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Various – The Instrumental Session review

Concentrating on the beats for this collection, Sonar Kollektiv have compiled a mouth-watering selection of instrumentals from their incredible stable of producers. With a selection of old and new, there’s as much here for the budding remixer as there is for fans of the German label’s inspired nu-jazz sound.

DJ Ghe’s “SchellePubaBeat” is a great choice to kick things off – flipping between different beats and samples like the instrumental of a hip-hop posse record, such as Mud Fam’s “Camden Wildlife” or Ultramagnetic MC’s “Chorus Line”. More conventional is the instrumental radio edit of Micatone’s “D-D-D-D-Dance” which shows the five-piece showing off their boogie funk styles over a midtempo beat that Quincy Jones would have been proud of during the “Thriller” sessions.

A real highlight is Jazzanova’s instrumental of their remix of 80’s soulsters Status IV’s “You Ain’t Really Down”. A tune that’s recently been remixed every which way after the acapella surfaced on the internet, Jazzanova really nail it and the instrumental shows why. A perfectly mixed set of toms, snaps, triangle and distant cymbals, this really is a drum track to get hold of if you’re into remixes – few producers make drums sound quite as good as this. Stee Downes’s “Obviously” on the other hand is a gentle and languid tune that doesn’t suffer at all from being shorn of it’ vocals – the tropicalia-inspired acoustic guitars and retro synths pluck out enough of a melody to keep you hooked.

Seiji’s instrumental remix of Reunion’s “Strange Attention” is perhaps the most vibrant beat on the collection – a nu-jazz/broken beat beauty that keeps the snares clattering and the bass thick, it’s ripe for some vocal addition. But you have to hand it to Jazzanova, who also include a beat-only version of their classic cut & paste track “LOVE”. Only using about two bars of each sample, the funk breaks fly by in quick succession and leave you slack-jawed at just how well they’re made to fit together. This album will certainly get plenty of intense listens, from fans and producers alike.

Oliver Keens