Review: There are super-collabo and then there are genuinely epic hook-ups like this. Plasma bossman Safire and MC/poet/soulman extraordinaire DRS are the consistent figures across both tracks as two of the best producers in the game join in for each piece. Skeppy takes the lead with the purring, deep breath creeper "With You". The ideal glacial bed for Del's cold bars, if you're not goosebumping to this there's something wrong with your soul. Similarly, if you're not swooning in good vibrations to "Set The Bar" - this time with absolute OG Zed Bias joining them on dials - then you should call a doctor ASAP. What a release.
Review: Rub-a-dub-dub, a bunch of producers in the tub, none of them are clean because they're all making proper stinkers for Ghetto Dub. And these are a handful of examples. As the label unleashes the parts to some of its many key recent releases to four exciting talents. Man-of-the-moment Sikka takes the lead with a crucial tear-up of Vinyl Junkie & SR's "Peace Pipe" while Ly Da Buddah adds a whole new twist to Rachel EC's "All Rudeboys & Rudegirls" with an immense chainsaw bassline that cuts right through the mix. Elsewhere we get tremendously woozy and wonky with DJ Gaw's remix of Bill & Ed's "These Streets" before Dublic closes the show with an absolutely savage junglised slap-down of "Paradise Lost". Rerub? Rewind more like!
Review: Masterworks Music's latest thoroughly enjoyable EP is a collaborative affair. It sees sometime Midnight Riot artist Ladies On Mars join forces with fellow Beunos Aries resident Gus Fastuca for the very first time. The pair first offers up two versions of "Moody Boody": a rubbery, P-funk flavoured original version built around elastic synth parts, sweet female backing vocals and bustling bass guitar, and a chunkier "Club Mix" that features a tougher, Italo-influenced groove. Elsewhere, "My Baby" is a rugged romp through guitar-sporting disco-funk re-edit territory and "Party People" cleverly combines samples from an early '80s disco-funk cut and a thunderous new, Girorgio Moroder style groove.
Review: The Anglo-German duo who made a splash with the funky, percussive 'Rolling Jazz' earlier this year return with a two-tracker on German label Sprechen. 'One Two One' is another deep funker, centring around a hefty, lolloping bassline that's paired with brass fanfares, disco strings and a filtered female "let's get onto a one-to-one situation" vocal, while the accompanying 'Got To Have Your Dub' is a livelier affair with saxophone and trumpets much in evidence, a funk guitar squiggle that loops throughout and a "baby, got to have your love" male vocal snip. The latter nudges towards disco-house, but in pleasingly non-cheesy fashion.
Review: Grid Recordings have been on an absolute tear the past year or so, with everything that comes through their doors sounding slick and firmly on the pulse of D&B in 2019. This time around it's a compilation featuring some of their most reliable producers, who, characteristically, have come through in a big way. Jayline & Macpherson's 'Look & Listen' is a spacious, atmospheric creeper than packs a serious punch, one that emerges through a soundscape of celestial tones. Nick The Lot definitely has one of the standout tunes with 'This Planet', keeping up the space theme and also keeping up the trend of twisting, expansive basslines that ripple with energy - proper roller this. KY's 'Dreams' is in the same vein and even more futuristic and techy, which shows that Grid can do things in all styles. Head Nodders indeed.
Review: Mexico's Deep Sense serve up a six-track EP that shows there's more than one way to go about repurposing a classic. Rather than simply looping up chunks of the original, the edits here get a little more creative - Sauco & Manuel Costela's 'Are We Ready?', for instance, takes the vocal from Fatback's 'Bus Stop' vocal and places it over a fresh (and utterly irresistible) funk backing, while on 'Last Nite' Tony Disco uses a similar trick to reinvent an InDeep classic in altogether sultrier, jazzier form. An equally well-known chanted vocal tops the brass-tastic 'Flamingo' from Hot Mood, and there are three more very playable nuggets where those came from!
Review: With such a star-studded line-up of old and new talent involved, it's little surprise to find that De La Groove's latest multi-artist EP is seriously good. Check first the breezy and soulful US garage revivalism of Art of Tones' impeccable "So Sweet", before turning to the slightly more UK garage influenced "A Quiet Love" by Scott Diaz, a track that somehow manages to be both deliciously bouncy and seductively soulful. Elsewhere, Cody Currie's "As of Yet (featuring Joel Holmes)" is a vibraphone and Rhodes-heavy chunk of deep house dreaminess, Pontchartrain's "Don't Change Up" is a loopy slab of bespoke disco-house and Goddard's "Almasti" sounds like a nu-disco era riff on Pepe Bradock deep house classic "Deep Burnt".
Review: In sporting terms, statistics tell us that teams do better on "home turf". It seems a fitting title then for House of Disco's latest multi-artist extravaganza, which is the musical equivalent of a thumping 5-0 home win with free beers and hugs at full time. The standard is uniformly high throughout, from the bounding bounciness of LPM's rap-sampling disco-house cut "Get With It", to the impeccably warm and sun-kissed jazz-house vibes of Purple Ice's "Adeus". In between you'll find the rolling, synth-heavy warmth of Mix & Fairbanks' deliciously loved-up "Shergar's Revenge" and "Me, You, Us", a chunky sample-house number by Shee full of swirling strings, looped guitar riffs, hazy chords and righteous spoken word samples.
Review: Original Nuttah is one of the, arguably the biggest, most seminal jungle track of all time. It's been 25 years of this track tearing up the dance and to celebrate, this very special single has been dropped with an updated VIP of the original and a huge Chase and Status remix. 'Original Nuttah 25' stays true to the original but switches up the intro a bit, making it a tad more spacious and injecting an extra element of wobbly energy. Chase and Status' remix has been doing the dub rounds for quite a while and deservedly so, with a ridiculously hype-inducing build up and another vocal layer from IRAH of 'Program' fame. Unreal stuff from some of the biggest legends in the scene.
Review: A cross-border collaboration here as Austin, Texas-based nu disco producer The Silver Rider joins forces with his Mexican counterpart Fernando Mendoza, AKA The Funk District, for a split EP on Whiskey Disco. The Silver Rider brings us 'Woman', a pacey, looping funk groove with a neat line in rasping bass and spoken, Euro-style vox, and 'Hustle Up', which comes on like a Blaxploitation funk jam. Then it's over to The Funk Rider for 'Imaki Ra Reo', a lively, Latin-leaning affair with a hefty bottom end and some truly wild sax blasts, and 'The Root Of Evil', which like 'Hustle Up' has an understated, soundtrack-y feel.
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: Detroit Swindle is amongst the most reliable artists operating in the overgrown no-man's-land between house, disco and boogie. That much is confirmed by "The Life Behind Things", which marks their first outing on Heist since last year's "High Life" LP. Title track "The Life Behind Things" is positive, ear-pleasing and dancefloor friendly, with the experienced pair peppering bouncy beats and thickset synth bass with joyous organ riffs (reminiscent of those found on Timmy Thomas soul classic "Why Can't We Live Together"), wobbly acid lines, jaunty piano stabs and female vocal snippets. Lorenz Rhode collaboration "Music For Clubs" is arguably even more rush inducing in its retro-futurist piano house intent, while Isoul8's remix of the title track is a swirling, soulful and decidedly tactile chunk of deep house brilliance.
Review: What do the words 'Undergound' and 'Major' mean to you, in combination? To us they allude to a sound that's both big and made for the club, the sort of tones which blow up the dance every day of the week around the world. Jayline has been responsible for a few in the past and this time is no different, with a stellar release on Underground Major Audio, featuring the vocals of Champian.'Run Dis Show' is the title track and it's a wicked little skipper, Champian hovers above and Jayline murks the bassline beneath.
Joe Ford & Shrike - "Face Dancer" - (4:37) 174 BPM
Kutlo - "Short Wire" - (4:10) 172 BPM
Liveon - "Basso Ostinato" - (4:22) 172 BPM
Psynchro - "Neogen" - (5:50) 170 BPM
Review: Eatbrain return with more flesh-gobbling bruisers in the form of this massive V/A album Divergence II. Following where the inaugural collection left us back in March 2018, once again it's an epic rollcall of Eatbrain artists and friends with no boundaries in terms of subgenre or expectation. Highlights include the slippery kicks and technoid funk of Zombie Cats "Lost", the ravey-style pitched up vocals and A.M.C style energy of the drop on Catastrophe's "Pretender" the insane VIP level-p of Tobax's "Burning" and Burr Oak's schizoid riot "Orbit".... But these are just the tip of the brain-eating iceberg. Jade's label remains bang on-point as ever.
Review: Biological Beats have a bit of a reputation for spewing out some of the most venomous beats in the business and their talent for pushing some of the best unknown artists on the jump-up spectrum is undeniable. Profile & Sub Killaz are holding up that standard and they're doing it in style, something clear right from the start of this EP. 'Link Up' reels you in with a lovely reggae-influenced intro, it's upbeat beginnings quickly regressing to a siren-like wail of pure energy that's reminiscent of Kings of the Rollers and insanity more generally. The rest of the release is equally aggressive, 'Rebel Boy' has a really interesting, stabby bassline and 'Sword Style' switches things up in a really cool way. Banging.
Review: There have been few labels that have impressed us at Juno Download more than Strictly Flava this year, primarily due to their incredible levels of consistency. This latest drop is a fantastic way to demonstrate that as they unveil the first of the 'Strictly Flava Allstars' series, with Brenz starting proceedings with a super groovy vocal mashup entitled 'Lingerie Music'. Next, Tuff Culture touches down with a big room roller entitled 'Vibrations', before the colourful melodies of Para's 'Promise' and old school LFO work of Pepe Elle's 'Fresh Pillow' roll out. Finally, we find ourselves with a really original piece as Sensa lays down some refreshing sub work, alongside smart vocal assists on 'Let It Go' to polish this one off with some serious finesse.
Review: Technique Recordings, founded by Drumsound & Bassline Smith back in 1999, is turning 20 this year and they're releasing a huge remix compilation to celebrate. Featuring remixes from artists old and new of Technique's best tracks, mostly originals from the founders themselves, this album stretches across 27 heavy, dancefloor numbers. The first outing, a remix of 'Come With Me' by Bladerunner, is classic KoTR vibes and we love the array of twisting, snarling basses that fans of this producer will recognise. Shouts also to Digital for his swirling remix of 'I Need Somebody', featuring some classic amens, and also Smooth for his popping remix of Tantrum Desire's 'Vybez'. Top stuff from a stalwart of the scene.
Review: Damage Report has been doing, well, damage, over on Grid Recordings for a little while now and so this next release could actually be considered somewhat overdue. Never fear, however, as a remix release for the man himself is upon us and boy, it's been worth the wait. Courtesy of Lupo, Nick The Lot, Twisted Individual, Warhead, Matt View and Marvel Cinema, Damage Report has been given the onceover in a way that freshens things up by stays true to the original. Nick The Lot's remix of 'Time Lapse' is the standout contribution from a crowded field, his ability to warp sounds into devilish concoctions of force is on full displays and blimey, it sounds bloody wicked. One for the jump-up crew.
Review: Lion Dub have reached a decade of activity. A decade! To put it in perspective, if someone was born the year Liondub started, they're about to enter high school/secondary school. It's a crazy achievement and one matched by the craziness of the music they have on offer to celebrate, a four-part journey through their past, present and future. This instalment is all about their past and it's exemplified best by Serum's VIP of Sound The Alarm, a Liondub classic, which Serum has flipped into a characteristically badboy, stabbing little roller. The vocals float above in a haze of reggae smoke, whilst the beat pulsates below. Awesome stuff.
Review: If you're after a near faultless selection of peak-time ready house and disco jams, this special Amsterdam Dance Event compilation from Yam Who's Black Riot could just be the ticket. There's a good mixture of fresh floor-fillers - see the sample-heavy, boompty style Chicago house pulse of The Phantom Revenge's "Workout Music", Phonik D's piano-laden disco-house romp "Talking Vintage" and the smooth, life-affirming deep house warmth of Thatmanmonkz's hazy revision of Amp Fiddler's "Your Love Is All I Need" - and recent revisions of classic cuts. In this category you've find a superb Hi-Fi Sean revision of Psychotropic's rave-era anthem "Hypnotic", a sparkling Kiko Navarro re-make of Kenny "Jammin" Jason's "Can U Dance 2015" and a wonderful, filter-sporting disco-house take on CN Williams "Mr Bump Man" by Yam Who and Jaegerossa.
Review: Under the DJ Laurel alias, Lavr Berzhanin has proved to be one of Katakana Edits' most reliable re-editors of recent times. We've lost count of the number of EPs he's delivered for the prolific imprint, but they're all rather good - as is his latest expansive effort. There's much to get the blood pumping across the six-track salvo, with our favourites including the rubbery, bouncy and glassy-eyed disco bliss of "All I've Got", the soaring, horn-heavy soundscape disco-soul shuffle of "Battend Ships" [sic], the blue-eyed soul goes drum and bass bounce of "Cookie" and the wah-wah guitar sporting two-step soul goodness of closing cut "Annie Mae". In other words, it's another rock solid collection of tried and tested reworks.