Review: Before she passed away in 2013, Chiwonsio Maraire impressed with the Rebel Heart album. Here, one of the highlights of that set, breezy dancefloor sing-along "Gomo" - is given the remix treatment. The sun-soaked original version kicks things off, before David Marston and MOA turn it into a saucer-eyed chunk of Balearic house complete with snaking saxophone solos, tactile chord progressions and bubbly analogue bass. The rest of the reworks come from DJ Spen and Souledge. Their headline remix (also available in instrumental form) successfully re-imagines the track as a bumpin' chunk of tech-tinged Afro-house goodness, complete with seriously heavy bass, intricate marimba melodies and vocal cut-ups. Arguably even better is the "Saxfro" mix, which gives more prominence to the jaunty saxophone solo and delay-laden vocal snippets.
Life On Planets - "Move It Forward" - (5:04) 123 BPM
Life On Planets & Chas Bronz - "Friends In High Places" - (4:04) 115 BPM
Life On Planets & Chas Bronz - "Friends In High Places" (Mateyo's Dark mix feat Mateyo) - (4:08) 115 BPM
Review: Definitely not your standard issue deep house EP, this one! Life On Planets is a pseudonym for Baltimore-based singer-guitarist Phill Celeste, a soul/house/R&B fusionist whose unique style sits somewhere in-between Black Coffee, Thundercat and a modern-day Bill Withers. 'Only You' itself is distinctly Afro-influenced, 'Move It Forward' nudges towards jazz fusion, Chas Bronze collab 'Friends In High Places' has catchy pop appeal and comes with a tougher, clubbier remix, and finally 'Brother' is a soulful house civil rights anthem in waiting. It might all take a listen or two to sink in, but when it does you'll be hooked.
Review: Given his history in the disco re-edit scene, it's perhaps unsurprising that Michael Fichman's first EP for Soul Clap contains a couple of bona fide mirrorball treats. Chief amongst these is "Get it On (Bosq Remix)", a brilliant chunk of revivalist vocal disco full of authentic instrumentation, including Nile Rodgers style guitars, a fine walking bassline and on-point percussion. DJ Bruce provides two killer, gospel inspired revisions of the track, too: the pared-back, pianos-and-bongos vibe of the "Feeling Mix" and the stretched-put, organ heavy gospel disco roller that is the standout "On & On Mix". Fittingly, both make much of Amy Douglas's inspired vocal. Elsewhere, "Side of Life" is a preacher-sporting chunk of sunshine disco and "The Changer" joins the dots between chugging dub disco and throbbing Italo-disco.
Review: Given the retro-futurist feel of Michael The Lion and Amy Douglas's recent collaborative EP, it's perhaps unsurprising that Soul Clap requested remixes from original disco mixer John Morales. He provides vocal and dub remixes of two tracks: "Find A Way" and "Drink You Up". It's his "M+M Remix" of the former the kicks off the EP in fine style, with the NYC remix king layering hazy chords, crunchy Clavinet lines, jaunty strings, toasty bass and Douglas's superb vocal a particularly percussive disco groove. A slightly more spaced-out "Dubish Mix" featuring plenty of early 80s style arrangement tricks follows, before Morales dances his way through the synth-laden disco skip of "Drink Me Up". The "Dub Mix" of that, a far more stripped-back but still excitement-filled affair, is also superb.
Review: Three years ago full-throated disco diva Amy Douglas made a guest appearance on "Get It On", the standout track from Michael The Lion's first EP on Soul Clap. Here they go one step further by joining forces for a full EP of collaborative cuts. They hit the ground running with "Drink You Up", a tasty slice of wonky NYC dub disco with typically strong lead vocals from Douglas, before soul man Steven Klavier joins her behind the mic on the effortlessly soulful and groovy "Find A Way". Elsewhere, "James Is The Message" is a fuzzy slab of horn-heavy disco-funk, "Social Love Song" is a triple-time glam-disco stomper and "Willing" is a laidback soul ballad.
Review: Ever since they introduced themselves to the world via triumphant 2010 debut "Beam Me Up", New York disco collective Midnight Magic has consistently delivered the goods. Predictably, the outfit's latest single - their first new material for nearly two years - is another belter. "Give Me A Reason" is a sparkling, delay-laden exercise in early '80s NYC boogie/proto-house fusion, with evocative vocals, meandering horn lines and darting synthesizer motifs rising above a typically chunky, live-sounding groove. The band's proto-house/early Chicago house influences come to the fore on virtual flipside "Give ME Life", which includes some suitably trippy layered vocals and psychedelic synthesizer solos.
Review: Purloined from the funkiest cavities of their last album Free From Your Spell, Midnight Magic's loose-grooved post disco fusion enjoys a new collection of re-visions and versions. George Clinton-approved FSQ add a little more drive in the drum department and swooning focus on the harmonies, Nark strips back the layers and polishes with a generous dose of acid while long-time Soul Clapper Michael The Lion rebuilds the elements into a roaring piece of piano-hammering gospel house feelgoodness. Feel the love!
Review: According to our meticulous records, "Magic" is the first outing of 2017 from Wolf + Lamb and Soul Clap regular Nick Monaco. The San Fran man is in fine form on the title track, a loose and low-slung combination of rubbery dub disco aesthetics, Midnight Magic bass and delay-laden vocal passages. It's basically left-of-centre disco for those who like their grooves heavy and organic. "Elliott" is slightly more Balearic in tone, with lilting, almost Hawaiian guitar motifs and loved-up electronics rising above another low-slung, alternative '80s style disco groove. Wisely, Monaco has also included the kind of hazy, hushed vocal that sounds like it was recorded in the midst of a particularly saucer-eyed night out.
Review: Soul Clap seems to have developed a strong working relationship with soul chanteuse turned original disco diva Nona Hendryx. They first joined forces on single "Shine" back in 2016 and here deliver something far more ambitious: a five-track EP of Hendryx songs produced and mixed by the Botson-based twosome. Naturally, there?s plenty to admire throughout, from the slap bass-propelled, disco-not-disco bounce of "Scream" (very reminiscent of Hendryx's early '80s work with Bill Laswell), to the slick electrofunk-pop of "Ooo, Ooo, Ooo" and low-slung P-funk heaviness of "Peel Back". Best of all, though, is the gospel-powered deep house/nu-disco stomp of opener "I Feel Joy", which achieves just the right balance between thrusting righteousness and dreamy deepness.
Review: Six months on from his last outing on Swat, Detroiter Pontchartrain pops on Soul Clap with a fine four-track missive. First up is "Citalmina", a hybrid breakbeat/deep house affair that sees the producer brilliantly play around with drowsy, held-note chords, sun-kissed synthesizer melodies and a suitably rubbery bassline. As if offering us a breather, the track that follows, "Where Do We Go Now", is a superbly dreamy voyage through deep house/synth-pop fusion. Pontachartrain is soon dancefloor bound once more, though, via two versions of the more percussive, foreboding and psychedelic "Rio Magdelena". Of the two mixes, it's the glassy-eyed, sunrise-ready, arpeggio-driven brilliance of the HazMat rework that's particularly tickling our fancy.
Review: Washington DC Afro-electronic fusionists Sol Power All-Stars come to Soul Clap Records with their fifth EP release, which features two original tracks plus a remix apiece. 'Take Heed' is a hypnotic Afro-houser built around steppy tribal percussion, a heavyweight, surging bassline and a gutsy vocal performance from Denise Henderson, while the accompanying Kaytronic Heed N' Dub tones down the Afro percussion and places a nagging synth front and centre. The other original, 'It Ain't Right', is a more soulful, smoother-flowing Afro-house jam with a fine saxophone topline, while the Dubbed In DC Mix takes us into 3am tribal territory.
Review: Those who know their house history will remember Sha-Lor's Jump Street garage classic 'I'm In Love' from back in 1988, but now vocalist Lori Lava returns with daughter Ashanti Maynard in tow and teams up with the Soul Clap boys on a dancefloor workout that pays homage to her Caribbean roots. The House Mix brings MAW's 'Work' to mind and is accompanied by a Lil' T & Eli Soul Clap Dub, while Lonely C takes the track into straight-up soca territory, delivering vocal and instrumental passes with the drums front and centre. A track built for carnival season if ever we heard one!
Review: With veteran vocalist Kathy Brown in tow, Soul Clap is primed and ready to make us freak. In its EP opening "Disco Mix" form, "Ready To Freak" is a near perfect fusion of disco style percussion, proto-house style bold synth bass, jaunty house pianos and a party-starting vocal from the effervescent Brown. For those that want vocal-free thrills, the duo's "Disco Instrumental" should hit the spot, while the alternative "Disco Dub" is a sparse, delay-laden affair that brilliantly doffs a cap to the work of NYC proto-house pioneers such as Paul Simpson, Winston Jones and Boyd Jarvis. Lonely C drags the track into the 21st century on his superb "Club Electronique" and "Dub Electronique" versions. Both boast skipping, garage-influenced drums and a bassline so bold and bass-heavy that it will rattle your rib cage.