Review: To our ears, Rollover's ongoing "Edit Service" series has delivered some of the most interesting, obscure and intoxicating re-edits of recent times. The Milanese crew and their associates are in fine form again on volume three. They begin by offering up a re-shape of a pleasingly percussive, hypnotic and off-kilter chunk of pared-back Afro goodness (the drum-heavy quirkiness of "Mimi"), before Italian scene veterans Fabrice and Leo Mas go all low-slung and spacey on the dub disco chug of "Genius". Mark:eno savagely (and brilliantly) chops up a cosmic chunk of obscure disco-funk on "Io & Te", while Abbrangeli has his/her wicked way with a sleazy disco workout on druggy-but-funky closing cut "Dillo Ancora". In a word: essential.
Review: Faze Action last teamed up with Zeke Manyika, formerly of 80s funksters Orange Juice, for the effervescent "Mangwana" back in 2016. Now they're back in collaboration for more classically rooted house music with a deeply infectious African twist. "Kubatana" is punchy where it counts, but it's a light and springy proto house burner first and foremost, with Manyika's vocal sounding as smooth as silk in the middle of the mix. "Hapana" is equally rich in musicality and personality, albeit on a more simmering, meditative tip. On the B side, "Kubatana" gets reworked by Rudy Midnight Machine and Paradise, who turn in distinct versions without losing the overall 80s aesthetic that powers the release.
Review: Claremont 56 founder Paul "Mudd" Murphy has a thing for studio supergroups. New project Hillside follows in the footsteps of Bison (who once counted Holger Czukay, Ursula Kloss and Sal Principato amongst their members) and Paqua. Their debut single is closer in tone to the latter than the former, with opener "Hidden Port" offering a deliciously languid, wide-eyed fusion of eyes-closed jazz-rock guitar solos, unfurling kosmiche keyboards, bobbing Latin rhythms and an electric violin solo from a musician renowned for his work with British folk legend Bert Jansch. You'll find more electric violin on the wilder and more up-tempo flipside "The Kings Tun", where distinctive fiddle solos rise above jangling acoustic guitars, warm bass and spacey keyboard flourishes. Anyone fancy a cosmic hoedown?
Review: Since emerging in the late 1990s, Swedish singer/songwriter Jay-Jay Johanson has carved a niche as a purveyor of beguiling, jazzy and occasionally surprisingly dark music. "Kings Cross", his 14th studio set, is an altogether warmer and more softly spun affair. Of course, his distinctively low key but emotion-rich vocal delivery remains the same, it's just the music beneath that has been given a bit of a remix. You'll find a gaggle of lusciously orchestrated, Sebastien Tellier style cuts, a handful of dusty downtempo groovers, some gentle folk-rock songs and even a small selection of nu-jazz numbers. The result is an album whose slow motion ethos and subtle beauty is surprisingly alluring.
Review: Beyond Paradise's latest release comes courtesy of fellow Leeds resident Mark Crossley, a psychedelia-loving musician and producer who now records as The Local Beatnik. As you'd perhaps expect, there's a suitably hallucinatory feel to much of the music on the "Kirkstall Delight EP". Check first the Plantlife-do-mushrooms flex of opener "Mountain Walk", where Crossley's effects-laden vocals rise above sparse, loose-limbed drums, squelchy synth bass and meandering synthesizer lines - before acquainting yourself with the Turkish psych-funk and kosmiche influenced shuffle of "Eskase". Crossley reaches for the Sitars, tablas and slo-mo beats on "Travel", while "Eastern Dish" is a non-stop hum of backwards guitars, Ravi Shankar-esque sitars, dense beats and a sharp dancefloor sensibility.
Review: It's rare to see Detroit stalwart Marcellus Pittman releasing a seven-inch single, but then he has stated that his latest excursion is "genre free". While that's not strictly true, it's certainly a pleasing diversion from his usual beatdown influenced deep house fare. A-side "Fruits And Vegetable Groove" is a chunk of hip-hop style MPC beat science, with Pittman expertly cutting-up drowsy samples, skewed beats and tipsy, mind-altering chords to create a suitably blunted, left-of-centre soundscape. "Love 4 My Kinfolk" is similarly laidback and groovy, with gentle instrumentation and fuzzy jazz-funk samples rising above a dusty, head-nodding groove.
Review: The mysterious Shelved Recordings imprint is not your average re-edit label, with the producer behind the series (sometime Ruf Kutz and Magic Wand contributor Andi Hanley) focusing not on disco, but rather the more Balearic side of 1980s pop. The label's second outing - which is being released in two parts - begins with a hazy, sun-kissed version of what sounds like a little-known Japanese Balearic-pop masterpiece, where dewy-eyed female vocals rise above a slo-mo groove, marimba style synthesizer motifs and twinkling pianos. Over on side B, "All Night Long" is a suitably chugging, spaced-out take on Godley & Creme's quirky 1981 classic "Babies", while "What?" is a hypnotic, largely instrumental interpretation of The Who's "Eminence Front" that wisely emphasizes the original's most atmospheric elements.