Review: You might recognise Sylvia's "You Can't Turn Me Away" from GTA Vice City. You might recognise "Give Me Your Love" from Armand Van Helden's "Full Moon". Or you might just recognise that Sylvia is one seriously talented soulstress. Smouldering with myriad shades of soul and funk, each cut is taken from the Roy Ayers-backed 1981 album Give Me Your Love. Highlights include the sopping wet bass licks on "You Can't Turn Me Away", the bold, tearful strings and slap-bass juxtaposition on "All Alone" the tight guitar plucks and Sylvia's purring delivery on "Searchin'" and the disco gusto on "Give Me Your Love." A true soul gem, this is why the big man invented reissues.
Review: A brand new off-shoot imprint to Tiago's ever-ace Interzona 13, Outerzona 13 launches with a clear and emphatic statement of intent. It comes courtesy of Nelson Gomes, erstwhile member of Gala Drop who, for now, wishes to be known simply as Black. Repping three wholly different sides to his skills and sonic world, Nelson ticks every box. Late night dynamite by way of the frenetic conga-heavy Afrofusion of "Black", life-affirming vibes by way of the delicate balance of trembling synth arpeggio and rich motherland chants on "Van III" and end-of-night sensuality by way the laid back soul and sexy horn work of "Tabanka".
Review: Berlin's Alex Seidel is up next on Max Graef and Glenn Astro's new Money $ex Records and keeping on with the simply titled EP, which features five tracks fully in line with the label's aesthetic of dusty, sampled based, hip-hop derived deep house. Starting things off with the eerie soundscape of "-Encounter+" he soon launches into the usual biz you know him for, with the rusty acid workout of "Boogie Down Sessions" and the right party starter "Midnight Circle" which is reminiscent of Motor City Drum Ensemble's Raw Cuts series. Finally "W.T.T.D." presents us with yet another wacky VHS sci-fi soundscape.
Review: Excellent debut EP from Paradisica with warm night Balearic dance vibes across all 4 tracks. A side, beautiful romantic dance grooves for the sunset hour. The flip 'Amore' brings a sexy and upbeat late 80s house vibe with a driving Pete Herbert mix to keep the party going strong.
Review: Golf Channel and Emotional Response embark on a mission to bring together two generations of Kraut excellence as Dunkelziffer's Dominik Von Senger collaborates with the Montezumas Rache pairing of Jan Schulte and Christian Pannenborg. As you'd expect, the resultant EP is rather fine. They set the tone with "Rheinfaren", where a low-slung, dubbed-out groove is complimenting by twinkling guitars, delay-laden Jew's harp parts, and other sun-kissed elements. "Tangerine (Krauter Mix)" doffs a cap to Tangerine Dream and Dunkelziffer, with tumbling guitars - some effected by a wah-wah pedal - and vintage synths combining to create an effortlessly Balearic mood. Closer "Guten Morgen Bromio" is a fuzzier affair, combining grooves and sounds reminiscent of Pink Floyd's Animals full-length with the out-there attitude of classic krautrock.
Review: Aficionado welcome Swedish space cadets Farbror Resande Mac to their cause with the simply titled five track EP, a superb excursion into gently billowing Balearica. You may well know these Scandinavians from fine outings on Mystic & Quantum and Is It Balearic last year, and this new record suggests Farbror Resande Mac is a project we could happily hear alot more from. "Hagringen" would be perfect music to soundtrack the mooted Bladerunner sequel, a delay laden epic that manages to instil a sense of intensity whilst retaining an air of effortless grace. The mood veers off into different areas from here, with cosmic moments ("Chemtrails" and "Pacific Northeast") matched by downbeat funk ("Quaaludes") and guitar laden journey's into '80s soft rock ("Stockholmsnatt"). A Balearic DJs wet dream, this one.
Review: Enjoying a brief sojourn away from then 2000 Black label he's long called home, sometime 4hero member Dego pops up on Neroli with a two-tracker that blends his usual jazz-funk inspired instrumentation with warm and fragrant, dancefloor-focused grooves. The jazz-funk influence is strongest on flipside "Just Give It A Long Shot", a more languid affair rich in squiggly synth lines, toasty bass guitar, slack-tuned drum breaks and the kind of group vocals that would have once sent rare groove heads into a spin. A-side "Twelve Steps" is arguably even better, with whispered vocals, jazzy synth lines and sunny guitars wrapping around a pleasingly rubbery Brit-funk groove.
Review: Pete Herbert and Phil Mison's Reverso 68 project is hard to beat when it comes to classically-informed disco, Balearic and house music, having shored up on Eskimo, and Is It Balearic? in the past. It's been some time since they dropped fresh productions of their own, so this new four-tracker comes as a welcome injection of seasoned, high-end grooves for the slow but heavy part of the night. "Piece Together" is a natural opening gambit, letting acid basslines rub up against delayed strafes of synth and subtle guitar chops in the most grooving of ways. It's set the perfect tone for the rest of the EP to follow, guaranteeing this 12" a place in scores of bags.
Review: Tribal Balearic is the genre Aficionado are pushing to describe their latest 12" offering which is a split release from Max Essa and Basso, but put down that pinch of salt because it's another winner for the Mancunian label. Essa of course needs little introduction to anyone that indulges in some of the more horizontally inclined disco releases, whilst fans of the Black Disco label will remember Sebastian Graetz's killer contribution as Basso. There's a pleasant degree of chunkiness to "Chou Chou San," Essa's opening gambit where hefty drums are complemented well by the Oriental synth lines and spiritual pads that Max has made his own. "Peninsular" is most definitely not tribal but it is Balearic at it's most serenest and offers a moment of calm before Basso mans the B Side deck with the vibrant afro disco flavours of "Sore Sebi" and the languid "Waking Up Late".
Review: Iconic Gossip front lady Beth Ditto further dips her toes in clubland with this solo EP on the recently resurrected Deconstruction imprint. Lining her distinct tones musically is some typically classy production work from Simian Mobile Disco, further cementing a relationship that began with Ditto's appearance on SMD's last LP. Lead track "Open Heart Surgery" is truly infectious thanks to the simple yet far too effective synth stabs that run throughout, whilst the more laid back "Goodnight Goodmorning" has warm up material written all over it. It's the flipside track "Do You Need Someone" which proves to be most satisfying thanks to the squelchy electro rhythms and subaqueous squiggles.
Review: Through labels such as Playhouse and Moodmusic, Germany's LoSoul has been releasing quality house and deep techno since the mid 1990's. His vision hasn't been polluted since then, and he's stuck to the art form that he's always believed in, something that we love to see in any producer these days. He lands on France's Karat with a pair of ultra-stripped back house bombs: the A side "Break People" flutters its percussion through deep forests of dubby melodies and intricate low-end twists, while "Catch The Fade" enters total abstraction thanks to its beautiful swarms of bass and glitchy beats. Hot and recommended! For the fans of Ricardo...
Review: Some of you may remember Ricardo Vincenzo from his 2015 debut Pororoca Transatlantica, a two-track missive that blended South American production with all the warmth of sun-kissed downtempo electronica. If anything, this belated follow-up for esteemed Finnish label Sahko is even better. Vincenzo begins with the farmyard animal samples, rolling tribal percussion, African chants and rich electronic bass of "Cabras No Elevado Quilombia", before chopping and looping a dusty old tango track on the mid-tempo house pulse of "Onna No Yujo". On the flip you'll find the low-slung, post-dubstep creepiness of "Haru", where exotic vocal samples drift across a sparse but heavy beat pattern, and the aural trip to Morocco that is "Excellent Drom".
Review: Digger and editor extraordinaire John Zahl returns with three more deep dug oddities from the disco cosmos. Early 80s stadium synth boogie with Italo stamped deep into the core and some fantastic horn stabs, "Show Me Luv" kickstarts the party all synths blazing. It's backed up by an Alexander O'Neal meets-D-Train smoocher "Oh Jaaaz" before "Let Me Treble" closes the show with a vibe that you could imagine Abba sounding like if they spent a day on the beach jamming on high doses of peyote. Divine.
Review: Newcomer Hugo Gerani, an Australian house aficionado, debuts both his productions and new label Good Company, what we like to see y'all! The title track "About Face" is a deep house stunner that drills its way across crunchy 707 swings and rickety cowbells; "Baited Drum Lines (deep sea dub)" is wonky, deranged and falling over its own beat to make an exquisite stumble of watery melodies and gentle waves of euphoria; "Freeze Action (Desire)" is a lo-fi house nugget with beautiful swarms of echo and reverb. All in all, a fine debut, indeed!
Review: Thanks to the hard-to-define nature of the Balearic sound that inspired it, Aficionado Recordings can pretty much release whatever they like - providing, of course, that it fits their hazy, horizontal and loved-up ethos. It's also why they can release this surprise EP from Welsh "super-group" Bendith, whose five tracks explore the more pastoral, string-drenched end of the folk spectrum. Via a range of tracks built around acoustic guitar motifs, lilting strings, twinkling piano lines and Welsh-language vocals, Bendith deliver an EP as breezy and beautiful as anything Aficionado has released to date. It's undeniably traditional in feel - there's not a synthesizer or drum machine in sight - but that only adds to its alluring nature.
Review: After teasing us with a hair-raising mix almost two years ago, Rupture finally deliver two powerful pieces of authentic jungle from Toronto's Rumbleton. Neither would have sounded out of place in 93, and they both guarantee chaos now. "Vibration Centre" is the sound of Randall's wet dreams as the drums chop and change quicker than the mind of a chocolate-charged three year old. "Infinite Range Of Awareness" leans more towards the proto drum & bass phase of jungle with icy synths and a mild twang of Metalheadz to its structure and texture. Naughty.
Review: Mystery moves once more from Outerzona13 collective: With our anonymous pilots at the controls we glide from one gilded soul classic looped and layered for maximum groove affect ("Now That I Got It") to a shimmering funk standard that shakes with a subtle sense of Balearic sandy-toed soul. But there's turbulence en route; "Slight Delay Theme" plays the perfect foil with its Chicago warehouse-smashing machine funk and raw visceral groove. The mystery continues...
Review: London's Jeremy Duffy has been dishing out stone-cold disco-house killers for the last five years, and he's definitely earned his place as one of the British capital's and most fun and dance-centric producers. He's always released on his own Duff Disco imprint, but here we see him pop up on the ever-impressive Home Tape Is Killing Music with three hot tunes - "Feed The Horse" is a playful, squelchy house burner for everyone to enjoy, "The Heat" is deeper and a little more Chicago-leaning thanks to its sublime bass, and "You & Nothing Else" takes care of the funky element. A crafty and recommended house EP.
Review: Under the Javonntte pseudonym, Brian Garrett has delivered some of the most impressive deep house records of recent years. Predictably, the quality threshold remains high throughout this latest Javonntte EP, Garett's first for Alex Attias's Visions Inc. label. On the A-side you'll find "Vocal" and "Radio" versions of "Searchin", a soul-powered chunk of analogue-rich deepness that sits somewhere between the musically complex brilliance of Ron Trent and the slick, rolling warmth of early '90s Goldtone Records releases. Turn to the B-side and you'll find "Private Party", a chunkier and rougher, riff-propelled peak-time bumper, and the redlined, Chez Damier-meets-Derrick Carter bounce of "Life Rhythm". As the old cliche goes, this is all killer and no filler.
Review: More deviant Dutch disco funk as three of The Netherlands finest share some time on the Sunshine Sound imprint. Rob Manga takes us deep into the sleaze with a low-swung groove that loops right down into the gutter. Illco flips the vibe and cleanses our soul with the more spiritual Sun Ra style "Peace Of Mind". Finally Mr Mendel keeps us up all night with his salacious boogie funk twist with Candido inspired results - watch out for the drums midway. Wow.
Review: Over the course of the last two decades, Nicholas "I:Cube" Chaix has proved to be one of electronic music's most unique talents. He's pretty much done it all over the years, from epic ambient live performances and rip-snorting techno bangers, to jazzy broken beats and impeccable deep house. His latest EP for Versatile is another hard-to-pigeonhole classic, variously delivering creepy, metallic deep house ("Prepgav (Version 1)"), grandiose, otherworldly ambience ("Prepgav (Version 2)", and the beguiling "Sequence 3"), twinkling, 21st century piano jazz ("Walk With You") and Antinote style experimental synth-scapes (the rather quite brilliant "Ou Aileurs"). Throughout, Chaix's innate grasp of atmosphere, mood and melody shine through.
Review: Known best for their work on Blackest Ever Black as Raime, Tom Halstead and Joe Andrews resurface on the label under their lesser spotted alias Moin with this self titled EP. The music of Moin was first presented on Blackest Ever Black's Confessions 7-inch series last year on a split release with Pete Swanson, though the identities of those involved was not disclosed at the time. Described by the label as three tracks recorded with drums, guitar and bass, arranged with effects and sequencer" Halstead and Andrews plunder a more overtly sparse post punk sound as Moin. The darkness intrinsic to their celebrated work as Raime is still very much apparent here in the squalling, doom laden guitar drones, bursts of feedback and strange, unnerving chanting.
Review: According to their Soundcloud page, the Balearic Gabba Sound System are "geezers with a common love for sonically weird, feel good, bona fide recordings with a twist..." and that's good enough for us! Marco Gallerani, Bjorn Torske and even Prins Thomas are rumoured to have been involved in the project. Following up some great releases and remixes on on Hell Yeah and Secret Life, they land on Phil South's stellar Golf Channel and get stuck in straight away on "Quando" a hazy, psychedelic and slow burning epic for the early evening punters or the early morning sunrise alike. "Adriatic Bolt" is a cute little pop-inflected 80's style number while "I Dont Care Who You Are" gets back to the chill-out room on this beatless cosmic affair, featuring some pretty impressive vocals. The bubblegum acid of "Quiet Force" closes out proceedings appropriately.
Review: Kissin Cousins is a new alter-ego of a certain suave record shop owner in Soho who is also one half a rather well known DJ/production duo. The debut release on Tinpot compiles some of his personal re-edits and breaks which have featured in his DJ sets over the past 30 years, rocking dancefloors across the world.