Review: Cannon & Mirrorball may not be the disco edit scene's answer to moustache-sporting 1970s/80s comedy heroes Cannon and Ball, but they certainly serve up tracks that will put a big goofy smile on your face. Their latest Disco Bits adventure begins via "Black Rhythm Rap", a chunky, hip-hop friendly rework of an obscure, late 1970s disco-rap bomb rich in funky guitar licks, cut-glass strings and party-starting MC flows. On the flip they get even cheekier, placing Loleatta Holloway's incredible "Love Sensation" vocal over a stomping, Blaxploitation-era disco-funk backing track and all manner of familiar soul and funk samples. Purists will no doubt sneer, but they really shouldn't: this is tastefully produced disco heat of the highest order.
Review: This is proving to be a big breakthrough year for Kosh, a producer hailing from Casablanca in Morocco. After making a first appearance last year on Casa Voyager, he's returned to that label a second time before dropping the "Endless Quest" 12" on eudemonia. But now he's made a marked leap forward with this transmission on 20:20 Vision, where his incredibly well-read take on vintage electro sounds right at home. There is quality pouring from every corner of this record, but we recommend you make a beeline for the sumptuous "Vicious Love," an acid-laced burner with soul to match its snarl.
Review: Dinky-Di is a modern disco ensemble conducted by Waq Takahashi with just a few key releases spread out across the past 15 years. Now Million Dollar Disco main man Al Kent has cherry picked one of the hottest jams from their oeuvre and given it a special rub down - the kind of treatment that warrants a single-sided 12" no less. In Al's hands, 2005 track "Gold Wave" becomes a sizzling party monster that romps along for more than 10 minutes. With scintillating peaks, heavyweight drum breakdowns and sumptuous musicianship throughout, this is how an epic disco bomb should sound in 2019.
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.
Review: We were really impressed by "Invisibility Theory", the Sushitech released debut album from Christi Cons and Vlad Caia's Sideways Invisibility Theory project. This speedy follow-up for Half Baked Records (under the truncated SIT pseudonym) is rather good, too. Check first A-side "Spectral", a typically epic excursion where warm ambient chords, deep space electronics and glistening electric guitar motifs bob and weave around a chunky analogue bassline and locked-in tech-house drums. B-side opener "Owl Farm" is notably wonkier and weirder, with druggy drums, mind-altering electronics and the trademark glitch-laden shuffle we've come to expect from Romanian electronic music. That vibe is explored further on twisted closing cut "Animation", a particularly alien example of skewed tech-house funk.
Review: We can confirm that Adam "Admin" Wickens is not only a hugely talented DJ and producer, but also a thoroughly nice chap. Here he makes his bow on Better Listen with a three-tracker packed to the rafters with warmth, soul and groove. Check first A-side "Adjust Your Love", a sample-fired workout that effortlessly joins the dots between disco, deep house and star-kissed jazz-funk, before turning your attention to the chopped-and-screwed samples, toasty sub-bass, languid beats and echoing piano snippets of "Easy Love Dub". The Bristol-based producer rounds things off in fine style via "Horizons", a slightly bouncier house cut that makes great use of some bluesy piano samples and another stoned, glassy-eyed bassline.
Review: The first vinyl offering on any label needs to be something pretty special, and evidently No Fuss Records haven't forgotten that golden rule of releasing. Who better to draft than Saison, a duo with an established reputation for soulful, groove-fulled deep house that's guaranteed to make an impression on the floor? Probably nobody, hence the decision. 'I Need Ya' is a classic vocal workout, brass stabs and looped, filtered lyrics clearly positioning the track as a good times anthem. There's more than a little chug underpinning the Werkshy remix of 'Something Made Me', which stomps its way into a male chorus that should thrust fists skywards. 'Senor Blues' is more of a journey in comparison to its siblings, gradually unveiling its pianos and opening the arrangement up as the track expands from understated beginnings to room-filling proportions.
Review: Active for the past couple of years, Burnski's Instinct alter ego has been a revealing window into the ruder side of this seasoned producer's repertoire, and so it continues on round seven of this self-titled label series. The A-side jam "Operation" finds the Leeds stalwart in UK Garage mode, riding a mean bassline flex and amping up the 2-Step shuffle. Jack Michael takes up the B-side mission with a razor-sharp electro workout that matches bleepy electronica with badass breaks and nasty bass to get bodies freaking all over the joint. This is a record precision primed for basement sessions - if you're looking for some sounds to do real damage in the dance, look no further.
Review: Founded in 1967 by singer/producer Carlos Oliva and other Cuban immigrants to the United States, Los Sobrinos del Juez were briefly one of the leading protagonists of the turn-of-the-'70s "Miami Sound" - a humid and intoxicating fusion of blues, rock, funk and dancefloor-focused Latin sounds. Their 1974 debut single "Harina De Maiz" - here reissued for the first time since - is a perfect example of that short lived style, offering up a mixture of wah-wah-guitar and psychedelic organ-powered Latin funk grooves and righteous Cuban vocals. On this edition it comes backed by the previously unheard "Corned Beef Hash", a swinging Latin-jazz number rich in vibraphone solos, jaunty piano riffs and plenty of hip-wiggling percussion.
Review: Joe Corti has had a breakthrough 12 months, with releases landing on Better Listen and his own China White. Bringing more of that sweet, disco tinged house music to the second volume on his label, Corti strikes a heady mood on "Move Your Seat" with a mixture of swirling Philly string samples and looped up elements that should set the dancefloor alight in that most tender of ways. "Think Twice" is on a similar tip, albeit with a choice run of dreamy trumpet coursing through the track. "Just You" has a slightly techier edge, but it's embellished with the kind of keys that will appeal to fans of Glenn Underground. Classy stuff from a rising talent.
Review: It's been four years since A&R Edits ceased releasing music after serving up nine essential EPs between 2013 and 2015. This return to action has been masterminded by Merseyside scalpel fiends Greg Wilson ("GW") and Henry Greenwood, whose fine revision of Neneh Cherry's "Buffalo Stance" kick-started the imprint six years ago. A-side "Disco Mondo" is a rolling revision of a lesser-known breathy disco jam of (we think) Italian origin. It boasts a metronomic groove, wah-wah guitars, elongated organ chords, congas for days and a few well-placed swirling electronic effects. Over on side B, "In The City" is a dreamy chunk of mid-tempo, Italo-disco influenced synth-pop.
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.
Pimping People In High Places (Woodword Ave alternative mix) (6:50)
The Medusa Touch (6:52)
Review: Gary Martin is well known for his unique productions and his label Teknotika is surely a classic coming out of the famous motor city. This special 10" holds two sought after tracks that were found on a lost DAT tape by Yossi Amoyal and Gary Martin himself. On the A side we have a long time secret weapon, it's a hypnotic groove that was heard on many classic sets, Zip and Ben Klock to name a few. An extremely insane, hard to find Gigi Galaxy track that was changing hands for silly prices is on the B side, for those who know... massive release!
Review: Helena Hauff returns to her own Return To Disorder label after last year's joyously received "Qualm" album on Ninja Tune. It's the first fully solo record Hauff has released herself, and it more than lives up to expectation. "Catso" is a wonderfully expressive slice of noirish electro draped in vintage synth arps and twinkling leads as enchanting as they are spooky. "Why Look At Animals" has a more low down funk, but once again sports the richly harmonic synth hooks to make this appeal right across the board. "The Brush" ups the tempo, but keeps things sparse and moody, while "Slim Filter" gets a touch more nasty and sounds utterly fantastic with it. Compared to her rabid DJ sets, these productions represent the more measured side of Hauff, but they're no less deadly.
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.
Lenny Fontana, Tension - "A Place Called Heaven" (Joey Negro dub Groove) (6:58)
Jay Denes, Ada Dyer - "You Make Me Whole" (Joey Negro Rhodes dub) (5:17)
Julian Sanza - "To Love" (5:16)
Frankie Knuckles, Satoshi Tomiie, Andrea Mendez - "Bring Me Love" (Eventual dub) (6:56)
Review: Some serious no-nonsense house grooves for all true-school DJs to cop, dug out from the annals of club music history. Things kick off good and proper with Joey Negro's insanely powerful "Dub Groove" mix of Lenny Fontana's "A Place Called Heaven". Negro's on the buttons once again with the classic, pumping "Rhodes Dub" of "You Make Me Whole" by Jay Denes and Ada Dyer. On the flip, Julian Sanza drops the squelchy boogie inflected "To Love" before the record ends on a serious bang with the dream team of Frankie Knuckles, Satoshi Tomiie and Andrea Mendez's "Bring Me Love (Eventual Dub)". This is as actual house as actual house can get - the real deal, crystalised in four evergreen gems pressed on one handy record.
Review: Sam Shepherd may have spent the last few years offering up off-kilter, jazz-fired grooves and heady ambient soundscapes, but he still knows how to rock a dancefloor. That much is proved by his first Floating Points single for almost two years. "LesAlpx (Extended)" is his most forthright, club-focused cut in ages - a thrusting chunk of rumbling, peak-time techno built around heavy bass, sweaty drums, twinkling electro piano motifs and raging, foreboding electronics. Shepherd teases in the most melodic, rush-inducing elements, introducing spacey synthesizers and dreamy chords midway through. It's breathtakingly good. Flipside "Coorabell" is similarly potent, with acid style electronics, warm chords and sun-kissed electronics wrapped around swinging, two-step influenced house beats and a weighty, sub-heavy bassline. In a word: essential.
Review: It's been a while since we heard from the Cobblestone Jazz boys and given their massive influence over contemporary house and techno, it's always a pleasure to listen to their truly singular take on dance music. The Matthew Jonson-led outfit return with an EP for the Itiswhatitis label, the original birthplace of Jonson's beats. "Northern Lights" is classic Cobblestone, where an ultra compressed kick meanders amidst calculated drips of sound pouring mathematically from every angle. "Drawn From The Side Of Crime" is a little more chirpy, its sounds bleeping away with greater intensity and freedom. It's a must have for fans of the group, recommended!
Review: Originally active around the turn of the century, Difusion are back in action with a mission to champion real songwriting in the deep house scene. "Playin' With Fire" rides a funky disco groove and works around some seriously catchy vocals, while Daniel Maunick dubs the track out and rides the filter to deadly effect. "Shining" rounds the EP off with a sweet, sensitive jam that strikes the kind of melancholic tone that wistful dancefloor memories are made of. Once again the vocals lift to the track to another stratosphere of heartfelt expression - this is sure to go down a storm with the late summer crowd.
Review: If you're in the mood for something that sounds like a 21st century update of the Jackson Five's "ABC", step this way. It comes courtesy of The Tribe Of Good, a quartet whose funk-fuelled exploits have previously been released by Ultra Records. "Broken Toys" is very Jackson Five-esque, with what sounds like a young male vocalist singing "MJ" style over crunchy drum breaks, heavy horns, cheery guitars and headline-grabbing piano motifs. It's ear catching and addictive, with the accompanying flipside "Percapella" providing light-touch, bongo-driven percussion, vocals and some suitably trippy effects. It's certainly a handy DJ tool.
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: The latest missive from Fingerman's Wax Digits imprint - the occasional vinyl offshoot of the digital-only Hot Digits label - is something of an all-star affair. It features contributions from some of the best-known talents in the contemporary re-edit scene, with solid results. Fingerman and Slync kick things off with "Saft Junk", a cheery, Chic style slab of summer disco goodness, before Hotmood takes aim at "Fake D.Js" via bumpin' grooves, fluttering flutes and swirling orchestration. Andy Buchan's "Dope D'Man" is a slap-bass-sporting nu-disco jam that joins the dots between King Bee's "Back By Dope Demand" and the original disco record it sampled, while "Turn It Loose" is a relaxed shuffle through laid back and loved-up funk grooves.