Trouble In My Way (Afshin & Kiss My Black Jazz edit) (7:42)
The Riot (Afshin & Kiss My Black Jazz edit) (6:00)
Review: Something a little different from G.A.M.M here, as Parisian DJ Afshin joins forces with the mysterious Kiss My Black Jazz to offer up two incendiary edits. The real surprise killer is A-side "Trouble In My Way", which subtly turns a blues-era recording of a traditional slave sing-along into a handclap-heavy chunk of infectious gospel-house brilliance. It takes a little time to build up, but when the heavier beats drop midway through you'll have dancers eating out of the palm of your hand. Flipside "The Riot" sees them make merry with a Hammond-heavy chunk of 1960s jazz-funk, extending and reworking the cut to make it suitably sweaty, heavy and life affirming.
Review: Earlier in the month, Parisian producer Afshin joined forces with Kiss My Black Jazz and served up a brilliant, two-track missive of jazz-funk and blues-house reworks on G.A.M.M. Here they reunite for round two. This time round, they begin by reworking a shuffling, chant-along Afro-Brazilian gem of unknown origin, extending the carnival-ready percussive intro before unleashing the shuffling, sun-kissed samba rhythm and some of the sweetest vocals this side of a sing-along in a chocolate factory. Over on side B they give a similar tune to a killer chunk of reggae-funk fusion rich in warm dub bass, bongo-laden beats, bluesy guitar solos, fuzzy horns and James Brown style guttural vocals.
Review: First up on the freshly minted Bacalao imprint is Bosq, a Ubiquity Records contributor renowned for his blends of funk, soul and sweaty South American music. While the heavy horns featured on this release were recorded in Bogota, the producer's usual Colombian flavour takes a back seat as he joins forces with Kaleta to deliver two covers of Fatback Band classics. First up is "Goin' To See My Baby", which is re-imagined as a fuzzy funk workout rich in rasping horns, tropical guitar flourishes and woodblock-driven Latin disco percussion. Arguably even better is the duo's cover of "Backstrokin'", which is given a Barrio-funk flavour complete with prominent bass, heavy-hitting horn motifs and excitable lead vocals.
Review: Bouncing his time between Antibalas and his Marcos Garcia and Chico Mann projects, Chico returns after several years of silence with a sweet slice of lolloping broken soul. With its soft padded synths and cotton wool hug of Kendra Morris's vocals, there's a delicate tumble to proceedings as we nod and slide into a sound that's remained in its own soul universe since emerging almost 20 years ago. When done as well and with as much authenticity as this, it's timeless.
Review: Yes Eglo! Alex Nut and crew turn to two elder statesmen of London beat science in Dego and Kaidi Tatham for a killer induction into the art of crafting 'broken beat bullets'. For those who don't possess the necessary knowledge, Dego is the most familiar handle of Dennis McFarlane, founding member of 4Hero and responsible for so much good music over the years, and Tatham has an equally important role in the whole Broken Beat movement, being an integral member of the Bugz In the Attic collective. The pair have worked together previously on numerous occasions and they are on top form here with lead track "Ankle Injury" demonstrating a perfect balance of melody and crafty rhythm. Imagine Theo and Floating Points collaborating and your heads in the right spot to enjoy this track and "Acting Up On That Shit Don't Count" which is the sort of music you could imagine RAMP to be making if they were on the rise today. Do check the sumptuous piano and Rhodes vibes on final cut "Carrots & Sesame"!!
Review: UK legend Dego and killer keys-man Kaidi Tatham have been in a rich vein of form of late, dropping brilliant EPs on Eglo, Sound Signature and Rush Hour (the latter under their 2000Black alias). Here, they return to Eglo with four more slices of warm, rich, soul-flecked fluidity. As with previous outings, much of the material has a laidback jazz-funk feel, particularly "Orbiting Uhara" and the delicious "The Vault Descends" (think bustling bruk rhythms and darting boogie synths). They also offer up some tougher, synth-laden bruk-funk in the shape of "Man Made", while "Black Is Key" sees them unfurl a head-nodding vocal roller.
Kool & The Gang, Gene Redd - "Give It Up" (DJ Soopasoul edit) (4:04)
Aretha Franklin - "Rock Steady" (DJ Soopasoul edit) (3:30)
Review: Fast-fingered mash-up merchant and lauded scalpel fiend DJ Soopasoul can usually be relied upon to bring the goods. In fact, we've yet to hear an edition of his "Soopastole Edits" series that doesn't include the kind of sure-fire, party-starting fare guaranteed to get any DJ out of a dancefloor hole of their own making. Should you still doubt the validity of this statement, we suggest you check this timely reissue of the series' second volume, which has been going for serious bucks online. On side A you'll find a suitably punchy, funky and chunky revision of Kool & The Gang's Gene Redd produced 1970 jam "Give It Up" - the original source of one of hip-hops most familiar breakbeats - with a tight, club-ready revision of Aretha Franklin classic "Rock Steady" on the flip.
Review: The first release from the Axis Audiophile Series. Jeff Mills has formed an electronic jazz fusion band and this 12? is a recording of their recent performance in Kobe during the TodaysArt.JP Festival. Mills manages the decks, drums and percussion and is joined Detroit legend and Underground Resistance stalwart Gerald Mitchell (Los Hermanos/Galaxy 2 Galaxy), keyboardist Yumiko Ohno and bassist Kenji Jino. "Eventide" has the same kind of urban, uplifting soul as anything Kaidi Thatham or Mark de Clive-Lowe have made and isn't bad at all! On the flip "Happy Gamma Ray" features uplifting keys and emotive chords backed by funk bass and one of Mills' unmistakeable 909 drum machine workouts. It really seems that there's no limit to this Motor City legend's creativity which has spanned nearly 30 years and we're excited about this new chapter in the Wizard's sonic universe.
Review: This desirable 7" single brings together two of the many highlights from the bulging catalogue of New Orleans soul singer Ernie K Doe. On the A-side you'll find 1961's "A Certain Girl", a sweet rhythm and blues number from the dawn of the soul era that ticks all the right boxes (strong lead vocal, jaunty piano lines, lolloping groove, question-asking female backing vocals). Arguably even better is the better known "Here Come The Girls", a later K-Doe recording that was produced by the song's writer, Allen Toussaint, and originally appeared on the artist's eponymous 1972 album. We all know it, of course, but it still remains a sing-along soul staple.
Review: Eglo Records' 10th birthday celebrations are in full swing. They've already notched up a riotous birthday party that got rave reviews, and later in the year will release a brand new compilation of previously unheard treats. It's this collection that's being trailed here via Kieran "K15" Ifill's "Devotion", a dancefloor-focused chunk of soul-flecked broken beat that Ego co-founder Alexander Nut recently described as "music for the mind, body and soul". Over on the flip there's a vinyl-only exclusive in the shape of Ifill's remix of Patrick Gibin and Javonntte's recent jazz-funk fired soulful house workout "Cloud 9". Ifill opts for a heavy bruk-up flavour, wrapping soulful musical elements from the original around punchy, loose-limbed beats and speaker-bothering low-end pressure.
Review: Multi-track re-edits, where producers utilize the instrumental and vocal parts found on studio master tapes, are all the rage right now. While the Rephlex crew and Joey Negro are the most famous exponents of the art, Galaxy Sound Co regular Kadena has previously proved to be rather adept at it, too. Here the little-known producer channels the spirit of original disco remixer Walter Gibbons, first to provide a lolloping, groove-based revision of Instant Funk's intergalactic Salsoul classic "I Got My Mind Made Up" (side A), and then to deliver a similarly minded take on First Choice's "Let No Man Put Asunder". Like its A-side companion, it's warmer, looser and predominantly instrumental, with judicious use of key vocal passages.
Review: Dave Aju, Alland Byallo, Kenneth Scott and Marc Smith joined together as KAMM, resulting in a mini-album called Kick Drunk Love for marcel Vogel's Amsterdam based label Intimate Friends.iDescribed in a press release as being influenced by the artists' "love of early '90s MoWax era laid-back beats," it features Barrite on lead vocals (with Byallo and Scott also contributing vocals), Smith on guitar, Byallo on trumpet and Scott on Moog synth. There's a couple guest appearances as well: Damian Schwartz plays some bass on "Sidewalks" and Eureka provides "a hell of a [vacuum] rev" on "Stage Left."
Review: Since it was released on Springfield, Missouri label American Artists in 1975, Kansas City Express' sole seven-inch single has become something of a collector's item amongst dusty-fingered funk diggers. We should all thank Ocean Of Tears, then, for offering up this fully licensed reissue - the first time the "45" has been made available to a wider audience. "This Is The Place" is a wonderfully sweet and melancholic affair - a seductive, poetic soul song featuring both male and female lead vocalists and a languid, superbly produced backing track full of lilting trumpet lines, glacial vibraphone solos and jazzy guitars. That instrumental backing track takes pride of place on Side B, where you can hear the vocal-free mix for the very first time. Spoiler: it's superb.
Review: The Polyversal Souls are renowned for the strength of their collaborative singles, which to date have featured all manner of legends and rising stars from the underground African music scene. This time around, the German-Ghanaian band provides high-grade backing for guest vocalist Frank Karikari, son of legendary Highlife musician Ralph Karikari. The A-side medley of "Siakwaa/Nana Agyei" is particularly good, with Karikari's confident lead vocal rising above shuffling, soft-focus drums and ear-catching juju guitars. Flipside cut "Odo Agye Gye Me" is great, too, offering a slightly more upbeat and undeniably percussive fusion of highlife/Afrobeat fusion.
Review: Expansions' latest essential reissue takes us back to 1980 and the much sought after seven-inch edition of singer Ty Karim's collaboration with lesser-known soul man George Griffin. "Keep On Doin' Whatcha' Doin'" was written and produced by Karim's other half Kent Harris and, like the original seven inch, appears here in two parts. The glorious A-side version is a lolloping chunk of disco-era sweet soul rich in soaring orchestration, fluttering flutes and Marvin Gaye/Tammi Tyrell style duet vocals from Karim and Griffin. Part two focuses more on the killer groove and the duo's impassioned improvised vocalizations, with a variety of tasty solos helping to whip things into a mid-tempo dancefloor frenzy.
Review: Last year, Nunorthern Soul unveiled the first part of their Ryo Kawasaki retrospective. While that focused on selected works created by the Japanese jazz guitarist between 1979 and '83 - including a couple of strong nods towards disco - this follow-up looks at material recorded and released between '76 and '80. There's plenty to enjoy, from the Abbey Road-era Beatles-meets-Courtney Pine vibes of "Snowstorm" and George Benson-in-space trip of "Quasar Infection", to the freestyle, synth-laden jazz-funk madness that is "Nogie". Arguably best of all, though, is "Thunder & Sea Gypsies (Medley)", an impossible-to-pigeonhole journey that moves from krautrock style looseness to cosmic jazz via some thrillingly psychedelic wig-outs.
Review: Earlier in the autumn, obscure 1980s imprint Local Records - a label run out of the Tottenham-based home studio of London reggae and soul producer John Collins - sprung back to life with a reissue of Rick Clarke's sumptuous '80s soul slow jam "Love With A Stranger". Collins has decided to follow that up with a new edition of his 1984 production for Janet Kay, "Eternally Grateful". It's another electrofunk gem, with Kay's deliciously sweet vocal rising above reggae style horns, jangling pianos and a killer synthesizer bassline. As with the Clarke record, the flip features Collins' original dub revision ("Eternally Dubful"), a more stripped-back, echo-laden affair that's worth the entrance price on its own.
Review: Since the success of his breathlessly good debut album 99.9% in 2016, Kaytranada has become one of the most in-demand producers on the future R&B and leftfield hip-hop scenes. Here he takes a break from remixing Robert Glasper and producing Craig David records to drop three high-grade instrumental versions of tracks included on last year's U.S-only "Nothin Like U" EP. "Chances", a gorgeous mix of spacey chords, crunchy MPC beats, intergalactic synths and lilting melodies, sets the tone, before he reaches for the pianos on the low-down fusion of twinkling pianos, rolling beats and raw bass that is "It Was Meant 2 B". Closer "Track 3", meanwhile, is a sparkling slab of unfussy positivity.
Review: A limited yellow vinyl funk odyssey from Record Store Day, "I Get Lifted" is taken from KC & The Sunshine Band's second album (1975) Still sounding shiny and floor-minded, the original stands the test of time incredibly well. Todd Terje's edit, however, takes it to another level; upping the tempo (and, possibly, the key), he's extended the right places, added a little more emphasis on the kicks and made sure we can't miss the breakdowns and instrumental sections.
This Love Is Magic (feat Chanel - Soul Rockers mix) (3:48)
When It Rains (feat Cleveland Jones) (4:39)
Review: It would be fair to say that Dee "Kejam" Majek (real name Oladisun Majekodunmi) is something of a veteran, with the Nigeria-born writer, musician and label owner producing his first released music way back in the early 1980s. This double seven-inch single marks his debut for Izipho Soul, and his first release of any sort since 2016 debut album "Majek". There's much to admire throughout, from the slick '80s soul warmth of Lisa Taylor collaborations "Can You Feel The Love" and "My Only Love" - the latter featuring a slight two-step soul feel - to the electrofunk-influenced R&B shuffle of Chanel hook-up "This Love Is Magic (Soul Rockers Mix)" and the toasty, dewy-eyed goodness of "When It Rains", which features lovely lead vocals from Cleveland Jones.
Review: Glaswegian disco overlord Al Kent is particularly fond of dusty, hard-to-find records that combine great grooves with the kind of sugary, flowing orchestration that marks out some of the greatest late-'70s dancefloor records. It's these records that he tends to re-edit. He's at it again here on a surprise two-track GAMM outing. Check first A-side "The Light Of You", a peak-time ready Stevie cover version disco cut that adds a myriad of instrumental solos to a heavily orchestrated backing track originally recorded by latin disco soul outfit LaSo. It's rather good, all told, as is the wild flipside Latin jazz-funk workout "Sing A Song". It's pretty sweaty and even boasts some serious eyes-closed guitar solo action (along with tons of authentic South American percussion).
Review: The Mushi 45 label doesn't release all that much, but what it does put out is invariably insanely good. For the avoidance of doubt, this two-track missive sits in that category. It serves up two rare, sought-after 1970s gems from Rinsyoe Kida, Akira Ishikawa & Count Buffaloes, who made some of the tidiest Japanese funk, jazz-rock and jazz-funk of the period. A-side "Tan To Setsu" is superb, with the assembled players brilliantly blending traditional Japanese style melodic motifs - played on traditional instruments - with a riotous, high octane funk backing track rich in heavy bass and fiery horn lines. "Jongara Bushi" is similarly inclined and every bit as raucous.
Review: Serious funk fans should already know about the King Rooster, a four-piece revivalist heavy funk outfit that released a trio of killer 7" singles in 2017. The band's first outing of 2018 is every bit as essential as its predecessors, with both cuts offering an attractive blend of sweaty, doubles-friendly drum breaks, razor-sharp guitars and wild, Meters-style Hammond organ solos. Of the two, it's undoubtedly lead cut "Back Chattin" that's the heavier and most insatiable of the two, primarily thanks to some surf-influenced guitar riffs, heavy bass and just the right amount of organ solo action. That said, the Breakestra-esque B-side is pretty darn tidy, too.
Review: A 45 suiting the funky northern soul sound, re-reissued here on a great sounding Record Shack release. Both highly sought after versions of "What I Did In The Street" featured here: from the raw and original Gulfstream label version, backed with the smoother, disco release that came later. Originally released in 1978 as a B side to Betty Padgett's "Tonight Is The Night", King was a Florida based vocalist and this terrific song was her sole release.