Reviewed this week
Katakana Edits comes rolling through with its 57th edition, and they've scoped out a new artist by the name of Vagz. Yes, you're in for some supremely heartfelt funk. "No More" kicks off with nothing but love and tears, ?Brother Man? travels at a much "cooler" tempo, "Umba" is an ode to Brazilian carnival funk, "Something That Can Make You Do Wrong" offers a bit of electronic meandering - a blend of deep house and boogie - and "The Only Way" is an out and out soul monster, literally dripping with delightful sensation. Strong.
Scouring, as per usual, through the deepest and darkest depths of the underground, the always on-point Scour imprint comes through with the goods in the form of Beat Le Juice, a new boogie sensation to add to our radars. The man's opener "I Promise" takes us back to the early 80s, and to legendary labels lime SAM, with the same going for the more funk-tastic bass of "Funk Magic" - what a nugget! "So Much Style" is the deepest and baddest of the four, in our opinion, leveraging a little dub flex for the heads, while "The Beat Don't Stop" launches an all-out pop attack...backed by a lovely house sensibility.
Italian producer Vito Lalinga presents his debut EP on Greek label Timewarp, bringing five hot tracks on his fresh Afrodisiac EP. Your fix of nu-funk, combined with broken beats and a touch of African vibes - as heard on the spiritual and life affirming "Fela Mania". Likewise, "Move Your Body In Africa" features a cinematic touch with a soulful style that Vito Lalinga always brings. This is a collaboration with his mates Angelo Dattuomo and Giancarlo Coppola as Vi Mode Inc. Project and we sure can't wait to hear what is in store next from this hot trio.
Wolf + Lamb has been responsible for some superb singles over the years, and this hook-up with sometime Green Velvet collaborator Russoul arguably surpasses them all. That's a bold claim, but then the package is incredibly strong. The original version of "Love You Still" - a sumptuous slice of breezy soulful house complete with cascading synth solos, rich pianos and a brilliant vocal from Russoul - is accompanied by three superb remixes. Wolf + Lamb member Baby Prince re-casts the track as a rubbery chunk of two-step '80s electro-soul, Russoul dons the Pleasure Prince alias to deliver an even cheerier and warmer take, and former Strictly Rhythm duo Lowheads re-imagines the track as a throbbing fusion of eyes-closed deep house and Patrick Cowley style arpeggio-heavy electronic disco.
Oh lord - another Tramp gem incoming hard! This rare-as-hens-teeth reissue of Reunion's impossibly hard-to-find boogie monster "When The Well Runs Dry" is like gold dust being sprinkled all over our charts, seeing as this goes for BIG bucks up on Discogs, and this alternative mix is sounding even badder than the original one we're used to - that early boogie magic shines through with every new strum of that funky guitar. Even the flip, "A Brighter Day", is nothing but good vibes, and signs off an EP which will undoubtedly leave our shelves just as fast as it came in.
It's always clear to us when Italy's Swingrowers are back in the building. The funky club vibes circle in the air, and the funky touches are in plain view. Outsidein is their new LP and, much like the rest of the material they've released up until now, there is a clear sense that these dudes have all the characteristics of becoming some serious contenders for 'top of the class' in this space. Crucially, this is the sort of material that will appeal to a wide and varied audience; from the pop fans to the Afro lovers, there is something for all walks of life - or simply our digital charts - to get stuck into.
Nuremberg's funky breaks champion Jayl Funk rarely presents other talents, as his Honey Phonk imprint is mainly dedicated to his own sounds. Here however, he presents Rudi Ludwig aka Downstair Project - who you some of you may remember from their collaboration over a year ago. He presents some jazzy, liquid drum & bass in the vein of LTJ Bukem on "Sometimes" while "Whiskey In The Backyard" sees him channel some lush and dusty deep house for the late night. Sweet panpipe action on this one reminiscent of "The Whistle Song'.
Gizelle Smith's forthcoming LP 'Ruthless Day' is the sound of a dynamic artist expanding her horizons from the classic aesthetic of her debut, to explore a new brand of progressive modern funk. Expansive and exhilarating, it bridges the gap between delicate honey dripped soul through to psychedelic funk freakouts, complete with strutting beats and emotive lyrics. Smith's energy and personality are undeniable and both shine through in every track on the album. The first single lifted from the album is "Hero" featuring Philadelphia's Eric Boss and it is a neo-soul explosion that perfectly supports Smith's gorgeous vocal performance and her deep, life affirming lyrics.
A veritable French fusion institution; classically trained Cameroon musician Eko Roosevelt Louis was responsible for a catalogue of exciting jazz funk, disco and afrofunk records throughout the 70s and remained active touring Europe until the 90s when he returned to Cameroon to inherit the role as tribal chieftain from his grandfather. Released in 1979, Funky Disco Music was his third album and packs some of his most powerful compositions. The triumphant title track says it all; laidback, charming and full of positivity it sets the scene for the whole trip. Highlights include the rock-tinged soul chugger "Une Chanson Sans Paroles", the highlife uplift of "Doi Da Manga" and the smouldering showstopper finale "Emen Ango". Dig deep and enjoy... Africa Seven promise more Eko reissues in the near future.
Barely available in its original format, Frederick Knight's first - and most highly sought after - release from the late 60s is a jacking, upstart bit of funky soul that is as relevant today as it was back then. Stepping Down carries an infectious groove, carried by wild organs and driving percussion all the way from beginning to the end, but it's Heart Complication that we've been waiting endlessly for - a slow and chilling soul ballad with Knight's seductive laments cutting deep and wide. Super!
Parisian Will Galland first appeared on Quiet Dawn back in late 2014, followed by his debut album (The First Day) in 2015 - which featured collaborations with renowned players. Incorporating hip hop, broken beat and house, he has expanded his talents for arranging and composing and now drafted in a wealth of musicians for this sublime new EP. From the passionate and bittersweet "Human" (which sounds reminiscent of Faze Action), to the epic balearica of "Passion & Anger" which will surely have you travelling without moving. It all comes to an epic climax on the dynamic closing track "Being" - a right soul-jazz explosion on the cosmic tip.
A veritable French fusion institution; classically trained Cameroon musician Eko Roosevelt Louis was responsible for a catalogue of exciting jazz funk, disco and afrofunk records throughout the 70s and remained active touring Europe until the 90s when he returned to Cameroon to inherit the role as tribal chieftain from his grandfather. Released in 1979, Funky Disco Music was his third album and packs some of his most powerful compositions. The triumphant title track says it all; laidback, charming and full of positivity it sets the scene for the whole trip. Highlights include the rock-tinged soul chugger "Une Chanson Sans Paroles", the highlife uplift of "Doi Da Manga" and the smouldering showstopper finale "Emen Ango". Dig deep and enjoy... Africa Seven promise more Eko reissues in the near future.
Finnish bleep techno institution Sahko (via their Jimi Tenor helmed sublabel Puu) unleash these retrospective works by a relatively unknown producer. "Ofelia" was produced 20 years ago, the demo was lying in a drawer for 18 years until Ismo Laakso rediscovered the tapes - said to be produced between 1996-1999 and still sounding contemporary today. '80s industrial sounds blend with neo classical parts and contemporary drone music like on "Translucent", building up to insane Dadaist pieces like "Koskenhaltija" or the title track - which deconstruct the human voice in amazing fashion.
Born and raised in South London, Hector Plimmer is a designer, producer and DJ, who has been making some considerable waves in recent times. Beginning with an appearance on 2011's Brownswood Bubblers compilation, Hector proved his talent when he was selected as the winner of the PRS Steve Reid InNOVAtion Award. Originally released in early 2017, his Sunshine LP now gets a series of hot remixes. Some blunted urban hip-hop flavour on Reginald Omas Mamode IV's remix of "Sunshine", that dusty MPC deep house sound of Berlin courtesy of their city's finest Glenn Astro, on his remix of Bossa while Mr Beatnick turns in an utterly hypnotic remix of Kalimba 2.