Review: Armed with a hard drive full of multi-track parts to a wide array of disco, rock, boogie and pop classics, the Reflex has spent the last decade offering up unique "Revisions" that often differ greatly to their source material despite using the same basic instrumental and vocal tracks. He's at it again here, offering up sneaky revisions of two dancefloor soul classics. On the A-side he handles "Dance To The Music", frequently stripping the track back to little more than a stomping groove, delay-laden vocals and wild organ lines. On the flip he turns his attention to "Pusherman", gently beefing up the groove while showcasing the attractive sweetness of the original track's fluid horn parts and bulging bassline.
Review: Vinyl Speed Adjust have conquered a lot of labels in their time, ranging from BodyParts to Pressure Traxx, Visionquest to Pleasure Zone. Representing a different twist on the Romanian minimal sound, the pairing of Andrei Predoi & Claudiu-Eduard Balan now find themselves on Constant Sound dropping the subtly psychedelic tech house trip out, "Semantic Expressions". As if the trance-inducing original wasn't enough, we're also treated to gold-standard remixes from Mike Shannon and DoubtingThomas, both of whom bring their glittering score cards in the minimal fraternity to two distinct but complementary versions of Vinyl Speed Adjust's track.
Review: Detroit mainstay Waajeed is back on the case with another heavyweight slab for his Dirt Tech Reck label. "Heavy" pulls no punches - this track is peak time soul music turned up to 11 not least thanks to Wu-Tang songstress Blue Raspberry under alias Candi Lindsey's staggering diva vocal. The track also comes in instrumental form, but trust us and reach for the vocal to send a crowd into rapture. Lindsey returns on "Deeper Into Blue", another sprightly house cut with melancholy and hope in equal measure. "Too Black" rounds the EP off with a twitching broken beat groove that speaks to Waajeed's accomplished history in the truly soulful end of contemporary club music.
Review: After the strength of the Runaway 12", Armstrong is back with another pair of smokin' hot edits to get your disco sizzling in all the right ways. "Hangover" stretches out over 13 heavenly minutes of groove that sounds like the kind of source material Moodymann would be more than happy sampling. "Melting Pot" is a more Motown-esque vibe with jangly guitar chops and sweet organs bringing the emotional punch. Clearly dug by someone who knows their onions, and edited for maximum extended pleasure, this is how edits should be done.
Review: Nebraska's Friends & Relations series continues to serve up the finest disco-sprinkled house delights, following on from the previous installment of Disco Dubs with another on point reduction of dusty grooves through the mixing desk. These jams are stripped back and oh so heavy, with FX flaring in all the right places to give an eerie, trippy tint to the jams. It's like walking into the deep end of the session where Walter Gibbons jams with King Tubby uptown, and you'd be right in thinking that's a match made in far-out disco heaven.
Review: Four years deep into its disco, beatdown and edit adventures, Smokecloud's status is nigh-on impeccable. Here we find them uniting four of their most creative craftsmen for four straight-up dancefloor pacifiers. Highlights include the sludgy slo-mo Edwin Starr on acid flavoured "Caught Up" and the Diana Ross homage that is the sun-skanked reggae party jam "CC Tribute" by VinylAddicted & SMQ. Instant smiles.
Review: Having previously blessed us with "Ocean Side" two years back, Benedek and Tom Noble return to Superior Elevation with two more Balearic gems. One for the night time, one for sunrise; "World Gruuv" hits the boogie spot with spiralling keys wandering freely up and down a tight shimmering synth-bass led groove. Meanwhile "Profesora" on the B brings us back into reality softly with its addictive percussive hook, aquatic backing and totally tropical taste. Imagine Art Of Noise on Claremont 56 and you're on the right route.
Review: The 1 Life crew had a strong start with the likes of Kerri Chandler, DJ Spen & Karizma and Joey Negro contributing to a disco-fied house sound. Volume two on the label is no slouch either, ranging from Vincent Inc & LA's smoky "Cafe Tropical" before launching into Rico De Almenda's sassy, joyous take on "Watermelon Man". Venus Attack Project get into a deeper, percussive mood on the incendiary "Grass Culture" before Vincent Floyd completes the set with the heartfelt acid bubble of "Trail Of Tears". From organic sounds to box jams, these tracks speak directly to the foundations on which house music was built.
Review: Last year Burial and the Bug joined forces as Flame 1, delivering an in-demand EP on the latter's Pressure label featuring two sizable slabs of industrial strength soundsystem science. Here they return as Flame 2, once again offering up a pair of weighty dancefloor excursions. A-side "Dive" is a loud and claustrophobic affair, as the duo wraps dystopian dub bass and sparse, mutilated post-drill rhythms in layers of apocalyptic aural textures and mind-altering dub techno style processed noise. Flipside "Rain" is arguably more suitable for dancefloor plays and sees the esteemed twosome combine pulverizing sub-bass heaviness with dancehall style drums that come smothered in mind-melting effects and paranoia-inducing aural smoke.
Review: One for the slow-mo crew, or at least those that want their house music delivered in more of a lackadaisical, organic format, think four tracks packed with Wurlitzer-esque melodies, sun-kissed vocal hooks, classic tropical percussive accents and gospel lyric extravagance. At times positive, in other moments somewhat melancholic, the true heaviness in the kicks only really becomes apparent once you've turned the lot up. The latter providing the focal point for appropriately-titled 'Sing Hallelujah', a loose, stomping track capped with handclaps and underpinned by a timeless, acid-influenced synth line. As unashamed as it is uncompromising. The remaining three tracks are pack pared back and reflective moods 'The Fear of Fear Itself'), organ filled playfulness, and head-nodding sexiness ('My Guitar Plays Itself') in equal measures, making for a crossover package that wears its accessible soul very much on sleeve.
Review: This is just the fourth release on Negentropy, but already the label has been catching attention for doing some really interesting stuff, while consistently delivering dancefloor material that refuses to let go once you've been hooked in. French groove monster Sweely seems like a pretty good fit for the imprint, then, as this three tracker proves with ease. Crisp, sharp, and packed with energy, 'Take One' kicks off with the kind of punchiness that belies what's about to happen- soon dropping into a freeform, jazz-infused breakdown that appears to come out of nowhere, switching the vibe of the tune completely. You can almost see the sci-fi console lights behind the micro-percussive detailing on 'One Or Another', while 'Deep Into The Rhythms' is destined to please anyone who enjoys getting their head down to an archetypal relentless roller.
Review: As the initiated should know by now, Re-Loved is the Big Love label offshoot started by Seamus Haji as a means to celebrate and platform his love of disco, boogie and associated tracks. So far it has been working very well, receiving critical and public acclaim alike, and this single-track outing is unlikely to harm that established reputation. A familiar name to any fan of Salsoul, Defected and Glitterbox, Dr. Packer is a fitting collaborative partner for Mark 'Barry & Gibbs' Lower, with both regularly poling near the top of the nu disco charts. A meeting of minds, 'Moods of Music' is a slamming but funky workout packing a meaty and mighty brass section guaranteed to raise a smile. Ultimately, though, it's all about the rhythm guitar hooks tying this one together, proving the devil is in the detail.
Review: The first vinyl offering on any label needs to be something pretty special, and evidently No Fuss Records haven't forgotten that golden rule of releasing. Who better to draft than Saison, a duo with an established reputation for soulful, groove-fulled deep house that's guaranteed to make an impression on the floor? Probably nobody, hence the decision. 'I Need Ya' is a classic vocal workout, brass stabs and looped, filtered lyrics clearly positioning the track as a good times anthem. There's more than a little chug underpinning the Werkshy remix of 'Something Made Me', which stomps its way into a male chorus that should thrust fists skywards. 'Senor Blues' is more of a journey in comparison to its siblings, gradually unveiling its pianos and opening the arrangement up as the track expands from understated beginnings to room-filling proportions.
Sweet Power, Your Embrace (Alex Attias Sweet re-edit) (7:16)
8 Counts For Rita (6:42)
The Blessing Song (Flow Lab Kid Blessed remix) (8:53)
Blackbyrds Theme (5:29)
Review: Freestyle Records continues to be an essential source for visionary funk and soul from across the globe, and now they're returning to recent signing Lance Ferguson and his Rare Groove Spectrum. This 12" carries some remixes and rarities that complement Ferguson's self-titled album from earlier this year. Things kick off with Alex Attias' dreamy, Latin-tinged edit of "Sweet Power, Your Embrace" before the original "8 Counts For Rita" bursts forth in a flurry of trumpets and salsa piano. "The Blessing Song" gets remix treatment from Flow Lab Kid, and then Ferguson tackles a cover of The Blackbyrds' "Blackbyrds Theme", all of which have the next level funk chops Ferguson has displayed elsewhere in his burgeoning repertoire.
Review: Fresh from dropping some heat on Leftroom, Alex Arnout continues his productive streak with this sterling return to Jack's House after he last graced the label with its first release back in 2016. "Sync Jam" packs a serious shuffle that hits squarely in the pleasure plexus for any discerning tech house head, while "Calling U" adopts a playfully spooky tone as it wriggles through a plethora of freaky synth squiggles. "Resergen" completes the set with a spirited dash through hooky techno drum programming and a mean chord line that captures a little old-skool optimism in the process.
Body Language Pro (Sleazy McQueen & Cole Medina remix) (6:37)
Let Me Come Into Your Life (6:49)
The Lone Dancer (6:45)
Review: You could be forgiven for expecting this EP on excellent upfront house imprint Lovedancing to be more of a curveball. After all, The Juan MacLean isn't known for mainstream posturing. It certainly comes with stacks of character and a clear intention to be heard. Bold, commanding and aimed squarely at feet, if mind-meltingly looped pumpers are your thing consider this an early Christmas. All four tracks are built from repetitive hooks, the most inescapable- 'Let Me Come Into Your Life'- will satisfy fans of Mr G's softer side, while 'The Lone Dancer' is destined for sun-drenched terrace bar systems. 'Body Language Pro', meanwhile, has more than a few nods to the French house heydays, with Sleazy McQueen and Cole Medina developing those elements into a beast that's slower to build in but guaranteed to work up a sweat.
Review: Last year Paulo Mosca made his vinyl debut on Where We Met as one half of Venetian duo Micro.Solchi. Here he makes his solo bow via a four-tracker on Slow Life rich in vintage influences. "Interstellar Interruption", for example, sounds like the kind of far-sighted UK-US techno fusion that could have been featured on a Nexus 21 EP from 1990, while the organ-sporting techno-funk of "Cosmic Love" boasts bleeps that could have been taken wholesale from an early Warp 12". The producer's inherent funkiness is showcased further on brilliant opener "What's Their Name?" - all squelchy bass, Derrick May style drums and jaunty sci-fi lead lines - while "Star Wars" wraps decidedly spacey pads, warped lead lines and dubby bass around a shuffling breakbeat rhythm.
Review: Manchester-based DJ/producer Yadava hasn't been releasing music all that long, but what he has put out has been superb. Here he makes his first appearance on Omena with a mini-album every bit as inspired as his 2018 debut album on Church, "It Rains Here". As with previous outings, the showcased tracks are imaginative and evocative, with Yadava blending dreamy electronics and jazzy instrumentation with grooves that variously doff a cap to dusty deep house, West African and South American rhythms, jazz-funk and broken beat. Highlights are plentiful throughout, with the richly percussive "Earth Tones", bustling "Message From Poets", jazzy "Ixelles '42" and super-sweet "Good Mourning" standing out.
Review: Just four releases into its life, London imprint Counterfeit Soul has managed to draft in some serious pedigree for this one, with bossman Frazer Campbell leading the charge via the gloriously heady heights of 'Cloud 909'. Shades of soulful Detroit more than a little audible, it's a warm and uplifting opening number. Logically, given its name, 'Doom Dub' from Jorge Zamacona is a stark contrast in terms of vibe. Less delicate, much more direct and relentless- barely letting up- it's an ever-growing and more than likely ever-green slice of what deep techiness should sound like from the legendary producer. Those looking for more of a Windy City tip can find plenty of Chicago influences on Jorge Caiado's 'Drifting With Aliens', while Ste Roberts goes raw, unpolished and compulsively danceable for 'Last Saturday Day!'
Review: Biochip are a new duo making the right start on the mighty CPU. Julian Kochanowski and Melissa Speirs have no previous to speak of, but their deft take on electro speaks to years of research and immersion in the language of sequencers and synthesisers. There's an emotional weight to the music they've charged this debut EP with, where billowing pads and soaring Detroit leads meet with some crafty sound design and canny programming. At times things get intense, as on the rowdy "Acid Billy", not to mention seriously funky on "Tone Forest", but there's always an otherworldly shroud hovering over the music that makes it Biochip's own.
Review: Get your motors running! Hamburg DJ and occasional editor Automart drives off the forecourt with one of his first originals. With its stately tempo and soft harmonics creating a smooth discoid ride, "Discover Me" sets to cruise control in a subtly addictive unhurried speed. Loaded with both vocal and instrumental versions from Tom Noble, there's plenty of mileage in the tank on this one.
Review: Groovy, beguiling and hypnotic- Tusk Wax is a label where anything can happen while still boasting coherency throughout its catalogue. If that sounds vague that's the point; elements of house, funk, jazz, acid and tech never far from the mixing desk. This, the imprint's 30th outing, is another limited press continuing in that fine form thanks to the always-solid Loz Goddard, formerly of Dirt Crew. One made for summertime sessions, intriguingly it could score late night hallucinatory forest raves or sun-drenched terrace parties. It just depends which cut you go for. 'Redrum' is a low-lying cosmic treat, repetitive female vocals ensuring dancefloor potential contrasting the lackadaisical melodies. 'BHD' takes us down an expanding disco wormhole, Ron Basejam's remix of 'Redrum' places the emphasis on live bass and sass, a perfect precursor to the contemporary funk of 'Drumble'.
Review: The SlapFunk crew have another new recruit for their mission to match minimal dance aesthetics with tough old-skool punch. Danish producer Martinez has plenty of experience having released everywhere from Guidance to Moon Harbour and Minibar, and he sounds right at home freaking the funk for the Dutch contingent. There's a straight up strut to the jacking drums on opener "Inter Species Relations", while "Aspired Commotion" slips into the kind of wriggling shuffle you'd expect from a SlapFunk release. "No Data" adopts a skippy 2-step stance with some eerie textures on top, and then "Shanty Town" finishes the record off with more swinging business peppered with delightful keys.
Review: Low-slung stuff from the Nabucco label bossman, with the original just as primed for afternoon party vibes as it is the earliest morning sets. Gradually building momentum from its pared back stepping opening, soaring synth lines and subtle vocal stabs invoke the glory days of West Coast house- as smooth as it is uplifting, warm and inviting. On the flip, Mandar's remix retains most of the same elements, placing a more emphasis on the keyboard stabs and, although running for less time, has a greater sense of journey. Its dubby mid section allowing plenty of room for jazz inflected pianos to usher in smoky, chilled-out vibes in direct contrast to the punchier moments. The result is arguably even more useful that the original, and certainly something capable of pulling dancers in and not letting go.
Review: This is the kind of track you'd imagine the legendary I-F thrashing out on a heaving dancefloor at peak time. Dharma was a short lived Italo disco project featuring Luciano Ninzatti and Stefano Pulga, and their track "Plastic Doll" was undoubtedly their finest moment. Originally released in 1982 and a proper underground classic to those that know, it featured American vocalist Linda Jean Wesley and it gets a much deserved repress here on Mr Disc Organisation. Italian duo Tiger & Woods serve up a terrific modern reshape on the A side, followed by the timeless vibe of the original mix and handy instrumental on the flip.
Review: Emerging slowly from understated beginnings, 'Running Into The Sun' sees Komodo deliver the kind of expansive tones that easily establish a vibe on the dancefloor, nodding to progressive house's fundamentals while borrowing plenty from earthier, more organic-sounding ends of the four-four scene. Eric Duncan does the business on the remix, taking it into tougher territory and throwing in a cacophony of drummy intersections that help build the atmosphere, placing the whole arrangement on a knife-edge. 'Slow Burning' does what it says on the tin, growing and grooving its way through spiralling synths and acidic inflections, adding some gentle chords to bring in some welcome melody. Latrec evidently has a different understanding of the phrase given his remix, cutting back to throbbing kick drums while allowing just enough of the harmony to enter earshot, with trance-like results.
Review: Although Clone's series of remastered Drexciya retrospectives are excellent, it's nice that Tresor have decided to reissue the majority of material the Detroit pair released through the Berlin label in its original format. This way you get the music in the manner Donald and Stinson originally intended. The four tracks on Digital Tsunami were drawn from the same recording sessions that resulted in the sublime Drexciyan document Harnessing The Storm and thankfully got pressed on an addendum 12" after not making the cut for the double LP. With Tresor having just reissued Harnessing The Storm it seems only fair Digital Tsunami should be granted the same treatment. Some 13 years after it's original release and all the music here still sounds like it was drawn from the future, with Donald and Stinson excelling at rapid fire bursts of abstract subaquatic electro, such as towering highlight "The Plankton Organisation".
Review: Tabernacle turn their attention towards the industrial side of their musical repertoire with this hard-hitting release from Russian and French outfit UVB76. Hot on the heels of their S A N album on Teenage Menopause, this formidable duo serve up a searing blend of classic EBM pressure and contemporary flair, veering from the Skinny Puppy-esque stomp of "Extend" to the bruising Vex'd-tinted dubstep flex of "Ckahep". "Rust" locks into a jagged, darkside techno rut, while "Helm" gets artful with space and noise sculpture. "Citizen" offers the most measured track on the release, an uneasily submerged kind of electro noir for tortured souls.
Review: Earthen Sea adds to the Kimochi Sound with a soulful examination of indistinct margins, suffused with dusky haze. It's a heady atmosphere and has a palpable heaviness throughout. Starting the record are the concrete reverberations of You Don't Never Know, followed by the murky ebb and flow of Fly. 13 Beat(less) is diffused ambience.
Shielding fittingly closes the record, and weaves Earthen Sea's many textures with intricate syncopation.
Review: Proud and in charge, Exzact returns with more unfaltering electro aimed at the purists in the room while still exploring avenues that will appeal to ears of a wider sonic disposition. Three tracks of broken futurism all equally accomplished and irresistible. 'Feeling' is perhaps the most upfront here, its arpeggiated introduction building atmosphere before beats drop that can only really be described as fresh, picking up tracking high-hats as things progress before introducing an echoed synth arrangement plucked straight from Bladrunner's deleted party scene. The BFX remix throws in four-to-the-floor sections, using these to build tension, breaks acting as explosive moments to unleash the true vibe. Kenethetic joins on the high pitched 'Above', while man of the moment- in this genre at least- Brice Kelly turns said track into a moody, evil work of genius.
Review: What with their super-rare rare groove album "Synchronised" fetching four figures and some of their key singles rocking similarly big price tags, Columbus soul troupe are renowned for their sought-after wax collectables. It's not hard to hear way. Gossamer smooth with just hint of boogie on both sides, "Do You Love Me" is a yearning end-of-night smoocher that doesn't cut on the weight while "You're The One" flexes a much more upbeat groove with slap bass and keytars running off pure positivity. Only once reissued before, this Expansion excursion will be more than welcome news to many.
Review: Saktu is an alias of Sasha Kaktus, boss of the St. Petersburg-based Heisenberg label. He returns for a new EP with buddy Alex Adamov for the first time since 2016's Kacheli EP on Reshape Agency. On the A side we have a rolling and ethereal cut that is the title track - this one is certain to have major crossover appeal from fans of UK tech house to the Rominimal sound. On the flip, you are treated to the equally hypnotic futurist bounce of "Flicker" which will appeal to fans of Sublee or Piktor. It then gets a rework by Berlin-based deep house hero Maik Yells, who takes the track down a trippier and more arcane route.
Review: US re-edit crew The Patchouli Brothers return to Sweden's Gamm with two more reworked dancefloor cuts from days gone by. On the A, you'll find the exuberant 'Fuqua & James' with its sweeping strings, brass fanfares and falsetto "I'm so grateful" vocal - the track being a rejig of Sylvester's 'Grateful' from 1978 that, somewhat unusually, is quite a bit slower than the original. In comparison, the B's 'Peace, Love & Understanding' mines velvet-suited mid-70s soul a la Barry White or Joe Simon for its source material, but is every bit as upbeat and danceable as the A-side.
Review: Representing Californian house music culture with its heart on its sleeve, 12 Inches Deep return for a second volume of "West Coast Dance Traxx" that features four up and comers from the underground. Ricky Tinez captures a perfect hazy summer mood on the dub mix of "That Day" - a true product of his environment. Akumen brings a sweatier vibe to "Inner Life (All Of Music)" which captures a little Chi-town pressure and then blows it wide open with some choice organ licks. Le Smoove is on a serious garage tip with "G Groovez" and Urbanite reaches skywards with the utterly infectious "Triple Filtered", spilling good vibes out from every angle.
Review: Eclair Fifi launches her River Rapid label with a smokin' hot drop from the mighty, ascendant Afrodeutsche. Manchester-based Henrietta Smith-Rolla turned heads quickly with her debut album "Break Before Make", which landed as a digi-only release on seminal electronica label Skam. Since then we've been patiently waiting for some follow up sounds, which Smith-Rolla dutifully delivers on this surefooted 12". "I Know Not What I Do" follows on naturally from the album with its moody, atmospheric synth lines and a Drexciyan bent to the production, while "Make The Call" locks into a crisp, tight electro groove for plentiful dancefloor pleasure. "Drink" has more of that brooding introspection lurking around the tough, boxy beats, and then "Phase Two" pushes out into a kind of android rave territory that will leave bodies quaking in its wake.
Review: It's always good to see a split release from two artists whose track records (no pun intended) make it very difficult to predict where the new wares will fit. Which is exactly the case with this one, given K15's oeuvre name-checks imprints like Wotnot Music, Eglo and Wild Oats, while SMDB has appeared on Funkineven's Apron and the always great Lo Recordings in recent years. Needless to say, then, if we can rely on one thing it's that everything on this expansive, obscure collection of curveballs will be deep and richly textured. From 'Pace & Time''s downtempo barroom jazz, to the shuffling broken beats and waves of synth on 'Dry Mango (Part 2)', the confusing beat structures and delicate piano play of 'Earth State' to 'Syntherlude''s beat-less, science fiction tune up, it's all well made stuff.