Review: It wouldn't be summer without every house label under the sun releasing an Ibiza-themed compilation. To be fair to Dave Lee's long-running Z Records imprint, they've been delivering White Isle-themed collections every summer for many years. Given that their sound - a blend of funk-fuelled grooves, soulful house, tech-tinged anthems, disco re-edits, boogie revivalism and classic US garage influences - is well suited to sun-drenched alfresco parties, it's little surprise to find that Z Records Presents Ibiza 2015 is rather good. While much of the standout material comes from Lee himself under a variety of guises (check, in particular, the Doug Willis jam "Crystal Lover"), there are also top-notch cuts from Sean McCabe, Opolopo and Fibre Foundation, whose cover of disco/boogie classic "Weekend" is simply superb.
Review: For her latest long player, Tokyo Dawn informs us that this Swedish-Canadian soul singer and 'first lady of modern funk", opens up wider than ever before. We'll assume they mean musically, and if so, they couldn't be more right. In a big leap from her Art Slave album, this newie sees her collaborate with a pan-international selection of artists hailing from a as far afield as Detroit and Senegal. Highlights include the bonkers stop-start romp of "Just Like Magic", the otherwordly synth-jazz of "One" and the glistening, slow (e)motion overload of "All The Funk I Need (Stray mix)".
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: With the 2016 Ibiza summer season in full swing, Dave 'Joey Negro' Lee has gathered together a bumper collection of label tracks that are currently doing the business on the White Isle. There are few surprises amongst the 28 selections - think swinging piano-house, soulful grooves, sun-kissed broken beat, contemporary disco reworks and synth-heavy boogie-house - but the quality threshold remains remarkably high throughout. Highlights include Lee's glistening 2016 re-rub of his vintage Doug Willis anthem "Spread Love", a deliciously loose and synth-laden Fouk rework of The Sunburst Band, the bad-ass boogie business of Spirit Catcher's "Rendez-Vous", and a killer 1995 rework of Fonda Rae's "Over Like A Fat Rat" from U.S house legend Victor Simonelli.
Review: Opolopo barely puts a foot wrong, so it's little surprise to find that this collection of Bits N Bobs is really rather good. Highlights include the sparkling, jazz funk-goes-deep house swing of "Put Your Cap On", the P-funk bass and squiggly D-Train synths of "Spray Tan" and the swirling, life-affirming disco-house bump of "Stroke My Disco", where cut-glass string loops and crunchy Clavinet lines ride a relentless groove. Elsewhere, he further enhances his disco/house fusion credentials via the intricately produced, musically expansive warmth of "The Lakedown Stomp", before rounding things off via the bubbly Dam Funk synth solos, Chez Damier chords and snare-heavy drums of jammed-out highlight "Eventide".
Review: Culled from their recent LP, Superconductor, Opolopo's "Candy Coated Perfection" has now been given an extra lease of life through a whole host of new mixes. They're nearly all by Prezzner, mind, but he's a really good remixer so it's all good. His Solar Dub may eschew the original's honeyed vocals but it's a killer slice of spacey leftfield disco. Elsewhere his Swingset mix appears to sample the sound of tennis racquets in a sleek, linear jack-a-thon, and the DeejayKul Meets Soultechnic rework of "The Best' is a delicious slice of deep n' jazzy soulful house.
Review: Released last June, Opolopo's Superconductor LP, is the gift that keeps on giving. We've had a string of album tracks remixed ever since and here is the latest batch. First up Nachtbreaker tackles Feels Good 2 Me, delivering a muscular, celebratory house workout in the process. The euphoria escalates on Rhemi's rework of "Spare Me The Details" - all jazzy synths and sing-along vocals. There's even an instrumental in case the latter proves a bit too much for those who don't like to be distracted from the groove.
Review: Last year, Z Records regular Opolopo decided to spread his wings, pitching up on Kerri Chandler's Madhouse label with the cheeky, soul-fired classic house brilliance
of "Lowlife". Here he continues label hopping by bringing his good-time take on house to Good For You for the very first time. Predictably, the Stockholm producer hits the mark straight away, underpinning fizzing synthesizer riffs and smart electronic melodies with ballsy sub-bass and skipping, New Jersey-influenced beats on outstanding opener "Big Boy Pants". He opts for a more in-your-face feel on "Ed Witten", where life-affirming synthesizer solos and jammed-out piano riffs rise above a rubbery but relentless, disco-influenced deep house groove.
Review: Given Opolopo's impressive track record over the last decade check his releases on Especial Records, Local Talk, Swedish Brandy and Sick Trumpet for proof. You'd expect this outing on Z Records to be rather tasty and of course it is, with Colonel Red collaboration "The Best" delivering a killer chunk of house-tinged contemporary electrofunk. Full of vintage-sounding synths, classic percussion touches, clipped guitars and wonderful vocals, it's a soulful delight. "Get On Up" is almost as good, offering up a breezy blend of piano house, undulating synth bass and late '80s US garage flourishes. It's the sound of summer - for those enjoy their music warm, positive, synth-heavy and soulful, at least.
Review: The Z Records crew is off to the White Isle of Ibiza and they want us to dance along at home - hence this fittingly summery selection of celebratory disco and house gems. There are naturally plenty of recent label highlights (see the cuts from Crackazat and JKriv & Adeline) and a swathe of fine tracks and revisions from boss man Joey Negro. Amongst the many highlights you'll find the celebratory disco brilliance of Bob Sinclar, Dimitri From Paris and Byron Stingily's "Love Is The Answer", the boogie/house/soul fusion of Opolopo's colourful revision of "Searching" by Roberto De Carlo and Dyanna Fearon, the soulful house sweetness of Cookie's "Best Part of Me (Unreleased Original Mix)", and Faze Action's epic, solo-laden, jazz-funk style re-make of Raven Maize classic "Forever Together".
Review: A UK disco master with almost 30 years experience, when Dave Lee aka Joey Negro presents his selections we all sit up and listen. Here's his take on the year that was and it's brimming with 19 rich and rewarding gems to see us through the holidays. Highlights include the deep gospel shuffle of "Reach Out (Atjaz remix)" by Sean McCabe, the sizzling crackle of camp disco accelerator "Unique (New York Underground mix)" by Danube Dance & Kim Cooper and Pezzner's warm synth funk rework of "Candy Coated Perfection" by Opolopo and Diane Charlemagne.
Review: Half the fun of each new Ibiza season is the accompanying DJ mix albums that ensue. Here it's the turn of Z Records' legend, Joey Negro, who compiles and selects Z Records Presents Ibiza 2017. With Joey Negro you know you will always get an expert blend of house and disco, new and old. Here we see exclusives rub shoulders with first time digital virgins. Highlights include Dr Packer's thumping edit of "Change Position (88)" by Brooklyn Express, the hazy bass twangs of "Phantom" by A Band Called Flash and the warm electro of "It's More Fun To Compute" by Negro himself.
Review: It has been quite a year for the Toolroom institution. Celebrating their 15th birthday last year, they weren't ones to rest on their laurels, instead going full steam ahead with a bunch of genre defining compilations this year. But most importantly they have been instrumental in the comeback of funky house after a 20 year dormancy, with killer releases by the likes of Weiss, Cashio and boss man Mark Knight himself. Add to that one banging party at Chicago Social Club for Amsterdam Dance Event and it's evident that these guys are proper 24 hour party people. With a glorious year sadly coming to an end, celebrate a wonderful one that was on Best Of Toolroom 2019 with highlights not limited to: the rework of the Cevin Fisher classic "Freaks Come Out" by Jack Back, Hannah Wants & Kevin Knapp's deep down and dirty "Call Me" (extended mix), UK heroes Alan Fitzpatrick & Wheats delivering the certified banger "M27" and New York legend Todd Terry teaming up with Tuff London on "Psychodrama" featuring Jasmien Nanhekhan. If that was not enough, ascendant producer Maxinne delivers two mixes compiling all the tracks: one smooth House mix followed by a thumping Tech House mix.