Review: North London deep house dons Saison are back on No Fuss Records with some sumptuous, discofied grooves that strike the perfect balance between heads-down, no-nonsense dance music and warm musicality. "Cut The Gas" rides on plenty of artfully chopped up disco licks, arranged, filtered and dropped in all the right places. "Wax On Wax Off" has a rich synth palette at its heart, clearly sporting a little Italo flavour in its bones with the smatterings of vocoder and throbbing arpeggios nestled amongst the more organic ingredients. "Top Bunk Boogie" and "What Are We Gonna Do" keep the pressure up on the B side, with the party energy in full force across both tracks and maintaining the same tasteful approach to the source material.
Akabu - "Ride The Storm" (feat Linda Clifford - Saison remix) (7:21)
The Love Symphony Orchestra - "Let Me Be Your Fantasy" (Dr Packer remix) (7:31)
Joey Negro Presents The Sunburst Band - "Everyday" (JN Disco Re-Bump remix) (7:28)
Art Of Tones - "Flower Child" (feat Anduze) (7:01)
Review: Like its numerous predecessors, 16th edition of Z Records' long running "Attack The Dancefloor" series is packed to the rafters with tried and tested dancefloor treats, most of which have never appeared on vinyl before. First up, Saison tackles Akabu's 2001 classic "Ride The Storm", turning it into a deep, bouncy and rubbery chunk of lilting, string-drenched house goodness, before Dr Packer delivers a subtly tooled-up take on The Love Symphony Orchestra's grandiose and sexually-charged 1978 disco classic "Let Me Be Your Fantasy". Label head honcho Joey Negro provides a superb deep disco rework of one of his own productions, the Sunburst Band's 2004 summer sing-along "Everyday", while Art of Tones' "Flower Child" is a flash-fried, disco-funk romp laden with superb lead vocals from Anduze.
Review: The people behind the Made To Dance re-edit series keep their cards close to their chest, offering up little information about their identities or aims other than some admirable words about drawing on "different musical traditions going beyond classifications". It would be nice to know a little more, because their occasional releases - and this tidy "45" in particular - are really rather good. A-side "Lothar" sees the mystery scalpel fiends make merry with a Latin jazz number, to which they've added squelchy acid lines and a little more dancefloor weight. Arguably even better is percussive and funky flipside "Bad Bad Puma", a tooled-up disco-jazz number that cleverly blends glistening guitar solos, wild Hammond organs, loose-limbed drum-breaks and locked-in, house-style kick-drum patterns.
I Don't Know What It Is, But It Sure Is Funky (Fashion remix) (3:56)
Review: Legendary 70s funk band Ripple are back with two original members making new music again. Curtis "Kazoo" Reynolds & Keith "Doc" Samuels now go by the name of Ripple 2.20 and their first work is a new version of John Edwards' "Exercise My Love." It is a cover, but not as we usually know it - they lay down an incredible new vocal and play the parts with a real sense of sensuousness. On the flip is a new remix of some of Ripple's original material in the form of Fashion's take on "I Don't Know What It Is, But It Sure Is Funky", a raw, dirty, sleazy jam to get you in a sweat.
Review: It may have taken the best part of six months, but Glenn Underground has finally delivered his first new music of 2020. The Chicago house legend is in fine form on "Shake That Body", a warm and jazzy chunk of deep house/disco fusion rich in tasty instrumentation and topped off by a fine female lead vocal courtesy of newcomer T.H.I.C.K. It's accompanied on the A-side by the superb "Dubbl" version, which sees Glenn Underground strip the track back to a killer dub disco groove before bringing back the keys, acoustic guitars, spacey synths and snippets of T.H.I.C.K's vocal. Over on the flip you'll find a seductive "Remix" that subtly moves the track closer to deep, soulful house territory.
Review: Fresh from a quietly impressive outing on Cardiology, John "Freak D" Devecchis dons the Owl alias once more and offers up another must-check selection of re-edits and reworks. HE begins by cannily rearranging, tightening up and beefing up a flash-fried slab of later James Brown style funk-rock (the brilliantly bluesy, housed-up "Those Kicks"), before turning his attention to a righteous chunk of what sounds like AOR disco/deep disco-funk fusion ("Chance"). "Feel The Power" is a bouncy, piano-sporting revision of what sounds like a late '80s New York house gem, while title track "Boogie Man" is a subtle, house style remake of a jaunty, honky-tonk style rhythm and blues number.
Review: When it comes to offering up authentically funk-fuelled, revivalist disco-funk treats, former crate digger to the stars turned re-editor and producer Lord Funk has an impressive track record. One of his most sought-after releases is 2018's colourful "Knock Me Out EP", so it's no surprise to see it being given the reissue treatment two years on. There's much to admire, from the early Sugarhill Records-sampling boogie/p-funk fusion of opener "Blow Your Mind", to the talkbox-sporting P-funk revivalism of "Knock Me Out" (seemingly a reissue of a lesser-known kaleidoscopic synth-funk gem from the early-to-mid '80s), and the rather brilliant, Prince style electrofunk headiness of closing cut "Do It (If U Like)".
Pink Family - "Don't Give Your Life Away" (AI-Tone extended mix) (5:00)
Review: Rain & Shine's "Soul Is My Salvation" project is something of an epic: an eight-part series of "dancefloor friendly gospel songs" curated by veteran Chicagoan DJ Tone B Nimble (real name Anthony Fields). This first part - "Chapter 1" - opens with a sublime, gospel style sing-along cover of Sister Sledge classic "We Are Family" that sounds like it was actually recorded in church. It's brilliant, life-affirming stuff. Over on side B, scalpel fiend Al-Tone offers up an extended version of obscure New Zealand group The Pink Family's 1979 cut "Don't Give Your Life Away" - a warm-hearted - some would say righteous - disco workout that's almost as good as the A-side. We await the next volume in the series with baited breath.
All I Do (Ryuhei The Man 45 edit instrumental) (4:05)
Review: Japanese live outfit, A Hundred Birds has a thing for creating classic covers. Over the course of their career, they've recorded countless covers, including organic, string-laden interpretations of techno scene staples such as "Blackwater" (originally recorded by Octave 8) and "Knights of the Jaguar" (The Aztec Mystic). Last year they offered up another warm and wonderous cover, this time of Stevie Wonder classic "All I Do". Here it gets a new lease of life courtesy of scalpel fiend Ryu The Man, who has delivered tightened-up, floor-friendly vocal and instrumental edits of the warm, rich, soulful and undeniably summery cover version. Both are rather good, though it's the vocal version that will win over dancers.
Review: Brand new label Fat Edits succinctly sum up their MO with the title of their imprint alone. Whoever is behind the material knows how to mash up big samples and slamming drums right from the off. "West Of North" is sweaty and hard hitting with old school Chicago drums pumping away. "Love fever" recalls disco's hey day with its glossy diva vocals, here reworked over prickly drums with big horns and strings. "Who Have Nothing" is the righteous closer, with rapturous vocals getting hands in the air over tough kicks and incendiary hi hats.
Review: Afro disco fresh from 79: Eko Roosevelt Louis's third album Funky Disco Music will go down as one of Cameroon's finest disco LPs. Produced and pressed by French label Dragon Phenix, it's still reasonably easy to track down, too. For a taster, grab three of its tropical charms on this Fly By Night repress: "Funky Disco Music" is an infectious vocal-led cut that's written solely to make people get down, "Ndolo Embe Mulema" struts with much more Afro rock fusion while the harmonies of "Bowa'a Mba Ngebe" are sweeter than the finest honey you've ever tasted. For contemporary kicks Riccio has expertly touched the title track for a modern dancefloor/DJ friendly punch. Perfect.
Earth Wind & Fire - "Fantazy" (Beatconductor rework) (8:22)
Michael Jackson - "Human" (Beatconductor rework) (8:23)
Review: Gilles Peterson's Arc label stays busy in its early days with another choice reissue, this time of a 1973 compilation that brims with soulful charm. The impossible to find original came on obscure Hollywood label SECO Sounds Records and pulls together the best of songwriter and musician George Semper's catalogue. There are organ driven funk jams, glowing r&b odes and plenty of cosmic funk explorations, uptempo stompers and downtempo slow jams to make your heart swell with a fine array of contributing vocalists adding all the more colour. This is a collection of all killer, hard to find material that shines a deserving light on an often overlooked talent.
Review: Given that he was making disco-fired house as far back as the early noughties, Simon Marlin AKA The Shapeshifters is a perfect fit for Defected's disco-focussed Glitterbox sub-label. These days Marlin's productions are closer to "real" disco than funky house, as last year's Salsoul influenced "Life Is A Dancefloor" with singer Kimberly Davis proved. "Second Chance" explores similar musical pastures, with the EP opening club mix layering Tony Montana-esque orchestration and Loleatta-like vocals atop a bouncy beat. Moplen delivers a classic disco revision mixed in a Tom Moulton style, where there's more clarity to each showcased piece of instrumentation, while the Shapeshifters provide a dub mix style "Reprise" that rises and falls in all the right places. A handy, delay-laden acapella version completes a very strong EP.
Review: We may not be able to gather to dance outdoors under a blazing sun or a blanket of stars, but there's no harm in a little musical daydreaming. That's what the latest multi-artist Ravenelli Disco Club release is all about: summery escapism that comes with a big dollop of rush-inducing disco release. Ethyene sets the tone with the colourful boogie-house fusion of "Let Love" - all twinkling synth motifs, echoing percussion hits, thickset grooves and hazy vocal samples - before Carlo raises the temperature via some jazzy deep house heaviness in the vein of Derrick Carter's "boompty" era. Over on side B, Hotmood's "Magical Flight" is a surging, string-drenched disco-house roller, while Rees' "The Way You Mood" is a tooled-up take on what sounds like a classic Philadelphia International cut.
Review: Here's a record perfectly suited to the Emotional Rescue sphere. International Noise Orchestra was born out of a collaboration between Berliner Ulrich Homberg and Algerian drummer Jol Allouche, first embarked on in the 1980s when they sought to combine 'new technology with old'. The results are wonderfully vibrant, evocative of the era but also packed with open-ended experimentation that sounds fresh more than 30 years later. There's a push and pull between the collaborating parties, but the frisson between cultures and methods is where this record gets its unique groove from, all delivered with a slick 80s cool it's hard to resist.
Review: Milton Wright's perfect deep Soul classic "Keep It Up" has always been a top shelf record, everything about it is almost flawless! Whether it's Milton's silky vocal delivery, the incessant guitar driven back beat or the total space Funk vibe of his omnipresent ARP-2600 synthesizer this record has it all. Originally released on TK Disco's more Soul and Funk orientated Alston label which was home to many legendary artists and records, this 1975 sunshine classic never fails to make people move. A classic rare groove indeed. "The Silence That You Keep" takes up side-B, a jazzy, flute driven love song that again features Milton's perfect voice and some fantastic arrangement. A real gem of a record, with the original 45 changing hands for over L100 a time in used condition.
Please Don't Make It Funky (The Patchouli Brothers Re edit) (5:05)
Review: "Please Don't Make It Funky" is one of those delicious curiosities that dusty-fingered crate diggers unearth every now and then. Recorded and released in limited qualities in 1980, it was apparently an attempt by Frank Pisani, then a veteran American singer who had last tasted success in the rock and roll era, to capture the disco/jazz-funk zeitgeist. While it was a commercial flop, the track is undeniably attractive and fun, with squelchy synth sounds, ear-catching horns, fluid piano solos and Pisani's blue-eyed-soul vocals rising above a tidy groove. This surprise - but most welcome - reissue backs Pisani's cheery original with a fresh re-edit by the Patchouli Brothers. This includes some filter trickery and a DJ-friendly arrangement, but otherwise sticks close to the original mix.
I Want You For Myself (KON extended remix) (10:40)
Review: Acclaimed crate-digger turned disco re-editor KON has decided to launch his own reissue imprint, Kontemporary. The idea is simple: to accompany re-mastered original tracks with fresh rubs from the man himself. 12" number one offers another opportunity to enjoy George Duke's soulful, sun-kissed, disco-era jazz-funk bomb "I Want You For Myself". On the A-side you'll find Duke's own impeccable 12" version, with KON's re-edit gracing the B. Having access to the original multi-track tapes has allowed the New York-based producer to not only include an atmospheric, extended intro (a tactic regularly used by fellow rework merchants The Revenge and Joey Negro), but also give more prominence to Duke's superb piano solos.
Falling Deep In Love (Joey Negro 7" Disco Blend) (4:06)
Review: For the last two years, legendary London crew Horse Meat Disco has been teasing the release of its long-awaited debut album via a series of scintillating singles featuring guest vocals from the likes of Amy Douglas and, even more impressively, Kathy Sledge. Here they offer up their second collaboration with the legendary disco diva. "Jump Into The Light" is little less than a tribute to the Chic sound featured on the greatest Sister Sledge records, with Kathy Sledge delivering a typical fine lead vocal over Bernard Edwards style bass, Nile Rodgers-esque guitars and glittering orchestration. Over on side B there's a chance to enjoy Joey Negro's cut-down "Disco Blend" of previous single "Falling Deep In Love", which adds a little house flavour whilst retaining the crew's disco instrumentation.
First Choice - "Dr Love" (Late Nite Tuff Guy Hypnotizin' Groove) (5:33)
Double Exposure - "Everyman" (Late Nite Tuff Guy rework) (5:31)
First Choice - "Love Having You Around" (Late Nite Tuff Guy rework) (6:37)
Review: There are few more celebrated edit kings than Late Nite Tuff. Now he is back once again with the goodness, this time tackling killer racks by First Choice and Double Exposure. All of the source material here is considered to be stone cold classic, so he's brave if nothing else. But of course, he also has the skills to make these edits worth your while - he extends the breaks, lets the grooves roll on and ensures the vocals remain in place to really get hearts sweeping and hands in the air. The unabashed funk, soul and disco joy of his take on Double Exposure's "Everyman" might be the standout here.
First Choice - "Let No Man Put Asunder" (Moplen remix) (9:41)
Candido - "Jingo" (Moplen remix) (10:26)
Review: Italian purist editor Moplen gets given the raw stems of two famous Salsoul classics: First Choice's game-changing "Let No Man Put Asunder" and Candido's light-years ahead of time thumper "Jingo". The former gets a little dancefloor edge as the vocal begins to loop towards the end and the groove gains more momentum. The latter remains one of the most driving, physical and addictive tunes Salsoul ever released but with added length and more of dynamic in the percussion. Known for adding little to no additional production, once again Moplen's extensions and rearrangements are done in their most honest form.
Review: Since launching back in 2015, the Dewaele brothers' Waffles series has been responsible for some of the best re-edits around. The series' genius lies not in the floor-friendly nature of the showcased reworks - that goes without saying - but in the unashamedly weird and wonderful source material the Belgian siblings choose to play around with. Few will know the original version of "Poland Waffle", a sludgy and sleazy mutant disco workout full of heavy, dub disco style bass, hypnotic drums, alien electronics and a half-sung, half-whispered vocal refrain ("Red light... blue light"). As for "Croatia White", you'll struggle to find a more muscular and mind-altering chunk of post-Italo European disco. In other words, this serving of Waffles is every bit as tasty as its predecessors.
Review: DJ friendly dancefloor cuts once again from the Gator Boots camp, with a two track EP of razor sharp heaters by the mysterious Ancient Deep, following up some great ones by G. Markus, Blue Mondays and Soul Clap. There is certainly a familiar vibe on A side cut "Underneath The Lights", a sultry late night vocal number with sleazy guitar licks, creamy Rhodes and a string section so warm it'll get the emotions running wild. On the flip, things go deeper into the night with its unmistakable hook from a right classic. It's called "Can't Stop The Jump" and is as slo-mo and lo-slung as you like it - perfect for the afterhours if we do say so ourselves!
You Can't Have Your Cake & Eat It Too (vocal) (5:57)
You Can't Have Your Cake & Eat It Too (instrumental Cake mix) (6:50)
You Can't Have Your Cake & Eat It Too (6:27)
Review: The Westend treasure trove seems as deep as Mary Poppins' bag once you start digging into it. This latest trick is from 1982 and has a real sense of humour as well as standout piano playing, joyful up beat vibes and powerful drums. As vocalist Taylor and her backing singers keep remind us throughout, we can't have it both ways when it comes to love, but we can have this song as a way to get over any romantic troubles. It comes with a vocal, instrumental and original mix that all offer slightly different but equally great variations.
Review: Late last year, French imprint Chuwanag launched via a fine compilation exploring the early '80s Britfunk sound (think jazz-funk and electrofunk) in impressive detail. You'll find numerous aural nods to that style on this follow-up, a fine debut single from producer Koji Ono. Check, for example, the sparkling synthesizers, hustling guitars and house-tempo jazz-funk grooves of "So High", the wiggly Clavinet lines, whistling melodies and rubbery bass of "Inner Rhythms" and the luscious, misty-eyed warmth of ear-pleasing mid-tempo instrumental jam "Momoshima". All are exquisite examples of revivalist cuts that boast more than enough freshness and impeccable instrumentation to bear comparison to the records that inspired them.
Review: Earlier this year, Luca Di Mateo donned the Italo Brutalo guise for the first time in three years, delivering a tidy EP on Bungalo Disco that's well worth a listen. This speedy sequel is similarly ear-catching and piled high with shimmering, synth-heavy goodness. For proof, check opener "Taniacid", where vibrant, NYC freestyle inspired synthesizer motifs and wild TB-303 acid lines ride a thickset, arpeggiated Italo-disco bassline. He successfully dips the tempo on the pleasingly chugging and spacey "Trust Doesn't Rust", before opening side B with the more hard-wired, acid-flecked Italo-disco revivalism of "Knightmares". Rounding off another rock-solid EP is "Not To Drop A Drink", another moody affair that reminded us of early 1980s Italian horror movie soundtracks.