Behind The Mask/ Here’s What You Do (Southern Fried Records) *****
The word fierce was built just to describe Thomas Gandey’s explosive and seductively edgy new production for Southern Fried. And the recipe is quite simple here, play it loud! Throbbing tribal beats drive the rhythm section to distraction while acid tinges and pulsating notes place the atmosphere on a knife edge on Behind The Mask. The slightly more sinister Here’s What You Do features even more insane twists and turns with weird voices and effects all capturing your attention.
Too Good For Me (Ospina Digital) ****
Listening to Michael Mac Lean’s Main Mix which includes some rather off-kilter vocal touches may not overly inspire your confidence. But try the Drum Mix and you’ll be blown away by what happens next. Accompanied by the words tribal and pounding this tempts you to keep on turning up the volume with its commanding and deeply intense groove which builds upon a twisted, dark chords and the much more effective use of voices. In fact you could quite possibly say, killer.
Karol XVII & MB Valence
The Song (Loco Records) ****
There’s something strangely familiar about this ice cool production from Karol XVII and MB Valence and it proves to be most enticing. Maybe it’s down to the jazzy, head-nodding bassline or the crazy horns and infectious vocal snippets, or maybe it’s simply because this breezy musical romp is so easy to enjoy. But whatever the reason may be you can be sure of hearing it on any number of self respecting stereos all over this summer. Meanwhile Jean Frank Cochois aka Timewriter provides yet another notable remix by tweaking the elements into a more intense dancefloor situation complete with hypnotic rhythms and creative touches all of his own.
‘Afrodiziak’ (Loveslap Recordings) ****
There’s something quintessentially English about Latin-Jazz and the summertime and this impressive combination of mood evoking piano, expertly played by Darwin Noguera, and the fast paced rhythm section certainly raises expectations. Galaxy Group is formed by Charles Spencer and Capitol A and the original version of this has an authenticity that places it somewhere between the sixties and now with an array of classy musicianship. The Dub then highlights the Afro rhythms further with a moodier club orientated production using filtered vocals and a booming bassline as the appropriate compliment.
Shelter (Buzzin’ Fly) ****
Jay Shepheard’s homage to the sounds emanating from Detroit from the late eighties and onwards may, or may not, sound like enough to whet your appetite. But then you would be missing out on an aural treat which effectively transcends the timeline. Even if you stripped everything right back to the Organ notes which provide Shelter’s basis it would still be worth it, but then you’d also miss out on all those unique Roland 909 drum sounds and the epic swirling chords which only add to the atmosphere. The Remix comes from Catz n Dogz who rework the theme with a more contemporary feel utilising an impressively sinister bassline and haunting voices to spell out the letters H.O.U.S.E in cutting-edge fashion on their Interpretation Mix.
Michael Gray, Paul Harris & Kid Massive ft Sam Obernik
Home (Phonetic Recording) ****
You will no doubt already be familiar with the three names above so little point in expanding upon that apart from to say that the song ticks all the right boxes when it comes to fun in the sun, albeit with a bit of a message. Suitably uplifting vocals from Sam Obernik feel reassuringly safe and work equally well over the selection of available remixes, which include a notable version from Daley Padley whose deeper interpretation blends with the song particularly nicely. However it’s the Paul Harris production which works best (Michael Gray is there too) with a neat build up in rousing piano, guitar and fuzzy bass which all adds up to happy moments.
Yes I Know My Way (Hysterical) ****
Produced by an as yet unmanned English DJ the Unclearble Man samples Italy’s Pino Daniele for the title of this track and comes up with an explosive release for Hysterical. Two versions that feature more and less of the spirited vocals work equally well with crisp percussion and filtered bass notes rumbling effectively underneath. But perhaps the most impressive is left to last with the Tullio De Piscopo sampling version of Balearic classic Stop Bajon which gets heavier and somewhat even more twisted as it progresses.
Azari & III
Into The Night (Scion AV)
Something doesn’t sit quite right with the vocals on the original version of Into The night but then that imperfection only adds to its charm as the song proves to be rather infectious while its breezy groove is equally compelling. What’s also notable here is the strength of the supporting mixes from CFFC’s excellent heavy-duty funk that gives the song extra poignancy to the classical piano tones from Nicolas Jaar’s epic redefinition. Prince Language turns things around completely with an uplifting take while Renaissance Man gets intense and tech leaving the Live In Paris Remix to be impressively bizarre.
Do It Again EP (BBE)
It’s hard not to fall completely head over heels with this perfect slice of contemporary soul. Indeed it feels like you could be listening to one of the greats as the falsetto vocals lift you with emotive strings, beats and bass taking care of the business on the outstanding opening, Imaginist. All original tracks are from the forthcoming Soul:Fi album with the more intense Do It Again complimented by a seductively seventies sounding remix care off the groups own Katalyst. Finally, Life sports further remixes from a fuzzy FBI and notably creative Round The Bend. Recommended.
Remember When feat Jamie Cullum (International Feel)
One word springs to mind here, retro. Nothing wrong with that of course – some people build careers on it – and while this seemingly odd couple may at first glance seem, well, odd it never the less works tastefully well. Supported by a flagrant eighties synth led arrangement and jazzy touches it’s no surprise then that Jamie Cullum’s voice sits so neatly upon it. New remixes then transfer feelings completely with Lifelike’s electro fuelled killer hitting target and Tapesh opting for more traditional House rhythms and big breakdowns.
Sol Brothers vs Kathy Brown
Turn Me Out (Turn To Sugar) (Ikonik Recordings)
Kathy Brown’s blazing vocal first set this song alight back in 1994 on Cutting Records and then ended up being played over Double 99 R.I.P Groove a few years later as this bootleg version. Love or loathe it, though I’d suggest the former, this now makes a reappearance with a couple of excellent remixes namely from David Penn. His Vocal Mix gives the song a fresh tribal twist which layers up percussion and thumping bass notes only to be complimented by a piano led breakdown which for once these days sounds credible. The Dub accentuates all the good bits plus some fine vocal stabs leaving Andrew Galea to delve into progressive territory with a series of huge sounds and big production values.
Groove Assassin feat. Tantra Zawadi
Love Seeker (Gotta Keep Faith Records)
Just in case you were any doubt there are a total of eleven mixes on here to tempt you either this way or that. In this case original is best with the GA Main Mix teasing you with its sumptuous late night production full of deep beats and sub bass driving this as Tantra Zawadi’s spoken word sparkles all over the music. Plenty of other tasteful versions on offer too with mixes from Spiritual Blessings and Georg Neufield amongst others all varying the theme. However, the excellent QuestionmarQ remixes are most noteworthy with a deeper, inventive take on the song.