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: Earlier in the year, Italian reissue specialists offered up a tidy reissue of Ahmed Fakrun's "Nisyan", a sought-after chunk of Arabic blue-eyed soul that originally appeared as a seven-inch single in 1977. Here they offer up a new edition of its predecessor, which the Lebanese musician recording during the same recording sessions in Milan. With its flanged guitars, lolloping reggae-funk swing, spacey synths and warm bass, "Auidny" is particularly inspired, though the West Coast AOR-influenced warmth of flipside "Njoo El Leyl" is arguably equally as addictive. Both are superb, though, so it's great that Groovin' has slung them out again.
Let's Not Start A Fight (Let's Get Down Tonight) (4:40)
Do Me Like That (4:37)
Review: Star Creature continues to thrill and inspire with each successive seven-inch single. The label's latest comes from debutants Family of Geniuses, a seven-piece boogie band from Chicago who back heritage influences with brilliant new songs. You'll find a perfect example on the A-side, where "Let's Not Start a Fight" - a sweet, perfectly-pitched boogie club cut that sounds to us like Escort making original electrofunk - sparkles from start to finish. Over on the flipside they doff a cap to the label's roots, offering up a brilliant cover of E Live's "Do Me Like That", the 2015 bomb that helped put Star Creature on the map.
Review: There is something about good 7"s that makes them seem extra special, and this is a prime example from City Baby Records: a double a-side of timeless grooves that are disco tinged exquisites from start to finish. The outfit behind them is Freaky, a soul gang from Minneapolis who apparently hide away deep in Tokyo's underground disco scene. "Running" is a delicate affair with neat bass riffs and happy chords that make for dreamy listening. "Sailin" is slower and more deep cut, with tooting leads and the sort of carefree vocals that will melt anyone's heart.
Review: Night Shift Records owner Javi Frias is, like many in the nu-disco scene, something of a label-hopper. Previously, he's served up re-edits for the likes of Midnight Riot, Giant Cuts and Street Edits; here, he brings his scalpel magic to nascent imprint Neon Finger. A-side "Feel Your Soul" is a bouncy and attractive affair, with Frias beefing up and teasing out a classic disco-funk groove before unleashing rousing horn lines, swirling strings and celebratory vocal passages. Flip for "Loving You", a more gentle and groovy, saucer-eyed rework that swings impressively, despite the presence of solid new house percussion beneath the original beats.
Review: One of 2016's finest funk stories was, without question, when AOTN suddenly dropped this incredible unreleased album by criminally slept-on Jacksonville troupe Fruit. A stunning piece of work, even by Fryer's standards it was a coup-de-grace. Now two of the album's finest, funkiest, sweatiest jams are available on limited 45. Instant floor burners, just like the rest of the album, before the tracks are over you'll feel you and your floor have known them forever.