Review: While Toys Of Joy might sound like the name of a bumper box of "adult pleasure accessories", it's in fact Midnight Riot's chosen name for the label's occasional series of split artist EPs. This second volume does, though, contain rather a lot of crotch-moistening material. Stroud scalpel fiends Situation Sounds impress with a stretched-out version of a dreamy Balearic rock classic, while Black Magic Disco and Disco Funk Spinner both steal the show with essential disco-rock reworks ("Strike It Back" and "Blind Beat" respectively). For those whose erogenous zones respond better to synthesizers, Ursula 1000's sweet, rubbery and sensual boogie re-rub "Be The One" should get the juices flowing.
Review: Having returned from a five-year sabbatical back in September with the P-funk-meets-synth-pop goodness of "Faded Denim Wash", the Ursula 1000 comeback gathers pace. "Blast Off" is an unashamed tribute to the muscular, Italo-influenced, synthesizer-heavy electro-disco of Patrick Cowley and Giorgio Moroder, complete with a Sylvester-inspired vocal from American drag queen Lady Bunny. The accompanying remixes are pretty strong, too, and range from warehouse-friendly house (see Vanilla Ace's piano-laden version) and piano-laden broken beat (the Eli Escobar dub), to throbbing, masculine EDM (a bouncy, stomping interpretation from Manotti Da Vinci). As solid as the reworks are, it's the tongue-in-cheek original that stands out.
Review: Following a string of exciting new singles, veteran producer Ursula 1000 now fully returns with Voyeur, a new LP. Two of the newies, Faded Denim Wash and Clap Your Hands, are present alongside a further seven new tracks. Highlights include the Patrick Cowley-style hiNRG of "Blast Off!" and the wild Latino funk of "Tropical Intention".
Review: Following a long hiatus, it's great to now see veteran producer Ursula 1000 back in prolific form. Previously we've come to expect everything from this guy, from quirky lounge music to electro and disco. Here though, on "Smoke Machine" he's rustled up a peak-time hip house jam, the kind of electro-house house-meets-party-rap that the likes of Tiga used to play in those post-electro-clash days. Remix -wise, we're talking retro funk (Fort Knox Five), fizzy freestyle electro (Qdup) and cheeky 90s-house pop shenanigans (Richard Gear).
Review: Somewhat surprisingly, this is the first release from former Eighteenth Street Lounge Music regular Ursula 1000 for some five years. In its' original form, "Faded Denim Wash" is a dreamy, slo-mo nu-disco chugger, full of blissful melodic touches, whispered vocals and barely concealed Balearic intent. He provides a tasty remix of his own, too ("Ursula 80s High Waisted Redux"), turning the original into a bouncy chunk of Latin freestyle revivalism. There are some similarly inspired remixes elsewhere on the package, too. We're particularly taken with Payfone's bluesy, downtempo dub disco re-imagining, while Balearic specialists Seahawks turn in a wonderfully horizontal ambient take variously influenced by The KLF's Chill Out and the glistening nu-Balearica of Studio.
Review: Should you want to turn your place into a swinging cantina let Beatnik City's first release of The Latin Leaks be your soundtrack, and slam those tequila's to "Uhh! Ahh". There's some sampled Wu Tang thrown in among a clamour of drums in "Shimmy Cumbia", while tempos are lowered in "Lift Ma Soul". For some electro-swing vibes check out "Golden Boy" and get tropical on "Real Smooth". Consider your next fiesta sorted!
Review: Destination 60s as Beatnik City follow up last year's breakthrough compendium "The Rio District" with an exploration of pop roots, contemporised by swinging breakbeats and premium party signatures. Instantly recognisable jams include the ill behaviour of Ree Keen's take on "Louie Louie" and the ongoing beat mischief of Fab Samperi's homage to Sonny & Cher but the slightly less obvious versions shouldn't be overlooked either... The frenetic harmonica-snapping of Leygo's "Loose Wheel" and the lounge-writhing slipper jazz of Mad Doc's "Nori's Gem". Authentic big beat business.
Review: German funk baron Quincy gives us another fine slice of Lime Sorbet radio show with this 15 strong collection of nu funk gems. The faces are there - Basement Freaks with the butt-shaking cut n' paste party joint "City Jam" and Ursula with a retro-gaze car-chase "Tension" - but there's also refreshing presence of fringe nu funk players like Michael Devillis with the horn-hooting "Craziest Things" and Peurto Rican selector Stereo77 with his dusty, low swung bass wig out "Algeria". It's the work of a true selector, and the continuous mix simply proves Quincy can use the turntables as well as he can curate.
Review: Ursula 1000 have always been a bit of a musical oddity, capable of delivering everything from tongue-in-cheek lounge grooves and downtempo beats to booty-shaking funk breaks. This latest excursion for Thievery Corporation's ESLM label is another curiosity - a kind of cheeky electro-lounge jam with a strange spoken word vocal from French chanteuse Isabelle Antena. Despite being hard to pin down it's excellent, and comes with a trio of floor-friendly remixes. Of these, it's The Pinker Tones' kitsch Hammond funk/lounge music rework that stands out, though Linntronix's mid-90s pop-house take is also great fun.
Review: This is a bit of a treat for funk breaks fans, as leading label Boogie Boutique gathers together a selection of its finest floor-filling bangers. With cheeky mash-ups and bootleg remixes from the likes of Hayz, Ursula 1000 and Nick Fonkyson, there's much to enjoy, not least the sheer silliness of some of the rump-shaking fusions. Check, for example, the anthemic grooves of Nine Lives The Cat's "Let Me In" (a brilliantly executed fusion of "Just Be Good To Me" and "Cross The Tracks") or Badboe's "Show Me Ghetto". None of the cuts will win you brownie points with chin-strokers, but they'll certainly smash up the dance - and that's all that matters.
Review: The alter-ego of Brooklyn DJ Alex Gimeno, Ursula 1000 is back with the intergalactic booty-spank of "Rocket". With heavy and dirty vocoder vocals and a phalanx of exotic sounds, this really thumps hard. Telephunken smooth things out with a new drum track of highly funky loops and some added brass breaks. Smalltown Romeo bust out the tech-house synths as well as some brilliantly rumbling bass on their mix, while Mike Dextro brings it round full circle into a radical dubsteppin' overhaul.