Review: Since it first hit stores in 2004, the Bees' limited-edition single "I Love You" - a heart-aching, expertly realised blue-eyed tribute to the sugary, downtempo end of the late 1950s/early 1960s soul spectrum - has become an in-demand item. Here it is finally given the reissue treatment, with the lauded Isle of Wight-based band's superb vocal version - all impassioned, teary-eyed lead vocals and harmonious, doo-wop style backing vox - once again coming backed by an instrumental mix in which their glistening guitars and authentically fuzzy horns are naturally more prominent in the mix. It's one of the single most impactful and beautiful songs in their catalogue, so you definitely need this in your life.
Review: There are few more iconic or influential deep house cuts than Ron Trent and Chez Damier's 1995 collaboration "Morning Factory". Reportedly inspired by the very particular vibe of early mornings at important early '90s NYC club Sound Factory, the track has remained a staple of late-night DJ sets for the last quarter of a century. Here the track gets the reissue treatment in the superior unabridged, nine-minute-plus "dubplate" mix form. For those that have not heard it, "Morning Factory" provides a near perfect fusion of spaced-out early morning chords, trippy electronic motifs, tactile synth-bass, swirling noises and softly shuffling, hypnotic beats. Basically, it's one of the best deep house tracks ever made and if you don't own a copy already, you should grab one of these ASAP!
Review: Second time around for Banda Achilifunk and Original Jazz Orquestra's sought-after 2011 cover of disco classic "I Believe in Miracles", original copies of which now change hands for serious sums online. The expansive Spanish crew's baggy, sun-kissed and rumba-soaked Latin disco cover of the Jackson Sisters' classic is perfectly pitched, adding layers of crunchy Clavinets and punchy horns to a sumptuously summery groove. Over on the flip we get two different takes on McFadden & Whitehead classic "Ain't No Stopping Us Now": a decidedly Balearic Spanish language cover ("No Nos Pararas"), and an instrumental cover full to bursting with superb grooves and even more scintillating horn solos.
Review: The tireless team at Mukatsuku are back with another of their carefully curated volumes of Original Ghanaian Highlife & Afrobeat Classics. This is another monster offering that this time focusses on two legends of the scene. ''What Is Life'' from Ebo Taylor & Uhuru Yenzu's 1980 album ''Conflict Nkru!" has next level brass and flute playing and afro rhythms driving you onwards. It has earworms a plenty and stays long in the memory. The fipside is a first ever appearance for ''Gyae Su'' from Pat Thomas - who was also on Volume 1. His version is jangly, full of licks and feel good afro grooves.
Blackbird (Joaquin edits & Overdubs bonus beats Organ dub) (8:16)
Rebel Nina (1:24)
Review: Here's a special club 12" for serious heads dealing in a set of mixes of "Blackbird". You have to come correct when you dare step to Nina Simone, but you know full well the cast of characters assembled on this 12" can be trusted with the high priestess of soul. Timmy Regisford is up first, bringing some intense organ lines and Lately bass into the mix with a perfect balance between jubilant expression and tension. Joe Claussell then steps up with two different edit and overdub versions, where the organs get poured on more liberally and the whole jam boils over. As a wonderful bonus element, you get a powerful acapella monologue from Nina Simone to close out the B side.
Review: American hip hop gang The Ultramagnetic MCs hail from the Bronx and bring that real rawness each and every time. Founded by Kool Keith in 1984, the group also included Ced Gee, TR Love and Moe Love and their 1989 classic "Give The Drummer Some" is a stone cold rhyme that is well worth reissuing. It has drums tighter than tennis racket strings and crisp wooden hits, tons of vinyl crackle and of course some slick verse work. "Moe Luv's Theme" brings the funky breaks and scratching, reversed stabs and lively rhymes. As far as pieces of early hip hop history go, they don't come much finer.
Review: The third drop in the Correcciones Calypso series finds the Mexican label turning to regular fixture Thomass Jackson for the A side, where he brings some heavyweight crossover pelters for the ever-broadening tastes of the dancefloor. "Maquina De Bongo" is a fierce percussive throwdown with a chuggy cosmic disco sound that drives crowds into a frenzy, while "Lavora!" follows on a similar tip albeit with a slightly punchier EBM undercurrent. On the flip, Plot Pilot has an equally adventurous sound that draws on freaky synth flourishes and Eastern motifs for a pan-continental trip on a seductively dark tip. "Move To The Nida Beach" slows things down to an insanely catchy, chant-along synth pop pulse.
Review: Chicago house heads rejoice, because right here we have a holy grail release. Marshall Jefferson originally recorded "Vibe Three" in 1985, and it was only ever played by Ron Hardy at seminal club The Music Box. Gene Hunt and Emanuel Pippin were amongst the only other DJs to have a copy of the tape, but the track was never released until now. This is pre-"Move Your Body" music, capturing the soul and vitality of house music at its inception and sounding as fresh as it would have back then. As well as Jefferson's instrumental original, the flip finds Jefferson teaming up with his partner in Jungle Wonz, Harry Dennis, for a poignant vocal version called "Human Condition". Don't sleep on this, as it won't be around for long.
Review: Juno colour vinyl exclusive ! Back in 1992, Billy Garner's "Brand New Girl" was unearthed in the vast vaults of New Day owner Dave Hamilton. He soon got it out there and it just as quickly became an instant deep funk classic. It was only a limited release, though, so it has since gone on to become much sought after and rather pricey little number. Now given a new lease of life, it sounds as vital and moving as it did back then, so is sure to remain a grail record for soul lovers everywhere. "I Got Some" (part 1) is less hard hitting, but strikes an equally impactful emotional note.
Review: Five years on from the release of the first seven-inch, Mako and Mr Bristow's Soul Edits" series reaches volume six. On the A-side's "Stealin Alright" they get to work on a riotous slab of funk-rock heaviness from the golden age of the sound - albeit one whose sweaty drum breaks, weighty bass and gravelly guitars also come accompanied by steel pan melodies. It's an odd combination but one that works really well. Over on side B, "Stealin' Nolan" is a tidy edit of another rhythm and blues style dancefloor workout, this time rich in stomping drums, memorable guitar riffs and stomping, Northern Soul style drums.
Billy Hawks - "(O Baby) I Do Believe I'm Losing You" (3:03)
Review: This Juno colour vinyl exclusive finds Linda Lyndell serve up her own majestic cover of the classic "What A Man." Her vocal is smooth and buttery but also laden with gravitas, while the sweeping horns and jazzy keys all around her help to lift the spirits. On the flip is an ice cold slice of funk from Billy Hawks in the form of his "(O Baby) I Do Believe I'm Losing You". It's raw soul that glides at high speed with plenty of hip swinging claps. This is a much sought after reissue that will shift quick, so make sure you do too.
Review: It's easy to forget, or take for granted, how consistently impressive and solid Pixies were during the late-1980s and early-90s. Thankfully here's a 30th anniversary deluxe edition of 'Bossanova' to bring memories flooding back, a record that stands up with their finest but gets less airplay, playlist love and written references today compared with the likes of 'Surfa Rosa' and 'Doolittle'. Granted, this came after those seminal moments in alt-rock, noise pop and garage punk, so its track list is less sonically arresting. By now we knew to expect shrill, anthemic explosions of riff 'All Over The World' juxtaposes with low-slung, nonchalant grooves; 'Hang Wire' and 'Rock Music''s air of borderline-heavy metal, and the grunginess of 'Stormy Weather'. But that doesn't detract from the fact every song here is a prime example of why this band are so feted.
Carlton Jumel Smith - "Remember Me" (feat Cold Diamond & Mink) (4:09)
Cold Diamond & Mink - "Remember Me" (4:18)
Review: "Remember Me" was one of the most effervescent and up-tempo moments on Carlton Jumel Smith's 2019 album "1634 Lexington Avenue", so it's terrific to see Timmion giving the song a seven-inch single release. Backed by in-house Timmion band Cold Diamond & Mink, New York's modern "Mr Soul" delivers a scintillating lead vocal above a rousing 1960s soul instrumental laden with killer bass, sustained horns and bustling breakbeats. It comes accompanied by Cold Diamond and Mink's instrumental version, which as usual with Timmion is exclusive to this "45" release. If fresh, sixties-sounding soul is your thing, you need this in your life.
Review: Kraftwerk's Ralf Hutter has more or less disowned the krautrock-inspired music he and the late Florian Schneider recorded pre "Autobahn". From that album (1974) onwards, they became the electronic futurists we know and love today; before that, they swum in more organic musical pastures, mixing rudimentary synthesizer and other electronic instruments with guitars, drums, flutes and electric organ. It's this sound that's captured on "Soest Live", a rare recording captured for WDR-TV in 1970. Accompanied by drummer Klaus Dinger, Hutter and Schneider offered up a mixture of arty, proto-ambient experimentalism, and surprisingly funky, groove-based krautrock epics that combine prototype Kraftwerk grooves with the organic sounds of flute, violin and organ.
Review: Although they would go on to become one of New York's most iconic hip-hop crews, the Ultramagnetic MC's were fresh-faced newcomers when they first popped up on Next Plateau Records - an imprint better-known for its proto-house and post-boogie releases - in 1986 with debut single "Ego Trippin". As this first ever seven-inch edition proves, it remains a stone cold classic: a heavy, stripped-back "golden era" gem in which the group's multiple MC's aim to get the party started over an iconic beat and weighty electronic bassline. As with the original version, it comes backed by flipside "Funky Potion", a scratch-happy, similarly constructed number full to bursting with effervescent rhymes, crunchy beats and distinctive bass.
Review: This first album proper from Polish composer/violinist Olga Wojciechowska was originally released on CD only by Time Released Sound, and has been out of print for some years. We are very pleased to be bringing you this long overdue vinyl re-press, in an edition of only 200 copies, each of which comes in a beautiful 24pt heavyweight jacket, with translucent 180gm disc.
Maps and Mazes is a stunning collection of 10 pieces that were originally written for various international theater and dance productions, and their overall feel reflects this performative nature. These electronically treated, modern-classical beauties are somewhat dark and moody at times, and with their elegiac violin and haunting horns are both elegant and absorbing, and the ultimately lingering effect is one of series of spine tingling, late night serenades.
O Dever De Fazer Propaganda Deste Conhecimento (5:52)
Guine Bissau Mocambique E Angola Racional (6:08)
Imunizacao Racional (Que Beleza) (3:30)
Review: From the early 1970s, Tim Maia released a string of superb albums that cemented his reputation as Brazilian music's most soulful artist - a guitarist and singer who created thrilling new musical hybrids that owed as much to U.S funk and soul as samba, bossa-nova and MPB. 1975's "Racional Volume 2", a hard-to-find set that's finally been reissued, is one of the best of Maia's key early albums. Rhythmically, the majority of the tracks feature typically shuffling South American rhythms, but the instrumentation and vocals above are far closer in tone to the sunnier, more horn-heavy end of the soul and funk spectrum (with some sweeping orchestration thrown in to add a touch of MPB class). It's a brilliant blend that guarantees good times from start to finish.
Review: American group TLC were way ahead of their time. An all black group who sung about their own expertises with unbridled truth. "Creep" is the strongest example of that as it is based on member Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins's experience with infidelity. Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes actually threatened to wear black tape over her mouth when filming the music video as she disagreed with the sentiment but the track went on to become one of their biggest in terms of both critical acclaim but also commercial success. It went Top 10 in the UK and marked a new musical direction for the group that took them to even bigger heights.
Review: There's been plenty of great "golden era" hip-hop reissued on wax lately, mostly via tidy and on-point seven-inch singles. Here's another, as Mr Bongo offers up a replica edition of the increasingly scarce "45" of Black Sheep's 1991 scene anthem "Strobelite Honey" - a playful and fun-packed affair that still gets feet moving 29 years after it first hit clubs. On the A-side you'll find the superior "Maybe We Did Remix", in which Dres's entertaining lyrics about courting a woman at a club ride crunchy drums, scratches, squally high pitched horn sounds and a wealth of killer samples. Turn to the flip for the far funkier original version, which lifts warm, squelchy and groovy elements from early '80s disco cuts by Change and Luther Vandross.
Do It Till The Fluid Gets Hot (extended version) (6:01)
Review: The seventies were a golden time for disco, soul and funk all the many different fusions of those sounds. Few are finer than Breakwater's "No Limits" which is a 1978 boogie classic. This version is a special reissue of the rare 'promo-only' extended version that's backed with the monster funk cut "Do It Till The Fluid Gets Hot." "No Limits" has soaring guitar riffs and the sort of breezy grooves that sweep you off your feet. The vocals soar just as high and make this a real classic. The flip side is more driven and kicking, with upbeat bass hits and kinetic hand claps all topped with a sense of peak time fun.
Review: Reggae veteran Nick Manasseh, and David Hill formerly of the Ballistic Brothers, here make a welcome return to Acid Jazz for a first new offering since their 1998 album Shining. The results have already been getting high praise from reggae don David Rodigan and and radio tastemaker Giles Peterson, and the single is a hard-hitting one with nice fluid, silky guitar from Ernest Ranglin riding up top. This comes on the heels of Soul Revivers digital debut "Harder" which got plenty of plaudits, and is just as essential.
Review: Back in 2014 Galcher Lustwerk and Palms Trax were both emergent artists making their first tentative steps into the scene. While they may be thoroughly distinct in their sounds, they found some crossover in an exchange of remixes, with Lustwerk's take on "Forever" appearing on Lobster Theremin. Palms Trax returned the favour with a version of Lustwerk's "Soul Control" which never saw the light of day until now. While it's certainly redolent of the earlier phase of Palms Trax's career, the effervescent musicality at the heart of the release is still completely in step with Palmsy as we know and love him today, replete with Lustwerk's inimitable laconic vocal delivery over the top.
Review: Chicago veteran Boo Williams has put out almost as many records as his good friend Glenn Underground, and almost all of them are high-class. His latest limited-edition missive is, somewhat predictably, another gem. Opener "Tribulation" is sweet and spacey, with Williams wrapping fizzing, techno-tempo drums and bubbly bass in intergalactic synths sounds and chords so emotive you might start blubbing on the dancefloor. It comes accompanied by a deeper, acid-flecked flipside dub that also boasts some exciting new synth solos (track three) and a slightly slower, but no less energetic or musically positive, bonus cut called "Mental State". Predictably, this is every bit as alluring as the EP's other tracks.
Cyberian Nights (Siberian Nights remix In Tribute To Twilight 22) (4:59)
Hologram People (6:40)
Review: Fundamental Records, the electro music label behind the 808 Box, Electric Eclectics and Music for The Other People Place project starts with a new project and new label called Electro Records and has made something of a statement with its first release, not only opting for a striking clear and white splatter patterned slab of wax, but also by securing the services of sometime CPU, Craigie Knowes and Biosoft Record producer Phillip Washington aka Cygnus. Do not forget Fundamental Records is the home of the Dallas producer with a full album in 2016, several EPs and tracks for the 808 Box and Electric Eclectics and the project MACHINE FUNK!... a triple album released only a few months ago. Cygnus rarely disappoints, and we can safely say he's delivered the goods here too. For proof, check the robotic, vocoder-laden deep space shuffle of "Hologram Killer", the lilting melodies and emotive, starry synths of "She Work All Night" and the canny combination of bubbly acid house and deep electro tropes that is "Hologram People". Elsewhere, "Cyberian Nights" doffs a cap to original '80s electro crew Twilight 22 and closing cut "Satisfaction" flits between crunchy dancefloor aggression and drifting-through-space deepness
Carlton Jumel Smith - "Help Me (Save Me From Myself)" (feat Cold Diamond & Mink) (3:31)
Cold Diamond & Mink - "Help Me (Save Me From Myself)" (instrumental) (3:34)
Review: Since first joining forces with Timmion's in-house band Cold Diamond & Mink two years ago, New York singer Carlton Jumel Smith has delivered a string of sublime singles and a must-check album, 2019's "1634 Lexington Avenue". It's from that set that his latest single is taken. "Help Me (Save Me From Myself)" is another emotive, 1960s soul style gem in which Smith passionately cries for help from a mystery woman over a typically on-point Cold Diamond & Mink backing track rich in hazy horns, wah-wah guitars and a laidback mid-tempo groove. The quality of the group's playing and production is laid bare in all its glory on the flipside instrumental version, which is naturally exclusive to this "45" release. Like the rest of Smith's singles, this is a must-have.
Review: This is the second reissue of godlier standard early rap and hip hop work from The Ultramagnetic MCs that is out this month. "Traveling At The Speed Of Thought" comes from their debut Critical Beatdown album in 1989 and is a real hard hitting tune stuffed with all sorts of punchy breaks that are easily recognisable and have since been heavily sampled by the likes of The Beastie Boys. The Ultramagnetic MC's were pioneers of hip hop in the late '80s and this shows why with its confident lyrical flow, big beats and brash vibes. Mr Bongo, of course, always do it right and that's the truth again here with this vital 7".
Review: According to Sub Pop, Ernest Greene's fourth album of "transformative and visual" immersive pop was inspired by the coastlines of the Mediterranean. In other words, there's a deliciously drowsy and defiantly Balearic feel to proceedings, with Greene delivering his distinctive lead vocals over backing tracks that variously draw on the seductive, mid-80s soul sounds of Sade, head-nodding hip-hop beats, glistening sunset guitars, colourful early evening synthesizers and the luscious, sun-up cinematic flavours so beloved of Ibiza chill-out DJs such as Phil Mison and Jose Padilla. The whole thing is utterly gorgeous and sounds particularly special on days when the sun shines and there's a cooling coastal breeze.
Dance Your Blues Away (The Mighty Zaf edit) (4:32)
Review: Originally released in 1979 as a B-side to The Neville Brother's "Sweet Honey Dipper", "Dance Your Blues Away" saw Ivan go solo for the first time on this sultry modern soul jam. Laced with a plucky bass and just the right smattering of sleaze, it set the foundations for Ivan's extensive solo career. It also provides the perfect groove tools for The Mighty Zaf to work his editor craft and beef up the vibe with subtlety. Keep on dancing!
Review: The brilliant DJ Bacon is back with another of his hard hitting mega mixes, two years after his much loved 2018 opus "Back In Hell". This one serves up two 10 minute-plus sides of thrilling new remixes of Beastie Boys and Pink Floyd. Some of the restive groups biggest and most well known material is pulled apart then reworked into new forms before being put into mega mixes that bang together rock and rap in electric fashion. This is another bold and ambitious project with cues and borrowings from both iconic bands in equal measure.
Review: On the fifth volume in his 2020 Donuts series of party-starting "45s", Bristolian break-digger and beat-maker Boca 45 joins forces with Ash the Author, a Reading-based mic man who has been tipped for great things by a number of more experienced MCs. He makes his presence felt on "Party Rockers", delivering distinctive lyrics over a rock-solid beat peppered with tight scratches and moody, horn style stabs. Boca 45 ups the tempo on heavyweight flipside "Batacuda Battlebox", a riotous cut-and-paste affair crafted from Latin style drum samples, booming bass and the West Country producer's usual sneaky and inventive instrumental snippets.
Review: Keeping a close eye on your dancefloors, Neighbourhood Watch Patrol is the civic-minded mystery artist at the heart of the Telomere Plastic operation. "Morning Confusion" is their second EP in as many months and once again sees the shadowy outfit join the dots between chunky tech-house, acid and electro. Bold, thickset basslines and crunchy beats are the order of the day on side A, where hip-wiggling, all-action opener "Morning Confusion" is quickly followed by the low-slung tech-house box jam that is "The Snuffles". Over on the flip it's all about electro/tech-house fusion, first via the gently pulsing, deep space shuffle of "Third Line", and then the crystalline electronic riffs and funky acid bass of EP highlight "Where's My Sofa".
Review: Over the last few years, Gigi Testa has become renowned for delivering sun-kissed tracks and re-edits that variously draw influence from deep house, Afro-cosmic, Balearica, and jazz-funk. This edit-focused two-tracker continues on a similar theme. "Latin Jazz-Dance (Voodoo Edit)" is simply superb - an effervescent, rush-inducing re-model of a Latin jazz-funk number rich in layered percussion, breezy flute solos, bouncy piano riffs and suitably ambidextrous fretless bass. In contrast, "Electric Counterpoint (Dream Edit)" is a totally beat-free affair. It sees him go to work on the Steve Reich/Pat Metheny classic of the same name, adding dubbed-out effects and subtle vocal overdubs here and there. Like the original version, it's blissful, awe-inspiring stuff.
Review: Philly soul star Billy Paul made some great records during his mid 1970s heyday, though few are quite as sublime as "Let The Dollar Circulate", a passionate plea for economic equality that adds sumptuous orchestration and serious dancefloor chops to the then popular conscious soul template. Paul's lead vocal is superb, while Gamble and Huff's production is as good as you'd expect. Remarkably, this is the first time the track has featured on a 12" single, so props to Be With Records for spotting a gap in the market. You certainly need it in your life - honestly, it's incredible - while flipside "East", an incredible chunk of spiritual soul recorded in 1971, is every bit as awesome. Recommended.
Review: Over the past few years, Johnny Rock has proved to be one of the shrewdest re-editors around, delivering must-check reworks of thoroughly obscure gems that tend towards the exotic and intoxicating. Further proof of his dusty-fingered, scalpel-wielding genius can be found on this Orange Tree Edits outing. Check first the rubbery, off-kilter '80s electro-flex of "Kat-Woman Do", before admiring the Mascara-sporting, New Romantic style synth-pop goodness of "Bitter Juice". Elsewhere, he offers up some skewed, percussion-rich late-night eccentricity (the delightfully weird "Hippie Jam") and successfully dances his way through some Communism-era Yugoslav post-punk heaviness ("Streets of Belgrade").
Review: Acidworx present their tenth release, which label boss DJ Seri so eloquently describes himself as 'more funky, squelching acid cuts for your brain'. Their acid trips have assisted them in travelling (without moving) as far as Japan, Australia, Netherlands and Switzerland on this one. The acid flashback on A1 will take you back to the days of the Plastik parties at the legendary Packard Plant in Detroit, while the tunnelling and strobed-out mentalisms of "10.02" will certainly cause long term effects - at the very least it'll have you calling in sick on Monday. On the flip, strap yourself in for a wild ride on the full-throttle acid trance epic "10.03" and boldly exclaim 'stay up forever!'
Review: Is there a more positive, soulful and life-affirming dancefloor anthem out there than Roy Davis Jr and Peven Everett's 1996 jam "Gabriel"? As many will be aware, it has long been sought of as a classic, with soulful house, deep house, US and UK garage DJs all championing it back in the day. This white vinyl reissue boasts all of the mixes featured on the original 12". Perhaps the most famous version is the rolling, bass-heavy two-step flex of the "Live Garage" mix that opens side B, but there's plenty to set the pulse racing elsewhere. The driving, jazzy-but-stomping "Words To Give By" version has been annoyingly overlooked over the years, while the "Tambourine Dub" is deliciously sweaty and driving in the best possible way.
Review: Bristol beat-maker, break-digger and turntablist Boca 45 has released some pretty special material this year, most of it on the 2020 Donuts imprint he inaugurated back in January. There's naturally much to set the pulse racing on the series fourth instalment, a highly limited green vinyl affair that we think will simply fly out of stores. A-side "Take You Higher" is a bustling instrumental hip-hop number based around slack-tuned breakbeats, heavyweight bass, cut-up guitar riffs and all manner of cheeky spoken word snippets. Vocalist Alison Garner guests on superb flipside "Hummingbird", a hybrid hip-hop/bossa-nova number blessed with mazy Hammond organ solos, bold piano stabs and extra-special percussion.
Review: In 2019 sometime Star Creature producer Noam Ofir AKA Love's High adopted a new artistic alias, Soul Supreme, offering up a double header of boogie-fuelled hip-hop beats on Tugboat Edits' "Tugboat Editions" offshoot. This follow-up sees him successfully move further towards the jazzier end of the instrumental hip-hop spectrum. We're particularly enjoying A-side "Check The Rhime", a superb chunk of jazz-funk/instrumental hip-hop fusion rich in warm horn motifs, Roy Ayers style vibraphone riffs, deep Rhodes chords and bubbly electronic lead lines. That said, flip side "Lyrics To Go", where Offir utilises a well-known starry electric piano riff amongst his sonic arsenal, is also rather impressive and every bit as soul-soothing as its predecessor.