Review: For their latest dive into the depths of funk history, Athens of the North travels back to 1978 and the debut of John Hawes and Velma Bunch's obscure Hard Drivers project. The record initially appeared on Hawes' own short-lived imprint, and his since become a sought after 7" amongst serious collectors. "Since I Was A Little Girl" is a disco-era funk gem, with guest singer Vivian Lee providing a brilliantly confident vocal to compliment Hawes and Bunch's driving, horn-heavy backing track. On the flip you'll find original B-side "Straight Talk", a touching torch song full of harmony backing vocals, impassioned builds, and lyrics capable of melting even the stoniest of hearts.
Review: Katastrofa EP is an Ex-Yu Edits release which transforms forgotten gems from the former Yugoslavia. Russian Valique and Serbian veteran selector Funky Junkie are behind this project. Opener "Katastrofa" offers a delicious blend of heavy, synth-laden '80s boogie, punchy afrobeat horns and bold, chant-a-long vocals, while the slower, more chugging "Frka" is an Adriatic delight - all lazy, sun-kissed synths, sugary-sweet vocals and sloppy kisses. As for closer "Yugoslavia" , it sounds like a disco-house anthem in waiting, as the duo adds bumpin' beats to a rising, horn-heavy chunk of starlight disco.
Brown Curls (feat Khalil Anthony - Patchworks remix) (4:48)
If You Like (Alma Negras's Wisdom Of Oz remix) (7:38)
If You Like (feat Tim Jules - instrumental) (3:09)
Review: Marcel Vogel's latest on Lumberjacks In Hell welcomes the mighty leftfield NYC MC Sensational to flow over his learned disco house grooves. Sensational sounds right at home on "If You Like," and Vogel gives him a slightly freaked groove to riff on that works just fine. "Brown Curls" taps up Khalil Anthony, one of the finest UK house vocalists in operation right now, and Patchworks remixes it into a dreamy disco funk jam for the boogie brothers and sisters to shake it to. Alma Negra gets busy with "If You Like," creating a tumbling Afro-centric re-rub par excellence, and then Tim Jules comes on board with an instrumental version that nudges into tightly wound funk territory.
Van McCoy & The Soul City Symphony - "Spanish Boogie"
The Project Club - "EL Mar Y La Luna" (Lovefingers remix)
DJ Pippi - "Ibiza World Inspiration" (feat Antonio M Jemenez)
Tony Esposito - "Danza Dell'Acqua"
No ID - "Love Mecanica (Not Love Game)"
Tore - "She's A Lady"
Gatto Fritto - "Invisible College"
Review: Many claim to be "Balearic" DJs, but few genuinely are. DJ Harvey certainly is, as his triumphant summer residency at Pikes in Ibiza proved. If you didn't get a chance to check out the lauded veteran in action on the White Isle, fear not, because The Sound of Mercury Rising is almost entirely made up of music he championed over the summer. As you'd expect, it mixes notably obscure or overlooked gems from the distant past (Elkin & Nelson, the brilliant disco mix of Eighth Wonder's Pet Shop Boys' produced "I'm Not Scared", the Spanish-themed disco of Van McCoy, a killer Tony Esposito cut, and so on) with more recent fare that have tickled Harvey's fancy (the Idjut Boys, Gatto Fritto and the producer's own Locussolus project).
Catherine Brenot - "Et Tout Est Yin Et Tout Est Yang" (club mix)
1 Plus 1 - "Coming Up For Air" (instrumental)
Fragile - "We've Got Tonight, Boy"
Jarmaz - "Night City Life" (Disco remix)
Friend Of Mine - "Just Your Pride"
Mac & Monica - "You're So Good To Me"
Sala & H - "Feel The Love"
Alexandra - "Fantasia (Fantasy)"
Gioia - "No Secrets" (instrumental)
Janelle - "Don't Be Shy" (dub)
Alessandro Scellino - "Dinner In The Jungle" (Erotic mix)
Brian Tatcher - "Hot Love" (instrumental dub version)
Preludio - "Mysterious Nights"
Review: Ilan Pdahtzur is as obsessive a record digger as any of his more visible peers. His particular niche is early to mid-eighties club music, and now he gets a platform to show off his skills thanks to the Spacetalk label. "Night City Life" is about music to match that exact setting - nocturnal urban metropolises with glowing neon lights shimmering in the darkness. There's a lot to love across four sides of vinyl here, from Italo disco to steamy boogie cuts and iridescent synth jams. It will make you nostalgic for a time and place you've never experienced (at least not as perfectly as this) and no doubt get plenty of dance floors on their feet.
Review: Magik Cyrkles invites you the listener to bask in the impressive record collections of Psychemagik, for it seems that the prolific edit and DJ duo operate a nice sideline helping to furnish everyone from Soulwax to Q-Tip to Love Fingers with rare and highly sought after vinyl. Anyone whose familiar with their output since their emergence from The Cosmic Forest in 2009 will not be surprised given the off the beaten track source material for much of their edits. This Leng released compilation veers through all manner of psychedelic funk, cosmodisco, Middle Eastern oddities and much more, with four excusive new edits from the Psychemagik duo themselves. Those with dusty fingers and a penchant for the odder forgotten gems will no doubt be entranced as soon as Intrinsic Trance's opener commences and the label have really surpassed themselves in the presentation stakes with some apt cover art from acclaimed designer Luke Insect adorning this double CD release.