The Unemployed - "Funky Thing" (part 1 - Professor Shorthair remix) (4:24)
Lee Dorsey - "Occapella" (Professor Shorthair remix) (3:26)
Review: Somewhat predictably, this double-dose of party-hearty Professor Shorthair remixes is as colourful and vibrant as the purple marbled vinyl seven-inch onto which the tracks are pressed. On side A he does his thing with The Unemployed's rugged 1970 funk-rock jam "Funky Thing", beefing up the beats for modern dancefloors while adding a choice selection of scratched-in samples. Arguably even better is his rework of Lee Dorsey's "Occapella", a sweet, lo-slung groover that gets re-cast as a dubbed-out chunk of hazy, bass-heavy hip-hop soul rich in echo-laden vocal snippets, snatches of rap and hazy horns. As Dorsey's vocal says, it's "finger-snapping good"!
Review: While you'll find plenty of experienced composers and producers on A Strangely Isolated Place's quietly impressive roster of artists, the Californian label is also excellent at showcasing new talents. They're at it again here, offering up a debut from previously unheard Sardinian artist Blinkar Fran Norr. The eight tracks tend towards the more becalmed, meditative and immersive end of the ambient spectrum, with Norr prioritizing swelling, stretched-out chords, hushed aural textures, atmospheric field recordings, ghostly strings and unearthly instrumental sounds that invite you in for dinner and then persuade you to stay for the weekend. It's beautiful and beguiling, for sure, but also touched with a hint of sadness. As debuts go, it's really rather impressive.
Review: Galaxy Sound give this 1997 hip hop classic a new twist with some slick jazz stylings. Lil Kim's "Crush On You", is known by all but here it becomes something completely different: a forgotten jazz funk gem, colourful trumpet leads awash with lush drums and timeless soul. The flipside houses a re-edit of Jeff Lorber's "Rain Dance", which is in fact the original source of the samples on Lil Kim's track, and one that has been used on more than 20 other big time tunes. Here it's subtly tweaked but still remains a classic bit of jazz-flecked hip hop with some proper rude vocals.
Want You In My Soul (Summer In London edit) (4:51)
Review: Stee Downes is one of contemporary house music's most prominent vocalists and here he lends his silky tones to Freerange, Defected and OM Records associate, Lovebirds for this new one on South Street. "Want You In My Soul" is a mix of old and new, where disco percussion and cosmic synths nestle alongside a mid tempo house groove with plenty of warmth. Downes' vocals are the loved up icing on the romantic groove cake. Flip over for the "Summer In London Edit" - a more stripped back and direct version, perfect for outdoor stages as the sun beats down.
Review: Henry Hyde is back for his fourth outing on his own NorthSouth label, but this time marks a shift as he holds court over the full run of the wax with a selection of refined floor tweakers draped in illustrious swathes of synths. Things kick off in dazzling style with the bright white chords and crafty fills of "I Heard You Like To Squelch" before the snappy electro flair of "My Function" keeps the uplifting vibe but swaps out the rhythm. "Slick Rick" is a freaky minimal cut with some wobbly bass wielded with deadly precision, and then the record rounds off on the shuffling micro funk of "Second Face".
Review: Self-proclaimed "techno body music" duo Schwefelgelb seem a neat fit with Cititrax, the Minimal Wave sub-label set up to handle contemporary electronic music rather than reissues. There's something particularly muscular, robust and otherworldly about their label debut, which remarkably is their first EP of original tracks for two years. Opener "Die Dunne Hand" sets the tone, with the pair conjuring up a throbbing, mind-altering EBM-funk workout that sounds like an unlikely Nitzer Ebb cover version of the KLF's "What Time Is Love", while "Auf Die Erde" sees them wrap crunchy percussion and dystopian vocal snippets around a surging EBM bassline. Side B begins with the stripped-back metallic mutant funk of "Die Augen Gehen", before the duo dives into chugging, flash-fried industrial/electro/techno fusion on the mind-bending "Das Blid Das Wiederkehrt".
Review: On this sizzling seven-inch, two of Italy's most productive disco talents - Lego Edit and Vito Lalinga - join forces to energetically sprint through two righteous slabs of "Dancefloor Funk". First up on side A is "Afro Funky Now", a loose-limbed, bass-heavy Afro-funk workout rich in addictive organ stabs, delay-laden saxophone solos, Fela Kuti-esque horn blasts, beefy bass guitar and infectious drum breaks. Over on side B, "Booker" is a driving force of nature: a saxophone, trumpet and harmonica laden romp through swamp funk territory with more energetic instrumental flourishes than you can shake a stick at. We're unsure whether they're edits or original tracks (most likely the former), but either way they're ace.
James Brown - "Funky Drummer" (extended Breaks Special edition) (4:49)
Jimmy Smith - "Root Down" (extended Breaks Special edition) (3:40)
Review: This one came our back in January but sold out in quick fashion, so a limited edition repress is now here but likely to be gone just as quick. And it's easy to see why as this latest Breaks & Beats offering takes on edits of two massive James Brown classics. Extended with DJ friendly breaks and elongated grooves, the Godfather of Soul's fine original is made into a much more useable tool. Jimmy Smith classic "Root Down" gets similar treatment on the flip as it starts and ends with some very workable drum loops that will liven up any set and party.
Review: The 20th year of Billy Nasty's Electrix label kicks off in style with this essential slab of mutant electro from the mighty London Modular Alliance. There's a razor-sharp focus to the drums on "Concerning Irregular Figures", but it's offset by the warmth of bass synth to capture a mood somewhere between early Radioactive Man and Skanfrom. "Exit Strategy" takes things in a freakier direction with plenty of errant blips and squiggles from the group's vast array of gear. "Glove Box" has a darker tone that nods to vintage Dopplereffekt, which Assembler Code's "Rewind Remix" twist things up into a pacey workout that maintains the dread-filled atmosphere perfectly.
Review: Since debuting on Private Persons in 2017, Russian duo Locked Club has gone on to release well received material on TRAM Planet and, more recently, Boys Noize. Here they return to the Private Persons fold with their first EP for the imprint in two years. Fans of no-holds-barred, industrial strength electro/techno fusion should check the brain-melting insanity of funk-fuelled opener "Russian Banya" and "WC", a buzzing, lo-fi electro cut that's as urgent and energetic as a panicked commuter legging it to catch the last train home. Elsewhere, "Whisper" is a strobe-lit chunk of electroclash revivalism and "So Funky" is a serviceable slab of electronic body music.
Review: Following on from the excellent "Scene In Mirage" reissue that broke O Yuki Conjugate to a whole new crowd, Emotional Rescue return to the archives of the over-looked Nottingham "dirty ambient" outfit. Their second LP "Into Dark Water", originally released in 1987, is just as powerful as the first - a hypnagogic journey fuelled by a global stew of sound, feeding into elegant, evocative pieces. Fans of classic Jon Hassell will find much to enjoy here, but equally those appreciating the exotic post punk undercurrents of 23 Skidoo et al will easily find themselves drawn to the likes of "Ba-makala". Stunning, borderless musings from a hidden treasure of the UK's post-industrial heritage.
Review: The latest must-have release from the Boogie Butt camp boasts a suitable obscure chunk of boogie/jazz-funk fusion from 1982. "Walk" was the sole release from the Sam Culley Band and has become something of a collector's item owing to its warming fusion of slap-bass, dreamy synth chords, soulful vocal phrases, jazzy guitars and rich horns. This time round the sought-after original version is accompanied by a remix by Boogie Butt members Lord Funk & Moar. Their revision is a little tighter rhythmically, with extra contemporary weight, but otherwise sticks closely to the Sam Culley Band's excellent original version.
Review: For the 13th volume in their occasional "Store Jams" series, Amsterdam's Rush Hour crew has turned to Superior Elevation Records chief Tom Noble, a producer best known for his re-edits and remixes. "Flashlight" is not a cover of the famous Parliament/Funkadelic jam of the same name, but rather a similarly and colourful revivalist disco jam rich in low-slung grooves, flanged guitars and kaleidoscopic synth lines. Sometime Jamie 3:26 collaborator Masalo handles remix duties on side B, brilliantly re-imagining the track as a muscular slab of starry-eyed late night Italo-disco. Whisper it quietly, but it could well be even better than Noble's original version.
Since I Don't Have You Anymore (instrumental) (3:54)
Review: Bay Area-based singer, songwriter, engineer, and producer Kelly Finnigan is a new artist but one who be easily mistaken for some cult soul favourite from yesteryear. His debut album is on the way but before that comes a teaser single "Since I Don't Have You Anymore" that is pure quality. Buttery vocals are drawn out over edgy soul beats, with strings softening the groove and rolling rhythm sections getting under your skin. The instrumental on the flip is perfect for those peak time hours while the original is best enjoyed in the comforts of your own home. Win!
Review: All the stops have been pulled out for this big new remix package on Redux Inc. First up is a new multi-track rework of Double Exposure's 1976 "Ten Percent" that was first mixed by Walter Gibbons. With a new keyboard solo by the talented Johnny Tomlinson (best known for working with Bonobo) and a boost by the elusive Robbie Casa Blanco, the result is a real contemporary disco banger with lush strings and a soul train groove that never lets up. Dr Packer then tackles Steve Arrington's 1985 classic, "Feel So Real", adding layers of rugged arps and rooted drums that work it up into a grooving dancefloor favourite. Melba Moore's previously album only "You Got Me Loving You" then gets an extended Dr Packer rework with some marching drums, funky bass and sumptuous strings.
Review: Since being touted as jazz's next big thing back in 2014, Moses Boyd has released very little music, though the few EPs he has put out have been uniformly superb. We'd expect plenty of hype around this debut album, but we can assure you it will be deserved. Boyd is a drummer by trade and it's the variety and quality of the rhythms - some framed by traditional jazz, others hip-hop, grime, dubstep, dancehall and Tony Allen style Afrobeat grooves - that really stand out, despite the presence of fuzzy, Fela Kuti style horn motifs, booming basslines, Juju guitar solos, liquid jazz-funk flourishes, dark trip-hop tropes and some suitably inspiring vocals. Boyd may have taken his time, but it was definitely worth the wait.
Review: With Valentine's Day just around the corner, Caserta and the rest of the Bridge Boots crew have decided to offer-up something decidedly glassy-eyed and loved-up - specifically two fresh bootleg re-makes of Teddy Pendergass's 1978 Philadelphia Soul classic "When Somebody Loves You Back". The seven-inch singles boasts two distinctively different versions. On the A-side you'll find the "Rooftop Mix", a striped-back blend of dub disco and boogie in which Pendergrass's fine vocals rise above a rubbery bassline, colourful '80s soul synths and toe-tapping beats. Over on the B-side Caserta flips the script, layering selected snippets of Pendergrass's vocal over a deep, dark and bass-heavy house groove. It's sub-titled the "Basement Dub" and that's exactly what it is.
Review: Last Night On Earth's latest release is something rather special: a fresh set of dancefloor dubs of catalogue tracks by prolific producer, remixer and friend of the family Deadbeat. His interpretations are largely loopy, hazy, hypnotic and trippy, joining the dots between traditional dub techno and a more bass-heavy, out-of-this-world version of 21st century tech-house. Perhaps the most eye and ear-catching track is "Float Collapse Dub" - a version of a previously unreleased Sasha cut - but the ethereal and otherworldly dubs of tracks by Ejeca, Alex Niggemann, Hunter/Game and John Gurd - a dreamy and picturesque affair - are also especially good.
Review: Although not widely known, Daniel Dimbas's 1985 album "La Diferencia" is regarded in some circles as one of the greatest Caribbean zouk records of all time, and certainly the heaviest. Rush Hour co-founder Antal is a fan, and here heads-up a double A-side of fresh edits of key cuts from the sought-after set. First up Antal expertly rearranges "Carnaval Soca", delivering a warm, humid and sweaty interpretation rich in driving soca-disco grooves, punchy horns, heady harmony vocals and mazy, Zouk style analogue synthesizer solos. Palms Trax takes a similarly light-touch approach on his edit of the breezier and more sun-kissed "La Musique", occasionally opting for filter trickery on an otherwise traditional style scalpel edit.
Review: Man of many aliases Rene Pawlowitz has recorded under many pseudonyms over the years, though it's his Shed and Head High monikers that tend to get the most interest. Here he delivers a rare outing as Wax, a nom-de-plume he first used 11 years ago. A-side "No. 70007 (Part 1)" is a bona-fide techno club cut built around a rubbery rhythm track that boasts far more swing than your average Berlin production, with Pawlowitz's selected musical elements - drowsy, almost ghostly chords and slowly rising strings - only coming to the fore as the track progresses. The flipside "Part 2" version expertly re-arranges the same elements, breaking up the beats further while adding a druggy, almost metallic stab to add a frisson of intensity.
Review: Some sizzling deep funk business here from TRAMP Records, as the venerable German reissue imprint offers a fresh pressing of an obscure 1975 single from Walt Maddox's Super M label. It was Maddox who produced "Little Sister", though little is known about the band that recorded it. The A-side "Part 1" vocal version is superb. It features addictive group vocals, prominent flute solos and the kind of wah-wah-heavy, flash-fried deep funk grooves that were all the rage at the time. The flipside "Part 2 (Instrumental)" mix strips away the lead vocal, emphasizes the groove further and gives greater prominence to the flute and organ parts. It's great, too, though we still prefer the A-side.
Review: Rising Sun Psyche aka Berlin's hugely prolific but somehow rather lowkey Steffen Laschinski hits an amazingly bittersweet spot on his latest offering. It combines post-rave ambient, breakbeats, IDM and deep house into a real trip. "The River Experiment II" is a dreamy opener with gorgeous synths while "Back Home" is backlit with a celestial glow of melody and spoken word snippets that add to the reverie. There's gentle minimalism in "The River Experiment I" and followed by punchy and emotive number "Feel What I Feel" amongst many other highlights.
Review: To celebrate the dawn of a new decade, Bristolian cut-and-paste maestro Boca 45 has decided to serve up a series of seven-inch singles under a new label, 2020 Donuts (his previous imprint was just called Donuts). A-side "Powerful" is a real treat: an inventive chunk of low-slung, horn-sporting spy-funk goodness topped off with wayward electronic flourishes and a powerful soul vocal by Hannah Williams. Flip-side "Sparky Evans" is a sample-heavy club rocker in the traditional Boca 45 style - all heavy bass, even heavier breakbeats, Sly and the Family Stone style fuck-rock guitars and hip-hop vocal snippets.
Review: Guidance Is Internal 3 is the third and final instalment of a three part compilation series that has pulled together the best music from Callisto's golden period on legendary Chicago label Guidance Recordings. Everything you would expect of a real visionary is here - depth, spirituality and cosmic vibes aplenty. Super sweet kick drums that just keep on pulling you in define the opener, while things are cast more free on the intergalactic "Basic Lytes." "Ambent II" sounds like an early Omar S tune and "Meta" is gorgeously dreamy. House doesn't get any better.
Review: Since launching in 2014, Portland's ZamZam Sounds imprint has offered up a string of beautifully packaged seven-inch singles from a mixture of big hitters and rising stars from the global bass music scene. Their latest missive comes from Dayzero, a Japanese dubstep producer best known for his outings on Wheel & Deal, Sentry and, most recently, Vomitspit. The two tracks here are weighty, intergalactic and otherworldly, mixing dub style rhythms with the kind of angular, razor-sharp sub-bass motifs more often associated with dancefloor dubstep. Both cuts are quality, though it's rolling A-side "Orbit Dub" - all lolloping dub beats, wobble bass, metallic effects and paranoid aural textures - that really stands out.
Review: Bristol bestie badmen Batu and Lurka clash up once again for another Fringe excursion. One track, one remix, "Curved" gets straight to the point with its loosely broken house beats, grumbling bass bubbles and drunken synth scribbles. If you recall the dubby delights of Craig Richards & Lee Burridge's Tyrant project years ago, you're in the right area. Need things a little spicier? Flip for Bambounou's up-tempo twist where the drums are fully broken, the tension is higher and there's a trippy-assed breakdown that will bend your dancefloor's minds. Limited to 300, this won't hang around.
Review: The much loved Melodies International label takes another step away from its usual remit here by reissuing a second bit of classic house music following on from the excellent Hanna 12" late last year. It comes from cult London pair Synchrojack aka Dean Slydell and Greg Wheeler who first put it out on Ferox in 1995. "Daylight" is high speed, high class house with bubbling drums, bass and synths all making for a powerful yet fluid groove that is underpinned with punchy kicks that won't fail to make you move. Flipside "900th Lifetime" is similar in its full flavour grooves and tightly knotted bass. Both cuts are sure to be everywhere this summer.
Review: Few artists make modern club sounds that are as stuffed with authenticity and musical charm as Jacques Renault. The studio wizard and musical polyglot comes correct once again here on a new one for Take Away that packs four fantastic punches. "Love Come Down" is the afro opener before "Movin' On Up" gets all disco with its noodling bass and slick riffs. "Give It To Me" then lays down more excellent funk bass and loose limbed percussive patterns that make you wiggle and "Everybody Do It" is the final piece of this most excellent puzzle. For a taste of what it would have been like to party at The Loft back in the day, look no further.
Review: While most Drumcode releases are suitably sizable, this EP is particularly large - and not just because it features two huge names in Maceo Plex and Josh Wink. Their original version (A1) is predictably robust and rugged with foreboding low register stabs, metallic clangs, druggy vocal snippets and creepy melodies rising above stomping techno beats. It's a genuinely all-action affair that sounds like a massive room anthem in waiting. Over on side B you'll find two re-rubs: a more melodious Raxon remix that sounds like tech-house on steroids and a deeper, darker, trance-inducing techno take by Shall Ocin.
Review: French producer Nathan Melja has amassed a spotless discography on the likes of Mister Saturday Night, Antinote and Opal Tapes, and now debuts on Kalahari Oyster Cult with another terrific offering. "Synesthesia" is futuristic sci-fi techno with shiny synth lines and a hurried kick pattern that gets you on your toes while the bassline burrows deep. TTT affiliate and Incienso co-founder Anthony Naples steps up with the first remix. His version is more dreamy thanks to the array of background pads, then closing things out is Pariah with a punch groove that leaves the original's prying lead intact. Essential stuff.
Review: Somewhat bizarrely, this 1972 set was funded and released by (the now defunct) Cruzeiro Airlines as a promotional item. More impressively, it brought together some of Brazil's finest musicians including Azymuth (who were responsible for laying down the backing tracks) and Marcos Valle. Here reissued for the first time, it offers a glorious blend of string-drenched arrangements, jazz-funk, samba and jazz-fired backing tracks, spacey early synthesizer sounds, twinkling pianos and sweet female vocals guaranteed to make your flight across Brazil pass by in a loved-up blur. It's infinitely superior to almost all contemporary in-flight entertainment options and - more surprisingly - of far greater musical quality than you'd expect from what was effectively a marketing exercise.
Review: This time last year, Rome-based DJ/producer Adiel joined forces with fellow Italian techno heavyweight Donato Dozzy to deliver the first collaborative release on her Danza Tribale label. 12 months on she's back with another joint effort, this time in cahoots with Northern Electronics artist Anthony Linell. The pair conjure feverish, mind-altering aural textures, psychedelic acid motifs and restless drums on opener "Raso", before opting for a denser and arguably even more intense, moody and throbbing techno sound on "Decoro". Arguably best of all, though, is flipside "Punto In Aria", a surging fusion of chugging industrial bass, ghostly chords, metallic sounds and foreboding, brain-melting bass.
Review: Techno mainstay Jeroen Search rocks up Kr!z's Token label for the first time with four dynamic and dynamite tracks. Opener "Inner Call" is precise minimal techno from another dimension, while "Time-Variant System" is a more tunnel vision tune with hammering hits and eerie synth ripples. Flip over for the stripped back and hypnotic "Staring Into The Abyss" before "Magic Table" builds to a frantic peak with claps, hi hats and bleeps all coloured in the pounding grooves. This is timeless techno for the late night hours.
Review: Dutch producer Samuel Van Dijk has operated under numerous aliases over the years, though he's undoubtedly best known for his IDM and electro work as VC-118A. Those with an in-depth knowledge of his work will tell you that there's also some treasure buried within Van Dijk's outings as Multicast Dynamics, a project rooted in the blurred boundaries between ambient, music concrete and sound design. "Ancient Circuits", his latest album under the alias, is also his most expansive to date: a hundred-minute journey in four 25-minute chapters designed to tell a slowly-shifting journey that's at times blissful, otherworldly, dark, foreboding, intoxicating and intense, all crafted from epic studio experiments with synthesizers, samplers, effects units and a vast array of field recordings. Like much of the Astral Industries catalogue, it's superb.
Review: Italian disco maestro Massimiliano Pagliara presents his first full length EP for Munich's Permanent Vacation. "Nothing Stays In One Place For Long" features four tracks that prove that there's a wide variety in the Panorama Bar resident's sonic repertoire: from the steely chord driven techno of the title track, to evocative cosmic disco journeys more similar to his usual work as heard on the blissful "Accidentally We Rushed". On the flip, we've got two versions of "Avenue Of The Palms" - the Sunset mix is a serving of sun kissed deep house balearica, while the Night mix is a more upbeat and evocative version that's perfect for the later hours.
Review: 10 years after first starting out, June aka Tsampikos Fronas serves up a third full length on Mannequin Records that draws on all his years of musical exploration. The world that results is a dystopian one where machines have taken over and human life has long gone. Synths fizz with static electricity, drums and percussion automated by AI and the whole thing is like an exercise in cyber-transcendence. An arsenal of vintage analog synthesizers, drum machines and effect processors add retro-future textures that only serve to heighten the record overall.
Review: Acid Waxa are thrilled to present the debut release of AYU Acid aka Sheffield laddies Christopher Rave and Tich Off Me Nut in this Crystal Maze inspired EP of highly infectious, feel good acid bangers!
Review: During his lifetime, Boston-based producer Callisto (real name Dana Kelley) was a prolific producer of deep house. He was particularly active in the late 90s and early 2000s, when he released a wealth of material on Guidance Recordings. "Guidance Is Internal: Part 1" gathers together some of his finest moments for the legendary imprint, sashaying between the bass-heavy, ultra-deep hypnotism of "Breezin'", the slick, tech-tinged warmth of "The Power", the US garage-influenced late night skip of "Never Again", the dub/spaced out drum and bass bliss of "Junkle" and the effortlessly soulful, New Jersey style headiness of "Need Ur Love".