Review: Cruising nice and easy into earshot on the Smokecloud imprint, byDesign and Osmose take a side each in chopping up some choice old classics with a tender touch to work in modern contexts. byDesign gets the whole A-side to roam over with a version of Diana King's cover of the Bob Marley classic, "Stir It Up", working on a 90s flavoured hip hop groove and dubby cuts of King's vocal. On the flip, Osmose is having a lot of fun working on Alexander O'Neal's "Fake", keeping the tough beat intact and instead letting the effects bring in the changes. While the origin of the last track on the 12" is undetectable at this point, "Slomo Tattoo Dubbed" comes on like a prime slice of Balearic goodness, packing easy horn blasts, funky guitar licks and a whole lot of filter action.
Review: Masterworks Music mastermind 80's Child unleashes the third volume of his Masterworks compilations. This is a two-part vinyl release with the first part featuring The Funk District hailing from Cancun, who kicks off the A side with "The Funky Joint". He gets a good ol' time shuffle going before handing it over to Parisian Oldchap for a proper low-slung boogie in the form of "To The Top". On the flip, Godfather of the western Australian dance scene Dr. Packer gets down with a wicked edit on the late night sexiness of "Your Big Chance" and fellow Mexican Hotmood goes out on a high note with smokin' hot vocal number "Raw Dance".
Review: The third multi-artist EP from Hot Digits' occasional vinyl series, Wax Digits, is packed to the rafters with dancefloor-focused re-edits and reworks. Labor Of Love leads the way with "Move That Thang", a fine chunk of warm and bass heavy deep house/disco fusion, before Osmose steals the show with the loopy mid-tempo disco-funk bump of "Let Harry Rock". Over on Side B, The Silver Rider impresses via the swirling disco-house hypnotism of 'Groove On Down", before experienced re-editor P-Sol pairs locked-in grooves with sun-kissed disco instrumentation and heady vocal snippets on "Sturdy Disco".
Review: Some people like to Netflix and chill, Osmose prefers to "Cook & Chill". From a classically trained selector we'd expect nothing less... "Get It Straight" is the spicy starter, steamed with big soul emotion and orchestration and very familiar voices. "Disco Pagen Fantasy" is a meaty main course. Unhurried and hearty, the flavours really kick in as the swooning strings mark the development of the loop-heavy downbeat groove. Finally for pudding we're sent to bed satisfied and satiated with a lovingly languished citrus slo-mo jam. Delicious.
Review: All vinyl, all the time... We know how Osmose rolls. And so do Smokecloud, his most consistent home since he emerged as a producer in the early 2010s. This beautiful two-tracker is no exception as he flexes from his lavish synth boogie take on the Haywood-referencing "Out To Catch" to the slower-burning stomper "Me N U" that gradually smouldering into a raw funk groove fire with Booker T-style results. Powerful, all the time...
Review: Beatdown disco rework specialists Smokecloud have assembled a crack team of troops for their latest salvo into no-man's-land. Leading the charge and lobbing the first "Disco Grenade" is label chief Osmose, who contributes two tight cuts: loopy, filter-sporting disco chugger "Disco Luv" - a study in ear-pleasing, head-nodding hypnotism rich in musical positivity - and the more up-beat disco-funk thrust of flipside opener "U Promised Me", which sees him make merry with a cheery AOR disco favourite. Elsewhere, Oldchap delivers the obligatory slo-mo disco flier - think 98BPM beats, rising backing vocals, disco-rock grooves and jaunty Rhodes stabs - while The Funk District's "A Gangster Film" is a Blaxploitation-inspired bouncy disco-house treat.
The Silver Rider - "I Need U" (Osmose retouch) (5:56)
JP Source - "Justa Second" (6:41)
Hristo - "Love Me" (5:07)
Review: More Beatdown business from vinyl-only warriors Smokecloud. Osmose steps forward with the first half; "Help Me DISCOver" is a sample-savvy filtered enlightener while his edit of the Silver Rider goes for a much heavier, floor-pounding sense of insistency. Flip for twists from JP Source and Hristo. The former gets busy on a densely textured and tightly plucked guitar line while the latter takes us right down into sleazy town with an Isaac Hayes level of gravelly vocals and a sweaty guitar and organ pumped groove.
Review: Four years deep into its disco, beatdown and edit adventures, Smokecloud's status is nigh-on impeccable. Here we find them uniting four of their most creative craftsmen for four straight-up dancefloor pacifiers. Highlights include the sludgy slo-mo Edwin Starr on acid flavoured "Caught Up" and the Diana Ross homage that is the sun-skanked reggae party jam "CC Tribute" by VinylAddicted & SMQ. Instant smiles.
Review: Smokecloud Records has long claimed to be the World's only imprint dedicated to Detroit Beatdown style reworks of funk, soul, disco and boogie gems. Whether this is true or not, there's no denying the consistent quality of the imprint's output. This latest release features contributions from two label stalwarts; owner and A&R man Osmose, and New Yorker The Silver Rider. The latter kicks things off with "I Wanna Be", a rolling, soft touch head-nodder that fuses elements of a tactile soul cut with hypnotic, pitched-down house beats and filter sweeps. It's rather good, but nowhere near as inspired as Osmose's "Trust", which turns a classic Motor City soul cut into a smooth, toe-tapping Beatdown shuffler.