M&M Vs Andrei Swipe - "Analog Express" (Don Carlos remix) (7:29)
Review: There's an undeniable air of quality that lingers over the 12"s emerging on 14th Level Of Paradise, the mysterious label presenting originals, edits and repressed tracks for true house devotees. First up is a little known track from Sasha Makin and Suntetic, given a shimmering polish by Don Carlos and Steven Perri to become a heavy funking masterpiece, before Joe Claussell drops in a percussive dub delight on Monday Michiru's "Higher". On the flip, Vincent Inc and LA get things pumping with the slow but chunky, jazz-licked "Red Room", before Carlos returns for another deep house reverie as he remixes M&M and Andrei Swipe's "Analog Express".
Review: The Fantastic Voyage label kicks off with a summery joint from RFX, otherwise known as Pharmacy Records mainstay Romain FX, straight out of Hong Kong. There's an undeniable African lilt to these tracks, shot through with a classic 90s house twist - just check the infectious bump of "Indaba Kabani". "Gambian Neptune" has a snappier feel, channeling the vibe of 80s extended dubs with its strident drum section and bombastic atmosphere. "Nigerian Charon" has an interesting mixture of vibes going on, part Art of Noise mash up and part peak time synth sizzler, while "Sudanese Xena" heads into the heat of night, conjuring up a seductive, swirling mood to get truly lost in.
Lenny Fontana, Tension - "A Place Called Heaven" (Joey Negro dub Groove) (6:58)
Jay Denes, Ada Dyer - "You Make Me Whole" (Joey Negro Rhodes dub) (5:17)
Julian Sanza - "To Love" (5:16)
Frankie Knuckles, Satoshi Tomiie, Andrea Mendez - "Bring Me Love" (Eventual dub) (6:56)
Review: Some serious no-nonsense house grooves for all true-school DJs to cop, dug out from the annals of club music history. Things kick off good and proper with Joey Negro's insanely powerful "Dub Groove" mix of Lenny Fontana's "A Place Called Heaven". Negro's on the buttons once again with the classic, pumping "Rhodes Dub" of "You Make Me Whole" by Jay Denes and Ada Dyer. On the flip, Julian Sanza drops the squelchy boogie inflected "To Love" before the record ends on a serious bang with the dream team of Frankie Knuckles, Satoshi Tomiie and Andrea Mendez's "Bring Me Love (Eventual Dub)". This is as actual house as actual house can get - the real deal, crystalised in four evergreen gems pressed on one handy record.
Review: Hot on the heels of a re-work of Bobby Caldwell, edit stylist Caserta is back with another golden nugget. This time he turns his attention to the one and only Luther Vandross and serves up two equally essential but very different tunes that pay homage to his unique voice. The King Street Mix is all hip swinging claps and nodding bass riffs that are organic and heartfelt, whereas the Henry Street Mix nods to the '90s heyday of New York. With warm neon organ stabs that will get any floor pumping, both interpretations have Luther's soulful voice front and centre.
Review: There's not a lot of info about this one other than it's a "mysterious" re-edit that's been setting alight the DJ sets of some serious selectors on the European electronic disco underground. Whoever is behind it, and whatever the original source material may be - we've not got a clue - "Koy Jaye" is astonishingly good: a throbbing chunk of glassy-eyed, shirts-off Italo-disco/Bollywood fusion that layers exotic Indian vocals and snaking horn lines over druggy arpeggio style bass and a stomping drum machine rhythm. It's the kind of thing capable of sending dancefloors crazy at four in the morning, and there's always room in the record bag for jams like that.
Review: Dinky-Di is a modern disco ensemble conducted by Waq Takahashi with just a few key releases spread out across the past 15 years. Now Million Dollar Disco main man Al Kent has cherry picked one of the hottest jams from their oeuvre and given it a special rub down - the kind of treatment that warrants a single-sided 12" no less. In Al's hands, 2005 track "Gold Wave" becomes a sizzling party monster that romps along for more than 10 minutes. With scintillating peaks, heavyweight drum breakdowns and sumptuous musicianship throughout, this is how an epic disco bomb should sound in 2019.
Review: Disco Fruit come correct once again with that bright and bold house sound to get everybody shaking their thing. 84Bit's "Mamma Jamma" is an impossibly catchy, diva-led funky house jam with pristine production that harks back to the glory days of radio-friendly house music with more hooks than a fishing tackle shop. Hotmood keeps the vibe of the original intact but edges a little more club-ready bite into the mix, master editor Dr Packer takes a subtle approach that keeps the disco vibes front and centre, while Tonbe cools things down with a filter riding version.
Review: Not An Animal regulars Ess O Ess are back with an effervescent 12" that spans starry-eyed electro and pastoral electronica. "Voice Inside" comes in French and English versions, depending on what flavour you want from the sultry spoken word turn on the top of the plush harmonics of the production. As well as the killer original track, there's choice remixes on offer too from The Backwoods and Craig Richards. The former takes a cosmic, trippy approach to the track, but keeps the focus sharp thanks to a snapping 4/4 beat. Craig Richards meanwhile takes things far away from the original with a brilliant slice of discordant electro weirdness for the after hours crowd.
Review: Cannon & Mirrorball may not be the disco edit scene's answer to moustache-sporting 1970s/80s comedy heroes Cannon and Ball, but they certainly serve up tracks that will put a big goofy smile on your face. Their latest Disco Bits adventure begins via "Black Rhythm Rap", a chunky, hip-hop friendly rework of an obscure, late 1970s disco-rap bomb rich in funky guitar licks, cut-glass strings and party-starting MC flows. On the flip they get even cheekier, placing Loleatta Holloway's incredible "Love Sensation" vocal over a stomping, Blaxploitation-era disco-funk backing track and all manner of familiar soul and funk samples. Purists will no doubt sneer, but they really shouldn't: this is tastefully produced disco heat of the highest order.
Review: The Dessert Island Discs series continues with yet more arch remixes from across the disco and boogie spectrum. Bubbles The Pimp kicks off the A side with a tasteful treatment of Gil Scott Heron's "Winter In America," which gets rustled up into a sweet and sassy house number with a cheeky acid b-line underneath. Nelly Wilson whips up a storm on the tightly clipped, peak time-oriented "Trapped & Confused". Pierre Pressure's "Love & Beyond" takes it easy on the B side with plenty of fluttering synth wobbles to offset the choppy funk of the guitar - it's a cosmically enhanced floor burner to get you all astral under the collar.
Just An Illusion (Ilija Rudman Night Institute mix) (3:04)
Don't Look Any Further (Ilija Rudman True Colours mix) (4:38)
Review: Off the back of the awesome "Sagittarii" LP on Stevie Kotey's Bear Funk earlier in the year, Croatian deep disco hero Ilija Rudman is back with a couple of sweet re-edits on Brooklyn Highs. He takes on Imagination's classic "Just An Illusion" for a "Night Institute Mix" where he pitches this sexy late night lovers anthem down a few notches for that good ol' low slung effect. On the flip, he delivers a respectful edit of Dennis Edwards and Siedah Garrett's 1984 classic "Don't Look Any Further" for a "True Colours Mix", which again goes for that slo-mo vibe just nicely.
Review: The Bahnsteig 23 crew are flying towards the end of the year with a salvo of essential wares from their established crew and new faces alike. Sweden's Albion Venables has been doing the business on labels such as Ambassador's Reception and Macadam Mambo for the past seven years, and his first turn on Bahnsteig doesn't disappoint. In a flurry of eclecticism, the mood veers from the bubbling kosmische tones of "En Trance" through to the schlocky funk of "Schwarzen Mer", mixing live band dynamics with quirky electronics and keeping the groove delightfully authentic. The diversity maintains on the flip as "City People" taps up a moody New York flavour and "Die Marinette Der Zeit" strikes a more classic funk note.
Review: The bushy-tailed bandits strike again! This time they're hitting with some serious Latin fire as both sides look towards central America for source inspiration. "Track One" takes an upbeat Joe Cuba classic and slows it down to let us really chew into the warm, pumping groove. Trust us, one listen to this and you'll never want to go back to Georgia either! "Track Two" meanwhile flips the disco/funk Joe Bataan classic "Mestizo" with a little uptempo twist and some precision-placed disco bubbles. Go nuts and add this to your stash.
Isabelle & The Rain (Mr K 7" Breakdown edit) (5:28)
Review: 1971: Isaac Hayes redefines what a movie theme can be with the worldwide sensation "Shaft," single-handedly making wah-wah rhythm guitar and racing hi-hats a prime ingredient for the decade of music to come. The huge success of "Shaft" meant Hayes was in demand to bring his vision of cinematic funk to other films, and in 1974 he scored (and starred in) the Blaxploitation B-movie Truck Turner. It's from this soundtrack that "Pursuit Of The Pimpmobile" is drawn. The progression Hayes made as a composer is clear: "Pimpmobile" uses complex layered guitar lines with brass and string sections that build and cascade over each other and takes the "Shaft" formula to an entirely new level.
The song became a firm favorite with funky DJs in the '70s, from the refined space of Mancuso's Loft to Bronx and Harlem jams. Indeed, when the Zulu Nation DJs began spinning at a downtown roller disco / dance club called The Roxy in the early '80s, it was firmly entrenched as one of their favorites. Another resident DJ at The Roxy was Danny Krivit, who was already well acquainted with the song and the effect it had on dancers. For this latest addition to Most Excellent Unlimited's steadily expanding catalog of Mr. K 7-inch edits, the master editor distills the sprawling nine-minute original down to a fit five-and-change, maintaining all the muscle that made this one a perennial champion of New York City's varied dancefloors.
The quirky "Isabelle And The Rain" was also a key cut for deeper DJs, uptown and downtown, albeit often on bootlegs as the original was, and remains, extremely scarce. Very little is known about the obscure jazzy cut, the work of a largely anonymous bunch of Los Angeles studio veterans led by keyboardist Mike Lang, whose electric piano solo is the song's defining feature alongside the driving drums, which get plenty of space to shine on Mr. K's Breakdown Edit.
The audio fidelity and peerless editing of these essential tracks - virtually nonexistent on 7-inch vinyl before now - makes the latest from Most Excellent Unlimited a can't-miss addition to the playout box of any DJ with a funky floor to rock.
Coyote - "Minamoto" (Shocks Wa Pulpit Chillout remix)
I-boat Captain - "Slower" (The Backwoods remix)
Max Essa - "Uptown Vibrations" (Mark Seven Downtown remix)
Social Disco Club - "Peaceful Warrior" (Soft Rocks Jesus Convention remix)
Coyote - "Crazy World"
The Project Club - "El Mar Y La Luna" (Lovefingers remix)
Khidja Looki - "Original" (unreleased exclusive)
Review: Alongside like-minded imprints Claremont 56 and International Feel, Coyote's Is It Balearic? label - a fitting name, given the difficulty in pinpointing the Balearic sound - has been at the forefront of the nu-Balearic scene for the last five years. Here, they celebrate that fact by offering up a celebratory compilation with pal Moonboots and Coyote each selecting a disc of unmixed favourites. There's predictably plenty of sun-kissed downtempo warmth (Windsurf's sunrise-friendly remix of Coyote's "Laidback", Gavin Gordon's flamenco-influenced "El Sueno Oscuro"), alongside a smattering of deliciously baggy and wide-eyed dancefloor moments (see Max Essa's jaunty Balearic disco jam "Heartache" and a thrillingly griity Soft Rocks remix of Social Disco Club). If that wasn't enough to get the juices flowing, the collection also features some stunning unreleased material from Freshro and Khidja Looki.
Review: Exploring the sounds emanating from South Asia, Masaala is a new label with a fresh outlook. The first release features Manchester-based producers Raheel Khan and Adesi turning in some powerful edits that will appeal to anyone seeking invigorating sounds from further afield. Khan's twist on "Mast Qalandar" sounds like a striking version of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's "Mustt Mustt". Adesi offers up the lions share of the edits though, channeling South Asian sounds through grooves ranging from the fierce disco stomp of "Sansani" to the low slung funk groove of "Nah Nah Nah". "Kammata" has a more dense rhythmic complexity at its heart, and "Kuchi Kuchi" collides traditional sounds with contemporary broken beat to brilliant effect.
Don't You Want My Love (Joe Claussell 1986 Reel To Reel edit) (8:54)
Don't You Want My Love (Cratebug More Love remix) (9:06)
Review: Defected's fabulous Glitterbox off-shoot has thankfully repressed these two fist pumping disco remixes of Debbie Jacobs' classic "Don't You Want My Love". Stepping up on the a-side is the master of the mix, EQer extraordinaire and founder of the legendary Body & Soul party, Joe Claussell. His remix is perfect for said New York party with its loose percussion, big string stabs and relentless disco drums. Cratebug strips things back to a more functional and contemporary club track that builds in layers, with subtle filters bringing the tension until finally he lets the groove drop, no doubt to devastating scenes on the dance floor.
Tecumsay Roberts - "It Makes Me Dance & Sing" (5:44)
Commy Bassey - "We Want Togetherness" (4:37)
Review: Triassic Tusk's "Screamers, Bangers & Cosmic Synths" series of crate digging comps has seen the Scottish crew showcase some seriously hot, little-known music. Mukatsuku have joined forces with the imprint to give a 12" release to two potent Afro-disco smashers that recently featured on volume two of the ongoing compilation series ,now remastered and sounding better than ever. On side A you'll find Liberian artist Tecumsay Roberts' bouncy 1979 Afro-soul/Afro-boogie number "It Makes Me Dance & Sing", where spacey Moog solos rice above a funk-influenced dancefloor groove. On the flip, the fun continues via Commy Bassey's Clav-happy, Nigerian sounding Afro-boogie roller "We Want Togetherness", a positive plea for unity that's as relevant now as it was way back in 1980.Juno copies come in an exclusive branded card sleeve with an additional obi strip not available at other retailers .As played/charted by Red Greg,Joe Claussell,Marcel Vogel, Craig Charles,Faze Action,Kalita,Cedric Woo,JKriv,Prins Thomas,Floating Points and Dom Servini so far.
Good Good Lovin' (Hifi Sean & Yam Who? edit) (3:58)
Review: Recently, legendary American dance producer Arthur Baker discovered two tracks in his storage on 1/4" tape recorded in 1979. He asked Hifi Sean (aka Sean Dickson of The Soup Dragons) to rework them - who brought on board Riot Recordings boss Yam Who? and they quickly got to work resurrecting these soulful disco anthems. On the A side, we have the souled-up disco power of "Reachin'" featuring Minnie Gardner's powerful vocals, then get prepared to get down proper to the group vocals and epic brass section in the uplifting "Good Good Lovin'" (Hifi Sean & Yam Who? edit) all accompanied by Baker's immaculate production style.
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: Faze Action last teamed up with Zeke Manyika, formerly of 80s funksters Orange Juice, for the effervescent "Mangwana" back in 2016. Now they're back in collaboration for more classically rooted house music with a deeply infectious African twist. "Kubatana" is punchy where it counts, but it's a light and springy proto house burner first and foremost, with Manyika's vocal sounding as smooth as silk in the middle of the mix. "Hapana" is equally rich in musicality and personality, albeit on a more simmering, meditative tip. On the B side, "Kubatana" gets reworked by Rudy Midnight Machine and Paradise, who turn in distinct versions without losing the overall 80s aesthetic that powers the release.
Review: Helmed by Asaf Samuel and Katzele, Malka Tuti transmits cosmic boogie sounds from Tel Aviv that come from lesser-known sources. On their fifth release they turn to The Kloom, a loose-fit operation of unknowns making a debut appearance with the powerful strut of "40 Gram Beton". Mixing slow disco grooves with ranging synths and warm piano notes, it's an infectious track that provides a prime jump-off point for the cast of remixers that round out the release. Die Wilde Jagd adds a more mechanical coldwave pulse to the track while Khidja gets lost in a swirling trip of a version, with the label throwing in a radio edit as a bonus on the B2.
Review: IIB's latest release is an EP from The clandestino crew. First track is a slo mo cosmic melodic acid dub. A beautiful early evening trip. This is remixed by the Beat Broker who adds a few sublime uplifting west coast sprinkles. The first track on the B side is a solid disco tinged house beauty with synth stabs subtle acid undertones claps and a great sample. The final track is Beyond the Sun. A mellow eastern tinged sundowner featuring another great sample. This EP really captures the original IIB sound and philosophy. A real gem.
Review: Eccentric, California-based imprint Take Away has put out some impressive 12" singles since launching earlier in the year. Predictably, this two-tracker from the little-known Soul Reductions is another stone cold killer. A-side "Got To Be Loved" - a bouncy, pitched-up disco-house floorfiller that sits somewhere between Tiger & Woods and late '90s "French Touch" house - leads the way, sounding like the kind of cut that will quickly raise the temperature out on the dancefloor. Flipside "A Rose Is A Rose" is a deeper and woozier offering, delivering a rolling house re-interpretation of a boogie-era electrofunk gem with added filter effects.
Review: Sheffield's Bitter End crew has always been a little blurry about which producer - or producers - is behind the consistently excellent 12" series, though different versions of some previous releases have ended up on Crooked Man albums. It appears that this EP is the work of Richard Barratt and co, too, with A-side "Incapable" - a warm, woozy and disco-flecked chunk of happy-but-sad dancefloor goodness - featuring the (un-credited) lyrics and vocals of his old buddy Roisin Murphy. That track's the standout, though piano-laden disco-tech cut "Feeling You Feeling Me" and "Princess", seemingly a rework of the A-side featuring blissful jazz guitar solos rather than a headline vocal, are also superb.
Review: Solomon's Diynamic label has become one of the most visible host outlets in the world. It has a very focused sound that is often progressively melodic, with linear drums working up to a grand crescendo. Elax is the latest to add his own slight spin on that tried and tested format with these two elongated grooves. "Bescio" is littered with percussion and slapping hits that demand you move your body in subtly persuasive ways. "With Lou" is more textured, with a rasping synth lines rumbling over hiccupping drums and hits that are all designed to get big rooms under their spell.
Review: Danny Krivit's officially sanctioned re-edits of Earth Wind & Fire's "Brazilian Rhyme" and "Runnin" have been sought-after since they first appeared on a Japan-only 12" back in 2004. In fact, such is demand that even later bootleg pressings now go for silly money online. As this reissue proves, though, they're arguably amongst Krivit's strongest scalpel works. Certainly, his three-minute revision of the always too short "Brazilian Rhyme" teases it out to just the right length, in the process delivering a sweltering, sing-along summer anthem. The flipside revision of the equally as summery "Runnin" is every bit as good, with Krivit making merry with the original's life-affirming scat vocals and killer piano solos.
Review: Don't get mad, go nuts... The sneaky Secret Squirrel team return for their 21st mission and it's every bit as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as everything else they've ever stashed. The A-side leads with a peppy horn-fired strutter that shoves us deep in the heart of the hottest dancefloor imaginable. Flip for an intimate, smouldering piece of end-of-the-night soul from 1979. Trust us, once you get a close hold of it, you'll never want to let go.
Review: Having given the Dream 2 Science album the wider audience it richly deserved earlier this year, Rush Hour dig out another NYC garage classic from the archives of Ben Cenac for a much deserved reissue. Unlike that album, this Sha-Lor record Cenac recorded in collaboration with vocalists Sharmelle and Lorrie back in 1988 gained wider success, becoming a Summer Of Love staple. It's not hard to see why "I'm In Love" proved so enduring on the A Side Caught Up mix either, with the duo's vocals still retaining a power to move some 24 years on, while Cenac's stripped back bass heavy production is NYC garage at its finest. This being Rush Hour, there's also the bonus of a previously unreleased instrumental version occupying the flip.
The Quiet Before The Red Stop (Selvy remix) (5:22)
Review: Stuart Leath flexes his contacts book with an all-star cast of producers and respected scalpel artists called on to rework cuts from the recent Never Seen The Dunes EP by Khidja. Any 12" featuring the collective talents of Discodromo, In Flagranti, Red Axes and Selvy on mixing desk duties should get you excited and this crew bring the disco heat. "Never Seen The Dunes" is given the Discodromo treatment, adding pulsating bass, driving arpeggio, all while allowing the bump of the original to keeping pushing things on. This is followed by In Flagranti's inspired 'Autobahn' retake of the deeper vibes of "Aura" which is apparently a huge favourite of the label. A matured cruiser that keeps the swing, it all leads to those strings and Eastern flavours gliding over for the perfect finale. Things head darker on the reverse, with Tel Aviv's shinning stars Red Axes, manning the controls for the scatter bounce of "Indecis" for the stand out remix. Twisted vocals, brooding FX and reversed guitar all atop a mesmeric kick, things just keeps going higher and higher. Finally "The Quiet Before The Red Stop" is tweaked by Selvy of The Very Polish Cut Outs and Transatlantyk fame, adding some club bump to Khidja's Balearic original.
Review: Love Circle returns for a second release, digging deep into the misty past of golden era disco and finding rare gold for the reissue market to rejoice at. This time it's the work of Barry Blue and two projects he produced in the early 80s, lovingly re-edited for maximum dancefloor pleasure by Velvet Season & The Hearts Of Gold (aka gerry Rooney and Joel Martin). First up is surefire party starter "Breakin In" by Javaroo, and on the flip it's low down seduction workout "Love The Way You Love Me" by Marti Cane getting a fresh airing for all vintage-minded dancers and DJs.
Review: Together Melbourne pair Amin Payne and Sean Deans form APSD, and they debut in quite impressive form with this Digital Dust album for Hot Shot Sounds. Inkswel and Benny Badge's label has developed into the prime source for what they call "drum machine soul music" and APSD are a perfect fit. Some 11 tracks deep, Digital Dust features contributions from the voice of Fat Freddy's Drop himself, Joe Dukie, as well as Miles Bonny, Cazeaux OSLO, Silent Jay and more. Yet it's Deans and Payne's innate mastery of a glistening brand of funk across various tempos which shines through on this album.
Review: "Give Me Your Love" was produced by Roy Ayers and James "Jaymz" Bedford in 1981, this digger's delight was the one and only single by American singer Sylvia Striplin. It is an irresistible serving of soulful disco that really captures the spirit of the times. The track has been sampled on numerous occasions, but most famously on the classic track by Junior M.A.F.I.A. (Notorious B.I.G. production) on their song "Get Money" in 1995 and also by Armand Van Helden on "Full Moon" in 2000. On the flip is the sexy and lo-slung "You Can't Turn Me Away" featuring some sexy funk guitar licks and bass beneath Striplin's powerfully seductive vocals.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: The unstoppable march of Dan Shake continues apace as he storms Lumberjacks HQ with some of that refined sample-a-delic house music that is fast making him a marquee booking for those who want their party started right. He sounds right at home on "Magic Marcel", throwing down an addictive bass hook and looping up the woozy romanticism of classic disco and filter house into a thoroughly potent brew. "The Bee Won" takes a more urgent approach, reaching towards a kind of jazz funk energy with some tumbling percussion shaken into the mix for good measure. Taking a cooler approach to round the record off, "Wake, Bake & Shake" lets the funk take centre stage and leaves the samples plain as day for that breezy Sunday afternoon feeling.
Review: Following the recent dip into the Theo Parrish archives that was The Twin Cities, Phil Weeks' Robsoul imprint looks to another one of Detroit's adopted sons in the form of Rick Wade. Like that recent Parrish reissue, Weeks re-releases another three tracks from Wade's bulging discography. The upbeat disco loops of "Players Theme" was originally released on French label Funky Chocolate in 2002 and still sound fresher than anything being plied by the Soundcloud dwellers today, while "Can't You See" from 2003 provides a more soulful take on house music. On the flip, the tracky funk and cascading string melodies of "I Feel Good" originally graced Wade's own Harmonie Park imprint in 1998, but sound no less vital today. Essential.