Review: For the first volume in their brand new Toxic Funk 45s series, the Breakbeat Paradise crew has turned to two stalwarts of the breaks scene, Easy Now Recordings co-founder Tom Showtime and long-serving DJ/producer Badboe. They hit the ground running with A-side "We Funk Tings", a cut-and-paste workout that peppers a head-nodding, bass-heavy hip-hop groove with funk licks, hazy horns and sneaky vocal samples from a variety of ragga and rap records. They continue in a similar vein over on side B, where the horn and piano-heavy hip-hop-funk of "We Have It Hot" is followed by the boom-bap booty business of "The Time Has Come".
Review: Given that acid revivalists Paranoid London have yet to put a foot wrong, it's no surprise to find that "(Vi-Vi) Vicious Games" is another absolute belter. It's taken from the duo's forthcoming album and features sometime Posthuman collaborator Josh Caffe channeling his inner Robert Owens and Jamie Principle over a retro-futurist backing track. In its full length, the track brilliantly combines Paranoid London's jacking drums and thrusting acid bass with dreamy chords and just the right amount of glassy-eyed melodic flourishes. It sounds like a classic TRAX release given the Paranoid London treatment, which I'm sure we all agree is a very good thing indeed. If you're in the mood for something even sleazier and more driving, the Bam Bam-inspired Dub has it covered.
Cult Hero (Do You Wanna Touch Me) (album edit) (6:45)
Cult Hero (Do You Wanna Touch Me) (club mix) (5:47)
Cult Hero (Do You Wanna Touch Me) (Slow) (7:29)
Review: House and techno badboys Paranoid London are proceeding the release of their second album with a bunch of singles from it. First up is "Cult Hero" featuring Simon Topping - one of many guest vocalists on the full length. It's a bristling acid house cut with tight, corrugated drums and relentless 303 mania ripping up the groove. Topping's deadpan vocals are layered over the top and bring to mind the more anthemic work of Depeche Mode. "Club Mix" is even more caustic and kinetic, while closer "Slow Mix" strips back everything but for the lunching drums and demonic vocals of Topping.
Review: Room In The Sky know how to serve up top notch reggae instrumentals, and few do them better than The Inn House Crew. There's a slight sadness to the forlorn melodica playing that drifts over "The Roach" but the cheerier nature of the chords mean you aren't allowed to wallow for too long, and the jangled drums and riffs are always keen to move you along. Flipside "Rathid" is a more classic roots cut with dusty drums and woodblock hits that bring the warmth.
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: If you're a talented soul vocalist who wants an authentically fuzzy late 1960s sound, you could do worse than join forces with Timmion Records' in-house backing band, Cold Diamond & Mink. They're in fine form here providing admirable backing to rising star Carlton Jumel Smith. "Love Our Love Affair" is undeniably attractive, with Smith's confident and emotion-rich vocal rising above the band's hazy horns, languid trumpet solos, sun-bright guitar licks and lolloping, hip-hop style funk-soul beats. As is customary, the band's tidy instrumental version can be found - and enjoyed - on the flip.
Review: Stefano Tirone has been a stalwart of the Italian scene since making his debut on legendary Italian house label Calypso Records way back in 1992. Since then, his productions have become increasingly more jazz and soul focused, with a sizeable side order of groovy downtempo beats. His latest seven-inch single begins with "Try My Love", a hazy chunk of head-nodding jazz-funk/soul fusion rich in languid synthesizer solos, lazy grooves, hazy horns and soulful vocals. It's really good all told, though we'd argue that flipside "Odoya" - a wiggling chunk of Afro-tinged mid-tempo funk - is even better. Either way, it's another rock solid release from the effervescent Tirone.
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!
This Is What You Are (feat The High Five Quintet - radio edit) (4:21)
This Is What You Are (The Brazilian Rime) (4:53)
Review: "This Is What You Are" is undoubtedly Mario Biondi's most celebrated work. He first sung it for original composers Was A Bee in 2004, before re-recording it for his debut album (alongside the High Five Quintet) in 2006. Since then it has been reissued or remixed on numerous occasions. Here it gets reissued on a tidy 7" single, with a punchy radio edit - a swinging, Sunday afternoon style chunk of Latin soul-jazz rich in jaunty grooves, soaring orchestration and smooth vocals - being joined by the "Brazilian Rime" rework. This tasty re-recording re-casts the song as a breezy, samba-fired slab of early 1970s style Brazilian MPB. It's an inspired interpretation and could well become the definitive version of the track.
Review: Metalheadz might be celebrating 25 years in the game in 2019, but they are not spending too much time looking back. Instead, Goldie's vital label continues to serve up forward looking drum & bass, this time from Jem One. A year after his debut on the label he's back with another varied three tracker. Form the swirling pads of liquid roller "Lotus" to the more angsty, tightly coiled drums of old school jungle cut "Transpose" and on to darkened minimal stepper "The Hardcore", there is a lot to love here.
Review: Long running dub dons Nice Up! unveil a brand new talent on their latest: that man is Escape Roots, a Glaswegian producer and Mungo's HiFi's Walk n Skank resident who calls upon vocalist Dandelion to muse on the many different joys of ganga. Riding on classic dancehall rhythms with hooky guitar riffs and tumbling claps, Dandelion touches on toothpaste, butter, soap and the titular Ganga Socks. It's tongue in cheek, head in the clouds stuff that will have you skanking for days. For those who like it more stripped back, flipside "Version" is where it's at.
Review: Following releases from Huerta, Mandar and Makcim & Levi last year, Oscillat kicks off 2019 with an assured, brooding club 12" from long-serving producer Matthew Dekay.
Since surfacing in 2001, Dutch producer Dekay has put out a formidable body of work under a variety of aliases and in collaboration with producers including Lee Burridge and Maher Daniel. His sultry tech house approach has graced labels as highly regarded as Innervisions, Cecille, Aras and Maeve, and now he comes to Oscillat with "Spellbound," a track that finds him diving deeper than ever before into hypnotic, swinging rhythms loaded with atmosphere and longing.
On the B side, Oscillat bosses Mandar (Lazare Hoche, Malin Genie and Samuel Andre Madsen) take Dekay's original and inject it with an infectious peak time energy, creating a straight-up, acid-flecked workout that sits in neat contrast with the immersive shuffle of the original.
I Want Magic (Dimitri From Paris vs Cotonete 12" version) (7:15)
I Want Magic (Dimitri From Paris vs Cotonete 12" dubstrumental) (7:14)
Review: "I Want Magic" is a welcome return to action from Jalapeno's premier soul sister, Izo FitzRoy, an artist whose 2017 debut album "Skyline" brilliantly joined the dots between classic soul, rhythm and blues and gospel. This time round she has her eyes firmly focused on the dancefloor, as producer Dimitri From Paris and backing band Cotonete (whose recent LP 'Super-vilains' is well worth a listen) join forces to cast a serious disco spell. "I Want Magic" is a revivalist disco jam per excellence; a tweak on the classic Chic sound with Cotonete adding a few sneaky solos and quality jazz-funk touches here and there. Of the two versions, it's the vocal mix (side A) that hits home hardest, thanks in no small part to a stunning lead vocal from FitzRoy that celebrates the giddy goodness of dancing like you're ten years old. Expect to hear it a lot at festivals throughout the summer.
Notes: Right angle 2.1mm barrel plug (5.5mm outer diameter, positive tip). Short barrel to barrel cable for daisy-chaining Row Powers and/or Pods. Cable is 11" long (centre of tip to centre of tip), suitable for two Pods next to each other or in front/behind each other. Also compatible with Row Power modules.
Review: "Call Of The Righteous" is the latest in an ongoing series of releases by Indica Dubs and Chazbo. Once again it is a 10" that boasts the perfectly interwoven drums, chords and bass of Indica, with the chest pumping, uplifting and warrior style synth leads of Chazbo. The bass rolls deep, the tops are crispy as bacon and the frequencies can be felt in your chest while hits ricochet about to enveloping effect. The low riding swagger and infinite horizons of "Raw (Dub Mix)" has to be the pick of the bunch for us.
Review: Operating out of Saint Petersburg, Kito Jempere has been bringing a broad church of influences to bear on his vintage grooves for labels including Pleasure Unit, Bordello A Parigi, Bahnsteig 23 and many more. Now he's the latest to lend his touch to Duca Bianco's series of 7" edits, following strong entries from Cherrystones and Tom Bolas. A side cut, "FKA Lany," is a slow and bombastic jam with a boogie-tastic lead and oodles of swooning female vocals, while the flip tackles a Thomas Leer classic with lashings of Oriental mysticism. Both tracks should suit eclectic spinners with a taste for 80s production.
Review: Disco Fruit head honcho Tonbe returns to his own label with more of the addictive, feel-good vibes he's become so well known for. "Make It Last Forever" is a string laden, emotionally charged shuffler with sweet vocals that sound like they could belong to house titan Robert Owens. "Get Loose" places the emphasis on a cheeky piano line that will have you strutting and finger waving with abandon, while "Gem Picker" gets deep on the choppy drums and smooth jazz samples. "Rough" is a seriously funky number, oozing warmth and soul to set your party off in all the right ways.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: MDA Analog is the brainchild of Colin McGraw, and first came to light in the mid '90s in Belgium with a seminal self-titled released on Nova Zembla. Now, after years being coveted by devout techno diggers, the project is back in action with a new label, MDA Labs, seeking to present classic and sought after tracks as well as new unreleased gems from the vaults. "Shine" is an original MDA Analog track from 1996 that comes on joyful and invigorating with its bold lead synths and hopped up beats, while equally classic track "Paris" appears here in a newly mixed form. Brokn Mind's edit of "Shine" is a slightly clubbier twist on the original, and "Good Morning" completes the set with a rampant slice of technicolour techno for the fist-shaking masses to get delirious to.
Review: British legend Carl Finlow has always explored the darker, deeply charged realms of electro as Silicon Scally and he's feeling more dystopian than ever on this fierce four tracker for Sheffield's Central Processing Unit. Following up last years' terrific Projections EP, prepare to go deep underground on the brooding and cinematic drama of "Cobalt Blue", only to resurface once more on a serene note on the charming Kraftwerk influence of "Scintillation". On the flip, he's back to the program on the booming electro bass epic "Asynchronous" while the futuristic tension and suspense of "Protocol 2" closes out another fine effort by the genre's finest producers.
Review: Once again diving into the mysterious electronics of decades past, Platform 23 strike gold with this cult release from short-lived Canadian duo Vini Vidi Vici. In its original form this 1989 private press mini-album emerged from the Montreal underground with a prescient take on house and more experimental minimal wave fare - it's no surprise original copies fetch hefty prices in the second hand market. From the psyched-out house thrum of "Club Stuff" to the percussive bounce of "Vini Vidi Vici" and the more madcap sample juggling of "Ou Sommes Nous?" this is a killer record unbound by scenes or trends - just pure, primal hardware experimentation.
Review: The resurgent Transparent Sound outfit (made up of UK electro veterans Orson Bramley and Martin Brown) have been riding high since their classic "Punk Motherfucker" got picked up for a reissue from Pressure Traxx, finding favour with the Club der Visionaere set. They're back on their own label with a rich and plentiful EP loaded with robotic box jams, leading in with the dark and seductive body popping beatdown "What Is Your Name?". The vocal mix is killer, but there's also the added bonus of an instrumental take for those who prefer a pure machine sound. Acidulant also steps up with a blinding remix that does a great service to the original, threading some seriously nasty synth wriggles and wobbles into the mix.
All The Way (feat Tyler Daley & Kaidi Tatham) (4:00)
All The Way (feat Tyler Daley & Kaidi Tatham - Flutestrumental) (3:59)
Review: A warm welcome back to the Darkhouse Family, Cardiff's finest purveyors of soul-fired instrumental hip-hop and jazz-funk flavoured broken beats. The good news is that "All The Way", which features the combined talents of guests Tyler Daley and Kaidi Tatham, is every bit as good as anything on their superb 2017 album "The Offering". The A-side original version, in particular, is superb - a languid chunk of head-nodding hip-hop soul rich in double bass, drowsy jazz horns, twinkling pianos and impassioned, emotive vocals. That said, the instrumental flipside revision, which includes extended flute solos where the vocals once say, is also impeccable.
Review: Ted Krisko and Eric Rickers hail from Detroit, and their distinctive brand of snappy, playful electro and techno has already landed them releases on KMS, Visionquest and others. Now they land on 20/20 Vision with the devilishly fun "One LFO," an unremitting acid jam shot through with crafty drum programming and enough robotic lubricant to get the rustiest joints greased up and moving. Fellow Detroit champs Luke Hess and Delano Smith shore up on the flip with classy remixes, Hess waving his dubby strains over the original in inimitable form and Smith taking things deep, smooth and just a little spooky.
Stojche - "The Exchange" (Gian Hydrocity Refix) (5:40)
Review: Blackhall & Bookless have been pursuing a fantastic strain of house and techno via their Jaunt label for many moons now. They're back and celebrating 10 years with a series of fantastic remixes that highlight the scope of their artistic vision, and that of those close to them. Inland leads in with an oceans deep version of the label bosses' "Spirit", which is smartly followed up by Jonas Kopp's equally submersive take on Hiver's "Itria". Jasper Wolff and Maarten Mittendorff lets the swooning "Meandering Rivers" by Kaelan burst its banks and fill out an expansive landscape, while Stojche pings Gian's "The Exchange" out into an electro-speckled cosmos.
Review: The brilliant Chronicle has been quiet for a minute, but comes back in fine form with this keenly curated various artists 12" that re-affirms the label's vision of cerebral, deep and driving techno. Damon Wild shows his tender side on the gorgeous, immersive "Constant Search", while Ben Sims brings a tougher palette to bear on peak time percussive belter "Vicious Cycle". Steve Bicknell summons a fearsome, metallic dervish on the monolithic "Chapter Of Self", and Tadeo takes things bleepy, loopy and uplifting on "X Marks The Spot". It's a 12" of stunning modern techno from start to finish.