Vinyl Corner is a feature where we take a look at vinyl pressings of various albums and weigh them up to see just how good they sound, how well they’re pressed and what sort of packaging to expect – as well as giving a brief overview of the music itself. For this latest feature we’re checking out a new compilation of disco and funk from DJ Andy Smith.
DJ Andy Smith has been an authority and tastemaker in the world of disco and boogie for some twenty years. He’s curated a good number of compilations over the years and first teamed up with BBE Records in 2017 to release ‘Reach Up: Disco Wonderland’, a lengthy collection of disco, funk and boogie rarities. Now back with a follow-up to that release – ‘Reach Up: Disco Wonderland Volume 2’ – the album delivers exactly what it promises: yet more scarce groove and collectable deep cuts for the dance-aholics amongst us. Though the bulk of this one and a half hour collection focuses on vintage rarities from the late ’70s and early ’80s, there are also a few modern cuts included here, as well as some new and exclusive re-edits.
Those who’ve read previous Vinyl Corner articles on BBE releases will have no surprise in learning that ‘Reach Up: Disco Wonderland Volume 2″ sounds excellent. As with all of their pressings, this triple LP set has been manufactured by the ever-brilliant Pallas. We never miss an opportunity to wax-lyrical about the exceptional quality of their pressings and the records that constitute this set are no exception. All three LPs are pressed as heavyweight black slab with clean surfaces and superb sound. There really is no surface noise to report here; there’s no such thing as a truly flawless record but we can certainly say that these Pallas pressings come as close to perfection as the format will allow. All three discs are also flat and warp-free, which is unfortunately not something that all pressing plants seem to be capable of these days. The sonics are also impressive on this compilation, but naturally the sound characteristics vary from song to song, as this compilation draws together a disparate set of pieces recorded between the late ’70s and the last few years. While it’s unclear whether the older tracks here have been remastered, what is obvious is that the whole album sounds great. There’s a lovely fat, full tone in the bass parts across the whole compilation and vocals, synths and brass are all clear and punchy.
The packaging and presentation here is relatively basic for a triple LP but it is also entirely sufficient, especially considering the very reasonable – if not outright cheap – price point that this three LP set has been released at. The sleeve is a solid gatefold affair with two pockets for records. Such a sleeve design would normally be more readily associated with a double LP, as triple disc sets are often presented in more elaborate tri-fold jackets. Although two of the LPs will naturally have to be slipped inside the same pocket due to the standard gatefold design, the cover is solidly made from a decent cardstock and also it’s well printed. On the inner gatefold spread is a selection of brief comments from DJ Andy Smith on each selection included in this set. The records are housed in generic non-polylined inner sleeves; as always in such cases we would advise swapping these out for more protective polylined inners. While this is not the most extravagantly presented release BBE have ever released, the quality offered here is still very agreeable considering the very reasonable price point on this title.
Fans of the original ‘Reach Up: Disco Wonderland’ compilation will no doubt be thrilled with this sequel; it’s another great release from BBE that’s been beautifully pressed by Pallas.
Enjoyed this feature? We’re always looking for further albums to highlight on Vinyl Corner – and if you have a vinyl release that you’d love to see written about here, please get in touch at email@example.com – it would be great to hear from you!