Review: Faze Action last teamed up with Zeke Manyika, formerly of 80s funksters Orange Juice, for the effervescent "Mangwana" back in 2016. Now they're back in collaboration for more classically rooted house music with a deeply infectious African twist. "Kubatana" is punchy where it counts, but it's a light and springy proto house burner first and foremost, with Manyika's vocal sounding as smooth as silk in the middle of the mix. "Hapana" is equally rich in musicality and personality, albeit on a more simmering, meditative tip. On the B side, "Kubatana" gets reworked by Rudy Midnight Machine and Paradise, who turn in distinct versions without losing the overall 80s aesthetic that powers the release.
Review: As far as collaborative delights go, this really takes the cake. Miami boogie wildcard Noel Williams, aka King Sporty, throwing it down heavy with legendary Jamaican reggae axe man Ernest Ranglin - as you might expect, the results are incendiary. "Soft Touch" has a hint of the cosmic about it as it romps through insanely catchy chorus chants, stirring brass stabs and Ranglin's sweet licks. "Keep On Dancing" has a more uptempo feel, "In The Rain" slips into a laid back reggae skank and "Be What You Want To Be" turns the vintage disco heat back up. Throughout this wonderful mini LP, the duo switch between each other's strengths and bring out the best in each other, like all good collaborations should.
Review: While he's offered up the occasional remix, William "Burial" Bevan has been rather quiet of late. In fact, this two-tracker marks his first original material for almost two years. Lead cut "Claustro" is an unexpectedly up-tempo dancefloor affair - a sweet and sticky chunk of future-garage that sees Bevan wrap sugary female vocal snippets, spacey chords and bubbly analogue electronics around snappy two-step beats - drenched in vinyl crackle and tape hiss - and a rock solid bassline. It will raise a few eyebrows given his previous work but nevertheless sounds like a summer anthem in waiting. Bevan returns to familiar territory on flipside cut "State Forest", a ghostly, field recording-laden ambient excursion where pedal steel style motifs slowly rise above opaque electronics.
That's How Lovers Be (Scott Grooves That How dubs Be) (8:52)
Review: The Mysticisms label once more turns its attention to rarefied gold dust from the annals of deep house history, this time shining a light on Soiree Records, which was helmed by cult favourite Drivetrain. Nu-C Zn's "That's How Lovers Be" was an unconventional but oh so sweet curio back in 1995, and now it's been revived with Drivetrain delivering a new mix of the track that lets the smoky keys, plastic sax and gorgeous vocals hover tentatively. UK house stalwart Nail is up next with a bumping, crafty update on the track, while Scott Grooves lays down honey-coated keys that shift the mood of Nu-C Zn's original into a different emotional headspace.
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: LFT has already made a sizable impact on his gnarly, muscular brand of weathered electro and techno, and now he's been snapped up by Zement to deliver another four rowdy roundhousers. "Nucleon" channels the best of minimal wave and gives it a deadly dose of modern acid revelry that will incite fevered responses on the floor, while "Wounds" takes things in a spookier B-movie direction without shaking off those powerful 303 demons. "The Cure For My Kind" manifests as a kind of nightmarish electro, and "Hypno Haniwa" takes another route into machine funk for malevolent souls, with stunning results.
Gari Romalis - "Start The Game (Detroit On The Move)" (7:07)
Rafa Santos - "Love Song" (7:09)
Rafa Santos - "Mystic Voyage" (6:09)
Review: Spanish label Mate kicked off in style with Javonntte and Jesus Gonsev, and now it's back once again with another smart pairing of high class house heads. The ever prolific Gari Romalis is all over the A side with the upfront pep of "No Way Around A Groove" and the late night shuffle of "Start The Game (Detroit On The Move)". Rafa Santos lands on the flip with the romantic lilt of "Love Song" and sweet, subtly kinked synths coursing through the centre of "Mystic Voyage". It's another fine combination of artists offering up highly workable contemporary deep house jams for discerning spinners.
Review: The Sudd Wax label got off to a strong start with Gari Romalis, building on the foundations of the parent digital label to now bringing respected artists to vinyl. This three-track set from Norm Talley plumbs all kinds of depths, from the metallic mystique of "Magic Wand" to the dusty string swoon of "Black Tea", and the hushed and haunting whispers of pads setting out a gloaming mood on "Feel It". This is subliminal deep house at its finest, marked out with character and warmth, and never just playing it safe for the sake of it. Top marks for Talley!
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.
Review: Don't get mad, go nuts... The sneaky Secret Squirrel team return for their 21st mission and it's every bit as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as everything else they've ever stashed. The A-side leads with a peppy horn-fired strutter that shoves us deep in the heart of the hottest dancefloor imaginable. Flip for an intimate, smouldering piece of end-of-the-night soul from 1979. Trust us, once you get a close hold of it, you'll never want to let go.
Review: Analogue hardware enthusiasts London Modular Alliance return to Kirk Degiorgio's storied Applied Rhythmic Technology label following a string of fine outings on Private Persons and Dimensions Recordings. Interesting, LMA believe that the EP boasts their strongest collection of cuts to date and we tend to agree. Opener "Peach Heat" sets the tone via rubbery but rock solid electro beats, wild electronics and echoing deep space sounds, before they pitch down the tempo on the sparse, spaced-out heaviness of "Harnessed Black Holes". Further body-rocking dancefloor explorations are provided on the flip, first by the Dexter style heavy electro throb of "Lavendah" and then via the booming bass, foreboding tribal drums and razor-sharp TB-303 pulses of "Precious Materials".
Review: When a white label launches from an artist called MPX with single letters for track titles, you know there's some serious techno incoming. This four track EP is brimming with rugged, street-tough energy; from the slapping drum jack and throbbing b-line pulse of opener "G" to the crunchy strut of "J." There's plenty of psychoactive flair to match the classic drum machine flourishes though - "L" has a wicked arp coursing through its veins, while "K" takes the same rhythm section and boils it down to a hypnotising whirl of techno perfection.
Review: Will Buck makes his bow on Whiskey Disco after appearing on sister label Lovedancing (with PRTMNTO) on the Soul Sides EP ?last year. Buck is in fine form again on this new offering, opening with the infectious groove of "21212" (listen out for a familiar hook that has been respliced to perfection) - topped with a killer brass section, too! Elsewhere on the EP, move to the sexy late-night deep house of "Touch Down", sultry vocal disco on "Make Your Move" and the aptly titled after-hours shuffle of "Harmony (6AM Mix)", reworked by label head honcho Sleazy McQueen himself.
Review: Originally debuting on Well Rounded Records' Housing Project sub-label in 2012, Leon Vynehall has since become one of the UK's most in-demand of the new wave of young house producers. He's released subsequent records for George Fitzgerald's ManMakeMusic and Will Saul's Aus, and most recently an album on Martyn's 3024. Vynehall is now in cruise control and he lays back on Clone's Royal Oak with what will prove to be a favourite with DJs this summer. "Butterflies" is this record's piano-driven house jam, but really it's all about "This Is The Place", a loved up peach of a production with the strength to appease the underground and crossover into the mainstream.
Review: Med School's travelling wilbury Etherwood delivers his first collection of originals since last year's album "In Stillness". Written on the road throughout summer 2018 in his van, each piece depicts an entirely fresh view that ranges from the azure waters and soft sand of "See The Sky" to much darker, tense rollers such as "Driving Out". Highlights include the soft introspection of "Clouds", the delicate pianos and meany moody bass groan on "Lulerain" and the skippy bliss of "Away From It All". Time to get lost...
Kim English - "It Makes A Difference" (Danny Krivit & Kyle Smith remix - Danny Krivit 7" edit) (5:39)
Loni Clark - "Rushing" (Mood II Swing dub - Danny Krivit 7" edit) (5:31)
Review: Danny Krivit is currently known as one of the music community's greatest purveyors of top quality disco & house as he continues to perform regularly before sold-out audiences around the world. With his unique ear for what works on the dancefloor he has also become known as "King of the Re-edit." Danny has a deep connection to Kim English's "It Makes A Difference" release on Nervous Records from 2006. Krivit worked with writer Kyle Smith on the remixes that originally made this tune an anthem at his 718 Sessions parties as well as one of the highlights of club nights from Tokyo to New York to London that appreciate quality soulful house. The B-side is Danny's re-edit of one of the most famed dubs from the Nervous catalogue as well as for the producers Mood II Swing. Upon its release in 1993 this dub emerged as one of the defining sounds of summer 1993 at Ministry Of Sound which had just recently opened the year before. The "rushing rushing rushing" hook is well knownby golden era of house afficianados around the world and he does an amazing job bringing this essential hook.