Review: Armed with a hard drive full of multi-track parts to a wide array of disco, rock, boogie and pop classics, the Reflex has spent the last decade offering up unique "Revisions" that often differ greatly to their source material despite using the same basic instrumental and vocal tracks. He's at it again here, offering up sneaky revisions of two dancefloor soul classics. On the A-side he handles "Dance To The Music", frequently stripping the track back to little more than a stomping groove, delay-laden vocals and wild organ lines. On the flip he turns his attention to "Pusherman", gently beefing up the groove while showcasing the attractive sweetness of the original track's fluid horn parts and bulging bassline.
Review: Anyone who takes their electronic music history seriously should already be hip to this one, but a brief rundown for those new to the roots of electro and techno. Cybotron were the project from Richard Davis and Juan Atkins, who went on to help forge the sound of Detroit techno as Model 500. Released in 1983, their debut album "Enter" was a blueprint for so much music that came after, with "Clear" being the standout track that send 80s heads spinning into a state of funky future shock. This tasty little 7" reissue puts "Clear" on the A side, and 1981 sci-fi boogie belter "Alleys Of Your Mind" on the flip. Two evergreen gems no machine music aficionado should be without.
Review: Four years deep into its disco, beatdown and edit adventures, Smokecloud's status is nigh-on impeccable. Here we find them uniting four of their most creative craftsmen for four straight-up dancefloor pacifiers. Highlights include the sludgy slo-mo Edwin Starr on acid flavoured "Caught Up" and the Diana Ross homage that is the sun-skanked reggae party jam "CC Tribute" by VinylAddicted & SMQ. Instant smiles.
Review: Vinyl Speed Adjust have conquered a lot of labels in their time, ranging from BodyParts to Pressure Traxx, Visionquest to Pleasure Zone. Representing a different twist on the Romanian minimal sound, the pairing of Andrei Predoi & Claudiu-Eduard Balan now find themselves on Constant Sound dropping the subtly psychedelic tech house trip out, "Semantic Expressions". As if the trance-inducing original wasn't enough, we're also treated to gold-standard remixes from Mike Shannon and DoubtingThomas, both of whom bring their glittering score cards in the minimal fraternity to two distinct but complementary versions of Vinyl Speed Adjust's track.
Review: Detroit mainstay Waajeed is back on the case with another heavyweight slab for his Dirt Tech Reck label. "Heavy" pulls no punches - this track is peak time soul music turned up to 11 not least thanks to Wu-Tang songstress Blue Raspberry under alias Candi Lindsey's staggering diva vocal. The track also comes in instrumental form, but trust us and reach for the vocal to send a crowd into rapture. Lindsey returns on "Deeper Into Blue", another sprightly house cut with melancholy and hope in equal measure. "Too Black" rounds the EP off with a twitching broken beat groove that speaks to Waajeed's accomplished history in the truly soulful end of contemporary club music.
Review: After the strength of the Runaway 12", Armstrong is back with another pair of smokin' hot edits to get your disco sizzling in all the right ways. "Hangover" stretches out over 13 heavenly minutes of groove that sounds like the kind of source material Moodymann would be more than happy sampling. "Melting Pot" is a more Motown-esque vibe with jangly guitar chops and sweet organs bringing the emotional punch. Clearly dug by someone who knows their onions, and edited for maximum extended pleasure, this is how edits should be done.
Review: One for the slow-mo crew, or at least those that want their house music delivered in more of a lackadaisical, organic format, think four tracks packed with Wurlitzer-esque melodies, sun-kissed vocal hooks, classic tropical percussive accents and gospel lyric extravagance. At times positive, in other moments somewhat melancholic, the true heaviness in the kicks only really becomes apparent once you've turned the lot up. The latter providing the focal point for appropriately-titled 'Sing Hallelujah', a loose, stomping track capped with handclaps and underpinned by a timeless, acid-influenced synth line. As unashamed as it is uncompromising. The remaining three tracks are pack pared back and reflective moods 'The Fear of Fear Itself'), organ filled playfulness, and head-nodding sexiness ('My Guitar Plays Itself') in equal measures, making for a crossover package that wears its accessible soul very much on sleeve.
Gledd & The Funk District - "Late At Midnight" (5:49)
Review: London's Tropical Disco are back with their eleventh edition of superb edits. All re-spliced and remixed with precision and above all - respectf! First up is label boss Tim Burnett aka Moodena who reuses a rather familiar hook on the funked-up brass section of "The Chase", followed by the lo-slung and sultry late night business of "Addicted To You" by Alex Satrorial on the A side. On the flip, we have got Parisian Chevals (Masterworks/Hotwax) going deep on the sensual boogie-down groove of "Saturn In Tropical" followed by an oldie but a goodie in the form of Gledd & The Funk District's "Late At Night".
Politics Of Dancing X Chris Carrier - "Track 1" (6:45)
Politics Of Dancing X Nail - "Track 2" (7:35)
Review: Politics Of Dancing continue their adventures in the studio with friends and kindred spirits, this time teaming up with two tech house titans that paved the way for the sound they're immersed in today. Fellow Parisian Chris Carrier sounds right at home sparring with S.M.A.L.L and Paco on "Track 1", where an irresistible bassline groove underpins some acid licks that burrow deep into the night time frame of mind. On the flip Nail is the partner of choice, and the UK veteran helps whip up a crisp and chunky workout heavy on the drums - a serious DJ workout for those craving solid gear for their sets.
Review: It would be safe to say that Kayroy (real name Finian Langham) is on a roll. This is his third must-have EP of 2019 and his second outing on Whiskey Disco. It begins with "Rosella", a superb revision of Crown Heights Affair's "Say a Prayer" that strips out most of the vocals and layers up tasteful overdubs to give the track a more cosmic and dubbed-out feel. "You're The Reason Why" is a loopy but groovy rearrangement of a dewy-eyed laidback disco classic, while "Silk & Satin" is a riotous rework of a heavy disco-funk number rich in sharp, rising horn lines, screaming guitars, sweaty drums and toasty bass. Arguably best of all, though, is the fizzing, dubbed out Italo-disco-goes-poodle-perm-rock insanity of "One Night In Prague".
Review: Hot on the heels of the "Lush Culture" EP with Deetron that landed on Perpetual earlier this summer, more lush licks come from Mr Fred P aka Black Jazz Consortium. Four soul hurricanes that range in weight and emotion, the two poles here can be found slap-bang in the middle of the EP: "Moonlight" is a sultry brushed-drum break for lovers while "Riverside Drive" jacks like a rhino but soothes you with big breeze feels. Elsewhere "Reaching For The Stars" cruises on a skippy break with airy early 90s New York pads and "New Ways" closes on a stunning 88 tip. Have nice dreams y'all.
Billy Squier - "The Big Beat" (extended Breaks Special edition) (2:54)
Le Pamplemousse - "Gimmie What You Got" (extended Breaks Special edition) (4:12)
Review: We've said this before, but there's something brilliantly simple about the Beats & Breaks label's "Extended Breaks" series of seven-inch re-edits. There's no superfluous fluff or needless rearrangement, just solid and matter-or-fact extensions of key drum breaks to both aid mixing and light up dancefloors. For proof, check the mysterious re-editors' take on Billy Squier's 1980 heavy rock workout "The Big Beat", which prioritizes the track's fat, bottom-heavy drums and the singer's impassioned vocal yelps while stripping out most of the gnarled guitar riffs. If you need a bit of a breather from the heavy dancefloor pressure, the crew's subtle revision of Le Pamplemousse's drowsy, synth-laden deep disco shuffler "Gimme What You Got" - a string-laden slice of sun-kissed sweetness - should do the trick.
Turn Me Loose/My Design (extended version) (13:58)
Turn Me Loose (Sirs cut) (10:32)
Review: Best Records present another deep cover jam Balearic diggers will rejoice at being able to lay their hands on. Blue Night was the brainchild of Peter Miconi, who created "Turn Me Loose" in 1983. All the elements are present here, from the aching blue-eyed soul vocals to rich guitar solos and an irrepressible funk bedded down in the groove, here stretching out for a full 14 minutes of pure sunkissed bliss. On the flip, SIRS takes a careful run at the original that simply reframes the elements with a more pronounced rhythm section - this is someone who knows exactly what the track needs and declines to change anything for the sake of it. Classy stuff, as you would expect from a reissue on Best Records.
Review: After four years spent contributing tracks to multi-artist EPs and digital download compilations, Casey Spillman has finally been given a chance to release a 12" all of his own. He's firmly grasped the opportunity with both hands, first offering up a bouncy, sub-heavy chunk of late night UK garage/deep house fusion ("Avec Moi", before effortlessly joining the dots between skittering tech-house and rumbling UKG on "Temperature". Over on Side B, Enzo Siragusa offers a deep, acid-flecked tech-house take on "Avec Moi" - all off-kilter electronics, earth-shaking bass and glitchy grooves - while Spillman delivers more bass-heavy, garage-influenced grooves and sun-kissed synths on atmospheric closing cut "Endure".
Review: Having previously dipped into the back catalogue of a host of disco, house and U.S garage acts, Groovin' Records has decided to offer up a trio of tracks from jazz-funk maestro-turned-disco don Eumir Deodato. First up is John "Jellybean" Benitez's superb 1982 remix of "Keep On Movin", a dreamy disco club-cut rich in bold slap bass, swirling chords and sweet female vocals. Benitez is also at the controls on "Keep It In The Family (Remix)', another 1982 rework of one of Deodato's most famous disco-era anthems (check the clips - you'll be singing along within seconds). To round things off, the label steps back to 1978 with the hard-to-find and in-demand 12" version of jazz-funk/disco classic "Whistlebump".
Review: UK funkateers out on the cosmic frontier in the early 80s Atmosfear let this synth-stroking, bass-slapping star-gazing escapade loose in 1982 and OG presses have been known to fetch a fair a penny among collectors in the past. A proud piece of UK jazz boogie, it's not heard to hear why it's been in such demand. Timeless, spacious and laced with intoxicating vocals and a superbly trippy dub version on the B that was way ahead of its time. Grab it while you can.
Fonda Rae - "Living In Ecstasy" (The Groove mix) (7:14)
Fonda Rae - "Living In Ecstasy" (JC Ecstasy dub) (7:40)
Jon Cutler - "It's Yours" (feat E Man - original Distant music mix) (7:07)
The Return - "New Day" (7:26)
Review: 4To The Floor's "Classics" series returns with another round up of must-have U.S house music from the late '90s and early 2000s. Side A is all about disco queen Fonda Rae's Mod II Swing produced 1996 cut "Living In Ecstasy". Choose between the "Groove Mix", a rolling and soulful affair rich in rolling drums and jaunty synth stabs, and John Cicafone's dark, driving and bass-heavy "Ecstasy Dub", which remains a formidable chunk of late night body music. Over on side B, there's another chance to savour Jon Cutler and E-Man's "It's Yours", a gently jazzy chunk of soulful house goodness that was one of the biggest club hits of 2001, and the lesser-known delights of The Return's deliciously deep and dreamy 1999 workout "New Day".
Review: Earlier in the year Lone launched the Ancient Astronauts imprint via a single-track digital single that wrapped his usual sun-soaked electronics and kaleidoscopic synthesizer melodies around a ridiculously rubbery bassline and crunchy, club-ready breakbeats. Here he offers up the label's first vinyl EP, a three-track missive that's as loved-up as you'd expect. Check first "How Can You Tell", an ultra-deep, dreamy and rushing chunk of deep jungle revivalism full of psychedelic acid lines, slack-tuned breakbeats, yearning chords and bowel-bothering sub-bass. Equally as impressive is A-side opener "Abraxas", a delightful cut that fits between rush-inducing moments of loved-up bliss and the kind of intensely bustling breakbeats that were once all the rage on British dancefloors. "Young Star Cluster", a killer combination of hip-house style breaks and funk-fuelled acid lines, is also superb.
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: Way back in 1999, Acid Jazz Records launched an offshoot dedicated to disco edits: Original Sound Track Recordings. The best of the series' many superb reworks were later gathered together on a compilation album on EMI that now changes hands for significant sums online. Happily, they've decided to reissue some of their early releases, beginning with this 7" of Family Tree featuring Sharon Brown's "Family Tree". You'll find the peerless original - a breakbeat-driven chunk of lolloping funk brilliance - on Side A, with the label's 2002 "Super Disco Break Beat" version on the flip. Inspired by hip-hop DJs doubling up the track's brilliant drum breaks, it's a killer percussion workout with a few quick blasts of funk energy and carefully placed special effects (think flanged drums, reversed sections and so on).
Review: Berlin-based Korean Peggy Gou has been surprisingly quiet since first bursting onto the scene back in 2016. Here, she returns to action having graduated from Technicolour to parent label Ninja Tune. Many may already have heard EP standout "It Makes You Forget (Itgehane)", a percussively ambidextrous beast based around a bouncy, off-skilter, snare-heavy rhythm track. It has been much discussed online after Gou included it her recent Resident Advisor podcast. On the B-side you'll find tracks representative of her developing style, which draws together elements of European deep house, electro, early '90s U.S house, the rubbery disco eccentricity of Maurice Fulton and the instinctive polyrhythms more often found in traditional African music.
Review: This is just the fourth release on Negentropy, but already the label has been catching attention for doing some really interesting stuff, while consistently delivering dancefloor material that refuses to let go once you've been hooked in. French groove monster Sweely seems like a pretty good fit for the imprint, then, as this three tracker proves with ease. Crisp, sharp, and packed with energy, 'Take One' kicks off with the kind of punchiness that belies what's about to happen- soon dropping into a freeform, jazz-infused breakdown that appears to come out of nowhere, switching the vibe of the tune completely. You can almost see the sci-fi console lights behind the micro-percussive detailing on 'One Or Another', while 'Deep Into The Rhythms' is destined to please anyone who enjoys getting their head down to an archetypal relentless roller.
Review: To tie in with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landings, Brian Eno has decided to put out a new edition of his decidedly spacey 1983 ambient album "Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks", which started life as the soundtrack to a long-forgotten documentary about NASA's space program. The edition is rather special, not only because it contains a remastered version of the original set created by Eno, his brother Roger and regular collaborator Daniel Lanois, but also because it contains a second disc of previously unheard material. This is not old, though, but rather brand new recordings - described as "new interpretations of the film soundtrack" - made by the Lanois and the Eno brothers late last year in a similar style. In a word: essential.
Review: For the latest missive on their reissue-focused Attic Salt Discs imprint, Dusty-fingered duo Colin Volvert and Otto Kraanen have snapped up the rights to a sought-after 1984 cut from Belgian new wave band 1000 Ohm. You'll find their original vocal and instrumental versions on the A-side, with both sounding like a delightful cross between bubbly Italo-disco, Bobby 'O' style Hi-NRG and the imperial synth-pop of the Pet Shop Boys. Arguably even better than both original mixes is Vanzetti and Sacco's more dancefloor-focused flipside edit. While this does make use of 1000 Ohm's Heaven 17/ABC style vocals and cheery melodies, there's far more focus on the druggy arpeggio groove and chunky drum machine beats.
Review: It's been a minute or two since Renault cooked us something special but here is on Takeaway and it's a premier delivery service. Both pure disco crackers, "Law Of Love" runs with a succulent bassline and writhing pianos running amok while "More Loving" goes for much more of a smoochy end-of-night feel with sultry vocals, an unhurried groove and a big late 70s production feel. Drop it and watch those love birds fly. Feel the love.
Review: Given that they started out 12 years ago making soul-fired 21st century jazz-funk and bustling broken beat, it seems fitting that their latest single features the honeyed lead vocals of Xantone Blacq, an artist whose early singles explored bruk and future jazz. "You Said" is a wonderful chunk of laidback disco-soul tailor made for sun-kissed afternoons and sweltering early evening dances. Blacq is in fine form singing over the duo's Nile Rodgers style guitars, Bernard Edwards-seque bass and intricately programmed percussion. Over on the flip the pair dons their J & J guys to offer up a largely instrumental edit for those who prefer to get lost in the groove.
Last I Heard (...He Was Circling The Drain) (5:10)
Dawn Chorus (5:34)
I Am A Very Rude Person (3:52)
Not The News (3:57)
The Axe (6:58)
Impossible Knots (4:19)
(Ladies & Gentlemen, Thank You For Coming) (4:57)
Review: It's taken a while, but finally Thom Yorke's impressive third solo album, "ANIMA", is available on wax (and in a fetching shade of orange, too). A future classic that continues the legacy he started with XL Recordings back in 2006 (with his solo debut The Eraser), ANIMA is well worth picking up, as Yorke and co-producer Nigel Godrich offer up evocative, off-kilter songs built around the twin attractions of the Radiohead man's distinctive vocals and skewed backing tracks rich in layered electronic noise, body-bending sub-bass, discordant synthesizer parts and intriguingly jaunty drum loops. Highlights are plentiful throughout, from the creepy, lo-fi ambient swirl of "Last I Heard (...He Was Circling the Drain)" and "Dawn Chorus" (a blissfully dewy-eyed early morning soundscape), to the low-slung, post-trip-hop hum of "I Am A Very Rude Person" and the fizzing, jazz-fired thrust of "Impossible Knots". Melancholic, yes. Deep and self-effacing, of course. Nihilistic, not really. Percussive futurist sub-pop is back.
Good Good Lovin' (Hifi Sean & Yam Who? edit) (3:58)
Review: Recently, legendary American dance producer Arthur Baker discovered two tracks in his storage on 1/4" tape recorded in 1979. He asked Hifi Sean (aka Sean Dickson of The Soup Dragons) to rework them - who brought on board Riot Recordings boss Yam Who? and they quickly got to work resurrecting these soulful disco anthems. On the A side, we have the souled-up disco power of "Reachin'" featuring Minnie Gardner's powerful vocals, then get prepared to get down proper to the group vocals and epic brass section in the uplifting "Good Good Lovin'" (Hifi Sean & Yam Who? edit) all accompanied by Baker's immaculate production style.
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: Garden Of Eden was another one of those obscure, one-shot bands who released a sole single at some point in the 1970s and then promptly vanished from view. That single, "Everybody's On A Trip", has long been sought-after amongst collectors of intergalactic disco-funk, hence this reissue from the Backatcha crew. The title track is a downlow delight, with flanged guitar riffs, spacey synth lines, punchy horns and quality male vocals rising above a hot and heavy groove. Over on the flip "It Takes Two" is sweet, slow and dewy-eyed in the tried-and-tested tradition of B-side ballads.
Review: Since its release in 1973, Ze Roberto's debut single "Lotus 72 D" has become something of an in-demand item amongst collectors of soul-fired Brazilian "MPB". So much so, in fact, that Mr Bongo has licensed it and served up this 7" reissue. In its original A-side form, the track is a carnival-ready slab of samba-soul brilliance rich in razor-sharp horn blasts, rich bass guitar, punchy hand-percussion and twinkling jazz piano solos. Roberto's confident vocals take centre stage, inviting us towards the dancefloor. Over on the flip you'll find a "Fast Version" of Roberto's tribute to 1972 Formula 1 champ Emerson Fittipaldi. This has a slightly more dancefloor-centric tempo, an effect achieved when it was accidentally pitched up for inclusion on a 2001 compilation.
Review: Gino and Dino ride again! As with the previous G&D edit releases, the vibe is silky smooth, soulful and disco to its very core. "Changes" kickstarts the EP with a thumping disco piece that hits with northern soul energy while "Give Me Hot" has some of the most honied harmonies and peppiest sax you'll hear on wax this summer. Finally "Cosmic Factory" closes with the deep, spacey outer-planetary salute its name suggests. Watch out for those drums!
I'll Take You There (Directors cut Classic Signature remix) (7:48)
I'll Take You There (Dimitri From Paris re-edit) (7:48)
I'll Take You There (The Shapeshifters remix) (7:42)
Review: Back in 2011, Frankie Knuckles and Eric Kupper debuted their Director's Cut project by teaming up with old pal Jamie Principle on "I'll Take You There". Here it gets the reissue treatment, with a trio of classic mixes being joined by a fresh revision from scalpel maestro Moplen. His version is delicious, with Principle's loved-up vocal rising above bubbly synth-bass, evocative organ lines, swirling synthesizer motifs and sunrise chords. There's another chance to enjoy Director's Cut's own warm and glassy-eyed "Signature Remix", a second spin for Dimitri From Paris's slightly breezier (but no less loved-up) re-edit and a boisterous funky house rework from the Shapeshifters that some may have missed first time around.