Yogi’s Choice Cuts
iamCrü’s revered selector handpicks the tunes you need in your collection
Old Love Will Rust
Funk Embassy Records (vinyl LP)
This stunning album hit me right between the eyes like a bullet from a sniper. A search for the hitman – or woman in this case – led me to Estonia. Hang on, a disco and soul LP from Estonia? I shit you not, that bullet came out of a musical wasteland well camouflaged, so much so, this LP didn’t receive the plays that it so deserves. The accretion of DJs getting behind this has been organic rather than dropping like an explosive bomb. Even Sounds of the Universe in Soho, London, ignored this baby until I called them to order three copies for myself just in case my copy from Funk Embassy didn’t turn up after I contacted them. Yeah, I like it that much, I now own four firkin copies. I don’t want to go through each track individually, but I will highlight one cut and that is Disco Stu, the track that initially had me ducking, bobbing and weaving to this musical hot shot. Disco Stu is premier disco, I don’t mean in the edits sense or beefed up beats behind an already worn out disco anthem, this is the best new disco track recorded in recent times. Ray nails it vocally, as did the musicians, and Martin Laksberg and Ray on a production level. Packed full of bluesy downtempo soul steppers and that disco/modern soul monster Disco Stu, anybody that loves downtempo northern, ’70s soul and disco will love this classy blue-eyed soul extravaganza. I was due to go see Ray perform in Estonia a couple of weeks ago but alas, due to the virus, that treat will have to wait until another time, but you can hear this LP now if you order from Sounds of the Universe.
Izipho Soul Records (vinyl LP)
After a courtesy message to Izipho Soul to thank them for the Fredrick 7” they sent me for review, I suggested they should notify me of any new releases for review purposes in the future. Patrick Biggerstaff at Izipho Soul said: “Sure Yogi, there is one release though that kinda got missed by most folk. Could you have a listen to that?” I’m glad I did! Visions is a stunning collection of new jazz – not broken beats – just pure electronic jazz with soulful undertones and emotional moments liberally scattered throughout this masterpiece. Jarrod Lawson, aka Orpheus, has produced this collection of sublime cuts to a level of perfection that most producers can only dream about but hats off to Nick Moon for the faultless mastering. This album is literally a delight from start to finish; there are chilled-out jazz dancers such as Phantasmagoria, which will smash the floors
early doors of the remaining few dancefloor jazz sessions dotted around, while Ode To Toby is a mo’ uptempo dancer. Then we have wonderfully blissful downbeat moments such as Moon Halos, with its angelic vocals and dreamy feel, while Follow Me is equally heavenly. Ascension is a lesson in gentle jazz house – melodic, melodious, subtle, understated and one for the hedz. There ain’t no bangin’ 4/4 drums, these are rustling, shuffling beats that make their point without shouting too loudly. The flute and Cuban piano surf the crest of the percussive wave like a seagull ducking and diving the white water, whilst the electric keys solo dominates the track two-thirds into this proper grown-ups’, intelligent jazz/house dancer. I’ve never shied away from purchasing an album for just one cut – I have hunners of them at home – and this LP is a must if house music is your bag and you want something that nobody else is playing. I can’t find anything negative to say ’bout this LP – nothing, nada!
DASoul feat David Es
Tell Me More
Levoyage Music (digital promo)
Irresistible Afro percussion leads us tantalisingly up to some jazzy keys and rolling Hammond organ that meander over the beats effortlessly, right up to a great breakdown moment that leaves us thirsty for more. The track kicks back in with new momentum and new energy as the jazzy keys pick up pace and the Hammond awakens from its meandering slumber, all played by Es and DASoul. We are full throttle now, the floor is workin’ hard and vibe on the dancefloor is at optimum pressure and then... it’s over! Leaving you, like all great records do, begging for mo’. This is a seriously good Afro joint and beautifully produced to perfection. Props to Franco Cleopatra also for the shit-hot mastering.
Neil Pierce feat Kadija Kamara
Rhemi Music (digital promo)
There is no doubt in my mind that Neil Pierce makes some of the UK’s finest soulful and underground house music. I downloaded two mixes of this promo package, the Original Mix and the Samba La Casa Remix and these two moody, mean, menacing, grimy grooves are full of the right attitude for your floor. Crisp beats on the Samba La Casa Remix punctuate the bars with total authority and snappy attitude. A piano chases the beats, repeating a mesmerising pattern in readiness for Kamara to set to work with her wicked vocal. Neil’s mix is less fronty beats-wise: the bobbling bass is what comes to the fore here and again Kamara’s forceful vocal performance is a highlight of the track. Soft pads, sizzling strings and spitty lil’ snares take the dope trip on this essential soulful joint.
party. It’s so damn funky, folk hardly gonna be walking off the dancefloor as they already know the flava of groove, even though it’s over three decades old. Discogs is currently showing a chancer selling a mint of this at £45 and then it drops drastically to a VG at £14 for these UK copies. However, there are literally loads of VGs and VG+s sitting at £3 – £9.99 on Discogs and for a sound that you know Walter Gibbons, Greg Wilson and Larry Levan pumped out back in the day, this has to be worth three quid of anybody’s corn. Go on, drop this and turn the other DJs’ heads.
Haven’t Been Funked Enough
TMT Records Cat# TMTT 1 (12” vinyl)
Just after the movie ET was released in 1982 the electro scene (yeah, electro music is yonks old) was awash with records jumping on the extra-terrestrial theme and Haven’t Been Funked Enough is one such record. Obviously, the artist name is a reference to the movie but the track is actually by producer King Sporty, who was clearly quick to cash in on the movie’s success. The American copies on the ExcellenT label even highlight the E and the T by using caps for both letters and King Sporty runs the vox through an effect to give it an ET “phone home” sound. What you are gonna purchase here is one bad-ass funky record that was a big track in the clubs of the UK back in 1983, and what makes this track really appealing is that we can already hear the embryonic beginnings of house music tucked into the grooves. I’ve played this at house clubs and it rocks the
Andy Compton feat Shamrock
This Kinda Love
Peng Records (digital download promo)
Andy Compton’s Peng is back in stride with what can only be described as the track that George Benson never made. Andy’s mix is a no-fuss, no-frills groove that allows a rhythm guitar to playfully scamper around the bars in George Benson mode and the scatting that chases the guitar is every bit as good as Benson’s work. A thumping bass drum and a simple repeated one-line vox is all it takes to round off this killa groove. Bazil’s Forever Mix is crunchier beats-wise and the bass is phat, phat like yo’ mama’s ass and man, she be shakin’ it all over the place if she could hear this raspy shit. A beautiful strings and keys breakdown entices the bass back into the track before that rhythm guitar starts its lickin’ and the beats start a kickin’ too. By far the best Peng release in ages.
Juno Records (12” test pressing)
A much-anticipated outing from Robot 84. The Scottish-born maverick producer does disco but left-of-centre disco; if he was a politician, he would definitely by siding up next to Jeremy Corbyn and perhaps even Lenin. Let me explain, there is disco and then there is DISCO! Disco that almost infringes on the hi-energy sound and Robot 84 plays around with these energetic loops more than most. Is he pushing the disco boundary that little bit further in a creative sense than most or is it a step too far? His rub of Divine’s hi-energy anthem Native Love is a guaranteed floor-filler and I suspect Robot 84 vs Miss Siam on this latest EP will appeal to those same dancers who got down to those pulsating beats and that bubbling bassline. Robot 84 vs King Supreme is a much mo’ straight ahead disco workout and is my favourite cut on the EP – just wait for the tantalising
break in the middle. A remix of Automatic shuffles along with lots of electronic keys and little fills that keep your ears honed in on the musical tapestry and interplay. A breakdown in the middle finds the track slowing down sluggishly to an almost dead end, a la Comin’ Back by The Northern Souls and, of course, Lil’ Louis’ seminal French Kiss. Automatic will work equally well in any environment, including Ibiza clubs and sunny terraces (when we can get back to partying). However, Dub Inside is definitely one for the loungers – consummate Balearic beats.