Review: Despite her 'Working Men's Club" roots, British variety entertainer Marti Caine actually made some surprisingly good records during her lifetime. 1981 album "Point of View" is arguably the best of the lot. Caine's soft-touch (and emotional vocals) take centre stage, though it's the rather left-of-centre musical mixture below - think rock-infused cosmic disco ("Love The Way You Love Me"), trippy dub disco ("Snowbird City"), shirts-off disco ("Can I Speak To The World Please") and a string of cuts that could arguably be described as Balearic - that makes the album an essential listen.
Lettre A Monsieur Le Legislateur (De La Loi Sur Les Stupefiants) (5:56)
Review: 1983's Rive Gauche by Philippe Chany has been lost in the depths of time and, until now, many greedy second-hand sharks have been keeping its price way up high. This little synth-pop marvel is a sampler's dream, containing beautiful riffs here and there, and what is most alluring about it is its total detachment from any one genre. In fact, there are noticeable touches of all things Balearic in here, and many of its tunes could the perfect accompaniment to disco, boogie or even expansive DJ sets. With a little subtle nod to funk, Chany's album is one of those veritable one-offs, the sort of albums that are in a category of their own. A stunning reissue, once again, by Dark Entries.
Review: ** REPRESS ** Italians Do It Better continues with their deluxe reissue pledge for 2010 delivering the definitive edition of Chromatics classic 2007 album Night Drive. For a multiplicity of reasons (most notably misplaced master tapes) the version that has gained a million column inches in the past three years was never meant to be heard, an incomplete demo version burned to hand out at tours. Having located the masters some 18 months later, Simonetti and co do the smart thing in presenting this deluxe edition, replete with the five tracks missing from the demo CD and fully remastered. Thus Johnny Jewel's original cinematic vision is presented in its full glory seeping in analogue warmth. Enough words have been dedicated to the tracks that filled the 2007 demo version that it seems redundant to spill any more ink on the matter though the Kate Bush cover does sound delicious! The five extra tracks make this a more than worthy purchase, from the poignant piano heartbeat of "Shining Violence" to the final departure via the Carpenter esque synth dynamics of "Accelerator".
Review: While producer Patrick Adams made many records during the disco era, none were more intergalactic in tone and synthesizer-heavy in execution than those he released under the Cloud One alias. Effectively an interchangeable studio band with Adams at the helm, Cloud One's two albums and umpteen singles were inspired, spacey and often deliciously eccentric - as this fine "best of" proves. The two LPs draw together stone cold classics and lesser-known album cuts (think "Atmosphere Strut", the brilliant "Disco Juice", "Happy Music" and deliciously out-there "Spaced Out"), as well as explore alternative versions, lengthy club cuts and anthems ("Flying High").
Review: This is when reissues feel like they truly do a service to music that would have certainly disappeared into obscurity - Desmond Coke was a gifted musician who sat in on sessions for the On-U Sound label amongst many other places. His sole solo record was a private press job that very nearly blinked out of existence, but Emotional Rescue have been on hand like the diligent diggers they are to rescue his heartfelt, mightily expressive boogie jams from the one dollar bin. Sunny, sweet and soulful, but also with enough depth and punch to stand up to big budget productions of the era, this is a truly wonderful find that will no doubt be a surprise to even seasoned selectors.
Review: She may be best known as a TV and radio presenter, but Nigerian star Julie Coker also enjoyed a short but successful music career. She released two albums of note - highlife-focused 1976 debut "Ere Yon (Sweet Songs)" and 1981's more disco-centric "Tomorrow" - both of which now fetch eye-watering sums online. This fine retrospective showcases cuts from both of those sets, with the many highlights including the spacey, delay-laden highlife cheeriness of "Re Hese", the Clavinet-sporting disco-funk-goes-pop bounce of "It's All For You", the low-slung but rising, gospel influenced brilliance of "Gossiper Scandal Monger" and the heavily percussive, off-kilter goodness of album closer "Iyo-Re". You might also notice the intro of 'Ere Yon', which was recently sampled to great effect in Anderson .Paak's "Saviers Road"!
Save Your Love (feat Boogie Back & David A Tobin) (5:19)
Sexability (feat Kevin East) (4:56)
Slow Burn Love (feat D Train) (3:55)
No Matter What (feat Yolanda Lavender) (5:28)
Keep On (feat Matthew Winchester) (4:51)
Come Back Home (feat David A Tobin) (5:03)
Share The Light (feat Janus Soliand) (5:06)
Your Move (feat Sophie Ripley) (4:51)
Summer Rain (feat Faye B) (4:38)
Review: Over 10 years deep and sounding Stronger than ever (not sorry) Cool Million return with their fifth album and it's delicious in all directions. Still smacking with that powerful early 80s soul, boogie and RnB blend, still packing heavyweight vocalists, still stacking serious levels of musicianship, Stronger runs the gamut. From juicy feet-tickling boogie ("Stronger", "Keep On") to sultry ballads ("Share The Light") and steamy soul jams ("Come Back Home") with killer vocals from the likes of the legendary D-Train plus Janus Soliand, Jasmine Franklin and David A Tobin, "Stronger" is one of the Danish/German duo's most accomplished albums to date.
Review: The final part of Dark Entries' long-running series of archival Patrick Cowley releases showcases tracks originally recorded for Afternooners, a late '70s gay porn film by director John Coletti. As with previous Cowley releases on Dark Entries, the double album also contains previously unheard material rediscovered from the Fox Studio archives. It's another essential collection of atmospheric synthesizer music in the producer's distinctive style, all told, with tracks ranging from the whistling cheeriness of "Hot Beach" and the sparkling, cowbell-laden throb of "One Hot Afternoon" to the dubbed-out, semi-ambient dreaminess of "Bore & Stroke" and the humid, upbeat "Jungle Orchid".
Review: Having previously impressed with their reissue of Patrick Cowley's brilliant, all-synthesizer soundtrack to obscure '70s gay porn flick School Daze, Dark Entries and Honey Sound System once again join forces to shine a light on the high energy disco pioneer's work for San Francisco's Fox Studios. Unsurprisingly, it's another impressive collection, and features material recorded for a number of different pornographic films. There are naturally more up-tempo moments - see "Somebody To Love Tonight", which would later be re-recorded with Sylvester, and the synth-weirdness-meets-jazz-funk brilliance of "5oz of Funk" - but it's the impressively cosmic and exotic ambient moments, such as the stand-out "Timelink" and "Jungle Magic", that really stand out.
Review: Last year San Francisco label Dark Entries reissued School Daze, a collection of gay porn soundtracks by hi-NRG icon Patrick Cowley. It proved to be one of the year's best reissues, catapulting Dark Entries to wider attention and reinvigorating interest in the late Cowley's music. It's great news then that Dark Entries has elected to reissue more Cowley material, this time Catholic, the "lost opus" Cowley recorded in San Francisco between 1975 and 1977 with Jorge Socarras, vocalist from '80s American art punk band Indoor Life. Described by Dark Entries as a "genre bending concept album that ranges from minimalistic prototechno to synthdriven postpunk", Catholic is every bit as good as School Daze, and proof there's a lot more to Cowley than just his hi-NRG productions.
Review: Argentinian keyboardist Carlos Cutaia has been active since the early 70s, but diggers have long been fawning after his mid-80s LP Orquesta. Fusing catchy pop-rock workouts with truly madcap moments and glued together by lots and lots of synths, it's little wonder that the Emotional Rescue gang were enamoured with the release and resolved to put together a reissue. There is some really adventurous production going on here, with "Juegos Confusos" being particularly flamboyant and "Uranio Enriquecido" ramping up the oddball keys and splashy effects. Meanwhile the likes of "Sensacion Melancolica" nail that slow and seductive synthwave sound impeccably.
Review: Edit Service sashay into 2018 fashionably late with a near-album sized collection of refixed cosmic curios, deeply dug oddities and far out space jams. All spliced and repurposed by the vaguely anonymous CV (ahem), the vibes and experiences range from sultry Gainsbourg-style spoken word of "Port Doree" to the planet hopping Italo chuggery of "Ship From Rimini" and the sinewy slo-mo warehouse shaking acid house "Spanish Codeine". Yet another fine dispatch from the I'm A Cliche project, this really is a special delivery.
Review: Nohelani Cypriano's 1979 debut album, Nohelani, has become something of an in-demand item since Athens of the North reissued two of the tracks last year. Here, it gets a handy reissue, so those without the desire to dig deep can revel in its' curiously unique mix of styles. Cypriano's Hawaiian heritage is represented by the strange sound of pedal steel on a number of tracks, which also feature easy listening, disco, boogie, soul and jazz-funk influences. It's a bizarre but entertaining melting pot of influences, and one that happily steers clear of kitsch territory thanks to the high quality of its' most notable moments, in particular "Lihue", "Island Boy" and the deliciously camp "South Sea Island Magic".