Review: It's been another great year for Catz 'N' Dogz's Pets Recordings imprint. If you missed any of the Polish imprint's many essential releases, fear not, as help is at hand via this top-notch round up of their biggest cuts of 2019. There are naturally plenty of contributions from the label's popular head honchos, with highlights including Andhim's evocative, acid-sporting vocal remix of "Would You Believe", a suspenseful contemporary dream house rework of "There" by Terr and a deliciously retro-futurist house take on "New Love" by Gerd Janson. Elsewhere, top picks include the warehouse-ready throb of Truncate's "Pressure", the pitched-down darkroom chug of "Rattlesnake" by Psychemagik and the drowsy deep house/UK garage fusion of Black Loops' "Keep A Secret".
Review: Given that it's called "Ghost Particle", you'd expect Psychemagik's latest original single to be at least a little bit creepy. It isn't, but that's no criticism: in fact, in its original form the warm and woozy cut is a heady shuffle through downtempo synth-pop laden with spacey analogue synthesizer sounds and a glassy eyed lead vocal courtesy of Liam Magill. For those looking for more dancefloor focused thrills, the accompanying Cable Toy Club mix should be just the ticket. Featuring rubbery synth bass, Larry Heard style chords, loose limbed beats and lilting electronic melodies, it's a fine chunk of retro-futurist deep house warmth.
Review: Following a long series of EPs dating back to the early 2010s, UK duo Psychemagik step up with their much-anticipated debut album. Opener 'We Can Be One' (featuring Quinn Lamont Duke) is a dreamy Balearic-pop-soul nugget and sets the tone nicely, with the album as a whole veering between Zero 7/Lemon Jelly-style leftfield pop (check out the cinematic 'Chimera', or 'Valley Of Paradise', which is like finding Simon & Garfunkel jamming with Nils Frahm in the chill-out room) and soaring, disco-fied deep house reminiscent of Faze Action (see 'Triumph Of The Gods' or 'Above The Clouds'). It's a little 'polite' at times, but an engaging listen all the same.
Review: Psychemagik's last outing was an unusually wonky and forthright affair - a cosmic club rocker made for sweat-soaked basements and saucer-eyed illegal raves. "We Can Be One" is a much more languid and laidback affair, with Paqua and Phenomenal Handclap Band member Quinn Lamont Luke providing a suitably glassy-eyed, loved-up vocal to match the duo's drowsy, slow motion Balearic pop backing track. Alex Kassian's remix - which, like Psychemagik's original version, is also available in instrumental form - ratchets up the cosmic vibes, placing psychedelic lead lines, swirling chords and Luke's touching vocal above gentle tribal drums and hallucination-inducing effects.
Review: Although primarily known for their dusty disco edits and crate digging DJ sets, Psychemagik's original productions are sometimes heavy, low slung and unfeasibly intoxicating. That's certainly the case with "Rattlesnake", a hypnotic chunk of dancefloor psychedelia rich in wonky electronics, trippy riffs, mind-altering bass and locked-in peak-time drums. The duo's pleasingly out-there original mix is made even weirder (and arguably more alluring, too) on Magda's accompanying "Blotter Traxion Remix", which sounds like the effect of dropping two tabs of acid while trying to mix electro, tech-house and techno records together. Vyvyan provides the other remix, wrapping doom-laden analogue electronics and fizzing TB-303 style acid lines around crunchier and crisper disco drums.
Review: Following a fine retrospective of "original productions and reworks" earlier in the month, the Rare Wiri label has prepped another killer compilation to help mark the imprint's 10th birthday. This time round, boss man Rayko has gathered together some of the label's most potent re-edits. The quality threshold remains impressively high throughout, with highlights including James Rod's chugging and cheery disco-boogie shuffler "So Easy", the dreamy deep house throb of In Flagranti's loopy version of "Walking In The Rain", the sparkling saccharine soul/jazz-funk flex of Yam Who's revision of "In Your Eyes" and the pulsating Italo-disco/disco-funk fusion of Ziggy Phunk's take on "One Evening". Throw in a clutch of top-notch Rayko re-edits and the result is an essential collection of floor-focused reworks.
Review: You have to hand it to Psychemagik. The duo is renowned for their crate-digging skills, as showcased on the various must-have compilations they've curated for Leng and Eskimo Recordings. Those digging skills come to the fore on their re-edit releases, too. In truth, few would be able to name the source material for "Gotta Hold On Me", an undulating, dubbed-out chunk of peak-time disco-soul built around spacey synth-bass, rising horn lines - judiciously smothered in space echo - and impassioned male vocals. Then "Wildman" is equally impressive, with jammed out electric piano solos doing their best to raise the temperature in cahoots with a Dinosaur style leftfield disco groove.
Review: London's Midnight Riot have a had a steady stream of releases throughout 2017, with several excellent compilations exploring the many shades of nu-disco music: such as last month's fabulous Japanese Boogie & Disco Reworks - Volume 2, Balearic Headspace - Volume 2, back in August plus Joutro Mundo presents - Brazilian Boogie & Disco Reworks - Volume Duo in the middle of the year. Here they present African Disco Juice, which as the name would suggest: has all you Nigerian and Ghanaian boogie fans sorted with this fine bunch of re-edits and similarly influenced original productions. Highlights include Reverso68 main man Pete Herbert's smooth and slinky "Agama", London lo-slung duo Psychemagik with the groovy "Carnival De Trancoso" and label staples Yam?Who with some seriously spiritual life music on the uplifting "Pure Heat". And indeed, it sure is!
Review: Having sold out on vinyl at the tail end of 2016, it's heartening to see Pyschemagik's epic Ritual Chants compilation series finally appear on digital download. As the title suggests, Beach is the most laidback, loved-up and Balearic of the three collections, and contains all manner of weird, wonderful and evocative fare - most of which is suitably obscure and hard-to-find. Highlights are naturally plentiful, from the reggae-goes-cosmic trip of Tony Wilson's "Hangin' Out In Space", and fuzzy, calypso-rock bounce of Adrian Gurvitz's "New World", to the eccentric Balearic disco shuffle of Amini's "Habibi" and quirky electro-boogie silliness of Danny Boy's "Discomix", a 1983 Dutch release that's guaranteed to put smiles on the faces of even the grumpiest dancers.
Review: Spanish producer Rayko has delivered some impressive dancefloor magic courtesy of his Rare Wiri label. Ranging from re-edits to deep nu-disco and everything in between, the imprints sound is all encompassing. That philosophy is fully explored here on Retro Future Disco, bringing all kinds of disco approaches to the table. Highlights include the schmokin' 70s jazz-funk of "Hot Head Disco" by Psychemagik, the legendary Il Flagranti's rare re-edit of new wave classic "Walking In The Rain" by Flash & The Pan and the dreamy, star-crossed synth-pop of "In Your Eyes" by Yam Who? Something for everyone here.
Review: Having spent the last couple of years focusing on re-edits and crate digging compilations, Psychemagik return to the realm of original production. Featuring the woozy vocals of Navid Izadi, "Mink & Shoes" sounds like the kind of wonky, heavily electronic house roller that you'd expect to find on Crosstown Rebels or Hot Creations, albeit with a little Freaks style bumpin' eccentricity mixed in. It's accompanied by a decidedly trippy, undulating late night dub from Psychemagik themselves, while Mexican producer Yoan Lokier gets busy on the flip. Her version is feels more trippy, with intoxicated, new wave influenced synths taking pride of place amongst a glam-style triple-beat drum pattern. It brings out the wonkiness of Izadi's vocal, which is certainly no bad thing.
Review: There are few record collectors and DJs with crates quite as deep as Psychemagik. They've already proved this beyond doubt via a trio of brilliant Magik compilations for Paul Murphy and Simon Purnell's Leng label. Magik Sunset Part 2 continues this run, gathering together another double-album's worth of fantastic obscurities from the worlds of stoner disco, left-of-centre rock, psychedelia and Balearica. As usual, there are some genuine "how did I not know about this record" moments, from the star-kissed Balearic jazz of Fabio Fabor and saucer-eyed white boy reggae-rock of the Trepidants, to the Flamenco-tinged AOR disco shuffle of Jack Adkins' "Sunset Beach".
Review: After brushing the dust off their fingers accrued from compiling that excellent Magik Sunrise compilation for Leng, Psychemagik return to their Discotheque Wreckers series for the final installment. Lead track "Balearic Girl" allegedly originates from a super rare Swedish hairspray advert, with the summery vocal hook and heavy bassline augmented by Psychemagik's subtle mastery of dancefloor tweaks. On the flip, "Spiced Oddity" finds the pair in cosmic chug territory and is a sublime way to round out the series, though we hear whispers that a Disco Wreckers CD compiling the series along with two bonus cuts will arrive later this summer.
Review: Ever-rising groove merchants Psychemagik continues to summon up the spirits of afro-beat, disco, funk and psychedelia with their impassioned output, and yet again this twelve makes for compelling listening. "Systematic Lover" is a breezy disco affair draped in tripped-out guitar washes and propelled by a stark deep house chord that sounds epic in amidst the archaic surroundings. "Jungle Juice" is slower and raunchier, getting into a Fela Kuti flavour and keeping things detailed and energised throughout; working in the vocals with a dash of harmonica, infinitesimal hits of bongos and some sassy guitar work and taking you right back to the raw old 70s in the process.
Review: These guys have been flying the flag for quality amongst the disco re-edit community for a while now. This two-tracker is being hailed as one of their best yet, with the title track being a lean, super-perky chopped up floor filler with infectious female vocals and a just-go-with-it Euro-rap. The second cut is from the other side of the tracks: it's the type of slow n sleazy new wave-disco tune you can imagine in a dark early 80s New York fleapit, where the cast of Liquid Sky hang and dance in a beautifully nonchalant manner.
Review: Ah yes, "For Your Love", the 1978 Euro Disco classic from Chilly, hasn't that been re/edited by at least 78% of Soundcloud's disco edit community? Correct - it's actually second only to the gazillion marketing tools presented as a remix that are helping to power forward the career of Lana Del Rey. Psychemagik are yet to remix Lana Del Lips so we can forgive them for adding to the slew of edits of Chilly's Yardbirds cover version already released. As it stands the Psychemagik version of "For Your Love" is a commendable revision which beefs up the low end and extends everything beyond the ten minute mark. Much better is the sun blessed take on Joyce's "Aldeia De Ogum" which should come with a Punta Del Esta Approved stamp.
Review: Those who believe the current re-edit scene is lacking in quality would be advised to check Psychemagik's excellent Healin' Feelin Edits series. Instead of offering house-friendly versions of familiar favourites, the fast-rising production outfit look far and wide for inspiration, cutting up baggy rock faves, forgotten jams and delightfully Balearic fodder. This third volume features two more quality reinterpretations. First up is "Way Milky", a clav-happy chunk of psychedelic disco-funk that bubbles seductively from start to finish. The baggier "Make It Mellow", meanwhile, is more Balearic than squinting at the morning sunshine after an extended session at Space... and twice as life affirming.
Review: If you've been following the rise of Cosmic Forest dwellers Psychemagik for more than a minute, you'll be aware of their extremely chunky revision of Wang Chung's 1984 jam "Dancehall Days" which has been teasing new arrivals at their Soundcloud page for more than a year now. It finally gets a digital release here, and an official one to boot as Wang Chung vocalist Jack Hues was so impressed with their illicit take he sent them the stems for the official remix you see here. It's very much in line with their original edit but comes replete with that extra beef. Another archival killer from the duo in "Beauty And The Bass" adorns this release too.
Review: With everyone from Metronomy to Azari & III tapping up Psychemagik for remixes this year, the duo will surely be hot property in 2012, however this release, the second in their series of edit EPs, sees them take the knife to another two lost gems. The name of the amusingly titled "Ass Nation" comes from the presumably misheard lead vocal, which is combined with some low-slung bass guitar, trumpet solo action and heavily delayed guitar licks. "Upskirt" meanwhile is a disco-blues number, whose slow pace is given a rocket fuelled push with some searing, high-octane guitar work, topped off with some cosmically charged sound effects.
Review: 2011 has been a terrific year for the Psychemagik crew, who have provided us with all manner of disco, Balearic and psyechedelic treats - not to mention some slick slo-mo soul in the shape of "Feelin Love". Here they drop a pair of terrific re-edits of unlikely disco jams. First up is "Boogie Drome", a vocoder-heavy country-disco-rock banger than really defies definition. It's gloriously odd, but really rather magic. Flip for "Diamond Star", a thrillingly low-slung chunk of midtempo cosmic rock that recalls such classic 70s/80s disco/rock crossover outfits as the Greg Kihn Band. Proper dancefloor gold for crate-diggin' DJs.
Review: Disco heroes Psychemagik are known for their delightful edits, groove strewn beats and feel-good rhythms, a style which naturally filters through into their self titled label. Valley Of Paradise, their second release on the imprint, opens with the title track, a more downtempo and ambient offering than the disco we usually see from these guys. Splashes of bells, gentle vocal harmonies and light guitars meander through the dreamy arrangement of the first half until an equally mesmerising string arrangement flies through. Up next, "Star Lazer" has a more familiar sound, with heavy disco synths, vocodered vocals and an undeniable groove.
Review: The House of Disco site launches its new label endeavour of the same name with an impeccable selection of cosmopolitan sounds from four of the contemporary disco scene's most valued selectors. The ubiquitous Nicholas kicks things off with the slinking "Talking About Love" which leans on a soul classic with aplomb, and it's matched by the most upwardly mobile number on this release from Australia's Francis Inferno Orchestra. "Sun Up" is driven by one of those incessantly energetic filtered cores and surrounded by a thumping groove and leaves you gasping for the moment the vocal hook and hats finally kick in. Up next everyone's favourite South American dwelling East European exponent of super slow disco does his thing on "Outstanding" whilst Psychemagik indulges in some carnival leaning house boom on "Carnaval De Transoco". A deft release that corners all aspects of the modern discoteria needs.