Review: As the title suggests, this fantastic - and let's face it, pleasingly epic - compilation showcases some of the many disco-centric cuts in the Z Records vaults, throwing in a few exclusives (see Dave Lee's fantastic, hybrid disco-boogie rework of Firefly's 'Love is Gonna Be on Your Side') for good measure. Such is the high-quality threshold that picking stand outs is tough, but our picks of a very strong bunch include the slick, boogie-funk brilliance of Crackazat's 'Sensationalized', Larry Levan's vintage, delay-heavy synth dub of Johnny Dynell's 'Rhythm of Love', the stomping disco-house release of 'Gotta Thing (2021 Remaster)' by Foreal People, Taana Gardner and Dave Lee, and John Morales' epic rework of Sean McCabe's 'Love For Life'. As the old saying goes, this is all killer and no filler.
Review: As always with the now infamous 1985 Music imprint, they have assembled the great and good to explore the darker realms of electronic dance music, primarily focussing on dubstep and neurotic drum and bass flavour through this fabulous new 'Atlas' compilation. The names involved are pretty mind-blowing with a roster including the likes of Alix Perez, Drone, Headland, Foreign Concept, Safire, DRS and many more heavyweight names. The entire project has a touch of finesse and musical class about it, from the beautifully processed drum clanks of 'Nibiru' from Visages to the stunning vocal processing of 'Do Me No Good' from Nymfo. There really isn't a low point to this project with the sweeping soundscapes and electronic destruction of Deft's 'Scars' original being a real high point for us!
Review: Glitterbox resident Dr Packer is a leading light of the contemporary disco scene, while Dave Lee was arguably THE key architect of the whole post-house disco phenomenon in the first place. So when the former helms a compilation on the latter's label, you'd expect great things, and suffice to say you're very unlikely to be disappointed. Hell, for this writer the deep n' sultry JN Revival Mix of early 90s classic 'Do What You Feel' is worth the price of admission on its own, but with Packer's own remixes of label favourites making up over a third of the tracklist, the collection as a whole is pretty much unmissable.
Review: With the catalogue that the Cuttin' It Fine team have both assembled and keep adding to, it's hard to expect anything less than exceptional with every release. They deliver another set of four breakbeat belters, courtesy of both El Bomba & Roast Beatz. First up, El Bomba delivers a dancefloor-ready funk out in 'Take A Break', a lively combo of sharp drum slaps and lip-curling basslines, before Roast Beatz the energy with the groovy guitar plucks and singalong vocals of 'Party Over Here'. Back to El Bomba next as the classic sounding guitar melodies and unpredictable drum shakes of 'Bronco Funk' tone down the madness a tad, before rounding off with anthem-like arrangements of 'Get On Down' from Roast Beatz, boasting a showstopper of a bassline, draped in pleasing horn switches and tidy vocal chops for good measure.
Review: Birdee is a rising star of the nu-disco and re-edit scenes, so it makes perfect sense that Bomb Strikes has recruited him to curate and mix the latest volume in their excellent Disco Funkin' compilation series. As you'd expect, it's a thoroughly and joyous affair, rich in colourful synth sounds, funky disco basslines and beats that flit between housed-up heaviness and more organic-sounding, less pumped-up grooves. There are tons of essential cuts amongst the 25 unmixed tracks on show, with highlights including the sun-bright rush of Pete Herbert's remix of Da Chick's 'Chick a Boom', the crunchy Clavinet-sporting disco-funk of Shaka Loves You's 'Let's Move (SLY Disco Rub)', the slick French Touch style warmth of Birdee's own 'Thinking About You' and Ray Mang's celebratory revision of Smoove & Turrell's 'Do It'.
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!
Rhode, Brown & Kosmo Kint - "Thru The Night" - (4:09) 124 BPM
Joel Holmes - "Playing With My Mind" - (5:06) 120 BPM
Sam Ruffillo - "Es Buena" - (4:23) 122 BPM
Review: There's much to enjoy about the ninth volume in Toy Tonics' ongoing Top Tracks series, which showcases much played, sought-after highlights from the label's rapidly growing catalogue. The standard of material on show is uniformly excellent, from the warming and organic broken dancefloor soul of Cody Currie's compilation opening 'Moves' and the sparkling piano house retro-futurism of COEO's 'I Can Never Be Yours', to the Amp Fildder-esque deep house soul of Rhode, Brown & Kosmo Kint's 'Through The Night', and the good-time, carnival-ready dancefloor sunshine of Sam Ruffilo's disco-tinged 'Es Buena'. Throw in a couple of killer cuts from jazz pianist-turned-deep house don Joel Holmes, and you have a seriously good compilation.
Review: If it's authentically 70s-sounding disco grooves you seek, then know that nothing in this reviewer's Juno inbox this week has come closer than this five-tracker from Sunner Soul. The rest of the world may currently be obsessed with all things cosmic and Italo, but the St Petersburg native (here, at least) is still all about the handclaps, whoops, strings, cowbells, and jive-talkin' vocal snatches. All five near-instrumental cuts are quite similar in approach, but check out 'Smooth Surface' for a full-phat bassline and fine Moog-y sounds, and 'Body Groove' for a lil' boogie-esque squelch and some excellent 'pyoww! pyoww!' stabs.
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: Impressively, no-one has yet to unmask the identity of the "well known contemporary disco producer" behind the Magou project, despite some quite high profile releases on labels such as Toy Tonics. The producer's now trademark sound - think elements of disco, acid, synth-pop, boogie, deep house and Italo-disco blended in a classy way - is much in evidence across his or her latest four-tracker. 'Pas Jolie' is a fine chunk of deep house/Italo-disco fusion powered forward by a nagging TB-303 acid line, while 'Dejart' is a weightier and hazier slab of dub disco with added lounge music flourishes. Elsewhere, 'Sos Remo' is another subtly acid-flecked disco-tech number, while closing cut 'Round Round' is quirky Balearic synth-pop of the sort that record collectors would be salivating over if it had been released in 1984.
Review: CircoLoco Records is a new record label forged in partnership with the iconic video game creators Rockstar Games. This is the first edition in the new compilation series called Monday Dreamin' where they will showcase contributions from established names from every era of their legendary Ibiza parties. On the Blue EP, we have got new material from the likes of Kerri Chandler, Sama Abdulhadi, Seth Troxler and Rampa, as well as a Dixon remix of Deichkind's "Autonom".
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: 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: 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.
Dabeat - "The Wish Granting Stone" - (7:40) 121 BPM
Oliver, Tom & RYAN - "Sunnyvale" - (9:12) 120 BPM
Nicolas Rada - "Hummingbird" - (7:28) 121 BPM
Armen Miran - "So It Goes" - (7:05) 122 BPM
Pambouk & Hrag Mikkel - "The Path Of An Honest Man" - (7:33) 120 BPM
Luka Sambe - "The Juggle" - (8:06) 121 BPM
NIIXII - "Nostalgia" - (7:01) 123 BPM
Audiense - "Desert Rose" - (7:26) 121 BPM
Airbas - "A Long Way Home" - (6:51) 123 BPM
Alel - "The Whisper Of The Unknown" - (8:58) 123 BPM
Review: The Hoom Side of the Sun compilation series has previously delivered two expansive volumes of soul-warming, tech-tinged deep house goodness, each packed with tracks that tend towards the exotic, emotive and intoxicating. Volume three, which lands 12 months after its predecessor and presents a similarly sunny and atmospheric blend of high-grade cuts. For proof, check out the clips of Hreach's hypnotic but stirring 'Blue Road', the percussion-rich deep-tech loveliness of Lucien's 'Lluvia', the fluttering summer breeze beauty of 'Virtue' by Hermanez, and the psychedelic, trance-inducing dancefloor psychedelia of Luka Sambe's 'The Juggle'.
Review: Since launching on vinyl in 2019, the Ron's Reworks series from Crazy P co-founder Jim Baron AKA Ron Basejam has consistently delivered high-quality reworks that tend to shy away from the obvious and over-played. The standout on the series' fourth missive is undoubtedly 'They Speak Colour', a loopy, soft-focus disco-house jam whose relentless grooves, synthesizer splashes and simmering orchestration make it sound like Soundstream after a bong full of Marijuana smoke and several disco biscuits. Elsewhere, 'The City' is a canny revision of an unusual disco-boogie number that builds through sections of drums and cut-up, scat style vocals before finally flourishing late on, while 'The Cull' is a deep and meandering head-nodder tailor-made for warm-up sets and sit-down bar gigs.
Review: Glitterbox regular Alan Dixon brings us his take on five Salsoul classics, but rest assured these are no shoddy "whack a 4/4 kick under it" bootlegs - Dixon was given full access to the original multi-tracks for this project. Even so, it's a brave man or woman indeed who looks at the Salsoul catalogue and thinks "I could improve on that," so he's wisely avoided doing anything too radical or adding any extraneous elements of his own, instead simply teasing out the tracks' most familiar hooks and giving them a structural make-over, rendering them easier to programme in contemporary house and disco sets. Classy stuff.
Review: The only question we should be asking about Ron Basejam and Red Rack'em getting in a studio together is 'why did it take them so long?' The Crazy P multi-instrumentalist brings a melodic sheen and strict work ethic to Berman's idiosyncratic, off-kilter sample chops. We're very excited to be bringing the first in a series of killer twelves from two artists who bring a huge amount of passion, soul, and singularity to their music. The infamous Crazy P studio in Nottingham, the scene of many a lost brain cell for the pair became a different kind of playground with an arsenal of synths and the Basejam sample library proving fruitful.
Review: In our opinion, NYC's Homage label has yet to put a foot wrong musically since launching in 2017, with the quality of its output seemingly increasing with every successive release. The label's latest release from Palmiara - the alternative alias of Eastern European producer Antoni Sierakowski - is another strong showing. It sees the Poland-based artist deliver a trio of colourful, synth-heavy, retro-futurist house treats: the Jex Opolis-esque 'Mt Paradiso'; a squelchy slab of off-kilter, organ-sporting Latin dance (the acid-flecked 'Jaszczurka'); and the timbales-championing acid house eccentricity of 'Surfin'. The latter is given the remix treatment by Running Back boss Gerd Janson, who brilliantly re-imagines it a stirring, acid-fired Balearic house gem.
Review: A pleasingly varied EP here from The Magic Track, AKA the Hungarian duo of Peter Makkai and Andras Szerepi. There's a Phenomenal Handclap-esque rocky edge to 'Be Free', with the vocal nodding to (but not sampled from) The Who's 'I'm Free', while 'Keep On Flowing' takes us into early 80s boogie territory. We're then treated to a slab of early 70s-style psychedelic funk in the form of 'Resist The Temptation' while finally 'Trust Yourself', with its brass flourishes and gutsy female soul vocal, has more of a 60s deep funk flava. Something for everyone, then!
Review: Following up his terrific remix of Miles Atmospheric's "Calling You Out" which received an official release last week on Bedrock, industry legend Josh Wink now returns with a release of his own on John Digweed's esteemed label. "New Year's Eve Acid" first appeared on Digweed's extensive Quattro II mix compilation back in March, in the form of the Beatless Reprise. Featured here is the lean and subtle 303 acid glide of the original version, backed by a sensual and emotive late night rework by Los Angeles-based legend John Tejada - who takes the track into slick dub techno territory.
BSN Posse - "Rituals" (Jermainesoul remix) - (4:46) 123 BPM
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: A warm welcome back to Jay Donaldson AKA Palms Trax, who launches his new label CWPT with his first fresh EP since he appeared on Dekmantel two years ago. Musically, 'Petu' is arguably one of the most original and ear-catching things he's released during his career, with vocalist Nonku Phiri making her presence felt atop a gorgeous combination of spacey Italo-disco synths, punchy horns, densely layered percussion and throbbing synthesizer arpeggio lines. It comes accompanied by an almost vocal-free Dub and a killer remix by Masalo, who smartly re-casts the cut as a squelchy and surging slab of celebratory Italo-disco brilliance.
Review: Stefan Dubs is one of the key members of Folklore, a collective / label that embraces a plurality of styles - and this aesthetic shines through on Spring Tones. The title track is an introspective affair that features dubbed out chords riding a scuffled garage groove, while on "Untitled Version", the French producer moves into hypnotic, swirling dub techno. He shifts focus again for the aptly named "Bassbin Tremor Dub", where a heavy sub-bass provides the backdrop for tripped out shanty vocals and layers of effects. The release takes another turn on "Lion Last", with Dubs continuing his voyage into the heart of smoky, mid-tempo music for the head and feet.
Review: Say 'Toolroom' to most people these days and they'll perhaps think first of peak-time tech-house stompers, but there's always been more to the label than that. Their 'Poolside' series, for instance, has been showcasing the more lounge-y, soulful and/or disco-infused side of house since 2014, and if you're a fan of such styles then this latest installment, packing cuts from the likes of Opolopo, Random Soul, Sebb Junior, Per QX, Saison and Ross Couch plus a host of up-and-comers, is unlikely to disappoint. The jazz-funk nouveau of Opolopo's 'Ginsu Knife' and Vertigini's garage-tinged 'Over You' are among the highlights of a collection with nary a Pavlovian snare roll or cheesy rave stab in sight.
Review: We don't know much about Deo'Jorge, other than that he's a New York-based DJ/producer who has run or managed countless events over the years. This outing on Me Me Me appears to be his debut EP and if so it's a hugely impressive first outing. The three original tracks on show each cannily combine throbbing, Italo-disco style arpeggiated basslines, thumping beats, sparkling synthesizers and the kind of Balearic musical flourishes often associated with Norway's space disco specialists. It's certainly fitting then that one of those, Prins Thomas, provides a predictably epic, constantly-rising revision of 'Sparking Plugs' that emphasises Deo'Jorge's subtle musical nods towards krautrock. In contrast, the Hardway Brothers' revision joins the dots between throbbing cosmic disco and the breezy brilliance of 'Sueno Latino'.
Review: Hailing originally from Nottingham but now based in Leeds, Akeem Raphael serves up a very serviceable contemporary disco-funker, dripping in squelchy geetar and topped with a spoken word vocal that a little Googling reveals to be sampled from a Black Girls Rock! award acceptance speech by US actor Angela Bassett. Monsieur Van Pratt's remix ups the tempo a notch, adds some jaunty lil' sax parps and tones down the guitar a little, allowing the bassline to shine through, while label boss Conan The Selector adds his own remix, a slightly more stripped-back variation on the theme.
Review: Turkish-born, Tulum-based multi-instrumentalist Bora Uzer is known for his impressive live performances, where he sings over an assortment of electronic and acoustic instruments. Now he arrives on Diynamic with a four track EP titled Birth, which is proof of his accomplishments as a global citizen thus far. From the hypnotic and spellbinding energy of the title track, to the dark and meditative polyrhythms on "Falling" featuring his emotive vocal delivery, to the funked-up tribal ritual of "Sammaye" while the closing track "Rounds" combines pumping tech house energy with exotic arrangements.
Review: Black Spuma are Fabrizio Mammarella & Phillip Lauer - a project that up until now was largely known for three records on International Feel. Having surfaced on Bristol's Futureboogie in 2019, Black Spumareveal themselves again for a four-track Hypercall EP on Live At Robert Johnson. Throwing down some heavy house chords in "Station To Station", get your gnarly acid jack tracks out of "Data Life" and a deep EBM workout in "Miracoli". And of course, there's still the pair's homage to Italo in "Transpork" that given its perfect moment in time will raise the roof.
Review: Like many of his contemporaries, Joaquin 'Joe' Claussell quickly became bored during NYC's first Covid-19 lockdown last year, so used the time to craft Raw Tones, his first solo album for nigh on 13 years. The set is built around weighty analogue basslines and vintage-sounding drum machine rhythm tracks, with Claussell frequently adding melancholic piano solos, his own spoken word and improvised vocals, and flashes of the African and Latin-inspired percussion sounds that he's long been known for. It's. ahugely successful formula, with highlights including the similarly sleazy 'Break Free' and 'You Mutha Fucka', the sunrise deep house beauty of 'Way Back Then', the sweaty and cymbal-heavy 'If It's All In Your Kind Let It Out' and the slo-mo sweetness of 'Hallucination Ejection'.
Disco Nostalgia (A Marvin & Guy mix In Space) - (6:31) 124 BPM
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: 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'.
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: Rare Wiri's more leftfield offshoot Golden Soul bring us a couple of Italo/cosmic workouts courtesy of Spanish producer Ivan De La Rouch and fellow countryman and frequent collaborator Rams. The mid-paced 'Blessing' then gets a slightly tuffer, dubbier makeover from Italy's Belabouche, whose work has previously appeared on Midnight Riot and FKR, while the more funk-fuelled 'Freshhigh' is given an apocalyptic-sounding and lightly acidic refix from the mighty James Rod. The most dramatic remix, though, comes from Berlin's Grey Pantone, in whose hands 'Freshhigh' becomes a high-octane techno/electro workout to punish even the most energised of dancefloors.