Since first poking their head above the parapet back in 2013, the exclamation mark loving We Mean Disco!! [sic] crew has provided party-hearty DJs with a wealth of disco, funk, soul, proto-house and - whisper it quietly - re-edits, remixes, mash-ups and house re-imaginings. All that and more can be found on this second The Many Shades Of... compilation, with tracks veering from house/disco/Sade blends (see "Hang On To Your Love") and disco-house takes on dancefloor classics (a suitably filter-heavy version of "Lost In Music"), to straightforward re-edits of disco belters (Sylvester re-rub "Over & Over", opener "Do Your Thang"). Throughout, the emphasis is on celebratory release, rather than anything deeper or more considered.
Starting as he means to go on, Judge Funk debuts on Midnight Riot with some serious dancefloor law-giving on this five track banger. It's all about the 80s, with the highlight tracks including: an expertly tweaked and extended version of Shelia E/Prince's A Love Bizarre ("Wildest Dreams"), the manic energy of Klymaxx's Meeting In The Ladies Room ("Wildest Dreams") and a discreet rejig of a rare SAW Balearic mix of Princess' Saying I'm Your Number One ("Close To You").
With little fanfare or fuss, El Diablo Social Club's To Rack & Ruin edit series has slowly made its' way onto digital download. This latest release - originally out on wax back in January - is one of the hush-hush imprint's strongest to date. It comes from Munich-based beat-manipulator Deckard, who successfully delivers a dubby, delay-laden chunk of piano-heavy, mid-tempo AOR disco in the shape of the rather brilliant "Sean Lives". While superb, the real killer is on the flip, where Flash Atkins helps Deckard turn a forgotten Jonny Cash gem into a brilliantly trippy, floor-friendly fusion of country blues, dub disco and Patrick Cowley/Giorgio Moroder style machine funk. However unlikely a fusion, the resultant track is genuinely brilliant.
Feel good deep house on offer here yet again from Hamburg imprint A Room With A View, adding to their illustrious discography which this far has included such greats as Andre Lodemann and Joel Alter. This cheeky Dutch duo present us with "Heavy On the Bacon" which is further testament to their sense of humour in all its sultry and funky late night sense of groove. On the flip "Coconuts" is on the deeper side with all its funky mono synth leads doing their magic over a funky bassline. This would be ideal for fans of other Hamburg imprint Dessous; there's something about the north of Germany, what more can we say!
Veteran French electro-disco dude Damon Jee is back and we're glad to report he's still keeping things goth. The Summer No Summer EP features two slow and deep body music cuts. The title track is minutes of depressed electro-pop, in the coolest possible way, whilst "Cuir Rouge" is a suspense-filled slice of menacingly throbbing new beat. Also the former is given a post-punk overhaul by Hardway Bros, whilst the latter reappears as a livelier Giorgio Moroder-esque "Il Est Villaine Cuir" reinterpretation.
Spanish deep house/disco fusionist James Rod has enjoyed a productive 2015, releasing a wealth of material on labels such as Midnight Riot, Hot Digits, Cosmic Sumo, Audaz and Rare Wiri. Here he returns to the latter with more colourful, summery dancefloor fun. Lead cut "Afro Gerops" is particularly potent, with Afro-centric vocals, funk guitars and rubbery nu-disco synths wrapping themselves around a rolling disco groove. It's arguably stronger than title track "Disco Rocket", which successfully blends alien chords, P-funk attitude and slick, nu-disco attitude. There are a number of remixes to enjoy, too, with Situation's spacey electro take - all delay-heavy drum machine hits and intergalactic electronics -impressing the most.
Some folk like their disco synthy, some like it gritty, but nu-disco heroes Drop Out Orchestra like their disco classy. As such "Drop Out Drill" is a sleek, sumptuous and heavily orchestrated dancefloor shimmy. Remix-wise, Italo Brutalo delivers some serene arpeggiated Mediterranean vibes, Simon Dremon & FG presents a melancholic housier rework and Chuggin Edits mix things up with a delicately re-tweaked version.
Playful and cheeky minimal house that reminds you of Berlin clubs like Kater Blau or Kosmonaut on offer here from a label that's actually out of Madrid; Play Pal Music. And these guys, daWad & Mokic are actually from Marseille in France, funnily enough. The original mix of "Metrosexual" sounds almost as ten years ago as its namesake; and that's not all bad! Reminds us of mid noughties Marc Houle actually. The original mix of "Eat Me" is dark, electro-house tinged minimal, reminiscent of Konrad Black's earlier sound. Honourable mentions on the remix front go out to the Gemini Brothers for their driving remix of "Eat Me" and Squarewave for his cosmic nu-disco revision of "MetroSexual".
Here, Aaron Dae and JKriv gather together some highlights from the first three years of their popular re-edit imprint, Razor 'N' Tape. Given the label's infamously high hit rate, it's little surprise to find that Disco Cuts Volume 1 is full of tried-and-tested dancefloor smashers - the kind of dub-flecked, handily compressed jams that work wonders in both disco and house sets. Highlights are naturally plentiful, from the dubby pulse of Deep&Disco's ace Chic rework "Feel The Rhythm", and the cheery '80s soul revivalism of Ron Basejam's gospel boogie cut "Someday", to the undulating grooves of Luvless' "Castles In The Sky" (you can guess the identity of the original source material) and head-nodding pulse of Only Children's chugging "Falling".
Scottish ensemble The Haggis Horns have blazed a trail in the music biz since 1999, playing for the likes of Mark Ronson, Amy Winehouse, Martha Reeves, Jamiroquai and John Legend. They also regularly performed their own sensational gigs and released records too. Now, after a slight hiatus, they're back with a third long player, "What Comes To Mind" on their own Haggis record label. Boasting ten tracks that pay homage to their 70s heroes (Kool & The Gang, Donald Byrd, Earth Wind & Fire) and featuring appearances by John McCallum, Lucinda Slim and John Turrell, it's a welcome return indeed.
It would be fair to say that Auf Togo's releases for Leng are sporadic, to say the least. While there are good reasons for this - Sasa Crnobrnja is busy with In Flagranti, while Clement Cochot-Coloum has his hands full with the Fabulous Penetrators - it's still frustrating for those who enjoy their undeniably quirky take on Balearic-rock fusion. Happily, this third EP - their first since 2013 - is chock full of highlights. Opener "The Basement", featuring MT, is an undeniably eccentric chunk of leftfield, AOR-influenced disco-pop, while "Second Tongue" blends undulating dub disco grooves with blazed, spoken vocals and punk-funk attitude. Closer "Carpet Stains", meanwhile, is a more obviously up-tempo, rock-influenced affair, with the duo's bold guitar chords counter-balanced by shimmering electronics and lilting melodies.
Under the DJ Butcher alias, George Kelly has turned the Chop Shop imprint into one of the world's most reliable sources of party-starting re-edits, remixes, mash-ups and sample-heavy productions. Hello My Name Is... Chop Shop celebrates the label's successes so far, with a hot-to-trot DJ mix from the man himself being joined by 18 hand picked highlights from the vaults. Tiptoeing the fine line between original scalpel-work (see the high-tempo, summery celebration of Le Visiteur's "Let The Sunshine" and Corsican Brothers' ace "Big Apple Rock"), house-friendly rubs (Sam Palmer's filter-drenched "Hurt Me", an excellent Latin disco-house cut from The Silver Rider), and balls-out, party starting cut-ups (the block party flex of DJ Agent 86), Kelly has curated an excellent selection of peak-time gems.
One half of Sons Of Slough (with Ian Weatherall) and Tici Taci label boss Duncan Gray is back but this time on London's Nein Records, usually known for their excursions in acid house and nu-disco. Following up releases by the likes of Cannibal Ink and Emperor Machine, his style is more than welcome here, no doubt. The original version of "Churn Again" gets off on a hazy '70s prog rock tip, just listen to that killer retro synth lead. There are some impressive remixes here; Berlin by way of Tel Aviv's cosmic traveller Moscoman gives it a sunny and balearic makeover while Frenchman Markus Gibb gives it a thumping modern vibe, quirky and with an attitude, sounding like something off Comeme; not a bad thing at all!
On Bearsong, Gomma label bosses Munk and Telonious have decided to commission new remixes of two tracks from experienced Danish producer Hess Is More's 2014 album Myheadisaballroom/Whoneedsaplaceanyway. Given that it was recorded with a full band, and rooted in jazz and leftfield disco, there's plenty for remixers Dimitri From Paris, Pollyester and Lorna Dune to work with. Dimitri offers two disco-heavy takes on the cheery "Iamnotaprimate", with the percussive, spaced-out Dubwise version impressing most. Pollyester's take on the same track - all bubbling electrofunk synths, rubbery disco bass and eccentric vocals - is, if anything, even better. A solid package is completed by Dune's deep, woozy and pleasingly sweet synth-pop remake of "Bearsong".
Veteran house and techno DJ Justin Robertson is known for having promoted all kinds of music under different guises over the years. One of these guises is the Deadstock 33s and here he presents their second album, Everything Is Turbulence. Released in conjunction with an art exhibition of the same name, the album boasts 12 new tracks that deal with his favourite topics: 'death and monsters'. Highlights include the arpeggiated menace of "Bajo La Luna", the jackin' 303-fest "I Am Automatic" (a collaboration with Daniel Avery no less) and the bleepy, dubbed-out electroclash of "Spirit Of The Age".
Some 12 months on from its release, Bruno "Xinobi" Cardosa has handed over the parts to his quietly impressive debut album, 1975, to a crack team of remixers. It's Psychemagik who arguably impress the most, building up an atmospheric, tribal-influenced rhythm on their version of "Bogota", before turning the track into a throbbing, druggy, big room house beast. Munk's version of Afrobeat-influenced cut "Crime" is a Balearic disco treat - think woozy fretless bass, chiming melodies and glistening guitars - while Cut Slack turn "Real Fake" into a suitably loved-up chunk of loose-limbed, sun-kissed synth-pop. It's a formidably breezy rework, and one that should sound as good in a club as it does on your car stereo.
By his usual prolific standards, razor-wielding Grecian DJ Leonidas has been rather quiet of late. In fact, this is his first EP of tried-and-tested re-edits under the now familiar Alien Disco Sugar moniker for the best part of six months. Happily, the rest seems to have done him good, as Rainbow Drops is arguably his strongest collection for some time. It contains, amongst other delights, a killer chunk of high-speed, P-funk influenced hi-NRG disco ("Game"), a synth-laden slither of Spanish language Balearic disco ("Colegiala"), and some seriously boozy disco-rock ("The River"). Oh, and a brilliantly chopped and looped version of Greg Kihn Band's pop-rock-meets-Balearic-disco anthem "Jeopardy".
Some intense body acid on Klein here, as the shady Yonkers 88 introduces himself with the "85/86/87/88 EP" - seemingly a tribute to his favourite years of club music. The title track is a slow throbber with percolating acidic 303s and a booming Windy City monologue on top. The 80s love doesn't stop at music either, with another track called "BMX Bandits". Although probably not much to do with the early Nicole Kidman flick of the same name, with its crunchy mechanical bass and new beat pulse, it's the standout track of the EP.
The latest driver to be given the keys to the Katakana Edits series is the Go-Go lovin' Morlack. He's delivered four sizzlers aimed, as always, firmly at the heart of the dancefloor. "Hang It Up" sees tough, breaky beats leading sassy brass, quirky bass and honky tonk piano, whilst "Bom Bom" is pure unadulterated 80s holiday cheese - imagine Black Lace on a bender in the Caribbean circa 1984 and you'll get the postcard. This theme continues with the digital-reggae sing-a-long "Ganja Man" before the pure, phased funk of "Love Thing" wraps things up in cool early '80s style.
We've never thought of Men at Work's "Down Under" as a would-be Balearic classic, but then we're not tropically minded mash-up man Cayetano. Here, under his Yuriyuri alias, he re-casts the infamous '80s pop song as a gorgeous, sun-kissed chunk of cumbia-meets-reggae gorgeousness. It shouldn't work, of course, but it really does (thanks, largely, to the bagginess of the live instrumentation and Cayetano's smart production). The virtual flip features another unlikely mash-up/rework, as Aha's "Take On Me" becomes an accordion-heavy tropical groover. Again, it shouldn't work, but weirdly, it does. Ideal festival fodder, all told.