Review: Stefano Tirone has been a stalwart of the Italian scene since making his debut on legendary Italian house label Calypso Records way back in 1992. Since then, his productions have become increasingly more jazz and soul focused, with a sizeable side order of groovy downtempo beats. His latest seven-inch single begins with "Try My Love", a hazy chunk of head-nodding jazz-funk/soul fusion rich in languid synthesizer solos, lazy grooves, hazy horns and soulful vocals. It's really good all told, though we'd argue that flipside "Odoya" - a wiggling chunk of Afro-tinged mid-tempo funk - is even better. Either way, it's another rock solid release from the effervescent Tirone.
Review: Proc Fiskal used to run a party called Shleekit Doss that was ecstatic and transcendent while still being fun and silly. He tries to capture the magic of the party on this new EP and does so admirably. The 6 tracks on the EP feels clever but charming. It's a collision of hardcore flurries, warped synths and day-glo keys that is often chaotic but also comforting. Drum & bass, rave, future grime and more all colour its grooves, but the resulting sound is pretty much impossible to define (in a good way).
Review: The seemingly bottomless Greensleeves vaults turn up more gold here with two prime cuts - Wailing Souls' "Who No Waan Come" and Al Campbell's "Unfaithful Children" - that are treated to a first new pressing since 1981. "Who No Waan Come" is silky and sedentary as they come, with kick drums just about managing to propel things along beneath gorgeous doo-wop harmonies. The Linval Thompson produced "Unfaithful Children", however, is a more driven affair with authentic roots. Psyched-out effects, endless reverb and hits that ricochet around, making it a widescreen dub that draws you in and takes you along for the ride.
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: Ben Sims' Hardgroove label presents a new 12" from emergent Brighton producer Charles Green. Hold on tight for a serious throwdown on opener "Rave No Name", which pits darkside hardcore piano chops against an insistent techno thump. This one aims squarely at the peak time for maximum devastation. "Musikbox" has a bold set of sizzling drums and some head-spinning synth stabs, while "Strange Leader" gets back into that noirish early 90s mood. "Routes" completes the package with a broader, space-minded outlook that hits just as hard as the preceding tracks. Classy stuff indeed.
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.
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: Roska dusts off his rare Bakongo alias for a trip down Livity street with three technoid excursions. Every bit as sci-fi as they are bashy; opener "Momoweb" lights the touch-paper with angular android skittishness, ping-ponging back and forth as though Modeselektor have been given the keys to UK funky tank. "Disposition" twirls with a flourishing reverse loop and steppy hi-hats in a way that wouldn't go amiss in a Rolando set, while "Goulbap" closes on a more stripped back bashment trip, all creepy and laced with decaying harmonics. Goulishly good.
Review: Mr. Sunshine is a new production duo hailing from London, and they're not pulling any punches as they land on HOMAGE with nothing to lose and everything to prove. "U Don't Know Me" is a truly deadly tech house bomb laced with massive bass flex and choppy vocals flown in from the UK garage tradition. Justin Cudmore turns the original into an acid-laced thumper precision engineered for the peak time. On the B-side, "My Knife" brings more wobbly b-line badness to get the kids freaking, and then "God Chord" brings a more urgent techy jack revolving around a mean bass and refined synth lead.
Review: Rather unhelpfully, there's little info about the Superlux label available, other than the fact that it's run by the shadowy artists of the same name. They handle side A of this split EP, with Mike Gill's "Noisey Rework" of "White Noise" - a pulsating, otherworldly chunk of electro rich in trippy noises and elastic synth-bass - followed by the raw, foreboding, mid-tempo electro throb of "Chupa Track". Sometime Pleasure Club man Nick Glynn takes over on side two, first delivering the deep space club electro of EP standout "Take One", before inviting Dawl to re-invent it as a mind-mangling slab of electro/Yorkshire bleep fusion (minus the colossal sub-bass associated with that particular vintage style).
Review: Icelandic label Lahar debuts with this highly impressive release from NonniMal, who was previously spotted dropping the classy "Freyja" 12" on AE Recordings back in 2016. Sound design is the order of the day on "Eitt" as a beautifully rendered set of percussive bell notes chime around a minimal rhythm section - a piece pointedly geared towards transcendence. "Tvo" has an intriguing slant to its groove, as the sharply oscillating synth wobble juts out against the grain of the drums. "Thrju" takes things in a bleak but captivating direction, while "Fjogur" cools the record down in a cloud of blissful, frostbitten ambience.
Review: Originally prolific in the late 90s and back with a renewed sense of vigour in the past few years, Dan Piu's classic, widescreen vision of hardware techno captures the verve of the original Detroit blueprint while bringing a fresh, welcome energy to the genre. This drop on Common Dreams brims with the same head-swirling magic, especially on vividly rendered lead track "Halo City". "Falling Framework" has a more mellow veneer, but there's still so much playful detail bringing the track to life. "Akira 2171" has an old-skool sci fi quality balanced out by its linear sense of progression, and "Ilipsyon" takes things deeper into a wistful jack reminiscent of the spookiest Trax output.
Review: It's been six years since Lewis Fautzi debuted on Soma, and since then he's become a real techno powerhouse. His latest shows yet more evolution in his sound across four streamlined and hypnotic "Extinction" cuts. "F01" is alluringly low key as drums roll over a frosty and frozen tundra, then "F02" ups the ante with steel plated kicks and sonar-like pulses that burrow deep. After the warped synths of "F03" comes closer "F04", the most heady of the lot thanks to its MIllsian minimalism and infinite melodic loops.
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: After debuting his Pakzad moniker on Infiltrate last year, Justin Pak makes the leap to Burnski's Constant Sound with this assured set of electro workouts built for the modern age. "Timeless" is a snappy, vibrant cut with a serious amount of techno propulsion to match the crooked funk of the beats. "Clutch" has a more trippy, melodic twist, while "Correlation" hunkers down into a more backroom vibe as detailed as it is freaky. This is seriously executed electro from a fast-rising talent - nab a copy, drop it into a set and watch the bodies writhe.
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're always keen to hear from Berlin label Vortex Traks. This 11th offering sees them eschew their recent run of Various Artists EPs to instead focus on five cuts from Datawave. The Belgian artist's sound operates in some distant galaxy, watched over by his forebearers such as Dopplereffekt and Drexciya. Crashing hits open "Implant" before a serrated lead signals ready for takeoff. The intensity only ramps up through the warp speed synths of "Immune Compound" and corrugated bass rumbles of "Hybrid Structure". "Proceed" is the most alien of the lot, and "Thin Line" closes out on a mysterious vibe that will keep you coming back for more.
Review: Swiss producer Alci, also known as Shaolin Fantastic, landed with lauded releases on Robsoul before skipping to other labels like Apollonia and Meander. Following last year's excellent "Diversity" double pack, he lands on his own label Seeingsounds with this pitch perfect slice of dreamy minimal house. "Acid Drip" may be a misleading title - it's more of an unending groove draped in gorgeous, shimmering melodic finery. "Hiragana" takes things in a more twitchy direction, while "Apachi" brings another slant on reduced, oddball funk to get the up all night crowd loose and freaky in all the right ways.
Don't You Want My Love (Joe Claussell 1986 Reel To Reel edit) (8:54)
Don't You Want My Love (Cratebug More Love remix) (9:06)
Review: Defected's fabulous Glitterbox off-shoot has thankfully repressed these two fist pumping disco remixes of Debbie Jacobs' classic "Don't You Want My Love". Stepping up on the a-side is the master of the mix, EQer extraordinaire and founder of the legendary Body & Soul party, Joe Claussell. His remix is perfect for said New York party with its loose percussion, big string stabs and relentless disco drums. Cratebug strips things back to a more functional and contemporary club track that builds in layers, with subtle filters bringing the tension until finally he lets the groove drop, no doubt to devastating scenes on the dance floor.
Review: Smoky techno futurist Redshape dons his famously featureless mask once more, this time for an outing on regular home label, Running Back. Of course, the German's music is anything but feature-less, as this EP confirms once more. Opener "Rise" has scintillating chords draped over busy, shuffling, breaky-drums that find Redshape cooking up some funk, which is rare for him. We dig. A "Bonus Beats" and "Acappella" mix are included for adventurous DJs, while the flip sweeps you off your feet on a breezy, floating techno groove that is riddled with synths that flutter in warm solar winds. A firmly rooted and rolling Motor Mix of "Rise" closes out yet another essential Reshape offering.
Review: These days we're accustomed to producers serving up deep, dreamy and life-affirming fusions of breakbeat, deep house and ambient techno. This wasn't so much the case when Ex-Terrestrial released his debut EP, "Paraworld" in 2016. As this surprise reissue proves, it remains one of the best EPs of its kind. There's much to admire throughout, from title track's bongo-laden, new age deep house warmth, to the seductive ambient bliss of "Dreams of Jupiter", which still reminds us of 2015's Slow Riffs 12" on Mood Hut. Arguably best of all, though, is "Blue Smoke", a brilliant fusion of pitched-down rave breakbeats and comforting, Pete Namlook style ambient chords.
Review: Alex "Kiwi" Warren has barely put a foot wrong in recent times, with a superb DJ Rocca collaboration and some fine EPs on Disco Halal, Cin Cin and Paradise Palms. Here he adds another record label to the CV via a second outing on Needwant. In its original form, "Kiya" is a baggy, sunrise-ready house cut drive forwards by low-slung bass, chiming melodies, layered percussion, twinkling pianos and choice snatches of vocal apparently borrowed from an old African record. The "Rave Mix" is a more driving excursion smothered in intergalactic motifs and trance-like synth sounds, while the Brian Ring revision is looser, sparser and altogether more glassy-eyed. Warren rounds things off via the "Dreamscape Mix", a stunning ambient interpretation for those who like their sounds swirling and beat free.