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Three years on from their last full-length excursion - the fine Borough 2 Borough on Delusions of Grandeur - Craig Smith and The Revenge return with their third 6th Borough Project album. Predictably, it's a fine set, with the duo tweaking their now familiar blueprint - think sample heavy, Balearic-minded deep house built around killer grooves and impeccable production - to guarantee a slightly more eclectic listening experience. So, while there are moments of locked-in dancefloor hypnotism - see "The Weight" and acid-gospel thump of "Tainted Dub" - they're accompanied by trips into wide-eyed, loved-up two-step territory (brilliant closer "Back Where It All Began"), seductive, synth-heavy dreaminess (Paul Joseph hook-up "Find Your Rhythm"), intoxicating downtempo chuggers ("Someday"), and much more besides.
Since forming the Bermuda band last year, Aussie adventurer Harvey Sutherland has delivered a string of loose, oven-hot singles that effortlessly combine the best of boogie, soul, jazz-funk and Beatdown style deep house. With Bermuda providing live drums, keys, guitar and bass, Expectations sees Sutherland continue this fine run of form. It's a mini album chocked full of sparkling, sun-kissed cuts that defy simple categorization. For example, "Coast 2 Coast" expertly fuses a deep house aesthetic with elements of P-funk and jazz-funk, while the deep and spacey "Expectations" and "Spiders" - the latter also blessed with sublime strings - feel more horizontal and Balearic in tone. The strings return on the Metro Area-ish brilliance of "Saturn's Return", which may well be the set's most beguiling moment.
Producers Marten Roberto and Nikolay Danev made their collaborative debut last summer, delivering a fine chunk of R&B and electrofunk-influenced house via the Mr Moon label. Here they join forces once more, this time on Yam Who's ISM imprint. Title track "Alive" is a more intoxicating, early morning concoction that their previous effort, with dubbed-out horn lines, wild Hammond organs and a wearily soulful vocal riding a heavy dub disco groove. It's really rather good, and comes accompanied by a cowbell-heavy, piano-sporting peak-time rework by the previously mentioned Yam Who. As if that's not enough to get the juices flowing, they've also included the swirling, stab-heavy, soul-flecked deep house bounce of "Everybody Loves Disco".
Melbourne, Australia based disco larrkin Dawn Again returns to Hot Digits Music with four joints of smooth soul goodness. A producer on the rise in the words of the label and the evidence is sure here. "Hot Tub Lonnie" is the kind of lo-slung and loopy bliss for sunny Sunday afternoon backyard BBQ parties while "I Want You Hugh" continues on with the slo-mo vibes on this clever edit of a very familiar classic we all know and love. Finally "Zozesphino" goes for more of a soul/funk vibe and again samples a certain diggers delight and geared for ergonomic modern DJ use. Nice one!
Toy Tonics' Mushroom House series has so far sparkled, delivering a series of "weirdo house" inspired EPs full of tracks that look to "ethno, Afro and psychedelic" music for inspiration. Each of the producers involved in this third installment predictably hit the mark, with Ponty Mython's trippy opener - think rolling tropical deep house with hallucinatory flourishes - expertly setting the tone. Fast-rising producer Kiwi steals the show with a low-slung fusion of dub disco and smacked out Afro-house, while the Barking Dogs join forces with Tom Trago for a seductive trip into cosmic deep house territory. Red Axes also do a terrific job turning Munk's "The Bolero Brunel" into a hazy chunk of nu-disco psychedelia.
Die Orangen, aka aussie producers Dreems & Kris Baha are teaming up for the first time with 2 new unreleased jams under their new alias. Slow and atmospheric, yet punching and grooving Die Orangen managed to meltdown genres into 100bpm 11 minute long trippy trancey bonanza with a substantial amount of jungle psychedelia and heavy drum machines. One Day in Sheperton is a more drum oriented industrial power house tune. With the diggerido and distorted voices coming in towards its 2nd half. This ep includes, as expected from the Malka Tuti crew, with awesome remixes by Italian maestros Fabrizio Mamarella (of Slow Motion records) and Alessandro Adriani (of Mannequin records), Oodandatta Rain is an ep that throws the listener back to the early days of partying in Anjuna beach, when trance was not yet a genre, but a state of mind, and where the "tribal element" could be found in all sorts of bizzarre contexts and remote corners...
Since making his name with a string of fine EPs on Electrique Music earlier in the decade, Bufi returned to action last year with a fine album entitled Revelacion. Here, a quartet of likeminded producers takes it in turns to rework tracks from that set. Spanish producer AFFKT steps up first, sneakily turning EBM-influenced chugger "Apocalipstick" into a hard-wired chunk if throbbing, Italo-disco inspired sleaze. Eskimo Recordings regulars Zombies In Miami delivers a sparse, electro-influenced revision of "New Ground", before Max Jones tiptoes the fine line between acid-flecked deep house and psychedelic nu-disco on his re-make of "Interlude". Finally, Damon Jee gives "Peaks" a thorough going over, fixing Nitzer Ebb style electronics to a dark-wave disco groove.
Since launching as a Tirk sub-label in 2009, Nang Records has gone on to outlive its parent label and become one of the most reliable imprints in nu-disco. The label's progress has traditionally been charted by compilation series The Array, with new volumes appearing every 12 months or so. This latest installment is naturally packed with highlights, from the sparkling disco-soul of Hot Toddy's remix of Situation's Andre Esput hook-up, "Get To Know Me", and the contemporary Italo-disco throb of James Rod's "Steelerr", to the quirky Balearic bliss of Cardmoth, the synth-heavy wooziness of Deepkey, and the trippy, acid-flecked thrills of Aimes' "A View of Istanbul".
Without attracting much hype, Das Komplex was responsible for some of the most enjoyable, dub-fuelled disco and Balearic releases of 2016. He's started 2017 in pretty confident fashion, too, delivering more fine fare via Father & Son Records & Tapes, People Must Jam and, now, Love On The Rocks. Interesting, this outing is a little bolder, woozier and weirder than some outings, though his love of reverb and delay remains a constant. "Szlugi" is an eccentric fusion of clattering drum machine percussion, trippy synthesizer motifs and lo-fi electronics, while "Polenz" effortlessly joins the dots between cosmic disco, jazz-funk and sample-heavy deep house. Best of all, though, is epic flipside "Flauta", a musically rich, Clavinet-heavy dub disco affair that rises and falls for 13 spellbinding minutes.
Shelter began his production career re-editing quirky cuts of a Balearic persuasion, before dropping a fine collection of original tracks on Uber last autumn. That set of woozy, horizontal gems clearly impressed International Feel boss Mark Barrott, as he's decided to release the French producer's debut album. Zon Zon Zon is arguably a little more varied than some may expect, with Shelter combining his usual new age inspired melodies and tropical flavours with nods to rubbery, post-disco pop, dub, woozy ambient and the kind of fluid, sun-baked electronica that defies easy categorization. However you describe it, Zon Zon Zon is mightily impressive, delivering a near perfect blend of electronic and acoustric instrumentation.
The Dikso crew is rather enthusiastic about its latest signing, Italian Carmine Giuliano. In the sales notes accompanying this debut EP, they describe the Campania-based deep house producer as a "seriously talented guy". That praise is more than justified, with "Future" offering a near perfect balance of life-affirming chord progressions, filtered vocal samples and bustling, club-ready beats. "Never Again" sees the Italian producer tweak the same basic blueprint with similarly impressive results, as fluid piano lines, dreamy chords and cut-up vocal samples envelop a slightly jazzier deep house groove. Dikso label boss Daniel Solar provides the obligatory remix, delivering a wonderfully synth-heavy interpretation of "Future" that bristles with Balearic disco intent.
Forget Berlin: it's all about neighbouring Leipzig these days and local imprint A Friend In Need are here to prove it on Leipzig Only 02. "Blinds" is up first with the classic Larry Heard vibe of "Cloud City" which was a pretty awesome exercise in deepness if we do say. There's nothing daggy about Napoleon Dynamite's uplifting nu-disco jam "Altei" which would make even Jay Shepheard stand up and notice. Label head honchos Lootbeg & Nova Casa serve up what could be the EPs finest moment on "Introduction" which was wonderfully emotive and bittersweet, with its life affirming strings, melancholic keys and dusty drums. Finally Zacharias goes chasing the ghosts in the analogue machines to stunning effect on "Across The Cosmic Gardens".
More chill balearic shenanigans courtesy of Claremont 56 head honcho Paul Mudd Murphy teaming up with studio partner Kevin Pollard on keyboards. They've been collaborating since 2007 across several fine EPs but N7 Odyssey marks their first full length; the title being a direct reference to the Holloway studio they recorded in for many years before Murphy moved. The album draws together freshly re-mastered versions of their previously released singles with a clutch of previously unheard tracks.
When we first reviewed Luxxury's "Feel The Night" back in February, we hailed the original version - a cheery chunk of high-grade disco-pop with sing-along potential - but wondered why there were no remixes or alternate versions. It turns out that the L.A producer was saving them for this expanded reissue. He provides an extended, extra loved-up remix that sits somewhere between tactile nu-disco and vintage Daft Punk, as well as an Instrumental Dub for those who wish to revel in his fine Clavinet, synthesizer and electric bass playing. Best of all, though, is the rework by Ghosts of Venice (AKA producer Lee Dunn), who strips back the synths, instead focusing on the elastic bassline, vocals, and dubbed-out disco drums.
Long-serving British DJ/producer Miguel Campbell returns to the Outcross Records label he founded a decade ago, following a number of top-selling outings on Hot Creations. As usual, he's in a bouncy, tactile kind of mood, expertly melding no-nonsense house beats with rubbery synth-bass lines, late night vocal samples and swishing tech-house noises on both "Can't Blow" and "Recapitulate". He opts for some epic, extended breakdown action on the Daft Punk-meets-Jamie Jones flex of "Shaking & Burning", before returning to his electrofunk-goes-tech-house flex on "To Get Her". The buzzing, boogie-sampling thrust of "Nu Muzik" - whose bassline doffs a cap to Evelyn 'Champagne' King's "I'm In Love" - completes a rock solid package.
Majorca based house legend Kiko Navarro is back, this time on BBE. This is the man behind such massive tunes like "Siempre' and "Sonango Contigo" not to mention running Flamingo Discos and being the official DJ of the Ducati Marlboro Moto GP Team. 'Everything Happens For A Reason' displays a dizzying array of musical flavours, with guest appearances from DJ Spen, Boris Dlugosch and multi-instrumentalist Gabriele Poso, whose compilation 'The Language Of Tambores' is coming soon on BBE. Within a framework of warm, soulful house music, Kiko explores afro-latin rhythms, broken beats, nu-jazz and straight up Chicago-inspired acid.
Since first pitching up on Tartelet Records back in 2014, Wayne Snow has proved adept at joining the dots between dusty, left-of-centre deep house and silky modern soul. Freedom TV is the Berlin-based artist's debut album, and sees him further explore the loose, languid and effortlessly soulful style he's been developing over the last three years. While the album does contain some 4/4, floor-ready explorations, these tend towards the eccentric, MPC-driven style successfully explored by the likes of Seven Davis Jr. For the most part, Freedom TV is heady and intoxicating, with Snow's slick and emotion-rich vocals riding scratchy, sample-heavy backing tracks that meld deep house style electronics with future funk, R&B and neo-soul style grooves. The results are uniformly excellent.
Prolific scalpel sort Disco Funk Spinner returns to Midnight Riot with another double dose of tried-and-tested re-edit business. Many diggers will recognize the source material for "Yes U Can", a 1982, P-funk flavoured jam from a roller-boogie great (and his macho accomplice) that the Disco Funk spinner has subtly toughened up and straightened out via the use of organic sounding additional percussion. In contrast, "Inch of a Prince" is a sleazy, seductive, eyes-closed disco smoker full of breathy female vocals, crisp guitar licks, sparkling melody lines and a suitably elastic bassline. Like its predecessor, it's a rock solid edit that should suit all those who like to sprinkle a little eccentric disco magic into their sets.
Danny '80s Child' Worrall's nu-disco Masterworks Music imprint regularly drops quality re-edits that are crafted for maximum dancefloor destruction. Here we have some 80s jams reworked for the pleasure of our dancing feet. First up a very famous South London boogie trio have one of their biggest hits tweaked by Mike Woods into "Muzik" featuring that signature twangy electronic bass line coupled with tougher drums. Elsewhere we get filtered, glittery synth soul courtesy of the Shit Hot Soundsystem's "Spinnin", "Stay With Me" adds some killer freestyle drums patterns and "Let You Go" by Ruben & Ra is pure, nasty electro-funk at its finest.
Certain legends always have their 'black album'; Prince had one, Metallica had one and even Spinal Tap had one too! Now it seems Parisian nu-disco hero KS French's time has come as well. Boasting a virtually plain black sleeve, the 14th volume of his Supercuts series boasts two scalpel jobs par excellence. "Deeper Soul" is a deliciously smooth and chocolaty looped funk seducer and "Things Get Funky" is a tougher jam, with slammin' 70s funk grooves (clavinets and filters galore!) married to a loose house shuffle.
Exclusives
MARTEN ROBERTO & NIKOLAY DANEV - Alive (ISM) - exclusive 24-03-2017
TUXEDO - Tuxedo II (Stones Throw)
KIKO NAVARRO - Everything Happens For A Reason (BBE)
Exclusives
VARIOUS/JERRY BOUTHIER - Emerald & Doreen 200 (Emerald & Doreen)
MIGUEL CAMPBELL - The Recapitulation EP (Outcross Recordings)
MEDLAR - Shake It, Make It, Take It, Break It (For Discos Only)
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