Review: While Steffi and Virginia have been working together on and off for the best part of a decade, "Work A Change" is undoubtedly their most significant collaborative work to date (both in terms of its expansive nature and the quality of music on show). With Virginia handling singing duties throughout, "Work A Change" rides on waves of tasty electro grooves and hazy synth-pop motifs and futuristic electronics. It's a blueprint that guarantees goodness throughout, from the quietly euphoric shuffle of opener "Be True To Me" and the pulsating dancefloor fizz of "Help Me Understand" (one of two cuts showcased in both vocal and instrumental forms), to the high-tempo thrust of "Until You're Begging", the bass-heavy, future dancehall wonkiness of "Internal Bleeding" and triumphantly intergalactic title track.
Review: The tenth volume in Libertine's "Traditions" series comes from Luke Vibert, a producer who has consistently delivered brilliant music across a range of electronic styles for the best part of three decades. This time he's in full-on intergalactic electro mode, charging between the ghetto-tech influenced dancefloor assault of "iSocket", the pitched-down, hip-hop tempo shimmer of "iTeeth" - all crunchy machine drums, intergalactic chords and alien lead lines - and the bleeping eccentricity of rolling workout "iCandy". Arguably best of all, though, is closing cut "iWash", a deliciously tipsy and wayward mixture of undulating acid lines, off-kilter synth splashes and skittish electro beats that are far more weighty than they initially appear.
G-Force - "Feel The Force" (feat Ronnie Gee & Captain Cee) (7:23)
Tyrone Brunson - "The Smurf" (6:09)
Review: Over the years, Joey Negro has delivered compilations focusing on a wide range of styles and sub-genres, including soulful disco, Italo-house, early U.S disco-rap, and Washington D.C go-go. Now he's turned his attention to electro, the style that did more than any other to inspire Britain's first wave of DJs and dance music producers. This "personal collection" contains a mixture of stone-cold scene classics - Aleem's Leroy Burgess-fronted "Release Yourself", Hashim's scene anthem "Al Naayafiysh (The Soul)" and Dwayne Omar's P-funk influenced "This Party's Jam Packed" - alongside deeper selections such as Kosmic Light Force's brilliant - and hard to find - L.A electrofunk classic "Mysterious Waves", and The Russell Brothers thrillingly intergalactic "The Party Scene".
Review: Some two years in the making, the double LP Datafunk Vol 1 compilation from UK label Abstract Forms finally arrives and should be classed under "worth the wait" by anyone with an interest in all strands of electro purism. Datafunk Vol 1 essentially demonstrates how respected Abstract Forms are as a label within the electro community with new and exclusive contributions from such luminaries as DJ Stingray, DMX Krew, mystery Bunker entity Shemale, Further Records Rotterdam correspondent Ian Martin and Andreas Gehm's Elec Pt 1 project. Don't skip on the lesser known names such as Das Mooster or Obergman however as their productions help lend Datafunk Vol 1 a sense of cohesion, with "Cycloaddition" from the unheralded Linear Synthesis a notable highlight. If Abstract Forms want to spend another two years working on a second volume that's fine with us!
Review: Jefre Cantu-Ledesma and Maxwell August Croy's Root Strata present this retro inspired imaginary soundtrack, by the Vision Heat project of California-based musician Jared Blum. Said to be "inspired by countless soundtrack compilations and blog mixes of rare, foreign library and VHS music" as well as John Carpenter (naturally!) and Tangerine Dream. There's twenty odd tracks on offer here but they're all quite short, clocking in or around the three minute mark and all appropriate for various scenes. There's the beatless instrumentals for the rolling of the credits ("Vision Heat Logotone #2, "Manhunter"), moments of suspense ("Tonight's The Night", "Final Flight Excerpts 1-4") and of course the love scenes ("A Delicate Love" or "In Cab Reflections"). But it's the scenes at the disco that some might enjoy the most, such as the cheesy and funky "Beatin' The Heat On The Street", the Giorgio Moroder style cosmic disco of "Patrick's Theme" or the rebellious synthpop of "Slogovia's Theme". An impressive and convincing homage to a decade of decadence.
Review: Coldwave excursionist Shari Vari aka Void Vision finally comes through with her highly awaited Sub Rosa LP on the gorgeously on-point Mannequin imprint. The taster EP "Sour" out earlier this year was a taster of what's to come from Vari in terms of diversity and quality. Sub Rosa contains a little of everything when it comes to the electronic dance edge, where "Everythin Is Fine", for example, takes a techno beat and slaps down some vocals all over its makeup, while "Hidden Hand" is a true Drexciyan electro number. Then there's more abstract moments such as "Slow Down", "Vulgar Displays" with its rolling stabs of percussion and "Queen Of Hearts" with that humungous swell of low-end and quirky, heady melodies. Yum.