You can’t help but be drawn into Zombie Disco Squad’s world and twisted way of viewing things. Four tracks of unrepentant Dance music seeks to unnerve and excite you via the distinctly genre busting grooves, which sound all the more powerful for it. Rude Girl opens with taught basslines and crunchy drums that deliver an epic punch offset by whirring synths and vibrant fx. Commited, continues to feed the intensity with unsettling rhythms and voices, while Back 4 Real strips it all down to Jackin’ percussion alongside the addictive vocals. Leaving, the throbbing bass tones of Basement Trax to complete this challenging release of sound from Davide Squillace’s hot label.
Returning for their second outing on Lost My Dog Mountal feature three new tracks alongside remixes from Mr V. For me, it’s the punchy, stab driven Nothing To Undo and the gritty Masterkill that work best here, both sounding tailor made for the imprint – tough and provocative for the dancefloor. Mr. V then provides two great versions of Gold Digger with the perky, organ punctuated SOLE Channel Mix, plus the first rate 2 am mix that takes it deeper with thumping kick drums and reverberating effects feeling tastefully late night.
Gorgeous production by Dan Noel whose lush soundscapes are adorned with rich atmospheres coupled by unnerving undercurrents. The stunning, Follow Me plugs you straight into the currency of deep, throbbing rhythms alongside an engaging array of sound effects bouncing around the stereo, while Katy Blue’s breathy words only add to the experience. The remix comes from Anthony Middleton vs Dance Spirit who beef-up the drums with added Toms plus extra bass, synths and tweaked vocals all adding another dimension. Remaining tracks, Nocturne gets tougher as the title track itself ends with emotive strains of music evolving across the arrangement. PS Brenda Leon Atrip’s artwork too!
The third in the series of compilations from Lost My Dog’s catalogue of Deep House, and other imaginings, sees one of the label heads Pete Dafeet mix together a smooth blend of moods into one altogether very satisfying experience. As with previous editions this features old and new music from the imprint, although this time is the preserve of Pete’s own productions, along with the added twist of some hot remixes such as Giom’s excellent take on Beneath The Fold and Moodymanc’s likewise Dub of Stutter. Got to say my favourite track has to be Hit Em Up, which appears both as the uplifting intensity of the Original version along with the stab nirvana of Pezzner’s remix. Generously an unmixed selection is also available so you can unpick all those favourites for yourselves.
If you’re looking for a viable alternative to the current vogue of 90’s inspired House then try Danny Berman’s innovative interpretation of the Post-Punk/ No-Wave sound. It’s got all the elements right down to a T from the enviable, deadpan cool vocal of City Hayes to the chopped-funk guitar by Crazy P’s Chris Todd, which you will find draws you into the after-dark world of late seventies/ early eighties New York. Trans-Media-Lab artist Jacob Korn provides a stunning remix with a more contemporary electronic twist featuring lush pads and probing bass. Freestyle Lover then sees Berman’s own vocal delivery cut across ‘Fripp’ guitar and an assortment of caustic percussion. But, perhaps looking at the cover alone will reveal all you need to know about this, and more!
Mario Basanov’s debut album for Needwant is little short of stunning. Not only does it sound perfectly polished but the breadth of styles it indulges in is equally as impressive. From down-tempo ambience to dancefloor madness just about everything you can imagine is touched upon here, including at times even Pop sensibilities. From invigorating instrumentals like Skywalker to classy songs such as the deliciously soulful Something About featuring Edwin Williamson it’s all about the quality. The title, Journey is certainly an apt one running to some sixteen tracks in all. And when experiencing the cosmic-funk of music like Damn Girl you can only really refer to this as highly accomplished.
A Brazilian Love Affair
George Duke’s Brazilian celebration cumulates in the title track of this reissue album by redefining the possibilities of Jazz/ Funk at that time (in 1979). Recorded with a handful of Brazilian musicians you can hear their influence along with the sounds of sun and the sea throughout. You’re also left in little doubt as to the dexterity of the players involved, although at times it can feel a touch muso, however lighter relief is always on hand via the hot Latin melodies experienced on the likes of Cravo E Canela. Generally regarded as a classic in its field it is probably fair to say that they don’t actually make them like this anymore.
I could simply list the music on here and you would demand it all. But let’s just say: Ashford & Simpson ‘One More Try, The O’Jays ‘This Time Baby’, Lafleur ‘Dub Till We Drop, The System ‘It’s Passion’ and that’s only half of the story. The remainder includes Klein & MBO, B Beat Girls and Kasso which all sum up into an energy packed blast through the styles and sounds of the late seventies and early-ish eighties. Never a dull moment as they say as Johnny D excitedly cuts-up and mixes the beats with dedication that is heartfelt and inspiring. The mixed version of the CD even comes complete with starry voice overs, although nothing could really come close to the sublime bliss of the penultimate Ultra High Frequency ‘We’re On The Right Track’. The range and influences on offer here are never less than impressive and the combination of song, electronics’ and real instrumentation is clearly a lesson in love – fast and slow. 9
Eight years in and with his eighth release for the label perhaps not surprisingly the Lost My Dog co-founder produces something rather excellent in that old-school House kind of way with peak-time stabs and razor sharp beats all feeling very dancefloor – the suitably classic claps and moody pads fill in the gaps just like they used too. Moodymanc then picks up the pace with more staccato stabs and rushing hi-hats giving the remix typical intensity, aided by a flourish of funky timbale it all becomes peak-time business with the introduction of the held strings which then sweep alongside the deep vocals. The d-d-Drum Dub follows playing out the percussion against sizzling background tension on his second and equally excellent remix. Next up is Rush which does just that with more fuzzy Strictly styled stabs and strings sounding sensuous, while Peace La Paz dishes out 909 beats and more deliciously juicy basslines. 8
Uppercut ‘Turn The Music To Your Head’ Kult Records
More prime-time action from Kult as Montreal’s Dj Uppercut makes his return to the fold with this shinny sounding production. Driven along by an insistent electro riff this builds and drops with prowess and is supported by heavily treated voices and perky keys. Remixes come from Mikel Curcio and the excellent Zoltan Kontes who’s perfectly named 4hour dub version delivers a typically devastating tribal workout which Kult do oh-so-well. Love the Fx, love the Drums. 9
If you inhabited the early nineties then ‘I Wanna Dance The Night Away’ was one of many sampled vocal refrains that made a repeated appearance at the time, however it makes a most welcome return now in all its detuned glory. Sounding all the more exciting played against this brutally simplistic bassline and moody keys the mix also builds up space-age fx along with a repetition you won’t want to escape from. Mind Games proceeds with more enticing deepness combining classic drums sounds and chords that again get feverish with a well timed arrangement. Finishing off for the Spanish label is Visit From God which breaks up the beats while delivering big P-Funk attitude. 8
Azari & III
‘Azari & III’
Loose Lips Records
If anyone tries to tell you that ‘Things aren’t as good as they used to be’ they obviously haven’t had the positive pleasure of experiencing Azari & III. As an attitude to dullness the album plays like a dream touching on all points from the more Soulful to the blatantly Techno inspired, this selection of music relishes the extremes. While current single, Restless (With Your Love) and with previous ones are included the air of familiarity is offset by the albums now U.K release. Tracks such as the acid infused Tunnel Vision and the mechanically charged Indigo simmer with tension as the production values are never less than dazzling throughout – although not always pretty such as on the deliciously sinister, Manhooker. Sweet dreams are made of this. 10
Tony Lionni returns the serve with this typically striking production which sees him trace the lines between Techno and House and then blur them. Higher Ground loops a vocal snippet, works it to death over splashing hats and insistent organ with sumptuously deep synth acting as the pay-off – an inspired touch of Jazz. Moomin provides an excellent remix with funky rhythms blending together with a selection of treated instruments. And, if that isn’t enough then the final the e.p’s finale certainly will be. Forever Is A Long Time… begins with Disco drums and ends up reliving a series of classic Deep House moments with exquisite piano and swirling pads: Spine-tingling. 9
Murray Richardson ‘Memory Loss’ Baker Street Recordings
The story of House continues with this excellent bass driven production from Murray Richardson. Many of you will be overtly familiar with Baker Street by now but if not then title track Memory Loss is the reason to get acquainted. Bass lines like this are hard to beat and coupled with rattling hats and Detroit stabs this invigorating groove pushes all the right buttons at Magazine Sixty. The curious Sometime Sweet Susan continues by adding up various old-school elements and sounding vital. Remixes of Memory, are from the first-rate Paul Hardy & McKai who not surprisingly retain the B line but spice up the drums and top end to compliment the original, and a hypnotic Gareth Whitehead whose sub is suitably s**t hot! 8
Memoria Recordings’ own Lilith plays with numbers on this hard-hitting and deeply involving E.P. Opening track 22, produced along with Timothy Watt, sets hissing 909 hats against moody stabs, weird voices and funky tech rhythms and does nothing if not leave an indelible impression on your mind. Freak You does as the title suggests with menacing sounds and techno attitude. 44 follows the progression with deeper tones and stylish snares, while Circoloco’s Andrew Grant explores yet more tense atmospheres and drum textures on his excellent remix. The Filsonik remix of Freak You rounds off in jackin’ Chicago mode teasing you with its bassline and shuffling percussion. 8
If you like music that challenges your imagination then Mexico City’s Signal Deluxe are most definitely for you. The led track is somewhat epic clocking in at nearly eleven and a half minutes, but don’t let that bother you at this develops a sequence of completely intriguing sounds and vocal treatments all at its own pace – feeling almost ambient at times but with a deadly serious undercurrent too. Or to put that into other words, it’s a stunning piece of electronic music. But then so is the Derek Marin Remix who twists nasty stabs together with trippy vocals and slower beats. The Craft Remix lifts the tempo techno time for its unrelenting version, while the Deepak Sharma & Dieter Krause Remix stretches everything out into sonic extremes and might be something you would like to experience in a dark room (though perhaps not alone!) Again you could use the word exceptional. 9
Sandy Barber ‘The Best Is Yet To Come’ BBE Records
Sandra Barber was the lead vocalist on Rare Pleasure’s classic ‘Let me Down Easy’ after which she branched out with producer Clyde Otis as a solo artist to release her debut album in 1977. It’s all too easy to review The Best Is Yet To come because you are immediately enveloped in soaring emotive melodies the way only Soul music seems to truly do. The album contains its fair share of down tempo ballads such as the gorgeous I’ll Belong To You/ Yea Baby but also mid-tempo Disco shuffles and even hot boogie action too. Try, I Think I Think I’ll Do Some Stepping (On My Own) which comes with excellent reworkings from John Morales and Al Kent as well as the somewhat suggestive I’ve Got something Good (Come And Get It) for size. You won’t be dissatisfied. 8
The second in this series highlighting the labels’ prowess sees Glaswegian Dominic Martin select fourteen tracks to mix. You’d be surprised if I didn’t reassure you the music contains the key word, Deep although rarely do the energy levels dip below that required to party. The album contains a handful of new productions along with a couple of notable remixes from Giom, Milton Jackson and Johnny Fiasco who all deliver typically punchy selections. What the tracks do have in likeness is a common bond in the use of funky stabs, warm pads and always crisp beats. Also well worth noting are the smoky down-tempo numbers: New Context and the tastefully Jazzy ‘Last Exit’ which serve to break up the beats and the mix in an extra layer of intrigue. 8