Review: Four years deep into its disco, beatdown and edit adventures, Smokecloud's status is nigh-on impeccable. Here we find them uniting four of their most creative craftsmen for four straight-up dancefloor pacifiers. Highlights include the sludgy slo-mo Edwin Starr on acid flavoured "Caught Up" and the Diana Ross homage that is the sun-skanked reggae party jam "CC Tribute" by VinylAddicted & SMQ. Instant smiles.
Review: It's finally here... V.I.V.E.K launches a brand new label and, as the title suggests, it's something a little different to the deep 140 piledrivers his System Sound is known for. Two rootsical excursions and two killer versions, this is the sound of the System champion bringing things back to the source. The title track (featuring longstanding System MC Dego Rankin) is a warm dub jam, spaced for good measure. Flip for "Galactic" as V.I.V.E.K flings us further east on a ship powered by Oriental strings and another rolling dub groove that's designed to make rigs purr. Beautiful.
Shara Nelson & The Circuit - "Aiming At Your Heart" (part 2) (5:53)
Playgroup - "Forty Winks" (7:26)
New Age Steppers - "Radial Drill" (4:25)
Little Annie - "77 Emerging Strips" (previously unreleased) (6:17)
Review: Trevor Jackson continues on plundering the vaults of classic genres of yesteryear. Following up the sterling effort of the Metal Box series of industrial and EBM classics, he now gathers the very best of Adrian Sherwood's seminal On-U sound imprint for this extensive compilation. All the usual suspects are here; Dub Syndicate with "Over Board", African Head Charge's "Stebeni's Theme" (amongst others) and how could we not forget Tackhead, who appear with the heavy "Now What?" Also appearing are Keith Le Blanc, Mark Stewart & The Maffia and Jackson's own Playgroup project plus many others, covering the imprints' illustrious history over three LPs. Essential listening.
Ruby Andrews - "You Made A Believer (Out Of Me)" (2:39)
Kalyanji Anandji - "Back Ground Music" (2:29)
Jake Wade & The Soul Searchers - "Searching For Soul" (part 1) (2:40)
Hot Butter & Soul - "ABC" (4:43)
Dick Walter - "Spooky Do" (1:33)
Roy Head - "She's About A Mover" (3:13)
Hot City Bump Band - "It's Just Begun" (2:53)
Val Merrall's Orchestra - "The Horse" (3:45)
Frank Pleyer Big Band - "Sally" (3:24)
Art & Ron - "Can't Stop Talkin" (2:55)
Johnny Griffith Inc - "Love Is Just A Word" (3:23)
The Generation Gap - "Family Affair" (2:40)
Tinga Stewart - "The Message" (2:55)
Jerzy Milian Orkiestra - "Gacek" (2:19)
John L Watson - "Rockin' Chair" (with White Mouse) (3:19)
The Alan Tew Orchestra - "Pink Panther" (3:39)
The Rias Orchestra Conducted By Helmuth Brandenburg - "Pru Urebu" (4:55)
Oscar Harris & The Twinkle Stars - "Twinkle Stars Boo Galoo" (live) (3:54)
Review: Magic happens when Mr Thing hits the crates. His ability to unearth recordings you're guaranteed to never have heard before, and join the dots in ways you'd never have thought before, his "Strange Breaks" series is legendary. Long since off-press, to celebrate their 20th anniversary BBE have repressed this seminal 2009 sophomore. From the turbo blues fusion of Roy Head and the speeding Mancini feels of Val Marrall's Orchestra to the more sedate, slinky funk of Johnny Griffith and sunny-side roots of Tinga Stewart, Mr Thing's odyssey remains as inciteful, intriguing and as full of treasure as it did seven years ago.