Review: Blair French has spent much of his career sidestepping lazy stereotyping, successfully turning his hand to all manner of downtempo and club-friendly styles. This fine EP for Rocksteady Disco sees the Detroit-based producer exploring some of his global influences in three different ways. Opener "Standing Still is an Illusion", where glistening guitars, rich electric bass and fluid hand percussion combine with drum machine beats and impassioned vocals, is a brilliantly warm and sunny fusion of Balearic disco charm and organic Afro-house grooves. These African influences are explored further on the dense, tribal style thrust of "Ayiba I Yeri O", before he whips his shirt off and heads for the Rio carnival on the equally percussive "Pagode Americano".
Review: Three very playable deep house cuts from young Detroitian producer Jaco Matthews here. 'Lesson One', a tribal-leaning drum workout, gets the ball rolling before 'Snacks' leads us into more straight-up deep house territory with its garage-y two-note organ hook, male vocal cut-ups, intricate hand percussion and rolling disco bassline. But the standout is Matthews' remix of Peter Croce's 'Revival', wherein more tribal percussion, hypnotic pads and a cheeky Camisra/Sandy B-like bassline underpin Rev William Barber II's stirring address to the 2016 Democratic National Convention. "Pay people what they deserve, share your food with the hungry" - amen, brother!
Review: In recent times, sometime Escort bassist J Kriv has been in full-on disco mode, delivering a string of singles with old pal Adeline that recall the rush-inducing brilliance of NYC in the late 1970s. "Aguaxire", his latest single, is decidedly different, offering a superb fusion of TB-303 driven acid house, swirling deep house, Afro-house and horn-powered Afro-jazz motifs. It comes accompanied by three tasty alternate versions: a hazy, delay-laden dub tailor-made for glassy-eyed early morning moments, a jacking and forthright "Acid Test" mix that predictably emphasizes the track's psychedelic TB-303 lines, and a wonderfully bouncy, driving and percussion-rich "Beats" track.
Review: Motor City man Peter Croce has previously proved to be an adept re-editor, so there was much cheer in the Juno Download office when the Rocksteady Disco co-founder's latest EP landed. All three edits are superb: tactfully beefed-up rearrangements that make already excellent tracks into 21st century disco bombs. He begins with "Life Is A Circle", a stomping slab of heavyweight disco-funk, before dipping the tempo and loosening the beats on sweet disco-soul rework "What Can I Do For You". Arguably best of all though is his "Mystic Rhythm Dub Edit" of "Do What You Wanna Do", which turns a spacey and throbbing disco workout into a breathless sprint through percussive dub disco pastures.