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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: Nebraska's Friends & Relations series continues to serve up the finest disco-sprinkled house delights, following on from the previous installment of Disco Dubs with another on point reduction of dusty grooves through the mixing desk. These jams are stripped back and oh so heavy, with FX flaring in all the right places to give an eerie, trippy tint to the jams. It's like walking into the deep end of the session where Walter Gibbons jams with King Tubby uptown, and you'd be right in thinking that's a match made in far-out disco heaven.
Everyday (feat Reginald Omas & James Creole) (2:46)
Play This Game (Money) (1:53)
Cassava Pone (2:23)
We Can Change Now (feat Reginald Omas) (3:28)
The Thing (To Do) (1:41)
How I Do It (2:53)
Roots Now (feat Al Dobson Jr) (2:13)
Get You (I Say) (1:35)
Music Throughout The Night (2:44)
Hold You Down (feat Shepard Manyika) (2:07)
Latin Sisters (1:50)
Ancestral Rivers (2:20)
Phone Call Away (feat Reginald Omas) (1:52)
Real Diggers Only (1:14)
The Moon Revolution (0:40)
Review: Straight out of that bubbling South London jazz scene, Jeen Bassa comes correct with his debut solo album, rightfully landing on his natural home 22a. Anyone hip to the happenings on Tenderlonious' label should know the deal by now - Bassa much like his brothers Mo Kolours, Al Dobson Jr., Reginald Omas Mamode IV is gifted with that killer instinct for fresh approaches to beat science rooted in jazz culture but springing forth with restless, infectious energy. "Cassava Pone" is as cool headed and richly realised as you could hope, and there's a strong cast of guest spots from his nearest and dearest to further flesh out the sound. Perfect for summer months but with plenty to keep you cosy any time of year, this is a modern classic in the making.
Review: Having previously blessed us with "Ocean Side" two years back, Benedek and Tom Noble return to Superior Elevation with two more Balearic gems. One for the night time, one for sunrise; "World Gruuv" hits the boogie spot with spiralling keys wandering freely up and down a tight shimmering synth-bass led groove. Meanwhile "Profesora" on the B brings us back into reality softly with its addictive percussive hook, aquatic backing and totally tropical taste. Imagine Art Of Noise on Claremont 56 and you're on the right route.
Review: The 1 Life crew had a strong start with the likes of Kerri Chandler, DJ Spen & Karizma and Joey Negro contributing to a disco-fied house sound. Volume two on the label is no slouch either, ranging from Vincent Inc & LA's smoky "Cafe Tropical" before launching into Rico De Almenda's sassy, joyous take on "Watermelon Man". Venus Attack Project get into a deeper, percussive mood on the incendiary "Grass Culture" before Vincent Floyd completes the set with the heartfelt acid bubble of "Trail Of Tears". From organic sounds to box jams, these tracks speak directly to the foundations on which house music was built.
Review: Last year Burial and the Bug joined forces as Flame 1, delivering an in-demand EP on the latter's Pressure label featuring two sizable slabs of industrial strength soundsystem science. Here they return as Flame 2, once again offering up a pair of weighty dancefloor excursions. A-side "Dive" is a loud and claustrophobic affair, as the duo wraps dystopian dub bass and sparse, mutilated post-drill rhythms in layers of apocalyptic aural textures and mind-altering dub techno style processed noise. Flipside "Rain" is arguably more suitable for dancefloor plays and sees the esteemed twosome combine pulverizing sub-bass heaviness with dancehall style drums that come smothered in mind-melting effects and paranoia-inducing aural smoke.
Sweet Power, Your Embrace (Alex Attias Sweet re-edit) (7:16)
8 Counts For Rita (6:42)
The Blessing Song (Flow Lab Kid Blessed remix) (8:53)
Blackbyrds Theme (5:29)
Review: Freestyle Records continues to be an essential source for visionary funk and soul from across the globe, and now they're returning to recent signing Lance Ferguson and his Rare Groove Spectrum. This 12" carries some remixes and rarities that complement Ferguson's self-titled album from earlier this year. Things kick off with Alex Attias' dreamy, Latin-tinged edit of "Sweet Power, Your Embrace" before the original "8 Counts For Rita" bursts forth in a flurry of trumpets and salsa piano. "The Blessing Song" gets remix treatment from Flow Lab Kid, and then Ferguson tackles a cover of The Blackbyrds' "Blackbyrds Theme", all of which have the next level funk chops Ferguson has displayed elsewhere in his burgeoning repertoire.
Review: Fresh from dropping some heat on Leftroom, Alex Arnout continues his productive streak with this sterling return to Jack's House after he last graced the label with its first release back in 2016. "Sync Jam" packs a serious shuffle that hits squarely in the pleasure plexus for any discerning tech house head, while "Calling U" adopts a playfully spooky tone as it wriggles through a plethora of freaky synth squiggles. "Resergen" completes the set with a spirited dash through hooky techno drum programming and a mean chord line that captures a little old-skool optimism in the process.
Save Your Love (feat Boogie Back & David A Tobin) (5:19)
Sexability (feat Kevin East) (4:56)
Slow Burn Love (feat D Train) (3:55)
No Matter What (feat Yolanda Lavender) (5:28)
Keep On (feat Matthew Winchester) (4:51)
Come Back Home (feat David A Tobin) (5:03)
Share The Light (feat Janus Soliand) (5:06)
Your Move (feat Sophie Ripley) (4:51)
Summer Rain (feat Faye B) (4:38)
Review: Over 10 years deep and sounding Stronger than ever (not sorry) Cool Million return with their fifth album and it's delicious in all directions. Still smacking with that powerful early 80s soul, boogie and RnB blend, still packing heavyweight vocalists, still stacking serious levels of musicianship, Stronger runs the gamut. From juicy feet-tickling boogie ("Stronger", "Keep On") to sultry ballads ("Share The Light") and steamy soul jams ("Come Back Home") with killer vocals from the likes of the legendary D-Train plus Janus Soliand, Jasmine Franklin and David A Tobin, "Stronger" is one of the Danish/German duo's most accomplished albums to date.
Review: Before becoming Belgian new beat and techno titans, Praga Khan and Chris Inger were collaborators in a new wave influenced band called Shakti. "Verboden Dromen" gathers together the best of the outfit's work recorded between 1987 and 1990, offering up tracks that join the dots between intoxicating synth-pop, moody new wave, hypnotic grooves and dark and sleazy dancefloor moments. All of the tracks have stood the test of time remarkably well, with highlights including the humid and exotic chug of "Kamasutra", the hallucination-inducing tropical fever of "Demonic Forces" and "Shanah", and the bustling, club-ready bounce of "The Awakening", which sounds like the Thompson Twins after one too many tabs of acid.
Review: George Otsuka Quintet were active in the Japanese jazz scene of the early to mid 70s, led by famed jazz drummer George Otsuka and with a modest grip of LPs to their name. It's been a while since anyone turned their attention to this visionary outfit, but now the stunning, freewheeling 1976 album "Physical Structure" has received the reissue treatment via Le Tres Jazz Club, and it's a good thing too. This incredible session finds Otsuka leading his band down limber, energised avenues of rhythm and groove, constantly skittering from scene to scene without missing a beat. The album even wraps up with a take on John Coltrane's evergreen "Naima" that leaps off the platter with joy in a fitting homage to the original.
Festa Para Um Rei Negro (Samba Enredo Do Salgueiro/71) (3:42)
Selecao De Mangueira (4:57)
Refem Da Solidao (2:19)
Review: Little is known about DIla, a Brazilian singer who tragically died in a car crash weeks after the release of her self-titled debut album in 1971. All that remains is the album - here reissued for the first time by Far Out Recordings - and a handful of references in the Brazilian media to her tremendous talents. "DIla" is a sensationally good album; a wonderfully summery, sun-kissed and soulful collection of samba songs that veers from bluesy jazziness (see the laidback and smoky "O Morro Nao Tem Vez"), to sweaty, carnival-ready dancefloor workouts (the brilliant "Saberas"), via the attractive, horn-heavy jauntiness of "As Paredes Tem Ouvidos").
Review: Biochip are a new duo making the right start on the mighty CPU. Julian Kochanowski and Melissa Speirs have no previous to speak of, but their deft take on electro speaks to years of research and immersion in the language of sequencers and synthesisers. There's an emotional weight to the music they've charged this debut EP with, where billowing pads and soaring Detroit leads meet with some crafty sound design and canny programming. At times things get intense, as on the rowdy "Acid Billy", not to mention seriously funky on "Tone Forest", but there's always an otherworldly shroud hovering over the music that makes it Biochip's own.
Review: Get your motors running! Hamburg DJ and occasional editor Automart drives off the forecourt with one of his first originals. With its stately tempo and soft harmonics creating a smooth discoid ride, "Discover Me" sets to cruise control in a subtly addictive unhurried speed. Loaded with both vocal and instrumental versions from Tom Noble, there's plenty of mileage in the tank on this one.
Review: Manchester-based DJ/producer Yadava hasn't been releasing music all that long, but what he has put out has been superb. Here he makes his first appearance on Omena with a mini-album every bit as inspired as his 2018 debut album on Church, "It Rains Here". As with previous outings, the showcased tracks are imaginative and evocative, with Yadava blending dreamy electronics and jazzy instrumentation with grooves that variously doff a cap to dusty deep house, West African and South American rhythms, jazz-funk and broken beat. Highlights are plentiful throughout, with the richly percussive "Earth Tones", bustling "Message From Poets", jazzy "Ixelles '42" and super-sweet "Good Mourning" standing out.
Review: The SlapFunk crew have another new recruit for their mission to match minimal dance aesthetics with tough old-skool punch. Danish producer Martinez has plenty of experience having released everywhere from Guidance to Moon Harbour and Minibar, and he sounds right at home freaking the funk for the Dutch contingent. There's a straight up strut to the jacking drums on opener "Inter Species Relations", while "Aspired Commotion" slips into the kind of wriggling shuffle you'd expect from a SlapFunk release. "No Data" adopts a skippy 2-step stance with some eerie textures on top, and then "Shanty Town" finishes the record off with more swinging business peppered with delightful keys.
Review: This is the kind of track you'd imagine the legendary I-F thrashing out on a heaving dancefloor at peak time. Dharma was a short lived Italo disco project featuring Luciano Ninzatti and Stefano Pulga, and their track "Plastic Doll" was undoubtedly their finest moment. Originally released in 1982 and a proper underground classic to those that know, it featured American vocalist Linda Jean Wesley and it gets a much deserved repress here on Mr Disc Organisation. Italian duo Tiger & Woods serve up a terrific modern reshape on the A side, followed by the timeless vibe of the original mix and handy instrumental on the flip.
Review: Tabernacle turn their attention towards the industrial side of their musical repertoire with this hard-hitting release from Russian and French outfit UVB76. Hot on the heels of their S A N album on Teenage Menopause, this formidable duo serve up a searing blend of classic EBM pressure and contemporary flair, veering from the Skinny Puppy-esque stomp of "Extend" to the bruising Vex'd-tinted dubstep flex of "Ckahep". "Rust" locks into a jagged, darkside techno rut, while "Helm" gets artful with space and noise sculpture. "Citizen" offers the most measured track on the release, an uneasily submerged kind of electro noir for tortured souls.
Review: Earthen Sea adds to the Kimochi Sound with a soulful examination of indistinct margins, suffused with dusky haze. It's a heady atmosphere and has a palpable heaviness throughout. Starting the record are the concrete reverberations of You Don't Never Know, followed by the murky ebb and flow of Fly. 13 Beat(less) is diffused ambience.
Shielding fittingly closes the record, and weaves Earthen Sea's many textures with intricate syncopation.
Review: What with their super-rare rare groove album "Synchronised" fetching four figures and some of their key singles rocking similarly big price tags, Columbus soul troupe are renowned for their sought-after wax collectables. It's not hard to hear way. Gossamer smooth with just hint of boogie on both sides, "Do You Love Me" is a yearning end-of-night smoocher that doesn't cut on the weight while "You're The One" flexes a much more upbeat groove with slap bass and keytars running off pure positivity. Only once reissued before, this Expansion excursion will be more than welcome news to many.
Review: Although Clone's series of remastered Drexciya retrospectives are excellent, it's nice that Tresor have decided to reissue the majority of material the Detroit pair released through the Berlin label in its original format. This way you get the music in the manner Donald and Stinson originally intended. The four tracks on Digital Tsunami were drawn from the same recording sessions that resulted in the sublime Drexciyan document Harnessing The Storm and thankfully got pressed on an addendum 12" after not making the cut for the double LP. With Tresor having just reissued Harnessing The Storm it seems only fair Digital Tsunami should be granted the same treatment. Some 13 years after it's original release and all the music here still sounds like it was drawn from the future, with Donald and Stinson excelling at rapid fire bursts of abstract subaquatic electro, such as towering highlight "The Plankton Organisation".
Review: Saktu is an alias of Sasha Kaktus, boss of the St. Petersburg-based Heisenberg label. He returns for a new EP with buddy Alex Adamov for the first time since 2016's Kacheli EP on Reshape Agency. On the A side we have a rolling and ethereal cut that is the title track - this one is certain to have major crossover appeal from fans of UK tech house to the Rominimal sound. On the flip, you are treated to the equally hypnotic futurist bounce of "Flicker" which will appeal to fans of Sublee or Piktor. It then gets a rework by Berlin-based deep house hero Maik Yells, who takes the track down a trippier and more arcane route.
Review: Representing Californian house music culture with its heart on its sleeve, 12 Inches Deep return for a second volume of "West Coast Dance Traxx" that features four up and comers from the underground. Ricky Tinez captures a perfect hazy summer mood on the dub mix of "That Day" - a true product of his environment. Akumen brings a sweatier vibe to "Inner Life (All Of Music)" which captures a little Chi-town pressure and then blows it wide open with some choice organ licks. Le Smoove is on a serious garage tip with "G Groovez" and Urbanite reaches skywards with the utterly infectious "Triple Filtered", spilling good vibes out from every angle.
Review: Eclair Fifi launches her River Rapid label with a smokin' hot drop from the mighty, ascendant Afrodeutsche. Manchester-based Henrietta Smith-Rolla turned heads quickly with her debut album "Break Before Make", which landed as a digi-only release on seminal electronica label Skam. Since then we've been patiently waiting for some follow up sounds, which Smith-Rolla dutifully delivers on this surefooted 12". "I Know Not What I Do" follows on naturally from the album with its moody, atmospheric synth lines and a Drexciyan bent to the production, while "Make The Call" locks into a crisp, tight electro groove for plentiful dancefloor pleasure. "Drink" has more of that brooding introspection lurking around the tough, boxy beats, and then "Phase Two" pushes out into a kind of android rave territory that will leave bodies quaking in its wake.