Alex Barck & Jonatan Backelie - "Don't Hold Back" - (6:33)
Alex Barck & Jonatan Backelie - "Don't Hold Back" (Copy Paste Soul remix) - (6:44)
Re-Set (feat Pete Josef) - (5:28)
Re-set (feat Pete Josef - Hannes Fischer Remix) - (6:14)
Re-set (feat Pete Josef - Marlow Remix) - (7:04)
Alex Barck has achieved a lot over the last two decades - pioneering nu-jazz blends with Jazzanova, helping set up Sonar Kollektiv, a fine album with Christian Prommer - but he's not released many solo records. In fact, his debut solo album, Reunion, is due later in the year. This taster gives a glimpse as to what to expect, a dewy-eyed blend of electronic soul, bruk-influenced deep house and unbridled positivity. The EP's two original tracks are predictably sublime, with Pete Josef collaboration "Re-Set" - an exercise in effortlessly soulful, heavily electronic deep house - just edging out the more obviously anthemic Jonathan Backelie hook-up "Don't Hold Back". Elsewhere, Marlow's deep acid rework of "Re-Set" is also superb.
Having already introduced Venezuelan great Daniel Grau to a wider audience via a brilliant retrospective comp, Sonar Kollektiv have been busy getting contemporary producers to reinterpret his disco-era, jazz-funk gems. The simply titled Reworks boasts 19 re-imaginings of Grau's tracks from an impressive selection of studio talents. Tuff City Kids, Mark E, Max Graef and Debonair deliver suitably sunny deep house tweaks, while there are more reverential takes from Soul Clap (whose jaunty, sun-kissed remix collaboration with Bosq is a highlight), Marcel Vogel, Jacques Renault and Daniel T. Best of all, though, are the soaring disco re-makes from Ray Mang and Danel Wang & Jules Etienne. The latter pairing also deliver a brilliant, electrofunk-influenced "Non Disco" mix of "Disco Fantasy".
Venezuelan high-end disco hero Daniel Grau has been recently rediscovered by Sonar Kollektiv and DJ Trujillo, and this is the third installment in their Reworks remix series. UK disco don Ray Mang makes short work of a rare cover of Grau's "El Leon Bailarian" - a totally amazing burst of trippy disco stardust. Elsewhere the stunning "Tonight" becomes darkly seductive raw Italo in Soul Clap & Bosq's hands, "Atlantis" becomes liquid ecstasy-funk courtesy of Debonair and "Delirio En Fa Menor" is rendered Loveboat-cool by DJ Trujillo & Miguel Molina.
Jazzanova's Sonar Kollektiv label has been fairly quiet of late, so it's nice to see them back with a bang. Here, they offer up the debut full-length from soul singer/songwriter Fetsum, a man who has previously only made guest appearances on a smattering of singles. Fetsum's style is classic soul, his Marvin-meets-Usher vocals soaring above a variety of earnest, organic backdrops. For the most part, the music is positive and life affirming, all warm horns, clipped guitars and long, lazy organ chords. There's the odd musical curveball - trips into reggae, slow jam and instrumental territory - but for the most part it's as slick, heartfelt and soulful as you'd expect.
Born to Eritrean revolutionists, Fetsum embarked on a nomadic existence before settling in Italy where he forged his nascent musical roots. His subsequent exposure to an even bigger variety of international music has resulted in his recent debut album, "The Colour Of Love". This lead track from the LP is a jaunty number that combines his upbeat, melodic sensibilities with plenty of world music flavours.
This Aussie producer has come a long way from his humble nu-disco re-edit beginnings, with his recent acclaimed house tunes leading to this single with the mighty Sonar Kollective. He hasn't let the side down either, coming up with "Never Come Back Down", a smooth and deep, perspiration-soaked smoocher. Leading the remix charge is Yannick's haunting disco-tech "Sexfactmix", followed by Jad's dreamy, Balearic dub of floaty synth-popper "Sometimes Feelings Hurt".
Bavarian purveyors of all things deep and soulful Sonar Kollektiv present more yet quality house music, this time with Jad & The Ladyboy's Sweet Nothing EP. "Sweet Nothing" features the raspy baritone of Borgazzi on this smooth dancefloor oriented number. Things get on a more chilled out R&B tip reminiscent of old Naked Music with "Reach Me" featuring Sarah Reeves lovely vocals. There's also more sublime deepness on "Good Again" featuring Berlin eccentric and Snax Club resident Snax doing some soulful crooning. "Good Again" and "Sweet Nothing" also appear as instrumental versions.