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Reviewed this week
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Mysterious SoundCloud sensation Dr Packer returns with the follow-up to his popular Surgery Edits EP. His style - taking classic and little known disco, boogie and '80s soul jams and giving them a smooth, dubby deep house makeover - is undeniably attractive, and sympathetic enough to the original material to get the crate-diggers onside. There's plenty to excite among the six tracks showcased here, from the synth-bass laden sweetness of "Gimme Your Loving" and deep, soulful disco-house outing "2 The Bank", to the slap bass-boasting headiness of "Snap Shot" - all delay-laden vocal hits and hazy guitar solos - and wide-eyed disco release of "Running", whose source material should be familiar to all but the most inexperienced disco DJs.
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The Giant Cuts crew have been keeping the boogie side of the disco fire burning with their Disco Boogie Classics series for over a year now, and on this essential release they reach their fifth volume. Once again the source material is a closely guarded secret, but whether it's the cowbell-heavy, Rhodes-led funk of "Dance (Move Ya Body)", the smooth licks and sweltering '80s production of "Jump To The Edit", the party starting vocal on "Feel It" or the deep down disco sleaze of standout track "Limited Search", there's something here for everyone to get their own disco dancefloors bumping.
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Riding high on the buzz he has generated in the last twelve months, Max Graef delivers this album to Tartelet as a man very much in demand. His style, fuelled on the foundations of sampling funk and soul to a brilliantly modern end, has more space to breathe on this LP, but still the fundamentals remain. "Itzehoe" struts on a lazy jazzed-out sizzle of drums and beautiful Rhodes notes while "Tamboule Fudgefunk" punches its way through woozy synth work and a righteous beat and "Drums Of Death" struts on a perfect disco groove replete with live instrumentation, but there's a wealth of other tempos and styles all shot through with the homespun jazz charm that Graef has made his own of late.
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Ever since JD Twitch rebooted Optimo Music, it's been the irregular transmissions from Glasgow act Golden Teacher that has hit the spot each and every time. The amalgamation of two diverse bands from the city -noise punk outfit Ultimate Thrush and analogue house duo Silk Cut, Golden Teacher first emerged on Optimo Music early last year with a pretty apt description of sounding like "Arthur Russell's Dinosaur L jamming with Bobby O, K Alexi Shelby, Liaisons Dangereuses and Imagination, with some voodoo drummers and Sly & Robbie". Steadily building up a reputation for some riotous live performances, Golden Teacher are a class above because they manage to distill this energy into their recorded output too. Party People features three such examples, with A-side cut "Love" the kind of production that sufferers of LCD Soundsystem withdrawal will embrace and cherish for years to come.
$2.22
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Editorial's policy of giving their split EPs of edits and reworks a distinctive theme has always been a bit of a winner. Here, they return to the world of slo-mo, soul-flecked edits, with a quintet of sumptuous scalpel works for our delectation. 78 Edits impresses with the winding sax, horizontal bump and head-nodding grooves of "Meet Patti", while DJ Moar offers up a slinky, electric bass-driven ride into slow disco-house territory in the shape of the Rhodes-laden "King Bob". Hot Box and P-Sol both deliver heavily compressed, filter-sporting toe-tappers for those warm-up moments where you just want to get locked into the groove, while Jona Saucedo brilliantly combines dubbed-out modern soul vocals with an attractive loop from Fonda Rae's boogie classic "Touch Me".
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Edit fiends Basic Fingers usually reserve their tastiest material for the occasionally used Gold Finger offshoot. That's arguably the case here, as Deejaykul delivers a sumptuously deep and soulful house interpretation of the much-played "Feeling Good" (think Nina Simone, though this version has a delicious male vocal). The A-side DeejayKul meets Soultechnic Deepa mix is particularly potent, with intricate Latin percussion, smooth pads and sensual vocal riding an effortlessly sunny groove. There's a bit more vintage US garage on the other track, where the Classic Love Deep mix laces soft-focus chords and classic organs over a typically skippy groove. Impeccable stuff, all told.
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After a brief hiatus Mangled returns in with some Ray Mang versions of a song from Italian singer Mari (Marina Conti). Mari's album 'Gentle Beauty' produced together with singer songwriter Mozez (of Zero 7 fame) was released back in 2012 on Numen Records. Ray Mang took a shine to the second single 'Free' taking the Vocals and piano from the original and re-crafting it into a stellar piece of modern euphoric disco.
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Things have been a bit quiet from retro funk producer B Jam since his bumper packed eight-track EP last year on Midnight Riot. We can all relax now, as he's back with four new tracks under the attention grabbing title "Dog Slap". The rolling electro-funk stomper "Hide Out" gets things going nicely, and from there we see The Real Thing's disco staple "Can You Feel The Force" get a rocket up its backside and "The Magician" provide some breaky, rubber bass thrills, before "Talk About" wraps things up in a gloriously chopped up '80s electro-soul fashion.
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Colorado-based producer Funk Hunk has already built up quite a following on SoundCloud for his "buff" re-edits of '80s boogie and disco classics. Here, he makes his commercial debut on the amusingly titled Nude_isco label with four cheeky scalpel jobs. There's a sensual feel about his loopy, immersive re-cut of Billy Griffin's '80s soul jam "Serious", while Junior's "Not Tonight" gets impressively chopped and reworked in an '80s edit style. His rework of Barbara Fowler's stone cold classic "Come & Get My Loving" expertly emphasizes the original's excellent synths and singalong chorus, before he gets all Tiger & Woods (with a touch more vocal and extra filters) on Cheryl Lynn's long-forgotten 1981 track "I'm On Fire".
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Second time around for Henry Saiz and Pional's overlooked 2011 cut "Uroboros". The original - a loose, lazy, melodic, atmospheric and borderline Balearic foray into gently building organic house - has lost none of its magical, wide-eyed, sunset-friendly feel, and should be an essential purchase for those who like their house music gentle and left-of-centre. Permanent Vacation's vintage remix - a more obviously upbeat, nu-disco tinged effort - gets another deserved airing, too. Best of all, though, is Henry Saiz's previously unheard 'Live Take', which features a trio of new attractions: a killer organ line, pulsating synth bass and judicious use of drifting choral samples. It's like a modern version of Orbital's "Belfast", and there's no higher praise than that.
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Those who follow Belabouche on SoundCloud will know just what a prodigious re-editor he is; not a week seems to pass without a clutch of new scalpel works from the talented Italian producer. Here he brings his effortlessly soulful, loose-limbed approach to Yam Who's Midnight Riot label for the first time. All five tracks are excellent, with the baggy, string-drenched disco-soul bump of "Slide Into Your Heart" and dubwise funk thrust of "Money Runner" standing out. He mixes up the tempos well, with the EP's two slower moments - the sinewy jazz-funk headiness of "Open Your Mind" and intoxicating, horn-heavy "The Way We Live" - being particularly potent. If you're after edits that match dancefloor chops with an easy soulfulness, this should be an essential purchase.
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Gazeebo has always done a neat line in sparse, synth-heavy space disco. Here, the veteran producer continues in this vein with "Dark Lloyd", arguably one of his strongest releases for some time. With its stripped back analogue synthesizers, delay-laden production and hypnotic groove, it sounds like vintage Chicken Lips or Emperor Machine with a dash of mid-80s New York proto-house. Brilliantly, it also features a superb vocal breakdown, which adds a little surprise soulful flavour and adds a frisson of excitement. There's little to the track, but the sparse elements combine beautifully. Impressive stuff, all told.
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Whether or not the World needs another version of Robin S's '90s club classic "Show Me Love" is debatable, but there's no arguing that Brazilian producer Joeblack has done a terrific job in taking in a thrilling new direction. Instead of bringing it up to date, he's turned in the equivalent of a prequel; a sparse, synth-laden '80s boogie interpretation bristling with cut-up drum machine hits, D-Train style synthesizer doodles, chiming melodies and a killer synth bassline. The original Robin S vocal perfectly matches the Jam & Lewis style instrumental, meaning this is an almost guaranteed dancefloor killer. The extended version is joined by a decent instrumental and a punchy radio edit. Really, though, it's all about the vocal mix.
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It's all about the future for Whiskey Disco, with the label presenting a selection of tunes by new talent on the "Future Lovers EP". It's an impressive selection too, featuring the electro-funk loops of Tomas Maio, electronica reworks of Brandi & Monica ("The Boy") and the arpeggiated electro-disco-funk of "Love Coming On".
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From the awesome postmodern artwork to the post-punk avant disco rhythms featured on this release, you could easily be forgiven for assuming that Frank Agrario is some long lost kindred spirit to the likes of Talking Heads. But you'd be wrong; Mr Agrario is actually Italian producer Francesco Brini who is Swayzak's former percussionist. A few years ago he got bitten buy the disco bug and hasn't looked back since. Here we get two authentically early 80s cuts - "Fireworks" being a sweaty late night punk funk grind with sultry female vocals and a serious Kid Creole obsession, and "Sacramento", upping the tempo for a piano-led badass bass twister. Hot!
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Following his stunning Back To The Balearics debut late last year Belfast conjurer returns with a follow up EP to his inaugural "Pastel Love". Each cut shimmers and sparkles with synth majesty and glistening grooves as the Tust associate explores the true roots of sun-kissed Balearic bliss. "Rise" struts on an insistent synth riff while a web of sub-melodies twinkle in the background, "Goldline" slows things right down and infuses the current LA beat flavours with White Isle charm, "Savannas" is a dubbed out slo-mo stomper while "Balcony Life" closes the show with a tight texture of subtle euphoria. Truly beautiful.
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Given that UK producer Dauwd made his name on the Pictures Music label, it's no surprise to see him graduating to Cologne institution Kompakt, after all both labels have shown an emphasis on melody and emotion in their respective discographies. Dauwd's arrival on Kompakt with Kindlinn comes after an initial appearance last year, remixing COMA's "My Orbit" and the three tracks suggest we really should be demanding more music from the producer! Sumptuous, playful and romantic are a few words that immediately spring to mind as lead track "Lydia" unfurls; the little flourishes of synths as the track draws towards it's close are particularly memorable. The title track shows off a tougher side to Dauwd in terms of groove, though the plangent textures remain intact, whilst "Rain Raker" largely forsakes beats in favour of compositional drama.
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Perspective is a fascinating thing. Being positioned on the other side of the world can make the strangest things seem glamorous. Aussie producer Benny Badge (Freekwency) clearly finds the sound of Walford's E20 nightclub circa 1983 the most amazing thing ever, and frankly, who can blame him? Essex soul boy grooves dripping in glistening white-socks-synths and dry ice beats are the order of the day with highlights including the sleazy grind of "Friend Or Freek", the suggestively-titled "Midnight Rise" and the simply sublime "Just For Two". Dope.
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Dance music is a strange beast: in some quarters it's all about 'avin it large, and in others it's about blokes naming themselves after the people who study the origin and ultimate fate of the universe. Unsurprisingly this EP falls into the latter category, with two diverse tunes to choose from. First up, "Trip 1" is the cosmic disco belter Imagination could have, but never did, get round to making - that Just An Illusion bassline with clackity clack percussion: dancefloor gold basically. Conversely, "Trip 2" takes a flight to Jamaica for some deliciously spaced out cosmic dub.
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Chicago's Bruce Ivery is known for his techy, linear jams on labels like Stilove4music, but he goes a little more conventionally clubby on two new tracks for Street Edits. The feverish "Harlem" is deep and moody house, while "Clap Your Hands" is unashamedly cheerful rolling disco-house. However the highlight here is "Mr Pagani (Impact Mix)" - where an Italo-disco-ish synth riff is looped into a hypnotic acid house mesmeriser.
Exclusives
BELABOUCHE - Belabouche EP (Midnight Riot) - exclusive 05-05-2014
TOMAS MALO/SPACE COAST/ATNARKO/ANDREW CLARKE - Future Lovers EP (Whiskey Disco) - exclusive 31-01-2030
DISCO BOOGIE CLASSICS - Disco Boogie Classics Volume 5 (Giant Cuts) - exclusive 19-05-2014
Exclusives
JOEBLACK feat ROBIN S - Show Me Love (remixes) (Mullet) - exclusive 28-04-2014
KS FRENCH - SoulTrip V3 (French Kiss) - exclusive 24-04-2030
GAZEEBO - Dark Lloyd (Gazeebo International) - exclusive 24-04-2014
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