Review: Athens-based funk n' disco producer Christos Antoniou returns to Hot Digits Music with three original tracks here, while fellow label regular Frank Virgilio supplies the obligatory remix. The instrumental 'Dancefloor Stories' itself has something of an 80s, Miami Vice-ish kinda feel, thanks largely to the nagging synth riff that forms its backbone. Elsewhere, 'Papercllp Jam' is a squelchy funker with Zapp/Cameo leanings, 'Solaris' marries fluttering Chic-y guitars to authentically 70s-sounding brass, while finally Naples native Virgilio takes the title track down a darker path, toning down the original's spangly 80s sheen and adding layers of tribal percussion.
Review: The long-running 'Katakana Edits' series rumbles on, with regular contributor DJ Laurel back in the driving seat for #104. He's got us beat when it comes to source material for a couple of the tracks, but 'Ha Chica' is a tropical-style funk/disco cut sporting lively brass flourishes and an infectious sing-song vocal, while 'Strugglin' Together' has a mid-70s funk-soul vibe (think Curtis Mayfield, Bill Withers or even Gil Scott-Heron). Elsewhere on the EP, Laurel revisits William Wilson's raw, Ohio Players-esque 1978 funker 'Up The Downstairs' and Leon Ware's superb 1979 Minnie Riperton cover 'Inside Your Love'.
Don't Let Them Tell You (feat Sarah Rebecca) - (6:57) 118 BPM
Review: Three years ago, Duncan Gray pitched up on Tici Taci with The Malcontent, a fine collection of druggy, oddball and suitably psychedelic nu-disco chuggers heavily influenced by new wave and the weirder end of '80s synth-pop. This high-quality follow-up explores similar sonic pastures, with Gray strutting between Depeche Mode style dark-pop ('The Owner', 'Twenty Seven Seven Twenty'), early New Order tributes (the acid-flecked 'Frank Lloyd Wrong' and 'Elegia'-ish 'Afer'), post-punk disco darkness ('Gone and Forgotten'), and deep, strobe-lit Italo-disco ('Learn More'). Arguably best of all though is closing cut 'Temps Perdu', an arpeggio-driven monster that's more hallucinatory than your average pot of mushroom tea.
Review: A second 'Solid Gold Edits' collection here from Funk Hunk, and the Denver, Colorado native has done a great job of avoiding any obvious sources: 'She's Got To Be' bites Jerry Knight's 1982 jazz-funk/boogie gem 'She's Got To Be (A Dancer)' but that's about as much as we can tell you! Across the album's eight tracks, boogie and white-socked 80s soul have clearly provided the most obvious inspiration, but there's room, too, for excursions into rawer funk territory on cuts like 'Plastic Saddle' and 'Jungle Music'. 'I Choose You', with its phat 80s bassline and Janet Jackson-like vocal, is particularly worthy of your attention.
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!
Review: Disco really doesn't come much more lo-slung and sleazy than this druggy small-hours epic from UK producer Jay Rossi. In its Original form, 'Hot Like The Sun' centres round a heavyweight, slo-mo bassline that it tops with assorted 80s Euro-sounding synths and the classic vocal from C'hantal's 'The Realm' - that's the "it's the point of highest intensity" one, for the uninitiated. Remix-wise the Instrumental is self-explanatory, Kiwi adds some gnarly rave synth stabs while Craig Bratley drops the vocal and gives the drums a lil' extra swing. A surefire attention-grabber whichever rub you plump for.
Review: Last year, Kapote joined forces with regular home Toy Tonics to release Teutonik Disaster, a compilation of his own re-edits of late '70s and early '80s, "German new wave funk". 12 months on he returns to the same label with a new collection, Mushroom House, which boasts a mixture of Balearic, Afro and cosmic-influenced cuts from the imprint's vaults. Highlights come thick and fast throughout, from the rubbery, dubbed-out Afro-house bounce of Ponty Mython's 'Slippin' Into Darkness' and the dusty Afro-disco haziness of Munk's 'Nigerian Jam', to the intergalactic electro trip of the Asphodells' killer remix of 'The Circular Path' by the Deadstock 33s, and the deep space Italo-disco chug of Baldelli's sparkling 'Phobos (2020 Version)'.
Review: Two regular Athens Of The North artists join forces in the studio for the first time, with impressive results. Separately, Scotland's Linkwood (AKA Nick Moore) and Other Lands have explored a range of styles so far in their careers, from post-punk to house and techno, but together they've come up with an album that, though definitely having something of a Balearic feel to modern ears, actually sounds like nothing quite so much as late 70s/early 80s jazz-funk and jazz fusion - particularly that of the "one Californian and his Moog collection" variety. Some may find it all a bit muzak-ish, but if you're a fan of squelchy analogue synth sounds and jazz guitar licks you'll find much to enjoy here.
Review: Before allowing these re-edits to be released, Sebastian Doering AKA Lovebirds extensively road-tested them in the beach bars of Bali. That should give you an indication of the glassy-eyed, sun-kissed nature not only of his source material, but also the tactile and loved-up flavour of the resultant revisions. Check first opener 'People', a gently housed-up revision of a particularly dewy-eyed cover version of swinging jazz standard 'People Make The World Go Round', before donning your dancing shoes for a trippy stomp through Latin-fired quirky disco territory (the excellent 'Piaui', which is an even more bonkers take on a brilliant Juca Chaves samba-jazz track). Arguably best of all though is closing cut 'Burning Love', a stirring and swelling skip through string-laden disco territory with lashings of classic house pianos.
Review: If you've not come across Palafico Honey before, there's a good reason: it's a brand-new project from Eleanor Beale, a little-known - but clearly talented - audio-visual artist based in London. 'Bigger Dreaming' is really rather good, with Beale adding classy, jazz-inflected lead vocals to a warming jazz-funk-meets-disco backing track rich in jaunty electric piano chords, jazz guitar flourishes and rubbery, boogie style bass. Ed Wizard and Disco Double Dee re-imagine the cut as a more low-slung slab of P-funk flavoured disco-funk, before Funk District successfully turns it into a bouncy chunk of disco-house cheeriness. As debut singles go, it's a bit of a doozy.
Review: A warm welcome back to paradise Discs main man Picklejam, who returns with what appears to be his first solo EP for almost 18 months. The Leeds producer is on fine form throughout, with the three original productions all hitting the spot. Choose between the Bobby Orlando-goes-nu-disco synth shimmer of 'Moonlight Impulse', the Jan Hammer-does-Italo-disco bubbliness of 'Virtual Joyride', and the NYC freestyle/proto-house fusion of 'Tucker's Disco'. The accompanying remix package is reliably solid, too, with Keith Fortune's sparkling, synth-heavy take on 'Moonlight Impulse' being our pick of the bunch (though Stephen Richards' chunky, funk-fuelled revision of 'Virtual Joyride' is also ace).
Exhaust/Surroundings (Girl Band - Daniel Fox remix) - (7:27) 120 BPM
Review: Fresh-faced disco punks outta London arrive on Big Dada reminding everyone with a slap in the face that bands are cool again. Presenting the label with its first album of the year on a platform that's given rise to artists like Wen, Hype Williams and Zombie to Onyx Collective in recent years, Bid Dada now rolls out PVA's Toner. A three-piece at large, the group send in a tough array of acid techno, rave, EBM and new wave synth (with a touch of indie) while throwing the vocal inspirations of James Murphy and Nancy Whang down a techno warren of torture. That can be said most for "Sleek Form" with "Exhaust/Surroundings" harking back to a sound you might have heard The Juan Maclean syphon back in the day. The lead track "Toner" pushes out a spirited post-punk and dubby side to PVA's sound with a broken down and contemporary pop makeover by Lynks. Some more minimal and electrified remixes by Mura Masa of "Talks" that's trumped by the dungeon acid of Daniel Fox's rework of "Exhaust/Surroundings".
Review: If you just look at the track titles here you could be expecting ill-advised John Lennon and Eagles re-edits, but thankfully you'd be wrong! Instead, 'Power To The People' is a meaty slab of contemporary synth-disco, underpinned by a heavyweight bass throb and topped with a plinky-plonk lead line and snatches of spoken (interview) vocal from the aforesaid Fab One. The accompanying Boombass Remix is more energetic and in-your-face, with nods to the rave era, while the EP's completed by 'Tequila Sunrise', a hazy, rolling, guitar- and acid-flecked workout that probably needs to be heard outdoors in the sunshine for full effect.
Review: Something of a meeting of the generations here, as Sean Scanlan - an Essex DJ/producer whose career dates back to the late 90s - teams up with Octavia Lambertis, a US vocalist who started out in the mid-80s boogie era and has since worked with the likes of Angel Moraes, Lenny Fontana and Pete Heller. That gives them some pretty serious house n' disco roots, and it shows, with 'Get Out Of My Own' a sumptuously produced, string-drenched Saturday night mirrorball extravaganza sporting two female vocals (one sung, the other chanted and reminiscent of ESG's 'Erase You'), with a matching instrumental also supplied.
Review: Following the success of Shaka Loves You's previous compilations on Bombstrikes, the label has offered them the chance to launch a new series all of their own. Named in honour of their radio show and regular parties in Glasgow, Joints & Jams offers up a hugely entertaining (and largely floor-friendly) mixture of funk-fuelled hip-hop (Bastien Keb, Fort Knox Five, Andy Cooper), skanking reggae (The Nextmen and Gentlemen's Dub Club sing-along 'Done It Again'), flash-fried funk breaks (the Allergies), tropical goodness (DJ Nu-Mark's hook-up with Quantic), and various fusions of disco, boogie and funk (see the cuts from Kraak & Smaak, X-Ray Ted, Pablo & Shoey and Shaka Loves You themselves). The result is a brilliantly mixed-up collection of tried-and-tested dancefloor bombs.
Review: Taken from the forthcoming Bombstrikes compilation - Joints n' Jams Vol. 1 curated by Glasgow's funkiest Shaka Loves You, 'Cruisin' is a new and exclusive track from the duo themselves. As a small taster of what can be expected from the full release, this Disco Stomper is just one track of many exclusives from the album which spans many genres from Funk and Hip Hop to Beats and House. The full album features music from such luminaries as DJ Nu-Mark & Quantic, Kraak & Smaak, The Nextmen & Kiko Bun, Izo FitzRoy, Chali 2NA & Krafty Kuts, Andy Cooper, The Allergies and Fort Knox Five. Also not forgetting the Disco vibes of Hobbs & Ron Mexico, Birdee & Andre Espertue, Afriquoi and Art of Tones. The assembled tracklisting really does encapsulate the signature 'SLY' multi-genre ethos and sound.
Review: Three very solid disco/funk re-edits here from Shanghai-based Thoma Cher. The original sources are sadly unknown, but the mid-paced 'Holiday Holiday' is a lightly rolling little groover with hints of barrio funk and tropical disco around the edges, while 'Dancer' is a more down 'n' dirty funker, centred around some rather fine slap bass but topped with a poppy female chorus that pays homage to the roller disco. The EP standout to these ears, though, is 'Be My Lover', a somewhat lower-tempo and altogether more sultry 'n' sexy affair with lavish late 70s-sounding production, a breathy female vocal and something of a late-night, Blaxploitation kinda feel overall.
Review: A few years ago, Tito Velcro, Elena Hikari and Rare Wiri founder Rayko joined forces in the studio and produced a handful of decidedly Balearic tracks. Now, having sat on Rayko's hard drive for "a few years", they're finally getting a deserved release courtesy of Citizens of Vice. "You're Not Alone" is suitably special, with swirling and evocative vocals from Hikari rising above lazy, laidback guitar riffs, dreamy chords, bubbly beats and soft-touch synth sounds, while 'Unforgettable' is a chugging, slow-motion treat that wraps sparkling synth lines and echoing guitars around echoing beats and low-slung bass. Rayko provides a slightly more club-friendly nu-disco take on 'You're Not Alone', while Ilya Santana re-imagines the same track as a sparse, sunrise-ready chunk of Balearic electrofunk.
Review: A brace of very serviceable edits make up Vol 15 in the 'Underdog' series, with each - somewhat unusually in re-edit circles - supplied with two mixes to choose from. Made In USA's 'Never Gonna Let You Go' from 1977, a track which Theo Parrish also did a now highly sought-after re-edit of a few years back, is supplied in all its brass-and-vocal-chorus glory on the Underdog Edit, while the more fast n' furious Underdog's Breakdown Edit is one for the dancers. Also getting the treatment is Dee Dee Bridgewater's strutty, attitude-laden 1976 funk-soul jam 'It Ain't Easy', whose dramatic drums then take centre-stage on the Bonus Beats Rub.
Review: Number eight in the series, and do you really need us to tell you that it's an object lesson in how to do 21st Century disco properly? Tracks range from the Kraftwerk/Yello-isms of From Beyond's 'Hypersleep' to Kooky & Damoon's genre-defying 'Confidence Of Ignorance (Dub'), which tops a sumptuous, jazzy funk/soul cut with a liberal dose of acid squelch, and from Jahn Solo's Ecstasy, Passion & Pain-biting piano houser 'Touch Me' to the sleazy early 80s Berlin throb of Brian SNR's 'Hot Shot', with a side-order of syprupy soul courtesy of The Secret Soul Society. Big names may be in short supply here but adventurous, imaginative grooves are not!
Review: We're full of respect for the team behind Jalapeno Records, who have now been offering up the finest in funk, soul, hip-hop, disco and breakbeat for 20 years. It's a landmark that calls for a celebration, and with this compilation they've certainly marked their anniversary in style. The 20-track set is full-to-bursting with party-starting heat, with vintage gems from the likes of Skeewiff, Ikon, Kraak & Smaak and Featurecast being joined by more recent highlights from current imprint heavyweights such as Smoove & Turrell and the Allergies. Highlights are plentiful, with our picks including the break-driven revivalist soul headiness of Aldo Vanucci's 'You're All Show', the summery positivity of Gizelle Smith's 'S.T.A.Y' and the rushing disco brilliance of Dimitri From Paris's essential edit of Izo Fitzroy's 'I Want Magic'.
Review: Eagles & Butterflies producer Chris Barratt has been rather quiet of late, with last year's acclaimed appearance on Innervisions being his last major release of note. It's therefore good to see him delivering a superb suite of interpretations of 2019 Woolfy vs Projections album track 'Destination Hell', a woozy and warming chunk of off-kilter, Balearic pop drowsiness. He first re-imagines it as a sharp, freestyle-influenced chunk of mid-80s Euro synth-pop-meets-house heaviness (the opening 'Main Mix'), before dreaming of saucer-eyed mornings in his native Ibiza via a swirling, synth-heavy 'Sunrise Mix' full of fizzing sounds, hazy vocals and cheery melodies. Most startling of all though is the closing 'Unplugged Mix', a delay-laden, beat-free concoction built around Woolfy's original bassline and snippets of echoing male and female vocals.