A Strong Move For Truth (feat Nadine Charles) (3:19)
Good Morning (feat Samii) (2:40)
Remini Dream (feat Ivana Santilli) (3:46)
I Don't Wanna Know (feat Obenewa) (3:21)
Unknown Faults (3:59)
Life Can Be Unreal (feat Sarina Leah) (3:26)
Too Much (feat Sharlene Hector) (1:58)
You Are Virgo (5:05)
Come Of Age (3:28)
Just Leave It (feat Lady Alma) (4:52)
Ogawa Okasan Said Just Play (4:45)
A Where Pringle Deh? (2:14)
My Standards Are (Not) Too High (8:40)
Review: In our eyes, 2000 Black lynchpin Dego can do no wrong. You'll therefore be unsurprised to hear that we're huge fans of the 4Hero founder member's latest solo album, a belated follow-up to 2015's "The More Things Stay The Same". It is, of course, superbly soulful, slicky produced and wonderfully paced, moving from the heady soul sweetness of "A Strong Move For Truth", to the deep jazz-funk/broken beat vibes of "My Standards Are (Not) Too High" via 12 other warm and seductive cuts of an equally high standard. Highlights include the summery bruk-soul bliss of "Remini Dream", the toasty boogie revivalism of "Unknown Faults" and the Clavinet-sporting brilliance of Lady Alma hook-up "Just Leave It".
Review: For their latest deep dive into the world of little-known electronic gorgeousness, Holland's Music From Memory crew has taken a trawl through the impeccable and largely overlooked catalogue of Japanese ambient musician Toshifumi Hinata. The essential "Broken Relief" draws on material recorded by the musician between 1985 and 87, joining the dots between gentle beat-scapes, inspired new age soundscapes, warm ambient explorations and glassy-eyed instrumentals rich in fluid fretless bass, twinkling pianos, shuffling rhythms and chords so tactile you might want to go to bed with them. It's an inspired set all told, with an impressive number of highlights. These include the evocative piano lament "Ikoku No Onna Tachi", the spacey ambient swirl of "Colored Air", and the undeniably Balearic grooves of "Atarashii Yuhbokumin".
Review: The latest volume in BBE's J Jazz Masterclass series is something of a stone-cold classic: then young Japanese pianist Makoto Terashita's 1983 album-length collaboration with legendary tenor saxophonist Harold Land. Somewhat surprisingly, this is the first time that the sought-after set has been reissued since, making it something of a must-have for serious jazz fans. Both players are clearly audible throughout the LP, with the accompanying bassist and drummer generally kept low in the mix. It's an approach that pays dividends from start to finish, with highlights including the poignant and picturesque "Dear Friends", the epic dancefloor flex of "Dragon Dance" and the raucous, high-octane thrills of "Crossing".
Review: Described in the accompanying press release as "the halfway point between Bollywood and Balearic", Rupa Biswas' 1982 debut "Disco Jazz" has long been a favourite of dusty-fingered diggers with a healthy bank balance and a penchant for the quirky. All four tracks are cheery, charming and superior to many "Bollywood disco" records produced in the same period. The sunny disco-boogie of "Moja Bhari Moja" is followed on side A by the delightfully eccentric, bass-powered AOR-disco/funk-rock fusion of "East West Shuffle" and the effortlessly Balearic cheeriness of "Aaj Shanibar". Best of all, though, is the exotic and intoxicating flipside cut "Ayee Morshume Be-Reham Duniya" which expertly joins the dots between cosmic rock and Balearic disco grooves for 16 spellbinding minutes.
Review: Claremont 56's latest must-have LP comes from an unexpected source: blue-eyed soul, AOR and soft rock loving Greek four-piece Sillyboy's Ghost Relatives. The good news is that "In A Small Place" is every bit as good as the title track, which Paul "Mudd" Murphy's label released earlier in the year. The album's main attractions are undoubtedly the bittersweet lyrics and hazy, lovelorn vocals of main man Sillyboy (real name Charalambos Kourtaras), though the musically evocative backing provided by his band mates is equally as impressive. Highlights include the Boz Scraggs-esque "Muscle Cars", the Steely Dan sing-along that is "High Life" and the gently reggae influenced lilt of "Favourite One". It's all pretty tidy.
Review: Music For Dreams' latest must-have compilation of obscure Balearic treats comes courtesy of noted digger Basso, a DJ, producer and re-editor who has previously released some killer scalpel jobs on Joe's Bakery and People Must Jam. You'll find one of his edits tucked away towards the end of the EP - a tidy extension of Wolfsmond's sun-kissed, Chris Rea-esque German language number "Fuhl Dich Frei" - alongside stunning selections that variously touch on stoned West Coast jazz-rock, new age, ambient, drowsy 80s pop, kosmiche and loved-up late night AOR shufflers. An inspired collection of pretty much unknown gems; what's not to like?
Review: BBE's second trawl through late 20th century deep Japanese jazz is every bit as eye opening and essential as its predecessor, which caused many hearts to flutter when it was released 18 months ago. From start to finish, we're treated to a righteous range of largely little-known tunes, from the spiraling, sun-kissed spirituality of Makoto Terashita Meets Harold Land's epic "Dragon Dance", and the funk-fuelled dancefloor jazz brilliance of Mabumi Yamaguchi Quartet's "Distant Thunder", to the smooth, snaking seductiveness of George Kawaguchi Big Four's "Vietnam" and the synthesizer jazz-funk insanity of Electro Keyboard Orchestra's "Mother Of The Future". A superb selection of genuinely off-kilter and life affirming Japanese gems that should be an essential purchase for both serious and casual jazz fans.
Hardsoul - "Back Together" (feat Ron Carroll - Director's cut Classic club mix) (8:33)
Spencer Parker & Dan Beaumont - "The Look" (Director's cut Signature mix) (7:59)
Review: This second round-up of high quality tracks and remixes by Frankie Knuckles and Eric Kupper's Director's Cut project is as loved-up and action-packed as its predecessor. It begins with versions of the pair's re-recording of Knuckles' classics "Baby Wants To Ride" and "Let Yourself Go" (the latter a breezy and summery piano-house treat), before offering up a soulful singalong with Inaya Day and a stomping disco-house cover of Sylvester classic "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)". Record two offers up some of their hard-to-find remixes, with the pair's Lou Rawls revision and soaring version of Hardsoul and Ron Carroll's soulful house classic "Back Together" standing out.
Catherine Brenot - "Et Tout Est Yin Et Tout Est Yang" (club mix) (5:19)
1 Plus 1 - "Coming Up For Air" (instrumental) (5:25)
Fragile - "We've Got Tonight, Boy" (6:13)
Jarmaz - "Night City Life" (Disco remix) (3:55)
Friend Of Mine - "Just Your Pride" (4:47)
Mac & Monica - "You’re So Good To Me" (6:29)
Sala & H - "Feel The Love" (4:00)
Alexandra - "Fantasia (Fantasy)" (4:45)
Gioia - "No Secrets" (instrumental) (7:43)
Janelle - "Don't Be Shy" (dub) (6:40)
Alessandro Scellino - "Dinner In The Jungle" (Erotic mix) (6:49)
Brian Tatcher - "Hot Love" (instrumental dub version) (6:48)
Preludio - "Mysterious Nights" (4:46)
Review: Ilan Pdahtzur is as obsessive a record digger as any of his more visible peers. His particular niche is early to mid-eighties club music, and now he gets a platform to show off his skills thanks to the Spacetalk label. "Night City Life" is about music to match that exact setting - nocturnal urban metropolises with glowing neon lights shimmering in the darkness. There's a lot to love across four sides of vinyl here, from Italo disco to steamy boogie cuts and iridescent synth jams. It will make you nostalgic for a time and place you've never experienced (at least not as perfectly as this) and no doubt get plenty of dance floors on their feet.
Ze Spirits Band - "Tucheza" (Esa extended mix) (5:00)
Nonku Phiri - "Sifo" (feat Dion Monti) (4:27)
Os Panteras - "Melo Do Anjo" (Outra edit) (4:54)
Pascal Latour - "Lague Yo" (Boulo edit) (5:58)
Masalo - "Yera" (feat Doussou Koulibaly) (6:24)
Esa - "Pantsula Traxx" (4:38)
Narchbeats - "Cheeks" (3:41)
DJ Spoko - "#Justsnares" (4:02)
Review: Inspired by his own experiences growing up in apartheid-era South Africa and his travels through music, Esa Williams has put together a compilation of contemporary electronic music from around the world. "Amandla: Music To The People" is well worth your attention and contains some genuine gems. Highlights come thick and fast throughout, from the percussive, chant-along sweatiness of Penny Penny's "Shilungu" and the loved-up, pitched-down dreaminess of Alaska's "Accuse (Instrumental)", to the sweet, life-affirming cheeriness of Os Panteras' "Melo Do Anjo (Outro Edit)" and the thrusting, Italo-disco style dancefloor masculinity of Masalo's "Yera". Esa's own late '80s style pitched-down South African house jam "Pantsula Traxx" is also superb.
Cult Hero (Do You Wanna Touch Me) (with Simon Topping
Sly Is Watching
(Vi-Vi) Vicious Games (with Josh Caffe
Review: When it comes to jackin' Chicago style acid house revivalism, few can hold a candle to Paranoid London. As this long-awaited second album proves, the duo is the undisputed masters of sweaty, TB-303 driven jack-tracks and - as recent single "(Vi-Vi) Vicious Games" and LP opener "Starting Fights" prove - classic-sounding vocal cuts that recall the glory years of Fingers, Inc in the mid-to-late 1980s. Interestingly, "PL" boasts far more collaborations than we've seen from Paranoid London before, including a string of ragged club cuts blessed with evocative spoken word vocals, a thrusting acid throb-job with lead vocals by Simon Topping and a suitably twisted, machine-driven hook up with Arthur Baker and Alan Vega (the raw and weighty "Angel Of Hell").
Review: Turning your hand to the catalogue of a jazz colossus like Yusef Lateef would be beyond most contemporary jazz musicians, but then Nat Birchall is currently one of the best saxophonists in the business. Alongside his quartet and with the aid of some unusual instruments from around the world - something Lateef was famously fond of doing - Birchall has delivered a set of covers that breathe breezy new life into some of the American multi-instrumentalist's most admired compositions whilst retaining some of the original flavour. Our favourites include the droning North African brilliance of "Mashariki", the sun-baked afternoon breeze of "Ringo Oiwake" and the piano-powered bliss of "Willow's Walk".
Review: Justin Vernon's voice has always been the people's main attraction to Bon Iver, and the fact his pseudonym even exists is certainly no coincidence. As fragile and heartbroken as it is forthright and experienced, when you're wearing a shredded heart on sleeve and confessing to all your deepest insecurities using a pen name can help immensely. Album number four perhaps proves this more than any of its predecessors. While the three previous chapters have all made his thoughts, feelings, insecurities and fears clear, this one takes honesty to new heights. Combining the frail electronics that have gradually slipped their way into his back catalogue with the acoustics of his earliest, rocket-to-fame efforts, it's a culmination of all that's been in the truest sense. Perhaps even more intimate than the breathtakingly personal "For Emma, Forever Ago", "i,i" is a striking work to say the least.
Review: It's clear that Naive founder Ines Borges Coutinho put a lot of thought into "Bed Of Roses", her debut album under the now familiar Violet alias. According to the label releasing it, Dark Entries, Coutinho approached the production process with the idea of creating songs that would together form "a sort of childhood-teenage memories diary". While it's largely instrumental, it's certainly true that the album touches on a variety of moods and retro-futurist sounds, galloping between dark ambient, ear-catching electronic melancholia, angry dancefloor intensity, dreamy happiness, good-natured post synth-pop grooves, luscious slow jams and the kind of glassy-eyed, loved-up fare that has always been a significant part of her growing body of work. In other words, it's a wonderfully produced, paced and deeply personal set.