Review: Swedish producer Albion Venables has been building up a formidable bank of oddball disco, boogie, wave and other groove-oriented delights on labels like Ambassador's Reception, Macadam Mambo and People Must Jam. After first appearing on the ever-excellent Bahnsteig 23 in 2016, he's back on the label with some more head-spinning obscurities from the outside tracks of synth music. "Poupee Mecanique" is a jovial French bopper, while "Balearo" cuts a more organic, reclining figure with its chugging bass plucks, laconic guitar and dreamy keys. "In Coherence" channels some funky AOR sass, and "OVNI" heads into heavy prog funk territory, rounding out a veritable wild card of a record.
Review: Lemmy Ashton made quite a splash with his first outing on his own TNC label last year, and now he's back to follow up with another salvo of premium heaters geared towards disco-friendly dancers. There's a chunky, looped up quality to "Silver Suitcase" with its insistent bass lick and slamming drums, but there's equal space for soul thanks to the string-loaded sample hook. By way of contrast "Lunaire" fires up the acid flare and heads straight into a babbling brook of 303-related goodness. "Amsterdam" rounds the EP off on a stomp, whipping up the kind of bombastic disco drama that would get Studio 54 moving were it in action today.
Review: Kylie Auldist is a heavyweight Aussie soul singer whose powerful lungs have graced many a hit over the years. Now, with the help of Lance Ferguson and Graeme Pogson, she's recorded a solo album, Family Tree, and this here EP features a selection of tracks from it. Gone is the raw funk vibes of old with Auldist opting for a bright and synthetic mid-'80s pop-soul sound instead. It largely works too with the Donna Allen-esque "Sensational", the chrome and carpet grooves of "Family Tree" and the late-'70s US funk style of "Rewards" as standouts.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Especial is delighted to welcome Baris to the roster. Known for his edit series of obscure Turkish Psychedelic, Rock and Disco, here he takes the producer's chair to present "200". Working with musicians and singers to create a completely original production. The song's message for equality (of the sexes) highlights the bigotry and backward political and religious boundaries his country faces and acts as a siren to the current troubles. Handed to Emotional Recordings over 5 years ago but with no label to release it at that time, now we are delighted to be able to release 200's message. The original is backed with remixed from new production duo Khidja, as well as East London's finest, The Asphodells. Teaming up with guitarist Balabas, Romania's Khidja turn in a deep and introspective interpretation mixing their own heavy eastern influences, while the B-side sees Weatherall and Fairplay don their Asphodells mantle for two renditions that firmly lay it before the ALFOS alter. With artwork (by Jamie Paton) highlighting the struggle for fairness and freedom in his homeland, we hope the release can be seen as a support for their tribulations and highlight the talent that lays East.
Review: This week's lesson in simple musical mathematics is demonstrated by Tensnake and Aloe Blacc. The former's inexorable rise in 2010 has perhaps been matched by the worldwide popularity of the latter's "I Need A Dollar", so getting Mr Niemerski on board to remix the track was a smart move. The end results are typically appealing, with Blacc's vocals looped brilliantly around a burning deep house arrangement that peaks in all the right places. The central energetic pulse of cavernous bass stabs and slick hi-hats are inundated by massive swathes of soaring chords as the track progresses, with the requisite breakdowns augmented by choral vocal refrains. Totally euphoric in its intentions and execution, this is bound to have devastating effects when implemented at the right time.
Review: The fourth release on Black Rox finds the Africa-loving label looking to a fine pair of suitors to do the business on a fine pair of edits. Soft Rocks is up first, channelling all the sun of the source material into a track called "Date With The Rain". It's a sweet natured jam layered with gorgeous vocals, perfect Afro guitar licks and a bubbling organ line. Roots Unit takes over on the B side with the more tricky-to--pin-down affair that puts snaking percussion at the front of the mix and loops up some mantras and chants for a truly head-spinning end result.
Review: More unreleased gold from Lafayette Afro congressman Bobby Boyd on Athens Of The North. Big 80s boogie funk, "Rock On" delves deep into Boyd's later material with a light Latin flare and a little p-funk sleaze and a full flavoured guitar solo. The main hit, however, is the dancefloor blunderbuss remix by decorated engineer of the time Bob Blank. With a discog that includes the likes of Larry Levan and Arthur Russell, he adds strong shades of proto house to the mix with big kick drums and an arrangement and dynamic that still boots floors and doors down to this day.
Review: Vinyl Only reach their seventh release with a fresh grip of lesser known producers bringing high grade grooves to the table. Bubbadog opens the 12" up in a woozy fashion with the warbling piano chords of "Goin' Round", capturing a time-slip mood that carries through to the dusty jazz soaked beat down of Minus The Majors' "Strole On Through". On the B-side, Alex Zuiev gets into an exotic, chiming, 80s-inflected mood on "Down By The River", creating a slow-burning dancefloor heater out of classic ingredients. Ugly Frankie finishes the EP off with the stripped down funk of "Your Ears Look Great".
E Man Boogie '83 (Jimmy Castor/Gerry Thomas 12" mix)
Review: Larry Levan remix - v.e.r.y. r.a.r.e.! 12" Import pressing of the extremely rare Larry Levan remix of 'It's Just Begun'.
On the flip is the original Jimmy Castor/Gerry Thomas 12" mix 'E Man Boogie 83'. We found these Salsoul 12"s in
a warehouse and have hardly any, once they are gone - they. are. gone.
Review: After the brilliance of his intoxicating Themes From An Imaginary Film album, there's no doubt that Chromatics producer Johnny Jewel is on a roll. Here, he returns to his roots to helm the fourth full-length from the futurist crew, their first since 2007. In typical fashion, it's a beguiling set that draws on Jewel's usual cinematic influences. Musically, it sounds like a particularly heart-aching road movie, shuffling across the mid west via dark soundtrack moods ("Candy","11th Hour" and "Dust To Dust"), fragile balladeering ("Birds Of Paradise"), eyeliner-laden electronic moodiness ("A Matter of Time"), and Johnny Marr-goes-to-the-movies indie-pop (see "Kill For Love", "Into the Black" and "Back From The Grave").
Review: The Whiskey Pickle crew turn their attention to a new partnership from Steve Cobby and Laurie Welton, the former being known for decades of DJing, label management and producing alongside the likes of Stephen Mallinder for Throne Of Blood. Here the emphasis, as expected with Whiskey Pickle, is on disco with a slight leaning to the left. "Absolute" is a bubbling jam laden with illustrious threads of melody, cosmic in nature but still rooted thanks to a rock solid rhythm section. "Limoncello" is a more introspective affair that works with minor chords and a more intricate set of drums, but don't be fooled the groove is very much still intact. New York duo Whatever/Whatever bring a tougher dynamic to "Absolute," dialing in some beefy beats and amping up the synth touches for a surefire house heater.
Review: The next release on Brazil's ever-promising disco steamer Gop Tun comes from Renato Cohen. Cohen has been an infrequent mainstay of Brazilian dance music for a long time now, most recently appearing on Kling Klong, Tronic and 100% Pure. His releases may not come around every day, but he makes them count when they do. "Dynadisco" is a spaced out slow burner with a looped up groove and simmering pads building towards a powerful, funk-fuelled bass drop. "Party Jam" takes a lighter approach, keeping the samples sprightly and even sprinkling a little acid magic into the tune. It gives Whatever/Whatever plenty to be working on their remix, which spreads across the B side in a fit of electro-disco finery.
Review: It's round nine of Eric Dr Dunk Duncan's C.OM.B.I. edits and one must wonder what's gonna happen after X & Y? Putting aside such questions of disco existentialism, Q & R bang like you'd expect, digging up more curios from Japan and dusting them down with aplomb. "Snakes Wine" is a furiously uptempo afro disco number, dominated by the laser shots of over the top Moroder synths but driven by gliding bass lines and slick guitar riffs. A chance to wipe sweat from brow is offered on the flip with the less thunderous "Looking A Star", a twilight slow jam which bubbles with seductive intent - just wait for those vocals to come through!
Van McCoy & The Soul City Symphony - "Spanish Boogie"
The Project Club - "EL Mar Y La Luna" (Lovefingers remix)
DJ Pippi - "Ibiza World Inspiration" (feat Antonio M Jemenez)
Tony Esposito - "Danza Dell'Acqua"
No ID - "Love Mecanica (Not Love Game)"
Tore - "She's A Lady"
Gatto Fritto - "Invisible College"
Review: Many claim to be "Balearic" DJs, but few genuinely are. DJ Harvey certainly is, as his triumphant summer residency at Pikes in Ibiza proved. If you didn't get a chance to check out the lauded veteran in action on the White Isle, fear not, because The Sound of Mercury Rising is almost entirely made up of music he championed over the summer. As you'd expect, it mixes notably obscure or overlooked gems from the distant past (Elkin & Nelson, the brilliant disco mix of Eighth Wonder's Pet Shop Boys' produced "I'm Not Scared", the Spanish-themed disco of Van McCoy, a killer Tony Esposito cut, and so on) with more recent fare that have tickled Harvey's fancy (the Idjut Boys, Gatto Fritto and the producer's own Locussolus project).
Save That Magic Feeling (Ron Basejam remix) (5:42)
Save That Magic Feeling (Siren remix) (6:30)
Review: You couldn't get more authenticity on one record if you tried... Certified selector dons DJ Pippi and Willie Graff bless the dance with their first official studio collaboration since 2007's "Hyper Space" on Drumpoet. The wait's been worth it; "Save That Magic Feeling" is a purring Balearic deep house soul jam with a strong vocal allure while "Everything's Groovin' On" eases back on a cool low-swung break groove and looped vocal harmonies to seductive effect. Remix-wise Ron Basejam strips it back for an early 2000s Classic Music Company style late night twist while Siren continues the stripped back theme but in a much sleazier, slippery funk way. Magic.
Review: It's quite a surprise that perennial Italian disco jammer DJ Rocca hasn't linked up with Rothmans before, but on the label's first release of 2016 he makes up for lost time with a grip of tracks positively dripping with full-fat synthy goodness. "Kratos" packs in a serious Italo thrum with its wonderful arpeggio bassline, bursting with optimism as every buoyant lead line piles on top of the forward-marching beat. "400 Fonk" meanwhile flips the script with a cheeky, bouncy beast of an analogue jam to get heads nodding like Wally Badarou just took the controls. Daniele Baldelli then blasts "Kratos" into the stratosphere with his muscular "Electropsychomix".