Review: A quick google search of "Blake Hall" results in links to an Essex community hall, a disused tube station and a Pokemon character from Bulbapedia. It's fun to imagine that somehow all three inspired Soul 223 aka Steve Pickton's latest Blake Hall Boogie missive on Italian imprint Neroil (a possible nod to Eno's 1993 hour long instrumental opus?). The title track seats modulating synths next to fluted bass tonks and metallics, replacing wonted Roland hi-hats. "Epiphany" is a quickened and shuffly groove with a fuzzy synth line as its centrepiece, whereas "From The Dirt" enters drowsy balearic territory via slower BPMs and off kilter sonics. The upbeat Nite Life mix to "The City Never Sleeps" caps off an EP perfect for the future boogie tip.
Review: Enjoying a brief sojourn away from then 2000 Black label he's long called home, sometime 4hero member Dego pops up on Neroli with a two-tracker that blends his usual jazz-funk inspired instrumentation with warm and fragrant, dancefloor-focused grooves. The jazz-funk influence is strongest on flipside "Just Give It A Long Shot", a more languid affair rich in squiggly synth lines, toasty bass guitar, slack-tuned drum breaks and the kind of group vocals that would have once sent rare groove heads into a spin. A-side "Twelve Steps" is arguably even better, with whispered vocals, jazzy synth lines and sunny guitars wrapping around a pleasingly rubbery Brit-funk groove.
DJ Man X & Albert Sterling Menendez - "Consequences" (feat Blaze - Blaze vocal mix) (8:16)
Lee Pearson Jr Collective - "Tell Me What It Is" (feat Terry Yancy - Abicah Soul remix) (7:04)
Lee Van Kleef - "In The Wrong" (feat Lifford - Manoo dublove mix) (6:01)
Review: Esteemed selector Volcov's latest compilation series, Inside, focuses on tracks that have never appeared on vinyl before. The first EP in the series is wonderfully soulful and sultry, and contains a trio of grown-up dancefloor cuts. On the A-side you'll find Blaze's revision of DJ Man X and Albert Sterling Menendez's effortlessly soulful "Consequences", an impeccable fusion of Osunlade style broken house rhythms and rich, organic instrumentation. There's a similar feel to the Abicah Soul remix of Lee Pearson Jr Collective's brilliant "Tell Me What It is", while Manoo's fine rub of Lee Van Kleef's "In The Wrong" encases a steppy, Latin-tinged house groove in jazzy piano solos, spacey electronics and lilting synth-strings.
Review: The analogue love continues... Hot in pursuit of "All The Little Things", Detroit OG Alton Miller delivers more fresh soul. And we mean soul; "She Don't Want To Be" is an exquisite dreamy percussive house cut that sits somewhere between Faze-O and MAW. "In Spring" maintains the woozy daydream feel while shuffling up the groove into more of a party-minded affair while "Can't Get Enough" is pure, uncut Detroit house funk. Beyond authentic.
Review: Whether operating within house or techno, Motor City producer Patrice Scott's productions are always shot through with the warmth of machine soul. "Chasing Dreams", the lead cut from the producer's first outing on Italian imprint Neroli, is a perfect example. Dancefloor chops are provided by a rolling drum machine rhythm, while life-affirming positivity comes via Scott's canny use of spacey chord sequences and fluid, Larry Heard style piano motifs. It's a simply sumptuous track. It comes accompanied on side B by the deeper and woozier "Remember When?", where gentle pianos cluster around a bubbly electronic bassline and brilliantly stereo panned percussion, and the lingering synth solos and spacey electronics of hip-hop tempo slow jam "New Day".
On My Heart (feat Paul Randolph - KZR Blazed vocal) (6:54)
On My Heart (feat Paul Randolph - Delvyn Groove mix) (6:57)
Speak Your Word (feat Osunlade & Rasiyah) (5:58)
On My Heart (feat Paul Randolph - KZR Blazed instrumental) (6:57)
Review: Having recently devoted more time to re-edits and compilation work, the DJ/producer known as Volcov re-launches his jazzy and soulful Isoul8 project. The producer's first single under the pseudonym for five years is little less than superb. The EP opens with the KZR Blazed Dub, a wonderfully deep and soulful treat where Paul Randolph's evocative vocal comes smothered in elongated, deep space chords and undulating jazz-house drums. The Delvyn Groove version, rich in jammed-out Fender Rhodes riffs and rubbery live bass, sounds a little like vintage Georg Levin cuts on Sonar Kollektiv, while "Speak Your Word", featuring the combined talents of Osunlade and Rasiyah, brilliantly joins the dots between jazz-funk, deep house and 2000 Black style broken beat.