Earth Wind & Fire - "Fantazy" (Beatconductor rework) (8:22)
Michael Jackson - "Human" (Beatconductor rework) (8:23)
Review: Gilles Peterson's Arc label stays busy in its early days with another choice reissue, this time of a 1973 compilation that brims with soulful charm. The impossible to find original came on obscure Hollywood label SECO Sounds Records and pulls together the best of songwriter and musician George Semper's catalogue. There are organ driven funk jams, glowing r&b odes and plenty of cosmic funk explorations, uptempo stompers and downtempo slow jams to make your heart swell with a fine array of contributing vocalists adding all the more colour. This is a collection of all killer, hard to find material that shines a deserving light on an often overlooked talent.
Review: We may not be able to gather to dance outdoors under a blazing sun or a blanket of stars, but there's no harm in a little musical daydreaming. That's what the latest multi-artist Ravenelli Disco Club release is all about: summery escapism that comes with a big dollop of rush-inducing disco release. Ethyene sets the tone with the colourful boogie-house fusion of "Let Love" - all twinkling synth motifs, echoing percussion hits, thickset grooves and hazy vocal samples - before Carlo raises the temperature via some jazzy deep house heaviness in the vein of Derrick Carter's "boompty" era. Over on side B, Hotmood's "Magical Flight" is a surging, string-drenched disco-house roller, while Rees' "The Way You Mood" is a tooled-up take on what sounds like a classic Philadelphia International cut.
Review: Here's a record perfectly suited to the Emotional Rescue sphere. International Noise Orchestra was born out of a collaboration between Berliner Ulrich Homberg and Algerian drummer Jol Allouche, first embarked on in the 1980s when they sought to combine 'new technology with old'. The results are wonderfully vibrant, evocative of the era but also packed with open-ended experimentation that sounds fresh more than 30 years later. There's a push and pull between the collaborating parties, but the frisson between cultures and methods is where this record gets its unique groove from, all delivered with a slick 80s cool it's hard to resist.
Please Don't Make It Funky (The Patchouli Brothers Re edit) (5:05)
Review: "Please Don't Make It Funky" is one of those delicious curiosities that dusty-fingered crate diggers unearth every now and then. Recorded and released in limited qualities in 1980, it was apparently an attempt by Frank Pisani, then a veteran American singer who had last tasted success in the rock and roll era, to capture the disco/jazz-funk zeitgeist. While it was a commercial flop, the track is undeniably attractive and fun, with squelchy synth sounds, ear-catching horns, fluid piano solos and Pisani's blue-eyed-soul vocals rising above a tidy groove. This surprise - but most welcome - reissue backs Pisani's cheery original with a fresh re-edit by the Patchouli Brothers. This includes some filter trickery and a DJ-friendly arrangement, but otherwise sticks close to the original mix.
Review: Given that he was making disco-fired house as far back as the early noughties, Simon Marlin AKA The Shapeshifters is a perfect fit for Defected's disco-focussed Glitterbox sub-label. These days Marlin's productions are closer to "real" disco than funky house, as last year's Salsoul influenced "Life Is A Dancefloor" with singer Kimberly Davis proved. "Second Chance" explores similar musical pastures, with the EP opening club mix layering Tony Montana-esque orchestration and Loleatta-like vocals atop a bouncy beat. Moplen delivers a classic disco revision mixed in a Tom Moulton style, where there's more clarity to each showcased piece of instrumentation, while the Shapeshifters provide a dub mix style "Reprise" that rises and falls in all the right places. A handy, delay-laden acapella version completes a very strong EP.
Review: Milton Wright's perfect deep Soul classic "Keep It Up" has always been a top shelf record, everything about it is almost flawless! Whether it's Milton's silky vocal delivery, the incessant guitar driven back beat or the total space Funk vibe of his omnipresent ARP-2600 synthesizer this record has it all. Originally released on TK Disco's more Soul and Funk orientated Alston label which was home to many legendary artists and records, this 1975 sunshine classic never fails to make people move. A classic rare groove indeed. "The Silence That You Keep" takes up side-B, a jazzy, flute driven love song that again features Milton's perfect voice and some fantastic arrangement. A real gem of a record, with the original 45 changing hands for over L100 a time in used condition.
Edgar Winter - "Above & Beyond" (12" version) (6:26)
Review: Having previously offered up two vinyl compilations focusing on his book Life & Death on the New York Dancefloor 1980-83, dance music documentarian Tim Lawrence has decided to travel back in time to the decade covered in his previous book, Love Will Save The Day. This second part (of two) gathers together some of the greatest American dance music of the 1970s, deftly showcasing what some might call the disco continuum. It covers a lot of ground, moving from the sparkling orchestrated soul of Willie Hutch and the intergalactic jazz-funk of Charles Earland, to the punk-funk hedonism of Miroslave Vituous and the boogie-era brilliance of Edgar Winter, via a string of surging underground disco treats.