Review: It's been a short while since we last took in a project if this magnitude from the Big Fat Mama Beats crew, who unveil a fabulous full length album drop from The Criminal Minds, who really do go all out to explore the full breadth of the breakbeat sound. From the more experimental, junglist sounds of 'Analog Dog' and 'Bomb Drops', to the throwback, nostalgic energies of 'Rocksteady' and electro-inspired flavours of 'Twin Sunset', this album covers some serious ground moderately quickly! For us, the title track 'Dirty Little Boxes' alongside Nathan Green is the clear standout, adding a dash of class to the tracklisting with it's heist-like bass grooves and percussive influxes. We also enjoyed the high energy bass sweeps and drum energies of 'Cracked' which again takes us to the complete other end of the spectrum. Awesome work!
Review: It's rare that we find ourselves exploring a new drop from the Big Fat Mama Beats crew that doesn't catch our interest, with the label's output being so damn consistent. This latest offering from DJ Smartie Roc is a powerful collection of post-breaks influenced bangers, kicking off with the rave ready drum slaps and powerful bass synth designs of 'Super Breaks'. From here we dive down a much more typical breakbeat route as layers of groovy rhythms are smashed together with a sub-busting bassline on 'Dance' before 'Paid To Roc' draws a more moogy set of influences. Next, the thickened bass synth action of 'Bumped Up' adds another twist to this EP's tale before the nostalgic organ chord and post-hardcore breaks sampling of 'Concentrate' gives us a worthy finale. Excellent stuff!
Review: In recent times the crew behind Big Fat Mama Beats have been on somewhat of a roll, with this latest LP From The Funk Philosopher proving to be another cracking release in a long line of successful drops. The LP itself takes the title 'Funky Monkey' and is in fact a top quality showcase of the spectrum of sounds that now exists within the breakbeat bracket, from the super crunchy drum designs of 'Lazy Hazy Dayz', to the more funk-inspired musicality of 'Gone West', it's got the lot! The favourites on this one have to include the dancefloor ready rumbles of 'Funky Heyz', alongside the fabulous work behind Sonale's sumptuous synth-heavy relick of the title track 'Funky Monkey'.
Review: To coincide with Z Records' 30th birthday, boss man Dave Lee AKA Joey Negro has been sourcing new remixes of classic back catalogue cuts. Here he showcases the latest, which sees Tropical Disco label mainstay Moodena work his magic on the Sunburst Band's "Big Blow", a track first featured on the Lee-helmed combo's 1998 debut album. Moodena makes the most of the original track's low-down disco-funk feel, looping up the original groove, underpinning it with bouncy new house drums and making the most of Lee and company's brilliant instrumentation (think wah-wah guitar snippets, addictive horn blasts, rich electric piano keys and rubbery bass guitar). It's the kind of rolling, rock-solid revision that sounds like it will cause dancefloor devastation every time it's played.
Review: It's been a brief minute since we last heard from the Big Fast Mama Beats imprint, but boy was it worth the wait as they unveil this brand new four track package from the one and only Sonale. We begin with 'The Name', an uber groovy slap up between crunchy LFO technique and super punchy drum work, before we get a bit more sample heavy in the horn sections of the title track 'Dozer Jam'. The party doesn't slow down as we progress through the EP, with our next stop being the super jazzy riff work and groovy bassline slides of 'Get Happy' before the more spaced out grizzling synthesizer lines and mixed instrumentation of 'Carnivale' gives the EP it's final lick of paint. Excellent work!
Review: Bringing a third installment to his series of '80s albums' - 1986 focuses its sound on the heavy boom of Egyptian Lover's trademark sound. Straight up B-Boy electro as always, get your biggest hits from horror synth tracks like "Get Down" alongside the searing synths and Daft Punk vocals of "The Internet". Straight up percussive workouts all the more in "Monster" next to a hot and heavy "Freaky Girl" - or the abstract Egyptian Lover-style in "Volcanic". Our pick though: "Alien Freak".
Review: The release of Dave Lee's annual Essentials collection on Z Records - a kind of "best of the year" from his now 30-year-old imprint - is fast becoming as much of a Christmas tradition as family arguments, disappointing presents and undercooked turkey. Predictably the 2020 edition is once again up to scratch, with the much-loved Essex producer showcasing some seriously good disco, deep house, soulful house and revivalist dancefloor jazz-funk. Our picks of a very strong bunch include the rushing, sunshine soulfulness of Crackazat's 'Waterfalls', the Vision's 2020 re-rub of Jakatta and Seal classic 'My Vision', Michael Gray's extra-percussive disco-house take on Hi Voltage's 'Let's Get Horny', the celebratory brilliance of Art of Tones and Anduze's 'Flower Child', and the Shur-I-Kan's previously unreleased instrumental rework of Mistura's 'Smikle For Me'.