Review: **RAUM REPRESS** Although Ricardo Villalobos has already appeared on Raum Musik under the RiRom moniker together with Roman Flugel, the Baby EP is his first full release for the label. The title track sees a firm kick and wood block snares forming the backbone for a drifting piano chord and sensual vocals which lead to a climax of delightfully glitchy vocoder. On the flip, "hansup" takes on a tougher groove, as sprung bass and minimal house stabs are joined by ethereal chords and twisted vocal samples.
Gladys Knight - "It's A Better Than Good Time" (Walter Gibbons Acetate mix) (12:25)
TC James & The Fist O'Funk Orchestra - "Get Up On Your Feet (Keep On Dancin')" (Walter Gibbons mix) (11:05)
Sandy Mercer - "You Are My Love" (12" version) (7:32)
Bettye Lavette - "Doin' The Best That I Can" (Walter Gibbons 12" mix) (11:05)
Arts & Craft - "I've Been Searching" (Walter Gibbons 12" mix) (9:54)
Dinosaur L - "Go Bang" (Walter Gibbons unreleased mix) (12:26)
Luv You Madly Orchestra - "Moon Maiden" (12" mix) (8:48)
Review: With the capabilities of modern discology allowing for the current deluge of disco 'edits', most of which do little beyond extending an intro for ease of mixing, it would have been an intriguing prospect to see what disco edit progenitor Walter Gibbons thought. Sadly we'll never find out, but current edit profiteers could do worse than check out this retrospective of Walter Gibbons remixes compiled by Strut. Nominally split between the 70s and 80s, the first section documents the imaginative reworks of the Salsoul catalogue that helped cement Gibbon's reputation whilst the second focuses on the mid eighties period where he worked closely with Arthur Russell. It was a chance encounter at the Salsoul office which afforded the then 22-year-old Gibbons an opportunity to remix Double Exposure's "Ten Percent", which became the first commercially successful 12inch release. That mix is one of seven tracks which aptly demonstrate the percussion heavy style Gibbon's branded Jungle Music, with the closing 11 minute mix of Betty LaVette perhaps the most impressive example. The second section provides more sonic intrigue, starting off with a previously unreleased remix of Arthur Russell's "See Through", which is followed by Gibbons seminal take on Dinosaur L's "Go Bang" and perhaps the masterpiece of his career - a nine minute remix of Strafe's "Set It Off". Strut have delivered yet another superlative retrospective here. Released on a double LP with a limited bonus mix CD, this is not to be missed!
Review: The mystery of the Botanic Minds Sunset Series continues to unfold with another bout of surreal and sensual club tracks that balance tweaked minimalism with a warm and hazy atmosphere. "Track001A" is packed with intricate rhythmic interplay, but it's the fluttering guitar licks and displaced vocals that give the piece its unique vibe. "Track002A" is a remix credited to Eastenderz regular Lizz, and it's a particularly spellbinding jam shaped out with lingering chords and a wistful mood. "Track001B" hunkers down around a low, throbbing bassline, but there's some sweet keys hovering up top to keep things from getting too dark. Barut is on hand with a remix for "Track002B", where trancey undercurrents meet with expansive piano and ethereal ambient swells, all strapped to a sturdy minimal house groove.
Review: Italian duo Rufus and Mass_prod are back once again as Nightdrivers, shoring up to Holic Trax with more of their infectious club-ready material. Beyond the functionality of their drums, where the Nightdrivers excel is in their choice of samples and textures to add a psychoactive twist to their craft. "A Funny Thang" is a delightfully unhinged workout, while "Stressedout" does a fine job of digging into a heads down, RnB inflected groove. "Rising" switches things up with a broken beat groove that loads up sunkissed soul samples to great effect, and then the record rounds out with a dub mix of "A Funny Thang".
Review: You will no doubt have spotted Marcel Vogel's handiwork steering the good ship Lumberjacks In Hell, or perhaps even his choice edits under the Em Vee banner, but increasingly the Dutch artist is turning to his own name to get some fine records laid down outside the realms of pure edit territory. This second outing on Intimate Friends comes on like a mini-album of sorts, with eight tracks made up of remixes as well as originals. It's a powerful step on for Vogel, touching on a grounded variation on neo-soul with a house kick in the rhythm department. Soulful vocal spots from Mey, Milos Gersi, Gianni Tam, Khadija and Tim Jules all add to the sensation, heading away from the dancefloor as an expansive EP for all time.
When The World Is Runnin' Down (Mr K 7" edit) (5:35)
Review: The Mr K Edits series continues to be a hotbed of crucial dancefloor wares, taking stone cold classics and giving them a gentle refinement to make the grooves stretch out that little bit longer. The latest in the 7" series focuses on The Police and two of their finest jams - the first is no stranger to revisions, covers and remixes. "Voices In My Head" has been tackled by many, not least 90s hip house upstart KC Flightt, but here the original version goes on a version excursion that brings out the best in the tune. On the flip, "When The World Is Runnin' Down" shimmers with uptempo new wave refinement that should set any open minded dancefloor alight.
Review: Resurgent Welsh techno wizard DJ Guy launches his own label with a fresh batch of deep diving jams that put the soul back in the machine. From the twinkling, starry-eyed delights of "Music Is Life" to the horizontal meditation of "Interplanetary," this is immaculately executed electronica in the fine tradition of UK trailblazers like B12 that sounds as fresh as it did in the 90s. "Warmth In Rhythm" sports a nagging house groove to suck you in with ease, while "Propulsion State" fires off a dazzling arpeggio that heads skywards with a twitchy electro backbone for company. Top shelf tackle from a seriously talented cat.
Review: Twenty years ago it sounded like an oddly poignant evocation of pre-millennial tension. Two decades later it stands as an eerily prescient glimpe into the technological alienation and dislocation of of a new era. Yet more importantly, OK Computer is no more or less than a sparkling, dramatic and moving collection of songs that haven't lost any of their impact in the interim. The sound of a band stubbornly refusing to follow up the stadium-strafing stylings of its predecessor The Bends - and instead bursting headlong into experimentation and wild creativity -is portrayed in still more vivid colours by the alarmingly strong collection of out-takes and B-sides collected herein, Yet there's no getting away from the chill and spark that marked out OK Computer from everything surrounding it in the post-Britpop malaise, and continues to do so in the pre-Brexit counterpart.
James Brown - "Funky President" (extended Breaks Special edition) (4:25)
The Vibrettes - "Humpty Dump" (part 1 - extended Breaks Special edition) (3:16)
Review: For the second in their series of clear vinyl reissues of some of their most sought-after "sevens", the mysterious Breaks & Beats crew have chosen to revisit their fourth 45, which originally landed in early 2018. It's well worth picking up, if only for the version of James Brown classic "Funky Presisdent", which features extended grooves and breakbeats for added DJ pleasure and double-up opportunities. That said, we're also big fans of the mystery scalpel fiends' light-touch revision of the Vibrettes' brilliant, voodoo funk favourite "Humpty Dump (Part 1)". This, too, makes more of the original's short drum breaks and strutting instrumental grooves, before unleashing the female vocal group's great vocals.
Want You In My Soul (Summer In London edit) (4:51)
Review: Stee Downes is one of contemporary house music's most prominent vocalists and here he lends his silky tones to Freerange, Defected and OM Records associate, Lovebirds for this new one on South Street. "Want You In My Soul" is a mix of old and new, where disco percussion and cosmic synths nestle alongside a mid tempo house groove with plenty of warmth. Downes' vocals are the loved up icing on the romantic groove cake. Flip over for the "Summer In London Edit" - a more stripped back and direct version, perfect for outdoor stages as the sun beats down.
Review: Having got the juices flowing via a split re-edit release with Jacques Renault earlier in the year, Cosmic Kids member Daniel T returns with his first full solo EP of floor-ready reworks. Arguably the most ear catching of the lot is "Trinidad Trouble", a fiendishly percussive, cowbell-laden tropical disco affair blessed with carnival-ready flute flourishes and heavily accented Trinidadian vocals. It sounds like a genuinely sweat-soaked peak-time treat. The hits keep coming elsewhere across the EP, from the "do the Bus-Stop" hustle of Blaxpolitation disco rework "Hit The Streets", which provides a seriously strong opening gambit, to the leisurely, laidback and sumptuous sounds of trumpet-sporting afternoon delight "Penguin Vacation".
Review: Nina Kraviz's Trip label welcomes back mainstay Vladimir Dubyshkin with his provocatively entitled Pornographic Novel EP. It's another blistering effort that is dedicated to the 90s Russian prom phenomenon and takes cues from absurd dialogues, bad acting and comic plots. The results are deadly serious however, with stomping beats driving forwards "The Return Of The Drunken Son", brutalism defining the hard edged techno of "Driving The Bus" and molten Mills style minimalism the order of the day on "Deaf Artist." The off-beat urgency of "Company Of 302s" closes in unforgettable fashion.
Review: After making a splash with releases on Twig and Lumbago, Raphael Beneluz brings his classy machine music to Cartulis with the P 12". Things get off to a pumped-up start with the dynamic, detailed thrust of "Xzomet" before the night draws in around the tastefully creepy workout "Darkanethesie". "Hostile Planet" opens up the B-side with more eerie atmospheres and stout box jam beats, and then "System Down" completes the package with another thumping tapestry of nervy acid and old-skool jack. For all the familiar touches, this is music dripping with personality and attitude, bottom-heavy and sure to devastation in the dance, real or virtual.
Review: It's been a while since we last heard from Nico Lahs, the accomplished Italian house producer with drops on Rawax, Ovum, Poker Flat and many more in his back catalogue. Now he's shoring up on US label Adeen with a double pack of seriously bumping, soulful joints that point to a hefty amount of work refining and defining his sound. The drums skip and skitter with a gorgeous, live looseness, while the plush Rhodes and synth lines drip with full-fat warmth and funk. This is a deep rooted sound that will have fans of 2000Black, Mark de Clive-Lowe and Warren Harris all nodding in satisfaction.
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.
Review: As one of his more intermittent labels, Modified Suede has only put out a small handful of Scott Grooves releases previously, but now the imprint is back in action to offer up a few unreleased gems from the vaults. "Movin' On" is rich with vocals from Seoulonnie, keeping a smooth lounge tone to the deep house backing track with occasional chorus key-change flourishes. "Red Crates" is equally soulful although its righteous piano stealing the show instead of vocals here, while "Me Solista" gets into a Latin frame of mind with its chimes and shuffles. "French Road" represents the more adventurous side of the EP, heading into a more subtle soundscape populated by dubbed out melodics and low-bubbling percussion.
Review: Long time disco diva Gwen McCrae is an eternally in demand artist whose music reconnects with each new generation. "All This Love That I'm Givin'" is one of her biggest hits and for good reason. Now it gets a special 7" release on stunning yellow vinyl. The soaring vocals do most of the work but the tentative stabs help bring the funk. It's a totally different vibe on the flip with "Maybe I'll Find Somebody New", a much slower and more sensuous tune with luxurious strings and wind instruments complimenting her smooth and seductive vocal work.
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: Three years in, Blackhall & Bookless' Jaunt label is becoming a serious force for forward thinking, fractured techno exploration. On this split EP with Chad, the duo take the A-side and present two different versions of "Links". The "Battle rework" is a tense and dramatic tumble through dub techno soundscapes, while the "Bleak remix" pares the elements down to a more focused, minimalist thrum. Chad presents a wholly different vibe on the flip, using rich, warm synthesiser tones to draw you in to "Afters", and then Scenery regular ASOK takes up remix duties on the track with an immersive version that borders on breakbeat.
Zarkoff X Cyborgs On Crack - "Penalty For Violation" (4:52)
Review: Helena Hauff's Return To Disorder label is back in action with an EP from Croatian darkwave maestro Zarkoff, in conjunction with conspirators such as Ikonal and Cyborgs On Crack. He's been active on the local scene for many years and only now is creeping onto the international radar, but this record should catapult him into the consciousness of all kinds of adventurous spinners. Managing to plunge into murky waters while retaining a propulsive, danceable edge to his sound, the most noticeable quality around this record is the synth work, which unfurls in thick, globulous brushstrokes of noirish melody perfect for the darker kind of dancefloors out there.
Review: "In Rainbows", Radiohead's seventh album, finally gets a physical release! It's one thing downloading this landmark album, but to actually hold this is something special. Not only do you get increased sound quality, but you also get the amazing artwork from Stanley Donwood. This album includes "Nude", a live favourite for many years that was originally written during the "OK Computer" sessions. More minimal that their "Kid A" period, "In Rainbows" does something that very few albums have done - its sound is distinct from previous Radiohead albums, but is still clearly Radiohead. Hail to the kings, they are back on top form. Get this album while you can.
Review: Brownswood Recordings has high hopes for this debut album from the previously unheralded Yussef Kamaal, which brings together hyped producer Kamaal Williams (AKA Henry Wu) and fast-rising Afrobeat drummer Yussef Dayes. With such talent to draw on, you'd expect Black Focus to be rather good. Happily, it is, with the duo delivering a typically London-centric take on jazz funk. That means that they take as much inspiration from the work of Kaidi Tatham as, say, Herbie Hancock. The key to the album's success - and, yes, it is generally as special as Gilles Peterson suggests - is the fluid combination of Dayes' brilliant drumming and Williams' superb synth solos and effortlessly groovy Rhodes playing.
Review: Roy Of The Ravers may be best known for his lysergic rave pelters, but there's always been a hint of grandiose melancholy in his synth work that suggested there was more to the machine botherer than tear-out acid beats. Emotional Response worked with the artist in trawling through a vast archive of material recorded between 1997 and 2017, rescued from hard drives once thought lost, and now gathered as a compelling ambient release with the full fat hardware veneer of Roy's work to date, but coming from a more reflective angle. From cathedral-quaking drones to deeply submerged aquatic excursions, this album has plenty to draw you into the inner world of an acid hero.
Review: Rhythmic Theory makes his debut for Happy Skull with two of his darkest, otherworldly productions yet. "Decadance of Delay" is an unflinching sprint into techno-jack territory, all distorted machine rhythms, hallucinatory whispered vocals and hypnotic electronics, while "Endocrine Creatures" is a dystopian blast of 808 electro built around titanium-clad kicks, snappy snares and rippling acid lines.
I Know You Care (Arranged & Produced By Roy Ayers) (5:18)
It's Your Love (Arranged & Produced By Roy Ayers) (4:01)
Review: In soul connoisseur circles, Ethel Beatty will forever be remembered for her sole single on Roy Ayers' Uno Melodic label, which first slipped out in 1981. This Expansion Records reissue - pressed on white vinyl in a Juno exclusive - proves why it is still so well thought of. A-side "I Know You Care" is super-sweet, with Roy Ayers' immaculate production wisely focusing on Beatty's lovelorn vocal, and a disco era deep soul groove that's effortlessly warm and tactile. Also impressive is flipside "It's Your Love", Beatty's sugary but emotive rendition of a Dee Dee Bridgwater and Ayers composition that features some skittish, jazz-dance friendly drums and all-round soothing and seductive vibe.
Review: Manchester duo Local Dub make their debut on Hoader with four dreamy, timeless slabs of unfettered party-primed house music. "Fur Coat" takes the lead with a salubrious rolling tech groove that suddenly opens out with a musical layer that could be compared to Dubnobasswithmyheadman-era Underworld. Similarly "Where's Tez" taps into that slightly cosmic, musical style of house as it fused a well-oiled broken beat with an unrelenting 4/4. Flip for more dancefloor delights; "Freaq Paradise" takes more of a techno stance with a perfect array of dubby textures while "Bestnottoask" is a bubbly jack-fest with a neat sprinkling of acid. Get your fur coats, lads, you've pulled.
Review: The somewhat mysterious Dopplereffekt project founded by Drexciya's Gerald Donald ends their six year production hiatus with this Tetrahymena EP for Berlin label Leisure System. Established by Donald in the mid '90s, Dopplereffekt remain one of techno's most enigmatic propositions with their brand of cold, stark electro complemented by a bold, Cold War-indebted aesthetic and a general disregard for performing live or giving interviews. Though Donald has remained active production wise, developing the NRSB-11 project with DJ Stingray which recently saw the release of the politically loaded Commodified album, the Tetrahymena EP is a welcome return for Dopplereffekt and undoubtedly the most high profile release yet from Leisure System.
Review: Marcel Vogel's Lumberjacks In Hell label shows no signs of slowing as it ramps up a killer new salvo from debutant artist C Scott. "Climb On" is an uptempo workout to capture the absolute peak of the party in the funkiest of ways, while "Hands Free" provides an apt alternative with its slow, organ-led whimsy. Disco remains the backbone of the sound here, whatever tempo the track rolls at and wherever it may head. "Stuttering" demonstrates this perfectly with its heavily treated, head-spinning FX still capturing that classic good-time mood, while "At Ease" finishes on a life-affirming canter of Rhodes led celebration.
Review: Madrid's Lose Endz arrives on London label Inermu Wax after impressing with a pair of admired singles on Djebali and Brooklyn Bridge Music. The Spaniard hits the ground running with enveloping opener "Today Was a Good Day", where ultra-deep chords and jaunty, jammed-out organ riffs ride a crunchy tech-house grooves, before offering a deeper, chunkier and more bass-heavy take on tech-house via the UK garage-influenced "Faster Than You Think". Over on the flip, "This And That" sees the producer combine ambient techno textures with undulating tech-house beats, while "While Your Voice" is a bolder, acid-fired excursion tailor made for the 4am heads-down crew.
Review: Matasuna's latest must-have release comes courtesy of Dubben, an artist whose tasty, dub-fired mid-2000s reworks of Afro-Cuban and Latin tracks remain some of G.A.M.M.'s most potent moments. This is the producer's first release of any sort for nearly five years and continues in a similar vein. Check first A-side "Jesus Boogie", a samba-soaked, dub-funk fuelled revision of what sounds like a mid-1970s Brazilian MPB workout. Sweatier flavours are provided on B-side cut "Cachaca", where he dubs out and tools up a punchy affair that boasts a killer horn part reminiscent of The Champs classic "Tequila".
Review: We'd argue that "Feelin' Love" is one of the most impressive productions in Psychemagik's growing catalogue. First released in the spring of 2019, it returns to stores in 2020 via a fresh white vinyl pressing. The track is impressively drowsy, warm and woozy, with fragile, eyes-closed female R&B vocals rising above a blend of snappy drums, thickset bass, swirling synth sounds and chiming melodies, all seasoned with the kind of trippy effects that hit home hard when you're feeling love (sorry) at four in the morning. Flipside "Wake Up Everybody" is arguably even better, with the production pair peppering a head-nodding, hip-hop influenced groove with impeccably dubbed-out piano sounds and opaque musical flourishes.
Review: Destination Nigeria, 1975, Fela and Africa 70 are indelibly locked into a hugely prolific groove with well over 10 albums behind them. Then they release this, an LP comprised solely of two wondrously extended work outs from the troupe. "Expensive Shit" famously tells the tale of Fela's brush with the jaded law while "Water No Get Enemy" speaks - or rather sings - for itself. One of Fela's many notable and hugely influential releases; your collection isn't complete without it.
Review: Sect's third and final sampler for the It's All For You compilation ends on a bittersweet note, seeing the last release from Sect favourite Grovskopa, who has decided to retire following the closest of near death experiences. The A-Side features Lag's remix of his Sect classic "Atopic", reworking the lurching bass and broken-beat rhythms of the original into a hypnotic number with a fractured synth melody. The B-Side sees "2:69", a brittle yet powerful track with churning bass which recalls Drexciya's classically hard edged approach, combined with hazy orchestral sweeps - a fitting swansong for a great producer.
Review: Introducing Deep Cutz, a new vinyl arm from well established UK label Masterworks Music run by 80's Child, the Warrington DJ who has played with anyone worth their salt. This first EP is a dazzling disco affair from Jehan and Donnie Moustaki who takes us into deep and atmospheric territory from the off with a lush intro. Moustaki then goes solo for the shuffling, dischevilled kicks of "Saturninan Beer", before Jehan's "Lady 2000" gets loose and lithe on some live drum sounds and serious jazz chords. "Cool Man Nazz" is a steamy late night collab and "Rock Bottom" is Moustaki's final solo cut - a fresh fusion of jazz funk, disco and house into an organic groove to die for.
Review: If you don't already own a copty of Gil Scott-Heron classic "The Bottle", one of the many highlights from the pioneering spoken word artist and musician's 1974 collaboration with Brian Jackson, "Winter In America", then we'd heartily recommend picking up one of these limited-edition, white vinyl singles. For the uninitiated, the track features Scott-Heron musing on alcoholism and poverty over a killer flute-laden soul-funk groove. This time round it comes backed by another Scott-Heron/Jackson gem, "Johannesburg" - a more musically inventive and bluesy meditation on arpartheid first featured on the pair's 1975 album "From South Africa To South Carolina".
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.
Review: Back in 1998 Groove Chronicles took on Myron's "We Can Get Down", delivering a hard-stepping breaks-y version which was dazzlingly fresh for the time, and still sounds effervescent now. DPR continue their incredible service to archival garage holy grails by digging this one out of the dust and offering up some newly aired versions to take you even deeper. This is the sweet and smoky side of the UKG scene, not least on the spacious and dubby "2step Re:re:refix" that kicks off the B-side. Mellow, moody and oh so smooth, but with bass pressure where it counts. Don't sleep on this one - it's guaranteed to fly out.
Review: The Ti-Rex crew widens the net for their third release with the introduction of hitherto unknown producer Henrocic. The release begins with the ranging shuffle of "Al Chiaro Di Luna", a stripped down affair peppered with haunting flecks of jazz and a strung out late morning atmosphere. Label boss Ti Es then steps up with a remix of "Don't Stop" throwing down some tougher drum tones and working the reverb before the original version plunges down into an intimate space populated by natural grooves and strange sounds alike. "Pace Of The Are" then delivers a finishing blow with snaking percussion and gnarly bass tones.
Review: Originally issued back in 1998, Mezzanine remains the most commercially successful album released by Bristol troupe Massive Attack, thanks in no small part to the Liz Fraser-featuring "Teardrop". This third album signalled a change in sonic direction that played more explicitly on the darkness and tension that was always an undercurrent of their much loved debut Blue Lines and successor Protection. After numerous bootlegs over the years, Virgin have done the right thing and presented this official reissue of Mezzanine to appease fans of Massive Attack and it's clear the LP has lost none of it's bewitching power. The Quincy Jones and Isaac Hayes sampling "Exhange" and "Exchange" remain a delight in particular.
Review: There are certain songs so eternal they could be re-edited and repressed into infinity and never grow old. There are also certain remixers and re-editors that can be trusted with even the biggest of anthems, and Psychemagick are surely up there. Taking on Talking Heads' "This Must Be The Place" and Fleetwood Mac's "Everywhere" is no mean feat, when the originals were such pop perfection to begin with. Balancing the scales between a fresh treatment and solemn respect for the sanctity of the original versions, these versions simply add a little oomph in the rhythm section and apply smatterings of blissful, dubbed-out FX where it counts to send these perennial favourites into the stratosphere.
Review: Ted Amber first surfaced with an impressive 12" on minimal lynchpin Botanic Minds back in 2018. Now he's back on Romana with a new joint that maintains a seductively deep mood throughout, but still knows how to jack where it counts. The undulating synth tones of "808" get carried through to Magnus Asberg's ranging, steady building remix, while TIJN creates a delicate and detailed tapestry out of the ingredients to complete the set. For classy and consistent variations on a warm, mellow house theme, look no further than this deeply satisfying drop from the Romana crew.
Review: Warner has worked on a run of Joy Division reissues this month and after their most famous "Love Will Tear Us Apart" comes "Transmission" which is not far behind. A 2020 Digital Remaster reboots the sounds but retains the grit and urgency of the original, which is a surging post-punk anthem filled with angst but also a sense of vulnerability and melancholy that makes it so much more enduring. "Novelty" on the flip has a broken beat line, gauzy guitar riffs and is underpinned by an excellent insistent baseline that never lets up.
Review: Four Tet is back with a new album of shimmering wonderment on his own Text label. As ever, it's the way that Kieran Hebden tugs at the heart strings so artfully that makes him so well-loved, and he's not holding back one iota as "Sixteen Oceans" opens up with the ineffably pretty "School". There's some advanced garage ruminations on "Baby", classic ambience on "Harpsichord", and so the eclectic and extremely soul-cleansing vibes continue across three sides of wax. In addition to this wonderful new album, Hebden has also held back the fourth side for a bunch of locked grooves so satisfying you could get lost in them all day.
Review: Holding Hands are back with another crucial summer VA EP and it's another hearty selection. Breaka's "Loose Subs" takes the lead on a bubbling 160 flex with a vibe that's not dissimilar to Zinc back in his golden days. Guava drops the tempo for an acidic two-step piece while Lrds' "Quanda" is an ice cold electro joint with more shuffle than a poker house. Last but not least Dawn Razor shuts down the EP on a deliciously stripped back breaky tip that blossoms with a new element on every 32. Slam Jam thank you ma'am.
Review: Having thus far released EPs for Aficionado and Music For Dreams, A Vision Of Panorama return to their regular haunt Mellophonia to expand on the promise of their shorter works to go deep into a Balearic dream on Aquafusion. It's a perfect meditation on serene funk from start to finish, spanning eight tracks of tender musicianship that sit very easy on the ears. The likes of "Surf Blue" almost do away with drums entirely in a quest for calm, while "Barbados" and others offer up a more sprightly vision of 80s-flavoured groove, but throughout the mysterious hands behind the record maintain a smooth and steady mood that binds the album together.