disco . italo . cosmic . disco-not-disco . boogie


Genre pick of the week Cover of CHALICE001 EP - Coloured Vinyl Edition by Various Artists.

Various Artists

CHALICE001 EP - Coloured Vinyl Edition

After knocking the socks (well, sandals) off the Balearic bods with an impressive run of releases, Sweden's Fasaan launch a new imprint to cater for those boogie cats. The label, appropriately named Chalice (what else would you sip your brandy from?) celebrates catalogue number 001 with the help of Sasac, Witch Doctor and Fasaan favourite Golden Ivy. Sasac gets into his groove on the A-side, with the soulful sounds of "The Chase". Forget any ideas of cop shows or Moroder basslines, "The Chase" in question is most certainly amorous, and the thrill of it is all ours. Sasac lays a foundation with clacking drum machines and a phat ass b-line, then ushers the grooves into a smooth verse / chorus construction with bright keys, slick guitar and billowing pads. Rich and groovesome, you'd be forgiven for mistaking this for a D Train instrumental. On the flip, Witch Doctor's "Inner Vision" glows golden with soaring synth melodies and shimmering guitars while the punchy bassline stokes some fire in the belly. Golden Ivy steps up to close proceedings with one for the smokers, tokers, gang bangers and low riders, "Ivy's Dream" completely nails the Dam-Funk style of modern boogie with its sexy liquid groove. Warm as a summer afternoon and just as lazy, this is the type of cut I could listen to for days on end! All in all a slick and very well turned out three piece which could easily have been rescued from 1/4 inch tape tucked away in some early 80's mid-western recording studio. It's that good! 

Stanton Davis And The Ghetto Mysticism Band

Isis Voyage: Unreleased Music & Alternative Mixes From The Brighter Days Sessions

The original spacey jazz-funk sound of the Brighter Days album by Stanton Davis' Ghetto Mysticism Band has been championed by everyone from Gilles Peterson to Andrew Mason of Wax Poetics to hip hop producer and rapper Madlib. Isis Voyage is a collection of unreleased music and alternative mixes from the Brighter Days sessions. Many of the tracks on Brighter Days were shortened to be more accessible to the listening public. Isis Voyage contains the original, longer versions of many of these songs including "High Jazz" and "High Jazz Reprise." Back in October 2012 Stanton Davis and Cultures of Soul Records' label head, Deano Sounds, went into the studio to mix down tracks from the original multitrack reel to reel tapes. Two unreleased tracks, "Odwalla" and the title track "Isis Voyage," were among the material discovered while mixing down the music. Also included are extended instrumental versions of "Things Cannot Stop Forever" and "Funky Fried Tofu." Bonus tracks include remixes of "Things Cannot Stop Forever" and "High Jazz" by UK disco remix expert Al Kent.

Essex Rascals make a seamless segue from podcast (Wayback Wednesdays) to wax with this bumpin' five tracker of peaking edits. This edible-looking orange vinyl 12" (the perfect colour to match the Alphabetti Spaghetti centre label), gets off on the good foot with "My Life",  a pre-disco dancefloor soul number so peaking it could have been a Sneak B-side. Driving rhythm, live playing, enthusiastic vocals - uplifting or what!? "Lovin' Music" is a speeding disco / jazz-funk cover of the O'Jays "I Love Music" with a female vocal and frantic playing. It's soulful and super extended so you can whack it on from start to finish and pull a Theo on those EQs. "Autumnal Soul" chops, loops and soups up the raw and raucous psychedelic soul of The Crow's "Your Autumn Of Tomorrow" letting loose on those passionate vocals and hot horns. "Break Out" is a, wait for it, break heavy rework of a fierce instrumental of "Reach Out, I'll Be There", with plenty of rough and tumble between the simmering soul of the chorus. "I'm Coming" closes the EP out in extended, expressive, wigged out Northern Soul fashion with an almighty rework of a Wigan Casino classic by Lou Pride which has last tune written all over it. The Rascals loop the intro and verses, expertly building the tension before letting loose with that mighty emotional chorus. Massive, massive rework on an exceptional debut.


12" Info: Limited to 150 copies worldwide. Pressed on orange vinyl.

Ghost Town

Riverrun / All The Way

    Ghost Town drop their eighth apparation courtesy of body & soul resident Andi Hanley, and label head Citizen Kane. On the A-side, Andi takes his scalpel to a couple of rich and organic soothers, transforming them into Balearic movers. "Riverrun" is a folky obscurity, which beguiles with 70s Laurel Canyon tones and circular marimba patterns. "Zulu" is a sunkissed Afro groove, which Andi covers with swathes of echo and delay, dubbing the track out in a shimmer of heat haze. On the flip, Ghost Town's mayor, Citizen Kane gets his freak on with the sleaziest disco rock groove, perfect for a 70's Detroit biker club. Neat synths, major guitar riffage and plenty of rhythmic wah combine to make this a winner for the likes of Harvey and Felix Dickinson.


    A Certain Way / I Don't Wanna Get Used To It

    Evoking memories of iconic groups like Mtume, SOS Band, and Midnight Star, this single is the next step in a new direction for Moniquea, one which is fueled by a revamped version of the classic 1980's boogie funk sound. A-side cut "A Certain Way" sounds like it's been lifted straight out of 1984 with its crisp drum machine rhythm and squelching boogie bass. Added to that Moniquea is a strong vocalist, and the actual song is really catchy as well. So far, so top dollar, and "I Don't Wanna Get Used To It" makes it an all winner, no filler 45,  channeling the spirit of Zapp, Cameo, Jam & Lewis and Janet Jackson for some electro-funkin' grooves. The hard-hitting claps and crisp, chunky synth lines that back Moniquea's silky lead vocals and hard-edged vibrato. Without a doubt the best release yet from the nu-boogie scene.

    Talented Chicago producer Chris E. Pants presents his disco credentials for inspection on his debut release for File Under Disco. "1981" is a dubby slice of post disco that shimmeys out of the speakers like a Patrick Adams, Shep Pettibone and Chaz Jankel jam session with Larry at the ones and twos. Chicago upstart The Black Madonna continues an impressive hot streak with a late night remix marrying the disco elements of the original with a little dub house attitude, inviting Francois K and Danny Krivit to the studio party. On the flip, those Disco Deviants, Pete Herbert & Dicky Trisco, drop a couple of garys and serve up a Balearic inspired, hands-in-the-air disco trip by looping the piano riff up and delaying the breakdown. It's only on this rework that you notice the guitar line's similarity to Richie Havens' "Back To My Roots", which gives a pretty good indication of the vibe we're rocking here. 

    Transatlantic Balearic supergroup Paqua return from their brief hiatus (the band took time out from the studio to concentrate on live shows and sandal making) with a flurry of action. Not only is there an intriguing "Dubs" 10" on the horizon, but also a debut LP slated for release sometime over the summer. Thankfully Paqua have taken pity on us and eased our hunger with this tasty remix double pack of a couple of their big hitters. Up first, those Idjuts come back for more with their frazzled and wiggy dubbed out version of "Late Train". The more alert of you may remember Th'Idjuts were behind the 12" edit of "Late Train" first time round, and this mix is a reinvention of that edit, with the Idjut factor turned up to 11; expect echo, delay, phazing and flanging as things get more Balearic than a south Manchester picnic. On the flip, Idjut associate and UK disco don Ray Mang drops in to work his magic on the blissfully horizontal "The Visitor". Taking on the unenviable task of reworking my favourite Paqua number, Ray extends the glory of the original, stretches out the groove and adds the subtle flavour of rattling percussion and mellow synth sequences to the track, succeeding in creating a hazy dub which soars along atop a thermal. The closest comparison I could make is to Mudd's version of "Open Rhythms" on Nado002, it's that strung out. On the second disc, Stafford's synth maestro Andy Meecham puts on his Emperor Machine space suit and sets about creating a stomping Moon-boogie version of "Late Train", complete with a text book EM bassline. Staccato sequences stretch out into infinity, while boogie synth leads take us to an upmarket dancefloor on the far side of Venus. This cosmic disco groove will have you dancing in all sorts of peculiar ways, especially when Andy introduces one of his trademark zero gravity breakdowns. If vocals aren't your thing, but galactic grooves are, then you'll be mad about the Instrumental version on the flip. 

    Editainment welcome a couple of new faces to their exclusive club and are repayed with this hefty four track of killer sounds, housed in a neon stamped sleeve. Shangri & La befriend us with a pick n mix bag of roto acid, bongo boogie, future reggae and sleek house that'll have you throwing shapes like a child at a family function in no time. "Paracelsus" is a sprawling acid rework of a Euro synth number (I'm thinking Propaganda or Liasons Dangereuses) which twists and turns throughout without ever losing its tight grip on the dancefloor. On "Percacelsus", Shangri & La loop, splice and dice about six different drum tracks to create an exceptional percussion monster that goes above and beyond a mere tool. On the flip "Rudeacelsus" is a lilting island groove pairing a thick reggae disco bassline with off beat keys, synth stabs and the occasional hint of dub. Lastly, "Padacelsus" is an emotional house groover for late in the club session, or cocktail party ambience when the carkeys have gone in the bowl. Massive emotive pads and sampled and replayed female vox take you out of your self and let you run free as a child again. Inspired by a club and a scene that never was, Shangri & La deliver great sounding music for good looking people.

    A hugely popular cut in it’s edited form on Matt Hill’s 1st LP “From The Grave…” in 2009, the full length version (clocking in just short of 12 minutes) appears here for the first time. As does the flip, a remix by ‘Silvio’ which is far more beat driven and aimed at the dance floor; imagine some hybrid Daft Punk / Kraftwerk collision and you get kinda close…

    The original in it’s unedited form is a classic. Heavy on that uniquely chilling atmosphere present over Umberto’s back catalogue, and drawing on a more percussive take to the fright night / Carpenter / Giallo / Goblin sounds commonly associated with Matt’s previous output.

    A beautiful record on the eye and ear. Killer Tim Goodwillie sleeve art and a pressing of 500 on white vinyl ready for the latter stages of the current Umberto European tour (Including UK legs in the last week of April, first 2 days of May). Be quick…

    Those scholarly diggers at Invisible City Editions make their first foray into the world of the long player with this beautifully put together reissue of Witch's most diverse record. 'Movin' On' was released after the Zamrock heyday, when the music of 80s Zambia came to be influenced by disco and rhumba from neighboring Congo. Bands that didn’t adapt sounded outdated. Thus even Zamrock’s greatest band, Witch, splintered, with a skeleton crew of core members embracing younger musicians to record and release two albums that found the band replacing fuzz guitars with whirling synthesizers and trying their hand at soul, disco and boogie. The LP explodes into action with the title track, an uptempo groover driven on by Gedion Mulenga’s heavy duty bass playing and set alight by Christine Jackson’s cut glass vocals. “Movin On” is swiftly joined on the dancefloor by the James Mason styled funk of “I’m Coming Back” and the powerhouse disco of “It Feels So Good”, a psychedelic disco bomb propelled into orbit by Patrick Mwondela’s swirling synths, which would undoubtedly been sampled by those French robots had they known about it. Elsewhere, Witch inject traces of the Carpenters (“It Was You Boy”), the Doobie Brothers (“You Are My Sunshine”) and Ned Doheny (“Let’s Get Together”). On paper this should be a disaster; at a push one could imagine an afro-psyche group managing a half decent disco-funk record, but the soft rock stylings of America’s west coast are surely a step to far. But in reality, the planets aligned and circumstances fell perfectly into place, as the combination of a band of talented musicians, at the height of their creative powers wrote eight perfect songs, each a snapshot of that era, but completely unlike anything else around.

    Frisco disco imprint Voltaire hits us with its 'love potion number 9' in the form of the various artists "Viare EP". Featuring cuts from Jonas Reinhardt, Timothy J. Fairplay, PLAzA and Roche this thick wax hits you with knockout punches from all corners of the dancefloor. First up to the plate is Jonas Reinhardt, who clears the stadium with the starchasing "Virgo Cluster", a cosmic disco groover propelled like a Nasa shuttle by a irresistable bass groove. Expansive synth lines, the occasional echo of the Bee Gees and a scorching guitar solo courtesy of Phil Manley (Trans Am / Life Coach) all combine into a swirling nebula of dancefloor delights. Asphodell Timothy J Fairplay invites us to his souk and mixes up a gurgling sonic brew of dubby drug chug, zombie horror soundtrack and menacing slo-mo techno, perfect for any ALFOS fans out there. On the flip, "Guave" by PLAzA is a playful dancefloor workout, that employs a slow acidic line and some classic Italo house flavours to evoke the feeling of pilled up dancing in the summer sun. Space terrace vibes!  Lastly, "Back Outside" from Roche is druggy outsider house at its best, with an enormous subby bassline complementing an alien warehouse vibe.

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