|It's been way too long since I last updated this page and thousands of tracks have, in the interim, been purchased, listened to, used in some way and then shelved or stored, so maybe it's time for a catch-up. Even if I can't capture a tenth of quality items that have graced the speakers, here are a number of recent tunes (and a few from earlier in the year) well worthy of consideration and a listen...
|That Peruvian Boy||I Came To Jam EP||Flapjack|
|Le Babar||Le Babar EP||Funk Mansion|
|Richie Kidd||Funk On a Roll & The Kitchen Sink EP||Melon Dive|
|Scott Diaz||Beg, Steal & Borrow EP||connected|
|Alessandro Arbola||A Day of Soul EP||Juiced Music|
|The House Inspectors||Good Love EP||Melon Dive|
|Manuel Sahagun||Basement Sounds EP||Drop Music|
|A selection of EPs for lovers of that swinging, sample-heavy and funk-rich sound I still associate with Cali but is now truly global. While not every track hits the spot, there's enough variety on offer among these EPs to suit househeads of various inclinations.|
|Martin Iveson||13.10.11 13.11.11 (Original Mix)||Atjazz|
|tONKPROJECT||From The Moment I Saw You (Original Mix)||Nightbird|
|Crazy P||Changes (Mario Basanov remix)||LLA Media|
|Edmund||When it Flows feat. Pablo Fierro (Soul Minority Remix)||i! Records|
|Duran Genc & Aytekin Kurt||Ordinary Things (Original Mix)||Freeze Dried|
|Eric Kupper feat. Keiko Yoshimura||In Your Arms (Original Mix)||Hysteria|
|Session Victim||The Haunted House of House LP||Delusions of Grandeur|
|Eric Ericksson||Love Cannot||Freerange|
|Manuel Tur||Maybe Next Lifetime||Freerange|
|The Steals||Dead Flames Rising (Uschi Classen mixes)||Tribe|
|Kruse & Nuernberg feat. Stee Downes||Last Chance||Lazy Days|
|Hector Couto & Santi Garcia feat. Pablo Fierro||Let the Music Play (Giom Remix)||Adult Music|
|Solo feat. Syron||Home Is Where It Hurts (Home Is Where It Hurts)||Defected|
|Daniel Solar||Retrospect EP||Dikso|
|DJ Le Roi||All Cats Are Grey||Muak Music|
|Acos CoolKAs feat. Nata Tomata||Don't Fly Away||audio tonic|
|Jovonn||Blues House||Room Control|
|Edmund feat.Sacha D'Flame||Move Your Body||Adaptation Music|
|First up in the deep end and more than worthy of your attention is a lovely slab of textured deep musicality and atmosphere by the marvellous Martin Iveson (aka Atjazz). I think i read this was produced in memory of his folks and, if so, not only do we send him our condolences but our thanks for such much musical pleasure over the years and for this too... Not a club track by many miles and might barely even register as house music for some, but they'd be the poorer for missing out on what is a gentle meandering delight.
On the other hand, most, if not all, of the above should appeal to lovers of deep house and also those seeking out soulful material that isn't necessarily all about big vocals but more groove-driven.
A couple of the above releases would probably be placed under the Soulful House umbrella by some reviewers, but I've listed them here because there are times when a vocal may be required to offer some variety and a change of texture, but it need not be of the Big Soul variety, and tracks like the Rivera, the King Britt re-rub of the intriguing Manuel Tur offering and the Classen remix of indie-folkesque band The Steals represent engaging songs but with solid grooves and sufficient spacial sonics and atmosphere to allow a set to include them while remaining in the deep end.
It's also maybe worth mentioning that some of the tracks above, particularly those with slightly lower tempos, may mix well with the housier end of nu disco, which brings me to...
|Nu Disco Trax:|
|Session Victim||Alpine Glow||Delusions of Grandeur|
|From the excellent 'Haunted house...' long player listed above - this one's a moody slo mo grower with a muscular bass loop that sticks in the head|
|various||On The Latch EP||House of Disco|
|A winner of an ep with all 4 tracks justifying the purchase - judiciously blending 80s dance and old school house. I've used 3 out of 4 in recent mixes and, for me, that is a very firm endorsement.|
|Kraak and Smaak||Hold Back Love (Lovebirds Remix)||Jalapeno|
|Tornado Wallace||Don't Hold Back||Pschent|
|Rainbow Road||Instruments of rapture|
|Marius||Glow of Filter & Dub (Dicky Trisco)||Maxi Discs|
|6th Borough Project||Home Alone||Delusions of Grandeur|
|These are worth a bit of credit not least because of pedigree: a Lovebirds Remix has become something of a stamp of quality on a range of deep melodic tracks and Instruments of Rapture has been a very solid label at the very forefront of the nu-disco movement, putting out decent release after release.
Similarly, I note a fair few Dicky Trisco mixes on my playlists and I have lost count of the number of The Revenge and 6th Borough Project releases I've now bought (and thoroughly enjoyed) - so plaudits and thanks to Craig and Graeme, respectively.
|Various/Jacques Renault||SAM Records Extended Play||Nurvous|
|For those that want to go back to the source but have it filtered through modern house sensibilities, this selection of radically beefed up and dubbed out disco and funk classics does not disappoint. Features a host of heroes of the movement, if we can call it that (I refer to those djs and producers that reside where deep house and nu disco collide, many of which I've already mentioned above), and contains very little, if any, filler.|
|Various||Get Down Edits||Get Down Edits|
|Daz Dalton, about whom I know little, has released a few of these edit EPs this year and there are usually one or two old gems on each, skilfully chopped, sliced, diced and looped as you might expect. These can be usefully worked into a pitched down set and are likely to bring a smile to the face of any dance music fan with a decent memory (and a soft spot for disco and 80s boogie classics).|
|Ralf Gum||Never Leaves You LP||GoGo Music|
|Ralf Gum's GoGo stable has been the home of consistently stylish deep, jazzy and soulful house music for quite some time now and his latest album again showcases his impressive skills and remarkable good taste as a producer, both in the technical sense and as a steward of talent. Only the cynical, close-minded or cloth-eared could not find something to cherish among the tracks on offer.|
|Andy Compton feat. Ziyon (Liquideep)||Take It Easy||Peng|
|Sculptured Music ft. Thandi Draai||Just Believe||House Afrika|
|I've included the Andy Compton track not because it's his best and not because (in the case of Liquideep/Ziyon) I think it represents the cream of the crop in terms of deep melodic material emergent from South Africa (although it is a very decent release - a relaxed soulful groove - and well worth a listen), but I figured it deserves a special mention as it combines two remarkable phenomena: The Peng imprint has been the home of much deep musical loveliness for decades now and, a little more recently, South African youth seem to have embraced deep house almost as a national music and the country is suddenly turning out a fresh generation of extremely talented artists and producers. The fact that Compton appears to have quickly recognised kindred spirits in (and helped promote) the burgeoning South African scene deserves applause and should be celebrated.
The Sculptured Music release is a good example of this trend (the further development of what has emerged from the Kwaito house scene) - deep, melodic and heartfelt... SA's crossover house hero Black Coffee may now be a household name (and a stamp of quality) to most house music fans, but there appears to be plenty of talent right behind him. Props also to Jo'burg producer and promoter Vinny Da Vinci for pushing this forward too.
|Ralf Gum ft. Monique Bingham||Take Me To My Love||GoGo Music|
|Ralf Gum ft. Monique Bingham||Little W 12th Street (Jonny Montana mix)||Solid Ground|
|I realise I've already recommended the Ralf Gum long player and am aware that I risk being a little repetitive in my frequent praise of the wonderful voice of Ms Bingham, but one listen to either of these tracks should demonstrate why. There are a generous array of remixes on offer for both, but in the case of the earlier track (Little W 12th Street), it was the extremely jazzy Montana mix that caught my attention. Regarding the more recent Take Me To My Love, the stripped down mixes work a treat, if only because they allow you to focus on that voice, with its subtle sassy swing and remarkably dextrous phrasing. Listening to all the mixes, I kept wondering is this a really classy song, or does the singer elevate and flatter it simply by being such a classy act. Either way, top notch stuff in my book.
Both the above continue the fine form set by last year's mighty You.Me.World release.
|DJ Spen pres. Marc Evans||Spiritual Love||Quantize|
|Steven Stone ft. Marc Evans||Who's To Blame||Soul Deluxe|
|Steven Stone ft. Marc Evans||Never Give Up||Soul Deluxe|
|N'Dinga Gaba and DJ Spen ft. Marc Evans||Until You||Quantize|
|DJ Spen pres. Marc Evans and N'Dinga Gaba||My Heart Remembers||Code Red|
|DJ Spen seems to be everywhere these days and his Quantize label is putiting out so much quality material it's difficult to keep up (but worth the effort). Evans is one of the male vocalists of his generation and can carry of this kinda inspirtationally soulful stuff with spirit and polish.
On Soul Deluxe we have another producer again paired with Evans, two from the team on the same label - one from this month and one from last year - both quality slabs of proper soulful house, with the most recent (Who's to Blame) probably with the edge... but it's difficult to miss with Mr Evans on hand who, as we say above, is blessed with a silky stylish vocal prowess that I can only describe as classic.
This is evident also on the DJ Spen / N'Dinga collaborations.
I also recommend the Lovebirds Suite Vocal mix of Given Me Joy for a more chilled vibe.
|Marsha Ambrosius||Far Away (Terry Hunter Bang Sunday mix)||Ts Box|
|For the contemporary soul folks who are happy to embrace a house groove but are more drawn to the vox and melodies. As I regularly state, this material may not be the height of fashion but it remains timelessly inspirational to fans of real vocal talent and musicianship alongside a spritely groove. Oh and this one features plentiful use of the vocoder to give it an even older school charm.|
|Tommy Bones ft. Lydia Rhodes||What I Feel||KID|
|It is the dependable Eric Kupper's dreamy flute-driven mixes that make this for me, although the chopped up, almost beatless Terry Lee Brown Jr. dub is an ambient grower.|
|Joey Negro and The Sunburst Band ft Angela Johnson||In The Thick Of It (Opolopo mixes)||Z|
|There is no point understating it: Dave Lee is quite simply a genius, a colossus among dance music producers or music producers of any type, size shape or flavour. I could probably fill these pages with hiis output over the last few years and there'd be very little, if any, duff stuff on it. Even when he veers to the obvious or slightly cheesy, he does so with such conviction and panache, that it invariably works and stands out as peak material of its genre. His 80s jazz funk and boogie inspired Sunburst Band project is another example of his sure-footed skill at reinvention and combining highest quality content with polished production values.. It might be sacrilege, but I think I prefer the Negro version to the Russell original (although it's been a while since I heard it) and the Opolopo Boogie mixes just add a little extra 80s bounce and synth-bass drive to proceedings.|
|Candi Staton||Hallelujah Anyway||Defected|
|Who can resist a track featuring the gritty vocal of a deep soul and funk legend Staton who has been producing great music for almost as long as I've been on thiis planet...? It's the sparser, darker Larse mixes for me - they provide a simpler, moodier plod allowing Staton to take centre stage.|
|Josh Milan||About Your Body||Vega|
|Louis Vega turns this into an expansive, subtly swinging jazzy number - usual excellent vocal from Milan but I'm also loving the instrumentation on the Dance Ritual mix|
|ChinahBlac||Blown Away||Honeycomb Music|
|And a single from Milan's Honeycomb Music project which seems both simultaneously old-fashioned and remarkably refereshing in terms of sticking - or returning - to the old soulful (US) garage template of big but nimble melodies and relatively simple songs sung with skill and gusto, and backed by real players. Another slab of catchy dancefloor soul for the Dr. Bob Jones aficianados, of which I am one.|
|Ian Friday pres. Various||Global Soul Sessions Vol 1||Global Soul Music|
Ian Friday has built up an enviable back catalogue of organic jazzy soulful house, featuring a variety of quality acts and producers. This sampler is a good example of the Global Soul / Libation sound, perhaps best represented by another outing for Byron Moore's classic-to-be 'Life Starts Today'.
Richard Earnshaw ft. Jocelyn Brown
It would appear I am desitined to pay tribute here to some of the stalwarts of modern soulful dance and there can be few performers with the stellar legacy (and continued sterling output) of the amazing Ms. Jocelyn Brown. And Richard Earnshaw has grown into a world-class producer too. So it seems fitting to end here, whith this stirring gospel number which takes me right back to my old RIPE sets, which always offered more than a generous dollop of testifyin'!