Review: JD Twitch seems to have an obsession with Italian music; amazingly, four of the first eight releases on the excellent - and typically hard to pin down - Optimo Trax imprint have come from Italian bands and producers. This second EP from Milanese twosome Boot & Trax fits into that category. It's as stylish and - on occasions - dark as you'd perhaps expect, variously being influenced by '80s industrial, fizzing post-punk, chugging Chicago house and strobelight electronica. There's naturally much to enjoy, from the hypnotic, left-of-centre Italian house revivalism of "Il Canto" and fuzzy "Ochhi Blu", to the energetic, darkwave-meets-punk funk rush of the irrepressible title track.
Review: Boot & Tax have been members of the Optimo Music family since 2013, releasing a pair of well-regarded 12" singles on the offshoot Optimo Trax imprint. While those were formidably dancefloor focused, this eponymous debut set offers them a chance to flex their artistic muscles in a range of styles. For the most part, it's a surprisingly humid set, with the Italian duo variously doffing their cap to indie-dance, post-punk, dub and new beat, with occasional bluegrass and psychedelic flourishes. It's a formula that guarantees mixed results, at least aesthetically. For all the genre shifts, the quality threshold rarely drops from "excellent" throughout.
Review: Dubbed a pair of Milanese maestros, Boot & Trax are a back with their first release of the year - just as it ends! There are four tracks, divided into two contrasting 'sides' that reveal the junction where EBM and disco meet. Opener "Baia Del Ritmo" is a raucous but slow roller that adds layer upon layer of sampled disco chants to form a hypnotic mantra, whilst EP highlight "Sintessi Bassa" is a sleazy excursion into pulsating sweaty darkroom electro/new beat. "La Routa" meanwhile is a quirky Italo-dub hybrid and closer "Maranzana" is a beguiling cosmic glam-rock lullaby.
Review: Inspired by Italy's rich history of re-imagining American funk, soul, disco, boogie and jazz-funk, Soul Clap's latest compilation offers up ten tasty cuts from contemporary Italian producers who draw heavily on this heritage. There's plenty to set the pulse racing throughout, from the throbbing boogie-house badness of "Machete" by Tigver & Woods, and the high-octane experimental electronic Afro-jazz of Boot & Trax, to the chiming dub disco of DJ Rocca, the spaced-out cosmic funk/nu-disco fusion of Funk Rimini's "Don't Smoke" and the rich, treacly, techno-tempo deep house brilliance of Deep88's dream house tribute, "SP1200". Throw in further fine cuts from Lele Saachi, Memoryman and Jolly Mare (the 21st century P-funk/cosmic disco fusion of "Dribbling") and you have a certifiably excellent collection of cuts.