Review: Don't sleep on this much-hyped, disco-flavoured EP from F-Comm veteran Ludovic Llorca, who's been operating as Art Of Tones since 2005 and who's using this EP to launch his brand new PALP label. Llorca himself has said he sees 'Brotherhood' as "an intro track, something more musical," and certainly its mid-paced funk chug and 70s-style chanted vocal are more 'palette cleanser' or 'scene-setter' than 'surefire floor-filler' - when it's time time strut your funky stuff then 'All Night' is the one with its earthy female vocal, chicken scratch guitar and "everybody!" shouts, while Scruscru's remix takes us into wonkier, jazzier territory.
Review: This rather fine EP delivers more multi-artist excitement from De La Groove, a label whose compilation-style EPs have become 'must check' affairs of late. It boasts impressive contributions from some genuine scene stars, including Italian deep house legend Don Carlos - see the wonderfully loved-up, retro-futurist colour of 'Kissin' (Club Mix) - and Art of Tones, whose 'Freaky Music' is a trippy, bumpin' and disco-tinged peak-time treat. The fun doesn't stop there though, with further must-check gems being provided by Good Vibrations Music chief Sean McCabe (the deep house/jazz-funk fusion of 'Take It On Up'), Reelsoul (the sumptuous, solo-heavy wonder that is 'Sunset') and XXXY (the deep disco-house shuffle of 'Eroma').
Review: To mark 15 years of the Lazy Days Recordings label he established with Mike Fresco in 2005, Canadian deep house legend Fred Everything has decided to release a trilogy of celebratory compilations, each of which focuses on a specific five-year block. This one celebrates the best material released on the label over the last five years (2015-2020), delivering thrills by the barrowload. Everyone will have their own highlights, but our picks of an extremely strong bunch include the early Larry Heard style warmth of Lance DiSardi's 'Field Recording', the early morning shuffle of Fred Everything's 'Someone Like You', the rushing piano house revival of Fred Everything and Shur-I-Kan's glassy-eyed 'Until Then', and the glacial, tech-tinged goodness of Martin Iveson's 'Leave Me Here'.
Review: Over the years, Local Talk bosses Mad Mats and Tooli have proved to be shrewd operators when it comes to commissioning remixes. As a result, the label's vaults are full of killer re-rubs, as this fourth collection of reworked highlights proves. Beginning with an inspired Ron Trent jazz-dance revision of Kyoto Jazz Sextet's 'Rising', the set smoothly moves between life-affirming, musically rich Latin house (Anthony Nicholson reworking DASCO), jazz-funk flavoured 4/4 smoothness (Kaidi Tatham tweaking Coflo), soul-fired organic house jazziness (Waajeed remixing Crackazat), analogue-rich late might hypnotism (a show-stopping Jamie 3:26 re-wire of Soulphiction) and sunset-ready tropical house (TRinidadiandeep's inspired re-frame of DASCO's 'African Power').
Review: It would be fair to say that Ludovic Lllorca rarely fails to deliver the goods, especially when operating under the now familiar Art of Tones alias. His latest missive on Lazy Days offers further supporting evidence of this theory. He opens with two versions of squelchy, synth-laden deep house cut "Thunder": a chunky "Original Mix" built around undulating acid bass, sparkling electronic motifs, chunky drums and effects-laden vocal snippets, and a tougher dub that features even more of the ear-catching bassline and sweaty, swinging percussion. "Secousse" is a much more jaunty, bouncy and bumping affair, with the veteran French producer once again making great use of colourful synths and electronic bass. Fred Everything gives the track a far deeper, late-night hue on his warm and woozy accompanying remix.
Review: Although French veteran Ludovic Llorca has previously provided remixes for Z Records, "Flower Child" marks the first time one of his original productions has appeared on Dave Lee's long-serving label. While there are naturally some subtle nods towards Llorca's classic house sound in the track, it's little less than a flash-fried chunk of disco revivalism that brilliantly wraps period instrumentation - crunchy Clavinets, funk-rock style guitar licks, slap bass and sweeping strings - and a soulful lead vocal around live-sounding beats that are guaranteed to get you up and dancing. It's accompanied by a similarly impressive instrumental version, which wile a little less impactful is nevertheless a genuine aural treat.
Review: Local Talk's periodic round-up of classic cuts from the label's bulging back catalogue returns for an eighth time, with imprint founders Mad Mats and Tooli gathering together a predictably fine selection of tracks. Most bases are covered - house-wise, at least - from trumpet-laden Afro-house brilliance (Dasco's "African Power"), and ultra-soulful, Atjazz-esque broken house deepness (Wipe The Needle's super-smooth "Enchanted"), to "French Kiss"-inspired house hypnotism (Soulphiction's "Believe"), 21st century jazz-funk/deep house fusion (Crackazat's fine rework of Art of Tones' "The Rainbow Song") and ultra-deep, Nina Simone-sampling dancefloor bliss (Emvee's "Brotherman"). In a word: essential.
Review: As the title makes perfectly clear, the latest compilation from Mike Fresco and Fred Everything's Lazy Days Recordings label offers up a wealth of new and old reworks from the imprint's sizable vaults. Fred Everything is naturally prominent throughout both as remixer - see the distinctive takes on cuts by OJPB (a sun-flecked Afro-house revision of "Bridgetown's Pyramid") and Art of Tones (a lushly deep and dreamy remix of "Koniokola") - and original artist (check Sphiwe Caz-Miz's deep, dusty and woozy tweak of "Searching" and Ian Pooley's bright and breezy revision of "Silverlight"). Elsewhere Jimpster steals the show with a superb version of Martin Iveson's "Leave Me Here", Hot Toddy gets discofied on his LLorca remix and the Revenge weighs in with a jaunty, synth-heavy house rework of Art of Tones' "Unstopped").
Review: With such a star-studded line-up of old and new talent involved, it's little surprise to find that De La Groove's latest multi-artist EP is seriously good. Check first the breezy and soulful US garage revivalism of Art of Tones' impeccable "So Sweet", before turning to the slightly more UK garage influenced "A Quiet Love" by Scott Diaz, a track that somehow manages to be both deliciously bouncy and seductively soulful. Elsewhere, Cody Currie's "As of Yet (featuring Joel Holmes)" is a vibraphone and Rhodes-heavy chunk of deep house dreaminess, Pontchartrain's "Don't Change Up" is a loopy slab of bespoke disco-house and Goddard's "Almasti" sounds like a nu-disco era riff on Pepe Bradock deep house classic "Deep Burnt".
Review: The latest volume in Local Talk's occasional reworks series comes from label regular Crackazat, who duly serves up a fine collection of mostly fresh remixes of back catalogue tracks. There's naturally much to admire throughout, from the rubbery electrofunk bass, drowsy piano riffs and cut-up vocal samples of the producer's revision of Art of Tones classic "The Rainbow Song" and a sparkling, riff-driven peak-time tweak of HNNY's loved-up "Tears", to wonderfully retro-futurist reworks of Deymare's "1990" and "Unconditional" by Terrence Parker, a re-imagining that's the epitome of feelgood deep house. Throw in a string of slightly jazzier revisions and you have a rock solid collection of cuts.
Review: Mad Mats' Swedish label release their seventh annual label compilation, and suffice to say that whatever particular sub-shade of deep house floats your boat, you're unlikely to come away unsatisfied here. Like it soulful? Then check for Trevor Lawrence Jr's 'Tiptoe'. Like it jazzy? Try Prequel's 'Lefty'. Fiending for those old skool Jersey organ jams? Jamie 326 & Masalo's 'Red Light' will thrill you. Or if it's stripped-back 3am tracky shizzle you're after, allow us to point you in the direction of First Floor's 'You Dubn't Know', with its throbbing bass and hauntingly familiar vocal sample. Now you're talking!
Review: Although Ludovic Llorca has released albums under his other production aliases (the most recent being 2017's jazz-funk set "The Garden" under his longest-running pseudonym, Llorca), "Unbalanced" marks his first full-length outing as Art of Tones - some 13 years after he launched the project on 20:20 Vision. It's naturally a wonderfully warm and positive set, with the veteran French producer making great use of dusty jazz, soul, funk and disco samples throughout. There's plenty of breezy, feel good club tracks to be found dotted throughout - see "Keep On Having Fun", the electric piano-fired drive of "Where One Is", the hypnotic "Grow" and classic gospel deep house of "Grow", for starters - alongside a handful of hazier downtempo cuts that recall the early days of his production career in the mid 1990s.
Review: "Where The One Is", the lead cut from Art of Tones' latest Local Talk release, sounds like a peak-time anthem in the making. Seemingly crafted using a mixture of cut-up Philadelphia soul samples, jammed-out new disco instrumentation and jazzy, ambidextrous house beats, it feels a little like a tooled-up, slightly more low-slung version of Blackjoy classic "Moustache". You'll find more low-slung, disco-fired, Clavinet-sporting heaviness where "Double Wheelin" provides further guaranteed peak-time pressure. As for "Reprise Du Fonk", it appears to be a quick-fire dub of "Where The One Is" featuring even more elastic bass guitar, jazz-wise guitar licks and life-affirming electro piano solos.
Review: Given Ludovic Llorca's vast experience and hugely impressive track record (not just as Art of Tones, but also under a variety of other aliases), we now expect each successive release to hit the mark. Predictably, this single-track salvo does just that. While rooted in warm, swinging, feel-good 1990s U.S deep house - a sound he has mined extensively in recent years - "Gimme Some More" also includes the kind of jazzy flourishes and toasty instrumentation that was first heard on his first F Communications release, "Can't Take It", way back in 1997. While that particular EP was packed with St Germain style deep jazz-house, "Gimme Some More" is a far more up-front affair, with sampled vocal refrains ratcheting up the track's shoulder-swinging dancefloor intensity.
Review: This two-tracker from Local Talk - originally released in limited numbers on vinyl - appears to be the result of some smart thinking on behalf of the Swedish label. It sees ordained minister and all-round Detroit house and techno legend Terrence Parker put his slant on two of the most gospel-influenced cuts in the imprint's sizeable back catalogue. Parker first works his magic on Jamie 326 and Masalo's "Testify", serving up a bouncy, all-action peak-time house rub full of crunchy Clavinet lines, bold piano riffs, heavy organ stabs and inspiring gospel vocal snippets. Arguably even better is the Detroiter's interpretation of Art of Tones' "I Just", which looks to classic piano house for inspiration with predictably fine results.