Review: Living up to his most recognised name with every release, LA producer Gifted & Blessed joins the Eglo family with a quite excellent EP under the lesser spotted Abstract Eye moniker. This name was last used by Reyes-Whittaker on the Cool Warm Divine EP for the Valentine Connexion imprint, a release that impressed the Juno review crew despite the fact the Abstract Eye identity was under wraps at the time. The rich analogue techno explorations dipped in glowering warmth and soul that ran through that release are present and correct on Whittaker's Eglo debut, especially the opening track "Analogous". Commencing with a neck snapping percussive flex, it doesn't take long for the track to get consumed by flourishes of rich analogue texture and undercurrents of fuzzed out bass. Alongside this "Grandfather Fire" floats in more pensive strains of machine made funk, gradually unfurling into intricately layered bursts of kaleidoscopic colour that retain a certain restraint throughout. Whittaker reserves the best till last however, with "I Feel It In My Forehead" making for a gloriously paced sojourn through sumptuous electronic soul.
Review: Eglo's resident boogie botherers step up for another EP of honey-coated synthesiser jams. What's noticeable is the leaning towards a more crisp, electro style, most apparent on "U" and "Groove". The beats fall in a gentle breakbeat, clean and low in the mix, so that the dense swathes of melody can take centre stage. However, the end result comes off a little too slick when compared with some of the earlier Arp 101 material. "True" addresses things somewhat, taking that skewed funk groove that distinguishes the man from so many producers mining the boogie sound, allowing the staggered groove to accentuate the chunky Moog bass.
Review: Since going solo last year, former Onra collaborator Byron Blaylock has yet to put a foot wrong. Each successive EP has brought with it a swathe of killer new jams straddling the blurred lines between soul, jazz, hip-hop, deep house and jazz-funk. There's more of the same on Leaving This Planet, the Alabama-raised producer's first EP for the mighty Eglo. So while opener "Song for a Friend" is a superior, jazz-flecked deep house bumper smothered in killer electric piano solos, the track that follows, "Mind, Body & Soul" is a squelchy tech-jazz masterpiece. It's the same story on the flip, as floor-friendly jazz-breaks ("Blow Your Mind") make way for a heady trip into intergalactic jazz-funk territory ("SSDP"). As the worn-out old saying goes, this is "all killer, no filler".
Review: UK legend Dego and killer keys-man Kaidi Tatham have been in a rich vein of form of late, dropping brilliant EPs on Eglo, Sound Signature and Rush Hour (the latter under their 2000Black alias). Here, they return to Eglo with four more slices of warm, rich, soul-flecked fluidity. As with previous outings, much of the material has a laidback jazz-funk feel, particularly "Orbiting Uhara" and the delicious "The Vault Descends" (think bustling bruk rhythms and darting boogie synths). They also offer up some tougher, synth-laden bruk-funk in the shape of "Man Made", while "Black Is Key" sees them unfurl a head-nodding vocal roller.
Review: Circle is the first offering from the upcoming debut album from the 'Queen Bee of Eglo' Fatima. Described as an ode to the stars, the title track sees Fatima drop vocals over production work from Los Angeles duo Computer Jay and Shafiq Husayn of Sa Ra Creative Partners fame. It's backed with "Technology" which features button pushing from Stones Throw artist (and Madlib's younger brother) Oh No, while it also features a wonderful ten minute live rendition of "Red Light" done in collaboration with the Eglo Live Band.
Review: Finally! Swedish-born/UK-based soul chanteuse Fatima makes her long awaited return to Eglo to build on the incredible reputation of her evergreen debut LP Yellow Memories. Once again biting down on that sweet spot between soul, R&B and hip-hop, it's an alluring affair that ranges from the upbeat electro boogie twists of "I See Faces In Everything" to the smoky cinematic soul of "Caught In A Lie" via the dramatic string-set poetry with Roc Marciano "Take It All" and the barbed dream of "Waltz" yet holds a consistency and strong narrative throughout thank to expert production duties from MNDSGN, JD Reid, Purist, Taz, Arnold, Swarvy, Natureboy and Flako.
Review: Sam Shepherd has long been a master of the kind of ultra-deep, rolling, soft focus deep house that raises the spirits and soothes the soul. Even so, there's something incredibly special about "Nuits Sonores", the lead track from this must-have EP. Based around a deep, tactile groove and blessed with rising synth solos, dancing acid lines and his usual fireside Rhodes antics, the track rises magnificently for 12 spellbinding minutes. As it progresses, further elements make their way into the mix, until it reaches the kind of organic deep house climax that makes even the grumpiest souls go weak at the knees. Flip for "Nectarines", the kind of loose-limbed fusion of deep house sassiness, Detroit techno electronics and fluid jazz drumming at which Shepherd has always excelled.
Review: The world of underground dance music may seem to be fracturing into ever-smaller subdivisions, but it's fair to say that no matter what your disposition is, the arrival of a new record from Sam 'Floating Points' Shepherd is generally something to be celebrated by all, especially given his last release was the single-sided Wires record last year. Naturally arriving via his own Eglo Records, the two track King Bromeliad is vintage Floating Points and offers two distinct sides to the Sam Shepard production palette. The title track commences with what could feasibly be a field recording of people gathered outside Plastic People before a rousing rhythm of jazz infused house comes bumping in and has you hooked for the next eight minutes. It's more than matched by the epic "Montparnasse" which exudes a more electronic approach over 11 heavenly minutes. Yes Sam!
Review: The title track on FunkinEven's latest Eglo jam takes no time at all in declaring its intentions in decimating the dance. A stomping beat and nasty acid line get scuppered by edits that display a desire to screw people's heads up just when they were getting into the groove. "Take Back" ploughs a similar furrow, but with a many-limbed b-boy swerve where "Roland's Jam" was all rigid 4/4 stomp. "XXX" gets even more explicitly acidic as the 303 comes through in full effect. Those with a soft-spot for rough stuff will lap this up and come back begging for more!
Review: Funkineven and Fatima are no studio strangers, each sharing credits on the others previous Eglo releases but this is without doubt their best work together to date. Eglo could have just dropped "Phoneline" as a one track release and we'd be singing it's praises to anyone that can hear, so kudos to all involved for complementing the track with further examples of Funkineven and Fatima's obvious studio chemistry. "90s" echoes the satin dipped R&B antics of TLC at their most sultry, whilst it's complemented by that killer swinging boom bap arrangement from Funks, while "East To West" crosses LA boogie vibes with some off the scale rhythmic subtleties that would do Maurice Fulton proud, with Fatima showing the breadth of their vocal range over the elastic groove. This 12" is dominated by the brilliance of "Phoneline" however, with Fatima and Funkineven indulging in flirtatious chatter over demented yet slick as f*ck MPC manipulation. It's one of those tracks that tops the charts for months to come in the bizarro world we'd rather live in - I guess we'll have to make do with jamming this in every dancehall possible.
Review: Although Funkineven's been an Eglozoid from the label's early days, recent times have seen the producer and DJ develop an independent streak, establishing his own Apron label and laying down collaborative roots with like-minded stateside artists Kyle Hall and Delroy Edwards. The bond is still strong however, and Funkineven makes a superb return to Eglo colours here with "Egypt" a cut described quite aptly by the label as a "Sakamoto-esque journey over the pyramids," combining throbbing sub bass with pulsating synth buzz. On the virtual flip is Gifted & Blessed's "Reflexes", a highlight amongst highlights of the Eglo Records Vol 1 compilation issued earlier this year and here committed to wax for the very first time. The track's fractured analogue nature is a fine accompaniment to Funkineven's A-side.
Review: South East London four-piece Hejira made a big splash with their Matthew Herbert-produced debut album, 2013's Prayer Before Birth, and the same year's Floating Test collaboration with Floating Points. Here, they resurface on the latter and Alex Nut's Eglo imprint. The Name Surname EP is an altogether softer, dreamier set of tracks than their previous releases, but it's no worse for it. There's something wonderfully attractive about the emotion-rich vocals, subtle pianos and sparse electronic rhythms of "Pinter", while "Rhyme Or Reason" sounds like an inspired blend of smoky trip-hop and '60s psychedelic pop. That hint of psychedelia can also be heard on "Too Mean To Lie", while the title track is a yearning, sun-kissed delight.
Review: Last time out Kieron Ifill AKA K15 was sharing vinyl space with legendary British techno producer Mr G. This time round, he's back on a solo mission, laying down three deep and expansive tracks for the mighty Eglo Records. Opener "Sunbeams" is undoubtedly a slab of hazy summer sunshine, with Ifill encasing a jaunty samba groove in lilting Rhodes riffs and Kaidi Tatham style synthesizer solos. The influence of Tatham's Herbie Hancock-inspired approach can also be heard on the intergalactic jazz-funk positivity of "Sunbeams 3", while "Essencia" is deliciously woozy and glassy eyed, with yearning melodies and analogue synthesizer chords rising above skittish jazz drums.
Review: Melbourne's shady Matthew Kirkis is back with more musical forays from the outer reaches of the space-jazz cosmos. He's either a genius or frankly insane, actually maybe he's in the middle there somewhere, but on the Liverbleach EP we get four tracks that may provide the answer. From the tripped out synth-stab abstraction of the title track to the organic, loose and fretless jazz of "Kirkis Runs The Voodoo Town", the broken-synth-falling-down-the-stairs summery grooves of "Vovo" and the slo-mo Fender Rhodes nod-out, "Helium", the answer's in there somewhere - you just gotta listen.
Review: One the finest exponents of the Eglo principles of music, Mizz Beats captures that tricky space between cutting edge groove and pure, heartfelt soul. You won't find a better example of this in action than on the slovenly boogie that is "Scientific Brainpriest", all sensuous bass and cooing synths, while the pads wrap themselves around your ears like finest satin. It's a corny analogy but it really does feel that good. "Pimpin'" meanwhile updates the middle ground between house and broken beat with a dreamy blue note affair that gets lifted by the bongo-heavy beat and truly feel good strings.
Review: Blend It! Records boss Patrick Gibin - a Brit based in Italy - teams up with keyboard virtuoso Mark De Clive-Lowe and soul singer Javontte (AKA Brian Garrett) on two tracks that could find their way onto soulful house, nu-disco and deep house floors alike. 'Cloud Nine' itself is a mellow deep/soulful houser that recalls the 00s heyday of Om Records, and that features what sounds like a vibraphone quite prominently, while 'I Like To Show You' comes on like a stripped-back boogie dub from the early 80s given an extra soul infusion and a little bit of bruk beat-style bottom end squelch.
Review: First he asked us to follow him, then he asked us if we wanted to find to find him. Now he's asking us to move closer... Steve Spacek's Eglo series has been a remarkable trip so far as he continues to illustrate unseen pictures with far-out, unbounded sounds and arrangement. "Mov Clsr" is the steamy dreamy soul number while "Garage Days" unravels the usually tightly wound two-step into a much spacier, dreamy affair, "Boo Boo Step" is a trip into the heart of an old BBC Micro computer while "Nano Nights" closes on a flighty 160BPM step session where lights twinkle and cascade with fluorescent fun. No one makes music like Spacek. Beautiful.
Review: This isn't exactly confidential information but, in case you weren't aware, Steve Spacek is D-Bridge's brother, a man who has helped to shape d&b over the years; it's clear that electronic music runs deep in the family bloodline, and both have achieved something special over the years. Eglo has been pivotal in shaping Spacek's career as of late, positioning him as a leader of the UK house-juke-bass crossover. "If You Want 2 Find Me" is the main tune here, and it leads with a rolling punch of bass dropped over sparse r&b vocals in what is a truly deep and magnetic piece of club music. "Time Is Running Out" is much more house-leaning thanks to its steady 4/4 sway, but the groove is filled with deep harmonics and hazy, spectral sonic aesthetic. There is also an acapella of the title track, and an instrumental for the heads. Big release from Floating Points' stable!
Review: Stuttering off-beat fractured dancehall wizardry, Spacek smashes it once again with "Follow Me". Nothing fits as it should - and that's exactly how we like it. The keys ripple just behind the drums while the bass bumps ahead of them and Steve keeps his own time with his clipped falsetto falling just on the rhythmic sweet spot - but you're never quite sure how he made it in time. Loaded with an instrumental and acapella, there's heaps of creativity to be had right here.