Review: Apart from a very limited under the radar release in 2015, it took Vincent Halliburton 13 years to deliver a follow-up to his 2002 debut single on Ferrispark "RM1x Files" (both records go for silly money). The Detroiter hasn't left it quite so long this time, with this alluring three-tracker appearing just four years after its predecessor. Clearly Halliburton believes in quality over quantity, because "Vibe Under A Different Frequency" is superb. Check first the swirling deep space chords, delay-laden vocal snippets and layered, Ron Trent style deep house percussion of the fittingly titled "On A Deep Groove", before gaping in awestruck wonder at the dreamy, deep and hypnotic "Going Away", which boasts some suitably breathy, out-there vocals from none other than Sade. He rounds things off in style via the groovy warmth and sun-kissed dancefloor positivity of "Go Down".
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: If you enjoyed the loose, warm and organic musical fusions of Italian outfits Nu Guinea and Mystic Jungle, we'd recommend checking out this fine debut album from fellow countrymen Aura Safari. The Perugua-based quartet explore similar influences - think jazz, jazz-funk, dusty deep house, Afro-cosmic, Balearica and boogie, for starters - and rely on a similar blend of vintage synthesizer sounds, live and programmed drums, jazz-friendly brass instruments and elastic bass guitar. The resultant album, then, feels like it comes from a similar sonic place, even if Aura Safari's distinctive musical blend is even more eclectic, emotive and atmospheric than that offered by their aforementioned contemporaries. Either way, it's a superb set.
Negro Es Hermano (The Utajiri Heritage mix) (13:49)
Sexy Things (V Lavender Sophisticado Black Soul main mix) (9:35)
Review: Hot on the heels of his sold-out "220.127.116.11 (Where It Started)" EP, Strictly Jaz Unit mainstay Vick Lavender returns with two more seductive and sophisticated deep house treats. He opens up with "Negro Es Hermano (The Utajiri Heritage Mix)", where jazzy guitar solos, jazz-funk synth doodles and ultra-dreamy chords bob and weave around a Glenn Underground/Ron Trent style, Latin-tinged deep house groove. Further warmth and wooziness can be found on deliciously rich and sugary flipside "Sexy Things (V Lavender Sophisticado Black Soul Mix)", an even deeper and more groovy affair built around warm bass guitar, unfussy drums, echoing Rhodes riffs and cascading jazz-funk synths.
Review: Somewhat surprisingly, two years has passed since Traumer launched the "Gettraum Hors Series" of ultra-limited, hand-stamped singles. We're not quite sure why the French producer - real name Romain Reynaud - has held back volume two, but we're happy to say that it's been well worth the wait. He hits the ground running with "Exercise", a sun-soaked chunk of tech-house funk built around jaunty stabs, glistening chords and a thickset synth bassline, before reaching for sub-heavy analogue bass, rolling drums and more sparkling electronics on the similarly positive sounding "Pago". Over on side B, "Bassomatic" is an acid-fired slammer shot through with sneaky audio references to turn of the '90s "bleep and bass", while gorgeous closing cut "Brocomania" wraps attractive dub techno motifs and ambient chords around warm bass and bustling breakbeats.
Review: Italian producer Reekee is back on his Wrong Notes label with another assured take on the soulful house template, which leads in with the bugged-out funk of "Another Day." Erik Rico's vocals sound on-point for this track, pushing Reekee's production into the stratosphere. "Tell Me Something" keeps the vibe resolutely deep, while "Feel Good" shuffles through a heads down club workout of the highest caliber. You'd be forgiven for thinking this record was landing on a label like Kai Alce's NDATL. Patrice Scott lends his masterful touch to "Another Day", edging the track into a different plain of emotional expression without losing the focus of Rico's vocal.
Review: Frankfurt record shop Gosu are back with the next instalment of their in-house label by OFFM regular Rob Amboule. The British producer has been making records for some years now, on labels like 20:20 Vision, Heidi's The Jackathon and more recently OSMAN and NorthSouth, initially starting out in London. A chance encounter led him to Frankfurt and after a short while he decided to relocate out to the Main area. A long-time friend of the label as well as Freebase (RIP), his skills developed with the encouragement of label bosses Manuel Schatz and Phil Evans. Amboule presents Gosu 9.5: on the A side we've got the funky and chunky all analogue electro futurism of "9.5 B", while on the flip things go in a more straight ahead direction on the classic techno excursion of "9.5 D" - taking the very best elements of Detroit and Yorkshire in its stride.
Review: South Carolina's John Zahl aka Jaz returns. He's said to be a DJ/Episcopal Priest from Charleston, South Carolina who digs deep, uncovering vinyl gems from the mid-80s with lots of drum machines and tons of fun weirdness - as heard on his many mixtapes on Soundcloud. Some of that material gets featured on this collection of edits here for P&F Recordings, who make a departure from original compositions in favour of these four beautiful downtempo edits by a modern day master of the craft. From the low slung boogie funk of "Dancing In The Sunshine", to the neon-lit '80s R'n'B of "Here We Go" and the slo-mo rock swagger of "Push Comes To Shove" - there's all you need right here!
Review: Notching up 15 successful years as a record label is some feat in this day and age, so it's understandable that Systematic has decided to mark reaching this milestone in style. The German imprint's anniversary EP - a tidy looking picture disc - fittingly kicks off with a track by founder Marc Romboy. He's at his mesmerizing best on "Shooting Stars Never Stop", a deep tech-house roller rich in cascading melodies, starry electronics, subtle acid lines and clanking machine drums. Rodriguez Jr offers up the elongated chords, hypnotic grooves and glassy-eyed positivity of "Okeechobee", before Artbat doffs a hat to mid-90s UK techno on the aptly titled "Orbital". To round things off, John Digweed joins forces with Nick Muir on the shimmering brilliance of "Alkouln", whose loved-up breakdown is simply stunning.
Review: Back after a much lauded first foray on LENSKE last year, Sam Deliaert alias Farrago rekindles the flame with the high-beam pulse of 'Neontrance'. Having served as the epic topper of Amelie Lens' Timewarp 2018 set and RA podcast, the title-track will undoubtedly ring a bell to all self-respecting fan of the LENSKE mastermind.
Review: Deep and sensual balearica on offer here from The Balek Band, brought to you by Beauty & The Beat - the in-house music label of the 'freeform psychedelic dance party' hosted in various east London venues over the years by Cyril Cornet, Jeremy Gilbert & Cedric Woo since 2005. The Balek Band are a French outfit - the side project of Vidock (Abstrack), accompanied by Samuel Creach (bass) & Zeppo (percussion). Together they create soundtracks for your perfect island dream as heard on "Tometsi", the deep down polyrhythmic spiritual entrancement of "Diconiels" .....
Review: In the summer of 2017, New Order returned to Granada Studios in Manchester - the site of their first TV appearance - to perform a special concert. With the accompaniment of a "12-piece synthesizer orchestra" and a stunning, ever-changing stage set designed by Liam Gillick, the legendary Manchester band delivered an extended set featuring radically reworked versions of tracks from their back catalogue. This evocative live album presents the recording of the concert in its entirety, with Bernard Sumner and company mixing bona fide hits ("Shellshock", "Bizarre Love Triangle") with album tracks, lesser-celebrated songs and the odd stunning soundscape (a particularly beautiful version of "Elegia"). As you'd expect, it's superb and a cut above most live albums.
Review: Following up a terrific inaugural release by label bosses Paolo Rocco and Pijynman, new Montreal imprint and club night Inthebooth returns with a killer various artist EP for its sophomore effort - featuring unreleased back catalogue business. Boss man Rocco kicks things off with the emotive late night deepness of "Everything Is Right", while also on the A side we have Berlin's Stevn Aint Leavn (Beste Modus) who truly hypnotises with the sexy tribal funk of "Tungo". On the flip, Ottawa's Matt J Dub is in fine form on "Equinox" and the ever impressive Chris Stussy from The Netherlands brings the swing good and proper on his tight groove "The Law Of Attraction".
Review: Just shy of a year after their last Electropical escapade, Juan Laya and Jorge Montiel return with another fiery fusion of afrobeat, Latin, funk and disco treats. This time recorded in the Bolivar Film Studios, Caracas with Venezuelan drum ensemble, we're treated to two new originals and two exceptional updates. "San Juan" hits with a sleazy, dreamy groove and yearning vocals crying over the top while "Electropical" is an immense hit of percussive magic that gradually opens up into technoid chords that no crowd will hear coming. Flip for a loose-limed and sparkly take on the proto house blueprint "Spacial Paradise" and contemporary, heavier hitting take on their 2011 evergreen dancefloor kiss "Sexmachina". Get on the scene...
Review: It's finally here... V.I.V.E.K launches a brand new label and, as the title suggests, it's something a little different to the deep 140 piledrivers his System Sound is known for. Two rootsical excursions and two killer versions, this is the sound of the System champion bringing things back to the source. The title track (featuring longstanding System MC Dego Rankin) is a warm dub jam, spaced for good measure. Flip for "Galactic" as V.I.V.E.K flings us further east on a ship powered by Oriental strings and another rolling dub groove that's designed to make rigs purr. Beautiful.
Review: It's been a hot minute since we heard something new from Och, but he's back on Autoreply with a double 12" of high-grade, stripped back tech house shot through with oodles of imagination. "Panamax" is the consummate dubby house track, a true immersion chamber of a track, while "The Sadness" brings a shuffling groove and some peppy key stabs to the table. "The Healer" is a more overtly minimal affair that would sound at home on PAL SL, while "Linear Response Function" keeps things tight and focused with a sturdy rhythmic framework and some spartan piano notes. "Incompressible Flow" has a submerged jazzy undercurrent to it, and "Lovers Roll" gets into that freaky house bounce heard on "The Sadness". Overall, it's another sterling grip of refined tracks from a seasoned pro.
Review: Emotional Rescue unearth yet another pearl of curiosity from the mists of the 80s here, kicking off a series looking at the work of guitarist Carl Weingarten. This album is a fine place to start, as Weingarten teams up with Walter Whitney for an engrossing exploration of ambient synth work merged with careful use of slide guitar and more besides. It's very much of its time, originally released on Multiphase in 1985, and it's as charming and naive as it is accomplished. There's a new age sweetness to the harmonic composition, but the sound palette is deceptively deep, not least thanks to Weingarten's multifaceted approaches to his instrument. Dreaming In Colours sets a promising tone for what the rest of the series holds.
Review: Prolific and long-serving Canadian producer Fred Everything is never one to rest on his laurels, but it's been no less than 10 years since he last released an album (the classic Lost Together on Om Records). Now he finally returns to the long player format on his own Lazy Days label with the appropriately titled Long Way Home, a widescreen exploration of his sound via all manner of styles. There's gorgeous broken beat and neo soul, slow-strutting electronic disco and modern boogie, and that's just the A side of this expansive 12-track album. Warm, immaculately produced and unafraid of embracing pop as much as underground styles, it's a masterful return from Mr. Everything.
Review: By now we should know what to expect from Tropical Records, namely beefed-up, house style re-edits of disco and boogie tracks that tend towards the hot, sticky and humid. Sartorial kicks things off this time round via the swirling, Latin style disco-bounce of "Warping" - all low-slung bass, new house beats, big orchestration and snaking sax solos - before Moodena straightens out and tools up a hybrid jazz-funk/disco jam that boasts some seriously exotic guitar solos and jammed-out electric piano parts. Simon Kennedy's contribution, "Back To Soul", is a bumpy and bouncy take on a fine disco soul classic, while Hotmood's "Everybody" is a sweaty, house style revision of a P-funk flavoured boogie number.
Review: Enjoying a brief sojourn away from then 2000 Black label he's long called home, sometime 4hero member Dego pops up on Neroli with a two-tracker that blends his usual jazz-funk inspired instrumentation with warm and fragrant, dancefloor-focused grooves. The jazz-funk influence is strongest on flipside "Just Give It A Long Shot", a more languid affair rich in squiggly synth lines, toasty bass guitar, slack-tuned drum breaks and the kind of group vocals that would have once sent rare groove heads into a spin. A-side "Twelve Steps" is arguably even better, with whispered vocals, jazzy synth lines and sunny guitars wrapping around a pleasingly rubbery Brit-funk groove.
Pat Thomas - "Enye Woa" (LeonxLeon Keyed Up mix) (7:20)
Ebo Taylor - "Atwer Abroba" (8:14)
Ebo Taylor - "Atwer Abroba" (Leo Nanjo remix) (5:03)
Review: Comet's "Disco Highlife" re-edit series continues with an EP that draws together original tracks and reworks from two of the Highlife scene's biggest stars: Ebo Taylor and Pat Thomas. The latter can be found on side A, with the tipsy, synth-driven highlife-boogie fusion of "Enye Woa". This is in turn re-edited by LeonxLeon, who has not only extended the original track but also added some superb new spacey synth solos. Turn to the flip for Ebo Taylor's richly percussive, Hammond-laden disco-highlife bubbler "Atwer Abroba" and Leo Nanjo's brilliant remix, which re-imagines the track as a rubbery chunk of Highlife-house drenched in dub delays.
Review: Having recently rounded off his Prolific Trilogy 009 series with a third and final collection of deep and groovy club cuts, Samuel Andre Madsen returns to action via a tightly wound two-tracker full of funk-fuelled grooves and rush-inducing moments. There's something wonderfully loose-limbed about flipside "Alright", a post two-step club cut rich in foreboding acid bass, looped spoken word samples, acid flashes and twisted tech-house electronics. It's good but nowhere near as life affirming as lead cut "Fury's Laughter", an acid bass-propelled peak-time stomper blessed with the most wide-eyed and spine-tingling breakdown we've heard this month. The clips alone are giving us chills, which is always a good sign.
Review: Garden Of Eden was another one of those obscure, one-shot bands who released a sole single at some point in the 1970s and then promptly vanished from view. That single, "Everybody's On A Trip", has long been sought-after amongst collectors of intergalactic disco-funk, hence this reissue from the Backatcha crew. The title track is a downlow delight, with flanged guitar riffs, spacey synth lines, punchy horns and quality male vocals rising above a hot and heavy groove. Over on the flip "It Takes Two" is sweet, slow and dewy-eyed in the tried-and-tested tradition of B-side ballads.
Review: Xtra xtra read all about it! Backatcha excavate a serious New York disco boogie rarity from 82. One of the first productions by BC Records founder Began Cekic, led by prolific backing-vocalist for the likes of Chic and Talking Heads Dolette McDonald, the result is a sultry downtempo affair with an obscene slap-bass line, sweet synth sprinkles and a strut that's roomy enough for Dolette to do her thing. Complete with an instrumental, this lives up to its name. Special.
Review: Last year, obscure 1980s soul singer Garfield Fleming returned to action with a mini-album of tracks co-produced by modern boogie maestro Simon Tappenden AKA Ourra. Here we get a chance to savour once again his 1981 debut single, the much-sampled "Don't Send Me Away". It's something of a "groove"-era boogie classic, all told, with Fleming's superb lead vocal rising above sweeping orchestration and a chunky groove. It also boasts a seriously good breakdown in which Garfield's repetitive chorus vocals ride a stripped-back but percussive groove. Turn to the flip for the solid original B-side "You Got Dat Right", a jaunty slab of disco powered by honky tonk style pianos and a superb "walking" bassline.
Mistura - "Do You Love Me?" (feat Angela Johnson - Joey Negro Disco Blend) (6:20)
Sylvester - "I Need You" (Opolopo remix) (7:55)
Neapolitan Soul - "Welcome To The Dub" (11:44)
Raquel Rodriguez - "We Go Together" (Joey Negro club mix) (6:21)
Review: Over the years, Z Records' "Attack The Dancefloor" series has proved to be a serious source of tried-and-tested club cuts in a disco-centric style. Volume 13 is full to bursting with must-have tracks too. Label boss Dave Lee sets the tone, donning his famous Joey Negro alias to deliver a sumptuously summery "Disco Blend" of Mistura's Angela Johnson-voiced "Do You Love Me?" before Opolopo steals the show by turning Sylvester's surging disco anthem "I Need You" into a synth-sporting chunk of revivalist disco-boogie. Neapolitan Soul's "Welcome To The Dub" is a punchy chunk of disco-house laden in percussion and cute instrumental touches, while Lee's Joey Negro Club mix of Raquel Rodriguez's "We Go Together" is a sweet and seductive fusion of jazz-funk instrumentation and celebratory disco grunt.