Review: Emotional Rescue return to the work of Noel Williams as King Sporty. The Miami-based Jamaican made some seminal, stunning music that presaged the increasing importance of synthesisers in disco and dance music overall. This time the label have decided to give a regal airing to a cut previously only available squeezed onto the Deep Reggae Roots LP. "Safari" is a heady brew that keeps a necessary skank in the groove while channeling the nagging funk of The Meters and heading somewhere exotic. At just under four minutes, it's the kind of jam that warrants an extended treatment, and who better to do a respectful job than Lexx, who more than doubles the run time of the track on the B side.
Review: Those who've studied Tony Allen's distinctive drumming style often cite Art Blakey as an influence, so it's little surprise to find him paying tribute to the legendary jazz drummer on this superb album. Joined by his regular band, Allen covers a quartet of tracks written and recorded by Blakey and his band, the Jazz Messengers. The results are predictably impressive, with Allen's loose and polyrhythmic percussion providing a rock solid foundation for the horns, piano and double bass that sits atop. It's naturally closer to all-out jazz than to Afrobeat, but still bristles with the kind of punchy horns and life-affirming playing that characterizes Allen's work. "Thunder Suite", in which Allen drops a number of sweaty drum solos, is particularly potent.
Review: Fresh from an impressive outing on Lazare Hoche Records, rejuvenated duo Zoo Look pop up on E-Beamz with two righteous slabs of mystical peak-time goodness. A-side "Direct Contact" offers a near perfect blend of rugged, undulated acid lines, bustling hardcore-style breakbeats and shimmering, sci-fi inspired chords. While undeniably fresh sounding, there's no denying the early '90s rave influences at play. There's a similarly retro-futurist feel to flipside "Ravioli Ocean", a wonderfully glassy-eyed, sunrise-ready affair that smothers a driving beat in tactile chords, morning-fresh synthesizer flourishes and undulating piano lines that sent shivers up and down our spines.
I Have Been Waiting For You (DJ Duckcomb Digimix) (7:19)
Review: Emotional Rescue serve up a balmy curveball cut perfect for the summer months. Glen Ricks "I've Been Waiting For You" was originally released back in 1983 on the highly collectible Seraff label and recently reissued by the label (ERC081). Here, as an accompanying release to that boogie version is a 1990 digital rework for the Xterminator label. With a distinctive swung riddim and smoothly incorporated dubbed out chords, Ricks' vocal channels the most soulful Jamaican deliveries, sealing the deal on this evergreen jam that sounds great in original and version forms. DJ Duckcomb steps up with a tender "Digimix" that retains the dusty crunch of the original with just a little extra bite in the beats.
Review: Back in 2016, legendary Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen approached techno pioneer Jeff Mills with the idea of working together. A series of live gigs and off-the-radar studio sessions followed, with the first fruits of their joint efforts finally appearing on this must-have 10". As you'd expect, the duo's collaborative work combines Allen's traditional Nigerian polyrhythms, traditional Afrobeat instrumentation, and the far-sighted, sci-fi inspired electronic futurism that has always marked out Mills' work. The result is a quartet of cuts that could arguably be described as retro-futurist Afro-tech - all delay-laden beats, basslines and organs subtly sparring with gentle acid lines, Motor City electronics, beguiling deep space textures and shimmering, 31st century motifs. It's arguably Allen's stylistic contributions that dominate, but that's no bad thing.
Review: In 1976, seven Cabo Verdean musicians going by the name Voz Di Sanicolau gathered in a small recording studio in Rotterdam where they laid down an album of fearsome coladeira songs inspired by the music of their home island of Sao Nicolau.
The album took only a few days to record, which may explain the unexpected urgency that fires each track. Treble-soaked electric guitar lines snake back and forth through percussion-and-cavaquinho driven rhythms rooted in the sound of the islands established by the previous generation of Cabo Verdean emigres; subtle keyboards wash through the background, and the vocals, traded between Joana Do Rosario and To-Ze, alternately push the music forward and soar above it. The resulting album is both deeply felt and fiercely executed, and in its grooves one hears the sound of some of the finest Cabo Verdean musicians of their era locked in complete unity of purpose.
It should have been the beginning of something extraordinary; but the pressures of making ends meet forced the musicians back to their day jobs, and Voz Di Sanicolau vanished as quickly as they had appeared, leaving their lone album, Fundo de Mare Palinha, as sole proof of their existence. Forty-four years later the album sounds as fresh as it did the day it was recorded. It is unknown if dutch sound engineer Frans Rolland, who oversaw the recordings, knew he was helping to make history: during these sessions, Joana Do Rosario, whose majestic vocals were crucial to the sound of Voz Di Sanicolau, became the first Cabo Verdean woman ever to appear on a long playing record.
Review: Butch has been turning out essential club sounds for many years. He has a wide range of styles in his arsenal and always manages to come up with original ideas despite being so prolific for so long. "Joe Le Taxi" is a mad acid cut that has off-grid claps, drunken kicks and a female vocal lost in it all. It's the sort of unhinged tune to drop at the peak of the night and watch the reaction from afar. On the flip is an Acid Tool version that is even more wonky and unhinged, with the squirrelling acid line doing even more work.
Review: It was 1975 that KC and The Sunshine Band first put out their huge "I Get Lifted" tune, and its a prime example of the era's funk and disco fusion sound. The playful bass wobbles down low while the elastic vocals do plenty of tricks up top. Add in all manner of subtle percussive sounds and little key riffs and the whole track slowly but surely gets the club in raptures. On the flip side, Nordic disco master Todd Terje serve sup an edit that beefs up the drums and adds some extra effects for good measure.
Review: PSYTH launches with the debut EP from Rob Shields. With a delicate urgency driven by a pulsating post-punk bassline, Shards
lavishes layer upon rich layer of sound, evoking the cool grooves of Peaking Lights and Chromatics, while a shimmering vocal
sample from Rebecca Sawyer adds an otherworldly sense of longing that echoes through the soul of the release. Silhouetted appears
more conventional and dance-floor friendly next to Shards, but under the surface is something unique and strangely exotic. A
mantra-like melody loop gives a nod to minimalist composer Terry Riley and his solo organ works, while world instruments such as
an African kalimba and Tibetan singing bowl only heighten the hypnotic and intoxicating quality even further.
Review: Italian house producer JazzyFunk makes an appearance on Samosa Records with this strident, colourful slice of disco house which positively bursts out of the confines of the 10" grooves. "All Night Love" is all slick licks, MIDI brass parps and a classic diva vocal turn over the top. It builds up nicely and it drops in style, making all the moves you want to set the place alight. "Sexy Thing" has a more romantic lilt to it thanks to swooning strings and sassy sax, but peak time good times are still the order of the day so you can be sure this one pumps where it counts.
Review: For the latest missive on their fast-rising DET313 label, Gary Martin and Yossi Amoyal have dug deep into the archives of Martin's long-running Teknotika Records imprint. First up on the A-side is a re-mastered version of "A City At Night", a Martin cut from 1990 that mixes the futurist intent of Motor City techno with chunkier, UK style techno grooves and the kind of stabs and musical flourishes more associated with Robert Hood or Terrence Parker records. Side B boasts a freshly extended edit of another Martin gem - this time under the Gigi Galaxy alias - from 1994. "The Dream" more than lives up to its title, with Martin wrapping restless bass, starry lead lines, alien electronics and sumptuous chords around a hypnotic deep techno groove.
Review: Belgian producer UC Beatz lands on Masterworks with two impeccable deep house cuts that nod to the sterling reputation he enjoys within the scene. "Mojoy" is a simmering jam with that raw 'in the room' flavour you'd expect from Moodymann, a sweet vocal sample and a rhythm section that teases as much as it moves. When the chords drop, it's sure to sway the crowd without losing the intimacy set up in the track's earlier moments. "Exotic Fruitz" has a similar production style, and that background bar chatter is back again to fill the space with a cosy atmosphere, but here the keys are more forthright and vibing in the direction of sunnier climes.
Review: The latest artist to deliver a volume in digital download specialists Masterworks Music's occasional "Master Series" of vinyl EPs is Dirtytwo, a Scandinavian duo best-known for their releases on Local k and Razor 'N' Tape Reserve. A-side "Consensual" is a genuinely deep and immersive affair driven forwards by echoing electric piano stabs, hissing ride cymbals and addictive bass, all topped off by glassy-eyed vocal samples of what sounds like Motown legend Marvin Gaye. Flipside "Get Down & Get With It" is an altogether sweatier and sleazier affair, closer in tone to the pair's various loved-up and peak-time-ready singles on Local Talk. It's rather good, though we still prefer the tactile and huggable A-side.
Review: Barefoot Beats is a series of EPs released on Mareh Music, a record label based in Sao Paulo whose people are also the curators of the Mareh music festival in Boipeba - a remote island in Bahia. For their label's ninth edition, Rio de Janeiro's Joutro Mundo (Midnight Riot/Outra) delivers an edit of a lovely neon-lit boogie down number on "Revele", while on the flip the man from New York City Jkriv (Razor-N-Tape) gets a deep, soulful and life-affirming number into the mix with "Povo De Zambi".
Review: Maya's "Lait De Coco", a deliciously glassy-eyed chunk of mid-'80s Gallic pop with a decidedly Balearic bent, has recently undergone something of a revival is serious selector circles. Since copies of original 1987 7" copies have been known to change hands for eye-watering sums online, Attic Salt Discs has done the decent thing and offered up this tasty 10" reissue. Particularly alluring is the flipside Dub, which in true '80s instrumental style flits between spine-tingling ambient passages, delay-laden vocal selections, twinkling piano motifs and an even more glassy-eyed take on the warm and loved-up backing track. That said, the sax-laden A-side vocal version, the epitome of soft-focus European synth-pop goodness from the period, is also superb.
Review: Moochin' About's Record Store Day 2017 offering is something of a treat for jazz fans: a tasty 10" featuring an unreleased Alice Coltrane improvisation, recorded in Poland in 1987, on one side, and a delightful etching of a lotus flower on the other. Musically, the A-side sees Coltrane in harpist mode, delivering a spontaneous workout the rapidly jumps between strummed chords, plucked notes and frequent bursts of twinkling melody. At some points, it's blissful and becalmed, at others fizzes with the same kind of excitement you'd expect from freestyle jazz. At nearly 12 minutes in length it's something of an epic, but will hold your attention throughout.
Review: French edit maestro Chevals has been busy with releases on Whiskey Disco, Kolour LTD, Tropical Disco and Editorial over the past year. That should tell you all you need to know about how seriously rated this guy is in the scene, and it's no different as he lands on Masterworks with this tasteful 10" gem. "It's Just A Feelin" is an infectiously upbeat heater that brings out the best elements of disco and house in perfect synergy. "The Way U Move" is a dreamier affair with more overt funk stylings and a subtly cosmic tint to the keys - one to get starry eyed and sway to.
Review: Second time around for Julianna Barwick and Rafael Anton Irisarri's lauded contribution to the THESIS label's series of collaborative 10-inch singles. The 2017 set has been in high demand since it first appeared in stores, and with a limited number available outside the US for the first time we're expecting it to sell out in double-quick time. Musically, it's one of the most picturesque things that Irissari has been involved in. The untitled opener delivers a near perfect fusion of layered improvised vocals and wispy ambient electronics, while the track that follows brilliantly builds to a crescendo of Tangerine Dream style arpeggio melodies, densely layered textures and acid-esque motifs. The flipside opener is a more softly spun, deep ambient soundscape, while the EP's closing cut is sparkling, spacey and hugely alluring.
Review: Leipzig's finest M Ono and Luveless are back on Houston via Detroit's Kolour with volume three of their new limited 10" series. Starting out with the deeply uplifting soulfulness of "Never Gonna Leave You 2K16" they are then into "Losing Memory" on the flip which gets more reduced, dubby and emotive, giving a nod to the kind of loopy deepness as heard on labels like Office or Slices Of Life. There really is something in the water out in Leipzig at the moment, great stuff!
Review: Chevals, who brilliantly describes himself as a "French house producer, disco cutter and horse", came to our attention last year via a fine debut on Better Listen. You'll find further proof of his "rising star" status on this tasty, two-track contribution to Kolour LTD's 10-inch series. Both tracks are essentially re-edits, though there are enough additional touches and new musical elements to elevate them way beyond your average scalpel re-arrangement. The Frenchman kicks thing off with "I Can Prove It", a gently tooled-up and reworked version of a soaring, glassy-eyed disco-soul gem that will sound fantastic at this summer's open-air events. Flipside "Free Love" is an altogether more low-slung affair, with a fizzing, funk-fuelled groove building towards a rush-inducing Philadelphia Soul-goes-disco-house conclusion.