Review: San Francisco institution Dirtybird turn up the heat with their Summer Funk release, featuring four bangers from four different artists. Middlesborough's Lee Walker makes his debut on the label with "Rock Climber", a ferocious track with build-ups and build-downs that make you feel like you're on an unforgiving rollercoaster. Next up is another Englishman named Weiss, who has been a favorite of the label over the past year. He follows up his recent EP with "Bounce". It does exactly what it says, with his trademark mixture of jacking beats, underground boom and a bit of amusement. Lord Leopard first appeared with Eats Everything in March on one of the label's biggest EPs of the year. Here he goes solo with "As Gospel". The contagious lead line swirls in and out over a dark set of drums and bass that will certainly contribute to his rapid ascent. Bump Ugly's "Lost My Mind" rounds out the EP with animated beats and bass that dances along with quirky bleeps and blips for a funky summer ride.
Review: There's a distinctly old school flavour to this compilation as Thee Cool Cats take to the controls. Patrick Topping's "Forget" sees the fast-rising producer serve up insane rave stabs and diva vocal samples over insistent cowbells and slamming beats, while Catz'n'Dogz mine a different part of 90s music culture. The duo's "Booty Comes First" is inspired by the rude and raucous sound of ghetto house, as pre-orgasmic moans and a slamming rhythm reinforce the vocal that "yo booty comes first". At the other end of the emotional spectrum, Tough Love impress greatly with the acid-laced, soulful house of "Dreams", while the next generation of Detroit techno, fronted by Dantiez Saunderson and working with Altus Project returns to early 90s US house with the vocal-led "I Need You".
Review: The Dutch house and techno scene is arguably stronger than it's ever been, thanks in no small part to the efforts of Amsterdam institution Rush Hour. Here, the record store turned stable of labels salutes a new wave of (mostly) homegrown Dutch heroes with a superb compilation of previously unreleased material from both established producers (Dexter, Neworldaquarium, Tom Trago) and exciting newcomers (Melon, Awanto5, Maxi Mill). In truth, it's hard to do justice to Amsterdam All-Stars' many highlights, tempo shifts and stylistic variations (think slo-mo house to aggressive analogue acid via classic deep techno and touchy-feely retro-futurism). Suffice to say, it should be essential listening for anyone who loves quality house and techno.
Juan Erlando & His Latin Band - "Brazil Express" - (2:32) 131 BPM
Francis Coppieters - "Piano In Transit" - (4:20) 122 BPM
Keith Mansfield - "Crash Course" - (2:43) 106 BPM
Keith Mansfield - "Soul Thing" (with KPM All Stars - live at Jazz Cafe) - (2:56) 97 BPM
Alan Hawkshaw & Keith Mansfield - "Theme From 'Dave Allen At Large'" (with KPM All Stars - live at Jazz Cafe) - (2:37) 97 BPM
Alan Hawkshaw & Keith Mansfield - "Beat Boutique" (with KPM All Stars - live at Jazz Cafe) - (2:59) 95 BPM
KPM All Stars - "Swamp Fever" (live at Jazz Cafe) - (2:42) 95 BPM
KPM All Stars - "Unlimited Love" (live at Jazz Cafe) - (2:45) 97 BPM
KPM All Stars - "That's What Friends Are For" (feat Emma Kershaw - live at Jazz Cafe) - (3:29) 104 BPM
James Clarke - "Second Cut" (with Steve Grey & KPM All Stars - live at Jazz Cafe) - (2:50) 76 BPM
Duncan Lamont - "Funky Express" (with KPM All Stars - live at Jazz Cafe) - (3:26) 101 BPM
Alan Hawkshaw - "Girl In A Sportscar" (with KPM All Stars - live at Jazz Cafe) - (2:43) 96 BPM
Alan Hawkshaw - "Senior Thump" (with KPM All Stars - live at Jazz Cafe) - (3:47) 94 BPM
Alan Hawkshaw - "Landscape" (with KPM All Stars - live at Jazz Cafe) - (2:32) 94 BPM
Alan Hawkshaw - "The Champ" (with Kirsty Hawkshaw & KPM All Stars - live at Jazz Cafe) - (3:10) 103 BPM
Keith Mansfield - "Crash Course" (with KPM All Stars - live at Jazz Cafe) - (3:18) 100 BPM
Keith Mansfield - "UK Sports Theme Medley: Theme from 'The Big Match'/Theme From BBC Wimbledon Tennis/Theme From BBC Athletics/Theme From 'Grandstand'" (with KPM All Stars - live at Jazz Cafe) - (4:33) 66 BPM
Review: Strut have a strong record in delivering excellent, thoroughly researched compilations, and this is one of them. This album collates the best from the vaults of KPM's public library music collection - music made by expert musicians but never intended to be publically available. Of course everyone from Jay-Z to Doom have sampled these previously hard to find gems, but now we can all enjoy the flute-disco whimsy of Alan Parker's "Unlimited Love", the carnival freakout of Barry Morgan & Ray Cooper's "Samba Street" and the very familiar loungey jazz of Francis Coppieter's "Cross Talk".
Review: German label Compost excel with their Future Sounds of Jazz compilations and this latest instalment is no exception - ranging from the dubby, almost Dilla-inspired swing of Der Dritte Raum's "Swing Bob" to the cut 'n' paste psychedelics of Letherette's "In July Focus", via Sepalcure's mighty "Fleur". With names like The Glimmer Twins, Scrimshire, Timo Garcia and Eden all attached, quality is most definitely assured throughout.