Review: Two all time funk/soul classics from the Skull Snaps - a funk group active between 1963 and 1973. They were known as The Diplomats up until 1970 and released a number of singles with moderate success. Renamed Skull Snaps, they released an eponymous album on the small GSF label in 1973, before disappearing into obscurity. These selections are from the said album. New 7" reissue label Dynamite Cuts is releasing these two gems as a limited edition 500 only pressing, showcasing the two best tracks on the LP. Both have been heavily sampled in many hip-hop and club classics by Eric B. & Rakim, Digable Planets, DJ Shadow, The Prodigy and Panjabi MC to name but a few.
Review: The shadowy EEE series has already brought us tasty and much-played tech-house interpretations of a familiar jazz-house gem and a string-laden '80s synth-pop shuffler. Their third single-sided affair - as championed by Zip and Riccardo, no less - takes on a much-loved early noughties R&B classic, placing carefully selected and sequenced vocal snippets around a seriously snappy and sub-bass-heavy groove. Although tech-house in style - note the glitchy electronic noises and spacey effects fixed to the beats - the track's infectious rhythm track was clearly influenced by the current electro revival. This added swing and shoulder-swinging looseness, coupled with the familiarity of the vocal elements, makes EEE03 a guaranteed peak-time winner.
Review: If you were judging Kieran Hebden's 11th Four Tet studio album merely on the way it's presented, you'd immediately think he'd spent the last two years immersed in early '90s ambient house albums. While it's unlikely he's done that, it's fair to say that New Energy does owe a debt to classic electronica sets from that period. For all the exotic instrumentation and subtle nods to post-dubstep "aquacrunk" experimentalism and chiming, head-in-the-clouds sunrise house, the album feels like a relic of a lost era. That's not meant as a criticism - New Energy is superb - but it is true that his choice of neo-classical strings, gentle new age melodies, sweeping synthesizer chords and disconnected vocal samples would not sound out of place on a Global Communication album.
Review: Thomas Bangalter's 12"s on Roule remain the most potent examples of the early 90s French Touch sound, and some two decades after their first release the Frenchman is re-releasing some of the prize picks from his formidable oeuvre. Trax On Da Rox Vol 2 follows the reissue of the first volume last month, and for what it's worth we reckon this instalment is even more essential. Tracks like "Club Soda" - perhaps the smoothest example of filter house ever committed to wax - as well as the abrasive ripples of "Extra Dry" and b-boy cut ups of "Shuffle" set a blueprint for a generation of producers who tried (and largely failed) to replicate the pumping, visceral energy displayed here, while Bangalter moved on, donned a mask and took over the world.
Review: Released 40 years ago in 1977 ''Rhythm Of Life '' by James Mason was possibly one of the greatest vocal Jazz fusion releases of all time . New vinyl imprint Dynamite releases a quality limited edition double pack release showcasing the highlights from that album plus some additional rare versions of the tracks. The version of 'Sweet Power Your Embrace'' is taken from the incredibly rare 7 inch promo only issue. On the flipside is a different version of the club floor dancer ''Free'' which features a heavy bongo workout . The 45 second slab on this package features two tracks featuring the vocals from Clarice Taylor on ' I've Got My Eyes On You'' and the superb 'Slick City' which were both never commercially released as a 45 before.
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".
Billy Squier - "The Big Beat" (extended Breaks Special edition) (2:54)
Le Pamplemousse - "Gimmie What You Got" (extended Breaks Special edition) (4:12)
Review: We've said this before, but there's something brilliantly simple about the Beats & Breaks label's "Extended Breaks" series of seven-inch re-edits. There's no superfluous fluff or needless rearrangement, just solid and matter-or-fact extensions of key drum breaks to both aid mixing and light up dancefloors. For proof, check the mysterious re-editors' take on Billy Squier's 1980 heavy rock workout "The Big Beat", which prioritizes the track's fat, bottom-heavy drums and the singer's impassioned vocal yelps while stripping out most of the gnarled guitar riffs. If you need a bit of a breather from the heavy dancefloor pressure, the crew's subtle revision of Le Pamplemousse's drowsy, synth-laden deep disco shuffler "Gimme What You Got" - a string-laden slice of sun-kissed sweetness - should do the trick.
Review: Surprisingly, Don Blackman originally wrote and recorded "Just Can't Stay Away" to play as the recorded message on his girlfriend's answering machine. He later included it - tweaked and turned into a mid-80s style boogie banger reminiscent of his work during that decade - on his second and final album, 2002's CD-only "Listen". Here it finally gets a vinyl release thanks to reissue specialists Melodies International. If you're a fan of boogie, electrofunk and synth-soul it should be an essential purchase, not least because it's every bit as good as more celebrated Blackman productions made earlier in his career. There are "Stereo" and "Mono" mixes to enjoy, with the former naturally offering a more refined and intoxicating listening experience.
Melody Nelson (unreleased instrumental edit) (3:50)
Cargo Culte (unreleased instrumental edit) (3:58)
Review: This rather tidy, limited-edition "45" offers up two previously unheard instrumental edits of stone cold classics from the bulging back catalogue of Chanson hero and sleazy but chic singer Serge Gainsbourg. Side A boasts a superb revision of "Melody Nelson", a sweeping, string-drenched affair underpinned by sweaty drumming that arguably benefits from the removal of Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin's vocals. Over on side B you'll find an equally evocative version of Beck favourite "Cargo Culte". Stripped of the original lead vocals, the track sounds like a lo-fi art-rock instrumental smothered in ghostly choral vocals and creepy, foreboding musical flourishes. Top stuff!
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: After years spent offering up impressive blends of ambient, drone, electronica and experimental drum and bass as ASC, James Clements has decided to commit more time to Comit (sorry), an alternative project which first surfaced via a debut single in 2016. Here the San Diego-based Brit delivers a first full-length excursion under the alias. There's plenty to soothe and seduce on the eight tracks stretched across two slabs of wax, from the undulating, occasionally skittish beats and sweeping chord sequences of opener "Behind Dulled Eyes" and the icy, doom-laden electronic melancholy of "Reverie", to the early Black Dog Productions flex of "Clouded Over" and the dubbed-out, slow motion bliss of "Soft Focus".
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: Silent Season's mainstay artist Segue returns with a new album, following up on the well-received immersion of his 2016 LP "Over The Mountains" with further explorations in the hinterland between dub techno, ambient and a more pastoral kind of palette. It's a field he's well versed in, and one that typifies Silent Season's approach as well, but there's plenty of fresh ideas to latch onto here as Segue weaves gorgeous threads of melody around tactile, mossy beds of sound and understated grooves that carry you to far away, inviting places. Even the more pronounced dub techno stylings of "Mirage", for example, sound vibrant and invigorating in Segue's hands - another sterling album from an accomplished producer.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Cisco Ferreira continues to fly the flag for rugged hardware powered techno with personality, well over 20 years since he first emerged. The Advent is rightly hailed as a mark of assured quality for good reason, and Thema make a smart move in signing up this fresh grip of tracks from the veteran producer. "Kombination 100" is a lurid, slightly unhinged acid workout from the outer limits, while "Dorian Blue" sets a more moody, aquatic tone with a dash of electro thrown in for good measure. "In Time" brings things up in tempo and attitude, sporting some surging 909 drums guaranteed to get bodies striding with purpose, and then "Rhythm" spins out into trippy electro territory for the heads-down travelers to get spiritually expanded to.
Review: Given that they started out 12 years ago making soul-fired 21st century jazz-funk and bustling broken beat, it seems fitting that their latest single features the honeyed lead vocals of Xantone Blacq, an artist whose early singles explored bruk and future jazz. "You Said" is a wonderful chunk of laidback disco-soul tailor made for sun-kissed afternoons and sweltering early evening dances. Blacq is in fine form singing over the duo's Nile Rodgers style guitars, Bernard Edwards-seque bass and intricately programmed percussion. Over on the flip the pair dons their J & J guys to offer up a largely instrumental edit for those who prefer to get lost in the groove.
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.
One More Round (86 House mix By Frankie Knuckles) (8:10)
Walkman (86 House mix By Brett Wilcots) (7:17)
Review: Best turn their attention to that sweet mid 80s spot when the petri dish of party music was shaken up between disco, boogie, Italo and the emergent house sound from Chicago. Claudio Simonetti was a titan of the Italian groove, but his monster jam as Kasso, "One More Round", reached the stratosphere when Windy City godfather Frankie Knuckles gave the track his Midas touch. No more justification is needed for this pressing, but don't overlook the flip which finds 80s remix supremo Brett Wilcots taking on "Walkman" and whipping up a boogie frenzy of the highest order.
Review: Anyone who takes their electronic music history seriously should already be hip to this one, but a brief rundown for those new to the roots of electro and techno. Cybotron were the project from Richard Davis and Juan Atkins, who went on to help forge the sound of Detroit techno as Model 500. Released in 1983, their debut album "Enter" was a blueprint for so much music that came after, with "Clear" being the standout track that send 80s heads spinning into a state of funky future shock. This tasty little 7" reissue puts "Clear" on the A side, and 1981 sci-fi boogie belter "Alleys Of Your Mind" on the flip. Two evergreen gems no machine music aficionado should be without.
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: Blue Feather were a truly blue-eyed funk outfit from the Netherlands who had a prolific run in the 80s with two albums and a string of club singles to their name. "Let's Funk Tonight" was surely one of their bigger hits, and it sounds resplendent with a fresh master and the full extended version spread out across the A side here. Offering something new for the modern market, Best call upon Faze Action to flesh out this reissue with a killer dub of the track that treads softly but funks deep, just like a good dub should.
Review: UK funkateers out on the cosmic frontier in the early 80s Atmosfear let this synth-stroking, bass-slapping star-gazing escapade loose in 1982 and OG presses have been known to fetch a fair a penny among collectors in the past. A proud piece of UK jazz boogie, it's not heard to hear why it's been in such demand. Timeless, spacious and laced with intoxicating vocals and a superbly trippy dub version on the B that was way ahead of its time. Grab it while you can.
Review: Emotional Response do a great service here to all lovers of braindance craving new fixes since Rephlex shut up shop. Brainwaltzera's debut EP Marzipan was a self-released concern that sold out quickly back in 2016, meeting with emotionally charged responses from those wanting to nab a copy. Now it's more widely available, the gorgeous lilt of bubbling 101 melodies and delicate drum machine patterns can spread their wings and bring some healing vibes to a broader audience of electronica devotees. Coming on with the sensitivity of Wisp and other contemporary braindancers, this is how comforting home listening beats should be done.
Review: Earlier in the year Lone launched the Ancient Astronauts imprint via a single-track digital single that wrapped his usual sun-soaked electronics and kaleidoscopic synthesizer melodies around a ridiculously rubbery bassline and crunchy, club-ready breakbeats. Here he offers up the label's first vinyl EP, a three-track missive that's as loved-up as you'd expect. Check first "How Can You Tell", an ultra-deep, dreamy and rushing chunk of deep jungle revivalism full of psychedelic acid lines, slack-tuned breakbeats, yearning chords and bowel-bothering sub-bass. Equally as impressive is A-side opener "Abraxas", a delightful cut that fits between rush-inducing moments of loved-up bliss and the kind of intensely bustling breakbeats that were once all the rage on British dancefloors. "Young Star Cluster", a killer combination of hip-house style breaks and funk-fuelled acid lines, is also superb.
Review: It's been a minute or two since Renault cooked us something special but here is on Takeaway and it's a premier delivery service. Both pure disco crackers, "Law Of Love" runs with a succulent bassline and writhing pianos running amok while "More Loving" goes for much more of a smoochy end-of-night feel with sultry vocals, an unhurried groove and a big late 70s production feel. Drop it and watch those love birds fly. Feel the love.
Review: Over the course of his short career to date, Forest Drive West producer Joe Baker has developed a trademark sound that gleefully mixes and mangles elements of techno, post-dubstep bass music and vintage jungle. That trademark sound is naturally at the heart of the producer's first outing on Neighbourhood, from the smooth, spacey and slightly creepy hypnotism of opener "Un", to the deep space electronics and jazzy, off-kilter rhythms of EP highlight "Reshape". It can be heard, too, on the locked-in peak-time techno of 12" closer "Functional" and within the delay-laden blacksmith's percussion hits, moody bass and body-jacking kick-drum beat of the mind-altering "Wait". Supported by Etapp Kyle, Sigha, Ben Sims, JP Enfant - this will go fast, don't wait!
Review: Hot on the heels of the "Lush Culture" EP with Deetron that landed on Perpetual earlier this summer, more lush licks come from Mr Fred P aka Black Jazz Consortium. Four soul hurricanes that range in weight and emotion, the two poles here can be found slap-bang in the middle of the EP: "Moonlight" is a sultry brushed-drum break for lovers while "Riverside Drive" jacks like a rhino but soothes you with big breeze feels. Elsewhere "Reaching For The Stars" cruises on a skippy break with airy early 90s New York pads and "New Ways" closes on a stunning 88 tip. Have nice dreams y'all.
Gledd & The Funk District - "Late At Midnight" (5:49)
Review: London's Tropical Disco are back with their eleventh edition of superb edits. All re-spliced and remixed with precision and above all - respectf! First up is label boss Tim Burnett aka Moodena who reuses a rather familiar hook on the funked-up brass section of "The Chase", followed by the lo-slung and sultry late night business of "Addicted To You" by Alex Satrorial on the A side. On the flip, we have got Parisian Chevals (Masterworks/Hotwax) going deep on the sensual boogie-down groove of "Saturn In Tropical" followed by an oldie but a goodie in the form of Gledd & The Funk District's "Late At Night".
Review: Described in the accompanying press release as "the halfway point between Bollywood and Balearic", Rupa Biswas' 1982 debut "Disco Jazz" has long been a favourite of dusty-fingered diggers with a healthy bank balance and a penchant for the quirky. All four tracks are cheery, charming and superior to many "Bollywood disco" records produced in the same period. The sunny disco-boogie of "Moja Bhari Moja" is followed on side A by the delightfully eccentric, bass-powered AOR-disco/funk-rock fusion of "East West Shuffle" and the effortlessly Balearic cheeriness of "Aaj Shanibar". Best of all, though, is the exotic and intoxicating flipside cut "Ayee Morshume Be-Reham Duniya" which expertly joins the dots between cosmic rock and Balearic disco grooves for 16 spellbinding minutes.
Review: Long before he settled on the now familiar Jimpster alias, Freerange Records co-founder Jamie Odell released a handful of tracks and singles under a variety of now forgotten aliases. One of those was Loxodrome, a one-off pseudonym utilized for a now in-demand EP of techno and house fusions on Jumpin' & Pumpin'. Now reissued for the first time since, the 12" has lost none of its intergalactic charms. Check first the spacey ambient synths and post-bleep UK techno grooves of "Heavy Ride", before turning your attention to the deep space Motor City vibes of "Blue Skies". The bleeps return on the warm and dreamy tech-house jam "Red Society", while "Avenue T" is a deep, drowsy and sun-kissed chunk of "Artificial Intelligence" era electro/tech-house fusion.
Review: Having previously dipped into the back catalogue of a host of disco, house and U.S garage acts, Groovin' Records has decided to offer up a trio of tracks from jazz-funk maestro-turned-disco don Eumir Deodato. First up is John "Jellybean" Benitez's superb 1982 remix of "Keep On Movin", a dreamy disco club-cut rich in bold slap bass, swirling chords and sweet female vocals. Benitez is also at the controls on "Keep It In The Family (Remix)', another 1982 rework of one of Deodato's most famous disco-era anthems (check the clips - you'll be singing along within seconds). To round things off, the label steps back to 1978 with the hard-to-find and in-demand 12" version of jazz-funk/disco classic "Whistlebump".
I'll Take You There (Directors cut Classic Signature remix) (7:48)
I'll Take You There (Dimitri From Paris re-edit) (7:48)
I'll Take You There (The Shapeshifters remix) (7:42)
Review: Back in 2011, Frankie Knuckles and Eric Kupper debuted their Director's Cut project by teaming up with old pal Jamie Principle on "I'll Take You There". Here it gets the reissue treatment, with a trio of classic mixes being joined by a fresh revision from scalpel maestro Moplen. His version is delicious, with Principle's loved-up vocal rising above bubbly synth-bass, evocative organ lines, swirling synthesizer motifs and sunrise chords. There's another chance to enjoy Director's Cut's own warm and glassy-eyed "Signature Remix", a second spin for Dimitri From Paris's slightly breezier (but no less loved-up) re-edit and a boisterous funky house rework from the Shapeshifters that some may have missed first time around.
Review: Fernando Zapico AKA Z@p is one of those producers whose work is always worth a listen, primarily because his quality threshold is very high. This two-track missive on My Own Jupiter picks up where his recent EP for Japanese imprint Cabaret left off, delivering faintly foreboding futurist techno whose sci-fi inspirations are clear to hear. A-side "Brutalismo" sets the tone, with paranoia-inducing analogue bass, creepy synth stabs and swirling electronic textures rising above a punchy drum machine-driven groove. "We Control The Sound" is notably denser and a little darker, with sturdier beats, moodier chord sequences and a bone-chilling breakdown.
Review: A mysterious white label from a mysterious source with no details or even track titles. All we know is that there are only 200 copies and that they absolutely bump. "Track 1" is a real heads down driver with a well-known female vocal ghosting through the groove while "Track 2" brings home a job lot of funk with a much looser, off-grid groove and a breakdown to melt into. Get lifted.
Politics Of Dancing X Chris Carrier - "Track 1" (6:45)
Politics Of Dancing X Nail - "Track 2" (7:35)
Review: Politics Of Dancing continue their adventures in the studio with friends and kindred spirits, this time teaming up with two tech house titans that paved the way for the sound they're immersed in today. Fellow Parisian Chris Carrier sounds right at home sparring with S.M.A.L.L and Paco on "Track 1", where an irresistible bassline groove underpins some acid licks that burrow deep into the night time frame of mind. On the flip Nail is the partner of choice, and the UK veteran helps whip up a crisp and chunky workout heavy on the drums - a serious DJ workout for those craving solid gear for their sets.
Review: As anyone who has picked up any of his previous seven-inch singles will tell you, break-diggin' rework merchant DJ DSK can usually be relied upon to deliver the goods. This second volume in his ongoing "DNA Edits" series hits the spot, offering up two tidy, dancefloor-focused revisions. On side A he turns his attention to SM AOR classic "Fly Like An Eagle", subtly beefing it up via sweaty new hip-hop style drums whilst retaining the original guitars, vocals, bass and elongated organ chords. On side B he gets to work on Panamanian salsa classic "Maltrato", adding even more salsa shuffle and contemporary dancefloor weight to the much-adored 1975 Freddy y Sus Afro Latinos' classic.
Review: Russia's Nina Kraviz graces the record buying public with her first material in some time, with the three tracks on Ghetto Kraviz the prelude to a full album pencilled in for release on Rekids at some point next year. Nods to the seminal Dance Mania imprint abound as soon as your eyes clasp on the cover art, and this continues with the stripped down music held within, as Kraviz's languid drawl is looped up and dizzyingly placed amidst the minimalist; low slung bass and 808 flex on the title track. "Jealousy" is that bit smokier, with Kraviz herself sounding slightly intoxicated amidst the stripped down jack. (Intriguingly both sound quite fun when spun at 45 rpm). As the flipside "Show Me Your Time" operates at 45prm there's no footwork fun to be had there, though it's an equally potent combination of Kraviz's vocals laid atop each other amidst the sub heavy beat.