Review: With summer finally kicking in, Faze Action Records has decided to unleash a fine retrospective of some of the label's most summery, Balearic-minded sounds. It's a bumper collection of cuts - mostly from founders Robin and Simon Lee under a variety of different pseudonyms - which effortlessly drifts between piano and synth-laden Afro-Balearic (Faze Action's 'Chiiko'), tongue-in-cheek Gallic disco (Face Action re-editing Micky Milan), new age ambient ('Windchimes' and 'Secret Garden' by Rudy's Midnight Machine), Andreas Wollenweder-style Balearic synth-pop (Faze Action's 'Hapana'), slo-mo goodness (Max Essa reworking Faze Action's 'Vamos Pinter') and colourful dancefloor cheeriness (the vibrant Baleaaric nu-disco wonder that is 'Body Wave' by Rudy's Midnight Machine). In a word: excellent!
Review: With V Records keeping their Repercussion series alive with three fresh cuts, Dr.Adolf throws down an afro-inspired vibe of slamming house to get things started (that should turn the heads of Todd Terje fans). Something more downtempo and Balearic comes from FMAC's Fleetwood Mac interpretation - "Listen To The Wind Blow" - next to the rocky, plucked out and vamped funk of RS' "Fingerprint Tile" Chka-chka-ahh!
Review: The titles here might suggest a re-edits EP but rest assured the five tracks ARE actually original, albeit sample-based, productions. 'Step Off The Train', for instance, does indeed bite EBTG's 'Missing' as you'd expect, but simply takes a two-line vocal snip and loops it up over a slo-mo grinder that sits right on the deep house/nu-disco cusp, while 'Oops Upside' is another house/disco fusion that draws not on The Gap Band but on a female-sung cover thereof. So let's not worry about sources and inspirations and just say these are five classy midtempo groovers that'll suit more discerning nu-disco floors down to the ground.
Review: Unlike many of its rivals, Fingerman's Hot Digits label doesn't fill its' obligatory annual compilation with back catalogue cuts. Instead, we're offered a vast number of previously unheard re-edits, remixes and original productions. It's a successful blueprint and one religiously adhered to on Hot Digits: Year Seven, the popular imprint's latest must-check collection. There's not enough room to single out every sonic highlight, but our current favourites include the breezy boogie squelch of Ross Fitz's 'I Miss Your Love ('85 Mix)', the driving deep house haziness of Fingerman and Henri Le Blanc's 'Leave Your Cares Tonight', the neo-trance cheeriness of Picklejam's 'Endorphin Situation' and the stab-happy, peak-time house retro-futurism of 'The Feeling' by Downunder Disco.
Review: The Breakbeat Paradise Recordings team very rarely disappoint, with this latest four tracker from Boydex once again showing why they are such a dominant force in the Breakbeat sphere. We kick off with the complex combination of wah wah guitars and trumpet flickers on 'Hey Guys', which gives us an energetic start, before the more mellow basslines and affected vocal slices of 'Ride With Me' take control. Next, Alize & Sully Sax get involved with a couple of fantastic additions on 'The Good Love', a sultry display of vocal majesty and guitar grooves, before the super crunchy drum punches of 'Do Your Thing' helps into a wavy finale. Wavy stuff indeed!
Review: This suite of reworks of SunPalace's much-admired early '80s jazz-funk obscurity 'Rude Movements' may well be the biggest remix package we've ever seen, thoagh it should be noted that many of the reworks are available in short and extended takes. Either way, there's much to enjoy, from the warming, solo-laden deep house brilliance of Moodymann's revisions and the sparkling, kaleidoscopic Opolopo takes (proper dancefloor jazz-funk for house-heads), to the 11-minute, synth-heavy bliss of Francois K's SATS Dub Extended Version and the sun-drenched Latin house of Frankie Feliciano's delicious rework. Elsewhere, the 'Atmosphere' mix is a starry ambient delight and Kenny Dope's various revisions boast the toughest, bounciest percussion programming.
Review: Danish chill out legend Kenneth Bager turns in a ninth Sunset Session on his most esteemed Music For Dreams imprint. In the game for some 20 years now, Bager's compilations are something to be trusted and highlights this time come from Lucci Capri's down and dirty "Boom Boom Clap" and the syncopated rhythms of SIRS remix to Bongo Entp. Soulful touches of jazz make it into the deep house affairs of Pepe Link's "Gypsy Love Affair" and amid the bassline mechanics of "Man With The Red Face". But let's not forget the man Kenneth Bager himself, who chips on with an ambient edit to Laudness' "Atlantish" - think 80s soundtrack music - next to the handpan drumming, balearic vocals, electronic drum programming and spanish guitar of "Avisa A (feat DJ DIVO & OliO)". Ole!
Review: Now we have been big fans of Infernal Sounds here at JunoDownload for a hot minute, so when we saw they had enlisted the assistance of two of the most consistent dubstep dons out there in Hypho & Abstrakt Sonance, we were filled with joy. This collaborative masterclass in dungeon-applicable bass design is a sonic episode you won't want to miss, kicking off with 'Bad Talk' a sub-shivering combination of dubwise drum delays and sweeping bass action. Next, prepare to lose all sense of time and space as the scattered rhythms and downright dissonant 8bit blasts of 'Nintendo' send your synapses completely sideways. To round off, Rakjay joins the pair for a lively vocal display on 'Take It Or Leave It', which provides us with a darkened outro, complete with a dancefloor ready VIP mix for good measure!
Review: If the more leftfield/indie-leaning end of contemporary disco is where you're at, this long-player from Staffordshire's Jack Butters is well worth checking, evidencing as it does a wide range of influences. There's a blues/country twang to cuts like 'Still Got The Feeling', 'Wild West Show' and 'Stake To The Heart', for instance, while 'Searching For You' rocks an Indian-style chanted vocal and 'Chicken Wah Wah' errs on the cosmic side. But the standouts for yours truly are the dark electronic chug of 'Full Panic Mode', the moody, squelchy 'Drowning In Acid' and the nostalgic, piano-driven and fairly self-explanatory 'House That Jack Built'.
Review: Discobeta bring us two very solid nu-funk workouts that are served up in a total of seven mixes to suit various tastes. 'Down The Block' itself foregrounds the classic 1979 Spoonie G "one for treble, two for the time" sample (as used by Grandmaster Flash on 'Adventures...' a few years later), and comes with re-rubs from Fort Knox Five (pacier and jazz-tastic) and Ross Go (cut-ups and scratches galore). As for 'Yoobie Doo', the first three rubs are mostly aimed at hip-hop/funk-hop floors, but if wigged-out funk with a hint of jazz is your bag, head straight for the Pecoe Remix - it's a killer.
Review: Here's something of a rarity: a full-length excursion on Dam Swindle's usually EP-focused Heist Recordings imprint. It comes courtesy of talented twosome Makez, who last featured on the Dutch label two years ago. There's much to enjoy from start to finish, with the pair blending loose-limbed house rhythms, head-nodding hip-hop rhythms, and sumptuous downtempo grooves with subtle disco instrumentation, colourful electrofunk synth sounds, layered percussion, squelchy analogue bass, and occasional vocal snippets. The results are uniformly vibrant, atmospheric and musically rich, without ever becoming overly fussy or self-indulgent. There's plenty of floor-friendly material for DJs to savour and champion, but the album sounds just as good when listened to at home. Stellar stuff all told.
Review: The Defrostatica team have come together to unleash a fabulous display of modern juke-music here as they deliver 21 tracks of pure energy, showcasing the full spectrum of footwork across nearly 100 minutes of original sonic wizardry. From the euphoric, almost arpeggiated melodies of Jont1st's 'Pantone Suplex' and disruptive, industrial-like percussion of DJ YumYum's 'Antigene' to the more junglist inspired drum skips of Arcane's war-like 'Won't Deny' original, this project covers an insane amount of ground. There are a couple of clear highlights for us, the first of which has to be the ethereal vocal masterpiece that is Kiat's 'Transcribe', alongside the acidic drips of Sam Binga's 'Carbob' remix, originally coming from HomeSick. What a collection this is.
Review: Four tracks from Italian producer Dario Aieello's recent 'Cosmic Sailing EP' get the remix treatment. As with the original EP, the clue's in the title: if you're looking for peaktime stompers you'll need to look elsewhere, but if you're in seach of drifty, evolving cuts to soundtrack voyages through inner space, look no further. 'Storm' and 'Malvasia', remixed by James Bright and Blair French respectively, keep things super-chilled, Willie Graff's rub of 'Fenice' adds a lil' Spanish flavour, but for sunny afternoons spent slow-groovin' on an Ibiza terrace (if only!) Hot Toddy's remix of 'Neve Su Acireale' is the one.
Review: Zombies In Miami awake from the dead once more as they rise more spirits from the ashes of last year's smouldering album '2712'. Highlights include Lauer adding a whole rainbow of feels to 'Frodo' with a synthy disco strut, Kim Ann Foxman bringing the Northern Exposure vibes to the cosmic breakbeat jam 'When Your Time Has Come', Amaury Trevino's added sparkling whiskers to 'Laser Cat' and longtime friend Juan Maclean's deep pulsating take on 'Infinito Paradiso'.
Review: Way back in 1997 record collector, DJ and music writer, Jasper The Vinyl Junkie, curated BBE Music's second ever release: Stop & Listen Vol. II. With BBE celebrating 25 years in the game the label goes back to its roots by inviting JJ for another West end jazz beat special. With rarities and never before heard gems now cut for digital, Vinyl Junkie Thangs calls up all-time music heroes like Fred Wesley, The Fatback Band and DTrain's Hubert Eaves alongside lesser known artists like Exile One, Ashantis and Funkshone with "Spiritual Interlude II (The Heist)" a particular highlight. Featuring curious other Jasper joints from Basement Freaks, OPOLOPO, Jkriv & Free Magic and Mr Scruff, it ain't always a vinyl thang.
Review: Over the past five years Mexico's Guillermo Gonzalez Santana, better known as Hotmood, had dropped a good 30 or so singles/EPs on a number of imprints including Tonbe's Disco Fruit, who now round up his previous output for the label in album form. Regular disco buyers may have most of what's here in their collections already, then, but if you've yet to get acquainted this is the perfect opportunity to do so, with standouts including the irresistible lil' jazzy, funky hip-wriggler that is 'Mr Funkyman', the laidback, handclap-tastic disco groove of 'My Disco Collection' and the looping cut-up soul of 'Clean Cuts'.
White Transit Van - "Let The Seasons Drift" - (5:18) 107 BPM
Review: Next up from the 3024 team, we have yet another top quality exploration into the more experimental side of dance music, here assembling a top quality lineup which happens to be jam-packed with the perfect combination of creativity and production ability. There really is something for everyone on this fantastic compilation, which takes the title 'It Was Always There', from Sobolik's 'Like Like' original which takes a seriously colourful approach in both its melodies and percussive beauty, to the hardcore-inspired drum skips of 'Let The Seasons Drift' and 808-driven subs of Pharma & J Weaver's 'Red Shift'. Despite the fact the EP works so nicely as a long-play project, we do have to point out a couple of highlights, those being the stunning 'Drum On' from CCL, which performs absolute wonders with a pulsating low end and clicky drum designs, alongside the gorgeous synth-hums of Laurence Kapinga's 'Headrest'. It's a special compilation to say the least!
Review: After releases by DoctorSoul, Dave Mathmos and Vibes4YourSoul, Berlin-based Too Slow To Disco are back with number six in their edits series. This one comes courtesy of Los Angeles nu-disco wizard Blake Robin aka LUXXURY, who has built up a solid reputation via his method of using the multi-tracks of classic hits to create dubby/slow-mo versions of classics. On TSTD06, we have "Hello My Love" which is a loved-up and low slung slow burner that's worthy tackle for the late night, followed by the romantic '70s swagger of a well known AOR classic on "Baby Please Don't Go (Oooh No)".
Review: Ireland's Dexter Jones serves up a four-tracker on Fingerman's Hot Digits Music. Whether these are re-edits or just heavily sample-based productions isn't entirely clear, but opener 'Feel' is a female-vocalled funk/boogie jam that could pass for Janet Jackson in a dim light, while on the title track Jones drops down into out-and-out funk mode, foregrounding a sinuous bassline and melancholic horns. 'Jan Jam' then sits somewhere between early 80s boogie and shimmering Nang-esque nu-disco, before the EP winds up in full-on boogie territory with 'I Want You Back', which bites the vocal The Jones Girls' 'On Target' from 1983.
Review: If you're looking for authentically 80s-sounding cosmic vibes that conjure images of European discotheques at the height of the Cold War, you'll struggle to do better this week than this EP from Mexico-based South Korean producer Shubostar, brought to you by Prins Thomas and Kai Fraeger's Internasjonal label. "Dark disco" is the term Shubostar herself prefers but you get the general idea, with Spiegel sporting sci-fi synths and available with or without a spoken female vocal in German, 'Hypernova' continuing the sci-fi theme and 'Mindroid', the pick for this reviewer, dropping the tempo to a druggy, chuggy crawl.
Review: Rob Halgren is resident DJ at Denver nightclub Neon Baby, and as Funk Hunk specialises in repurposing vintage funk, disco and boogie grooves for contemporary dancefloors. With 22 tracks on offer, there's no space here to identify the source material for every one - it'd also be a fool's errand, because he's dug admirably deep and most would have us beat anyway! But what you end up with is a magazine full of fresh ammo for your funk machine gun, with the emphasis on fat-ass basslines and handclaps while the vocals range from sweet female harmonies to blues-y male growls. Worth investigating for sure.
Review: Belgian producer Zamali made his name with a string of re-edit EPs on Timewarp in the late 00s and early 2010s. These days he's focusing more on original productions, and now he returns to the Greek label with his debut full-length. Contemporary funk is his stock-in-trade, sometimes - as on 'Jack The Ripper' - veering towards the funk-breaks/funk-hop side of the street, other times leaning more towards "new old" homage vibes, but never shy of dropping in a familiar vocal sample here and there, or injecting a hint of disco, Afro or even house flava. Standouts for this reviewer include the Zapp/Cameo-esque 'Fatty Bump' and the jaunty, jazzy 'Gimme Some Faith'.
Review: Striding Frog is not the name of a new hiking-based documentary series hosted by Nigel Farage, but rather a debutant band who make baggy, sun-kissed music that should tickle the fancy of anyone of a Balearic persuasion. The headline-grabbing cut is opener 'Don't Wait', a languid and lazy affair in which the band's multi-tracked vocals rise above psychedelic synth sounds and hazy, slow-motion grooves. Later in the EP you'll find a chugging, acid-fired slo-mo rework of the same track from Italian duo Mushrooms Project, an outfit who do psychedelic disco better than most. Elsewhere, 'Keep The Love' is a sparkling, almost horizontal AOR disco treat, with Ourra's accompanying remix brilliantly re-imagining the track as a dreamy chunk of Balearic synth-pop loveliness.
Review: Almunia, AKA Leo Ceccanti and Gianluca Salvadori, released two sunny, pysch-tinged Balearic albums on Claremont 56 back in the early 2010s. Now, a decade later, Ceccanti returns in solo mode, and if you were feeling the two previous albums you'll find much to enjoy here, too. Ceccanti's skills as a guitarist are well to the fore throughout, whether he's strumming gently on an acoustic, showing off some intricate flamenco fingerpicking or busting out the electric for some wailin' west coast histrionics, while the beats never rise above walking pace but have just enough variety and punch to keep things from getting boring. A chilled little gem built for Mambo sunsets.
Review: A four-tracker here that will suit those whose dancefloor tastes lean towards the exotic and eclectic side. Red Axes' 'Maztomeret' tops a Moog-y cosmic disco groove with a nursery-like "la la la la la" chorus, Zillas On Acid comes on like 70s Indian sitar funk given a Solomun remix, Tyu flirts with African and Arabic flavours on 'Kongaloka' and then finally there's the oddity that is Manfredas's 'Meshugas', a quirky slice of Balearica with a hint of The Clangers about it. Peaktime tackle for big, glitzy clubs this most definitely is not, but leftfield spinners would do well to check it out.
Review: Mysticisms delves into the spiritual realm with the archival recordings of London based Japanese duo, Afrobuddha to present their highly sought music to date, in Obame and Zone, on one EP. With copies of their debut releases now selling for dizzying prices, a chance to work with label friend Kay Suzuki attained. With his respected Time Capsule label releasing a stream of amazing world music inspired reissues, his project with Koichi Sakai is revisited and reborn.
Released as a celebration of the spiritual affinity felt with the African and Afro-Caribbean music community, enter Obame; a collaboration with the Kakatsitsi Drummers - pioneering percussionists of the Ga tribe of Southern Ghana. Combining traditional drumming with flutes, xylophone and folkloric chants, Suzuki and Sakai's art and philosophy of rhythm via house, disco, afrobeat and reggae, underpins this offering to stunning effect. Zone follows. A spiritual essence of London's vibrant multi-cultural society, the track fuses intoxicating raw percussion. Featuring Ghanaian master drummer Afla Sackey's thundering congas and djembe on a 3/4 signature of polyrhythm beats, repetitive chants and deep analog synths, this is a stripped backed journey into drum dub of space-bending delays and reverb effects. Chant the Mystery.
Review: St Albans-based Hansi serves up four more covers on this latest addition to the long-running 'Funky Grooves' series on his own Viking Grooves. 'Changes' gets the ball rolling, rendering Black Sabbath's classic heartbreak ballad in a tortured, southern soul style - it's almost like Otis's revenge for the Black Crowes! The other choices of cover on the EP are perhaps less surprising - Timmy Thomas's 'Why Can't We Live Together', Run DMC's 'Peter Piper' and The Jimmy Castor Bunch's 'It's Just Begun' - but in all cases Hansi puts his own distinctive spin on the original, making for an EP with more than its fair share of attention-grabbers.