Review: Re-edit collections drawing on the work of a single artist seem to be something of a growing phenomenon lately, and here it's funk legend Rick James that gets the treatment. It's not a job that necessarily needed doing, admittedly - it's hard to imagine there are many DJs out there who play funk but can't satisfactorily programme a Rick James record! But as a tribute and a labour of love this 15-track set can certainly hold its own, and those who've rinsed the originals may well appreciate their getting a refresh here while the EP will also, hopefully, help introduce the work of the troubled proto-Prince to a new generation.
Review: We can think of few DJs more suited to compile a retrospective of killer 1990s house and garage than Z Records boss Joey Negro and Fanatix member Neil Pierce. It's perhaps unsurprising then that this follow-up to Negro's admired 2015 compilation is packed to the rafters with must-have treats. There are naturally some suitably big cuts present - see Kerri Chandler's fine mix of N-Joi's "Anthem" and Todd Terry's rub of Martha Walsh's "Runaround" - but for the most part the selections will be new to all but a small collection of veteran US garage enthusiasts. Our highlights include the riff-powered goodness of Slam Mode's "100% Power", Marshall Jefferson's deep dub of Screamin' Rachael's "Rock Me" and the soulful rush of Donald O's "Everything's Gonna Be Alright".
Review: Denver-based Funk Hunk has never been the most prolific of re-editors, though his sporadic releases tend to be decent. There's plenty to set the pulse racing on "Hunk's Got The Answer", his first outing for Danny Worrall's Masterworks Music label. Check first the gnarled disco-rock camp of "Get Up", before admiring the elastic slap-bass motifs at the heart of loopy disco-house workout "Gotcha". "Hunk's Got The Answer" is a languid, tastefully tweaked rearrangement of an obscure, jazz guitar-laden deep disco treat, while "Take A Little More" is a cut-up, house style edit of a bona fide disco anthem. As if that lot wasn't enough to get your pulse racing, "Wot" sees our hunky hero successfully rework a Tom Tom Club style slice of low-slung NYC headiness.
Review: Glasgow Underground's contribution to the 2020 Miami sampler mountain may well induce feelings of deja vu: not only does it include multiple tracks from label boss Kevin McKay recent much-vaunted 'No Samples...' covers album, but much of the rest is in a similar vein, with McKay and a selection of musical buddies reworking a load more house classics to bring them in line with 21st Century production values. To our ears, though, it's the fresh cuts here that are the more interesting, and happily there are plenty of those on offer, too, coming from the likes of Vanilla Ace, Mirko & Maex, Reblok, Adapter, Sam Dexter and Elliot Fitch.
KS FRENCH - "HaPpiness Your Love" - (4:44) 120 BPM
KS FRENCH - "Glad Bae" - (5:30) 117 BPM
KNG EDITS - "Roma My Way" - (6:24) 100 BPM
KNG EDITS - "God Soul" - (6:50) 118 BPM
KNG EDITS - "Damn Girl" - (4:58) 114 BPM
BELABOUCHE - "A Party" - (6:38) 120 BPM
MR Given Raw - "Boogie Magic" - (4:56) 114 BPM
KS FRENCH - "Love Vibration" - (6:35) 114 BPM
KNG EDITS - "Give Me What You Got" - (6:36) 116 BPM
KS FRENCH - "FunkyMama" - (5:15) 118 BPM
Review: The 'French Touch' sound was a short-lived phenomenon in the late 90s/early 00s - or so musical history would have you believe. Mais si le French Touch est mort, vive le French Touch! For seven years now, French label FKR Maison Du Groove have been proving that you can't keep a good sub-genre down, and here the best of their output over that time is collected together in one place for your listening and dancing pleasure. So: if you dig deep, dusty, looping disco grooves you'll love this album, whereas if you're not a fan of same, then you definitely won't. Not much more to say, really.
Review: Over the course of his 18-year career, Partyfine founder Yuksek has been moving steadily towards a musically rich, mature and detailed sound that draws much from his vintage influences (think disco, boogie, jazz-funk and so on). "Nosso Ritmo", his new album, is arguably the logical conclusion of his journey so far. Rich in warm live instrumentation (bass, keys, synths etc), crunchy disco/electrofunk beats and a wealth of stylish lead vocals (provided by a string of guest singers), the set sees the French producer deliver an attractive, ear-pleasing collection of cuts that strike a near perfect balance between radio-friendly disco-pop hooks, peak-time dancefloor weight and celebratory afternoon cheeriness. The result is a hugely impressive album that could well propel Yuksek to genuine crossover success.
Review: By now, we should all know what to expect from each new album in Joey Negro's "Remixed With Love" series, namely fantastic new revisions of classic disco, boogie, soul, electro and jazz-funk classics created using the original multi-track tapes. This third volume naturally contains a few inspired revisions of well-known cuts - a riotous take on The Fatback Band's "Do The Bus Stop", an astonishing, dubbed-out version of the Temptations' "Law of the Land" and a soaring, life-affirming rearrangement of Patrice Rushen's "Never Give You Up" included - but also some suitably smart tweaks of lesser-known gems. These include a sublime revision of the APX's '80s gem "Loose Yourself To The Groove" and an insatiable take on Mass Production's "Shante" full of jammed-out electric piano solos and rubbery electric bass.
Review: When rocking the V's Edits guise, Valique has a bit of a soft spot for spoonerisms and chuckle-some tweaks of artist names and track titles. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out the identity of the vintage rockers whose tracks have been given the touch-up treatment on "Rock We Dance - The Brits". Billy Idol classic "White Wedding" is the first to get a good going over, with Valique turning it into a confirmed indie-dance smasher thanks to some beefy new beats, weightier bass and wiggly, TB-303 style acid lines. Deep Purple's "Hush" is then turned into a psychedelic disco-rock bumper, before the veteran DJ/producer offers up "Starlit" by "Fuse" - a deeper fusion of moonlit psychedelia, nu-disco colour and club-focused grooves.
Review: Thanks to the rapid spread of COVID-19, the festival season has been unofficially cancelled. Situation think we should still all party - alone, of course - while in isolation so have served up 'The Festival EP' - a suitably good-time collection of cuts that should inspire you to dance around the living room. The set the tone with the jazz-funk-meets-deep house brilliance of "Soulstice" - check the lazy guitar solos, Rhodes chords and bubbly bass guitar - before doffing a cap to one of Glastonbury's most celebrated behind-the-scenes spots on the similarly languid, live-sounding "Maceos". "Stardust" is a rich, wah-wah-guitar flecked shuffle through deep disco pastures, while "Let's Dance" is an energetic slab of Prince style purple funk complete with fizzing slap bass and wavy, eyes-closed guitar solos.
Review: Put up the bunting: Jimpster's back! The Freerange Records co-founder has been rather quiet of late, with the "One EP" delivering his first new material for nearly two years. Predictably he's in fine form from the off, successfully joining forces with Osunlade collaborator Casamena on brilliant opener "One" - a jaunty, loose-limbed fusion of jumpy broken house beats, huggable chords, sweaty percussion fills and a post hip-house spoken word vocal from the track's guest star. Detroiter Waajeed re-frames it as a bass-heavy chunk of starry deep house positivity before Jimspter offers up bonus cut "The Way It Is", a slightly more rubbery jog through ear catching deep house positivity rich in jazzy piano solos and squeezable synth bass.
Review: Fatboy and Eats joining forces - and on Southern Fried to boot - is surely a prime example of "nominative determinism" in action. But it makes sense, too, because both the Brighton veteran and the Bristol not-so-veteran are known for a knack with a crowdpleasing tune, so to misquote 'Hart To Hart': when they came together, it was always gonna be moidah! We'll all probably be sick of it by August, but only because 'All The Ladies' - with its filtered, rolling drums, looped-up hip-house vocal, cheeky jazz brass and Pavlovian snare rolls - has Feelgood Hit Of The Summer written all over it.
Review: We're used to Al Kent offering up epic, ten-minute plus re-edits of obscure, barely-known disco gems. Even so, his latest two-track scalpel missive is particularly sizeable, featuring as it does two near 12-minute excursions capable of creating pandemonium anywhere they're played. Virtual A-side "Fist of Fury" is particularly potent. We're not sure of the origin of the original, buts its mazy Moog solos, jaunty bassline, jammed-out electric piano lines and string-laden orchestration is heady, intoxicating and surprisingly spacey. In contrast, "Erotic Queen" is a low-down disco-funk grunter in which razor-sharp disco strings largely play second fiddle to dense drums, funky Clavinet lines and aggressive funk guitars. It switches focus several times and includes a few extended drum sections that really raise the temperature. In other words, it's a masterful edit.
Review: 'Alone' Part 1, released just a month ago, centred around the Hall Mix, which lifted the bassline from Hall & Oates classic 'I Can't Go For That'. So we won't insult your intelligence by explaining which 80s pop survivors Part 2's Pet Shop Mix pays tribute to in similar fashion! What we will tell you is that, as per Part 1, there's an accompanying vocal-free pass for the more underground floors, while bonus cut 'Midnight Cocktail also returns, here remixed by Limpodisco in a wonkier nu-disco style compared to the boogie nouveau vibes of Part 1's original mix.
Review: You're only five years old once, so why not celebrate in style? And here Warrington lad Danny Worrall's disco and re-edits label Masterworks Music do just that, with an anniversary collection packing a whopping 50 back catalogue nuggets. You'll excuse us the full track-by-track, then, but suffice to say that this is the label that helped launch the careers of Dr Packer and Natasha Kitty Katt, both of whom feature here, and with names like Ziggy Phunk, Rayko, Alkalino, Chuggin' Edits and Fabiolous Barker also on bill, you should already have a pretty good idea what to expect. Classy stuff all round, and a great VFM package - here's to five more years!
Review: With Ibiza's extended summer season almost upon us, Toolroom has served up a suitably epic collection of cuts that it expects to be big on the White Isle this summer. Label boss Mark Knight has provided a trio of DJ mixes ("Poolside", "Club" and "Afterclub") and the unmixed tracks included all fit into these loose categories. There's not enough room to list all of the highlights, but we've been enjoying the funk-fuelled disco-house rush of Illyus and Barrientos' "The One", the sleazy, bass-heavy bounce of Max Chapman's "Steppa", the acid-powered tech-house-jack of Del-30's "Gravity" and the weighty, mind-altering thump of "Low End Theory" by Eli Brown.
Review: While his chosen moniker may be mildly amusing, there's nothing silly, cheeky or throwaway about the music of Sydney-based Londoner Norm De Plume. "Squarker", his first EP of any sort for nigh on two years, is full of detailed, mood-enhancing, musically rich deep house treats. Check first deliciously glassy-eyed opener "Squarker", where rising synthesizer lead lines, swirling chords and funk-fuelled synth flourishes rise above a sturdy bed of disco-house beats and rubbery jazz-funk bass, before admiring the bustling beats, sustained chords and breathless hustle of "Love Me So". If that lot's not enough to set your pulse racing, "A Stone Thing" should impress with its crunchy drums and classic deep house warmth.