As always, the Breakbeat Paradise team are bang in form as they unveil yet another top quality drop, this time welcoming the explosive sounds of Boydex inside, who delivers a weighty five track collection. We open up with the bulbous bounces of 'Push it', which sees the team link up with Sully Sax & Pecoe for an old school funkadelic freak out, followed by the horn-driven title track 'Funk Fam' and disco-laced delights of 'Cosmic Funk', which also sees Stabfinger move into the collaborative harness. Two more corkers to round off then as 'Party' lets fly another dizzy display of brass and guitar combos, before the stuttered drum taps and distant vocal sampling of 'Ease Your Mind' gives us a crunchy landing to close out with. Lovely work!
Formed in 2019 by DJ Nikolay 'Marcon' Markov and guitarist Yanko Argirov, DJ Marcon & The Palo Santos are an Afrobeat-inspired outfit from Bulgaria who made their debut on Timewarp Music with 'Parara' just a few months ago. Now they return to the Greek label with another Fela-tastic two-tracker that you just know is going to be big with the likes of Gilles Peterson and Mr Scruff. The saxophone takes centre stage on the lively, upbeat 'Still Here' itself, while a trumpet does more of the heavy lifting on the accompanying 'Journey South', which could find favour with the bruk beat crew.
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.
A couple of years back, Leng welcomed Greek DJ/producer Lex to the label roster. Real name Alex Andrikopoulos, he's well known in his home city of Athens where he ran the Radical Soundz record shop. Now the Athenian has returned with his debut album for the esteemed London nu-disco label titled Waving, which appears on the back of a handful of EPs for a variety of labels (Samosa, B2, Frole). Whether it's the blissed-out balearica of last year's well received first single "Punta Alien", the late night boogie-down vibe of "Window Spells" (feat Max Giovara), the lo-slung dance floor heater "La Di Da D"i, to the sultry and deep mood music of "Angels Of Rhythm" (Still Bouncing - feat Harriet Summer) or the lovely closer "Keep Mashing" with its classic UK broken beat influence - Waving is his boldest and strongest statement yet as a producer.
What a funkadelic way to start the weekend as X-Ray Ted lands once again on Bomb Strikes for a vibrant display of breaksy bounce with two sizzling originals, jam-packed with colourful sampling and in-depth flare. First up, 'Doin' My Thing' delivers a shuffling waltz through northern-soul style vocals and horn lines, atop a shimmering plate of breaks-inspired drum work to create a dancefloor-ready shuffler. On the flip, 'Tribute To The Original Artform' combines groovy bassline action with colourful percussive drives and cowbell-infused melody, providing a wicked b-side and keeping the energy levels high as we round this one off.
It must be hard to pin down exactly where your funky destination is when it's all over the funk and soul map! That's by no means a grumble, though, as Croatia's Vladimir Sivc serves up six pleasingly varied tracks. 'Don't Bring Me Down' is a raw, sweaty modern funk workout, 'Music Gonna Move Your Soul' takes us into 'new old' soul pastures and comes with a self-explanatory Horns All The Way remix, while 'Alla Fine Del Mondo' and 'Afrodisia' add hints of Latin and Afro flava, respectively, before 'Albatros' plays us out on a more headnoddin' tip. Niceness!