Review: REPRESS ALERT: relik returns with a repackaged edition of one of the catalogue's most treasured releases. "Overcome" and "Lady Science (NYC Sunrise)" need little introduction, and now come sporting the new TR11:11 matrix number. Written and produced by Thomas Melchior and Baby Ford aka Soul Capsule, these tracks came from one of the many sessions recorded at the West London Ifach Studio in 1999. On the A Side "Overcome" is stripped back and energetic, driven by rolling and shuffling garage style beats, tight bubbling bass and atmospheric synth pads. The intermittent vocal samples and the release's signature organ set you up for the flip, "Lady Science (NYC Sunrise)". Possibly one of house music's most emotive pieces, the track builds slowly with the introduction of each part building a story of soulful optimism based around a sparse palette of deep synths, uplifting keys and warm analogue bass. The understated beauty of the main vocal riff never seems to grow old or tired with the track lending itself perfectly to either main room, peak-time play or after-hours sessions alike. Remastered by Rashad at D & M.
Review: Well, here's something to raise the spirits: a first new 12" from Frank Timm's Sound Stream alias for three years. Those familiar with the German producer's work will know exactly what to expect, namely delicious disco house cut-ups that turn selected loops from largely forgotten gems into insatiable dancefloor gold. A-side "Bass Affairs" is particularly good, delivering a perfect blend of sun-kissed Brazilian guitars, rubbery slap bass loops and lilting Rhodes chords (all accompanied, of course, by thunderous kick drums). There's a more traditional disco-house feel about the filter-heavy "Sweep Magic", while "Starstrike" is a throbbing, stripped back affair that makes great use of looped-up bass guitars.
Review: ** REPRESS ** As the name suggests the groove of Soundhacks's Soundstream 12" is a bit less hard cut-up styled but more floating. This doesn't necessarily mean a lack of energy, funk and fun. Expect peak hour house tracks in full effect. Do not expect just another 'French filter house' record. Remember: it is Soundhack who is in charge here. Full satisfaction guaranteed!
Review: On their debut album, 2016's the Tony Allen Experiments, Naples twosome Nu Guinea re-invented tracks by the legendary Afro-beat drummer as synth-heavy chunks of deep jazz-funk and nu-Balearica. For this follow-up - their first full length entirely made up of their own compositions - the duo serves up a set of jazz-funk, disco and boogie cuts rich in both their trademark colourful analogue synthesizer sounds and live instrumentation. It's a formula that guarantees a string of memorable highlights, from the sun-kissed peak-time brilliance of "Disco Sole" and rubbery, funk-fuelled "Je Vulesse" (a killer vocal number), to the wobbly downtempo trip of "A Voce E Napule" and Mizell Brothers fizz of closer "Parev Ajare", the album's most synthesizer-heavy cut.
Red Ken - "Big Love" (Big Four Letter Word mix) (6:17)
Review: Psychemagik love Fleetwood Mac. Their love is so enduring that the dusty fingered editors/DJs/revered record collectors have gone so far as to found Fleetmac Wood, a club night dedicated to the work of Fleetwood, Nicks, McVie and the various other manifestations, where anything goes so long as it's Fleetwood Mac related. Their remix of "Dreams" has been getting playtime at the night - and by other well regarded DJs - and finally makes an appearance on this limited 12". What's immediately noticeable about the Crystal Visions Remix of "Dreams" is how much they add to the track without messing with the original's essence - it's also a lot more inventive than Psychemagik's 2009 edit of "Everywhere" which shows how far they've come in three years. Flip over for a great extension of Juno's favourite Mac moment "Big Love" from AOR Disco's Red Ken.
Review: Not just a beautiful compliment to pay someone special, but a hugely influential record that inspired Floating Points' now legendary Plastic People parties, too... A super obscure and expensive one at that. Now re-issued on Floating Points' own Melodies imprint - across three 45s - the Detroit band get full exposure with the deliciously funky main track enjoying two versions before dipping into the softer, more pastoral charms of "I Feel Like Dancing" and the string-led swoon festival, "Theme For Someone Special". We close on two contrasting grooves; an earthy ballad ("Trust Me") and a Whitfield & Strong style funk instrumental ("Dance Awhile"). Cheers Sam!
Review: We can think of a fair few disco diggers who will be more than a little annoyed by this re-issue. Originally released on the obscure La Shawn label back in 1980, "Take Me I'm Yours" is widely considered to be one of Patrick Adams' best productions. It's certainly something of a dusty gem, with Mary Clark's soulful, country-tinged vocals simply soaring over a reggae-tinged, string-drenched disco groove. It would have been nice to have seen original flipside "You Got Your Hold On Me" included, but it's not a major issue; given the in-demand (and hard-to-find) nature of the A-side, we should be pleased it's come back round again.
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: He's taken his time, but finally Norwegian nu-disco legend Todd Terje has delivered a debut album befitting his immense talents. While there are plenty of examples of his vibrant, synth-heavy dancefloor style on It's Album Time - see "Delorean Dynamite", "Inspector Norse", "Strandbar" and the Lindstrom-ish grandiosity of "Oh Joy" - what really makes it such an essential set are the curious turns and oddball moments. Samba, jazz and easy listening get the Terje treatment on "Alfonso Muskedunder", "Leisure Suit Proben" and "Svensk Sas", while there's a welcome dose of wide-eyed Balearica on the tweaked "Swing Star" (one of a string of previously released cuts on the album). Most interesting of all, though, is "John & Mary", a woozy, Roxy Music style cover of a Robert Palmer classic featuring the effervescent Bryan Ferry.
Review: Originally pressed (on a limited run) in 2013, LA Latin funk troupe Boogaloo Assassins have reissued these two spellbinding cover versions again due to public demand. Still on a highly limited run, both cuts need to be in your collection: Dawn Penn's "No No No" gets a strict samba switch with lavish percussion and consistent vocal harmonies throughout while Sonny Henry's "Evil Ways" (best known from its Santana cover) gets the dreamy instrumental treatment where the horns and glocks do the narrating over a tight bed of wood blocks, shakers and liquid Rhodes. Killer stuff and Juno is one of the few stores outside of USA which is carrying the 45. Don't Sleep !
Review: Inspired by the slightly unlikely collision of the Thai music of the '70s and The Shadows, Khruangbin - the name means 'aeroplane' in Thailand - are purveyors of a deliriously mellow and beguiling form of jammed-out power-trio guitar music - far removed from standard notions of psych and dreampop, partly owing to its pan-global influences, its nonetheless both psychedelic and dreamy, not to mention possessed of an unhurried, reflective and spacious lilt that renders this Texan-London outfit a rare treat in an information-saturated age, taking on delicate soul and funk with exotic atmospheres and making the journey feel both blissful and effortless.
Review: Chaos In The CBD have quietly been building an impressive reputation for some time, with releases on Hot Haus, Amadeus and Needwant all hitting the spot. Here they transfer to Bradley Zero's Rhythm Section International with what's arguably their most mature and musically expansive EP to date. There's a decidedly dusty, eyes-closed deep house feel throughout, with hypnotic grooves laden with all manner of neat, often jazz inspired touches. This is perhaps most obvious on the St Germain style jazz-house goodness of "Observe" - all skipping cymbals, bouncy grooves and killer pianos - but can also be found on the deeper "Observe". It's there, too, on the lilting brilliance of "Midnight In Peckham" - think yearning trumpets and twinkling piano motifs - and the blissful "Luxury Motivation".
Review: The mysterious nut-gathering disco fiends at Secret Squirrel continue their razor-sharp edit work with two more incredibly funky slices of nu-disco. Side A is a spirited fusion of wah wahs, filters and a tight vocal loop from Ike Strong's "Boogie Land" while Side B is a slower, acid-tickled jam that takes Blair's "Nightlife" and brings it kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Both are stunning and are guaranteed to sell out like the previous SS editions.
Review: It's been a hot minute since Al Kent dropped some of his sweet and soulful dancefloor instinct on us, but he's back in style on his reanimated Million Dollar Disco label. "Pick Me Up (Say Goodbye)" takes Gladys Knight & The Pips' tender "Neither One Of Us (Wants To Say Goodbye)" and gives it a supremely pitched dancefloor injection. Upping the tempo and rolling out an organic disco beat, Knight's vocal gets a whole new backdrop without losing the emotional heft of the track. A truly heart-melting cut for that sentimental, cut loose, late end of the party.
Review: Having previously only appeared on WotNot Music in the past couple of years, K15 now slides over to Wild Oats to deliver a wholly appropriate slab of fluttering house romanticism rich in Detroit dreams and Chicago cheekiness, wherever the music might have been conceived. The cheekiness is no doubt most noticeable on "GWRH" with its homage to "Gypsy Woman", turning it into a fluttering Latino house jam, but before that comes the plush bump n rub of "The Story Of Her Life". "Insecurities" gets into a sexier kind of deep house funk, which "Gratitude" dutifully carries on until "Yellow" can round the record out with some largely beatless piano business.
Sweet Daddy Floyd - "I Just Can't Help Myself" (extended Break edit) (4:17)
Review: This tasty, DJ-friendly 7" single boasts two extended, break-heavy reworks of obscure and in-demand soul workouts. On the A-side you'll find a tasty extension of Melvin Bliss's superb, piano-heavy 1983 cut "Synthetic Substitution". While Bliss's brilliant original - all heartfelt vocals, jaunty keys and warm bass - is largely kept in tact, the mystery re-editor naturally makes more of the opening breakbeat, which was sampled several times during hip-hop's "golden era". Flip for a similarly tasty rearrangement of Sweet Daddy Floyd's 1978 Blaxploitation style disco-funk shuffler "I Just Can't Help Myself", a cut rich in rolling breaks, densely layered percussion, punchy orchestration and "Shaft"-style guitar licks.
Review: Bizarrely, much of the online chatter surrounding Kenny Dixon Jr's latest album has not been about the music itself but rather his decision to release it digitally. It's a sideshow but what we should be focusing on is the music itself, which is - superb. Check, for example, heady opener "I'll Provide", where his usual hazy vocals and sumptuous musical touches are contrasted by raw drums and distorted electronic lead lines, and the skewed, reverb-laden drums, Prince style bass and Syclops-esque electronic noises of "I Think Of Saturday". Smoother, deeper and jazzier house grooves are provided via "If I Gave U My Love" and the pitched-down delight of "Deeper Shadow", while standout "Sinnerman" is the kind of sultry, ultra-deep slow jam that's capable of melting even the stoniest of hearts.
Review: Championed by Richie Hawtin & Ricardo Villalobos (featured on his Cocoon mix CD 'Taka Taka') the A-Side is armed with a highly infectious melody, beefed up with big, bouncy funky bassline. The B-side has trippy hypnotic sounds that echo in & out of the fluid melodies.
Review: It was only a matter of time before Henry Wu and K15 would link up with London's Eglo, and their respective prior releases for the likes of Wild Oats, Rhythm Section and 22a have earned them a spot in one of the finest house and broken beat labels around. "Love's Gambit" is a perfect example of the latter genre, a sublime blend of jazzy percussion swings and smooth melodic drifts, followed by the even more soulful bounces of the gentle "Space & Time" - one for the jazz fusion heads! "The Anthem" heads towards more housey spheres thanks to its stable beat pattern - it-s an absolute peach of a tune, by the way - but it's "Shahada" that governs the dancefloor with its rough MPC drum programming and finger-licking synth rotations. A beautiful and fitting addition to the catalogue.
Review: Acid Jazz has pulled off something of a coup here by persuading legendary '70s soul man Leroy Huston to part with a couple of previously unreleased cuts. A-side "Positive Forces" was recorded by Hutson in 1977 and sits somewhere between the sweeping, orchestrated bliss of Philly soul, the soaring dancefloor celebration of disco and the loose-limbed instrumental goodness of jazz-funk. It's an absolute stunner, all told, and sounds like it was tailor-made for spins at sweltering summer festivals. On the B-side you'll find a previously unreleased instrumental version of 1975's "All Because of You". While a vocal-free version has previously been released, this particular mix includes a little more drum action at the beginning to assist with mixing.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: As far as collaborative delights go, this really takes the cake. Miami boogie wildcard Noel Williams, aka King Sporty, throwing it down heavy with legendary Jamaican reggae axe man Ernest Ranglin - as you might expect, the results are incendiary. "Soft Touch" has a hint of the cosmic about it as it romps through insanely catchy chorus chants, stirring brass stabs and Ranglin's sweet licks. "Keep On Dancing" has a more uptempo feel, "In The Rain" slips into a laid back reggae skank and "Be What You Want To Be" turns the vintage disco heat back up. Throughout this wonderful mini LP, the duo switch between each other's strengths and bring out the best in each other, like all good collaborations should.
Review: The inaugural and highly sought after Secret Squirrel release came our way exactly a year ago... Could this be an annual thing? That would be a shame, as these edits really are very special. On the A-side we have what appears to be a high-NRG/newbeat reversion of Eddy Grant's "Nobody's Got Time" while the B-side is a much more subtle sample-based bassline chugger that loops and wriggles with filtered charm. Proper wholesome disco, these won't be secret for very long... Get on it!
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: ** BIG REPRESS ** After two auspicious releases on the Swedish label Aniara Recordings, production duo Genius Of Time step up to Clone's Royal Oak series, previously graced by the likes of Space Dimension Controller, Reggie Dokes and Gerd. Taking this esteemed company into account, we don't take it lightly when we say this record is as good as anything we've heard in the Royal Oak series, with A Side offering "Drifting Back" a jazzy house delight with softly pumping chords making for a jam that wouldn't seem out of place in the KDJ back cat. It's the two flipside offerings, however, that contain the real heat. "Houston We Have A Problem" combines calming synths, vocal moans and rolling percussion to breathtaking effect, while "Juxtapose" could almost be David Kennedy in house mode such is the tough, raw drum programming, but Genius Of Time add some softly soaring strings, thus imbuing the track with a nice classicist bent. An excellent release that comes with a free download code to keep all you mp3 bandits happy.
Review: There's a fair chance you'll already have heard "Cola", experienced production duo Camelphat's collaboration with vocalist Elderbrook. The original version, with its rumbling bass, atmospheric builds, subtle bassline house influence and "she sips the Coca-Cola" refrain, has become something of an anthem since first appearing on digital download earlier in the year. For this first vinyl release, Defected has packaged the now-familiar original mix with a trio of reworks. The most impressive of these comes from German veteran Mousse T. He brilliantly re-casts the track as a bumpin' chunk of celebratory disco-house complete with thrilling piano riffs and an elastic bassline.
Review: Essential repress! Tomas Bangalter's stone cold classic Roule 12" Trax On Da Rocks makes a return. The five tracks on offer - "On Da Rocks", "Roule Boule", "What To Do", "Outrun" and "Ventura" - have acquired legendary status, standing as sublime examples of the rough, raw end of the filter-soaked French house sound. Some 17 years since they were first released, these tracks have lost none of their madcap brilliance; if this isn't already a cherished part of your record collection, here's your chance.
Lafayette Afro Rock Band - "Hihache" (extended Breaks Special edition version) (4:23)
Gaz - "Sing Sing" (extended Breaks Special edition version) (4:27)
Review: More sneaky 45 action from the Breaks & Beats crew, a shadowy organization whose tried-and-tested re-edits offer DJ-friendly extensions of popular break-digging favourites (many of which were sampled on classic hip-hop cuts). Their latest seven-inch excursion begins with a tidy revision of Lafayette Afro-Rock Band's brilliant "Hihache", a low-slung favourite rich in lolloping, head nodding drum breaks, jazzy bass, flanged funk guitars and fuzzy horn motifs. The new version is deferential towards its source material, extending breaks here and there whilst leaving much of the tune in tact. One of the most doubled-up drum breaks in hip-hop history takes pride of place on side B, where Gaz's Salsoul released wiggler "Sing Sing" gets the re-edit treatment.
Review: After receiving high-profile support from the likes of Ben UFO, Peggy Gou and Midland in recent times, it's no surprise to see Kieran "Four Tet" Hebden's "secret weapon" - a dancefloor-focused workout based on samples from Nelly Furtado's 2006 track "Afraid" - finally get a vinyl release. If you've not yet heard it, the track's genius lies in Hebden's ability to wrap druggy, chanted vocal loops and a foreboding, arpeggio style bassline around swinging, Afro-fired machine drums that carry serious weight. While the different musical elements on show are sparse, "Only Human" is packed with sweaty peak-time energy and sounds like an anthem in waiting.
Review: Since 2012, Munich duo COEO has served up a swathe of sample heavy, disco influenced house EPs for such labels as Let's Play House, Toy Tonics, Lagaffe Tales and Razor-N-Tape Reserve. Here they pop up on Razor-N-Tape's main edit label with something different: a quartet of traditional scalpel works from their personal stash. First up is the elastic, horn heavy disco-funk of "Express Lane", which is quickly followed by the skewed Arabic boogie-funk brilliance of "Libyan Sun". Over on side B, "Don't Oho" is a breezy revision of a sun-kissed Afro-disco workout that sounds like it would be capable of causing a commotion in the club, while "Move Your Body" makes merry with a warm, rich and intoxicating early '80s boogie-soul jam of unknown origin.
Review: Mukatsuku's ongoing "Afro Series" continues with a fine limited edition 45 containing two funk-fuelled floor-fillers. In fact, you'll struggle to find a more celebratory and life-affirming workout than Eko's "M'Ongele M'Am" licensed from Nubiphone & Africa Seven, a Makossa-fired Afro-disco gem rich in punchy horns, driving Afro-boogie bass, lilting synthesizer lines, Mariachi style trumpet solos and the kind of chant-along vocals that should put a smile on the face of even the most miserable of dancers. Over on side B, Georges Ouedraogo's "Deni" is an essential Clavinet-happy killer chunk of Afro-funk/Afro-Disco fusion from Burkina Faso. As played by Floating Points,The Allergies,Faze Action,Antal ,Lego Edits & Red Greg so far...