Review: Blue Feather were a truly blue-eyed funk outfit from the Netherlands who had a prolific run in the 80s with two albums and a string of club singles to their name. "Let's Funk Tonight" was surely one of their bigger hits, and it sounds resplendent with a fresh master and the full extended version spread out across the A side here. Offering something new for the modern market, Best call upon Faze Action to flesh out this reissue with a killer dub of the track that treads softly but funks deep, just like a good dub should.
One More Round (86 House mix By Frankie Knuckles) (8:10)
Walkman (86 House mix By Brett Wilcots) (7:17)
Review: Best turn their attention to that sweet mid 80s spot when the petri dish of party music was shaken up between disco, boogie, Italo and the emergent house sound from Chicago. Claudio Simonetti was a titan of the Italian groove, but his monster jam as Kasso, "One More Round", reached the stratosphere when Windy City godfather Frankie Knuckles gave the track his Midas touch. No more justification is needed for this pressing, but don't overlook the flip which finds 80s remix supremo Brett Wilcots taking on "Walkman" and whipping up a boogie frenzy of the highest order.
Review: Sound Signature's latest release is an all-star crew affair, with an impressive cast list of vocalists, musicians and producers joining main man Theo Parrish in the studio. He's at the controls on the sublime A-side mix, a jazzy affair where layered twinkling electric piano motifs, spacey chords, jazz-funk riffs and sumptuous deep house grooves combine on a fearlessly loose and organic dancefloor workout. On the flipside friend of the family Dego offers his interpretation, adding even more warmth and some tasty additional hand percussion parts whilst wisely utilizing most of the original version's intricate musical elements.
Review: Emotional Response do a great service here to all lovers of braindance craving new fixes since Rephlex shut up shop. Brainwaltzera's debut EP Marzipan was a self-released concern that sold out quickly back in 2016, meeting with emotionally charged responses from those wanting to nab a copy. Now it's more widely available, the gorgeous lilt of bubbling 101 melodies and delicate drum machine patterns can spread their wings and bring some healing vibes to a broader audience of electronica devotees. Coming on with the sensitivity of Wisp and other contemporary braindancers, this is how comforting home listening beats should be done.
Review: Mark Ambrose brings his years of expertise in the deeper end of the techno spectrum to bear on this latest joint for Crayon, the label he founded way back in the mid 90s. "Destiny Angel" is a stomping, expansive cut with a cinematic lilt to its sound design and melodic progression - one for people to truly travel on. "Bleeps & Bits" is a more rugged workout that digs deep into intricate rhythm programming and FX processing to create a unique future-tribal flavour. "Just Tonight" keeps the beats dynamic and broken, but with a much hookier punch and some choice vocal snippets that should find favour with all kinds of DJs.
Eternal Blue (Wata Igarashi Crossing remix) (7:36)
Review: In an age of over-information, it's refreshing to see Aurora Halal take her time with the Mutual Dreaming label, which notches up just its third release since launching in 2014. It's also the New York scene leader's first record in three years, and it's worth the wait. Some elements are familiar - Halal still has a keen instinct for heavy-hearted synth lines shaped out in bold curves, but the level of expression going into these tracks makes each one stand out like a striking painting. From the eerie mood of "Fattal 22" to the crunchy bleep workout "Nasty II", the character just oozes out of Halal's productions. With a remix from Wata Igarashi thrown into the mix as well, this is a record loaded with fresh and powerful takes on techno.
Review: Distant Worlds is a label going from strength to strength as it carries the work of underground deep techno producers celebrating that hopelessly romantic strain of UK machine music that emanated out of labels like B12 and Pure Plastic. Mihail P makes a return to the label after last year's "Multiverse EP", channeling all the right moves for a blissful trip into imagined sci-fi vistas fuelled by the box jam funk of electro and the synapse-tickling soundscapes of Tangerine Dream et al. From the dreamy delights of "Kessel Run" to the downtempo groove of "Sons Of October", this is beautifully executed music that champions electronic music with real heart and soul.
Review: What more can be said about the output of Alex 'Omar' Smith? The Detroiter's releases have perhaps been a little more varied of late than we've come to expect, but the quality nevertheless remains dizzyingly high. This white label excursion is full of floor-friendly gems, with Smith's use of classic house samples and familiar vocal samples also making it one of his most party-hearted releases for a while. Check, for example, "Catch Ya", where a much-loved turn-of-the-'90s acapella rises above bouncy New Jersey organs and snappy machine drums. "Better Believe It Baby" brilliantly wraps a chiming synth loop and R&B style vocal snippets around a chunky, disco-fired deep house beat, while "Cheat" and "Pull Ovaa" are deliciously dusty, bass-heavy deep house workouts with just the right amount of hypnotic late night charm.
Review: Cartulis bounce from the essential release from Eliaz to this intriguing slab by Reade Truth, a New York techno original who was last spotted on Warm Fiction, Blkmarket Music and Path Records. His "Wires, Everywhere" album was a big release for Cartulis last year, and now he's back with further ruff n' tuff cuts that drip with Big Apple attitude. From the deep diving "Starflight" to the epic, ranging "Space Out (Expression)", you can sense Truth's hard earned swagger but it's also balanced out by subtlety, a sense of space and groove that makes each track a pleasure to sink into.
I Just Wanna (Spend A Little Time With You) (Michael Gray vocal mix) (8:40)
I Just Wanna (Spend A Little Time With You) (Michael Gray dub mix) (6:19)
I Just Wanna (Spend A Little Time With You) (vocal mix) (7:45)
I Just Wanna (Spend A Little Time With You) (instrumental mix) (6:58)
Review: For their latest trick, Yam Who's Riot label has decided to offer up a brand new edition of Alton Edwards' 1981 UK electrofunk classic "I Just Wanna (Spend A Little Time With You)". You'll find Edwards' superb original vocal version on the flip, where his part whispered, part sung vocals rise above thickset, mind-altering synth-bass, drum machine beats and some seriously punchy horn lines. The obligatory 21st century updates come courtesy of Full Intention man Michael Gray, who delivers a suitably pumped up boogie-house vocal revision before dropping a similarly chunky dub that wisely makes much of the original bassline and Edwards' whispered vocal passages.
Review: Following killer releases from lesser-known talents like Aristidez, Colossio and Thomass Jackson, Mexico's premier modern disco label Calypso commence a new project that sees them celebrating some of their favourite cities around the world. The journey starts in Tel Aviv, where a range of underground producers present the kind of freaky disco-not-disco sounds that get dancefloors frisky the world over these days. Niv Ast keeps things simmering and sensuous on "Rainey Heart," while Rina gets locked into a dense chug of sweaty sonics and solid rhythms. Naduve has a slower, percussion-led groove rolling on "Hex Mex" that will inject spice into any adventurous warm-up, and Middle Sky Boom finishes the record off with the tense and teasing "Marble Arch".
Review: As part of their 15th anniversary celebrations, Japanese label Mule Musiq has asked some of their most valued artists to conjure up fresh releases. For his contribution, long-term label artist Kuniyuki Takahashi has decided to combine nods to his 2017 album "Newwave Project" - a set informed by his musical roots - and the attractive deep house with which he made his name. A-side "Middle Eye" offers the best of both worlds, with bold and cultured synthesizer motifs, dreamy chords and disco style string stabs rising above heavy, cowbell-driven beats and warm bass. "Black" is a bustling, sample-heavy cut-up informed by electro and Yellow Magic Orchestra, while "Newwave Project 7 (Edit Version)" is a trippy and hypnotic rework of one of the standout cuts from the producer's 2017 full length.
Review: Pascal Benjamin is next up on Constant Black, following strong prior bouts from Michael James and Daniel Akbar. The Dutch producer has been dropping bombs on SlapFunk, Botanic Minds and many more in recent years, and he's sounding taut and toned on this slab of after-hours goodness. "Rascale" is one of those snaking tech house joints where the devil is in the details, crying out for a crisp soundsystem to bring the subtleties of sound design to life. "5th Snooze" is a more tightly wound affair with a subtle jazziness rubbed into its joints, while "Full Colour" brings the kind of funky bump and trippy mood you used to find on the Trapez label. "Liez" completes the set with a sharp approach that wriggles its way under the skin.
Review: A sweet reissue of an underground classic from 1982 here, bootlegged badly in recent years, but Isle of Jura does it right with this remaster by Matt Colton. Q were a one hit wonder (if you could even call them that!), responsible for "The Voice Of Q". Comprised of American producers Bruce Weeden & Michael Forte with their revolving cast of musicians - this electro funk/disco project is finally getting paid its dues. Deep, funked-up and spacey disco, complete with vocoder - it almost seems familiar! A true spirit of the times. Features a previously unreleased track on the flip, "Keep It Strong" (unreleased dub edit) which is a balearic tinged number that's equally as good.
Review: Following outings on Echovolt, Further Electronix, Nerang, X-Kalay and Of Paradise, Gennadiy Manzhos brings his Low Tape project to Private Persons for the very first time. "The Next Summer of Love EP" is an expansive and universally impressive affair, with the Russian producer brilliantly charging between sun-kissed deep electro (melodious opener "Euphoria" and the similarly summery "No Acid For You"), raw and heavy jack-tracks ("Chicago Blues"), skittish but spacey electrofunk (the high tempo thrills of "Detroit Love"), bittersweet brilliance (the melancholic chords, non-stop machine beats and acid-style electronics of "Never Not Known You") and bass-heavy ghetto-house/ambient techno fusion ("Winter Acid Waltz").
Review: Over the course of his short career to date, Forest Drive West producer Joe Baker has developed a trademark sound that gleefully mixes and mangles elements of techno, post-dubstep bass music and vintage jungle. That trademark sound is naturally at the heart of the producer's first outing on Neighbourhood, from the smooth, spacey and slightly creepy hypnotism of opener "Un", to the deep space electronics and jazzy, off-kilter rhythms of EP highlight "Reshape". It can be heard, too, on the locked-in peak-time techno of 12" closer "Functional" and within the delay-laden blacksmith's percussion hits, moody bass and body-jacking kick-drum beat of the mind-altering "Wait". Supported by Etapp Kyle, Sigha, Ben Sims, JP Enfant - this will go fast, don't wait!
Review: 1990s sitcom loving beat maker Felix Weatherall returns to Brainfeeder for the first time since the release of his widely acclaimed debut album as Ross From Friends, 2018's "Family Portrait". He's in fine form from the off, with title track "Epiphany" offering a wonderfully intoxicated, off-kilter blend of bustling drum machine breakbeats, hallucinatory electronics, Middle Eastern style instrumentation and razor-sharp bass. He continues on an inventive fusion trip in the form of "The Revolution", where cut-up vocal samples and bluesy guitar lines rise and fall above a densely percussive deep house groove. Also impressive is "Phantom Ratio", a slightly more driving dancefloor cut rich in skittish drums and undulating electronic melodies.
Review: Staggeringly, this tidy tech-house EP from Dan Andrei is not only the Romanian's first release of any sort for four years, but also his first vinyl single since 2011. He begins in confident mood with "SOS", a gentle, undulating affair where pulsing electronics, drowsy chords and fizzing audio glitches clamber atop of a warm, mind-altering bassline and unfussy machine drums. "In The Bass" is a darker and wonkier workout for clubs that like it dark and clandestine, while "Still Unclear" adds warming deep house chords and dusty melodies to a futuristic tech-house groove. To round things off, Andrei offers up a spot of alien tech-house chug where swirling, deep space chords and another ear-catching bassline dominate the sound space.
Review: Back to 93! Rave duo Hyper On Experience were absolutely dominating the sets of DJs like Seduction, Carl Cox, Slipmatt and Phantasy and anyone paying attention to the then-fledgling Moving Shadow imprint. Now part of a major remaster and reissue campaign from Kniteforce, their third EP enjoys a timely evaluation: "Disturbance" is the mischievous opener, all impish and no sense of direction (in the best way possible), "Monarch Of The Glen" takes us more into happier territories with some goosebumping pianos and cool halfbeats while "Lil Ruffion" nods heavily to a European drum, all techno and flighty. Reload.
Review: Berlin-based techno imprint Repitch returns with more austere and pitch-black techno, courtesy of Polish producer Martyna Maja aka VTSS. A proud alumni of Warsaw's Brutaz club night and Jasna 1 club, in addition to being one of Discwoman's most recent additions, she's in fine form on "Identity Process", following up some great releases on Intrepid Skin and Haven recently. From the brooding rave energy of "Bring The Noize", the barrelling peak time intensity of "Code Red" to the powerful adrenalin of "Devil May Care" which is perfect for those "heads down" moments under the strobe light - Maja lunges straight for the jugular from the get-go on this truly ferocious outing.
Quadrant, Iris, Ulterior Motive - "Intuition" (6:04)
Review: Guidance strike again! Two sides, two vibes: first up the label bossmen Ulterior Motive continue their ripping vein of form with the weapon's grade stepper "Trip Hammer" that hits with serious space around every gritty funk element. Flip for a hook-up with dynamic US duo Quadrant & Iris as we're taken down a wormhole of dark delights at a white knuckle pace that doesn't let up. Huge shouts to Guidance right here.
Review: Although Salzburg sort Bernhard "Demuja" Weiss has previously released music on Shall Not Fade offshoot Lost Palms, this is the first time he's appeared on Kieran Williams' main label. He's delivered the goods, offering up a rock solid five-track EP that flits between loose and languid deepness (breezy opener "Do It"), locked-in late night grooves (the muscular beats, heavy bass and poignant piano samples of "Jito"), spacey, synth-laden deep house positivity (the sparkling "Can't Stop"), jazz-funk influenced mid-tempo house warmth ("Those Who") and Detroit techno influenced dancefloor futurism (the elongated deep space chords, ragged acid lines and bustling beats of "Tokyo").
Review: Following outstanding EPs from Javonntte and Malik Alston, JVXTA returns to the Hardmatter label he co-founded back in 2017. The three-tracker is rather wonderful all told, with the London-based producer expertly combining vocal and orchestral samples from vintage, mid 20th century records with twinkling new electric piano lines, sumptuous chords and luxurious deep house grooves. Dewy-eyed lead cut "Possible" is particularly potent, with JVXTA underpinning loved-up female vocals and simmering jazz-soul instrumentation with bumping beats and drowsy new chords. He continues on a similar theme on the flip, where the ultra-deep, woozy and dreamy "Suzuku Dream" is followed by the equally evocative and smoky "Here I'll Stay", where breezy flute solos, fluid harp motifs and simmering orchestration rises above another bluesy deep house groove.
Review: St. Petersburg-based imprint Soviett is rather restrained when it comes to releasing music on wax, with this tidy EP marking only their third vinyl excursion in as many years. It is, though, packed with quietly impressive treats. Label co-founder Ivan Starzev kicks things off via the woozy melodies, dreamy chords and Pet Shop Boys circa "Behaviour" grooves of "Waiting", before Claes Rosen ups the tempo a little via the liquid deep house bounce of the undeniably picturesque "Cumulus". Over on side B, Hideo Kobayashi wraps warm and drowsy chords and trippy acid lines around a chunky, dub-fired deep house groove on "Perfect Perception", while Nightdrive joins the dots between analogue disco, razor-sharp synth pop and hazy deep house on tasty closing cut "Je T Aime".
Review: Silas & Snare continue the heat on Madam X's Kaizen with their second single on the label this year. As always there's no letting up in terms of aesthetic, melting pot and energy. All sitting somewhere in the techno/hardcore/dub axis, "Pressure" lives up to its name with a rolling break, and warped grime basses, "Dreamscape" creates intensity with a loopy vocal hook and densely coded sense of tension while "Whistle Blower" brings us home on a deeper, more broken tip where noises aren't all what they seem. Feeling the pressure yet?
Review: Having appeared on the likes of Nous Disques, Dream Eater and Collection Artaud, it was only a matter of time before London beat splicer J-Shadow's glacial, unnerving textures and sounds would find a home on Bun The Grid. With strong senses of techno and electro deep in the low-end mix, highlights include the nutty, almost breakcore style flippery of "No Gravity" the powerful technoid dirge of the title track "Embers". Loaded with remixes from none other than Etch and Danny Scrilla, once again BTG have spoilt us rotten.
Review: Courtesy Of Balance is back right in time for kick your summer off in style by welcoming fellow French producer Gunnter, owner of Normandy Records. All three tracks have got that classic quality to them that'll please those deep and tech house afficionados. Naturally influenced by the golden age of the late 90's uk sound, Gunnter has digested it down to three to-the-point weapons, all endowed with the 3 sacred elements of proper tech house : jacking beats, wonky basslines and deep chords. The proof's in the pudding... drop the needle on the rekkid !