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: If you enjoyed Yu Su's brilliant EP on Second Circle earlier in the year - and, let's face it, who didn't? - there's a rather high chance that you'll enjoy her first outing on Ninja Tune offshoot Technicolour. "Watermelon Woman" is a superb chunk of bass-heavy house music positive - an inventive and hugely enjoyable fusion of unfussy drum machine rhythms, sampled tribal drums, toasty bass, dubbed-out effects, stargazing electronics, fluttering flutes and jazzy motifs that have just the right amount of breezy Latin flavour. The original version comes backed with a hazy and laidback Dub rework and a boisterous, off-kilter remix by Francis Inferno Orchestra that layers rubbery sounds and heady vocal samples above a skewed tribal house beat.
Review: If you're a minimal fan and don't know Yama Music, you've been sleeping. Their first three EPs flew off the shelves and into crates of heady DJs across Europe. Once again the eponymous Yama Music is or are behind the beats and it's forward thinking, no nonsense dancing music of the highest order. "Acisaronno" is proper tech house with delicate hi hats and steel plated drums making for a frictionless groove, while "Chinchilla Shuffle" is the sort of slightly wonky and oddball track that Craig Richard drops on the regular. Freaky, spaced out and atmospheric, tech house doesn't get much better.
Review: Must Make made a fine start with their first EP back in May, and now they follow it up in quick time with a second volume of "Late Night Soundtrack". Once again, Workforce is the man in control and in case you missed it, that is the new alias of SpectraSoul's Jack Stevens, who is also behind the label. "Two Words" is smooth liquid with a distinctive nocturnal feel, soft focus piano chords and heartfelt vocal murmurs layering in the soul. SP:MC spits on the much more ragged and angsty stepper "Overnight Express" and "So Good" sits somewhere in between: the drums are frantic, the textures soar, but the vocal is sweet. "Common Interests" is minimal roller with focus on warped low ends and rattling jungle percussion. Hot stuff.
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.
Review: Having first appeared on Toolroom way back in 2013, Richard Dinsdale AKA Weiss is one of the label's longest serving artists. He's also one of the most prolific, with this strong outing being his 16th single for Mark Knight's imprint. "Let Me Love You", a bouncy contemporary cover of Kariya's 1988 house classic, has all the makings of a massive hit. The A-side original version combines classic elements - bold piano riffs and synths that subtly doff a cap to Kariya's version - with heavy electro-house bass and bumpin' beats. Over on side B, Dinsdale pumps it up further on a jacking piano-house take that's sweatier than a sauna full of gyrating, leather-clad bikers.
Review: In 2016, Family Groove Records released a 12" of previously unheard 1979 demo recordings by Webster Station, a boogie-funk band from Dayton, Ohio whose studio efforts were initially binned by Warner Brothers for not being commercial enough. Demand for Family Groove's limited 12" of their recordings has remained high, so the label has decided to do a reissue. There's much to admire throughout, from the high-octane thrills of opener "Are You For Real" and the spacey warmth of the super-soulful "Can You Feel My Love", to the sugary sweetness of the Latin tinged ballad "Lady" and righteous closer "If You Feel Like Dancing", a killer combination of spacey synths, crunchy drums, urgent vocals and killer Clavinet lines.
Review: Baby Ford and Dazmos take the limelight on this first release on Nice 1. We Are Syd's original "Gently" is a mellow downtempo roller featuring choice vocals from Shea Seger, but it's the remixes here that get pride of place. Ford and Dazmos lock into an understated drum machine funk draped in hazy pads on the A side "Backroom Mix", while on the flip they push the club elements to the forefront. Riding the rhythm section with intent while still retaining the smoky spirit of the original, the pairing come up with an impeccable "Frontroom" club cut that should nestle comfortably into the bags of all deep digging house heads.
Review: The seemingly bottomless Greensleeves vaults turn up more gold here with two prime cuts - Wailing Souls' "Who No Waan Come" and Al Campbell's "Unfaithful Children" - that are treated to a first new pressing since 1981. "Who No Waan Come" is silky and sedentary as they come, with kick drums just about managing to propel things along beneath gorgeous doo-wop harmonies. The Linval Thompson produced "Unfaithful Children", however, is a more driven affair with authentic roots. Psyched-out effects, endless reverb and hits that ricochet around, making it a widescreen dub that draws you in and takes you along for the ride.
Review: The peeps behind the People Of Earth label claim that Rick Wade is on top form on their latest release. While that's undoubtedly true, the Detroiter has incredibly high standards and rarely puts out anything mediocre. The four tracks here are all deliciously deep and fluid, with the Fender Rhodes solos, meandering organ lines, warm bass and chunky beats of "Never Give Up" delivering just the right blend of instrumental goodness and dancefloor-ready weightiness. "Seen At Night" is an even deeper and hazier treat, while "Forever Alone" sees Wade wrap bongo-laden beats and eyes-closed electric piano chords around a ludicrously warm and heavy bassline. Solo-laden closing cut "Rooftop" is also superb - a proper sundown selection of the highest calibre.
The Sixteen Steps - "Tales From The Old Country" (5:47)
Neud Photo - "Plagued By Consciousness" (6:08)
Review: As was the case with its predecessors, the third volume in VEYL's ongoing "Previously Undisclosed Rituals" series is packed to the rafters with angry, lo-fi club cuts, paranoid pagan techno and wild, mind-altering dancefloor throb-jobs. It's all of a high standard, of course, but we're particularly enjoying the drowsy late night hypnotism of Terrence Fixmer's "Always Through", the pitch-black electronic body music of The Sixteen Steps' "Tales From The Old Country", the foreboding late night creepiness of Neud Photo's decidedly trippy "Plagued By Consciousness" and the rip-snorting techno stomp of VTSS's nails-hard opener "Toxic Bleach". In a word: intense.
Review: If you're in the mood for some cosmic grooves, wayward disco and pagan psychedelia, Multi-Culti's Cult Edits series is always worth checking. The imprint's latest offering is packed to the rafters with mind-altering goodness. Inigo Voltier sets the tone with "Ti Amo", a Fairlight-powered bounce through post-Italo oddball electro territory with added mix-80s power-pop guitars, before Angelina Amor reworks a sludgy slab of European industrial/new wave fusion. Youkounkoun's throbbing "Cosmic Yoyo" sounds like post-apocalyptic Italo-disco after a fist full of downers, while Asa Moto's "When The Funk Is On" is a funky but undeniably weird electro-industrial cut rich in delay-laden vocal snippets and metallic percussion hits.
Review: Paris based producer Von D is having a busy and year having already worked with Moresounds and Rider Shafique in 2019. This time out he links with Jamaican vocalist Blackout Ja who himself has contributed to this label before now. This latest excursion is a big dancehall stepper that manages to unite authentic old school reggae with contemporary digital vibes. It features huge oversized hits and watery chords, droplets of synth and tinkling keys that all coalesce round a meandering bassline. A surefire hit that will resonant with fans all over the world.
Review: Moscow's Shanti Radio crew have really honed in on their own little music niche: deep, laced with trance tones, and emotive house. Tunes from this hotly anticipated EP by Volen Sentir has been doing the rounds in certain DJs sets for as much as six months. Highlights are plentiful throughout but the title track is arguably the standout. Languid piano chords dropped over soft, succulent, dubbed out drum rolls while tribal vocal chat bleeds in and out of focus to add to the hypnotic effect, and some sensitive xylophone sounds supporting an all-important melody line.