Review: Back in 2016, legendary Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen approached techno pioneer Jeff Mills with the idea of working together. A series of live gigs and off-the-radar studio sessions followed, with the first fruits of their joint efforts finally appearing on this must-have 10". As you'd expect, the duo's collaborative work combines Allen's traditional Nigerian polyrhythms, traditional Afrobeat instrumentation, and the far-sighted, sci-fi inspired electronic futurism that has always marked out Mills' work. The result is a quartet of cuts that could arguably be described as retro-futurist Afro-tech - all delay-laden beats, basslines and organs subtly sparring with gentle acid lines, Motor City electronics, beguiling deep space textures and shimmering, 31st century motifs. It's arguably Allen's stylistic contributions that dominate, but that's no bad thing.
Review: A limited yellow vinyl funk odyssey from Record Store Day, "I Get Lifted" is taken from KC & The Sunshine Band's second album (1975) Still sounding shiny and floor-minded, the original stands the test of time incredibly well. Todd Terje's edit, however, takes it to another level; upping the tempo (and, possibly, the key), he's extended the right places, added a little more emphasis on the kicks and made sure we can't miss the breakdowns and instrumental sections.
Review: Leipzig's finest M Ono and Luveless are back on Houston via Detroit's Kolour with volume three of their new limited 10" series. Starting out with the deeply uplifting soulfulness of "Never Gonna Leave You 2K16" they are then into "Losing Memory" on the flip which gets more reduced, dubby and emotive, giving a nod to the kind of loopy deepness as heard on labels like Office or Slices Of Life. There really is something in the water out in Leipzig at the moment, great stuff!
Review: This is Adam Wickens' - aka ADMIN - first appearance for Kolour LTD, and we're happy to see the UK deep house producer continuing his steady path to maturity. This two-tracker is part of the label's 'LTD 10s' series, and this particular one is the fourth instalment; we love it not only for the quality that has graced the releases up till now, but also because we're fools for the ten inch format. "Reach For Love" sounds like it could be on Moodymann's Mahogani, a sensual house charmer complete with gorgeous piano keys and assembled with pure hypnotic delight. Side B's "You've Got Me" is similarly cool and laid-back, but the beat is speedier here, the percussion more floor-centric and the vocals sexier than ever. What a gorgeous little tip - cop it!
Review: Italojohnson has clearly decided that less is more, having limited their output to one self-released 12" a year since 2013. Volume 10 in the mysterious threesome's self-titled series predictably contains more twisted, tried-and-tested material. The untitled A-side sounds like a modern update of a breakbeat-boasting Frankie Bones classic, with hectic bursts of percussion, surging sub and a classic riff taking it in turns to impress. There's more of an acid house feel to the similarly untitled flipside workout, with booming, mangled vocal snippets and sharp electronic stabs riding a thunderous groove, '80s electro hits and a classic Chicago bassline. There's little subtle about either track, but they sound like guaranteed floorfillers.
Review: Bruno E has plenty of history in the field of future jazz and downtempo, and now he's been snapped up by D3 to deliver some of that cold-chilling lounge business with some interesting remixers on board. Pat Van Dyke is up first, creating a blissful version of "Ventos De Outono" that feels as cosy as a warm fire and a glass of whisky on an autumn evening. The original version of the track is actually a peppier affair with a broken beat lilt that wouldn't sound out of place alongside the Dego and Kaidi Tatham crew. Kirk Degiorgio is a natural fit for another remix given his jazzy roots, and his swirling techno treatment is the perfection lotion to pour over Bruno E's excellent original ingredients.
Review: Naturally, there's been plenty of hype surrounding this new Hyperdub 10", which features Burial indulging his often-discussed ambient influences. It's a typically creepy and ghostly affair, with the lack of beats - if not rhythmic elements - only serving to amplify the shadowy producer's impeccable sound design and brilliant use of manipulated field recordings. A-side "Subtemple" is particularly paranoid in tone, featuring as it does chilling melody loops, curious vocal samples, looped vinyl crackle and all manner of layered background noise. Flipside "Beachfires" is, if anything, even more dystopian, with Burial basing the action around the kind of pulsing chords that gust back and forth like an autumnal breeze.
Review: Woof! Hyperdub bring together two of the most recognisable and enigmatic artists of recent times on this 10", as Zomby and Burial square down ahead of the former's new album for the label. Zomby's Ultra LP is undoubtedly one of this year's most anticipated albums and "Sweetz" suggests it may be a very moody affair indeed. Whilst rooted in UK dance, Zomby and Burial do look elsewhere for inspiration too. Just under seven minutes long, "Sweetz" veers through various sub-heavy soundscapes with intermittent rhythmic patters and a distinctive looped vocal sample whose pitch changes with dramatic effect.
Review: Minuendo calls upon Vincent Inc and Danijel Kevic to kick off their latest single, and they do so in fine style with the luxurious sweeping chords of "Space". Twinkling pianos, speech samples and a carefully measured set of deep house drums make this the consummate slice of pool-side dance music for those who can still find some sun at this time of year. Lola Allen steps up to the B side with something a little more sassy in the shape of "Afrofusion Jazz". As the title might suggest, there's a mixture of influences tumbling into this track, most notably with some wildly filtered jazz organ and funk licks stewing in the pot, and just when you think it's going to break it swerves off into submerged Moodymann territory. This is unpredictable house music at its finest.
Review: "Is the Cornuta Sound's return after a long resting time. This new 10" contains one of the most saved songs by Above Smoke (Deep Explorer) that runs into the jazz world and an outro take for djs. The flipside brings a great rework by the label boss (W&P Hgg)."
Review: Brooklyn label Razor-N-Tape get in on the Record Store Day action with this 10" edition of Beatin Tha Breaks from Nashville-based Magic In Threes. It's the remixes that come first, with Dutch artist Fouk going into similar house territory to Kenny Dope with plenty of live instrumental touches blessing the bristling percussion. It's a totally different vibe on the Freddie Joachem remix, with the Californian opting for some midtempo funk breaks that stay closer to the sound of Magic In Threes' original version . This closes out the RSD release on the B-side and is an easy-breezy affair dripping with soulful guitars and harmonies.
Pimping People In High Places (Woodword Ave alternative mix) (6:50)
The Medusa Touch (6:52)
Review: Gary Martin is well known for his unique productions and his label Teknotika is surely a classic coming out of the famous motor city. This special 10" holds two sought after tracks that were found on a lost DAT tape by Yossi Amoyal and Gary Martin himself. On the A side we have a long time secret weapon, it's a hypnotic groove that was heard on many classic sets, Zip and Ben Klock to name a few. An extremely insane, hard to find Gigi Galaxy track that was changing hands for silly prices is on the B side, for those who know... massive release!
Review: Spanish sound sorcerer Santana steps over to Porn Wax for a highly limited marble vinyl 10". "Disco Panorama" stomps with a beautifully sedate groove as clouds of synths cast a subtle spell over the beats. "Magic Words", meanwhile, is a more stripped back affair where the emphasis is focused squarely on the big lolloping bassline and a series of emotional chords ebb and flow over the top. Genuinely stunning. And with a guarantee of no digital and no represses, this really can't be missed!
Review: Yossi Amoyal's Sushitech imprint never fails to impress, whether he's unearthing the new breed or it's just techno and house innovators he's paying due respect to just like underrated legends such as Steve O'Sullivan aka Bluetrain; who the label has released several volumes of work both new and old. This time it's for O'Sullivan's lesser known Bluetrain imprint. Long regarded secret weapons to 'those that know'. Foundation Dub: Chapter One features fresh cuts from the O'Sullivab studio and they've even been given actual track titles this time around, hooray! We particularly enjoyed the smoked out and glacial groove of "Friday Night Dub", the sublime bass driven dancefloor groove of "Head On" (which will work on any occasion we guarantee) or the proper and purist dub therapy of "Special Request" which keeps it as real as anything Basic Channel have done also.
Review: A special release from Minimal Wave here as the uber rare Irene & Mavis EP from UK synth poppers Blancmange is granted a reissue! Those with a pub quiz winning level of knowledge of UK synth pop will no doubt be familiar with the 80s hits of Blancmange duo Neil Arthur & Stephen Luscombe, yet this debut EP dating back to 1980 will still sound revelatory. The self released Irene & Mavis EP marked Arthur and Luscombe to be fully willing to experiment with DIY electronics, impressing Mute founder Daniel Miller sufficiently to proclaim them "maiden aunts of electronic music," and thus more than suited as a subject of focus from the Minimal Wave label. There are definite similarities between this nascent stage of Blancmange and the output of Cabaret Voltaire from the same era, particularly in the masked and disembodied nature of the vocals, whilst "Holiday Camp" and "Just Another Spectre" are wonderful examples of instrumental synth music. Despite originally being released in 7" format, the six newly remastered tracks are presented here in 10" format by Minimal Wave with the distinctive artwork retained!
Review: Italian artist Paul Santangelo has been having fun messing with the sometimes po-faced traditions of the house music scene through a raft of home made productions on SoundCloud, but now with his Venetian Causeway label he's able to prove the clout to be found in his music. On this 10" the arch title "Generic House Traxx" actually does a disservice to the quality of the music contained within - Santangelo does a fine job of whipping up monosynth bass and ethereal pads astride an uptempo beat that, while familiar, has an atmosphere with considerable depth to it. "Please Him" on the B side goes further out on a mellow electro tip, plaintive leads and aqueous chords flirting with 808-style beats.
Review: Dropping a searing double pack of 10" badness ahead of the forthcoming Angels & Devils album, The Bug is back in business with some apocalyptic gutter bass of the highest order. "Freakshow" matches the leering delivery of Danny Brown with the sinister croon of King Midas Sound's Kiki Hitomi over a horn-laden trap swagger to devastating effect. "Louder" pits Flowdan in the depths of a nauseating half-step march, while "Dirty" takes the London MC into a barrage of equally nerve-jangling drum rattles and alarm-clanging stabs. Long-time Bug collaborator Daddy Freddy rolls up his sleeves for "Kill Them", anchoring the dread stomp with a fearsome growl as anthemic as it is nihilistic.
Review: As we continue to recover from the sheer awesomeness of Paqua's debut album Alkaliko, Claremont 56 commission two very special versions of the modern day Balearic hymn "The Visitor". Ray Mang reminds us of the true meaning of dub as we're immersed in a truly enveloping dynamic where flickers of the original's vocals fly and in and out of the mix. Idjut Boys follow a similar sentiment but instead of teasing us with the vocal shades, they extend, break down and rebuild the instrumentation in a way only they know how. Super-limited, this is the perfect complement to a perfect album.
Review: Chevals, who brilliantly describes himself as a "French house producer, disco cutter and horse", came to our attention last year via a fine debut on Better Listen. You'll find further proof of his "rising star" status on this tasty, two-track contribution to Kolour LTD's 10-inch series. Both tracks are essentially re-edits, though there are enough additional touches and new musical elements to elevate them way beyond your average scalpel re-arrangement. The Frenchman kicks thing off with "I Can Prove It", a gently tooled-up and reworked version of a soaring, glassy-eyed disco-soul gem that will sound fantastic at this summer's open-air events. Flipside "Free Love" is an altogether more low-slung affair, with a fizzing, funk-fuelled groove building towards a rush-inducing Philadelphia Soul-goes-disco-house conclusion.
Review: Sect's third and final sampler for the It's All For You compilation ends on a bittersweet note, seeing the last release from Sect favourite Grovskopa, who has decided to retire following the closest of near death experiences. The A-Side features Lag's remix of his Sect classic "Atopic", reworking the lurching bass and broken-beat rhythms of the original into a hypnotic number with a fractured synth melody. The B-Side sees "2:69", a brittle yet powerful track with churning bass which recalls Drexciya's classically hard edged approach, combined with hazy orchestral sweeps - a fitting swansong for a great producer.
What's Going On (original mono single version) (3:57)
God Is Love (original mono single version) (2:48)
What's Going On (feat BJ The Chicago Kid) (5:03)
What's Going On (Coffeehouse Mix) (3:59)
Review: One of the most important and influential records in both Marvin and Motown's history, "What's Going On" celebrates 45 years with a revisit that includes some of the oldest mono versions of "What's Going On" and "God Is Love" and brand new twists including a superbly mixed posthumous duet with BJ The Chicago Kid which truly feels like they're in the same room together and an Elevado-mixed acoustic Coffeehouse mix where Marvin's vocals and sentiments are given even more muscle due to their forefront position.
Review: Barefoot Beats is a series of EPs released on Mareh Music, a record label based in Sao Paulo whose people are also the curators of the Mareh music festival in Boipeba - a remote island in Bahia. For their label's ninth edition, Rio de Janeiro's Joutro Mundo (Midnight Riot/Outra) delivers an edit of a lovely neon-lit boogie down number on "Revele", while on the flip the man from New York City Jkriv (Razor-N-Tape) gets a deep, soulful and life-affirming number into the mix with "Povo De Zambi".
Review: Detroit/Houston based Kolour have had some pretty credible names feature on their new 10 inch series this year, such as Eddic C, Napoleon, Frank Booker and Lady Blacktronika. Now it is over to the Belarus based disco DJ Funkyjaws who serves up two irresistible jams on Vol 8 of the series. On the A side, we have the soulful and life affirming African boogie of "Them & Us". We have not heard the original but it sounds pretty seamless to us: a respectful edit indeed. On the flip, we have one seriously mad boogie-down jam in the form of "Peasant Dance" which is a truly exotic affair from god knows where! Accordions, wah-wah guitar and some super string arrangements clash wonderfully. This may sound like an unholy mixture but this is exactly the kind of disco deviance that truly floats our boat! The Grodno based producer last appeared for the label on Kolour LTD 22 a couple of years back, and in the meantime has also appeared for the likes of Shadeleaf Music and Austrian imprint Pusic.
Review: Plevna (an alias of Horatiu Serbanescu, long-time contriver at Future Nuggets and co-founder of Steaua de Mare) presents its first full EP.
After incubating for almost 2 years while extracting and forging gems in the south-east space-time anomalies, the untraceable sound of Plevna has reached the optimum balance between eighties delicate nostalgia and contemporary local oriental melody. Bouncing on the delightfully twisted 9/8 groove, this is a unique contact with a multiverse under meticulous construction, an excursion abundant in haunting tunes and unfamiliar melancholy.
Review: Fernando Zapico AKA Z@p is one of those producers whose work is always worth a listen, primarily because his quality threshold is very high. This two-track missive on My Own Jupiter picks up where his recent EP for Japanese imprint Cabaret left off, delivering faintly foreboding futurist techno whose sci-fi inspirations are clear to hear. A-side "Brutalismo" sets the tone, with paranoia-inducing analogue bass, creepy synth stabs and swirling electronic textures rising above a punchy drum machine-driven groove. "We Control The Sound" is notably denser and a little darker, with sturdier beats, moodier chord sequences and a bone-chilling breakdown.
Review: Absolute damage: Spooky finally unleashes two of his biggest summer dubs. And he's doing it in pure pink vinyl style. Fiesta slaps with a well-known sample before hopping onto the gulliest skank of his life. The groove says party, but the bass says murderation. Flip for an even fruitier piece of funk as Eric Donaldson's reggae classic gets the murking it never knew it needed. Make no mistakes: Spooky is donning it right now.