Review: Having previously persuaded some of the re-edit scene's biggest names to contribute reworks, Razor-N-Tape has now recruited the Grand-daddy of the scalpel scene: 1970s disco original Danny Krivit AKA Mr K. He begins with "Stuff", a deliciously epic revision of an atmospheric and joyous disco cut rich in snaking synth solos, evocative instrumentation and glassy-eyed vocals. Krivit teases the tune in slowly, eventually cutting loose as the nine-minute edit reaches its final few minutes. Side B is all about "The Story", a jaunty and musically complex instrumental disco number that contains some fantastic orchestration, spacey 1970s synthesizer flourishes and heady female backing vocals.
Come Back To Me (Soopasoul remix - instrumental) (3:22)
Review: DJ Soopasoul has previously breathed new life into tracks by Croatian producer Funky Destination, so it's little surprise to see him putting his spin on the Osijek-based artist's latest missive. He does a terrific job, offering up vocal and instrumental versions of "Come Back To Me" rich in long, tension-building intros, fuzzy funk horns, bass-heavy grooves, swirling orchestration and hard-wired guitar riffs. While the instrumental version is tidy, our pick of the pair is undoubtedly the A-side remix. We're not sure who the lead vocalist is, but her delivery is incredible. Don't sleep on this one!
Review: This has appeared with little or no pre-hype, so we're not quite sure of the story behind it. What we can tell you is that it offers up two rare versions of the ultimate golden era hip-hop party record, House Of Pain's 1992 anthem "Jump Around". On the A-side you'll find the "Multi Track Original Rap Version", which appears to be the first recorded version, featuring the band's now familiar lyrics over DJ Muggs' killer beat (which, according to lore, he original offered to both Cyprus Hill and Ice Cube first). His superb "Original Multi-Track Instrumental", which has never before seen the light of day, takes price of place on side B.
John Wagner Coalition - "Cold Sweat" (edit) (3:12)
Review: Mushi 45 is launching a new series featuring fresh edits of obscure covers of cuts by James Brown and the JB's. The first boasts two thoroughly obscure covers of "Cold Sweat". On the A you'll find a tidy tweak of a rousing, raucous and sexually charged 1968 version by El Klan, a Mexican band renowned for their heavyweight take on funk, soul and rhythm and blues. Over on side B you'll find an interpretation from the John Wagner Coalition that originally featured on their 1976 debut album, which unusually was made up entirely of James Brown covers. Their version is a little more laidback, with tons of spacey synthesizer flourishes, crunchy Clavinet lines and oodles and wild Hammond organ solos.
Review: Back in the early-to-mid 2000s, Warren Harris AKA Hanna was responsible for making and releasing some of the most sumptuous and seductive blends of future jazz, broken beat, soul and deep house around. This 12" from Melodies International offers a neat reminder by serving up two tracks previously featured on a CD-only album from 2004. A-side "I Needed" is the clear standout: a glassy-eyed and loved-up slab of jaunty dancefloor deep house that combines the swing of future garage and the snappiness of jacking Chicago house with the smoothness of soul and the kaleidoscopic synthesizer lines of jazz-funk. Flipside "Intercession, On Behalf" is similarly minded with more of an emphasis on vibrant jazz-funk and the soul motifs and the soul-powered swing of U.S garage.
Review: Cheeky upstart label Club Of Jacks follows up on a strong opening statement with this boisterous bout of house workouts geared towards the peak time. "Follow Me" is on a serious garage flex, with rude bass, hooky sax leads and some naughty breaks chops all feeding into the melting pot. "Bring It Back" is a more soulful jam with some great vocal licks and sweet piano leads, while "Need Your Loving" keeps the heartfelt heat up with another powerful diva vocal and a buttery smooth bassline. "Don't Know You" takes things deeper without losing that powerful vocal presence, providing a perfect balance to this solid, all-rounder house 12".
Review: It's been a while since we last heard from the Mellophonia label and its star attraction, A Vision Of Panorama, but now the producer known as Mikhail Khvasko is back with a new record that expands on the soft and silky Balearic house sound he established himself with across some wonderful EPs and 2016's "Aquafusion" album. The sun is still very much shining down on this new record, which leads in with the fittingly titled "Delicious Saw". Khvasko's whole sound is geared towards celebration of gorgeous synth tones, and so it goes here thanks to that seriously tasty sawtooth wave. "Lum" cools down the boogie bump of its predecessor for something more reflective, while "Euphoria" gets into an oh-so-sweet house funk that would sound at home on Strictly Jaz Unit. "Fourth" finishes the EP off with a seriously sticky bassline squelch and some effervescent piano lines - another melodic marvel on a record full of them.
Review: Following on from the inaugural Dancing People release in July, the series returns with two more stonking edits by London based multi-instrumentalist Nick Tyson aka Nick XOA and the enigmatic HWRD. Inspired by sounds from around the globe with the focus firmly on making you move, the A side houses the low bowled Afro funk groove "Dancing Time" - packed to the brim with nifty filter sweeps and generous dub delays for added dancefloor dynamics. On the flip, lose yourself to the sweltering soul jazz explosion of "Dankasa" with its slick Nigerian boogie night moves. Whichever side you pick, these 2 DJ friendly cuts are ready for dancefloors far and wide.
Isabelle & The Rain (Mr K 7" Breakdown edit) (5:28)
Review: 1971: Isaac Hayes redefines what a movie theme can be with the worldwide sensation "Shaft," single-handedly making wah-wah rhythm guitar and racing hi-hats a prime ingredient for the decade of music to come. The huge success of "Shaft" meant Hayes was in demand to bring his vision of cinematic funk to other films, and in 1974 he scored (and starred in) the Blaxploitation B-movie Truck Turner. It's from this soundtrack that "Pursuit Of The Pimpmobile" is drawn. The progression Hayes made as a composer is clear: "Pimpmobile" uses complex layered guitar lines with brass and string sections that build and cascade over each other and takes the "Shaft" formula to an entirely new level.
The song became a firm favorite with funky DJs in the '70s, from the refined space of Mancuso's Loft to Bronx and Harlem jams. Indeed, when the Zulu Nation DJs began spinning at a downtown roller disco / dance club called The Roxy in the early '80s, it was firmly entrenched as one of their favorites. Another resident DJ at The Roxy was Danny Krivit, who was already well acquainted with the song and the effect it had on dancers. For this latest addition to Most Excellent Unlimited's steadily expanding catalog of Mr. K 7-inch edits, the master editor distills the sprawling nine-minute original down to a fit five-and-change, maintaining all the muscle that made this one a perennial champion of New York City's varied dancefloors.
The quirky "Isabelle And The Rain" was also a key cut for deeper DJs, uptown and downtown, albeit often on bootlegs as the original was, and remains, extremely scarce. Very little is known about the obscure jazzy cut, the work of a largely anonymous bunch of Los Angeles studio veterans led by keyboardist Mike Lang, whose electric piano solo is the song's defining feature alongside the driving drums, which get plenty of space to shine on Mr. K's Breakdown Edit.
The audio fidelity and peerless editing of these essential tracks - virtually nonexistent on 7-inch vinyl before now - makes the latest from Most Excellent Unlimited a can't-miss addition to the playout box of any DJ with a funky floor to rock.
Review: Earlier this year, Durand Jones and the Indications delivered one of the revivalist soul albums of 2019: the conscious, politically charged "American Love Call". Their latest "45" boasts one of the album's standout moments, "Morning In America", a weary but impassioned commentary on Trump's United States that features evocative strings, laidback 60s soul grooves and a stunning lead vocal from Durand Jones. It comes backed by previously unheard cut "Cruisin' To The Park", a lusciously sugary, heartfelt and loved-up affair where drummer Aaron Frazer handles lead vocals. Like the A-side, it's a stunning slice of emotion-stirring soul.
Review: Emotional Rescue return to the music of cult British group Furniture, shining a light on this unique band's extended 12" mixes and alternate takes. In the 80s tradition, these versions shrug off commercial concerns for something more exciting - long run times and space to tease FX and processes that a radio-friendly single wouldn't allow. "I Can't Crack (Broken Mix)" is an epic crescendo, while the instrumental mix of "Throw Away The Script" locks into a scratchy percussive workout anchored by a moody bassline. The sprightly piano lines and cascading sax on "Dancing The Hard Bargain" are a delight to lose yourself in, while "Bullet" strikes a somber but stirring tone to close the EP out.
Something For The Dancers (Kerri Chandler Dark mix) (8:33)
Review: On the one-to-watch list for those in the know, Lea Lisa has released on Mona Musique, Memories and Chez Damier's Inner Balance Recordings, alongside her role within the InnerDisc record store family. Presenting "The Legacy EP" for the ever-reliable Wolf Music here, she showcases her unquestionable talent across the two opening cuts. The soulful, emotive and near spiritual vibes of opener "Something For The Dancers" reaches near Ron Trent like moments with its weighty synth lines, dream-like pads and powerful bass tones, and the sensual late night deepness of "From Garage" which combines sultry vocals, analogue keys and thumping percussion doffs a cap to Chicago and Detroit deep house classics. Arguably best of all though, is the remix on the flip by the one and only Kerri Chandler - the Kaoz Theory chief serves up a heavenly slice of house with his "Dark Mix"; a shuffling garage house beat blending beneath sustained string synths and signature stabs. Classic Kerri style.
Review: Dualismo Sound has a great track record when it comes to unearthing and reissuing gems from Italy's small but vibrant Afro-Cosmic scene. This 12" from Meo (real name Daniele Mei) is another. Both A-side tracks were initially released back in 1987 and are appearing on vinyl for the first time since. "Cikuana" is a jolly, synth-laden affair that inhibits similar sonic territory to some of Tullio de Piscopo's 1980s work, while "Alturas" does a great job in wrapping Flamenco guitars and new age synths around a rubbery electronic bassline and gentle drums. Epic flipside "Fiesta", meanwhile, was first featured on 1986 album "Sesta Traccia" and makes great use of both evocative fretless bass (a staple of Balearic records from that period) and snaking sax lines.
Review: Back in the 1990s, Pauline Henry was the voice behind the Chimes and their stunningly soulful mid-tempo hit, "Heaven". This 12", which is dedicated to the late, great Paul "Trouble" Anderson, boasts fresh, club-ready remixes of the singer's solo cover of that loved-up club classic. Masters At Work man Louie Vega handles the A-side, placing Henry's fine vocal above a bed of swinging NYC house beats, fluid piano motifs and string-laden chords. Arguably even better is DJ Spen and Reelsoul's flipside revision, a more electronic affair with jauntier synth flourishes, elongated organ solos and a bumpin' rhythm track.
Review: The fifth release from Wilson Phoenix on his own self-titled label continues the impressive pace set by this breakout techno artist. "Analogical" opens up the A side with a heavy-hearted, emotionally charged strain of techno tough and tender in equal measure. Things get spicier on the flip as Phoenix plays around with rhythmic structures to make a deadly, bass-charged broken techno belter under the name "Gamma Meld". "Automatic Africa" finishes the EP off with a tightly wound percussive work out - just the kind of interesting DJ tool track you want to spice your sets up with.
Listen To The Music (Apiento & Tepper remix) (7:08)
Review: Way back in 1988, Italian label Les Folies Art put out a dreamy chunk of Art Of Noise style ambient experimentalism by Quiet Force called "Listen To The Music". It's long been in-demand amongst Balearic collectors for its unique fusion of Fairlight-manipulated vocal samples, glistening guitars, sparse beats, snaking clarinet lines, jaunty fretless bass and new age synthesizers, so this licensed reissue on Rogue Cat Sounds is long overdue. This time round, the duo's original "For Love & Emotions" version comes backed by two fresh remixes. Justin Strauss and Max Pask turn it into a deliciously dreamy chunk of acid-fired early morning house, while Apiento & Tepper re-imagine it as a slick and seductive instrumental Sade B-side.
Review: Always adept at reading the crowd and armed with decades of experience behind the decks, well-travelled man and Discoweey label boss Hotmood makes his debut on UK-based Giant Cuts with four summery tracks on "The Rhythm EP". Combining slo-mo boogie, groove laden disco and quality house sounds, he kicks things off with the sleazy late night funk attack of "The Rhythm Is There", before going deeper on the bass-driven soul loops of "My Darling (Dina)", leading up to the thumpin' B1 cut - a remix by Doc Jam that's chock-a-block with dancefloor dynamics and closing out with a fusion of jazz-funk, disco-house and evocative tropical jazz samples on "Tropical Space". Fans of Tropical Disco, Ravanelli Disco Club and Samosa will especially love this.
Yoshiko Okabe - "Tree 4" (Yamuraka club mix) (6:54)
Review: House Running are back with another of their signature compilation 12"s, calling on a host of talented producers keeping the house dream alive. Paris-based producer Colkin is bringing nothing but good vibes on piano chopping, lately bass-ing burner "Central 13". He also gets a second look in with "Gonna Be", which features none other than Detroit breakthrough star Javonntte on impossibly powerful vocals. On the flip, Meemo is on hand with the spaced out funk of "Untitled" while Yoshiko Okabe's "Tree 4" gets a 90s-style, club-ready re-rub from Yamuraka. If you're looking for high grade deep house music, look no further.
True To Myself (Karizma Kaytronik Truth dub) (6:57)
Review: New label LDF clearly understands the need to make a big first impression, because this soul-flecked single from Angel-A and producer Rahaan - one of Chicago's true underground heroes - is a very impressive debut. Rahaan's A-side "Original Mix" is rhythmically tough and crunchy - think weighty drum machine kicks and snares - but also warm and woozy, with Angel-A's superb vocal rising above rich electric piano chords and jazzy synthesizer flourishes. Over on side B Karizma takes over, offering up a "Kaytronik Truth Dub" that wraps hypnotic, mangled electric piano notes, analogue bass and tech-tinged flourishes around a wonderfully locked-in but percussively lively rhythm track. It's very different to the original but exceptionally deep and floor-friendly.
Review: Kuldaboli is part of the Stilleben family and has helped define its sound with his searing take on electro. This time around he dials back the crazy and offers up some more thoughtful and mysterious electro that kicks off with the bottom-wiggling boom bap and gurgling bassline of "Eolileg Mannvera". Things slow down on the more eerie and unsettling "Kaldir Straumar" then its an all out computer game assault on "Lazer Tag" which is pristine digital perfection. "Where Are You" is a real floor wrecker and last of all alien life forms inhabit the haunting "Vakan Endalausa".
Review: After kicking things off with the killer "Mariachi Guadalajara" by Lewski, Or:la's Cead label returns with another emergent talent, Blu Terra. The Warsaw based producer comes on strong for this breakthrough release with the heavy slapping, sound design-enhanced electro of "Person Sans". Even if the opening track felt detailed, it's superseded by the barrage of information spilling out of crafty, distinctive acid monster "20,000". "Western/Eastern" spreads across the B-side in a nervous twitch of rave energy geared towards big dark spaces, perfect for that spine-tingling part of the night when the real world feels very far away indeed.
Review: Tomoki Tamura and Tuccillo are back together once again as Doublet, with both seasoned tech house champs having fun in the studio jamming out the kind of stripped back, heads down grooves you'd expect to hear them play out. "Tee's 8" is a cheeky A side jam with the kind of acid line that goes down easy and then works you from the inside out. "Three Thousand Men" has a slight dubby thread to it which sits comfortably amongst the sturdy groove of the drums, and then "Tentation" switches gears for a bright and melodic creation that skips around in funky syncopation without even needing to worry about a kick drum.
Review: Is this pop? Is this experimental? These are the thoughts that will have crossed many minds when encountering the kind of baffle Jai Paul offers. A guy who seems intent on creating curveball works of art, "BTSTU" in many ways is minimalist stuff, save for the concepts behind the sounds. Or at least its structures give the illusion of minimalism. From the first waterfall of synth to the way in which vocals are allowed to (quite literally) speak for themselves - a multitude of characters with one voice - it's at once bound for the charts and your bookshelf of classic works.
Review: A throwback to early '90s hardcore rave here, courtesy of tight knit UK producers Objekt and Call Super. Running with the story of the mythical DJ Bogdan: legend and resident DJ of Berlin's fictitious Q Bar in the city's Schoeneberg district - which ran from the early 90s until its closure in 2012. "Love Inna Basement" is presented here in its two original versions: the Morning Dub which is cited by Objekt as the inspiration behind his 2016 tribute "Theme From Q", and 'Midnite XTC', hailed by Call Super as 'the track I've taken the most garys to in my entire life'.
Review: Back in 2015, jazz/electronica fusionists GoGo Penguin wrote and performed a live soundtrack to Godfrey Reggio's cult 1982 documentary "Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance". It was such a success that they have since performed the soundtrack live all over the world, and here deliver a fine mini-album inspired by their original "re-score". It's as vibrant, emotion-rich and stirring as you'd expect, with opener "Time-Lapse City" providing a dazzling mixture of intensely positive and restless pianos, bustling jazz drums and smooth double bass, "Ocean In A Drop" brilliantly growing in intensity throughout thanks to a superb new arrangement and closer "Nessus" sounding every bit as poignant and tear-jerking as it did when they first performed the score.
Review: Shahr Farang continues to blossom as a label, primarily as a vessel for the work of Sohrab Karimi and Rasul Gafarov, better known as Ahu and Lenta respectively. On this occasion, Ahu and Lenta have teamed up to present some intriguing clippings from two separate improvised studio jams. As is customary with the label, the primary mode of expression is minimal techno shrouded in hazy textures and atmospheric matter, but it veers more towards the kind of clicks and cuts you'd expect from a classic Scape record than anything geared towards the dancefloor. The steady tick of a 4/4 kick means this music isn't necessarily consigned to the headphones though - the right kind of warm up slot or backroom could be just the place to melt into these delicate productions.
Review: Just under 12 months ago, French imprint Arpege launched with a multi-artist EP rich in far-sighted and futuristic takes on tech-house. For the follow-up they've decided to flip the script, instead offering up a quartet of electro-focused cuts. The headline attraction comes from British electro titan Carl Finlow, whose "Fmseq" is a spacey and melodious mixture of body-popping beats, throbbing bass, lilting lead lines and sparkling chords. There's plenty to set the pulse racing elsewhere across the EP though, from the heady deep space bleeps and hybrid electro/tech-house grooves of Harry Wills' "Estren", to the drowsy electronic warmth, bubbly acid bass and skittish beats of A2's "Plonk".
Review: In 2016 the Olympians - an all-star soul combo featuring members of The Dap-Kings, The Expressions and the Menahan Street Band - landed on Daptone with a fine debut album. Three years on, the Toby Pazner helmed group returns to action with a brand new "45". A-side "Midnight Movement" is a particularly sweet and ear-pleasing affair, with the band layering sweeping strings and lilting horn parts over a jaunty, piano-dominated instrumental soul groove. Over on side B, "Stand Tall" is a sharper, punchier and slightly funkier affair, with the band's fuzzy horns and fluttering flute solos rising above a Blaxploitation era-influenced backing track.
Review: Three years on from his last outing on the label, Pessimist (real name Kristian Jabs) returns to UVB-76 with more heady fusions of techno and UK bass. He opens with a bang via the clandestine, claustrophobic and paranoid tribal techno-meets-experimental D&B insanity of "Burundanga", before creeping us out via the foreboding sub bass, horror soundtrack chords and analogue pulses of "Lithosphere". There's more end-of-days fodder on side B, where Simon Shreeve offers a dystopian, dub techno-meets-deep dubstep revision of "Paian" and Jabs unfurls the gritty analogue scariness of post-apocalyptic dancefloor number "Thug".
Paxton Fettel - "I'd Like To Know You Better" (5:50)
Kristy Harper - "Uncle Jungle" (5:27)
Manakinz - "Robopubez (Rust In Peace)" (6:59)
Maxime Alexander - "BSA Freestyle #1" (feat $hakes) (5:01)
Review: London-based Ben Gomori is back with the fourth installment of "Dialogues" on his Monologues imprint. It's another various artists affair featuring four choice cuts that pursue all things deep, emotive and sensual. Copenhagen's Paxton Fettel kicks off proceedings with some boompty and disco-fied vocal business on the loopy "I'd Like To Know You Better", followed by the smoky late night groove by Kristy Harper's "Uncle Jungle" featuring some infectious roaring diva vocals. On the flip, go deeper into the night on the sweltering and hypnotic vibes of Manakinz' "Robopubez (Rust In Peace)" where Sub Club resident Harri collaborate with his bud Max, and finally Maxime Alexander reps South Africa on the sultry mood music of "BSA Freestyle #1" with $hakes on the mic.
Review: There is lots to love about this one, from the tongue-in-cheek BBC moniker assumed by Bovell Brown and Cobby, to the unapologetic title, and of course on to the music. "Quality Weed" is a deep cut, heavy rolling rhythm with pitched down vocals that perfectly match the stoner mood. A noodling top line invites you to follow it to a higher state of consciousness and the warmth of the bass is truly irresistible. The remix on the flip is more upbeat and funkier thanks to the tight bass riff that rumbles away under the more house leaning drums.
Review: Melbourne producer Hysteric is becoming a go-to man for those looking for killer re-edits of obscure, left-of-centre Italo-disco and synth-pop oddities. Here he serves up a fresh batch of reworked gems for new label Fuego International, following inspired outings on Bordello A Parigi and Public Possession. The title track is a steamy, exotic Italo-disco gem blessed with electrofunk flourishes and AOR disco guitars, while "Discotheek De Marathon" is a throbbing, synth-heavy chugger that makes great use of extended drum solos and synthesized cowbells. Flip for the sweet, Afro-Italo fusion of "Pescara Beach", and the pitched down, electro-influenced new wave shuffle of "Southend Pier".
Review: Having previously only appeared on WotNot Music in the past couple of years, K15 now slides over to Wild Oats to deliver a wholly appropriate slab of fluttering house romanticism rich in Detroit dreams and Chicago cheekiness, wherever the music might have been conceived. The cheekiness is no doubt most noticeable on "GWRH" with its homage to "Gypsy Woman", turning it into a fluttering Latino house jam, but before that comes the plush bump n rub of "The Story Of Her Life". "Insecurities" gets into a sexier kind of deep house funk, which "Gratitude" dutifully carries on until "Yellow" can round the record out with some largely beatless piano business.