Review: Since launching on vinyl in 2019, the Ron's Reworks series from Crazy P co-founder Jim Baron AKA Ron Basejam has consistently delivered high-quality reworks that tend to shy away from the obvious and over-played. The standout on the series' fourth missive is undoubtedly 'They Speak Colour', a loopy, soft-focus disco-house jam whose relentless grooves, synthesizer splashes and simmering orchestration make it sound like Soundstream after a bong full of Marijuana smoke and several disco biscuits. Elsewhere, 'The City' is a canny revision of an unusual disco-boogie number that builds through sections of drums and cut-up, scat style vocals before finally flourishing late on, while 'The Cull' is a deep and meandering head-nodder tailor-made for warm-up sets and sit-down bar gigs.
Instant Funk - "I Got My Mind Made Up" (Alan Dixon remix) - (8:42) 115 BPM
First Choice - "Let No Man Put Asunder" (Alan Dixon DJ Tool) - (5:16) 122 BPM
Review: Glitterbox regular Alan Dixon brings us his take on five Salsoul classics, but rest assured these are no shoddy "whack a 4/4 kick under it" bootlegs - Dixon was given full access to the original multi-tracks for this project. Even so, it's a brave man or woman indeed who looks at the Salsoul catalogue and thinks "I could improve on that," so he's wisely avoided doing anything too radical or adding any extraneous elements of his own, instead simply teasing out the tracks' most familiar hooks and giving them a structural make-over, rendering them easier to programme in contemporary house and disco sets. Classy stuff.
Review: Alongside the likes of yourself, you can bet that Mark Knight & Co. will be also be a known presence at Amsterdam Dance Event in 2018 and indeed they'll be well prepared with the appropriate tools - as this killer compilation proves. Highlights on this annual edition come from Maceo Plex - whose remix of "Nervous Tics" (feat Holly Walker) by hot British duo Maribou State takes you to the dark side, label chief Knight's massive rework of Sterling Void's eternal anthem "It's Alright" (feat Paris Brightledge) will surely get the hands in the air, as will Adesse Versions' edit of legend Kerri Chandler's "The Boom Can" and many others over the collection's five dozen tracks. To take you through every part of your trip, the album comes complete with three perfectly crafted and perfectly primed mixes.
Review: Almost 12 months after the vinyl version hit stores, the second volume in Jim Baron AKA Ron Basejam's Ron's Reworks series finally lands on digital download. The real killer here is 'Your Brain On Music', a slightly beefed-up and tooled up version of an Italo-disco-era chugger rich in driving bass, spacey synthesizer lines, proto-acid sounds and almost symphonic electronic chords. Elsewhere, 'Be Bizarre' is a tight, mostly instrumental revision of an electrofunk era big studio rock number - all squelchy synth bass, glistening guitar riffs and heavily edited, effects-laden drum machine beats - while 'Call Me' is a fine scalpel edit of a sparkling boogie jam. If high-grade, club-ready re-edits are your thing, you need this EP in your life.
Review: Michael The Lion and Amy Douglas' self-titled EP on Soul Clap was arguably one of the best disco-focused releases of 2020, so hopes are naturally high for this remixed version. To kick things off, Jamie 3:26 and Danou P get to work on 'James is the Message', combining sturdy but loose drum machine beats with glorious disco instrumentation and a killer bassline, before Crazy P's Jim Baron dons his Ron Basejam guise to turn 'Willing' into a mid-tempo, jazz-funk influenced disco shuffler. Best of all though are the Patchouli Brothers reworks of 'Find a Way', where Steven Klavier joins Douglas on vocals. The Canadian duo re-imagine the cut as a synth-heavy fusion of nu-disco, proto-house and gospel, in the process delivering a sure-fire dancefloor anthem for summer 2021.
Review: Otherwise known as "F*ck Resident Advisor", Alex "Omar" Smith's latest album includes some of his most potent, colourful and musically inventive material of recent years. This five-track EP, which includes (uncredited) contributions from a number of fellow Detroit artists, gathers together some of the many undoubted highlights. The FXHE founder begins with the sleazy, bassline-driven peak-time deep house thrust of "Simply", before celebrating the unbridled joy of old school piano house (and disco guitar samples) on the arguably even better "Gonna Luv You". Spacey synths and lo-fi late-night house grooves are provided via "Bread Over Red", while "Mell'ike Bom Bom In'dair" sits somewhere between electro, early Inner City and mutant dancehall. There's a triumphant conclusion, too: the sparkling vocal deep house positivity of John FM hook-up "In My City".
Review: The fact that the previously vinyl-only Ron's Reworks edit series has finally landed on digital download is a very good thing indeed, especially since the man behind the project - nu-disco don Ron Basejam AKA Jim Baron of Crazy P - has been responsible for some fine re-edits over the years. There's plenty to get the blood pumping on this third instalment, starting with 'Revelation' - a sparkling rearrangement of a life-affirming, piano-laden number that sits somewhere between jazz-funk, Latin jazz, spiritual jazz and disco. 'Games You Playing' [sic] is a synth-sporting slab of disco-funk heaviness rich in punchy horns, mazy sax solos and thickset grooves, while 'Bada Bongo' is a percussive, break-driven, drum-heavu workout guaranteed to get limbs moving on the dancefloor.
Review: Fittingly, the first musical missive of 2021 from the In Dust We Trust label showcases the album's co-founders, Chaos in the CBD (New Zealand-born brothers Ben and Louis Helliker-Hales) and Jon Sable. The trio offer up two collaborative cuts, both of which give different spins on the fusion of dub techno and hypnotic deep house. There's opener 'Mahia Madness', a thickset, late-night number that's as dubby and hazy as any Deepchord record, and the gently picturesque, Sprinkles-esque 'To Puke Thunder'. The EP also boasts a solo track apiece, with Chaos in the CBD opting for non-stop, energy-packed deep techno hypnotism ('Coral Castle'), and Sable reaching for dreamy deep house chords and rubbery broken beats ('Ascension Island').
Review: Lately Leeds' Deelicious has seen his loose and groovy tunes grace the likes of Sound Exhibitions and Disco Fruit. Here he rolls out five sizzling new bangers. The urgent slice of socially conscious funk, "Lonely Town Lonely Street", kicks things off, "Trust Me" incorporates housier filtered loops into the mix and the title track is celebratory slice of disco-pop with some ace bloc-rocking breaks and punk-funk bass work. Elsewhere we enter orbit with the melodramatic sci-fi boogie of "Mechanical Body" and "Change Your Mind" is an amazing example of early underground dance music reconfigured by a 21st century perspective.
Review: For his latest trick, spoonerism-loving rework maestro V (AKA sometime funk-breaks producer Valique) has decided to offer up a second selection of "Neo Blues" scalpel works. He begins by delivering a chunky, rolling revision of Ann Feebles' rock-tinged gospel-funk classic "Beware", before chugging his way through a pitched-down revision of a weighty T-Rex glam-rock classic ("Jewelry"). This is followed by EP highlight "Holis", an inspired - and suitably epic - "Afro-blues" revision of one of Nina Simone's greatest moments, and the low-slung voodoo-house hypnotism of "Mississippi Lullalby (V's Rendition)". To finish with a. flourish, the Vehicle main man then adds some elastic new drums to Otis Redding's version of "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay".
Review: Neo Blues 3 announces its arrival via our most trusted Vehicle label that's been a port of call for disco edits for the world over. Turning in another four-tracks here it's spearheaded by the uber-warm kick, woofing bass and melodic percussion sequences of "Sea-Line". Harking back to the days when artists like Eddie C and Tornado Wallace were dominating the slo-mo, chugging disco sound, "Condition" adds yet another beefy boost to a Ken Roger's classic, while funkier soul and blues jams from Kings of Survival make the cut alongside that all time cinematic classic by Rodriguez's ("Sugarman").
Review: As the title suggests, this wonderful EP from COEO pays tribute to the glory days of early '90s piano house. If you've been struggling through the current global pandemic, we guarantee that all four tracks will put a smile on your face and a spring in your step. Our pick of a very strong bunch is 'Hyperactive', where bold piano stabs, style synth-sax motifs, New Jersey garage style organ chords and a rubbery, all-action bassline ride a sweaty and chunky, hip-house style rhythm. There is of course much to set the pulse racing elsewhere across the EP, from the deliciously deep, loved-up and glassy-eyed wonder that is 'I Can Never Be Yours', to the acid-fired bustle of breakbeat-driven closing cut 'Bliss'.
Review: Summer's here and Permanent Vacation is in the mood for some sun-kissed, positive-sounding club cuts. The Magic Gardens EP certainly ticks that box, with confirmed label-hopper Alex Burkat (100% Silk, Third Ear Recordings, The Night Owl Diner) successfully joining forces with Los Angeles duo Wild & Free on the excellent title track - a drowsy chunk of warming, loved-up loop house that gets progressively more acidic and intense as it progresses. Wild & Free strike out on their own on 'New Direction', a sparkling slab of dreamy nu-disco/synth-pop fusion that's as bright and breezy as a mountainside dawn on a hot summer's day.
Review: Junior Sanchez may not enjoy quite as high a profile as he did back in the nineties and noughties, but he continues to deliver regular doses of tried-and-tested dancefloor gold. His latest EP - his first for Crosstown Rebels - ticks a lot of boxes, delivering a quartet of cuts tailor-made for big rooms and dark basements. He first joins forces with fellow scene stalwart Todd Terry on 'Live Forever', a slowly building, tactile chunk of celebratory house retro-futurism that's as spine-tingling and rushing as they come, before opting for heavier bass on disco-tinged number 'After Love'. 'My Mind Goes' is an even heavier and more psychedelic late-night bumper, while 'Body Heat' is a wonky techno number full of mind-mangling riffs, warped bass and Switch style beats.
Review: "A blend of Latin roots and Afro-funk with house music" is how Mexican producer Superflat describes this EP, and who am I to argue? There's certainly a very Cuban kinda vibe to 'Caribbean Booyah', while Superflat looks closer to home for inspiration on the lounge-y, mariachi-infused 'Chula Vista'. But he's chosen his lead track well because while both are very playable it's 'Madagasikara' itself that's the must-have, dragging 'em onto the floor with its crisp beats, surging bassline and chopped n' looped vocal snips before the trumpets and sax arrive to push 'em over the edge. File under 'energy booster'.
Review: Body N Deep's first BND Project mini-compilation was one of our favourite EPs of 2019 - a 27-minute journey into deep, soulful house packed with high-quality tracks. This belated sequel is every bit as alluring as its predecessor, with label chief Jovonn selecting another four treats for the ears. Atlanta's Kai Alce kicks things off with a sublime slab of percussive and sweaty late-night deep house ('Dreamin'), before Alex Arnout adds sci-fi synth lines, sustained chords and bubbly electronics to a rock-solid beat on 'Flashback'. Those seeking sun-drenched positivity should check out Alfozo Bottone's sparkling 'Mindfully', while Javontte's 'Too High' offers a near-perfect blend of chunky, off-kilter grooves, jazzy keys, filter effects and massively manipulated Stevie Wonder vocal samples.
Review: Given that John Devecchis AKA The Owl decided to call his long-promised debut album Concrete Funk, you'd probably expect something heavy, grey and angular. Yet the music contained within - a mixture of loopy, gently beefed-up revisions and straight re-edits of killer funk, soul, disco and boogie jams - is anything but grey and dull. It's every bit as colourful as his previous EPs, with the many highlights including the bumpin' 'Solar Funk', the squelchy brilliance of Steve Monite re-rub 'Only You Baby', the synth-heavy, Italo-style throb-job 'The Truth', and the soaring, string-drenched disco release of 'Knuckles'. With 12 killer cuts, it's a value-for-money collection that contains more high-grade edits than you can shake a proverbial stick at.
Review: After releases on Phonica and Freerange, Chilean producer Massiande puts another uber-hip label notch on his production bedpost with a three-track, four-mix EP for Midnight Riot. The title track so convincingly works late 70s/early 80s tropes that only a distinctly 21st Century heft to the bottom end gives away its much more recent origins, while Moodena supplies a housier remix that tuffens up the beats while bringing the guitar to the fore. Elsewhere, 'The City' is all jazz piano licks and 3am deep house beats, while 'United We Funk' operates in more straight-up disco-house territory.
Review: By his usually prolific standards, Ben Worrall AKA Crackazat has been rather quiet of late, with 2020 producing just one release of note - a rather good EP on Freerange. Here he strides into 2021 with another label debut, this time for Detroit Swindle's Heist Recordings. The headline attraction is undoubtedly 'Alfa', a chunky-but-breezy slab of jazzy piano house perfection that's later given a more classic-sounding deep house tweak from Detroit scene stalwart Rick Wade. Elsewhere, 'Class One' is a rushing, life-affirming dancefloor treat tailor-made for sun-soaked outdoor dancing, and 'Tiger's Eyes' sees Worrall add mind-altering TB-303 motifs, sustained organ chords, swirling synth-strings and rushing riffs to another energetic, peak-time ready house beat.
Review: Alexander Lay-Far is undoubtedly one of the most talented house producers of his generation: an artist whose love of expansive instrumentation is matched by a keen sense of what works on the dancefloor. His first outing on Marcel Vogel's Lumberjacks in Hell imprint is typically impressive, though the artist's liberal use of hip-house style breakbeats is a surprise. This being Lay-Far, they come laden with intricate musical details on both 'Good Thing' (think saucer-eyed female vocal snippets, deep sub-bass and poignant piano motifs) and 'Up We Go' (dusty jazz piano, funky jazz-funk bass and colourful chords). Elsewhere, 'Heavy' is a rave-ready fusion of broken beat and breaks rich in old school stabs, while closing cut 'My Reflection' adds US garage swing and UKG bass to jaunty jazz-house musicality.
Review: Stuck at home with nothing to do for days, starved of culture and community? Now you know how Bjorn Torske felt in the Tromso of the late 80s, writes Hell Yeah. Bjorn Torske, a legend to come out of the enigmatic Norwegian disco scene, and now Hell Yeah Recordings main selector, has been called upon to captain a flight through Hell Yeah Recordings impressive discography. With cassettes of the mixtape already sold out, this digital version - with stand alone tracks - brings together sounds of label mates like Alexander Robotnic, Max Essa, Luminodisco and the much loved Gigi Masin & Templehof collaboration. Gliding from Calm's celestial "Space Is My Place" to Crimea X's piano-driven "10PM", housier Lauer remixes or Prins Thomas Diskomiks, Torske makes himself known by threading some his own own edits (and kleggsommer dubs) to complete a fantastic voyage through the Italian label. Hell Yeah!
Review: Under the now familiar Whitesquare alias, Maurice Uzzan has spent the last seven years bouncing between high profile and well-regarded labels such as Toy Tonics, Culprit, Freerange Records, DFTD and Life & Death. Here he returns to the latter label for the first time since 2019, delivering the first helping of a two-part release that tends towards the summery and celebratory. Opener 'Carte Blanche' is a driving, throbbing treat, with the Rome-based producer adding crunchy cowbells, spinetingling synth-pop chords, breakbeat bursts and mutilated male vocal samples to a druggy, intergalactic groove that reminded us of the most inspired 'space disco' moments of Hans-Peter Lindstron and Todd Terje. 'Lux Interior' meanwhile joins the dots between piano-laden Italian house, sweaty Italian house and glassy-eyed nu-disco.
Review: To celebrate notching up ten years in the game, London blog and party-turned-record label SlothBoogie has decided to offer-up their most ambitious release to date: an epic collection of previously unheard cuts from a mixture of imprint regulars and like-minded friends. There's naturally plenty to set the pulse racing throughout, with highlights including the sparkling jazz-funk-meets-deep house sunshine of Levan's "U R Beautiful In The Face", the deep, breakbeat-driven dreaminess of Philippa's "That's What I Mean By Free", the piano solo-heavy disco-house bump of Leatherette's "Your Love", and the dub disco-meets-acid house heaviness of "Rewind Run" by Pablot. Throw in similarly impressive contributions from Kassian, Luvless, Casino Times and Soul Wun (the classic jazz-house of "Thank You, St Germain") and you have a must-have collection.
Review: Remarkably, three decades have now passed since Dave Lee AKA Joey Nergo inaugurated his label, Z Records. To mark the occasion, Lee has compiled this suitably epic, 44-track retrospective. There are plenty of big tunes and underground anthems present- see Jakatta's "American Dream", Raven Maize's "The Real Life", The Sunburst Band's "Everyday" and Doug Willis's "Spread Love" - as well as some of the veteran DJ/producer's favourite catalogue cuts and some slept-on gems. Throw in a string of memorable remixes - think Ame's remix of Akabu's "Phuture Bound", Grant Nelson's vintage rub of Z Factor's "Gotta Keep Pushin" and Joey Negro's revision of Patrice Rushen disco classic "Haven't You Heard" - and you've got a brilliant retrospective of one of house and disco's most consistent labels. Don't sleep!
Review: As the title suggests, this dazzling EP is a trans-Atlantic collaboration between two genuine rising stars of house music: Colombian Felipe Gordon, and London's Cody Currie. Musically, the overriding theme of the EP is loose-limbed jazziness and the warming colour of jazz-funk, with the pair setting the tone via the ultra-deep broken beat vibes of 'Better Days' and the sparkling deep house/jazz-funk fusion of Ally McMahon hook-up 'Cold Nights'. 'Late Nights' is a cheery piano-house number laden with spacey synthesizer flourishes, while 'Our Love' is smooth and soulful deep house at its very best. The EP also includes a solo track from each, with Gordon's languid vocal deep house number 'I'm On Fire' being followed by Currie's bumpin' and bass-heavy 'No Future'. In a word: essential.
Review: Windy City legend Carlos Sosa originally released Sneak Essentials Volume 2 back in 1995. Like all the early DJ Sneak material this was absolutely seminal, which alongside and like second wave contemporaries like Gemini and Green Velvet represented a change in the Chicago house style at the time. Typically loopy, minimal and percussive DJ tools can be heard here, such as on 'What Am I" with its disco vocal samples, while the following dub version is even wackier with its unrestrained mash-up of samples leading up to a euphoric crescendo. On "Manos Que Tocan", Sneak provides a serving of deep and sensual mood music for the late night, done right by a proper pioneer of the sound.