Gentle Help 1500 x 1500James Curd
Gentle Help
The Classic Music Company

You can tell its summer time simply by listening to this. It’s happy, funky music that sounds equally refreshing day, noon or night as James Curd’s Disco propulsion proves to be so easy to groove too it may hurt. Indeed, bassline syncopation like this was built to dance to. That of course, plus punchy drums and vocals along with some rather sassy Fender Rhodes prove this to be all but irresistible. The Black Madonna Less Gentle Jam then adds extra depth to the bottom-end while replaying the keys over throbbing beats for a different angle.

release: July1


House Of 12
12 Records

Cover_12R03_UpdateThere’s something most intriguing about this collection of music that so blatantly references the past yet feels so comfortable in the (sometimes) summer sunshine. Martin Bell’s Helmut Spargle kicks things off with a production that is reminiscent of classic Nu Groove with playful jazzy piano and synths sounding deep and tempting. Rare People House Brand are next with Life like which neatly blends fuzzy bass together with more classy Deep House instrumentation and chopped up vocals. Jacy, hits that timeless Ronald Burrell vibe once again perfectly striking sensuous, ambient chords alongside carefully crafted percussion and echoed flute on Touch Me. While Deep88 finish on the raw edged Me, Myself and an Mpc combining heavy-duty beats with improvised, atmospheric synths.

release: mid/end June


Julian M.
Sample Road EP
Catwash Records

CWR033ATrust DJ W!LD’s defiantly underground imprint to deliver music that teases you into submission. Julian M. returns to the label with four new cuts of sampling delight that manage to cross the barriers of familiarity and innovation with the emphasis being on machine drums. It’s really a case of take your pick but the two tracks I love on here are the Tom Tom driven We Are Young whose sharp beats only let loose once the emotive string led sample fully drops midway. And the excellent title track which places superlative two chord piano structures against abrasive beats yet still feels soulfully emotional on the breakdown. Stunning. The remaining Boogie Too as the words suggest ignites hot Disco over sizzling hi-hats coming complete with vocals that will satisfy the party dancefloor. Leaving, Duplicate to get moodier with further strange keys and grinding drums.

release: July 16


Real Connoisseur
Jungle Jakarta EP
Purp & Soul

Purp007ArtworkWhat I like about Real Connoisseur aka Conor Lloyd’s latest production is that it doesn’t perform to expectation. For starters its heady blend of D&B drums and deeper House atmosphere’s places Jungle Jakarta in a genre all of its own, and these days that’s quite something. Not only that but its imaginative arrangement of sounds keeps you hypnotised throughout, so if you’re thinking exits outside of safe boxes then this production will most definitely appeal. First rate remixes come care of Chaos In The CBD who give it a heavier House edge and Artifact who perk it all up with Garage energy. Second track, You Don’t Love explores moodier vibes with expansive tech stabs and throbbing bass to complete.

release: July 22


Dakota Soul
From The Country To The City
Waxadisc Records

Excellent initial release from Waxadisc and just a taster from the due late August debut album by Dakota Soul. I’ll simply use the words Jazzy and Sunshine to describe this but don’t take me words for it. Play the link below and soak it up for yourself!



roberto rodRoberto Rodriguez
Dance Like Nobody’s Watching EP
Freerange Records

Rodriguez returns to the label after his previous 2008 outing with two new tracks that define 2013 as much as they do speak about the flux between old and new. Dance Like Nobody’s Watching is nostalgic for sure, but then that will either delight or bore you in equal measure – depending on your outlook on the current retrospection of the American House Music sound which evolved out of 1991. Perhaps, not surprisingly, I love this and Roberto gets it right down to the bone with punchy organ and piano chords adding neat definition to the ‘feel alright’ vocal snippets. Oxymoron then flips the coin with the trackier style that came out of the same era as dark stabs and sizzling hi-hats take center stage. Lusciously intense this keeps you waiting with a tension building arrangement which peaks at the breakdown, while proceeding to push forward with the addition of trademark funky cowbell. The Black Madonna ‘We Still Believe’ version of Dance… finishes by proudly reaffirming the sentiment with heavy-duty kick drums and pure House bass spread out across a sparser selection of piano.


mikeMike Wall
Different Colours
Hidden Recordings

What I love about Mike Wall’s debut long player for Hidden is the fact that the German producer doesn’t dwell too much on subtleties. Its fast, pounding and very insistent music that is little short of compelling despite its brutal, sometimes beautiful intensity. The title track does what the excellent Mr G does only from a different angle with driving rhythms offset by moody stabs coupled with that breathless quality which you can’t quite seem to escape from. The fierce syncopation continues with All I Ever Wanted getting freaky with its twisted combination of stabs and (almost) Jazzy Sax. And so the story continues until you reach the titles: Suicide, Choose Life, Ketamine, then ending at Suggestion and I guess a climax is reached. Having said that the drum programming is always invigorating while the mood Mike Wall creates throughout is never less than spectacular.

release: January


I WANT YOU 004Juan Kidd
I Want You

The brilliantly titled Weirdo is the relatively new label from Juan Kidd who also supplies this release, and why not as this is very excellent. I Want You combines fierce old-school piano chords along with punctuating hits of organ which squeeze every atom of energy out of the snare infused groove. Matters then continue to intensify with the introduction of blasting horns and sprinkles of smooth Fender Rhodes. You need this in your life…

release:.January 29 on Beatport


pets027_1440x1440_3Stefano Ritteri
Nice Up Your Dance
Pets Recordings

Two reasons why I suspect this is an outstanding piece of music. First is that almost despite the straight up shuffling 909 drums everything else feels quite unique; from the shivering bassline to the array of wildly atmospheric synths. Second, is the darkly inspired ‘heavenly father’ voices that pepper the arrangement. Jaymo and Andy George’s Refix ’96 version then turns it upside down with a seriously heavyweight bassline, hints of Sylvester and an altogether deeper reworking of the atmosphere that feels equally sublime and enticing. Second track from Stefano Ritteri is the EP’s title and is a much looser, funkier affair complete with 60’s organ, 70’s guitar licks and Train line sound effects that give it Balearic sense of cheekiness that is too exciting to ignore.

release: January 14


bubbaBubba & T-Bone Feat. Abe Duque
Extended Play

Extended Play start the new year on the high that they ended 2012 on. This forward pointing arrangement of machine-funk from Bubba & T-Bone employs tempting Electro beats from the past while also engaging with the current House sensibilities so beloved by the label. New York’s Abe Duque supplies the spoken word and receives a heavy sci-fi treatment on the stunning Original version. A series of five remixes then proceed to deconstruct its meaning starting with Lee Webster who impressively reinterprets Bloodline with low-slung reggae styled bass and techno chords. JC Williams visits Detroit for further inspiration with classic trademark drums and taught rhythms reigniting the vocal, with the Ten Story version getting deeper, and Sean Roman & Dick Diamonds Re-Salt mix doing likewise with a sprinkling a cutting stabs. Denney rounds off with more hot bassline action and stripped back beats which develop the mood notably as the breakdown arrives.

release: January 21


Ronnie Laws
Mr Nice Guy/ Classic Masters
Soul Music Records

I guess when you think of Ronnie Laws you probably think of his timeless classic Always There from 1975. But as with most artists it’s good to dig a little deeper to see what else there is . For the record Always… (also covered by Side Effect & Incognito) is undoubtedly a gem and is featured here from his 1985 Classic Masters album, which also collates his finest work from the 70’s to early 80’s. The following Love Is Here moves along similar lines, although with a slower funkier groove that again displays his undoubted prowess as a player/ composer. Indeed apart from the very occasional dated 80’s sounding moment there are plenty of Jazzy movements to savour here as the finale of Saturday Evening plays out with some seriously tasty piano. The first half of this double set re-release is his 1983 album Mr Nice Guy whose opening Can’t Save Tomorrow holds a curious appeal, as does the darker Rolling with its taped voices and haunting Saxophone proving to be most alluring.

release: January 21