Review: Munich duo Rhode & Brown have been bringing the good stuff to Toy Tonics for some time now, and they're sounding especially vibrant on this new joint. "Nine To Shine" is a sweet and soulful, 90s flavoured deep house jam with catchy vocals and a bittersweet mood to help you throw off the baggage of the working life once the weekend rolls around. "Honeymoon Affair" piles on uplifting piano chords and smooth acid bass for a full-fat house burner, while "Sumthin" chops up some serious funk samples for a massive dose of feel-good. "Your Beauty Is A Spoiler" completes the set with a wistful mood centered on an impeccably edited soul hook, making this a house 12" with plenty of mileage for a multitude of situations.
Review: When it comes to slow-burn electronic minimalism, few can match Eleh, an "analogue and modular synthesis" enthusiast who has released a wealth of inspired music on Touch and Important Records over the last two decades. The artist's latest album, "Living Space", was written over a period of seven years and sees Eleh deliver five sparse, alien and ear catching soundscapes. Some of these sound sparse and almost skeletal - see the elongated melodic tones of the opening track, or the bassbin-bothering pulsating sub weight of "Lo, Fr Ega" - while others are more layered and intricate despite their minimalist design. In the latter category you'll find standout cut "Lighter Touch", an epic journey into kosmiche-style ambient music reminiscent of some of Terry Riley's synthesizer-based works.
Review: Fresh from delving into his ambient side on the pastorally-enhanced "Loom Dream" album for Whities, Leif revives his self-manned Tio Series with another double-shot of delicate but impactful cuts outside the conventional slipstream of modern techno. The rhythms fall crooked, the synths trickle, bubble and cascade around the groove and the atmosphere remains humid and heady, especially on ear-snagging B-side "Rumex". "Montpelier" sports more explicit dubby flourishes and a spread of sonic flora and fauna in the middle distance that truly brings the track to life.
Review: If you're a talented soul vocalist who wants an authentically fuzzy late 1960s sound, you could do worse than join forces with Timmion Records' in-house backing band, Cold Diamond & Mink. They're in fine form here providing admirable backing to rising star Carlton Jumel Smith. "Love Our Love Affair" is undeniably attractive, with Smith's confident and emotion-rich vocal rising above the band's hazy horns, languid trumpet solos, sun-bright guitar licks and lolloping, hip-hop style funk-soul beats. As is customary, the band's tidy instrumental version can be found - and enjoyed - on the flip.
Review: Best known for being the backing band for countless soul singers - most notably Emilia Sisco, Willie West and Thee Baby Cuffs - Timmion Records regulars Cold Diamond & Mink have finally been given a chance to take centre stage. "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow" is the tight funk and soul combo's debut album and contains ten killer cuts from the Finnish combo in their usual jazz-flecked 1960s/early '70s funk and soul sound. Highlights are plentiful from start to finish, with the hazy bustle of "Remember Me", the super-sweet and glistening "Ain't That Love" and rush-inducing "This Is What Love Looks Like!" amongst our current favourites.
Review: Batu's Timedance label is in red hot form and Aussie talent Air Max 97 only stokes the fires with this scintillating two tracker. It comes hot on the heels of his link-ups with Loft and TSVI on the "Falling Not Walking" EP back in summer and hones in on tight, well trimmed dance floor dynamite. "Ice Bridge" is post-jungle madness with bold sub bass underpinning a scampish brew of steel plated drums and hits. "Bruxis" is a crowd teasing slow jam with heavy, dragging drums and twisted vocals that will leave you begging for more as you tumble freely through a darkened corner of the cosmos.
Review: "Sonic Citadel" marks Brians Gibson and Chippendale's seventh studio album and it is one that finds them revealing a little more of themselves than before. "Blow To The Head" is an intense opener with caustic texture, dense layers and scuzzy noise that soundtracks a manic episode, while elsewhere there are much more angular and punk influenced rhythm tracks with deathly vocals mired in gauzy riffs engulfed in dirt, grit and sandpaper sonics. Standout track "Halloween 3" is a suitably horror fuelled track of high energy, lo fi fuzz that will keep any demons away.
Review: These are heady times for fans of rare and obscure jazz albums, with essential new reissues dropping every week. Here's another, from lesser-known quintet Griot Galaxy. "Kins", their debut, was recorded over two days in September 1981 and originally appeared in stores early the following year on tiny imprint Black & White Records. This reissue replicates the original artwork and tracklist, with the cuts now sounding better than ever thanks to a tidy re-mastering job and extra-deep grooves. Musically, the six cuts on offer are wild and intergalactic in tone, with Griot Galaxy expertly combining elements of modal, spiritual jazz, free jazz, jazz-fusion and, on dancefloor-ready standout "Zenolog Aintro", bustling jazz-funk.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Cisco Ferreira continues to fly the flag for rugged hardware powered techno with personality, well over 20 years since he first emerged. The Advent is rightly hailed as a mark of assured quality for good reason, and Thema make a smart move in signing up this fresh grip of tracks from the veteran producer. "Kombination 100" is a lurid, slightly unhinged acid workout from the outer limits, while "Dorian Blue" sets a more moody, aquatic tone with a dash of electro thrown in for good measure. "In Time" brings things up in tempo and attitude, sporting some surging 909 drums guaranteed to get bodies striding with purpose, and then "Rhythm" spins out into trippy electro territory for the heads-down travelers to get spiritually expanded to.
Review: Alex is a brand new alias from the artist regularly known as Baba Stiltz - a Swedish producer whose quirky, off-kilter house and techno releases are rarely less than brilliant. His first Trilogy Tapes outing is suitably impressive. The real killer is "Samba", an inspired nine minute workout in which he layers deep, woozy electric piano motifs, sun-kissed chords, child-like vocal samples and rich bass atop a swinging, samba fired techno beat. The deeper and more bass-heavy "Memo" is even more epic; a near 13-minute journey through sparse, crunchy, hypnotic and dubbed-out minimal house rhythms and exotic, snake charmer solos. In other words, it's another top-notch EP from a producer who genuinely can do no wrong.
Review: Shadowy London producer Filter Dread returns from Beyond Saturn with four new futurist designs. This time on Seattle newcomer label Tech Startup. Maintaining his stark ravey elements, pneumatic breaks and grainy bass signature, the vibe remains hardcore, rough around the edges throughout. "Rainforest" is near militant with its drum edits and warped, detuned synth washes while "Blizzard" brings a crush sense of decay to the percussion and much more of a subverted electro feel to the mix. Flip for two more weapons: the gnarled, schizoid "Tripping Up" which touches on breakcore but at a much slower tempo and "RX 4 Real" which taps into the classic hardcore aesthetic and flips more switches than Battersea Power Station.
Review: It's finally here... V.I.V.E.K launches a brand new label and, as the title suggests, it's something a little different to the deep 140 piledrivers his System Sound is known for. Two rootsical excursions and two killer versions, this is the sound of the System champion bringing things back to the source. The title track (featuring longstanding System MC Dego Rankin) is a warm dub jam, spaced for good measure. Flip for "Galactic" as V.I.V.E.K flings us further east on a ship powered by Oriental strings and another rolling dub groove that's designed to make rigs purr. Beautiful.
Review: Tom Noble's Superior Elevation label started life as a home for reissues of obscure disco and boogie material, but has since widened its remit to include original productions. Here, Noble welcomes fellow Brooklyn resident Willie Burns to the label for a spot of sweaty, basement-bothering house business. Intriguingly, Burns original - nestled on the flipside - is the looser of the two, with dexterous percussion hits accompanying restless drum machine hits and a killer, New Jersey influenced bassline. Noble chooses not to emphasize these disco elements, instead delivering a wild, low-slung, dub style reinterpretation that turns it into a surging, late night house stomper.
Review: In 1981, a multi-cultural group of young musicians headed by local lad Harbans Srih headed into a tiny eight-track studio in Walsall to record what they hoped would become their debut single. 28 years later, that single, credited to Klimate, is finally getting a release thanks to the diggers at Super Disco Edits. A-side "ESP" is an inspired chunk of Brit-funk that wraps soulful vocals, delay-laden sax solos and intricate electric piano lines around a warm and heavy, jazz-funk inspired groove. Flipside "To See You" is equally as impressive, with the action focused on rubbery slap bass, meandering sax lines, twinkling keys, reggae-soul style vocals and the kind of flash-fried guitar licks that were so common on dancefloor cuts during the period.
Review: No longer dealing in edits, but instead long lost or out of print disco and soul gold, Super Disco Edits turn their focus to the early works of The Plainwrap Band here. These are all tracks produced and arranged by Marvin Augustus that were recorded to a dusty reel that ended up in the hands of producer Stu Gardner. He transferred the reels and once the label got wind they decided to track down Augustus. He'd forgotten all about the project but revelled that some of leading musicians from America's West Coast were called upon to play on these romantic, emotional and musical soul-groovers.
Review: Techno heads with an appreciation of forgotten and almost-lost gems will be happy with this one. Mark Ambrose's 'Dimensions' first saw the light of day on Steve O'Sullivan's Mosaic way, way back in 1997, and here is finally remastered for the modern world. And what a treat it is. A shining example of just how compelling, addictive and inescapable tracks can be without needing to be particularly hard, those looking for adjectives will find them in the likes of tough, solid and crisp. The four tracks all follow a similar trajectory, deep but purposeful dancefloor stuff where sub bass rules and alien noises become warbling hooks- not leat on 'Cable Talk'. Those looking to stomp in the dark may find 'Signs 'N' Lights' is the go-to, 'Photo Funk' is pure darkroom mechanical groove and 'Bassoon' a sharp tech builder.
Review: After launching with a Headland release last year, Subtle stride forth with another exciting talent from New Zealand for your radar: Ebb. "Surface Tension" is an absolute steam roller of a jam with the bassline unfolding its flabs over and over until you're covered in slimy low-end fat. "Bokkei" raises the prang stakes a little with minor key strikes and a more aggressive rolling bassline that doesn't so much as unfold but KO punch its way through the mix. Subtle? Sublime more like.
Review: Following cuts on Gourmet and Trusik, Osaka's City1 makes his debut on Subaltern with three more reasons to keep him radar-locked. Hurling us into the mix with no warning, "Speak Out" takes the lead with Japanese steel licks and fire tongue truths from Rider Shafique before "Koroga" oozes its way in pursuit. All wet and wobbly, it's 2007 all over again but with a wily sense of direction that never sits still. "Zee" closes the EP in true pranged-out fashion. Off-key, warped and a grumpy bassline that harrumphs for days, if you need any more reasons to keep tabs on City1 just lift the needle and play again.
Review: When bands hit album four, two things can happen - or three. Some suffer from a crisis of creativity, opting to regurgitate or, worse still, stagnate. Others opt for reinvention, with as many getting it right as going well off-piste, alienating faithful fans in the process. The lucky ones, meanwhile, hit the nail on the head with their most accomplished and complete work to date. Consider Frankie Cosmos among the lucky ones, then, not that luck had much to do with it. Recorded in their New York hometown, everything about the record feels comfortable in that there's nothing forced, and yet it engages and grabs from the off. Lilting, lo-fi rock 'n' roll odes to love, life and the genre itself, anyone who's ever wondered what Cate Le Bon might sound like having a pancake breakfast with The Orielles should grab a seat at this table.
Review: Gotshell is Cristian Alexander Soto: a DJ and producer from Colombia that has appeared previously on Mord, Detroit Underground and X/OZ. His new new thriller comes courtesy of the ever reliable Suara label - and he lunges straight for the jugular on this fierce new offering. Kicking off with the barrelling intensity of "Peras Cosmic" which reaches near acid moments,, this is followed by the hypnotic sonar pulse of "19 Caracteres" (which calls to mind the work of legend Sleeparchive) and on the flip we have label staple Coyu - who delivers a right punch with his remix of "The Draft" which is as steely and austere as you like it.
Review: Recorded in New York in 1966, Miriam Makeba's "Pata Pata" - her first for the legendary Reprise Records imprint - has long been considered one of the most important and influential South African albums of all time. Strut certainly thinks so and has offered up a "definitive version" that contains both mono and stereo mixes of the album, alongside new sleeve notes that tell the singer's remarkable story in vivid detail. Musically the set is rooted in jazz, but also incorporates sounds, rhythms and instrumentation not only reflective of Makeba's home country, but also nods to American soul, Latin rhythms and calypso (the latter showcasing the influence of her mentor, Harry Belafonte).
Review: He may now be 72, but legendary highlife vocalist Pat Thomas still has the desire to make new music. In fact his previous set, 2015's "Pat Thomas & The Kwashibuu Area Band" - a collaboration with producer Ben Abarbanel-Wolff, storied Ghanian highlife bandleader Kwame Yeboah and musicians including fellow West African heavyweights Tony Allen and Ebo Taylor - is arguably one of the strongest albums of his lengthy career. This belayed follow-up is equally as inspired, with the golden-voiced Ghanaian vocalist providing the attention-grabbing focal point throughout. Yet while Thomas's vocals are as sublime as ever, it's the quality and detail of the accompanying music - a mix of laid back and dancefloor-ready highlife in the style he made famous in the 1970s - that really stands out.
Ian Dury & The Seven Seas Players - "Spasticus Autisticus" (version) (6:57)
Material - "Over & Over" (long version) (5:38)
Was (Not Was) - "Wheel Me Out" (7:12)
Dinosaur - "Kiss Me Again" (6:53)
Don Cherry - "I Walk" (3:14)
Common Sense - "Voices Inside My Head" (6:29)
Nicky Siano - "Move" (5:45)
Indian Ocean - "School Bell/Treehouse" (10:13)
Review: Second time around for Joey Negro and Sean P's peerless collection of post-punk era New York club cuts, a compilation that proved hugely influential when it was first released way back in 2000. The track listing strangely omits one track present on the original release (the full 16-minute version of Steve Miller Band's "Macho City"), but otherwise it's a faithful reproduction. Highlights come thick and fast throughout, from the eccentric electrofunk of Yoko Ono's "Walking On Thin Ice" and P-funk influenced strut of Material's "Over And Over", to the skittish jazz-goes-dub disco bustle of Don Cherry's "I Walk" and the low-slung percussive voodoo of Nicky Siano's "Move". The undisputed master of NYC leftfield disco, Arthur Russell, is represented via cuts from Loose Joints, Dinosaur and Indian Ocean.
Review: Canadian collective The Soul Jazz Orchestra's latest studio album is a cheery tonic for our troubled times. That's not to say it doesn't engage you with some thought-provoking moments along the way (the pay gap, dodgy landlords, police brutalities, the current US administration) but generally the musicianship is uplifting and hypnotic. The album draws on funk, jazz and soul with Latin, Caribbean and Afro twists that make it work on the dance floor as well as home stereo. Anthems like "General Strike" exhibit some 2 tone swagger and "Sky High" is pure disco dynamite.
Review: Ever-dependable hero of deep house since the good old days, Glenn Underground is back with fresh goodies for his Strictly Jazz Unit imprint, and if you liked what he's done before then there's no doubt you'll like this as well. "Shiloh (A King's Return)" is a steady roller, defined by the synth-sax freestyling over the top of a crisp beat and bluesy chord workout. "We, The Party (Let's Get Down)" is a more soaring affair, with some neat kinks in the drums and a sumptuous spread of Rhodes action all delivered in that quintessentially Blue Note GU flavour.
Review: Portuguese pair Antonio and Manuela Duarte made plenty of music together in the mid-to-late 1980s - mostly offering an intriguing fusion of Ash Ra style meditative kosmiche, ambient electronics, new wave style and Iberian instrumentation - but very little of it was ever released. Hence "Electricidade Estetica", a debut album made up of previously unheard recordings that have sat dormant on reel-to-reel tapes for well over three decades. It's a fine collection of tracks, all told, most of which are near impossible to accurately describe or pigeonhole. Fundamentally, they're all inventive, atmospheric and ear-pleasing, offering a fine collection of head-in-the-clouds cuts that rises above its lo-fi roots to present the Portuguese pair as previously unheralded Balearic pioneers.
Review: We've been waiting a LONG time for this! Loxy & Resound's most demanded dub since 2008, "New Age" has cult status and it's not hard to hear why; super spacious and so broad and vital in its sound, it still sounds futuristic to this day. "Stone Cold" kicks ass for a 2009 track, too. Once again unreleased and demanded by the heads for the last 10 years, this one takes us deeper down Loxy & Resound's rabbit hole, before that divine vocal cuts through the mix and it's game over. Ageless.
Catherine Brenot - "Et Tout Est Yin Et Tout Est Yang" (club mix) (5:19)
1 Plus 1 - "Coming Up For Air" (instrumental) (5:25)
Fragile - "We've Got Tonight, Boy" (6:13)
Jarmaz - "Night City Life" (Disco remix) (3:55)
Friend Of Mine - "Just Your Pride" (4:47)
Mac & Monica - "You’re So Good To Me" (6:29)
Sala & H - "Feel The Love" (4:00)
Alexandra - "Fantasia (Fantasy)" (4:45)
Gioia - "No Secrets" (instrumental) (7:43)
Janelle - "Don't Be Shy" (dub) (6:40)
Alessandro Scellino - "Dinner In The Jungle" (Erotic mix) (6:49)
Brian Tatcher - "Hot Love" (instrumental dub version) (6:48)
Preludio - "Mysterious Nights" (4:46)
Review: Ilan Pdahtzur is as obsessive a record digger as any of his more visible peers. His particular niche is early to mid-eighties club music, and now he gets a platform to show off his skills thanks to the Spacetalk label. "Night City Life" is about music to match that exact setting - nocturnal urban metropolises with glowing neon lights shimmering in the darkness. There's a lot to love across four sides of vinyl here, from Italo disco to steamy boogie cuts and iridescent synth jams. It will make you nostalgic for a time and place you've never experienced (at least not as perfectly as this) and no doubt get plenty of dance floors on their feet.
The One O Ones - "Radio Cosmos 101" (Bals edit) (4:27)
Gemini - "Take A Chance" (4:34)
The Clean Hands Group - "Night Fly" (4:24)
The CVQ Band - "Whatever You Do" (instrumental) (4:38)
Miss - "Hip Hop" (3:06)
Metal Voices - "At The Banks Of The River" (3:44)
The Clean-Hands Group - "Shake It On" (4:03)
Gigi Flag - "Nymphomaniac" (instrumental) (5:58)
Eddy La Viny - "Havan' Hamac" (3:43)
Review: BeachFreaks Records co-founder Charles Bals is a man who knows about records - and obscure European ones at that. Club Meduse, his first compilation for Spacetalk (a label with a track record for producing these kinds of killer, crate-digging comps), is loosely designed as the soundtrack to life around a mythical (IE imaginary) Cote D'Azure resort. Musically, it gathers together the kind of hazy, soft-focus and life-affirming cuts that you would have heard at resort discos in the mid-to-late 1980s. Suffice to say that Bals' selections tend towards the rare, magical and undeniably Balearic, from the glassy-eyed, cascading jazz-funk of the Keyboys and loved-up post-boogie sweetness of Gemini's "Take a Chance", to the sparkling Euro-electro of Miss' "Hip Hop" and pitched-down drum machine chug of Gigi Flag's "Nymphomaniac (Instrumental)". Essential.
Review: The name of the Space Drum Meditation label tells you everything about the sort of music they plan to release. After a well-received inaugural EP, the eponymous production duo behind the imprint (Eddie Ness and Liem, who have collaborated under their own names many times before) come correct with four more contemporary fusions of bass, breakbeat, techno and deep house that is best exemplified by the charming "Polar Peak". "Chatter" is a flurry of hits and jittery lines that will electrify any floor, then "Grapes" is a super slowed down and deep ambient day dream that resets the mood before "Dance Of The Snake" invites you into a sonic lava lamp and rhythmically inventive groove.
Turn Me On (Tony Humphries Got U Turned On dub) (7:50)
Save Me (Coldcut remix) (6:38)
Review: South Street's latest missive gathers together a trio of club-friendly remixes of Nina Simone classics that first appeared on the 2006 compilation "Remixed & Reimagined". Francois K impresses with an A-side revision of Simone's celebrated cover of Beatles classic "Here Comes The Sun" that sounds like a long lost Larry Heard record from his classic Fingers Inc. period. Those after something a little more rolling and funk-fuelled should wrap their ears around Tony Humphries' Dub of "Turn Me On", which boasts a seductive mixture of Romanthony style hard loops and rumbling, UK garage influenced bass. Completing the package is Coldcut's fine re-imagining of "Save Me", which places Simone's heart-arching vocal atop skittish, club-ready drums and looped guitars.
Review: Curiosities is the second album in the trilogy from in-demand New Zealand multi-instrumentalist and producer Lord Echo. Six years after initial release, this reissue sounds as vital as ever and is extra DJ-friendly given that it is spread across two slabs of wax. It covers plenty of ground from escapist tropical ambient to lovably lazy dubs via vivid disco-funk. Highlights come in the form of "Molten Lava" and its heart wrenching vocals and the gospel grooves of "The Creator Has A Master Plan". Winter might be fast approaching, but so long as you have sounds as warm and sunny as these around, summer will never feel too far away.
Review: When it comes to offering up albums of carnival-ready Latin-soul, it could be argued that Gabriele Poso is in a league of his own. Certainly, his 2018 set for BBE, "Awakening" was superb, and this follow-up on Soundway is every bit as good. The South American influences - think samba, Azymuth sytle jazz-funk, Brazilian boogie, MPB etc -catch the ear throughout, alongside his extensive use of warming synthesizers, sun-kissed electronics and his own voice, which seems to get richer and more seductive with each successive release. The quality threshold remains so high throughout that it's barely worth picking out highlights: it's literally "all good", and you really should check out the album when you get a chance.
Review: Legendary, and hugely prolific, soulsmith and writer Dan Penn looks back over his last two albums and pick two of the most delicate, soul-stirring tracks. Taken from 2013's I Need A Holiday and 2016's Something About The Night respectively, "Blue In The Heart" is stripped right back to guitar, organs and Dan's rich voice (which hasn't faltered over seven decades in the game) while "Time To Get Over You" hits with more of a bluesy twang and a country influence on the backing harmonies. Raw, direct and guaranteed to get your skin in goosebumps. Just like every other record Dan's given the world.
Tony Grey & The Ozimba Messengers - "You Are The One" (7:22)
Sonny Okosuns - "Oba Erediauwa I" (6:20)
The Wings - "Single Boy" (4:02)
Geraldo Pino - "Power To The People" (5:43)
Original Wings - "Igba Alusi" (7:03)
Don Bruce & The Angels - "Sugar Baby" (6:32)
Geraldo Pino - "Africans Must Unite" (5:51)
Review: Back in 2017, Soul Jazz offered up a superb box set of seven 7" singles featuring a wealth of 1970s Nigerian afro-rock, afro-funk and afro-disco. Since then the box has been changing hands for significant sums online, so they've bowed to pressure and decided to reissue it as a gatefold double album. It features the same combination of tracks from the likes of Geraldo Pino, Tony Grey, The Wings and MFB, though this time they've been included in a different order. For those interested in raw, raucous and life-affirming Nigerian dance music from the period, it should be an essential purchase (providing, of course, they don't already own the previous box set).
Review: The Studio One catalogue is the gift that keeps on giving, and Soul Jazz continually play Santa. This latest comprehensive collection is a great compilation of some of the best DJs and MCs to have been involved in reggae. Vital Jamaican stars like Dillinger, Prince Jazzbo and Lone Ranger all feature next to more hardcore names and some choice rare cuts. Spanning the 70s and into the mid-1980s, this 18-track offering gives a glimpse into the evolution of reggae to more digital and dancehall styles that come later, all with specially commissioned sleeve notes by Fashion Records head honcho Chris Lane.
Review: Studio One have put out plenty of big tunes and this is the latest to get a big reissue on a super loud-cut 12" single for extra devastating impact. It's a well-known classic every self-respecting reggae fan should know and blows up any party, especially when tweaked like these two versions. They were originally produced by Studio One bossman Coxsone Dodd and have been covered by The Clash as well as sampled by The Fugees and hip hop MC KRS One. The snaking lead synth, the rumbling drums and classic ska trumpet are all straight up irresistible.
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.
Etta James & Sugar Pie Desanto - "In The Basement" (Soul Flip edit) (3:20)
John Gary Williams - "My Sweet Lord" (Soul Flip edit) (3:59)
Review: On their latest limited edition salvo, the hardworking Soul Flip crew (AKA experienced DJs and producers Aldo Vanucci and Del Gazeebo) gets to work on two more stomping dancefloor cuts from the golden age of soul. First up on side A is a gently tooled-up and tightened up take on Etta James and Sugar Pie DeSanto's 1966 floor-heater "In The Basement", a hybrid soul-jazz/rhythm and blues jam rich in rubbery double bass, bustling drums, restless handclaps and brilliant lead vocals from the two legendary soul singers. On the flip they tackle Memphis musician John Gary Williams' 1972 cover of George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord", which brilliantly re-imagines the former Beatles' spiritual song as a sweaty gospel-soul stomper.
Martha Reeves & The Vandellas - "I Can't Dance To That Music You're Playin'" (3:57)
The Jackson 5 - "The Love You Save" (4:17)
Bobby Taylor & The Vancouvers - "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" (3:43)
Sam & Dave - "Soul Sister, Brown Sugar" (3:18)
Aretha Franklin - "A Change" (3:33)
Sugar Pie DeSanto - "Go Go Power" (4:20)
Joy Lovejoy - "In Orbit" (3:52)
Judy Clay & William Bell - "Private Number" (4:30)
Review: Jobbing DJs will do well to pick this one up: it's a way to bring some original soul into your sets while also serving up some big tunes that people know and love. These careful edits pump up the sunny elements, layer in funky riffs, energetic strings and up the tempos of tried and tested classics from The Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, Sam & Dave and plenty more golden oldies. Our picks: Bobby Taylor & The Vancouvers' fine cover of "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" and Sugar Pie DeSanto's hardcore swinger "Go Go Power" that's sure to get those hips moving.
Review: DJ Muggs links with New Jersey rapper Crimeapple for a new album of hardcore east coast rap and hip hop that proves why he is still so big in the game more than 35 years after he first emerged. In that time he's been a key part of Cypress Hill's most successful years, launched his much loved Vs. series and keeps on turning out hot beats. Crimeapple is the latest in a long line of choice collaborators, and one who drops his Colombian heritage into bilingual verses while hard hitting beats and dark soul production prickle around him. This is hard hitting and vital work from both.
Review: As long as there is hip-hop, debate will rage as to which album by A Tribe Called Quest is their finest. Of course, they're all superb, but 1993's "Midnight Marauders" - their third full-length - may well be the best of all. That's a big call, but we'd ask any doubters to give it another listen. The New York crew is in particularly fine form on the mic throughout, while the backing tracks, which make great use of crunchy, head-nodding beats and hundreds of superb, hand-picked samples, are amongst the most intricately produced, groovy and deep ever committed to wax. It's one of those hip-hop sets that should be in the collection of any committed music head, and not just rap fans.
Between The Lines (feat Keyon Harrold & Sparkz) (4:42)
Introspection (feat Theo Croker) (5:00)
Cranes (In The Sky) (5:47)
I Still Believe (feat Milton Suggs) (5:41)
Elipsis (interlude) (1:07)
Dark Honey (4TheStorm) (feat Makaya McCraven) (5:48)
Pressure (instrumental) (4:41)
Lullaby (Rise & Shine) (feat Judi Jackson) (3:55)
Battle (feat Binker & Moses) (4:32)
The Mighty (feat Ben Marc) (3:31)
Review: South London pianist and composer Ashley Henry is a versatile musician who can move between all niches within his musical realm: hip hop, broken beat, jazz and fusion flows from his finger tips and all characterise his expansive and expressive new album "Beautiful Vinyl Hunter". Stellar collaborators Makaya McCraven, Judi Jackson and MC Sparkz amongst others all help enrich this album as it flows from post-bop to classic jazz to neo-soul in thrilling fashion. Rooted in tradition but with a distinctly London edge that soars to new heights, this record sets a new benchmark for the contemporary scene.
Review: It's been six years since Lewis Fautzi debuted on Soma, and since then he's become a real techno powerhouse. His latest shows yet more evolution in his sound across four streamlined and hypnotic "Extinction" cuts. "F01" is alluringly low key as drums roll over a frosty and frozen tundra, then "F02" ups the ante with steel plated kicks and sonar-like pulses that burrow deep. After the warped synths of "F03" comes closer "F04", the most heady of the lot thanks to its MIllsian minimalism and infinite melodic loops.
Worship Me In The Sanctuary Of Transcendence (4:35)
Rodrigo Syntese System (6:48)
Ingesloten In Een Museum (8:04)
Norwegian Raven (part 1) (18:55)
Norwegian Raven (part 2) (19:29)
Review: For those who missed the memo, Occult Oriented Crime is one of several hundred alter egos occasionally used by Legowelt man Danny Wolfers. He first donned the pseudonym in 2014 for "The Occult Orientated Crime Album", a stunning but previously digital-only outing that has finally made it to vinyl for the very first time. From start to finish, the set prioritizes mood and atmosphere over club-focused rhythms, with Wolfers offering up a range of evocative, heavily electronic ambient soundscapes. While some cuts sound like Radiophonic Workshop doodles or Pete Namlook style immersive synth-scapes, others wrap delay-laden pianos around a whisper of electronic texture; throughout, Wolfers proves a masterful maker of meditative ambient bliss.
Don't You Let Go (feat Kenny Wesley - DJ Spinna Galactic Soul remix) (8:21)
Don't You Let Go (feat Kenny Weslet - Caserta At Work remix) (7:17)
Review: Sol Power Sound has had a solid 2019 but they aren't done yet: this new one features an all star cast with remixes by legendary DJ Spinna and LA's Joseph Caserta. DC-based vocalist Kenny Wesley is at the heart of the operation and features on "Don't You Let Go", with multi-layered drums and dub weight soaring to the skies. "Number One Station" features Daniel Meinecke and is a golden broken beat with all the hits and scattered percussion that make this such perfect body music. Spinna's remix is pure feel good, good time house music with old school spirituality, while Caserta pays more than a subtle tribute to Masters At Work's famously chunky drums with his "Caserta At Work" remix.
Review: Aside from a pair of releases on Horizontal Ground, and one appearance for the magnetic Edit Select, the enigmatic SNTS has chosen to reserve his/her releases for his/her own self-titled label. While the artist has only released EP's in the past, The Rustling Of The Leaves marks a debut LP effort. As you'd expect, the work is made up of chilling soundscapes, sinister sonics and grey-scaled ambient, but it's the way in which SNTS assembles beats around these elements that is impressive. "Backwoods", for example, flutters its subtle beats seamlessly into a hollow cave of drones and religious chanting, while a tune like "Remission" is what the inside of a power station would sound ike at night. For those who love their techno textures dark and sparse, this is it.
Review: Third time's the charm. Low Bias parallel project Dream Cycle returns to the ever-comfortable Sneaker Social with the next part of their annual series. Once again it's a barrage of two-step delights ranging from dank and mystic to deep and dreamy. "Told You" kicks off proceedings on a serious London bumpy flex, all sassy vocal snippets and a steam roller sub line. "Long Time" follows and takes us down a much deeper, contemplative path that's almost Detroit in its mood with those lush pads and spirited piano lines. Deeper again we strike the more technoid twangs of "Sensa" before "Untitled Dream" closes the EP on the deepest, wooziest tip of the EP, all downbeat, trippy and far too addictive for its own good. The Cycle continues.