Review: Cruising nice and easy into earshot on the Smokecloud imprint, byDesign and Osmose take a side each in chopping up some choice old classics with a tender touch to work in modern contexts. byDesign gets the whole A-side to roam over with a version of Diana King's cover of the Bob Marley classic, "Stir It Up", working on a 90s flavoured hip hop groove and dubby cuts of King's vocal. On the flip, Osmose is having a lot of fun working on Alexander O'Neal's "Fake", keeping the tough beat intact and instead letting the effects bring in the changes. While the origin of the last track on the 12" is undetectable at this point, "Slomo Tattoo Dubbed" comes on like a prime slice of Balearic goodness, packing easy horn blasts, funky guitar licks and a whole lot of filter action.
Review: You can always rely on 5 Borough Breaks for some top shelf hip hop. The label's latest missive is a legendary one from O.C. - "Time's Up" is a rousing, hard hitting beat with an even tougher verse that rides on the booming kicks. It also samples Les DeMerle's "A Day In The Life" which just so happens to be pressed on the flip and yes, it is in fact a cover of The Beatles. Here though, it becomes a stirring big bang jazz cut that forms an impressive wall of retro sound that will inject realness and rawness into any party. Like always with this label, quantities are limited so move fast to get your fix.
Review: Samba flavours do not come more authentic than this. The sixth in Mr Bongo's Brazil 45 series, here they unearth two foundation pieces from Rio collective Os Origianais Do Samba. Forming in 60s Rio, they're still highly active today and have a discography peppered with Brazilian gold. This 45 does well to showcase their breadth... "La Vem Salgueiro" is quintessential samba. Heavy rhythm, punctuated vocals and a dynamic that leaps from bold and delicate in a flash, it charms you instantly. "Tenha Fe" has a softer soul as it strums and sways and more of a folky sensation, tight harmonies and alluring naked instrumentation.
Review: ** REPRESS ALERT ** Two luscious soul/folk/psychedelic funk crossover jams from American singer-songwriter Shuggie Otis are reissued and remastered 45 years after their first release for Record Store Day 2019. Equal parts groovy, dreamy, organically introspective and futuristic, "Inspiration Information" is the document of a young man who owns his inspired vision completely. We are particularly loving "Aht Uh Mi Hed" on the flip where filtered keyboard sounds blend with effortlessly graceful strings during the middle dream sequence of the track.
Review: After taking a year out (presumably to rotate his head 360- degrees and hoot at the moon), wide-eyed re-editor The Owl returns to action with another essential collection of reworks. Check first the hot-stepping James Brown style funk strut of "On It" - all rubbery but thrusting grooves and guttural grunts - before switching to the slick and rising disco goodness of "Boogie". There's something of a switch on the flip, where he works his magic on the low-slung disco tune that Paul Johnson sampled for his classic house cut "Get Get Down". Best of all, though, is the filter-sporting disco-house bagginess of "Sly Lovin", which rounds off the EP in fine style.