Review: Nebraska's Friends & Relations label continues to yield the finest club tackle for those who need the real deal in their DJ sets. 'Deep Tune' casts its net as low as the Mariana Trench while riding a sweet disco loop, setting the scene for a teasing, dramatic drum throwdown with nimble synth flourishes on 'Drum Track 01'. 'Shift' takes things on a more interstellar trajectory with a heady beat elevated by star-strafing lead lines, and then 'Drum Track 02' whips up another killer percussive workout that keeps the organic intensity of the beat intact while still making it totally workable for the floor.
Review: Belarus' Iner launches a new label with a strong cast of international names all pushing a deep and distinguished strain of house music for those who want soul and invention in equal measure. Tilman is up first with 'Sweet Dreamer', a mellow, looped up roller. Sune's 'Flutes' takes a breezier approach shaped out by fluttering jazz funk motifs. Yann Polewka celebrates the sweetest Philly strings and some classic vocal licks for a disco-infused burner you can't help but love. Iner himself keeps things loose and organic on the wonderful 'Respectfull Kind Music', while Scruscru goes for a sleek approach to chopped up funky house. That leaves it to Buzz Compass to get heady and hazy with the bass-leaning cuts coursing through 'That Nighter'.
Metro - "Here For The Love" (Metropolitan Acid mix) (8:20)
Vitess - "133cc" (6:20)
Review: REPRESS ALERT: The third trip out on Nuances De Nuit brings together another killer selection of ear-snagging club cuts that appeal to the deep-digging community. Kolter's "Don't Kill My Groove" has already been drawing plenty of favourable attention from the likes of Moxie with its deft breaks and electro-funk stylings. T. Jacques' "Control" is a peppy tech house jam with a sleek garage bump that should go down a treat with serious heads and passing trade alike. The real treat here though is Metro's "Here For The Love", a seriously in-demand jam from 1994 finally getting the repress treatment to take it out of the hands of the sharks. Vitess completes the package with "133cc", a dynamic wiggler with enough tripped out elements to take out a tank.
Review: Having impressed with his drop on Aesthetic earlier this year, rising minimal house talent Nolga returns to the label with another batch of sprightly, springy bumpers to fire up your limbs and feed your brain. 'Motion To Delay' matches cascading melodic threads with a crisp, lightly swung rhythm section, while 'Conspiracy' follows a similar thread of wiggy lead lines and curvy bass. 'Fez' takes the template of the first two tracks and tips the balance towards a sumptuous palette of synth tones flitting around the sharp but snaking groove. If you need some smart but playful club tracks in your bag, look no further.
Review: Highrise continues to pile on the pressure through his breakout year in the buoyant UK garage scene, following up crucial spots on Plastik People and Shuffle 'n' Swing with more of that immaculately rendered 2-step tackle to get you shaking uncontrollably. 'Groovin' is steeped in soul and vibe, while 'Not Because Of You' gets even craftier with its organ chops and vocal slices. 'Teedra' on the B-side follows suit, displaying a razor sharp instinct for the funkiest slithers of sound to get bouncing around that deadly swing. If you need proof there's plenty of fresh garage being made these days, then cop yourself one of these before they're all snapped up.
Review: Berlin-based Italian producer Audri has been scattering his smart, fine-tuned machine soul across a handful of labels over the past four years. Picking up the thread from the emotive and inventive end of the 90s techno spectrum, his latest drop on Albion should appeal to all those who can't get enough of that B12-flavoured sound. 'Inner Movement' sports plenty of classic Motor City influences, but given a crisp modern finish. 'Dizzy Freq' has a deeper demeanour that jacks and jives in equal measure, with a nod to the formative sound of bleep techno. Domenica Rosa delivers a fun and freaky twist on the original, before the legendary Titonton Duvante dubs things out nicely on his version of 'Inner Movement'.
Review: Ole Mic Odd aka Michael Padgett is a hardware operator and DJ from Los Angeles and runs the wonderfully named label The New U.S. Government. Here he sweeps to power with four tracks across four sides of vinyl for the Zement label, two following a slower, punishing pulse that's like P-funk remade in a robot factory, only with tons of added bubbling acid, Drexciya-style filtering and Juan Arkins-like synthetic strings. The other two are way faster, Ice So Bright sounding like someone secretly spiked Kraftwerk's cocoa with something extremely sinister, sending them racing off on their bikes at treble speed. Echo Park has an even more distinct flanging acid flavour and hyper, hooligan electro foundations, again with those Model 500 misty clouds of synthesiser floating overhead. Absolutely cracking stuff.
Review: In 1965, the New Musical Express held its Poll Winners show at Wembley's Empire Pool, as 10,000 screaming teenagers packed in to see a stunning line up that featured Tom Jones, The Kinks, The Beatles and, of course, The Rolling Stones. Every screech of the crowd, every one of Keith's string squeaking chords and all the vocal swaggers of frontman Mick Jagger are all captured in their raw glory on this 7". It's a sweaty, dense, atmospheric listen that transports you right back to that era and cannot fail to ignite your soul.
Review: The ever-prolific Burnski is back on Constant Sound with some upfront bumpers that once again demonstrate his standing as a leading light in the modern tech house movement. 'Process' manages to balance moody, melodic atmospherics with a rock solid rhythm section, while 'Systems' takes things in a decidedly more jacking, tracky direction. 'Long Train' keeps the pressure up with a mean low end and some whipcrack claps to made your head spin. 'Effect' finishes the set off with a sumptuous dub excursion that will appeal to all those who like Basic Channel headspace matched with a sturdy house groove.
Review: The 10th release on EYA comes from French producer Master Flashhh, who delivers punchy, cool-headed house music with a strong early 90s slant. 'Too Big To Fail' keeps things stripped back and weighty, with a bassline so thick you could sink your teeth into it. 'Beat Boxxx' has a more psychedelic, slow-techno slant to it, not least thanks to the ranging 303 gurgles sliding around the track. 'Boulevard Mystere' adds a little cinematic spookiness to the mix for an ear-snagging warm up track, and 'Enigma' completes the set with the kind of eerie mood and crisp box jam sounds that make artists like RVDS so compelling. Highly recommended for those who like their machine music with personality and punch in equal measure.
Review: Calibre aka Dominick Martin pairs up with DRS, each taking one side of this 12" and each more than holding their own. Martin continues his current obsession with the pure sound of the real piano, a powerful antidote to the more synthetic sounds we're more used to hearing in the genre. Add a supreme male vocal in plaintive mood,. declaring "I've been looking for love in all the wrong places" and you've got something that really stand out of the crowd. Living For by DRS is more of straight anthem, with reggae influences and a hip-hop vocal giving it a proper lighters-in-the-air atmosphere, its conscious lyrics very much echoing the mood of Britain in 2020. Two very different tracks, for sure, but this package is strong in its diversity.
Review: Northern Ireland's Dominick Martin, or Calibre, to the drum & bass buying public, has a reputation for bringing new angles on this well-worn sound and these two new sides of vinyl are no exceptions. The VIP version of Falls To You sees his crisp, irresistible beats doing their magic but the piano, reflective vocal and minimal electronic flourishes lend this roller a spooky, eerie quality. The flip track End of Meaning has a slightly warmer, more optimistic vibe but is still reflective, the vocals being sent through echoey dub effects for maximum atmospherics. Definitely ploughing his own furrow, as ever, Calibre demonstrates here why those in the know will always check what he's up to.
Review: The NME themselves called this particular show from 1965 "the greatest pop show in the world." Even if you do take that with a pinch of salt, the recording speaks for itself and does a good job of capturing the ambiance, crowd noise and all, of the 3.5 hour show in front of 10,000 fans at Wembley's Empire Pool. The Beatles weren't the only band to play - Tom Jones, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones and Dusty Springfield were amongst many other headliners - so they only performed five songs. Each one is captured here, and each one is a classic in its own right.
Review: We all fondly remember Swedish pop group Ace of Base from school disco days back in the 90s. 'The Sign' was one of their biggest hits, reaching number two in the UK before spending a total of six weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the US, as well as charting at number one in countries including but not limited to Australia, Canada, Germany and New Zealand. The bubbly, tropical and dub tinged europop tune also got a nomination for Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. While it isn't going to be remembered as one of the greatest tunes ever, it sure is fun to hear it again
Review: Take It Easy are a Milan-based crew who love nothing better than the sweet fusion between classic disco sounds and upfront house music energy. Dirty Channels capture that spirit perfectly on this third release on the label, opening up this split 12" with the crisp and strutting "Guava Juice". DJLMP takes things in a more psychedelic, tripped out direction for the more adventurous groove hounds before longstanding champion Memoryman Aka Uovo gets dusty and woozy with "I Wonder". Bugsy completes the set with the feisty stomp and sizzling tension of "Pomiri Dan".
Review: More fabulous, funk-fuelled brilliance from the Beat Bronco Organ Trio, who earlier in the year delivered a fine debut album on Swiss imprint Rocafort Records (the must-check Road Trip). This two-part missive is not featured on that set, and instead sees them deliver a decidedly tropical fusion of loose-limbed, Tony Allen-style polyrhythmic drums, bubbly organ riffs, warming bass and reverb-laden guitar riffs that reminded us a little of both heady psyche-rock and Ghanaian Highlife. 'Missoula-Nairobi (Part 1)' is arguably the more potent and focused of the pair, with just a little more dancefloor grunt, though the flipside 'Part 2' version, with its extended solos and more freestyle feel, is every bit as alluring.
When The World Is Runnin' Down (Mr K 7" edit) (5:35)
Review: The Mr K Edits series continues to be a hotbed of crucial dancefloor wares, taking stone cold classics and giving them a gentle refinement to make the grooves stretch out that little bit longer. The latest in the 7" series focuses on The Police and two of their finest jams - the first is no stranger to revisions, covers and remixes. "Voices In My Head" has been tackled by many, not least 90s hip house upstart KC Flightt, but here the original version goes on a version excursion that brings out the best in the tune. On the flip, "When The World Is Runnin' Down" shimmers with uptempo new wave refinement that should set any open minded dancefloor alight.
Review: The mystery of the Botanic Minds Sunset Series continues to unfold with another bout of surreal and sensual club tracks that balance tweaked minimalism with a warm and hazy atmosphere. "Track001A" is packed with intricate rhythmic interplay, but it's the fluttering guitar licks and displaced vocals that give the piece its unique vibe. "Track002A" is a remix credited to Eastenderz regular Lizz, and it's a particularly spellbinding jam shaped out with lingering chords and a wistful mood. "Track001B" hunkers down around a low, throbbing bassline, but there's some sweet keys hovering up top to keep things from getting too dark. Barut is on hand with a remix for "Track002B", where trancey undercurrents meet with expansive piano and ethereal ambient swells, all strapped to a sturdy minimal house groove.
Review: Mind Fair have been around the block with their strain of disco-infused house music, stopping off at Golf Channel, International Feel and Kinfolk amongst others, so you know they've got you covered for classy edits that are actually useful and interesting. This heavyweight drop for Magic Wand kicks off with the righteous stomp of "Holding On" before dropping into a reworking of uptempo jazz funk classic "Feeling Good" by Francine McGee. "All Night Soca" beefs a classic cover of Lionel Ritchie up for the dance, while "Mastermind" finishes the record off with some cool and deadly funk.
Review: US label coming with the ammo on it's debut 45 hooking up with their first release with a UK male Soul Legend with a masterpiece in dynamite vocal delivery. Two powerful renditions of funky soul classics first time on a 45. First up Toms gritty & powerful cover of Sam & Dave's ''Soul Man'' flipped by a tough version of ''Hold On I'm Coming''. Essential soul music with balls.Limited pressing. Don't sleep !
Review: Spanky Wilson is one of the fiercest, sweetest voices in the golden era of late 60s / early 70s soul, with a modest but mighty mark left behind by her run of classic albums and later collaboration with The Quantic Soul Orchestra. This handy 7" gathers together two classic Wilson cuts, leading in with the heavyweight soul-funk of "You". On the flip is her evergreen cover of "Sunshine Of Your Love", which for our money bests Jack Bruce's original vocal performance to take the vintage track onto a whole other level of raw, passionate power.
Review: Having established himself many moons ago on Alphabet Set, Cignol has gone on to become a firm fixture in the contemporary electro scene with drops on labels like Lunar Disko, Furthur Electronix, Seagrave and many more. Now he appears on 20:20 Vision with an EP that slots perfectly into the electro direction the label has been exploring in the past couple of years. 'Past Futures' pivots around a nagging acid line, a pitched-down vocal hook and an easy tempo, while 'Virtual Array' swerves for the plushest Drexciya-indebted territory. 'Gantm' brings forth more 303 action, matched with all kinds of other playful synth strokes and a tumbling beat. 'Lessened By Lessons' completes the set on a plaintive note, but with a similar palette of expressive synth lines and a keen sense of harmony powering the track.
Review: All three tracks here have a quality to them that suggests things could easily boot off at any moment, tension that rises and evolves and plays with intensity levels in very pleasing but never obvious ways. 'Psychedelic Frogs' is perhaps the best case in point, sending us spinning out into various cosmic realms that feel several planes above us. It's funk-disco-synth-leftfield business and we spent about an hour trying to come up with a more accurate, definitive description. We couldn't, which is indicative of what this sounds like.
Similarly label-defying is 'Gallium', a tune that seems to have been cut from the same cloth as 1960s spy themes and King of Woolworths productions. Closing out on the rumbling keyboard stabs of staccato builder 'Einstieg', it's not that they don't make them like this anymore, more that they have never really made much like this, period.
Review: The latest collection of wayward floor heaters from Nuances De Nuit takes us once more into a colourful headspace where the possibilities are wide open to make house music with personality. Californian shining star Liquid Earth is up first, although he's better known as Urulu. 'X-Form' is a bubbling metropolis of futuristic synth squiggles with starry-eyed wonder in its heart and vintage techno smarts up top. Huerta follows up that sterling start with the enchanting electro incantations of 'Legwork', which build wonderfully on the sound laid out on his recent debut album for Voyage Recordings. On the flip, DJOKO brings a smart shuffle and some shimmering synth work to the forefront for a seriously smart twist on the tech house template, while T. Jacques opts for space age machine funk with a splash of boogie poured in for good measure.
Review: The first release on Kamarads pulls together a solid mix of established tech house figureheads for a classy, versatile set of club tracks. Politics Of Dancing goes up first with 'Ote', a deep and rugged groover geared towards hypnotism and total immersion. Djebali follows up with an equally stealthy roller that will appeal to those who like it stripped back. Terence: Terry takes things in a swirling, trippy direction with the afters-ready 'Eastern Boy' and Stephan Bazbaz finishes up with a gorgeous, lilting deep house lullaby to soothe the weary raver's soul.
Break - "Whispers In My Ear" (feat MC GQ - Break remix) (4:16)
Break & Total Science - "Dog's Dinner" (Mefjus remix) (4:16)
Review: MC GQ has a pedigree that stretches all the way back to the early jungle nights of AWOL and his presence on this new version of Whispers In My Ear by Break shows he can imprint his personality on a piece of vinyl with a bare minimum of chatting. That's how good he is. Break knows what he's doing too, and his the gnarly electronic harmonics and descending one note bass riff, combined with fresh sounding, spacious breakbeat action, make this the kind of workout that DJs will build their set around dropping. Dog's Dinner with Total Science gets remixed by Mefjus in powerful fashion too, a little more roughneck perhaps than its A-side companion, but a choice selection of ruthlessly applied sonics all the same.
Review: Burnski's Instinct outlet continues to bring some serious firepower to the resurgent UK garage scene, and this time he's facing off with 0113 (otherwise known as Kepler.) for two rabble-rousing heaters packed with inventive twists on the 2-step formula. "Apache" is an intensely detailed roller that pivots around a killer vocal take, and uses all kinds of synth flourishes to create a wholly futuristic atmosphere - the garage of the future, but certainly not future garage. "Ignite" has a slightly more old-skool flavour that nods to past masters like Smith & Mighty as well as the pioneering work of El B et al. Classy stuff on both sides of this cool and deadly 12".
Review: Ikebe Shakedown is a collective of hyper-skilled instrumentalists who have been pushing boundaries for a decade now. That draw on raw and emotive 70s soul, psyche-sounds and Western soundtracks, and distil all that on this new red hot and pink 7" on Colemine. There is real majesty and joy in this tracks, which were recorded by Ikebe's bassist, Vince Chiarito, at Hive Mind Recording. Lush textures, nagging bass riffs and impressive playing chops all feature across a pair of tracks that very much tell a story that will have you coming back for more.
Review: Alvin Davis is a musical polymath. He has worked in the worlds of jazz, reggae and soul with a slew of well known names such as Prince, Edwin Starr, Maxi Priest and David Hinds. This super limited 7" offers up a great horn and sax lead instrumental piece with Alvin's horns leading the charge. The mood is one of casual rejoice and subtle celebration - the hits in particular are a lovely hook that keep you locked. On the flipside, things get dread fuelled and deliciously dubby thanks to a rework from Alien Dread.
Review: There's a fair chance you'll already have heard "Cola", experienced production duo Camelphat's collaboration with vocalist Elderbrook. The original version, with its rumbling bass, atmospheric builds, subtle bassline house influence and "she sips the Coca-Cola" refrain, has become something of an anthem since first appearing on digital download earlier in the year. For this first vinyl release, Defected has packaged the now-familiar original mix with a trio of reworks. The most impressive of these comes from German veteran Mousse T. He brilliantly re-casts the track as a bumpin' chunk of celebratory disco-house complete with thrilling piano riffs and an elastic bassline.
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: Villete is the alias of Amsterdam based producer Anne Korteweg, who returns to Scissor & Thread to follow up her debut effort in the fall of 2016 - which quickly sold out. On the new EP we are treated to seven tracks of deep and understated beauty. Amongst many floating ambient journeys, there are moments equally suited to reflection as they are the dancefloor. Take for instance the glacial and cavernous dub of the title track, or the Balearic-tinged downbeat chill of 'Myst' and the emotive mood music of 'Show Me'. All in all, Korteweg's new release explores the more abstract sides of electronic music in sophisticated fashion.
Monsieur Van Pratt - "Everybody On The Floor" (6:11)
Saint Paul - "You're The One" (6:07)
Castle Queenside - "Day Old Data" (6:23)
Review: Dust off your dancing shoes and get some feelgood in your soul as See-Saw strikes up the band (or rather, a cast of editors) to bring you all the funk you need right now. The first Discipline Of Swing kicks off with Gledd laying down a chunky house beat and some liquid funk lines on "Doin' My Thang", before Monsieur Van Pratt buffs up a chant-a-long burner of the highest order for "Everybody On The Floor". Saint Paul kicks off the B-side with the jubilant string hooks and sax wriggles of "You're The One", and Castle Queenside rolls out "Day Old Data" in another expert swirl of finely selected and tastefully treated disco funk.
Review: Following a sure shot from Yosh earlier this year, Constant Sound offshoot Vivid returns with a deadly two tracker that plunges into the underworld of breakbeat science and soundsystem dynamics. Etch is without question one of the most inventive break-wielders in operation right now, and he pivots ably from monolithic drumfunk dubstep pressure to nimble jungle across his two astounding A side tracks. Tom Jarmey brings a more electro tinted angle to his offerings, sweeping from the atmospheric, melancholic roller "Burn" to the subtly snarling "Spectrum", offering something smoother in contrast to Etch's rugged cut ups.
Review: Ste Roberts builds on the stellar run of form on his own Ste label with a new drop on Burnski's Infiltrate electro outpost. In keeping with the gritty, inventive sound he's been exploring lately, these machine funk cuts ooze vibe and flair to match their absolute workability in the dance. From the sparse cityscape's of "Optical Illusion" to the tightly wound thrust of "Tom Was In The Diner", this is high-grade electro done the right way. There's a lot of the style around at the moment, but Roberts' tracks are a cut above.