Review: It may have taken a few months, but Whiskey Disco's latest split EP - a fine affair featuring two reworks apiece from Ponchartrain and Sheffield-based East Midlander Thatmanmonkz - has finally made it to digital download. Pontchartrain steps up first, first offering up the breezy, tropical-sounding disco stomp of "La Magie" - all punchy horns, classic disco bass, fizzing synth lines and glassy-eyed female vocals - before brilliantly reworking an obscure disco/jazz-funk instrumental (the suitably spacey "Hey Mariposa"). Arguably even better is "Luh Me On Mi Celly", the low-slung, stretched-out dub disco revision that counts as thatmanmonkz's first contribution to the EP. His second, "Radiation Steppa", is a fizzing, synth-heavy disco-boogie number blessed with passionate male group vocals.
Review: Scott Moncrief's quietly confident debut album Columbising has been one of the sleeper hits of 2016, with the Sheffield-based East Midlander serving up an effortlessly soulful set that joins the dots between hip-hop, broken beat, boogie, and U.S deep house. This follow-up EP showcases one of the album's highlights, Dave Aju collaboration "Turn It Out." Aju takes the deliciously loose and live-sounding original - all jumpy clavinet lines, swinging deep house drums and urgent vocals - and turns it into a stripped-back, heavily electronic broken house gem. Elsewhere, Lawrence Guy delivers a wonderfully warm, rich and soulful deep house interpretation of Erik Rico hook-up "Boogie Down", before Moncrief enlists the honeyed-tonsils and impeccable piano playing skills of regular collaborator Pete Simpson, on the jazzy gospel-house deepness of "For Bae".
Review: Shadeleaf Music founder Thatmanmonkz is arguably one of Sheffield's unheralded heroes, with a spell in soulful bassheads Small Arms Fiya and a residency at the city's anything-goes Join The Dots night amongst his bulging CV. Here he delivers three chunks of deliciously soulful deep house for Freerange offshoot Delusions of Grandeur. The raw, bass-heavy, woozy and bumpin' "Girl I Know" is probably the standout, though the looser, groovier "Blowin' My Mind" - which comes laden with heady Rhodes keys and a lolloping bassline - pushes it close. Dnae collaboration "Be With Me" - a seductive trip into Moodymann-ish deep and soulful territory - is also pretty darn hot.
Review: Delusions Of Grandeur, easily one of the most consistent deep house labels to come out of the post-minimal era, returns with that guy we all love, Thatmanmonkz. Himself and Chicago's Khalil Anthony are remixed by the equally consistent Jimpster, who delivers the goods by laying down some utter tech house quality on "Take U 2 My House", while Detroit's Ge-ology takes on "Jus Anutha Wunna Deez", and comes out the other end with a murky, beat-heavy house monster that bumps so perfectly along. The originals are sexier, chunkier in the mix, and backed by some killer vocals, particularly "Take U 2 My House" - what a beaut! Recommended and tipped!
Review: Sheffield's Thatmanmonkz returns with the Feels Trip To The District EP, where he teams up with his good pal Martin Miguel. The record is inspired by several trips to dope parties in the District of Columbia, home of the quickly rising label Better Listen Records. Starting off with a funky and soulful turn with that familiar vocal on "The Assassinator", to moves to the lo-slung disco deepness of "Sweetiez Fresh", a dusty and looped up jam that will appeal to fans of the Robsoul sound. Thatmanmonkz closes this impressive EP with Thirstin' coupled with sun kissed female vocal.
Review: Thatman Monkz is Scott Moncrieff to be precise, a Sheffield based producer who's been making house music since around 1997 but more recently on Kolour LTD and of course Delusions Of Grandeur: where he's recognised as a label mainstay. His new album Colombusing is a mighty effort; 14 tracks to be precise and there's a wide variety of moods and grooves, not to mention collaborations! Some of those very hook-ups are the highlights on here, we must say. There's a couple of tracks with San Francisco minimalist/human beatbox Dave Aju; "Turn It Out" is a deep and sleazy funk jam with Cameo-ish vocals, while "Boogie Down" features the sweet lungs of Erik Rico whose Curtis Mayfield impressions suit this feel-good soul jam just perfectly. "Baked" features the deep poetry of NYC's Malik Ameer on this on this dope jam full of urban flavour. There's music to dance to too, rest assured: "Take U 2 My House" featuring Khalil Anthony is surefire deep house aimed squarely at the dancefloor.
Review: Scott Moncrief's debut album as Thatmanmonkz, last year's excellent Columbising, was arguably one of the most overlooked sets of recent times. It was packed with highlights, and saw Moncrieff showcasing not only sublime deep house, but also all manner of tasty, floor-ready concoctions influenced by his hip-hop roots. He's predictably in fine form on this outing for Dirt Crew, too. Opener "Manna For Poppa" is a deliciously sleazy and slow-burning affair, with hard-wired sax lines riding a bustling, bass-heavy groove and impressively layered percussion. The horns return on the fluid, emotion-rich deep house melancholy of "Intrinsic Divine", while "Space Jam 2017" is a light-touch jazz-house affair blessed with eyes-closed guitar solos and impressively loose drum work. Fittingly, he rounds things off with the bluesy, smoky shuffle of 104 BPM groover "Evolver".
Review: The enigmatic Thatmanmonkz parachutes back onto Delusions Of Grandeur - one of the most consistent deep house driven labels out there - with three retro joints. "In The Trees" is pure Chicago magic and features the vocal talent of Khalil Anthony in the mix, while "Make It Now" is a jazzy house piece a-la Moody. Last but by no means the least, "Sad N Blue" goes for chunky beats, gorgeous piano keys and a stunning backdrop of seductive R&B vocals. This is for HOUSE music lovers and it's massive.
Review: Following fine 2017 outings on G.A.M.M, Dirt Crew and Better Listen, Thatmanmonkz (AKA Shadeleaf Music co-founder Scott Moncrieff) returns to Classic for the first time in three years. "Ooh Wee" is in many ways typical of his output, featuring as it does an impassioned, stylish vocal from Nikki-O rising above a dusty, soul-fired deep house groove rich in loose, MPC style beats and low-slung electric bass. The similar original and extended versions come accompanied by a trippy, stripped-back and bass-heavy Dubstramental and the stunningly deep-but-driving Hamstramck Remix that cunningly stirs in some fluid and breezy musical elements to Moncrieff's steaming melting pot).
Review: A love letter to the Basement Boys 2001 classic with Ras Baraka "An American Poem", Malik Ameer Crumpler lays down an incredible, wry and poignant sermon over a swing beat that builds into some fine freeform horn work from Leron Thomas. A fusion that spans Sheffield, Paris and New York, pays homage to Gil Scott Heron and delivers a critical message, the timeliness of this is legitimate.
Review: As you'd expect, the latest volume in Dirt Crew's regular Deep Love compilation series features far more hits than misses. As with previous installments in the long-running series, Deep Love 2017 is mostly made up of previously unheard material from label favourites and like-minded guest producers. Highlights come thick and fast throughout, and include the horn-laden Latin disco-house brilliance of M.ono's "Jamas", the jazzy, Compost style broken beat deepness of Felix Leifur's "Record", the loved-up shuffle of Loz Goddard's impeccable "Now is Where We Are" and a touch of 21st century jazz-funk/deep house fusion by Ponty Mython. Also worth a listen is the contribution from Sheffield beat-smith Thatmanmonkz, who once again delivers a hazy chunk of ultra-deep, soul-flecked dancefloor bliss.