Review: It has to be said that the consistency of Boka is something quite phenomenal to take in and witness, with this latest outing from the deadly duo of RDG and Dubape being a perfect example of that. We kick off with the title track 'Storm', which through amazonian atmospherics, gnarly basslines and subtly eastern string plucks kicks us off with some serious flare. Next, the spacey synthesizer moves of 'Drift' add something very different, before 'Brok Out' darkens the vibe with raucous bass movement and satanic vocal delays. Finally, the scattered drum expressions and pounding 808 subs of the speedy 'Decoy' round off the originals, with RSD's old school wobbler of a 'Brok Out' remix adds the final touches to a wicked selection.
Review: The idea that music should stay away from politics is flawed, and Break The Silence is one of the most convincing counter-arguments against this notion. Featuring unreleased tracks donated by a stellar cast of underground electronic music artists, the compilation seeks to raise funds for Campaign Zero, an initiative that campaigns against police violence in the US. With artists like Rob Hood, 4 Hero and Luke Slater all contributing to Break The Silence, the listener really is spoilt for choice while also supporting a great cause. However, the standouts come from Eddie Fowlkes and Jon Dixon, who both drop superb jazz-influenced house tracks.
Review: Having recently notched up a sixth year in business, Fingerman's Hot Digits imprint is in a celebratory mood - hence this all-action round-up of recent delights and unheard treats from the disco-loving label. Encompassing no less than 30 tunes, the collection giddily skips between warming beatdown disco (P-Sol's "Walter"), Mark E style slo-mo loop jams (Vigi's "I'll Be There") and glassy-eyed Balearic nu-disco (Picklejam's "Untitled Love"), before raising its hands skywards as the peak-time party-starters begin to appear thick and fast. Highights in this category include the vibrant jazz-house flex of Dexter Jones' "Swing Thing", the bustling boogie re-edit business of Monsieur Von Pratt's "Let's Dance" and the hearty disco-funk heaviness of Chewy Rubs' "Funky Bee Bop".
Review: Katakana Edits first compilation, 2017's "Crate Diggin", was an epic collection of high-grade re-edits, mash-ups and reworks packed to the rafters with tried-and-tested dancefloor treats. This belated follow-up is even more epic, with the popular label squeezing in no less than 50 tracks that variously touch on riotous disco-funk, dub disco, new wave, disco-rock, deep funk, Afro-boogie, swamp funk, Latin beats, boogie, pitched-down chuggers, boogaloo, hip-hop and everything in between. You'd expect that standard to be high - it is a "best of" collection after all - and it is. If you need an instant armoury of scintillating club cuts, look no further.
Review: Formed in 2012, Bristol duo The Allergies have spent the past eight years crafting a signature style that's like the missing link between Stereo MCs and The Dap Kings. This, their third studio long-player, doesn't throw up any huge surprises - yet again they float effortlessly from party-style hip-hop and funk breaks to effective 'new old' funk and northern soul pastiche - but is notable for its range of guest vocalists, who include Dynamite MC, The Cuban Brothers (on Latin excursion 'Let Them Know') and veteran Ugly Duckling rapper Andy Cooper, not to mention Bristol's own most notorious busker, Mr Woodnote. The Ike & Tina vibes of 'Every Trick In The Book' and the fast-n-furious 'I'm On It' (feat Dr Syntax) are among the highlights.
Review: Largely the port of call for the drum and bass of Fracture & Neptune, Astrophonica's discography has seen curios like Machinedrum, Sully and Om Unit, otherwise known here as Philip D Kick, make an appearance over the years. As We Continue presents Om Unit's second release as 'D Kick' on Astrophonica, which may leave you wondering, do electric sheep dream of dubstep? If there ever was an answer it would most likely be "Drip", while for some uptempo, future bassline house look to "Clouds". With space age soul meeting the frenetic UK rhythms of jungle and bit-graded rave in "The Riveria" this EP moves from woozy ghetto house and footwork in "Summer Modes" to some Drexciyian electro motifs in "160909313", not to mention the post-post future dubstep of "Funk 160". You may pass, totally dope.
Review: Kicking around for ten-plus years in the inter-continental jazz scene is German ensemble The Bahama Soul Club who breathe new life into their project with a new album, Bohemia After Dawn! It presents the outfit's fifth studio LP which this time finds its spirit through the coastlines of Algarve where it was recorded. Drawing deep inspiration from the multicultural verve of young worldly folk drawn to the bohemian coasts of the most southwestern part of Europe - where hippiesque hedonism, infinite musical diversity, and offbeat enchanted lifestyles fuel the scene - downtempo percussion, subby beats and strong vocals ultimately meet in tracks like "Castelejo (Hommage E Vitor Hugo)". Highly relaxed, uber-cool and with a surprisingly fresh and sweet summer sound, Bohemia After Dawn delivers a unique blend of soul, jazz, funk, blues, bossa nova and multicultural sounds.
Review: Given that she has been releasing music since the dawn of the century, we were rather surprised to find that "Skylines-Citylights" is Cinthie Christl's debut album. It is of course something of a vibrant, action-packed treat, with the long-serving DJ, producer, label boss and record shop owner combining elements from a multitude of interconnected genres (think Chicago house, ambient house, UK garage, acid, electronic disco, piano house and rave-era old school flavours) to create a string of timeless, joyous cuts. Highlights are plentiful and include - but are no way limited to - the glassy-eyed bliss of "808 The Meme Queen", the sub0heavy sweatiness of "Concentrate", the warehouse-ready future anthems "Bassline" and "Calling", and the hard-to-pigeonhole brilliance of stunning opener "Skyline".
Review: Well, what more can we say about the Nice Up! team at this point? Their roster and recent catalogue have both been incredible to watch, culminating in this, the sixth edition of their 'Nice Up The Session' compilation series. The line up is outstanding as we see Gentleman's Dub Club, Seanie T, Red Eye HiFi, XL Mad, Origin One and more return to the label for a showcase of some of their most popular releases this year. Two tracks we definitely would like to point out as interesting highlights for this one have to include 'Shards', a lethal future-bashment arrangement from Casement, alongside Champion Sound's explosive jungle rework of Turn Ya Lights On from Escape Roots & Dark Angel. Awesome!
Review: Still reeling from the Linkwood & Foat self-titled collaborative LP released on Athens Of The North earlier this year, Greg Foat, a versatile mainstay in the UK jazz scene, brings in bandmates Moses Boyd, Art Themen, Clark Tracey and Phil Achille to create Symphonie Pacifique. Ebbing and flowing between ambient soul and liquid jazz in the live and improvised "After The Storm", there's lounge time flamenco in "Pointe Venus" to pastoral acid in "Man Vs Machine". Amid cinematic scores and library music you'll find heavy piano chords in the album's hit "Yonaguni" alongside dedications to the late Duncan Lamont ("Lament For Lamont") and 20th century French painters (Henry Valensi) in the cover art. Magnifique!
Review: Good Street have landed somewhat of a gem with this one as they invite the collaborative forces of Jonny Megabyte and RT1MC inside for a six track bonanza, kicking off with the haunted, unpredictable flavours of the title track 'Rolled Notes & Anecdotes'. Next, 'SmokeOnItMon' sees Megabyte roll out solo for a melancholic piece of harmonic design, with 'Freestyle Heat' seeing the RT1MC returning for more rave-ready vocal work. Next, 'QVC Is My HBO' takes us down a somewhat euphoric road, before 'Hunstanton Warriors' takes us back down a gloomy alley of sound. Finally, Megabyte's solo outro on 'Falling In Love' sees out the project in style, glistening in colourful vibes from start to finish, lovely!
Review: Next up from Al Wootton, we see him unveil his latest LP, showcasing his eccentric yet delicate approach to bass music down to an absolute t. We kick off with a look at 'Come Close', which gives the classic dancehall triplet rhythm an electronic update, before the warbling synthesizer throws and minimal drum clicks of the title track 'Witness' arrive in style. Next, 'Gloamer' combines bouncy drum patterns with reverberated atmospheric pressure to deliver a spacey experience, followed by the sub-busting basslines and nostalgic chord flexes of 'Over' alongside the high tempo drum expressions of 'Sema'. From here we then take in the meditative delays and pounding rhythms of 'A Clean Heart' followed by the darkened breakbeat rolls of 'Starlite Xpress' before finishing up with the groovy rhythmic twists of 'Cephas'. What a project this is!
Review: Colliding cool jazz with post-UK and post-US club sounds, Kuna & Maze revitalise their palettes with a fresh album that lifts its influences from Chicago footwork, UK garage and two-step to Detroit house! In a truly refreshing and unique album from the French- Bruxelles duo, the pair do Tru Thoughts a true service by delivering a colourful and spritely album that's as much broken beat as is beat down and beautiful. With too many influences and genres to mention, this will go down with us as Tru Thoughts' best release of the year. Our picks? "JPS", "ZBRA" and "Monopoli Driver". Tip!
Review: These days Steffi Doms doesn't release that much music, though what she does put out tends to be top-notch. Her first outing of 2020 is indeed a belter, with the three showcased cuts offering a polished, atmospheric and gently intergalactic take on deep house that's as cultured as it is club ready. Regular collaborator Virginia guests on fine opener "Reasons", adding effortlessly evocative vocals to an attractive bed of unfussy house beats, bold analogue bass, sustained chords and spacey synth stabs. "Fallin" is a dreamier and brighter affair rich in skittish machine drums, whistling chords, tactile pads and gentle piano motifs, while closing cut "November" is an ultra-deep chunk of poignant sci-fi house that's as warm and comforting as a much-needed late night hug.
Review: Now we appear to have stumbled onto something very special indeed here as Riffs links up with PROJKTS to unleash a vibrant five track delivery, kicking off with the industrial percussive lines and unpredictable rhythmic manoeuvres of 'Paperclip'. We dive into a more traditional techy creation next as the catchy vocal slices and moogy bassline lead of 'Bootleg Anthem' give us a punchy second coming, before the post-funky drum movements and catchy patois vocal lines of 'My Weapon' continue the good energies. Finally, we move into the 80's inspired synthesizer bangs and choppy snare smashes of the title track 'Quake', to send the whole EP down a completely different direction, coming complete with a gnarly, chop heavy remix to match. Amazing work.
Review: Fred Und Luna claim to be a pair of fashion store mannequins and have described their music as "Krautelectro". In real life it's just one guy, Karlsruhe native Rainer Buchm?ller, but the Krautelectro part is as good a tag for the music he makes as any! The influence of Ralf, Dorian and co is stamped all through the headphones-friendly 'Im Weltenraum' like a stick of rock - and Buchm?ller thankfully has the chops to carry it off - but the album's perhaps at its most interesting when that glacial synth-y blueprint is departed from slightly, as on opener 'Zkyklopaedie Nummer 28', where delicate piano gives way to an ominous electronic bassline, or on the funk-infused 'Disco Nueve'.
Review: Based out of Guadalajara, Mexico, Calypso Records as a label has slowly bubbled to the surface since appearing on the scene in 2017. Founded by Thomass Jackson and Inigo Vontier, the label gives a full debut and EP to French producer Kubebe out of Lille, gifting a high profiled remix from Thomas Von Party. Filled with rain, watery percussion and dripping field recordings in tracks like "Yonaguni" and "Surin", Kubebe indulges in a world of ambient and exotica that meets house music and new age styles. With more direct future funk and suggestive French electronic elements in "Angiyu", find some tougher disco industrialisms and new wave influences in the title-track given an tribal and rhythm centric 'Collapsing Lifestyle' remix by TVP.
Review: It's been raining Luke Vibert in 2020 with the legendary producer teaming up with Hypercolour for a trilogy of LPs, bringing with it new and neo genres like Modern Rave, and now Rave Hop. restoring some credibility to the lost art of breakbeat and sample culture, Vibert's productions are on point here while exploring different eras of dance music history in the process. Crafted with unique, original and refreshed vintage samples, each track, depending on its element, will transport you across a classic timeline; be it straight up old school hip hop, 90s drum and bass and early chicago house, to soul, disco and jazz before that; all cut up and repackaged in a contemporary and referential approach to rave and its continued legacy.
Review: The time is now for John Beltran, a much loved Detroit producer and too often unchampioned legend of the ambient melodica garde. A marquee artist on Delsin for some years now, The Season Series presents a collection of motif-tipped and colorful compositions that draw on beatless atmospheres that on two occasions blissfully trip through classic Detroit house in tracks like "Lustrous Orb" and "Sunflower". Elsewhere, the LP focuses on beatless bleep and melodica in "Euphoric Dream Ocean", "You Interalize Them" and "Lose You", to the almost Enya-like "I Can Chase You Forever". For John Betran fans, this is a must.
Review: Just This celebrate their tenth anniversary with X, a compilation that skirts at the edges of ambient, techno and even pop. Those more mainstream elements are audible on Mind Against's epic remix of Blausch's "Brood" while on "Good Old Days", Woo York's thumping electronic groove also features pop vocals. There's a darker side to Just This' canon, and this comes through on Yotam Avni's brooding "Name Dropping" and the low-slung,frazzled groove of Extrawelt's "Ort Und Impuls (Alternate Version)". However, what really shines through are the dreamy techno grooves from Hunter/Game and Sterac's "Hypnotized", a powerful club track that combines firing percussion with seductive, Detroit techno-style bass.
Review: Debutant Devakuo has yet to make his mark in music, though last year he did provide some beats for a Spanish hip-hop album by Madrid-based MC Rayden. "Trippin" is his first solo single, and it's really rather good. In its original form, the track features a quirky, heavily accented male vocal riding a mixture of tipsy, drunken synth sounds, similarly woozy chords and dusty, head-nodding hip-hop beats. The "C'mon Mix" that follows re-casts the track as a bass-heavy, percussive chunk of eccentric house rich in jazz-funk flourishes, while the Alieto Destiny Flow Remix sits somewhere between chugging nu-disco and rushing neo-trance. To complete the packafe, Cloon re-imagines the track as a slab of quesy late night electro.
Review: Well we can safely say that new school reggae is alive and well as we take a listen to this terrific link up between the legendary production skill sets of Numa Crew and the touching vocals of XL Mad for a system rattler by the name of 'Real Reggae Music'. It's a match made in heaven as XL Mad delivers a sweet, well arranged vocal line doused in singalong-ready harmonic structures over the super weighty sounds of Numa Crew's flawless riddim below. This release also comes complete with a highly energetic jungle rethink from T-Kay, which adds a fantastic level of variation to the project as a whole.
Review: It would appear that Off-Switch Audio are back at it again as they unveil another lethal four track selection, this time welcoming in Boneless to showcase his exceptional skill set. We begin with the shuffling snares and haunted chime-drive melodies of the title track 'Sleepwalking', which for us sets the tone nice and early. From here, the almost acidic use of arpeggios in 'Hungry Belly' becomes very apparent, combining the it's subtle chord progressions and rumbling subs to create a spacey masterpiece. Next up we take in the bulbous bass tones and blippy synth slaps of 'GaMe OvEr' before the rave-inspired jungle drums and spooky atmospheric pads of 'Trigger Point' close the lid on an exceptional project. Lovely work!