F-Communications celebrations, Bent's MP3 album, Bob Sinclair pays homage to Cerrone, and the Beta Band returns.

F-Comm Celebrations Hit U.K.

AlexkidF-Communications, Laurent Garnier's influential French label, continues its seventh birthday celebrations across Britain this week, hosting a party at central London venue the End and an outdoor gig at Liverpool superclub Cream's infamous Courtyard. Both events will feature various names from the label roster including Jori Hulkkonen, Llorca, and Garnier himself.

Also this week, F-Comm whiz kid Alexis Mauri (aka Alexkid) unleashed "Bienvenida," his debut album. Mauri -- a multi-instrumentalist (guitar, keyboards, and bass), composer, programmer, mixer, DJ, and sound engineer -- signed to the label in 1997 and released a series of EPs that drew influence from movie soundtracks.

His debut album swings effortlessly between the addictive Samba of the title track, the cinematic beats of "Maybe," and the sexy Latin flavors of "Esmeralda." Notable highlights include respected Austrian producer Richard Dorfmeister's co-production of abstract jazz track "I Think," and "Fear in Flight" which features guest vocalist and co-writer Ursula Rucker delivering a spine tingling poetry recital. In return, Mauri has composed a track for Rucker's debut album, due out in September on German label StudioK7.

Bent Make MP3 Album

U.K. downbeat producers Nail Tolliday and Simon Mills -- aka Bent -- who were nominated for three DanceStar Awards this year (best breakbeat/eclectic act, best album, and best underground act) -- are gearing up for the release of their second single, "Always" (due out July 16). The track follows their massive hit "Swollen," and is also lifted from their debut album, "Programmed to Love" (Sport Recordings).

The duo will precede the single release with "Downloaded For Love," an MP3-only album out next week (July 9), and available through their own Web site. The 10 brand-new tracks, which are not part of any planned physical release, will be given away as free downloads.

Innersphere & The Aloof Together On NuCamp

Wall of Sound's house imprint, NuCamp, continues to make steady progress with "Small Planet/In Da Bush," a double A-side single from duo West London Deep (out July 9). This is the debut release for the newly formed partnership of producers/DJs Dean Thatcher and Dave Hedger.

Each has achieved previous success with their own projects -- Thatcher with dance act the Aloof (East West) and Hedger as Innersphere and Lords of Afford with Andrew Weatherall, who has engineered releases for Boy George and Malcolm McClaren.

Bob Sinclar Reworks Cerrone

Bob SinclairParisian producer/DJ and head of influential French label Yellow Productions Bob Sinclar -- aka Christophe Le Friant -- pays tribute to '70s French disco mastermind Jean-Marc Cerrone with his "Cerrone" album. Due out July 16, the Sound of Barclay set finds him reworking 20 of Cerrone's best tracks.

Though Cerrone essentially lacks the showbiz profile of fellow disco impresario Giorgio Moroder, he has sold over 25 million albums worldwide and notched up two Grammys and five Billboard Awards during his illustrious career.

Sinclar's tribute collection features the '70s worldwide smash "Supernature," as well as the memorable disco classic "Love in C Minor," and forthcoming single "Give Me Love," due out Aug. 6. French pop maestros Modjo also put in an appearance on the track "Roller Coaster".

Beta Band Back

Beta BandU.K. avant garde beat-freak act the Beta Band will on July 16 deliver "Hot Shots II," its second album for Regal Recordings/EMI. Though the group's 1999 self-titled debut set was widely criticized, it has managed to maintain its foothold in fashionably obscure music fraternities and command a consistently loyal fan base.

Though notoriously shy of the press, the band -- Steve Mason, John Maclean, Robin Jones, and Richard Greentree -- is the focus of continuing hype campaigns, and has scored collectible status with some releases (copies of the group's first EP, "Champion Versions," released in July 1997, allegedly change hands for approximately #40 ($57 U.S.)). Aside from creating its trademark brand of minimal beats and sparse ramblings, the Beta Band likes to make arty films, and benefited hugely from a mention in the movie remake of Nick Hornby's "High Fidelity."

Yesterday (July 2), the band released "Broke," the inaugural single from "Hot Shots II." The originally intended debut single, "Squares," was pulled after Sheffield band I Monster had an unexpected hit with its track "Daydream in Blue" -- a record that sounded very similar to "Squares" because both bands unwittingly sampled the same piece of '60s easy listening music.