Review: Cast your memories back to 2011 and you'll find it was then that Peter Major, aka OPOLOPO made his debut on Local Talk with a presentation of Actual Proof. Having gone on to work with Toolroom Records, If It Ain't Jazz, G.A.M.M. and Vive La Musique since, Major has been invited back for the first time since 2019 to 'tweak' his personal favourites from the Local Talk back cat. This includes some rare numbers from Soulphiction and Jamie 326 next to some straight up remixes of Urban Sound Lab Presents Miss Yankey and Wil Maddams - alongside OPOLOPO & Actual Proof numbers "Silkworms" and dubby broken beat slice "Hubble".
Review: After several successful releases together, UK soulful house stalwart Sean McCabe returns to ZR, this time for a remix/mix album. We handed over the keys to the vaults of Z Records parts and let him run wild in his underpants. The album features 6 new exclusive McCabe remixes - Monique Bingham, Blackbyrds, The Sunburst Band and Soul Dharma, plus Sean's interpretation of an unreleased Akabu song Time Line". That's all alongside many of Sean's classic remixes, plus his personal favourites from the extensive ZR catalog and a DJ mix.
Review: As the title suggests, this fantastic - and let's face it, pleasingly epic - compilation showcases some of the many disco-centric cuts in the Z Records vaults, throwing in a few exclusives (see Dave Lee's fantastic, hybrid disco-boogie rework of Firefly's 'Love is Gonna Be on Your Side') for good measure. Such is the high-quality threshold that picking stand outs is tough, but our picks of a very strong bunch include the slick, boogie-funk brilliance of Crackazat's 'Sensationalized', Larry Levan's vintage, delay-heavy synth dub of Johnny Dynell's 'Rhythm of Love', the stomping disco-house release of 'Gotta Thing (2021 Remaster)' by Foreal People, Taana Gardner and Dave Lee, and John Morales' epic rework of Sean McCabe's 'Love For Life'. As the old saying goes, this is all killer and no filler.
Review: Say 'Toolroom' to most people these days and they'll perhaps think first of peak-time tech-house stompers, but there's always been more to the label than that. Their 'Poolside' series, for instance, has been showcasing the more lounge-y, soulful and/or disco-infused side of house since 2014, and if you're a fan of such styles then this latest installment, packing cuts from the likes of Opolopo, Random Soul, Sebb Junior, Per QX, Saison and Ross Couch plus a host of up-and-comers, is unlikely to disappoint. The jazz-funk nouveau of Opolopo's 'Ginsu Knife' and Vertigini's garage-tinged 'Over You' are among the highlights of a collection with nary a Pavlovian snare roll or cheesy rave stab in sight.
Review: Glitterbox resident Dr Packer is a leading light of the contemporary disco scene, while Dave Lee was arguably THE key architect of the whole post-house disco phenomenon in the first place. So when the former helms a compilation on the latter's label, you'd expect great things, and suffice to say you're very unlikely to be disappointed. Hell, for this writer the deep n' sultry JN Revival Mix of early 90s classic 'Do What You Feel' is worth the price of admission on its own, but with Packer's own remixes of label favourites making up over a third of the tracklist, the collection as a whole is pretty much unmissable.
Review: Local Talk's packed release schedule means that keeping up with the label's releases can be tough. Happily, founders Mad Mats and Tooli found a solution long ago: the best-of style Talking House compilation series, which here notches up its 11th instalment. Packed to the rafters with high-quality deep, dusty, jazzy and soul-fired house, the collection's highlights are plentiful. Our picks include the hazy gospel-house hustle of Soulphiction's 'Niederbeat Gospel Dub', the jazzy Afro-house warmth of 'One Less (Main Send)' by Urban Sound Lab presents Miss Yankey, the extra-percussive, organic deep house positivity of Vick Lavender's spacey 'Shifting Gears', the bruk-up breeze that is Anthony Nicholson and Mark De Clive-Lowe's 'Another Story', and the sunset-ready, bossa-house breeze of Shaka's'New Relationship'.
Review: First released via a trilogy of EPs, Sickla is Peter 'Opolopo' Major's first album in five years. As befitting an artist famed for the soulfulness, aural colour and expansive musicality of his productions, the set's X tracks are piled high with infectious rhythms, organic instrumentation, vibrant synth sounds and electric piano solos so jazzy they could have been the work of Herbie Hancock. Musically, the album is rooted in deep house, jazz-funk, boogie and dancefloor soul, bult also includes nods towards broken beat, Latin house and head-nodding downtempo beats. It's a stunning, sparkling set all told, and easily Major's most accomplished and enjoyable work to date.
Review: There's something of a stylistic shift from Opolopo here, as he tones down his usual broken beat/nu-jazz/Afro leanings and instead serves up four cuts that can best be described as late 70s/early 80s jazz-funk viewed through a deep/disco house filter. There are floors out there where these will make great warm-up material, and others where they'll create memorable peaktime 'moments', but either way there's no doubting the quality of the production. The meandering Rhodes on 'Crab Sticks' make it the standout for this reviewer, but it's a close-run thing because there's not a duff cut in sight!
Review: Given that Peter Major AKA Opolopo has a proven track record of making inspired, hard-to-pigeonhole dance music awash with colour and soul, Local Talk's recent announcement that they're releasing a series of EPs from him is very good news indeed. There's naturally much to get the blood pumping and the juices flowing on this second (of three) EPs, from the carnival-ready Latin percussion, Roy Ayers-esque jazz-funk instrumentation and sparkling synthesizer melodies of opener "Silkworms", to the Rhodes-heavy, organic jazz-house lusciousness of closing cut "The Sluggard". Sandwiched in between you'll find the oddly swung but undeniably brilliant jazz-funk jam "Triplet Limp". In a word: essential!
Review: Four cuts from Opolopo here that plough exactly the kind of deep, soulful, jazzy furrow we've come to expect. 'Loose Limbs' gets the ball rolling and has something of a late 70s/early 80s jazz-funk feel - if you know who Mike Mandel or Wilbert Longmire are, you'll dig this one for sure! Take the same recipe, stir in a little Afro-house flava in the drums department and you'll end up with 'Chocolate Liquorice', while 'Moonwalk' comes on like Dave Lee in his most dreamy, spaced-out moments and 'You Can Make It' takes us closer to straight-up soul territory.
Review: Undoubtedly the strongest selling point of Z Records' second set of "Dubstrumentals" (largely instrumental remixes to you and me) is the sheer number of previously unreleased mixes on offer. Sure, the quality of the disco and house cuts on show is uniformly excellent but it's unusual to get so many previously unheard treats in one place. There are some genuine gems, too, including a sparkling Hot Toddy nu-disco instrumental mix of Joey Negro's "Stomp Your Feet", an inspired Saison instrumental of Akabu & Linda Clifford's "Ride The Storm" that features two exquisite extended breakdowns, a must-have "Disco Blend Instrumental" of Joey Negro and Horse Meat Disco's "Candidate For Love", and a stellar, proto-house style dub of The APX's "Sweet Surrender".
Review: Remarkably, three decades have now passed since Dave Lee AKA Joey Nergo inaugurated his label, Z Records. To mark the occasion, Lee has compiled this suitably epic, 44-track retrospective. There are plenty of big tunes and underground anthems present- see Jakatta's "American Dream", Raven Maize's "The Real Life", The Sunburst Band's "Everyday" and Doug Willis's "Spread Love" - as well as some of the veteran DJ/producer's favourite catalogue cuts and some slept-on gems. Throw in a string of memorable remixes - think Ame's remix of Akabu's "Phuture Bound", Grant Nelson's vintage rub of Z Factor's "Gotta Keep Pushin" and Joey Negro's revision of Patrice Rushen disco classic "Haven't You Heard" - and you've got a brilliant retrospective of one of house and disco's most consistent labels. Don't sleep!
Review: Local Talk's periodic round-up of classic cuts from the label's bulging back catalogue returns for an eighth time, with imprint founders Mad Mats and Tooli gathering together a predictably fine selection of tracks. Most bases are covered - house-wise, at least - from trumpet-laden Afro-house brilliance (Dasco's "African Power"), and ultra-soulful, Atjazz-esque broken house deepness (Wipe The Needle's super-smooth "Enchanted"), to "French Kiss"-inspired house hypnotism (Soulphiction's "Believe"), 21st century jazz-funk/deep house fusion (Crackazat's fine rework of Art of Tones' "The Rainbow Song") and ultra-deep, Nina Simone-sampling dancefloor bliss (Emvee's "Brotherman"). In a word: essential.
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.
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: Now here is the ultimate playlist for your Ibiza season. Mark Knight and Co. present Poolside Ibiza 2019 mixed by Opolopo. His impressive musical career spans over two decades, with releases on prestigious labels such as Om, Tru Thoughts, Local Talk, Z Records, Especial, and a successful career as a globetrotting DJ. The compilation contains three brand new exclusive productions from the man himself, alongside a hand-selected a range of essential cuts - all in all there's 26 tracks and a beautifully crafted DJ mix. Highlights come from: ascendant Brit Cody Currie on the lo-slung Berlin tribute "Oderberger", Worthy & Option4's "Workin'" (feat Leela D - Kisch remix), UK deep house legend Atjazz on the super soulful "Love Someone" (feat Robert Owens - Atjazz Heads Down mix) and the man Phil Gerus doin' his thing on "Better Think Twice".
Review: When it comes to blending classic disco and bumpin' peak-time house, few can match Joey Negro - a man who has been offering up disco-fied house jams since the early '90s. There are naturally plenty of his own tracks and remixes on "Put Some Disco In The House", an expansive collection of quality disco-house moments, with highlights including the rolling disco-boogie heat of "Put The Music On It (Original Disco Mix)", the chunky, walking bass-propelled "Dancing Into The Stars" (with Horse Meat Disco and Angela Johnson) and a slamming rework of Sessomato's jazz-funk flavoured "Moody". There's plenty of heat to be found elsewhere, too, with standouts including JKriv and Adeline's "Vertigo", Opolopo's boogie-tinged revision of Sylvester classic "I Need You" and the spiraling disco pump of Yam Who and Jaegerossa's "Grateful".
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.