks speak directly to the foundations on which house music was built.
Review: Giles Smith and James Priestley have left an indelible mark on house and techno culture in the UK, not least thanks to their fabled Secretsundaze parties. These days they're taking that iconic stamp into the studio, and following up on strong turns for Mule Musiq and Phonica last year they're finally dropping a full length EP on their own label. The quality is as high as you would expect, from spicy, snarling fire starter "Mezcal" to the transcendental swirl of "Stand Up". On the B side, "Testing" takes things a little deeper with a heady stomp and a tricky disposition that will satisfy all the selectors.
Review: Just four releases into its life, London imprint Counterfeit Soul has managed to draft in some serious pedigree for this one, with bossman Frazer Campbell leading the charge via the gloriously heady heights of 'Cloud 909'. Shades of soulful Detroit more than a little audible, it's a warm and uplifting opening number. Logically, given its name, 'Doom Dub' from Jorge Zamacona is a stark contrast in terms of vibe. Less delicate, much more direct and relentless- barely letting up- it's an ever-growing and more than likely ever-green slice of what deep techiness should sound like from the legendary producer. Those looking for more of a Windy City tip can find plenty of Chicago influences on Jorge Caiado's 'Drifting With Aliens', while Ste Roberts goes raw, unpolished and compulsively danceable for 'Last Saturday Day!'
Review: Last year Burial and the Bug joined forces as Flame 1, delivering an in-demand EP on the latter's Pressure label featuring two sizable slabs of industrial strength soundsystem science. Here they return as Flame 2, once again offering up a pair of weighty dancefloor excursions. A-side "Dive" is a loud and claustrophobic affair, as the duo wraps dystopian dub bass and sparse, mutilated post-drill rhythms in layers of apocalyptic aural textures and mind-altering dub techno style processed noise. Flipside "Rain" is arguably more suitable for dancefloor plays and sees the esteemed twosome combine pulverizing sub-bass heaviness with dancehall style drums that come smothered in mind-melting effects and paranoia-inducing aural smoke.
Review: You should know by now that Plastik People is the go-to spot for the most upfront garage house done in a classic style, and they're spelling it out good and proper with The Sound Of Garage House. Marc Cotterell leads the way with the jazzy vibes and deliciously liquid chords of "Those Days" before Ed The Spread brings a nagging shuffle and sharp string stabs to hard-stepping bumper "The Bauhaus Movement". Grant Nelson keeps things tuff with the natty piano hooks and diva slices of "Move Close" while Rocket Dubz ups the funk to 11 for hands in the air party starter "Dirty Bath".
Review: Groovy, beguiling and hypnotic- Tusk Wax is a label where anything can happen while still boasting coherency throughout its catalogue. If that sounds vague that's the point; elements of house, funk, jazz, acid and tech never far from the mixing desk. This, the imprint's 30th outing, is another limited press continuing in that fine form thanks to the always-solid Loz Goddard, formerly of Dirt Crew. One made for summertime sessions, intriguingly it could score late night hallucinatory forest raves or sun-drenched terrace parties. It just depends which cut you go for. 'Redrum' is a low-lying cosmic treat, repetitive female vocals ensuring dancefloor potential contrasting the lackadaisical melodies. 'BHD' takes us down an expanding disco wormhole, Ron Basejam's remix of 'Redrum' places the emphasis on live bass and sass, a perfect precursor to the contemporary funk of 'Drumble'.
Review: New York City-based trio Escort are back for the first time since their Animal Nature LP from 2015. Their new track "Slide" was co-written with NYC soul artist Denitia and drives you gently with this west coast influenced roller produced by Eugene Cho and Jkriv - and featuring Adeline's wonderful vocal delivery. We absolutely adored this slick and low slung boogie-down number. For something more uplifting (and with dancefloor dynamics) you can try the classic '70s disco explosion of "Ride" (feat Brian Jackson) on the flip, which calls to mind the classic vibe of masters like Salsoul, Moulton Studios et al.
Sweet Power, Your Embrace (Alex Attias Sweet re-edit) (7:16)
8 Counts For Rita (6:42)
The Blessing Song (Flow Lab Kid Blessed remix) (8:53)
Blackbyrds Theme (5:29)
Review: Freestyle Records continues to be an essential source for visionary funk and soul from across the globe, and now they're returning to recent signing Lance Ferguson and his Rare Groove Spectrum. This 12" carries some remixes and rarities that complement Ferguson's self-titled album from earlier this year. Things kick off with Alex Attias' dreamy, Latin-tinged edit of "Sweet Power, Your Embrace" before the original "8 Counts For Rita" bursts forth in a flurry of trumpets and salsa piano. "The Blessing Song" gets remix treatment from Flow Lab Kid, and then Ferguson tackles a cover of The Blackbyrds' "Blackbyrds Theme", all of which have the next level funk chops Ferguson has displayed elsewhere in his burgeoning repertoire.
Review: Fresh from dropping some heat on Leftroom, Alex Arnout continues his productive streak with this sterling return to Jack's House after he last graced the label with its first release back in 2016. "Sync Jam" packs a serious shuffle that hits squarely in the pleasure plexus for any discerning tech house head, while "Calling U" adopts a playfully spooky tone as it wriggles through a plethora of freaky synth squiggles. "Resergen" completes the set with a spirited dash through hooky techno drum programming and a mean chord line that captures a little old-skool optimism in the process.
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: Low-slung stuff from the Nabucco label bossman, with the original just as primed for afternoon party vibes as it is the earliest morning sets. Gradually building momentum from its pared back stepping opening, soaring synth lines and subtle vocal stabs invoke the glory days of West Coast house- as smooth as it is uplifting, warm and inviting. On the flip, Mandar's remix retains most of the same elements, placing a more emphasis on the keyboard stabs and, although running for less time, has a greater sense of journey. Its dubby mid section allowing plenty of room for jazz inflected pianos to usher in smoky, chilled-out vibes in direct contrast to the punchier moments. The result is arguably even more useful that the original, and certainly something capable of pulling dancers in and not letting go.
Review: If you enjoyed the loose, warm and organic musical fusions of Italian outfits Nu Guinea and Mystic Jungle, we'd recommend checking out this fine debut album from fellow countrymen Aura Safari. The Perugua-based quartet explore similar influences - think jazz, jazz-funk, dusty deep house, Afro-cosmic, Balearica and boogie, for starters - and rely on a similar blend of vintage synthesizer sounds, live and programmed drums, jazz-friendly brass instruments and elastic bass guitar. The resultant album, then, feels like it comes from a similar sonic place, even if Aura Safari's distinctive musical blend is even more eclectic, emotive and atmospheric than that offered by their aforementioned contemporaries. Either way, it's a superb set.
Review: Emerging slowly from understated beginnings, 'Running Into The Sun' sees Komodo deliver the kind of expansive tones that easily establish a vibe on the dancefloor, nodding to progressive house's fundamentals while borrowing plenty from earthier, more organic-sounding ends of the four-four scene. Eric Duncan does the business on the remix, taking it into tougher territory and throwing in a cacophony of drummy intersections that help build the atmosphere, placing the whole arrangement on a knife-edge. 'Slow Burning' does what it says on the tin, growing and grooving its way through spiralling synths and acidic inflections, adding some gentle chords to bring in some welcome melody. Latrec evidently has a different understanding of the phrase given his remix, cutting back to throbbing kick drums while allowing just enough of the harmony to enter earshot, with trance-like results.
Review: London duo Dusky are up next on Running Back, with what appears to be the first volume in their new Life Signs series. Best described by Gerd Janson and Co. as British bass science applied on classic house tropes, where breakbeats underpin transcendent melodies and IDM meets UKG. The lads behind the much lauded 17 Steps label are in fine form here: from the electrifying Italo disco influenced number "Boris Borrison's Trip To Morrisons" on the A side being unlike anything we've heard from the pair before. On the flip, it's a throwback to the illegal dance parties of the early '90s on the pitched-down hardcore breaks of "Lea Valley" and harking back to a similar era is the euphoric "Static".
Review: Given his stargazing, intergalactic ethos, it's perhaps unsurprising that sci-fi techno overlord Jeff Mills has decided to mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo XI moon landing by releasing an album containing his musical "interpretations of Earth's moon". As you'd expect from an artist of Mills' standing, it's a very good album. Evocative, atmospheric and hugely spacey - this is Jeff Mills after all - the seven-track set moves from scene-setting, string-laden ambient ("Control, Satva and Rama") to sparse, acid-flecked dub techno ("Electromagnetic") via a string of fine cuts that variously touch on electro-fired broken techno ("Stabilizing The Spin"), Steve Reich style minimalism (the brilliant "Lunar Power"), and semi-orchestral electronic positivity ("The Tides").
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.
Save Your Love (feat Boogie Back & David A Tobin) (5:19)
Sexability (feat Kevin East) (4:56)
Slow Burn Love (feat D Train) (3:55)
No Matter What (feat Yolanda Lavender) (5:28)
Keep On (feat Matthew Winchester) (4:51)
Come Back Home (feat David A Tobin) (5:03)
Share The Light (feat Janus Soliand) (5:06)
Your Move (feat Sophie Ripley) (4:51)
Summer Rain (feat Faye B) (4:38)
Review: Over 10 years deep and sounding Stronger than ever (not sorry) Cool Million return with their fifth album and it's delicious in all directions. Still smacking with that powerful early 80s soul, boogie and RnB blend, still packing heavyweight vocalists, still stacking serious levels of musicianship, Stronger runs the gamut. From juicy feet-tickling boogie ("Stronger", "Keep On") to sultry ballads ("Share The Light") and steamy soul jams ("Come Back Home") with killer vocals from the likes of the legendary D-Train plus Janus Soliand, Jasmine Franklin and David A Tobin, "Stronger" is one of the Danish/German duo's most accomplished albums to date.
Review: Originally pressed (on a limited run) in 2013, LA Latin funk troupe Boogaloo Assassins have reissued these two spellbinding cover versions again due to public demand. Still on a highly limited run, both cuts need to be in your collection: Dawn Penn's "No No No" gets a strict samba switch with lavish percussion and consistent vocal harmonies throughout while Sonny Henry's "Evil Ways" (best known from its Santana cover) gets the dreamy instrumental treatment where the horns and glocks do the narrating over a tight bed of wood blocks, shakers and liquid Rhodes. Killer stuff and Juno is one of the few stores outside of USA which is carrying the 45. Don't Sleep !
Review: Proud and in charge, Exzact returns with more unfaltering electro aimed at the purists in the room while still exploring avenues that will appeal to ears of a wider sonic disposition. Three tracks of broken futurism all equally accomplished and irresistible. 'Feeling' is perhaps the most upfront here, its arpeggiated introduction building atmosphere before beats drop that can only really be described as fresh, picking up tracking high-hats as things progress before introducing an echoed synth arrangement plucked straight from Bladrunner's deleted party scene. The BFX remix throws in four-to-the-floor sections, using these to build tension, breaks acting as explosive moments to unleash the true vibe. Kenethetic joins on the high pitched 'Above', while man of the moment- in this genre at least- Brice Kelly turns said track into a moody, evil work of genius.
Review: Last month's debut salvo from off-kilter Balearic pop edit imprint Shelved Recordings sold out in record time, so it's likely you'll have to act fast to secure a copy of this speedy follow-up. Editor Andi Handley gets things going via the blissful bubbles of "Up and Down", where sustained synthesizer chords and meandering melodies stretch out across a sparse electronic rhythm, before diving even deeper into delay-laden slow-motion synth-pop pastures on the tactile and emotive drowsiness of "Stop Me". Best of all, though, is extended flipside edit "What Are You Fighting For", a typically dubby and on-point revision of an arpeggio-driven, guitar-laden alternative pop/post-punk cut by Marianne Faithfull.
Review: Apart from a very limited under the radar release in 2015, it took Vincent Halliburton 13 years to deliver a follow-up to his 2002 debut single on Ferrispark "RM1x Files" (both records go for silly money). The Detroiter hasn't left it quite so long this time, with this alluring three-tracker appearing just four years after its predecessor. Clearly Halliburton believes in quality over quantity, because "Vibe Under A Different Frequency" is superb. Check first the swirling deep space chords, delay-laden vocal snippets and layered, Ron Trent style deep house percussion of the fittingly titled "On A Deep Groove", before gaping in awestruck wonder at the dreamy, deep and hypnotic "Going Away", which boasts some suitably breathy, out-there vocals from none other than Sade. He rounds things off in style via the groovy warmth and sun-kissed dancefloor positivity of "Go Down".
Review: US re-edit crew The Patchouli Brothers return to Sweden's Gamm with two more reworked dancefloor cuts from days gone by. On the A, you'll find the exuberant 'Fuqua & James' with its sweeping strings, brass fanfares and falsetto "I'm so grateful" vocal - the track being a rejig of Sylvester's 'Grateful' from 1978 that, somewhat unusually, is quite a bit slower than the original. In comparison, the B's 'Peace, Love & Understanding' mines velvet-suited mid-70s soul a la Barry White or Joe Simon for its source material, but is every bit as upbeat and danceable as the A-side.