Review: It's a bit of a surprise to see Italian nu-disco heavyweight Bottin pop up on Dave "Joey Negro" Lee's Z Records label. Then again, "Sage Comme Une Image" isn't your average Bottin production. Featuring tongue-in-cheek French vocals from Jupiter, it sounds like an authentic '70s disco production - all clipped guitars, walking bass and summery grooves. You can see why it appealed to Lee, a man who has spent years laying down revivalist disco, soul and funk with his Sunburst Band project. Remix wise, there's a couple of loopy disco-house thumpers from Spiller, but the best revision comes from Bottin himself. His dub - faithfully groove-obsessed and laden with tape echo - is the package's stand out moment.
Review: Over the last twelve years, Dewalta has developed his Meander imprint into one of the most definitive labels in minimal techno, with releases from some of the scene's biggest names such as Ion Ludwig, Kamran Sadeghi and The Mole, through to current favourites of the Rominimal movement such as Cristi Cons, Barac and Sublee. Taking up the label's next release, this could be its most ambitious yet in the form of Lyra: a two part series with the first volume focusing on his moody and highly engineered cuts focused on the dancefloor, while the second - featured here - inaugurates the new Horizons for his new ventures into ambient soundscapes. From the grand and majestic opus "North Star", through to the cavernous and introspective dub reduction of the title track and the sinister drone experiments of "Pulses" - this was a much anticipated release and worth the wait. Highly recommended.
Review: Six years on from launching the It's A Summer Groove series, Joey Negro returns with a fifth selection of sunshine-friendly tracks from the Z Records vaults. While much of the label's output - soulful, accessible, funky and heavily influenced by disco, funk and boogie - could be described as "summery", there's something particularly bright and breezy about the 21 tracks gathered together here. Highlights are naturally plentiful, from the smooth disco-soul goodness of the Reflex's recent remix of the Sunburst Band's "The Secret Life of Us", and the terrace-friendly piano house of Shur-I-Kan's rework of Zo & Erro & Phonte, to the vibraphone-laden boogie-house goodness of Rainbow Connection and Taka Boom's "Surrender".
Review: Throughout his long career, Swedish producer Andreas Saag has flitted between deep house and nu-jazz, crafting a melodic, musically rich and soul-flecked trademark sound. He's a good choice, then, to compile and mix a collection of Z Records' deeper moments. There's much to admire on this unmixed version (Saag's mix is included as a bonus cut), from the flowing keys and fluid grooves of the Swede's own remix of The Sunburst Band v Atjazz's "When The Lights Meet The Sky", to the string-laden beauty of Andre Lodeman's rework of Akabu's "Another World". Highlights come thick and fast, with further notable selections from JD73 (remixed brilliantly by Tornado Wallace), Jupiter Beyond, The Sunburst Band (reworked by Recloose) and, of course, Joey Negro.
Review: Sneaky re-edit imprint Editorial likes to offer good value. As with previous releases, "Cross Corner" features no less than six floor-friendly reworks to satisfy the needs of all but the pickiest disco divas. While there are a couple of merely solid versions of well-known hits (Grace Jones and Marvin Gaye both get cut-up), there are far more high quality re-arrangements of lesser-known gems. Of particular interest are the contributions from The Legendary 1979 Orchestra and Manmademusic, both of whom wonderfully stretch out soul-flecked disco gems with inch-perfect precision.