Review: Any time that DJ Harvey gives us a sneak peek into the current contents of his record bag - sorry, USB stick - is a cause for celebration. As you can imagine, we're cock-a-hoop that he's decided to deliver a follow-up to his superb 2017 compilation "The Sound of Mercury Rising". As with its predecessor, volume two offers a giddy skip through chiming, synth-heavy original Balearic classics (Mandy Smith, Hugh Mane), weirdo European disco (Marta Acuna), evocative electronic soundscapes (System Olympia), blue-eyed synth-pop (Pamela Nivens), drum machine-powered Middle Eastern madness (Switchdance's sublime "Arabian Ride")and a swathe of tasty contemporary cuts (the jaunty jazz-funk of Midlife, Das Komplex's ace "Slap", Nu Guinea's splendid "Je Vulesse" and Peaking Lights remix of Land of Light being the highlights).
Review: Italian duo Nu Guinea has previously proved adept at creating humid, sultry deep house and tropical-infused electronics. Here, they focus a little more on the latter with a concept album based around the distinctive Afrobeat rhythms of legendary drummer Tony Allen. With his blessing, and that of the Comet label on which he's been releasing since the 1980s, the Early Sounds Recordings pair has cut-up and re-constructed Allen's drums, combining them with their own steamy electronics, vintage synthesizer lines and classic drum machines. It's an intoxicating and hugely entertaining blend that sits somewhere between their previous outings, Danny Wolfers' material under the Nacho Patrol guise, and the dreamy late '80s/early '90s work of forgotten Italian producer Mr Marvin.
Review: On their debut album, 2016's the Tony Allen Experiments, Naples twosome Nu Guinea re-invented tracks by the legendary Afro-beat drummer as synth-heavy chunks of deep jazz-funk and nu-Balearica. For this follow-up - their first full length entirely made up of their own compositions - the duo serves up a set of jazz-funk, disco and boogie cuts rich in both their trademark colourful analogue synthesizer sounds and live instrumentation. It's a formula that guarantees a string of memorable highlights, from the sun-kissed peak-time brilliance of "Disco Sole" and rubbery, funk-fuelled "Je Vulesse" (a killer vocal number), to the wobbly downtempo trip of "A Voce E Napule" and Mizell Brothers fizz of closer "Parev Ajare", the album's most synthesizer-heavy cut.