Review: If you weren't aware already, Yam Who? is one ambitious, tirelessly active chap. First emerging at the turn of the century with some superb edits of poppy R n'b (anyone remember his boogie take on "Frontin" by Pharrell?) the Yam master has gone on to build quite the empire with his Midnight Riot label. The latest MR release reflects his nature, a new mix featuring 20 killer rollerskate jams from friends as well as some outright classics. Highlights include the glistening, chrome-plated funk of George Kelly's "Turn It Up", the sleek and synthy 80s jam "Living A Lie" by Freekwency and the slammin Linn drum freestyle action of "On The Upside (High Drummer edit)" by Wonkar.
Review: After much anticipation, Enei finally brings us his debut album on Critical. The universally respected young Russian artist has done nothing but impress since he burst onto the D&B scene a few years ago. And safe to say, Machines lives up to all the hype and expectation. Bringing together all the elements that make up his characteristic sound expect tough, tech-y terseness alongside sparse, minimal moments and driving energy. The title track gets things off to a great start with its infectious, pulsing energy. Elsewhere watch out for tracks like the vocal-driven loveliness of "Runnin (feat. Georgia Yates)" as well as the bleep n click-y "I Don't Know", the moodiness of "Thin Line", plus a VIP of old favourite "Cracker" and a June Miller remix of "Movin Fast". A superb debut from Enei.
Review: It was only a matter of time before a man of T>I's stripes landed on a label of Critical's calibre. A verified roller wizard, he's been supplying the big guns with gully workouts for years. Here are four prime examples of his skillishness: "Rotations" takes a classic house vocal sample and flips it around a loose drum groove with all the wobbles, "Crunch Times" is a lean stepper with trippy fills and a velvet sub hook, "Six Mile Bottom" pays homage to your old lady in the most lewd and surly manner thanks to a grunting, distorted bass push every four bars while "Packets" provides the finishing move with some precision rolled drums and a bass hook that couldn't be more Bristol if it went around shouting "get lush". On-point.
Review: Over the last few years, the Editorial imprint - an outlet for disco, electrofunk and house-centric re-edits and reworks - has established a winning formula: expansive, compilation style EPs featuring tracks from a wide range of scalpel-wielding talents. This 33rd excursion sticks to the script, offering another quintet of floor-friendly rubs. There's a dash of heavyweight P-funk (Ed Wizard and Disco Double Dee's forthright "Saturday Night"), some cut-and-paste, sampleadelic beats (Future Feelings' Steinski-ish "Basement Jam"), a sprinkling of deep disco-house (Matt Hughes, P-Sol) and a fluid, Aim-ish trip into downtempo instrumental hip-hop territory (Riccio's electric piano-heavy "Reflections").
Review: V Recordings do some of the best compilations in the business and their brand new Foundation series is a natural recognition of that fact. They're not being hyperbolic with the usage of the term 'Foundation' either, because this is truly an overview of some of the scene's most foundational producers. Old-school Dillinja, Krust, Roni Size and DJ Die, amongst others, make up the roster of acts that formed an integral part of the genre back in the day. The new crew is also represented, however, in the form of L-Side, Think Tonk, Nasza Linez and loads more, all of whom bring some of that V-style heat. Wicked album - one for the heads.
Review: Next up on Tiga's Turbo Recordings is Tel Aviv's Autarkic, with what he describes himself as "Industrial Techno tribal goth dub vibes for 2075 and beyond!" He starts out with the hazy and low slung groove of "Rotation! Rotation!" featuring some nice new romantic style vocals, chunky synth bass and exotic drums; sounds like Human League gone Middle Eastern safari. The remix by fellow countrymen and rising star Red Axes is way more energetic and will definitely work the floor a bit better than the original. Also "I Know" hammers the message home gloriously on this sweet slice of 80s synth pop served up in 2016 style!
Review: Freestyle might be a label that puts out high-grade rare shizzle, but it's also a label that likes to tease. The sampler for this fine third installment of the Black Feeling series came out what seems like years ago (ok, it was August, but still). Anyway the wait is finally over and here we now have all 12 rare deep cuts for our listening pleasure. Some of the many highlights include the foxy 70s flute and guitar duel "The Bump", the hazy, retro funk cloudsurfer "Rotation" and the frisky piano jam "Buckingham Palace".
Review: There's no need for a funky bailout for Greece's Timewarp label as they have more than enough in reserve. So much so in fact, that they have rustled up another 31(!) fresh cuts for this, their latest compilation. Highlights include Niles Philip's quirky stop-start nu-funker "What'Cha Doin", the Euro/reggaeton hybrid weirdness of the Congo Sanchez remix of "Choices In Life" by AfroQBen and the bonkers electro-pop skank of "Blast" by good old Quincy Jointz (as remixed by Kowalski).
Review: Phizzy has long since shown himself to be a man of many layers and flavours but this is a whole new side altogether. Tapping into more soulful pastures, "Spot Light" tips a respectful nod to the legacy of Hidden Agenda or the jazzy work of Makoto with smooth, shimmering but weighted flow. A future classic, without question. "Rotate" takes more of a jungle twist with pitched amens running point over another swooning instrumental palette. Genuinely outstanding and a perfect fit for Headz, too. Nailed it.
Review: It's been a minute since North Walian low end warrior Feonix last stepped up to M.U.D. - six months to be precise. Naturally he's made up for lost time with this rule-shredding quintuplet of jams. There's a heavy emphasis on tempo flexing and rifle-like riddims, too, as both the subverted jungle smasher "Heavy Rotation" and the skippy, steppy "Peashooter" both roll and flare with D&B verve. Dungeon-dwelling dubstep purists should jump on the gruff, guttural "Inhale" and the grunty, hooky lead track. For added variety, scope and depth Feonix has also thrown in the 80BPM "Mandatory". Slo-mo breakbeats coded with ominous, paranoid baritone frequencies, it brings the EP to the unique close it deserves. Impeccable stuff; only squares wouldn't like "The Cube".
Review: Despite being a devout supporter of the vinyl format, it's good to see Theo Parrish helping out his more digitally minded fans and offering up an official release of 2010's Sketches triple-pack. Incorporating a welcome handful of additional tracks including the stomping piano riffs of "Black Mist" and the growling electro tinges of "Feel Free To Be Who You Need To Be", there's surely nowhere else you would want to look for your fix of masterful Detroit house loaded with raw soul and fearless invention. From the grainy synth bugging of "Thumpasaurus" to the serene "Hope 4 Tomorrow", there's something for everyone to get lost in here.
Review: Exium continues his strong run of releases. As this four-tracker so ably demonstrates, what's really impressive about the Spanish producer is his ability to integrate existing tropes with his own sound. On "Monopoles", this approach sees him fuse a Function-style linear pulse with a repetitive vocal sample, while "Magnetic Flux" goes further and deeper into this direction, a dank, tunneling rhythm led by tonal bleeps and blips. On the title track, he changes direction again, with the kind of drones that one would associate with Hospital Productions fused with shaking percussion, while "Early Life" brings the release to a close to the sound of Mills-inspired, panel-beating drums.
Review: After signing with legendary agency and former label Finger Lickin', Father Funk quickly became one of the biggest names in breakbeat and ghetto funk. Fresh off the back of two Canada tours earlier this year and the 1st anniversary of his own successful Bristol based night 'Father Funk's Church of Love', the father has cemented himself as one of the freshest taste makers in the UK right now. Taking huge inspiration from the disco and funk sounds of the 70's and 80's, this debut record is the first full release that is completely original and free from his best-known sampling work. It captures the energy of the funk and soul golden years whilst combining it with modern dance music and disco culture, not sticking to one particular genre. With over three years in the making the father has been able to collaborate with some of the freshest names in the scene, including London rap duo Too Many T's, Ghetto Funk legends WBBL and Slynk, Canadian hip hop group Illvis Freshly and neo-soul singer Hilary Beckett.
Review: The masterful Lazy Flow has cooked up a rather special compilation for France's Folistar, showcasing the French capital's best and brightest house music stars. Although you get a mixed and continuous version of this comp, you can also cop the singles. All centred around the 4/4 continuum and the Chicago dynasty, it's up to you to hear what you require for your weekend evening sets...bumping, deep, hard and dubby, its all in here. Comprehensive to say the least!
Review: Earlier this year, Irish producer Marcus Lambkin delivered his first new material for two years as part of Me Me Me's second all-star "We We We" EP. Here the former DFA man returns to Man Power's label with a typically solid single. There are three original cuts to choose from: the gently spacey, funked-up deep house throb of "Cubed", the deep Chicago jack-meets-Balearic acid rush of "Rotation" and the sleepy warmth of "The Life To Come", where elongated chords and rich electric piano motifs ride a chunky, bass-heavy house groove. Edmundson re-imagines "Cubed" as a blissful chunk of deep house/two-step fusion, while Vin Sol wraps "Rotation" in raw analogue bass, mind-altering stabs and undulating acid lines.