Reviewed this week
If you dig Masterworks Music's celebratory, feel-good approach to disco re-edits and reworks, we'd advise picking up this bulging, 26-track collection of killer cuts from the label's recent past. It begins with a superb disco-funk cut-up by The Funk District and ends with a smooth, rolling and glassy eyed boogie-era disco revision by Saskin S that's almost worth the admission price on its own. In between, you'll find a swathe of superb revisions from some of the edit scene's finest - South Beach Recycling, Hotmood, Chewy Edits and Dr Packer included - with the selected tracks variously touching on electrofunk, boogie, P-funk, Latino disco and super-sweet '80s soul.
South Korean DJ and producer Peggy Gou is everywhere right now. What's more: she has faced down misogyny, won over her traditional family and become one of the best-loved stars in dance music. For someone who's only broken through over the last few years, she's a highly-regarded, fresher than fresh producer who's just dropped a stellar EP via Ninja Tune and on top labels like Rekids, Technicolour and Phonica. Anyone who's seen Gou in action knows that she's not a DJ who's bound by genre, style or tempo - and her mix for Mixmag is no different. From her own cuts such as the funky groove of "Shero" or the soulful broken beat of "Han Jan", lose yourself further in the acidified tunnel vision of Matrixxman's "Sexual Frustration", UK legend Aubrey's funky "Aqua Warrior" or legends of the new school from Italy Hiver - on the emotive electro bounce of "One More Snooze".
Toy Tonics boss man Kapote is in fine form on Yeah Pass It, the Berlin-based producer's first EP of 2018. There's much to admire from start to finish. He hits the ground running with the title track, a loose and ear-pleasing deep house roller full of jazzy keys, vintage analogue bass, snappy machine drums and jazz style freestyle vocals. The bluesy, low-slung hip-house shuffler "Want No More" follows, before Kapote gets busy with rubbery bass guitar, lolloping deep house drums and mazy jazz-funk synth solos on the warm and tasty "Steal The Fuzz". To complete a rather good passage, Mangabey serves up a fresh revision of "Yeah Pass It" that wraps new vibraphone and Latin style piano motifs around a bolder, busier rhythm track.
Berlin legend Dietrich Bergmann aka Terranova has sure found his comfort zone on the Kompakt imprint, where he's presented three albums and nearly a dozen EPs over the last several years. All of these tracks on the Singularity EP are inspired by a current fascination with artificial intelligence and robotic technology and features three collaborations as well as two originals. From the moody dancefloor drama of "Let It Fail", the beatless ambient adventure of "Powergrid" or the slinky and melodic tech house of "Escape Ism" that builds with tension and suspense - it's another brilliant release by the artist formerly known as Fetisch.
Fresh from reworking Remake's 1992 progressive house cover of Vangelis' "Blade Runner" theme, Maceo Plex returns to the Ellum Audio family he co-founded with Alta in 2011. This time round, he's got company, too, with veteran Texas outfit Paradigm Shift (whose "Requisition" was featured on Plex's recent Fabric mix CD) lending a hand on title track "Mutant Pulse". It's a typically atmospheric, peak-time-friendly affair, with trippy female spoken world vocals weaving in and out of an alien techno groove and spine-tingling pads reminiscent of the Moby classic "Go". "Mutant Radio" is an altogether darker and more hypnotic interpretation, with spaced-out stabs and ghostly chords accompanying Plex's fuzzy, on-point grooves.
Tel Aviv's Red Axes duo have been snapped up by !K7 Records, and this is no surprise to us given the quantity - and quality - of material that they have released to date...names like ESP Institute, Dark Entries and Permanent Vacation coming to mind. This new EP focusses on tribal aesthetics from the first moments, with "Abidjan" rolling out a gorgeous groove of poly-rhythms and tropical sounds, with "Addis" heading further East thanks to mystical flutes interlocked with locked percussion groove, and "Musica Electronique" getting down with a much grittier bass attitude. Some ethereal business, right here...
Once upon a time, Chris Robinson AKA Ruff Diamond was an in-demand remixer reworking hits from the likes of Estelle and Beyonce. He's now returned to his disco roots with the launch of a new label, SuperEarth. Naturally, he provides the debut release, asking us to hold on to our hats as he attempts to "Rock The Discotheque". Robinson provides Main Mix and Radio Edit variants that giddily fuse elements of nu-funk, electrofunk and chunky disco-house with arresting hip-hop vocal samples and a sweet, R&B style vocal. '80s Child heads up the remix package, serving up a bongo-laden electrofunk revision in keeping with his boogie-centric catalogue, while Lempo lays down a tooled-up version that adds sweet synthesizer sounds to a chunkier peak-time house groove with impressive results.
"Glamouflage", a heavily percussive, occasionally trippy tribal disco roller built around layered drums, psychedelic guitars and a rubbery bass guitar motif, is undoubtedly the most celebratory track on 2016's third We Are Opilec compilation. Here the track finally gets a deserved single release. The original version (included at the end of the EP) is first remade by I-Robots himself, whose "Take II" version is arguably even more percussive, stripped back and psychedelic. Our favourite remix comes from Kuniyuki Takayashi, who turns in a steamy dub disco interpretation smothered in mazy Moog solos and breathy chanted vocals, though the bouncy, Balearic-minded Afro-house revision by Djembe Monks is also a breezy, life-affirming delight. Props, too, to Schaltkreis Wasserman, who pas packed his percussive, synth-fuelled remix with oodles of mind-altering guitar solos.
Following well-supported singles on Simma Black, Madtech, DFTD and Toolroom, tech-house stalwart Made By Pete makes his bow on powder house megalith Crosstown Rebels. In its original form, "So Long" is something of a humid and intoxicating treat, with Jem Cooke's ethereal vocals seemingly drifting above a humid, feverish backing track rich in shuffling, tribal-influenced drums and a booming bassline reminiscent of Jaydee classic "Plastic Dreams". Solomun steps up to remix first, giving the track a more obviously electronic feel and intoxicating tech-house vibe, before Audiojack makes it bigger, bolder and brassier. Bonus cut "Modify Saturn", a deep Afro-tech cut blessed with dense percussion, nagging electronics and suitably stretched-out breakdowns, is also impressive.
Reptile Dysfunction boss Martin Doorly reckons that he has 'put his balls on the line' with this release - but we're pretty certain it will appease the label's most devoted fans and new ones alike. Teaming up with the mysterious Tan Dem on the Nismo's Groove EP for the lo-slung funk groove of "Mummas A Bean", he then goes solo for the remainder - where he serves up the neon-lit Italo influenced anthems 'Drop The Needle" and the electrifying "On The Upside. The sun kissed boogie-down jam "Cafe Mambo Disco Pumper" was on-point also. The now Los Angeles based Doorly has recently made the move back to Europe, where he nailed these killer grooves in his brand new studio in Ibiza.
As per usual, the UK's Toolroom imprint has put together the definitive summer collection when it comes to tech-house and anything minimal. As you can see - and hear - there are 67 tracks on here, all from the very best and most coveted talent in the scene; Mark Knight features prominently, of course, alongside established house entities like Erick Morillo, Format: B, Sascha Funke, Nic Fanciulli, and many others. But, don't stop there, as there is plenty of new talent to discover in artists like SecondCity, GotSome, Marcellus Wallace, ANOTR, and many more. There are three continuous mixes available, also, one for each summer setting. This is BIG!
For a long time, Perth's Greg Packer was considered a veteran of the local drum and bass scene, but in the last few years has reinvented himself as Dr Packer - and become one of the best of the best disco editors on the scene at present. It made perfect sense for him to give "Confess" his personal touch for the nu-disco heads, as he was one of the supporters of the track from the very beginning. He stays faithful to the original mix, where he adds an incessant bassline, his trademark beats, disco flourishes and works the arrangement to fever pitch!
American producer Reed Kackley aka Baile is up next on Sasha's Last Night On Earth label. The original version of "Amae" is a pop-inflected, mellow and sensual listening experience for those chill-out moments led by Felicia Douglass' gorgeous vocal performance. It receives two remixes by label chief Sasha: the first "Sasha Fabric1999 mix" was used on his recent Fabric mix and indeed - like its name suggests - channels the vibe of pre-millennium tension. The "Sasha Fabric2099" mix is more typical of Christopher Coe ,on this absolutely evocative progressive house anthem engineered by one of the true masters of the style.
Following his well-received EP comeback "Analog Love" last year comes another sterling composition from Detroit veteran Alton Miller with the honeyed dulcets of singer Ree who comes on a strong like a young Amp Fiddler over Miller's restrained smooth chords. Then for an immense immersive Reedub where the vocals become sweet textures in a more freeform organ-led jam before fellow Detroiter Patrice Scott closes the show with a deep and dreamy refix. All the little things are adding up right here.
Publicity shy producer Themba first appeared on Hot Since '82's Knee Deep In Sound label earlier in the year, raising more than a few eyebrows with a fine debut three-tracker entitled "Paliva". Naturally, there's plenty to set the pulse racing on this rock solid follow-up. Lolo Vilakazi guests on ear-catching opener "Haia", delivering woozy and life-affirming vocalizations over a riff-heavy, bouncy, Afro-tinged house rhythm whose bold string stabs reminded us a little of DJ Gregory classic "Elle". Elsewhere, "Exodus" sees Demba wrap bold and beautiful piano motifs and bubbling electronics around another bouncy rhythm track, while "Shaka" delivers a perfect balance between foreboding electronics, jangling motifs, ever-building synth flourishes and dense tribal drums.
Fresh from inspired outings on Smokin' Beat, Chopshop and About Disco, Oscar Levantine makes his bow on Daniel Solar and Andi De Luxe's ace Dikso imprint. Turn first to "Chorus", a filter-sporting mid-tempo disco-house jam whose heady grooves and mind-altering samples continue to rise, fall, build and rise again throughout the track's seductive six minutes. The Mexican producer ups the tempo considerably on "Fairground", a bolder and more percussively energetic affair rich in bounding, bouncy house drums, looped piano refrains, swirling chords and the kind of sweet, dewy-eyed female vocal samples that make you want to hug complete strangers while a hundred percent sober.
Nick Curly and Gorge's 8 bit imprint is still running strong out of Germany's proud city of industry: Mannheim. Following up a terrific release by progressive house elegant Danny Howells, it is over to current hero of the British tech-house sound Darius Syrossian. The Leeds based DJ follows up releases on top labels like Hot Creations, VIVa Music and Sankey's Music with the Fixation EP - featuring four house slammers, right in time for the Ibiza season. From the thunderous "Kapan", the funky main room energy of the title track and the tough rolling functionality of "Curzon" that is just perfect to lead-in to the peak time.
Loco Dice's recent third album, Love Letters, was packed with typically tough dancefloor grooves and, more surprisingly, a string of high-profile collaborations. "Out of Reach", made alongside fast-rising Dutch producer William Djoko, was amongst the finest of these. For this single release, the duo has served up two similarly inclined takes. First up is the strobe-friendly original version; a skewed and trippy chunk of sleazy early morning funk that places Djoko's half-sung, half-spoken vocal above a backing track overflowing with mind-altering sub-ass, trippy riffs, mangled electronics, swirling samples, vintage Fairlight stabs and bustling beats. The bizarre but brilliant intricacy of the backing track can be heard in all its wonky, funk-fuelled glory on the accompanying vocal-free Instrumental mix.
Two years on from the release of his debut EP on D.KO, Pascal Pamme AKA Paso has finally got round to readying a follow-up. He begins with the meandering, sample-rich goodness of "Idocracy", where hazy Fender Rhodes chords, held-note organ chords and buzzing synth-brass stretch out across a jazzy deep house rhythm, before showcasing his MPC beat-making skills on the house-not-house deepness of "Fuzy" [sic]. Over on the virtual flipside, title track "Limited Perception" swings and struts in all the right places, peppering a head-nodding, hybrid hip-hop/house groove with jaunty jazz-funk bass and warm, butter-rich chords. To conclude, Pamme delivers a slightly more driving mid-tempo number that benefits greatly from a warm and funky bassline.
Sub Urban label chief Guri takes time out from delivering killer material on his own imprint to serve up some serious heat on Spanish imprint Poetry in Motion. The Mallorcan producer showcases his soulful side on "Devotion", a deliciously jazzy and smooth number where disco style vocals and guitar flourishes rise above a bouncy, bass-heavy groove. French producer Phonk D steps up to remix the title track, wrapping choice elements of Guri's original around a squeezable synth bassline and mind-melting cowbells, before seductive bonus cut "Fool For You" impresses via languid beats, breezy vibraphone motifs and soft-focus jazz-funk bass. In a word: impressive.
DOORLY - Nismo's Groove (Reptile Dysfunction)
PINO - Doppelleben (Nightnoise) - exclusive 03-08-2018
CAMELPHAT/ALI LOVE - Dopamine Machine (Defected)
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