Review: West coast vibe fiend Air Zaire foretells the coming balmy season with four crisp, sunny side edits. Each reaching deep into the Latin melting pot, highlights include the sandy toed, horn laced Balearic bliss of "Canguelo Perro", the unabashed soulful disco uplift of "South Of Sunset", the lolloping funk and warehouse rattling fusion of "Shojo Showdown" and the dreamy pipe fronted "Midnight Sun". Shades till summer and beyond.
Review: The Bahnsteig 23 crew are flying towards the end of the year with a salvo of essential wares from their established crew and new faces alike. Sweden's Albion Venables has been doing the business on labels such as Ambassador's Reception and Macadam Mambo for the past seven years, and his first turn on Bahnsteig doesn't disappoint. In a flurry of eclecticism, the mood veers from the bubbling kosmische tones of "En Trance" through to the schlocky funk of "Schwarzen Mer", mixing live band dynamics with quirky electronics and keeping the groove delightfully authentic. The diversity maintains on the flip as "City People" taps up a moody New York flavour and "Die Marinette Der Zeit" strikes a more classic funk note.
Les Mondes Engloutis (Psychemagik main mix) (7:17)
Les Mondes Engloutis (Psychemagik 5am mix) (9:07)
Review: Martin Brodin's MB Disco imprint continues to deliver the good stuff, this time featuring two utterly essential Psychemagik mixes of Alico vs Cagri's "Les Mondes Engloutis". These mixes actually first surfaced on a digital-only release back in 2013, but now they've been buffed up for a full vinyl pressing, and rightly so. A side "Main Mix" is a full bodied, emotional banger with a lead drop to get crowds waving arms and singing along wholeheartedly. Our pick is the "5am Mix" on the flip though, where the synths take on a more shimmering nocturnal tone without losing that bright and bold character that will land this 12" in all manner of record bags this summer.
Review: There's no complex concept behind the latest four-track EP from the reliable Whiskey Disco camp, just a quartet of killer re-edits crying out for peak-time plays. Highlights wise, we're particularly enjoying the hard-spun Afro-disco grooves and well-placed dub delays of Alex Zuiev's "Afro Magic", though Alkalino's quirky opener - a thrillingly dubbed-out take on a tongue-in-cheek, left-of-centre disco treat - is also superb. Elsewhere, Love Drop sticks heavy new house beats underneath a stone cold classic (listen to the clips and you'll be able to identify the source material in seconds), while Terrence Pearce crafts a space-disco epic out of undulating Afro-disco grooves, bleeping synth melodies and some seriously cosmic effects.
Review: Stockholm based Ari Bald is up next for Better Listen after inaugurating Honey Butter Records last year with that great release. He keeps on with that deep disco spirit with these four funky and lo-slung jams. On the A side, we have two ergonomic edits in the form of "That Lonely Night" and "Enchantress" respectively which are looped to perfection with some somewhat familiar hooks that gradually build up to that drop! That's where the thumping kick comes charging in and it's sure geared for maximum dancefloor dynamics. On the flip, get ready for the funk explosion that is "Moonshiner" or what could be your First Choice (mind the pun!) in the form of the smooth and sexy late night groove of "Are You Mesmerized?"
Review: In the past, the collective of musicians behind the Arthur's Landing project have served up fine covers of tracks composed by their former studio buddy Arthur Russell. This time round, they appear to be delivering a combination of covers and new tracks loosely based on the great man's work. So while "Love Comes Back" is fairly faithful to Russell's original - albeit extended for extra loved-up pleasure - "Love Dancing (You Got Me Version)" adds many new elements to the bassline and selected vocal passages from "Is It All Over My Face". With legendary producer Bob Blank at the controls and a group of musicians who played with Russell providing the grooves, The Spring Collection is the next best thing to discovering unreleased music from the late, great leftfield disco legend. In other words, this is ace.
Lenny Fontana, Tension - "A Place Called Heaven" (Joey Negro dub Groove) (6:58)
Jay Denes, Ada Dyer - "You Make Me Whole" (Joey Negro Rhodes dub) (5:17)
Julian Sanza - "To Love" (5:16)
Frankie Knuckles, Satoshi Tomiie, Andrea Mendez - "Bring Me Love" (Eventual dub) (6:56)
Review: Some serious no-nonsense house grooves for all true-school DJs to cop, dug out from the annals of club music history. Things kick off good and proper with Joey Negro's insanely powerful "Dub Groove" mix of Lenny Fontana's "A Place Called Heaven". Negro's on the buttons once again with the classic, pumping "Rhodes Dub" of "You Make Me Whole" by Jay Denes and Ada Dyer. On the flip, Julian Sanza drops the squelchy boogie inflected "To Love" before the record ends on a serious bang with the dream team of Frankie Knuckles, Satoshi Tomiie and Andrea Mendez's "Bring Me Love (Eventual Dub)". This is as actual house as actual house can get - the real deal, crystalised in four evergreen gems pressed on one handy record.
Review: Time for another dip into the deep bubbling Turkish groove baths as Disco Hamam instigate a fourth volume of obscure Turkish disco delights. Tokyo Matt takes the A side with two distinct tales; the feisty dollar packing disco bullet "Fist Full Of Dollars" and a much more emotional, cinematic saga in the form of "Tales Of The Orientale". Hamam regular Afacan takes the B with two more eastern odysseys. "Ya Sabir Disco" is pure theatre with its ever mutating arrangement and almost festive feel while "Biz Salkimiz" continues the drama with added slinkiness in the groove department. Delicious.
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: Arabic music crate-diggers Habibi Funk have so far proved adept at unearthing killer material from the 1970s and '80s that joins the dots between indigenous styles and dominant Western genres. Their latest collection focuses on the work of 1970s Egyptian band Al Massireen, an outfit funded by one of the country's most successful producers of the period, Hany Shenoda. Modern Music, so called because the band was Shenoda's attempt to modernize Arabic music, includes tracks taken from a wealth of forgotten cassettes and albums. Musically, it's rather special; a heady blend of Arabic vocals and instrumentation, orchestral disco influences, blue-eyed soul, grown-up pop and dreamy West Coast style rock.
Review: Initially released in South Africa in 1982, Gyedu-Blay Ambolley's sophomore set is now regarded as a boogie-era Highlife classic. Here issued on CD for the very first time via Mr Bongo, the album features the Ghanaian star brilliantly joining the dots between driving disco-funk, jazz-funk, intoxicating slow jams, calypso, dub reggae and his beloved highlife. Highlights come thick and fast throughout, with standouts including heavy percussion jam "Simigwa", the boogie-dub skank of "Adwoa", the down-low grooves of "Walking Down The Street" and the killer disco highlife anthem "It's High Life". Simply essential.
Review: This latest reissue from Awesome Tapes From Africa is the whole reason for founder Brian Shimkovitz starting the blog and the label that grew out of it. Some 13 years ago, Shimkovitz stumbled across a cassette copy of Obaa Sima whilst travelling Ghana and his love for Ata Kak's music lead to the foundation of the Awesome Tapes From Africa blog and the commencement of a long running effort to track down the Ghanaian musician. Some four years after ATFA became a label, Shimkovitz finally tracked down the musician, real name Yaw Atta-Owusu, and was granted permission to reissue Obaa Sima, using the second hand tape purchased in Ghana as the source. The seven tracks on this LP are a winning tinny combination of highlife, rap, pop, and more with "Daa Nyinaa" sounding like a cover version of William De Vaughn's "Be Thankful For What You've Got".
Sunaga T Experience - "It's You" (Disco Alert mix) (6:38)
Review: Capturing the essence and feels of the long-standing event he runs in his Swiss hometown of Lausanne, veteran digger and selector Attias presents a brand new compendium of sweet compositions that sum up he's at creatively and spiritually. Gems on gems on gems: highlights that we guarantee will appeal to your good tastes and dancefloor include the hypnotic vibraphone wash of Cro-Magnon's "Midnight Magic", the slept-on jittering funk of Tatham, Mensah, Lord & Ranks's "Cascade" and Material and Nona Hendrix's ludicrously funky, ultimately sleazy slinker "Over & Over". We suspect you'll be playing this record over and over, too...
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: Many of you may be familiar with "San Sebastian", the 1979 Mediterranean disco slammer that was by far and away the biggest dancefloor hit for Celso Valli's Azoto project. Less well known is the album that it was taken from, Disco Fizz, which here gets a fresh vinyl reissue courtesy of the diggers at Mondo Groove. In some ways, it's typical of Italian disco of the period, taking cues from both electronic European disco (think Giorgio Moroder, Gino Soccio etc.), the hybrid synth-disco/orchestral disco of Rinder and Lewis (see bonkers but brilliant closer "Exalt-Exalt") and driving U.S disco anthems (the previously mentioned "Sal Salvador"). Intrestingly, opener "Fire Fly" sounds like a blueprint for later synth-pop influenced Italo-disco records.
Wojciech Karolak - "Discopus Nr 1" (part 1&2 - If Music extended edit) (7:55)
Alojz Bouda - "Random (Naslepo)" (2:31)
Polski Jazz Ensemble - "Song For Ewa" (7:22)
Prince Igor Yahilevich - "Double Sun" (7:19)
Andrzej Korzynski - "L'Arme Du Milicien - Patkarz" (3:07)
Binder Quintet - "Sirato (Dirge)" (feat John Tchicai) (6:42)
Review: If Music duo Jean-Claude Thompson and Adrian Magrys head up this fine six-track forage through the '70s and '80s archives of Eastern Europe. Stylistically, there doesn't seem to be an over-riding theme, it plays out more like a diverse selection of archival cuts spanning Poland, Hungary, Russia and Slovakia that will delight the more adventurous dancefloors. Thus you get infectious Polish disco grooves from Wojciech Karolak and Andrzej Korzyn?ski nestled alongside the break-laden jazz bustle of "Song For Ewa" of the Polski Jazz Ensemble. Similar styles abound with Russian-born "Prince Igor" Yahilevich and Hungary's Binder Quintet, whilst Alojz Bouda delivers our personal favourite in the shape of "Random," a suitably-titled oddball synth banger that originates from the Slovakian's 1980 album Synthesizer Sound