Review: Trinidadian eccentric Shadow has seen interest in his 1980s work rocket in recent times. Jamwax continue their love affair with the artist via this essential reissue of his obscure 1980 single "D'Hardest". Like much of his work, the track offers up a take on soca for the synthesizer age, with dusty electronic melodies and drum machine hits working in perfect harmony with his confident vocal and jangling acoustic guitar flourishes. On the flip you'll find the dub style Version, which strips out much of the vocal and using the chorus as a mantra-like chant.
Review: Robert Ffrench originally laid this one down in Creative Sound Studio in Kingston in 1985, but it could well be hot off the press yesterday. Here it comes as a nice extended mix by DJ Shortie with some superb studio effects and spaced out trickery. Its sleek futuristic sound comes from the interstellar dancehall lead synth, a stunning thing that twists your mind inside out while the clean drums glide below. Add in the vocal toasts and it's a timeless classic. On the flip, Shortie Ranks offers "Dance In A Skate Land", a version that is subtle treated, with the echo upped and the lead drawn out to take you into another dimension.
Review: Original copies of T.Z Junior's bubblegum-boogie cut "Sugar My Love" are hard to come by outside of the artist's home country of South Africa. It's been that way since the single was first released on Roy B Records in 1985, hence this tidy reissue from the on-point Jamwax label. The title track remains a breezy, melodious, cheery and soul-flecked treat, with T.Z Junior delivering a brilliantly evocative lead vocal over bustling bubblegum synths, delay-laden machine drums and an inspired electrofunk bassline. "Are You Ready For Love", meanwhile, may not be quite as celebrated but is equally as impressive. It's the kind of sun-kissed "bubblegum" treat that would sound perfect blasting out of a soundsystem on a hot summer's day.