Pow! Benny Page gives 2023 one last kick in the ghoulies with his second album Run For Cover. Following 2018s P.U.R.P.L.E, which was fully led by Sweetie Irie, this LP also celebrates the vocal aspect of jungle and system music with an insane roll call of MC crème dela crème. Spyda, Tenor Fly (RIP), Devilman, Doktor, Bellyman, Eva Lazarus and MC Sye are just some of the mic handlers as Benny bubbles and flexes us through his signature bouncy jungle sound. Highlights include Tenor cutting through the cowbells on 'Rude Boy Sound' and Evie Rose's haunting tones on 'Life Lessons'. Keep this covered!
Katakana regular DJ Laurel returns with his latest contribution to the long-running series. First onto the re-editor's table for surgical rearrangement this time around is the mighty James Brown himself, whose 'It's Too Funky In Here' from 1979 gets reinvented as 'Too Funky'. Next comes 'Melo Do Tagarelo', which bites the 1980 Miele cut of (nearly) the same name - widely regarded as the first hiphop record ever made in Brazil - that married the Sugarhill Gang to exuberant Latin brass, before the EP's completed by 'Maryline', Laurel's take on Christian Gaubert's 1979 French jazz-funk gem 'Sweet Maryline'.
Five years on from the release of their debut (and so far only) long-player 'A Cosmic Jazz Funk Adventure', Motor City trio Detroit Rising hand over four of the album's tracks to the great and the good of the broken beat, nu-jazz and deep house scenes for remixing: stand up Jimpster, Kaidi Tatham and Co-Op veteran Evm128. It's Jimpster's remix of 'Rocket Love' that takes the gold for this reviewer thanks to its very Snoop-like rap vocal, but bruk beat lovers will fiend for Tatham and Ewm128's rubs of 'Our World' and 'Gorgeous' (respectively) while Tatham's take on 'Peace & Harmony' should find favour on the jazz-dance floors.
A bit of a legend: Harry Romero makes a triumphant return to Crosstown Rebels, teaming up with the talented vocalist Shyam P for Mind Games. With a career spanning two decades, Romero's expertise in Latin-inspired and percussive-driven NY house music is on full display. "Mind Games" itself is a dynamic journey, seamlessly blending a slick and heady groove with Shyam P's captivating vocals, creating an infectious and vibrant house cut. The EP also features the classic Romero touch in "Mira," a bustling terrace number with crisp organic percussion, carnival-esque whistles, and hooky Latin vocals, while "Analog Bugz" rounds off the release with a no-nonsense, main room-ready builder characterised by crisp drum shots and sharp stabs. A touch of tribal, a touch of something techier - and all that Romero jazz.
John Digweed presents Futuro: a 25-track compilation celebrating 25 years of his hugely influential Bedrock label (established in 1999). Taking in the likes of Bushwacka with tracks like "Lectrobee" to the "Bleu Cobalt" studio collaboration between Digweed, Nick Muir, and Captain Mustache - other notables here include label legends and associates like Marco Bailey, David Morales and Rodriguez Jr. Replete with uplifting melodies, pulsating rhythms and progressive hose suggestions, there's extra slices of techno from Raxon, next to select cuts by Sasha Carassi, Lost Desert, and Weska all the more. Bedrock's best.
In a world awash with endless re-edits from the "stick a 4/4 kick under it and go to the pub" school of thought, it's always nice to come across a producer who takes a slightly more original and inventive approach to plundering the back catalogues of others. Step up Stockholm native Ture Sjöberg, AKA Beatconductor, who here delivers an album-length EP packed with re-edits and mash-ups that do just that. Putting Adele's 'Rolling In The Deep' vocal on top of chunks of Survivor's 'Eye Of The Tiger', for instance, really shouldn't work on paper, but when coming out of your speakers it most certainly does! Elsewhere you'll hear bits of The Eurythmics (several times), Sister Sledge, Earth Wind & Fire, Yazoo, The O'Jays, Mariah Carey, Christopher Cross, Post Malone and more, all shaken AND stirred into something new and interesting... worth checking for sure.
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