Review: You're only five years old once, so why not celebrate in style? And here Warrington lad Danny Worrall's disco and re-edits label Masterworks Music do just that, with an anniversary collection packing a whopping 50 back catalogue nuggets. You'll excuse us the full track-by-track, then, but suffice to say that this is the label that helped launch the careers of Dr Packer and Natasha Kitty Katt, both of whom feature here, and with names like Ziggy Phunk, Rayko, Alkalino, Chuggin' Edits and Fabiolous Barker also on bill, you should already have a pretty good idea what to expect. Classy stuff all round, and a great VFM package - here's to five more years!
Review: If you were looking to nominate a producer for the (entirely imaginary) "nu-disco don of 2019" award, Andy Buchan would be a strong contender. Here he rounds off a hugely successful year via a four-track missive on Masterworks Music. He begins with a driving slab of tooled-up funk fuzziness (the straightened-out righteousness of "Brand New Girl (Billy Garner Edit)", before flexing his disco muscles on the string-laden, percussion-heavy mid-tempo sweetness of "Bless My Soul (Bettye Swan Edit)". 'Disco Overtime (G'Night Edit)" is a filter-sporting take on a mid-80s dancefloor gem rich in soulful vocals, glistening guitars and colourful synths, while "Let's Dance (JB's Bo Horne Edit)" re-imagines a sing-along 1980s classic as a bump-along exercise in filter disco.
Review: According to our records, "Back2ThaBeatdown" marks Hot Digits boss Fingerman's first solo single for almost three years. As the title suggests, the music on the EP was inspired in part by Detroit Beatdown, a mid-tempo style more associated with deep house than the disco cuts the British producer has used as his source material. Our pick of a strong quartet of cuts is "High Priorities", a rolling disco instrumental re-imagined as a toe-tapping slice of mid set dancefloor dreaminess. That said, other listeners will rightly gravitate towards the excitable, string-laden disco-funk of "Brass Monkeys", the even heavier and hazier "Don't Leave Me, Yeah?" and the rubbery disco-house grooves of "The Feel Good Factor".
Review: As the year comes to a close, labels are naturally offering up celebratory compilations showcasing their strongest releases of 2019. The latest comes from Midnight Riot, a prolific imprint that rarely fails to serve up the fieriest contemporary disco heat. As you'd expect, the 26-track selection includes a blend of superb original productions (the nu-disco soul warmth of Jack Tyson Charles' "Glory", Alton Edwards sweaty, synth-bass propelled boogie-house gem "I Just Wanna Spend Time With You", the swirling disco headiness of Arthur Baker's "Reachin' Out") and re-edits/reworks (Dr Packer's gospel boogie revision "The Power", C Da Afro's disco-funk slammer "Party Purpose" and the suitably celebratory "Boogie On Time" by Ladies On Mars). As you'd expect, the quality threshold remains impressively high throughout.
Review: Midnight Right's Afrobeat, Afro-funk and Afro-disco inspired "Riot In Lagos" compilation is arguably one of the label's standout releases of the last few years, so it's exciting to hear that volume two is on the way. To give us a taste of what's to come, the Yam Who-helmed imprint has offered up this rock solid sampler. Krewcial kicks things off via the jaunty, sax-heavy brilliance of "Mabina" - a kind of swinging, bass-heavy disco tribute to Fela Kuti - before Get To Know cheerily dance through mid-80s Nigerian boogie/synth-soul pastures on the wonderful "Fugar" re-edit. The EP also boasts two versions of Situation's Afro-centric cut "Wonky": a deep and jazzy Afro-house version by Frank Situation rich in glistening jazz guitar solos, and an even hazier and more hypnotic Mr Mulatto take.
Review: Next on Sleazy McQueen's ever reliable Lovedancing label is a proper stalwart of the New York City music scene who should need no introduction - the one the only The Juan Maclean. On his new EP The Lone Dancer, get stoned into the groove of the infectious disco house stomper "Body Language Pro" which then receives a worthy rework by label main man McQueen in collaboration with Cole Medina, and followed by the lo slung boogie down antics of "Let Me Come Into Your Life".
Review: French house legend Alan Braxe teamed up with Parisian "urban folk, ghetto funk and soulful pop" duo The Spimes to release the original 'Moments In Time' EP back in 2013, and now it's back with a whole bunch of new remixes, just in time for the new decade. The mood overall is "The Beloved meets 80s synth-pop in Ibiza", with the new rubs of 'Time Machine' ranging from the spangly and dancefloor-friendly (Le Crayon) to the laidback and dreamy (Chateaubriand), and 'One More Chance' served in your choice of glacially chilled or fat-assed n' strutty flavas courtesy of Memory Tapes and Lifelike, respectively.
Review: Shady scalpel field Lolita clearly has a vast archive of edits just waiting to be unleashed, as this bumper collection of tried-and-tested reworks follows hot on the heels from several other seemingly expansive volumes. So what you we expect this time round? It begins with a warm, drowsy and sun-kissed slab of soft focus soul ("051") and ends with a decidedly Balearic shuffler full of glistening, delay-laden guitars ("060"); in between, you'll find a mix of re-tooled classics (the piano-heavy disco stomp of "059", the slap-bass propelled brilliance of peak-time workout "056" and the party-starting goodness of "055") and rearranged obscurities (the Italo-disco/new wave throb of "057" and the deep disco bliss of "053"). From start to finish, it's an excellent collection of tasty, floor-focused revisions.
Review: A resident of The White Isle going on a couple of years now, Nicola Porra aka Elkins is the latest newcomer to emerge from the Knee Deep In Sound powerhouse. As a DJ, the Sardinia native takes listeners on an electrifying journey with his signature sound of melodic deep house, accented by groovy Afro influences. These sonic aspects are definitely apparent on his debut release, with the slinky and hypnotic groove of "Elements" sure to invoke a higher state of consciousness on the dancefloor, while the moody and powerful impact of peak time cut "Uluwatu" still retains an undeniable progressive house vibe - and is just as emotive.
Review: Jean Tonique has been serving up slabs of goodness for a couple of years now, with each successive EP offering a little more dancefloor fire than its predecessor. For that reason we weren't surprised to discover that his first offering of 2020, "Scrambled Eggs", is one of his strongest releases to date. For proof, check out the heavy disco-funk bass, sweaty loops, bustling beats and sun-kissed synthesizer lines of righteous opener "Dance", and the bouncy, French Touch-influenced cheeriness of the similarly inclined - but arguably even better - "Menari". Closing cut "Ballare", which reminded us a little of Daft Punk classic "One More Time", is also well worth a listen.
Review: Deeper warehouse industrial techno and rhythm tracks from Spanish techno producer Dosem. Weighing in somewhere between the middle and heavier scales of techno,all the while navigating a shifting zone of atmospherics and melody, kick drums vary from subby and deep in "Evidence" to stripped back and solid in "Instead". For a rougher side of Dosem's sound it's tracks like "Restart This" - with its pulsating bassline - and EP highlight "Badgood" that also blend and form into synthy walls of groovy sound.
Review: Last year Krewcial plied his wares on a variety of well-regarded labels, most notably Robsoul Recordings and Let's Play House. Here the Belgian producer kick-starts 2020 via an impressively expansive EP on Midnight Riot. We can imagine righteous, gospel-tinged piano-house opener "His Name" becoming a peak-time anthem in both disco and house clubs, while gospel-disco edit "Each Night" and bouncy, horn-laden Afro-funk cut "Mabina" are also superb. The set also boasts two alternate takes on "His Name": a cheery, warehouse-ready "Chitown Mix" and the slightly more gospel-fired "Harlem Stomp Mix".
Review: Going by the volume of tracks on show, it would be fair to say that Masterworks Music's "Bag of Tricks" is not a little handbag, but more like a Mary Poppins style bottomless carpetbag. The label's latest rummage through its seemingly endless contents has been a successful one, with the 20 showcased cuts including a wealth of fine fusions of disco, house, boogie, electro and 80s soul. It's uniformly dancefloor-focused, with highlights including the Afro-house/disco-tech fusion of JB Dizzy, the driving, spaced-out disco-house grooves of Mike Woods, the loose-limbed, off-the-wall edits of Chewy Rubs, the sweet disco-soul bounce of RocknRolla Soundsystem, the delay-laden synth sing-along styles of Rayko and the hot-to-trot brilliance of Downunder Disco.
Review: A new sampler here from Herve's London-based label Cheap Thrills, showcasing new and emerging talent. Sample 1.0 features Standard Issue from Nottingham delivering some dark UK bassline vibes on the very Roska Kicks & Snares sounding "Hear This" and the wonky late night groove of "Seen Enough", Huff gives you a taste of the acid life on "Not Again" and the electrifying party starter "Everybody", while London's ascendant CutWires (Perfect Driver / Youth Control) gets deep down and dirty on the gritty street sound of "Guhnz". Looking forward to what else is in store for this promising new series.