Reviewed this week
The recording career of Salzburg's Bernard Weiss, AKA Demuja, has followed the well-trodden path of multiple compilation appearances followed by well-received EPs for a couple of little-known labels. There's a feeling that he just needs a breakthrough, and this single on Jimpster's Freerannge label could provide it. Certainly, the four included tracks are amongst his strongest to date. Choose between the sumptuous, shuffling deep house dreaminess of "Move", the warehouse-friendly thrills of "B.o.o.m", the hard-wired Italo-disco revivalism of "Into My Brain" - all raging arpeggio lines and dreamy pads - and the fireside-warm deep house/disco fusion of "Turn Me On". The latter's fusion of live instrumentation, evocative vocal samples and rolling house drums is particularly inspiring.
Here's something to cheer: the first EP from Dimitri From Paris and DJ Rocca's collaborative Erodiscotique project following the release of last year's superb debut album on BBQ Japan. As usual, their inspirations and musical reference points tend towards the vintage. Opener "One For Frankie", for example, smothers a vintage Chicago house groove with the kind of dreamy, positive and melodious musical flourishes that were a hall mark of Frankie Knuckles best productions, while "Zanzibar" pays tribute to the bustling, percussive, synth-heavy pressure of early '80s NYC and NJ "proto-house" productions. "Don't You Feel The Same", on the other hand, wraps sweet Balearic synth lines around a chunky, "French Touch" style disco-house groove.
While Dave 'Joey Negro' Lee is a man of many talents, it would be fair to say that his speciality is creating impeccable blends of disco, boogie and soulful house. That's exactly what you get from "Must Be The Music (Original Disco Mix)", a brilliantly breezy and club-ready excursion full of slick female vocals, Nile Rodgers style guitars, undulating strings and colourful, boogie style synth flourishes. In some ways, it feels like a slightly more house-centric take on Lee's similarly minded work as part of the Sunburst Band. It's accompanied by a superb dub, where Lee's chosen musicians take it in turns to deliver killer synth and guitar solos over a chunkier, boogie-driven beat. In other words, it's another strong release from the Z Records founder.
German house label Running Back has featured the likes of Radio Slave and Boris Dlugosch in its schedules. Now its time for cult hero Philipp Lauer to join the party and he's marked the occasion with the Phlipper EP, possibly his most Italo disco-influenced release yet. Basically the whole record is the sound of summer holiday fun - the title track is breathy retro Eurotrance, (think the Rhythm Of The Night) all stonewashed synths and hands-in-the-open-night-air melodies. "Muscle" meanwhile is more your 80s Outrun-style arpeggio disco and "Lauer Vizzi" is pure late 80s Italo house joy think Rimini via the Hacienda.
Dutchman Bas Roos is the latest producer to contribute to Exploited's Shir Khan-curated Black Jukebox series. He kicks off a fine EP via "Downtown", a lumpy, bumpy chunk of dusty, piano-laden peak-time goodness driven forwards by bustling drums and a killer disco style bassline. You'll find more blissful piano solos on the similarly hustling, low-slung "One Way", which also makes great use of impassioned disco-soul vocal snippets and restless handclap samples. Elsewhere, "Take Life Easy" is an impeccable hybrid of jazzy disco samples and swinging deep house percussion, while "Ugly House" sounds like a long lost collaboration between Kevin Saunderson's Inner City Project, Chez Damier and Sheffield-based dusty house specialist Thatmanmonkz.
Kraak & Smaak singles are rarely anything less than party-starting treats, and this latest outing is no different. It helps, of course, that Eli Escobar - a producer known for delivering colourful, disco-and-boogie flavoured house hits - is on remix duty. His version of "U R Freak" is arguably a little dreamier and more musically intricate than his singles on Classic, but still packs a punch thanks to bustling organ stabs, bongo-laden beats and some on-point synth bass. The rest of the EP is taken up by Mood's modern boogie-meets-deep house remixes of "Prescription". Eric Biddiness makes his presence felt on the vocal version, rapping and singing over a squidgy, synth-laden backing track that perfectly tiptoes the fine line between club-ready fare and radio-friendly cheeriness.
Seven months on from the release of their fine debut album, Be Nice To Each Other (a title that seems more apt with every passing day), Paper Recordings stalwarts 2 Billion Beats are given the remix treatment. Richard Seaborne ropes in pal GizMo to lend a hand on his rework of "Papa", a thrillingly driving, low-slung affair built around live disco bass, glistening organ stabs and rolling percussion, while Brighton's Leon Sweet casually joins the dots between rolling nu-disco and melodious deep house on his interpretation of "Slow Down". Arguably best of all, though, is Magnus International's rework of 2011 single "To Andromeda", which sees the Oslo producer pepper a loose limbed jazz breakbeat with typically woozy, Scandolearic chords and tasty analogue synthesizer melodies.
As the title suggests, this EP boasts fresh reworks of the title track from Marco 'Tensnake' Niemerski's much played Freunchen EP. First to play around with Niemerski's parts (tee-hee) is man-of-the-moment Red Rack'em. The Berlin-based Brit employs some savage sample editing, layering filtered vocal and orchestral samples over a typically tactile, hybrid disco/house groove. Niemerski's old friend Phillip Lauer takes a different approach, re-imagining the track as a bouncy chunk of mood-enhancing Balearic house complete with Italian house piano riffs and bubbly arpeggio lines. Arguably best of all, though, is the killer version by Russian producer Phil Gerus, which sounds like a loved-up fusion of Italo-disco, synth-boogie, Belgian New Beat and sun-kissed Balearica.
Before she passed away in 2013, Chiwonsio Maraire impressed with the Rebel Heart album. Here, one of the highlights of that set, breezy dancefloor sing-along "Gomo" - is given the remix treatment. The sun-soaked original version kicks things off, before David Marston and MOA turn it into a saucer-eyed chunk of Balearic house complete with snaking saxophone solos, tactile chord progressions and bubbly analogue bass. The rest of the reworks come from DJ Spen and Souledge. Their headline remix (also available in instrumental form) successfully re-imagines the track as a bumpin' chunk of tech-tinged Afro-house goodness, complete with seriously heavy bass, intricate marimba melodies and vocal cut-ups. Arguably even better is the "Saxfro" mix, which gives more prominence to the jaunty saxophone solo and delay-laden vocal snippets.
Earlier in the year, Javier Busto returned to action via a fine EP of dusty and dark nu-disco chuggers on the Logical label he set up at the turn of the decade. Unsurprisingly, this outing on Roam Recordings is similarly muscular and throbbing in outlook. The Madrid man's original version of "Inside" is something of a stylish, Mascara-clad mid-tempo treat, with psychedelic electronics, foreboding chord progressions and sci-fi effects crowding around a thrusting, arpeggio style bassline. The Montessori Remix is a little looser and groovier, with audible new wave and post-punk influences amongst the shuffling beats and rubbery electric bass, while the impressive Azaria Remix is an all-out, Italo-disco inspired assault on the senses.
There's something rather special about this surprise new single from Kitsune regulars Parcels. For starters, it's the result of a yearlong collaboration with Daft Punk, who produced "Overnight". Musically, you can hear the duo's influence throughout, with the clipped, Nile Rodgers style disco guitar riffs recalling their colossal 2013 summer smash, "Get Lucky". There's a little more of a languid, Balearic-inspired feel to this track, with hazier and baggier vocals working in collaboration with luscious synthesizer parts. While it may not be as sizeable as "Get Lucky", "Overnight" is a brilliant piece of summery disco-pop. Expect to hear it a lot in coming months.
The fabulous "Funkynoizer" is typical of Daniele Baldelli and DJ Rocca's previous collaborative work, melding as it does spacey, cosmic electronics and alien noises with delay-laden guitar flourishes, funk-fuelled bass and dubbed-out horn lines. It's really rather good and comes accompanied by a trio of remixes. Selvagem embraces the duo's instinctive musical insanity while dragging "Funknoizer" further towards dub disco territory, before Pete Herbert and Dicky Trisco lay down a summery, dub-flecked Balearic disco interpretation. DJ Rocca rounds things off with a "Boogie" mix of his own that cannily draws out the original's synth bassline while adding jangling piano riffs seemingly inspired by Cheryl Lynn's "To Be Real".
Destination '77: Nigerian troupe The Apostles lay down their third album Banko Woman. And, with it, this widescreen vibe excursion that's been a go-to for Afrobeat diggers since it was released on Love Day 40 years ago. "Banko Woman" is a firing, energetic funk jam layered with vibrant levels of instrumentation that gradually strip back at points to let you feel the raw tempo of the groove. "Faith Luck & Music" is at once both more bluesy, thanks to the sliding, melting guitars, and spiritual, thanks to the traditional rhythm and chords.
Prior to the Scandolearic explosion of the mid 2000s, Oslo's underground dance producers were more renowned for delivering chunky (and often disco-tinged) deep house bombs. In some ways, then, De Fantastiske To - AKA producers Ravi Brunsvik and Marius Summerfeldt - are a blast from the past. In its original form, "Hardtslaende" is a throbbing, warehouse-friendly treat, with late '80s stabs (think Inner City) and hazy vocal samples riding a jaunty rhythm track and simple-but-effective bassline. Alinka delivers a deliciously heavy and forthright remix that successfully pushes the track further towards pitch-black late night territory - think forceful beats, foreboding synth lines and 1990 Yorkshire bleeps - before Minaret successfully joins the dots between dreamy Scandolearic disco and woozy deep house.
Norway's Marius Circus is working on his lack of proficiency - his previous release in March was his first for six years, so the arrival of Veggepysj a mere three months after his last is pretty good going! There are two new originals here - the subdued and dreamy bleepy Balearics of the title track, and the even slower and groovier "Mellow Johnnyas" which is perfect to nod off to poolside, mid-afternoon somewhere in the Med. Modern disco legend Pris Thomas also gatecrashes the party and livens things up with his pacier, body music-informed housey remix.
Bergen-based twosome Atella has previously been praised for delivering music that draws inspiration from fellow Northern Norwegian artists of old, most notably Erot and Royksopp. We can certainly here some of the latter in the bubbly Scandolearic/synth-pop fusion of "Anyone Out There?", where Cal's breezy vocals wrap themselves around a throbbing, arpeggio bassline and glistening synthesizer melodies. There's a slightly more cosmic, but no less cheery, feel to the EP's other track, "In The Days of the Green (45P Mix)", which boasts extended synthesizer melodies rising above a dreamy nu-disco backing track. Quietly impressive stuff, all told.
The latest missive from Madrid's Rotten City Files camp signals the debut of Jacktome, a collaborative project made up of producers JackWasFaster and TALKTOME. They begin in confident fashion with "Hit The Road, Jack" - not a cover of the well-loved sing-along song of the same name - which sees them instinctively wrap psychedelic acid lines, trippy electronic flourishes and Kraftwerk style vococder parts around a bubbly, low-slung, bongo-rich mid-tempo groove. The rest of the EP is taken up with two contrasting mixes of "The Reason": the stab-driven deep house/Balearic disco fusion of the "Soft Vision", and the arguably superior "Raw Vision", whose stripped-back groove and neon-tinged synthesizer motifs help create an intoxicating late night mood.
When French fashion designer Vanessa Seward launched her summer collection earlier in the year, the catwalk show was accompanied by previously unheard music from Bertrand Burglat's Tricatel label. This expansive EP showcases those tracks, many of which seem to have been inspired by the designer herself. Check, for example, Burglat's two-part "Vanessa's Way", which gleefully joins the dots between vintage lounge music, easy listening disco and the rubbery bottom-end bounce of dub disco. Chassol's "En Femme Francaise", featuring a delicious bilingual spoken word vocal and Air style lounge music flourishes, explores similar territory, while Anita Lane's "Do That Thing" is a prime chunk of sleazy, string-laden disco. Arguably best of all, though, is the rip-roaring disco-punk madness of Burglat's heavyweight "Lightyears (Cool & Bright Vanessa)".
In the wake of the abortive cults of the Supreme Being and the Goddess of Reason, nationalism in its multifarious guises - from Bonaparte's Caesarism to the gamut of national socialisms - came to the fore as the necessary but increasingly inadequate ideology of the State (whether the State of private and monopolistic capitalism or the State of capitalism in its socialized form). Indeed, the fall of Napoleon marked the end of any prospect of reinstituting a unitary myth founded on empire, on the prestige of arms or on the mystique of territorial power. Three mesmerising dark ambient house journeys here, courtesy of the mysterious Lore Society on the equally enigmatic Folk Kraft. And then a right curveball in the form of the addictive electro-disco groover "Sun Through Trees".
In recent years, Guy Cuevas' 1982 EPs, Obsession, has become something of an in-demand item amongst Balearic diggers and post-disco collectors. Given the eye-watering online prices for original copies, it would be fair to say that this reissue is more than welcome. Like the Paris-based Cuban's original '82 EP, this edition boasts three contrasting mixes. First, you'll find the loose, languid and groovy "Nassau Mix", a sun-kissed fusion of leisurely boogie grooves and chanted Cuban vocals. Then, you'll find the horn-heavy "London Mix", which breaks out into an extended Latin percussion jam midway through. Naturally, both mixes are superb. Finally who's better than Jay Airiness brings his own disco experience touch on this classic.
Exclusives
LAUER - Phlipper EP (Running Back Germany)
ATELLA feat CAL - Anyone Out There? (Eskimo Belgium)
VARIOUS - Future Disco Presents Poolside Sounds Vol VI (unmixed tracks) (Future Disco)
Exclusives
DANIELE BALDELLI & DJ ROCCA - Funkynoizer (File Under Disco)
LOS FUGAZZI - Afterglow (incl. FLXXX,Molinar & James Rod remixes) (Golden Soul) - exclusive 01-07-2017
JAVIER BUSTO - Inside (Roam Recordings)
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