A little lithe latin from Ayala & Abrao on Hector Romero`s Orianna, Chicago and Detroit maneuvers from Andy Ash for Delusions Of Grandeur, quality compilations, classy collections, from Razor-N-Tape, Soul Clap, and Zepherin Saint`s Tribe, plus pumpin`
pop reworks care of KDA and his new label, The 40 Records. These are December’s scorching hot house tips, straight from our expert. All selections and words by The Insider.
Serving as the perfect warmer-upper, Ayala x Abrao’s O Mestre Canoeiro will get your feet tapping, hips swaying, and the dance-floor gently rocking to its catchy and hypnotic beat. Southern Italy’s Ayala has had previous outings on respected labels, MoBlack, Sol Selectas, Ocha and Loot Recordings, so he’s no stranger to the limelight. Ayala takes traditional global sounds from the past and mixes those up with contemporary studio skills, to arrive at his Balearic-leaning productions. His music blends spicy Latin flavours and folk guitar with heaps of tasty percussion. This is his second outing on Sony Music’s Latin label, Orianna – which is A&R’d by Def Music’s Hector Romero. The label was born out of from a passion for all things Latin, be it South America, Italy, or the Balearic Isles. Orianna has been at it just a year but are already 33 releases deep! On O Mestre Canoeiro, Ayala collaborate s with Brazilian Abrao, who’s been making splashes working with the Red Axes and Crosstown Rebels. On this club version of the single the lyrics speak about negotiating the tricky and sometimes choppy waters of life. Congas dice with drum machines, and bass, to form a heady fusion of Afrobeat and Latin Funk. It’s just so Balearic!
Soul Clap co-founder, Eli Goldstein, gets together with his Italian amico, Milan radio personality, club pioneer and scenester, Lele Sacchi, to curate the second edition of Italo Funk. The first was 2019’s most delightful compilation. This time the work is dedicated to Italian cultural icon, Claudio Coccoluto, who sadly passed in 2021. To set the scene …cast your mind back to the parties in `90s Rimini, or the Tunnel Club or Magazzini Generali in Milan. Cruising in your tiny Fiat hire, drenched in that balmy Mediterranean vibe of the best-looking Italian house and funk party you’d ever experienced! Italy has had a long relationship with funk and soul, beginning well before the `90s, that stemmed from the success of American R&B artists back in the `60s. In `70s Italy the Umbria Jazz Festival opened, while the soul-funk sound of Napoli Centrale was inspired by the music played on local American bases. This is when the funk sound of Italy was born! On Italo Funk Vol.2, there’s a cast of the country’s finest dishes including a couple of tracks from underground cosmic disco legend DJ Rocca, promising newcomer Rocco Universal – with one of the highlights of the comp – the far too good-looking Rollover DJs, Brioski formerly known as Boot & Tax, and Riviera Romagnola’s Funk Rimini. There’s tracks from Capofortuna – an outfit comprised of Rame and the Cardelli brothers – and Stump Valley of Melodj Mecca fame, plus one from the late Coccoluto himself. This cast of leading men takes us on a well-dressed ride in their Alfa Romeo from Rimini to Bari, from Napoli to Roma. Italo Funk Vol.2 is a class adventure that brilliantly explores Italy’s massive funk and disco attitude.
With an out of this world cast of producers, and some seriously well-crafted grooves, Razor-N-Tape drop the Christmas party bomb with this ridiculously good compilation that’s overflowing with heat! Dimitri from Paris and DJ Rocca come to together on the inspired opener Days Of Better Paradise, straight out of the Don Carlos school of a House. Relative newboy, Clive From Accounts, delivers the very classy It’s Not That I Don’t Care (that lovers of Claudia Barry’s Love For Sake of Love will immediately connect with), where Disco lasers fire over the super sexy vocal sample and elegant keys. Ben Sun turns the lights down low for more `80s Ladies inspired sound. Family Affair Vol.1 showcases a variety of sounds, and on top of the disco glam already covered, there’s deeper house vibrations from Misiu with the Fab Four inspired, Love Me Do, and Eli Escobar & Lauren Flax’s A Feelin`. Making another big Christmas snowball splash is the Boston-based space goddess of funk Saucy Lady, gift-wrapping the velvety suave Passport To My Love. Daniel T’s Trinidad Trouble goes deeper, and tribal, while Moscow playboy, Lay-Far, rounds off this killer collection with some seasonal acid funk jazz. From Deep House to Disco to Tribal and Electronic Breaks, Family Affair Vol.1 has it all with a cocktail cherry on top.
KDA has been running around the London scene for some time, but you may not have bumped into him until now. Unless of course, you were part of the 24/7 Soho scene, where he played at just about every LGBTQ+ night going. A South London kid who’s humble beginnings and multi-cultural upbringing, were the foundation for his daring and lawless approach to production. Real name Kris di Angelis, he has recently birthed his own label – The 40 Numbers – years in the making, but finally coming to life. This former model, and player of tunes, alongside the iconic Jodie Harsh, has put together KNKY NMBRS001 for your listening pleasure. This E.P. is made up of five ridiculously good edits, kicking off with Roisin Murphy’s 2012 track, Simulation – where KDA amps up the slo-mo chug of the original and flips it into a powerful peak-time weapon. Cardi B & Kehlani’s 2018 joint, Ring, gets the KDA treatment, where KDA takes the beat and the lyric “you don’t hit my number no more”, to a whole new audience with his killer ‘Vogue’ rework. Post-dubstep pop figure James Blake’s song Do You Ever was a throwback to his London clubbing days. KDA turbo transforms it into an after-hours juggernaut, with rolling, crunching beats, and a relentless groove, while Wretch32’s Traktor gets a dark and bass heavy grime fix! KDA flexes his studio muscle on the closing cut, showcasing what wild trailblazer he is, turning Mariah Carey’s Get The Fuck Out into a super-deluxe, super-sexy, garage house monster.
Andy Ash may not be a name that everyone knows, since he’s a man who doesn’t like to shout, but the underground scene knows him and loves him well. An accomplished producer and visual artist – check the cover art – with his third outing on Delusions Of Grandeur, Andy Ash’s sound is well established and deeply defined – stripped back underground house and disco with lashings of groove and attitude is his thing, and it’s a style that continues to ferment and become even more tasty as the years pass! Perfectly placed in D-O-G`s off-centre space, Andy’s signature wonk is well at home. This four-track affair kicks off with the Chicago inspired Tiawo, where a relentless 707 pushes on, alongside synthetic chimes, resulting in a heady, after-hours warehouse jam. Strictly Pins is a minimal monster, with barely-there drums and Rhodes chords. The tastily titled Burger continues with the deep and dubby Detroit mood, taking its familiar Vogue vocal sample and twisting it up for maximum wonk-age. E.P. closer, Brother, delivers a more traditional four-to-the-floor deep houser, with its rolling bassline and swinging drums.
With a background as illustrious as Dean Zepherin, it will come as no surprise that the quality of this collection is five-star! A seminal producer, his Caribbean roots as well as his North London upbringing are both parts of his music’s foundation. Now residing in the musical magic lands of Melbourne, the Tribe Records founder, and sonic innovator, continues to push his chosen genres to the outer limits. It’s the “Month Of The Comp”, and this big-fat-one is bursting at the seams before we’ve even started on the mince pies! With Louie Vega, Larry ‘Mr Fingers’, Kai Alce, Spinna, Timmy Regisford, Teddy Douglas, Patrice Scott, Arnold Jarvis, Nathan Adams, Ashley Beedle, and more – all on Dean’s speed-dial Christmas card list. Legends sit alongside bright new talents, where tracks from the Tribe vaults are given some fresh air, mixed up with some effervescent shiny new beats, right out of Zepherin Saint`s record boxes. From deep house to percussion-led, from broken beats to the most powerful soulful vocals, this is an album which is quite simply brimming with depth and warmth. It’s a collection curated by someone who’s many years of knowledge and experience all come together to deliver something very special. There’s twenty cuts on here! My pick of the comp is Alex Attias and I Wanna Know, with a stunningly off-key vocal from Georgia Ann Muldrow. A deliciously, sultry slab of dancefloor soul, rich in samba-fired beats and fluid pianos, that’s getting smashed by Ron Trent. Dean Zepherin deserves an award for this album. It’s BOSS!