Review: Although he's contributed numerous tracks to recent compilations, this three-tracker from Frank Virgilio is actually the enthusiastic label-hopper's first single since the spring. He begins by applying his magic touch to a prime slice of horn-heavy purple funk, wrapping the original's flash-fried guitars, tasty trumpets and scat style vocals around a chunky disco-house style groove. He dips the tempo - but not the floor-friendly intensity - on "Cat In Rio", a low-slung dub disco affair that boasts a suitably heavy bassline and plenty of sun-kissed, samba-soaked synths, while closing cut "Matt's Ring" is a loopy, disco-house style cut-up of Matsubara's "SOS", a jazz-funk/disco fusion classic that used to get regular rotation at David Mancuso's legendary Loft parties.
Review: The veteran London duo Giles Smith and James Priestley aka Secretsundaze debut on Live At Robert Johnson with pure deep house vibes. Here they serve up something with a bit more old school flair on "Gigantic Impossibly Large", which sees them channel a classic sound, particularly on the NYC dub which calls to mind that timeless aesthetic of early Statside house. The brooding tension and drama of OG's version sounds more reminiscent of today's dancefloor dynamics, while downbeat reductions exist in the form of the exotic and arcane 10 AM version and the slow burning boogie down antics of the B2 jam make a worthy addition also.
Review: Earlier in his career, there was a fair amount of hype surrounding O'Flynn's hard-to-pigeonhole club cuts, with the producer's outings on Blip Discs and Ninja Tune getting particular attention. Here he delivers his debut album, a wonderfully fluid, evocative and enjoyable set that attractively sashays between languid ambience, Afro and Latin-influenced cut-up club cuts that cannily fuse disco, nu-disco and deep house, drum dubs and percussion jams, and off-kilter affairs that defy simplistic categorization. Highlights are plentiful throughout, from the dreamy dub disco flex of "Tru Dancing" and jazzy deep house warmth of "Painted Wolf", to the huggable dreaminess of two-step shuffler "Celestial" and the loved-up haziness of enveloping closing cut "Neptune".
Review: On his debut solo LP for Ostgut Ton, Leisure System co-founder Sam Barker turns his focus toward the psychology behind the musical decision making process, with solutions for 'quantifying pleasure, abolishing suffering, and the ethical use of drugs and nanotechnology' - being just some of the themes over its nine tracks, with a strong aesthetic of dub techno throughout. From thought provoking IDM cuts like "Posmean" or the particularly cavernous "Gradients Of Bliss", right through to moments of emotive techno-soul as heard on the title track and the transcendental ambience of "Wireheading" - 'Utility' is a non-ironic musical approach to a whole spectrum of utilitarian and transhumanist ideas.
Review: With Innamind Recordings being such a forward thinking label project, we were absolutely thrilled to see this one land in our store as Ago steps out for a full length LP project, showcasing his versatility within the expansive realms of 140. What a project it is as well, from the smooth celestial synthesis of 'Above' and 'Deer' to the more dubwise influenced rolling percussion of 'So I Smoke' and 'Dragon Love'. Our highlights for this project however have to be the unpredictable yet incredibly smooth sounds of 'Blur', along with the sumptuous dubby switch ups and tumultuous sub pressures of 'Deer Dub'.
Review: If it's ultra-Balearic dancefloor fare that floats your boat, there's a strong chance that your music collection already boasts a number of releases by British veteran Phil Mison. Aside from his pals Mark Barrott and Chris Coco, few have quite as good a grasp of Balearic beats as Mison, something he consistently proves via his productions under the Cantoma alias. He's at it again on "Kasoto", a Flamenco guitar and synth brass sporting chunk of East-West dancefloor fusion that's as Balearic as dungarees, poolside parties and Jose Padilla's ponytail. Mison's own dancefloor-focused Noche Espanola remix, which sits somewhere between early Italian house and post-boogie Balearic disco, is particularly potent. That said, the new age inspired horizontal dreaminess of the Karel Arbus and Eiji Takamusto Remix is also sublime.
Review: One of the great things about Nicolas Chaix's long-running I:Cube project is you never quite know what to expect next. Whereas his last release, the wonderful Cryptoporticus, offered a pitched-down take on classic British bleep, this untitled EP is an altogether spookier, wide-ranging affair. For example, examine the contrast between the loose, intoxicating tribal rhythms, deep bass and marimba melodies of the decidedly druggy "Prepgav (Part 1)", and the quietly impressive, jazz-flecked ambience of "Prepgav (Part 2)". The variety doesn't stop there, either, with the remaining tracks variously touching on cinematic bliss (the touching "A Walk With You"), dystopian IDM ("Ou Ailleurs"), and becalmed analogue ambience (the brilliant "Sequence III"). Simply stunning from start to finish.
Review: Following up great ones by Marco Lazovic, AFAMoo and ASOK, Sweden's DJ Different steps up to the Lobster family's main label with an EP that the label best describes itself as traversing the 'Orion Nebula to the very edges of the Oort Cloud'. From the evocative sci-fi ambient of "Fast Forward To The Outer Rim" and the zeitgeist of early '90s rave/hardcore on "Angels" and similarly on the pitched-down junglisms of "Real" - featuring the unmistakable vocals of a certain well known pop diva. It all ends smoothly with the soulful and emotive deep house of "Memories Of The Old World" that is the soundtrack to a perfect comedown.
Review: Given that he's most associated with the more tech-tinged Nightnoise label, we were a little surprised to see Jamie Porteus popping up on sun-soaked, Balearic-minded disco imprint Citizens of Vice. Perhaps we shouldn't have been, because "Way Hey" is superb - a deliciously sunny, mid-set workout that wraps glassy-eyed Balearic guitars and bold synthesizer motifs around a chunky groove that reminded us of the Cure, the Police (as in the band, not your local neighbourhood coppers) and all manner of obscure 1980s European Balearic disco records. Over on the virtual B-side, Something Sanctified channels the spirit of Canadian Balearic synth-pop heroes The Junior Boys on a mix so luscious and tactile you half expect it to spring from the speakers and give you a hug.
Review: Hailing from Ecuador, Nicola Cruz is a mysterious producer whose fine work tends to appear on esteemed label Multi Culti. Here is back with more occultish offerings (to the gods), four in fact, all of which will have you feeling light headed and possibly even aroused. Spiritually of course. "Tzantza" opens as nocturnal shuffle in the jungle, kind of like an organic body music. Elsewhere "Bruzo" mixes off-kilter rhythms and cut ups tribal chants, "Danza De Vision" is a livelier affair that's adds pan pipes and electronic bleeps to the mix and "Rio Branco" is a linear fusion of minimal percussion.
Review: Escape From New York's 1984 cut "Fire In My Heart" has long been considered something of a Balearic classic. Original copies of the Rollerball Records release 12" are hard to come by, though, so this digital version is more than welcome. The original version - all slo-mo electro drums, rubbery dub bass, exotic melodies and intoxicating vocals - is joined by the now infamous Instrumental Dub version, which has been a staple in Balearic DJs' sets for more than 30 years. If that wasn't enough, there's also a chance to savour to woozy, dub-influenced synth-pop of original bonus cut "Won't Be Your Fool".
Review: 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.