Review: For the first volume in their brand new Toxic Funk 45s series, the Breakbeat Paradise crew has turned to two stalwarts of the breaks scene, Easy Now Recordings co-founder Tom Showtime and long-serving DJ/producer Badboe. They hit the ground running with A-side "We Funk Tings", a cut-and-paste workout that peppers a head-nodding, bass-heavy hip-hop groove with funk licks, hazy horns and sneaky vocal samples from a variety of ragga and rap records. They continue in a similar vein over on side B, where the horn and piano-heavy hip-hop-funk of "We Have It Hot" is followed by the boom-bap booty business of "The Time Has Come".
Metal Banshee ( Mad Professor Mix One) (CD2: Mezzanine Mad Professor)
Angel (Angel Dust)
Teardrop (Mazaruni dub One)
Inertia Creeps (Floating On dubwise)
Risingson (Setting Sun dub Two)
Exchange (Mountain Steppers dub)
Wire (Leaping dub)
Group Four (Security Forces dub)
Review: Two decades have passed since Massive Attack signaled a new stage in their career with the dark, paranoid and claustrophobic brilliance of "Mezzanine", their third studio album. Given the current global political climate, it arguably sounds even more relevant 20 years after it first hit stores. This time round, the re-mastered original set comes accompanied by something none of us have heard before: Mad Professor's complete dub translation, which was slated for release around the turn of the Millennium but for one reason or another never came out. Like his take on "No Protection", it's an inspired set of revisions that takes 3D and Daddy G's dense and red-eyed originals into wild new bass-heavy places. Even if you own the original version already, it's well worth picking up this special edition just for that alone.
Review: After impressing with their self-released 2016 debut album, Flight 314, soulful hip-hop crew Jungle Brown is almost ready to deliver the follow-up. That will appear on Mr Bongo in late September 2019, so as a taster for what's to come the Brighton-based label has delivered this two-track missive. A-side "Keep It Movin'" is a classic sounding, golden era style jam with the trio's fine raps, soulful vocals and jazzy horn licks rising above an elastic, boom-bap beat. There's a slightly deeper but no less groovy feel to flipside "We On", which features the distinctive flow of Sampa The Great. If the rest of the new album is this good then we're in for a treat.
Review: 10 years ago, El Michels Affair - a hip-hop loving funk combo spearheaded by Leon Michels - released "Enter The 37th Chamber", an instrumental tribute to the world of the Wu-Tang Clan. To celebrate the record's tenth birthday, they've decided to reissue two of that album's most potent cuts. On the A-side they re-imagine Ol' Dirty Bastard's 1995 anthem "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" as a fine fusion of rousing horns, jazz-flecked hip-hop beats and vocals provided by what sounds like a children's choir. Over on side B, Raekwon's "Incarcerated Scarfaces" gets the cover version treatment, with the band peppering their deep, jazz-funk influenced groove with sharp horns and evocative electric piano solos.
Review: Having sprung into action with the Sol Explorer EP on Girasole, William Caycedo is back with a new selection of jams on the ever-developing SlapFunk. As the label's remit for minimal house and techno broadens, we're treated to low slung leftfield beats on "Booty Call" before the peppier broken beat groove of "Ain't No Joke". "Creepin'" and "G Groove" head into more familiar territory for SlapFunk fans, but there's still space for the crisp, laid back funk of "Tales From The West" and the off-kilter jazzy vibes of "Yes We Do" thrown in for good measure.
Ultimate Force - "Tuff" (So Damn DjarOne remix)) (4:05)
Large Professor - "Key To The City" (Kesta remix) (2:56)
Review: There's been a lot of online chatter about this blink-and-you'll-miss-it release, a perfectly pitched debut from the DJar One's freshly minted Beats House remix series. Fittingly, Djar One handles side A, offering up a suitably fat and insatiably funky revision of Ultimate Force's "Tuff". Utilising thick drum beats, on-point scratches, hazy horn blasts and occasional snatches of the "Apache" break, the French DJ/producer re-imagines the cut as a floor-friendly boom-bap smasher. Pal Kesta is in similarly good form on the flip, where he offers up a heavy but bouncy take on Large Professor's "Key To The City" that's full of razor-sharp scratches, breakdancing-friendly drums and all manner of classic hip-hop samples. Wherever the party's at, these two remixes will definitely do the business.
Review: After offering up EPs titled "Hard Times" and "Changing Times" in 2017, Kaidi Tatham returns to First Word to complete the trilogy with "Serious Times". Of course, the music contained within the EP's tightly packed grooves is as joyous, rich as intricate as ever. Check, for example, "Don't Cry Now", a samba-soaked, sun-kissed affair that wraps harmonic freestyle vocals, twinkling electric piano lines and darting jazz-funk bass around a seriously shuffling groove. Tatham's much-discussed jazz-funk influences are once again given an airing on "Sugar", while his fine piano work takes pride of place on instrumental hip-hop head-nodder "Zallom". Best of all, though, is opener "Cost of Living", which emphatically weaves together all of these strands and more besides.
Review: When it comes to break-driven dancefloor reworks and cheeky re-edits, Canada-based cut-and-paste merchant Jorun Bombay has a very impressive track record. Here he returns to Scarborough stable Soundweight with two more chunks of break-heavy goodness. On the A-side you'll find "Edits Theme", a tasty fusion of extended James Brown style drum-breaks, meandering sax solos and sumptuous, orchestra-enhanced orchestration. Over on Side B, "Editing Gears" sees Bombay serve up a bustling re-work of Johnny Hammond classic "Shifting Gears" rich in fluid electric piano solos, extended drum breaks, flanged funk guitars and delay-laden vocal snippets.
Review: The criticism of Anderson .Paak's last album, the glossy, big-budget "Oxnard", was so voluminous that his mum took to social media to defend it. The fast-rising rapper laughed off the haters at the time, but it must have hurt. Either way, he's changed direction again on "Ventura", a follow-up that's noticeably more refrained than its predecessor. Musically, what we're offered is stripped-back '70s soul and Prince style purple funk instrumentation fused with head-nodding hip-hop and R&B beats. Paak is lyrically on point throughout, eschewing some of his more sexually explicit lyrics in the post #MeToo era. To complete the picture of an artist going back to his roots, the assembled guests (Outkast's Andre 3000 included) are generally pushed to the background in an unobtrusive manner.