Review: Blue Note Re:imagined is a carefully curated collection of brand-new covers of classic material from the legendary label as served up by a selection of the UK scene's most exciting young talents including Ezra Collective, Nubya Garcia and Brit Award-winning Jorja Smith. For this latest 7" it's Jordan Rakei, who actually hails from Aus, but let's not get mad about that because the super smooth soul singer reaches new heights on the free flowing, heart opening 'Wind Parade'. Jazz pianist Alfa Mist takes care of the flip with a suitably cosmic exploration on 'Galaxy' that pairs live, busy drums and soaring synths with rich chords.
Review: Following two sterling turns from Dedication feat Danielle Moore and Smith & Mudd feat Quinn Lamont Luke, Adventures In Paradise returns with another effervescent, vocal-led bomb. Soma World team up with Falle for an energising track that fold high life, funk and Kwaito house into a potent blend given voice by the infectious singing of Falle. As well as the original version of 'Want This', we're treated to two remixes by Ray Mang, who dubs the track out into a simmering, bass-rooted groover that captures the moody allure of a picture-perfect sundown moment.
Review: Not to be confused with the mascara-clad indie rock band of the same name, Placebo was a 1970s Belgian jazz-funk combo founded by legendary European jazzman Marc Moulin. Within the rare groove and jazz-dance community, the group's sophomore set 1973 has long been considered a hard-to-find "must-have". Here Matasuna Records celebrates reaching a quarter-century of releases by offering up a seven-inch featuring two of the album's most celebrated cuts. A-side 'Polk' is a genuine jazz-funk delight: a storming dancefloor workout in which mazy, ever-more-intense electric piano solos ride a relaxed but floor-friendly groove. Flipside 'Balek' is, if anything, even better, with spacey synths, sharp horn lines and fluid electric piano solos sparring over another leisurely groove.
Review: For the latest in their ongoing series of limited-edition, hand-numbered singles, Zurich outfit Phantom Island has turned to the label's in-house producer and "sound wizard", Florin Buchel. As you'd perhaps expect, there's much to admire on the producer's first single under his given name, particularly A-side 'Proper Distance'. This sees guitarist Roger Szedzalik add glistening, sun-soaked jazz solos to a dreamy, sunset-ready backing track rich in liquid synths, reggae bass and bubbly electronic beats. The leisurely, Balearic-focused vibe continues on the flip, where Buchel peppers a delay-laden drum machine beat with fretless bass, gently unfurling synthesizer melodies and flecks of echoing instrumentation.
Review: The brilliantly dark world of breakbeats and stripped back techno that Illian Tape call their own gets that bit richer with this new EP from Pessimist. It kicks off with some rugged jungle rides that are coloured by bird calls, wood block hits and booming bass before 'The Crawlers' is a flurry of snares and hi hats that tie your mind and body in knots. The excellent 'Ridge Racer Revolution' is a hardcore track that never lets up, with flailing hits and hundred mile and hour breaks all demanding you dance. The closer is a dystopian cut of unresolved loops ad frazzled bass that lurches back and forth and traps you right where it wants you. Thrilling stuff.
Review: Buckle up for the latest space crusade from Salty Nuts. This one finds Oden & Fatzo at the helm and the trip begins with the slick and seductive tech house perfection of 'Spaceship For Sale' which glides on silky synths to an imagined future. 'Casinomania' bubbles with all the sort of pixelated sounds and hyper real chords that you would get on the gambling floor of a Las Vegas hotel and '69 Party Boys' is another lithe, neon-lit future-tech-funk gem that gets a remix from Fabe. In the popular Brazilian's hands it becomes a little more thrown back thanks to its warm organ bass.
Review: Northern Soul diggers have spent many frustrating hours trying to track down copies of Roy Redmond's notoriously hard to find 1967 single 'Ain't That Terrible', which was initially released on cult label Loma. Listening to this timely and much-needed Record Store Day 2020 reissue, it's easy to see why. The track is exactly the kind of surging, stomping, up-tempo number that makes Northern Soul dancefloors go crazy, all topped off by an excitedly rousing lead vocal from Redmond. Over on the flip you'll find original B-side 'A Change Is Gonna Come', a lusciously arranged, performed and produced version of the Sam Cooke favourite smothered in melancholic horns, jazzy guitars and sustained organ chords.
Review: French dub techno engineers Berg Audio return with their fourth release in 2020, courtesy of one R.Y. with an A.C. We are not entirely sure who the former is, but the latter stands for Another Channel, a producer from Ausburg in Southern Germany. The acronyms collaborate on the cavernous and glacial groove of 'Move Dub' that is balanced out by its emotive male and female vocals. It comes with two terrific reworks: Mosaic man man Steve O'Sullivan is in fine form as usual, taking the track down a warmer path with a more sensual feel, followed by Roman Poncet aka Traumer's perspective which injects the track with a groovy minimalist stomp.
Review: Eddie C's Red Motorbike journeys on with another tasty 7" morsel from the boss himself, this time split with Elado. That is who goes first on the guitar licked, Americana tinged, disco dripped "Hipos" which is a perfect tune for gazing off at a distant sunset as you sway to and fro on an outdoor dance floor. Eddie C's "Crazy Heart" chugs a it harder, with busy melodic phrases riding up and down the scale over chunky drums. As always with Red Motorbike, this is grown up music for grown up dance floors, but that's not to say it isn't hella fun.
Review: The Blessed Madonna has remixed Dua Lipa's 'Levitating' featuring Missy Elliott and Madonna. This is the first track from 'Club Future Nostalgia', an entirely remixed version of Dua Lipa's global #1 album "Future Nostalgia", created in collaboration with The Blessed Madonna.
Beastie Boys vs MFSB - "Check It Out People" (4:19)
MFSB - "People All Over The World" (dub) (4:11)
Review: On his last two singles on Soopastole, mash-up maestro DJ Soopasoul smashed together elements of Stevie Wonder and Redman/Method Man, and James Brown and Crooklyn Dodgers. For his latest trick he's decided to pepper an edited version of "People All Over The World" by Philadelphia Soul legends MFSB, with raps from a stone cold classic Beastie Boys tune. It's the sort of thing that shouldn't work, but the Beasties' flows work perfectly over the flanged guitars, undulating bass and unfussy 4-to-the-floor Philly Soul grooves of the MFSB track. You can hear his instrumental rework of that track on the flip; it's so good that it's arguably worth the entrance price on its own.
Review: DJ Soopasoul's last mash-up was an inspired affair that saw him perfectly fuse tracks by Philadelphia Soul legends MFSB and the Beastie Boys. Here he takes a similar approach, placing the rap vocals from the 1995 hip hop classic "How High" atop a suitably funky, lolloping beat crafted from Clavinet-heavy sections from Stevie party-starting floor-heater "Superstitioun". It works remarkably well on the A-side vocal mix, and those who'd not heard either track would be convinced that there was no mash-up antics going on. Over on side B you'll find an instrumental mix that showcases Soopasoul's editing skills; minus the Hip Hop vocals, is a fine re-edit of the Wonderful jam.
Joey Negro presents The Sunburst Band - "Only Time Will Tell" (feat Angela Johnson) (5:52)
Mid Air - "Ease Out" (The Revenge edit) (7:31)
Joey Negro - "Do What You Feel" (JN Revival mix) (4:49)
Review: If you're looking for some high-grade, tried-and-tested disco and house fare, we'd strongly advise grabbing this second vinyl sampler celebrating 30 years of Dave Lee AKA Joey Negro's popular Z Records imprint. It begins with the insatiably sweaty disco-house hedonism of Doug Willis's down-low 2014 classic "Crystal Lover" - which, surprisingly, has never appeared on vinyl before in this original mix form - and ends with the Revenge's loopy, sort-after, synth-fired re-edit of Mid Air's early '80s disco-boogie classic "Ease Out". In between you'll find Lee's 2015 "JN Revival Mix" of his classic early '90s U.S garage/soulful house jam "Do What You Feel", and the similarly inclined and deliciously sunny "City Connection Mix" of Lee and the Sunburst Band's Angela Johnson-voiced "Only Time Will Tell". As the old cliche goes, this is "all killer, no filler".
Review: The last ten years have seen no shortage of bands with their delay pedals set to stun intent on capturing an aura of dreamlike radiance. Yet Texas 'pop-noir' troupe Cigarettes After Sex are no ordinary shoegazers, for a variety of reasons - frontman Greg Gonzalez' androgynous and dulcet tones may be part of the appeal, yet moreover it's the quality of the songwriting here, which never falls prey to the style-over-substance traps of their peers. Indeed, this debut is more than enough to justify the considerable hype around this outfit, being a collection of ditties as sultry as they are atmopsheric.
Review: It's rare to see Parisian pair Politics of Dancing releasing music on a label they don't own; in fact, we make this outing on Locus their first "away fixture". Happily they've saved their best for the EP, zipping between chunky, breakbeat-driven, acid-fired hip-house revivalism (killer opener "Machines", which is also available in a more bass-heavy, tech-tinged Rossi Remix form), classic-sounding late night deep house (the drifting synthesizer chords, hazy female vocal samples and sleazy acid bass of "Sway") and wiggly, early-morning deep house/acid fusion ("Field Effect"). A top-notch EP with not a duffer in sight: don't sleep!
Review: Australia's Choi Records drop their second release in the shape of two powerful cover versions either side of a devilish little 7" by The Traffic. The A-side, "White Lines", is a funky, horn-led reinterpretation of Grandmaster Flash's original tune : an instrumental brass ode to the original beast. On the flip, there's "Smack My Pitch Up", another mighty instrumental rework of The Prodigy classic, complete with a string of trumpets that imitate the original's inimitable vocal loop.
Review: New Orleans funk outfit The Wild Magnolias were active in the mid 70s, releasing two albums and then regrouping in the 90s. Their sound is in step with their more renowned Louisiana peers, but certainly running hotter than the likes of The Meters. "Handa Wanda" is a stirring, effervescent call and response epic that shows the band at their best, rocking a wall of sound approach that keeps the pressure up the whole way through. "(Somebody Got) Soul, Soul, Soul" is a more fluid track, but it's certainly no slouch in the energy department either. This is hi-octane funk to get people shaking and sweaty.
Review: A right classic for those that know. Originally released back in 1994 on King Street Sounds, ?"Closer" by pioneering production team Mood II Swing (feat. Carol Sylvan) receives a much deserved reissue here featuring all four tracks that appeared on the original release, remastered for your listening pleasure. The timeless and soulful bounce of the "King Street Moody club mix" is a true zeitgeist of early '90s garage, while it wouldn't be a proper Ciafone & Springsteen release without one of their legendary dubs, would it? You can bet there's typically moody one on the B-side, followed by the heady, swing-fuelled and stripped-back shuffle of the "Swing To Mood dub".
Make It Hot (Pete Herbert & Dicky Trisco remix) (6:56)
Review: JKRIV and The Disco Machine's Make It Hot gets the remix treatment here with mature disco don Ray Mangler's going first. He lays down train-track grooves that never let up and overdubs with shimmering chords and steamy vocals that will work any party into a lather. JKRIV then steps up with a retro-future mix packed with gauzy chords and old school keys before veteran Pete Herbet steps ups with Discky Trisco for the most upbeat, candied and accessible version, and possible the best.
Review: As the title suggests, there's an undeniably humid, sun-kissed and tropical feel to Act of Sedition's latest double-dose of seven-inch re-edits. Accedo Domingo lives up to his name by adding squelchy TB-303 lines and relaxed house beats to a stirring Cape Verde dancefloor jam on "Corre Riba", before Those Guys From Athens deliver a chunky, house-style revision of a turn-of-the-80s MPB classic ("No Bola"). Over on the second "45", DJ Laurel tools up an undeniably funky disco number (the stellar "Peanut Man") before Monsieur Von Pratt makes an already heavy disco-funk number even weightier ("Lose Your Mind").
Review: The considered crew of crate diggers and musical historians that is the Melodies International team returns with another vital piece that can make all out collections seem that bit more pro. In the spotlight this time is the gorgeous soul of La'verne Washington, who released this single, and this single only, at an unknown time in the past. The whole thing has been remastered by Floating Points and kicks off with the heart swelling joy of "The Promise" with its soaring vocals and rich musicality. "I Found What I've Been Searching For" slows things down to a more romantic and intimate mood, with lush chords and vulnerable vocals hitting a perfect sweet spot.
Review: It's that time again! East End Edits are back with another cheeky, pop-inflected minimal techno workout. As always, the remixer's identity is under tight wraps but as soon as that vocal drops you'll sure know who they borrowed the hook from. Booming, tough rolling UK tech house aimed squarely at the main room at peak time, the dense bass pulsations of the original compliment this version perfectly, alongside the gorgeous come hither vocal. Hand-stamped, one sided heavyweight 12" vinyl in limited copies.
Review: Much loved and always impassioned vocalist and producer Norma Jean Bell is a firm favourite with greats like Moodymann, and for good reason. here she lands on Pandamonium with a new EP that utilises the voice of soul herself, Miss Aretha Franklin. "Got Me A Mann" is a gossip tinged, chord laced house track that will make you shuffle on the spot as you rejoice your sins. "Libre Comme Un Oiseau (Free As A Bird)" is another roller, this time with more free flowing vocals that ring out above the chunky, organic drums and busted bass. Excellent stuff.
Carolyn Crawford - "Ready Or Not Here Comes Love" (2:26)
Hodges, James, Smith & Crawford - "What Made You Think" (3:11)
Review: We'd advise serious soul heads to take a look at this one. Part of the "Kent Select" series of dancefloor-focused 45s, it features two previously unissued 1971 recordings, both of which were produced by Mickey Stevenson. In some ways, it's incredible to think that Carolyn Crawford's "Ready Or Not Here Comes Love" has never previously been released; it's a genuinely inspired, up-lifting slab of soaring, stomping soul that will get Northern Soul enthusiasts racing for the dancefloor in their droves. Flipside "What Made You Think", credited to Hodges, James, Smith and Crawford, is almost as good, even if it lacks the rushing, celebratory positivity of the sublime A-side. In a word: essential!
Crooklyn Dodgers (feat Buckshot & Special Ed & Master Ace) (4:30)
Return Of The Crooklyn Dodgers (feat Chubb Rock & Jeru The Damaja & OC) (5:06)
Review: Crooklyn Dodgers have had three different incarnations with members including Mos Def, Memphis Bleek, Masta Ace, Buckshot and Jeru the Damaja, making them something of a hip hop supergroup. They recorded soundtracks for Spike Lee films in 1994 and 1995 and always muse on topical subjects from urban life in New York City to there state of social and political affairs. Buckshot, Masta Ace and Special Ed was the line-up when they laid down their first single "Crooklyn", a sweet rolling bit of classic boom-bap with fluid vocal flow, then Chubb Rock, Jeru the Damaja and O.C came together for next single "Return of the Crooklyn Dodgers" which makes the b-side here. It's a piano laced late night jam with soul to spare and slick DJ Premier production.
Review: Fresh from delivering one of Razor 'N' Tape's strongest edit EPs to date, rising star Dino Soccio pops up on L.A label Pleasure of Love with four more high-grade rearrangements. He takes us in a surprise direction on opener "Chimay Groove", which turns what we think is a glassy-eyed, mid-80s synth-pop B-side into a woozy chunk of Italian style dream house bliss, before joning the dots between proto-house, Kraftwerk and early Chicago jack on "Acid5 Finale". "Bump Theme" is a sweaty revision of one of those bustling, acid bass-propelled jack-tracks that Ron Hardy loved and championed in the mid 1980s, while closing track "Nana's House" is a more spaced-out take on what sounds like an obscure, late 1980s French Makossa-house cut.
Review: Paul Robinson had a rich and varied life in soundsystem music, from working with the Freedom Sounds label in Kingston to forming lovers rock outfit One Blood. Of his few solo releases under his own name, this early 80s treat was geared towards the smooth sound of Brit funk, with a crisp boogie groove down low and a cool mood on top. "Come On Sister" is the perfect easy going party starter, which sports a tasteful dubbing out on the instrumental version that bolsters this Emotional Rescue re-release. Always ones to draft in a choice remixer, the B side here goes to Bruno who teases out the original groove for an extended trip before the vocals kick in.
Review: Remarkably, superior re-edit, remix and rework imprint G.A.M.M is approaching its 150th release. We'll hear more about what they have in store in the weeks and months ahead, but first the Swedish stable has decided to offer up something suitably special: a pair of previously unreleased edits from the king of the rusty scalpel rearrangement, Danny Krivit AKA Mr K. If it's percussion you're after, we'd heartily recommend insatiable A-side "Batutastica", a riotous revision of a drum-heavy Brazilian batacuda workout that's little more than densely layered waves of sweaty, carnival-ready percussion. It's an absolute dancefloor beast, as is the similarly hectic, intense and celebratory flipside drum workout, "Jungle". In a word: essential!
Message To The People (Danny Krivit extended edit) (10:22)
Message To The People (Key-A-Pella) (3:32)
Message To The People (The Michelle mix extended) (6:01)
Message To The People (Kelly G Deeper Message Groove) (7:08)
Review: Horse Meat Disco have struck gold a few times over the past 12 months, and their latest single - this time featuring old pal Amy Douglas in the featured singer role and back-up vocals from Detroit trio Dames Brown - is another storming success. This time round, there's a little more elastic funkiness and gospel-influenced instrumentation amongst the quartet's usual good-time disco grooves. Danny Krivit's EP-opening "Extended Edit" is our pick of a strong bunch, though the beat-free, vocal and strings-heavy "Key-A-Pella" is also superb. Elsewhere, the "Michelle Mix Extended" sits somewhere between organic house and rolling disco, while the Kelly G Deeper Message Groove brilliantly re-imagines the track as a sumptuously rich slab of ultra-deep soulful house.
James Brown & The Crooklyn Dodgers - "More Sex Cream" (Crooklyn Style) (3:44)
James Brown - "More Sex Cream" (instrumental mix) (3:44)
Review: Earlier this summer, mash-up maestro DJ Soopasoul raised our temperatures by layering Wu-Tang Clan vocals over a chunky, funk-fuelled backing track crafted from snippets of James Brown jams. He called it "Sex Cream", and now he's back with more sickly-sweet goodness based around the down-low greatness of the Godfather of Soul. A-side "More Sex Cream (Crooklyn Style)" delivers a similar-sounding JB-inspired beat, this time peppered with rhymes from "Crooklyn". It works wonderfully, of course, as does the flipside instrumental version. Bare party-starting fun for funk-loving hip-hop heads!
Review: Given the recent passing of Ennio Morricone, it seems fitting that we're being treated to a reissue of Babe Ruth's "The Mexican", a scorching funk-rock number based on the late, great Italian composer's theme from "For A Few Dollars More". The band's cover of that can be heard on the B-side, but it's the five-minute A-side, which boasts lyrics calling out the misleading narrative of John Wayne western "The Alamo", that you need in your life. Full of killer funk breaks that became staples during hip-hop's foundational block party era, plus driving musicality and some of rap music's best-known hooks, the track is still capable of slaying dancefloors 47 years after it was first recorded.
Review: Canadian Jorun Bombay is a long time remix master who now lands on Soundweight Records with his latest cut up and reworking efforts. The A-side finds him take on Blondie's legendary 'Rapture', which mixed slick raps with post-punk guitars. Here it becomes sweet rolling funk gem with molten chords and plenty of soul. The flip-side is a tropical rework of 'Don't Pay Any Fuller' that ups the bass and beefs out the drums, while layering in steamy chords and percussion that brim with character. These are two more classics in the spotless catalogue of Jorun Bombay.
Review: Here's something for those looking to fill in the gaps in their classic hip-hop collection: a sizzling seven-inch boasting two of the Jungle Brothers hottest hits. On the A-side you'll find "Because I Got It Like That", a lolloping party hip-hop jam built around an assortment of complimentary samples, most notably a lift from Sly and the Family Stone's killer cut "You Can Make It If You Try". Over on the flip you'll find one of the most recognizable dance anthems of the late '80s, the early hip-house classic that is "I'll House You". Based on Todd Terry's similarly big "Can You Party", the tune is a warehouse-ready bounce-along that sounds as fresh now as it did way back in 1988.
Review: After last year's killer Record Store Day edition featuring the Relative affiliated Vinalog, UK techno legend Colin McBean aka Mr G flies solo on this year's special installment with this wicked four tracker on his esteemed Phoenix G imprint. RSD 2020 features the soulful vocals and breakbeat action of 'Bands Tight' (4 Henry) and the moody, heads-down stomper that is 'Stinger 2' on the A side, followed by the loose and low-slung after hours vibe of 'The DJ' on the flip, and ending with the evocative and atmospheric slow burner 'Song For My Forefathers'.
Joey Negro Presents The Sunburst Band - "Far Beyond" (6:37)
Review: Following on from the bumper compilation on Z Records of all the label's greatest hist, boss man Joey Negro offers up a third volume of 12"s. He goes first with a nice loose mix of 'Love Hangover' that bumps in all the right places. Opolopo's 'Get On Up' is a dazzling cut with cosmic chords and long legged drums that move you to your core, then Joey is back with a slick dubwise version of the classic TW Funkmasters cut 'Love Money.' Last of all, 'Far Beyond' is a reflective closer with far-sighted chords and a late night glow.
Jensen Interceptor X Assembler Code - "Red Cell" (5:51)
CKFT (Keith Tucker X Carl Finlow) - "Coder" (4:55)
Voigtmann - "Subtopia" (6:07)
Cignol - "51D" (5:13)
Review: 20/20 Vision's electro mission continues unabated with this second compilation drop in the Exit Planet Earth series. The record opens up with Jensen Interceptor working alongside Assemble Code for a darkside workout heavy on the details and rude around the low end. Carl Finlow and Keith Tucker form a mini-supergroup for a new partnership CKFT, displaying their formidable chops with the body-rocking dystopia of 'Coder'. Voigtmann keeps things closer to the 4/4 spectrum on 'Subtopia', but with plenty of machine funk tropes woven into the mix. Cignol completes the set with a widescreen sound that's steeped in emotion and sci-fi noir from a dazzling array of finely tuned synths (including some essential 303, of course).
Review: Alison Limerick's 'Where Love Lives' is the sound of a generation, a reminder of one of the most vital cultural movements of the last 100 years. It is a perma-hit that unites all ages, colours and creeds, even now, 30 years after it first got hands in the air and tears in the eyes on dance floors of cult clubs around the world. To mark the occasion it gets a special remaster treatment and 12" release for Record Store Day. The Classic Mix - which is still the best - kicks off, followed by a big piano version from Mo Knuckles and a darker, more stripped back Cut To The Bone mix.