Reviewed this week
When it comes to crafting lengthy, disco fired dancefloor treats, DJ Koze has previous form. His "Extended Disco Version" of Lapsley's "Operator" quickly became a White Isle anthem in the summer of 2016, and we fully expect "Pick Up" to be one of the disco-house hits of 2018. Based around spine-tingling samples from a heart-felt, orchestrated 1970s disco treat - think Tom Trago's "Use Me Again", and you're close - the veteran producer slowly builds the pressure before really letting loose in the closing stages. Then "The Love Truck" is an altogether deeper, dubbier and dreamier affair, seemingly designed for leisurely warm-up sets and gentle, early morning shuffling.
Having previously released on many of the edit scene's most prolific labels - think Hot Digits, Editorial, Masterworks Music and Disco Fruit - Deelicious attempts to complete a full house by adding Alpaca Edits to his CV. Perhaps the most notable feature of the EP is the subtle variety of the producer's reworks. Contrast, for example, the heavy but swirling disco-house bounce of "Sexy Cream", whose undulating orchestration works in perfect harmony with the producer's chunky new house beats, and the '80s boogie-meets-disco-funk brilliance of synthesizer-heavy opener "Tilt". Those searching for deeper and dreamier vibes should also check the hazy country-disco sweetness of "Dreamer".
What could be more fun than a hot-to-trot combo of driving disco bass, psychedelic acid lines and haunting, Sylvester style vocals? That's the winning formula behind Chicago star Honey Dijon's new collaboration with Aussie vocalist Sam Sparro. This killer combo is brilliantly executed on both the original mix and longer "Disco Version", which sounds to us like a summer anthem in waiting. The track's nagging TB-303 acid lines are pushed to the fore on the wilder Cosmic Energy Dub, while Cratebug's "Nova Remix" is a predictably dusty slab of deep house/disco fusion.
Next up on Katakana Edits is emerging edit wizard Gary Shepherd aka Streamer, an expat in Amsterdam who turns in a bunch of cheeky resplices here of some obscure covers and versions. From the deep, down and dirty rendition of Stevie Wonder's classic "Superstition" which gets high into the stratosphere, some spiritual African disco by way of reggae on a cover of "Lively Up Yourself" and likewise some more Jah dubwise shenanigans on the block rockin' beats of "Raggamuffin Soul".
For the uninitiated, Detroit Rising is a fluid collective of leading jazz and funk musicians from the Motor City, including former members of P-funk legends Parliament/Funkadelic. Here, "Little Bit", one of the highlights from the band's latest album, A Cosmic Jazz-Funk Adventure, is given a club makeover by Z Records regular Sean McCabe. As you'd expect, the Bristol-based Welshman's main "Remix" is a simmering soulful house delight, with superb new instrumentation complimenting Detroit Rising's on-point original parts. The "Dub" is slightly breezier and sunnier interpretation, while the "Moody Mix" doffs a cap to the soulful deep house electronics of long serving British deep house producer Atjazz.
It's fair to say that Andy Buchanan is on a roll. He enjoyed a hugely successful debut year in 2017 and has since kept up the pressure via EPs on Spa in Disco and Masterworks Music. His Hot Digits debut is a typically cheery and positive affair, with rolling, Italo-disco inspired opener "Spectral" - all restless arpeggio lines, dreamy chords and rising melodies - setting the tone. Of the four original tracks on show, the throbbing and attractive "Mind Blown" is probably the pick, though the Balearic boogie/laidback piano house flex of "Your Promise" is almost as inspired. Aussie adventurer Dr Packer heads up the remix package with a simply scorching, TB-303 heavy "Acid Disco" remake of opener "Spectral".
The unstoppable Vogel machine is back on Lumberjacks with another serving of soul-soaked house goodness to warm the cockles as we step into Spring. This time around he's called on one of the great house vocalists of our times, Khalil Anthony, to lay down a vocal on "Brown Curls" that melts over Vogel's peppy, organic production. Nebraska bring a deeper, chunkier flavour to the track with their remix, and the results are just as captivating. Anthony's also on hand to croon over "You Are A Star", an equally simmering jam with more of that dusty house pressure from the deep end of the pool, while "Those Moments" finishes the record off on a funky, instrumental tip.
By his previously prolific standards, Sebastien Doring AKA Lovebirds has been rather quiet of late. In fact, this EP marks his first release since last year's notable Record Store Day collaboration with Galliano on Razor 'N' Tape. Predictably, it's something of a good 'un - a surprise deep house cover (or at least that's what it sounds like) of Tullio de Piscopo's Balearic classic "Stop Bajon (Primavera)". Doring serves up two mixes - the dreamy, head-in-the-clouds chug of the "Original Deep Mix" and the slightly livelier, more synthesizer-heavy "Original Vinyl Version" - while Sirs and Raiders of the Lost Arp handle remix duties. The latter's mix, rich in glistening but urgent guitar riffs and jazzy Rhodes solos, is easily the pick of the pair, though Sirs more Italo-centric take is pretty darn tasty, too.
Gabriel "Lele" Sacchi joined Rebirth last year, following an impressive 2016 solo debut on Prins Thomas's Internasjonal imprint. Surprisingly, this is the producer's first single for 12 months. "Dreaming Won't Do" is impressively positive and colourful, with Chic style disco guitar stabs and dreamy vocal samples from a classic disco-boogie cut rising attractively above an Italo disco-inspired groove. Tiger and Woods reach for the pianos on their fantastic peak-time house rework, before former Visionquest twosome Benoit & Sergio re-cast the track as a strobe-friendly chunk of Moroder-inspired Euro-disco brilliance that will have dancers reaching for the lasers in no time at all.
Robin Lee takes a break from his day job as Faze Action to slip into the occasional Rudy's Midnight Machine alias for this outing on his own label. It's a mellow, atmospheric ride into pastures you wouldn't normally associate with Faze Action, although "Midnight Safari" is smooth and luxurious enough to feel right in any context. "In The Air" has a mysterious air to it, helped in no small part by the evocative Eastern lilt of the strings running through the centre of the track. There's a sassy boogie step powering "Reach Backless," while "Windchimes" flips the script with a semi-ambient live bass reverie. It's back to the party one last time with "Solar Plex" though - this record is about synthy funk first and foremost.
Dimitri From Paris and pal Cotonete get a shot at remixing Gizelle Smith's recent single "Dust", a thrill-a-minute ride that could well be one of our favourite retro-futurist soul jams of 2018. As you might expect, there's a little more authentic disco swing to Dim and Cotonete's "Discomix", which adds life-affirming pianos and some superb orchestration while also emphasizing Smith's addictive vocals and the original version's punchy horns. Crucially, they make the most of the original drums, too, inserting several extended drum breaks to please the DJs. The quality of the instrumentation and the duo's brilliant arrangement can be heard even more clearly on the accompanying "Dubstramental", which also boasts some sublime solos. Brilliant stuff, all told.
A sweet reissue of an underground classic from 1982 here, bootlegged badly in recent years, but Isle of Jura does it right with this remaster by Matt Colton. Q were a one hit wonder (if you could even call them that!), responsible for "The Voice Of Q". Comprised of American producers Bruce Weeden & Michael Forte with their revolving cast of musicians - this electro funk/disco project is finally getting paid its dues. Deep, funked-up and spacey disco, complete with vocoder - it almost seems familiar! A true spirit of the times. Then features a previously unreleased track, "Keep It Strong" (unreleased dub edit) which is a balearic tinged number that's equally as good.
For the fourth edition on Mandrill Cuts, they are honoured to include Mexico City's Sould Out (FDL/Masterworks Music) to the label roster, with two dancefloor jewels that will burn up the club. "Cosmic Wayo" is a nice serving of congo fuelled Afro-disco-funk, filled with harmonic trumpets, happy vocals and a rhythm section to make you get up and boogie. While on "The Magical Mystical" they take on a classic by a certain main with one thousand fingers, taking you back to a golden era in disco with its majestic piano chords, sexy rhythm guitar licks and classic vocals - plus some newly added cosmic FX all bringing some magic to the release. Good time guaranteed on this one!
D Lynnwood is apparently a new alias for an experienced, South London-based Parisian producer who has previously released material on a variety of UK labels. As this debut EP proves, the D Lynnwood project is an attempt to blur the boundaries between disco, house and '80s boogie. For the most part, the Frenchman is successful, first joining the dots between gospel, doo-wop and deep house on "Gospel Discotheque", before serving up some alien, hard-wired electrofunk on late night earworm "Bitcoins". "The Vault" sounds like Prince jamming with Bootsy Collins and Dam Funk, while closer "Space Agent" is a deliciously drowsy, drifting and pitched-down saunter through dubbed-out synth disco pastures with a side order of hazy deep house.
Sharif Laffrey is something of an unheralded hero of the underground Detroit scene. Active since the halcyon days of the mid-90s Motor City rave movement, his sporadic releases are rarely less than superb (as those who copped last year's radical, thrillingly wayward acid house mutilation of Pet Shop Boys "Always On My Mind/In My House" will attest). The one-track "And Dance" is another delightfully wonky epic; a 14-minute fusion of chopped-up Italo-disco loops, rising and falling acid lines and heavily manipulated spoken word vocals. There are multiple stops, starts, breakdowns, drops and build-ups, with Laffrey subtly building up the pressure via waves of wonky Motor City electronics throughout. There aren't many of these around, so act fast if you want to secure a copy.
UK production duo Michael Gray and Jon Pearn aka Full Intention are back, making a surprising appearance on London nu-disco heroes Midnight Riot. Rest assured that it's a fitting home for these legends and their irresistible vocal driven anthems - these guys have worked with everyone from Jamiroquai to Ultra Nate and many more. With a bit of help from highly qualified record label exec/artist manager Nick Halkes (who forged his reputation by founding both the XL Recordings and Positiva labels) and featuring Bournemouth based chanteuse Jazz Morley's powerful vocal delivery, "Night Of My Life" is sexy and down right scorching nu-disco done right. Features Gray and Pearn's immaculate, signature production technique throughout.
New York synth-wizard Tommy Mendel was one of the go-to session musicians of the 1980s, playing for and alongside such greats as Todd Rundgren, Tina Turner, the Clash and the B-52. Throughout the period, he also recorded a swathe of solo synth-pop songs, very few of which were ever released at the time. Here, Canadian diggers Invisible City Editions attempt to set the record straight, gathering together ten mostly unreleased gems from Mandel's vaults. It's a strong collection, all told, with Mandel flitting between electrofunk-influenced pop gems ("You're My Only Lover"), spacey synth-scapes ("Aint Got No $"), fuzzy P-funk ("Music Business"), stylish new wave experimentalism ("I Just Want You To Love Me") and atmospheric, near-Balearic treats ("Kin Tama").
INigo Vontier delivers the third take of Calypso Records. Inspired by a local mexican tribe called the "Huicholes" or "Raramuris", Vontier delivers three tracks full of hypnotic rythms and ritual chants accompanied by Dreems on remix duties. To begin the ritual, "Wirikuta" will take you to a higher state of consciousness with Huichol chants and horns. As a wake up call "Marakame" will hit you in the guts with a straight forward drumbeat and sharp synths. "Maxa" does the work for a mental trip with chants that comes and go with psychedelic guitars on top. To finalize the ritual, aussie wizard Dreems comes with a more foward version of "Wirikuta" that somehow mix a new age feeling with the tribe vibes. On top of these four tracks, the label offers us two digital only tracks which should definitely not be missed.
Chop Shop return with another powerful party punch from three artists who've all established solid groove ties with the Greek imprint over recent years. There's a strong twang of the broken beat on both Ten Different and Levantine's offerings. The former digs deep for a little disco dust and break that comes out of nowhere and allows a whole gamut of percussion to enter the fray. The latter goes straight for a rusty old detuned synth rave hook and adds a little cosmic chug. Finally big pimping Vince closes shop with a sprightly filtered house jacker with big full-frontal vocal. Choppy choppy!
Fresh from a recent collaboration with Alex Metric on Anjunabeat, former Noir Music man Ten Ven returns to his When I Met You label, an imprint he established early last year. Like its predecessor, "Word of Mouth" is another collaborative affair, with Gramme band member Luke Hannam swinging by the studio to lend a hand. His urgent, eyes-closed vocals surge from the speakers on "Yeah", a driving, low-slung disco house number smothered in rubbery bass guitar, fizzing synth riffs and relentless percussion. Arguably even better is "Word of Mouth", a lolloping, mid-tempo affair that sees the duo wrap echoing electronic motifs around another scorching, bass guitar driven groove, while Ten Ven's accompanying re-edit turns the track into an acid disco slammer.
Exclusives
LELE SACCHI - Dreaming Won't Do (Rebirth)
FAR OUT MONSTER DISCO ORCHESTRA - Black Sun (Far Out Recordings)
RUDY'S MIDNIGHT MACHINE - Midnight Safari EP (FAR (Faze Action)) - exclusive 30-04-2018
Exclusives
ALIEN DISCO SUGAR - The Joint EP (Digital Wax Productions) - exclusive 01-01-2030
ANDY BUCHAN - Robot Future (Spa In Disco)
ANDY BUCHAN - Out All Nite (Hot Digits Music)
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