Review: Oooh! Angie Stone's "Wish I Didn't Miss You" definitely belongs in the canon of all time modern soul classics. Taken from her 2001 second album Mahogany Soul, the Swizz Beats produced track made optimum usage of an O' Jays sample and was instrumental in that LP going gold and propelling the former D'Angelo collaborator to stardom. It also inspired countless official and under the counter remixes with Blaze's perhaps the most recognisable. So yes this reissue on 7" from Outta Sight is worthy if you don't have the original in your collection and features a housed up remix from Hex Hector on the flip.
Review: Since 2012, Munich duo COEO has served up a swathe of sample heavy, disco influenced house EPs for such labels as Let's Play House, Toy Tonics, Lagaffe Tales and Razor-N-Tape Reserve. Here they pop up on Razor-N-Tape's main edit label with something different: a quartet of traditional scalpel works from their personal stash. First up is the elastic, horn heavy disco-funk of "Express Lane", which is quickly followed by the skewed Arabic boogie-funk brilliance of "Libyan Sun". Over on side B, "Don't Oho" is a breezy revision of a sun-kissed Afro-disco workout that sounds like it would be capable of causing a commotion in the club, while "Move Your Body" makes merry with a warm, rich and intoxicating early '80s boogie-soul jam of unknown origin.
Donny McCullough - "From The Heart" (Kon's Multi remix) (6:33)
Taxie - "Rock Don't Stop" (3:32)
The Mazyck Project - "More Power To You" (4:39)
The Edge Of Daybreak - "EOB (Edge Of Daybreak)" (4:01)
Shake - "Lost In Space" (5:12)
Oby Onyioha - "Enjoy Your Life" (6:18)
Bomp - "Disco Power" (4:57)
Christy Essien Igbokwe - "You Can't Change A Man" (3:57)
Harry Mosco - "Sexy Dancer" (6:37)
Goddy Oku - "Dont' Ask Me" (5:37)
Review: BBE unearth another batch of rare and underexposed disco cuts on Off Track Vol 3. Compiled by the crate digging New York/Boston based duo Kon & Amir, the release gives an authentic representation of Brooklyn’s ghetto, funk and afro music scenes. Sophisticated tracks for real music heads
Review: In the face of all those Clone reissue compilations, Tresor are doing the right thing and digging into their own archive of seminal aquatic machine funk from Detroit electro legends Drexciya, and stepping up with the Hydro Doorways EP is the kind of power move that most labels can only dream of being able to make. From the cinematic drama of "Quantum Hydrodynamics" to the textbook boogie down synth abandon of "Polymono Plexusgel", not forgetting the heavy-on-the-one throwdown of "Lost Vessel" or the alien gurgles and peppy pace of "Species On The Pod", or the... oh you know the drill. This is timeless, essential business for anyone that takes electronic music seriously.
The One O Ones - "Radio Cosmos 101" (Bals edit) (4:27)
Gemini - "Take A Chance" (4:34)
The Clean Hands Group - "Night Fly" (4:24)
The CVQ Band - "Whatever You Do" (instrumental) (4:38)
Miss - "Hip Hop" (3:06)
Metal Voices - "At The Banks Of The River" (3:44)
The Clean-Hands Group - "Shake It On" (4:03)
Gigi Flag - "Nymphomaniac" (instrumental) (5:58)
Eddy La Viny - "Havan' Hamac" (3:43)
Review: BeachFreaks Records co-founder Charles Bals is a man who knows about records - and obscure European ones at that. Club Meduse, his first compilation for Spacetalk (a label with a track record for producing these kinds of killer, crate-digging comps), is loosely designed as the soundtrack to life around a mythical (IE imaginary) Cote D'Azure resort. Musically, it gathers together the kind of hazy, soft-focus and life-affirming cuts that you would have heard at resort discos in the mid-to-late 1980s. Suffice to say that Bals' selections tend towards the rare, magical and undeniably Balearic, from the glassy-eyed, cascading jazz-funk of the Keyboys and loved-up post-boogie sweetness of Gemini's "Take a Chance", to the sparkling Euro-electro of Miss' "Hip Hop" and pitched-down drum machine chug of Gigi Flag's "Nymphomaniac (Instrumental)". Essential.
This Is What You Are (feat The High Five Quintet - radio edit) (4:21)
This Is What You Are (The Brazilian Rime) (4:53)
Review: "This Is What You Are" is undoubtedly Mario Biondi's most celebrated work. He first sung it for original composers Was A Bee in 2004, before re-recording it for his debut album (alongside the High Five Quintet) in 2006. Since then it has been reissued or remixed on numerous occasions. Here it gets reissued on a tidy 7" single, with a punchy radio edit - a swinging, Sunday afternoon style chunk of Latin soul-jazz rich in jaunty grooves, soaring orchestration and smooth vocals - being joined by the "Brazilian Rime" rework. This tasty re-recording re-casts the song as a breezy, samba-fired slab of early 1970s style Brazilian MPB. It's an inspired interpretation and could well become the definitive version of the track.
Colors Of Autumn (feat Speech Of The Group Arrested Development) (4:10)
This Is My Rock (feat Sophia Kennedy) (5:19)
Illumination (feat Roisin Murphy) (4:40)
Planet Hase (feat Mano Le Tough) (4:18)
Pick Up (6:37)
Scratch That (feat Roisin Murphy) (5:02)
Muddy Funster (feat Kurt Wagner) (5:23)
Baby (How Much I LFO You) (4:31)
Lord Knows (4:04)
Seeing Aliens (4:53)
Drone Me Up, Flashy (feat Sophia Kennedy) (6:26)
Take A Run (feat Ada) (4:51)
Review: DJ Koze's music is very much suited to the album format. Although his last effort through this medium was back in 2013, his explorative nature and wide-eyed, improvisational style are simply made to branch out into areas outside of the more predictable house and techno formats. Knock Knock comes through on his own Pampa label, with its seventeen tracks all providing us with something different and wonderful, from slo-mo r&b sounds to funky, wayward house music that is most certainly at the 'outside' of the house spectrum. There are plenty of special guests, too, including Mano Le Tough, Sophia Kennedy, and many other relevant talents. A Koze speciality.
Review: Mukatsuku's long running "Afro Funk & Disco Gems" series has always been a reliable source of obscure, high-quality dancefloor material from the African continent. This tenth edition is another must-have - on the A-side you'll find the synth-laden, boogie-era sunshine of "Everybody Dance", one of the undisputed highlights of Peter Yamson's in-demand (and notably hard to find) "Son Of Africa" LP. With wonderful vocals, glistening guitars, lolloping drum machine beats and some stellar synth work, the track ticks all the right boxes. Over on the flip there's a chance to own Cameroon legend Tala Andre Marie's 1981 classic "Get Up Tchamassi", whose snaking sax lines, elastic slap bass and dreamy chords are nothing less than sensational.As played by The Allergies,Joe Claussell,Smoov,Kalita, Faze Action,DJ Moar etc
Review: Since its release in 1973, Ze Roberto's debut single "Lotus 72 D" has become something of an in-demand item amongst collectors of soul-fired Brazilian "MPB". So much so, in fact, that Mr Bongo has licensed it and served up this 7" reissue. In its original A-side form, the track is a carnival-ready slab of samba-soul brilliance rich in razor-sharp horn blasts, rich bass guitar, punchy hand-percussion and twinkling jazz piano solos. Roberto's confident vocals take centre stage, inviting us towards the dancefloor. Over on the flip you'll find a "Fast Version" of Roberto's tribute to 1972 Formula 1 champ Emerson Fittipaldi. This has a slightly more dancefloor-centric tempo, an effect achieved when it was accidentally pitched up for inclusion on a 2001 compilation.
Movement 2 - "Toto, I've A Feeling We're Not In Kansas Anymore" (6:03)
Movement 3 - Wherever Two Or More Are Gathered (8:24)
Movement 4 - Life In The Gravity Well (7:02)
Movement 5 - As The Earth Kissed The Moon (7:20)
Movement 6 - Something's Moving (7:35)
Review: Michael Stearns is perhaps less namechecked than many of the early ambient pioneers, but his expansive catalogue reaches back to 1977, when his first expansive synthesizer dreamscapes unfurled themselves on his own Continuum Montage label. Emotional Rescue have picked up on seminal 1981 album Planetary Unfolding, giving a much needed vinyl reissue to a classic slice of hyperboreal ambience spread across six long-form movements. Expansive, emotionally charged and constantly exploratory, this is deep space listening at its finest - an essential purchase for any lovers of truly classic, cosmic synthesizer music.
Review: According to the South American music specialists at Matasuna Records, Ralph Weeks' 1971 single "Let Me Do My Thing" - recorded alongside backing Los Dinamicos Exciters - is arguably the most sought-after Panamanian soul record around. As this reissue proves, Weeks' original version is rubbery, heavy and rousing, with the singer's rasping lead vocal soaring above a weighty backing track that sounds like a breezier take on the New York boogaloo sound. On the flip, Voodoocuts tools it up for modern dancefloors, underpinning his club-ready edit with punchy new drums that give the cut more of a breakbeat style swing.
Review: Given that almost every single Ron Trent record makes us feel toasty and fuzzy inside, it would be fair to say that "Warm" is a rather fitting name for the deep house legend's latest release. A-side "Night Ride" sees him get busy with a vintage drum machine, adding whispered vocals, colourful riffs, undulating synth-bass and chiming melodies to a distinctive rhythm track. It's every bit as delicious and enveloping as you'd expect, with flipside opener "On A Journey" offering a surprise Balearic diversion rich in sun-kissed guitar motifs, swirling chords and a tactile, slow-motion groove. The sunset-friendly fun continues on "Exhale", where rock style guitar solos are buried beneath shuffling samba-house beats and Trent's usual impeccable keys.
Review: On wax by dope demand! This Razor-N-Tape 2013 release has been a cult classic for many years but never seen the light of the 12"... until now, thanks to the constant pestering of the Discogs community. All three tracks from the original release are here but it's "Where You Belong" that most are after due to its beautiful spacious beats, sweeping strings and awesome Dionne Warwick vocal texture. The whole release is charmed, though; "Here's To You Mr. Robinson" gets a little smokey on our souls while "Makes Me Feel" should get us all very blissed out. Do not sleep on this one, it won't hang around.
Etta James & Sugar Pie Desanto - "In The Basement" (Soul Flip edit) (3:20)
John Gary Williams - "My Sweet Lord" (Soul Flip edit) (3:59)
Review: On their latest limited edition salvo, the hardworking Soul Flip crew (AKA experienced DJs and producers Aldo Vanucci and Del Gazeebo) gets to work on two more stomping dancefloor cuts from the golden age of soul. First up on side A is a gently tooled-up and tightened up take on Etta James and Sugar Pie DeSanto's 1966 floor-heater "In The Basement", a hybrid soul-jazz/rhythm and blues jam rich in rubbery double bass, bustling drums, restless handclaps and brilliant lead vocals from the two legendary soul singers. On the flip they tackle Memphis musician John Gary Williams' 1972 cover of George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord", which brilliantly re-imagines the former Beatles' spiritual song as a sweaty gospel-soul stomper.
Review: A seminal slab of tribal house in its truest form, massive at nights like Body & Soul and consistently drawn for ever since; Joe Claussell's rare remix of his own group Instant House's 92 cult cut "Awade" gets a limited treatment on the Jungle Sounds reissue series. Still just as humid, sexy and bewildering with its rattling percussion, powerful vocal textures and rolling bassline, all laced together with Joe's perennial spiritual signature, this still sounds incredible 27 years down the line. And it comes complete with the previously unreleased "Drum Box Demo" and a selection creative mix tools. An incredible 45, grab it while you can.
Review: After years spent offering up impressive blends of ambient, drone, electronica and experimental drum and bass as ASC, James Clements has decided to commit more time to Comit (sorry), an alternative project which first surfaced via a debut single in 2016. Here the San Diego-based Brit delivers a first full-length excursion under the alias. There's plenty to soothe and seduce on the eight tracks stretched across two slabs of wax, from the undulating, occasionally skittish beats and sweeping chord sequences of opener "Behind Dulled Eyes" and the icy, doom-laden electronic melancholy of "Reverie", to the early Black Dog Productions flex of "Clouded Over" and the dubbed-out, slow motion bliss of "Soft Focus".
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Niles Cooper had a very productive past year, and he strides into 2019 with some of his most refined productions to date. Melbourne label Kyoku is the latest outpost to carry his funky wares, and "The Juuc Miks EP" leads in with the sumptuous delights of "Strygere & Klaver," which then gets swiftly remixed into a peppy deep house jam by Joe Corti. On the B side Cooper starts flexing with some heavy samples to create a deadly heads down jam on "Joe's Gruv Juuc", before rounding the record off with the piano-lead pump of "Easy Listening Miks Juuc".
Review: Four years deep into its disco, beatdown and edit adventures, Smokecloud's status is nigh-on impeccable. Here we find them uniting four of their most creative craftsmen for four straight-up dancefloor pacifiers. Highlights include the sludgy slo-mo Edwin Starr on acid flavoured "Caught Up" and the Diana Ross homage that is the sun-skanked reggae party jam "CC Tribute" by VinylAddicted & SMQ. Instant smiles.
Review: Toki Fuko has quietly slipped out some high-grade ambient electronics over the past 10 years, but this double-vinyl drop on the ever excellent Silent Season represents some his most striking work to date. In line with the label's aesthetic, gauzy dub techno atmospheres prevail in the main, as thick billowing clouds of chord drift over submerged, stripped down rhythms. There is also space for other moods to infect the process though - there's a laconic 90s chill-out room groove to "Spring Ray (Outtake)", which then gets reshaped as a pattering percussive meditation on the EP's closing mix. Stunning, immersive approaches from start to finish.
Review: The latest outing from Swiss reissue specialists WRWTFWW takes us back to 1981 and the debut single from Bern-based post-punk combo Grauzone. The 12" release of "Eisbaer" has long been a must-have amongst fans of off-kilter, dancefloor-ready new wave, and this replica reissue includes all three tracks featured on that version. Opener "Eisbar" sets the tone, with the bands weary, half spoken/half sung vocals rising above a backing track that's powered forwards by relentless bass guitar, screeching riffs and broken computer style electronics. "Film 2" is a heavy, synthesizer powered workout peppered with delay-laden drum hits and odd noises, while closing cut "Ich Liebe Sie" is a clicking and quietly melodious affair that's almost entirely electronic.
My Body (Louie Vega remix/Synth Bass instrumental) (8:58)
My Body (Louie Vega radio version) (3:46)
Review: Luther Vandross originally wrote and recorded "My Body" in 1979, though his version was never released; instead, the song was re-recorded by Stephanie Mills and included on her 1983 album "Merciless". Here we finally get a chance to hear Luther belt it out himself, with Masters At Work man Louie Vega providing production and a dizzying number of remixes. There are two bumpin' and life-affirming "Soul House" mixes (the second replacing Vandross' lead vocal with some mazy Rhodes solos), a fluid and positive "Remix/Synth Bass Mix" that packs plenty of dancefloor energy, and warmer "EOL Mix" and "EOL Dub" versions that utilize a warm bass guitar part and some tasty chord progressions. Throw in a couple of edits and instrumentals and you have a suitably epic set of reworks.
Turn Me On (Tony Humphries Got U Turned On dub) (7:50)
Save Me (Coldcut remix) (6:38)
Review: South Street's latest missive gathers together a trio of club-friendly remixes of Nina Simone classics that first appeared on the 2006 compilation "Remixed & Reimagined". Francois K impresses with an A-side revision of Simone's celebrated cover of Beatles classic "Here Comes The Sun" that sounds like a long lost Larry Heard record from his classic Fingers Inc. period. Those after something a little more rolling and funk-fuelled should wrap their ears around Tony Humphries' Dub of "Turn Me On", which boasts a seductive mixture of Romanthony style hard loops and rumbling, UK garage influenced bass. Completing the package is Coldcut's fine re-imagining of "Save Me", which places Simone's heart-arching vocal atop skittish, club-ready drums and looped guitars.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Cisco Ferreira continues to fly the flag for rugged hardware powered techno with personality, well over 20 years since he first emerged. The Advent is rightly hailed as a mark of assured quality for good reason, and Thema make a smart move in signing up this fresh grip of tracks from the veteran producer. "Kombination 100" is a lurid, slightly unhinged acid workout from the outer limits, while "Dorian Blue" sets a more moody, aquatic tone with a dash of electro thrown in for good measure. "In Time" brings things up in tempo and attitude, sporting some surging 909 drums guaranteed to get bodies striding with purpose, and then "Rhythm" spins out into trippy electro territory for the heads-down travelers to get spiritually expanded to.
Review: More from single-sided specialists EEE, a shadowy crew that specializes in sneaky contemporary club reworks of well-known tracks (many of which are, in their original form, about as dancefloor focused as your average miserable indie band or veteran cabaret crooner). What's on offer this time round is a heavily electronic tech-house groove - all Romanian style beats and bubbling, mind-altering synth notes - onto which is laid cut-up snippets from a famous old blues cut that's previously been sampled on a club cut to great effect. While the vocal does sit slightly awkwardly at times, there's no denying the heaviness or effectiveness of EEE's track. In other words, it's another winner from tech-house's most shadowy crew.
Review: West coast vibe fiend Air Zaire foretells the coming balmy season with four crisp, sunny side edits. Each reaching deep into the Latin melting pot, highlights include the sandy toed, horn laced Balearic bliss of "Canguelo Perro", the unabashed soulful disco uplift of "South Of Sunset", the lolloping funk and warehouse rattling fusion of "Shojo Showdown" and the dreamy pipe fronted "Midnight Sun". Shades till summer and beyond.
Review: Back in November 2018, Oli Stewart AKA Casbah 73 delivered his most wholehearted tribute to the disco era yet, the brilliant "Love Saves The Day". On "To Be Free", he continues in a similar vein, doffing a cap to the pioneers of the Philly Soul sound via cut-glass strings, crunchy Clavinet lines, tasty electric piano solos, walking bass and a lead vocal from Angela (Angie) Gooden that stirs memories of disco divas of old. Stewart and his cohort of musicians go a little wild on the mostly instrumental disco-funk flipside, an exercise in dueling solos, lusty Latin horns, flanged guitars and heavy percussion that will get you hot under the collar for nine, all-action minutes. Brilliant stuff from start to finish from the experienced producer: don't sleep on this one.
Review: In 2016, Family Groove Records released a 12" of previously unheard 1979 demo recordings by Webster Station, a boogie-funk band from Dayton, Ohio whose studio efforts were initially binned by Warner Brothers for not being commercial enough. Demand for Family Groove's limited 12" of their recordings has remained high, so the label has decided to do a reissue. There's much to admire throughout, from the high-octane thrills of opener "Are You For Real" and the spacey warmth of the super-soulful "Can You Feel My Love", to the sugary sweetness of the Latin tinged ballad "Lady" and righteous closer "If You Feel Like Dancing", a killer combination of spacey synths, crunchy drums, urgent vocals and killer Clavinet lines.
Review: Strangelove Music's latest vinyl-only outing dips into the infrequently explored archives of American multi-instrumentalist Frank Harris and collaborator Maria Marquez, a pairing that previously released a couple of sought after "ethno-wave" singles in the late 1980s. "Echoes" gathers together unreleased music made in 1985, presenting it as an unheard album that oozes off-kilter quality from start to finish. Most of the tracks were made using Harris' custom Synclavier synthesizer station, with his humid and breezy new age melodies and dreamy chords working brilliantly with Marquez's folksy, multi-lingual vocals, a variety of world music inspired rhythms and some seriously atmospheric field recordings. It's a formula that guarantees unusual but inspired results from start to finish.
Review: Talaboman's The Night Land LP was a definite 2017 highlight, as it managed to cross-pollinate all the best elements of the 'outsider' house debacle into one cohesive collection of tracks. Out through Belgium's mighty R&S, it was certain from the start that there would be some form of follow-up to the producer's wild and explorative shades of electronic dance. As such, the imprint have called up a selection of trusted characters from around the globe, starting with Superpitcher's deep and mystical version of "Dins El Llit", a reinterpretation that truly merits some attention of its own, particularly for how beautifully it levitates the original. TTT's newfound homeboy, Samo DJ, morphs the dreary sonics of "The Ghosts Hood" into an even deeper wormhole of dread, short of heading into total 303 oblivion; synth-head LB dub-Corp takes on "Brutal Chugga Chugga" and spins the original with the help of his characteristically edgy and off-kilter percussion work. A fine remix initiative. Recommended.
Review: Claremont 56 continue to disregard the genre boundaries - preferring instead to give good music the attention it deserves - as their latest looker of a twelve inch presents us the sounds of Torn Sail. Fronted by Smith & Mudd vocalist Huw Costin, Torn Sail go all 60s West Coast rock on us with the gloriously rich sounds of "Birds". From its acoustic beginnings the track gradually unfurls into a delightful groove embellished by soothing vocal harmonies. It's almost a thankless task enlisting anyone to try and remix what sounds like a perfect song, but Claremont 56 obviously chose right in requesting the services of Tiago. In the Portuguese producer's hands "Birds" is transformed into a heavily psychedelic freakout which gently develops into a kraut rock behemoth filled with swathes of heavy organ vibes. Containing several shifts in momentum - including a glorious half speed finish - this is a truly stunning remix which left our jaws occupying the floor!
Review: A quick Google search confirms that copies of the original 1979 Bear Records Inc. pressing of Sunstreet's "Lovin" regularly change hands for eye-watering sums of money. This Rain & Shine reissue is, then, well overdue. While it's not one of the better known rare disco records, it's arguably one of the best. Certainly, the full-length A-side version is a perfect example of independent disco-soul/jazz-funk fusion, with super-sweet vocals riding a spacey backing track rich in walking bass, crunchy Clavinet lines, sun-kissed orchestration and rousing horn lines. The flipside edited version - which was also included on the 1979 12" - is a little punchier with more dominant vocals and an altogether slicker, radio-friendly feel.
Review: Some 20 years after "If" first hit stores, Jeff Mills has decided to get his old pal Terrence Parker to remix it. He's done a rather good job, with both versions making great use of Mills' ghostly original chord sequences and two different variations on the mesmerizing, seemingly drifting scat-style vocals that was arguably the track's most memorable feature. The A-side "Vox Soul Mix" includes new vocals in the original style by Marachka, whose haunting but soulful improvisations brilliantly rise above metronomic techno drums, spacey effects and those now famous chords. The similar sounding "Original Remix" is a little tougher and weightier, with tooled-up percussion (check the restless hi-hats) underpinning Anna F's original scat vocal and Mills' ethereal, ambient style chords.
Review: Some people shake their hips. Others shake their money makers. This anonymous longstanding editor crew shake their furry tales. And as we hit number 20 in their series of sassy party versions, we're reminded there's a lot to shake to. "Track One" shakes with a slight carnival theme thanks to its punchy horns before dropping into swooning funk guitars. "Track Two" shakes with much more disco deviance thanks to its stomping thumping Hi-NRG kicks, gutsy vocal loop and lolloping slap bass. It pops. But ssshhhhh.... some squirrels are best kept secret.
Review: By now we should know what to expect from Tropical Records, namely beefed-up, house style re-edits of disco and boogie tracks that tend towards the hot, sticky and humid. Sartorial kicks things off this time round via the swirling, Latin style disco-bounce of "Warping" - all low-slung bass, new house beats, big orchestration and snaking sax solos - before Moodena straightens out and tools up a hybrid jazz-funk/disco jam that boasts some seriously exotic guitar solos and jammed-out electric piano parts. Simon Kennedy's contribution, "Back To Soul", is a bumpy and bouncy take on a fine disco soul classic, while Hotmood's "Everybody" is a sweaty, house style revision of a P-funk flavoured boogie number.
Review: Finnish producer Mesak steps up on Orson following the previous killer entry from Carl Finlow, and he's got just as much electro firepower to dish out as the celebrated Silicon Scally. "Sata EP" kicks off with the dystopian ripples of "Ayran Meydan," which zips through nervy, strafing synths and nimble acid licks. "Dim Sun" brings a funkier style to the table, while "Kruisata" plunges into the aqueous depths of Detroit flavoured electro. Extended jam "Iskut" stretches out for eight body popping minutes of stern-faced robo funk to fully cut loose to - it's the perfect finishing move on an EP packed full of advanced electro excellence.
Review: Anyone who takes their electronic music history seriously should already be hip to this one, but a brief rundown for those new to the roots of electro and techno. Cybotron were the project from Richard Davis and Juan Atkins, who went on to help forge the sound of Detroit techno as Model 500. Released in 1983, their debut album "Enter" was a blueprint for so much music that came after, with "Clear" being the standout track that send 80s heads spinning into a state of funky future shock. This tasty little 7" reissue puts "Clear" on the A side, and 1981 sci-fi boogie belter "Alleys Of Your Mind" on the flip. Two evergreen gems no machine music aficionado should be without.
Review: Jalapeno superfunkers Smoove & Turrell celebrate a decade of their unique, fast lane dancefloor soul with this epic 18 track double LP that digs deep into their extensive five album body of work so far. Powerful, hooky and characterised consistently by John Turrell's gutsy, heart-punching vocal style, across the set we're blessed with everything from sparkling disco ("Beggarman") to stomping northern soul ("I'm A Man") via lavish 80s style funk and straight up Hammond slapping sweaty funk ("Lay It On Me"). A fittingly supersize sized set to celebrate a landmark anniversary for the northern troupe; here's to another 10 years.
Review: Since opting to release more music under his given name, DeepChord man Rod Modell has largely stuck to dubbed-out ambience and heady drone soundscapes. His latest full-length is a little different, though, offering up club-focused cuts that mix his usual fuzzy aural textures and dub-fired motifs with up-tempo techno rhythms. By his standards, it's a very forthright set, with highlights including the noise-soaked stomp of "Reiki", the thrusting heaviness of "ITO", the hypnotic slam of "Jade" - where breezy, early morning electronics flutter away above tough drums and a mind-altering bassline - and the boisterous peak-time techno anthem "Scrawler".
Review: Said to have been created after a long period of writer's block, Mark Barrott wrote much of Sketches From A Distant Ocean when he returned to his former home of Uruguay for the first time in a long while. The long break is said to have taught him about the value of self-expression and connection, and he returned to work with an invigorated enthusiasm. This has certainly paid off, as Sketches From A Distant Ocean shines through musically. Our picks are the sun kissed balearica of "Galileo", bossa nova-inflected island dreams of "Low Lying Fruit" and the evocative trip-hop journey of "The Rowing Song", which calls to mind his earlier output from the '90s as Future Loop Foundation.
Review: Stunning stuff here from the mysterious but utterly intriguing West Loop Chicago, an outfit only known for two previous releases on City Volt and nothing else. Taking cues from the broken beat and jazz scenes, this new record is a force to be reckoned with, not least as "The Serpent" comes wheeling in with a skittering drum funk and bugging synth lines to send you pinging into the cosmos. On the flip, "Divinity" has a more organic feel with Rhodes keys and piano dancing across the rhythms - these aren't specifically billed as edits, but given the project's background in disco re-rubs it's safe to assume these are two soul jazz bombs buffed up for your wild card spinning pleasure. There's even bonus beats for each track included - how considerate!
Review: Italian Latin jazz stalwart Nicola Conte first joined forces with trombonist Gianluca Petrella way back in 2001 on the nu-jazz era "New Standards" single. The pair started working on new material in 2014 and the "Free Your Mind EP" is their third joint release since. They're in a surprisingly up-beat, club-ready mood on EP opener "Free Your Mind", where Ebo Taylor style guitars, Africa 70 organs, tasty vocal samples and Afrobeat style horn lines are underpinned by a relaxed deep house groove. Vocalist Bridgette Amofah stars on the EP's other two cuts: the percussive tribal jazz of highlight "Imani River" and epic B-side "Infinity", a superb chunk of Afro-tinged deep house that sounds like it was inspired by Kai Alce and Ron Trent records.
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: Although Emile Facey has been producing as Plant 43 for roughly six years, the UK producer appears to be in a rich vein of form right now. Having debuted in impressive fashion on Dutch label Frustrated funk earlier this year, Plant 43 resurfaces on Semantica with this equally worthy five track 12" The Sentient City Awakens. No stranger to Svreca's label having first graced Semantica last year, this record will please Plant 43 fans no end, with "Inward Stream" and "Hydro Subway" showing equal reverence to melody and booming percussion that few other current electro practitioners can match. Concluding production "Frond Of Stars" is beautifully epic.
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: Alex is a brand new alias from the artist regularly known as Baba Stiltz - a Swedish producer whose quirky, off-kilter house and techno releases are rarely less than brilliant. His first Trilogy Tapes outing is suitably impressive. The real killer is "Samba", an inspired nine minute workout in which he layers deep, woozy electric piano motifs, sun-kissed chords, child-like vocal samples and rich bass atop a swinging, samba fired techno beat. The deeper and more bass-heavy "Memo" is even more epic; a near 13-minute journey through sparse, crunchy, hypnotic and dubbed-out minimal house rhythms and exotic, snake charmer solos. In other words, it's another top-notch EP from a producer who genuinely can do no wrong.
Review: Fresh from delivering the "Dance Music" trilogy of 12" singles, NYC native Levon Vincent returns to action with an EP of untitled tracks. It's an impressively melodious and ear-pleasing affair, with the Berlin-based producer's no-nonsense house and techno drums being smothered in a variety of tuneful synthesizer lines, fuzzy but futuristic electronics and warm basslines. Picking highlights is tough, but we'd suggest starting with the bubbly analogue bliss of "Track 1" before moving on to the chunky goodness of "Track 3", where cheery lead lines dance above non-stop bass and crispy machine drums. Elsewhere, "Track 4" sounds like a tribute to the soundtrack to forgotten early '90s Commodore Amiga game "Fire and Ice" and "Track 2" is a heartwarming rush of luscious lo-fi lead lines and unfussy drums.
Review: Last spotted on Vakant, Detroit's man of mystery returns to D'Julz' Bass Culture after four years with three more rough, warm Motor City jams. "Castaway" takes off without so much as a compass. Heading towards the light with every added rhythmic element and cascading arpeggio, it drives into the horizon with equal measure of focus and looseness. "Doin It To Ya Baby" takes a subaquatic disco approach - the wide beats are wrapped in subtle slapbass twangs and dubby overlays while "Wara Coco" is a trippier twist into the shadows as raindrop textures trickle over a low and slow groove and incessant humanised loops. Remix-wise Orlando Voorn peppers the lead track with a little analogue funk and mild acid tweaking. After this castaway you'll never want to come home...
Review: Famously returning to the game he was part of right back in the late 80s, Brian Power released his first album last year at the age of 54. Now back with his first new material since then, he's not messing around. Featuring long standing Muthafunka Marc Evans, "Falling Back Into Love" is a sprightly sunny side soulful house gem loaded with timeless appeal and emotion. And if that's not enough, the legend that is DJ Spen has supplied his own edit for the B. Feel the love!