Review: Faze Action last teamed up with Zeke Manyika, formerly of 80s funksters Orange Juice, for the effervescent "Mangwana" back in 2016. Now they're back in collaboration for more classically rooted house music with a deeply infectious African twist. "Kubatana" is punchy where it counts, but it's a light and springy proto house burner first and foremost, with Manyika's vocal sounding as smooth as silk in the middle of the mix. "Hapana" is equally rich in musicality and personality, albeit on a more simmering, meditative tip. On the B side, "Kubatana" gets reworked by Rudy Midnight Machine and Paradise, who turn in distinct versions without losing the overall 80s aesthetic that powers the release.
Review: As far as collaborative delights go, this really takes the cake. Miami boogie wildcard Noel Williams, aka King Sporty, throwing it down heavy with legendary Jamaican reggae axe man Ernest Ranglin - as you might expect, the results are incendiary. "Soft Touch" has a hint of the cosmic about it as it romps through insanely catchy chorus chants, stirring brass stabs and Ranglin's sweet licks. "Keep On Dancing" has a more uptempo feel, "In The Rain" slips into a laid back reggae skank and "Be What You Want To Be" turns the vintage disco heat back up. Throughout this wonderful mini LP, the duo switch between each other's strengths and bring out the best in each other, like all good collaborations should.
Review: While he's offered up the occasional remix, William "Burial" Bevan has been rather quiet of late. In fact, this two-tracker marks his first original material for almost two years. Lead cut "Claustro" is an unexpectedly up-tempo dancefloor affair - a sweet and sticky chunk of future-garage that sees Bevan wrap sugary female vocal snippets, spacey chords and bubbly analogue electronics around snappy two-step beats - drenched in vinyl crackle and tape hiss - and a rock solid bassline. It will raise a few eyebrows given his previous work but nevertheless sounds like a summer anthem in waiting. Bevan returns to familiar territory on flipside cut "State Forest", a ghostly, field recording-laden ambient excursion where pedal steel style motifs slowly rise above opaque electronics.
That's How Lovers Be (Scott Grooves That How dubs Be) (8:52)
Review: The Mysticisms label once more turns its attention to rarefied gold dust from the annals of deep house history, this time shining a light on Soiree Records, which was helmed by cult favourite Drivetrain. Nu-C Zn's "That's How Lovers Be" was an unconventional but oh so sweet curio back in 1995, and now it's been revived with Drivetrain delivering a new mix of the track that lets the smoky keys, plastic sax and gorgeous vocals hover tentatively. UK house stalwart Nail is up next with a bumping, crafty update on the track, while Scott Grooves lays down honey-coated keys that shift the mood of Nu-C Zn's original into a different emotional headspace.
Review: Stunning stuff here from the mysterious but utterly intriguing West Loop Chicago, an outfit only known for two previous releases on City Volt and nothing else. Taking cues from the broken beat and jazz scenes, this new record is a force to be reckoned with, not least as "The Serpent" comes wheeling in with a skittering drum funk and bugging synth lines to send you pinging into the cosmos. On the flip, "Divinity" has a more organic feel with Rhodes keys and piano dancing across the rhythms - these aren't specifically billed as edits, but given the project's background in disco re-rubs it's safe to assume these are two soul jazz bombs buffed up for your wild card spinning pleasure. There's even bonus beats for each track included - how considerate!
Review: In the face of all those Clone reissue compilations, Tresor are doing the right thing and digging into their own archive of seminal aquatic machine funk from Detroit electro legends Drexciya, and stepping up with the Hydro Doorways EP is the kind of power move that most labels can only dream of being able to make. From the cinematic drama of "Quantum Hydrodynamics" to the textbook boogie down synth abandon of "Polymono Plexusgel", not forgetting the heavy-on-the-one throwdown of "Lost Vessel" or the alien gurgles and peppy pace of "Species On The Pod", or the... oh you know the drill. This is timeless, essential business for anyone that takes electronic music seriously.
Review: LFT has already made a sizable impact on his gnarly, muscular brand of weathered electro and techno, and now he's been snapped up by Zement to deliver another four rowdy roundhousers. "Nucleon" channels the best of minimal wave and gives it a deadly dose of modern acid revelry that will incite fevered responses on the floor, while "Wounds" takes things in a spookier B-movie direction without shaking off those powerful 303 demons. "The Cure For My Kind" manifests as a kind of nightmarish electro, and "Hypno Haniwa" takes another route into machine funk for malevolent souls, with stunning results.
Gari Romalis - "Start The Game (Detroit On The Move)" (7:07)
Rafa Santos - "Love Song" (7:09)
Rafa Santos - "Mystic Voyage" (6:09)
Review: Spanish label Mate kicked off in style with Javonntte and Jesus Gonsev, and now it's back once again with another smart pairing of high class house heads. The ever prolific Gari Romalis is all over the A side with the upfront pep of "No Way Around A Groove" and the late night shuffle of "Start The Game (Detroit On The Move)". Rafa Santos lands on the flip with the romantic lilt of "Love Song" and sweet, subtly kinked synths coursing through the centre of "Mystic Voyage". It's another fine combination of artists offering up highly workable contemporary deep house jams for discerning spinners.
Review: Don't get mad, go nuts... The sneaky Secret Squirrel team return for their 21st mission and it's every bit as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as everything else they've ever stashed. The A-side leads with a peppy horn-fired strutter that shoves us deep in the heart of the hottest dancefloor imaginable. Flip for an intimate, smouldering piece of end-of-the-night soul from 1979. Trust us, once you get a close hold of it, you'll never want to let go.
Review: The Sudd Wax label got off to a strong start with Gari Romalis, building on the foundations of the parent digital label to now bringing respected artists to vinyl. This three-track set from Norm Talley plumbs all kinds of depths, from the metallic mystique of "Magic Wand" to the dusty string swoon of "Black Tea", and the hushed and haunting whispers of pads setting out a gloaming mood on "Feel It". This is subliminal deep house at its finest, marked out with character and warmth, and never just playing it safe for the sake of it. Top marks for Talley!
Review: Analogue hardware enthusiasts London Modular Alliance return to Kirk Degiorgio's storied Applied Rhythmic Technology label following a string of fine outings on Private Persons and Dimensions Recordings. Interesting, LMA believe that the EP boasts their strongest collection of cuts to date and we tend to agree. Opener "Peach Heat" sets the tone via rubbery but rock solid electro beats, wild electronics and echoing deep space sounds, before they pitch down the tempo on the sparse, spaced-out heaviness of "Harnessed Black Holes". Further body-rocking dancefloor explorations are provided on the flip, first by the Dexter style heavy electro throb of "Lavendah" and then via the booming bass, foreboding tribal drums and razor-sharp TB-303 pulses of "Precious Materials".
Review: Originally debuting on Well Rounded Records' Housing Project sub-label in 2012, Leon Vynehall has since become one of the UK's most in-demand of the new wave of young house producers. He's released subsequent records for George Fitzgerald's ManMakeMusic and Will Saul's Aus, and most recently an album on Martyn's 3024. Vynehall is now in cruise control and he lays back on Clone's Royal Oak with what will prove to be a favourite with DJs this summer. "Butterflies" is this record's piano-driven house jam, but really it's all about "This Is The Place", a loved up peach of a production with the strength to appease the underground and crossover into the mainstream.
Kim English - "It Makes A Difference" (Danny Krivit & Kyle Smith remix - Danny Krivit 7" edit) (5:39)
Loni Clark - "Rushing" (Mood II Swing dub - Danny Krivit 7" edit) (5:31)
Review: Danny Krivit is currently known as one of the music community's greatest purveyors of top quality disco & house as he continues to perform regularly before sold-out audiences around the world. With his unique ear for what works on the dancefloor he has also become known as "King of the Re-edit." Danny has a deep connection to Kim English's "It Makes A Difference" release on Nervous Records from 2006. Krivit worked with writer Kyle Smith on the remixes that originally made this tune an anthem at his 718 Sessions parties as well as one of the highlights of club nights from Tokyo to New York to London that appreciate quality soulful house. The B-side is Danny's re-edit of one of the most famed dubs from the Nervous catalogue as well as for the producers Mood II Swing. Upon its release in 1993 this dub emerged as one of the defining sounds of summer 1993 at Ministry Of Sound which had just recently opened the year before. The "rushing rushing rushing" hook is well knownby golden era of house afficianados around the world and he does an amazing job bringing this essential hook.
Review: Will Buck makes his bow on Whiskey Disco after appearing on sister label Lovedancing (with PRTMNTO) on the Soul Sides EP ?last year. Buck is in fine form again on this new offering, opening with the infectious groove of "21212" (listen out for a familiar hook that has been respliced to perfection) - topped with a killer brass section, too! Elsewhere on the EP, move to the sexy late-night deep house of "Touch Down", sultry vocal disco on "Make Your Move" and the aptly titled after-hours shuffle of "Harmony (6AM Mix)", reworked by label head honcho Sleazy McQueen himself.
Review: When a white label launches from an artist called MPX with single letters for track titles, you know there's some serious techno incoming. This four track EP is brimming with rugged, street-tough energy; from the slapping drum jack and throbbing b-line pulse of opener "G" to the crunchy strut of "J." There's plenty of psychoactive flair to match the classic drum machine flourishes though - "L" has a wicked arp coursing through its veins, while "K" takes the same rhythm section and boils it down to a hypnotising whirl of techno perfection.
Review: Claremont 56 continue to disregard the genre boundaries - preferring instead to give good music the attention it deserves - as their latest looker of a twelve inch presents us the sounds of Torn Sail. Fronted by Smith & Mudd vocalist Huw Costin, Torn Sail go all 60s West Coast rock on us with the gloriously rich sounds of "Birds". From its acoustic beginnings the track gradually unfurls into a delightful groove embellished by soothing vocal harmonies. It's almost a thankless task enlisting anyone to try and remix what sounds like a perfect song, but Claremont 56 obviously chose right in requesting the services of Tiago. In the Portuguese producer's hands "Birds" is transformed into a heavily psychedelic freakout which gently develops into a kraut rock behemoth filled with swathes of heavy organ vibes. Containing several shifts in momentum - including a glorious half speed finish - this is a truly stunning remix which left our jaws occupying the floor!
Review: Hailing from Tel Aviv and featuring Antinote-affiliated Alek Lee, Project Runaway make good on their initial promise with a sterling club-ready record for [Emotional] Especial. "Met" is a perfect statement of intent - a dynamic peak time record with an urgent, insistent groove peppered with organic percussion, zippy FX and a freaky vocal to get overground and underground party people shaking unanimously. The dub on the flip takes things out to weirder territory for the freak-out crew, without losing sight of the necessary functionality of the track. This is as direct a hit as you could ever expect from [Emotional] Especial, but loaded with bags of personality to satisfy the more curious minds out there.
Review: West Midlands techno legend Surgeon is said to have produced the material on the Raw Trax series at Amsterdam Dance Event last year, with only a PIN Electronics Portabella synth and a TR-909 drum machine. Road tested extensively during his live show over the last several months, this series is "a return to the pure essence of techno" - and that statement rings true throughout this 12". In this second volume you'll hear familiar sounds from Anthony Child that throws back to the seminal days of his eponymous EP, Pet 2000 or the Basictonalvocabulary LP: all conceived during his legendary House Of God residency back in the early 90s. From the fierce and strobed-out adrenaline of "Raw Trax 10" and "Raw Trax 5", to the brutalist overdriven thud of "Raw Trax 7" with its grinding acid bassline, and the hypnotic minimalism of closer "Raw Trax 6", this 12" is packed with proper purified Techno bangers by one of the genre's very best.
Review: Bottoms up! The Silver Rider and the Funk District saddle up for a two-way trip on the latest Whiskey Disco joint. Texan transdimensional traveller Silver Rider steps up for the A with a main course and a punchy side plate. "Woman" is a big War-style disco funk piece with precision spoken vocals and horns while "Hustle Up" is a stripped back wriggling bassline DJ tool guaranteed to disarm. Flip for the B to a trip into the heart of Mexico as the Funk District fires heated shots: "Imaki Ra Reo" is straight up Latin disco while "The Root Of Evil" takes us on an African International adventure for a stunning afrobeat finale.
Review: Brawther returns to one of the stand out tracks from last year's "Transient States" LP and hands it over to a couple of more-than-capable remixers. "Jaxx Freaxx" becomes an irresistibly funky bumper in the hands of Fumiya Tanaka, whose "My Jaxx" version sounds like it would be right at home in the midst of a lengthy Panorama Bar session. Zweizig follows up on his recent "Rhythm Tension" 12" for Negentropy with a sublime, subtle twist on "Jaxx Freaxx" that matches swinging micro house with dubby FX ripples that sound like they were deployed with the after party in mind.
I Want Magic (Dimitri From Paris vs Cotonete 12" version) (7:15)
I Want Magic (Dimitri From Paris vs Cotonete 12" dubstrumental) (7:14)
Review: "I Want Magic" is a welcome return to action from Jalapeno's premier soul sister, Izo FitzRoy, an artist whose 2017 debut album "Skyline" brilliantly joined the dots between classic soul, rhythm and blues and gospel. This time round she has her eyes firmly focused on the dancefloor, as producer Dimitri From Paris and backing band Cotonete (whose recent LP 'Super-vilains' is well worth a listen) join forces to cast a serious disco spell. "I Want Magic" is a revivalist disco jam per excellence; a tweak on the classic Chic sound with Cotonete adding a few sneaky solos and quality jazz-funk touches here and there. Of the two versions, it's the vocal mix (side A) that hits home hardest, thanks in no small part to a stunning lead vocal from FitzRoy that celebrates the giddy goodness of dancing like you're ten years old. Expect to hear it a lot at festivals throughout the summer.
Review: The Beeyou label strikes ahead with its third release, continuing to champion warm, musical deep house from a range of emergent producers. XHZ makes a debut appearance here with the epic "Jazz 2 Jazz", which progresses through a woozy nocturnal mood to wind up in an effervescent, Rhodes-soaked finale. Jake Flory keeps things simmering on the tracky but engaging "14th Groove", before following up with the effortlessly cool chord drops of "Distress". With melodious invention at its heart and the needs of the dancefloor well catered for, the Beeyou crew have delivered another essential package for discerning spinners.
The PGA - "Deep In The Bunker" (Dogleg Detour mix) (6:31)
Chris Geschwindner - "Dale's Lullaby" (6:10)
Henry Hyde - "Hello Spcshp" (5:49)
Review: The fifth NorthSouth release plunges once again into the melting pot of producers seeking new variations on the house and techno format, leading in with London minimal champ Voigtmann. His "Separation Attitude" takes on the kind of wild, expressive machine funk you'd expect from Spacetravel, cosmic and pumping in equal measure. The "Dogleg Detour" mix of The PGA's "Deep In The Bunker" makes powerful use of a spacious mix to let the bassline strut its stuff, while Chris Geschwindner's crafty 2-step construction on "Dale's Lullaby" should appeal to all those digging garage beats matched with techno atmospherics. Henry Hyde's "Hello Spcshp" takes a distinctive approach to acid electro that should find favour with body popping freaks who like their jams playful and a little off kilter.
Review: Best known to the world at large for their disco evergreen "Lady Marmalade," the powerhouse trio of Sarah Dash, Nona Hendryx and Patti LaBelle are revered in the deeper dance underground for a couple of epic soulful rock workouts that have been known to provoke life-changing moments on the dance floor. With New Orleans legend Allen Toussaint producing and leading an all-star band with the Meters at its core, "What Can You Do For Me" and "Messin' With My Mind" crackle with energy and rise to thunderous crescendos that rival a gospel revival. Mr. K's edits acknowledge these songs' long history in NYC DJ culture, dating from the Gallery and the Loft in the mid-'70s and running unbroken to today, with masterful extensions that push the inherent energy even further without ever becoming repetitive or obvious. Most Excellent Unlimited is proud to present these sure shots on loud and carefully mastered 7-inch pressings, an essential addition to any gig box or collection.
Les Mondes Engloutis (Psychemagik main mix) (7:17)
Les Mondes Engloutis (Psychemagik 5am mix) (9:07)
Review: Martin Brodin's MB Disco imprint continues to deliver the good stuff, this time featuring two utterly essential Psychemagik mixes of Alico vs Cagri's "Les Mondes Engloutis". These mixes actually first surfaced on a digital-only release back in 2013, but now they've been buffed up for a full vinyl pressing, and rightly so. A side "Main Mix" is a full bodied, emotional banger with a lead drop to get crowds waving arms and singing along wholeheartedly. Our pick is the "5am Mix" on the flip though, where the synths take on a more shimmering nocturnal tone without losing that bright and bold character that will land this 12" in all manner of record bags this summer.
Review: While Robert Hood's Floorplan records have always been exciting and on-point, they have somehow got even better since his daughter Lyric joined him in the studio in 2015. The pair's latest gospel-sampling release is particularly potent, with both cuts sounding like peak-time anthems in waiting. We're particularly excited by A-side 'So Glad", a killer mixture of thumping techno grooves, dreamy deep house pads, looped piano snippets and brilliantly cut-up gospel vocals. That's not to say that the B-side is much weaker, though; in fact, with rasping preacher vocals, bustling Chicago house beats, mind-mangling organs and insatiable drum fills, it's arguably even bigger.
Review: Multi-track re-edits, where producers utilize the instrumental and vocal parts found on studio master tapes, are all the rage right now. While the Rephlex crew and Joey Negro are the most famous exponents of the art, Galaxy Sound Co regular Kadena has previously proved to be rather adept at it, too. Here the little-known producer channels the spirit of original disco remixer Walter Gibbons, first to provide a lolloping, groove-based revision of Instant Funk's intergalactic Salsoul classic "I Got My Mind Made Up" (side A), and then to deliver a similarly minded take on First Choice's "Let No Man Put Asunder". Like its A-side companion, it's warmer, looser and predominantly instrumental, with judicious use of key vocal passages.
Review: Politics Of Dancing celebrate five years of pristine deep and minimal house with this first installment in a series of various artist releases. Djebali and Stephan Bazbaz are in the mood for squelchy chords and undulating basslines on "J'Adore", while Boris Werner keeps things sleek and funky on the craftily executed "Omar Coming". Politics Of Dancing themselves kick off the B side with the gorgeous "Peace", and Rowlanz locks into a sharp and sassy minimal workout with lashings of jazzy goodness bedded into the groove. It's a package delivered with the high standards of dancefloor functionality and musical personality we've come to expect from the always-on-point Parisian label.
Review: The latest transmission from the Lumberjacks stable taps up London-based producer Alan Dixon, who tackles a soul-stirring gospel belter from Frank Booker on the A side. Whatever your spiritual persuasion, "Rise & Shine" can't help but inject a little joy into your life. On the flip, Dixon turns the piano house power up to 11 with the life-affirming thrust of "Whatcha Gonna Do", featuring Maleke O'Ney on vocal duties. Completing the set, Lumberjacks head honcho Marcel Vogel drops in a remix that twists the original into a loose and limber jazz-funk-house odyssey of epic proportions.
Etta James & Sugar Pie Desanto - "In The Basement" (Soul Flip edit) (3:20)
John Gary Williams - "My Sweet Lord" (Soul Flip edit) (3:59)
Review: On their latest limited edition salvo, the hardworking Soul Flip crew (AKA experienced DJs and producers Aldo Vanucci and Del Gazeebo) gets to work on two more stomping dancefloor cuts from the golden age of soul. First up on side A is a gently tooled-up and tightened up take on Etta James and Sugar Pie DeSanto's 1966 floor-heater "In The Basement", a hybrid soul-jazz/rhythm and blues jam rich in rubbery double bass, bustling drums, restless handclaps and brilliant lead vocals from the two legendary soul singers. On the flip they tackle Memphis musician John Gary Williams' 1972 cover of George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord", which brilliantly re-imagines the former Beatles' spiritual song as a sweaty gospel-soul stomper.
Review: The hitherto unknown BEFORETHEBEATSBREAK crew step up with a low key drop on Blah Records, a label that has previously hosted the talents of Ronaldo and Crazy Bank. The mood is resolutely fixed on pumping garage house with oodles of swing, from the deeper shuffle of "Closer" to the heavy bump of "I Don't Want U". "Freak Me Out" is a wonderfully frantic workout with all manner of samples and skittish key flex pinging around an uptempo groove, before "Talkin' About" pushes the swing even harder to conjure up a jazzy feeling smattered with sax licks and squelching synth stabs.
Review: Berlin deep house heroes Cinthie and Stevn Aint Leavn are back on their ever reliable Beste Modus imprint for its ninth edition and they aren't messing around on this one. Quality classic house vibes all the way - a timeless Windy City vibe dominates the A side courtesy of Cinthie, who serves up the sultry and swing-fuelled late night groover "Everything I Say" before taking it back to '94 with the dusty and soulful "Good For You & Me". On the flip, Stevn Aint Leavn is in fine form, too, particularly on the moody and bass-driven back room dub "Quins".
Henry Hyde - "Every Day's A Good Day For A Swim" (6:18)
Review: The ever-charitable Needs project continues apace with another stunning cast of characters offering up their dancefloor creations to help a good cause - the environmentally-focused Cool Earth NGO. On this 12", Eris Drew delivers the uplifting breakbeat celebration of "See You In Snow", while Edward takes things deeper with the tripped out minimal house groove of "Mind Loop". D. Tiffany brings a particularly crafty approach to her own drum funk science on "Sun Trip" and Henry Hyde cools things down with the mellow, new age 2 step stylings of "Every Day's A Good Day For A Swim."
Review: AE Recordings turns its attention to Oculus, who they describe as a "titan of the Icelandic techno scene", famed for his live sets that have kept bodies moving for the past decade. He commits some of his sounds to wax here, maintaining the otherworldly emotional lilt that often comes from the scene orbiting AE and Thule Records, but with a bolder sound palette than some of the icy dubbed out artists he rubs shoulders with. "Nostalgia" deals in powerful, swooning chord progressions, while "Rydgad" pings a set of metallic percussion around a sturdy but crooked low end groove. "Morph" takes things deeper, while "Flod" offers up a classy take on the minimal techno aesthetic, with added sound design trysts for good measure.
Review: Since first appearing in stores back in 2016, this cover of Rick James' sweet and punchy "Mary Jane" by Brooklyn collective Breakdown Brass has become something of an in-demand item. Happily, they've decided to sling it out again for those of us who missed out first time round. Their version of "Mary Jane" is impeccable, with funk-rock guitar solos, heavy tuba bass and lolloping drum breaks underpinning the band's rousing brass rendition of the song's famous refrains. Throw in a few tight solos and you've got a stone cold party-starter. Turn to the flipside for "The Horseman", an urgent and foreboding chunk of fuzzy New Orleans brass band funk complete with psychedelic organ solos and fizzing Mariachi style horns.
Review: It's been a hot minute since Al Kent dropped some of his sweet and soulful dancefloor instinct on us, but he's back in style on his reanimated Million Dollar Disco label. "Pick Me Up (Say Goodbye)" takes Gladys Knight & The Pips' tender "Neither One Of Us (Wants To Say Goodbye)" and gives it a supremely pitched dancefloor injection. Upping the tempo and rolling out an organic disco beat, Knight's vocal gets a whole new backdrop without losing the emotional heft of the track. A truly heart-melting cut for that sentimental, cut loose, late end of the party.
Steve Monite - "Only You" (Frankie Francis Disco Jam edit) (7:55)
Tabu Ley Rochereau - "Hafi Deo" (Nick The Record & Dan Tyler re-edit dub) (10:15)
Review: Edits in the hole! Two Afrofunk gems enjoy floor-primed refocuses: Steve Monite's Doing It In Lagos-featured "Only You" gets a little juice from Sofrito's Frankie Francis who really brings the bass out in proceedings. Meanwhile on the B Nick The Record and Idjut Boy Dan Tyler tweak the energy and sheen of Tabu Ley Rochereau's "Hafi Disco" as the drums are given a little more momentum and the chorus and horns are really brought to the centre of the action. Stunning.