Review: Under the Danced Til Midnight alias, DJ Andy Anderson has always produced music that eschews easy categorization. His two previous 12" singles successfully blended elements of funk, soul, disco, hip-hop, house and Afrobeat. This madcap, all-that-counts-is-the-dancefloor feel is continued on "She Can't Love You", which laces Ijeoma's soulful, R&B style vocal over a backing track that variously doffs a cap to fuzzy funk, boogie, breakbeat and disco-house. Similar could be said about the more breakbeat-minded "Maxx E", which feels like a reworked instrumental dub of the title track. Speaking of reworks, the EPs's highlight is arguably Egyptian Lover's punchy electro remake of "She Can't Love You".
Review: By now Future Nuggets have surely been established as one of Romania's leading exponents of leftfield electronic oddities, and they don't disappoint on the surprising delights of this new 7" from Renato Din Sala and Ion Din Dorobanai. There's an Eastern lilt to the vocals and melodies on both tracks, but they're framed by some wonderfully quirky synth parts and budget drum machines. "Nu E Injoseala (N-am Carti De Credit)" in particular capitalises on cranky monosynth squelch and organ wails, while "I Love You Viata Mea (Lema)" takes a more energetic approach and works some Rhodes-like sounds into the mix.
Review: Following their surprise reunion and Strut-release album We Be All Africans last year, Idris and The Pyramids return... This time on Max Weissenfeldt's Philophon imprint. Laying down a spiritual arrangement so frenetic and full of its own life it takes up two parts, Idris's sax plays duet with Philophon's own vocalist Guy One. Gutsy, raw and full of surprises, it's another out-of-body experience from the longstanding jazz troupe.
Review: The colourful obi strip astride the cover of this audiophile reissue boasts that Imani's "Out of The Blue" album is "the ultimate private press jazz holy grail". While that claim is debatable, copies of the Gilles Peterson championed 1983 edition, which the San Francisco based band pressed up themselves, have been known to change hands for four-figure sums. Musically, the four tracks are breezy, sunny and summery. Opener "Just Another Love Song" sets the tone, with soulful group vocals and jazz solos rising above a warm groove, while "Somebody's Love" is a slow jam smothered in spacey synthesizers. "Byrd's House" is a jazz-funk dancefloor number - this time blessed with extended, eyes-closed guitar and piano solos - while "Friendship Cover Charge" is a stomping peak-time workout that should send dancers spinning.
Review: The Incredible Bongo Band were a loose studio collective interpreting classics of the day in their own inimitable percussive fashion .They are of course most famous for their ultimate b-boy classic version of "Apache". This particular 7" however features two Incredible Bongo Band cuts that have not previously featured on any albums. "The Riot" is a frenetic drum workout and has been championed by the likes of the Chemical Brothers. "Ohkey Dokey (Part 2)" takes on a somewhat more subdued hue in comparison, but has some dope funky clavinet in the mix. Well worth checking.
Review: Regularly spotted passing hands for high triple figures, the Poindexter brothers' New York troupe's second D'ar Recording Company single finally enjoys a reissue. "Beautiful Philosophy" has a little northern soul stomp to it while still shimmering with 70s pop charm and some incredible harmonies while "Too Sweet To Be Lonely" takes The O'Jays' classic to emotional new highs with yet more fine tuned chorused vocals - too sweet to sleep on!
Review: A stunning soul double A with a percussion heavy smoky soul cover of Leroy Lane & The Upstairs Maids' "There's A Man" and a big-swing, horn-heaved late 60s Motown-style ballad "I Have This World & You". Canadian soul act Joey Irving & Just Us only wrote and recorded a handful of songs and - madly - they couldn't get a deal on home soil so turned to Belgium's Baltic label which was usually the sole preserve of elevator music and native Flemish folk. Few original pressings have been spotted, but when they do they regularly fetch over L200. Jump on this.
Review: This long promised debut album from Pete Cunningham's hybrid electronic/acoustic jazz collective, Ishmael Ensemble, has already received rave reviews. Listening back, it's easy to see why. The collective specializes in inventive, slow-burn epics that fuse the producer's dance music influences with more traditional jazz and seductive songs that recall the folksy bliss of the Minnie Riperton fronted Rotary Connection. They're capable of laying down bona-fide floor-rockers - see "Siren!" and the sweaty, bass-heavy swirl of "Lapwing" - but it's often the more considered and atmospheric pieces ("The Chapel", "Yellow House (feat Yama Warashi)" and the trumpet-driven brilliance of "The River") that leave the longest lasting impression. Either way, it's a superb debut album that's well worth a listen.
Review: ** REPRESS ALERT ** Immortalised, slowed down funk from The Isley Brothers, an American R&B/soul group from Cincinnati, Ohio, established in the early 1950s. This 7" houses the much loved and often sampled in the hip hop world, "Footsteps In The Dark" (Parts 1 & 2) and "Between The Sheets". The latter is a silky smooth R&B classic whilst the arguably more well-known "Footsteps In The Dark" is an arrestingly beautiful, hood classic/soul masterpiece. The bassy but laid-back harmonious ballad with delicious percussion and Ronald Isley crooning an uneasy lyric on maintaining "a love that lasted for so long" amid the constant temptation of infidelity, makes it worth the entry price on its own.
Review: Repress time: released last year on a limited run of 45s, Chet Ivey's double-A "Dose Of Soul" / "Get Down With Greater" returns to the relief of collectors and funk lovers who missed out. Two of many swelteringly funky gems on his Sylvia Funk Recordings album curated in 2017, "Dose Of Soul" has a raw edge and looseness that's held together with Ayers-style vibraphone chords, while "Get Down With Greater" is much more of a traditional funk jam, with the organ player and bassist playing at their fullest of flavours and Ivey leading in his inimitable 'poisonous' style. Don't sleep!
Review: Former Bugz In The Attic crewmember Alex Phountzi first joined forces with fellow broken beat pioneer IG Culture four years ago. Together, they launched the NameBrandSound project with a tidy EP of bass-weight business on Ninja Tune's Technicolour offshoot. Here the experienced twosome return with their first - and presumably only - missive of 2018. A-side "Shrunken Heads" is something of a percussive, off-kilter dancefloor beast, as the duo re-imagines Talking Heads classic "Once In A Lifetime" as a rolling, bruk-up floor-filler. Over on side B, "Bebop" sees them pepper another swinging, house-influenced bruk-up rhythm with lashings of synth-sax and some suitably shimmering chords.
Review: Hawaiian legend Al Nobriga played a vital role in the island's club and chart scene throughout the '70s and early '80s before chasing his dreams to Nashville (and consequently shattering them). Long before the brutal crush of industry reality, he recorded several albums including They're Playing My Music in 1977 of which these two tracks come from: "My Last Disco Song" lives up to its title with it sturdy dancefloor hook and polished sense of funk while "Break Away" shows Al's softer side as we sail on yacht across positively Balearic shores.
Paul Randolph, Kathy Kosins & Theo Parrish - "Be Like Me" (SS translation) (9:41)
John Douglas, Amp Fiddler, Ideeyah & Theo Parrish - "Leave The Funk To Us" (full mix) (6:37)
Review: Theo Parrish's "Gentrified Love" series hits its fourth instalment with two stunning extensions/takes. First up is a powerful expansion of "Leave The Funk To Us". First spotted on the second edition of the series, it's now full length with the golden touch of Amp Fiddler. "Be Like Me", meanwhile, takes Paul Randolph & Kathy Kosins' Brownswood Bubbler to a whole new cosmos with lavish twists and cleverly subverted layers. Yet another precision trip from Parrish.
Review: Freshly minted label Dance Regular has pushed the boat out for release number one, pulling together no less than six tracks on a multi-artist extravaganza. James Rudie steps up first via the Rhodes-laden, off-kilter deep house dustiness of "Good Fry Up", before Szajna doffs a cap towards 2000 Black on the deep and musically rich broken beat business of "Break In My Back". Captain Over's "No-Look Nutmeg" is a suitably bass-heavy bruk workout laden with 8-bit electronics, while Xtra Brux's "Somebody" brilliant joins the dots between broken beat and two-step garage. Elsewhere, Trev's "For You Around Me" is a sumptuous chunk of summery and soulful dancefloor bliss, while Ishfaq's "Hypnosis No 9" is jazzy, synth-heavy and wayward in the best possible way.
The Truckin' Company - "Got The Feeling" (Massimo Berardi edit) (5:41)
Izk Eyes - "Ton Of Groove" (The Funk District re-edit) (6:30)
Review: Fledgling label Daje Funk is sure to turn heads with their second sizzling offering of edits, with Rome's Massimo Berardi and Mexico's The Funk District both stepping up to the buttons. Truckin' Company's "Got The Feeling" is a loopy and rolling funk gem that keeps the energy up as strings soar to the skies and a squelchy bassline keeps you locked. The Funk District takes care of the flip with a top tweak of Izk Eyes's "Ton Of Groove", which is an appropriate title: big brass sections to shake your booty, a buttery male vocal and busy guitar licks all drive it forward through big breaks and killer drops.
Review: Jazzman dip into the unreleased archives of Arkansas label Alley Records and pull out these two absolute gems that will find a welcome home in any self respecting Northern Soul or Funk selectors record box. This dinked 45 from Ike Noble and The Uptights is just the start for Jazzman with further sevens plus an albums worth of material planned after a successful trip to Arkansas. If you like your funk rippling with overwhelming vocal emotion you will love the raw and infectious nature of both "That's The Sound Of My Heart" and "That's What I Get". The A Side leans on an uptempo Midwestern funk vibe whilst Ike's tearing vocal turn on the flip is the perfect accompaniment to a pounding backing from the Up Tights.
(Soul) Rebel 23 (Reginald Omas Mamode IV remix) (3:30)
Snake Eyes (Ishmael Ensemble remix) (8:11)
Review: If you've not yet got your ears around Roger 'Chip' Wickham's sensationally sunny, jazz-fired "Shamal Wind" mini-album, we suggest you check it out post-haste. In the meantime, Lovemonk has reminded us of its magnificence via a new set of reworks from some seriously hot producers. Max Graef handles side A, first serving up a chugging, mind altering and heavily percussive "Bongo Mix" of "Soho Strut", before reaching for the sub-bass and fizzing, juke-tempo jazz rhythms on the bonkers but brilliant "Bass Mix" of the very same song. Over on the flipside, Peckham beat-maker Reginald Omas Mamode IV serves up a dusty, Rhodes-laden take on "(Soul) Rebel 23" featuring his own soulful vocals, before Gilles Peterson favourites Ishmael Ensemble mix live jazz instrumentation with rolling house beats on a sublime revision of "Snake Eyes".
Henry Wu - "Substance" (IG Culture & Alex Phountzi remix) (4:36)
Son Of Scientist - "Spartan Riddim" (4:52)
NameBrandSound & Sonar's Ghost - "Can't Hold It" (4:43)
Alex Phountzi - "2nd Intention" (feat IG Culture & Henry Wu) (4:39)
IG Culture & Seiji - "Gangz" (4:26)
Review: Bruk bastions, the CoOp collective were one of the brightest, most exciting musical movements in the early to mid 2000s with their barbed, broken soul take on bass music emanating from Plastic People playing a heavy role in the forms of contemporary house music, dubstep and all things in between. Freshly reformed since a Boiler Room comeback in 2015 and loaded with new affiliates, the ensemble, First Word proudly present their first collective EP. Ranging from the jittering soundclash bashment of "Spartan Riddim" to the sensual Bias-like harp heaven of "Can't Hold It" via the technoid stutters of "2nd Intention", this marks the start of a very exciting new chapter for the CoOp crew.