Review: It's been an impressive debut year from Australian producer Greg Packer, whose re-edits and remixes under the Dr Packer alias have won him a legion of fans around the world. Here, he makes his Hotbox Boogie debut with a quartet of floor-friendly, house-focused reworks of disco and boogie classics. David Joseph's Paradise Garage classic "You Can't Hide You Love" gets a thickset, 21st century makeover on "Can't Hide", while a familiar talkbox-boasting electroboogie cut gets straightened out and toughened up on "Jam Right". Best of all, though, is "I Love Sunshine", a singalong deep house take on Maze's "Joy & Pain" which utilises elements from both the original and live versions of the track.
Review: Midnight Riot bring us a 20-track compilation that certainly can't be faulted on the eclecticism front, with tracks ranging from the boogie nouveau of Ilija Rudman's 'Let This Dream Be Real' to Sirs' fairly self-explanatory 'Turkish Folk', and from the sumptuous soul of Jack Tyson Charles' 'Glory' to BJ Smith's acoustic psych-pop cover of Soul II Soul's 'Keep On Movin''. The southern bar room funk of HP Edits's 'Why Don't You Slide', the smokey soundtrack jazz vibes of Peter Simmons' 'Downtown' and Phoenix's 'Sueno Latino'-ish 'Nature Dance' are three more highlights of a varied and enjoyable collection.
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: Fingerman's Hot Digits imprint has packed in a lot of releases over the past 12 months, as this expansive roundup of the label's second year in business proves. Featuring 27 tracks and a bonus mix by the South Coast dwelling label boss, there's naturally plenty to admire. Highlights include, but are not limited to, the rolling, head-nodding grooves of Eyeco M's "Keeping It To Myself", the killer proto-house throb of "Tonight" by Bad Barbie vs Evil Smarty, the sexy, string-drenched disco loveliness of P-Sol's "Can't You See", LTJ's trumpet-boasting funk bumper "Fat Thing", and the hard-wired, bass-heavy rework of Julia & Company's "Breakin' Down (Sugar Samba)" by Melon Bomb. It is, though, all pretty darn hot.
Review: While gospel has always been a strong influence in the worlds of house and disco, the volume of spiritually charged dancefloor tracks has rocketed in recent times. Hence this fine compilation from Midnight Riot and "gospel supremo" the Showfa, which gathers together new, recent and overlooked gospel-fired dancefloor jams. We're particularly enjoying Yam Who and Alan Dixon's brilliant new version of the Soup Dragons' "I'm Free" - think classic, Balearic-era baggy house with more prominence given to the London Gospel Choir's vocals and Dixon's wild organ lines - Le Visiteur's low-slung re-edit of an old gospel-disco gem ("Let The Sunshine") and the rubbery boogie-gospel-goes-filter-house excitement of Benjamin Ferreira's "What U Will". That said, there's barely a duffer to be found amongst the 19 tracks on show, with the emphasis rightly on celebratory positivity throughout.
Review: Midnight Riot's compilations are not only uniformly action-packed, but also offer great value for money. The latest edition in the imprint's ongoing "Disco Made Me Do It" series offers up no less than 25 tried-and-tested cuts to pep up your DJ sets. In keeping with the label's party-starting ethos, there's a good mix of disco-fired house cuts (see Michael Gray's "24/7 People"), revivalist disco-boogie (Qwestlife's remix of Nick Reach Up's "Dreaming"), filter-sporting boogie-house (Ladies On Mars), top-notch disco re-edits (Twism's "What I Know"), Tiger & Woods style loop jams (Motte's "Darkroom Boogie") and party-staring 21st century disco-funk ("Chance" by Rees).
Review: Just in time for the festive party season, Seamus Haji has gathered together some of Big Love's biggest cuts of 2018. While the package does contain two tidy DJ mixes, it's the wealth of unmixed, DJ-friendly cuts that makes this a "must-buy" for those who enjoy the funky, soul-fired end of the house and disco spectrum. Highlights are naturally plentiful, from Dr Packer's rolling, acid-flecked revision of Haji's big room nu-disco cover of "Last Night a DJ Saved My Life" and the piano-sporting disco-house positivity of DJ Meme's "re-touch" of Belezamusica's "Inside Out", to the swirling peak-time disco rush of Birdee's "Dancin", the low-slung, bass-heavy grooves of Cool 45's "We Still Here" and the chunky, stab-happy early morning house bump of Oliver Knight's "I Feel It".