Review: You'd probably have to take out a loan to buy an original, second-hand copy of Master Force's sole single, 1979's "Hey Girl", so this dinky reissue is more than welcome. The title track is a dewy-eyed slice of two-step soul sweetness rich in Curtis Mayfield style lead vocals, glistening guitars and trumpet solos that sound like they've been lifted from an early Herb Alpert recording. Arguably better for dancefloor plays is "Don't Fight The Feeling", a Clavinet-heavy disco-funk affair that boasts some brilliant group backing vocals and heaps of authentic New York flavour.
Review: Hot on the heels of a re-work of Bobby Caldwell, edit stylist Caserta is back with another golden nugget. This time he turns his attention to the one and only Luther Vandross and serves up two equally essential but very different tunes that pay homage to his unique voice. The King Street Mix is all hip swinging claps and nodding bass riffs that are organic and heartfelt, whereas the Henry Street Mix nods to the '90s heyday of New York. With warm neon organ stabs that will get any floor pumping, both interpretations have Luther's soulful voice front and centre.
Review: In 2009, two years after the original version appeared on Somi's debut album "Red Soil In My Eyes", Joaquin "Joe" Claussell and Brian Bacchus joined forces as Soul Feast to remix Fela Kuti cover "African Lady". A decade on, Claussell has decided to reissue the package's most potent and percussive moment, the layered "Drum Dub" on a tasty seven-inch single. While there are key elements of Somi's original version present - the killer bassline, some delay-laden horns and fleeting glimpses of guitar - the mix is dominated by layered Afro-house percussion. This time round, the mix comes backed with an "Acapella EFXS" version, which contains all of Somi's superb vocal and is closer in tone to the duo's 2009 club mix. Like the A-side, it's superb.
Review: Here's something to excite those who dig quality 1970s funk, soul and disco: a tidy 7" containing two stone cold classics from the Rod Temperton-helmed, UK-based "international band" Heatwave. Side A boasts one of the standout moments from the group's much-loved 1977 album "Central Heating", seductive, string-laden love song "The Star Of A Story". It's superbly arranged and brilliantly produced, with warm keys, Spanish guitar solos and rich orchestration combining beautifully with the band's slick and smooth vocals. Side B is taken up by 1976 single "Ain't No Half Steppin'", a bolder and more dancefloor-friendly chunk of warm and woozy dancefloor soul.
Review: When it comes to break-driven dancefloor reworks and cheeky re-edits, Canada-based cut-and-paste merchant Jorun Bombay has a very impressive track record. Here he returns to Scarborough stable Soundweight with two more chunks of break-heavy goodness. On the A-side you'll find "Edits Theme", a tasty fusion of extended James Brown style drum-breaks, meandering sax solos and sumptuous, orchestra-enhanced orchestration. Over on Side B, "Editing Gears" sees Bombay serve up a bustling re-work of Johnny Hammond classic "Shifting Gears" rich in fluid electric piano solos, extended drum breaks, flanged funk guitars and delay-laden vocal snippets.
Just An Illusion (Ilija Rudman Night Institute mix) (3:04)
Don't Look Any Further (Ilija Rudman True Colours mix) (4:38)
Review: Off the back of the awesome "Sagittarii" LP on Stevie Kotey's Bear Funk earlier in the year, Croatian deep disco hero Ilija Rudman is back with a couple of sweet re-edits on Brooklyn Highs. He takes on Imagination's classic "Just An Illusion" for a "Night Institute Mix" where he pitches this sexy late night lovers anthem down a few notches for that good ol' low slung effect. On the flip, he delivers a respectful edit of Dennis Edwards and Siedah Garrett's 1984 classic "Don't Look Any Further" for a "True Colours Mix", which again goes for that slo-mo vibe just nicely.
Review: Legendary UK hip hop head Rodney P makes a triumphant return with this vital little 7" on Tru Thoughts. The godfather of the UK scene is coming off the back of a big collaborative with Ty & Blak Twang as KINGDEM and now serves up a commentary on how rap and hip hop is such a pivotal force on the a-side of this new one. The flip goes deeper, musing on his second-generation immigrant status and doing so with panache. The production is as deep and accomplished as the song writing and reminds us why Rodney P is so well revered.
Review: "Der Say Ah" has long been a banger on dance floors tuned into international sounds. It's the sort of bouncy afrobeat and sax-laced classic that has been fetching huge amounts online. DJs like Gilles Peterson and Nightmare on Wax have been playing it for yonks and now, after many years of it being out of print, it is back courtesy of Push The Fader. The Akoya Re-Rub mix here was mixed by Ben Kane who worked on D'Angelo's Black Messiah, so this sounds beyond good. The 7" version comes from DJ Spinna with extra keys from Ticklah, psyched out bass and extra dub feelings.
Review: Dr Rubberfunk (AKA long-serving DJ/producer Simon Ward) may have reached the start of middle age, but he's showing no signs of succumbing to a typical "midlife crisis". In fact, his recent releases have been among the strongest of his career to date. The third part of his ongoing "My Life At 45" series is another belter, with opener "A Matter of Time" - featuring talented, fast-rising vocalist Izo FitzRoy - being a particularly strong exercise in revivalist 1960s soul. Elsewhere across the EP, "Slim's Mood" is a fine chunk of hazy rhythm and blues featuring some awesome, Peter Green style jazz guitar solos, while closing cut "Moody Drums" is a chunky beats track tailor-made for funk and hip-hop DJs who like to get busy in the mix.
Review: It makes sense that Names You Can Trust would be fans of Conjunto Papa Upa - after all, the band's first two seven-inch singles (released in 2013 and 2015 respectively) offered a suitably psychedelic and soulful fusion of African, Caribbean and South America sounds fully in keeping with the Brooklyn label's open-minded ethos. This "45" is a teaser of sorts, offering as it does two cuts destined for the Amsterdam-based outfit's long promised, forthcoming debut album. A-side "El Secreto Del Metalero" is particularly potent, offering a suitably psychedelic, heavily electronic 21st century take on Cumbia full of weirdo electronics, twisted vocals, rumbling sub-bass and colourful synth lines. In contrast, "Chicarron Puelo" is a little more traditional-sounding, delivering a formidably fuzzy fusion of dancefloor-focused Latin rhythms and 1960s style psychedelia.
Review: Dub heads have been waiting for this one for a while: it finds Vibronics link up with the silky sweet vocals of Saralene for a lush new track. "Let Love Be Your Guide" is lit up with digital dub effects, withering sci-fi motifs and heavy, rumbling drums. The sub bass drills deep while Saralene's soulful croonings soar high above. The B side dub is not only more stripped back, but extra drive and weight is added to the drums that will get you stepping that bit harder.
Goody Gap & The Inn House Crew - "Madness Badness" (feat Vin Gordon) (4:16)
Goody Gap & The Inn House Crew - "Madness Badness" (feat Vin Gordon - version) (4:19)
Review: The Inn House Crew has been serving up the platters that matter on Room In The Sky long enough to have a firm following by now. Once again they bring rather melancholic vibes to this new one. "Madness Badness" feat. Vin Gordon is a flabby dub with pillow bass and rounded drums, but the trumpets that ring out are beautifully muted and sombre. Flip over for an alternative version that's more amped up and direct for those who are after something more energetic. Whichever side you go for, this is one you will want to add to your collection.
Rapha Pico & The Signal One Band - "Lead The Way" (4:58)
The Signal One Band - "Lead The Dub" (4:55)
Review: The Signal One Band formed in 2017 after a bunch of local regular session musicians linked up after meeting at Earth Works Studio in Amsterdam. Between them the gang has worked with big names from the worlds of ska, reggae and dubstep, and all this goes into a crucial melting pot that brews up the old and new, finished off with a warm vintage aesthetic. Their new label is minted with a rumbling, roots tune that has lush trumpets and billowing chords cushioning your daily grind. The dub on the flip is even fatter and perfectly easy to get lost in.
Review: The Disciples were formed in 1986 by brothers Lol and Russ Bell-Brown and went on to become pioneers in the UK scene. They produced exclusively for Jah Shaka and now we get to hear an unreleased gem thanks to Music Mania and Indica Dubs as part of their Mania Dub series. "African Odyssey" is an uplifting stepper thanks to the glorious top line and brightly coloured chords that light up the whole rumbling rhythm. "African Dub" on the flip is more pillowy and soft edged for you to sink into when you're at your highest.
Review: Music Mania and Indica Dubs are presenting a trio of colour 7" vinyl that celebrate the work of pioneering UK dub outfit The Disciples. They came together in 1986 and went on to make a big impact on the scene, most often producing exclusively for Jah Shaka. Some of their unrelated material has been unearth for this series, though, and "Deep Space" is a playful cut that tempts you to follow it with hypnotic chord vamps and a meandering bassline. The slippery drums are irresistible in the echo drenched "Deep Dub" on the flip which is arguably even more inviting.
Review: October sees a wealth of previously unheard material from the Disciples hit the shelves thanks to a focussed mini-series brought to you by Music Mania and Indica Dubs. Mindful of the fact this 1986 band were amongst some of the UK's most vital producers they have put together a trio of coloured 7"s. These two straight up dubs somehow slipped through the net. Our pick out of the two is "True Love" - a slowed down roller with a frazzled lead synth line and stepping drums that'll make you move your body.
Review: There is something about good 7"s that makes them seem extra special, and this is a prime example from City Baby Records: a double a-side of timeless grooves that are disco tinged exquisites from start to finish. The outfit behind them is Freaky, a soul gang from Minneapolis who apparently hide away deep in Tokyo's underground disco scene. "Running" is a delicate affair with neat bass riffs and happy chords that make for dreamy listening. "Sailin" is slower and more deep cut, with tooting leads and the sort of carefree vocals that will melt anyone's heart.
Review: Alchemy Dubs have cooked up more heat here with a ninth 7" that is a collaboration between Ojah and Jamaican singer Ras Tavaris. "Long Run" is a live mixed, proudly analogue cut with a stepper rhythm overlaid by Tavaris' important lyric work that muses on plenty of contemporary issues. Some lively percussion adds character and a flip-side instrumental dub lays even more fantastic studio work. That this one comes in a hand-stamped, hand-numbered, thick custom sleeve and is limited to 500 units makes it all the more collectable.