The honour of curating the 44th instalment of Katakana's Edits series has fallen on Disco Funk Spinner, a much respected re-edit guy whose work has appeared on the likes of Midnight Riot, Disco Fruit and Sound Exhibitions. Here though he only manages to provide two jams, but it's quality, not quantity, right? First up we get "Night Strangers" which takes loops from Candi Staton's Bee Gees cover (Nights On Broadway) and adds an accelerated disco house tempo and subtle but funky embellishments. On the digital flip is "On Fire", a clever rework of Peggy Lee's indestructible classic, Fever. Hot stuff!
The clue is in the title here as Brighton-based funk label Jalepeno have rounded up fifteen of the best soul sister cuts from their mighty catalogue. Boasting a mix of old and new, and spanning quite a few different styles too, this compilation couldn't have come soon enough. Some of the many highlights featured include the powerful and bluesy soul-bearing opener, "Reckoning" by Iro FitzRoy, the candy floss tones of Berenice Van Leer on the 80s-tastic "My Mind' Made Up" by Kraak & Smaak and the muscular harmonies of Farina Miss on Featurecast's "Ego Tripping".
Some people have incorrectly dubbed Switzerland as being well, a bit boring. This is nonsense of course, and, with their cheeky mash-up productions, Swiss duo The Niceguys take great delight in proving the haters wrong. The EP's title alone sets the tone - Joy indeed. There are two incendiary party jams featured here - "Pride & Joy" leads the way, taking Marvin Gaye's ode to fatherhood and setting it to a slow trumpet-stab-lead hip-hop groove. Providing a contemporary foil to the latter, "Get Up" sees classic Nate Dogg (and Eve!) set to a lively electro-house backbone. Feel the party joy!
Having cut his teeth on Tru Thoughts, veteran soulful beatmaker Diesler moves on to pastures new with his 5th long player, Sounds Familiar, on A Little Something Recordings. Don't worry though, the clue's in title with the album boasting 12 nu-funk jams that are just as good as the old stuff. Highlights here include the deep and percussive future-soul vibes of "Human When You Dance", the very topical and tropical electronic baile funk of "Gold In Rio" and the rolling bass boogie locomotive "Soho To Brighton". This time round familiarity breeds content(ment).
Brian Auger, is the most famous musician you've never heard of. The Londoner has been sampled by Mos Def, Common and Air. Last year's first instalment of this anthology gained a large, new audience for Auger, with tours and media appearances aplenty. Now Volume 2 collects remastered classics from his 50-year career, but also rare and previously unreleased material. Highlights include sizzling jazz piano tracks ("Poinciana", "Work Song"), rare Hammond organ/big band versions of jazz standards as well as appearances by the likes of Julie Driscoll, Mike Clark and Paul Jackson (Headhunters) and Alex Ligertwood (Oblivion Express). Breathtaking.
Fruit's delicious disco flavours keep blossoming. It started with an unearthed and unreleased album that finally saw the light of day after almost 40 years this spring. Now on this one, we return to their only big single of the time (and most well known) "If You Feel It Say Yeah" but with a previously unreleased 12" that's been extended in all the right places. The evergreen B-side "Say It" plays the perfect foil with its ballroom disco soul dynamic. Apparently there's another unearthed single to come too. Tasty.
Unabashedly gritty, Smoove & Turrell are a Geordie soul act that combine hard hitting social commentary with dancefloor busying old-skool style soul and funk. Their much-awaited fourth album, Crown Posada, is due shortly and to whet our appetites they've unleashed this teaser track. "Glue Bag Flags" is a raucous calling card with a flurry of Al Green-style vocals set to a furious Motown/Stax-style stomp. Can't wait for the long player!
Promising to 'explore the inner self and transcend stylistic borders', Ghana born 'singer, songwriter, producer, designer, musician and cinematographer Myles Sanko' is about to deliver his third long player, Just Being Me. That's quite a feat when you consider his lofty renaissance man qualities - where does he find the time? The first taster of his recent album sessions is now here with the title track display a mature self-acceptance set to a strong Philly soul-style orchestrated live backing. "Promises" is more playful, with shuffley drums, sassy brass and a socially conscientious vocal. A strong return indeed.