Review: Rhythm Plate are absolute powerhouses when it comes to delivering top-notch tech house, and they're back once again on Pressed For Time with this sizable payload of classy joints. There's a timeless quality to this stuff, whether it's the late-night swirl of "Sacrement" or the choppy, quirked-up groove of "Every Kind Of People With Any Kind Of Soul". Out of time and out of mind, the Plate just bring the kind of satisfaction to club music that could launch a thousand sessions. For the late night crew, for the mid-morning rollers and the sophisticated toe-tappers in between, sink your ear-teeth into this generous serving but whatever you do, don't call it an album.
Review: Having sold out in record time a couple of months back, Phil Mison's latest album as Cantoma - an all-star affair featuring a wealth of guest vocalists and musicians - has been rapidly reissued, this time with a colour insert. Musically, "Into Daylight" is sweet and soft-focused, with the Balearic veteran prioritising seductively shuffling samba beats, dewy-eyed vocals, gentle melodies, dubby basslines and tactile instrumentation (think meandering trumpet solos, acoustic guitars, flutes, twinkling Rhodes solos and Pat Metheny style jazz guitar). It's the kind of album that warms you like a hug, soothing mind and body whilst providing enough slow-motion excitement to reward repeat listens.
Review: Bolla's Afrikan Basement debuted with a warm welcome in 2008 as a limited 7" and is one of the many essential projects Joe Clasusell has been involved with over the years. Now it gets revisited on this tasty 7". The a-side is a special edit of "Makkusa", a steamy, spiritual, deeply layered and emotional house track that is lead by a standout sax line. Joaquin's Sacred Rhythm dub is just that on the flip-side, a punchy rework with groaning vocals and a tribal feel, marching drums and plenty of the steam and sweat that makes his music so unique and powerful.
Review: Ninja Tune welcome label debutant Julianna Barwick for a solo album born from imporovisaitozl sessions and endless loops of her own vocals. The LA-based artist has said the album was written during an emotional time and so it all comes from the heart, direct to you, with no real goal, aim or MO, other than making the sounds she feel at the time. "It brought me to tears a little," she has said of the process, and Nosaj Thing, Mary Lattimore and Jonsi al feature across the album's eight cuts of moody and evocative ambient drones. From heavenly and happy to more intense and introspective, it's a perfectly honest work.
Review: **REPRESS** Another album from the amazing mind of Heinrich Mueller (aka Gerald Donald). Originally released on DJ Hell's Gigolo label and apparently only licensed after Gerald crashed Hell's BMW and had to come up with a means of paying him back. All the tracks first appeared on the very obscure Dataphysix imprint from Detroit, with some releases only reaching the 500 copy mark. Now brought back to life for 2007, "Gesamtkunstwerk" could be one of the best electro albums ever made. Yes that's right, I said it...the best ever! This is almost as important for the techno generation as Kraftwerk's "Computerworld" and "Autobahn" were for many in the 80s. The tracks are all pretty simple, made up of only two or three analogue instruments each, but they seem to hold these timeless melodies that you can never tire of. Other moments are eerie, menacing and downright strange, but still pure genius. You know how a lot of the time when you buy a new record it becomes your favourite for a while, and then it starts to lose a little life? (Of course it's still good, but just not as fresh as the first couple of weeks when you listened to it on repeat). Well guess what? That doesn't happen with this record. I must have listened to some of the tracks on here over a 1000 times and they still send shivers down my spine. It's one of those special albums that just don't seem to age.
Review: In 1976, seven Cabo Verdean musicians going by the name Voz Di Sanicolau gathered in a small recording studio in Rotterdam where they laid down an album of fearsome coladeira songs inspired by the music of their home island of Sao Nicolau.
The album took only a few days to record, which may explain the unexpected urgency that fires each track. Treble-soaked electric guitar lines snake back and forth through percussion-and-cavaquinho driven rhythms rooted in the sound of the islands established by the previous generation of Cabo Verdean emigres; subtle keyboards wash through the background, and the vocals, traded between Joana Do Rosario and To-Ze, alternately push the music forward and soar above it. The resulting album is both deeply felt and fiercely executed, and in its grooves one hears the sound of some of the finest Cabo Verdean musicians of their era locked in complete unity of purpose.
It should have been the beginning of something extraordinary; but the pressures of making ends meet forced the musicians back to their day jobs, and Voz Di Sanicolau vanished as quickly as they had appeared, leaving their lone album, Fundo de Mare Palinha, as sole proof of their existence. Forty-four years later the album sounds as fresh as it did the day it was recorded. It is unknown if dutch sound engineer Frans Rolland, who oversaw the recordings, knew he was helping to make history: during these sessions, Joana Do Rosario, whose majestic vocals were crucial to the sound of Voz Di Sanicolau, became the first Cabo Verdean woman ever to appear on a long playing record.
Review: Those well-versed in New York jazz should recognise all of the musicians involved in this delightfully mystical collaborative album, as all have been active since the 1970s or early '80s. For the uninitiated, the all-star "supergroup" behind "Welcome Adventure" is made up of legendary drummer Gerald Cleaver, woodwind and brass master Daniel Carter (tenor sax, trumpet, flute), bassist Willian Parker and pianist William Parker. The resultant music is mostly magical, with highlights including the joyous, ever-building excitement of opener "Majestic Travel Energy" (a whirlwind of jaunty sax lines, bright piano solos, frisky drums and undulating double bass), and epic flipside cut "Ear-regularities" (an (at times) discordant and dystopian free-jazz number that rewards those who play close attention.
Review: Perez reveals his shadowy 140 underbelly and once again knocks our heads clear off. Tapping back into that classic late 2000s deep space droney immersion vibe, each cut wounds with signature 1985 heaviness. "Last Rites" is all prang and high voltage bass fangs, "Deep Six" plunges us deep into the sub abyss, "Spooked" takes us for a slo-mo skank in the cemetery before "Melodrama" subverts dubstep's UKG influences in suitably swampy style. Rite on.
Review: Kiss, Cuddle & Torture: Volume 2 is the second album offering from The Hempoloics on their own Zee Zee. It's another of their unique collisions of reggae, hip hop, pop, dancehall and funk and comes with plenty of upbeat riddims that will no doubt get as much radio play as previous singles. Showing real development as well as lush chords, masterfully overdubbed keys and complex arrangements that were apparently written by the whole band together, it's another successful record. Check the contemporary flow and funky riffs of "Bongadashi" or more horizontal dub flexes of "In The Night" for highlights.
Review: Centry's essential In Dub set gets a welcome reissue from Partial Records. It first came out in 1993 with all 10 cuts making a devastating impact with varied roots sounds and heavy dubs keeping you locked. Band members Nigel Lake, Chris Petter and Dougie Wardrop also layered in plenty of horns and guest vocal drops by the likes of Danny Red, King General, and Barry Issac, and the whole record is dubbed out and phased to infinity and beyond. Limited to just 500 copies, this timeless document of dub is sure to move fast, so don't sleep.
Brotherhood (Of The Misunderstood) (feat Autarkic) (4:07)
Udibaby (feat Beatfoot) (3:11)
Review: 2020 marks the tenth of collaboration for Red Axes, the Tel Aviv-based duo of Dori Sadovnik and Niv Arzi. Informed by post-punk, new wave, and a plethora of club sounds old and new, they have cleaved a singular path with their hefty discography. To celebrate their anniversary, they reunite with Dark Entries for an eponymous 11 track LP brimming with jagged guitars, spacy arpeggios, and hypnotic vocals. Although Sadovnik and Arzi have previously released LPs on I'm A Cliche and Garzen Records, Red Axes is their first effort written and conceived of as an album-length listening experience. This work flows effortlessly through a variety of stylistic detours, highlighting their ears as both keen listeners and skilled DJs. Opener 'They Game' is a grooving number that unifies the psychedelia of cosmic disco with the early 90s 'baggy' sound. The energy mounts further with "Shelera", a guitar-driven acidic banger, and "Sticks and Stones", a certifiable club hit fueled by sassy vocals courtesy of Adi Bronicki. Launching Side B is "Break the Limit", an EBM-laced number that wouldn't sound out of place on a Razormaid compilation. The following tracks wax moodier, with "Brotherhood (Of the Misunderstanding)" touching on darkwave territory. "Udibaby" and "Arpman" close out the album with their respectively dense and sparse takes on kosmische lysergia. Red Axes was mixed by Steve Dub and mastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios. The album's artwork starkly depicts the project's name in blood-red smear. Also included is a postcard with full credits and album art. It's rare one finds an album that so casually challenges classification while still being firmly rooted on the dancefloor.
Review: The Ninja Tune renaissance has been underway for around a decade now, with the UK imprint, founded by Coldcut way back when, firmly cementing its status in the techno, rave and future bass world post-millennia. So good is the heavier end of the stable output we really needed Julianna Barwick to come along and remind us of the imprint's more delicate moods. Known for her deep compositions that look to celebrate, explore and consider the human voice in its many facets, 'Healing Is A Miracle' is a perfect calling card for the artist in question. Utilising a spine-tingling vocal range, and taking us directly into worlds where sound itself is a form of art, not just when arranged, the record was apparently born from an improvisation session on her looping equipment, which in turn directs the construction of the individual tracks. The serene but complex, minimal but layered and heavily textured work of a synth siren.