Review: Four years ago, Vincent Lemieux + Guillaume & The Coutu Dumont made their collaborative debut as Flabbergast via a fine EP on Circus Company. They've been silent since, meaning that this belated sequel on Yoyaku feels like a big release. "Enweye" operates towards the deeper end of the stripped-back tech-house spectrum, with the duo wrapping intergalactic synthesizer melodies around rock solid kick drums, crashing cymbals and fluid tribal percussion on impeccable opener "Nowel". "Jowanne" is arguably even deeper, with cascading ambient lead lines tumbling down over a shuffling rhythm track and more tropical drum hits. Over on side B, Varhat offers his interpretation of "Nowel", in the process delivering a loose-limbed tech-house percussion jam with hazy, sun-kissed melodies occasionally rising above the sweat-soaked beats.
Lou Rawls - "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine" (Kenny Summit, Frankie Knuckles & Eric Kupper unreleased remix) (7:43)
Kenny Summit, Frankie Knuckles & Eric Kupper - "Loving You" (feat Yasmeen) (6:50)
Review: Apparently made in tribute to the legendary Paradise Garage club some years ago, these two previously unreleased workouts are the work of Kenny Summit, Eric Kupper and the late, great Frankie Knuckles. Side A boasts the trio's near legendary (and previously unavailable) remix of Lou Rawls classic "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine". It's a wonderfully positive and life-affirming affair, with the three legendary producers wrapping echoing guitars, warming disco orchestration and Rawls' sublime lead vocal around a deliciously percussive Afro-house groove. The flip features another unseen and unheard gem from the vaults: a loose, groovy and positive soulful house wiggler featuring the seductive vocals of Yasmeen. Terrific stuff.
Review: First time round, this bonafide classic reached #23 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was the highest charting tune from the Geto Boys. Sampling Isaac Hayes' "Hung Up On My Baby", the Geto Boys' edit plays out in several movements and goes big and small. Stretched over a long legged beat with crisp snares and languid chords with lyrics that touch on a range of deep subjects such as post-traumatic stress disorder, the track was originally destined for a Scarface solo album before it was decided it was more valuable as a Geto Boys single. Wise move.
Review: The mysterious PPF crew strike again! Four absolute floor gems with no expense spared, the A-side runs amok with big supersized beats and just the right amount of sleaze dripping off every funky note. The lead track goes all wig-out and full on with the organs while a cracking slowed-down take on Alphonse Mouzon brings up the rear. Flip for a fizzy twist on the Crown Heights Affair before the finale pings us between heaven and earth with an almighty reboost of First Choice's "Doctor Love". Prescribe as soon as you can... This won't stay on the shelves for long.
Review: Having successfully spawned one of Kerrang! Magazine's "50 Most Evil Songs of All Time", you might expect everything from Ghost to sound a little, well, scary, packed with dread and ominous atmospheres. Those arriving at the band for the first time through this two-track, 7" should prepare for shock, then. Despite having a song entitled "Mary On A Cross", and therefore being destined for the worst reactions from hardline Christians, if you shut out the lyrics things sound twisted, but far from menacing. OK, so it would be pushing it to describe the band's psych-metal hybrid as friendly or comfortable. Again we're taken to occultist realms, places where sacrifices are offered at altars dedicated to Wurlitzer keyboards and driving rhythm guitars. It's strange and slightly unnerving if you spend too long focused on standard definitions of normalcy, but incredibly infectious if you give yourself over to the dark side.
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: Three months after rapper turned singer Lizzo's major label debut first appeared on CD and digital download, Atlantic has decided to offer up a deluxe vinyl edition of the well-received set featuring three bonus tracks. Prior to release, Lizzo admitted she wanted to become "this generation's Aretha Franklin"; while she's not at the late soul legend's standard just yet, there's enough on "Cuz I Love You" to suggest that she's going in the right direction. Her vocals are variously confident, powerful, strutting and tender, with the accompanying backing tracks mixing hip-hop and R&B style beats with raucous guitars, bombastic basslines, Daft Punk style synth stabs (think "Robot Rock" and "Technologic") and occasional nods towards more pastoral, semi-acoustic sounds. Above all, though, the album is funky, forthright and hugely entertaining.
Mahogany - "Ride On The Rhythm" (Michael Gray remix) (7:05)
Raw Silk - "Just In Time" (Michael Gray remix) (6:25)
Review: Full Intention man Michael Gray is the latest contemporary house producer to get his hands on the parts to classic cuts from the bulging West End Records catalogue. He has opted to rework two slightly deeper early '80s jams, starting with Mahogany's 1982 boogie cut "Ride On The Rhythm". His version is warm, sparkling and bass-heavy, offering the right balance between modern production techniques and the kind of effects utilized by the track's original producers. It's really good, keeping the spirit of the original track while dragging it into the 21st century. The same could be said of his boogie-house take on Raw Silk's "Just In Time", which boasts a similar balance of tidy new drums, spruced-up synths and swirling effects.
Review: The Andromeda Orchestra project was last seen on Faze Action last year, when "Get Up & Dance" got the remix treatment by Nick The Record. This time around the project gets a serious disco treatment from Ray Mang, who stretches "Don't Stop" out across the A side for a nine minute pleasure ride that's heavy on the funk. "Kano Line Dance" kicks off the B side in another loose and nasty party jam, before the original Philly string busting brilliance of "Don't Stop" completes the set in fabulous fashion.
Review: Mukatsuku struck gold again on this latest first time on a "45" issue. It boasts a couple of lesser-known jazz-funk fusion jams which originally featured on Argentine musician Jorge Navarro's 1977 album "Navarro Con Polenta", an LP that has never been issued outside of South America. A-side "Funk Yourself" is a bustling, high-octane jazz-funk Hammond licks and spiralling horns jumping above a Blaxploitation style backing track. "Repartamos El Funky" is a more laid back but no less musically intricate affair, with a variety of high-grade electric piano and guitar solos riding seemingly endless jazz style drum solos and rubbery bass. Juno hand-numbered copies come in exclusive sleeves and this 45 not be repressed. DJ Support comes from Ge-ology, Dom Servini, DJ Koco (Japan), DJ Food,The Allergies,45LIVE.net ,Dr Bob Jones,Rob Luis, Smoov and more
Review: Russian producer Swoy has been spotted alongside Djebali in the past, so you know this cat means business when it comes to minimal house. Recent releases on EWax and OGE have set the scene perfectly for this latest trip into the undergrowth on Aesthetic. "Sunrise" is a heads down groover with subtle threads of melody scattered throughout, while "Imagine" ups the wriggling sound design and threads a lighter mood through the middle distance of the track. "Voltage" drops things back to a loopy, techy sound, and then "Time" drifts into dreamier headspace without sacrificing the crafty little production flairs that make Swoy a standout artist.
Review: Many disco-era modern soul collectors regard, Larom Baker's "You're The Best", which initially appeared in 1978 on an impossible to find, single-sided 7" single, as one of the style's genuine "Holy Grail" records. It's good news, then, that Athens Of The North has secured the rights to reissue it, releasing the full studio version (rather than the shorter edit that was released all those years ago) for the very first time. It's a genuine gem, with Baker's deliciously breezy West Coast soul vocal seemingly floating over a killer backing track rich in hazy horns, bustling slap bass and crunchy Clavinet lines. Turn to the flipside for the more disco-minded "Train Of Thought", one of a string of recently discovered Baker recordings that form the basis of a forthcoming album of previously unreleased tracks.
Review: Sartorial and Moodena's Tropical Disco imprint has become a go-to label for discerning house and disco lovers around the world to devour. On their label's 12th edition, main man Sartorial kicks things off with the thumping, Latin-inflected summer scorcher "Fat Freddy's Party", co-head Moodena takes charge of the second track, bringing a softer sound palette full of '80s energy, blessed keys, signature feisty horns and nifty filter sweeps on "No More Sushi". The enigmatic Phazed Groove takes over the B side with stylish night moves, dishing up a respectful edit of a timeless classic on "Sweet Talker" and some sultry deepness on the familiar deep house groove of "Sunshine".
Review: Legendary Harlem label Queen Constance brought the world the most raw and authentic disco direct from the source. Years later, collectors and dancers alike still fawn over plenty of its output and now two of its more notorious tracks get on-point edits by contemporary stars Kon and Moplen. With Kon at the buttons, High Voltage's "Rock Spank Freak" is tweaked and coerced, with extended funk breakdowns and heavier bottom ends. Moplen then adds some extra colour and pumps up the trumpet lines to make for an unabashedly glorious disco stomper. This is a 100% legit reissue with fresh remastering, so do not sleep.
Review: REPRESS ALERT!: Roberto Lodola has a rich legacy in Italian music, not least as a DJ and at the helm of early 90s outfit Rhythm Factory. Recognising the cult status of his first single, the 1986 12" Marimba Do Mar, Best Records have done the right thing in remastering this sun soaked classic with both original mixes and two previously unheard studio outtakes. The "Fusion Version" of the title track is a rich, sensual jam festooned with cascading pianos and tumbling percussion, while the "Vocal Version" brings a beautiful female vocal front and centre in the mix. "Feeling Of The Sun" is a delightfully spaced out lo-fi take on the original, and then "Hey George!" strips the music away and leaves you with a gorgeous beat track perfect for extended mixing potential.
Barely Breaking Even (Louie Vega Boogie mix - radio edit) (3:33)
Barely Breaking Even (Louie Vega Boogie instrumental mix - radio edit) (3:31)
Review: Here's something to set the pulse racing: an all-star re-recording of Universal Robot Band's boogie classic "Barely Breaking Even" that brings together Masters At Work man Louie Vega, original vocalist and arranger Leroy Burgess, iconic disco producer Patrick Adams and an impressive backing band of hired musicians including Michael Kelley (better known in electronic music circles as Metro Area collaborator Kelley Polar). While there are plenty of audible nods towards the early '80s original - extensive use of cowbells, that oh-so familiar synth sound - the re-recording is altogether warmer, fuller and a more contemporary sounding affair rich in sweeping orchestration and tactile synth bass. Both the edited vocal and instrumental versions are superb.
Review: Since launching last year, Lil Static has offered up new, lightly altered editions of classic tracks from Jeru the Damaja, Kraftwerk, Run-DMC, Nas and the Notorious B.I.G. Here they continue to serve up vital beats for break-digging DJs via classic cuts from Eric B. & Rakim and Mountain. The A side sports an edited version of 1986 cut "Eric B. Is President", a synth-bass propelled NYC hip-hop gem rich in unmistakable rap vocals and tight scratching. Over on side B there's a chance to savour Mountain's late '60s rock cut that provided the Eric B. & Rakim track (and so many others since) with its distinctive drum break, "Long Red". This edited version gives more prominence to the breaks, making it an ideal mixing tool for hip-hop DJs.
Kool & The Gang, Gene Redd - "Give It Up" (DJ Soopasoul edit) (4:04)
Aretha Franklin - "Rock Steady" (DJ Soopasoul edit) (3:30)
Review: Fast-fingered mash-up merchant and lauded scalpel fiend DJ Soopasoul can usually be relied upon to bring the goods. In fact, we've yet to hear an edition of his "Soopastole Edits" series that doesn't include the kind of sure-fire, party-starting fare guaranteed to get any DJ out of a dancefloor hole of their own making. Should you still doubt the validity of this statement, we suggest you check this timely reissue of the series' second volume, which has been going for serious bucks online. On side A you'll find a suitably punchy, funky and chunky revision of Kool & The Gang's Gene Redd produced 1970 jam "Give It Up" - the original source of one of hip-hops most familiar breakbeats - with a tight, club-ready revision of Aretha Franklin classic "Rock Steady" on the flip.
Review: Arapu is very much one of the key Romanian artists of the moment. Of course, like his revered countrymen, that means techno that is elegant, minimal, and delicately detailed. His own take on the style is often littered with curious little motifs and trippy loops that also characterise this new one on heavyweight vinyl for Liniar. "Over" is a brilliant opener with languid Balearic guitar riffs echoing over supple drum work which will hook you in and encourage your mind to wander, whereas "A Gain" is a more direct, driving minimal techno cut with warped synths peeling off an urgent groove. "I" closes out with a funky undercarriage and dub house overtones that will get any basement popping off.
Review: Helena Hauff returns to her own Return To Disorder label after last year's joyously received "Qualm" album on Ninja Tune. It's the first fully solo record Hauff has released herself, and it more than lives up to expectation. "Catso" is a wonderfully expressive slice of noirish electro draped in vintage synth arps and twinkling leads as enchanting as they are spooky. "Why Look At Animals" has a more low down funk, but once again sports the richly harmonic synth hooks to make this appeal right across the board. "The Brush" ups the tempo, but keeps things sparse and moody, while "Slim Filter" gets a touch more nasty and sounds utterly fantastic with it. Compared to her rabid DJ sets, these productions represent the more measured side of Hauff, but they're no less deadly.
Engine Dub Number 9 (Jorun Dusted Out Space Echo edit) (4:34)
Opening Act (feat Emskee) (2:43)
Review: Fresh Pressings return with goods that are true to their name. It's Portugal by way of Halifax, Nova Scotia hip hop DJ and producer Jorun Bombay who is behind this one. He pioneered the scene in his native Canada, has led his own talent-filled coalitions and built up a fine discography over the last 15 years. This is a welcome new addition that finds him add tons of dubbed out space echo to "Engine Dub Number 9" while raw, funky breaks power it along. "Opening Act (feat Emskee)" is a more rolling beat with old school mic work and crisp hits.
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.
Review: One of Canada's most influential hip-hop protagonists Jorun Bombay returns to local Halifax label Black Buffalo, an imprint that launched in 2005 with a 30-copy-only release of his. Following his recent edit series comes this fantastic cover of Roy Ayers in the form of "Revisiting The Sunshine". Authentic to its soulful core, the release is perfectly timed as we're all beginning to miss the summer moving into the colder months. It's backed by an equally sunny shakedown as Gwen McCrae's "Funky Sensation" gets a precision Bombay treatment. Sensational.
Review: This is just the fourth release on Negentropy, but already the label has been catching attention for doing some really interesting stuff, while consistently delivering dancefloor material that refuses to let go once you've been hooked in. French groove monster Sweely seems like a pretty good fit for the imprint, then, as this three tracker proves with ease. Crisp, sharp, and packed with energy, 'Take One' kicks off with the kind of punchiness that belies what's about to happen- soon dropping into a freeform, jazz-infused breakdown that appears to come out of nowhere, switching the vibe of the tune completely. You can almost see the sci-fi console lights behind the micro-percussive detailing on 'One Or Another', while 'Deep Into The Rhythms' is destined to please anyone who enjoys getting their head down to an archetypal relentless roller.
Review: UK dub techno maestro Steve O'Sullivan is back with another payload of deep immersion heaters under his Bluetrain guise, this time on the Future Primitive label. There's a deadly restraint at work on "Congo Shuffle", where the elements get reduced to needlepoint precision and the low end rhythm section stalks with purpose. "Invisible Guest" takes things in an explicitly dubwise direction, channelling serious Rhythm & Sound vibes for an immaculate head-nodder, before "Paralyzed Dub" slows down further into an end of the line skank for the weary to find solace in - masterful movements in the echo chamber from start to finish.
Review: Bjarki's BBBBBB label has carved out its own unique niche in the techno world and next to occupy it is core label artist Stian "EOD" Gjevik. The former Rephlex artist shows off his magnificently complex and busy yet harmonic and melodic sound across five fantastically restless cuts that has lead synths taking you down a number of rabbit holes. Calming pads vie for your attention on "(Untitled) (W-R6)" while the acid laced "The Battery Poles (Are Conic!)" is so bright and shiny it'll have you reaching for your sunglasses. Few people speak so freely through their machines as this man right now.
Otis Redding - "(Your Love Lifted Me ) Higher & Higher" (Soul Flip edit) (4:03)
Gerri Granger - "I Go To Pieces" (Soul Flip edit) (3:33)
Review: Sometimes you just can't beat the golden oldies and so it is that Soul Flip turns his attention to a couple of raw soul bangers. Up first is Otis Redding's classic "(Your Love Lifted Me ) Higher & Higher" with a rousing bass section which drives along the original version.The hits hit hard, the vocal is given room to breathe and the swing in the drums is infectious. The flipside houses a soaring tweak of Gerri Granger's "I Go To Pieces", with its clattering keys and rolling soul all quickly finding a way into your affections.
Review: Liam Gallagher is many things to many people, and one thing to everyone - authentic. It seems unthinkable we could question the indie roller's motives, or expect anything other than the "meat and veg rock" he described his own work as during a 2018 interview with The Guardian. "Why Me? Why Not" sees him take that mantra to new heights. As an album it's as accomplished and polished as anything this pied piper of the raw and unpolished has gifted us in the years after *that band*, making for an immediately engaging collection of anthems-in-the-making that will have crowds eating out of the palm of his hand as if they'd never seen his hand before, or tasted any of the food he's been feeding them for years now. And therein lies the reason it remains impossible to criticise this undeniably upfront British songwriter. Enough said.
Don't Turn Your Back (Danny Tenaglia Paradise mix) (7:00)
Don't Turn Your Back (Harry Romero remix) (6:30)
Don't Turn Your Back (Carl Cox remix) (6:48)
Don't Turn Your Back (Carl Cox ASW remix) (6:30)
Review: Delivering his first piece of solo produced music for more than a decade, Hot Creations welcome the legendary Danny Tenaglia with "Don't Turn Your Back" - a sweltering and hypnotic tribal tech house workout that calls to mind the seminal sounds he was responsible for at the turn of the millennium. On remix duties are some equally legendary figures of electronic music: Harry "Choo Choo" Romero of Subliminal fame injects some latin flair into the track, while the larger than life Carl Cox delivers not one but two renditions - the tough and functional main remix with dub techno inflections, and a slinky rolling groove in his "ASW" remix.
Review: Nottingham legend Charles Webster's 1996 underground classic "The Strength" has been legitimately re-released with his full involvement for 2019 and remastered by London's Curve Pusher from the original sources especially for Mint Condition - a record label focused on excavating the outer fringes of classic house and techno. Originally released on Webster's cult Remote label, it was one of a handful of Presence releases produced by himself. "Gettin' Lifted" is classic Webster - a mesmerising cut that's at once soulful, sensual and evocative, followed by the smooth late night mood music of "Feelin' Lifted" which goes deep. The flipside houses two versions of the title track. The "Within" mix packing a real punch with its intense tribal tech house feel, while "Without" calls to mind the emotive vibes of his previous material under his Furry Phreaks moniker.
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: You've got to admire Anthony Rother, a DJ and producer who has been spearheading the German electro movement since the late 1990s. In all that time he's kept up a formidable work rate, releasing must-have albums and singles at a steady rate. Here he offers up his third EP of the year, a tasty four-tracker packed full of punchy machine drums and sci-fi sounds. Our pick of the bunch is sleazy, mind-altering opener "Hyperbolic", where thrusting TB-303 motifs and throbbing acid bass help to create a suitably twisted electro floor-rocker. There's plenty to set the pulse racing elsewhere though, from the Kraftwerk-in-space flex of "3L3C7ro Don't Stop", to the sustained minor key motifs, doom-laden atmosphere, rolling electro rhythms and spiraling electronic intensity of closer "Bilocation".
Review: Sushitech's sub label Pariter has already released timeless records from the likes of Delano Smith, Steve O'Sullivan, Baby Ford and Norm Talley to name a few and this new release of the Romanian group Lisiere Collectif is no exception!
Unknown Credentials is a project of 5 tracks released on 2 single records. A sides on both parts are absolutely massive, acid lines and hypnotic chords peak time tracks that will shake any proper sound system with some serious bass extension! B sides are deeper and have more modern, fresh electroish vibe that we love!
Fans of Ricardo Villalobos & Craig Richards b2b sets are going to find it gold! Don't sleep!!
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: Since he released his first album 11 years ago, bandleader, trumpeter and composer Matthew Halsall has proved to be one of British jazz's standout talents. In recent years he's delved into soul-jazz and big band jazz territory, so it's intriguing to find that "Oneness" is a much more spiritual, pared-down and minimalistic affair. Using a mixture of droning Indian instrumentation, languid and leisurely harp motifs, selective horn solos, melancholic trumpet lines and occasional traditional jazz instrumentation, Halsall has conjured up a series of meditative pieces that count among his most beguiling works to date. It may surprise a few listeners, but many more will find it enchanting, otherworldly and emotion-rich.
Review: There's a chance this Liverpudlian four piece will be familiar by now. This, their 11th studio outing, first unveiled as the 1960s slipped into the 70s, is a bonafide epic from an outfit that weren't lacking in epics; in many ways a culmination of their time together, marking the end of their active years and beginning of their legacy. By this stage, then, they've emerged from years spent on the inner journey and time on the outer, space cadeting to the hallucinogenic fuelled tones of "Sgt. Peppers" and "Revolver". Of course, there's still plenty of explorations happening, but the gritty blues rock of opening track "Come Together" really sets the tone. Five decades on, it still sounds great and maybe even better than you remember. Even if you own the original, this anniversary edition is worth having.
Review: Dirty Channels have thrown down heated house cuts for the past decade on labels like Ovum, Abstract Theory and Athens Of The North. Now they've been tapped up by Dan Shake to deliver three seriously powerful house cuts loaded with the sample-loving soul sound you'd expect from Shake's label. "Catch Me" is a fiery number that places the diva front and centre, rides the EQ and gets busy with the loops like it ain't no thing. "Can't Stop This Groove" rides a relentless lick and jacks it up with sharp drum machine hats, and "Dirtydrum 01" gets the 909 thump out front for a fierce and fabulous DJ tool.
Notes: Houghton Festival has become a symbolic reminder of the integrity and resilience of the dance and electronic music community in the face of sometimes challenging and unprecedented circumstances. This much is clear following the cancellation of the festival several weeks back...
Upon arrival each guest was due to be provided with a book showcasing the creative values and personality behind what has become much more than a festival. Whilst originally intended as a gift for festival attendees we are now happy to present this as a cultural offering: a book spanning 147 pages featuring hand drawn illustrations, photography, long form interviews, think pieces, musical reflection and beyond...
The annual is a collaboration between Ransom Note and Houghton.
Review: Here's something to excite those who dig quality 1970s funk, soul and disco: a tidy 7" containing two stone cold classics from the Rod Temperton-helmed, UK-based "international band" Heatwave. Side A boasts one of the standout moments from the group's much-loved 1977 album "Central Heating", seductive, string-laden love song "The Star Of A Story". It's superbly arranged and brilliantly produced, with warm keys, Spanish guitar solos and rich orchestration combining beautifully with the band's slick and smooth vocals. Side B is taken up by 1976 single "Ain't No Half Steppin'", a bolder and more dancefloor-friendly chunk of warm and woozy dancefloor soul.
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.
Pamela Nivens - "It's You I Love" (instrumental mix) (4:07)
Hugh Mane - "Real Sucker For Your Love" (6:36)
Switchdance - "Arabian Ride" (6:11)
Mr Marvin - "Entity" (Jazzy mix) (4:22)
Review: Almost two years on from the release of his brilliant "The Sound of Mercury Rising" compilation, DJ Harvey returns with another brilliant selection of tracks he's championed at Pikes in Ibiza. As with its predecessor, volume two offers a giddy skip through the dustier corners of his notoriously eclectic and off-kilter record selection. Along the way, he offers up chiming, synth-heavy Balearic classics (Mandy Smith, Hugh Mane), weirdo European disco (Marta Acuna), evocative electronic soundscapes (System Olympia), blue-eyed synth-pop (Pamela Nivens), drum machine-powered Middle Eastern madness (Switchdance's sublime "Arabian Ride") and a swathe of tasty contemporary cuts (the jaunty jazz-funk of Midlife, Das Komplex's ace "Slap", Nu Guinea's splendid "Je Vulesse" and Peaking Lights remix of Land of Light being the highlights).
Review: Ron's Reworks is a mysterious new edit label that deals in tweaking disco gems. Whether Ron is the name of the edit artist, or a nod to the fact these tunes might have been played Ron Hardy, we don't know, but we do know they are worth having: Gilles Peterson played the lush soul grooves of "Flight Of The Eisenberg" on his 6 Music show which should be all the support you need to know about, while "Heads" is a more deep cut of late night funk with playful riffs and a gorgeous vocal sample next to jazzy Rhodes keys. "The Jubes" ends things with a heartwarming gospel vocal from beautiful outfit The Supreme Jubilees that will leave you feeling warm inside.
Review: Way back in 1998 when Massive Attack's career-defining "Mezzanine" was first released, legendary dub technician Mad Professor cooked up some radical reworking. They now get their first official release alongside dubs of two tracks that never actually made it onto the album - Metal Banshee: a dub version of "Superpredators" which was a cover of Siouxsie and the Banshees' "Metal Postcard", and "Wire", which was actually recorded for the film "Welcome to Sarajevo". Wild effects, plenty of knob twiddling and oodles of reverb define this freaky late night collection and mark another essential release in the catalogue of the already legendary Mad Professor.
Review: Johannesburg's Maboneng Precinct is the home of Afrosynth Records and for the last two years it has been an absolute hotbed of reissued African music. This latest missive is originally from 1984 by Obed Ngobeni and his backing singers the Kurhula Sisters, who helped pioneer the Shangaan Disco style that heavily influenced South Africa's bubblegum sound of the 80s. Now a go-to genre for cult favs like Antal and Hunee, they're sure to lap up the hurried funk and proto-house of "Ta Duma", which comes in three slightly different versions. "Xikhobva" closes things in loose percussive fashion with a guitar-driven groove.
Review: A while back, Africaine 808's DJ Nomad contacted Favorite Recordings' chief Pascal Rioux about a killer track he'd been given some years back - an obscure, previously CD-R only fusion of modern Gwo-ka and Zouk by Esnard Boisdur entitled "Mizik Bel". Rioux was excited by what he heard and agreed that the track should come out on vinyl, accompanied by a fresh rework by Nomad and Dirk Leyers as Africaine 808. Boisdur's original version (side A) is rhythmically dense but also cheery and life affirming, with celebratory chorus vocals and 80s zouk style synth lines subtly rising above a busy, all-action groove. Arguably even better is the sub-heavy Africaine 808 mix, which brilliantly re-imagines the track as a tasty chunk of tropical house/disco-zouk fusion.