Review: Italian singer Elena Ferretti was popular on the Italo and Eurobeat scene between the early '80s, produced by the likes of Giacomo Maiolini, Mauro Farina, Sergio Dall'Ora and Giancarlo Pasquini. One of her best known hits is the song "My World" (as Sophie). Here we have a reissue of Feretti's highly valued Italo classic (to those who know) in the form of "Witch" under the Helen alias - with which she used for half a dozen or so tracks in her career. A typically neon-lit Italo disco anthem of the timeless variety, with additional remixes by Centre Neptune chief Flemming Dalum and mad Aussie Hysteric - both of them giving the track a nice reshape for modern dancefloors.
Falling Deep In Love (Joey Negro 7" Disco Blend) (4:06)
Review: For the last two years, legendary London crew Horse Meat Disco has been teasing the release of its long-awaited debut album via a series of scintillating singles featuring guest vocals from the likes of Amy Douglas and, even more impressively, Kathy Sledge. Here they offer up their second collaboration with the legendary disco diva. "Jump Into The Light" is little less than a tribute to the Chic sound featured on the greatest Sister Sledge records, with Kathy Sledge delivering a typical fine lead vocal over Bernard Edwards style bass, Nile Rodgers-esque guitars and glittering orchestration. Over on side B there's a chance to enjoy Joey Negro's cut-down "Disco Blend" of previous single "Falling Deep In Love", which adds a little house flavour whilst retaining the crew's disco instrumentation.
Review: Here's a record perfectly suited to the Emotional Rescue sphere. International Noise Orchestra was born out of a collaboration between Berliner Ulrich Homberg and Algerian drummer Jol Allouche, first embarked on in the 1980s when they sought to combine 'new technology with old'. The results are wonderfully vibrant, evocative of the era but also packed with open-ended experimentation that sounds fresh more than 30 years later. There's a push and pull between the collaborating parties, but the frisson between cultures and methods is where this record gets its unique groove from, all delivered with a slick 80s cool it's hard to resist.
Review: Earlier this year, Luca Di Mateo donned the Italo Brutalo guise for the first time in three years, delivering a tidy EP on Bungalo Disco that's well worth a listen. This speedy sequel is similarly ear-catching and piled high with shimmering, synth-heavy goodness. For proof, check opener "Taniacid", where vibrant, NYC freestyle inspired synthesizer motifs and wild TB-303 acid lines ride a thickset, arpeggiated Italo-disco bassline. He successfully dips the tempo on the pleasingly chugging and spacey "Trust Doesn't Rust", before opening side B with the more hard-wired, acid-flecked Italo-disco revivalism of "Knightmares". Rounding off another rock-solid EP is "Not To Drop A Drink", another moody affair that reminded us of early 1980s Italian horror movie soundtracks.
Review: One of disco's biggest divas gets served up on a red hot platter here by Vinylators. "Extended Woman" is eight plus minutes of bubbling, piano laced and string happy disco with the iconic "I'm every woman" vocal taking centre stage over nice clipped drums. It's a tasteful edit that brings all the key parts to the fore. "Piano Woman" is more stripped back, with plenty of emphasis on some busy piano playing and the soaring original vocal left in place up top. "Dub Woman" is more paired back and built on the leggy drums, while plenty of golden strings add real colour.
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.
Is It All Over My Face (Masters At Work remix) (8:59)
Is It All Over My Face (MAW Joint dub) (6:36)
Is It All Over My Face (Full Length version) (11:55)
Is It All Over My Face (Kon duet mix) (8:36)
Is It All Over My Face (instrumental mix) (9:29)
Is It All Over My Face (7" Female vocal) (3:11)
Is It All Over My Face (Female acappella) (1:10)
Is It All Over My Face (7" Male vocal) (3:49)
Is It All Over My Face (Male acappella) (1:40)
Review: Arthur Russell's Loose Joints' "Is It All Over My Face" is a stone cold classic, 40 years after it was first released to a rapturous reception. It was made an instant hit by the likes of Larry Levan and remains one of Arthur Russell's most crossover tunes. This special anniversary edition serves up a glut of versions from the female vocal to a MAW dub, Maw remix to a male vocal. There is plenty of variation in each one, with New York icons Masters at Work bring their trademark drum shuffles, while US disco and edit king Won layers in big flutes, wandering bass and plenty of loose grooves. There really is something for every club and every moment in the night here.
Review: When it comes to offering up authentically funk-fuelled, revivalist disco-funk treats, former crate digger to the stars turned re-editor and producer Lord Funk has an impressive track record. One of his most sought-after releases is 2018's colourful "Knock Me Out EP", so it's no surprise to see it being given the reissue treatment two years on. There's much to admire, from the early Sugarhill Records-sampling boogie/p-funk fusion of opener "Blow Your Mind", to the talkbox-sporting P-funk revivalism of "Knock Me Out" (seemingly a reissue of a lesser-known kaleidoscopic synth-funk gem from the early-to-mid '80s), and the rather brilliant, Prince style electrofunk headiness of closing cut "Do It (If U Like)".
Review: Archeo come through with another stunning relic dusted down from a forgotten corner of Italian music culture. Fulvio Maras, Alfredo Posillipo and Luca Proietti originally released Sfumature back in 1992, and it's quite the spectacle to behold. Minimal synths provide an underlay for the tense sustained pads and Maras' tumbling percussion on "Panico Iniziale", while nimble hand drums spiral around woozy brass and delicate chimes on "Trombe Di Alfredo". The mood gets seductively dreamy on "Amori" thanks in no small part to the double bass playing at its core. Highly accomplished, inquisitive and utterly satisfying music occupying its own unique space.
Patti Boulaye - "You Stepped Into My Life" (Disco mix) (6:38)
Patti Boulaye - "You Stepped Into My Life" (Disco dub) (7:43)
Juan Torres - "El Arbusto (In The Bush)" (unreleased Disco mix) (5:25)
Kikrokos - "Jungle DJ" (Lost dub) (6:13)
Methusalem - "Robotism" (6:49)
Review: Obscure & Obsolete have pulled together a collection of dazzling disco tunes from various vital artists. The a-side features two visions of big hearted and triumphant tunes from British-Nigerian singer, actress and artist Patti Boulaye. Full of celebratory horns and big vocals, it's a real gem. Juan Torres's "El Arbusto (In The Bush)" is a more strident and cosmic affair with plenty of retro-future flourishes and the lost dub of Kikrokos's "Jungle DJ" sinks into a funk-licked groove with skyward pads taking your mind into the cosmos. Methusalem's mid tempo, hip swinging "Robotism" closes out in deep cut fashion.
Review: Late last year, French imprint Chuwanag launched via a fine compilation exploring the early '80s Britfunk sound (think jazz-funk and electrofunk) in impressive detail. You'll find numerous aural nods to that style on this follow-up, a fine debut single from producer Koji Ono. Check, for example, the sparkling synthesizers, hustling guitars and house-tempo jazz-funk grooves of "So High", the wiggly Clavinet lines, whistling melodies and rubbery bass of "Inner Rhythms" and the luscious, misty-eyed warmth of ear-pleasing mid-tempo instrumental jam "Momoshima". All are exquisite examples of revivalist cuts that boast more than enough freshness and impeccable instrumentation to bear comparison to the records that inspired them.
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: Here's something you don't come across that often: a "live" album that captures straight-to-tape (literally) studio recordings rather than a performance in front of the paying public. In Parcels defence, the results are impressive, in part because their chosen location, legendary Berlin institution Hansa Studios, boasts the kind of analogue recording and mixing equipment that neatly fits their warm, mixed-up trademark sound (think West Coast rock, blue-eyed soul, funk-ruck fusion). Many of the songs segue into each other as they would during a live performance, with new interludes and previously unheard songs adding a frisson of disco-fired dancefloor goodness to proceedings. It might not be a pure live album, but it's a hugely enjoyable listen.
Please Don't Make It Funky (The Patchouli Brothers Re edit) (5:05)
Review: "Please Don't Make It Funky" is one of those delicious curiosities that dusty-fingered crate diggers unearth every now and then. Recorded and released in limited qualities in 1980, it was apparently an attempt by Frank Pisani, then a veteran American singer who had last tasted success in the rock and roll era, to capture the disco/jazz-funk zeitgeist. While it was a commercial flop, the track is undeniably attractive and fun, with squelchy synth sounds, ear-catching horns, fluid piano solos and Pisani's blue-eyed-soul vocals rising above a tidy groove. This surprise - but most welcome - reissue backs Pisani's cheery original with a fresh re-edit by the Patchouli Brothers. This includes some filter trickery and a DJ-friendly arrangement, but otherwise sticks close to the original mix.
Review: Low Season is a first new album for three years, and a first ever solo effort from Jeffrey Paradise after former Poolside cohort Filip Nikolic left in 2017. It's a thoroughly mature and escapist balearic sound with plenty of lush acoustic guitars, underlapping drums and deft percussion. There is super summery and slow motion house on "Can't Stop Your Lovin'", sunset synth beauty on "Low Season" and shimmering chill wave vibes on "Kinda Lovely." Albums like this carer essential companions for the warmer months, and few nail the vibe more effortlessly than this.
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: North London deep house dons Saison are back on No Fuss Records with some sumptuous, discofied grooves that strike the perfect balance between heads-down, no-nonsense dance music and warm musicality. "Cut The Gas" rides on plenty of artfully chopped up disco licks, arranged, filtered and dropped in all the right places. "Wax On Wax Off" has a rich synth palette at its heart, clearly sporting a little Italo flavour in its bones with the smatterings of vocoder and throbbing arpeggios nestled amongst the more organic ingredients. "Top Bunk Boogie" and "What Are We Gonna Do" keep the pressure up on the B side, with the party energy in full force across both tracks and maintaining the same tasteful approach to the source material.
Review: Given that he was making disco-fired house as far back as the early noughties, Simon Marlin AKA The Shapeshifters is a perfect fit for Defected's disco-focussed Glitterbox sub-label. These days Marlin's productions are closer to "real" disco than funky house, as last year's Salsoul influenced "Life Is A Dancefloor" with singer Kimberly Davis proved. "Second Chance" explores similar musical pastures, with the EP opening club mix layering Tony Montana-esque orchestration and Loleatta-like vocals atop a bouncy beat. Moplen delivers a classic disco revision mixed in a Tom Moulton style, where there's more clarity to each showcased piece of instrumentation, while the Shapeshifters provide a dub mix style "Reprise" that rises and falls in all the right places. A handy, delay-laden acapella version completes a very strong EP.
Peaches Mann - "Get In Rhythm With God's Love" (3:43)
Review: By now, you should be familiar with the "Soul Is My Salvation" seven-inch series, which sees gospel-loving DJ Tone B Nimble showcase some of his favourite gospel-soul, gospel disco and gospel boogie gems. This fifth 45 in the series is just as essential as its predecessors. On side A you'll find Fay Hill's 1981 single "I Know Who You Should See", a languid, jazz-funk era shuffle through glassy-eyed gospel soul pastures blessed with one of the most addictive choruses we've heard this year. Over on the flip there's a chance to enjoy Peaches Mann's synth-heavy, ultra-soulful gospel boogie number "Get In Rhythm With God's Love", a more upbeat affair whose many highlights include killer slap-bass, D-Train style synth solos and an infectious rhythm.
Pink Family - "Don't Give Your Life Away" (AI-Tone extended mix) (5:00)
Review: Rain & Shine's "Soul Is My Salvation" project is something of an epic: an eight-part series of "dancefloor friendly gospel songs" curated by veteran Chicagoan DJ Tone B Nimble (real name Anthony Fields). This first part - "Chapter 1" - opens with a sublime, gospel style sing-along cover of Sister Sledge classic "We Are Family" that sounds like it was actually recorded in church. It's brilliant, life-affirming stuff. Over on side B, scalpel fiend Al-Tone offers up an extended version of obscure New Zealand group The Pink Family's 1979 cut "Don't Give Your Life Away" - a warm-hearted - some would say righteous - disco workout that's almost as good as the A-side. We await the next volume in the series with baited breath.
Edgar Winter - "Above & Beyond" (12" version) (6:26)
Review: Having previously offered up two vinyl compilations focusing on his book Life & Death on the New York Dancefloor 1980-83, dance music documentarian Tim Lawrence has decided to travel back in time to the decade covered in his previous book, Love Will Save The Day. This second part (of two) gathers together some of the greatest American dance music of the 1970s, deftly showcasing what some might call the disco continuum. It covers a lot of ground, moving from the sparkling orchestrated soul of Willie Hutch and the intergalactic jazz-funk of Charles Earland, to the punk-funk hedonism of Miroslave Vituous and the boogie-era brilliance of Edgar Winter, via a string of surging underground disco treats.
Les Troubadours Du Roi Baudouin - "Dibwe Diambula Kabanda"
Chuck Mangione - "Land Of Make Believe"
Wilson Pickett - "Don't Knock My Love" (part 1)
Wilson Pickett - "Don't Knock My Love" (part 2)
James Brown - "Give It Up Or Turnit A Loose"
Jackson 5 - "Hum Along & Dance" (Uncut version)
Brainstorm - "Lovin' Is Really My Game" (12" version)
Domenic Troiano - "We All Need Love" (12" version)
Gladys Knight & The Pips - "It's Time To Go Now"
Willie Hutch - "Brother's Gonna Work It Out"
Charles Earland - "Leaving This Planet"
Laura Lee - "(If You Want To Try Love Again) Remember Me"
The Modulations - "I Can't Fight Your Love"
Margie Joseph - "Prophecy"
Blue Magic - "Welcome To The Club"
Twennynine - "Fancy Dancer" (with Lenny White - 12" version)
Miroslav Vitous - "New York City"
Edgar Winter - "Above & Beyond" (12" version)
Review: Having already delivered a killer compilation inspired by the music explored in his fantastically forensic examination of NYC's early '80s post-punk dance scene, "Life and Death on the New York Dancefloor", academic and author Tim Lawrence has now served up a similar essential set based on his previous tome, the detailed story of disco that is "Love Saves The Day". The two-disc set begins begins with a dash of traditional Congolese music and ends with the spacey, synth-laden boogie business of Edgar Winter's "Above & Beyond"; in between, you'll find the hard-worn funk of James Brown, the percussive dancefloor jazz of Chuck Mangione, the soaring Philly soul of Wilson Pickett, a string of inspired (and usually heavy) disco workouts, a dash of jazz-funk and even a chunk of NYC no-wave.
Mystic Djim & The Spirits - "Yaounde Girls" (5:57)
Bill Loko - "Nen Lambo" (6:23)
Bernard Ntone - "Mussoloki" (4:21)
Pasteur Lappe - "Sanaga Calypso"
Eko - "M'ongele M'am"
Olinga Gaston - "Ngon Engap"
Emmanuel Kahe & Jeanette Kemogne - "Ye Medjuie"
Nkodo Si-Tony - "Mininga Meyong Mese"
Pasteur Lappe - "Sekele Movement"
Pat' Ndoye - "More Love"
Clement Djimogne - "Africa"
Review: Just when you think that the well of obscure music from around the world has run dry, Analog Africa returns to put the record straight. Pop-Makossa shines a light on a glorious but largely overlooked period in the story of Cameroonian makossa, when local musicians began to replace funk and highlife influences with the rubbery bass of classic disco and the sparkling synth flourishes and drum machines of electrofunk. The resultant compilation, which apparently took eight years to produce, is packed full of brilliant cuts, from the heavily-electronic jauntiness of Pasteur Lappe's "Sanaga Calypso" and horn-totin' Highlife-disco of Emmaniel Kahe and Jeanette Kemogne's "Ye Medjuie", to the dense, organ-laden wig out that is Clement Djimogne's "Africa".
Loleatta Holloway - "Mama Don't Papa Won't" (The Reflex Revision) (8:40)
Candido - "Dancin' & Prancin'" (The Reflex Revision) (8:11)
Skyy - "Let's Celebrate" (The Reflex Revision) (7:30)
Rafael Cameron - "Boogie's Gonna Get Ya" (The Reflex Revision) (7:53)
Review: London-based "multi-track edit" specialist the Reflex is the latest producer to have his way with gems from Salsoul's epic back catalogue. All four rubs are up to his usual high standard - he begins by dubbing out and rearranging "Mama Don't Papa Won't", a lesser-known Loleatta Holloway cut from the halcyon days of disco, before turning piano-and-percussion-heavy Candido favourite "Dancin' and Prancin'" into a sweaty, all-action extended workout. On the second record he heads towards boogie territory, giving Skyy's "Let's Celebrate" a sweet, synth-and-delay-laden makeover before making great use of the urgent, bass-heavy groove underpinning Rafael Cameron's brilliant "Boogie's Gonna Get Ya". Recommended.
Franne Golde - "Here I Go Fallin' In Love Again" (3:30)
Martee Lebous - "For David" (4:07)
Lonette Mckee - "The Way I Want To Touch You" (3:11)
Kristle Murden - "I Can't Let Go" (3:48)
Janis Siegel - "Lovin' Eyes" (4:00)
Linda Tillery - "Womanly Way" (6:17)
Ullanda Mccullough - "I'll Just Die" (3:41)
Nicolette Larson - "Baby Don't You Do It" (3:35)
Valerie Carter - "The Story Of Love" (4:01)
Elkie Brooks - "The Rising Cost Of Love" (5:00)
Holly Near - "Back Off" (3:56)
Review: It would be fair to say that 2016's female-centred instalment of the "Too Slow To Disco" franchise was one of the series' strongest compilations to date, so this belated sequel is more than welcome. Naturally the mix of blue-eyed soul, yacht rock and AOR disco is attractive and on-point, with highlights including the Steely Dan-ish "Pretty Bird" by Terea, the string-laden disco swoon of Sheffield cabaret star Marti Caine's "Love The Way You Love", Franne Golde's country-twinged, early Dire Straits style "Here I Go Fallin' In Love Again", the super-smooth vibes of Janis Siegel's "Lovin' Eyes" and the low-slung, bluesy, country-fried AOR disco brilliance of Nicolette Larson's "Baby Don't You Do It".