Review: Since he's such a prolific collaborator and creator of bands, it's easy to overlook the fact that Will Holland hasn't released a solo album as Quantic for almost five years. "Atlantic Oscillations", then, is a welcome return - particularly since Tru Thoughts boss Robert Luis thinks it's Holland's "most cohesive and intricate album to date". It's certainly a strong collection, with Holland wrangling multiple styles, tempos and musical influences to create cuts that defy easy categorization. While there are downtempo moments, "Atlantic Oscillations" includes more bona-fide club cuts then he's delivered in recent years, with sun-kissed disco cut "September Blues", Cuban disco-funk workout "Atlantic Oscillations" and Afro-Latin house bumper "Motivic Retrograde" standing out.
Review: With their penchant for off-kilter psychedelic explorations, deep-rooted spiritual jazz excursions and cacophonous, otherworldly workouts, The Comet Is Coming is undoubtedly one of the most groundbreaking and essential jazz combos of recent times. It's for this reason that "Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery" - their first outing on legendary jazz label Impulse - feels like an event release. It is another stunning album, with the inspired trio flitting between sweaty, dancefloor-ready tracks soaked in psychedelic electronics and more melodious, laidback numbers that sail closer to traditional jazz pastures. Throughout, the level of imagination, creativity and uniqueness remains dizzyingly high.
Review: This time last year, French combo Cotonete joined forces with Brazilian singer Di Melo to deliver what became one of the sleeper hits of last summer - the Latin disco/jazz-funk fusion of "A.E.I.O.U.". Here they continue their partnership with a first collaborative full length. It's a quietly impressive outing, with Di Melo's distinctive vocals rising above cuts that variously doff a cap to sultry Brazilian disco-funk, Azymuth-esque jazz-funk, soundtrack-friendly cinematic soundscapes, Astrud Gilberto style sweetness and humid salsa-funk (standout "Kilario (2019 Version)". It's a warm, loose and hazy set that feels authentically South American despite its Parisian roots.
Sarah Davachi - "Untitled" (live In Portland - Excerpt) (7:02)
Carlos Walker - "Via Lactea" (3:15)
The Rationals - "Glowin'" (4:16)
William S Fischer - "Chains" (4:31)
Max Roach - "Equipoise" (6:20)
Abu Talib - "Blood Of An American" (4:22)
Sweet & Innocent - "Express Your Love" (2:52)
Robert Vanderbilt & The Foundation Of Souls - "A Message Especially From God" (3:43)
A Message Especially From God - "A Message Especially From God" (4:52)
Alain Bellaiche - "Sun Blues" (1:52)
Alain Bellaiche - "Sea Fluorescent" (6:30)
Kara-Lis Coverdale - "Moments In Love" (Excerpt) (9:16)
Azimuth - "The Tunnel" (9:12)
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - "Milk" (Excerpt) (5:50)
Toshimaru Nakamura - "Nimb#59" (3:40)
Floating Points - "The Sweet Time Suite" (part 1 - Opening - Exclusive Kenny Wheeler Cover version) (2:52)
Lauren Laverne - "Ah! Why, Because The Dazzling Sun" (Exclusive Spoken Word Piece) (2:50)
Review: Sam Shepherd AKA Floating Points has long been known as a producer, DJ and selector with a staggeringly good record collection. It's for this reason that his edition of "Late Night Tales", a series dedicated to the joys of post-club home listening, has been so eagerly anticipated. The resultant mix is a triumph, with Shepherd showcasing a largely rare and obscure mix of new age ambient, high-grade jazz, sumptuous folk-soul (see Abu Talib's impeccable "Blood Of An American"), psychedelic soul weirdness, intergalactic jazz-funk, Satie-style piano movements and the drowsy, liquid electronics of Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith. The set also includes a handful of exclusive tracks, including a wonderful new Floating Points cover of Kenny Wheeler's "The Sweet Time Suite (Part I - Opening)". In a word: essential.
Review: Given that he's been rather busy with 22a's jazz house band Ruby Rushton, it's quite a surprise to discover that Tenderlonious has found time to record another solo album, his first full-length solo effort for three years. It's a deep, woozy and atmospheric affair, with the storied Peckham producer flitting between jazz-funk-fuelled deep electro ("Buffalo Gurl"), lapsed lo-fi deep house ("Hard Rain", "Casey Jr"), blunted beats ("GU22"), sparkling ambient jazz ("Low Tide"), wonky futurist synthesizer grooves ("Another State Of Consciousness"), and cuts so deep, jazzy and off-kilter that they defy definition ("Aesop Thought", where his distinctive flute playing takes centre stage).
Review: This long promised debut album from Pete Cunningham's hybrid electronic/acoustic jazz collective, Ishmael Ensemble, has already received rave reviews. Listening back, it's easy to see why. The collective specializes in inventive, slow-burn epics that fuse the producer's dance music influences with more traditional jazz and seductive songs that recall the folksy bliss of the Minnie Riperton fronted Rotary Connection. They're capable of laying down bona-fide floor-rockers - see "Siren!" and the sweaty, bass-heavy swirl of "Lapwing" - but it's often the more considered and atmospheric pieces ("The Chapel", "Yellow House (feat Yama Warashi)" and the trumpet-driven brilliance of "The River") that leave the longest lasting impression. Either way, it's a superb debut album that's well worth a listen.
Review: Applied Arts party promoter and Cashmere Radio co-founder Ed Longo has spent much of the last 12 months criss-crossing Europe for recording sessions with a wide array of jazz-leaning musicians. The result is "The Other Fantasy", a debut mini-album that's said to be, "conceptualized around the quest for otherness in the schizophrenia of the digital age". Regardless of the concept, the resultant music is rarely less than magical, with Longo and his collaborators effortlessly joining the dots between jazz-funk, fusion, boogie and '80s soul. Highlights are plentiful, from the Dayton style early '80s jazz-funk perfection of "Love On The Line" and drowsy new age ambient/jazz fusion of "Arcadian Dream", to the synthesizer-powered '80s smoothness of "A Palm In The Closet" and horizontal bliss of "Trouble In Paradise".
Shabaka Hutchings - "Black Skin, Black Masks" (6:59)
Triforce - "Walls" (5:07)
Joe Armon-Jones - "Go See" (7:38)
Kokoroko - "Abusey Junction" (7:03)
Review: We Out Here, Brownswood Recordings' latest compilation, was born out of a desire by label boss Gilles Peterson to capture the essence of London's contemporary jazz scene. To ensure a sense of there "here and now", Peterson invited some of the city's brightest young bands and musicians into the studio in August 2017, recording the results over three action-packed days. The resulting never-heard-before tracks are, for the most part, joyous and thrilling, and range from trad jazz, jazz-funk and Latin jazz to acoustic-electronic fusions and groovy, guitar-laden downtempo explorations. It feels like a glimpse of a scene on the rise, and we wouldn't be surprised if many of those involved become modern British jazz greats in the years to come.
Review: We've been waiting on this one since "J&W Beat" six years ago; there's something about Floating Points sound that instantly lends itself to full-length album immersion. It's clear he feels this way too; using the album to delve deeper into electronic deconstructions and delicate ensemble arrangements. At its most adventurous and contemporary classical "Argente" is up there with Frahm, at is dreamiest and jazz-influenced "For Marmish" is a deeply cosmic affair with disparate chords making more sense than they perhaps should. At its most traditional Floating Points we hit the finale "Perotation Six" where the brushed drums are buried under layers of sound and elements in a way that's not dissimilar to Radiohead. Well worth the wait.
Review: Since first emerging at the tail end of the '90s, Simon Green has become downtempo music's most marketable star, appealing just as much to occasional listeners and 40-something housewives as underground heads. Throughout that time, he's carefully shifted his sound to take in current trends and musical developments, whilst retaining a certain picturesque aesthetic. This fifth full-length, his fourth for Ninja Tune, continues that trend. Amongst the usual shuffling beats and twinkling melodies you'll find garage-esque vocal cut-ups, rubbery dancefloor rhythms, Floating Points style neo-jazz, string-laden two-step and some seriously wonky soul featuring vocals from Erykah Badu.
Review: Following a series of self released albums over the past three years which saw them expand on hip hop classics with an auspicious level of jazz virtuosity, Canadian jazz trio Badbadnotgood grace the Innovative Leisure imprint with this enlightening collection III. Consisting of Matthew Tavares on keys, Chester Hansen on bass, and Alex Sowinski on drums, it's not hard to see why Badbadnotgood have been getting the usually hushed toned Gilles Peterson all exciting after a few listens of the nine tracks here. If you dug those cover versions you will love this album.
Review: The word 'legend' gets banded about rather a lot, but it is certainly applicable to West London scene stalwart Kaidi Tatham. Further confirmation of this elevated status can be found throughout "It's A World Before You", a staggeringly good album that marks the musician-producer's first solo set for some seven years. While rooted in the kind of warm, rich and life-affirming jazz-funk-fuelled broken beat workouts with which Tatham is most readily associated (and they're naturally superb), there's plenty of killer diversions dotted throughout. These include a couple of spacey, soul-flecked ambient rubs, a sublime collaboration with hip-hop/modern soul fusionists Children of Zeus, and a fine head-nodding hip-hop jam featuring rapper Uhmeer. In a word: essential.
Review: British duo Maribou State are back with their first full-length since 2015's breakthrough debut album Portraits, and was a result of a two year long journey to find their sound. Story has it that upon returning to the UK to begin work on new material, they relocated their studio at the back of their home in Hertfordshire to London - only to struggle in finding their creative flow. They began to look outward, making regular excursions out of the city, setting up temporary studio spaces throughout Asia, Oceania, the Middle East to North America and beyond - the result of which is this tremendous LP. Highlights include "Turnmills" their tribute to the now defunct but legendary clubbing institution, the dreamy lo-slung pop of "Nervous Tics" which continues their long standing collaboration with vocalist Holly Walker, and another fabulous hook-up with Houston based purveyors of exotica Khruangbin - on the sublime "Feel Good".
Review: Two years ago, Early Sounds Recordings co-founder Pellegrino S. Snichelotto dished up a debut mini-album that brilliantly joined the dots between Daniele Baldelli style Afro-cosmic grooves and jazz-funk. This is his first outing since and explores similarly sunny and meandering sonic territory, beginning with the languid guitar solos, jaunty electric piano riffs and Tullio de Piscopo style percussion of "Astri & Riflessi". Smoother and deeper dancefloor jazz-funk flavours are provided by "Zodyaco", "Libra Position" is a dub-driven affair rich in spacey synth solos and heavy bass, and "Genti Del Mediterraneo" is a riotous dancefloor workout rich in crunchy Clavinets, elastic slap bass and wild electric piano solos. It is, then, every bit as essential as its fine predecessor.
Benedict Cumberbatch - "Flat Of Angels" (part 3 - exclusive Spoken Word piece)
Review: Given his impeccable downtempo credentials, you'd expect Bonobo's Late Night Tales mix to be one of the finer installments in the series (and that's saying something). Predictably, it is. Sweet, sensual and atmospheric, with plenty of unlikely gems and forgotten classics for the heads to enjoy, it surprises and impresses with each successive track. This vinyl edition features 17 of the tracks unmixed (naturally) and lifts out many highlights. His own cover of Donovan's "Get Thy Bearings" is particularly revelatory - string drenched, hazy, atmospheric and, of course, immaculately produced - but there are many other gems. Check Darondo's classic heart breaker "Didn't I," the smoky reggae-soul of Nina Simone's "Baltimore", and the enveloping intimacy of Shlohmo's "Places". Do seek out Benny Cumberbatch's spoken word turn at the end too! (mp3 download code for the full release included).
Review: This brilliant album sees United Future Organisation co-founder Toshio Matsura re-imagine a string of influential and classic club cuts with the assistance of Sons of Kemet maestro Tom Skinner and some of Britain's best young jazz musicians. Thrillingly, for the most part the resultant covers are remarkably radical, offering brilliant interpretations of very well known records. For example, Flying Lotus's "Do The Astral Plane" is re-cast as a cheery jazz-funk workout, Carl Craig's "At Les" becomes a blissed-out chunk of Philip Glass style synthesizer minimalism and Roni Size Reprazent's "Brown Paper Bag" resurfaces as a creepy jazz standard. And that's before we get to the inspired jazz-rock wig-out that is the group's version of Rotary Connection standard "I Am The Black Gold of the Sun".
Review: Since launching a few years back, Matthew Halsall's Gondwana Records has released some terrific albums from a string of talented but often little-known artists. This brilliant set is another. It comes from Hania Rani, a pianist, composer and producer better known for her collaborative work with the likes of Christian Loffler, Dobrawa Czocher and Hior Chronik. "Esja" is Rani's solo debut and sees her sashay between atmospheric, often poignant pieces that put her impeccable piano playing at the heart of the action. It's exceedingly elegant and picturesque, with Rani's subtle use of field recordings and crackling background noise only enhancing the listening experience.
Steve Cobby - "Lefthanded Books" (feat Danielle Moore) (7:50)
Soulphiction Presents SBM - "Gotta Have It" (4:54)
Nightmares On Wax - "Look Up" (feat Andrew Ashong & Sadie Walker) (5:50)
Fat Freddy's Drop - "Russia" (Nightmares On Wax remix) (7:53)
Review: If you've ever wondered what you might hear if Nightmares on Wax man DJ E.A.S.E. invited you back to his Ibiza villa for a post-club crack on, this edition of the long-running "Back To Mine" series has all the answers. It's a fine mix, all told, with the Warp Records stalwart running through a range of soulful head-nodders (Children of Zeus, Ladi6, Creative Principle), and sun-kissed good-time grooves (Bosq, Massimo Vanoni), before gently upping the tempo via Dim Zach's Imagination-sampling nu-disco, the simmering jazz-funk of Chieftain, and the NYC proto-house style goodness of Soulphiction's SBM project. Naturally, you'll find a clutch of the Leeds-raised artist's own productions and reworks dotted throughout, including a wonderfully loved-up, string-laden house version of "Russia" by Fat Freddy's Drop.
Review: Kamaal Williams has described The Return, his debut solo album, as "a natural evolution from the Yussef Kamaal project". Yet while that was made in collaboration with drummer Yussef Kamaal and played around with jazz in its myriad forms, The Return sees the man sometimes known as Henry Wu stamp his own mark on proceedings. So while "visionary jazz" (as the press release puts it) is his aim, this manifests itself in a range of ways. Contrast, for example, the leisurely jazz-funk flex and stoned feel of opener "Salaam" with the more groove-driven, dancefloor vibes of "High Roller", where sinewy strings tumble down over hip-hop influenced live house beats, meandering Herbie Hancock style synths and a superb bassline.
Review: Having delivered a seventh studio album of a long and productive career as Nightmares On Wax last year, George Evelyn has been treated to the full retrospective programme by Warp in 2014. Earlier this year the label issued a best of, artfully punned NOW Is The Time, this week has seen Warp reissue in deluxe format all of Evelyn's six previous and widely loved long players. All of them are in stock at Juno and worthy of your time, though Carboot Soul is a particular favourite amongst the review team here. The Quincy Jones sample on opener "La Nuit" never sounded so good!
Review: Since releasing his second album in 2013, James Blake has become one of the most in-demand artists and producers on the planet, recently appearing on Beyonce's much-hyped "visual album", Lemonade. On The Colour In Anything, it's very much business as usual, with Blake only occasionally veering away from his drowsy, atmospheric, piano-and-vocal template. These variations on a theme - the subtle, 4/4 techno-pop of opener "Radio Silence", the autotune-sporting R&B pop of "I Need A Forest Fire", tactile warmth of "Always", and frankly quite odd accapella throw-down "Meet You In The Maze" - add interest, though Blake remains at his best when concentrating on his most emotion-rich and heart-aching songs.
Review: Matthew Halsall is without doubt one of the brightest young talents in the British jazz scene. Since 2008, the man has been adding a fresh and playful tone to a very grounded musical genre, and at the same time carrying through the dynasty of jazz legends such as John Coltrane or Pharaoh Sanders. On The Go is his album from 2011, repressed this week by Gondwana Records, who have been very impressive since their first releases back in the mid 2000's, and the LP is one for the tasteful connoisseur. The mood is meditative and the air is smoky, where Halsall's trumpet travels gracefully across a space made up of striking piano solos, broken waves of drums, and an altogether peaceful sort of outlook.
Review: If you don't yet know Mansur Brown, you soon will. Previously best known for playing guitar on Yussef Kamaal's "Black Focus" album, Mansur is a 21 year-old prodigy with a huge future ahead of him. For proof, just check "Shiroi", his debut album. Built around his virtuoso guitar playing - a fusion of the psychedelic intensity of Jimi Hendrix and the smooth bliss of jazz greats like George Benson and Pat Metheny - the set's eleven sparkling tracks variously mix and match elements of dub, instrumental hip-hop, broken beat, jazz-funk, beat-free soundscapes and hazy, suitably horizontal downtempo grooves. The results are uniformly excellent.
You Are All You Need (feat Georgia Anne Muldrow) (3:55)
Higher Plains (3:51)
Review: There's something rather special about this collaboration between South London collective, long-running NTS show and (now) label Touching Bass and Melbourne imprint Wondercore Island. It comes from Clever Austin aka Perrin Moss, a self-taught producer and multi-instrumentalist best known for being the drummer in Hiatus Kaiyote, and is as diverse, eclectic and imaginative as any set we've heard this year. Opening with a seductive slice of otherworldly ambient, "Pareidolia" sees Moss offer up a slowly-shifting, cinematic voyage that variously touches on lo-fi art-rock, off-kilter contemporary jazz, skewed modern soul, experimental synthesizer soundscapes, discordant out-there funk, wide-eyed Balearica, mutant African-influenced oddities and much more besides. As solo debuts go, it's breathtakingly good.