Review: Blue Feather were a truly blue-eyed funk outfit from the Netherlands who had a prolific run in the 80s with two albums and a string of club singles to their name. "Let's Funk Tonight" was surely one of their bigger hits, and it sounds resplendent with a fresh master and the full extended version spread out across the A side here. Offering something new for the modern market, Best call upon Faze Action to flesh out this reissue with a killer dub of the track that treads softly but funks deep, just like a good dub should.
Review: As anyone who has picked up any of his previous seven-inch singles will tell you, break-diggin' rework merchant DJ DSK can usually be relied upon to deliver the goods. This second volume in his ongoing "DNA Edits" series hits the spot, offering up two tidy, dancefloor-focused revisions. On side A he turns his attention to SM AOR classic "Fly Like An Eagle", subtly beefing it up via sweaty new hip-hop style drums whilst retaining the original guitars, vocals, bass and elongated organ chords. On side B he gets to work on Panamanian salsa classic "Maltrato", adding even more salsa shuffle and contemporary dancefloor weight to the much-adored 1975 Freddy y Sus Afro Latinos' classic.
Review: After years spent offering up impressive blends of ambient, drone, electronica and experimental drum and bass as ASC, James Clements has decided to commit more time to Comit (sorry), an alternative project which first surfaced via a debut single in 2016. Here the San Diego-based Brit delivers a first full-length excursion under the alias. There's plenty to soothe and seduce on the eight tracks stretched across two slabs of wax, from the undulating, occasionally skittish beats and sweeping chord sequences of opener "Behind Dulled Eyes" and the icy, doom-laden electronic melancholy of "Reverie", to the early Black Dog Productions flex of "Clouded Over" and the dubbed-out, slow motion bliss of "Soft Focus".
Review: Emotional Response do a great service here to all lovers of braindance craving new fixes since Rephlex shut up shop. Brainwaltzera's debut EP Marzipan was a self-released concern that sold out quickly back in 2016, meeting with emotionally charged responses from those wanting to nab a copy. Now it's more widely available, the gorgeous lilt of bubbling 101 melodies and delicate drum machine patterns can spread their wings and bring some healing vibes to a broader audience of electronica devotees. Coming on with the sensitivity of Wisp and other contemporary braindancers, this is how comforting home listening beats should be done.
Review: 10 years ago, El Michels Affair - a hip-hop loving funk combo spearheaded by Leon Michels - released "Enter The 37th Chamber", an instrumental tribute to the world of the Wu-Tang Clan. To celebrate the record's tenth birthday, they've decided to reissue two of that album's most potent cuts. On the A-side they re-imagine Ol' Dirty Bastard's 1995 anthem "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" as a fine fusion of rousing horns, jazz-flecked hip-hop beats and vocals provided by what sounds like a children's choir. Over on side B, Raekwon's "Incarcerated Scarfaces" gets the cover version treatment, with the band peppering their deep, jazz-funk influenced groove with sharp horns and evocative electric piano solos.
Review: Silent Season's mainstay artist Segue returns with a new album, following up on the well-received immersion of his 2016 LP "Over The Mountains" with further explorations in the hinterland between dub techno, ambient and a more pastoral kind of palette. It's a field he's well versed in, and one that typifies Silent Season's approach as well, but there's plenty of fresh ideas to latch onto here as Segue weaves gorgeous threads of melody around tactile, mossy beds of sound and understated grooves that carry you to far away, inviting places. Even the more pronounced dub techno stylings of "Mirage", for example, sound vibrant and invigorating in Segue's hands - another sterling album from an accomplished producer.
Review: This is when reissues feel like they truly do a service to music that would have certainly disappeared into obscurity - Desmond Coke was a gifted musician who sat in on sessions for the On-U Sound label amongst many other places. His sole solo record was a private press job that very nearly blinked out of existence, but Emotional Rescue have been on hand like the diligent diggers they are to rescue his heartfelt, mightily expressive boogie jams from the one dollar bin. Sunny, sweet and soulful, but also with enough depth and punch to stand up to big budget productions of the era, this is a truly wonderful find that will no doubt be a surprise to even seasoned selectors.
Review: Sound Signature's latest release is an all-star crew affair, with an impressive cast list of vocalists, musicians and producers joining main man Theo Parrish in the studio. He's at the controls on the sublime A-side mix, a jazzy affair where layered twinkling electric piano motifs, spacey chords, jazz-funk riffs and sumptuous deep house grooves combine on a fearlessly loose and organic dancefloor workout. On the flipside friend of the family Dego offers his interpretation, adding even more warmth and some tasty additional hand percussion parts whilst wisely utilizing most of the original version's intricate musical elements.
Melody Nelson (unreleased instrumental edit) (3:50)
Cargo Culte (unreleased instrumental edit) (3:58)
Review: This rather tidy, limited-edition "45" offers up two previously unheard instrumental edits of stone cold classics from the bulging back catalogue of Chanson hero and sleazy but chic singer Serge Gainsbourg. Side A boasts a superb revision of "Melody Nelson", a sweeping, string-drenched affair underpinned by sweaty drumming that arguably benefits from the removal of Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin's vocals. Over on side B you'll find an equally evocative version of Beck favourite "Cargo Culte". Stripped of the original lead vocals, the track sounds like a lo-fi art-rock instrumental smothered in ghostly choral vocals and creepy, foreboding musical flourishes. Top stuff!
One More Round (86 House mix By Frankie Knuckles) (8:10)
Walkman (86 House mix By Brett Wilcots) (7:17)
Review: Best turn their attention to that sweet mid 80s spot when the petri dish of party music was shaken up between disco, boogie, Italo and the emergent house sound from Chicago. Claudio Simonetti was a titan of the Italian groove, but his monster jam as Kasso, "One More Round", reached the stratosphere when Windy City godfather Frankie Knuckles gave the track his Midas touch. No more justification is needed for this pressing, but don't overlook the flip which finds 80s remix supremo Brett Wilcots taking on "Walkman" and whipping up a boogie frenzy of the highest order.
Review: Surprisingly, Don Blackman originally wrote and recorded "Just Can't Stay Away" to play as the recorded message on his girlfriend's answering machine. He later included it - tweaked and turned into a mid-80s style boogie banger reminiscent of his work during that decade - on his second and final album, 2002's CD-only "Listen". Here it finally gets a vinyl release thanks to reissue specialists Melodies International. If you're a fan of boogie, electrofunk and synth-soul it should be an essential purchase, not least because it's every bit as good as more celebrated Blackman productions made earlier in his career. There are "Stereo" and "Mono" mixes to enjoy, with the former naturally offering a more refined and intoxicating listening experience.
Review: Described in the accompanying press release as "the halfway point between Bollywood and Balearic", Rupa Biswas' 1982 debut "Disco Jazz" has long been a favourite of dusty-fingered diggers with a healthy bank balance and a penchant for the quirky. All four tracks are cheery, charming and superior to many "Bollywood disco" records produced in the same period. The sunny disco-boogie of "Moja Bhari Moja" is followed on side A by the delightfully eccentric, bass-powered AOR-disco/funk-rock fusion of "East West Shuffle" and the effortlessly Balearic cheeriness of "Aaj Shanibar". Best of all, though, is the exotic and intoxicating flipside cut "Ayee Morshume Be-Reham Duniya" which expertly joins the dots between cosmic rock and Balearic disco grooves for 16 spellbinding minutes.
Review: After impressing with their self-released 2016 debut album, Flight 314, soulful hip-hop crew Jungle Brown is almost ready to deliver the follow-up. That will appear on Mr Bongo in late September 2019, so as a taster for what's to come the Brighton-based label has delivered this two-track missive. A-side "Keep It Movin'" is a classic sounding, golden era style jam with the trio's fine raps, soulful vocals and jazzy horn licks rising above an elastic, boom-bap beat. There's a slightly deeper but no less groovy feel to flipside "We On", which features the distinctive flow of Sampa The Great. If the rest of the new album is this good then we're in for a treat.
I Just Wanna (Spend A Little Time With You) (Michael Gray vocal mix) (8:40)
I Just Wanna (Spend A Little Time With You) (Michael Gray dub mix) (6:19)
I Just Wanna (Spend A Little Time With You) (vocal mix) (7:45)
I Just Wanna (Spend A Little Time With You) (instrumental mix) (6:58)
Review: For their latest trick, Yam Who's Riot label has decided to offer up a brand new edition of Alton Edwards' 1981 UK electrofunk classic "I Just Wanna (Spend A Little Time With You)". You'll find Edwards' superb original vocal version on the flip, where his part whispered, part sung vocals rise above thickset, mind-altering synth-bass, drum machine beats and some seriously punchy horn lines. The obligatory 21st century updates come courtesy of Full Intention man Michael Gray, who delivers a suitably pumped up boogie-house vocal revision before dropping a similarly chunky dub that wisely makes much of the original bassline and Edwards' whispered vocal passages.
Curimao (Sons Onomatopaicos E Folk Da Guine) (6:48)
Solito (Solo De Balaue) (4:29)
Danado Cantador (Balaue, Orquestra E Declamacao) (A Fagner) (4:46)
Review: For the first in a series of must-have reissues of obscure Brazilian treats, Optimo Music and Selva Discos have joined forces to offer up a new pressing of Fernando Falcao's superb 1981 debut, "Memoria Das Aguas". The eight-track set has long been considered something of a slept-on and hard-to-find classic, with Falcao conjuring up an octet of tracks that brilliantly join the dots between neo-classical movements, dreamy, percussion-led soundscapes (see the sublime "Amanhecer Tabajara (A Alceu Valenca)"), spiraling big band Afro-Brazilian jazz ("Ladeira Dos Inocentes"), intoxicating classical-jazz fusion ("Revoada") and experimental, beat-free sound collages ("Mercado"). In a word: exceptional.
Review: Mark Ambrose brings his years of expertise in the deeper end of the techno spectrum to bear on this latest joint for Crayon, the label he founded way back in the mid 90s. "Destiny Angel" is a stomping, expansive cut with a cinematic lilt to its sound design and melodic progression - one for people to truly travel on. "Bleeps & Bits" is a more rugged workout that digs deep into intricate rhythm programming and FX processing to create a unique future-tribal flavour. "Just Tonight" keeps the beats dynamic and broken, but with a much hookier punch and some choice vocal snippets that should find favour with all kinds of DJs.
Review: Cartulis bounce from the essential release from Eliaz to this intriguing slab by Reade Truth, a New York techno original who was last spotted on Warm Fiction, Blkmarket Music and Path Records. His "Wires, Everywhere" album was a big release for Cartulis last year, and now he's back with further ruff n' tuff cuts that drip with Big Apple attitude. From the deep diving "Starflight" to the epic, ranging "Space Out (Expression)", you can sense Truth's hard earned swagger but it's also balanced out by subtlety, a sense of space and groove that makes each track a pleasure to sink into.
Review: Distant Worlds is a label going from strength to strength as it carries the work of underground deep techno producers celebrating that hopelessly romantic strain of UK machine music that emanated out of labels like B12 and Pure Plastic. Mihail P makes a return to the label after last year's "Multiverse EP", channeling all the right moves for a blissful trip into imagined sci-fi vistas fuelled by the box jam funk of electro and the synapse-tickling soundscapes of Tangerine Dream et al. From the dreamy delights of "Kessel Run" to the downtempo groove of "Sons Of October", this is beautifully executed music that champions electronic music with real heart and soul.
Review: If you're a talented soul vocalist who wants an authentically fuzzy late 1960s sound, you could do worse than join forces with Timmion Records' in-house backing band, Cold Diamond & Mink. They're in fine form here providing admirable backing to rising star Carlton Jumel Smith. "Love Our Love Affair" is undeniably attractive, with Smith's confident and emotion-rich vocal rising above the band's hazy horns, languid trumpet solos, sun-bright guitar licks and lolloping, hip-hop style funk-soul beats. As is customary, the band's tidy instrumental version can be found - and enjoyed - on the flip.
Review: As part of their 15th anniversary celebrations, Japanese label Mule Musiq has asked some of their most valued artists to conjure up fresh releases. For his contribution, long-term label artist Kuniyuki Takahashi has decided to combine nods to his 2017 album "Newwave Project" - a set informed by his musical roots - and the attractive deep house with which he made his name. A-side "Middle Eye" offers the best of both worlds, with bold and cultured synthesizer motifs, dreamy chords and disco style string stabs rising above heavy, cowbell-driven beats and warm bass. "Black" is a bustling, sample-heavy cut-up informed by electro and Yellow Magic Orchestra, while "Newwave Project 7 (Edit Version)" is a trippy and hypnotic rework of one of the standout cuts from the producer's 2017 full length.
Review: A sweet reissue of an underground classic from 1982 here, bootlegged badly in recent years, but Isle of Jura does it right with this remaster by Matt Colton. Q were a one hit wonder (if you could even call them that!), responsible for "The Voice Of Q". Comprised of American producers Bruce Weeden & Michael Forte with their revolving cast of musicians - this electro funk/disco project is finally getting paid its dues. Deep, funked-up and spacey disco, complete with vocoder - it almost seems familiar! A true spirit of the times. Features a previously unreleased track on the flip, "Keep It Strong" (unreleased dub edit) which is a balearic tinged number that's equally as good.
Review: 1990s sitcom loving beat maker Felix Weatherall returns to Brainfeeder for the first time since the release of his widely acclaimed debut album as Ross From Friends, 2018's "Family Portrait". He's in fine form from the off, with title track "Epiphany" offering a wonderfully intoxicated, off-kilter blend of bustling drum machine breakbeats, hallucinatory electronics, Middle Eastern style instrumentation and razor-sharp bass. He continues on an inventive fusion trip in the form of "The Revolution", where cut-up vocal samples and bluesy guitar lines rise and fall above a densely percussive deep house groove. Also impressive is "Phantom Ratio", a slightly more driving dancefloor cut rich in skittish drums and undulating electronic melodies.
Review: Armed with a hard drive full of multi-track parts to a wide array of disco, rock, boogie and pop classics, the Reflex has spent the last decade offering up unique "Revisions" that often differ greatly to their source material despite using the same basic instrumental and vocal tracks. He's at it again here, offering up sneaky revisions of two dancefloor soul classics. On the A-side he handles "Dance To The Music", frequently stripping the track back to little more than a stomping groove, delay-laden vocals and wild organ lines. On the flip he turns his attention to "Pusherman", gently beefing up the groove while showcasing the attractive sweetness of the original track's fluid horn parts and bulging bassline.
Review: Anyone who takes their electronic music history seriously should already be hip to this one, but a brief rundown for those new to the roots of electro and techno. Cybotron were the project from Richard Davis and Juan Atkins, who went on to help forge the sound of Detroit techno as Model 500. Released in 1983, their debut album "Enter" was a blueprint for so much music that came after, with "Clear" being the standout track that send 80s heads spinning into a state of funky future shock. This tasty little 7" reissue puts "Clear" on the A side, and 1981 sci-fi boogie belter "Alleys Of Your Mind" on the flip. Two evergreen gems no machine music aficionado should be without.
Review: Two all time funk/soul classics from the Skull Snaps - a funk group active between 1963 and 1973. They were known as The Diplomats up until 1970 and released a number of singles with moderate success. Renamed Skull Snaps, they released an eponymous album on the small GSF label in 1973, before disappearing into obscurity. These selections are from the said album. New 7" reissue label Dynamite Cuts is releasing these two gems as a limited edition 500 only pressing, showcasing the two best tracks on the LP. Both have been heavily sampled in many hip-hop and club classics by Eric B. & Rakim, Digable Planets, DJ Shadow, The Prodigy and Panjabi MC to name but a few.
Review: Following outings on Echovolt, Further Electronix, Nerang, X-Kalay and Of Paradise, Gennadiy Manzhos brings his Low Tape project to Private Persons for the very first time. "The Next Summer of Love EP" is an expansive and universally impressive affair, with the Russian producer brilliantly charging between sun-kissed deep electro (melodious opener "Euphoria" and the similarly summery "No Acid For You"), raw and heavy jack-tracks ("Chicago Blues"), skittish but spacey electrofunk (the high tempo thrills of "Detroit Love"), bittersweet brilliance (the melancholic chords, non-stop machine beats and acid-style electronics of "Never Not Known You") and bass-heavy ghetto-house/ambient techno fusion ("Winter Acid Waltz").
Review: Militant Detroit techno crew Scan 7 have learned much from their association with Underground Resistance, not least the benefits of myth-making and mystery. This is one of the reasons that "Between Worlds" is fast becoming one of techno's most talked about releases of 2019. Of course, the fact that it's also the seven-piece crew's first album since 2002 has added to the hype, too. So is it any good? Oh yes. Variously deep, spacey, futuristic and foreboding, the album's 13 cuts range from pitch-black acid-fired techno ("I'm Covered") and fizzing techno-funk ("Trackmasta Hoop"), to percussion-laden deep house melancholia ("Deep Roots") and punchy club electro ("It's Time"). For the most part, though, what you get is uplifting, emotion rich techno in the style of their fellow Detroit greats.
Review: Pascal Benjamin is next up on Constant Black, following strong prior bouts from Michael James and Daniel Akbar. The Dutch producer has been dropping bombs on SlapFunk, Botanic Minds and many more in recent years, and he's sounding taut and toned on this slab of after-hours goodness. "Rascale" is one of those snaking tech house joints where the devil is in the details, crying out for a crisp soundsystem to bring the subtleties of sound design to life. "5th Snooze" is a more tightly wound affair with a subtle jazziness rubbed into its joints, while "Full Colour" brings the kind of funky bump and trippy mood you used to find on the Trapez label. "Liez" completes the set with a sharp approach that wriggles its way under the skin.
Review: It's not that fans of King Gizzard never expected this from the band's 15th long form outing, but rather anyone who stumbled upon the alliterated outfit on their last offering - "Fishing For Fishes" - is likely to be dumbstruck. Forget the life-affirming blues hues of that record. "Infest The Rats' Nest" sees the band at their heaviest - they are barely audible here beneath the din and cacophony of thrash metal. Exploring Earth's fate in the age of environmental degradation and pollution through "Superbug"'s slow chug and low, bellowed chorus, the driving riffs of "Mars For The Rich", the intensity of "Perihelion" and the screeching chords of "Venusian 2", the album's 9 tracks are as legit as anything this sub-genre has thrown at us since inception in the 1980s. More astute fans will have heard nuances of this on 2017's LP, "Murder of the Universe" and various manic musical explosions in Gizzard's back catalogue. "Infest The Rats' Nest" is a constant barrage of unrelenting energy from start to finish, and quite possibly their strongest album yet.
Review: Say hello once again to an old friend - mid '00s lounge soundtrackers extraordinaire Zero 7 are reissuing their second LP When It Falls. The follow-up to their best-selling "Simple Things", this album found the pair exploring a more psychedelic, funky sound without losing that smooth finish that made their music so massively popular first time round. From the laid back groove of "Passing By" to the brooding soul of the title track, this is the kind of album that goes down easy and sets the perfect mood in the room. The production is second to none, and considering the eye-watering prices the original pressing fetches online, there should be a lot of people happy to see this one back in print.
Review: Vinyl Speed Adjust have conquered a lot of labels in their time, ranging from BodyParts to Pressure Traxx, Visionquest to Pleasure Zone. Representing a different twist on the Romanian minimal sound, the pairing of Andrei Predoi & Claudiu-Eduard Balan now find themselves on Constant Sound dropping the subtly psychedelic tech house trip out, "Semantic Expressions". As if the trance-inducing original wasn't enough, we're also treated to gold-standard remixes from Mike Shannon and DoubtingThomas, both of whom bring their glittering score cards in the minimal fraternity to two distinct but complementary versions of Vinyl Speed Adjust's track.
Review: Upbeat, upfront and wholeheartedly unapologetic, the return of Friendly Fires is about as proud as an album can be. After eight years off whatever soul searching took place has clearly paid off, even if only to give them the confidence to make these tracks. There's a pure 80s chart-disco vibe throughout the track list. From the breathiness of that "Baby I" line on "Can't Wait Forever" to the sexy and sleazy "Offline", which might as well be an homage to George Michael. It's no cheap parody, though, with enough accomplished musicality here to ensure that an instrumental pack would have club DJs with penchants for yacht pop chomping at the bit. Not least the frantic pace and punching kicks of "Almost Midnight", synth accents taking us closer to the outfit's debut than anything else here, perhaps with the exception of closer "Run The Wild Flowers".
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.
Review: Staggeringly, this tidy tech-house EP from Dan Andrei is not only the Romanian's first release of any sort for four years, but also his first vinyl single since 2011. He begins in confident mood with "SOS", a gentle, undulating affair where pulsing electronics, drowsy chords and fizzing audio glitches clamber atop of a warm, mind-altering bassline and unfussy machine drums. "In The Bass" is a darker and wonkier workout for clubs that like it dark and clandestine, while "Still Unclear" adds warming deep house chords and dusty melodies to a futuristic tech-house groove. To round things off, Andrei offers up a spot of alien tech-house chug where swirling, deep space chords and another ear-catching bassline dominate the sound space.
Review: Over the course of his short career to date, Forest Drive West producer Joe Baker has developed a trademark sound that gleefully mixes and mangles elements of techno, post-dubstep bass music and vintage jungle. That trademark sound is naturally at the heart of the producer's first outing on Neighbourhood, from the smooth, spacey and slightly creepy hypnotism of opener "Un", to the deep space electronics and jazzy, off-kilter rhythms of EP highlight "Reshape". It can be heard, too, on the locked-in peak-time techno of 12" closer "Functional" and within the delay-laden blacksmith's percussion hits, moody bass and body-jacking kick-drum beat of the mind-altering "Wait". Supported by Etapp Kyle, Sigha, Ben Sims, JP Enfant - this will go fast, don't wait!