One of the most eagerly awaited compilations of 2012, was JohNick’s You Know How We Dew, released by BBE Music in August 2012. You Know How We Dew was a double-album featuring twenty-two tracks from Johnick, Johnny D’s collaboration with Nicky Palermo. Many tracks were released during the nineties, mostly on Johhny D’s Henry Street label. Johnny D and Nicky P’s were much more than musical collaborators, but lifelong friends, who embarked upon their musical adventure back in Brooklyn. Their friendship would result in Johnny D and Nicky P releasing some of the most innovative and successful deep house music of the nineties. 

Johnny De Mairo and Nicky Palermo Jr, first met in Brooklyn, through their love of music. They lived in the same neighbourhood, and were aspiring mobile DJs by their early teens. They DJ-ed at parties throughout the borough of Brooklyn. Soon, they were hanging out together. The after spending time with Kenny “Dope” Gonzales, one half of Masters At Work, watching him produce music at home, Johnny D started making music. 

It was the rawness and energy of the music Kenny was producing, Johnny liked  Soon, Kenny was encouraging Johnny to buy a drum machine and sampler. Kenny showed Johnny the basics. Having learnt how to use his new equipment, Johnny taught Nicky and JohNick was born. Soon JohNick’s music was seen as some of the most innovative and influential house music. 

Throughout the nineties, JohNick were releasing tracks on Henry Street Music. By 1995, JohNick released their biggest single, Play the World, based on First Choice’s The Player. From there on, JohNick continued to release innovative and influential music, using disco as part of their inspiration. The disco influence can be heard on many of You Know How We Dew. This music gave birth to a new musical genre French Touch and classic aplenty.

You Know How We Dew features some JohNick classic, where old disco tracks are sampled. Three tracks from Disc One are proof of this. The Captain, a track from their 1997 album Non Stop, samples Carrie Lucas’ Dance With Me. Major Sea is a track from JohNick’s The Bay Ridge EP 2, released in 1992, samples Cerrone’s Love In C Minor. Johnick Planet, released in 1998, samples of Dexter Wansel’s Life On Mars. On Disc Two, Open Your Eyes, another track from JohNick’s 1997 album Non Stop, doesn’t just feature one sample, but two. These are the Rolling Stones’ Start Me Up and then Saint Tropez’s One More Minute. Although Heat doesn’t feature any samples, but is one of the best examples of what became known as French Touch, a musical genre JohNick invented. 

The best way to describe JohNick’s music on You Know How We Dew is some of the most innovative and influential music of the nineties. For anyone yet to discover JohNick’s music, then You Know How We Dew, released by BBE Music is the perfect starting point.



Private Wax, released by BBE Music in August 2012, is the second compilation compiled by Zaf Chowdry, crate-digger and record dealer to the stars. It’s a sixteen track compilation of deep disco and boogie. Many of the tracks are extremely rare and collectable. The sixteen tracks were either privately pressed by the artists involved, or by small, unknown record companies. These tracks weren’t hits. Instead, they disappeared without trace. After that, these tracks languished unloved, lying in dusty basements awaiting discovery. That’s where Zaf, of Zaf Music, the compiler of Private Wax comes in.  

When Zaf was compiling Private Wax, he dug deep, seeking out some of the rarest hidden gems in boogie and disco’s history. This includes discovering some real golden nuggets tucked on the B-side of singles. Among them are Mr. Fox’s Party Track, Pure Love’s D.I.S.C.O. Spells Love and Gregory Jolly’s What ‘Em Doing Is My Business. So good are this trio of tracks, that you wonder why they were only released as B-sides? After all, the A-side of these singles were hardly roaring successes? Not only has is his new compilation in Private Wax one of the best compilations this summer, but buying it saves you a small fortune. Buying each of the sixteen tracks individually would not only be prohibitively expensive, but would probably prove impossible, given how rare many of these tracks are. 

Indeed, Private Wax isn’t just a compilation that anyone who loves either boogie or disco will adore, but so will anyone who likes their music funky or soulful. From the opening bars of Ashanti’s only single Dance right until the closing beats of Soseme Makonde’s fusion of funk, soul and Afrobeat you never once lose interest. You never once reach for the remote control and skip a track. Instead, you’re spellbound, swept away by sixteen slices of sumptuous boogie and disco. For that, Zaf Chowdry deserves our thanks.



During 2012, I’ve literally reviewed compilations from the four corners of the world. In October, I reviewed International Feel-A Compilation, released by International Feel Recordings. The label was founded in 2009, by Mark Barrott. Since 2009, International Feel Recordings have been releasing electronica and Balearica. This includes singles from DJ Harvey, Gatta Fritto, Efeel, Rocha, Coyote, Hungry Ghost and Bubble Club. That’s not forgetting albums from DJ Harvey and Gatta Fritto, plus compilations that include International Feel and Locussolus Remixes. Tracks by many of these artists feature on International Feel-A Compilation, the label’s latest release. 

International Feel-A Compilation is a double-album, showcasing some of the label’s roster. This includes some of previously releases. Included on International Feel-A Compilation are previously unreleased tracks, plus track that previously, were only available on vinyl. In many ways, International Feel-A Compilation is the perfect introduction to the music on International Feel Recordings.

Among the highlights of Disc One of International Feel-A Compilation are Gatta Fritto’s The Curse, International Peoples Gang’s Second and Flights of Fancy’s ambient soundscape Spacebird. Parada 88’s You’re Gonna Miss Me is fusion of musical genres, including house, techno and Acid House. Disc Two sees the quality continue. Bepu N’Gali’s I Travel To You sees tribal and deep house unite, while Rocha’s Night Music has a much more experimental, leftfield sound. Hungry Ghost’s (I Am A) Series Of Strange Loops has an eerie, captivating and space-age sound that grabs your attention. It shows that there are still some innovative producers making music, that’s challenging, intriguing and compelling.

The music on International Feel-A Compilation is an eclectic selection of electronica. right through to International Feel’s trademark Balearic sound. Many of these artists won’t be familiar to most people, so International Feel-A Compilation is very much a voyage of discovery. These are just a taster of their first thirty-six releases, since Mark Barrott formed International Feel Recordings in 2009. Once you’ve heard the music on International Feel-A Compilation, it won’t be long before you’re delving deeper into International Feel’s back-catalogue.



Sometimes, when you buy a compilation, the first time you play it, you’re blown away by its sheer eclecticism. That was me, when I came across Leng Records’ latest compilation, Psychemagik Presents Magik Circles, released in October 2012. This is a double-album, compiled by the prolific UK production team of Psychemagik. Disc One is a twelve-track compilation of what’s describes as a mixture of cosmic disco, psychedelic funk, Balearica, Middle Eastern beats and much more. Four of the tracks are new edits by Psychemagik. On Disc Two, these twelve tracks are seamlessly mixed by Psychemagik. Not only do these twelve tracks showcase Psychemagik’s passion for crate-digging, but celebrate their eclectic taste in music.

When you listen to the twelve tracks on Psychemagik Presents Magik Circles, you’re struck by the sheer eclecticism of the music. There music from France, Italy, Greece and Lebanon, ranging from psychedelic funk, jazz, Balearica, Middle Eastern beats, rock, Latin and prog rock. Often, numerous musical genres are fused in one track. The Bear Brothers’ Love Is sees funk, rock and soul combined. Even more eclectic is Epsilon’s Ayayaya, where Krautrock, psychedelia, soul and cosmic funk combines with psychedelia and space-age sounds. Similarly, Miro’s Safari of Love sees classical music, electronica, ambient, prog rock, disco, funk and rock mixed together in a musical melting pot by Psychemagik. 

Each time you listen to the twelve tracks on Psychemagik Presents Magik Circles, you hear something new and different. Layer upon layer of music unfolds, as musical genres merge into one. Most of the tracks on Psychemagik Presents Magik Circles have lain undiscovered and unloved since their release. Thankfully, Psychemagik have rediscovered them and brought them to a wider audience on Psychemagik Presents Magik Circles. If you like your music eclectic, then a treat awaits you on Psychemagik Presents Magik Circles.



For the last twenty years, Cajmere has been one of the most influential and innovative producers of the Chicago house music scene, releasing music on his Cajual Records imprint. Twenty years after Cajmere founded Cajual Records in 1992, Strut Records released Only 4 U: The Sound of Cajmere and Cajual Records in October 2012. For anyone who remembers Cajmere’s early releases and followed the progress of Cajual Records this will come as a welcome reminder of the man who helped breath life into a Chicago house scene that was at a crossroads. 

Pioneers of Chicago house like Marshall Jefferson and Frankie Knuckles had moved on, while innovative labels like Trax and DJ International had peaked. What was needed was someone who’d kick start a stagnating scene. Enter a man with just a sixty Dollar keyboard, drum machine and basic four-track recorder. Single-handedly, and with patience and determination Curtis A. Jones created some of the music that breathed life and energy into Chicago’s somewhat stagnant music scene. 

Cajmere’s first production was the Underground Goodies E.P. released on Clubhouse Records. Not long after that, Cajmere founded Cajual Records and released Coffee Pot, which after being renamed as Percolator, gave Cajemere a worldwide hit. After that, neither Cajmere nor Cajual Records looked back. Soon, Cajmere was releasing tracks, collaborating with other artists and releasing tracks by other artists. He released Chit Chat in 1992. Then Johnny Fiasco released Taurus, a track from his 1993 E.P. Movin’ on Cajual Records. Dajae released Day By Day in 1995, a track from his 1994 album Higher Power. Deep Sensation. a Scottish production team, released Get Together in 1996 and in 1997, Andre Harris released I Can’t Take It. During this period, Cajual Records had entered the most prolific period of the label’s history.

By the turn of the new millennia, releases on Cajual Records became somewhat infrequent. In 2005, Cajmere featuring Dajae released Say U Will, which payed homage to the original pioneers of Chicago house. This seems a fitting way to close Disc Two of Only 4 U: The Sound of Cajmere and Cajual Records, with one of the second wave of Chicago house pioneer’s Cajmere, paying homage to the original pioneers of Chicago house.



One of my favorite labels of 2012 has been Offering Recordings, who’ve released an eight-track sampler Offering Recordings Ade Sampler 2012 in October 2012. For anyone new to Offering Recordings, then this is the perfect introduction to an innovative label who searches the world for new talent. For smaller, independent record labels, finding new and talented artists isn’t easy. Spotting artists with potential isn’t easy. Indeed, you got to kiss a few musical frogs before finding your musical Prince. One record company that spent more time and effort searching for new artists is Offering Recordings. Since Boddhi Satva founded Offering Recordings in 2008, the label has constantly sought out the best in future soul, and has given new and talented artists a platform to have their music heard. Offering Recordings’ search for new artists has taken them far and wide. Indeed, this search has seen Offering Recordings head to the four corners of the globe. This has paid off.

During 2012, it seems Offering Recordings were determined to search further, and wider than ever before. One of the places they headed to was Mail. In Mali, they met Idrissa Sissoko, who after playing Boddhi Satva just a few songs, was signed on the spot. Then there’s Ade Alafia Adio, who was born in America to Nigerian parents, but moved to Nigeria when he was studying architecture and civil engineering. In Nigeria, Ade decided to follow his heart and become a singer, poet and musician. When Boddhi Satva heard of Ade, he tracked him down to the Netherlands, where he now lived. Like Idrissa, Ade was signed to Offering Recordings, and released his three-track E.P. O.R.G.A.S.M. recently. There are other stories where Offering Recordings have searched far and wide, but these two stories demonstrate Offering’s determination when seeking, signing and releasing music. This year has been particularly busy for Offering Recordings. 

Apart from Idrissa Sissoko and Ade Alafia Adio, Offering Recordings have released albums like Sage Monk’s beautiful and spiritual Heartache Allegory, plus music by Mammy Wata, Punk, Delany Duval, Sons of Arhat and Paul Randolph. Tracks by each of these artists feature on Offering Recordings Ade Sampler 2012. Truly, 2012 has been something of a vintage year for Offering Recordings. While other labels talk the talk, Offering Recordings really have walked the walk. For newcomers to Offering Recordings’ music, Offering Recordings Ade Sampler 2012 will give you a delicious taste of their music.


Choosing my six favorite compilations between July and December 2012 was even harder than I thought. During this period, there were so many quality compilations released. I was totally spoilt for choice. Having said that, there were some albums that looking back, were really disappointing. Thankfully, the quality compilations outnumbered the dross. These six compilations are among my favorite compilations released between July and December 2012. 

What’s noticeable is that of the six compilations, is that four of these compilations were released by British labels. BBE Music released You Know How We Dew and Private Wax, while Leng Records released Psychemagik Presents Magik Circles and Strut Records released Only 4 U: The Sound of Cajmere and Cajual Records. It seems British labels are still among the most innovative and influential in music. For that they deserve praise and congratulations.

The six compilations that I’ve chosen only scratch the surface of six month’s music. People who regularly read my blog will realize just how many compilations have been released during this period. Given the sheer quantity of compilations released, I had a difficult time choosing just six compilations. Some compilations picked themselves, others were much more difficult to choose. Indeed, on another day, I might choose differently. However, these are the compilations I’ve decided are my six favorites released between July and December 2012. 

One thing that I’ve realized looking back on the compilations released during 2012, is how much great music I’ve been fortunate to review. There’s been so much great old and new music, released. Much of this music is truly innovative and influential. Indeed, much of this music has either played an important part in musical history, or will do so. Given how good a year 2012 has been for compilations, all I can say is roll on 2013.





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