In honour of the 15th birthday of his acclaimed weekly radio show, Beats In Space, Tim Sweeney has decided to have a bit of a mix-up. This isn't any-old mix-up, though. While the second disc of this excellent collection focuses on Beats In Space classics - gathering together familiar favourites from Justin Van Der Volgen, Rocha, Tensnaske and Naum Gabo, amongst others - it's the first disc that shines. It features a thrillingly eclectic and party-friendly mix almost entirely made up of previously unreleased material. Given Sweeney's credentials, it's perhaps no surprise to find some real gems here, including some boogie revivalism from Azari & III, a guttural rework of Edwin Starr by Eric Duncan, and the wide-eyed rave revivalism of Junior Fairplay.
Veteran Timewarp producer Leon is back with mini-album School Of Groove, which he considers to be his most musical and conceptual album so far. Taking in a wide breadth of influences taking in jazz, '70s neo soul and cinematic arrangements. Highlights include the sleek, jazzy lounge-house of "House Space", the string-laden disco of "We Just Can't Get Enough" and the title track's raw, retro block-rockin' funk.
Keeping the heat on from their recent second album, Que Chevere, Ray Lugo & The Boogaloo Destroyers release a digital double A-side from said long player. The record continued to successfully fuse dancefloor styles such as soul, funk, rhythm and blues, samba and mambo, and none more than on the anthemic brassy title track featured here. Also "La Tumba De Fu Manchu" reappears this time remixed into a meandering percussive organ jam by none other than Mr Battery himself.
Once again the compilation master, Strictly Breaks, is back with another collection of often-sampled tunes, providing both delight for sample-spotters and fans of eclectic collections alike. Here Strictly Breaks Vol 7 features a wide range of thoroughly enjoyable tunes - from the camp musical shenanigans of 'Hard Knock Life" from Annie to Ramon Harris' cool jazz joint "Don't Ask Me" via Steve Arrington's sleazy funk jam "Weak At The Knees" and Diana Ross' bonkers orchestrated meltdown "My Hero Is A Gun" (yes it's really called that).
We must admit, we've come across all kinds of funk in our time but we've yet to encounter "super hot deep funk". However, that's how this two-tracker has been described and who are we to argue? Originally released in super-limited quantities back in 1977 by legendary northern soul label Dove Records, "Freedom" and "Think It Over" by Early Clover & The Georgia Soul Drifters, are rare as hen's teeth. Recorded at Phil and Alan Walden's Capricorn Studios and produced by Tad Bush, these anthems have now thankfully been given a new lease of life by Record Kicks.
British-Ghanaian audio artist Larry Achiampong recently released Meh Mogya, a work that sonically traces his heritage. The resulting 21-track LP incorporated samples of Afrobeat/Highlife music (courtesy of researcher John Collins) into an amalgamation of moments of the former Gold Coast's colonial rule and its subsequent independence. Now he re-releases More Mogya that expands on the original album and theme, giving a further insight into this often overlooked period of the region's musical and political heritage.