Review: Should you require further evidence of the all-round genius of Curtis Mayfield, look no further than this early '70s funk gem from Patti Jo. "Make Me Believe In You" was written and produced by the velvety-voiced musician in 1973, one of just a few singles released by Patti Jo but undoubtedly now an all-time classic. That rolling drum intro, the ear-wagging piano, the subtle orchestration and, above all, Patti Jo's killer vocal all combine for a perfect example of the halcyon days when funk was beginning to transform into disco. Mayfield himself later covered the track for the closer to his Sweet Exorcist LP! This BGP 7" sees Tom Moulton's extension of "Make Me Believe In You" combined with his remix of the other Patti Jo burner, "Ain't No Love Lost". Any self-respecting DJ needs the A-side though.
Review: Burnski's debut album DNA dropped on Constant Sound last year, and now the label have called upon a strong cast of characters to do the remix duty on some of the LP's key tracks. Parisian trio Mandar bring a heart-melting tone to "Another Source" without losing their insistent shuffle, while Diego Krause strips things down with a functional broth of minimal minded business. The original mix of "Another Source" gets a fresh outing, and very fine it sounds too. That leaves it to Laura Jones to twist out a hypnotic electro version of "I Like You".
Review: Burial's first multiple-track release since "Rival Dealer" three years ago: "Young Death" takes the lead with weave of deep, scratchy and evocative human textures while soulful vocal shards yearn and flutter over soft faraway beats. "Nightmarket" takes an even more introspective meander through the shadowy unknown with fractured arpeggios, distant whispers and thick graininess that envelops almost overwhelmingly. As forward, unusual and unique as ever, Burial remains in a league of his own. Limited.
Review: Having co-founded the now mythical Eglo Records, Sam Shepherd aka Floating Points has, more recently, begun to release his music through his own Pluto label, an imprint with a clear vision from the music to the artwork. Moreover, the label also gives Shepherd room to explore outside of his more traditional housey framework, and the majority of the releases on Pluto have consisted of wild and diverse shreds of broken beat and nu jazz. "Kuiper" is his latest excursion and it's a psychedelic journey through high-powered percussion and airy synth experimentations all wrapped up in a suave jazz coating. "For Mamish (part 2)" is something altogether sparser and less concrete, but there is still plenty of movement amid Shepherd's crystal sounds and Balearic riffs in what sounds like the perfect new age sort of amalgamation. Excellent.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: This return of Ferox records sees an enthusiastic response from all. The label has forthcoming releases from many original Ferox artists and some new recruits and collaborations along the way. This, the first release in 5 years, sees label head-honcho Russ Gabriel in action under his Too Funk guise. From the first 'Return Of Too Funk EP' to the later 'Hotel Ibis' and Derrick Carter's remix of 'Venus Fly Trap', Russ's Too Funk grooves have been jacking dance floors on both sides of the Atlantic since 1995. This latest offering, 'Phase 3', is a 45 rpm two tracker of House goodness only available on vinyl. No clear favourite has emerged from the two sides, among the selective few that have heard it. Like much of the wealthy Ferox catalogue before it, this is proper House Music with an electric twinge.
Review: The low-key but long-serving D2B steps up on a self-manned label to deliver two surefire club smashers for those who appreciate the grit and soul of proper Detroit techno. "My Love" on the A side is the friendlier cut, its taut machine rhythms embellished with dextrous synth work from pulsing chords to simmering strings, all shot through with a smoky after hours haze. On the flip side, D2B gets a little rawer with the component parts of the track, jacking up the drums and spacing out the arrangement for a more intense workout that should satisfy anyone who wants techno with personality that still smacks hard.
Review: The SlapFunk crew have been enjoying plenty of attention lately, and quite rightly. Their pumped up house sound is hard to refute, taking the heads down trippiness of minimal house and beefing it up with classic jacking sounds for an infectious party mixture. Samuel Deep gets the message, bringing just the right kind of swing to "MOOV!" to get bodies popping all over the joint, while "Keek Iz" rides the same beat but in a lower register. "42915 Beatz" is just as drum led, but there's a little more fidgety sonic interplay popping off around the drums. Ingi Visions pops up on the B2 for the distinctly more eerie "Tekniq", placing an icy string synth refrain at the heart of the track with chilling results.
Review: Glasgow's Ooft! continues the FOTO-X series on his label with a sure shot 12" that presents two tracks sure to nestle their way into all manner of on-point record bags for many moons to come. First up is iLO who plays the long game with a yearning and burning slice of deep house that starts out stripped and subtle before blossoming into a fully-fledged vocal delight. Ooft! takes care of the B-side with a boogie-tasting get down entitled "Howard's Way" which will get heads nodding and bodies popping to a bassline that calls to mind Evelyn King's much loved "I'm In Love" low end destroyer.
Review: Ninja Tune know how to come up with the goods for RSD, and they've truly hit the nail on head with this epic two-tracker from legendary French jazz bassist Henri Sexier, reimagined by the mind of Bonobo. The original cut of "Les La-Bas", which resides on the B-side, is a wonderfully loose blend of raw guitar strings and violin cello strings held together by a delicious beat jingle; the Bonobo remix manages to carry that musical power onto an effective house swing that ends up somewhere in the region of a Larry Levan classic. Don't miss it!
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: REPRESS ALERT: Etwas stirs in die Ostlich. Edits and verks of twist sounds. Synth pop, cold wave, neu wave, minimal wave, industrial, neu beat, soundtracks and a selbst Balearen. Freiheit! Als erstes is hero of old Cybernetic Broadcast (CBS) and (Intergalatic FM) radio. Jonny 5 and his verstorbenen Blindsign blog and mixes were a steigen'n'steigen to rescue us from boring neu disco. Schieben his search and discovery for harder, but musical soundscapes. 4 edits is a geschmack. Start brave on the floor feel with the Neu Beut Euro Pop thumper Kaka Kaka. Geschleift, verdreht thoughts. Black Hole is hours spent in Eastern Bloc basements graben in the search for drahts. Stoned indeed, immaculate synth electronic battle cruiser, hart percussion, cut gesang and break. Ready for the percussive finale in Horizon's Change. Was Auch Immer. Bahnsteig!
Flying Fantasy (exclusive instrumental version) (4:35)
Rhodes E Serenidade (3:37)
Review: Small repress of the Modern Sun Records founder and experienced jazz-wise producer Marc Friedli AKA Skymark. A-side "Flying Fantasy" originally appeared on the Spanish producer's 2016 album "Resistance Sonore", but is here featured in instrumental form for the first time. If anything, it's better than the original version, largely because we get to revel in Friedli's mazy Fender Rhodes solos, rubbery jazz-funk synth bass and loose-limbed, West London style broken beats. You'll find plenty more jaunty jazz-funk vibes and liquid electric piano solos on B-side cut "Rhodes E Serenidade", which first slipped out way back in 2015. DJ Support so far from Dom Servini, Emanative,Red Greg,Kevin Beadle, Mike Chadwick,Dynamite Cuts & Rocafort Records so far
Review: There's been much debate over the years about whose version of this seminal track was in fact the best. Laurent Garnier's 1997 classic "Crispy Bacon" gets a vinyl re-issue and it still stands the test of time. You can just imagine how innovative and futuristic this adrenalised peak time weapon sounded like in the mid-nineties. On the flip, the equally legendary Jeff Mills delivers his take on the track, keeping in mind that this is one of only a handful he's ever done. There's relentless and punishing cyclicality on offer here; the sharply resonating loops, that brutally overdriven 808 kick.. it's one of those secret weapons that never leaves the bag of the best techno DJs. Choose your side, but either way it's a definitely a classic!
Review: Although well known on the funk circuit for their incendiary live performances, the Soul Grenades have yet to translate their hard-hitting, horn-heavy sound to wax. It's for this reason that "A Blast Of Funk!", their debut single, has caused such a commotion. It boasts fresh recordings of two of the most popular cover versions in their armoury. The pick of the pair is undoubtedly their riotous rendition of "Get Lucky", which is re-imagined as a tasty funk-soul work out smothered in headline-grabbing, New Orleans style brass. That said, their version of "Louie Louie" is rather good, too, especially the addition of Meters style Hammond organ licks. As played by Craig Charles on BBC 6,The Allergies, Snowboy, Smoov,Boca 45 , Voodoo Cuts, Aldo Vanucci, Daytoner,Dom Servini, Jack & Wayne Hemingway. Don't sleep!
Review: When Peggy Lee slinked around in the 50s to the sultry strains of "Fever", could she ever have imagined that half a century later, people like Romare would be turning her tune into a weed smokin', love makin' slo-mo RnB jam? Unlikely to say the least, but "Your Love (You Give Me Fever") is on the money and respectful, if different to the original's mood. Elsewhere on Romare's latest Black Acre release, "Jimi & Faye" is a warped take on blues, "Taste Of Honey" recalls the days of daisy age hip-hop and "Hey Now" is a weary and haunting piano lament.
Ronaldo Reseda - "E Novamente Mas Que Nada" (5:19)
Robson Jorge & Lincoln Olivetti - "Ginga" (2:57)
Review: The 65th volume in Mr Bongo's admirable Brazil 45s series shines a light on Rio De Janeiro's turn-of-the-'80s boogie scene. On the A-side you'll find "E Novamente Mas Que Nada" by Ronaldo Resado, a five-minute chunk of samba-laced boogie sunshine that was originally featured on the artist's eponymous 1979 debut album. While wonderful, it's slightly overshadowed by flipside cut "Ginga", one of the highlights from Robson Jorge and Lincoln Olivetti's sought-after 1982 full-length (which, incidentally, was recently reissued by Mr Bongo and is well worth checking). Joining the dots between synth-heavy electrofunk, horn-toting disco-funk and languid jazz-funk, the instrumental track is arguably one of the best Brazilian boogie records ever made. Don't sleep.
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: Having made a strong impression with the first two releases on BROMUR, Bogdan steps over to Not An Animal to flex his discoid pecs once again. He leads in with the understated Italo thrum of "Parovoznikov," riding a stuttering arpeggio and leaving plenty of room for the punchy drums and fluttering synth touches. Justin Van Der Volgen does a sensitive job of the remix, embellishing the core of the track with delicate chime refrains that add a tenderness to this muscular club jam. "Listopad" is a more mellow affair, but there's no shortage of fuzzy, vintage lead lines to bathe your ears in. Kito Jempere does a more drastic reinterpretation with his version of "Listopad," injecting a little acid and proto house bite into the track.
Review: Mukatsuku's long running "Afro Funk & Disco Gems" series has always been a reliable source of obscure, high-quality dancefloor material from the African continent. This tenth edition is another must-have - on the A-side you'll find the synth-laden, boogie-era sunshine of "Everybody Dance", one of the undisputed highlights of Peter Yamson's in-demand (and notably hard to find) "Son Of Africa" LP. With wonderful vocals, glistening guitars, lolloping drum machine beats and some stellar synth work, the track ticks all the right boxes. Over on the flip there's a chance to own Cameroon legend Tala Andre Marie's 1981 classic "Get Up Tchamassi", whose snaking sax lines, elastic slap bass and dreamy chords are nothing less than sensational.As played by The Allergies, DJ Koco, Joe Claussell,Smoov,Kalita, Faze Action,DJ Moar etc
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: Released in 1971 and written and recorded by Dave Hamilton (one of Motown's most prolific and influential session players), Sugar Billy Garner plays the consummate band leader over a relentless groove that rolls with drama. Billy gets sweatier, the guitars get busier, the dynamic gets heavier and heavier... So heavy it rolls into a second part. Primed for the floor, it still hits hard 44 years after its release.
Back Home (original Hip House instrumental mix) (7:17)
Back Home (alternative mix) (7:50)
Back Home (bonus beats) (4:28)
Review: A pioneer for the hip house scene in Chicago back in the 80s, Tyree is still at it thirty years later and sounding as vital as ever. This collaboration with Pure God is a thoroughly different concern to the jacking acid of the early days, bringing a live drum sound, funk bass and even a stirring string lilt into the mix on "Back Home". Whether you plump for the full vocal mix or the stripped back instrumental, it's an anthemic party starting beast of a jam for peak time maneuvers. The "Alternative Mix" of "Back Home" on the B-side is a more classic, throbbing slice of mechanical minimalism for the traditional Chicago jackers out there, and there's some "Bonus Beats" thrown in for good measure too!
Richard Sen - "Night Navigator" (Scott Fraser remix)
Scott Fraser - "Ask Your Control" (Richard Sen remix)
Review: Friends for many years, Richard Sen and Scott Fraser come together with a dose of mutual admiration and back slapping by remixing each other on this 2 track EP. However, what makes this collaboration different is there are no original versions appearing, just these remixes. By completing an unfinished track of each the other, the pair have taken the respective unarranged music and gone back to their East London studios to, in essence, finish the other's songs in the form a "remix". Known for a myriad of deep electronic dubs in the last few years, Scott provides plenty of surprises with his remix of Richard's Night Navigator. A driving 10+ minutes 'piano-house' opus, the late 80s Italian / Balearic vibrations run straight through his interpretation of that classic Mediterranean sound. Not for long though, as firmly dragging things straight back to the dark and wet streets of Hackney, Richard takes Scott's Ask For Control and creates a tough, percussive, deep dub remix that would propel any basement dance floor through the early hours.
Review: Vincent Inc's Manuscript Records continues to bolster its identity as a vinyl label after years in the digital domain with this crucial single from label founder Vincent Inc. "Wilder" is a seductive opening track that bubbles along on a bed of honey coated melodic tones that should sit easy on the ears of any day time dancer, while "Cold Winds" takes a more somber approach with bluesy keys and heartfelt vocals. "Dreams Of D&L" ups the energy levels with a strict drum set and spiritual melodic swells, and then "Sax Night" edges towards more experimental territory for the mind to happily trip out on.
Review: Kalbata is a delightfully unpredictable fellow, one minute turning out slick tech house with Guy Gerber and the next starting a dancehall riot with Warrior Queen. His long and varied career continues following a recent spot on Optimo Trax with this first 12" on Brush & Broom, a new label that is housing some particularly straight up 4/4 jams from the prolific producer. "Obskuur" has a clue in the name, plying a trade in the kind of furtive deep techno that ekes tension out of the most ambivalent of crowds with its oh-so-slow but powerful sense of progression. "Rumoured" has a broader palette, letting undulating threads of melodic synth work slither around the subby, minimal percussion.
Review: Newcomer Tom Dicicco aka Veyg presents an ear snagging selection of leftfield beatdowns here for adventurous spinners on the fringes of the party. "Mutual Romance" is a quivering, shimmering trip through crooked house beats and crunchy yet dubby synth flourishes to delight the mind. "Virgo Love Affair" has a sweeter lilt, but it's no less wayward in its execution, but then "Filling Pieces" heads into more explicit deep house territory with some blissed out melodic content riding atop a deep diving US-flavoured rhythm section. "How We Live" ramps up the meandering dub processing, with tripped out filter sweeps and panning lending a psychedelic edge to this smoked out joint.
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".
Brian ‘Keys’ Tharme - "Best Of Your Love" (feat Memzee) (6:57)
Review: Albuquerque's finest deep house bastion is at it once again, presenting a pure and proud brand of NJ-flavoured deep house for those who still want it soulful. Sean McCabe doesn't need telling twice, kicking off the People's Choice 12" with the uplifting funk of "Get Together". Soul2Black offers up an exquisite broken beat confection laden with deft piano work and stirring vocals from Kimberley Kennedy. Johnny Rampin' is aiming straight for the peak of the night with the peppy vibes of "Love Who Rocks You", and brian 'Keys' Thame turns the garage swing up to 11 with the utterly sassy "Best Of Your Love".
Review: Edit king Rahaan makes a connection with the ever-prolific Lumberjacks In Hell, and he's sounding feisty on growling lead track "Move Out Of The Way". Dirty, distorted drums and simmering acid gurgles make for a perfect seedy dancefloor lube, setting the scene for the more forthright jack beat styles of "Super Transfer". Keeping the fuzzed out Chicago styles at the forefront, "Blue Line" swoops in at the end like some long lost Trax off-cut with all the grit and guts you would expect from the earliest days of pure, electronic house music.
Chicago To Detroit (Byron The Aquarius remix) (5:31)
Chicago To Detroit (Brian Chicago Sur Seine mix) (5:10)
Chicago To Detroit (Patrice Scott remix) (7:04)
Review: From Moods & Grooves to Sistrum, Brian Harden has served up more than enough soulful, synth-led house and techno in his time. It's just the kind of style that suits the mood on D3, and so the label has picked up his essential "Chicago To Detroit" jam and called upon a fine selection of remixers to rework the track. First up is Byron The Aquarius, who drops some expressive broken beat drums into the mix to spar with the illustrious melodic tones to great effect. Meanwhile the label boss Brian gets busy with a classic, straight-up adaptation on his "Chicago Sur Seine Mix" before Patrice Scott opts for an energised variation with poignant new Rhodes-esque keys floating on top.
Review: DJ Fryer's Athens of the North label continues its relentless charge the annals of funk and disco, focussing attentions here on the mid '70s debut of Jeanie Tracy. Glance at the discography of the Houston-born singer and you are presented with a storied recording career that includes credits alongside Bobby Womack, Aretha Franklin and Sylvester so it's little surprise to see that original copies of Making New Friends / Trippin On The Sounds rarely change hands below the $1000 mark. Originally released on Marvin Holmes' Oakland-based Brown Door Records around 1975, this Athens of the North edition is a must for any self-respecting 45 wielding selectors out there! The A-side is a recognised classic of the rare groove canon but it's "Trippin On The Sounds" that you need to hear; a glorious horn-laden deep funk nugget.
Review: Norwegian producer Wasserfall makes his way to Chicago/Los Angeles based Hesperian Sound after several releases for Greta Cottage Workshop, offering a highly organic affair. The EP opens with "Stiv Heks" which evokes a lush natural landscape, both dreamlike and quirky. The remix from young Chicago newcomer, Daniel Chavez, strips down the original for a simplified yet feverish dancefloor edit. The B Side returns to Wasserfall's signature laid-back jazzy deep house sound with "Twilight" and "Gravlaks", which flex the producer's knack for working in samples into his grooves. A consistent warm psychedelia flavors these four functional tracks with looseness and reverie.
Review: Waxwing pops up on Re-Fix with a crafty, chopped up soulful house approach that will sit right with fans of Max Graef and Felix Lenferink. "Can You" is a summery jam with plenty of sliced and diced vocals and romantic sweeps of melody, while "LongFunk" gets a cheeky shuffle in the mix with splashy drum hits and nifty Rhodes stabs to get bodies popping uncontrollably. "Do It For 'Em" gets even twitchier in the edit, using all kinds of heavily funked up samples to create a killer groove. "Stand It" takes a more classic New Jersey approach without losing that instinct for crafty twirls and curls to spice the mix up.
Review: Giving Nicole a rare night off, inimitable troupe The Soul Investigators team up with killer flautist Ernie Hawks for two impeccable instrumentals. "Scorpio Man Theme" is all slinky 70s cinematica with a wry nod towards Lalo Schifrin while "Journey To The Bottom" adopts a more languid perspective with slower beats, a smouldering groove and a flute line that takes us right down to the bottom of our souls and right back up again. Beautiful.