Fingerman's Hot Digits imprint has packed in a lot of releases over the past 12 months, as this expansive roundup of the label's second year in business proves. Featuring 27 tracks and a bonus mix by the South Coast dwelling label boss, there's naturally plenty to admire. Highlights include, but are not limited to, the rolling, head-nodding grooves of Eyeco M's "Keeping It To Myself", the killer proto-house throb of "Tonight" by Bad Barbie vs Evil Smarty, the sexy, string-drenched disco loveliness of P-Sol's "Can't You See", LTJ's trumpet-boasting funk bumper "Fat Thing", and the hard-wired, bass-heavy rework of Julia & Company's "Breakin' Down (Sugar Samba)" by Melon Bomb. It is, though, all pretty darn hot.
On his previous Midnight Riot releases, Joutro Mundo has always included a number of scorching reworks of Brazilian disco and boogie faves. Now, the fast-rising producer has gone one step further, serving up an entire album's worth of humid, summery reworks of authentic Brazilian fare. While a handful have previously seen the light of day elsewhere (see "Boogie Do Central" in particular), there's plenty of previously unheard revisions to get the juices flowing. Highlights include the synth bass, jaunty horns and party vibes of "Tropical Affair", the Leroy Burgess-goes-to-Rio boogie flex of "Morena", and the densely percussive, Clavinet-driven sweatiness of "Combo Funk". Oh, and a fine rework of an obscure Brazilian cover of Paul McCartney's "Coming Up" ("Paul In Rio").
Munich-based twosome Coeo are probably best known for their various house excursions on Toy Tonics and Let's Play House. This time out, they're in a more disco-minded mood, delivering a killer re-interpretation of Escort's 2006 classic "Starlight" for Brooklyn scalpel specialists Razor 'N' Tape. Wisely, they tease out the Brooklyn band's killer groove - think Chic style guitar riffs and Konk drums - for two minutes before introducing the track's famous synth lines. By the time the vocals kick in, you'll be in full on "reaching for the lasers" mode. While the original didn't necessarily need messing with, the duo's edit turns it into an even bigger anthem. Hold tight!
For their latest stroll into melodious deep house pastures, Parisian imprint Beat X Changers has recruited two up-and-coming talents: fellow City of Love resident Milan Tell Daudin, and one-time Euro-dance vocalist Clara Moroni, AKA Name. Daudin is first into bat, serving up to wonderfully loose, warm, rich and evocative deep house numbers, full of tactile pads, hazy melodies and shuffling beats. Arguably the stronger of the two cuts, "In The Sky", is given a deep and jazzy broken beat revision by Pulkone Reversherb. As for Moroni, she dishes up an ultra-deep chunk of Motor City house ("Back Together Again"), before reaching for the funk samples and disco basslines on the hustlin' "Untitled". Neu Grafik's IG Culture style rework of "Back Together Again" completes a fine package.
While much of Frank Cueto and Russell Belicek's work as Feel Good Alliance is aimed squarely at the dancefloor, there's something extra full-throttle about their occasional Peaktime Reworks. This second volume in the series is every bit as essential as its' predecessor, with the veteran production duo opening the EP with a killer rework of a psychedelic rock era funk gem ("Working"). They move further towards disco dancefloors on "Finally", which smartly combines clipped guitars, sweeping strings and flares-sporting grooves, with the vocal from Ce Ce Peniston's house classic of the same name. Proceedings are drawn to a close with the similarly inclined "Now That We Found", which turns a well-known Third World classic into a tropical disco sing-along.
The words 'Chicago' and 'house' come to mind with this new Trax series by Audaz boss Alkalino. There's little trace of his disco influence here as he presents four tracks that could have been made in the windy city in about 1987. "Pull Me Through" begins the EP with some deep, touchy feely, soulful house goodness before the pounding snares and atonal electronics of sweaty basement anthem "Much love" arrive. Next we take a detour with the ABBA-sampling hiNRG jam "Rollercoaster 3000" before "Treat Me Right" wraps things up with some darkly sensual punky funk.
Miami's KnG Edits can usually be found in a tug of war between labels FKR and Rebel Hearts. Here on Hot Cuts they win out to the latter, re-tweaking three vintage jams. The legendary Al Green is first up on the slab, with his Here I Am (Come and Take Me), chopped, spliced and filtered into the sleek five minute groove-athon "Green Soul", next "Fool Memories" is an emotional and dramatic disco gem that features strong female voices and heavy orchestration, and lastly "Hot Dancin" is a delicious duel between some seriously killer guitar licks and elastic basslines.
The 23rd release on Daniel Solar's Dikso imprint comes from rising talent Freiboitar. The Cologne-based producer has previously contented himself with making straight-up house, but here showcases his skills with a bunch of disco samples, a set of filters, and some groovy house rhythms. There's plenty to enjoy throughout, from the loved-up positivity of "Harlem Streets", where filtered vocal hooks and horn lines cluster around a sun-kissed disco groove, to the heavyweight, low slung hustle of peak-time scorcher "Dear Mom". Eyes-closed, filter-disco shuffler "Call The Cops" also gets remixed by Chris Caspar and Jean Philips, who cannily emphasize the track's in-built positivity.
Scalpel-wielding re-edit freak Mike Woods first caught our attention earlier this year, with a fine debut EP on Danny Worrall's Masterworks Music label. Here he transfers to Disco Fruit, another solid source of disco, funk and boogie reworks. Woods goes in hard from the start, with the title track delivering a surging heavy funk/disco-house fusion built around spiraling horn lines, urgent guitars and whispered vocals. "Do You Like It" is a metronomic disco-funk rework, while "Steel" benefits greatly from a sumptuous mix of winding saxophone lines, dreamy vocal harmonies sharp violins and swirling orchestration. Finally, he drops the tempo on "Get Up Clap Your Hands", a smart rearrangement of Gwen McRae classic "Funky Sensation".
Having recently delivered a killer 12" with P-funk legend Bootsy Collins, Hifi Sean joins forces with Las Vegas-based New Yorker Peter Shalvoy on Midnight Riot. The experienced twosome delivers a quartet of floor-friendly cuts that gleefully blur the boundaries between disco re-edits, loopy disco-house, and the kind of sample-heavy, cut-up dancefloor fare championed by Tiger & Woods. Our pick of the bunch is probably the slo-mo disco-funk sleaze of "Femme", with the similarly dubby, low-slung and trippy "Kids" (a significantly scrambled rework of a familiar classic) not far behind. Those seeking more up-tempo, peak-time thrills should check the Italo disco-tinged throb of "Soviet", or the hypnotic dancefloor pressure of "Darling".
Juicy Fruit is a famous early 80s soul jam by Mtume. It is also the title of the forthcoming album by Dutch trio Kraak & Smaak. Lifted from the LP, "Toxic Love Affair", sees the trio revisit the boy/girl dynamics and the luxuriant synths of the Mtume track. Mere copyists Kraak & Smaak are not however, and although evoking the 80s soul era, this track operates on its own merit. The song features a sultry duet between Ivar & Sanguita over an expertly produced, dreamy slice of chrome plated electro soul. Absolutely essential.
Prolific producer Alien Disco Sugar (AKA London-based Greek DJ Leonidas) drops his seventh digital-only EP of 2016, and the fourth in his ongoing Bootleg series. Predictably, he aims for peak-time dancefloors from the off, effortlessly turning a Logg style, synth-heavy early '80s disco classic into a bouncy, instrumental disco-house bomb. There are two versions of the stomping disco number "FunTime"; the "Sunny Mix" rolls out the full vocal from his original source material, while the superior "Stars Mix" focuses more on the rubbery slap bass, sparkling pianos and razor-sharp guitars. The epic, string-and-flute drenched "Who Is He To You" completes another typically tasty package.
Last Bongo In Paris is a collaboration between respected Parisian breakdance/battle DJ Cleon and producer pal, Jazzy Pidjay. Here they follow up their killer Odyssey re-edit Battened Ships with a sizzling five track EP of less well known Brazilian and Latin jams. Lead track "Bahia Swing" is a sashaying, xylophone-led 70s cocktail party classic that erupts into one almighty percussion break in the middle. Elsewhere "Ritmo Loco" is a lo-fi flute funk anthem, "Jurumba" is ripe with jazzy favela flavours and "Wild Cypher Time" veers into 70s cop show territory. Finally "Hip Hop Airport", is a groovy acoustic beat instrumental.
Having previously released Orange, Blue, Green and Pink "collections", Eskimo Recordings continues its' colour-coordinated theme with a Yellow compilation. As usual, the collection draws on material from both established names and lesser-known talents, and does a bang-up job joining the dots between hazy Balearic pop, nu-disco, indie-dance and colourful, soft-focus house. While it's all of a high standard, we're particularly enjoying the sparkling dub disco-goes-Balearic flex of Satin Jackets' dub of Du Tonc's "We Can Hold On", the trippy analogue bump of Man Power's "Fisky", the splendid rush of Luxury's baggy disco groover "Breathe", and the camp, Italo-disco thrust of "El Wild" by the brilliantly named Zombies In Miami.
There is a quote on his Soundcloud which declares "'Kasper Bjorke definitely makes art. Each production feels assured with the Scandinavian impacting a genuine sense of the cerebral into his music" and we can definitely agree with such sentiment. On his new track "Cloud 9" he takes us on a journey through the use of deep and emotive electro groove, much like Visionia or Dorisburg have of late, but with the addition of Urdur's talents on the vocal version.. which is just electric! There's some great remixes: Correspondent alumnus Marvin & Guy give the track a deep and dreamy journey vibe, like they only can, on their dub remix. Weval turns in a wicked dub too, but his goes well deeper and those Rhodes keys are a very nice touch.
Given the success of Faze Action's first trawl through the more sun-kissed sections of their vast back catalogue, it's little surprise to see the Lee brothers deliver a second volume. As with its predecessor, To The Sunset & Beyond shuffles around stylistically, taking in lilting Brazilian flavours (1999 single "Samba", the folksy "Struck"), Afro-influenced electrofunk (recent Zeke Manyika collaborations "Got To Find A Way" and "To Love Is To Grow"), dub disco (the Boogie Central mix of "Danae's Journey"), and, of course, plenty of cello-laden treats (a rare alternative version of "Moving Cities", the wonderful, Arthur Russell-ish "Venus & Mars"). In other words, it's a deliciously summery collection of tried-and-tested tracks. Recommended.
Re-edit maestro Inxxxwel arrives with the first of presumably many Dancefloor Meditations. Not that he's crossing legs and chanting 'ommm' any time soon, nope he's opted to deliver four sparkly disco re-cuts that truly span whole worlds of style and taste. "Check It Out" is an intriguing slice of murky lo-fi Afro disco that sounds like a special eighth gen cassette secret that's been covertly passed into your hands. Elsewhere we get the raw Japanese punk-funk-pop of "I See You", it's all about disfigured 90s RnB on "Make Me" and finally the bright and shiny boogie stomp of "Old Fashioned".
Rather surprisingly, this is File Under Disco's first release of 2016. Happily, it's a bit of a doozy, with Brooklyn's J Kriv gathering together The Disco Machine band for the first time since 2013's much-played "Make It Hot". Escort's Adeline Michele guests, adding strong, catchy and attractive vocals to an authentic NYC disco bomb built around a Chic style groove, fluid synths, crunchy Clavinet lines and cowbell-heavy percussion. The authenticity of J Kriv's production is highlighted on the accompanying Instrumental, while old pal Dicky Trisco does his best Walter Gibbons impression on a near 11-minute remix that allows each instrumental part room to breathe.
For the first time in just over six months, Brooklyn's premier disco fiddler returns to Royal Soul. This time round, his swag bag is full to bursting with a quintet of tidy, soul-flecked revisions. While it's all of a high standard - we'd expect nothing less - there are three tracks that are really floating our metaphorical boat. There's the sweet, rolling, delay-laden disco-soul shuffle of "One Of A Kind", the metronomic, house-flavoured twinkle of "All Wrong" (think swirling strings, hazy trumpets and party atmosphere), and the bongo-laden bounce of "Relax Your Mind". This latter scorcher boasts a bassline not too dissimilar to "Ain't No Stopping Us Now", handclap-heavy house beats, baggy piano riffs and urgent vocal samples.
Richard Somerville and Craig Wilson are regular collaborators, and have previously released well-regarded EPs on Funk Me Recordings and, more notably, Danny Was A Drag Queen. This outing on Tici Taci marks their first collaborative outing in nearly three years. They begin with the nine-minute shuffle of "Red Wasps", where undulating, surprisingly druggy synth lines mingle with New Order guitars and cosmic chord sweeps, over a chugging, mid-tempo rhythm. The vintage '90s indie-dance influences become even more apparent on the accompanying "Red Wasps" remix, which features vocals from Future Bones man Romin. Bonus cut "Slippery As Sin" sees the duo sprint towards darker territory, casually welding together new wave, EBM, acid house and Italo-disco influences.