Review: Blue Feather were a truly blue-eyed funk outfit from the Netherlands who had a prolific run in the 80s with two albums and a string of club singles to their name. "Let's Funk Tonight" was surely one of their bigger hits, and it sounds resplendent with a fresh master and the full extended version spread out across the A side here. Offering something new for the modern market, Best call upon Faze Action to flesh out this reissue with a killer dub of the track that treads softly but funks deep, just like a good dub should.
Review: Described in the accompanying press release as "the halfway point between Bollywood and Balearic", Rupa Biswas' 1982 debut "Disco Jazz" has long been a favourite of dusty-fingered diggers with a healthy bank balance and a penchant for the quirky. All four tracks are cheery, charming and superior to many "Bollywood disco" records produced in the same period. The sunny disco-boogie of "Moja Bhari Moja" is followed on side A by the delightfully eccentric, bass-powered AOR-disco/funk-rock fusion of "East West Shuffle" and the effortlessly Balearic cheeriness of "Aaj Shanibar". Best of all, though, is the exotic and intoxicating flipside cut "Ayee Morshume Be-Reham Duniya" which expertly joins the dots between cosmic rock and Balearic disco grooves for 16 spellbinding minutes.
Review: After impressing with their self-released 2016 debut album, Flight 314, soulful hip-hop crew Jungle Brown is almost ready to deliver the follow-up. That will appear on Mr Bongo in late September 2019, so as a taster for what's to come the Brighton-based label has delivered this two-track missive. A-side "Keep It Movin'" is a classic sounding, golden era style jam with the trio's fine raps, soulful vocals and jazzy horn licks rising above an elastic, boom-bap beat. There's a slightly deeper but no less groovy feel to flipside "We On", which features the distinctive flow of Sampa The Great. If the rest of the new album is this good then we're in for a treat.
Review: Vive La Musique burst onto the scene last year with the hugely successful "Tabala Mouv". For the follow-up, they present two songs from prolific Congolese talent, Sammy Massamba, taken from his cult self-released album "1990 - Beni Soit Ton Nom". Title track "Azali" immediately hooks you in with its mysterious intro, laden with early 90s keyboards and drum machine. Sammy's funk guitar and anthemic vocal lines turn this unique composition into an infectious afro-pop masterpiece. Label founder Aroop Roy steps up with a customary edit, extending the arrangement and giving the drums and mix a modern-club touch. Sammy describes the second track, "Birika", as a mix of Congolese Rumba, Afrobeat. and Reggae. A mid-tempo bass and guitar groove form the backdrop for Sammy's powerful vocals. An exquisite rumba guitar line completes another high class composition.
Review: One for the slow-mo crew, or at least those that want their house music delivered in more of a lackadaisical, organic format, think four tracks packed with Wurlitzer-esque melodies, sun-kissed vocal hooks, classic tropical percussive accents and gospel lyric extravagance. At times positive, in other moments somewhat melancholic, the true heaviness in the kicks only really becomes apparent once you've turned the lot up. The latter providing the focal point for appropriately-titled 'Sing Hallelujah', a loose, stomping track capped with handclaps and underpinned by a timeless, acid-influenced synth line. As unashamed as it is uncompromising. The remaining three tracks are pack pared back and reflective moods 'The Fear of Fear Itself'), organ filled playfulness, and head-nodding sexiness ('My Guitar Plays Itself') in equal measures, making for a crossover package that wears its accessible soul very much on sleeve.
Review: To tie in with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landings, Brian Eno has decided to put out a new edition of his decidedly spacey 1983 ambient album "Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks", which started life as the soundtrack to a long-forgotten documentary about NASA's space program. The edition is rather special, not only because it contains a remastered version of the original set created by Eno, his brother Roger and regular collaborator Daniel Lanois, but also because it contains a second disc of previously unheard material. This is not old, though, but rather brand new recordings - described as "new interpretations of the film soundtrack" - made by the Lanois and the Eno brothers late last year in a similar style. In a word: essential.
Review: Having previously dipped into the back catalogue of a host of disco, house and U.S garage acts, Groovin' Records has decided to offer up a trio of tracks from jazz-funk maestro-turned-disco don Eumir Deodato. First up is John "Jellybean" Benitez's superb 1982 remix of "Keep On Movin", a dreamy disco club-cut rich in bold slap bass, swirling chords and sweet female vocals. Benitez is also at the controls on "Keep It In The Family (Remix)', another 1982 rework of one of Deodato's most famous disco-era anthems (check the clips - you'll be singing along within seconds). To round things off, the label steps back to 1978 with the hard-to-find and in-demand 12" version of jazz-funk/disco classic "Whistlebump".
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".
Review: Berlin-based Korean Peggy Gou has been surprisingly quiet since first bursting onto the scene back in 2016. Here, she returns to action having graduated from Technicolour to parent label Ninja Tune. Many may already have heard EP standout "It Makes You Forget (Itgehane)", a percussively ambidextrous beast based around a bouncy, off-skilter, snare-heavy rhythm track. It has been much discussed online after Gou included it her recent Resident Advisor podcast. On the B-side you'll find tracks representative of her developing style, which draws together elements of European deep house, electro, early '90s U.S house, the rubbery disco eccentricity of Maurice Fulton and the instinctive polyrhythms more often found in traditional African music.
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.
Tears For Fears - "Head Over Heels" (Sketches From An Island Sunrise Mediation) (9:03)
Trance - "Ambiente" (7:49)
The Advisory Circle - "Sundial" (3:32)
Richard Torrance - "Anything's Possible" (4:26)
Swing Out Sister - "After Hours" (4:51)
Mark Barrott - "Mokusho" (5:13)
John Stammers - "Idle I'm" (Colorama Coloured In remix) (3:17)
Review: Given their insanely strong Balearic credentials, you'd expect any album compiled by Pete Gooding and Mark Barrott to be stacked to the rafters with drowsy, sun-kissed gems. That's certainly the case with the latest volume of the La Torre Ibiza series, which is the third in total. There's much to enjoy throughout, from the exotic dub shuffle of Jah Wobble and Bill Laswell's "Alseema Dub" and the Penguin Cafe Orchestra-esque "Mornings At Made's" by Pacific Coliseum, to the new age ambient warmth of Satoshi & Makoto's "Crepuscule Leger" and the glassy-eyed blue-eyed soul brilliance of Richard Torrance's "Anything's Possible". Barrott's production and remix contributions are naturally stunning, with his epic Sketches From An Island remix of Tears For Fears' "Head Over Heels" being particularly worthy of mention.
Review: The ever versatile and innovative Martyn goes back to his bass roots again with three explorations into three of the UK's most important offerings to the dancefloor: UKG, D&B and dubstep (the genre in which Martyn first made his name) The title track is an industrial strength two-step vibe-out with gloopy, oily textures around the molten steppy rhythm. "BC 2", meanwhile, takes us back to the late 90s/early 2000s. Think Photek, Johnny L, Source Direct and you're in the right dance. Finally "Rhythm Ritual" takes us back to 2008 with a bright bashy technoid twist on the ever-evolving dubstep schematics. Timeless.
All The Way (feat Tyler Daley & Kaidi Tatham) (4:00)
All The Way (feat Tyler Daley & Kaidi Tatham - Flutestrumental) (3:59)
Review: A warm welcome back to the Darkhouse Family, Cardiff's finest purveyors of soul-fired instrumental hip-hop and jazz-funk flavoured broken beats. The good news is that "All The Way", which features the combined talents of guests Tyler Daley and Kaidi Tatham, is every bit as good as anything on their superb 2017 album "The Offering". The A-side original version, in particular, is superb - a languid chunk of head-nodding hip-hop soul rich in double bass, drowsy jazz horns, twinkling pianos and impassioned, emotive vocals. That said, the instrumental flipside revision, which includes extended flute solos where the vocals once say, is also impeccable.
Review: Given his stargazing, intergalactic ethos, it's perhaps unsurprising that sci-fi techno overlord Jeff Mills has decided to mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo XI moon landing by releasing an album containing his musical "interpretations of Earth's moon". As you'd expect from an artist of Mills' standing, it's a very good album. Evocative, atmospheric and hugely spacey - this is Jeff Mills after all - the seven-track set moves from scene-setting, string-laden ambient ("Control, Satva and Rama") to sparse, acid-flecked dub techno ("Electromagnetic") via a string of fine cuts that variously touch on electro-fired broken techno ("Stabilizing The Spin"), Steve Reich style minimalism (the brilliant "Lunar Power"), and semi-orchestral electronic positivity ("The Tides").
Review: Debuts all round here, as the Bless You label launches via a first ever solo EP from Frisbee Records co-founder DEA, a producer who says he's dedicated to the cause of "Electro Disco". It's a confident and hugely entertaining first outing, with A-side "Canine Carnaval" [sic] - made in collaboration with Ric Picollo - offering up a near perfect revivalist dub disco fusion of bold synthesizer lines, rolling drums, heavy organ lines, jangling guitars and spiraling synthesizer motifs. DEA goes solo on the flip, brilliantly layering alien-sounding synths and psychedelic electronics atop a deep, mid-tempo disco groove marked out by stacked Latin percussion hits and more warm and toasty bass guitar.
Review: London duo Dusky are up next on Running Back, with what appears to be the first volume in their new Life Signs series. Best described by Gerd Janson and Co. as British bass science applied on classic house tropes, where breakbeats underpin transcendent melodies and IDM meets UKG. The lads behind the much lauded 17 Steps label are in fine form here: from the electrifying Italo disco influenced number "Boris Borrison's Trip To Morrisons" on the A side being unlike anything we've heard from the pair before. On the flip, it's a throwback to the illegal dance parties of the early '90s on the pitched-down hardcore breaks of "Lea Valley" and harking back to a similar era is the euphoric "Static".
842 Colours (feat Hrdvsion - Eddie C Elektro Funk remix) (3:42)
Musli Funk (3:45)
Review: Three years on from his last acclaimed outing on Endless Flight, Berlin-based Canadian Eddie C returns to the Japanese label with another high quality full-length excursion. Those who've followed his career over the last six or seven years will feel at home straight away. Opener "Hello baby" is a quirky, break-driven head-nodder rich in dub disco bass and quirky samples, while the cut that follows, "Carbon Date", offers a deeper and more spacey take on the same heady blueprint. From then on its' a loved-up, saucer-eyed jaunt through laidback Balearic disco grooves ("In The Park"), spaced-out punk-funk ("Way Uptown"), percussion-packed Latin beats ("Batacuda"), bustling breakbeat house ("Berlina"), warped digital dub ("Dancin' Music") and spaced-out broken beat ("Listen"). In a word: superb.
Review: Brazilian label Allnite Music is back with another sure shot from label boss Apoena that locks into an immersive, head-nodding groove from the get go. "Retoside" is a perfect deep house burner, understated and yet utterly grooving where it counts. "Attachment" has a more sprightly, uplifting quality tailored to sunny situations, while "Hemp Restriction" takes things in an airy direction while rocking a solid 90s backbone. "The Sutilties" completes the set with a dreamy roller splash, with sweet leads and some chopped up vocal hooks that accent the innate funk of the track in fine style.
Review: REPRESS ALERT!: Best Italy turn their impeccable reissue powers towards a surefire burner from 1984 given the stamp of approval by the likes of David Mancuso, Larry Levan and Ron Hardy back in the day. "Come Back Lover" was actually mixed down by another legendary DJ - Tony Humphries - and it shows. Even the original mix plays out with an extended, floor-focused flow that captures the creative energy at work at this epochal time for DJ culture. As ever with Best reissues, there's a plethora of alternative and dub mixes to suit any spinner's specific requirements, with the groove front and centre every time.
Review: Before becoming Belgian new beat and techno titans, Praga Khan and Chris Inger were collaborators in a new wave influenced band called Shakti. "Verboden Dromen" gathers together the best of the outfit's work recorded between 1987 and 1990, offering up tracks that join the dots between intoxicating synth-pop, moody new wave, hypnotic grooves and dark and sleazy dancefloor moments. All of the tracks have stood the test of time remarkably well, with highlights including the humid and exotic chug of "Kamasutra", the hallucination-inducing tropical fever of "Demonic Forces" and "Shanah", and the bustling, club-ready bounce of "The Awakening", which sounds like the Thompson Twins after one too many tabs of acid.
Review: Commonly found rocking out on Unison Wax, Constant Sound and Pleasure Zone, Diego Krause is a certified mover and shaker in the minimal house scene, and he's on fire with this latest round of missives for Blind Box. "Malice" leads the charge with a plethora of eerie synth textures flexing organically round the sturdy beat, while "Monolith" slips into a slinkier groove while keeping the tripped out tone tweaking at the forefront of our minds. "Return" brings a tougher, fist-pumping rhythm section with a snaking syn-cussion tones trickling throughout, providing Blind Box with plenty of material to sink their gnashers into on the remix.
Nata Alma (feat Sidsel Endresen & Bugge Wesswltoft - club Smash Hit version) (8:38)
Venq Tolep (Hit club version) (6:25)
Review: Veteran German producer (and one half of Wighnomy Brothers) Robag Wruhme returns to Pampa Records with two delightful servings of his idiosyncratic sound. The glassy-eyed and bittersweet daydream fantasy of "Nata Alma" (Club Smash Hit version) features some right legends of the Norweigian jazz scene: Bugge Wesseltoft on piano accompanied by a heartfelt vocal performance by vocalist Sidsel Endresen. On the flip, "Venq Tolep" (Hit club version) is equal parts melancholic yet utterly evocative, and is the title track of his first album-length release on DJ Koze's label in eight years.
Review: International man of mystery Todh Teri redefines the era of disco and cabaret of Bollywood with house, acid and funk infusions. This fifth collection of long awaited edits preserve the original flavour of these beloved classics, while making them current. The rolling groove of "Sampadan 14" brings the sound of the silver screen of South India to the dancefloor, followed by the big moody bounce of "Sampadan 15" on the A side. Prepare to go even deeper into the exotic on the flip side, with the mad acid odyssey of "Samapadan 16" delving into near trance territory, followed by the funky pure retro shenanigans of "Sampadan 17" taking it all the way home.
Review: Last time we heard from James Ruskin, it was in collaboration with fellow UK techno veteran Mark Broom. Here he flies solo on Blueprint - the label he co-founded way back in 1997 - for the first time in five years. Title track "Reality Broadcast Off" is thrillingly wonky and unsettling, with Ruskin peppering a sturdy late night techno groove with waves upon waves of minor-key arpeggio lines and seemingly out of time motifs. It's great, all told, and most likely capable of inducing hallucinations in suitably refreshed dancers. He continues on a similarly off-kilter theme on the slightly more positive sounding - but no less mind-mangling - "We Are Everywhere", before rounding off a rock solid EP via the squelchy acid motifs and rumbling bass of "Disaffection".
Review: The latest transmission from the Lumberjacks stable taps up London-based producer Alan Dixon, who tackles a soul-stirring gospel belter from Frank Booker on the A side. Whatever your spiritual persuasion, "Rise & Shine" can't help but inject a little joy into your life. On the flip, Dixon turns the piano house power up to 11 with the life-affirming thrust of "Whatcha Gonna Do", featuring Maleke O'Ney on vocal duties. Completing the set, Lumberjacks head honcho Marcel Vogel drops in a remix that twists the original into a loose and limber jazz-funk-house odyssey of epic proportions.
I Want Magic (Dimitri From Paris vs Cotonete 12" version) (7:15)
I Want Magic (Dimitri From Paris vs Cotonete 12" dubstrumental) (7:14)
Review: "I Want Magic" is a welcome return to action from Jalapeno's premier soul sister, Izo FitzRoy, an artist whose 2017 debut album "Skyline" brilliantly joined the dots between classic soul, rhythm and blues and gospel. This time round she has her eyes firmly focused on the dancefloor, as producer Dimitri From Paris and backing band Cotonete (whose recent LP 'Super-vilains' is well worth a listen) join forces to cast a serious disco spell. "I Want Magic" is a revivalist disco jam per excellence; a tweak on the classic Chic sound with Cotonete adding a few sneaky solos and quality jazz-funk touches here and there. Of the two versions, it's the vocal mix (side A) that hits home hardest, thanks in no small part to a stunning lead vocal from FitzRoy that celebrates the giddy goodness of dancing like you're ten years old. Expect to hear it a lot at festivals throughout the summer.