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Soulphiction – Featured Artist review

Artist: Soulphiction
Title: Featured Artist
Label: Sonar Kollektiv
Genre: Broken Beat/Nu Jazz
Format: Digital
Buy From: Juno Download

Michael Baumann, aka Jackmate, aka Soulphiction, is clearly a man who likes to keep busy. On top of his Detroit-influenced Jackmate output, and running his own Philpot label, there’s also the not-so-small matter of his Soulphiction alias. A more funky and soulful affair, this album really does pack a lot of different influences into the 15 tracks, and its refreshing to hear so many styles working together.

While opening track “State of Euphoria” is tough and belligerent, with a loop that slowly worms into your head, others like “No Jealousy” are lush and gorgeous, sounding almost like classic Philly Soul at times. The beats are jazzy but never cliched, like the slowed down 2-Step on “Sloburn”.

“Make It Slow” again has a harsh and driving loop at it’s core, but it’s given so much life by the building vocals that you stay hooked the whole way through. Probably the most conventional song is Baumann’s remix of Eva Be’s “No Memory of Time”, which is given a more dancefloor-orientated treatment complete with lingering strings and rising synths. But even this formula sounds fresh and vital.

One of the highlights comes on “Deranged” when an unnamed vocalist in the mould of Gil Scott Heron or Gift of Gab talks about how “If house music was air, then ‘You Got The Love’ would be my song, and I would only take deep breaths”. It’s a sweet moment, and with any justice people will be writing lines like that about this album in a few years – it’s that good. Highly recommended.

Review: Oliver Keens