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'.
Review: Back in 2016, Crackazat launched the Period Works series as a vehicle for productions that explicitly paid tribute to his influences and inspirations, and in particular his love of glossy, musically rich 1990s US house and garage. Four years on, he's decided to gather together the tracks released so far in one place, adding a trio of previously unheard creations and a couple of bonus remixes to create Period Works - The Album. Highlights are plentiful, from the authentic 1970s disco rush of superb opener 'Waterfalls' and the classic Masters at Work shuffle of 'Fire Drift', to the 'Brazilian Rhyme'-goes-piano house rush of 'Fly Away' and the big room US garage bounce of 'I'll Be There'. The included squelchy, synth-laden rework of Sean McCabe's 'Holding On' is also superb.