Review: Dave Lee's first Produced With Love album was not only a celebration of his production credentials, but also a celebration of the music that has inspired and shaped his career over the years, namely soul, disco, boogie, jazz-funk and house. This follow-up, which lands 5 years after its predecessor, continues in a similar vein, with Lee offering up 12 new songs and a wealth of remixes of tracks by other artists. As you'd expect, it's an on-point collection, with the many highlights including the soulful disco-boogie bounce of Raw Essence hook-up 'Do It Again', the Omar-sporting dancefloor sunshine of 'Starlight', the boogie/soulful house fusion of 'Love Walked In The Roo his hot-stepping two-step disco tweak of Roland Whitingale's 'In Your Blood' and a string-laden disco rework of 'Mountains' by The Vision.
Review: Razor 'N' Tape Reserve's latest release is a label debut from Nenor, an Israeli producer previously best known for being one half of Mahogani Music-signed duo Rabo & Snob. He begins by offering up two cuts featuring vocalist Jenny Penkin: the attractive nu-disco/deep house fusion of 'How Can I Be Free' and the giddy nostalgic rush of revivalist number 'Do You Remember', which joins the dots between rushing piano house and late '80s Larry Heard productions. Red Axes provide a fantastic rework of the latter cut, retaining some of the dreamier and more life-affirming elements while also giving it their usual chunky grooves and psychedelic tinge. Elsewhere, 'Gonna Take My Time' is a locked-in late night delight full of sharp stabs, and 'Work That' is a restless, energy-packed late-night delight.
Review: We can't tell you who Magou is - which may be frustrating since the producer's debut 12" on Toy Tonics two years ago caused a bit of a stir - but we do know that it's an alternative alias of an otherwise well-known and highly regarded Italian artist. Regardless of who's being the project, this highly anticipated debut album certainly ticks a lot of boxes. Opener 'Round Round', for example, joins the dots between Nu Guinea style Balearic jazz-funk and mid '80s Hugh Masekela records, while 'Eko' adds a little acid wiggle to breezy proto piano-house (while also including some subtle samples from a 1980s classic). This kind of kaleidoscopic, boundary-blurring fusion continues throughout, with other highlights including the Balearic dub disco of 'Dejarte', the loved-up Nu-Italo of 'Pas Jolie' and the loopy deep disco-house of 'Sample Dream'.
Review: Label newcomer Canopy Records, compiled and conceptualised by label head Sumosui, sends out some super Afro transmission for this first release. 'Africa No 1' is a single that features a superb tune from Benin City in Edo State, Nigeria, which was first put out locally in 1987. It is by the late great Nigerian reggae artist Ehi Duncan and his The Africa Army Express band and next to the uplifting original are two new mixes from Captain Planet. He brings the tune into the modern day with some tight key, horn and synth sounds for the first mix, and the second is a slower, more mid-tempo bit of afro disco. Lovely vibes.
Marley - "To Be Loved" (V's Nothing Like Acid edit) - (7:20) 110 BPM
Barbarra - "Stack Up" (V's edit) - (6:11) 110 BPM
Review: A very fine quartet of deep disco re-edits here courtesy of Bulgarian producer V's Edits and his/her/their Vehicle label. First to get the treatment is Marvin Gaye's 'The World Is Rated X', which comes from 'You're The Man', an album that was recorded in 1972 but shelved in favour of 'Let's Get It On'. Convertion's 'Let's Do It', a Leroy Burgess production released on SAM Records in 1980, comes next, followed by an acid-flecked reinterpretation of Bob Marley's 'Could You Be Loved'. V's take on what is seemingly every re-editor's second favourite track after 'Josephine' - Banbarra's 1975 funk classic 'Shack Up' - completes the package.
Review: French veteran Yuksek's Partyfine bring us another V/A EP that reflects the label's deliberately eclectic music policy perfectly. Get A Room! kick things off with the 80s synth-pop/coldwave vibes of 'Rael', before Ubaruh take us on something of a global music detour with the Afro-inspired 'Ubaruh Theme'. There are more Afro-tropical vibes on Alex Blex's 'A Rather Big Bunch Of Bananas', with its jungle sounds and steel drums, but the standout by far to these ears is DESTIINO's 'Hey', which marries some fine 'pyow!' stabs, a moody disco bassline and almost 'Knight Rider'-ish synths to Rocksteady Crew-like female 'Hey!' shouts.
Review: This latest installment in the 'Katakana Edits' series draws pretty much entirely from global music, which makes trying to identify the source material nigh-on impossible! Still, there's a kind of 60s/70s lounge-y vibe to opener 'Besoka', augmented by wave sounds, while 'Hong Kong' is a more Mexican/Latin-sounding affair that'd be best served in the summer sunshine. The fluttering 'Kikiribu' again has a Latin feel, with a chanted vocal this time, while 'Tropical Sant' maintains a similar MO but has more of a hazy, psychedelic vibe about it. One for the more eclectic DJs that like to mix up different world rhythms.
Review: It's testament to Ben J Worrall's skill as a musician and producer that his soulful, jazzy deep house productions can be mentioned in the same breath as those by all-time-greats Larry Heard and Ron Trent. Yet unlike those producers, he's yet to deliver an album so good that it will be considered a true great. Until now, that is. Evergreen, his first set for Freerange, is simply sublime: an unapologetically soulful, life-affirming set that blends effortlessly brilliant vocals and jazz-funk inspired instrumentation (think incredible horn arrangements, smooth bass, twinkling keys and glistening guitars) with the luscious, often Latin-tinged deep house beats that have long been his calling card. If there's any justice, it will end of being regarded as one of the electronic albums of 2022.
Review: Valique's V's Edits reworks have long been some of the most popular re-edits on this platform, with DJs responding not only to their floor-friendly nature but also the wide range of sounds and styles he turns his hand to. So, what's on offer this time around? Well, for starters Yellow Blues is raising money for victims of the war in Ukraine, a country to which Valique has family ties. As usual, it's a mixed bag of goodness, with highlights including a squelchy, TB0-303 speckled take on a Johnny Cash classic, the chugging nu-disco/swamp blues fusion of 'Was It Worth It?', a fine revision of Rodrigues classic 'You Can't Get Away', a housed-up tweak of an old Doors gem ('Learn To Forget') and a toe-tapping, club-ready revision of Kenny Rogers' sing-along 'Just Dropped In (to See What Condition My Conidtion is In)'.
Review: The ever-dependable 'Katakana Edits' series rolls on, and while this latest installment might not win PECOE any deep diggin' brownie points, it does pack some very serviceable dancefloor-friendly reworks of classic cuts from days gone by. Leading the charge for this reviewer is 'Ice & Snow', which does unspeakable but very satisfactory things to Led Zeppelin's 'Immigrant Song', but elsewhere you get a fresh take on 'Jingo', 'Grandmaster Mash' fuses 'White Lines' with chunks of the rap from 'The Message', while 'Bold Sister' revisits James Brown's 'Bold Soul Sister' - leaving only the 60s deep funk source for 'You Can't Hide' unidentified.
Review: Happy eighth birthday to Hot Digits, who are celebrating their anniversary with this superb collection of contemporary disco, funk and boogie slammers. With a whopping 30 tracks to choose from there's obviously no room here to go into them all one-by-one, but with cuts ranging from the smooth jazz-funk of 'George's Groove' to the unabashed filter disco euphoria of 'Cuz I'm Naked', and from the fat-ass slap bass of 'We're Gettin' In' to cheeky Loleatta-referencing disco-houser 'Dub Sensation', there's evidence a-plenty here, should any be required, that Hot Digits do this kind of tackle better than most.
Review: There's plenty to get excited about on this selection of 'lost mixes' from the vast back catalogue of Toy Tonics' parent label, Gomma. Check first Pete Herbert and Tristan Dan Cunha's retro-futurist, proto-house-meets-Balearic nu-disco rework of The Glimmers' 'U Rocked My World', before moving on to In Flagranti's all-action, peak-time ready take on Golden Bug's 'LookLookLook'. The Ep continues via a now 22 year-old rework of Leroy Hanghofer's 'Pin' by Jacques Lu Cont and John Burillo - a brilliantly low-slung house workout featuring punk-funk bass and colourful boogie synth flourishes - before concluding with a killer dub disco take on the KDMS' 'Never Stop Believing' courtesy of NYC disco original Nicky Siano.
Review: A decidedly pop-tastic release from Razor-N-Tape here, coming from Underground System, a multiracial, NYC-based indie-dance live band who cite Fela Kuti as a primary influence and whose work has previously appeared on Soul Clap Records, Planet E and Hell Yeah Recordings. Both 'Into The Fire' itself and the vaguely new wave-tinged 'He Said, She Said' have something of a Hot Chip-ish kinda feel, while on 'Desnuda' the band take a left turn into more reggae-leaning territory. The standout for this writer, though, is Yuksek's remix of 'Desnuda', which packs lashings of fat, squelchy 80s bass.
Review: No less a personage than dance music historian extraordinaire Bill Brewster is the man wearing the 'selecter' hat for this five-track V/A offering from Stretford-based Sprechen. Andy Buchan's 'Reasons' is a reworking of Ian Dury classic 'Reasons To Be Cheerful', Yum Yum Club's 'An Acid Love Feel Track' bites Donna Summer and Yootis's 'Preach' takes liberties with the Peech Boys' 'Don't Make Me Wait'; that suggests the other two cuts may also be re-edits, though if that's true we couldn't tell you what of! All the same, these are five reliable workouts that'll get contemporary disco floors shimmying for sure.
Review: Mexico's Deep Sense serve up a six-track EP that shows there's more than one way to go about repurposing a classic. Rather than simply looping up chunks of the original, the edits here get a little more creative - Sauco & Manuel Costela's 'Are We Ready?', for instance, takes the vocal from Fatback's 'Bus Stop' vocal and places it over a fresh (and utterly irresistible) funk backing, while on 'Last Nite' Tony Disco uses a similar trick to reinvent an InDeep classic in altogether sultrier, jazzier form. An equally well-known chanted vocal tops the brass-tastic 'Flamingo' from Hot Mood, and there are three more very playable nuggets where those came from!
Review: After drifting between digital labels over the last few years, Dutchican Soul has washed up on Salted Music, an imprint entirely suited to the Amsterdam artist's bumping blend of colouful, disco-tinged house. He starts in confident mood via 'Love Talk', a cheery disco-house roller rich in rubbery bass guitar, Nile Rodgers style guitars, D-Train synth squiggles and classic Gwen Guthrie vocal samples. The experienced producer opts for a deliciously retro-futurist, peak Inner City sound on 'I Want Your Love' - all dirty acid bass, warehouse-ready stabs and jacking drums - before opting for a woozier, hybrid deep house/nu-disco sound on glassy-eyed closing cut 'Can We Talk'.
Review: Given his love of dub disco, dusty samples, skewed house and all things cosmic, it's arguably surprising that Pillow Talk marks Das Komplex's first appearance on Prins Thomas and Kai Fraeger's Internasjonal label. It's less of a surprise to find that the EP - featured here in extended six-track form (the vinyl version only has four) - is a belter. For proof, check the cowbell-sporting, bass guitar-heavy, piano stab-showcasing dub disco chug of 'Pillow Stories', the effects-laden, edits-not-edit early morning disco fun of 'Onomatopeaja Slimacza' and the pitched-down brilliance of 'By The Hand', a breathlessly heavy, percussion-rich slab of Afro-disco/dub disco fusion that makes great use of sneaky samples. 'Nawet' and 'Parawany', both of which are very Prins Thomas style space disco workouts, are also well worth a listen.
Review: Collections of contemporary disco, funk and boogie grooves seem to be one of the very few consumer items NOT currently experiencing "supply chain issues" in this post-pandemic world of ours - there's no shortage of them around, is there? This Bomb Strikes comp, though, stands out from the herd for its sheer stylistic breadth. The album kicks off at the hip-hop-, funk- and soul-infused end of the spectrum, with cuts from the likes of Ivo Fitzroy and The Allergies, and slowly works its way up, via some more straight-up disco stompers in the mid-section, into uptempo disco-house territory. Possibly the only place you'll find Natasha Kitty Kat rubbing shoulders with The Hot 8 Brass Band, it's a pleasingly varied set that, as such, should find favour with a wide range of buyers.
Review: There was a time when Tonbe was sticking out a fresh EP almost every week. While the Serb is still prolific, he's calmed down a bit in recent times, wisely prioritising quality over quantity. Rules, the nu-disco scene stalwart's latest release, is highly enjoyable and naturally packed with peak-time ready treats. Check first opener 'Rules of the Dance', a chunky, filter-sporting slab of disco-funk/French touch fusion that's as weighty and excitable as they come, before getting your ears around the loved-up deliciousness of glassy-eyed '80s soul re-edit 'Better Than This' (and its accompanying instrumental mix). Elsewhere, 'Dusty Floor' sees him add echo-laden guitar links and jammed out electric piano motifs to a bubbly, post-electro beat, while 'Perfect Plan' is a sun-splashed slab of Balearic boogie with added deep house weight.
Review: Montenegro's Sasha Mitich takes a slightly unusual approach on this latest re-edits EP, in that all four tracks coming under the scalpel appeared originally on the same album, namely Quincy Jones's 1974 long-player 'Body Heat'. 'The Grinder' was originally 'Boogie Joe The Grinder', 'Buffalo Soldier' revisits 'Soul Saga (Song Of The Buffalo Soldier)' and 'One Track' reworks 'One Track Mind', while the Minnie Ripperton- and Leon Ware-vocalled 'If I Ever Lose This Heaven' becomes 'If You're Foolin'. With musical backing from the likes of Herbie Hancock, Richard Tee, Bob James and Larry Dunn, do you really need us to tell you how good this is?
Review: Since joining Permanent Vacation in 2019, Yor Kultura has delivered a trio of EPs that put a new spin on tribal house and atmospheric techno. Here, the trio's work gets remixed for the first time since 2018. Rebedello steps up first and delivers a typically moody, loose-limbed, slowly building version of 'Shimming' rich in live-sounding drums, foreboding chords, sharp electronics and dystopian new wave riffs. DJ Ground handles 'The Hunting', layering sun-bright, rising and falling synthesizer melodies atop a restless bassline and lo-fi drum machine beats, before Yor Kultura re-imagine 'Today' as a fuzzy, stropped back, chugging tribal number complete with bursts of melody, panicked riffs and delay-laden vocal snippets.
Review: This impressively expansive collection from experienced remixer Valique showcases some of the best downtempo and Balearic edits from his popular V's Edits series. There's certainly plenty to get the blood pumping and the juices flowing throughout, from a chugging, ten-minute take on Pink Floyd ('Brickwall') and a pleasingly squelchy take on Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams' 'Lose Yourself To Dance' (here renamed 'Lose Your Elf'), to a chunky dub-house re-imagining of Jimmy Cliff classic 'The Harder They Come' and a loopy, hypnotic, mid-tempo disco-rock revision of T-Rex ('Jewelry'). Throw in party-hearty takes on cuts from Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson and the Beach Boys (an odd but impactful reimagining of 'Good Vibrations') and you have a great value compilation.
Review: If you're not familiar with Sentimental Animals, there's a good reason for that: it's a brand-new Transatlantic collaboration between old pals Dicky Trisco and Razor N Tape Records' co-founder J Kriv. 'Love Vibration', their debut single, is simply superb, offering an attractive, colourful and addictive trip through hybrid disco-boogie territory complete with dextrous bass guitar, authentic turn-of-the-80s beats and a fine lead vocal from Nicki B. The pair also offers up a superb, proto-house inspired 'Basement Mix' (think Paul Simpson, Winston Jones, Boyd Jarvis etc), and 'Loose Rules', a more organic slab of disco warmth smothered in Chic-style guitars and mazy piano solos. To complete a superb package, Yuksek offers up a slightly tougher and more driving disco-house rework of 'Love Vibration'.
Review: Get Down Edits co-owner Darren Daz Dalton assumes a new moniker ripped from the tittle of a 1978 Herbie Mann long-player and comes to Hot Digits Music with four fresh dancefloor jams in tow. The mid-paced 'Feel Alright' kicks us off, revisiting With It Guys feat. Shirley Lewis's 1991 Italo-houser of the same name, while 'I Don't Know' (my pick) lifts a chunk of vocal - but not much else - from 1992 garage classic 'Helpless' by Urbanized, AKA Mood II Swing. 'Virtual' (source, if any, unknown) then takes us into Trent/Damier-esque territory before a hefty, Italo-tinged rework of Loose Joints' 'Is It All Over My Face?' plays us out.
Review: We have no idea who 4th Corner are and a quick web search brings up no useful info, but we can safely say that the artist's debut for the Patchouli Brothers' DODO imprint is a modern disco anthem in the making. Combining sweet, uplifting female vocals with authentic disco instrumentation and weighty, hybrid disco/house beats, the track is organic and authentic enough to delight disco purists while also boasting enough bottom-end heaviness to please DJs and dancers who like it a little more housey. The Patchouli twosome provide the obligatory remix, brilliantly re-framing the track as a hands-in-the-air, retro-futurist piano-house smasher that's as timeless-sounding as it is significantly sizeable.
Review: Given his credentials and track record, it's unsurprising that original disco and boogie artists are willing to let Joey Negro play around with their biggest hits. His first stab at this kind of multi-track remix, 2014's Remixed With Love, was such a success that he's decided to unleash another swathe of revisions over two vinyl double-packs. This edition features some killer reworks, including a sublime, on-point rearrangement of Gwen McRae's "Keep The Fire Burning" and a rolling, dubbed-out version of Grace Jones' "Pull Up To The Bumper" that rivals Larry Levan's classic remix. The veteran producer also successfully turns Pockets' "Come Go With Me" into a classic soulful house rub, and pushes Thelma Houston's "I'm Here Again" further towards disco anthem territory.
Review: 62 collections deep and still blazing up any party in a 1000 mile radius; Katakana deliver yet another fun and funk-fuelled package. All laced with a heavy rhythmic theme, attention to groove detail is paid throughout as we're treated to range of classic and deeply dug edits. "Galaxy" sets the tone with a sleazy strutting war cry before we're hurled into a Latin frenzy on both the sultry "Camina" and the bull-fighting "Descarga". Elsewhere "Leroy Loves Ya" brings the soulful touch and "JB World" closes with a little psychedelic mystique.
Review: Fresh from the release of his rather good - and decidedly Balearic - debut solo album on Leng, Athenian scene stalwart Lex reunites with regular studio buddy Locke for a more club-ready, deep house-fired EP on Delusions of Grandeur. The pair's hybrid electronic/organic sound comes to the fore on '7 Day Path', where a dubby deep house groove is laden with heavy hand percussion, spacey synths and decidedly intergalactic chords. 'I See No Ball', featuring Locomotives, is a druggy, hypnotic and dubby blend of arpeggio-driven Italo-disco and organ-rich deep house, while 'Catch Up With The Sun' is the kind of relaxed, groovy and summery affair that could have graced Lex's recent album. Also worth checking out is DJ Rocca's remix of '7th Path', which reimagines it as a squelchy chunk of nu-disco/deep house fusion.
Review: Slightly Transformed bring us a long-player from New York-based DJ, producer and re-editor Patrick Sullivan, better known professionally as P-Sol, that's quite staggering in its musical scope, as he flits back and forth seamlessly between house, disco, broken beat, Balearic, funk, boogie, soul, lounge and hip-hop - sometimes in the course of a single track, and pleasingly without simply reaching for a big box of over-familiar samples. From the cinematic jazz-funk nouveau of 'Donuts' to the druggy slo-mo soul of 'Down The Lane' via the smooth, Sunburst-esque contemporary disco of 'Sunnin', 'Dean Street' is an album that packs many musical delights and is best served whole - so do yourself a favour and grab a copy.
Review: Anything with Chewy Rubs' name on it is sure to prick up this reviewer's ears, and the Naughty But Nice veteran certainly doesn't disappoint with this latest four-track EP, which finds him with his house hat on. The standout to these ears is 'Get Loose' with its rubberband bassline, party shouts and sense of just-repressed energy, followed closely by 'Sweet Little Booboo' with its chopped n' looped preacherman vox, while 'Active Ingredients' itself borrows from D-Train classic 'Music' and 'Team Work' is an eyes-down, blues-infused shuffler, built for the wee small hours and riding a b-line that kicks like the proverbial equine quadraped
Review: Don't sleep on this much-hyped, disco-flavoured EP from F-Comm veteran Ludovic Llorca, who's been operating as Art Of Tones since 2005 and who's using this EP to launch his brand new PALP label. Llorca himself has said he sees 'Brotherhood' as "an intro track, something more musical," and certainly its mid-paced funk chug and 70s-style chanted vocal are more 'palette cleanser' or 'scene-setter' than 'surefire floor-filler' - when it's time time strut your funky stuff then 'All Night' is the one with its earthy female vocal, chicken scratch guitar and "everybody!" shouts, while Scruscru's remix takes us into wonkier, jazzier territory.
Review: Two new remixes here of this Afro-flavoured production by Dave Lee in his Doug Wilis guise, which first came out back in 2007, and which was also remixed by Audiowhores the following year. The man picked to do the honours for 2022 is Emmaculate, AKA Chicago's Eric Welton, who doesn't flip the script too much, retaining the hi-life-ish feel of the Original but now augmenting the Rhodes that took the lead first time around with some scorching sax work. An Instrumental is also supplied, so if you'd rather dispense with the chanted male vox, you can.
Review: Tonbe's music has spanned a range of styles from Balearica to boogie, but when he calls his latest long-playing offering 'Postive Funk' you kinda know what to expect, don't you? Thankfully the titular promise is one on which he more than delivers, with the album striking a nice balance between raw, 70s-sounding funkers like 'Funkstar' and 'Dig It', and more 80s- or pop-flavoured nuggets such as 'Ain't Nothing Wrong' or 'Live My Life'. Highlights for yours truly include '15th Street' (home to some extremely cool Hammond licks) as well as 'Another Bite', which takes some downright liberties with a Queen classic.
Review: 80s soul and boogie meet extended chunks of sampled movie dialogue on this three-tracker from Denver's Rob Halgren, AKA Funk Hunk, which is brought to you by Rayko's Rare Wiri imprint. The title track loops up a midpaced boogie groove ("don't stop ever loving me") with a bite from 'Dirty Dancing', while the Kimberly Phat-vocalled 'When You Love Me' drops the pace yet further and leads us to the boudoir before more 'Dirty Dancing' bites make their presence felt on male-vocalled soul jam 'Two Passing Strangers'. Boogie lovers will lap it all up, but 'When You Love Me' stands out for yours truly.
Review: Glitterbox regular Alan Dixon brings us his take on five Salsoul classics, but rest assured these are no shoddy "whack a 4/4 kick under it" bootlegs - Dixon was given full access to the original multi-tracks for this project. Even so, it's a brave man or woman indeed who looks at the Salsoul catalogue and thinks "I could improve on that," so he's wisely avoided doing anything too radical or adding any extraneous elements of his own, instead simply teasing out the tracks' most familiar hooks and giving them a structural make-over, rendering them easier to programme in contemporary house and disco sets. Classy stuff.
Review: Following this year's release of Pacific Coliseum's third LP, How's Life, Slim Steve's label debut with the I Do It EP and two Westcoast Goddess titles, Let's Play House caps of a fine year for the empty dancefloors out there with Jacque'd Toolbox - a super combi between 'the' Gerd Janson and New York's Jacques Renault! Throwing into the mix all matter of edits and cutting techniques to disco, pop, electro and house music, the pair throw down hard when giving the free world a dose of what the really want; be it the stringed, pumping heaviness of a piano-ladened "Never Saw Never" or the rave-infused happy house of "Movin' Kinda Screwy". Find some '80s breakbeat electro in the shoulder pad pop of "One More Slice" next to the space pongs and filter loop tropics of "One More Slam" and percussive disco banger of "Jus Wanna Party". Disco, check!