Top Five Releases || April

For many music lovers out there April means Record Store Day.  Vinyl sales are at their highest peak in twenty-five years, however this widely celebrated annual event also creates industry tensions as major labels rush to release tribute albums for late superstars and deluxe editions of huge hits from the past.  Pressing plants become severely overstretched and smaller independent labels are shunted down the pecking order making it a difficult time to release new music.  This being said, the popularity of RSD shows how the vinyl resurgence continues to boom, it raises the profile of local record shops and the represses help to undercut profiteering resellers on Discogs.  Lastly, the day is responsible for a plethora of in-store entertainment and club events across the globe showcasing the eternal passions for music on wax.  Here are favourite five from the month...

Mousse T. & Lovebirds - Do Anything [Peppermint Jam Records]

German house veteran, Mousse T., who brought us the 90’s classic 'Horny 98’ and 'Is It ‘Cos I’m Cool?' is back in full force this summer with a three-track EP that is sure to keep the festival floors filled.  Pairing up with budding German producer, Lovebirds (a.k.a. Sebastian Döring), the duo are seen as a force to be reckoned with.  The EP is released on Peppermint Jam, who have dealt with the likes of Derrick Carter, Henrik Schwarz and Late Nite Tuff Guy. The label saw over many of T’s big releases in the past and it is clear that they are back to their old ways, this time with partner-in-crime, Lovebirds.

The energy is high from the get-go with slapping kicks, bouncy keys and tight percussion on all fronts (the subtle cow-bells do not go unnoticed).  The song transitions mid-way with the appearance of smooth vocals before descending into a slick, synth-fuelled groover.  This track reminds us that the summer is just around the corner and we can 'Do Anything' we want.

Buy:  Digital

Daniele Baldelli & DJ Rocca - Funkynoizer [File Under Disco]

Extending their already impressive collaborative discography is DJ Rocca and the cosmic king Danielle Baldelli coming in hot (as ever) with a disco delight that fuses Dub, Afro and electronic elements seamlessly.  The rest of the EP is filled with remix’s of the original mix ‘Funkynoizer’.  Rising Brazilian duo Selvagem lead the track on a darker, deeper path, while Pete Herbert & Dicky Trisco raise the bar with an even groovier, funkier number sure to raise the roof everywhere it gets a spin.  Finally DJ Rocca leaves us with a feel good version that has an old school essence. Released on File Under Disco, a label any disco head should be keeping tabs on.

Buy: Vinyl / Digital

DJ Normal 4 & Bufiman - The 5 Elements - Water & Air [Aiwo Rec]

Düsseldorf producers DJ Normal and Bufiman team up to release this experimental banger of an EP.  The tracks go deep, merging a hypnotic hybrid of break beat, jungle and techno with psychedelic sonics from the rainforest.

'Water Delusion' eases you in with slow mind-altering vocals and synths layered on top of break beat rhythms.  Next, each of the artists put their own spin on 'Wind Spell', integrating stripped down jungle stems with tribal techno patterns to create a trippy forest feel fully equipped with pan pipes, wind effects and bird calls.

'Dance of the Toads' runs in line with the spaced out tribal theme and bringing up the rear is 'Bonus Beatz', a high energy percussion workout again not confining itself to an orthodox genre.

“Sonic shamanry of the highest order” – Rush Hour Records, NL

Buy: Vinyl

King Bee - Bee To The Flower [Beeswax]

King Bee are a seven piece jazz funk band hailing from Newcastle.  Their skilfully arranged soulful sounds have gained recent airplay on 'The Craig Charles Funk & Soul Show' and support from others artists like Renegades of Jazz.  Their latest 12” release 'Bee To The Flower' is a relaxed jam which shows off the group’s talents for chill out jazz.  The bassline is infectious and the percussion is rock steady allowing the sax, horns and vocals to weave across each other whilst cleverly keeping the crucial element of space.  In the middle is a solid sax solo from Dave Wilde who has also played with fellow Geordie group Smoove & Turell.

It’s the B side that has fully sold this as an April selection.  French producer The Reflex (famed for his legendary Reflex Revisions series) sets his Midas disco touch to the track, making it DJ friendly and a perfect groove for a warm up set before a night of disco, house or soul.  King Bee released a killer album a few years ago and have a busy summer schedule ahead touring at some of the finest jazz venues and festivals across the UK.

Listen to the full release

Buy: Vinyl

Karpov Not Kasparov - Choose Your Color Gipsy Dark (Mehmet Aslan's Pasha Version) [Fleeting Wax]

Like many I had a good prowl of the streets during record store day.  My highlight, probably catching Jasper James and DJ Haai in the basement of a hairdresser around the corner from Phonica.  Anyway can’t remember who, but the Memhut Aslan remix of ‘Choose your Colour Gipsy Dark’ was about.  Really liking this Middle Eastern ring that is infused into a lot of productions these days, something that Memhut Aslan often brings to the table. 

It’s a really good release from Switzerland based label Fleeting Wax – a lot of flavours to it.  The first track by Khidja is a dark brooding record that kicks along with a smooth rock beat.  Next up is Fleeting Wax’s rendition who play big on the arpeggio’s.  Lastly it’s Mehmut Aslan who brings the twang from the east, a really melodic track shedding a bit of light onto the EP.  

Buy: Vinyl

Chosen by Tom M, Ben C, Henry C & Jack A