Reviewed this week
Long-serving disco-house fusionist Hot Toddy (AKA Crazy P co-founder Chris Todd) is in a loved-up mood on this rather tasty three-tracker. Surprisingly, it's his first solo single for some five years, and his first for House of Disco. It's the breezy, funk-fuelled A-side "In The Genes", in which Todd expertly fuses together elements most often found in proto-house, NYC boogie, early house and disco-funk records, that stands out, though the standard naturally remains high elsewhere. "Love Music", for example, is a wonderfully sauced-eyed stroll through dreamy deep house/disco fusion, while closer "Love Can Set You Free" sits somewhere between stripped-back disco-house, percussive boogie and Idjut Boys style dub disco.
Headed up by Brighton's Fingerman, Hot Digits Music return with London's Steve Gladdis aka Smashed Atoms - who after some spectacular releases on his own Magic Circles imprint and Paper Music, explodes onto the label with "Cut This Way". Sounding like it takes it cues from NYC disco legends Blondie as much as it does from American rapper Dimples D. "Wonderlust" (extended version) goes for more of a lo-slung deep house vibe which we found pretty sweet, while the bleepy "Lost Someone" gets back to the program with some sunny party vibes. Also featuring some superb remix action from Get Down Edits featuring Micko Roche and the Chopshop regular from Montreal: Dave Gerrard.
Lego Edit is Italian Diego Lelli who returns to his eponymous edit imprint and two more soulful scorchers on Dancefloor Edits Original Disco Cuts. "Always" is a respectful edit of a certain legend - a wonder of Motown, if you will, and this timeless anthem gets wonderful resplice by Leali here. Next up "Nightlife" (Lego Classic edit) is another disco classic from the late seventies that will appeal to all those lo-slung crusaders out there. We said it last time and it must be stated again that this guy from Bologna has been in overdrive throughout the last year, hammering out a few dozen releases already in 2017. How this guy can ever sleep between all the edits and DJing is anyone's guess: but keep 'em coming pal!
This expansive eight track EP/MIni album from the consistent Running Back label arrives with no information about the identity of the previously unknown Younger Rebinds. What we can tell you, though, is that it's really rather good. As the title hints, it's something of a retro-futurist treat, with the mystery outfit laying down a range of club-ready jams inspired by the rich history of house music. Highlights include the hands-aloft piano house simplicity of "Hite", the proto-house-meets-acid-house hum of the decidedly druggy and psychedelic "Retro7", the bounding, heavily electronic deep house bounce of "Oorgel" and the pitched-down, saucer-eyed Balearic house bliss of "Moonday". Those who enjoying playing around with percussion should also check the sweaty drum workout that is "7Beat".
Pumping disco funk from decorated digger Nick The Record. "Lifeforce Theme" pays homage to the Japanese party collective he's been with since the early 90s (and played at Japan's first ever outdoor rave with, no less) Loose and rugged but primed with a lavish sense of piano luxury, there's a deep drive and firm uplift that instantly grabs attention. "Recordnition" is a much more heads-down in its nature and focus as we're pulled in by the hypnotic percussion, worming wah wahs and sharp blasts of flutes. As always with Nick, the floor is the foremost focus.
Last time we heard from label-hopping producer Books, he was delivering a deliciously dubbed-out, Afro-funk-meets-Afro-disco remix of Dele Sosimi for Wah Wah 45s. This time round, he's on an edits tip, delivering club-ready revisions that stretch the meaning of the term. Certainly, given that it contains some brilliantly dense new percussion and the loopy bounce of house, we'd argue that "In The Groove" - a killer revision of a disco track previously bitten by 6th Borough Project some years ago - is more of a remix than a re-edit. Regardless, it's something of a peak-time belter. "Passage of Time", meanwhile, is a wonderfully woozy deep house number full of sampled jazz trumpet, enveloping pads and swirling hip-hop vocal samples.
Discomatin co-founder and all-round Parisian selector don Saint James co-launches his new Chuwanaga label with this expertly curated compilation. In The Red is a deep dive into the exciting funk fusion coming out of London between 1980-83 as a new movement of black British musicians honed a sound that owes as much to soundsystem culture as it does disco. From the glistening instrumental flare of Index to the lavish synths and slap bass of Equa, this captures a unique and currently under-documented moment in groove history. Complete with detailed liner notes, this is a fantastic way to launch a new label. Not to be slept on.
Sunner Soul is from Saint Petersburg, but claims that his roots are drawn from Germany. The 30 year old further asserts that disco music was played at home from a young age, so it is about more than just music. Now as a producer, musician, DJ and record label owner, he presents his deep/funky/nu-disco/edits on his label Vintage Music. On the Right Cuts & Parts EP, we have the funky and filtered disco loops of "Soul Drifter" (original mix) or "Right Now" (original mix) which are reminiscent of early Cassius or Motorbass and similarly "Rainbow Set" (original mix) that equally features that distinct 'French Touch' on this dusty DJ tool. The Russian producer has had additional releases on hot disco labels such as Midnight Riot, Editorial and Funky Town in recent times and we expect to be hearing much more from this emerging talent in the months to come.
On this second volume in their ongoing Disco Jams series, Gomma has decided to focus on tracks that ripple with the synthesizer-heavy sunshine sheen of nu-disco. Of course, there are still nods towards low-slung dub disco - see he spiraling synthesizers, electric bass and trippy electronics of the GB's "Lucky in Vichy" - but for the most part it's a rubbery, positive and heavily electronic affair. We're particularly enjoying the warehouse nu-disco strut of Pete Herbert and Tristan da Cunha's remix of the Glimmers "U Rocked My World" and authentic '80s P-funk bounce of Munk's "Down in L.A" (as remixed by Shazam), though the slow and spacey synth-pop of Nancy Whang and Etienne de Crecy's "Comme Un Aigle" is almost as impressive.
You'd be forgiven for being unfamiliar with the work of short-lived San Francisco band Dub Oven. After all, they only released one single way back in 1983, and that was a self-released, private-press affair. Happily, the dusty-fingered diggers behind Music From Memory are big fans and here offer up a re-mastered reissue. Amazingly, each of the three tracks explores different sonic territory. Contrast, for example, the Tom Tom Club-goes-synth-funk eccentricity of lead cut "Skin 'n' Bones" and "Dub Oven", a thrillingly spaced-out chunk of no-wave/electro fusion that sounds like it could have been beamed down from another universe. Then there's closer "Millions of Sensations", which sits somewhere between Japanese new wave ambience and the post-punk funk of Bristolian outfits The Pop Group and Maximum Joy.
The latest tasty missive on fast-rising re-edit imprint Furious Mandrill comes from NFC, an Argentine DJ/producer who has previously released original material on Thunder Jam and Onrika. Both tracks here are marked out not only by the tidiness and respectfulness of the re-edits, but also the quality of his source material. "Rico Coco" is an authentic original Latin disco gem, where hazy female vocals, jaunty piano lines and hard panned guitars wrap themselves around a wonderfully rich, mid-tempo groove. "Nigerian Feel", on the other hand, is a killer rework of a slightly better known, West African influenced disco-funk gem, where flanged Blaxploitation guitars and sweaty horn solos combine with a guttural male vocal to create an intoxicating, floor-friendly mood.
Massimiliano Pagliara has been flirting with other labels over recent years - most notably Ostgut Ton and Uncanny Valley - but his heart remains with Live at Robert Johnson. As a sign of commitment, he's delivered Devoid of Dimension, an EP in two parts. Part one begins in confident fashion with the sparkling thrills of "Free at Last", where twinkling synth melodies and spine-tingling chords dance around a sweaty, occasionally cacophonous, percussion-rich groove. The melodious, electrofunk-goes-house fun continues on the thoughtful "Unstoppable Trajectory", before Pagliara drops into loved-up mode via the impeccable tunefulness and melancholic chord sequences of "Blue Eyes". Finally, the Berlin-based Italian simmers things down on rolling, slo-mo closer "Small Town Life", a pleasingly dubbed-out chunk of bass-heavy, synthesizer-driven Balearica.
Seamus Haji's Re-Loved series of re-edits, reworks and DJ-friendly disco tools seems to get stronger with each successive release. This seventh volume is, to our ears at least, the most impressive EP to date - thanks, primarily, to the purist "scalpel edit" style employed throughout. We're particularly enjoying opener "The Road", a thrillingly percussive rearrangement of a steel drums-heavy Trinidadian disco gem, though the low-slung Afro-disco re-edit that follows it, "Omen" (a quite well disguised version of a familiar Caribbean dub disco killer) is nearly as good. Elsewhere, "Dancehall Die" sees him dance jauntily through synth-heavy electrofunk pastures, while "Flight Time" is a jaunty, punchy and horn-heavy re-edit of a fuzzy disco-funk gem.
Cardiff seven-piece The Pure Conjecture is best known for serving up baggy, Balearic-minded blends of indie-pop, soul and dub, though they do occasionally dip their toes into more electronic disco waters. That's certainly the case with "Jealous Girl", a bubbly, mid-tempo nu-disco shuffler blessed with twinkling pianos, sweet electronics and impassioned, high-register male vocals. Situation naturally head up the accompanying remix package, subtly beefing up the track to push it further towards Crazy P style neo-disco territory. Elsewhere, Don Thompson brilliantly re-casts the track as a sprightly chunk of jumpy electrofunk, before Love Drop re-image it as a dreamy disco-house chugger.
After a series of exceptional singles, SOL Discos fire up the album engine for the very first time with this fantastic exploration of modern soul from the late 70s to early 80s. Curated by label founder Waxist, Message In Our Music features numerous exclusive reissues and unreleased cuts; David Nathan's swooning take on "Ain't Nothing Like The Love", The Harden Brothers' silky smooth "Deep Inside Of You" and the vital up-tempo positivity of Don Scott's "Love With Me" are just a handful of essentials on this immaculate collection. Complete with detailed notes, pictures and quotes from the original artists, SOL Discos have created something genuinely special here.
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!
Spanish nu-disco don James Rodriguez is in fine form on their first appearance for 80's Child's Masterworks Music stable. There's something particularly alluring about opener "Stay Mine", a sumptuous fusion of head-nodding disco and tactile boogie full of sweeping strings, sensual female vocal hooks and a killer groove. He doffs a cap towards boogie-inspired loop-house maestros Tiger & Woods on the superb "Tone of Love" and "Unlimited". The Madrid-based producer arguably saves the best till last with "Win You Back", a nine-minute boogie epic that sits somewhere between the languid shuffle of the EP's opening track and the loop jams showcased elsewhere.
Active in the dance scene since the early nineties, Dutch producer Vincent Kriek aka HP Vince started the famous P.I.M.P. project on Touche records together with Jamez. He is a versatile producer if it comes to styles, but house and disco are his biggest love. Running his own label since 2014, Nite Tunes aims to release different styles on the techier and deeper tip. 2017 is a big year focussed on funky disco house on great labels like Solid State Disco, WhoreHouse, DiscoRevenge, Redisco and Springbok in addition to some great work with new partner in crime Dave Leatherman. He also recorded with superstar DJ Laidback Luke on Groove Alert as Dubbing Double. He is back with his second Chop Shop EP for George Kelly's label, featuring three jackin' disco jams to get your party going. We are a fan of anything on this Greek label for its quality and this is no exception.
Congratulations to the Katakana Edits crew, who have now reached a half century of releases. Their 53rd EP comes from the mysterious Ben Morlack from Paris. He's had other releases recently on Funk Blasters, Breakbeat Paradise, Relative Dimensions, Homebreakin, Tru Funk and Boogie Boutique: so you know where this guys coming from! "Train" is a well funky joint with some super powerful vocals retained from the original of this fine track - that sounds quite familiar. Next up you get served to some serious soul power on the wicked "There It Is".
Following scalpel-wielding missions on Katakana Edits and Springbokz, the Rocknrolla crew returns to the warm bosom of Alpaca Edits. The Dutch four-piece is in fine fettle throughout, serving up a trio of reworks that dig deep in the crates for inspiration. First up, they make merry with a drowsy cover version of all-time jazz classic "Fever", combining their source material's lounge jazz instrumentation with subtle nods towards dubby deep house. "Benson's Ghetto" sees the edit quartet brilliantly combine elements of an impassioned Philadelphia Soul era disco classic with sunshine jazz guitars and freestyle vocals reminiscent of George Benson, while "Father Father" is a wonderfully chugging take on a disco-era blue-eyed soul gem.
VARIOUS - African Disco Juice (Midnight Riot) - exclusive 20-11-2017
YOUNGER REBINDS - Retro7 (Running Back Germany)
RICHARD FROM MILWAUKEE - Clear Water Luke Solomon Mixes (Jolly Jams)
SAINT JAMES/VARIOUS - In The Red (selected by Saint-James) (The Pusher Digital)
BILL BREWSTER/VARIOUS - Tribal Rites (Eskimo Belgium)
NICK THE RECORD - Lifeforce Theme/Recordnition (Gamm) - exclusive 20-11-2017
Top Labels
whiskey disco
hot digits music
giant cuts
hotbox boogie