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Reviewed this week
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".
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.
Alphabets Heaven is the sort of sound you're looking for when all other electronica and leftfield music seems to be weighing heavy, or just not offering that little bit extra juice. This new extended EP - or LP - on WoNot Music is the perfect companion to a lazy stroll along the canal, a buzzing chat around the fire, or even a little wayward dance; each tune offers something deep and mystical, where regurgitated formulas are replaced in favour fresh and zesty electronic rhythms that go from balearic (check "Mogwai") to the more dark and spectral. It's a little creative feast for anyone looking to add some spice and fervour to their meditation.
Brand new to Circus, LA fusionist Cyran gets busy with his biggest release to date. A proper melting pot of ideas, genres and sounds, if you can find a stone that's not been unturned you're a more scrupulous listener than us.... From the Indian trap bangs of "Vibin'" to the cosmic chuggy slaps of "Work", there's a fresh exciting sound to Cyran that nods respectfully at Circus's roots while taking the increasingly open-armed label into the future.
Cos BV's Sunset EP boasts four tracks that seem to be culled from the soundtrack to a long lost 80s movie. Opener "Rock To The Rhythm" is a pumped up sun-kissed synth disco argument between an over distorted kick drum and super cheery keyboard riffs, "Palms Sway In The Evening Breeze" is indeed a breezy mellow jam with shimmering Fender Rhodes ripples, swimming pool synths and atmospherics galore. "Sundown" is an edgier cut full of 808s and an air of mistrust (the drug deal scene basically) and "Speed Dial" is a menagerie of twisted and broken old soul loops. Badass!
Panorama Bar resident and Ostgut Ton mainstay Virginia is back with a full length. Whether she's lending her fine vocal talents to homegirl Steffi (who co-produced the album with fellow Dutch legends Dexter and Martyn) like she did on her Power of Anonymity album a couple of years ago on the fabulous "Yours", or getting behind the console herself to pump some sweet grooves; she sure is versatile. Fierce For The Night is a fitting title, the dozen or so tracks on here are the perfect soundtrack to a long night and morning experiencing her acclaimed residency and all inspired by the classic and timeless sounds of Chicago and NYC. Highlights include the sultry dancefloor drama of the mighty opener "Bally Linny", the Chaka Chan inspired boogie playground that is "Obstacle", the emotional and bittersweet slow-mo pop of "Believe In Time" or the high octane dancefloor bomb that is "Raverd"
You could say that 18+ have been one of the best finds from the Houndstooth lot. You could also say that the LA-based duo are the ones truly shaping the leftfield field of the label's catalogue, which is packed with more concrete shades of house or techno elsewhere. Their releases for the label have been magnificent, and this latest album, Collect, might just be some o father best work. Labelled as 'bass', the LP is actually more on the neo R&B side of things, using powerful swings of bass as its main ingredient. the duo's vocals ride high and mighty over the rickety percussion and kicks, but there's also plenty of more tranquil moments in between the storms. All in all, a warmly recommended piece of work, and one that is likely to appeal to fans of Hype Williams.
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Wax N Soul Germany
Eighteenth Street Lounge Music US
New State
Music For Dreams US