Review: While Paul 'Apiento' Byrne could hardly be described as prolific, the few singles he does release are rarely anything less than brilliant (see 2010's "She Walks" and 2011's much-played "The Orange Place" for proof). This first outing for four years, this time for Phil South's brilliant Golf Channel label, is another belter. While "The Light Machine" - a dreamy, slo-mo combination of drifting pads, bubbling acid lines and sparse analogue beats - is a fine concoction, it's "ESP" that's the real killer. A chunky, undulating midtempo Balearic house groover built around a rush-inducing synth melody, it sounds like a summer classic in the making. Lexx remixes, adding a little low-end throb and more percussive density.
Review: Between 2006 and 2012, Italian restaurant Mangiana in New York's Lower East Side became an unlikely midweek hang out, with musical programmer Jason Kinkade being joined each week by all manner of local heroes and international guests. Golf Channel Recordings has decided to celebrate the spot, gathering together previously unheard cuts from those who played and partied there. The full compilation is due in a few weeks; before that, though, they've made Dedication's "Let Me Rock You" available as a single. Felix Dickinson's largely Japanese outfit is, predictably, in fine form, layering impeccably emotion-rich, jazz-inspired piano solos over a sparse, delay-laden drum machine groove, cosmic chords, analogue electronics and killer bassline. You'll either want to dance or lie down; either way, you'll be royally entertained.
Review: Given his track record and history, you'd expect this debut album from former Wild Bunch soundsystem member Milo Johnson to be pretty special. While it's far from perfect, it's certainly an excellent set. Musically, it blurs the boundaries between edits, original production and sample love, featuring tracks created using spoken word samples and snippets from some of his favourite obscure records. There are forays into shuffling, near soulful house (the two-part "Sexual Tension"), broken house ("Yearn"), disco-funk (the low-slung "With Your Body"), string-drenched, Ugly Edits-ish disco ("Return of the Savage") and smooth grooves ("Tacky Stuff"), all produced with his traditional dubwise finish. Recommended.
Review: When it first appeared back in 2014, DJ Nature's Groovitica Collection box set contained a mix CD of "vintage music", a t-shirt, a five-track 12" of re-edits, and a 12" containing a trio of brand new cuts. It's this latter element that makes up the digital version, starting with the 150-minute epic that is "Gentle Persuasion". A woozy, wah-wah guitar-heavy chunk of undulating dancefloor sensuality, it sits somewhere between Marvin Gaye's more horizontal moments, sleazy disco, and the kind of synth-laden library music that was once a feature of, ahem, "adult movies". This latter influence is emphasized further on the sax-laden, disco-jazz stomp of "No Gimmicks", while "Let's Break The Rules" sounds like a long lost Theo Parrish jam.
Review: As with most, if not all Golf Channel releases, the dedication to presentation on finished copies means you can't ever feel too bad about missing out on the clutch of white labels the New York labels sends out in advance of release. That's certainly the case with the Downtown Nubian EP from Mind Fair, with some wonderfully psychedelic music to match the abstract art. Mind Fair is of course the collaboration between MEB's Ben Shenton and sometime Chicken Lipper Dean Meredith - we need an excel formula made to keep up with the latter's various projects - and after numerous 12"s on Rogue Cat and International Feel, the Downtown Nubian EP represents their finest work together to date. The wonderful "So Strong" is perhaps one of the finest contemporary disco cuts in recent memory thanks to the usage of vintage synths, live instrumentation and the sort of dynamic arrangements that few newcomers have a grasp of. That vocal sample is amazing too. A smorgasbord of sounds follow with the avant-garde primitive electronics of "Bloody Mary" acting as a weirded out interlude before the sumptuous jazz funk of the title track and the proto electronics of "Wrong Wire".
Review: The much delayed and even more awaited Spike retrospective from Golf Channel is finally here! For the uninitiated, Spike Wolters was responsible for a series of self released albums in the early 80s recorded using all manner of primitive drum machines, synths and guitars which resulted in some of the most diverse FX laden, ahead of it's time music. Mentioned in hushed tones by feverish record traders for years to come, Spike's work was first introduced to the wider world by Golf Channel in 2011, with the New York label issuing Magic Table, a 12" featuring some of the Dutchman's compositions backed with remixes from Thomas 'Welcome Stranger' Bullock. Fast forward several years and the label has finally issued Orange Cloud Nine, a retrospective which draws from the four albums Wolters recorded in the 1980s.