Review: Belarus' Iner launches a new label with a strong cast of international names all pushing a deep and distinguished strain of house music for those who want soul and invention in equal measure. Tilman is up first with 'Sweet Dreamer', a mellow, looped up roller. Sune's 'Flutes' takes a breezier approach shaped out by fluttering jazz funk motifs. Yann Polewka celebrates the sweetest Philly strings and some classic vocal licks for a disco-infused burner you can't help but love. Iner himself keeps things loose and organic on the wonderful 'Respectfull Kind Music', while Scruscru goes for a sleek approach to chopped up funky house. That leaves it to Buzz Compass to get heady and hazy with the bass-leaning cuts coursing through 'That Nighter'.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: relik returns with a repackaged edition of one of the catalogue's most treasured releases. "Overcome" and "Lady Science (NYC Sunrise)" need little introduction, and now come sporting the new TR11:11 matrix number. Written and produced by Thomas Melchior and Baby Ford aka Soul Capsule, these tracks came from one of the many sessions recorded at the West London Ifach Studio in 1999. On the A Side "Overcome" is stripped back and energetic, driven by rolling and shuffling garage style beats, tight bubbling bass and atmospheric synth pads. The intermittent vocal samples and the release's signature organ set you up for the flip, "Lady Science (NYC Sunrise)". Possibly one of house music's most emotive pieces, the track builds slowly with the introduction of each part building a story of soulful optimism based around a sparse palette of deep synths, uplifting keys and warm analogue bass. The understated beauty of the main vocal riff never seems to grow old or tired with the track lending itself perfectly to either main room, peak-time play or after-hours sessions alike. Remastered by Rashad at D & M.
Review: .Mikhail Khvasko has been painting a vivid, sunkissed picture of Balearic bliss with his A Vision Of Panorama project since it first emerged on Mellophonia back in 2016. As the nights start to draw in, this latest drop is just what you need to escape to an imagined coastal idyll where the sun never sets. From the steady groove of 'Floral Rhythm' to the gentle skank of 'Seaside Tune' this is immaculately rendered feel-good music rendered in plush synths with an unmistakable 80s finish. There are beats to be enjoyed on 'Blues 909', but you've never heard the totemic techno machine sound as smooth and mellow as it does right here.
Review: The Masaala label are laying claim to a unique curio from the '90s here, unearthing the forgotten sounds of Cutmaster Singh from Leicester. This unsung DJ legend was amongst those trying to fuse acid house and bhangra, and on this 12" we're treated to a selection of edits that do a mighty fine job of crossing the cultural divide to bring the infectious energy of Indian music into a dancefloor context. First up is a dubplate from 1994 titled 'Acid Agah', which rides a bubbling 303 and resplendent strings to create a jaw-dropping showpiece. 'Rani' is steeped in bashy '80s drums and more of that lysergic throbbing, offset by a stunning female vocal, while 'Nachdi Drums' unsurprisingly leans in hard on percussion to whip up a frenetic energy that is as much techno as it is bhangra. 'Balle Shava' takes things back to a kind of new beat freakiness which will appeal to old-skool diggers looking for something spicy in their sets.
Review: Brewerytown Beats have got a real gem on their hands here, and one that lovers of rare and high quality funk will be falling over themselves for. Power of Attorney was a rehabilitative project of Theodore "Ted" Wing, activities director at the Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution, who opened a studio in the prison for inmates to get creative. They originally released this one for Nicetown in 1973 - only 500 were pressed and sold direct from prison - and even Discogs hasn't got any recent sales records for it. The high speed jailbird funk of 'Changing Man' is a tale of redemption and is backed with the achingly soulful 'I'm Just Your Clown'.
Review: Henry Hyde is back on his usual stomping ground of NorthSouth with some peppy club workouts to get wiggy to. "Locked Out" has plenty of tripped out tones bubbling around the sturdy, Lately bass-fed groove, while "The Red Face Roller" gets more playful with the synth lines without losing the steady, sleek rhythm section. "Start Again" switches the mood but retains the palette, making great use of a grinding bass note to anchor the sprightly blips and dubby bleeps up top. "Leg Le Friend" goes further into the influence of early UK techno with its ethereal pads and intricate melodic elements, capturing the kind of vibe you might have heard on Likemind with a cheeky modern twist.
Review: Last year Caserta and friends had their wicked way with a classic Luther Vandross acapella, brilliant re-framing the soul maestro in a late 1980s NYC club style. A year on they're at it again on 'Luther 2', which naturally repurposes another superb performance from the legendary vocalist. On the A-side, Vandross's vocal rides a smooth revivalist disco groove created by an all-star cast including Serge Gamesbourg (bass) and Natasha Diggs (piano, Fender Rhodes). It's a genuinely impressive revision that sounds like it could have been recorded sometime in the early 1980s (despite being made during lockdown). Diggs plays an even bigger role on the flip, a hazy and groovy deep house version in which she adds her own sassy spoken word vocals in reaction to the Vandross acapella.
Curumin Chama Cunhata Que Eu Vou Contar (Todo Dia Era Dia De Indio) (3:23)
Rio Babilonia (4:30)
Review: Astonishingly, this is the 80th instalment in Mr Bongo's brilliant Brazil 45s series. Predictably, this edition is every bit as essential as its predecessors. It boasts two superb 1980s recordings by one of the true legends of Brazilian 20th century music, Jorge Ben. On the A-side you'll find the lengthily titled 'Curmin Chama Cunhata Que Eu Vou Contar (Todo Dia Erza Dia De Indio), a synth-splashed samba-funk tribute to the indigenous tribes of Brazil that was first featured on Ben's 1981 album Bem-Vinda Amizade. Turn to the flip for 'Rio Babilonia', a killer Brazilian boogie joint rich in squelchy synth bass, heady Latin percussion and fiery horn arrangements courtesy of the late, great Lincoln Olivetti.
Review: If you've not already picked up a copy of Mutaksuku Records' superb reissue of two of reggae musician Devon Russell's greatest Curtis Mayfield covers, we'd suggest grabbing one of these Juno exclusive white vinyl versions, which also happens to ship with a tasty wooden "45" adaptor. You may already know Russell's incredible '84 version of 'Move on Up', which re-imagines it as a languid, post-disco reggae-soul anthem that just oozes sun-soaked positivity. On this seven-inch, it comes backed by something equally as essential: the artist's lesser-known 1993 take on 'Give Me Your Love', which turns the much-loved song into a colourful, synth-laden trip through Balearic reggae territory. In a word: essential.
Review: All proceeds and profits from this new drop on Selections will be donated to Black Lives Matter charities, making it an even more appealing offer beyond the sheer quality of the house heads gathered together here. The mighty Kai Alce leads the charge with the sweet and bumping 'Hear The Waves', which is followed up by the punchy but warm 'Furacao Dento' by Demuir. Nick Holder opens the B side up with a killer slice of broken beat house, all crooked percussion locked into a deep, rolling groove. 83 West finishes the record off with a teasing, slow-release heater that keeps the energy simmering throughout - a masterfully executed cut to hold the dancefloor under a spell.
Review: Almost two decades have passed since Charles Webster's last solo album, the largely overlooked collection of hushed deep house and downtempo soul gems, Born on the 24th July. Soon he'll finally release a follow up, Decision Time, but first he's treating us to a teaser single, 'The Spell'. Webster's vocal and dub mixes - the former featuring the seductive spoken word vocals of poet Ingrid Chavez - are typically immersive, ultra-deep house affairs that combine analogue electronic instrumentation with hazy, crackling aural textures that come courtesy of surprise collaborator Burial, who cites Webster's sound design as a major influence. Arguably the most striking mix though comes from that man Burial, whose A-side interpretation is drowsy, deep, crackly and irresistibly opaque: an artistic marriage made in heaven and then some.
Review: Nebraska's Friends & Relations label continues to yield the finest club tackle for those who need the real deal in their DJ sets. 'Deep Tune' casts its net as low as the Mariana Trench while riding a sweet disco loop, setting the scene for a teasing, dramatic drum throwdown with nimble synth flourishes on 'Drum Track 01'. 'Shift' takes things on a more interstellar trajectory with a heady beat elevated by star-strafing lead lines, and then 'Drum Track 02' whips up another killer percussive workout that keeps the organic intensity of the beat intact while still making it totally workable for the floor.
The Yorkshire Film & Television Orchestra - "Somebody Stole My Thunder" (feat Martin Connor) (3:10)
Rachel Modest - "I (Who Have Nothing)" (3:06)
Review: These two tracks first appeared on ATA Records's free download series "Hard Work, No Pay" and have been much requested on vinyl ever since. Well now, here they are, after plenty of high profile plays from the likes of BBC 6 Music's Craig Charles Funk & Soul Show And The Huey Morgan Show. The Yorkshire Film and Television Orchestra is a project from ATA label bosses Neil Innes & Pete Williams as well a multi-instrumentalist and arranger Steve Parry. Here they offer up two different but equally brillaint tunes - some high speed 60s funk with more than a hint of Northern Soul swing on the a-side, and the tender, blue eyed soul of Rachel Modest's 'I (Who Have Nothing).'
Review: More from the cheeky scamps behind the Disco Bits label, an imprint whose releases regularly blur the boundaries between re-editing, re-making and remixing. Here they welcome back imprint regulars Cannon & Mirrorball (we laughed, at least), who once again serve up two guaranteed disco floor-slayers. A-side 'Hot Lovin (Don't Stop, Don't Quit)' sits somewhere between disco-house and hip-house, with excitement-building raps lifted from vintage hip-hop cuts sitting atop a non-stop beat crafted from tooled-up elements from a celebratory disco favourite. As the title suggests, 'Shack Attack' cheekily blends elements from Banbarra classic 'Shack Up' and B-52s hit 'Love Shack', adding some other choice samples to create a tidy, well-made mash-up that sounds tailor-made for disco dancefloors.