Greek DJ, producer and re-editor Alien Disco Sugar has been busy recently, averaging a new EP of disco reworks a month on his Digital Wax Productions imprint. This latest four-track salvo offers many more reasons to be cheerful, not least the spacey filters, sweeping strings and surprisingly Balearic bump of "Jungle Eyes". "So Good, So Right" offers a wonderfully tactile, piano-laden take on the Imagination record of the same name, updating the legendary Larry Levan dub for a new generation. Elsewhere, "Denise" is a synth heavy reggae-disco delight, while the pitched-down "Don't Let Go" throbs, rises and falls in all the right places.
2014 is a special year for Dom Angas. Not only is he turning 40, but it also marks 20 years since the release of his first single under the Dom & Roland alias. As part of the celebrations, he's handed over the parts to a string of classic productions to a veritable who's who of D&B talent. They provide a series of dark, pulverising, rolling and occasionally intense reworks, all designed to cement his reputation as one of the greatest exponents of the artform. Highlights are naturally plentiful, from the classic jungle breaks and rave-era rush of BTK and Optiv's rework of "Jungle Beast", to the exotic melodies, foreboding stabs and tech-tinged textures of Mindscape's mighty rub of "Mindfeeders".
Funk fantastic Dave Gerrard is back where he belongs - with Chopshop, the re-edit label run by the one and only DJ Butcher. Rip More Funk is all about the fun and contains four reworks of fairly familiar party funk favourites with the likes of James Brown appearing on "Like A Funk Mashine" alongside the more obscure disco chant-a-long "Do It (I like To) and the elastic boogie of "Keep Your Body Workin'".
So Tyke has been doing his thing for Playaz for some time now and it's still blowing minds everywhere. What is it he's got that keeps his tunes sounding so fresh? For starters, his blend of high energy D&B might have that jump-up sound but it's by no means stuck on the genre ring road. Taking influences from darker, minimal and even techy drum and bass, he's found a niche that fits him, rather than wedged into a comfortable but overstuffed sub-genre. The result is another outstanding release from this unstoppable producer. No wonder he's top property right now.
His rawest, heaviest work to date, "500: Episode 1" is the precursor to a huge North American tour for the Dub Police founder, and he's not lost any of the individuality that's set him apart from the start. Describing the release himself as "cinematic" and "emotional", this marks a change in the producer's style, where true depth is being weighed out over heaviness and hype. Painted against a post-apocalyptic landscape in sound as well as the stylish cover art, he's marked out a new beginning for himself. We want to hear more.
To help turn a Halloween house party into something like the Rocky Horror Show or Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video, let Nude_isco's Night Of The Living Edits scare those trick-or-treaters away. There's jamming horror P-funk from Swifft Edits, '80s pop, rock and disco from 80s Child, a floor-filling edit of Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer", and some Afrika Bambaataa inspired electro from Funk Hunk - with plenty more shocks and horrors to devour.
Hull-based Imfromull has been making his name in the re-edits scene this year, with a series of well-regarded digital-only EPs for his Cut a Rug imprint enhancing his blossoming reputation. By and large, his edits use contemporary production trickery well, while emphasizing the original instrumentation and - crucially - killer percussive passages. This latest salvo features no less than nine fresh scalpel works. There's naturally plenty to enjoy, from the heavy disco-funk chug of "Cut Your Motor Off" and the filter heavy disco-soul release of "Janice" - all parping horns, swirling strings and cheeky pianos - to the winding filter funk of "Right On A Street Called Love" and delay-laden late night hustle of "Back In Time".
One of drum & bass' most unconventional producers, Icicle has repeatedly re-written his own rules when it comes to forging his own sound and this time around he's chosen to ditch the dubstep for cut-throat political verses in "Problem" from Salford's own master of the vocal dark arts, Skittles. Twisting back into contorted bass and synths for "The Edge", a dirty, electrified stomp and step through the Icicle mainframe. It's good to be challenged every once in a while.
For some upbeat, vocal driven dub for the club OBF delivers the riddims to fill a dancefloor. Highlights include the smooth Beyonce-like flow of "Ladies Anthem", while for the men there's the ragga of "Style & Fashion". Taking a break from vocals there's "Who's Bad", a track which would fit neatly into a Crookers DJ set, while the title-track, "Wild", is whimsical stroll through futuristic dub rooted in old school values.
Playaz get back on the grind for this sexy little number from new fella Dialogue. First up, the title track "For The Love" blends sweetheart vocals with the filthiest bassline in living memory. "Made up Words" quickly follows with a kung-fu flava given by sweet Eastern melodies. "Stink Bomb" is truly a scorcher, taking tension from cinematic references and lining it up with heavy bass and heavier breaks. Finally, dubiously-titled "War Thongs" adds a militant stance, stomping hard and coming on strong with seriously warped bass. Versatile jump-up is hard to come by - grab this with both hands
When it comes to consistent quality, few re-edit labels can match Midnight Riot! Yam Who's label rarely gets it wrong, and the veteran producer has so far given debuts to a swathe of future re-edit heroes. Here he's at it again, offering Tom "TV" Vine a chance to flex his scalpel skills for the first time. Vine delivers four mature, floor-friendly concoctions that range from the Balearic rock-meets-dub disco vibe of "Games People Play" and delay-laden boogie hustle of the decidedly dubwise "Body Movement", to the surging electrofunk-meets-proto-house throb of "Shalama". It's this latter track that impresses most, with darting synths and Prince style fuzz guitar coasting waves of Italo-style arpeggios.
Featuring album lead-off track "Impossible" and the dark hip-hop & dancehall hybrid "Control" with Robert Dallas on the mic, "Impossible" starts off with sweet vocals and skanking keyboards. "Control" features Kwality on the microphone in a half-time hip hop style, laden with dub effects and circling synthesizers. Contrast comes from Kwality's dancehall-style vocals flowing around the sparse drums while getting wrapped into the delay effects that run through the center of the production. Showcasing two contrasting sides of the Numa Crew on this deadly drop, Liondub is bringing International pressure on the bass scene for 2014.
As soothing as it is dancefloor-perfect, "Don't Take it Away" is the first tune to grace this beauty of an EP, given up by Portuguese producer HumaNature. Rolling out an uplifting vibe, he sets the stage for his duet with Silence Groove "Just A Thought" which snips out hip-hop samples and jazz piano for a patchwork of inspiring influences. Partnering with Kalum for this track "Soul Revival" there's a retro liquid sound at work here, bringing back memories of d&b summers past. Finally a crisp stepper pushes on with help from Leeds-based maestro Colossus, "Nothing" swirls and spins with fizzing atmospherics and gorgeous vocal sampling adding some welcome wide-open atmosphere to proceedings. Excellent pairings from an exciting upcoming talent.
Chesus seems to be in a happy place right now. Certainly, there's a confident and outgoing feel about his second outing for 4Lux under the Earl Jeffers alias. All four tracks feel like the product of enjoyable studio sessions, and almost bristle with celebratory release. "Jump", which recalls the disco-inspired bump of early '90s New York house whilst adding sturdier bottom end, leads the way. Following close behind is "Elevation", a carnival-friendly fusion of pounding percussion, snaking synths and booming bass. "Intergalactic Jam" is a warm and rich exercise in stargazing deep house, while the curious "Bootsy's Nightmare" is hard to pin down. Listen carefully, and you can hear influences from UK funky, UKG, kuduro and ultra-deep house.
It's been a minute since North Walian low end warrior Feonix last stepped up to M.U.D. - six months to be precise. Naturally he's made up for lost time with this rule-shredding quintuplet of jams. There's a heavy emphasis on tempo flexing and rifle-like riddims, too, as both the subverted jungle smasher "Heavy Rotation" and the skippy, steppy "Peashooter" both roll and flare with D&B verve. Dungeon-dwelling dubstep purists should jump on the gruff, guttural "Inhale" and the grunty, hooky lead track. For added variety, scope and depth Feonix has also thrown in the 80BPM "Mandatory". Slo-mo breakbeats coded with ominous, paranoid baritone frequencies, it brings the EP to the unique close it deserves. Impeccable stuff; only squares wouldn't like "The Cube".
This release is a sign of how much of a global phenomenon underground electronic music is, as all of the contributors come from Mexico. Thomass Jackson kick-starts the release with "Bad Chat", a malevolent, bass-heavy groove that is propelled over frenetic drum rolls. Eddie Mercury's "Rim Cow Shot" inhabits a similar space, albeit one that is powered by grainy kick drums and razor-sharp percussive volleys. An interest in the darker side of electronic music must be a common theme for Mexican producers because both Mijo's "Working Late" and Inigo Vontier's "Lunatico" are led by eerie, warbling synths and throbbing basslines and Theus Mago's "Ritmo Extraterrestre" is a wild acid extravaganza.
Beautiful sounds rain down from the start in Soul Connection's latest on Liquid Flavours. Vintage amens dust off a deliciously deep bassline in the self-titled opener as Soul Connection sets us up for a soulful journey through his sample collection. "Basically Corrupt" follows on fresher and brighter, opening up a lighter world of upbeat melodies and "Dirty Deep" follows suit, taking things down into the old skool with ravey loops and splashy percussion. Finally, "Day & Night" channels that evergreen sunshine sound of dancefloor-perfect liquid rolling out into the sunset.
In a bid to celebrate 16 years in business, Mallorca-based Garito Cade Bar has joined forces with the like-minded souls from Sweden's Local Talk imprint. The result is a collection compiled and mixed by resident DJ Nacho Velasco, featuring both well-known and previously unheard gems from Mad Mats and Tooli's well-loved label. While many people will have some of the better known material here - think Fred Everything's excellent "Brothers & Sisters (PM Atlantic)", HNNY's "Fr The Very Forst Time" and Kyodai's "Something Special" - it's the previously unheard selections that make it Music Joined Us worth investigating. Of these new cuts, it's Tommy Rawson's lusciously loose "7 Days" and Jesse Futerman's smouldering "Life Is A Gamble" - smoky soul re-made as Latin-tinged deep house - that stand out.
Here we have Timewarp Inc, the in-house production team at Athenian funk/nu-disco label Timewarp, and they've decided to delve into their mighty back catalogue and well, remix it. Hence, "The Remix Session Vol 1" - a collection boasting 14 prime cuts including the moodily hypnotic funk loops of "Anti Pop Song" by Ancient Astronauts, the forlorn Two Tone vibes of "Smile On Your Face" and the machine-like breaky funk goes synthy disco sizzler "Da Gypsy Groove" by Leon.
Serious dubby goodness emanates from starter track "1.4 Days", giving this release from the Bad Company UK fellas an instant place in this month's good books. Rumbling away at breakneck speed, the switching rhythms take things further and further down into the abyss. "Refuge" stops momentum in its tracks with a severe, old school homage to the techy glory days of D&B where cinematics and junglist breaks were king. "The Fear" washes out the top end for a sky high sound and finally "Jellyfish" continues that addictive vintage sound. It's like the sound of every great night distilled into one bassline.