Review: Italy's Funclab are bursting onto the scene with this terrific introduction to their kinda groove with House Al Dente - their first self-produced release. A collection of producers, DJs, promoters, and electronic music enthusiasts alike, they hail out of Milan and their main three sound designers have produced a track each. First up is Ayce Bio with the funked-up and sexy house of "Jazz Affair", Borbo with the lo-slung and jazzy disco on "Your Ex" and finally Turenne with the dusted-down and smooth deep vibe of "1000" Punti".
Review: There's a fair amount of mystery surrounding this release, which the accompanying press release claims was designed for "cruising through the Tuscany countryside, riding shotgun in a vintage Alfa [Romeo]". So what's on offer? A-side "U (I Got It)" is a bouncy, stop-start disco-house affair that sits somewhere between vintage "French Touch" house, original Italo-house and the pumping antics of DJ Sneak. "Cocchetti" offers a slightly more disco-centric riff on the same all-action formula, with the mystery producer making great use of some seriously soaring 1970s orchestration, while "Cornae" sounds like a cross between Tiger & Woods and the elastic, synthesizer-heavy nu-disco favoured by DJ Rocca and Sare Havlicek.
Review: Slightly pompously, the mysterious Rock Sucks imprint has been described by its' shadowy founders as "the best lost disco and boogie label you can ever dream about". Whether that has credence remains to be seen - this is only their second release, after all - but the two edits presented here are certainly dancefloor dynamite. "Wind" - a rework of Arnie Love & The Lovetts' 1981 disco-funk smasher "Invisible Wind" - is particularly potent, making greater use of the original track's rubbery bassline and high-energy groove. Interestingly, flipside "Enough" expertly rearranges a similarly heavyweight jam from the same band (the B-side of the "Invisible Wind" single, in fact), building the tension and energy throughout.
Review: Mario Miranda aka Asterix Music hails from Carson, California and this is his debut, a banging little 7" by the name of Stud. Oh yes, super fitting, indeed! Out through Firehouse Sound Labs, the EP opens with the funky-ass boogie bass of "She'll Take U Down", a killer dance floor burner for the party vibes. On the B-side, "First Date" drops some heavy electro swings over sweet, seductive r&b vocals.
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.
Review: Exploring the sounds emanating from South Asia, Masaala is a new label with a fresh outlook. The first release features Manchester-based producers Raheel Khan and Adesi turning in some powerful edits that will appeal to anyone seeking invigorating sounds from further afield. Khan's twist on "Mast Qalandar" sounds like a striking version of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's "Mustt Mustt". Adesi offers up the lions share of the edits though, channeling South Asian sounds through grooves ranging from the fierce disco stomp of "Sansani" to the low slung funk groove of "Nah Nah Nah". "Kammata" has a more dense rhythmic complexity at its heart, and "Kuchi Kuchi" collides traditional sounds with contemporary broken beat to brilliant effect.
Review: Random Mind State coming on strong with another concentrated dose of pure party. Kandinski gives Madonna a 1up, charging up the classic "Vogue" 909s with raw energy, George Feely follows up the corking "Apache 909" with a supreme disco uplift on "Forget About U" while Turk Turkelton flicks up the filters for a loopy slice of shoe shuffled jacks. Elsewhere Hauke drives us deeper into a hypnotic state of mine with the twinkling, filtered "Instinct Groove" before Ayer Fijen chimes us the perfect lullaby with "Sweet Dreams". Great EPs are made of these.
Review: After the strength of the Runaway 12", Armstrong is back with another pair of smokin' hot edits to get your disco sizzling in all the right ways. "Hangover" stretches out over 13 heavenly minutes of groove that sounds like the kind of source material Moodymann would be more than happy sampling. "Melting Pot" is a more Motown-esque vibe with jangly guitar chops and sweet organs bringing the emotional punch. Clearly dug by someone who knows their onions, and edited for maximum extended pleasure, this is how edits should be done.
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: 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: Lemmy Ashton made quite a splash with his first outing on his own TNC label last year, and now he's back to follow up with another salvo of premium heaters geared towards disco-friendly dancers. There's a chunky, looped up quality to "Silver Suitcase" with its insistent bass lick and slamming drums, but there's equal space for soul thanks to the string-loaded sample hook. By way of contrast "Lunaire" fires up the acid flare and heads straight into a babbling brook of 303-related goodness. "Amsterdam" rounds the EP off on a stomp, whipping up the kind of bombastic disco drama that would get Studio 54 moving were it in action today.
Review: Unpredictable Dublin label maintain their capacity to surprise here, digging into the vaults of Ethiopian funk mob to reissue their 1984 accidental houser "Kalatashew Waga". Originating from the sole Admas album, Sons of Ethiopia, "Kalatashew Waga" has grown into something of a cult player amongst the more considered selectors over the years and gets pressed up for 12" by Major Problems replete with a fresh remastering job from the master Thomas P. Heckmann. Fans of the gliding style of lo-fi boogie PPU specialise in will love this track. Complementing the original, Major Problems have scored a brand new remix from long term Admas fan Andras Fox that brushes the track with some soft-hued new age bliss.
M&M Vs Andrei Swipe - "Analog Express" (Don Carlos remix) (7:29)
Review: There's an undeniable air of quality that lingers over the 12"s emerging on 14th Level Of Paradise, the mysterious label presenting originals, edits and repressed tracks for true house devotees. First up is a little known track from Sasha Makin and Suntetic, given a shimmering polish by Don Carlos and Steven Perri to become a heavy funking masterpiece, before Joe Claussell drops in a percussive dub delight on Monday Michiru's "Higher". On the flip, Vincent Inc and LA get things pumping with the slow but chunky, jazz-licked "Red Room", before Carlos returns for another deep house reverie as he remixes M&M and Andrei Swipe's "Analog Express".
Two Thou - "Group Technology" (with Alberto Collodel)
Autre - "Cosmic Roots"
Two Thou - "SOL"
Autre - "Futura"
Review: The Fields & Forest label has so far aligned itself with the stellar Russian label Udacha, featuring Dices, A5 and Cuisine Dub, but things are taking a turn into new territory with the inclusion of Autre and Two Thou with two tracks a piece on this new slab of wax. Two Thou's "Group Technology" is a snappily shaped, 80s influenced groover with some interesting timbres falling into a dynamic groove, while "SOL" shows another side to the artist with a snaking slice of jazz funk infused experimental techno. Autre's "Cosmic Roots" is a more esoteric, new age gilded slice of ambient house while "Futura" ramps up the saucy synths for a silk-tongued charmer of a warm-up jam.
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: The latest missive from Fingerman's Wax Digits imprint - the occasional vinyl offshoot of the digital-only Hot Digits label - is something of an all-star affair. It features contributions from some of the best-known talents in the contemporary re-edit scene, with solid results. Fingerman and Slync kick things off with "Saft Junk", a cheery, Chic style slab of summer disco goodness, before Hotmood takes aim at "Fake D.Js" via bumpin' grooves, fluttering flutes and swirling orchestration. Andy Buchan's "Dope D'Man" is a slap-bass-sporting nu-disco jam that joins the dots between King Bee's "Back By Dope Demand" and the original disco record it sampled, while "Turn It Loose" is a relaxed shuffle through laid back and loved-up funk grooves.
Stop (Dino Soccio 'Pleasure Of Love' New mix) (8:14)
Stop (Special Electronic version) (6:27)
Stop (vocal Soul version) (4:34)
Review: Valery Allington's 1982 debut single, "Stop", has long been considered an Italo-disco classic. Here it gets the reissue and remix treatment, with LA resident Dino Soccio's 2018 revision - first heard on a hush-hush edits EP - taking pride of place on side A. His version is pleasingly muscular and driving, underpinning the original's throbbing arpeggio style bass, sprightly electrofunk riffs and headline-grabbing vocals with heavy new drums. Also great is the vintage "Vocal Electronic Version" - a sleazier, bongo and kick-drum-driven affair rich in alien synth lines, two basslines (one squelchy, the other hypnotic and driving) and swirling chords. Also impressive is the sparser and slower "Soul Version", which includes a sneaky musical cap-doff to another Italo-disco classic.