Review: DJ/producer duo Troo Luv and Charlie Loud aka Heartbreak Sound have a great knack of re energising hip-hop acapellas and dropping some of the finest mash-up material out there at the moment. This latest release on GAMM is an essential purchase which comes in four pieces - with D'Angelo's "Brown Sugar" given a slow, nu-Philly groove, Jeru Tha Damaja's late-period hit "El Presidente" treated to a thematically-correct Cuban remake, Mos Def's "Ms Fat Booty" redone with a new, DJ Spinna-esque set of beats, and Common's classic "The Light" given a gritty make-over.
Review: This latest offering from the shady Katakana Edits crew makes their previous offerings seem positively anemic by comparison. Boasting a whopping 22 tracks, it's almost certainly guaranteed to provide decent ammo for every house party imaginable. Highlights include the chugging electro dub sing-along "Shakka Boom" by DJ Clairvo, the p-funk meets disco of vibes of "Miami Freaks" by Lee Zamah and Timewrap's pumped up version of The Velvettes's perennial Motown classic, "He Was Really Sayin' Something".
Review: GAMM welcome a new face into the fold in the shape of Stockholm's Seegweed, who aptly demonstrates his panache for the edit on some classic jams. First up, Seegweed drops a subtle take on Angela Bofill's Stylistics cover, clearly not wanting to mess with a classic like "People Make The World Go Round". Deft percussive touches and some bottom end embellishment are added to the core which takes full effect on the midpoint break. Up next, the jazz funk break delight of Ben Sidran's "About Love" gets the subtle Seegweed treatment, and he does a neat job of extending out the sweetness that is Sly & The Family Stone's "Family Affair".
Review: The Katakana edit express thunders on with their 11th installment of party breaks. This time the overwhelming vibe is of retro soul, jazz and swing. The latter is handled with a Latin influence on "I'll Be A God Man" and "Lovely TV" by DJ Clairvo, while the amazingly-named DJ Oli Garch provides a breaky, swingy version of jazz standard "Summertime. Lastly Timewrap opts for some Cuban-tinged grooves on "Miami", as well as a cheeky retweak of The Velvelettes' Motown classic "He Was Really Saying Something".
Review: Two albums for the price of one... Not only is this a fantastic showcase of Pimpsoul's mixing ability, DJ dynamics and selection skills, but, as individual tracks, Funk N Beats Volume 1 also acts as a great nu-funk collection. Joining the dots between formative genre-setters (Breakestra's "Cramp Your Style" and Skeewiff's "Feelin' Fine") to modern day dancefloor bangers (Rory Lyon's "I Got 5 On It" and Mr No Hands' "Feeling Fine") this touches every corner of the party-loving dancefloors. Nu-funk is riddled with label compilations but very few albums that reach further than in-house output. Big props to both Pimpsoul and Bombstrikes.
Review: Fresh-faced funkateer Manjah steps up to the party-hardy Katakana series, and does so with distinction. It's a game of two halves as the first two cuts are dedicated to chanteuses Smokey Robinson and Donna Hightower. Both powered by swashbuckling 60s funk riffs, these are authentic edits done with true creativity. Later on in the EP we head West to the Caribbean as Manjah gets his skank on with Dancehall Queen. Those with a penchant for Greek taverna flavours should hold tight for the rustic groove on "Orienta Patria". Nice work.
Review: The latest in this series of releases from the Greek label sees a mix of mashed up hip hop and jazz, such as on the Balkan swing of Palov's "That's All Folks" and Doctor Stereo's "Let's Begin The Show". Also well worth checking out is Monetrik's soul gem "Barbeque".
Review: The electro-swing bug has caught on in Greece judging by this fledgling Hellenic label's sixth release. Palov is a veteran DJ from Athens, and here he flexes his production muscles over four tracks. "Moving Next Door" takes an old Louis Prima-style trumpet sample and teases it out over four and a half minutes to great effect. "Bandido" is more upbeat and features sassy vocals from Monique Maion, "Captain Pandelis" displays a more hip-hop groove and features the voice of an old-skool crooner. Lastly "Waste Of The Time" manages to successfully fuse vintage swing band sounds with reggae!
Review: Despite being a staple on the Carnibal release schedules, this is the first non-compilation release for Panana Cardoon since Oye! back in 2011. Recent material included the breaky Eurodance of Bosporus Thief, but here on "Hasta La Wiggle" we get a different mix, including Latin shuffle-core ("Senor Pepe"), breaky vintage movie soundtrack funk ("Monica"), feelgood pop-reggae ("Upnaked") and even the reggaeton hip-hop hybrid "Don't Let Me Know".
Review: This EP from the Dirty Dubsters camp executes a single idea incredibly well: to apply electro-swing rhythms and production techniques to a bunch of old Latin records, be they Brazilian mambos, Cuban stompers or punchy sambas. The results are very floor-friendly, with just the right balance between the horn-heavy, Latino authenticity of the source material and the contemporary beats, breaks and effects. All four tracks appear 'tried and tested' and sound like they could create pandemonium if dropped at the right time. If we had to pick a highlight, it would probably be the gritty, breathless opener from Smugdruggler - though Panama Cardoon's Tito Puente-ish "Shingaling" isn't far behind.
Review: Basel-based trio Alma Negra has enjoyed a productive 2014, with their remixes and reworks of little-known Haitian and African jams appearing on Highlife Edits and Sorfrito. Here they deliver their first EP - a superb collection of edits laden with voodoo drums, dense percussion and tribal intent. Opener "Mao Negra" is particularly potent, and features a solid - but subtle - house kick-drum below all manner of loose and energetic African percussion and traditional chants. The more uptempo "Messa" is, if anything, even heavier - check the rubbery bassline and woozy chanting - while "Tribal Echoes" is the sort of darkroom deep house/African rhythms hybrid that you'd expect to hear on Huntleys & Palmers. Spellbinding stuff.
Review: It's more than ten years since the phenomenon of the bootleg mash-up became 'a thing' thanks to the likes of Richard X and yet people still come up with fresh interpretations of the genre. People like Booty Fruits, who have now reached number five in their ongoing series of booty compilations. We get four sizzling tracks here including the cut and scratch ragga-hop of "The Dopest", and 'Minnie', which sees Lone Drum following in Jean Jacques Smoothie's famous footsteps by utilizing Minnie Ripperton's "Inside My Love".
Review: The perception may still linger that Tony Allen's influence on modern electronic music is limited to Afrobeat or broken beat, but as this remix compilation attests, his influence looms large in other, unexpected places. On Chop Up, for example, Carl Craig finally delivers his response to his evergreen 2004 version of Beanfield's "Tides", with hypnotic chants, rolling drums and brassy breakdowns dominating his take on Allen's "Kilode". Equally, Mark Ernestus is inspired to push Allen legacy into the realms of low-slung house, with "Moyege" transformed into a languid, dubby disco rhythm. However, it's not just the more cerebral end of electronic music that has been seduced by Allen's genius: US star Diplo also contributes to Chop Up, with a squelchy, party take on "Fuju Ouija", while other unexpected contributors like Hypnotic Brass Ensemble and Salah Ragab keep the mood upbeat: the former drops an irresistible swaggering version of "Sankofa' and the latter brings a flavour of Notting Hill Carnival to "Ole", as celebratory brass competes with sunny day ivory tinkling. In spite of these joyful renditions of Allen's legacy, the version that we keep returning to is Moritz Van Oswald's take on "Ole". It's fascinating to hear that Allen's tumbling, rambunctious drums informed the Basic Channel member's work in the same way as King Tubby, but even more fascinating is what van Oswald does with Allen's drumming. Transforming them into solemn but understated marching beats, he uses them to underpin the most atmospheric, woozy dub chords this side of "M6".
Review: Meistro, Deep Sang and DJ Stylus make up the Sol Power All-Stars, a DJ/production collective from Washington DC dedicated to the many styles of African dance music. Here, they make their debut on GAMM with an excellent collection of sneaky afro-centric re-rubs. "Catch Monkey", the lead cut, offers a punchy, floor-friendly take on an Afrobeat classic. There's also a thrillingly dubbed-out, dancefloor friendly take (The "2AM Dub") that's almost an improvement on the excellent vocal original. "Let Yourself Go", meanwhile, expertly teases out a formidably percussive groove from a 1980s Afro-funk jam - all rousing horns and fluid synths. Closer "Taxi Driver", meanwhile, is a joyously celebratory juju jam. Quality stuff.
Review: Mashed-up reggae and hip-hop from the Cast A Blast label on this new single from Dedy Dread and DJ Rebel, which sees the distinctive descending riffola of Ray Charles' "Hit The Road Jack" incorporated into the excellent "Criss N Shine". While this original is full of rootsy jazz goodness, Turntable Dubbers & Sebski recast the vocals against a light, warm and friendly dancehall beat while Blend Mishkin evoke the "Sleng Teng" riddim on the plugged-in beats of their own remix.
Review: For this release, Greek electro-swing label Carnibal don their best man from Del Monte hat and jet (well, use a propeller plane) over to Havana for some vintage Latino thrills. Here Carnibal regulars Palov and Panama Cardoon team up for the lazy, steel drums and trumpet romp of "Vamos", Moetrik conjures up the Three Amigos on the traditional sounding "El Carino!", it's a cumbia-samba hybrid on Hammond Classics' "Cumbiamba" and Senor Griff rounds things up with the more modern, cumbia/moobahton-style roller "Cerro Rico".
Review: French act Minimatic have developed a reputation for drumming up jazz-flecked loungey covers of a wide variety of pop songs. Here the tagline 'all my friends are remixers' hints at what's in store - a collection of the finest DJ reworks of Minimatic's reworks with 17 to choose from. Highlights include the accelerated party breaks of Rory Hoy's version of Indeep's "Last Night A DJ Saved My Life", Peaches' "Shake Yer Dix" gets a Pizzicato Five-style retro '60s makeover courtesy of Skeewiff and the croony "Contre Vous", which is turned into a sleazy punk workout by Prosper and Rory Hoy.
Review: Timewarp have been putting out bangers since 2005 on their own Timewarp Music, a Greek label dedicated to only the most alluring electronic sounds. This is their new LP and it's choc-a-bloc with surprises for you; starting from the opener "Bullshit", an irresistibly hip-swanking trip-hop number, it goes all the way through "Disco Frisco" featuring the one like Leon for a smooth but rough-ready house roller, and ends up in places never expected like "Latin Cookies", a track so joyful and packed with good vibes that it can't be properly catalogued into one genre...it has one hell of a bass line though - much like everything else on this sweet full-length from the boys at Timewarp.
Review: The latest addition to the Katakana Edits party is the mysterious FH. Equally mysterious are the source tracks for the edits featured here. However there's no ambiguity about the standard of tunes though. There's five of them and unlike the more swingy vibes of the label's recent releases, "Vol 12" is going for a tougher funk vibe, almost rare groove in places. Highlights include the gritty "Down In The Basement", the percussive Latin jam "Diablos" and the loose and groovy "Yo-Yo Beat".
Review: This thirty eighth release by Resense is actually a split EP, divided between Switzerland's Bandura who fly in Trinidad's The Duke for their first 'calypso mash-up', "Calypso Invasion" and the label's own Sono Rhizmo who updates that cool 50s voodoo jazz sound on the appropriately named "Voodoo". Hot stuff!
Review: From Birmingham to Brazil! Prolific Midlands nu funkateer Total Cult comes through with an EP of disco flecked house party business for the Royal Soul imprint out of Sao Paolo. "Disco Call" leans heavily on a disco classic, laying down some neat Beastie Boys scratches atop a bassline that just demands dancing, whilst "Nice Disco" is all late night Studio 54 vibes crossed with a smattering of famous raps. The accompanying remix of "Nice Disco" from Royal Soul's Trotter (no relation to Derek) adds a few more ounces of bounce. The bumping 80s new jack swing of "Keep On Truckin" is the best thing here - not least for the flu filled Bussa Bus raps throughout.
Review: Calling all samba soundhounds, polka party people, rumba revellers and bossa bandits! Sample-smashing instrumentalist Skeewiff returns with another incredible album, this time exploring the bountiful creative pastures of Latin America. Highlights abound across the 13 track selection, including the horn-blazed sizzling sunset showdown of "Burro Magico", the accordion-squeezing, bass-burping cumbia stomper "Fritada De Cumbia" and the frenetic future bossa nova "Meu Amor". Skeewiff never disappoints, and this is no exception.
Review: Party orientated producer Doctor Stereo is back with a new two-tracker on Agogo that captures the raucous spirit of vintage mayhem updated with today's productions secrets. Meanwhile "Joe Says" is a brassy and bold updated funk belter. Get your soot suit - you're pulled!
Review: Mr Scruff's Friendly Bacteria album was something of a return to form; a sprawling, soul-flecked concoction full of broken beat, jazz, dub and classic house influences. Here, two of the album's highlights get the remix treatment. On the A, "We Are Coming" - a bumpin', basement-bothering bruk cut in its' original form - is turned into a warm and wide-eyed deep house shuffler by Berlin-based Max Graef. It's an excellent revision, which weaves the original samples and keys into a fuzzy, analogue-sounding groover. On the flip, Scruff himself extends and reworks "Feel Free", turning in a hazy nu-jazz rub built around rubbery double bass and snaking, muted horns.
Review: Just four tracks to be found on the Katakana Edits crew's latest instalment their ongoing disco comp series. Still, it's all about the quality, not the quantity and there's plenty of that still to be found. Bonnie & Klein deliver the warped hypnotic funk of "Kung Fu Love", LCA & Voodoo Cuts serve up a vintage-jazz-meets-daisy-age-rap joint, old skool ragga-roots is the order of the day on Timewrap's good time anthem, "Dubshine". Oligarch arrives with the raucous "Swingin'" to wrap things nicely, and nicely he does.
Review: Having developed a sterling reputation for sudden splashes of one-track attitude, Berry returns with his most extensive EP since last year's Swing It EP. The party ignites with the glitch-swing jazz jam "Grandiose". Built up around a well excavated '30s vocal sample with big walls of slippery bass, it sets the tone for the entire EP. Further on "Twitch" takes the vibe up several BPM with a festival-ready piano-slapping vocal jacker, "Heart" averts full focus to the horn section with cinematic glee, "Showtime" jives and swings with Cab Calloway-style cheek and charm and "NFY" brings the show to a full-flavoured, bass-burping pumping finale. Consistent, extensive and exciting, this is Berry's finest release to date.
Review: Veteran Ninja Tune artist Bonobo has been putting out seriously decent tunes pretty much since the birth of the highly regarded Late Night Tales compilation. It's amazing that they haven't crossed paths before, but with the release of this 33rd entry into the series, the time has finally come for Green to take us on his own nocturnal mission. This 21-track odyssey is seamlessly mixed but the unmixed tracks are also presented so we can enjoy highlights like the velvety soul of 'Didn't I", the hippy funk of "Flowers" and the distorted, fuzzy trap of "Gutter Glitter".
Review: Primarily comprised of previously vinyl-only tracks released by Kieran Hebden on his own Text imprint over the past 18 months, you'd be forgiven for wondering if Pink should be treated as a proper Four Tet album or not. The answer is an emphatic yes; although several of these tracks are more dancefloor focused than we've seen previously, the melodies and textures are unmistakably Hebden. "Locked" for instance has the loose rhythmic structure and bass weight of dubstep but the kind of acoustic textures of his Rounds era material, while "Lion" combines Border Community style minimal techno with the unmistakable Hebden glockenspiel. "Jupiters" experiments with swung garage beats in an unmistakably UK Bass style, while "128 Harps" is a whipcrack MPC workout given his light melodic touch and "Peace On Earth" is a beatless 11 minutes of analogue kosmische. But it's the centrepiece of Hebden's Fabriclive mix, the brilliantly moody "Pyramid", and the loose limbed jazz-house of "Pinnacles" that really set this album apart from his other long-playing efforts, two examples of timeless dance music which demonstrate why after nearly 15 years in the game Hebden is only improving with age.