Scratch (Gonzalez) - "Keep On Searching For Love" (6:10)
Review: In recent years, more and more crate diggers have been exploring "Brit-funk" - a previously largely overlooked British variant of jazz-funk popular in underground UK clubs between the late 1970s and mid '80s. One such digger is Parisian producer and DJ Saint-James, who here presents his second deep dive into the obscure genre. Highlights come thick and fast throughout, from the percussive, synth-heavy soul brilliance of Stikki Stuff's "School" and the pre-Lover's Rock, reggae-influenced electrofunk smoothness of Cruzial's "Send Me Your Love", to the killer slap bass of The Breakfast Band's club-rocker "Funksters" and the sparkling boogie badness of "Keep On Searching For Love" by Scratch (Gonzalez).
Review: Tim Bernhardt AKA Satin Jackets has long been renowned for his ability to cannily join the dots between ear-catching synth-pop, sunset-ready Balearica and cheery, club-ready nu-disco. He's at it again on "Solar Nights", his delayed follow-up to 2016 debut full-length "Panorama Pacifico". This is crossover Balearic pop/nu-disco on a grand scale, with Bernhardt wrapping colourful synthesizer lines and dreamy vocals around glistening grooves and loved-up melodies. Of course, he's not abandoned the dancefloor completely, with club-ready highlights including the piano-heavy nu-disco/Balearic house fusion of "String It Again", the chugging dreaminess of "Still Not Forgotten" and the almost overwhelmingly gorgeous "All For You".
Review: Seaquence was a short-lived disco-funk and soul outfit from San Diego who only ever released one album via private press. That album, Mix Fade, has long been considered something of a slept-on classic amongst record collectors, so it's little surprise to see it finally get the reissue treatment. The set boasts a swathe of absolute gems, from the heavy disco-funk madness of "Get Down Party" and Blaxploitation soul swing of "Good, Better, Best", to the hot-steppin' jazz-funk of "Dance, Dance, Dance" (which boasts some sublime and wild synth solos) and simmering, sunshine soul sensuality of "Life".
Review: With recent releases for Internasjonal and Tim Sweeney's Beats In Space Records, Los Angeles based producer Secret Circuit (otherwise known as Eddie Ruscha) has had a breakthrough year with his brittle synth jams, taking inspiration from Balearic disco and minimal wave alike. However, he's been a prolific producer since 1996, and this record on Emotional Response, entitled Tropical Psychedelics, collects productions from Rusha up until 2010 that have previously only seen the light of day on cassette releases. Described by the label as a "Balearic-Tropical-Afro-Psychedelic whirl", the album packs a rich palette of analogue textures into its ten tracks, from the Afro dub of "Afrobotics", through the hazy, beatless combination of piano and analogue synth on "Psouvenirs" to the psychedelic tropicalia of "Foggy Twilights".
Clark & The Community - "Jesus & The Stormtroopers" (1:52)
Colm K - "Dream" (3:56)
Cave Circles - "Living With Everyone" (4:02)
Ugly Disco - "Nutz" (5:29)
OCnotes - "My Religion" (3:08)
Sassy Black - "Present (Said I Really Want You Babe)" (2:45)
Cervo - "Oshala" (6:46)
Jonna & Samwell - "Alright" (feat Erik Rico) (5:21)
Perlair - "Dance With Me" (feat Sharka) (6:12)
I, CED - "Forever" (5:14)
Review: The past few years have seen Seven Davis Jr firmly grip his second chance at music with both hands, his signature to Ninja Tune for a debut album coming after working with the likes of Izwid, Apron and Classic. With his forward-thinking brand of modern electronic soul now firmly established, the US musician is given the intriguing chance to compile Future Society, a collection of tracks from some of his favourite new, unsung and like-minded forward thinking artists to highlight the talent he has encountered on his travels. Shouts to UK label R2 for giving Davis Jr the platform to express himself, with the producer calling on artists from New Zealand, U.S.A., U.K. and Switzerland to provide mostly exclusive and unreleased tracks spanning electronic, soul and house tracks with a pioneering spirit.
Review: Famously, Shadow's Sweet Sweet Dreams album was panned by critics when it first appeared way back in 1984. In the years since, it has attained cult status, with collectors of Trinidadian music particularly enjoying its curious blend of bustling boogie electronics, Soca rhythms, traditional instrumentation and sassy disco-pop style. As this tasty reissue proves, the album has lost none of its lustre over the last 30 years. Put simply, it still sounds ahead of its time, with intergalactic dancefloor workouts such as "Let's Make It Up" (with its "we're gonna have a party" refrain) and "Way Way Out" resonating particularly loudly.
Review: When it comes to authentic, synth-heavy boogie and '80s soul revivalism, few producers are quite as on-point as Aussie Benny Badge. Further proof arrives in the shape of this second album from his Silver Linings project (a trio that also features vocalist Francoise and fellow musician Lachlan Peavey). Bristling with Loose Ends style slow jams, wiggly D-Train synth solos, smooth AM radio chords, sparse drum machine rhythms and rubbery electronic basslines, Don't Make Tracks is arguably the combo's strongest work to date. It's certainly hugely attractive and should impress all those with a love of synthesizer-heavy '80s soul, disco and electro.
Review: Keyboard wizard Chris McDowell set a few hearts fluttering with his 2014 debut 45 on Austin Boogie Crew Records, the kaleidoscopic modern boogie gem "Reesis". Four years on he's finally ready to unleash the follow up, which also happens to be his debut album. Stylistically, the set sits somewhere between Dam-Funk, Onra and Herbie Hancock's more intergalactic moments, with McDowell - assisted by brother Ian and a swathe of vintage synthesizers (a full list is naturally included on the sleeve) - laying down some killer solos over sparkling, beat-rich synth-scapes. Highlights are plentiful, but make sure to check out the cheeky (and rather good) instrumental cover of Bill Withers' "Just the Two of Us".
Review: Fizzing all over the shop like an F1 winner's magnum, Frank Timm celebrates 20 years of Sound Stream with this outstanding slab of uncut floor jams. No messing around, just straight up disco house music. At points plain trippy ("Flash Back"), at others straight up sexy ("Love Remedy", "Get Down") but always unifying and obese in width and weight ("Disco Advisor" especially) Timm has cleared the board right here with the full range. Essential.
Fooling Around (Mind Fair Secret All Night Carnival version) (12:12)
Review: If the success of any remix project rests on the ability of the chosen remixers, then Golf Channel Recordings boss Phil South couldn't have selected a better bunch to interpret Spike's material. All involved treat the mysterious Dutchman's lo-fi, blue-eyed soul originals with due reverence, while managing to stamp their mark on proceedings. Highlights come thick and fast, from the metallic dub stylings of Juju & Jordash's version of "Baby Love", and the gentle Balearic bliss of Mark E's interpretation of "Goodnight", to the rush-inducing stomp of Sexican's tops-off version of "Sometimes". Best of all, though, is Mind Fair's epic take on "Fooling Around", which gets re-imagined as a trumpet-laden, Latin dub disco epic.
Review: At the tail end of the '80s, Sylvia Striplin quit Norman Connors' jazz-funk group Aquarian Dream in order to pursue a solo career. Joining forces with producers James Bedford and Roy Ayers, she recorded 1981 debut album "Give Me Your Love", a well regarded but largely overlooked set that has since become a sought-after item amongst soul collectors. This Expansion reissue presents the album on vinyl for the first time in two decades. As with many soul albums of the period, it sashays between jazz-funk, boogie and heartfelt slow jams, contrasting memorable dancefloor workouts (see stone cold classic "Give Me Your Love" and a stellar cover of Roy Ayers favourite "Searchin") with more saccharine, loved-up fare.
Review: In 1983, Frederic Gassita returned to his native Gabon after six years spent studying music in France. He wasted no time in forming a band called Surprise and recording an album. The set sank without trace at the time but has here been resurrected by the dusty-fingered crate diggers behind BeauMonde Records. It's definitely worth a listen. It's a little smoother - and certainly better produced, sound-wise - than many boogie-era West African recordings, with the quartet offering up tracks that effortlessly join the dots between smooth '80s soul, bubby jazz-funk, boogie, synth-pop, zouk and life-affirming tropical disco. It's a fine set, with "Ogoue", "Butter Fly" and "Will You Be The One" standing out.
Review: Finally in on triple vinyl! Given the fashion for library music, disco noir and the synth-heavy soundtrack work of Goblin and John Carpenter, it was probably inevitable that Italians Do It Better would dip their toe into cinematic waters at some point. Themes From An Imaginary Film is their contribution to the oeuvre - an all-star collection of melodic synth doodles, atmospheric compositions and faux cinematic themes produced by Chromatics/Glass Candy men Jonny Jewell and Nat Walker. Its 37 tracks are, predictably, impressively evocative, variously recalling sounds and styles previously employed by notable synth composers Vangelis, Jan Hammer, Claudio Simonetti and, of course, John Carpenter.