Review: Having previously featured on some pretty hot labels over the last few years, most notably Midnight Riot, sometime Get Down Edits "family member" Jay Ru pops up on Hot Digits with his most expansive release to date. It begins a quartet of varied, sample-heavy productions, with highlights including the head-nodding, Beatdown style dancefloor soul bliss of opener "Such A Long Time", the bubbly, horn-heavy tropical nu-disco bounce of "Flippin' The Bird", and the multi-coloured, club-ready goodness of Fingerman hook-up "Sweet Hum". The equally as impressive remixes that follow include a superb bumping house meats nu-disco revision of "Movin' On" by Paul B, and a rolling, peak-time tweak of "Flippin' The Bird" by Fingerman and Chewy Rubs.
Review: First released on wax almost three years ago, Hade's first edits EP for Razor 'N' Tape has finally made it to digital download. This is undoubtedly a great thing, because it's arguably one of the Brooklyn imprint's strongest collections of cuts to date (and that's saying something). He opens via the sweaty, occasionally dubbed-out disco-funk goodness of "Say What You Wanna Say", whose combination of killer grooves and slowly building heaviness guarantees good times. He flips the script entirely on "Jeep Cherokee XJ", crafting a killer hip-hop jam out of dusty jazz samples and boom-bap beats, before dancing his way through an early slab of harmonica-laden disco-rap ("My Thang"). To round things off, Hade once more joins the dots between hip-hop and jazz on hazy closing cut "Range Rover HSE".
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: As always with the Innamind team, we are in for somewhat of a treat here as Las unveils a weighty six track experiment, kicking off with the siren-like synth leads and scattered percussive grooves of 'Flo'. From here, the pleasing, spacey chord progressions and pulsating sub structures of 'Trippin' arrive in a flash before the aquatic bass tones and glittering chiming flutters of 'Float' bring us something completely different. Following this, 'Swamp Dub' stays very true to its name with some squelchy bass work before the dubwise drum designs of 'Tarot' and slow marching bass notation of 'Morning Glow Dub' put the final touches on a pretty exceptional package.
Review: Since launching in 2016, Kevin Griffiths' Isle of Jura label has become one of the most talked about imprints around, something we attribute to its inspired mix of dusty-fingered crate-digging reissues and the Australia-based Brit's own colourful productions as Jura Soundsystem. This label sampler tells the story so far, gathering together some of the most sought-after slabs from the imprint's growing catalogue. Highlights are plentiful throughout, from the disco-reggae sunshine of Yvonne Archer's cover of Chaka Khan favourite "Ain't Nobody", and the deep ambient house trip that is the 'Sun & Moon Mix" of Holy Ghost Inc's "Walking On Air", to the flute-laden, unearthly new age exotica of Zann's "Tatopani" and the hazy, synth-laden Balearic bliss of Chayell's "Beach". In a word: essential.
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: Given the distinctive quality of his heavily electronic, mind-soothing fusions of deep house, dub techno and sprightly electronica, any new album from Shinichi Atobe is good news. It's especially welcome when it's the first full-length he's released in two years, as is the case with the immaculate "Yes". Melodious, life-affirming and lusciously otherworldly, it sees the Japanese producer drift between off-world dub-house (the superbly spaced-out "Lake 2"), jazzy electronic house bliss ("Yes"), percussive deep space dancefloor soundscapes (the layered drums, twinkling pianos and futuristic synth sounds of "Lake 3"), and the kind of echoing, hard-to-pigeonhole headiness that defies easy categorization ("Rain 3"). In a word: superb.
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: The three previous volumes in Klassified's "The Feather's Eyes" compilation series have provided a superior selection of "organic and earthly music" with an emphasis on aural beauty and embracing different sounds and styles from around the world. Volume four naturally explores similar sonic territory, pleasantly shuffling between chugging and picturesque downtempo grooves (Mathfoud & Joep Mencke's "Shuro"), shuffling Balearic beats (Harry Charles "An Explosion of of Sunrise/Sunset"), jazzy deep house soul (Parrallels & Fulltone's "How Can I Resist"), extra-percussive, tech-tinged, Middle Eastern house hypnotism (Nhii's "The Journey of Liberation"), enveloping, slowly building deep-tech beauty (Maga's "Dolce Aqua"), and Clavinet-sporting dub disco hedonism (Pandhora & VANDER's "Disco Bebek").
Review: Hot on the heels of recent Isle Of Jura label compilation 'Tales Of Jura' comes a new six-track EP from label boss Jura Soundsystem AKA Kevin Griffiths himself. Griffiths cites "dub, ambient house, leftfield disco and Balearica" as influences - a contention that's readily borne out by the grooves contained herein, with the first two tracks getting things going in a dubby kinda vein before more electronic influences start to hold sway. 'Wonder Drops' is a particular stand-out, coming on like slowed-down Chi-town house heard through a sunshine haze, while 'With You' will please the leftfield/downtempo spinners and 'Movement' could find its way into progressive or minimal sets.
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: Channelling earthly spirits more than ever before on this latest Summer Sol compilation is a vast collection of artists who are clearly deft in the art of combining traditional and acoustic elements with amplified production processes of the modern day. Filled with deep and techy sounds all the more, this compilation brims with the spiritual klang of ancient percussive teachings, tasteful pan pipes and plucked strings from the world over. Find this alongside epic basslines in Yamil's "Hedia", Ayala's jazz-tipped "Spectre" to the slower-motion and chugging beats of "Vimana (feat Helia Jamali)". And for that dubby tip, we suggest "Shantallion" by Novalima & Israel Vich.
Review: "Shall we go to the disco?" asks opener 'Do The Disco', but it's a fairly rhetorical question because after hearing the four tracks here, resistance to such an idea is gonna be pretty much futile! 'Do The Disco' is a looping affair but with a sound palette that's wide-ranging enough for things not to get boring. 'No Strutting' is a more contemplative, introspective kinda cut (albeit still very struttable, despite the title), while the instrumental and fairly self-explanatory 'Pianomania' takes us down a housier route before 'The Starlight' plays us out on a more chilled note - one for the Balearic jocks.
Review: A serious scoop for the Soul Clap label out of the US is the FSQ outfit, an entourage and collective founded by George Clinton's nephew Sa'd and 'Chuck'. The two met as touring members for Parliament Funkadelic,and were later joined by eight-time Grammy nominated G Koop. Drawing in as many collaborations as N.A.S.A's 2010 The Big Bang album, find all matter of industry and funk guardians on Reprise Tonight with the likes of Nona Hendryx in "Peel Back", Fonda Rae on "11am", Talking Heads' own Dolette McDonald in "What They Don't Know" to George Clinton himself on "Dancefloor Democracy". A truly fresh inspiration for funk music in 2020, delve into an LP full of contemporary driving funk that's full of stomping grooves, heavy percussion and surfing basslines, with artwork by original P-Funk artist R. Stozo to boot!
Review: The term 'Balearic' too often just means "light and fluffy" these days, but here's a five-track various artists EP that really captures the original eclectic, genre-defying Balearic spirit. Absentune's 'Sea Fog' is a midpaced electronic headnodder, Antaares's 'Osadi' takes us into downtempo pastures with birdsong, langorous synths and Spanish-language spoken vocal samples, while Tlazohtla's 'Lluvia Lunar' operates in similar territory but with a dubbier feel. The Valtierra & Die Jungle's slo-mo chugger 'Mon Frere' then urges us back onto the dancefloor with its off-kilter bleeps and ominous, rumbling bass, before Xaman's 'Ambar' plays us out on a dreamy, hypnotic note.
Review: With Italy hit hardest by the Coronavirus and lockdown right now, Milan crew, collective and glitterazzi Rollover keeps hope alive! Normally a trusted party for Milano's Apollo club (that's brought the likes of Tiga, Maurice Fulton, Ame and Bambounou to town), Rollover is the place and project for DJ duo and label owners Rocco Fusco & Tiberio Carcano to work their magic. In times of crisis Rollover presents a special initiative via their "ANYTHING GOES" edit service, welcoming voluntary contributions that pay homage to the spirit of Balearic music and beyond! Expect tracks from 2manydjs, Adam Port, Soul Clap, Boombass, Moscoman and Bill Brewster, among many others, with proceeds going to the official emergency fund set up by the Italian Civil Protection Department destined for the COVID-19 crisis in Italy.
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: Since debuting under his given name in 2017 (before that he delivered solo productions as Heretic), Eskimo Twins member Timothy Clerkin has released must-check music on Ransom Note Records, Insult To Injury, Throne of Blood, and now Sprechen. His brand of psychedelic nu-disco tends towards the cosmic and otherworldly, and that's exactly what opener "War Wolf" delivers: think tumbling analogue synthesizer melodies, chugging grooves, raw bass and Enigma-style synth-flute lead lines. In contrast, "Acid Drive" is a bold and bright affair build around wild TB-303 acid lines, baggy piano riffs and bleeping, eyes-closed melodies, while closing cut "Bleak House (Clerkin's Reprise Mix)" - made in collaboration with "Night Giants" - is a moody, pitched-down take on dreamy, acid-flecked breakbeat house.