Here's a great new release from German producer DJ Lunatic who packages up two cheeky little party tunes for you. The proceedings kick off on the A side with a funky remix of the classic Ultra's track Poppa Large. Kool Keith's vocals ride over a raw backing track. I couldn't say with any authority what the source of the sample was, but it sounds authentically late sixties with that raw New Orleans big brass sound. It's a great little nugget for the dancefloor that will keep the trainspotters guessing.

Equally as interesting on the flip side we get a Masta Ace remix using some very quirky instrumentation. The drums I recognise as Dexter Wansel's Theme from The Planets, but rest I'm not familiar with. DJ Lunatic has sourced a curious sample that to my ears sounds like the 8 Bit music made on the old Amiga computers back in the day - and that's totally cool as I was a big 8 Bit music fanatic back in the day! It's a squelchy and filtered bed of music, and comes off nicely experimental and interesting - although it's not really one for your next boombap DJ gig, I can definitely see myself dropping this joint in certain spots to a musically discearning crowd. The more I listen to it, the more I'm feeling it!

It's worth mentioning that this release is pressed at 33rpm, so you can get busy with double copies. I think the A side will definately be great for this purpose.

Grab you copies from DJ Lunatic's facebook page here

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French production dup DJ Suspect and Doc TMK are getting ready to snap necks with this dope release due to hit stores any day now. It's a solid boombap excursion appropriately featuring nineties indie Hip Hop luminaries Finsta Bundy, who I don't think I've seen a peep from for many years - But what a welcome return it is. Finsta and Bundy still have the goods intact, and sit perfectly on top of both sides of this release.

With this release Suspect and Doc TMK execute two solid sides of production. It's slightly moody and atmospheric, but uptempo with drums that hit hard in the pocket. These two tracks (The B Side is labelled the "Sumer remix") are aimed stright at the pure Hip Hop set, those of us with a love of the nineties in our hearts and an appreciation for that golden era sound that never really ended (You just got to keep looking beneath all that shitty pop music that passes for Hip Hop these days). I've also got to mention the chorus section, deftly crafted from expertly scratched vocal snippets - Just the way Hip Hop should be. Solid!

Label is designed by Mr Krum, so you know it's pleasing to the eye. This release is also crazy limited to 350 copies worldwide, so don't sleep.

Pre-order this release from Dusty Platter

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From time to time when I hear those clown conversations lamenting on how Hip Hop is dead I can't help but think of Soundsci, and how who ever it is I'm conversing with has probably never heard of them - And that's just too bad, because as long as Soundsci keep turning out quality Hip Hop bangers like this then I can rest assured that the Hip Hop I love is alive and well. And too be frank, if you have never heard of Soundsci, or its core members of Oxygen, Audessey, UGeorge, Ollie Teeba, or Johnny Cuba then you're doing yourself a disservice, and have been most likely hiding under a rock or something because these fellas have been getting around.

So I won't go into how deep these guys are into Hip Hop, apart from saying that you need to school yourself up on them - and this release is a pretty good starting point. the A side is a solid downtempo joint, with a nice moody soundtrack sample. The fellas flex their usual talents all over this joint, and honestly there isn't a bad word I could say against it - But - When it comes to the flip side, now that my jam right there! Uptempo heavy B B drums, lyrical mayhem, and some super dope scratching courtesy of Mr Thing and DJ Woody. The B Side is worth the price of admission alone.

Overall, a solid and very dope release that gives us a taster for what we can expect off the forthcoming new album.

Grab it on Bandcamp

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I'm really liking the output on this label. The first release from Freqnik & WDRE released back in 2014 is everything I love about instrumental Hip Hop: Lots of samples, funky arrangement, and that gritty sound. It took well over 12 months until we were treated to the second release, this time from Canadian producers DJ Pump and Hedspin. That one didn't disappoint either and gave new hope to the idea that this label would be putting out more output. Well fortunately we didn't need to wait another year for this third release. In a matter of months since the previous one, we have a new 45 this time showcasing the production talents of North Carolina beat maker Drugs Beats.

This release continues the top quality instrumental Hip Hop stylings that we now come to expect from the label, although each tune is some what shorter in duration. Infact, I'm hesitant to call these full tracks, as they are much more like exercises on the MPC. Drugs Beats gives us a total of four of these exercises, spread over both sides of this 45. Right off the bat, I have to say these are great. They are packed with familiar samples such as the Ohio Players "Funky Worm". The J Dilla influence is strong on this release - infact DJ Houseshoes recently featured Drugs Beats on his most recent producer showcase series on "The Gift Volume 10", which did include all 4 of these exercises in its tracklist.

If this sounds like your bag then I'd suggest grabbing this release right away before it sells out. It's definitely packed full of head nodders for your next mixtape.

Grab this release from Juno Records

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Nick Bike - Chosen Spokes #3

Written on 10 March 2016

Canadian producer Nick Bike has been really finding his form lately. He had a good year in 2015, with two excellent releases, and this year sees him continue his run with this third instalment in his Chosen Spokes series - and I have to say, for a format that runs just under five minutes per side, Nick Bike really fills each of his releases to the brim, and this is no exception.

The proceedings start with a very funky remix of "Let The Rhythm Hit 'Em". A funky guitar lick and some super stomping drums nicely cradle the main focal point of the track, Rakim's lyrics. The chorus is accentuated by some nicely edited vocal grabs. Nothing too fancy is going on here, and that is quite ok with me as Nick quite obviously knows that sometimes less is more. This A side is rounded off with thirty seconds of Nicks usual skippless scratchy sound bites.

The flip side contains three exercises in production - all are fantastic and carry their own flavour. The stand out to me is the huge sounding "Positive Contact", with its squelchy baseline and 90's Hip Hop drums. It's reminiscent of what producers like Danny Breaks and Tipper were doing in the UK a number of years back, and I could quite easily have enjoyed this track on it's own full sided release.

Overall, another great release that is worthy of picking up as soon as possible before it sells out. 

Grab it from Juno Records

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Smoove - Return Of The Beats

Written on 03 February 2016

Holy Moly, this release is set to blow your mind! It's been a minute since Wack records dropped a release. I think the last one was back in 2014. The label has a steady discography behind them, notching up 15 releases so far with the majority of them as 45s - and this new forthcoming release is set to fire up a dancefloor near you.

As with most (but not all) releases on this label, the man behind the production is Smoove. I've been a big fan of his music for the last 15 years or so. Yes, His discography runs deep. In recent years he has had some success on Jalapeno Records with his duo of Smoove And Turrell which nicely crosses elements of Motown soul, House grooves, and straight up club bangers - But I get the feeling that his releases on Wack Records allow him to run deep in his record collection and get busy with samples in ways that might be prohibitive under his other production guises.

The A side is an uptempo soul stomper utilising elements of the Martha Reeves classic, laid over some hard hitting drums. This sound is very much a signiture sound for Smoove, as he has expertly craft together the driving momentum of Northen Soul of many previous releases. This side really shows his mastery of that sound and is worth the entry fee alone.

The B Side.. How can I put this.. It's pretty bloody freakin' amazing! In a total flip in style Smoove takes on the Mantronix classic "King Of The Beats", recreating it expertly but giving it enough of it's own identity. Is it a remix? Is it a remake? Well I guess it's both. Whatever it is, I'm an instant fan. He uses many of the original samples as used in the Mantronix version, but to slightly different effect - and introduces some samples that never appeared in the original. This mix sits very comfortably right next to the recent DJ Format 45, and also has elements that took me right back to Coldcut's "Say Kids What Time Is It" which acts largely as the blueprint for these types of cut-ups.

As with all releases from Smoove, you can tell that this has been produced with a total love for the music and the format it is released on. It's worth mentioning as well that a previous (but some what similar in style) release on Digga Please from Smoove was available for only the briefest window of time - and I expect that this will be the same, which should be enough motivation for you to run out and grab your copy right away.

Pre-order on Juno Records

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It's always a good day when a new label is announced. It's an even better day when the first release on that label is from someone from your own city. The label might be Strange Neighbor from Los Angeles, but the artist is from Sydney, Australia (though he did spend a a few years in Japan, but has since relocated to Melbourne). DIZZ1 started off his musical artistry playing drums at a very early age, but in the late 90s his vinyl habit saw him becoming a skillful turntablist and an all round deejay about town. He toured with electronic groups like ON INC and dBCHILLS where his drumming abilities came back to the fore. After a freak accident in which he broke his neck, he spent the time recuperating by teaching himself musical production on an MPC. In 2008 he participated in the Red Bull Academy in Barcelona and since then he has racked up a tidy discography on eclectic labels such as The Netherlands based Rush Hour and Kindred Spirits, hooked up with ROOTS MANUVA for Big Dada and last year dropped his debut LP In Sickness & In Health on Tru Thoughts

Now on the other side of the world comes his first 45 release via the USA label STRANGE NEIGHBOR. Having worked with many underground emcees such as SADAT X, ALOE BLACC and TAME ONE it's cool to hear the vocals of Philly born HEZEKIAH and keyboardist RALPH REAL on Shots Fired. The 84bpm tempo relies on an engaging guitar line punctuated by by some occasional buffed up brassy horns and is far more restrained than DIZZ1's more experimental excusrions. The b-side is the more spaced out remix by SWEATSON KLANK. The lyrics focus on the unfortunate observation of recent American police brutality towards those who aren't of the caucasian persuasion. Sadly an ongoing tale that shows no sign of abating. 

First released as a digital file in December 2015, it is now available on 300 limited clear vinyl as of the 29th January 2016. And there's another one on the way.

Available from USA via FAT BEATS or the UK via JUNO as well as the usual spots.

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The drummer for London jazz funk outfit The Expansions drops his first 45 as the debut release on new label Albert's Favourites. Thankfully it's not mired in that glitch hop sound that dominated the genre for awhile, but it instead harks back to the day when I got excited by new music from Controller 7, Omega One, Bias, Daedelus, Blockhead, DJ Day, etc... 'Mind Field' is a lucious swirling evocative little with some beautifully layered elements. Like patting a fluffy kitten with sensitive hands, the light percussion feels soft to the touch over the evocatively executed soundscape. 'Mindfield'... Oh how I love this tune. It's one of those tracks I want to mix into itself again. It's delicate, highly organised, subtle, yet complex and intriguing. Listening to this makes me feel as though a fairy has curled up and made it's bed inside my ear canal. Intelligently comforting.

The flip 'This is the One' is no less than its alternate, but swings with slightly heavier drums and more prominent bassline, while still retaining a dreamy atmosphere. Overall it's an excellent 45 for summery daytime events in the chill out area.

The digital file came out in December, but now late January 2016 we are able to purchase the, hopefully first, vinyl from Jonny Drop's digital only LP 'Sub Pilot'.

Grab it from their Bandcamp

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New Orleans deejay Yamin once again takes on his guise of Professor Shorthair for the third installment in this series of 45s, and it's a banger. On side-A DJ Yamin takes on the classic Meters track "Handclapping Song", which is my definately my pick for this release. It's beefed up, and he has added some clever little scratch additions that just give it a slight Hip Hop edge which is most welcome. 

On the B Side Yamin uses the Ernie K Doe track "Here Omes the Girls", which I'm pretty sure got used on a few mixtapes of recent years (But I can't remember who championed it). It's a completely fun party joint that is aimed directly at the dancefloor.

Grab this limited yellow vinyl 45 on DJ Yamin's bandcamp page for a very reasonable price - and it's worth noting that the previous two releases are still available through his page, and both are well worth getting.

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Our first review for the new year comes through with this dope new release from the Philippines. Recognized as the man behind the first ever DJ produced album in the Philippines, DJ Arbie Won has played an integral part on shaping the sound of the local Hiphop scene around Manila. He made his production debut way back in 1996 with the release of his group The Urban Flow with their debut album, and since that time has notched up a stack of local acolades for various projects, including placing as a finalist in both the 1999 and 2000 Philippine DMC's.

Arbie Won's most recent album 'United Freestyles vol.3' Pushes the envelope once again, this time collaborating with local talents Nyko Maka, Nimbus 9, Beng Calma of Drip and a bunch of others artists. On speaking about the album, Arbie Won states "I had the idea of trying to be more behind the scenes and just get different artists on the record. Each song holds its own, each song has it's own style, each tempo is not the same tempo throughout the album and lyrically everybody's not talking about the same thing. I produce, scratch, conceptualize and write some of the lyrics".

This 45 is the lead single from the new album. 'Trapper Keeper' is a fresh uptempo jam, featuring some nice lyrics from Analog MC. It's built from a nice jazz loop layered with some fierce drums that really propell that track along at a nice pace.

The flip side 'I Originate' would have to be my pick of the two. It's a dope solid Hip Hop joint with an infectious groove. The name of the sample escapes me as I have heard it used before, although Arbie Won successfully slices it up really uniquely and to very nice effect. The rapper Miscellaneous has got a nice flow and good cadence making his raps pleasing to the ear. It's actually a really nicely rounded jam and I'm looking forward to trying this one out infront of a dancefloor.

This strictly limited 45 release (300 were presssed) also includes unlimited streaming of the new album 'United Freestyles Vol.3' via the free Bandcamp app.

Grab the 45 on Bandcamp here.

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