The Sound Of
Me Me Me
Scotsman Austin Ato pulls out something exceptional here for Man Power's Me Me Me. Tediously rote disco and boogie re-edits are everywhere, so when such things are done well, as they are here, it sticks out a mile. Both 'He Can Ride' and 'Ben's Groove' slice up George Benson's classic 'Give Me The Night', a pretty obvious sample on the face of it, but it's done to devastating effect, the former a terrace-style anthem, the latter for the clubs with the low ceilings and the red lights. Elsewhere, 'Dah Dah Dah' is a giddy jazz workout, and 'Maelstrom' is a masterful slab of moody Balearic house. Bravo.
'Beyond The Border EP'
If you like your house music driving, emotional, and a little bit cosmic, this from Italian producer Luca Vera for Manchester's Sprechen is ready to make you weep on any given dancefloor. 'Salvador' has that dream house type vibe in spades, what with the soaring pads, the tribal singing and the hollow glockenspiel plonks (a technical term, you understand). A mix from legends Daniele Baldelli and Dionigi gilds this particular lily. Meanwhile, 'De Mentalism' is full of Italo goodness, with DJ Rocca and Sprechen boss Chris Massey providing a lush, spaced out interpretation.
Takecha & Tomoki Tamura
Japan's Takeshi Fukushima, aka Takecha, hooks up with Holic Trax boss Tomoki Tamura for this solid double header. Takecha's 'Delicious Part' recalls the slinky vibes of Glenn Underground and Boo Williams, with skippy percussion, and vaguely wonky synths. 'Kirara To Sarara' brings the electric pianos and Rhodes keys, while on the flip, Tamura's 'Taiyo Mo Nai' is thick with dubby 909 drums. 'Prhthemic' is a rubberised groove for late night dancefloors.
'Late Night Studio Moves'
Rejected and Green alum Geurt Kersjes, aka Pitto, throws down for Detroit Swindle's Heist here, with three tracks of blazing heat. Title number 'Late Night Studio Moves' wears its Balearic creds on its sleeve, from the jangling pianos to the African tribal vocals. But if you've got it, you might as well flaunt it. 'You Treat Me Like A Fool' is a deeper proposition, a pulsing, heavyweight club banger. 'Jazz Kids' turns yet another corner, a percussive, tech workout showing a breadth of dancefloor skills. Or skillz. You decide. The Mole's remix of the title track is super too.
Frank & Aakmael
'Mercy Of Means'
Scissor & Thread
Unctuous vibrations here on Francis Harris's excellent Scissor & Thread, from himself and the venerable DJ Aakmael. With a track each, a remix each and a studious collaboration, it's a warm and cosy affair. Aakmael's 'Deep Music' is just that, with some hi-tech jazz thrown in, while Frank's re-rub twinkles around a pulsating loop. Frank's 'Part Song' melds fuzzy pianos with mechanical hats, while Aakmael's version trades the fuzz for shimmering clarity. Their co-penned track 'Mercy Of Means' is a delight. Buy on sight.
'Open Your Mind'
Hard not to love this. Jackson Almond was previously known as half of Boean on Sounds Of Sumo, and Real, previously on Wotnot, and this is wonky and wonderful stuff. 'People, Places, Things In Spaces' is all about the warm, plucked strings. It's jazzy, but the good kind of jazzy. 'Common' ups the pressure, a bouncing jam with stabs of synth and rasping congas. Again, jazzy but not shit. 'Ee Ye' boasts tough, off-key pianos, vaguely ravey synths and demented vocals. It's all stunningly original and worth every penny.
The man like Man Power makes a return to Jennifer Cardini's Correspondant, his semi-regular haunt, with 'Souvenirs', three tracks of epic proportions. 'The Zen Of Xen Parts I And II' finds Israeli vocalist Xen providing delicate, breathy vocals over a galactic voyage of a track, which doesn't drop a kick-drum for five minutes. Ballsy. 'Heart For Yes, Like For No' busts out a Moroder bassline and more arps than you can shake a stick at, while the emotive, operatic 'Hubris' — the pick of this solid bunch — is a thing of pulsating, gathering beauty.
'The Man From 94'
Former Eskimo alumnus Eliezer fronts the inaugural release for Tel Aviv's Unterman, with some gloriously spacious, moody dub disco. 'Frani' is a languid, low-slung workout which psychs out and chugs in all the right places. Over, 'No Tears' is all brooding prog, with clattering snares and ominous, mechanised vibes. On the flip, Argentina's Gabriel Ferreira turns in a grunting, stomping, robotic re-rub of 'Frani', while Naduve goes all trance house on a sterling version of 'No Tears'. Better than most debut releases have a right to be.
Dave Aju & Thatmanmonkz
'They Sleep We Love feat Foxxee'
Music For Freaks
'They Sleep We Love' is made in tribute to those who lost their lives in a fire during a party at the Ghost Ship warehouse in Oakland, California, in 2016, a tragedy which claimed 36 lives and devastated the Bay Area dance music community. A muscular groove, reminiscent of Cajmere's Relief and Cajual vibes, underground MC Foxxee provides an undercurrent of much-needed familial positivity over Aju and Thatmanmonkz' sturdy vibe. Seven Davis Jr whips in a sparse, impressively understated remix too.