Pieces To Share (Kyle Hall & Steve Lehane mix) (3:14)
Nothing To Fear (4:00)
Review: Some ultra-limited business here from Kyle Hall, which remarkably marks his first release of 2019. The Detroiter is in fine form from the off, first peppering a hip-hop tempo "beatdown" groove with 8-bit sounds, jazz-funk synth doodles and rich Fender Rhodes motifs on "Rising" before breaking up the beats and channeling Kaidi Tatham/Dego on the warm and luscious "Full Play". Turn to the flip for the similarly inclined, loose and languid, analogue-heavy melodiousness of "Pieces To Share" and the delay-laden sunrise shimmer of "Nothing To Fear", a glistening and smile-inducing number that's almost overwhelmingly positive.
Review: By his usual prolific standards, Romanian producer Barac Nicolae has been rather quiet this year. "The Real You Is Not You", a double-pack of varied dancefloor cuts in his trademark minimal style, is only his second outing of the year. It's rather good, though, with sparse but groovy rhythm tracks providing the backing for all manner of ear-pleasing musical touches and mind-altering electronic effects. Our picks of the bunch are the funky, dreamy and sun-kissed hypnotism of "A Story Behind Everything" and the tipsy wonkiness of the title track, where trippy vocal samples and blissful synth riffs rise above an undulating, off-kilter groove.
Praying For You (Louie Vega NYC Fender Rhodes Solo) (4:55)
Praying For You (Louie Vega Vonita dub) (5:43)
Praying For You (KDA remix) (6:10)
Praying For You (album version) (6:11)
Praying For You (Louie Vega Expansions NYC dub) (5:41)
Smile (David Morales remix) (7:01)
Review: Earlier this year, DJ Spen and Teddy Douglas's long-serving gospel-house group Jasper Street Co returned to action with their first album in 16 years. It's from that album that "Praying For You" is taken, though the selling point here is not the LP mix but rather a suite of reworks from Louie Vega. Our picks of the bunch are his jazzy and breezy "Main Mix", the brilliantly bass-heavy "Vonita Dub" (think righteous call-and-response gospel vocals and a killer groove) and the sleazy "KDA Remix". The latter is a basement-bothering stomper rich in fuzzy organ stabs and spacey electronics. The smooth, slick and pleasingly colourful David Morales remix is also rather good (it reminded us a little of vintage Frankie Knuckles rubs, which is no bad thing).
Review: For the past six years Jazzy Couscous has been exploring nooks and crannies of Japanese music culture in search of overlooked gems across all kinds of styles. After the success of the first installment of "Kumo No Muko", label boss Alixkun returns with another expansive collection of ambient, new age and smooth jazz reflections from a range of artists. The mood is consistently pretty, not to mention delicately executed, whether veering towards the sweet string refrain of Ayuo Takahashi's "Mizu Iro No Kagami" or the bittersweet prog guitar licks of Toru Hatano's "Kanki". There are bleepy synth trips like Akira's "Essence Of Beauty" and beat-embellished grooves to sink into - miss this rare and beautiful record at your peril.
Review: They may not have released many records, but samba/soul/jazz fusionists the Han Litz group have been mainstays of the Dutch scene for a decade. Here they return with a wonderfully breezy, samba-soaked collection of cuts that's remarkably their first ever outing on wax. The A-side begins with two warm, afternoon fresh tracks that sound like authentic Brazilian samba jams from the 1970s, before Litz and company indulge in a little flute-heavy jazz ("Preludia") and Afro-tinged broken beat/jazz fusion ("Yemaya Olodo"). Also impressive is closing cut "Epiphany", which has been transformed by Yoruba Soul man Osunlade into a sumptuous shuffle through deep house/samba fusion complete with Flamenco style Spanish guitar solos.
Review: Texan psych-funk fun time outfit Golden Dawn Arkestra get some remix treatment via this double pack from Razor-N-Tape, which leads in with Austin Ato's positively dreamy deep house version of "Children Of The Sun". JKriv takes on "Cosmic Dancer" and makes it into a slick disco-fied workout that adheres to the RNT vibe, while Dicky Trisco takes the track and makes it into a suitably interstellar strutter heavy on the synth lines. Then then the second slab of wax offers up a side each to the original versions, from the Afrobeat-indebted "Children Of The Sun" to the sweet and starry-eyed disco of "Cosmic Dancer".
Review: This one is a real sonic treasure. Already fetching some relatively high prices, it is just one of three releases that Trevor Sinclair - a different Trevor Sinclair to the one who played for England, presumably - is credited with. "Wgt Fuss & Fight" is classic roots material with echoing hits and wandering leads that are finished with some of his own buttery vocal work. "Young Lady" on the flip is another lovestruck ode to a woman that's couched in billowing bass and finished with some sweet knob twiddling.
Review: As the title suggests, this essential double-pack offers up a quartet of tracks from Glenn Underground's 2009 album "Silent", a set that has never been released on vinyl. Epic opener "CVO's Prelude" is one of the Chicago veteran's most fluid and life-affirming tracks, with extended jazz piano solos and positive chord sequences rising above a sumptuous Latin-house groove. "Negro Muzic" cleverly combines groovy deep house with jazz-funk flourishes and '70s funk style studio party samples, while "7 Minutes Of Funk" is a warmer and more organic sounding dancefloor jazz-funk workout. Those looking for some bumpin' beats should check closing cut "Shake It", where tasty lead vocals sit atop a classic deep house backing track.
Review: Whereas the first volume in Joaquin "Joe" Claussell's "Cosmicdelic Africa" series focused on sneaky re-edits by the Sacred Rhythm founder, this second instalment focuses on original productions "for the dancefloor and the head". In other words, Clausell has offered up DJ-friendly extended versions of some of his most cosmic, Afro-centric creations. There's much to enjoy throughout, from the psychedelic rock guitar solos, restless bass, layered Latin house rhythms and rainforest sounds of Cosmic Ritual's "Abraxas (Demo Sketch Mix)", to the piano sporting cosmic house positivity of Mampo's "Emarofo Tech (Extended Sketch Mix)", via the spaced-out electronics, hallucinatory synth lines and sparse drums of intoxicating downtempo workout "Mundo De Agua (Psyxchdelic Transfusion Mix)".
Review: Berlin-based British producer Joe Seaton dons the Onno Fudd alias once again, following up a couple of releases on Will Bankhead's The Trilogy Tapes label - namely 2016's terrific Blue Dot EP. Five deep and meditative cuts that merge classic house/techno flavours with IDM and ambient aesthetics - all with a modern experimental twist. We are loving the floaty and entrancing drifter that is the title track, the driving EBM style arpeggio that is central to the epic groove of "Joyride To My Inside" and the hypnotic heads down bounce of "Earth Queen Voice". On the flip, he even dons his more popular Call Super alias for the Rhythim Is Rhythim-ish vibe of "The Mess".
Review: In 2016, Family Groove Records released a 12" of previously unheard 1979 demo recordings by Webster Station, a boogie-funk band from Dayton, Ohio whose studio efforts were initially binned by Warner Brothers for not being commercial enough. Demand for Family Groove's limited 12" of their recordings has remained high, so the label has decided to do a reissue. There's much to admire throughout, from the high-octane thrills of opener "Are You For Real" and the spacey warmth of the super-soulful "Can You Feel My Love", to the sugary sweetness of the Latin tinged ballad "Lady" and righteous closer "If You Feel Like Dancing", a killer combination of spacey synths, crunchy drums, urgent vocals and killer Clavinet lines.
Review: Fresh from remixing Afrobeat legend Tony Allen for Dekmantel, Ricardo Villalobos presents his first solo outing of 2019 - an epic double-pack containing four lengthy workouts in his signature off-kilter, minimalist techno style. First up is title track "Mandela Move", where chanted South African vocals weave their way in and out of hypnotic, funk-fuelled, glitch-driven drums that rank amongst Villalobos' boldest beats for some time. "Fontec" is deeper and subtly more melodious, with plenty of weirdo noises and some seriously chunky bass, while "Ectroscop" sees our Chilean hero brilliantly blend the swinging funk of breakbeat with his mind-altering percussion and production. Finally, "Beetglass" is as crunchy, bass-heavy and percussive as anything Villalobos has done to date.
Review: Labels Hot Mule and Secousse have teamed up to deliver something special: a killer EP of "lost gems from the golden era of Zouk and Gwo-Ka" in Guadeloupe (that's 1985 to '92, fact fans). The four tracks showcased here were performed and produced by an artist whose fame in Guadeloupe sadly never spread any further, Max Rambhojan. The A-side boasts two versions of the rather brilliant and suitably cheery "Tou't Jou Pa Min'm": the jaunty, sun-kissed, whistle-sporting 1986 original mix, and Rambhojan's heavily electronic, synthesizer-heavy, calypso-tinged 1992 re-make of his biggest local hit. Over on side B you'll find the bubby dub bass, sparse synths and flute solos of the decidedly tropical "Cecilia" and a suitably breezy, sunset-ready gem entitled "On Jou Matin".
Review: Fresh from the success of two top notch EPs on iile, Leo Pol unveils his most ambitious release to date. All I Got In Me is something of a beast, with seven tracks stretched across two slabs of wax. It's a rather pleasingly varied affair, all told, with the experienced producer flitting between Detroit style techno futurism ("BH2"), warm, chunky and occasionally tough deep house ("All I Got In Me", "Live Concrete"), spacey beatbox electro ("Live Love") and the kind of tech-house cuts that look to both the Motor City and Chicago for inspiration. As a bonus, he's also included a collaborative cut under the St Ouen Connection moniker, the deep and hazy, techno-tempo positivity of "Masile".
Review: Neil Landstrumm began his solo production in 1993, influenced by the Sheffield school of bleep as well as electro and Miami bass. His unique sound soon caught the ears of a wide variety of the world's finest electronic labels - going on to record for Tresor and Planet Mu among others and he remains one of the scene's innovators. Featured here are timeless classics such as "Takks" or "Sniff & Destroy" which nailed that similar kind of minimal funk that label mate Daniel Bell was creating at the time, through to the bang and clatter of frantic jams like "Swing/Jerk" and "Blam The Target" (Inhabit The Machines) which are still a true zeitgeist of early '90s UK techno.
Roger Damawuzan - "Loxo Nye" (Pushin Wood remix) (5:39)
Napo De Mi Amor - "Cacatchoule "Berceuse Bassari"" (3:04)
Sewavi Jacintho - "Miade Dua" (5:35)
Review: Hot Casa's latest must-have release is a veritable smorgasbord of Togolese treats. It focuses specifically on obscure soul music made in Togo in the 1970s, with two hard-to-find original cuts being joined by two contemporary re-edits of similarly obscure classics. The EP opens with Bosq's smooth, dancefloor-focused tweal of Yta Jourias's breezy, horn-heavy tropical soul workout "Adome Nyueto", before Pushin Wood takes over and adds a little contemporary electronic bounce - and some particularly colourful synths - to Roger Damawuzan's "Loxo Nye". Over on side B, Napo De Mi Amor's "Cacatchoule Berceuse Bassari" is a fuzzy soul shuffler rich in bright, Juju style guitar solos, hazy vocals and Hammond organ stabs, while Sewavi Jacintho's "Miade Dua" is a sweatier and heavier concoction powered by loose-limbed drumming and sun-kissed instrumentation.
Review: Uwe Schmidt - he of Atom Heart, Atom TM and Senor Coconut fame - has used an insane number of aliases over the years, so you'd be forgiven for not knowing about the sole album he produced as Dots. It first appeared on CD way back in 1994 and has long been considered something of a slept on classic by '90s ambient fans. Here it appears on vinyl for the very first time courtesy of Astyral Industries, a label that knows a thing or two about unearthing forgotten ambient treasure. Stylistically, there are hints to some of Schmidt's other work - a dub bassline here, an abstract motif there - but for the most part the becalmed and beguiling soundscapes have more in common with the work of German ambient legend Pete Namlook.
Review: As far as Rhadoo's release rate is concerned, it's about quality not quantity - but when they do eventuate they are certainly worth the wait. The [a:rpia:r] co-head's last release was over four years ago on Amphia (as Colorhadoo) and he returns for Moscow by way of Berlin's Nervmusic with this collection of afterhours weirdo techno on the Semantics EP. Anyone who has witnessed one of his much lauded closing sets recently knows he has no qualms mixing in experimental beats between lean house cuts - this style is explored personally on tracks like the off-kilter mini-funk of "Fierbinti" or the contorted/psychedelic groove of "Gerunziu". "Om Neon" on the other side is classic Rhadoo all the way: moody, hypnotic and totally tripped-out - best enjoyed after 9:00 on the dancefloor. Cutting edge stuff once again from one of Rominimal's most respected figures.
Review: One of the most prominent and on-point dubstep labels to emerge in recent years, Youngsta's Sentry hits new peaks with their first V/A album. The full set will include the likes of Argo, Taso, Sukh Knight, Mr K, LSN, Nomine, Opus and many more contemporary low end visionaries. And it kicks off right here with a truly international collective; Truth, Caspa, Bukez Finezt, Onhell. From New Zealand to Cali via Germany and UK, all vibes are explored here... Cosmic swagger on Truth's "Simulation Theory", paranoid gravity-defying deepness on Caspa's "Anyone Else" and proper Mozart-flavoured 808 mischief from Bukez Finezt. Onhell brings this remarkable syndication to a close with the wavey, poignant "Sun Ra". Bring on the whole album.
Review: The colourful obi strip astride the cover of this audiophile reissue boasts that Imani's "Out of The Blue" album is "the ultimate private press jazz holy grail". While that claim is debatable, copies of the Gilles Peterson championed 1983 edition, which the San Francisco based band pressed up themselves, have been known to change hands for four-figure sums. Musically, the four tracks are breezy, sunny and summery. Opener "Just Another Love Song" sets the tone, with soulful group vocals and jazz solos rising above a warm groove, while "Somebody's Love" is a slow jam smothered in spacey synthesizers. "Byrd's House" is a jazz-funk dancefloor number - this time blessed with extended, eyes-closed guitar and piano solos - while "Friendship Cover Charge" is a stomping peak-time workout that should send dancers spinning.