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Z RECORDS

Four exclusive disco remixes from the edit king Joey Negro as part of his Remixed With Love series.

This ep. see's the master reworking classics from Lonnie Liston Smith, Gwen McCrae and Wardell Piper. The Special Release also contains a new version of the Gwen McCrae special dub to the one on the Record Store Day release.

Strong names, essential tracks, masterful edits. Yes, ladies and gents, this is instalment number 11. How did they make it this far, you might ask? Applying heavy doses of craftmanship and selecting only the best disco tunes. 

What do they do different? Mostly they concentrate on the dancefloor effect. You will not find hard to find rarities in this series, but you will find bombs that once drop, you will get everyone moving. That is what this four killer tracker is about. Disco, irreverent house beats and a dancer focused attitude. If you dig the Dimitri from Paris or Danny Krivit approach to editing, you need this. My personal winner is Joey Negro edit of Harvey Mason's 'Groovin' You' is of anthemic proportion (and so is the original!). 

There is a reason why they carry attacking the dancefloor and hitting volume 11. Seriously folks, this is dynamite and you should dig the other 10 volumes if this is your thing. They are all as good as each other. Essential addition to any discerning disco collection. 


STAFF COMMENTS

Sil says: The titles of the series implies serious business. The content is par with it. The formula? Gigantic heavyweights of disco treated by another gigant in the biz, Joey Negro, who applies gentle and smart touches to make dancefloor tunes into disco edit anthems. Effective and full of happiness and positive vibes. Dig Dimitri, dig Mr Krivit et al? This is for you!

Four cuts from Joey's acclaimed "Produced With Love" album get that all important remix treatment. 

Kicking it off Chicago legend Ron Trent takes the original funked out, Arthur Russell flavoured, "Distorting Space Time" and turns it into a deep house groover complete with a strong walking bass alongside adding a soul & richness to the elements that only he knows how. Crackazat step up next to take on "Lactican Boogie" crafting it into an uptempo piano driven, emotionally charged stomper sure to do some damage this summer. Flip it over and Lay-Far delve into "In Search of The Dream", adding squelchy synth stabs and a deep bass to give a more hard hitting edge to the track whilst retaining that disco flavor with Angela Johnson's emotive vocals. Closing out the EP Fouk come full circle, bringing their hazy, jazz tinged style to "Distorting Space Time" - building the remix around those warm Rhodes chords, shuffling rhythm and dynamic bassline. Pure gold once again from the Z Records camp!

STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: Big big big uptempo floor slayers from four hot house producers, working with some great source material from Joey N. TIP!

Follow up to the amazing "Backstreet Brit Funk". Volume 2 has been eight years in the making and continues to showcase the best of the genre from the late 70s to early 80s, compiled once again by Joey Negro. Perhaps one of the UK’s most under-appreciated genres and emerging in the late 70’s; it takes influences from jazz, funk, reggae and pop and by the early 80s it had spread all over the UK. Chart-topping mainstream bands like Wham!, Spandau Ballet and Haircut 100 tapped into the style and sound to help launch their careers, whilst Linx, Level 42, Light of The World, The Cool Notes and Hi Tension were all Brit Funk acts who troubled the UK top 40 with their own singles.

Brit Funk was essentially the UK’s answer to underground disco & boogie , with musicians at first imitating and eventually developing the sounds they heard on the US imports that made it across the pond. And like disco, the Brit Funk scene was significant in reducing racial boundaries in the clubs and raising the profile of black and white musicians who worked together. Back in 2010 Joey Negro complied the first volume of Back Street Brit Funk: a collection of obscure and forgotten gems of the scene that found favour across the board. The fact that it’s taken eight years for Volume 2 to see the light of day is a testament to the both the obscurity of the records included, and the logistical challenges involved in digitizing what started life as vinyl-only releases, with only a handful of 12”s remaining in some cases.
'I hadn’t planned a Volume 2 of BSBF when putting together the first, but after a while, I started to wonder if there was potential for a follow-up. Over the past 8 years I’ve kept my ears peeled for interesting UK productions that for some reason hadn’t come to my attention before.' Joey Negro.


STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: We've had 'nuff resurgences in disco, Italo and boogie thus far, but no-one's really popped the lid off the whole Brit Funk cannon. Save for that wonderful "In The Red" comp on Chuwanaga (and Volume 1 of this series of course) the scene has gone relatively 'Un-comp'ed'... until now! Maestro Joey Negro can always be relied upon to present to us the first sift off the crop. Here showing us the dizzying delights of this very British operation... High energy, high musicianship - high vibe! I used to roller-skate to this shit!! ;)

Various Artists

Under The Influence Vol. 6 - Compiled By Faze Action

    Z Records continues its commitment to unearthing the obscure and long forgotten tracks from the last 40 years through the ever-popular "Under The Influence" series. Following on from Red Greg, Paul Phillips, James Glass, Nick The Record and Sean P it’s now the turn of one of the scenes most respected live disco acts and renowned DJ’s, Faze Action.

    Robin and Simon Lee aka Faze Action, were championing disco and all its afro off-shoots back in the mid 90’s when it certainly wasn’t the latest trend to do so. 'By the mid 90s we were heavily into disco. Fuelled by radio shows from the likes of Norman Jay as well as conversations with customers in the record store where I worked, who were all super obsessed, we would talk disco for hours.' remembers Simon Lee. It was however their "Original Disco Motion" and "In The Trees" releases on Nuphonic records that shaped the Faze Action sound and were defining moments of the time and played a large part in coining the term nu-disco.

    Fast forward 20+ years and the brothers Lee are still pushing the modern disco sound with their live sets and studio productions s Faze Action. Alongside their studio work they’ve always been serious record collectors so their selections for this latest "Under The Influence" album are reflective of their extensive collecting and digging history. As Simon confirms, 'searching for and buying old records helps to keep our musical thirst alive and is a constant source of inspiration for both our DJ sets and our original productions.'

    Here they’ve included tracks taking in Afro, Italo, soul, funk, disco with many of the tracks costing hundreds if you were able to find the originals. They have also edited some of the tracks exclusively for this album adding yet more value to an already fully packed gatefold double LP and double CD.

    Included in the booklet are extensive track notes from Faze Action highlighting what they know about these records and, where they are super-rare and obscure, what they don’t.

    As always with ZR compilations a lot of time and effort has been spent on creating these masters from the original vinyl, cleaning them up, removing all the clicks and pops resulting in the cleanest sounding copy possible.


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Matt says: Another e-e-e-essential selection from this firm. Previous five instalments have been imperitive and this one isn't looking to buck the trend either...

    Another Record Store Day, another late Joey Negro special to enjoy after the main event! Yipee! - jokes aside these special edition RSD twelves from our man Dave have been flawless through the first two volumes, and volume 3 in the series seems to be keeping bar raised high.
    Special mixes and fixes from JN, the source material isn't gonna win any prizes for obscurity, but Joey's flair behind the mixing console, plus his fine tuned understanding of our modern dancefloors mean these versions are worth checking out - even if you're well versed on the originals. Personal favourite is his dub of "Keep The Fire Burning" which I'm sure, if you had the stones, could be mixed with the OG vocal version for tiiiime out in the mix; in a kinda Danny Krivit / David Morales stylee - chooo chooo!
    Of course, "Space Princess" and "The Power Of Love" can't be ignored, with both receiving a tasty touch-up by one of modern disco's best tweakers... Fabulous! - don't sleep. 


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Matt says: Ahh, the "Remixed With Love" series... Just gerrit! You won't be sorry. I've got em all, even if they seem a bit obvious, Joey's deft touch and fresh mastering breath fresh life into these disco staples.

    The "must have" status of Joey Negro's "Remixed With Love" series has been firmly cemented with both DJ and home listening disco lovers since the release of the first two Volumes. Since the last release JN has been working hard on sourcing more disco multitrack tapes and producing new remixes while the ZR team have been equally dedicated to clearing and licensing these new versions. The enduringly popular Mtume/Lucas produced Phyllis Hyman soul classic "You Know How To Love Me" gets a new makeover that reworks the original elements into a more dramatic version with many peaks and troughs, stretching it out to over 10 minutes. Even for those love the original this new mix gives a favourite song a fresh new perspective and reason to be played again. Motown Sounds Philly style instrumental "Bad Mouthin" was an underground hit on dance floors in New York, London and Chicago from the late 70's onwards. It was also famously sampled in Bob Sinclar's no 1 "Gym Tonic". The original is a pretty dense, everything in all the way through style production, whereas the JN mix opens things up in a bit with more room for the individual parts to be heard. The end result is an extremely energetic bassline driven disco cut that works super well on the dancefloor.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Patrick says: Joey Negro is on FIRE here! Knocking out a pair of powerhouse edits of two all time classics. Phyllis Hyman and Motown Sounds as you've never heard them before.

    "Produced With Love" is the new album from UK legend Joey Negro: a buoyant, life-affirming, disco-inspired album with monumental production. Seriously, new disco hasn't sounded this crisp and fresh since Daft Punk's "Random Access Memories". Recorded in retaliation to the plethora of disco sample-based house records that mine the old stuff, Joey was surprised to see a dearth of new material being recorded. Although highly prolific as a house producer, and also turning his hand to plenty of disco remixes over the years, this is actually only the second full length of original material Joey Negro has released, I guess a sign of his strict quality control - evident throughout the album. Glitzy, high definition disco and house music is order of the day. Album opener ‘Prove That You’re Feeling Me" features Diane Charlemagne and evokes the great Nile Rogers and Chic at their funkiest. Unfortunately Diane passed away recently but her two other stunning collaborations with Negro - "Overnight Sensation" & "Must Be The Music" are both presented for our enjoyment here. R&B and house music mainstay Linda Clifford narrates on "Won’t Let Go", a deep house cut that celebrates musical escapism, whilst "It’s More Fun To Compute" - an unlikely cover - is a fully orchestrated disco rework of Dusseldorf’s finest. Further highlights include a completely remade "Must Be The Music" (one of Joey Negro’s best-known records), which is utterly transformed from its previous incarnation, whilst things get both dubby and jazzy on the Arthur Russell-evoking "Distorting Space Time". Joey Negro is back on top and sounding as good as ever! Most recommended.

    2016 was another strong year for ZR as it continued its commitment to high quality compilation releases with Joey Negro’s hugely successful Remixed With Love Vol.2 album topping charts everywhere and receiving across the board DJ and Radio support. There was also the 5th instalment of the ever-popular Under The Influence series which saw long time ZR album co-compiler Sean P select some of his long held secret weapons.

    For 2017 Z Records will be back in the funk hot-seat, but this time Joey Negro presents a snapshot of the edgier, robotic sounds of the emerging early 80s Electro scene. From stone-cold classics such as Hashim’s ‘Al Naafiysh (The Soul)’, Tyrone Brunson’s ‘The Smurf’ and Key-Matic’s ‘Breakin' In Space’ to revered party anthem’s such as Aleem’s ‘Release Yourself (Dub)’, Two Sisters ‘High Noon (Part 2)’ and Dwayne Omarr’s ‘This Party's Jam Packed’ to electro oddities like Paul Hardcastle’s ‘Rain Forest’ and The Packman’s ‘I’m The Packman’ we get a genuine labour of love and a timely reminder of the raw drum machine sounds that were soon to define the beginning of the house and techno scenes we have today.

    The album features extensive sleeves notes written by early electro pioneer and DJ Greg Wilson who remembers the time as; “during the early-mid ‘80s electro-funk became the dominant force on the UK’s black music scene. With the previous era’s jazz-funk movement running out of steam the way was clear for this new technological direction to sweep out the old and announce a new wave of dance music with a distinctive futuristic edge.”

    People maybe associate Dave Lee (Joey Negro) with disco, funk and boogie more than electro but the truth is, he is a music fan first and foremost. Back in 82/83/84 Dave was fanatical about this futuristic new style of dance music called electro. Although at the time this new sound remained very divisive within the soul and jazz-funk scenes, he liked both Lonnie Liston Smith and Man Parrish.

    As Dave recalls in his own album sleeve notes: “I can see why the soul boys hated electro as it lacked the soaring vocals, intricate orchestration and polished organic production of jazz funk. Unfortunately for the purists by the mid 80s all dance music had become more electronic with the likes of Roland introducing powerful drum machines and affordable synthesizers, not to mention the onset of early samplers. Many straight up soul boogie records got electrofied, complete with rapped sections and scratching - not to say it was an improvement, just stating a fact.” Anyway this isn't THE definitive electro album, it's some of Joey Negro’s favourites, plus a few lesser-known and collectable cuts. However that being said we do think it's one of the best electro comps ever released!

    Various Artists

    The Soul Of Disco Vol. 1 - Compiled By Joey Negro & Sean P

      Love to unearth Disco’s more Soulful jewels but don’t have the time or money to dedicate yourself to the mouse-click battles between pasty-faced collectors on e-bay? Disco-nut producer Joey Negro and fellow crafty crate-digger Sean P came to the rescue in 2005 with the first of their great value Soul of Disco albums that was rammed to the rafters with classic, rare, hard to find gems from the era that brought us fantastic music and sparkly platforms. Now, more than 10 years later the album finally sees a gatefold double vinyl release featuring 10 of the best tracks from Vol.1 of the series. So rare and highly sought after are many of these tracks by disco connoisseurs that the original 12’s of this album would likely cost you several thousand pounds, if you were lucky enough to find them in the first place. This collection spans the years 1976-'82, with an R&B slant and more song-based material; and is intended to show that there were a few more sides (many more to come, of course) to one of the last century's biggest musical phenomena. Some of the tracks included appear in exclusive DJ friendly re-edits courtesy of Joey Negro himself. In a compilation brimming over with accessible earthiness, rawness and downright soulfulness, Joey and Sean continue their mission to help us understand how disco’s influence is still shaping music 30 years after it broke into the mainstream.


      Founded way back in 91, Z Records have since amassed a lauded and plentiful collection of singles, albums and compilations. Run by Dave Lee aka Joey Negro, the label has enjoyed success through his unique ability to foster the principles of underground dance music whilst also remaining mindful of commercial appeal.

      Through various compilations, Mr Lee has consistently delved deep into the heart of a specific genre or era and selecting a lesser-known series of tracks that give a real insight into the spirit and energy that made that point in time special. Whether it's been gogo, Brit-funk, boogie, Italo house or straight up disco, he has mined deep into his extensive bank of influences and also enlisted the help of some of his most clued-up comrades in offering some unforgettable collections of classics. Next up - he pulls together a collection of his favourite moments across a definitive decade for house and garage: the 90’s. Inclusive of material from Kerri Chandler, Robert Owens and MAW as well as remixes from Mood II Swing and Ron Trent - the compilation is packed with sultry vocal lines and the sort of slick, irresistible grooves that defined the era. Sticking with the ethos of his series, Joey Negro has dug out an olio of music that may have until now ‘slipped under the garage doors’ meaning a lot of the material on this compilation is being digitised for the very first time. In searching deeper and wider than the average compilation, the package provides a thorough insight into why this was such a fertile period for production and gives a nod to the sort of drum patterns, sampling techniques and vocal lines that have inspired the likes of Bicep, Brawther and Huxley amongst many more.


      Z Records tap Nick The Record for their fourth volume of the 'Under The Influence' series. Packed to the brim with disco, boogie, electro-funk and tropical gems, it's another essential offering from Z.

      "My whole life has revolved around records. I was buying hip hop and house in the 80s as it was released and I got heavily into tracing the steps back through breaks and sample sources that were used in hip hop records. I also joined the dots between disco and modern club and house music and spread my music explorations from rare groove to rare disco. There were very few people interested in this vein of music history at the time and even fewer as obsessed as me so when the reemergence of disco exploded I was well ahead of the curve, not only in collecting but historical knowledge. The best thing about record collecting is it never ends and after 35 years of buying, after 25 years of selling and playing records there is still old stuff to discover and new releases to endeavour to keep up with. So as something of an expert in all things disco I get quite a few offers to release compilations but as a record obsessive my natural hoarding mentality makes me cautious to give up the goods. I feel this 'Under The Influence' series offers the chance to put together a more personal comp, which reflects the many different flavours of my taste and my collection and gives you a feel of my DJ style at the same time." - Nick The Record


      As featured in the Piccadilly Records End Of Year Review 2014 Top 20 Compilations, this comes with a free Piccadilly End Of Year CD sampler. Click HERE for more info.

      Following on from the phenomenal success of the recent “Remixed With Love” compilation plus more Joey Negro compiled albums including “GoGo Get Down”, “Backstreet Brit Funk”, “Destination Boogie” and the ever-popular Soul of Disco series Z Records continues to release high quality compilations filled with lesser known disco, funk and boogie. Now it’s the turn of “Italo House” to get the JN selection treatment with over 20 tracks hand picked from the late 80’s and early 90’s covering a lot of the deeper classics and some lesser known releases from a golden era of Italian dance music. The late 80s were undoubtedly a golden era for dance music. A time which saw the birth of many genres and sub genres - from acid house to hardcore to Balearic - and of course Italo house. If you ask Jo Raver to name an Italo house track, they'd probably come back with Blackbox, Jinny, Fiddlefatti or one of many big piano tune. At the same time there was another equally distinctive sound coming out of Italy- a warmer, deeper, more emotional style which didn't yield any commercial hits. The sound was more jazzy and soulful with syncopated percussion, dreamy pads and, though piano was often used, it wasn't in the obviously programmed, big breakdown style which became a cliché of the Italo house genre. This more underground side of Italo was closer to the original American house sound- but still retained a very European flavour. In common with other Z compilations which have featured Britfunk and GoGo, this album was an important release for me. Important because I love a lot of the records, many of which have been largely forgotten about, but also because there really was a unique sound coming out of Italy, spread across many labels and involving numerous producers. As a result, it has never really been fully showcased like this before. I'm glad this album exists for other people to discover or re-discover the deeper side of Italo house. Joey Negro – Feb 2014

      Following on from the phenomenal success of the recent “Remixed With Love” compilation plus more Joey Negro compiled albums including “GoGo Get Down”, “Backstreet Brit Funk”, “Destination Boogie” and the ever-popular "Soul of Disco" series Z Records continues to release high quality compilations filled with lesser known disco, funk and boogie. Now it’s the turn of “Italo House” to get the JN selection treatment with over 20 tracks hand picked from the late 80s and early 90s covering a lot of the deeper classics and some lesser known releases from a golden era of Italian dance music.

      "The late 80s were undoubtedly a golden era for dance music. A time which saw the birth of many genres and sub genres - from acid house to hardcore to Balearic - and of course Italo house. If you ask Jo Raver to name an Italo house track, they'd probably come back with Blackbox, Jinny, Fiddlefatti or one of many big piano tunes. At the same time there was another equally distinctive sound coming out of Italy - a warmer, deeper, more emotional style which didn't yield any commercial hits. The sound was more jazzy and soulful with syncopated percussion, dreamy pads and, though piano was often used, it wasn't in the obviously programmed, big breakdown style which became a cliché of the Italo house genre. This more underground side of Italo was closer to the original American house sound, but still retained a very European flavour. In common with other Z compilations which have featured Brit-funk and go-go, this album was an important release for me. Important because I love a lot of the records, many of which have been largely forgotten about, but also because there really was a unique sound coming out of Italy, spread across many labels and involving numerous producers. As a result, it has never really been fully showcased like this before. I'm glad this album exists for other people to discover or re-discover the deeper side of Italo house." - Joey Negro (Feb 2014)

      This four track vinyl EP features cuts taken from The Revenge's debut compilation CD "Reekin’Structions". Embracing pure disco heads, funk fanatics, and boogie-soul worshipers these tracks mark the rise of The Revenge as one of the pioneers of a generation, rediscovering classic moments from decades gone and refreshing them through his individual interpretation.

      Kicking things off on "Sampler 2" we have two Revenge's edits of Velvet Hammer's "Party Down". A typically Revenge style mid-tempo disco chugger, the cut is lifted by a continuous piano line and killer vocal breakdown. The 'Revenge Unreleased Dub' turns the track into a piano-driven house cut - mid-tempo and groovin'. Flip it for the triangle-driven (it's not often I get to give you that as a description!) "Love Message" by Sargeant & Malone. Punchy electro bass and filtered vocals make this a winner. For his final edit offering the Revenge throws caution to the wind and heads to upbeat boogie-disco land with the stringy, brassy "Summer Groove" by The Joneses. A killer!



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