Sakro's latest release on Pleasure Zone is fine example of his wicked signature sound
This week’s a cracker: we’ve got wildly colourful disco, soul to make you cry and house music to carry you deep into the groove. The bad stuff also feels particularly bad in amongst so much goodness, so do the right thing and get to know what you need to love and hate over the next week.
Richie Phoe - Bumpy’s Lament on Balanced
A BBC Radio 4 segment this week claimed that dogs’ favourite music is reggae. It’s also EVERYBODY’s favourite music when the sun’s out, which it still very much is. This spaced out, reverb drenched classic from Richie Phoe is a terrific twist on the standard template, features an archetypal West Coast g-funk sample from a Dr Dre anthem and cannot fail to get people bopping.
Marc Houle & Sian - Chromatic on Octopus
Marc Houle has put out his fair share of definitive minimal tracks in his time, but his latest with Octopus label boss Sian is not one of them. It’s a brace of brittle and abstract techno tunes with pointless FX and tinny drums that are utterly grey and cold. There’s no real funk, no proper force, and no discernible fun to be had anywhere in either of the tracks.
DJ SCM - Introducing Tony Pianola In Luce Artificiale on Wataj
Disco is the root of everything, as you will know. But it’s not just a nostalgic genre, because in the right hands it’s still as thrilling and innovative as any of the newer kids on the block. This brilliantly realised EP from newcomer Mr. Tony Pianola proves that: it’s a vibrant and vivacious six track synth disco odyssey into Italo, funk and boogie, with some mad Roy Ayers style percussion, icy house hi hats and squelching basslines all getting you up for some action.
Solardo - Be Somebody on Ultra
Ultra is a label that caters to the main room crew; the young party people who have moved on from EDM to ‘techno.’ Their latest effort is from Solardo, themselves a big breakthrough duo who jumped a few rungs on the ladder and went straight into playing large clubs and festivals on a regular basis. All that is fine, but there is no need to dumb your sound down to the extent of this one: it rehashes an old club classic vocal (Ruffneck’s ‘Everybody Be Somebody’) by removing all the swinging New York drums and retro stabs and flattening things out into a teeth clenching, foot stomping bit of generic tech with less life than a room full of ket heads.
Sakro - Voyager 1 on Pleasure Zone
Sakro has a pretty narrow musical scope, but what he does, he does well. Focussing on a jazzy, pumping brand of house that feels traditional yet fresh, his smooth grooves and breezy chords are the epitome of good deep house music. It’s kinetic stuff that manages to drive into the night, while retaining a real sense of soul and this new one is a particularly good example of what he can do.
Brief Encounter - Where Will I Go on Athens of the North
Athens of the North have made it easy for everyone to pretend they are funk and soul aficionados. The Edinburgh based reissue label has never made a misstep in more than 70 releases over the last few years, putting out hard to find classics, overlooked anthems or obscure gems from a range of artists from all over the world. This latest from 70s band Brief Encounter, who hail from foothills of the North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains, is another golden nugget of heart breaking blue eyed soul on the a-side and rousing vocal disco on the flip. Essential.
Air Jordan - Simion & Roland Clark on Mother Recordings
Mother Recordings often make these pages for all the wrong reasons: not only do most of their releases seem to suffer from serious ADHD and an addiction to high caffeine energy drinks, but they’re also mixed in such a brash, obviously attention-grabbing fashion that they literally hurt your ears. The three manic brain farts on this EP follow that trend and then some with their sheet metal percussion and explosive pistons of white noise.