Reviewed this week
While Ben Worrall's debut album as Crackazat, 2015's slightly overlooked Crescendo, was quietly impressive, this sophomore set is simply superb. Naturally musically rich - Worrall is a brilliant producer, but has always been a very talented musician, too - the set sees him lay down ten tracks that gleefully join the dots between slick jazz-funk instrumentation, sensual and soulful vocals, brilliantly played solos and grooves that put the dancefloor first and foremost. While there are a few downtempo explorations dotted throughout (the dreamy synth chords and meandering synth-sax of "Midnight In Sector Six" standing out), it's naturally the quality and quantity of his U.S garage, soulful house and deep house cuts that impresses most.
Story has it that Chicago disco legend Sadar Bahar discovered Ben (aka Cosmic Force of Clone/Creme Organization fame) Spaander's Utrecht based studio, and it's said to be housing around 60 synths. Electro fiend Spaander 'was charmed by the electronic elements in Sadar's funk and Sadar loved Ben's ideas.' They claim that nothing was sampled on these two tracks. There's undoubtedly an old school flavour to "We Are Righteous People" with its funky bass, sleazy guitar licks and bongo drums galore over spacy synths. Next up "Bouncing Atoms" gets the party started in fine form with dusty/live sounding drums, more frenetic guitar work and the mandatory cowbells going off all over the place!
Birdee: aka the Los Angeles dwelling Italian Marcello De Angelis is back, with some killer boogie-house disco flavours on a new ISM Records EP. "Meant To Be" is a funky and feel good deep disco joint, featuring vocal dynamite Alena Herel. Then there is Yam Who? dropping the remix business and in the process inject the track with some added dancefloor dynamics: for later in the night when any serious DJ needs to turn the heat up a notch or two.
Federic Lange's AOW just keeps on bringing the heat. Their eighty EP is no exception. Sometimes the heat is blazing with vibrant synth flames (Hoffstadt's "Heavenly Dancing"), sometimes it's smouldering MAW-style (Jesse Bru's "Tonite"), sometimes it's smoking, jazzy and moderately jacked (Jad & The's "Gospel Five") and sometimes it's plain scorching (Turenne's "Triplett"). In summary: hot.
Storied producer Nicholas, whose bulging discography boasts both slo-mo disco-house chuggers and Nu Groove inspired treats, seems like a neat fit for the hyped Church label. Interestingly, the six tracks on offer are closer to the usual Church sound - think dusty, hazy, sample-heavy deep house with clear jazz influences - tha the producer's previous work. They're all rather good, though, with the bustling and bluesy "The Answer" and jaunty, bongo-laden dancefloor warmth of "Dahlia" immediately catching the ear. Killer keys-man Paul Cut provides headline-grabbing solos on two of the EP's best moments ("Black Juniper" and the jazz-house opus "Resolution"), while "Lonnie's Reprise" is similar in tone and vibe to fellow Church contributors FYI Chris and Chaos in the CBD.
Renowned for sample based/disco driven anthems, Voodoo Chilli (aka Herve) returned earlier in 2017 with "My Heart" which featured vocals from the talented 19 year old Londoner Rhia. This emotive and soulful anthem now gets treated to a bunch of seriously awesome remixes by some top guns of the scene at present. Birmingham's Marc Spence (Simma Black) presents a bumpin' and grinding electro house version, London's Ryuken deliver a deep, down and dirty speed garage rendition which'll take you all the way back to '97. Finally, things stay convincingly and respectfully retro on Nixon's early '90s rave rendition, complete with breakbeats and euphoric elements.
Virginia-based Greg Stewart once again dons the now familiar DJ Aakmael guise for a first outing on Monologues. Predictably, the sometime Church, Dimensions Recordings and Freerange contributor is at the top of his game throughout, delivering a pair of highly playable original tracks. First up is "Dahlin", a wonderfully melodious and floor-friendly affair in which Stewart demonstrates his ability to create drama out of a handful of killer loops (think strings, harps, and so on). He flips the script a little on "Organik", wrapping positive synthesizer chords and meandering Hammond organ solos around no-nonsense drums and a killer analogue bassline. Both tracks are given the remix treatment, too, with Ben Gomori's sleazier, early morning tech-house tweak of "Organik" standing out.

Like many producers these days, Riccio's discography includes a blend of rock solid re-edits and high quality original productions for the likes of Bosconi Extra Virgin and People Must Jam. This 12" marks his first appearance on the consistently impressive Hell Yeah! imprint. There's plenty to set the pulse racing throughout, from the pleasingly loose and groovy, Afrobeat-goes-house goodness of "Afro Chemy", to the fiendishly fuzzy, Daniele Baldelli style Afro-cosmic funk of "Funky Cave". Arguably best of all, though, is epic flipside "Heather", a near 10-minute fusion of dreamy chords, slow-burning Kalimba melodies, gentle electronics and languid, mid-tempo beats. In case you were wondering, it's definitely Balearic.
After a successful run of vinyl editions, the Grammy award nominated XXVIII digital release series is taking it to another level with The Unreleased & Lost Mixes. One half of the legendary Masters At Work, Lil Louie Vega has stated that when making albums, there are more songs created than allocated for a project. In this case, there were said to be over 50 tracks created for this particular project. He selected 22 unreleased and lost tracks from the recordings and remixes, along with DJ friendly versions by close associates. The legendary and unmistakeable voice of Kenny Bobien is joined by the deep and soulful tones of Cindy Mizelle on "Together We Can" (Louie Vega dub), the lush and evocative Latin vibes that Vega is such as expert at are on display with Louie Vega starring Luis Salinas' "Es Vedra" (Louie Vega & Salinas Guitar dub) and for some simply straight up house magic by one of the dons of the scene: you really can't go wrong with "Gimme Some Love" (Sean Pad Main mix) featuring the wonderful Vikter Duplaix.
Luv Shack Records' newest EP marks the 26th release on the label and it's a classic split affair by stalwart artists Space Echo and Jakobin & Domino. Space Echo's "My Heart My Soul" is feelgood, uplifting disco looped to perfection if we do say so ourselves. His next joint "Party Together" is more on the lo-slung and definitely slo-mo tip: to get groovy earlier on or later in the evening. It is then over to Jakobin & Domino with "You Want My Love" which features a familiar loop and it's so funky, soulful and irresistible. Finally "Filter Queen" is another earworm and you just know you've heard that loop somewhere before, right? Ah, it makes you love it.. what more can we say!
Those Maltese bad boys Owen Jay and Melchior Sultana are back on their trusty Batti Batti steed with another sublime drift through velvety-smooth deep house cuts for discerning heads. "August" lays the pads on thick, making the groove all that sharper when they drop out, but it's not long before that filter opens back up to let the blissful tones back into the mix. As the name suggests "Acid Carpaccio" is a rougher concern, but it's still finished off with a classy finish and one eye on the deep end of the dance. "Smoked" notches up the swing and aims skywards with an uplifting, contemplative jam like this formidable duo have forged their name on.
Hard-working house DJ Sam Supplier has pulled out all the stops for this debut single, which appears on legendary dance label Champion. A cheery radio edit - think cheery, piano-heavy house fun with added vocal hooks, MK organ lines and booming bass - is accompanied by two club-ready versions for DJ play. The "Extended Mix" follows a similar pattern to the edit, extending the bouncy, late '80s house pianos and string-laden breakdown while emphasizing the Robin S style riff that wraps itself around the chopped-up vocals. The "Club Mix" is more radically different, with Supplier layering up additional percussion hits, opting for a heavier bassline and waiting patiently to maximize the impact of his razor-sharp disco strings.
Congratulations to long serving house duo Milk & Sugar, who this month celebrate the passing of two decades since the release of their debut single, "Get Down To The Fever". Naturally, to mark the anniversary they've decided to put out a suitably celebratory compilation, which mixes versions of some of their most famous tracks - the disco and soul-influenced thrills of "My Lovin", "Needin' U", "Bass (How Low Can You Go)", the 2017 remake of "Let The Sun Shine" and 2013 smash "Canton Del Pilon" are all included - with lesser-known gems and recent singles. Straddling the summery, sun-kissed line between deep house, tech-house, soulful house and disco-house, it's a fine collection that does a great job in showcasing the German pair's immaculate production skills.
BEN & SADAR'S - We Are Righteous People (Rush Hour Holland)
LOUIE VEGA - Louie Vega Starring...XXVIII Unreleased & Lost Mixes (Vega)
MILK & SUGAR - 20 Years Of Milk & Sugar (Milk & Sugar Germany)
SOULFURIC/VARIOUS - 4 To The Floor Presents Soulfuric (4 To The Floor)
KIDEKO/TINIE TEMPAH/BECKY G - Dum Dum (Ministry Of Sound)
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