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'.
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: Black Cash & Theo AKA Thelonious Beats are Galaxy Sound Co's most experienced editors, having served up already nine excellent offerings on this label. Their latest careful bit of studio splicing work is again a cosmic and mind expanding jazz funk fusion with righteous grooves and life-affirming riffs. The A-aide is a sweet and seductive sound that comes up from below to sweep you off your feet and carry you away to the stars, then 'The Moving Finger' is a little more rooted on planet earth with its knotted bass riffs, glowing harmonies and rickety lead guitar riff, all finished off with some spiritual sax work.
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: 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.
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: 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.
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 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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.