Review: A limited yellow vinyl funk odyssey from Record Store Day, "I Get Lifted" is taken from KC & The Sunshine Band's second album (1975) Still sounding shiny and floor-minded, the original stands the test of time incredibly well. Todd Terje's edit, however, takes it to another level; upping the tempo (and, possibly, the key), he's extended the right places, added a little more emphasis on the kicks and made sure we can't miss the breakdowns and instrumental sections.
Review: Although most house and techno heads know him under a variety of different pseudonyms, Anthony Nicholson has been releasing smoking tunes since the 1990's for labels such as the mighty Prescription, on which he used to call himself African Blues. He's back in 2015 under his birth name, and he's landed on the lovely DeepartSounds, a home to artists such as Dubbyman, Giorgio Luceri, and the one like Ron Trent! On the A-side, "Optimum" fills your soul with a soothing array of gentle house swings, powered by sublime vocals and mid piano keys; the flipside is "Destination", and it's a funkier sort of tune, one that is a little less deep and little more disco. Beautiful house music for those looking for meditative gear.
Review: Vibez almighty! Another skank-packed doublet from Dutch soundsystem crew. This time Gunmen and Mystic Pulse are at the controls... The former gets his digidub dancehall vibe on with rapid-fire MC toasting and booty-busting halftime switches ("Greetings") while the latter carves out a soulful sun-kissed shaker that skanks so sweetly it could make Aries blush. Highly limited... Don't sleep.
Review: Launched over the summer, the Rasta Vibez label looks to bridge the gap between drum and bass and classic dub and reggae that has grown somewhat since the heyday of Jungle. If you were swayed by the distinct charms of the debut drop Jungle On Broadway, it's highly likely you will be compelled to check out this second 12". There's no complex science to either "Ice Cream Sound" or "World A Jungle Music" just a well executed take on a formula that has worked perfectly well many times over; delay and fx meet classic dub strains and jungle rhythms uptown
Review: It's been five years since Truth & Soul's octet gave us the incredible Wu Tang version album. It's been two years since they last dropped a single, too. However the band is back and their trademark cinematic soul is richer and more emotive than ever. From the instant the trembling flute and guitar open with the cuddly, ultimately positive "Kiddy Ditty" we're whisked on a largely instrumental journey that flings us through the wild west ("Little House"), soul's early JB chapters ("This Song For You") and straight up NY low-slung funk ("A Little Sloppy"). Climaxing with a Lee Fields featured "By The Time I Get To Phoenix", Loose Change is a kind reminder of just how accomplished and creative El Michels Affair are. No change there, then.
Review: "Is the Cornuta Sound's return after a long resting time. This new 10" contains one of the most saved songs by Above Smoke (Deep Explorer) that runs into the jazz world and an outro take for djs. The flipside brings a great rework by the label boss (W&P Hgg)."
Review: Don't fear this Reaper... Reaper Recordings is a mysterious brand new label with little information besides their dedication to the jungle craft. If this launch release from Ghosty (AKA Hungry Ghost) is anything to go by, they're not mucking around. "Dead Already" is a powerful subby slammer with eerie top lines and drums that could pierce concrete while "Forward" takes more of a sassy soul approach on the musicality but still drops deep into gully science when it needs to.
Review: Original Chicago deep house producer Vincent Floyd has enjoyed something of a career renaissance since the release of Moonlight Fantasy, a collection of previously unheard 1990s productions, on Rush Hour in 2014. Here the Dutch label dips into his vaults again and unearths another gem from the late 1990s. "Hard to Love" is every bit as warm, rich and loved-up as you'd expect, with Floyd providing a yearning, soul-fired vocal to accompany his rich Windy City grooves and cascading synthesizer melodies. On the flip you'll find a fabulous instrumental version that closely mirrors the vocal take. That it stands up on its own without the headline vocal is testament to Floyd's impeccable composition and production skills.
Review: There's a truly unique story behind this latest discovery from DJ Amir. Another great find from his Strata master tapes licence acquisition, TJ was written on the label of an undated, unmarked demo reel. No other information besides the beautifully raw soul on tape. Literally nothing is known about who TJ was (or were). Similarities with Shuggie Otis or perhaps Darondo are strong as the stripped back lightly treated guitars and his hazy, yearning vocal technique come on strong throughout. From the full bodied soul funk of "Love Flower" to the looped faraway harmonies and simple guitar backbone of "Time Is Wasting", the music is as strong the mystery itself. Beautiful.
Review: Destination mid 70s Nairobi where Madagascan guitarist Jimmy Mawi was laying down some serious vibes... Signed to EMI's Pathe imprint, he released three singles during his career which have all since faded to obscurity. Until now. Dusty, garagey and steaming with raw blues fusion, it's hard to deny any parallels to Hendrix as Mawi expresses himself with a rough heartfelt frenzy. Highlights include the Zep-level smoked out soul of "Blue Star Blues" and the insistent drive and reverbed out faraway vocals on "Black Dialogue". Another exemplary Afro-funk find from Soundway.
The Devil Made Me Do It (The Invisible Cosmic Echoes version) (4:51)
The Devil Made Me Do It (The Invisible Astral Wave version) (4:30)
Review: Like many drummers, Alex Puddu has long been inspired by the work of Tony Allen. He pays tribute to the legendary Nigerian sticks-man on "The Devil Made Me Do It", a sumptuous dose of groovy downtempo Afrobeat laden with Allen-style polyrhythms, Africa '70 horns and lashings of eyes-closed electric piano solos. On the flip you'll find two different interpretations from Puddu. The first, subtitled "The Invisible Cosmic", doffs a cap to the Afro-cosmic world of Daniele Baldelli while retaining much of the warmth and musicality of the original mix. "The Invisible Astral" version is an altogether more spaced-out dub, with Puddu smothering the drums and horns in copious amounts of tape echo.
Review: Woof! Hyperdub bring together two of the most recognisable and enigmatic artists of recent times on this 10", as Zomby and Burial square down ahead of the former's new album for the label. Zomby's Ultra LP is undoubtedly one of this year's most anticipated albums and "Sweetz" suggests it may be a very moody affair indeed. Whilst rooted in UK dance, Zomby and Burial do look elsewhere for inspiration too. Just under seven minutes long, "Sweetz" veers through various sub-heavy soundscapes with intermittent rhythmic patters and a distinctive looped vocal sample whose pitch changes with dramatic effect.
Review: Naturally, there's been plenty of hype surrounding this new Hyperdub 10", which features Burial indulging his often-discussed ambient influences. It's a typically creepy and ghostly affair, with the lack of beats - if not rhythmic elements - only serving to amplify the shadowy producer's impeccable sound design and brilliant use of manipulated field recordings. A-side "Subtemple" is particularly paranoid in tone, featuring as it does chilling melody loops, curious vocal samples, looped vinyl crackle and all manner of layered background noise. Flipside "Beachfires" is, if anything, even more dystopian, with Burial basing the action around the kind of pulsing chords that gust back and forth like an autumnal breeze.
Review: Church's latest release - a rather tasty, two-track ten-inch single - comes courtesy of South London sorts DJ Malcolm and Dabriel Garius. A-side "Lulo", a jazzy deep house cut smothered in expansive piano solos, dreamy synth chords and sampled female vocals, is particularly potent, with the duo expertly layering up the percussion to give the track a sun-kissed, carnival-friendly feel. Flipside "Guava" displays a similar jazz influence, with the duo trading electric piano and trumpet solos over elastic synth bass and swinging, semi-broken deep house grooves. It's what we imagine a contemporary collaboration between Phil Asher and 2000Black boys Dego and Kaidi Tatham would sound like, which is high praise indeed.
Review: New to Claremont but certainly not new to composing; Denis Leonvich has been writing for screen for over a decade and has amassed an impressive collection of heavier floor friendly cuts on the likes of National Techno. If these two rather warm and woozy Balearic debuts are anything to go by, his future cosmic output will be just as impressive; "Sunset Sparks" sways with a balmy mysticism with folk singing, an alluring hang drum and hazy pads while "Boma" takes a slightly darker route with psych sinewy arpeggios and a subtle but unforgettable brassy bass texture and sleazy guitar plucks. We look forward to Alterleo's next adventures...
Review: Detroit/Houston based Kolour have had some pretty credible names feature on their new 10 inch series this year, such as Eddic C, Napoleon, Frank Booker and Lady Blacktronika. Now it is over to the Belarus based disco DJ Funkyjaws who serves up two irresistible jams on Vol 8 of the series. On the A side, we have the soulful and life affirming African boogie of "Them & Us". We have not heard the original but it sounds pretty seamless to us: a respectful edit indeed. On the flip, we have one seriously mad boogie-down jam in the form of "Peasant Dance" which is a truly exotic affair from god knows where! Accordions, wah-wah guitar and some super string arrangements clash wonderfully. This may sound like an unholy mixture but this is exactly the kind of disco deviance that truly floats our boat! The Grodno based producer last appeared for the label on Kolour LTD 22 a couple of years back, and in the meantime has also appeared for the likes of Shadeleaf Music and Austrian imprint Pusic.
Review: Chevals, who brilliantly describes himself as a "French house producer, disco cutter and horse", came to our attention last year via a fine debut on Better Listen. You'll find further proof of his "rising star" status on this tasty, two-track contribution to Kolour LTD's 10-inch series. Both tracks are essentially re-edits, though there are enough additional touches and new musical elements to elevate them way beyond your average scalpel re-arrangement. The Frenchman kicks thing off with "I Can Prove It", a gently tooled-up and reworked version of a soaring, glassy-eyed disco-soul gem that will sound fantastic at this summer's open-air events. Flipside "Free Love" is an altogether more low-slung affair, with a fizzing, funk-fuelled groove building towards a rush-inducing Philadelphia Soul-goes-disco-house conclusion.
Review: This is Adam Wickens' - aka ADMIN - first appearance for Kolour LTD, and we're happy to see the UK deep house producer continuing his steady path to maturity. This two-tracker is part of the label's 'LTD 10s' series, and this particular one is the fourth instalment; we love it not only for the quality that has graced the releases up till now, but also because we're fools for the ten inch format. "Reach For Love" sounds like it could be on Moodymann's Mahogani, a sensual house charmer complete with gorgeous piano keys and assembled with pure hypnotic delight. Side B's "You've Got Me" is similarly cool and laid-back, but the beat is speedier here, the percussion more floor-centric and the vocals sexier than ever. What a gorgeous little tip - cop it!