Algeria To Zimbabwe (original mix) - (6:19) 114 BPM
Secrets Of Wakanda (original mix) - (6:32) 120 BPM
Review: The clue's in the title with this one, as Particle Zoo serve up an EP dripping in African flavas. The title track, in its Original form, is a rolling Afro-disco groove with chanted vox and all manner of delicate percussion. Simon Mills declutters the top end and beefs up the kicks a little, but the obvious choice for club play would be the stripped-back and (deep) house-ified Don Dayglow Remix. Two more originals complete the EP: 'Algeria To Zimbabwe' sounds like Talking Heads trying their hand at African jazz while 'Secrets Of Wakanda' scatters a little magic disco dust.
Review: Its not just noted Twitter collage artist Coldwar Steve who has a thing for tinned pies. Fray Bentos, a Midlands-raised re-editor and rework merchant, is such a fan of the 1970s favourite that he named himself after it. There's something fittingly meaty about "Groove To Get Down", the opening cut from the producer's latest Katakana Edits outing. It offers up chunks of jazz-funk piano, finely diced synth flourishes and a hearty vocal in a thick disco funk gravy. You'll find more horn-heavy heartiness in the shape of rolling disco-funk workout "Night and Day", while "Love For The Sake of Love" sees him extend, beef-up and slightly pitch-up one of disco's better-known dancefloor slow jams.
Review: Just under six months on from his last outing for the prolific rework label, tinned pie enthusiast turned hotshot re-editor Fray Bentos returns to Katakana Edits. He starts in typically strutting fashion, offering a slightly heavier and beefier version of Wild Cherry's funk-rock classic "Play That Funky Music" that subtly shifts from dubbed-out dancefloor stomp to full-throttle party madness over the course of six sizzling minutes. "House of Bricks" does a similar job on a hazy, horn-heavy chunk of flash-fried disco-funk goodness. This is perhaps a little more reverential than the producer's Wild Cherry revision, though it still boasts house-friendly beats to appease those who can't be bothered mixing records with live drums.
Review: Given that he named himself after a popular brand of tinned pastry products, it would be fair to say that Fray Bentos likes pie. Disappointingly there's a distinctive lack of pie puns within the track titles of his latest EP, though the edits themselves are top notch. "Sum Ting About Ya" is an expertly rearranged and lightly bulked up slab of disco-soul, while "What It Takes" is a thrillingly delay-laden, tooled-up revision of a sing-along disco classic that makes the most of the original's synth bass-propelled instrumentation. For the EP's final two tracks he joins forces with Dusty Sanchez, first for the bustling disco-house stomp of "Hit It Off" and then the filter-smothered warmth of "Strengthen It Out", a deliciously dreamy affair blessed with superb piano solos.
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!
Review: Fray Bentos is Adam Billingham - currently a resident DJ with Brighton's infamous Soul Casserole crew. He has supported the likes of Norman Jay, Craig Charles, Don Letts, Giles Peterson and The Reflex during his tenure. He returns on the trusty Katakana Edits with more handy resplices of golden oldies for modern audiences, supported by Goji Berry and Hawwis here for the label's 58th edition. Bentos' "Magic Work" is a lo-slung affair with a rolling funk bassline and some shimmering synth work - it's an edit of something quite familiar you think - but then that vocal dops and it finally hits you! Greece's Goji Berry delivers some smooth Italo styled business on "Mama" while Manchester's Hawwis serves up the sweltering Afro vibes and gets totally spiritual on "Amiga".
Review: Katakana Edits hail from Scituate, Rhode Island and are responsible for edits, re-edits, bootlegs and mash-ups only! Fair enough! The bulk of their new EP comes courtesy of Fray Bentos who is originally from the Midlands - where he cut his teeth blagging sets with the free party scene in the early 90's. He then lived in London where he ran his own night Deep Fried for 15 years. He's currently a resident DJ with Brighton's infamous Soul Casserole crew who have supported the likes of Norman Jay, Craig Charles, Don Letts, Giles Peterson and The Reflex. There's some familiar hooks on these fine edits such as on "Hot 2 Trot" which is absolute fire. "Come & Get It" has some some Summery NYC circa the '70s styled heat. Finally there's a track by Russian duo SO KA with "Loveliness". Their edit going for some smooth Curtis Mayfield styled flavour. Respectful edits on offer here.
Review: Here they are at it again, fusing, twisting and sampling all the hits, obscurities and bangers you've come to love over the years; be they hip hop, electro, pop, funk or rock. Notorious BIG makes an appearance on this compilations opener while JLO vocals and dirty electro can be found on "Get Right". Scale down the tracklist and you'll come across J5, old school funk and flutes to The Champs - Tequila!
Review: There's no denying Funk Fusion definitely live up to their name; take these first two tracks which sample and flip Kool & The Gang and Tribe Called Quest numbers into something new and different for 2015. There's also a cheeky garage remake of Basement Jaxx, and for something slower check out the hip hop throw down of Aretha Franklin's "Say A little Prayer For You" by KMT. And have you heard Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" pitched against Sean Paul lyrics? Well you have now. Something for everyone.
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: The team behind Thunder Jam is dreaming of a "Fantasy Fling". Given that the compilation is an expansive, 21-track affair (sorry), it would be safe to say that they're thinking of a steamy, all-action romance rather than a disappointing one-night stand. Musically, the cuts on offer tend towards the warm and loved-up, with Adata's dreamy deep house opener "Marlena Soul" and the glassy-eyed Balearic disco heat of Aure Zwins' "Long Way" setting the tone. Highlights include the loopy, filter-heavy bounce of Celestino's Lionel Richie-sampling "Rhythm", the twinkling, picturesque nu-disco cheeriness of Double F.O.G's "Bang Bao Boulevard", the synth-heavy boogie revivalism of "Fangkok" by Ivan Fabra and the low-slung dub disco-goes-jazz flex of Noil Rago's "J.Club".