Review: Heavy rotation: Belgium badman Zygos returns to Foundation Audio with a full range of sounds. Three tracks, three vibes: opener "Rotation" is just as much of a techno jam as it is a dubstep track, all rolling motion and layers of percussion, "Sick As A Dog" brings the graveyard ghetto vibes, all spooky pads, groaning bass and rattlesnake snare rolls while "Tumble Dub" closes business on much more of a traditional halftime swagger vibe but with a mechanical hook that lives up to its name. Loopy business. Zygos always smashes it.
Review: White Peach daddy Zha returns to his own persy bakery for more dread bread bass. Every bit as tasty as previous Naan excursions, it's another eastern banquet; "Floating" is soft, spacious, spongey, singular and liable to sweep any wavey people right off their feet. "Shower" flips the vibe entirely for a bashy, reverse string splash-about while "Father" is a head-first drive down a shimmering sitar rabbit hole. "Jaan" sends us packing on a magic carpet of hang-drums, deep mystic pads and gentle strings. Life affirming.
Review: Under the Yak alias, Steel City producer John Randall has previously plied his wares on Version, 3024 and R&S, offering up distinctively percussive tracks that sit somewhere between techno and bass music. His latest outing - this time for Phonica Records - delivers more hard-to-pigeonhole goodness for discerning dancefloors. Opener "Zip" peppers African style tribal drums and raw Motor City techno bass with the kind of ear-catching bleeps that were once a Steel City staple, before the jumpy and upbeat "Guevenne Groove" wraps positive, glassy-eyed synthesizer motifs around sweaty, loose-limbed live drumming. "Fret" is a spaced out, bass-heavy two-step number laden with intergalactic electronics and undulating bass, while closing cut "Gerudo" brilliantly joins the dots between tribal rhythms and shimmering deep house.
Review: For their fifth release, Japanese label Eureka! presents Pablo Valentino: founder of Faces Records (with Motor City Drum Ensemble) for the "Space Tribe" EP. Kicking off proceedings is Berlin-based Kazuki Yamaguchi on the Detroit Beatdown influenced "Bananas" on which you'll hear the pair emanate plenty of soul and emotion, followed by the blunted urban blues of "Inspiracao" where Valentino goes into a wonderful downbeat hip-hop state of mind. On the flip is the EP's most poignant moment brought by the evocative and bittersweet mood music of the title track featuring British producer Simbad - this one goes ultra deep and we love every minute of it!
Review: A new enigmatic duo from London named Two Shell present Livity Sounds' next installment. Their debut "Access EP" draws influence from the South London underground of the late '90s and early 00's, with a nod to more contemporary Bristol sounds across these four wicked tracks. From the off-kilter stepper that is "Heart Piece', through to the glacial and deconstructed dub techno of "Contactless" and the rolling bass-driven entrancer "SYNC-2020" - they have forged an EP of warm but stripped-down, deft UK style grooves to mark an anthemic debut. More groundbreaking future sounds from the ever reliable Bristol label.
Review: The hardest-working man in West London is back! By now we've become accustomed to Kaidi Tatham offering up regular doses of soul and jazz-funk-fired dancefloor goodness, but even by his high standards "You Find That I Got It" is something special. Warm, woozy, groovy and full of intricate musical details - brief synth solos, subtle orchestration and so on - the A-side title track is a wonderfully sunny slice of instrumental boogie-soul. Tatham's world-renowned keys playing comes to the fore on the organic broken beat/jazz-funk fusion of "Mjuvi", a flipside cut that's almost as good as the exceptional title track.
Review: REPRESS ALERT! Best Record Italy take the time machine all the way back to 1979 to revisit the wonderful Italo-Disco delights of Adolf Stern, whose "More... I Like It" represents the strangest end of the genre as it was taking shape. With heavily processed vocals injecting some serious strangeness into the chirpy disco backdrop, it's the kind of track to turn heads without a doubt. "Twenty Seven" on the B-side is equally magical in its capturing of the era, with the more obvious surface elements underpinned by a truly intoxicating line in synth arpeggios. Once again Best comes up trumps refreshing the history of Italian music of all shapes and sizes.
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.