Review: As always with Wheel & Deal, the team are delivering the goods in style as head honcho and mastermind N-Type links up with the powerful production abilities of Sleeper for a sizzling 3-track delight. We begin with 'Dozer', a system-ready stomper jam packed with powerful subweight and dizzy drum designs, followed by the lethal synthy slices and sharpened snare slaps of 'Arcane'. From here, 'Drift' then delivers a slightly more stripped back arrangement, focussing more so on potent sub-lines and glittering background arpeggios, before the raucous soundscaping and gnarly bass drifts of 'Carbon' give the EP when hell of an explosive outro!
Review: French label Citizens of Vice welcomes the Canary Islands' very own Sauco to the mix with the Sun Goddess EP featuring sleeper hit "Sun Goddess". With the lead track tripping out on flamenco-like guitars, looped disco-machine grooves and balearic synth, it undergoes a funk and ballroom workout in Lanowa's worthy remix. With Rayko dubbing out the guitars, tuning his synths and pumping up the Roland in his Italo-inspired version of "Soulstice", it's the undeniable vamp, build and crescendo of the original within it mega groove that does the trick on us here.
Review: Sasha brings us collection of tracks that have featured in his Spotify playlist series of the same name, which is oriented towards midtempo, contemplative but still beats-driven cuts spanning breaks, ambient and leftfield electronica. While much is being made of this "new direction", a more cynical observer might say it's the first CD of 'Northern Exposure' plus drums; all the same, there's much to enjoy here if you're in a laidback kinda mood, with standouts including MJ Cole's haunting, fractured 'Maestro' and Cortese's 'Circles' with its air of restrained menace. The album also includes two fresh cuts from The Man Like himself, 'Corner Shop' and recent single 'HDNI'.
Review: To our ears, the re-edits, reworks and 'disco adjustments' released by DJ Kaos's Jolly Jams label are some of the most impressive around, in part because there's little in the way of cheap 21st century studio tricks and the imrpint's source material always tends towards the eccentric, interesting and obscure. Predictably, the label's latest eight-track collection is full of corkers, from DJ Kaos's own mini album-opening early house style revision of AOR disco classic 'Long Train Running' (here renamed 'Proton Edit 1') and the surging, Clavinet-heavy disco-funk sleaziness of Conor's 'Proton Edit 3', to the flash-friend, Talking Heads-go-Latino no-wave funk of Pete Herbert's 'Candy 8', and the 10-minute swamp funk brilliance of Spring Break Edit's 'Candy Edit 2'.
Review: 14 years have passed since Benji B and Judah established their monthly Deviation parties in London. This fine compilation celebrates the club's legacy and sound, which famously touched on all manner of soul-fired musical styles whilst keeping one eye (and both feet) on the dancefloor, with Benj B selecting cuts that never failed to rock the party. Expect a mixture of skewed, bass-heavy beats (Dorian Concept, James Blake, 00Genesis), heady instrumental hip-hop (Waajeed, Damn Funk remixing Baron Zen), Afro-funk (K Fimpong), peak-time UK bass mutations (Pearson Sound, Martyn, Mala), high-grade deep house (Gilb'r remixing Rick Wilhite, Theo Parrish) and a smattering of genuine scene anthems (Detroit Experiment, Maurice Fulton's remix of Alice Smith, DJ SPen presents DJ Technic).
Review: A warm welcome back to Rudy's Midnight Machine, one of the solo side projects of Faze Action's Robin Lee. The Crystal Dragonfly EP is the experienced producer's first single for almost two years and is as positive and musically rich as you'd expect. Opener 'Dyane' does a brilliant job of joining the dots between slap-bass propelled, boogie-era disco revalism, sun-kissed Balearic grooves and chiming, melody-rich synth-pop - all with a subtle Brazilian twist - while 'La Rochelle' is a cheery and positive nu-disco bubbler. Lee expertly combines sparkling D-Train synths and hazy Balearic disco grooves on 'Shy Smile', continuing the leisurely poolside vibes via piano-sporting chugger 'Pre De Minuit' and beat-free ambient soundscape 'Crystal Dragonfly'. Luscious!
Review: Timewarp Music boss Timewarp Inc ushers in the sounds of its Russian-based signee Jazznut who turns in a version and instrumental of "Realistic" in the lead up to a planned album release. The so far little known artist gives the original a '90s pop-house makeover inspiring memories of a time when Madonna's "Ray Of Light" or Fatboy Slim's "Weapon Of Choice" were dominating the charts. Enjoy!
Review: With a string of EPs to his name for labels including Whiskey Pickle, FKR Records and Diggin' Deeper, New York-based DJ/producer P-Sol aka Patrick Sullivan chooses his own Wall Of Fame label (est 2015) as the home for his debut long-player. The overarching theme is deep house from the midtempo and, at times, more experimental end of the spectrum, but across its 16 tracks the album evidences a wide range of influences, from chill-out and Balearica (see, for instance, 'Aite Chill') to hip-hop ('Wzup'). Indeed, the loop-based production style suggests P-Sol's hip-hop roots may run pretty deep - but if it's hazy, laidback electronica built for lazy sunny afternoons you're after, this is well worth checking.
Review: Four synth-y nu-disco jams make up Helsinki-based Roberto Rodriguez AKA Manolo's new EP for Rare Wiri. 'Amalfi Drive' sets the tone, a druggy, chuggy affair that blends Balearic and Italo influences with a hint of jazz-funk, then tops the lot with a soulful male vocal loop. 'Phobos' and 'Paseo Maritimo' are both in a similar vein but a little more obviously floor-friendly, and would have sounded right at home in Rimini or Ibiza Town circa 1989-90, before closer 'Away (For Too Long)' drops the tempo to a crawl - definitely one for those post-club chillin' sessions.
Review: As the title suggests, this expansive collection from long-running Munich staple Compost Records gathers together gems - mostly previously heard, but with a smattering of unreleased cuts - from the last couple of years. There's much to enjoy throughout, and plenty of variety (the latter a hallmark of the label's output over the last quarter of a century). Our picks of a very strong bunch include a pair of atmospheric Afro-tech club cuts from Pablo Fierro and Raoul K & Rancido, a lusciously deep and squelchy Luke Vibert remix of Felix Laband's 'Righteous Red Berets', a hypnotic tech-house take on Marsmobil courtesy of Ripperton, the slow-motion, Sly & The Family Stone influenced funk-rock haziness of Enzo Elia's 'Desert' and the deep, acid-flecked electro of Godot's 'Phonem'.
Review: It's been a while since Roman Flugel last delivered an album, and that was the all-ambient Themes I-XIII in 2018. Eating Darkness, the German veteran's fifth solo full-length, is therefore well overdue. It's a quietly confident and undeniably entertaining affair, with the former Alter Ego man smartly sashaying between evocative IDM ('Magic Briefcase', 'The Best is Yet To Come', the Autechre-ish 'Eating Darkness'), druggy slo-mo fare ('Chemicals'), raw new wave throb-jobs ('Wow'), acid-flecked jack-tracks ('Jocks & Freaks'), hypnotic late night minimal techno ('Cluttered Homes'), drowsy downtempo cheeriness ('Locked'), beautiful ambient synth-scapes ('Charles') and revivalist Euro-disco pump ('D.I.S.C.O'). Throughout, Flugel reaches for vintage analogue and modular synthesizer sounds, giving the album a distinctively timeless feel.
Review: Contemporary jazz label outta the UK, First Word, brings us a compilation highlighting a select group of artists, groups and collaborations the label has works with and supports, taking in broken beat, hip hop, jazz and R&B to spoken word and soul. Highlights from its UK roster include tracks by Darkhouse Family, Kaidi Tatham and Sarah Williams White to a streak of US artists in 14KT (and that Tall Black Guy remix) to Muhsinah, Stro Elliot & James Poyser. Special mentions go to Melbourne songstress Allysha Joy, New Zealand jazz drummer Myele Manzanza and Japanese trumpeter Takuya Kuroda! French act Souleance turn out some playful latin breaks in "Mont Maudit" with some classy disco coming outta Don Leisure's "Egg Yolk Bun". Full flavoured First Word selections.
Review: Statues are the Essex-based trio of Bradley Lucke, Mark Crookes and Grant Carruthers, and their new EP packs two tracks in four mixes. 'Rotunda' is a slo-mo jam that sits somewhere between spangly, Nang-esque nu-disco and shimmering Balearica, whether you opt for the sparse, bass-throbbin' Original or warmer, more sumptuous Gold Suite Remix. It's the accompanying 'Lessons' with its mantra-like vocal that stands out, though: the original comes on like an unlikely but effective cross between the goth-psych whimsy of Love & Rockets and the laidback stoner pop of Freakpower, while Coyote's remix enhances the groove without detracting from its druggy, lazy charms one iota.
Review: Most DJs tend to see the DJ Kicks series as an excuse to not only show off their DJ skills, but also the eclectic nature of their music collections. That's the approach Jayda G has taken on her fine instalment, delivering a breathlessly brilliant mix and a selection of unmixed tracks that genuinely has something for every occasion. After beginning with the deep disco of Light of the World, Aged in Harmony and Glass Beams, the Ninja Tune artist offers up a mixture of 21st century Afro-soul (Kokoroko), dubbed-out Brit-funk (Atmosfear), synth-laden '80s soul (Don Blackman), sample-rich 21st century house (Gerry Read), chunky dancefloor deepness (Naomi Darkness, DJ Boring), Motor City-inspired futurism (LNS, Fit Siegel), sub-heavy techno (Haai) and dusty future R&B beats (DJ Koze).
Review: Hillside are a loose collective consisting of Claremont 56 boss Paul 'Mudd' Murphy, bassist/guitarist Alex Searle, percussionist Patrick Dawes and multi-instrumentalist Michele Chiavarini, with a little help from a rotating cast of session players. Making the most of lockdown, they've used their extra studio hours to put together a debut album that blends funk, jazz, disco and Balearic influences, and that's very aptly titled: things never move much beyond walking pace, making for a long-player that's best appreciated whole, ideally while lounging poolside with a fresh Mojito in hand. It may be a little polite for some, but you can't fault the quality of either the musicianship or the production.
Review: It's a well-known fact at this point that Modeselektor remains one of the most unique and interesting electronic acts currently out there. This album, entitled 'Extended' is a perfect showcasing of that commitment to exploring the unexpected, with each and every track offering us something a little bit unexpected, from the unusual rhythmic approaches of 'Keller' and 'Cthulhu Drums', through to the intense, metallic synthesizer pulses of 'Mean' and spacious soundscaping of 'Disc'. It's a full-on journey through production mastery in our eyes, with our individual favourite tracks including 'Bilbao' with its a combination of synthetic harmonics and unique percussion, along with stunning landscapes and harmonic designs of 'Lockdown', which sits majestically as one of our favourite synth pieces so far this year. Incredible work!
Review: Boite Music once again with some '80s inspired sounds coming out of the Picklejam factory! With three solid numbers to draw upon here, "Therapy" looks to the cowbell and a synth section good enough for any New York city montage, with "Social Intercourse" serving up a cooler slice of breakin '80s new wave, instrumental synth. With a touch of Italo adding to the slo-mo flair of "Belmont" this Picklejam Therapy EP is something like Beverly Hills Cop meeting the closing credits of Top Gun, and a little bit of Baywatch thrown in.
Where Pathways Meet (Alternate mix) - (6:31) 92 BPM
That's How I Feel (Alternate mix) - (12:10) 95 BPM
Review: It's quite the statement to have the words 'definitive edition' next to the music of Sun Ra however if it's Strut on the case you can imagine this going the whole nine yards. This re-release dates the avant-garde jazz classic back to 1978 when Sun Ra and his Arkestra appeared on Saturday Night Live for the first time. Directly after the show the band recorded Lanquidity in a single session. Delivering 10 alternate, largely unheard versions of Lanquidity, the album's longer sessions come via the free jazz grooves of "That's How I Feel" to the strung out and rather bizarre "There Are Other Worlds (They Have Not Told You Of)". Definitively alternative versions no less than bona fide.