Review: If the more leftfield/indie-leaning end of contemporary disco is where you're at, this long-player from Staffordshire's Jack Butters is well worth checking, evidencing as it does a wide range of influences. There's a blues/country twang to cuts like 'Still Got The Feeling', 'Wild West Show' and 'Stake To The Heart', for instance, while 'Searching For You' rocks an Indian-style chanted vocal and 'Chicken Wah Wah' errs on the cosmic side. But the standouts for yours truly are the dark electronic chug of 'Full Panic Mode', the moody, squelchy 'Drowning In Acid' and the nostalgic, piano-driven and fairly self-explanatory 'House That Jack Built'.
Review: It's over 130 years since Edison invented the phonograph, and with the amount of music recorded and released growing exponentially every year, it gets harder and harder for musicians and producers to come up with anything that's truly original or unique-sounding. MASSIVE props, then, to Leeds lad Bob Salmond, whose debut album as Mr BC sits squarely under the nu-disco umbrella yet somehow still calls to mind, in different places, everything from Killing Joke (check those basslines!) to Italo, via funk, new wave, acid house and Lord knows what else. Staggeringly inventive, 'Invisible College' is a must-check!
Review: Mark Ratcliff and his Sarf London-based Rude Audio crew join forces with Liverpudlian Dan Wainwright, of Oddball Records fame, to present this two-track EP on Tici Taci, who specialise in "electric funk rekkids at tempos below 120bpm". 'Early Morning' itself sounds like nothing so much as veteran crusty faves Radical Dance Faction, only here the sparse, dubby, hypnotic groove is topped with a treated indie-style male vocal rather than Chris Bowsher's anarcho poetry, while the accompanying 'Vermilion Standards' continues the 'ominous dub - danger approaches!' theme and sports Rastaman vocal bites. A late-night delight for all you head-nodders and herbalists.
Review: Three years ago, Duncan Gray pitched up on Tici Taci with The Malcontent, a fine collection of druggy, oddball and suitably psychedelic nu-disco chuggers heavily influenced by new wave and the weirder end of '80s synth-pop. This high-quality follow-up explores similar sonic pastures, with Gray strutting between Depeche Mode style dark-pop ('The Owner', 'Twenty Seven Seven Twenty'), early New Order tributes (the acid-flecked 'Frank Lloyd Wrong' and 'Elegia'-ish 'Afer'), post-punk disco darkness ('Gone and Forgotten'), and deep, strobe-lit Italo-disco ('Learn More'). Arguably best of all though is closing cut 'Temps Perdu', an arpeggio-driven monster that's more hallucinatory than your average pot of mushroom tea.
Review: Based in London, Tici Taci specialise in "electric funk rekkids at tempos below 120BPM, with live instruments to the fore". Which makes the label the ideal home for this debut long-player from Albanian producer Uj Pa Gaz, AKA Erlind Hoxha. Across the album's eight tracks you'll find an enchanting cocktail of Balearic, Italo, EBM and straight-up disco influences, with standouts including the lazy, hazy 'Chuga' with its earworm of a whistling synth and 'Nepotik' with its unusual pairing of Underworld-ish synths and vocoder vox, until the gentle, beatless Spanish guitar piece 'Mallorca' brings the album to a more chilled close.
Review: For the label's latest release, the Tiki Taki crew welcomes Shunt Voltage, a debutant artist that clearly loves the more druggy, pitched-down and psychedelic end of the nu-disco spectrum. "Scapeism" is a slo-mo head-nodder that combines weighty, dub disco style bass and colourful, nu-disco style synthesizer motifs with restless (and near mind-altering) electronics, acid style psychedelic TB-303 lines and a variety of spaced-out spoken and sung vocal samples. The effect is undeniably trippy. Sons of Slough provides the first of two accompanying remixes, reaching for the tape delays and reverb in order to emphasize the original version's occasionally buried dub disco credentials, before Two Mamarrachos up the acid factor on a mix so trippy and intense it could create nightmarish hallucinations in unprepared listeners.
Review: A serious helping of phat funk squelch here, served up in trio of mixes to suit a range of different times, moods and dancefloors. The Original Mix sits somewhere between contemporary funk, nu-disco and slo-mo house, as haunting sci-fi/horror synths and assorted bleeps n' squeaks weave their way in and out of the midtempo bass chug that forms the track's backbone. Mr BC's Tweakin' Acid Funk Remix injects a dose of 303 and could work as a warm-up cut on tech-house floors, while the Mijo Mix adds a treated, Germanic-sounding vocal and takes us into new beat/EBM-like territory.
Review: Welsh crew The Long Champs bring us a track that takes its name from a 1978 story by Vivian Stanshall (of Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band fame). In its Original form, 'Opsimath & Eremite' recalls the funkier side of late 70s/early 80s post-punk, while no fewer than four remixes explore other musical territories, frrom Ed Mahon's sinister techno growl to Alejandro Veneno's stripped-back, tripped-out disco, and from Martin Eve's slo-mo acid to Duncan Gray's tribal assault. Not one of the five rubs would be playable at your local Ritzy's, but between them they should keep more open-minded dancefloors grooving nicely.
Good Girls & Bad Boys (Rich Lane dub) - (5:16) 100 BPM
Good Girls & Bad Boys (Duncan Gray remix) - (7:49) 100 BPM
Review: Remixers Rich Lane and Duncan Grey had a tough job on their hands here, because SNEM K's Original version of 'Good Girls & Bad Boys' is pretty hard to improve on, rocking as it does as full-phat, low-slung and sleazy a bass riff as you'll hear all month. It's a pretty sedate affair, and hence one more for warm-up or afternoon than peaktime play, but the combination of that bassline with chorused female vocal oohs, a camp male vocal line and shimmering synths is near impossible to resist. Still, the guys do their best, Lane taking us into even sparser, grindier territory and adding some fine fretwork while Gray tuffens up the beats and ups the pace slightly.
Review: Uj Pa Gaz specializes in chugging, mind-altering fare that sits somewhere between slipped Balearica, dub disco and the kind of psychedelic mid-tempo grooves championed by Andrew Weatherall and Sean Johnston at their Love From Outer Space parties. The latter duo would no doubt love "L", the opening cut from the Albanian's latest EP on Tici Taci. Rich in undulating acid lines, drowsy shoegaze guitar flourishes, head-nodding beats and snaking electronics, it's arguably the release's most potent cut. That said, many of the same stylistic ingredients can also be heard on the similarly impressive, new wave influenced goodness of "Get Your Acid (featuring Duncan Gray)", while head-in-the-clouds closer "Sleep 4416" wraps cascading psychedelic indie-rock guitars around a formidable dub disco bassline.
Knife In A Gunfight (original Demo version) - (7:57) 105 BPM
Knife In A Gunfight (Jack Butters remix) - (7:40) 105 BPM
Knife In A Gunfight (Kieran Holden remix) - (8:37) 111 BPM
Knife In A Gunfight (The Long Champs Monstrous Carbuncle remix) - (8:05) 105 BPM
Review: If I Were King is a band from Cornwall and this is their debut release. While heavy on club-ready revisions, the band's trademark sound - think chunky, atmospheric dub disco with glistening guitar flourishes and ethereal female vocals - takes centre stage on the EP opening "Original Demo Version". It's followed by Jack Butter's intensely druggy peak-time rework of "Knife in a Gunfight", which combines dark and aggressive synthesizer arpeggio lines with razor-sharp TB-303 acid riffs and a hypnotic, bongo-laden rhythm track. Elsewhere, the Long Champs Monstrous Carbunkle Mix is a swirling chunk of electro-fired, otherworldly indie dance, while Kieran Holden layers up the spacey electronics and macabre aural textures on his foreboding revision.
Review: Tici Taci regulars the Long Champs return to action with something different: an EP that contains three original cuts, rather than one plus remixes. They begin Tone Test with a chunk of feverish, foreboding creepiness: a kind of 21st century drug-chug take on the original 1988 version of the KLF's "What Time Is Love" with added low-end sleaziness ("A Postcard"). Wisely, they dip the tempo and leave a little breathing space in the mix on downtempo nu-disco throb-job "Araf", before brilliantly mangling Balearica, dub disco and cosmic disco on the simultaneously fuzzy and glistening closer "Punk Episode". The latter reminded us of Mushrooms Project, which is no bad thing.
Review: Sometime Sons of Slough man Duncan Gray is one of the disco-chug scene's more reliable producers, with releases on Nein, Play Pal and The Exquisite Plain to his name. Predictably, this outing on his own Tici Taci imprint is chock full of mid-tempo, mind-altering treats. Check, for example, the foreboding riffs, lo-fi percussion and strobe-friendly late night electronics of "Tweak", the rave-inspired filth of "Streak", and the low-slung, post-punk inspired darkness of "Freak". Fellow chuggers The Hardway Brothers give their spin on "Tweak", combining Gray's woozy, unsettling electronics with their own breakbeat influenced rhythms and alien melodies.
Review: Uj Pa Gaz (aka Erlind Hoxha) is an Albanian musician who cut his teeth in bands with names like Germs. This is his new solo project though, and this time round he's on a slow and moody Balearic tip. "KuKu" is a brooding, meandering, slo-mo funk jam with lots of tension building guitar motifs, relentless percussion and an ominous chant. "On Rugs" is longer at almost seven minutes in length, and features delayed guitar chimes, more intense drumming and an overall Belgian new beat vibe. The title also reappears in a brighter electro-house-style remix by Did Virgo.
Review: Richard Somerville and Craig Wilson are regular collaborators, and have previously released well-regarded EPs on Funk Me Recordings and, more notably, Danny Was A Drag Queen. This outing on Tici Taci marks their first collaborative outing in nearly three years. They begin with the nine-minute shuffle of "Red Wasps", where undulating, surprisingly druggy synth lines mingle with New Order guitars and cosmic chord sweeps, over a chugging, mid-tempo rhythm. The vintage '90s indie-dance influences become even more apparent on the accompanying "Red Wasps" remix, which features vocals from Future Bones man Romin. Bonus cut "Slippery As Sin" sees the duo sprint towards darker territory, casually welding together new wave, EBM, acid house and Italo-disco influences.
Review: Although Tronik Youth started off as an elector house expert, his very particular strain of nu disco is what's really caught on among our chart-folk. Here he is on Tici Tici with a sublime little horn-blaster in the form of "Always Waxing", a devious club lick that has that rare characteristic of not really belonging to any genre, but simply to the world of dancing. The trio of remixes come from Planet Jumper and his grizzly bass reinterpretation, Duncan Gray's deeper, broodier and absolutely killer version, and Steve Cook's more digi-friendly, paceman-reminiscent take.