Review: In a recent online poll hosted by acid evangelist Posthuman, Adonis's "No Way Back" was voted the greatest acid house track of all time. It's hard to argue - though we'd have opted for Phuture's pioneering "Acid Trax" - as the Chicago classic sounds every bit as fresh, futuristic and otherworldly now as it did when it was first released in 1986. This tasty red vinyl reissue from TRAX pairs the much-loved vocal version - in which the late, great Gary B talks about losing control over fiendishly sweaty, ultra-jacking drums and one of the sleaziest, most addictive acid basslines of all time - with the lesser-celebrated, but equally heavy, instrumental mix. If you don't already own a copy, don't sleep.
Review: Much loved and always impassioned vocalist and producer Norma Jean Bell is a firm favourite with greats like Moodymann, and for good reason. here she lands on Pandamonium with a new EP that utilises the voice of soul herself, Miss Aretha Franklin. "Got Me A Mann" is a gossip tinged, chord laced house track that will make you shuffle on the spot as you rejoice your sins. "Libre Comme Un Oiseau (Free As A Bird)" is another roller, this time with more free flowing vocals that ring out above the chunky, organic drums and busted bass. Excellent stuff.
I Don't Know What It Is, But It Sure Is Funky (Fashion remix) (3:56)
Review: Legendary 70s funk band Ripple are back with two original members making new music again. Curtis "Kazoo" Reynolds & Keith "Doc" Samuels now go by the name of Ripple 2.20 and their first work is a new version of John Edwards' "Exercise My Love." It is a cover, but not as we usually know it - they lay down an incredible new vocal and play the parts with a real sense of sensuousness. On the flip is a new remix of some of Ripple's original material in the form of Fashion's take on "I Don't Know What It Is, But It Sure Is Funky", a raw, dirty, sleazy jam to get you in a sweat.
Review: It may have taken the best part of six months, but Glenn Underground has finally delivered his first new music of 2020. The Chicago house legend is in fine form on "Shake That Body", a warm and jazzy chunk of deep house/disco fusion rich in tasty instrumentation and topped off by a fine female lead vocal courtesy of newcomer T.H.I.C.K. It's accompanied on the A-side by the superb "Dubbl" version, which sees Glenn Underground strip the track back to a killer dub disco groove before bringing back the keys, acoustic guitars, spacey synths and snippets of T.H.I.C.K's vocal. Over on the flip you'll find a seductive "Remix" that subtly moves the track closer to deep, soulful house territory.
Brotherhood (Of The Misunderstood) (feat Autarkic) (4:07)
Udibaby (feat Beatfoot) (3:11)
Review: 2020 marks the tenth of collaboration for Red Axes, the Tel Aviv-based duo of Dori Sadovnik and Niv Arzi. Informed by post-punk, new wave, and a plethora of club sounds old and new, they have cleaved a singular path with their hefty discography. To celebrate their anniversary, they reunite with Dark Entries for an eponymous 11 track LP brimming with jagged guitars, spacy arpeggios, and hypnotic vocals. Although Sadovnik and Arzi have previously released LPs on I'm A Cliche and Garzen Records, Red Axes is their first effort written and conceived of as an album-length listening experience. This work flows effortlessly through a variety of stylistic detours, highlighting their ears as both keen listeners and skilled DJs. Opener 'They Game' is a grooving number that unifies the psychedelia of cosmic disco with the early 90s 'baggy' sound. The energy mounts further with "Shelera", a guitar-driven acidic banger, and "Sticks and Stones", a certifiable club hit fueled by sassy vocals courtesy of Adi Bronicki. Launching Side B is "Break the Limit", an EBM-laced number that wouldn't sound out of place on a Razormaid compilation. The following tracks wax moodier, with "Brotherhood (Of the Misunderstanding)" touching on darkwave territory. "Udibaby" and "Arpman" close out the album with their respectively dense and sparse takes on kosmische lysergia. Red Axes was mixed by Steve Dub and mastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios. The album's artwork starkly depicts the project's name in blood-red smear. Also included is a postcard with full credits and album art. It's rare one finds an album that so casually challenges classification while still being firmly rooted on the dancefloor.
Review: There's been plenty of online chatter about the confrontational title of Omar-S's latest full-length outing, and arguably not enough focus on the music itself (or the fact that the guest list contains Rick Wilhite, Norm Talley and OB Ignitt for that matter). This is unfortunate, because as usual Alex 'Omar' Smith has hit the spot. The six untitled tracks are impressively varied, with Smith effortlessly moving between 21st century P-funk (track one), cowbell-powered deep house funk (track 2), sparse and synth-heavy acid house hypnotism (track three), disco-house jack (track four), sub-heavy Detroit-meets-Sheffield minimalism (track five) and sunrise-ready dancefloor dreaminess (track six).
Akabu - "Ride The Storm" (feat Linda Clifford - Saison remix) (7:21)
The Love Symphony Orchestra - "Let Me Be Your Fantasy" (Dr Packer remix) (7:31)
Joey Negro Presents The Sunburst Band - "Everyday" (JN Disco Re-Bump remix) (7:28)
Art Of Tones - "Flower Child" (feat Anduze) (7:01)
Review: Like its numerous predecessors, 16th edition of Z Records' long running "Attack The Dancefloor" series is packed to the rafters with tried and tested dancefloor treats, most of which have never appeared on vinyl before. First up, Saison tackles Akabu's 2001 classic "Ride The Storm", turning it into a deep, bouncy and rubbery chunk of lilting, string-drenched house goodness, before Dr Packer delivers a subtly tooled-up take on The Love Symphony Orchestra's grandiose and sexually-charged 1978 disco classic "Let Me Be Your Fantasy". Label head honcho Joey Negro provides a superb deep disco rework of one of his own productions, the Sunburst Band's 2004 summer sing-along "Everyday", while Art of Tones' "Flower Child" is a flash-fried, disco-funk romp laden with superb lead vocals from Anduze.
Review: Fresh from a quietly impressive outing on Cardiology, John "Freak D" Devecchis dons the Owl alias once more and offers up another must-check selection of re-edits and reworks. HE begins by cannily rearranging, tightening up and beefing up a flash-fried slab of later James Brown style funk-rock (the brilliantly bluesy, housed-up "Those Kicks"), before turning his attention to a righteous chunk of what sounds like AOR disco/deep disco-funk fusion ("Chance"). "Feel The Power" is a bouncy, piano-sporting revision of what sounds like a late '80s New York house gem, while title track "Boogie Man" is a subtle, house style remake of a jaunty, honky-tonk style rhythm and blues number.
Review: This is a sure fire reissue of a classic jam from Super Lover Cee & Casanova Rud, the eighties hip hop and rap duo whose matching tracksuits and perfectly sharp flat tops tell you all you need to know about their lovably old school style. Both cuts here are snatched from their debut album Girls I Got 'Em Locked in 1987 and immediately take you back to those golden glory days. The titular cut is a chest pumping anthem with big stabs and the flip is a more smooth broken beat with perfectly timed flow.
Review: Acclaimed pianist Greg Foat is a mainstay of the current UK jazz revival thanks to works on Jazzman and Athens of the North. He draws on soul and library music for his inspiration and serves up lush symphonies that are rich in detail, layer and emotion. This new album, which makes use of pedal steel for the first time, goes even more widescreen in its approach and includes powerfully uplifting tracks like "Anticipation" as well as more sensual and slower groovers and languid movers like "Island Life." It is the sound of an artist and composer at the very peak of his powers.
Review: The people behind the Made To Dance re-edit series keep their cards close to their chest, offering up little information about their identities or aims other than some admirable words about drawing on "different musical traditions going beyond classifications". It would be nice to know a little more, because their occasional releases - and this tidy "45" in particular - are really rather good. A-side "Lothar" sees the mystery scalpel fiends make merry with a Latin jazz number, to which they've added squelchy acid lines and a little more dancefloor weight. Arguably even better is percussive and funky flipside "Bad Bad Puma", a tooled-up disco-jazz number that cleverly blends glistening guitar solos, wild Hammond organs, loose-limbed drum-breaks and locked-in, house-style kick-drum patterns.
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: Shanti Radio's previous multi-artists EPs were all superb, so it's little surprise to see that the latest also consistently hits the spot. Amonita sets the tone via the soft-focus tech-house shuffle of "Lavender Bloom", where lilting strings, dreamy chords and eyes-closed female vocal samples flutter around a hypnotic groove, before RVNZ offers up the similarly breezy and spring-fresh bliss of "Big Red Machine". Over on side B, Hermazez explores the kind of ultra-melodious and atmospheric hybrid progressive house/tech-house sound that the All Day I Dream label does so well ("Flame Keeper"), while Fulltone unfurls warm and ear-catching melodies and sumptuous chords on sunrise-ready closing cut "Woodland Oracle".
Review: To our ears, there are few greater golden era dancefloor hip-hop workouts than Main Source's "Looking At The Front Door", a stone-cold classic that remains a much-played anthem decades after it was originally released. Here the 1990 jam gets the reissue treatment. It's available in both vocal and instrumental versions, with both sides doing a great job in showcasing the duo's killer beat - a fine mixture of crunchy drums, woozy electric piano chords, scratched-in samples and toasty bass. Naturally it's the vocal version that we'd reach for more often than not - the trio's flows are particularly good on 'Looking At The Front Door' - but the instrumental is nevertheless a useful tool to have at your disposal.
Review: Canadian maestro Jay Tripwire is a long time underground stalwart with countless gold-dust releases to his name, and still the modest artist keeps pushing on with more stellar tech house immersion heaters. Here he's been invited to Euphoria for an EP that burrows into the most shadowy corners of his sound. "H3misphere" is a spooky jam driven by a shuffling groove and offset with some dubby flourishes - a perfectly balanced workout for the club with a seductive air of mystery lingering around the rhythm section. "Werqles" is a lighter affair, but it's no slouch in the freaky department as a plethora of disembodied machine wriggles ping around the crisp 4/4 throwdown. The whole B-side is given over to SIT's "Remux" of "H3misphere", which holds the groove down in a more linear manner but keeps that chilling atmosphere intact just behind the beats.
Review: Last time out, Longhair popped up on Claptrap with a fine EP that effortlessly joined the dots between turn-of-the-'90s dream house, breakbeat-driven deep house and colourful nu-disco. They've slightly switched focus on this Love On The Rocks label debut, adding big rays of sweltering Balearic sunshine to their usual warming and kaleidoscopic sound palette. In its original form, "The Forbidden Dance" brilliantly re-purposes the melody from a familiar old Mediterranean instrumental number (you'll recognise it when you hear it), re-playing it on sparkling synthesizer settings and layering it atop a tactile deep house groove awash with vibrant nu-disco sounds. Arguably even better is the almost beat-free flipside "Rhumba Mix", which reminded us of those bonus "ambient house" versions you used to get on Italian dream house EPs.
Review: Second time around for the third and final part of electro hero Gerard 'ERP' Hanson's "Evoked Potentials" series, which first hit stores way back in 2011. A-side "Repose" is (quite literally) classic ERP, with Hanson peppering Egyptian Lover style drums and funky synth-bass with chiming lead lines, starburst chords and deep space chords. It's tuneful and picturesque, but will also have you on your feet and throwing shapes in no time at all. Over on the flip, Plant43 (London electro veteran Emile Facey) turns in a very Drexciyan take on "Sensory Process", in the process wrapping Hanson's bittersweet strings and 33rd century electronic motifs around a suitably deep sea electro rhythm.
Stasis Sounds For Long-Distance Space Travel (Stage 1)
Stasis Sounds For Long-Distance Space Travel (Stage 2)
Stasis Sounds For Long-Distance Space Travel (Stage 3)
Stasis Sounds For Long-Distance Space Travel (Stage 4)
Stasis Sounds For Long-Distance Space Travel (extended Hypersleep Program 1 - Stasis Room)
Stasis Sounds For Long-Distance Space Travel (extended Hypersleep Program 2 - Cave)
Stasis Sounds For Long-Distance Space Travel (extended Hypersleep Program 3 - Rain)
Stasis Sounds For Long-Distance Space Travel (extended Hypersleep Program 4 - City At Night)
Stasis Sounds For Long-Distance Space Travel (Reduction 1)
Stasis Sounds For Long-Distance Space Travel (Reduction 2)
Stasis Sounds For Long-Distance Space Travel (Reduction 3)
Review: Earlier in the year, experienced ambient producers 36 and Zake released two different versions of the same album, "Stasis Sounds for Long Distance Space Travel", with the vinyl and cassette releases featuring totally different mixes. Happily, they've now decided to compile all of these contrasting takes on one limited-edition CD. It's well worth a listen, because in our opinion it's one of the best ambient albums of 2020 to date. The included tracks mix echoing sonic tones, drifting sound effects, drone-style aural textures, slow-burn electronic melodies, swelling, near neo-classical musical movements and the kind of immersive, sustained chords that were once the preserve of the late, great Pete Namlook.
Review: The third missive from crate-digging reissue specialists Discs of Fun & Love offers up a new pressing of a suitably obscure and hard-to-find private-press gem, Maggie Epting's sole single as Mandisa, 1981's "Summer Love". The song itself is superb: a wonderfully breezy and sun-kissed slab of dewy-eyed soul that sees Epting deliver an emotive lead vocal over a jazz-funk influenced smooth soul groove and plenty of spacey, intergalactic synthesizer sounds. Over on the flip you'll find original B-side "Love's Dream", a quirky, sax-laden slab of electric jazz that features an even bolder and more ear-catching Epting vocal. It's very good, though the real killer resides on the A-side.
Review: The first missive on Dublin's freshly minted, vinyl-only Space Shepherd label comes courtesy of Maltese producer Sound Synthesis, an experienced but still little-known artist within the global electro community. As you'd expect, the quality threshold remains high from start to finish. Opener "Arpeggiate" cloaks a squelching bassline and crunchy electro beats in sumptuous chords and sci-fi melodies, while "Diving In" adds sharp and mind-altering acid lines to the same far-sighted electro template. Sound Synthesis explores darker, horror soundtrack-influenced acid-electro pastures on B-side opener "Arp Reaktor", before rounding off a fine EP via the poignant chords, widescreen strings and bustling beats of "Love Drones"
Review: Madonna, Depeche Mode and Kelis - what do East End Edits have in store for us next? This seventh instalment harks back to the charming deep jazzy house of their inaugural release - think of the legendary St. Germain and that should give you a fairly good idea. The track's smoky, late night jazz bar vibe is complemented by a rolling bass and swinging rhythms that should appeal to the likes of Rhadoo or Petre Inspirescu - legends of the Romanian scene who themselves have lent their deft hand to the French producer's work as remixers in the past, too.
Review: This release marks something of a departure for Athens of the North, a label predominantly known for reissuing ludicrously rare funk and soul sevens. For starters, it's a brand new album, written, performed and produced by jazzman Greg Foat and Warren Hampshire, who's best known for being a member of The Bees. Then there's what it sounds like. While there are nods to the organic, immaculately produced soul of Rotary Connection, for the most part Galaxies Like Grains of Sand is a luscious fusion of hazy, Cinematic Orchestra style jazz, folksy downtempo compositions, and the blissful, head-in-the-clouds bliss of new age influenced ambient. Surprising or not, it's an utterly beguiling album
Review: Donnell Knox and Mark Hawkins, better known as D-Knox and Marquis Hawkes respectfully, team up for a collaborative EP on Sonic Mind that speaks to their respective roots in underground techno reaching back to the 90s. "Kalamazoo" is a tough and clattering jacker with out-of-phase organ lines to send your mind spinning, while "Not The DX100" brings things front and centre for a comparatively direct, acidic workout. "Halfway" ramps up the melodic content as a displaced vocal celebrates Kalamazoo's location between Chicago and Detroit, and then "Just Let Me Go" completes the set with a tough and bumping vocal house cut.
Review: In honour of the Love Record Stores promotion Sam Shepherd has decided to offer up a new edition of his 2015 debut album as Floating Points, "Elaenia". While the bonus art prints included in the package are rather nice, it's the quality of the album - still one of his best solo releases, and that's saying something - that makes this edition a "must-have" for those who missed out first time around. Featuring a mixture of Tangerine Dream-inspired analogue synthesizer works, blissful ambient excursions, contemporary jazz compositions and hard-to-pigeonhole instrumentals that add deep electronic influences to this heady musical melting pot, it's an album that sounds as immersive, intoxicating and fresh on the 100th release as it does on the first. Basically, you need this in your life.
Review: Welcome to Saike, a new French label that debuts with a collaborative project from Hadone and Shlomo. As Viper Diva the pair brings together their disparate respective backgrounds into brain frying new forms that are part techno, part rave, part trance. Particularly on the thrusty opener "Born To Be Slytherin" (Tbilisi mix) which is an all out assault with bright chords and menacing drums. "En Y" is a frosty and frozen affair, while "Hold Me Back" is a retro white knuckle ride through hardcore techno. "Cold Heart Prediction" closes at 100 miles an hour, with no prisoners taken along the way. This is high octane stuff, for sure.
Review: 2020's inaugural Love Record Stores campaign is an exciting prospect for those who love coloured, marbled and "split" vinyl releases. The latest essential album to get this treatment is Black Pumas' self-titled 2019 debut. Helmed by multi-instrumentalist Adrian Quesada, the Austin-based band's trademark sound tends towards the psychedelic end of soul, offering up songs that variously doff a cap to Tower of Power, Sly and the Family Stone, Rotary Connection, Terry Callier and the Chambers Brothers - all topped off with impassioned, effortlessly soulful lead vocals from mic man Eric Burton. Given the inspirations, it's no surprise that the band's tracks sound authentically old, though there's also an inherent vibrancy and freshness that means they never stray into hollow pastiche.
Review: Killarney's David Sheerin makes a strong step into the spotlight with this 12" on House Of Disco, which finds him rounding out his musical identity with some seriously slick house cuts. "Our Love" is a smooth and bubbling track underpinned by some tidy acid and peppered with vocals on top, while "Forgotten" rides a dusty groove and hazy chords for a lazy summer treat. "Jiraya" takes things higher with strafing arpeggios orbiting a steadfast groove, and then "Funk, Nah" drops some big room dynamics to seal the deal on this sturdy breakthrough EP.
Review: Mr Bongo recently served up a tasty 7" single featuring two of Cymande's best-loved tracks, "Fug" and "Brothers on the Slide". Here they repeat the trick, slapping the two most-played tracks from the British band's incredible 1972 debut album, Cymande, on one "45". The A-side boasts "Bra", a killer chunk of funk/soul/reggae fusion with one of the most recognizable grooves around. Hip-hop heads will know it inside out, since DJs have been doubling up with copies of "Bra" since the mid 1970s. On the flip you'll find "The Message", a sublime, slightly more spaced out reggae-funk workout rich in snaking sax lines, memorable vocals and a groove so distinctive it couldn't come from any other band.
I Want You For Myself (KON extended remix) (10:40)
Review: Acclaimed crate-digger turned disco re-editor KON has decided to launch his own reissue imprint, Kontemporary. The idea is simple: to accompany re-mastered original tracks with fresh rubs from the man himself. 12" number one offers another opportunity to enjoy George Duke's soulful, sun-kissed, disco-era jazz-funk bomb "I Want You For Myself". On the A-side you'll find Duke's own impeccable 12" version, with KON's re-edit gracing the B. Having access to the original multi-track tapes has allowed the New York-based producer to not only include an atmospheric, extended intro (a tactic regularly used by fellow rework merchants The Revenge and Joey Negro), but also give more prominence to Duke's superb piano solos.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Needs is back with its fifth installment of charity-raising goodness from some seriously quality producers. This time the gauntlet is thrown down by the increasingly prolific DJ Normal 4, who wields some of his signature breakbeats over a cheeky synth that nods to Da Hool for a dark and deadly roller. Israeli duo Red Axes pop up fresh from outings on !K7 and Phantasy Sound for the worldly percussion and mystical atmosphere of "Treacksheni" before Bristol bass-wielding techno titan Hodge finishes the package off with the stunning, dramatic undulations of "Signal," making this a collection of tracks that all feed into the same vein of rhythmically adventurous, moody club music.
Review: REPRESS ALERT! In another life, the crew behind Reverberations (nicknamed Reverb to many) released literally hundreds of titles on various labels including their own. 25 years after their launch, their music is more in demand than ever before. This special release on the later incarnation, RvS, handpicks four in-demand tracks and remixes by Silverlining, Ravi McArthur and their collaboration, Impossible beings. Do not miss!
Review: We were rather impressed by the first volume in the CCCP Edits series, a re-edit imprint seemingly dedicated to offering up reworks of obscure, largely unknown musical gems from Soviet-era Russia, so hopes are sky-high for this second instalment. We shouldn't have worried. Opener "Nochi" is a deep, woozy and off-kilter chunk of two-step garage/jazz-funk fusion, while "Ne Mojet Bit" is the most Balearic electro track we've heard in yonks. The fun continues on the flip, where the glassy-eyed deep pop-goes-two-step flex of "T=H2O" comes accompanied with the hip-house era breakbeat-house warmth (and jazzy keys) of standout track "Hare, Krishna".
Everyday I Have The Blues/Stormy Monday Blues (Blues Medley) (8:01)
Little B's Poem (3:07)
Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head (4:38)
Love From The Sun (5:30)
People Make The World Go Around (4:47)
Review: Before she made a name for herself with a string of killer disco, jazz-funk and fusion records in the late '70s and early '80s, Dee Dee Bridgewater was a rising star on the global jazz underground. This period of her career is best exemplified by 1974 debut album "Afro Blue", a fine vocal jazz album recorded in Tokyo with a backing band made up of husband Cecil (a top trumpeter) and high-quality Japanese session musicians. As this reissue proves, the album has lost none of its allure. There's much to set the pulse racing throughout, from the breezy soul-jazz shuffle of opener "Afro Blue" and the emotive "Blues Medley", to the superb slowed-down jazz cover of "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" and blissful "People Make The World Go Round".
Get Over U (Mr Director's 'Feels Good' dub) (9:04)
Get Over U (Director's cut mix - Sami Dee edit) (6:15)
Review: SoSure Music have re-released Director's Cut's 2012 funky house anthem "Can't Get Over U" with a couple of modern reshapes for modern dance floors. The duo was comprised of 'Godfather of house music' Frankie Knuckles with veteran producer Eric Kupper. Berlin's Chambray (REKIDS/&Friends/Dirtybird) injects a bouncy lo-fi shuffle into his rework, while industry legend Tedd Patterson keeps that classic vibe alive - like only he can - on his version. On the flip, we have Frankie's own 'Mr Director's 'Feels Good' Dub' (a vinyl exclusive) of which Frenchman Sami Dee serves up a brilliant edit as well.
Review: There is nothing subtle about these mash ups. They are big tunes to blast mud from any sealer you can get your hands on. Block party starting rip snorters, each one draws on a wealth of hip hop standards from Slick Rick to Notorious BIG. Audacious, shabby hitting and full flavour, they are restless and energetic edits designed for nothing other than dance floor destruction. "Love Be Faithful" kicks off with big beats and flutes, iconic vocals and more, while "How We Rumpshake" is a slicker rap jam turned low riding bumper.