Review: Les Disques De La Mort regular DJ Oil has hardly been prolific over the last few years, which makes his decision to release two EPs almost simultaneously rather an odd one. We're not complaining of course, because Telephunk - the second of the pair - is amongst his best work to date. The title track, which stretches out across the A-side, is particularly good, with Oil contrasting rubbery, boogie style bass and pulsating, Italo-disco style Arpeggio lines with creepy horror synths and foreboding electronics. Turn to the flip for more arpeggio-heavy action in the shape of the druggy and intoxicated "Paresse", before Oil indulges his downtempo roots via the rolling instrumental trip-hop of "Fall".
Save That Magic Feeling (Ron Basejam remix) (5:42)
Save That Magic Feeling (Siren remix) (6:30)
Review: You couldn't get more authenticity on one record if you tried... Certified selector dons DJ Pippi and Willie Graff bless the dance with their first official studio collaboration since 2007's "Hyper Space" on Drumpoet. The wait's been worth it; "Save That Magic Feeling" is a purring Balearic deep house soul jam with a strong vocal allure while "Everything's Groovin' On" eases back on a cool low-swung break groove and looped vocal harmonies to seductive effect. Remix-wise Ron Basejam strips it back for an early 2000s Classic Music Company style late night twist while Siren continues the stripped back theme but in a much sleazier, slippery funk way. Magic.
Review: It's quite a surprise that perennial Italian disco jammer DJ Rocca hasn't linked up with Rothmans before, but on the label's first release of 2016 he makes up for lost time with a grip of tracks positively dripping with full-fat synthy goodness. "Kratos" packs in a serious Italo thrum with its wonderful arpeggio bassline, bursting with optimism as every buoyant lead line piles on top of the forward-marching beat. "400 Fonk" meanwhile flips the script with a cheeky, bouncy beast of an analogue jam to get heads nodding like Wally Badarou just took the controls. Daniele Baldelli then blasts "Kratos" into the stratosphere with his muscular "Electropsychomix".
Review: Last summer, Evo and Soulstice launched Adventures in Paradise with a fine 7" of tooled-up funk reworks by J Sole and J Boogie. Here, the label returns to action with two more guaranteed party-starters. Fittingly, Evo makes his first appearance on the label with B-side "Mandingo Boogie", a killer edit of a low-slung disco-boogie heater rich in rubbery bass guitar, twinkling electric piano parts, spiraling electronic effects and punchy horns. While impressive, we can imagine DJs getting far more rotations from DJ Smash's cheeky A-side, "Your Pants Are Hot", which peppers a snappy, synth bass-propelled groove with samples from a well-known Godfather of Soul favourite.
Review: Following appearances on the interconnected Distant Hawaii and Lobster Theremin labels, DJ Sonikku (AKA British producer Tony Dowson) drops a mysterious, hand-stamped 12". It boasts contrasting versions of the previously unheard "Dilemma", a chiming and bouncy concoction that joins the dots between thrusting proto-house, Yellow Magic Orchestra and cheery '80s synth-pop. The latter influence is clearer on the 'Original Vocal' version, which makes great use of a relatively well-known acapella. On the flip, Dowson gives the track a radical overhaul, laying the ultra-positive original melodies over a sparse but weighty, two-step influenced groove. It's not garage in the traditional sense, and some may find it a little on the sickly-sweet side. There's no denying, though, that it sounds like a scene anthem in the making.
Review: More from top-drawer rework merchant DJ Soopasoul, whose cheeky revisions on his Soopastole label are consistently on point and dancefloor-focused. For his latest trick, the long-serving DJ/producer has decided to apply his magic to one of the greatest disco records of all time and a "foundation record" of the hip-hop scene: Chic classic "Good Times". The A-side edit sounds like it has been created using the multi-track parts, as dubbed-out vocal sections ride stripped-back grooves and portions that variously showcase the track's original strings, Nile Rodgers' guitars and Bernard Edwards' killer bassline. The flipside "Part 2" version is similarly minded but more like a disco dub in feel and execution, with the maestro drenching vocal sections in delicious amounts of delay.
Review: While the title evokes images of the Uncanny Valley crew getting up to sitcom-style scrapes while bumbling around Germany in a rickety old bus, there's an altogether simpler explanation for the Uncanny Vacation tag. Basically, it's a hook-up between the Dresden label and their pals from Munich's Permanent Vacation imprint, featuring tracks from both camps. Musically, there are plenty of thrills on offer, from the looped deep house-disco of Jacob Korn's "Eieiei" and bodypoppin' electro-meets-classic Italo of DMX Krew's "Astro Logical", to the woozy, almost Balearic analogue deep house of Drvg Culture's winding "See You Again Someday". It's as off-kilter but on-point as you'd expect. We'd still think the bus trip idea is a goer, mind.
Review: Somewhat confusingly, the two Al Dobson tracks featured on this must-have 12" are not taken from his superb Rye Lane LP, but rather a CD of possible album tracks the producer gave to Rhythm Section International last year. Both cuts are typical of his dusty, rhythm-centric sound, and are particularly sparse. This, though, just makes the remixes even more remarkable. Polish producers PTaki turn "Santiago Black" into a midtempo chunk of analogue-sounding midtempo house, complete with drifting vocal samples and a wonderfully dubby bassline. Arguably even better is Ruf Dug's eccentric version of "Kirton Street", which wobbles, pulses and darts with chiming melodies, rough sub bass and hissing, cymbal-laden percussion, while retaining the blazed feel of Dobson Jr's original.
Review: As always, Washington DC' Peoples Potential Unlimited have resurfaced another rare-as-hens-teeth boogie number and, while we are madly in love with this label, we need to appreciate more just how important they've been to the survival of funk music in recent years. This time, it's Donald Walker's only EP to grace their catalogue, an artist who went by the name of Dohnnie on his solo projects. "Dancin Is Your Love" exudes funk from every corner, backed by a badman bassline, some freaky guitar strings, and Walker's own seductive disco tone. It's a one-track EP precisely because this tune deserves to grace a whole side of a 12". Utterly unmissable, and heavily recommended.
So Long For A Small Storm (Rudolf Klorzeiger remodel) (4:25)
Review: Spacer lady Dollska (nee Dollskabeat) gets busy on her on own Kissa imprint with two beautifully spacious journeys into modern cosmic. "So Long For A Small Storm" rolls unhurriedly with a Morgan Geist feel to the beats and groove while "Opus Dreams" takes us deeper into the stars again as stretched out synths charm and alarm in equal measure as we find ourselves floating freefall with no apparent start, middle, or end. For added floor-fire head straight for Rudolf Klorzeiger's devilishly Detroitian remix where the beats are sharpened by classic 80s electro drama.
Review: New Norwegian label Neppa launches with something rather special: a timely reissue of the headline cut from South African jazz musician Don Laka's 1986 EP "Stages Of Love". The track is reminiscent of some of countryman Hugh Masekela's work from the same period, with Laka conjuring up a breezy, dancefloor-ready synth-pop/electrofunk workout rich in thrilling electric piano solos, heady vocals and funk-fuelled synth-bass. Scandolearic overlord Prins Thomas gets busy on the flip, serving up a superb re-edit that stretches out the original's groovy instrumental parts before introducing the vocals. As usual with the Full Pupp boss, the edit tends towards the epic (it clocks in around nine minutes); however, given the quality of Laka's original an extension was well overdue.
Review: Valerie Dore's "Get Closer" has never been one of Italo-disco's most in-demand records, though the Milan-made synth-pop style chugger is undoubtedly something of a slept-on classic. Running Back boss Gerd Janson is clearly a fan, though, because he's decided to give it the remix treatment. He provides his own "Coy Club Edit" interpretation, which sticks closely to the original while removing some of the track's cheesier elements, while DJ Oyster reaches for the filters and provides a "Tool Time" cut for adventurous DJs (think vocal loops and the like). The headline attraction, though, is undoubtedly the Tiger & Woods remix, which reconfigures the track as a loopy and loved-up chunk of saucer-eyed Italo-disco/deep house/electrofunk fusion.
Review: For those who dig dancefloor-friendly takes on World Music classics, the Sterns Edits label - a collaboration between producer Ben Gomori and long-serving African and Brazilian music specialists Sterns Music - should be an imprint to watch. The label's latest must-have EP boasts fresh revisions of killer cuts from the epic back catalogue of Malian artist Nahawa Doumbia. Gomori works his magic on 1987 cut "Sige Sele", first sticking rolling house beats beneath the original's cut-glass strings, funky bass, storming horns and superb vocals (the A-side "Edit"), before opening the flipside with a largely vocal free "Disco Dub" that's arguably even better. To round things off, Tom Jay offers a similarly tooled up take on the more synthesizer-heavy "Djina Mousso".
Review: Perth legend Dr Packer is back with more boogie-down edit action from the disco inferno on "Waves Of Funk". It's definitely summer in the city on the super fly "Cozmic Funk" with its catchy vocals, captivating string arrangement and Stevie Wonder style bassline followed by the familiar groove and stomp of "Funk Of The Future". On the flip, we're loving "Skin Title Funk", which gets deep, down and dirty with a sleazy guitar solo leading this neon-lit arrangement directly into the stratosphere. Hot off remixes for Glitterbox, Defected and Midnight Riot - Dr. Packer has definitely got your prescription ready with this one!
FSQ - "Shaking My Damn Head" (feat Dolette McDonald) (4:47)
Perdu - "Cece" (6:32)
South Beach Recycling - "Bongo Man" (5:00)
Review: Midnight Riot's recently-released Riot In Lagos compilation paid tribute - in some style, we should add - to the enduring influence of African music on contemporary dance culture. This sampler 12" gathers together four of the most sought-after cuts from the digital-only set. Drop Out Orchestra kick things off with the fuzzy guitars, glistening solos, relentless handclaps and bongo-heavy drum rhythms of Candido tribute "Jin Go La", before FSQ deftly fuse Afro-disco and electrofunk on dancefloor stomper "Shaking My Damn Head". On the flip you'll find the breezy, Balearic-influenced Afro-disco fluidity of Perdu's "Cece", and the sun-kissed juju business of South Beach Recycling's fabulous "Bongo Man".
Review: The first volume in the Disco Made Me Do It series features a couple of sought-after reworks that we reckon will be everywhere over the festive period. The headline attraction is undoubtedly Yam Who's A-side revision of DJ Koze anthem "Pick Up" (itself a housed-up revision of an old Melba Moore classic), which stretches out the dewy-eyed, string-drenched dancefloor bliss over eight and a half mesmerizing minutes. Motte takes over on the flip with "Darkroom Boogie", a peak-time chugger in which spacey, lo-fi synthesizer melodies and ear catching male and female vocals stretch out over a filter-sporting disco-house groove. While not quite as anthem-like as the A-side, it's a killer rework that's just crying out to be played to packed dancefloors.
Review: ** REPRESS ALERT ** A couple of all time George Duke greats get the official remastered and reissue treatment here. The American songwriting legend's "I Want You for Myself' from 1979 gets a mighty Tom Moulton rework on the A side - which streamlines the essential groove of the original just nicely. On the flip, the sultry late night mood lighting of "Brazilian Love Affair" is funky, soulful and groovy in all the right amounts - the album of the same name from 1980 was hailed as his most popular. Duke was known primarily for thirty-odd solo albums, as well as his collaborations with other musicians - particularly Frank Zappa.
Review: There's no doubt that crate-digger, record collector and renowned Discogs seller Zafsmusic knows more than most about the world of private press vinyl releases. This 12", originally pressed up in super-limited quantities by its' creator, Martin L Dumas Jnr sometime around the turn of the '80s, has long been a must-have for collectors with several thousand dollars to spare. The title track is particularly wonderful - a warm, breezy, loose and fluid chunk of boogie-soul that Zaf has slightly tweaked to suit the needs of modern dancefloors. Flipside "Nonstop To The Top" has a more jazz-funk feel, with intergalactic synths complimenting Dumas Jr's sweet vocal and conscious lyrics.
Review: Thomas Smorek, aka Dunkeltier, was last seen lurking on Bahnsteig 23 back in 2015, and now he's back under a fog of VHS fuzz with madcap sampling and off-kilter disco freakiness in abundance for all the freaky dancers. "Arcade" has a motorik pulse to it, and one of the best warbling bell chime sounds we've heard in a long time. It's a creepy, but deceptively funky beast. "Arabian Town" is a more post punk flavoured cut with raw live instrumentation and vocals that seem to channel Joy Division, Siouxsie & The Banshees and The Cramps in the same breath. "Ce Soir" is a synth heavy affair purpose built to disorientate and disturb, while "The Blade" brings a stomping industrial death march mixed with twanging psych guitar ramblings. Yet more distinctive heat from the Bahnsteig crew then.
Review: Breakthrough release for Durerstuben here, as the Berlin based pair of David Hofmann and Till Gerloff make good on the promise shown via a stream of intermittent 12"s in the past few years with a debut on Koze's Pampa label. One listen to the three tracks on Street of Rane will likely have many checking Discogs for the availability of Hoffmann and Gerloff's previous work as Durerstuben; such is the instantly gratifying nature of their rich, vivid take on European deep house. Metro Area, Zapp and Tensnake are offered as potential reference points by the Pampa press release machine and it's hard to disagree with final track "Freiherr in der Wall" a particular speaker box laden delight.
Review: On this latest must-have missive, the Editorial crew has assembled an all-star cast of re-editors and house-loving disco rework merchants. Thrillingly, it contains a now rare outing from slo-mo specialist Duff Disco, whose atmospheric, beatdown style chugger "Always on My Mind" is undoubtedly one of the best things he's released in years. Props, too, to Irish disco-house specialists Get Down Edits, who weigh in with the warm and summery grooves of "Hey (What's Happening)". Elsewhere, Buzz Compass subtly beefs up and filters out a sleazy disco favourite on the constantly rising "U Deserve It", while Ed Wizard and Disco Double Dee get the party started in their inimitable style via a touch of disco/hip-hop fusion ("Moonlite").