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.
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.
DJ, radio host and producer Stephen King made his production bow on KAT last year, serving up some tasty dancefloor morsels under the Virgo Type alias. A year on, he transfers to Midnight Riot with the brilliantly named Free Refills For The Broken Hearted, which also marks his first EP under his given name. The title track, a wonderfully loose, percussive and groovy affair rich in meandering saxophone lines, deep chords and glistening jazz guitar solos, is undoubtedly the EP's greatest moment, though there's plenty to enjoy elsewhere, too. Check, in particular, the bustling disco-funk punch of "Hold On To You", and closer "Blue Bawler", where blissful, undulating electronics dance atop a soft-focus house beat.
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.
New Yorker Patrick Sullivan aka P-Sol strikes back on Sao Paulo's Royal Soul - the first 100% Brazilian based nu-jazz/Nufunk/downbeat label since 2006. P-Sol runs the imprint Wall Of Fame, which has seen many of his own releases and has put out music on various labels such as Editorial, Hot Digits, Groove Democracy, Masterworks Music, Discodat and Los Grandes. Dealing with Viennese downbeat influences crossing his typical disco way - this dude goes straight to the point with these classy leftfield beats. From the soulful urban blues of "And You Say", the lo-slung deep disco jam "East New York" or "Wonderfool" with its evocative and sun-kissed groove which perfectly soundtracks this fabulous summer in The Big Apple at present.
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.
Philpot co-founder Soulphiction has been MIA for a while now, making it an utter pleasure to have him back on our charts with some effective new house swingers. He's landed on Local Talk, one of the very best in its class, and "Bizzness" kicks off with a funky-ass bassline and some freaky vocal chops, while "Cart People" lingers at a steadier sort of tempo, filtered through mounds of dubbed-out haze. "Slow Glow" is an experiment in percussion, also meandering its wavy synths on an off-kilter mode, and "Sweet Dreams" works the drum-machine in and out of the groove, ending up with another off-balance house experiment for the deeper minds out there on the floor!
Earthboogie's debut album, Human Call has rightly earned praise upon its release earlier in the year, with listeners responding positively to its sticky and humid dancefloor fusions of African and South American rhythms, chunky dub disco, retro-futurist house, spacey analogue electronics and sun-kissed Balearica. Hot on the heels of that release, Leng Records has sourced new remixes of two album highlights. The remix of "High Minded Man" from Running Back label boss Gerd Janson is an electrifying classic house rendition with an Afro influence that's just as neon-lit as you'd expect. Next, synthesizer-wielding Balearic stalwart Pete Herbert gives "Silken Moon" the late night boogie-down vibe that this veteran of nu-disco always does so well.
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.
Ki Creighton's Under No Illusion is back with Illusionists Vol 3, where the Annan based label boss (and Uber Carlisle resident) teams up with Makanan on the tough rolling main-room people mover "Countdown", the always reliable Huxley delivers the evocative dancefloor drama of "Half Moon" and Brett Gould & Majesty team up with what seemed like only White Isle hedonism purely in mind: on the terrific "Get Low". Following up some terrific releases by Yost Koen, Cloonee and Jay De Lys - it is further proof that this label is on fire at the moment.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Appleblim teams up with the Middle Eastern label Boogie Box once more for some hybridized explorations on the cutting edge of soundsystem music. "Vurstep" is a wildly psychedelic banger that keeps the rhythms broken while the sound design levels tap into the same delirious vein as his ALSO work with Second Storey. "Dream Wisdom" takes things in a smoother direction, riding on laid back breaks and plush threads of melody in a vintage ambient techno style. Shed steps up to remix "Vurstep" and delivers one of his pointed masterclasses in stripped, UK-leaning techno, and then Forest Drive West trips the whole thing out with a heavily dubbed meditation.
Lepizig crew A Friend In Need regular serve up compilation style EPs featuring tasty tracks from a select group of like-minded local and international producers. Here they go further, delivering an expansive, 11-track collection that could well be the imprint's strongest release to date. After beginning with a chunk of sparkling ambient brilliance by Afinns, the set flits between deliciously dreamy, groovy and tactile mid-tempo fare (mostly courtesy of slo-mo specialists such as Heion, loop-master 78 Edits, MermaidS, La Tumerie and Buzz Compass) and more peak-time-friendly tackle that similarly fuses elements of swirling deep house, rubbery disco and glassy-eyed boogie. These cuts are particularly potent, with the contributions by Mono & Luvless, Lootbeg and Quadrakey standing out.
Something a little bit different from London deep house/nu-disco specialists Wolf Music here. Portuguese producer Pedro teams up with Washington DC based vocalist Jenna Camille. Featuring influences from jazz though to soul, R'n'B and broken beat: as heard on the sexy late night mood lighting of "Float" which you can imagine hearing in the basement of a smoky jazz club, the super sultry "Keep It H 2000" or the funky beat beneath the smooth groove of "Future Dance" (It'll Be Ok). It might be from Porto by way of the American capital, but this really nails that UK kind of vibe in the vein of Kaidi Tatham, Mark De Clive Lowe or Atjazz.
Denver, Colorado-based label This Never Happened has been nurturing the talents of Anderholm for some time, frequently placing his productions on compilations and collaborative EPs. Now they've offered him the chance to go solo with Flight of the Sparrow, an expansive debut mini-album packed with deep house treats. There's naturally much to enjoy throughout, from the gentle pastoral instrumentation and undulating beats of opener "Secrets" and dewy-eyed early morning positivity of "Timecode", to the grandiose orchestration and low-slung beats of "Symphonie Des Fleurs". Elsewhere, "Orphee" fuses hazy, lo-fi beats with mournful piano motifs, "Flight of the Sparrow" is poignant and melancholic, and closer "Room 89" is dense and off-kilter in the best possible way.
Drumcode head honcho Adam Beyer and Chicagoan legend Curtis Jones (aka Green Velvet) had discussed writing music together for a long time. Also, Beyer's protege Layton Giordani had admired the mohawked Jones' work for as long as he could remember. When he got to DJ alongside him at Belfast's Shine - the spark and subsequent friendship was immediate. The outcome of this respected trio's musical journey comes in the form of "Space Date" which will be familiar to many who've followed their sets over recent months. Featuring a relentless main room stomp with steely hats and droney synth leads, all accompanied by Green Velvet's trademark vocal delivery. The thunderous peak time energy of "Rome Future" is likewise guaranteed to rock the house - that killer Reese bassline particularly is sure to blow the doors off!
Portable Minds boss and a stalwart of James Zabiela's Born Electric imprint, British rising star Jody Barr makes his debut on Sasha's Last Night On Earth with a massive new EP. This follows up a the terrific "Amae" by New York City's Reed Rackley aka Baile last month. The London by way of Berlin-based Barr demonstrates he's quite confident at creating sturdy straight-up techno like on "Filtered Images" as he is at making sleek and bold acid house like on "Marlon Brando".
Exclusives
DISSMENTADO - The Best Of Dissmentado (Huntleys & Palmers)
MATTHEW DEAR/ELAX/DENIS HORVAT/ANIMAL PICNIC/NOVAKK - Four To The Floor 12 (Diynamic Music)
YOUANDME feat GJAEZON - That Bass (Rejected Holland)
Exclusives
ART OF TONES - Gimme Some More (Saison Remix) (Monoside)
AUNTIE FLO - Cape Town Jam (Brownswood UK)
ADAM BEYER/LAYTON GIORDANI/GREEN VELVET - Space Date (Drumcode Sweden)
Top Labels
Strictly Rhythm
desolat
z records
simma black
hotflush recordings