Multi-instrumentalist, Flamingosis has released the third installment off of Sundae Sauuce‘s Chocolate Drizzle funk compilation, “Think Back And Remember.” With a serenading electric guitar laying atop a bed of sultry synths, the the track is carried by a pleasing, jazzy drum arrangement. The hook picks up with a wailing guitar melody and sparkling synths, giving the new tune a venerated, vintage disco aesthetic.
New Jersey-based producer/beatboxer/DJ, Aaron Velasquez, is known for his smooth, crisp production sensibilities, proctoring relaxing, mood boosters that lean on sonic subtleties in their appeal. His sound is heavily influenced by beat makers like J Dilla, Flying Lotus, and Madlib. Reach for “Think Back And Remember” for a cruise with the windows down, or study session buried under headphones and let Flamingosis take you away.
Sammy Bananas hand long been a respected figurehead in the dance music scene. Fans of Fool’s Gold Records will know him as the less forward-facing A-Trak signee, frequently appearing in the label’s radio shows, remix duty, and on many of the imprint’s compilations over the course of a decade. But the Fool’s Gold OG has never been in the spotlight in the way he is now, with the release of his debut full-length LP, Someday.
Through a lengthy, tasty catalog of singles, Bananas made it clear that his game is disco. Someday takes those inspirations further than just disco and the genre’s newer iterations, swinging through indie electronica, flanked by saxophones and progressions lifted right out of 1980’s with some contemporary dance flare. He’s made the record a collaborative effort, teaming up with singers like BOSCO and Kaleena Zanders to round out the album’s vocal fuel.
With a mantra of “little. yellow. different.” Bananas has had a strong sense of humor throughout his career, and it comes through directly in his music. “21,” one of the album’s only singles, hilariously leans on the all too familiar sentiments one might feel as they meet people out at night. The record’s charmingly cheesiest homage to the 80’s however by way of slow jam “How Many Kisses?” effortlessly reaching peak nostalgia. At long last, Sammy Bananas is having a deserved moment in the sun, and he’s dropped off an exceptionally fun collection to celebrate.
At long last, Chromeo have shared their fifth studio album, Head Over Heels. An ode to all things disco, the album explores the sub-genres of funk — roping in synth pop, sultry R&B, and nu-disco sensibilities into a retro-inspired dance record built for the 21st century dance fan. And while Chromeo have always maintained a creative affinity for vintage stylings, Dave1 and P-Thugg are celebrating their newest release in the most contemporary way. Can’t make it out to New York’s iconic Terminal 5 for the album’s live debut? No problem — cut a rug from the comfort of your own living room.
In conjunction with Oculus Venues, the Funklordz will live stream their performance in VR for fans across the world to enjoy. The show will air tonight (June 15) at 9:30pm EST/6:50pm PST, broadcasting Chromeo’s newest material from Terminal 5, replete with all the visuals, lights, and sounds of a full concert experience. Head Over Heels, the duo’s first full-length project since 2014’s White Women, features contributions from DRAM, The-Dream, French Montana, and more is available now via Big Beat Records.
Nile Rodgers has proven his knack for writing hit songs over the past five decades, with collabs from Duran Duran to Daft Punk under his belt. Keeping up with the newest names in funky pop music, Rodgers and Chic have taken to the Jools Holland show on BBC Two with Mura Masa and NAO to premiere their funky new track, “Boogie All Night.”
NAO acts as the main vocalist on the track, pairing her breathy, high-energy vocals with Rodgers’ classic guitar riffs. Mura Masa also takes the stage wielding a guitar, holding his own against the funk and disco legend. With a new album from Nile Rodgers and Chic set to arrive later this year, there is no telling what kind of groovy collaborations will be seen.
Everything A-Trak touches turns to gold. There’s nothing even remotely fake coming from the Fool’s Gold label boss’ wheelhouse. Now, he’s continuing to excavate treasures — having already unearthed supreme dance remixes for artists like Kanye West, Miike Snow, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and more, A-Trak’s latest haul is a balmy disco rendition of Charlotte Gainsbourg’s perennially cool “Sylvia Says.”
Gainsbourg recently released a limited edition, 12” EP with remixes from Soulwax, SebastiAn, and Les Oxalis for Record Store Day. A-Trak’s take on “Sylvia Says” comes as a part of a forthcoming six-track remix EP out June 1 which will feature new takes on the track from Tensnake, Breakbot, Jerge, Mind Enterprise, and Radio Slave.
Colby J is building a name for himself concocting well-rounded blends of disco, funk, soul, and blog era house, bringing his deep crates together to create a growing series of dynamic mixtapes. While there’s no shortage of LA-based up-and-comers tinkering with 808 drum arrangements and 909 snares, Colby J rather draws his inspiration in the likes of LCD, Soulwax, Tiga, and Holy Ghost, among others, and his indie-dance sensibilities undoubtedly shine in his newest mixtape titled “Mid Summer Night’s Dream.” For those with a sophisticated palate looking for an exceptionally well balance mix, reach for some headphones and turn on Colby J’s newest mixtape.
With a growing list of upcoming shows, and with his debut original material rumored to be in the works, expect Colby J to keep providing soothing sonics all summer long.
T R A C K L I S T
1. Shock Machine – “Open Up The Sky” (Soulwax Remix)
2. Mura Masa – “Love$ick” ft. A$AP Rocky (Four Tet Remix)
3. Robert Palmer – “Every Kind Of People” (JN Multicultural Multitrack Mix)
4. My Neighbor Is – “Little Freak”
5. Sadevillain – “Hold On Vaughn”
6. RockNRolla Soundsystem – “Morganton North Carolina”
7. Led Zeppelin – “Whole Lotta Love”
8. Adrian Gurvitz – “New World”
9. Mary Wilson – “Red Hot” (NY Edit)
10. Minako Yoshida – “Black Moon”
11. Devandra Banhart – “Santa Maria de Feira”
12. Cerrone – “Hooked” (Kon Remix)
13. JKriv – “The Queen On Her Throne”
14. J.M. Black – “Lipstick” (Shout)
15. Jean Guy Ruff – “Covergirl”
16. Paul Rudder/Tete De La Course – “Makin’ The Magic”
17. Stephene Deschezeaux – “On The Line”
18. Dimitri From Paris – “Flight To Jamaica”
19. Felix Leifur – “Berg Toppur” (Hidden Spheres Rocky Top Remix)
20. The Revenge – “Conkers”
21. Sharpio – “Dance Drone (We Can Make Your Body Move)”
22. Oliver Boogie – “Can’t Get Away”
23. Blutch – “Time After Time”
6.2 – The Echoplex (Silverlake)b2b Rambo w/ Darius, Kartell (Live)
6.20 – Friends w/ Benefits @ The Friend Bar w/ Adam After Hours
7.21 – The Saguaro (Palm Springs)w/ Sabio
Imagine if Michael Jordan and LeBron James got the chance to play on the same team in their primes. That’s essentially what we’re looking at with the union of Mark Ronson and Diplo and the launch of their new vintage club fare-inspired collaboration, Silk City. We’re experiencing a team up of epic proportions — two modern pop titans, arguably today’s most in-demand producers, joining their hit-making sensibilities to create vibrant, infectious disco cuts. What a time. Officially debuting the Silk City project, Diplo and Ronson have shared “Only Can Get Better,” featuring Australian vocalist Daniel Merriweather — and damned if it isn’t an absolute bop.
Silk City’s first recorded offering comes a few weeks ahead of their live debut at Governor’s Ball in New York in June. Ronson and Diplo have already confirmed upcoming material with Dua Lipa, and with credentials between them that include Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, and Amy Winehouse to name a few, the pair likely have a cast of emerging pop stars at the ready for a range of upcoming products. Silk City’s approachable, palatable brand of disco shines on “Only Can Get Better,” without really having a nostalgia card to play. Just based on the sheer ingenuity of two of today’s most profilic producers, Silk City is already positioned to potentially ride a swelling disco resurgence in 2018.
Legends Carl Cox and Eric Powell remain heroes in the house and techno sphere. Despite clocking in three decades each behind the decks, their passion for their craft and drive to continually move forward musically allows them an endurance that has stood the test of time. Paired with this endurance is a profound connection with their dance genres of choice, stemming largely in part from their roots.
Jazz, soul, funk, and disco are as deeply embedded in house and techno as they are in Cox and Powell’s musical backgrounds. Both their parents exposed them at a young age; Carl, for example, recalls a childhood playing classic records at family gatherings. Similarly, Eric’s hunger for jazz and funk led to him sneaking out of school to ravishly consume new albums. Hearing of their pasts greatly clarifies the present — it seems as though curating and purveying these soulful sounds that moved them so much, in one form or another, was a path they were both meant to travel down.
Three decades after earning their stripes on the DJ circuit, it’s time for Powell and Cox to pay respect, and revive the jazz/disco/funk side of them. Their evolution subtly made its introduction a decade ago, when the two began throwing their Mobile Disco (MD) parties across Australia. Throwing events simply wasn’t enough, however; there was a desire for something deeper, more tangible. Thus, both icons converged their talents and creative vision into a brand new project based around the Mobile Disco brand: MD Funk Connection.
The main M.O. of the project aside from its event arm is to gather new and old live artists currently upholding the music that is the backbone of Cox & Powell’s existences, and output music alongside them. Based off the first single, what we have is a refreshing endeavor that elicits an organic, empathetic response in its listeners. They’ve taken Mass Production’s classic “Shante,” and remastered it with a bit more of a modern flair that preserves the original’s integrity. In the future, more original works are expected.
Curious as ever, Dancing Astronaut flagged down MD Funk Connection to spill some details on the project’s inspiration, the profound influence their roots have played in their dance careers, future plans, and more.
Obviously both of you are very familiar with just how much funk, disco, & jazz have influenced/helped the birth of dance music. We’d love to hear you guys give us a history of this influence in your own words!
We both have West Indian heritage – Carl’s parents are from Barbados and Eric’s dad is from St Kitts, Carl grew up in the south of England and Eric grew up in the north of England, listening to soul, bluebeat, reggae, funk and jazz.
In our teens we went to All Dayers – Caister/Blackpool Mecca – great times and great music. Amazing self contained bands – Slave, Mass Production, early Jeff Lorber Fusion, Funkadelic, Parliament, Maze, Brass Construction, Eric says he always thought he was a rebel sneaking off from school to listen to new jazz/funk albums. A ten year old Carl Cox would play records at his dad house parties. Spending your last five pounds on an album, having to walk home because you had spent your bus fare on records. When we old enough to go out, it was at the end of disco for some people, but looking back it was the start of house music, with the benefit of hindsight you can see the musical progression.
What is it about jazz and funk that make them such soulful and timeless genres, in your opinions?
The musicians, the singers – gospel vocals mixed with experimentation of jazz and the locked down groove of funk – the perfect storm allowed the genre to grow and develop.
Who were your favourite musicians growing up that have played the most influence in your sound?
Nile Rodgers, George Clinton, Ronnie Laws, Randy Muller, all grooved based producer musicians and all little bit different – Nile Rodgers and Chic was disco with soul, George Clinton the ultimate funk producer, Ronnie Laws, including his sisters and brother Hubert Laws, Debra Laws, Eloise Laws, Randy Muller and Brass Construction almost rock but never with out his unique brand of funk, probably our favourite producer was Jimmy Douglas – he was so young when he produced “Slave” Eric Powell thinks those albums were his heaviest influence especially “Snap Shot”.
Carl’s favourite “Slave” album is “Just A Touch of Love”
On that note, did you two have any specific songs, artists or eras within funk/jazz/disco in mind to emulate while writing ‘Shante?’
Shante is a version of Mass Productions “Shante”, its a track we had been playing at our Soul and Funk parties, other tracks are “Welcome Aboard” – Webster Lewis, “Lovers Holiday” – Change, P-Funk All Stars – Hydraulic Pump
Who are your favorite acts in jazz and funk at the moment? Dream collaborators for future tracks?
We have a house/disco collaboration with Nile Rodgers that we are working on, we would love to work with Jimmy Douglas, on the U.K. side we are also hoping to do something with the Incognito guys and we are really excited about a revisit of a George Clinton classic – we got access to the original twenty four track tape.
We read that MD Funk Connection arose from your Mobile Disco parties that you’d throw in Australia. Any plans to bring those parties out to an international setting?
We are just about to do a “Mobile Disco” party in Bali, the location is off the hook – Ulu Cliffhouse, absolutely amazing venue, Both of us are looking forward to doing something in Europe and the States in the near future.
Tell us more about the decision to create a whole project around Mobile Disco in general. Why is now the right time to unleash it, and was there a particular moment that made you want to evolve the project past simple parties in your localities?
We have been doing our soul, funk and disco parties for ten years now, after seeing the response to some of those classics and the hard to find tracks we personally thought we were at a stage were we could re-imagine some of the tracks, write some originals, we have got a fantastic producer/engineer in “Joe Roberts” in the U.K. and Chris Coe in Australia plus an amazing array of musicians in both Australia and the U.K. – the timing was just right for us and we think that we could do justice to the soul funk disco genres.
What is your methodology for recording music under the MD Funk Connection project? Do you employ live instrumentation? Do you write through jam sessions and edit on the computer, or are all your sounds synthesised already and you mostly produce as you would a usual track?
So far all the tracks have been live musicians, We have a brain storm, talk to Joe and Chris, work out if we can find the right musicians and vocalists, then off we go – it is really exciting, its a different way of working than when you are solo in front of the computer. We are still into writing tracks in front of the computer but this gives us a slightly different creative outlet.
Which record stores are your favourite for finding jazz & funk records for your collection? What other places do you go to to search for records?
We both have extensive record collections, its more about disappearing sorting through our vinyl, coming up with tracks and artists that we forgot about. A track might come to mind then its scouring online retailers rather than going to record shops, we don’t live that close to any vinyl stores.
When did you two first start building your collection of jazz and funk records? Carl, I believe I read you began during your childhood?
We both started as kids – very young around nine years old could have even been younger, its amazing how similar, both of us would ask for albums for birthdays and Christmas.
If someone wanted to know more about jazz and funk, which tracks would you tell them to start out with?
Expansions by Lonnie Liston Smith, Jazz Carnival – Azymuth.
What other plans and ideas do you have in store for MD Funk connection in the future?
Its pretty organic project – no rush, enjoying ourselves in the studio, working with live musicians – we are finishing of a reggae track at the moment, the next track will be on a latin tip maybe.
Destructo is just on a different wavelength than us mere mortals. He helms one of the largest event production forces in the country, serves as one of dance music’s most trusted A&R forces, holds down a SiriusXM residency, and lives out the dream of being a world-famous touring DJ all at once. It seems like every week Gary Richards has something exciting to offer — he can link up with Busta Rhymes for a proper hip-hop cut, and then follow up with a club-primed house piece just days later without missing a beat. Presently, Destructo is gracing us with a new take on Oliver and Sam Sparro’s “Last Forever,” dropping off a solid dose of disco with a slick bit of contemporary house influence.
Putting his chameleonic studio capabilities to work, the “Catching Plays” producer takes on Oliver’s “Last Forever” keeping the original tune’s plucking, pronounced bass line as the backbone, but offering a more subdued, house-leaning spin on his take. The remix comes hot off the announcement of LA’s new AMFAMFAMF summer event, and judging by Richards’ momentum both in and out of the studio, 2018 is bound to be a banner year for Destructo.
DJ Koze is one of dance music’s most intriguing enigmas. Having moved from Hamburg to embrace simpler island living on the island of who knows where, his music today is a far cry from his strange, experimental techno of the early 2000s. In less than one month he’ll be releasing his new album Knock Knock and in the spirit of the release, the German maestro’s shared an infectious disco-tinged EP.
As the guaranteed “Pick Up” oscillates between in its six-and-a-half minute groove, and the extended 10-minute version too, house-diva disco murmurs of Gladys Knight and Koze’s poised production pairing make it all the more clear that Knock Knock will be both a smooth and sound follow-up to 2013’s beloved Amygdala.