Review: Previously found on compilations, here re-edit hero DJ Laurel, makes a solo debut on the mighty Chopshop. First up is the title track and suffice to say it takes a well loved 70s classic and goes back, Jack, and does it again...with a beefy back beat for good measure. Next, "Falses Faces", is more obscure, but just as effective with a tight, thumping funk groove and an impassioned vocal grunt-along. "I Wouldn't Treat A Dog" follows as a transportive melancholic Balearic dream, and "The Breakdown Funk" is an old-time boogie clap-a-long.
Review: Chopshop regular DJ Laurel returns to Katakana Edits - an imprint he's graced a number of times before - with a five-track selection of tried-and-tested revisions. He begins with a rolling revision of a full-throated disco-funk slammer ("Jam, Jam, Jam") before whipping off his shirt and dancing towards peak-time disco release via the spiraling madness of "I Will Get You Some Help". Those seeking loopy, piano-driven peak-time insanity should head for the bluesy brilliance of "Going For Another One", while "Just A Matter of Time" is an epic, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink slab of synth-laden AOR disco. Fittingly, he finishes with a bustling, tooled-up take on Evelyn "Champagne" King classic "Shame".
Review: Five more vintage cuts get a 21st Century refix from the ever-prolific Katakana camp, this time with DJ Laurel at the helm. The Chi-Lites' 'You Don't Have To Go' from 1976 is first to get the treatment, followed by Razzy Bailey's 'I Hate Hate', a 1974 country-soul gem that was something of a northern soul anthem and here gets served up in Disco Rework and Funk Rework flavours. Those first three rubs are all quite faithful to their respective originals; more liberties are taken with Benny Golson's 1978 rare groover 'I'm Always Dancing To The Music', which gets a boogiefied makeover and an added rap vocal, before finally Sam Cooke gets funked up and just slightly retitled on 'Stay By Me'.
Review: Lavr Berzhanin (DJ Laurel) returns with five more re-edited dancefloor nuggets from days gone by. Or perhaps four because, confusingly, raw funk-soul jam 'Hot Pents' comes in two near-identical versions, one 4:06 long and credited to Heavy Funk, one 4:26 long and credited to DJ Laurel. Go figure! Elsewhere, 'Windy City' reworks Lou Rawls' 'Dead End Street' (a 1967 spoken word cut that predated both Last Poets and Gil Scot-Heron), 'Stop Your Teasing' draws on an unknown disco source for inspiration, while finally 'I Don't Need Nobody Else' adds a little more dancefloor oomph to Eddie Kendricks' 1981 soul jam of the same name.
Review: Under the DJ Laurel alias, Lavr Berzhanin has proved to be one of Katakana Edits' most reliable re-editors of recent times. We've lost count of the number of EPs he's delivered for the prolific imprint, but they're all rather good - as is his latest expansive effort. There's much to get the blood pumping across the six-track salvo, with our favourites including the rubbery, bouncy and glassy-eyed disco bliss of "All I've Got", the soaring, horn-heavy soundscape disco-soul shuffle of "Battend Ships" [sic], the blue-eyed soul goes drum and bass bounce of "Cookie" and the wah-wah guitar sporting two-step soul goodness of closing cut "Annie Mae". In other words, it's another rock solid collection of tried and tested reworks.
Review: The Katakana Edits series reaches #70. DJ Laurel - also known for his work on Greek label Chopshop - is once more in charge of the virtual razorblade and sticky tape for this latest collection, which draws largely on source material from the 70s soul pantheon. 'I Can't Stop Ya' adds an outsourced spoken vocal and some fine sax noodling to a Ty Karim nugget of (nearly) the same name, 'It Only Happens' lends the late, great Aretha some extra lounge-y swing, while 'The More I Want' dares to take on the Teddy Pendergrass classic and actually manages to get away with it.
Review: The latest in the 'Katakana Edits' series comes once more from label regular DJ Laurel, who delivers six soul/funk/disco cuts that, as a rule, seek simply to update the source material for contemporary floors rather than rework anything too radically. That source material this time out includes Herbie Mann's 'Hijack' from 1974, Millie Jackson's 'Never Change Lovers In The Middle Of The Night' from 1979 and Arthur Prysock's 'When Love Is New' from 1976 on a straight disco tip, as well as the lounge-y, Latin vibes of Carmen Costa's 'Bateu, Doeu' from 1973 - the other two have us beat, but all six cuts are very playable.
Review: 62 collections deep and still blazing up any party in a 1000 mile radius; Katakana deliver yet another fun and funk-fuelled package. All laced with a heavy rhythmic theme, attention to groove detail is paid throughout as we're treated to range of classic and deeply dug edits. "Galaxy" sets the tone with a sleazy strutting war cry before we're hurled into a Latin frenzy on both the sultry "Camina" and the bull-fighting "Descarga". Elsewhere "Leroy Loves Ya" brings the soulful touch and "JB World" closes with a little psychedelic mystique.
Review: Greek re-edit powerhouse, Chopshop, is back this time with a new various artist's compilation, Lost In Grooves. There's plenty of jollies to be had here, beginning with the high drama of "Lost In Venice" a swirling disco features golden tonsilled sirens and bug thumping drums. Elsewhere Levantine's "Atmosphere" recalls the good old days of French Touch, with its warm, filtered loops, C Da Afro opts for lazy beats and sumptuous strings on "The Sexy Groove" and DJ Laurel mellows things out with some silky 80s synth funk grooves on "Rising On Top". Slick!
Review: Oh dear, the Katakana edits are back once again, and that means pure and vibrant disco-house vibes for all shapes and sizes. Fray Bentos returns in fine style with two cuts, starting with the bumpy, utterly groovy "Body Down", followed by the deeper, more majestic jazzy feel of "Night Giver" - oh, those strings! DJ Laurel's up next, bringing through some proper stylish funkiness with "Yes I Know", sampling the late, great Pino Daniele on the vocals, while "More Shame" goes for the tribal touch, pushing through some lovely horns and a magnificent sway of seductive trumpets for that sexy feel. Yet more Katakana goodness!
Little Prince - "Getting Down To Cuba" - (6:40) 118 BPM
Goji Berry - "My Man" - (3:44) 109 BPM
Goji Berry - "In The Heat" - (6:58) 98 BPM
DJ Laurel - "Right On" - (4:14) 72 BPM
Review: The 54th EP from prolific rework imprint Katakana Edits is a triple-header, featuring hot new cut-jobs from Goji Berry, Little Prince and DJ Laurel. The latter's "Right On" is an undeniably sweet and soulful affair, with the producer underpinning slick '80s soul vocals and rising disco-funk horns with a low-slung, filter-heavy breakbeat groove. Although Little Prince's "Getting Down To Cuba" is an undeniably cheery peak-time affair - he adds a little house flavour to a Caribbean disco classic - the undoubted star of the show is Goji Berry. The producer serves up a trio of edits, with the hybrid Italo-disco/ electro-funk jauntiness of "I Need" and slow-mo, saucer-eyed vibes of "In The Heat" standing out.
Review: Another month, another solid split EP from long-running edit imprint Chopshop. This time round, there's no unifying concept, just a quartet of cuts guaranteed to get things going out on the dancefloor. Saint Mathieu kicks things off with a chunky, party-starting rearrangement of a lesser-known European P-funk workout from the turn of the '80s, before DJ Laurel drops the cheery, chop-heavy disco-house chug of "Don't Hold Back". Label regular Dave Gerrard steals the show with "Glow Of Dub (Morning Mix)", a superior rework of a tactile, '80s soul favourite, while Cordycep closes proceedings with a hard-edged scalpel rework of a throbbing, early '80s, Prelude style electrofunk-meets-rap stomper ("The Key").
Review: Volume 66 of the Katakana Edits is nothing but vibes from start to finish, and surely exactly what we need in the blazing summer months - edits, edits, and nothing but more edits! SO|KA's opening "Grease" is a dubby, weighty house chugger that blends effortlessly with juat about any form of dance tune, while DJ Laurel's "Lost In The Crowd" is a disco charmer that leads with horns and is backed by pumping beats, leaving the final "All Or Nothing" to provide the seductive charms thanks to a gentle r&b charm. Beautiful stuff.
Review: This decidedly epic collection marks Katakana Edits's first foray into the compilation market and is designed as a "best-of" style outing. It boasts 30 reworks, mash-ups, remixes and re-edits gleamed from the prolific imprint's first 50 singles. Naturally, club-ready material comes thick and fast, with a multitude of genres - think swamp funk, disco, dub disco, electrofunk, Italo-disco, hip-hop, reggae and dancehall - and wide variety of tempos represented. Naturally, some of the reworks tend towards the well known, though there are also plenty of rubs of lesser-known gems for those who want to dig deeper than familiar peak-time anthems. Most importantly, the standard remains impressively high throughout.
Review: Thunder Jam's latest release is something of a sprawling epic; a 23-track "Invasion" featuring some of the hottest names in the re-edit and nu-disco scenes, alongside contributions from lesser-known talents. There's much to admire throughout, from the low-slung boogie bass and cut glass disco strings of Phil Da Burn's "Wallflower" and the spacey synth-funk of Funk Bank's wiggly "Jamming With The Thunder", to the bouncy disco/New Jersey garage fusion of BOI's "The Gift" and the straightened-out sunshine soul of Dee Bunk's "Little Brown Eye Girl". Throw in solid contributions from Don Dayglo, Belabouche, C Da Afro and Andy Buchan, and you've got a pleasingly varied set of floor-friendly excursions.
Review: Katakana Edits first compilation, 2017's "Crate Diggin", was an epic collection of high-grade re-edits, mash-ups and reworks packed to the rafters with tried-and-tested dancefloor treats. This belated follow-up is even more epic, with the popular label squeezing in no less than 50 tracks that variously touch on riotous disco-funk, dub disco, new wave, disco-rock, deep funk, Afro-boogie, swamp funk, Latin beats, boogie, pitched-down chuggers, boogaloo, hip-hop and everything in between. You'd expect that standard to be high - it is a "best of" collection after all - and it is. If you need an instant armoury of scintillating club cuts, look no further.