Review: Four excellent new funk/soul/disco bombs from the Whiskey Disco label, with some surprising covers and peerless edits for your aural delectation. Anthony Mansfield sets about deconstructing a fresh cover of "Hercules" by Aaron Neville, while fans of Philly/Al Green-esque slow '70s funk will love Cosmic Boogie's soft-touch edit of "How Can You Say Goodbye". Rayko ups the tempo a little with his mix of the boogie wonder "S&M (Sexy Music), while WD label-head Sleazy McQueen has a lot of fun with Stevie Wonder's "Do I Do", looping up instrumental sections just right for a new perspective on this classic Stevie joint.
Review: Shifted's identity remains a mystery, but crucially, he does not come from the small coterie that has dominated UK techno over the past twenty years. Like the signature image he uses, a grey, shadowy creature creeping through a snowy forest, his infiltration of the sound has been stealthy and understated. In many ways, his lack of connection with techno, his automatic outsider status, has allowed him to effect an entrance into a hitherto new terrain. Like his releases on Mote Evolver and his own Avian imprint, Crossed Paths tingles and fizzes with an atmospheric sensibility that monochrome techno often lacks. All of this is made possible by his distinctive sound design; intricate and subtle, yet at the same time both functional and multi-faceted, where all of these divergent paths cross, you'll find Shifted.
Review: More party antics from Mooqee as this latest in the Bombstrikes series of funky mash-ups takes in KRS-One jammin' with Bob Marley on "Supacat Police", while acapellas from Tupac's "California Love" and Stetasonic's "Talking All That Jazz" butt heads with each other over a flute-led hip-hop beat on "Jazz Talkin". The "Mustapha Dance" instrumental mix of The Clash's "Rock The Casbah" also gets a good seeing to on closing track "Hypnotic".
Review: On the evidence of his latest releases, it feels like Robert Hood is going through a reinvention process. The recent Floorplan gave vent to his gospel influences and now "The Greatest Dancer", under his own name provides an insight into Hood's love of disco. There's not much to the title track, yet this simplicity and clarity of sound is the same aesthetic that drove the original productions that it is indebted to. Over a rolling, housey groove, Hood adds in some sexy funk guitar, sprinkles it with sensuous strings and puts all of the ingredients into a filtered blender. On "Dancer", the approach is even more minimal and straightforward as a walking funk bass guitar is married to a series of claps. This combination runs the risk of sounding like a DFA release, but Hood isn't finished. He adds sassy brass samples and a sexy female vocal, resulting in an arrangement that offers all of the sensuality of disco and the unflinching precision of his minimal techno productions. Call it a reinvention, but it also offers the best of both worlds.
Review: Making his debut on Tempa, multi talented MC, producer and one third of the Code 3 collective, SP:MC steps up with a couple of killer cuts on the legendary London imprint. "Oh My Gosh" is a slow paced, super sleuth of a track with low slung, undulating bassline, gently hissing hi-hats and clipped breaks with a retro edge. It harks back to the early days of dubstep, with a hint of Benga in there. Title track "Hunted" is another gnarly cut, with gritty, warping b-line, paranoid SFX adding further menace to the already darkened soundscape. Well worth checking!
Review: Finally! Motor City Drum Ensemble aka Danilow Plessow drops the Raw Cuts series into one neat little package. Ubiquitous in 2009, the series showcased the Stuttgart native's ability to combine warm pads and luscious synths to create a house sound with a decidedly classicist tip. On this EP you'll also find two new jams from the Plessow-produced Jayson Brothers and a couple of new MCDE tracks, the highlight being "Prayer".
Review: Originally released on vinyl way back in 2008, this floor-friendly digital reissue sees re-edit fiend Gay Marvine tweaking a quartet of cuts from flamboyant disco deviant Sylvester. There are straight-up disco dubs of "Band Of Gold" (previously re-edited magnificently by The Glimmers for an Eskimo comp) and "I Who Have Nothing", plus a handy take on the riotous "Do You Wanna Funk" that benefits from a tougher, digitally altered intro. There's also a fabulous re-jig of "Take Me To Heaven" (here titled "Baby, Let's Trip Out") that emphasizes the dubbier elements of the supremely camp original.
Review: Bringing together a bunch of hot talent new and old, Hype and Pascal bring us the second instalment of their Flavours EP to add some warmth to these cold winter days. First up is a VIP of ubiquitous anthem "Tommorow's Another Day" - the track which broke the young Belgian in '09. Next is a collab from Wickaman, Hoodlum and Mavrik - "Na Fool Me" with its twisted up ragga lyrics, jungle flavours, it really packs a punch. Potential Badboy's ""Can't Stop Me (feat. Junior Danger)" is another Serial Killaz style outing, with rousing lyrics, grouchy bass and clapping drums. Shimah shakes things up with his "Electro Step" and Sub Zero's attempt at subtle is remarkable, before Erb N Dub & Legacy round things off with the dancefloor destroyer "Alaska".
Review: As the title suggests, this five-tracker from the previously re-edit-happy Editorial imprint showcases slo-mo disco/house crossover cuts from a selection of mostly little-known producers (the fast-rising Matthew Kyle aside). For those who've been digging the superb releases of labels like Sleazy Beats, Wolf Music and Instruments Of Rapture, Slo-Motion Potion comes highly recommended. It's largely impressive stuff, with DJ Butcher's epic "Shake Your Body", Kyle's deliciously sensual "Off My Mind" and 78 Edits' heady opener "Come On Baby" standing out. That said, the whole package is well worth a listen.