Review: Unlike much of Ennio Morricone collaborator Alessandro Alessandroni's work, 1974 set "Prisma Sonoro" was not the soundtrack to a well-known film or TV show, but rather a collection of instrumental pieces composed for a music library. It's long been regarded as one of the finest examples of Italian library music around, so it's great seeing it get the reissue treatment. Much of it is pleasingly cheery, sunny and laidback, with Alessandroni doffing a cap to folk, samba and MPB as much as easy listening, classical and soundtrack style jazz. It's typical of his versatility, of course, with the intricacy of the arrangements and subtle musical details making it a set that you can return to time and time again.
Review: Last year, Amsterdam-based Turkish band Altin Gun delivered one of the most potent - and arguably overlooked - debut albums of the year, "On". 12 months on they return with album number two, "Gece", an inspired fusion of heavyweight Turkish psychedelia, funk, freak-folk and intergalactic rock. While the songs and recordings are brand new, the band's choice of instrumentation - vintage Moog synths, gnarled funk-rock guitars, skittish drums and fuzzy bass guitar - and 1960s style production gives the whole thing a deliciously retro feel. It's a recipe that guarantees thrills and spills, with "Yolcu", "Sofor Bey", "Derdimi Dokersem" and spacey "Gesi Baglari" among the many highlights.
Review: If you're a DJ who digs funk, soul and disco, there's a fair chance that you are familiar with Average White Band classic "Pick Up The Pieces", a staple of those kinds of sets - and, of course, hip-hop, where its killer break has been looped countless times over the years - since its initial release in 1974. Should you not own a copy of the distinctive, horn-heavy classic, we'd suggest picking up this reissue, not least because it also boasts the band's lesser-known cover of Ned Doheny classic "Get It Up For Love", featuring vocals from no less than Ben E King, on the flip. Their version of the hazy blue-eyed soul gem sits somewhere between Doheny's original version and the arguably better known Tata Vega disco cover.
Review: Best Records do it again, dusting down a searing slice of robo-funk from the early 80s that will pop your lock every which way. B Funk was a one-off project from Mario Boncaldo and Tony Carrasco, best known for their incredible work as Klein & MBO. They released the "Magic Spell" album in 1983, and it was loaded with richly produced Italo disco and proto house sounds - there's a good reason the original release has been fetching such crazy prices on the second hand market. Now Best have cherry picked two of the finest cuts from the album, sought out the extended disco versions from Carrasco's vaults, and given them a glorious new pressing.
Review: Dedicated to the Hammond-heavy 1960s soul-jazz sounds of Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff, Grant Green and Reuben Wilson, the Beat Bronco Organ Trio are a fresh outfit with classic inspirations. The Madrid threesome's debut single is something of a retro-futurist treat. We're really enjoying A-side "Easy Baby", a loose and languid fusion of ear-pleasing Hammond licks, laidback, breakbeat-driven drums and flanged jazz guitars that impressively increases in intensity throughout, culminating in a frenzy of sweaty drums and eyes-closed guitar solos. "Geriatric Dance", meanwhile, is even more up-tempo, with high octane Hammond and jazz guitar solos stretching out over a feverish funk drumbeat.
Review: German-Ghanaian group the Polyversal Souls have previously collaborated with a number of bands and solo artists from West Africa, so this hook-up with Northern Ghanaian outfit the Bolga All Stars - a collective made up of leading local kologo and frafra-gospel singers and musicians - should not come as much of a surprise. Separated into two parts for the seven-inch release, the track blends the Polyversal Souls' lolloping, late '60s style Afro-funk grooves - complete with fuzzy, period style production - and sharp horn section with glistening guitars, snaking solos and fine vocals from the Bolga All Stars. It's one of the Polyversal Souls' finest releases yet, and that's saying something.
Derrick Carter - "Squaredancing" (DC Nu Vox dub) (4:59)
George Alexander - "Promised Land" (feat Big John Whitfield) (3:23)
Review: This tasty release is the first instalment of BBE and Soul Clap member Eli "Bamboozle" Goldstein's "House On 45" series. The basic idea is to offer up rare and hard to find house cuts that have only ever been released on seven-inch singles. To kick things off, Goldstein has selected Derrick Carter's 2017 "DC Nu Vox Dub" of his 2002 classic "Squaredancing In A Roundhouse", an insatiable version of a killer cut rich in bluesy samples, bumpin' beats and scat vocals. Equally as impressive is George Alexander and Big John Whitfield's 2009 cover of Joe Smooth classic "Promised Land", a warm and musically expansive affair that adds superb new flute and electric piano parts to one of house music's most celebrated songs.
Review: When it comes to crafting retro-futurist soul gems - think traditional soul instrumentation and vocals with modern production trickery - Tanika Charles has an impressive track record. The Canadian artist won plenty of praise for her recent album "The Gumption", from which the two tracks that make up this limited-edition single are taken. The standout is undoubtedly the sunny, Hammond-heavy soul stomp of title track "Love Overdue", a cut so sweet, jaunty and sticky that it might make diabetics go weak at the knees. There's a similarly stomping feel about breezier flipside "Remember To Remember", where Charles delivers an impeccable, R&B style vocal over a thrusting, Northern Soul style beat.