Review: St Albans-based Hansi serves up four more covers on this latest addition to the long-running 'Funky Grooves' series on his own Viking Grooves. 'Changes' gets the ball rolling, rendering Black Sabbath's classic heartbreak ballad in a tortured, southern soul style - it's almost like Otis's revenge for the Black Crowes! The other choices of cover on the EP are perhaps less surprising - Timmy Thomas's 'Why Can't We Live Together', Run DMC's 'Peter Piper' and The Jimmy Castor Bunch's 'It's Just Begun' - but in all cases Hansi puts his own distinctive spin on the original, making for an EP with more than its fair share of attention-grabbers.
Review: irst released on vinyl three years ago and now finally available on digital download, this must-check EP showcases a quartet of killer re-rubs of back catalogue tracks by L.A-based Afro-Latin funk fusionists Jungle Fair. The headline attraction is undoubtedly a pair of reworks by Ashley Beedle and Rob Mello's reborn Black Science Orchestra project - their first revisions for over 15 years. They first serve up a wonderfully percussive, analogue bass-propelled deep Afro-house remix of 2014 cut 'Culebro', before reaching for the delays and delivering an arguably even better dancefloor 'Dub'. You'll also find JKriv re-imagining 2013 single 'Firewalker' as a bumpin' chunk of horn-heavy dub disco, and a cracking Latin disco take on 'Village Hustle' courtesy of Bosq.
Review: Most DJs tend to see the DJ Kicks series as an excuse to not only show off their DJ skills, but also the eclectic nature of their music collections. That's the approach Jayda G has taken on her fine instalment, delivering a breathlessly brilliant mix and a selection of unmixed tracks that genuinely has something for every occasion. After beginning with the deep disco of Light of the World, Aged in Harmony and Glass Beams, the Ninja Tune artist offers up a mixture of 21st century Afro-soul (Kokoroko), dubbed-out Brit-funk (Atmosfear), synth-laden '80s soul (Don Blackman), sample-rich 21st century house (Gerry Read), chunky dancefloor deepness (Naomi Darkness, DJ Boring), Motor City-inspired futurism (LNS, Fit Siegel), sub-heavy techno (Haai) and dusty future R&B beats (DJ Koze).
Review: For the 48th instalment of the popular Katakana Edits series, the shadowy figures behind the rework stable have turned to Mister Vagz, a producer who has previously contributed to a couple of other label EPs. It's pleasingly varied, with Vagz effortlessly switching between spaced-out, bass-heavy mash-up pastures (the reggae/hip-hop/funk-rock hoedown of "Stopper Wayz") and echo-laden electrofunk-rap business ("Get Ice On It"). Throw in the pitched-down soul meets classic hip-hop shuffle of "Supernatural Soul" and the heady soul breeziness of "Wondrous Regulate" and you've got a fine EP of grown-up mash-ups. In three words: mature party-starters.
Review: Bristol duo The Allergies continue to hint at a future album release with this two-track digital 7", Lean On You. Featuring bespoke lyrics from Dynamite MC in its lead cut, it's a track that subtly touches on Southern rap as it does rock and Gorillaz-styled funk or Cypress Hill-styled hip hop. Venturing further down a looped-up blues and rootsy funk tip in "Working On Me", lyrics are swapped for classic vocal samples, brass horns, big beat loops and clever funky drummer motifs. Spicy hot.
Review: Following fine outings from Fort Knox Five, the Allergies, Smoove and Marc Hype, amongst others, Bomb Strikes' reliable Funk N' Beats compilation series returns with rising star X-Ray Ted at the controls. In keeping with the series' heavyweight, funk-fuelled style, the Bristol-based DJ and beat-maker has gathered together a killer collection of soul, hip-hop and funk club cuts, with a smattering of more laidback numbers to keep things fresh. Highlights are plentiful throughout, with our picks including the boom-bap brilliance is Aldo Vanucci's tidy remix of 'All Down' by Mr Doris and D-Funk, the dancefloor jazz heaviness of Nostalgia 77's 'Changes', the cut-and-paste craziness of Double Dee & Steinski's 'Jazz' and the disco-funk masterclass that is X-Ray Ted's own 'Party Time'.
Review: Our pun-tastic artist name of the week award goes to Boston-based Serge Gamesbourg, who's perhaps best known as the man behind BBE's 'Boston Goes Disco!' collection. Here he serves up his own re-edits of two slightly overlooked gems from days gone by, with 'The Cool, The Hip & The Square' itself a reworking of Ted Taylor's 1977 TK Disco cut 'Ghetto Disco' while 'Bring Them Back Together' plunders Billy Paul's 'Bring The Family Back' from 1979. Both re-edits are very checkable, with the former leaning more to the funky side while the latter's a string-drenched, soulful affair.
Review: Timewarp Music boss Timewarp Inc ushers in the sounds of its Russian-based signee Jazznut who turns in a version and instrumental of "Realistic" in the lead up to a planned album release. The so far little known artist gives the original a '90s pop-house makeover inspiring memories of a time when Madonna's "Ray Of Light" or Fatboy Slim's "Weapon Of Choice" were dominating the charts. Enjoy!
Review: For the latest volume in Planet E's long-running Detroit Love compilation, label boss Carl Craig has handed over to DJ Holographic (real name Ariel Corley), a rising star of the Motor City scene. It's a hugely entertaining collection told, with Corley doing her best to showcase artists on the up - from both Detroit and elsewhere - as well as established stars of the underground. Musically, it's as diverse and mixed-up as you'd expect, kicking off with revivalist Afrobeat (Underground System), slick deep house (Pontchartrain with Javontte) and revivalist '80s soul (Shri Schwartz), before taking in everything from broken house and nu-disco, to sci-fi techno, sleazy warehouse jams, sleazy acid, percussion-rich Latin house and much more besides.
Review: Taken form the forthcoming Bombstrikes compilation - Funk N' Beats Vol. 8, curated by Bristol DJ and Beat Smith X-Ray Ted, 'Party Time' is available digitally for the first time. Originally available on a limited run of vinyl, the release sold out within a matter of days. This one has already picked up some serious heat with support from DJ Koco, Krafty Kuts, and Craig Charles on his BBC Radio 2 show.
Review: The honour of curating the 44th instalment of Katakana's Edits series has fallen on Disco Funk Spinner, a much respected re-edit guy whose work has appeared on the likes of Midnight Riot, Disco Fruit and Sound Exhibitions. Here though he only manages to provide two jams, but it's quality, not quantity, right? First up we get "Night Strangers" which takes loops from Candi Staton's Bee Gees cover (Nights On Broadway) and adds an accelerated disco house tempo and subtle but funky embellishments. On the digital flip is "On Fire", a clever rework of Peggy Lee's indestructible classic, Fever. Hot stuff!
Review: He first came to public notice in the early 00s serving up tuff, tribal house under his own name, but since then Canada's Greg Vickers has been turning out a neat line in funk, jazz-funk and soul as Afternoons In Stereo, under which alias he's released at least eight long-players to date. Here, Greek label Kraak reissue his AIS debut album 'Aural Pleasure', which first came out on parent label Timewarp Music in 2004, all digitally remastered and now with a couple of bonus tracks thrown in for good measure. If you're a fan of mellow grooves replete with brushed snares, jazz-funk geetar, mournful 80s sax and parping Hammonds, it really is the bomb - so if you missed it first time around, don't sleep now!
Review: We've become accustomed to the Editorial label offering up expansive EPs packed to the rafters with tasty edits and reworks, but even by the imprint's high standards Raw Funk is rather special. It begins with a bumpin' chunk of hazy and excitable sample house courtesy of Cody Currie (the brilliant 'Aquarian Girl') and ends with some slow-motion, downtempo disco sweetness from Ed Wizard & Disco Double Dee ('Slippin'); in between, you'll find a fine rearrangement of an organ-laden chunk of sweaty dancefloor soul (the Funk District's 'An Evening With El Diablo'), some slap-bass-sporting disco-funk (Matt Hughes' 'Get Down'), and a righteous trip into driving disco territory (the Owl's low-slung 'Funky Feelin').
Review: It's been 14 years since Simon Ward AKA Dr Rubberfunk released his second album 'My Life At 33', so something doesn't quite add up there! Happily, though, that's about the only grumble you're likely to have with this, his fourth long-player, on which he demonstrates an impressive musical versatility as he deftly weaves between raw 70s-inspired soul (see the Stephanie Whitelock and Izo Fitz-Roy collabs), mellifluous virtuoso jazz-funk (see 'Slim's Mood' and 'Steppin' In', hazy, blues-y psychedelic funk-rock ('Boom!' feat John Turrell), scorching Hammond grooves ('Pressure Cooker') and more besides. "Not a real doctor since 1992," Ward's website proclaims proudly - and long may it continue.
Review: Timewarp Music welcomes aboard a new artist to their roster in Jazznut aka Dmitry Khlynin. Based out of Russia, the name suits him, as if he's some kind of mad professor stewing over a mixed pot of jazz and funk, some rock and trip hop alongside some big beats business, breaks and a healthy dose modern electronics. Across 11 peak time tracks there's stoner grooves and psychedelica in "Keep Moving", a New Yorkan diva session in "Sun Goes Down (feat Kali Malia)" to space cowboy cosmic disco in "Sinful Gold". A cinematic soundtrack for a pulp fiction fanatic.
Review: With 50 Cent acapellas back in full effect for the Resense label, Voodoocuts brings a stone cold 2000s hip hop classic to the jazz funk realm perfect for any 'hip hop' request. On the flipside Slick Walk pays homage to Young Holt-Unlimited's "Soulful Strut" in a DJ-friendly, instrumental slice of disco-edit gold.
Review: French act Minimatic have developed a reputation for drumming up jazz-flecked loungey covers of a wide variety of pop songs. Here the tagline 'all my friends are remixers' hints at what's in store - a collection of the finest DJ reworks of Minimatic's reworks with 17 to choose from. Highlights include the accelerated party breaks of Rory Hoy's version of Indeep's "Last Night A DJ Saved My Life", Peaches' "Shake Yer Dix" gets a Pizzicato Five-style retro '60s makeover courtesy of Skeewiff and the croony "Contre Vous", which is turned into a sleazy punk workout by Prosper and Rory Hoy.
Review: Ever turn up to a slightly strange but inviting house party to find a DJ playing a list of your favourite tracks - although you have no idea where they're from? It's label like Minimatic that keep the party going for another decade. Where electro-swing goes for sped up ballroom and big band jazz, Minimatic's approach to genre reformation takes the likes of UK pop (Oasis and "Owner of A Lonely Heart"), US hip hop ,(Eminem, Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga) to slices of R&B via Ed Sheeran and dresses them up latin rhythms of baile and urban funk, adding touches of turntablism, jazzy horns and keys to lowriding grooves.
Review: In afrobeat circles, Ghanaian highlife guitarist Ebo Taylor has long been regarded as one of the scene's most undervalued talents. During his golden period during the 1970s, Taylor was responsible for some landmark recordings - not just as an artist, but composer, arranger and producer. This comprehensive set from serial crate-diggers Strut revisits that fertile period, gathering together the best of Taylor's solo, collaborative and production work. For those with a passing interest in afrobeat and highlife, it's near-essential. Highlights come thick and fast, from the strangely spaced-out grooves of "Peace On Earth" and lazy afro jazz-funk of "Ohiana Sua Efir" to the deep fried highlife disco-funk of "Yes Indeed" and epic American R&B stylings of "Aba Yaa".
There Are Other Worlds (They Have Not Told You Of) (remastered) - (11:01) 146 BPM
Lanquidity (Alternate mix) - (8:20) 73 BPM
Where Pathways Meet (Alternate mix) - (6:31) 92 BPM
That's How I Feel (Alternate mix) - (12:10) 95 BPM
Twin Stars Of Thence (Alternate mix) - (9:51) 85 BPM
There Are Other Worlds (They Have Not Told You Of) (Alternate mix) - (10:55) 159 BPM
Review: It's quite the statement to have the words 'definitive edition' next to the music of Sun Ra however if it's Strut on the case you can imagine this going the whole nine yards. This re-release dates the avant-garde jazz classic back to 1978 when Sun Ra and his Arkestra appeared on Saturday Night Live for the first time. Directly after the show the band recorded Lanquidity in a single session. Delivering 10 alternate, largely unheard versions of Lanquidity, the album's longer sessions come via the free jazz grooves of "That's How I Feel" to the strung out and rather bizarre "There Are Other Worlds (They Have Not Told You Of)". Definitively alternative versions no less than bona fide.
Review: Japanese artist Masaaki Yoshida aka Anchorsong based out of London is a firm favourite within the Tru Thoughts collective. Having released three albums for the Brighton outpost since 2011, he brings a sweet new double drop to the label in an aptly titled, New World. Bringing shades of a melodic exotica sound to the title-track through the use of traditional folk elements, wind instruments and harpsichords, an infectious and groovy broken beat rhythm does the rest! For your dubbed out alternative with some dusty flutes, swing and vocal snippets to boot, look no further than "Tunis Dream".
Review: Prolific nouveau funkers LTG Long Travel Groove serve up six more retro funk and hip-hop nuggets. 'Radio Funk' sounds like a dubbed-out Chic, while 'Total Funk (ReVision)' channels James Brown with the addition of an 'Another One Bites The Dust'-ish bassline and scratching sounds. 'Move It Man' takes us into laidback rap territory, 'Minimal Zone' has a cut-up, west coast lo-fi vibe and a looping "I was at home getting blunted" vocal sample, and 'James Beat' is a more abstract excursion with an off-kilter, jazzy feel, before the langorous and sultry 'Easy Grasp' plays us out on a sexier/sleazier note.
Good People (Montaque Adamson remix) - (3:47) 59 BPM
Mother Funkin' Robots (Bossy Nova re-fit) - (3:33) 85 BPM
Review: There's certainly no faulting the remix VFM on this BBE EP, whose two tracks are served up in no fewer than nine different rubs. 'Good People' sits somewhere between 'new old' soul, acid jazz and early 90s street soul in its original form, but it's the funkier reworkings from Montaque Adamson that are likely to pick up the most plays on floors that also rock to the likes of The Dap Kings, Haggis Horns, Lack Of Afro, Smoove & Turrell et al. 'Mother Funkin' Robots', meanwhile, is served up in three variations on a fairly self-explanatory 'Bossy Nova' theme - Latin beats and raw soul vox ahoy!
Review: Beatnik City is one of the chief exponents of the Northern Soul sound and its crate digging culture. Here they present what they dub "BarBeat", which is a good way to describe the non-purist approach of the edits featured - perfect fodder for bars rather than big room clubs. Perfect examples of this approach include "Finti Cents" where In Da Club gets taken back into time to a shimmying Motown backing groove or the 90s-hip-hop-goes-retro-big-beat vibes of "Jurassic Jive".
Review: Honkey Phonk founder Jayl Funk outta Germany brings his cards to the table with this Four Aces EP, turning to disco as an inspiration for the most part with a sweet touch of samba in "Together". With a rocksteady groove and blaxploitation funk backing the horns, vocals and extra piano rolls of "Feel The Heat", it's the filtered strings of life and roller disco decadence of "Something" that accompanies the '80s-pop elements, spaced-out vocoders, and undeniable dancefloor vibe of "Fantastic Sunshine". Four of a kind.
Review: Crown Ruler Records co-founder Jeremy Spellacey is highly regarded within the crate-digging community, primarily for his ability to sniff out copies of obscure - but, naturally, high quality - boogie-era disco records from Africa and the Caribbean. On this fine compilation, Spacetalk has offered the New Zealander the opportunity to showcase some of those finds, alongside a smattering of better-known favourites and more recent cuts (see Mike Fabulous's overlooked modern boogie gem "Wang East"). Predictably, Spellacey has delivered the goods, serving up humid, exotic and loved-up gems galore, including the fluttering brilliance of Stimela's "I Love You", the marimba-laden Balearic boogie of Feladey's "Forest Music" and Devon Russell's impeccable reggae-soul cover of Curtis Mayfield's "Move on Up".
Review: Introducing an artist that's been on the scene for some three-to-four years now - and picking up plaudits by the release - is Russian funk, disco and soulsmith ScruScru. He arrives on Omena - of course home to the music of HNNY, Seb Wildblood and Mella Dee among others - and does so with the suggestion of a return visit. But first and foremost, South Wind, Clear Sky Part 1 brings the sounds of ScruScru (real name Anton Bogomolov) to a whole new cosmic level - just take one listen to "Maneki-Neko". With the artist's blend of jazz-funk, seductive disco-powered house, topping percussion and warm rhodes, ScruScru's experimental beatmaking goes west!