Review: There's something quite old school about Athenian chillout producer Aris Kokou. Maybe it's the '90s Mediterranean sounds on the azure synth sheen of "Sweet N Low" which is undeniably blissful. These calming vibes continue on the xylophone-led trop-hop of "Earth Glow" but elsewhere we get blazed on the mellow '90s RnB of "Out Of Control" and also get a glimpse of his classical training on the jazzy "Untitled".
Over & Over Again (Bisquit Control remix) - (7:31) 122 BPM
Over & Over Again (Quincy Jointz remix) - (6:18) 122 BPM
Dancefloor - (4:15) 124 BPM
A Photo Frame - (5:50) 100 BPM
A Photo Frame (Jazz K Lipa remix) - (5:06) 87 BPM
Review: After a string of freebies on Cold Busted, Russian duo Bar F6 step over to Timewarp associates Kraak with their first full EP. Three originals, two remixes, myriad vibes, A Photo Frame certainly establishes the duo's abilities with more clarity than anything they've done before; the title track is a sludgy, dubby gem that struts and breezes with star-gazing pensiveness, "Over & Over Again" is a choppier, jazzier sunshine vibe while "Dancefloor" sees the Russians in a slinkier, shimmering peaktime mode. Remix highlights include Quincy Jointz sultry swing on "Over & Over" and Jazz K Lipa's slick D&B repurpose of the title track. Those pianos!
Review: There's no need to rush things in January, it's a grim time so best to take it slow, stay in bed. Greece's Beat Ride have the right idea - release these four trip-hop infused jams that sound like they were recorded from underneath the duvet. "Wake Up" is a lazy roller with a rap from The Mage, "Another Bad Day" boasts Bassey-esque vocals from Antigoni Kostala, "People" is all cinematic strings and epic beats, but it's the perky easy listening stomper "Dreamers" that's the most likely to get your feet back on to the floor.
Review: De Riguer is the current alter ego of veteran chillout guy Mike Reger. This Brooklynite has been recording under various names since beginning in Washington back in the '90s. Here he delivers five delicious slices of cool pie, highlights of which include the hazy '60s jazz-out of "A Break For Monday", the shuffling, dreamy, vocodered funk of "Give It To Me Niceup" and the eccentric Afro/bleep/dub hybrid "Dubbleys 10 Steps To Redubbery".
Review: Grecian nu-disco/funk fusion sort DJ Steevo has long been a familiar part of the Athens scene, both as a DJ and a producer. This, though, marks his solo debut for the Kraak label after providing remixes and additional production for releases on Timewarp and Pump The Cat. First up, he joins forces with Soundshaker on "Funk Lover", a pleasingly bubbly, cheery and melodious fusion of shuffling house rhythms, bright nu-disco synths and subtle funk guitars. He doffs a cap to P-funk on the synth-laden hustle of "Sunset Groove", before sauntering into more classic nu-disco territory on the sparkling, deep house influenced "Black Revolution".
In The Beginning (Percapella dub) - (3:28) 122 BPM
Funk Off It All 2019 - (5:21) 115 BPM
Review: In the beginning, as we all know, there was Jack. Yes, it's another run-out here for Chuck Roberts' famous acapella from 1987, with 'In The Beginning' served up in four mixes which, being titled Disco Mix, House Mix, Instrumental Mix and Percapella Dub, are by and large fairly self-explanatory! It's the Disco Mix that stands out, though, with its 'Funky Town'-like bassline, Rodgers-esque guitars and happy hands-in-the-air Italo-house pianos, while oddly titled bonus cut 'Funk Off It All 2019' recalls the punk-funk likes of A Certain Ratio, ESQ or Liquid Liquid at their intense, claustrophobic best.
Come On Now (Louies original mix) - (3:24) 128 BPM
Come On Now (Zombie Squad mix) - (3:07) 128 BPM
Come On Now (extended Squad mix) - (5:39) 128 BPM
La-Di-Da (Electro Skunk) - (4:33) 116 BPM
Review: Hot on the heels of the Down To The Music package and the Revolution Is The Only Solution album, Funky Destination lay down more sun-kissed originals. "The Sweetest Sin" is an upbeat, jack-happy funky house gem that's soaked in organic elements. Big organs and bigger strings, it's an audio injection of concentrated feel good. Further on, we hit three big remixes of the loopy, guitar-twanging party-packer "Come On Now" and end on the slower, G-funk style "La Di Da". Surged with west coast, Funkadelic flavours, it will liven any party you play this summer. Guaranteed.
Review: This prolific French producer is back with a new two-track single and it seems that Euro-tinged synthpop is the order of the day. With it's stomping drums, mid-80s synth lines and it's more 90s style vocal loops and records scratches, "Paradise" could be a distant relative of Royksopp or Telepopmusik. "Asia My Love", with its funky drummer beats and world music influences, betrays later influences a la Play-era Moby.
Loneliness Can Make You Feel Empty - (3:33) 100 BPM
Review: Based in Heraklion, Crete, Lego Boy goes by the name of John Mihelinakis in real life. In his Lego Boy guise, though, he specialises in laidback, leftfield grooves that draw on a wide range of influences, from world music to electronica. 'Free' is a looping, Lemon Jelly-esque affair that marries a sitar (or slide guitar?) to a rap-style female vocal, 'Across The World' sits somewhere between Burial and art-pop, 'Fly Away' is a blissed-out, summery affair with deceptively uptempo percussion, and 'Loneliness Can Make You Feel Empty' veers towards prog-breaks territory while sporting an Indian-style vocal. An eclectic and engaging listen.
Review: Giannis Michelinakis's Lego Boy project gets a thorough overhaul from a pool of produces on this remix collection of his "Black Box From Your Plane" release. Beat Ride transform "Alone Again" into a silky nu-funk treat, while Mikael Fas pitches down the vocals on the same song and wraps Aeroplane-esque synths around them. Others to look out for on this 13-track release include Lefteris Lappas' breaks mix of "Don't Cry" as well as D-Pen's acoustic guitar remake of "Walking Alone".
Review: Kraak Records is a sublabel of Greek label Timewarp, that aims to explore new forms of modern electronica. Their mission statement: electronic sounds without limits, borders and musical styles! Athens based Medras is back with a full length album here. Soft and Tough is deeply entrenched in the downtempo genre, but when you listen to it in its entirety, you realise he is influenced by a great variety of music styles. From trip hop and chillout electronica, to rock, soul, dub and house. From the bittersweet trip hop of "Believe In Me", the hazy/dubby soul funk of "Dubwise" to the ethereal blunted beat journey of "Around The World" and the sultry deep house groove of "As My House", there's a wide variety of mood and grooves to keep you enthralled throughout its entirety.