Philpot Records maestro Soulphiction may not have appeared on Lumberjacks In Hell before, but he's cited as a big influence on the label, and here the Stuttgart-based artist gets four chances to unfurl his deft instinct for dusty, soul and funk-infused house music. "Stick Up" gets the MPC grooves and twisting bass licks rolling beautifully, while "B3B4URD1" injects a little Afro-flavoured funk into the mix with another addictive low end flex. "Acid Test" pours a little more jack into the pot without losing that crooked Soulphiction flavour, and then "Dirty Hot" does a mean job of teaching all newcomers how to really do an edit.
Get your skates on: there's a roller-disco at Midnight Riot HQ and everyone's invited! Naturally, there's heaps of highlights to be found on the imprint's third tribute to the early '80s roller-boogie sound. Amongst the 19 party-starting gems on show you'll fid a brilliant BB Boogie collaboration with original electrofunk sensation Leroy Burgess (the wonderfully soulful "Tonight We're Gonna"), a storming disco-house rub of Tom Vine's "Disco Scene" by Classic chief Luke Solomon, a fantastically rubbery P-funk excursion by C Da Afro and a typically expansive and musically rich Al Kent revision of Soundersons' "He Doesn't Love Me". Throw in killer cuts from Rayko, Sweetoth and Kellini, and you have another stellar collection of skate-ready jams.
Shir Khan unleashes another thrill-a-minute selection of disco-inspired workouts to get the dancefloor swinging. Bas Roos and Guy Steve kick things off with the good-time breeze of "Piece of Soul", where jazzy electric piano solos and ricocheting vocal samples ride a lolloping disco-house groove, before Freiboitar makes a stomping, French Touch style disco-house monster out of samples from one of the best-loved disco records of all time. Over on the flipside, Claus Caspar and Steve Philips whip their shirts off, reach for the poppers and lay down a stupendous slice of muscular late night disco-house. Featuring heavy, Moroder style arpeggio bass, razor-sharp disco strings and meaty house loops, "Sex Sells" is something of a sweaty party-starter.
For the fifth volume in their Tonic Edits series, the Toy Tonics crew has handed over the reins to label regular and sometime Razor 'N' Tape contributor COEO. There's plenty to set the pulse racing throughout. Opener "Cabrio Magio" appears to be a tooled-up take on a killer South American disco stomper while you'll find the rubbery electric bass, Chic style clipped guitars and eyes-closed vocals of "1981", as well as "She Keeps It Good", a superb P-funk/boogie rework which sees COEO brilliantly tease out the groove via some seriously cut-up loops.
Valique celebrates six years of consistent edit gold on his 12-year old Vehicle imprint. Digging deep across the collection he whisks us through the feels with a supreme range of instant party-pieces. From the blonde ambition of the slinky "Appelle Moi" to the freaky upbeat ground control of "Oddity" via the insane stretch and slap of "What The Hell?" and his versions of "Human Nation" and "Give Me Shelter", this is an immense set that brings us all up to speed and gets us excited for the next six years of edits. V stands for Very good music.
From Germany with love: dynamic duo M.Ono and Luvless return to RNT with five more funk odysseys. M.One takes the lead; "Just Like Magic" is all about the big string swings and urgent soulful snippets while "Eins A Legge" jitters to a more persistent filtered groove. Deeper into the trip Luvless sends us into untold euphoric states on "Rising Youth", he takes us deep down the sleazy beat rabbit hole on "File Save As" and wraps up the package with the vibrant elastic synth strikes on "Stretchin'". What a way to kick off 2018.
Hot on the heels of his fittingly titled "So Good" EP on G.A.M.M earlier this year Al Kent returns with a very neat double-A that ticks all the right disco boxes. "Vince" pays respect to Montana with a total dance fantasy, polished and weighted perfectly for today's floors. "Esther" pays equally emphatic dues to the good lady Phillips with a thumping, unabashed twist on "Boy, I Really I Tied One On". Homages don't come with much more respect and craft than these.
Chuggz is back! Once again flexing between neat digs and familiar finds, he kicks off 2018 the way he climaxed 2017 - with serious funk and flare. "Don't Let It Go 2 Ur Hed" makes you pull up your jeans and pay attention with its lush waving vocals and rolling groove, the string-laden "Keep On Doing Wot Ur Doin" will make you shout 'bo' in the most sensual hip-slinked way imaginable, "Maskerade" is a work of cosmic downbeat dreamy wonder while "Bye!" is a straight up walrus of a dreamboat. Let's hope he's not saying goodbye for too long....
Almost a quarter century into his recording career, Mousse T has not lost his ability to create party-starting anthems. Whereas the majority of his previous releases have blended disco samples with beefed-up house beats, "Rock The Mic" - his first release for Defected's revivalist disco offshoot Glitterbox - is a little less wedded to the kind of chunky, peak-time anthems we've come to expect. The live-sounding drums and orchestral style instrumentation screams "disco", while the Plantlife style, P-funk inspired vocals tip a wink to hip-house. Naturally, there are a few filter sweeps to be found, but these only serve to emphasise the track's block party inspiration. Kon's remix is, arguably, even better, and adds even more disco instrumentation for extra 1979 authenticity.
Valerie Dore's "Get Closer" has never been one of Italo-disco's most in-demand records, though the Milan-made synth-pop style chugger is undoubtedly something of a slept-on classic. Running Back boss Gerd Janson is clearly a fan, though, because he's decided to give it the remix treatment. He provides his own "Coy Club Edit" interpretation, which sticks closely to the original while removing some of the track's cheesier elements, while DJ Oyster reaches for the filters and provides a "Tool Time" cut for adventurous DJs (think vocal loops and the like). The headline attraction, though, is undoubtedly the Tiger & Woods remix, which reconfigures the track as a loopy and loved-up chunk of saucer-eyed Italo-disco/deep house/electrofunk fusion.
Britain's premier disco wookie, Chewy Rubs, has decided to launch his own label, Bandolier Records. Here, he delivers the debut release, an enjoyable mixture of original tracks and sneaky, peak-time re-edits. He begins with the mid-tempo throb of "Baby Get Down", a colourful, bass-heavy fusion of hip-house, boogie and warehouse-friendly deep house, before charging towards peak-time via the classic disco/sparkling nu-disco fusion of "Disco Chicago". "Strange Love" is a pulsating, mind-altering re-edit rich in heavy bass, rising orchestration and cut-up freestyle vocal samples, while fine closer "Watch Out" (co-produced by Charles Christian) sits somewhere between hypnotic, Afro-tinged house and Clavinet-sporting disco-chug.
Ethyene is a producer, DJ and label manager from Lyon in France, delivering house music that finds its roots in the sounds of Detroit, Chicago and Manchester. He has had releases on top labels such as Moonrise Hill Material, Kolour LTD and Editorial to name but a few. He has patented a certain style of mid-tempo house music; applying a french touch aesthetic to disco, r&b and hip-hop sample references. He teams up with Moonrise main man Folamour on the neon-lit boogie down jam "Why My Love", some lo-slung soulful hip-hop on the lush "Why My Love", super sexy deep house for the late night (with an R'n'B edge) on "Loneliness Of The Shadow Dancer" and a sultry nu-jazz beauty to close out the fine EP affectionately titled "I Sold Yayo To Buy Kicks". Washington DC based Better Listen had a great run of releases back in 2017 with Thatmanmonkz, Chevals and Closed Paradise all appearing, and being particular standouts.
Following his recent strong turn on Cocktail D'Amore, Jules Etienne makes a trip back to Apersonal Music with more of that island groove for the smoothest slack-wearers in town. "Free As A Man" is a beautifully laid back but funky offering that speaks to all kinds of good times. Jex Opolis turns in a remix of the track that has a little more bite to suit the later demands of the dancefloor. "Don't Wanna Talk About It" sees Etienne linking up with Disco D and winding all kinds of slick strutting business into his sound, and then "Rhythm For The Garden" heads off into wonderful tribal percussion that serves as a handy tool for DJs who want to get some rich drum sounds into their set.
"Loving U More", the title track from label-hopping Norwegian Kellini's first EP for Midnight Riot, sounds like a long lost chunk of breezy, life-affirming '80s soul. The track's stylistic authenticity is particularly evident on the vocal version, where Sweetooth singer Sarah Lazonby chirps seductively over a Jam and Lewis influenced backing track. It's backed by a terrific dub version, in which Paul Withey's superb synths and sumptuous guitar flourishes happily take centre stage. Elsewhere, "Trampoline" is the kind of low-slung, boogie influenced dub disco affair you'd half expect to hear from fellow Norsemen Todd Terje and Prins Thomas, while "Meitemark" blends the low-slung heaviness of dub disco with the camp throb of Italo-disco.
More seriously sensual material from Montenegro's Mitiko. "Blue Cab Adventure" hits with a west coast feel, all warm synths and neo soul feels. "Every Street Brother" takes us straight to the heart of Chicago with a steely sense of funk while "Money Money Money" hits the money spot with a deep driving slo-mo 4/4 stamp that really gets under your skin and makes your body thrust in ways you didn't think were possible. Shake your money makers!
Russian saxophonist Andre Solomko has been featured on Favorite Recordings before, delivering a couple of albums that cheerily riffed on smooth jazz and '80s jazz-funk. He's flipped the script on this return to the noted French label, laying down a righteous slab of club-ready disco-funk with noted Afro-disco influences. Naturally, Solomko's killer saxophone solos take pride of place on "Le Premier Disco Sans Toi", rising above a groovy backing track rich in jaunty Clavinet riffs and William Onyeabor style Moog flourishes. It's backed by an alternately wavy and beefed-up Dub Mix and a solo heavy Dub of "Moonbeach Disco", a Balearic disco excursion rich in jazz-funk influences.
On this cheery and DJ-friendly two-tracker, heavyweight nu-disco producer Mighty Mouse delivers a pair of party-starting revisions that sit somewhere between straight-up, scalpel style re-edits and sneaky remixes. The most startling of the two tracks is "Midnight Mouse (Revised)", a new version of a 2011 re-edit that makes merry with a 1970s Swedish disco-pop anthem. While the famous vocals and sing-along chorus finally make an appearance in the final two minutes, this rush is built up to via an acid-flecked fusion of Italo-disco and head-nodding nu-disco chug. "Time Out Of Mind", on the other hand, is a more traditional re-edit of what sounds like a West Coast jazz-rocker's take on New York disco.
Since launching in 2015, Leeds-based Passport to Paradise has fast become one of the most interesting re-edit labels around, primarily be presenting superb rearrangements of thoroughly obscure and little-known cuts. Nemas Problemas Volume 2 continues this trend, serving up superb scalpel works from a quartet of rising talents. The Keeper kicks things off via the sprightly warmth and synth-heavy swing of quirky Italo-disco throb-job "Bear Claw", before Kool DJ Dust sprints off into over-the-top disco pastures on the swirling "Return of Koolius". Flip to the virtual flipside for the Clav-happy eccentricity of the impossible-to-describe madness of Rasta Nils' "Babla Rappinghood" and "Body Down" by Rizzolo DJ, a delay-laden slo-mo shuffle through Balearic electro pastures that could well be the EP's standout moment.
Following a summer 2017 diversion to Roam Recordings, Javier Busto is back on Logical, the Madrid-based label he founded at the turn of the decade. As you'd expect, it's a largely chugging and heavily electronic nu-disco affair. The Spanish producer excels at creating throbbing, almost psychedelic excursions, and "Joolz" is no exception. Pulsating at a little over 102 BPM, the track sees Busto pepper an arpeggio bassline and delay-laden beats with foreboding synth lines and moody chords. The El Fumidor remix adds a little druggy tech-house spice whilst retaining the original version's hypnotic, slo-mo tempo, while the faster Ands Mega version sounds like a contemporary dutch take on Italo-disco with added low-end grunt.
Where once Whomadewho's records were fuelled by the club-rocking heaviness of punk-funk and post-punk disco, the Danish trio's output now has a much warmer and woozier feel. For proof check out seventh studio album Through The Walls, a masterful stroll through alternately lilting, loved up and quietly Balearic pastures. Shot through with glassy-eyed songs that variously draw influence from Low Life-era New Order, huggable synth-pop, enlightened indie-pop, Nils Frahm, Steve Moore, neo-folk and sunset-ready nu-disco drowsiness, it's a set that simply gets better with each successive listen. It may not boast oodles of club jams, but it provides fine listening from start to finish.