Review: "Root Down" is perhaps not one of the better-known releases from the Beastie Boys' catalogue, despite the presence of the title track - a Jimmy Smith-sampling beast that remains popular with fans - on 1994 album "Ill Communication". Yet as this reissue proves, it remains a rock solid set of tracks. As with the original 1995 release, the set begins with a trio of versions of "Root Down" (including a fine rework from their old studio buddy Prince Paul), before moving into a swathe of tracks recorded by the band with a variety of producers and musicians (Rick Rubin, AWOL, Money Mark and so on) while on tour in Europe. It's something of a curio, but an impressive one at that.
Review: Root Down is an experimental album from 1994 when The Beastie Boys locked themselves in a rehearsal space and went to town on studio experimentation and live jamming. It came between "Paul's Boutique" and "Check Your Head" and resulted in two previously unreleased versions of the title track and snippets of music recorded while on tour in Europe. There is the typical Beastie Boys mix of floor rocking riffs but with funky new flows stitched in and thus charts the period in which the band went from their post punk guitar roots to a more new-groove driven sound.
Review: Snap up this piece of history on wax; Bristolian trip hop legends performing live at the Royal Albert Hall. In the words of Let Them Eat Vinyl "On one summer night in 1998, Massive Attack set the standard that all future performers would try to live up to for years to come." Following up the success of the album Mezzanine released in 1997, Robert del Naja (3D) and Mushroom G and the extended cast of Tricky and Horace Andy play all the hits, including ones on the seminal Blue Lines ("Daydreaming"/"Safe From Harm") and its successor Protection ("Karmacoma"). Horace Andy is at his finest on the amazing "Man Next Door" while The Cocteau Twins' Liz Fraser turned in a career highlight with her unmistakable voice on "Angel".
Review: South African bubblegum soul queen Ntombi enjoys a timely spotlight session as Afrosynth look back over her short-lived career and pick some of the highlights from each album she blessed us with. Leading from the front with the cult classic "Tomorrow" we're treated to highlights such as the proto tropical house harmonies and layers of "I've Got A Friend", the shinier house-focused workout "In My Mind" and a disco dancehall shaker "Mina Ngilijaji". Tomorrow is a day that never comes... Don't sleep.
Review: As part of this year's Manchester International Festival, local legends New Order performed live in collaboration with NYC-based British artist Liam Gillick, who has previously presented solo exhibitions at venues such as Tate Britain and MoMA. It was orchestrated by composer-arranger Joe Duddell, a fellow son of Manchester and a frequent collaborator with the band. The live show was performed by the band with a 12 member synthesiser ensemble from the Royal Northern College of Music on 13th July 2017. This release includes the full show and encore plus 3 additional tracks recorded over the residency to give listeners a full representation of the breadth of material performed. Features timeless classics such as "Ultraviolence", "Shellshock" and "Bizarre Love Triangle" in addition to some Joy Division classics such as "Disorder" and "Heart & Soul".
Review: In the summer of 2017, New Order returned to Granada Studios in Manchester - the site of their first TV appearance - to perform a special concert. With the accompaniment of a "12-piece synthesizer orchestra" and a stunning, ever-changing stage set designed by Liam Gillick, the legendary Manchester band delivered an extended set featuring radically reworked versions of tracks from their back catalogue. This evocative live album presents the recording of the concert in its entirety, with Bernard Sumner and company mixing bona fide hits ("Shellshock", "Bizarre Love Triangle") with album tracks, lesser-celebrated songs and the odd stunning soundscape (a particularly beautiful version of "Elegia"). As you'd expect, it's superb and a cut above most live albums.