Review: The first vinyl offering on any label needs to be something pretty special, and evidently No Fuss Records haven't forgotten that golden rule of releasing. Who better to draft than Saison, a duo with an established reputation for soulful, groove-fulled deep house that's guaranteed to make an impression on the floor? Probably nobody, hence the decision. 'I Need Ya' is a classic vocal workout, brass stabs and looped, filtered lyrics clearly positioning the track as a good times anthem. There's more than a little chug underpinning the Werkshy remix of 'Something Made Me', which stomps its way into a male chorus that should thrust fists skywards. 'Senor Blues' is more of a journey in comparison to its siblings, gradually unveiling its pianos and opening the arrangement up as the track expands from understated beginnings to room-filling proportions.
Review: UK funkateers out on the cosmic frontier in the early 80s Atmosfear let this synth-stroking, bass-slapping star-gazing escapade loose in 1982 and OG presses have been known to fetch a fair a penny among collectors in the past. A proud piece of UK jazz boogie, it's not heard to hear why it's been in such demand. Timeless, spacious and laced with intoxicating vocals and a superbly trippy dub version on the B that was way ahead of its time. Grab it while you can.
Gledd & The Funk District - "Late At Midnight" (5:49)
Review: London's Tropical Disco are back with their eleventh edition of superb edits. All re-spliced and remixed with precision and above all - respectf! First up is label boss Tim Burnett aka Moodena who reuses a rather familiar hook on the funked-up brass section of "The Chase", followed by the lo-slung and sultry late night business of "Addicted To You" by Alex Satrorial on the A side. On the flip, we have got Parisian Chevals (Masterworks/Hotwax) going deep on the sensual boogie-down groove of "Saturn In Tropical" followed by an oldie but a goodie in the form of Gledd & The Funk District's "Late At Night".
Last I Heard (...He Was Circling The Drain) (5:10)
Dawn Chorus (5:34)
I Am A Very Rude Person (3:52)
Not The News (3:57)
The Axe (6:58)
Impossible Knots (4:19)
(Ladies & Gentlemen, Thank You For Coming) (4:57)
Review: It's taken a while, but finally Thom Yorke's impressive third solo album, "ANIMA", is available on wax (and in a fetching shade of orange, too). A future classic that continues the legacy he started with XL Recordings back in 2006 (with his solo debut The Eraser), ANIMA is well worth picking up, as Yorke and co-producer Nigel Godrich offer up evocative, off-kilter songs built around the twin attractions of the Radiohead man's distinctive vocals and skewed backing tracks rich in layered electronic noise, body-bending sub-bass, discordant synthesizer parts and intriguingly jaunty drum loops. Highlights are plentiful throughout, from the creepy, lo-fi ambient swirl of "Last I Heard (...He Was Circling the Drain)" and "Dawn Chorus" (a blissfully dewy-eyed early morning soundscape), to the low-slung, post-trip-hop hum of "I Am A Very Rude Person" and the fizzing, jazz-fired thrust of "Impossible Knots". Melancholic, yes. Deep and self-effacing, of course. Nihilistic, not really. Percussive futurist sub-pop is back.
Billy Squier - "The Big Beat" (extended Breaks Special edition) (2:54)
Le Pamplemousse - "Gimmie What You Got" (extended Breaks Special edition) (4:12)
Review: We've said this before, but there's something brilliantly simple about the Beats & Breaks label's "Extended Breaks" series of seven-inch re-edits. There's no superfluous fluff or needless rearrangement, just solid and matter-or-fact extensions of key drum breaks to both aid mixing and light up dancefloors. For proof, check the mysterious re-editors' take on Billy Squier's 1980 heavy rock workout "The Big Beat", which prioritizes the track's fat, bottom-heavy drums and the singer's impassioned vocal yelps while stripping out most of the gnarled guitar riffs. If you need a bit of a breather from the heavy dancefloor pressure, the crew's subtle revision of Le Pamplemousse's drowsy, synth-laden deep disco shuffler "Gimme What You Got" - a string-laden slice of sun-kissed sweetness - should do the trick.
Review: Hot on the heels of the "Lush Culture" EP with Deetron that landed on Perpetual earlier this summer, more lush licks come from Mr Fred P aka Black Jazz Consortium. Four soul hurricanes that range in weight and emotion, the two poles here can be found slap-bang in the middle of the EP: "Moonlight" is a sultry brushed-drum break for lovers while "Riverside Drive" jacks like a rhino but soothes you with big breeze feels. Elsewhere "Reaching For The Stars" cruises on a skippy break with airy early 90s New York pads and "New Ways" closes on a stunning 88 tip. Have nice dreams y'all.
Review: Earlier in the year Lone launched the Ancient Astronauts imprint via a single-track digital single that wrapped his usual sun-soaked electronics and kaleidoscopic synthesizer melodies around a ridiculously rubbery bassline and crunchy, club-ready breakbeats. Here he offers up the label's first vinyl EP, a three-track missive that's as loved-up as you'd expect. Check first "How Can You Tell", an ultra-deep, dreamy and rushing chunk of deep jungle revivalism full of psychedelic acid lines, slack-tuned breakbeats, yearning chords and bowel-bothering sub-bass. Equally as impressive is A-side opener "Abraxas", a delightful cut that fits between rush-inducing moments of loved-up bliss and the kind of intensely bustling breakbeats that were once all the rage on British dancefloors. "Young Star Cluster", a killer combination of hip-house style breaks and funk-fuelled acid lines, is also superb.
Review: Given that they started out 12 years ago making soul-fired 21st century jazz-funk and bustling broken beat, it seems fitting that their latest single features the honeyed lead vocals of Xantone Blacq, an artist whose early singles explored bruk and future jazz. "You Said" is a wonderful chunk of laidback disco-soul tailor made for sun-kissed afternoons and sweltering early evening dances. Blacq is in fine form singing over the duo's Nile Rodgers style guitars, Bernard Edwards-seque bass and intricately programmed percussion. Over on the flip the pair dons their J & J guys to offer up a largely instrumental edit for those who prefer to get lost in the groove.
Body Language Pro (Sleazy McQueen & Cole Medina remix) (6:37)
Let Me Come Into Your Life (6:49)
The Lone Dancer (6:45)
Review: You could be forgiven for expecting this EP on excellent upfront house imprint Lovedancing to be more of a curveball. After all, The Juan MacLean isn't known for mainstream posturing. It certainly comes with stacks of character and a clear intention to be heard. Bold, commanding and aimed squarely at feet, if mind-meltingly looped pumpers are your thing consider this an early Christmas. All four tracks are built from repetitive hooks, the most inescapable- 'Let Me Come Into Your Life'- will satisfy fans of Mr G's softer side, while 'The Lone Dancer' is destined for sun-drenched terrace bar systems. 'Body Language Pro', meanwhile, has more than a few nods to the French house heydays, with Sleazy McQueen and Cole Medina developing those elements into a beast that's slower to build in but guaranteed to work up a sweat.
Review: It's been a minute or two since Renault cooked us something special but here is on Takeaway and it's a premier delivery service. Both pure disco crackers, "Law Of Love" runs with a succulent bassline and writhing pianos running amok while "More Loving" goes for much more of a smoochy end-of-night feel with sultry vocals, an unhurried groove and a big late 70s production feel. Drop it and watch those love birds fly. Feel the love.
Fonda Rae - "Living In Ecstasy" (The Groove mix) (7:14)
Fonda Rae - "Living In Ecstasy" (JC Ecstasy dub) (7:40)
Jon Cutler - "It's Yours" (feat E Man - original Distant music mix) (7:07)
The Return - "New Day" (7:26)
Review: 4To The Floor's "Classics" series returns with another round up of must-have U.S house music from the late '90s and early 2000s. Side A is all about disco queen Fonda Rae's Mod II Swing produced 1996 cut "Living In Ecstasy". Choose between the "Groove Mix", a rolling and soulful affair rich in rolling drums and jaunty synth stabs, and John Cicafone's dark, driving and bass-heavy "Ecstasy Dub", which remains a formidable chunk of late night body music. Over on side B, there's another chance to savour Jon Cutler and E-Man's "It's Yours", a gently jazzy chunk of soulful house goodness that was one of the biggest club hits of 2001, and the lesser-known delights of The Return's deliciously deep and dreamy 1999 workout "New Day".
Review: Fernando Zapico AKA Z@p is one of those producers whose work is always worth a listen, primarily because his quality threshold is very high. This two-track missive on My Own Jupiter picks up where his recent EP for Japanese imprint Cabaret left off, delivering faintly foreboding futurist techno whose sci-fi inspirations are clear to hear. A-side "Brutalismo" sets the tone, with paranoia-inducing analogue bass, creepy synth stabs and swirling electronic textures rising above a punchy drum machine-driven groove. "We Control The Sound" is notably denser and a little darker, with sturdier beats, moodier chord sequences and a bone-chilling breakdown.
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: After four years spent contributing tracks to multi-artist EPs and digital download compilations, Casey Spillman has finally been given a chance to release a 12" all of his own. He's firmly grasped the opportunity with both hands, first offering up a bouncy, sub-heavy chunk of late night UK garage/deep house fusion ("Avec Moi", before effortlessly joining the dots between skittering tech-house and rumbling UKG on "Temperature". Over on Side B, Enzo Siragusa offers a deep, acid-flecked tech-house take on "Avec Moi" - all off-kilter electronics, earth-shaking bass and glitchy grooves - while Spillman delivers more bass-heavy, garage-influenced grooves and sun-kissed synths on atmospheric closing cut "Endure".
I'll Take You There (Directors cut Classic Signature remix) (7:48)
I'll Take You There (Dimitri From Paris re-edit) (7:48)
I'll Take You There (The Shapeshifters remix) (7:42)
Review: Back in 2011, Frankie Knuckles and Eric Kupper debuted their Director's Cut project by teaming up with old pal Jamie Principle on "I'll Take You There". Here it gets the reissue treatment, with a trio of classic mixes being joined by a fresh revision from scalpel maestro Moplen. His version is delicious, with Principle's loved-up vocal rising above bubbly synth-bass, evocative organ lines, swirling synthesizer motifs and sunrise chords. There's another chance to enjoy Director's Cut's own warm and glassy-eyed "Signature Remix", a second spin for Dimitri From Paris's slightly breezier (but no less loved-up) re-edit and a boisterous funky house rework from the Shapeshifters that some may have missed first time around.
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: As the initiated should know by now, Re-Loved is the Big Love label offshoot started by Seamus Haji as a means to celebrate and platform his love of disco, boogie and associated tracks. So far it has been working very well, receiving critical and public acclaim alike, and this single-track outing is unlikely to harm that established reputation. A familiar name to any fan of Salsoul, Defected and Glitterbox, Dr. Packer is a fitting collaborative partner for Mark 'Barry & Gibbs' Lower, with both regularly poling near the top of the nu disco charts. A meeting of minds, 'Moods of Music' is a slamming but funky workout packing a meaty and mighty brass section guaranteed to raise a smile. Ultimately, though, it's all about the rhythm guitar hooks tying this one together, proving the devil is in the detail.
Review: If ever there was a record that warranted a one-track single-sided pressing, it would be this one. The legend of this track harks back to the golden years of dubplate culture, when a track's infamy could be felt months before it dropped. Sherelle lay waste to the place when she dropped Fixate's utterly devilish bootleg of Double 99's timeless garage classic "Ripgroove," which artfully nudges the track back into the rudest jungle styles the original made such good use of. It had to get an official pressing, and who better than original label Ice Cream Records to do the business? This one is going to fly out, so don't hang around.
Review: It's the album that shot them to glory in one fell swoop, hitting stores at a time when the BBC had just listed Australia's great indie hope in the taste-making Sound of 2009 list. And, as this 10th anniversary special edition proves, the record has lost none of its emotional power or infectious musicality in that time. Opening with the pared back-yet-desperate "Love Lost", the tone is set for a record that packs as much punch as it does reel from the punishments life so readily hands out. Veering between bruised and ballsy, quiet and confident, tracks like "Rest" and lead single "Sweet Disposition" position them among the most vital and arresting guitar outfits on the scene. Soaring vocals, arpeggiated chords and frantic crescendos abound. On the stylistic flip, "Fools" and "Soldier On" showcase a far more delicate musicality, revealing a band as heartbroken as they are heartfelt.
Review: Last year Paulo Mosca made his vinyl debut on Where We Met as one half of Venetian duo Micro.Solchi. Here he makes his solo bow via a four-tracker on Slow Life rich in vintage influences. "Interstellar Interruption", for example, sounds like the kind of far-sighted UK-US techno fusion that could have been featured on a Nexus 21 EP from 1990, while the organ-sporting techno-funk of "Cosmic Love" boasts bleeps that could have been taken wholesale from an early Warp 12". The producer's inherent funkiness is showcased further on brilliant opener "What's Their Name?" - all squelchy bass, Derrick May style drums and jaunty sci-fi lead lines - while "Star Wars" wraps decidedly spacey pads, warped lead lines and dubby bass around a shuffling breakbeat rhythm.
Review: Although Salzburg sort Bernhard "Demuja" Weiss has previously released music on Shall Not Fade offshoot Lost Palms, this is the first time he's appeared on Kieran Williams' main label. He's delivered the goods, offering up a rock solid five-track EP that flits between loose and languid deepness (breezy opener "Do It"), locked-in late night grooves (the muscular beats, heavy bass and poignant piano samples of "Jito"), spacey, synth-laden deep house positivity (the sparkling "Can't Stop"), jazz-funk influenced mid-tempo house warmth ("Those Who") and Detroit techno influenced dancefloor futurism (the elongated deep space chords, ragged acid lines and bustling beats of "Tokyo").
Review: Since joining the label at the turn of the millennium, Scott Morgan AKA Loscil has become one of the admirably experimental imprint's most prolific artists. "Equivalents" is Morgan's ninth album for the label and sees him offer up eight meditations on a hazy, spaced-out theme. It's a slow-burn affair, where processed melodic elements, held-note chords and drone style aural textures slowly move across the sound space. It's a formula that guarantees goodness from start to finish, with the pulsing "Equivalent 3", ghostly "Equivalent 6", Mr Cloudy-esque "Equivalent 2" and the becalmed and poignant "Equivalent 8" standing out.
Shared Stories Of Rivals (Keita) (feat Saul Williams) (4:38)
Forevergirl (feat Chris Turner & Mike Larry Draw) (5:37)
Diviner (Devan) (3:48)
Songs She Never Heard (feat Logan Richardson) (5:56)
Ritual (Rise Of Chief Adjuah) (6:00)
Before (feat Elena Pinderhughes) (6:15)
Double Consciousness (3:52)
Ancestral Recall (feat Saul Williams) (6:08)
Review: New Orleans trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah returns with his first album in almost two years, an essential set of spiritually conscious Afro-jazz that wraps his bold, mesmerizing and memorable trumpet solos around a variety of skittish tribal rhythms, Mariachi style horn riffs, soulful vocal arrangements and 21st century jazz instrumentation. It's a unique and thoroughly absorbing signature sound, with the assembled guests - most notably Saul Williams, Elena Pinderhughes and Logan Richardson - adding much to Scott aTunde Adjuah's intoxicating sound soup. Highlights come thick and fast throughout, from the slow burn soundscape of "Diviner (Devan)" and wonderfully percussive "Ritual (Rise Of Chief Adjuah)", to the intergalactic drowsiness of "Prophecy" and breezy "Double Consciousness".
Review: Back to 93! Rave duo Hyper On Experience were absolutely dominating the sets of DJs like Seduction, Carl Cox, Slipmatt and Phantasy and anyone paying attention to the then-fledgling Moving Shadow imprint. Now part of a major remaster and reissue campaign from Kniteforce, their third EP enjoys a timely evaluation: "Disturbance" is the mischievous opener, all impish and no sense of direction (in the best way possible), "Monarch Of The Glen" takes us more into happier territories with some goosebumping pianos and cool halfbeats while "Lil Ruffion" nods heavily to a European drum, all techno and flighty. Reload.
Review: Following outstanding EPs from Javonntte and Malik Alston, JVXTA returns to the Hardmatter label he co-founded back in 2017. The three-tracker is rather wonderful all told, with the London-based producer expertly combining vocal and orchestral samples from vintage, mid 20th century records with twinkling new electric piano lines, sumptuous chords and luxurious deep house grooves. Dewy-eyed lead cut "Possible" is particularly potent, with JVXTA underpinning loved-up female vocals and simmering jazz-soul instrumentation with bumping beats and drowsy new chords. He continues on a similar theme on the flip, where the ultra-deep, woozy and dreamy "Suzuku Dream" is followed by the equally evocative and smoky "Here I'll Stay", where breezy flute solos, fluid harp motifs and simmering orchestration rises above another bluesy deep house groove.
Quadrant, Iris, Ulterior Motive - "Intuition" (6:04)
Review: Guidance strike again! Two sides, two vibes: first up the label bossmen Ulterior Motive continue their ripping vein of form with the weapon's grade stepper "Trip Hammer" that hits with serious space around every gritty funk element. Flip for a hook-up with dynamic US duo Quadrant & Iris as we're taken down a wormhole of dark delights at a white knuckle pace that doesn't let up. Huge shouts to Guidance right here.
Review: Groovy, beguiling and hypnotic- Tusk Wax is a label where anything can happen while still boasting coherency throughout its catalogue. If that sounds vague that's the point; elements of house, funk, jazz, acid and tech never far from the mixing desk. This, the imprint's 30th outing, is another limited press continuing in that fine form thanks to the always-solid Loz Goddard, formerly of Dirt Crew. One made for summertime sessions, intriguingly it could score late night hallucinatory forest raves or sun-drenched terrace parties. It just depends which cut you go for. 'Redrum' is a low-lying cosmic treat, repetitive female vocals ensuring dancefloor potential contrasting the lackadaisical melodies. 'BHD' takes us down an expanding disco wormhole, Ron Basejam's remix of 'Redrum' places the emphasis on live bass and sass, a perfect precursor to the contemporary funk of 'Drumble'.
Review: It would be safe to say that Kayroy (real name Finian Langham) is on a roll. This is his third must-have EP of 2019 and his second outing on Whiskey Disco. It begins with "Rosella", a superb revision of Crown Heights Affair's "Say a Prayer" that strips out most of the vocals and layers up tasteful overdubs to give the track a more cosmic and dubbed-out feel. "You're The Reason Why" is a loopy but groovy rearrangement of a dewy-eyed laidback disco classic, while "Silk & Satin" is a riotous rework of a heavy disco-funk number rich in sharp, rising horn lines, screaming guitars, sweaty drums and toasty bass. Arguably best of all, though, is the fizzing, dubbed out Italo-disco-goes-poodle-perm-rock insanity of "One Night In Prague".
Review: With so much at stake when seminal outfits decide to get back together it's understandable people usually greet the news of reunification with a degree of skepticism. But if RIDE's first epilogue didn't confirm it, their second post-comeback album should; sometimes a return is exactly what we needed. Tracks like "Future Love", "Jump Jet" and "Fifteen Minutes" stand up as excellent in their own right. At its most adventurous and confident, "This Is Not A Safe Place" is a startling work of extraordinary daring. RIDE sound as powerful and room-filling as it does hypnotic. "Repetition" vacuum packs a party in sharp, staccato goodness, "Kill Switch" takes us into dark, edgy territories, high pitched chord refrains and crashing cymbals creating an air of menace. So, if we didn't say it already, welcome back.
Notes: The iconic Wax Poetics returns to Europe with this unique Collector's Edition. After a brief hiatus from the shelves, the magazine is returning in its original format, size, and structure. This Collector's Edition will feature classic articles (inc Melvin Bliss & Gary Bartz) from the Wax Poetics vaults plus new words about the ever-growing London jazz scene and a look back at its acid jazz movement. Expect the magazine to continue to close the gap in music journalism between coverage of contemporary artists and celebration of classic trailblazers.