Review: Aside from reissuing a whole heap of glorious boogie material from the 1980'sm People's Potential Unlimited also have their own distribution roster, and Cosmic Chronic is right up there waving the flag for the US stable. To kick-start 2016, we have a four-tracker from newcomer Arcade Odyssey, and as you'd expect, they're every but as funky and lo-fi as those instrumentals from back in the day. "Spring Yard Zone" kicks off with massive electro baseline, tropical melodies, and a hazy vibe, while "Beautiful Forest" breaks the beat down and goes Eastern with its synths. Flip the plate and you'll be confronted by the huge, stabbing bassline and fast beats of the utterly gnarly "Neon Night Riders" - easily the gem of the lot - and wound down thanks to the gentler, more tame waters of "Port Town". Sick.
Review: Kalita Records are proud and honoured to announce the first ever official reissue of the four choice tracks from Randolph Baker's privately pressed sought-after 1982 disco album 'Reaching For The Stars', plus an unreleased instrumental take of 'Party Life' sourced from the original 24-track analogue master tapes.
Originally recorded at Jim Morris and Rick Miller's Tampa-based Morrisound Studios, 'Getting Next To You' features both a mixture of both local Florida talent plus jazz superstar Nat Adderley and bassist John Lamb at their finest. Originally pressed in a limited run of just one-thousand copies, with no distribution and most copies being sold in the local city and on Randolph's own merchandise table at the back of live gigs, original copies have long been sought-after by both collectors and DJs alike, acknowledged as a true grail and masterpiece in the disco scene and deservedly demanding extortionate figures to those lucky enough to find their own.
Here, in collaboration with Randolph, Kalita Records have chosen to re-release the four choice tracks from the album: 'Getting Next To You', 'Jazzman', 'Callin' Me' and 'Party Life'. The former is an in-demand horn and chant-filled disco masterpiece, which, as Randolph explains, concerns unity and "everyone on the same level in other words, everyone just loving life". It is arguably the song that Randolph is most well-known for in the disco and funk scene and perfect for the modern discerning dance floor. 'Jazzman' is an instrumental track with prominent trumpet and saxophone solos working with funky basslines to produce a truly great jazz-funk groove. It was "a tribute to Nat Adderley and Duke Ellington's bass player, John Lamb, for being so generous and saying yes to the project". 'Callin' Me' is a soulful disco number featuring the lead vocals of Laurie Erickson and is "about being on the road and ensuring loved ones that you will always come back home no matter what. It was like a promise to ensure loved ones they didn't have to worry". Lastly, 'Party Life' is a joyous disco track with a strong funk bassline and horns. As Randolph recalls, it "was the joy like after an actor finishes a movie. There was nothing but joy. It's finished; let's celebrate big time. Where everyone in the studio yelled at the top of their lungs - The End!" Here, with access to the 24-track master tapes we have been able to include the original version plus an unreleased instrumental take, allowing us to focus on the infectious bassline and make it even more ready for the modern dance floor.
Accompanied by extensive interview-based liner notes and never-before-seen photos.
Journey To The Light (part 1 - DJ Nori edit) (4:13)
Journey To The Light (part 2 - DJ Nori edit) (3:19)
Review: Subject to edits from such luminaries as Ashley Beedle and Danny Krivit, Brainstorm's most iconic cut "Journey To The Light" gets extended to the point of two parts by Brooklyn editor and selector DJ Nori. Part One is all about the Detroit dynamos' ability to hit sizzling high notes on the chorus and drop into swooning jazzy verses while Part Two is more of a groove-based, stripped back version where the instrumentation and backing vocals are brought right into the light. Stunning.
BT (Brenda Taylor) - "You Can't Have Your Cake & Eat It Too" (Greg Wilson edit) (9:08)
Forrrce - "Keep On Dubbin'" (Greg Wilson edit) (5:17)
Raw Silk - "Do It To The Music" (Greg Wilson edit) (6:37)
Shirley Lites - "Heat You Up" (Melt Down mix - Greg Wilson edit) (7:19)
Review: West End's double-pack re-edit series continues, with long-standing UK electrofunk hero and scalpel rework specialist Greg Wilson sharing a quartet of revisions. There are airings for two of Wilson's most sought-after scalpel works from the "Credit To The Edit" series - superb versions of Brenda Taylor's "You Can't Have Your Cake and Eat It Too" and Raw Silk's "Do It To The Music" - as well as a couple of previously heard rearrangements that are on-point as per usual. Wilson first adds even more mind-altering delays and low-slung dub disco flavour to Forrrce's "Keep On Dubbin'", before superbly stretching out the mostly instrumental "Melt Down Mix" of Shirley Lites' synth-laden peak-time classic "Heat You Up".
Review: If you dig disco but have yet to explore the bulging back catalogue of De-Lite Records stalwarts Crown Heights Affair, this double-pack could be exactly what you need. It draws together a quintet of the group's most potent and essential moments, beginning with the soaring mid-tempo brilliance of "Say A Prayer For Two". That sublime chunk of disco-funk perfection is followed by the buzzing horns, walking bass and high-register vocals of "Galaxy of Love" and the punchy disco stomp of "I'm Gonna Love You Forever", where relentless horns and spacey synth flourishes do their best to whip listeners into a frenzy. The second 12" offers another chance to own "Dreaming A Dream (Goes Dancin')" and the bouncy disco-funk epic that is "Dancin' (Disco mix)".
Review: In 1977, Libyan musician Ahmed Fakroun flew to Milan to record some new material. The results were showcased on a pair of 7" singles, the most sought-after of which is being given the reissue treatment by Italy's Groovin label. The real winner here is "Nisyan", an Arabic interpretation of blue-eyed soul that fixes a baggy, sun-kissed sensibility, ear-catching Moog solos and a killer groove. "La Ya-Hob" is, if anything, even baggier and dreamier, with Fakroun delivering touchy-feely vocals over exotic, Middle Eastern synthesizer lines and a rolling, soft touch jazz-funk groove. Both cuts are equally breezy and jaunty, lingering in the memory for hours after each rotation.
Review: Say yes! The definitive gossamer Italo floor fuel of Ida No and Johnny Jewel's Glass Candy outfit enjoys an expanded reissue here on sexy lavender vinyl after over a decade out of print. Nothing but synthetic positivity as both the title track and "Drumm" stride with an almost marching feel before "Where Time Sits Still" plunges much deeper into moody new romantic cinematics. Elsewhere other highlights include the slinky poignancy that lingers from every spacious bass pluck on "City Lights" and the trembling ambience and pressurised atmosphere of the finale "Sanctuary". Yes please.
Review: In keeping with other reissues from the Espacial Discos imprint, Goya's "House on the Sea" is a suitably sought-after track. Original copies of the original 1979 12" on which it was first featured will set you back over a ton (in British pounds, at least), so this new pressing is certainly welcome. The track itself is something of a meandering, early evening delight, mixing stoned West Coast rock vibes - think slightly wild vocals, starry electric pianos and Steely Dan guitar solos - with a whisper of spacey synthesizer action and a few nods towards rubbery AOR disco. On the flip you'll find original '79 A-side "Mandy", an up-tempo, Steve Miller Band or Steely Dan style workout that's jaunty, groovy and tons of fun.
Teddy Pendergrass - "The More I Get" (John M+M Get It All mix)
Candi Staton - "Young Hearts Run Free" (John M+M Run Run Run mix)
Loletta Holloway - "Dreamin" (John M+M Not My Man extended mix)
Inner Life - "Make It Last Forever" (feat Jocelyn Brown - John M+M original Forever 12' mix)
Review: The second vinyl sampler to accompany BBE's hook-up with disco legend John Morales is just as delicious as the first, with essential takes on classics from Teddy Pendergrass, Candi Staton, Loletta Holloway and Inner Life all worth investigating. If this isn't enough for you, be sure to check the comprehensive 18 track double CD compilation, also out this week.
Review: Amongst synthesizer fetishists and electro-funk enthusiasts, Rah Band's "Messages From The Stars" has long been a cherished record. It's also a rather unusual one; a British-made electro era record that combines the kind of cutting-edge electronic instrumentation and production techniques more frequently found on contemporaneous New York records (copious amounts of delay, extensive TR-808 and Linn drum use, and so on) with the eccentricity of post-punk era UK synth-pop. This reissue presents re-mastered versions of Hewson's three original versions, of which the trippy and extended "Long Wave Mix" and more percussive, delay-laden "Astro Mix" (effectively the club-focused dub) are the standouts. If you don't already own a copy, get this quick.
My Body (Louie Vega remix/Synth Bass instrumental) (8:58)
My Body (Louie Vega radio version) (3:46)
Review: Luther Vandross originally wrote and recorded "My Body" in 1979, though his version was never released; instead, the song was re-recorded by Stephanie Mills and included on her 1983 album "Merciless". Here we finally get a chance to hear Luther belt it out himself, with Masters At Work man Louie Vega providing production and a dizzying number of remixes. There are two bumpin' and life-affirming "Soul House" mixes (the second replacing Vandross' lead vocal with some mazy Rhodes solos), a fluid and positive "Remix/Synth Bass Mix" that packs plenty of dancefloor energy, and warmer "EOL Mix" and "EOL Dub" versions that utilize a warm bass guitar part and some tasty chord progressions. Throw in a couple of edits and instrumentals and you have a suitably epic set of reworks.
Review: Later this year, crate-digging specialists Cordial Recordings is set to release an album of previously unheard recordings by cult German jazz-fusion combo Afrodisia. To get us in the mood, the London-based label has decided to reissue the band;s sole previous album, 1980's Elephant Sunrise. While the album is best known for the impeccable jazz-funk sweetness of "Sugar Free" - recorded, like much of the rest of the album, by a mixture of locals and guest musicians from a nearby U.S army base - there's much to enjoy throughout, from the psychedelic heaviness of opener "TMFF" and elastic dancefloor workout "Psychic Summers", to the slap-bass-propelled funk-rock of "Wild Turkey" and intense, full-throttle closer "Zugabe (Encore)".
Review: Omar S presents this remastered reissue of the 1979 album by this Singaporean disco band led by Ardo Guerzo and Jeremiah Star on his revered FXHE imprint. The name of the band is an acronym of their first names respectively. They mixed disco and salsa in their hit "Classical Salsa". They covered the Ohio Players' classic hit "Sweet Sticky Thing" and they named their 1976 released album after it. Star was also in the short lived Funkgus outfit which is worth checking out, if you can find it! A true diggers delight for those that knew it seems, but now brought to a wider audience, thankfully. Originally on Baal, a UK label founded in the mid '70s by Jay Shotam of October Cherries. The original Baal label was founded in Singapore by his band in the late '60s until it became defunct in 1980.
Review: A much needed repress for one of Minimal Wave's best and most impressive looking archival releases here. Originally issued four years ago, Synthesize pulled together some nine tracks from the archives of Autumn, aka Belgian duo Peter Bonne and Geert Coppens whose musical experiments together began in the 1970s and took full flight the next decade. This collection's inspiration comes from the 1981 &" of the same name that Autumn laid to tape in under seven hours, with both tracks featured and complemented by a further array of primitive electronics and supple synth experiments. It's worth it alone for the nervous energy of "Night In June" and "Laughter Of A Madman".
Review: Essential reissue alert: Arguably one of his most influential albums of his illustrious career, Wally's third album Echoes has matured incredibly well, joining the dots between electronica, island music, reggae, pop and ambient better than most self-styled Balearic DJs. Sampled by the likes Massive Attack ("Mambo") and Pete Herbert ("Chief Inspector"), we're moved through the moods in such a simplistic but warm, dynamic way as Wally switches from shedding a tear on the Scarface-era Moroder style "Canyons" to shedding a few pounds on the runaway boogie cut "Endless Race". Still sounding current 32 years deep, there's a reason the likes of Grace Jones, Level 42, Herbie Hancock and Black Uhuru worked with him.
Alex Simon - "Runnin' Out Of Time" (instrumental) (5:27)
Mark Goddard - "Tiny's First Journey" (4:26)
Foe - "Blow Up Girl" (Beautiful Swimmers Big Head Self mix) (4:26)
Nature Love - "You Turn Me Around" (Karu mix) (6:11)
KW Griff - "Be Ya Girl" (4:15)
The Horn - "Whiddon On Down" (4:29)
Hieroglyphic Being Presents Analogous Doom - "Living In A Zome" (4:35)
Spirit Garden - "Electra City" (6:44)
Review: Gatto Fritto set the bar high with his selections for last year's first "The Sound Of Love International" compilation, so it's a thrilling surprise to find that this follow-up - featuring cuts selected by Max D (Andrew Field-Pickering) and Ari Goldman AKA Beautiful Swimmers - boasts an even more inspired track list. The Washington DC-based duo evokes the spirit of the Croatian festival behind the series via the synth-heavy Afro-Balearic bliss of Plunky's "Africa Sunset", the new age dancefloor shuffle of Svend Undseth's "Aquilla Aquela", the vintage deep house dreaminess of Mark Goddard's "Tiny's First Journey", the pitched-up R&B vocals and hot-stepping B-more beats of KW Griff's "Be Ya Girl" and the sparkling piano riffs and smooth New Jersey house grooves of Spirit Garden's "Electra City".
Review: Should you stumble on an original copy of N'Draman Blintch's 1980 album Cosmic Sounds for sale, it would cost you upwards of 1,000 Pounds. This, then, is a much-needed reissue. It contains four fine cuts that showcase the Ivory Coast-born musician's distinctively intergalactic take on Afro-disco, where spacey electronics and mazy synth lines rise above bustling, high octane grooves. The album does contain one decidedly laidback and loved-up slow jam - closer "She Africa (Ton Tour Viendra)" - but it's the celebratory brilliance of the set's dancefloor workouts that most impress. Check, in particular, the anthem-like strut of title track "Cosmic Sounds" and the hot-to-trot, solo-laden Afro-disco explosion that is opener "Self Destruction".