Reviews

MAESTRO, a feature documentary 4 years in the making, tells the story of how a group of people found refuge and a call for life outside the mainstream, what evolved was a scene that set the ground work for what was to come in dance music culture worldwide, a rare insight into the secret underground world.

It’s the first time this story is told in a motion Picture, included in the film are pioneer dance music DJs and producers, "founding fathers", its center being Larry Levan, as well as high-profile DJs of today.

It vividly portrays the world that spawned today's dance music from 2-step, to the eclectic sounds of tribal, to pop artists. Parties from Ibiza to Philly, all are influenced by the quintessential elements that made New York City's Paradise Garage and The Loft such a powerful cultural force in people's lives.

DJs Larry Levan, (Paradise Garage) and David Mancuso, (The Loft), continue to be revered today as the leaders of dance music culture worldwid. This seminal movement - encompassing dancers, patrons, artists, DJs, sound designers, and more - gave birth to DJ pioneers in the film and contemporary dance club parties across the globe.

MAESTRO, with a personal and candid approach, shows the true history of the people through a realistic creative aesthetic. Tracing the underground's dance origin, Maestro brings out a real understanding of this intense lifestyle, and the lives they lived and died for. It is far from mere nostalgia, this film is like the music and experiences it chronicles.

Picks of the Week

Dino and Terry "Music EP" (Crash Records 12")

Dino and Terry Demopoulos return in fine form with the "Music EP" that features the two tracks "Music" and "Liberty". "Music" is as deep as it gets, featuring a deeply rumblin' groove that is topped with a spoken word message by Kingdom and melodic chords, with a jazzy piano line coming in half way through. The dub mixes replace the chords and piano with jazzy keys and stripps the vocals. "Liberty" is on a sligthly rougher edge, featuring a deeply stormin' groove and jazzy xylophone together with spheric keys. Both tracks take you on a journey into deep house music.

Picks of the Week

Jihad Muhammad featuring Carolyn Victorian "Reflections" (UK Basic Records CD Promo)

New Jersey based producer Jihad Muhammad is going from strength to strength at the moment with his releases, and now he unleashes another bomb for new label UK Basic in form of "Reflections", a marvellous deep house track that is based on an irresistibly bouncin' groove that features infectious vocal hooks from Carolyn Victorian together with a jazzy instrumentation that includes piano and saxophone. Toronto's John Kumahara is currently working on a remix that will be included on the vinyl release.
 

SUMO featuring Rigas "Tribute" / "Factory" (HEYA HIFI Records CD Promo)

After kicking off their HEYA HIFI imprint with a selection of their best remixes, SUMO return with two fresh productions, both featuring an electrifying spoken word performance by Rigas. "Tribute" is best described as a homage to the classic jazz band sound, being driven by an incredible piano bassline that gets topped with a wicked horn section and fantastic saxophone solo along the spoken words, creating an irresistible vibe. On the second track "Factory" SUMO enter a different territory, creating a rhythmic affair based on seriously bouncin' beats and featuring spoken words together with wicked keys with a spacey edge that give the track a bit of a techy edge.

Picks of the Week

Jessica Williams "Faith, friendship & love" (Paradax Records CD Promo)

Paradax Records is one of those small labels that can do no wrong, each and every one of their releases is dope. Their latest offering "Faith, friendship & love" features  the soulful voice of Jessica Williams and continues this tradition. The 'Main Mix' by Aaron Arce is driven by an ultra funky bassline and features laminar keys together with sweet percussion, creating a funky house jam. Soulato take the track really deep on their dub, adding a wicked organ line to it. Lars Behrenroth provices both a vocal and dub, giving it a slight techy edge but always keeping it soulful. For an eletrofied interpretation, check the Frankie Medina remix, while Teddy Q's reworking is a funktified, percussive groover. The last mix is courtesy of Artie G. Dorian who delivers a stormin' affair with wicked keys. An oustanding package that should not be missed!

Picks of the Week

Working Underneath featuring Vanita Wilson "Don't wanna be set free" (Haus'Flor Records CD Promo)

For their fourth release on the Haus'Flor label, Working Underneath have chosen Vanita Wilson to be the featured vocalist. "Don't wanna be set free" is a fantastic garage production featuring a passionate vocal by Vanita Wilson, coming in three different flavors. The 'Amped Original Mix' has an organic sound to it, featuring a deeply rumblin' bassline together with warm keys. The 'Underneach Mix' is a truly soulful affair, featuring sweet percussion together with a jazzy piano line and lovely xylophone solo. The 'New Jersey Nite-Life Mix' has an underground feel to it, using a deeply stormin' groove together with swinging percussion, rolling horns and spheric keys that create an irresistible vibe.

Picks of the Week

Melba Moore "My heart belongs to you" (SoulFuric Records CD Promo)

The legendary disco diva Melba Moore ("You stepped into my life" is probably her most famous classic) returns to the scene with the Ron Carroll produced "My heart belongs to you", a track that has been huge since it premiered at this years Winter Music Conference in Miami. Ron Carroll's 'BMC Vocal Classical' is an uplifting affair featuring Melba Moore's intense and passionate vocals over a poweful Chicago style track. Jon Cutler reworks into a smoothly stompin' deep house groove that is driven by an irresistible piano line you can't stop to dance to, while Polish duo WaWa heat things up for peak time on the dub that is fueled with extra ingredients to rock the crowd.

Picks of the Week

Bah Samba featuring the Fatbak Band "Let the drum speak" (BKO Records CD Promo)

Hot on the heels of "Calma" comes a revisited version of the Fatback Band's 1975 classic "Let the drum speak", with the original version recorded in a jam session between Bah Samba and Fatback's Jonny Flippen on bass and Bill Curtis on drums. This is a faithful interpretation of the classic full of funky vibes, spreading a soulful vibe. Phil Asher gives the song a soulful house outfit, drizzled with funky guitars, classy brass and superb vocal harmonies courtesy of Alice Russell. In contrast, Harvey turns out a downtempo groover reminiscent of the old school funk and soul days, with extra instrumentation added, spreading a timeless vibe.

Info on the "Lost Grooves" series

"What is this series all about?" you might ask. The idea of this series is to bring to you exclusive and unreleased joints that deserve to be heard. The reason they are exclusive and unreleased are various - sometimes the labels reject or simply don't release a production or remix they ordered, sometimes the producers did it for fun, sometimes the release is planned far away in the future, sometimes...

Picks of the Week

Lost Grooves 2005: Tania Maria "Come with me" (Louie Vega & MAW Remixes)(Concord Records CD-R)

"Come with me" is the title track from jazz/funk singer Tania Maria's 1983 longplayer that gave her worldwide recognition as this song became a big hit. Masters at Work give it a reworking perfect for clubs, preserving the uplifting jazzy vibes from the timeless original, subtly enriching this great song with additional instrumentation. In contrast, the 'Louie Vega Remix' turns it into a dreamy affair, adding an organic chill-out vibe to it. Simply a wonderful reworking.
 

Lost Grooves 2005: Kenny Bobien "Through the rain" (Bassclef Records CD-R)

Jose Burgos & Duce Martinez aka Soul Creation produced this beautiful song that is running for a full twelve minutes and features the legendary Kenny Bobien who delivers an outstanding vocal performance over a fierce groove that is driven by an irresistible piano line and wicked guitar riff, with percussion elements enhancing the irresistible vibe. Garage music as soulful as it gets.