Review: Holden's 2006 debut album was an astonishing one that gets a timely reissue on double crystal-clear splatter vinyl. A high watermark for proudly synthetic and computer made music, it was the bold arrival of an artist who endures as an innovator to this day. "The Idiots Are Winning" is a masterclass in unhinged grooves, glitchy electronic sounds and mutant sounds that set a new benchmark in experimental textures, sound design and dance floor clout. "Idiot" is the standout banger, "Lump" is more trippy and heat workout, and "10101" is the twitchy and mesmeric workout you cannot escape. Music as idiosyncratic as this doesn't come along too often, and even 13 years left it still sounds fresh.
Review: Since he released his first album 11 years ago, bandleader, trumpeter and composer Matthew Halsall has proved to be one of British jazz's standout talents. In recent years he's delved into soul-jazz and big band jazz territory, so it's intriguing to find that "Oneness" is a much more spiritual, pared-down and minimalistic affair. Using a mixture of droning Indian instrumentation, languid and leisurely harp motifs, selective horn solos, melancholic trumpet lines and occasional traditional jazz instrumentation, Halsall has conjured up a series of meditative pieces that count among his most beguiling works to date. It may surprise a few listeners, but many more will find it enchanting, otherworldly and emotion-rich.
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".
Between The Lines (feat Keyon Harrold & Sparkz) (4:42)
Introspection (feat Theo Croker) (5:00)
Cranes (In The Sky) (5:47)
I Still Believe (feat Milton Suggs) (5:41)
Elipsis (interlude) (1:07)
Dark Honey (4TheStorm) (feat Makaya McCraven) (5:48)
Pressure (instrumental) (4:41)
Lullaby (Rise & Shine) (feat Judi Jackson) (3:55)
Battle (feat Binker & Moses) (4:32)
The Mighty (feat Ben Marc) (3:31)
Review: South London pianist and composer Ashley Henry is a versatile musician who can move between all niches within his musical realm: hip hop, broken beat, jazz and fusion flows from his finger tips and all characterise his expansive and expressive new album "Beautiful Vinyl Hunter". Stellar collaborators Makaya McCraven, Judi Jackson and MC Sparkz amongst others all help enrich this album as it flows from post-bop to classic jazz to neo-soul in thrilling fashion. Rooted in tradition but with a distinctly London edge that soars to new heights, this record sets a new benchmark for the contemporary scene.
Review: While he's continued to offer up occasional singles, Bonn-based producer Dominik Eulberg has not released an album for eight years. It's for this reason that "Mannigfaltig", the former Traum Schallplatten regular's new set, is big news. Interestingly, it's nowhere near as club-focused as you'd perhaps expect, with Eulberg combining his usual glitchy, tech-house influenced beats and sounds with a range of intricate electronic motifs, sumptuous melodies and atmospheric aural textures. There are one or two club cuts, of course, but majority of the tracks bob along at a more sedate pace, with Eulberg offering up cuts that draw influence from IDM and hazy electronica. As a result, it may well be his most coherent and "listenable" album to date.
WAKE (For Grenfell) (feat Cherise Adams-Burnett) (9:07)
Stargaze #2: LAU (2:04)
Interplanetary Migration (feat Mr Ekow) (7:04)
Review: Jazz Re:freshed has a reputation for championing rising stars of British jazz, so it's little surprise to find the label releasing the debut album from SEED Ensemble, a ten-piece outfit led by saxophonist Cassie Kinoshi. And what a debut it is, too. Built around uniquely British twists on spiritual and uplifting jazz, the eight original compositions are beautifully written and performed. The handful of included vocal numbers boast politically charged lyrics that take aim at injustice and inequality, with "WAKE (for Grenfell)" standing out. It feels like an important record as much as an enjoyable one, and could well be the start of a very bright future for both Kinoshi and the SEED Ensemble.
Review: After a two-year absence, Aline Brooklyn - New York's surprise home of Romanian style minimal techno adventures - has returned with a bang in 2019. They've launched the "Original Series", with March's debut release from Mihai Pol being followed by this eight-track album from Nico Laa and Juan Cristiani. The pair begins in confident mood via the melodious tech-house funk of "Drastic", before wrapping chiming lead lines and spacey electronics around a low-slung groove of "Mars". More warm, deep house style motifs can be heard on "Good Morning Brooklyn" and the bumpin' goodness of "New York", while "Loop People" is a hazy, minimalist jack-track. Elsewhere, "La Rose" is woozy, dreamy and quietly picturesque (despite locked-in tech-house beats) and "Senor Lopez" is snappy and funky in the best possible way.
Review: "Ma Fleur" is the first full studio album by Jason Swinscoe's Cinematic Orchestra since 2002's "Everyday". The record was written as the soundtrack to a specially commissioned screenplay for an imagined film (which may or may not be made). Shortly after finishing "Everyday", a piece of music which achieved great critical and commercial success, Jason Swinscoe relocated from East London to Paris. Here he began work on the instrumentals which would form the basis of his new record - more moods than finished tracks, a series of sketches or diagrams of directions to follow. Having completed a rough version by early 2005, he gave this to a friend who disappeared for three weeks and came back with short story scripts in which each scene represented a story of a different time in life, expressing the emotions which underpin the journey from birth to death. Jason then took this and worked some more on the tracks, and in turn gave this back to his scriptwriter, the two aspects of the project developing alongside one another. Gradually, Swinscoe recruited suitable vocalists for the atmospheres and themes he wanted to deal with. The remarkable Fontella Bass, who is now sadly in frail health, is the woman behind both legendary soul number "Rescue Me" as well as some of the Art Ensemble of Chicago's finest moments, had worked on "Everyday" and was an obvious choice to voice the parts of the elderly protagonist that Swinscoe envisaged. Mercury-nominated Lou Rhodes is not only a fantastic singer but a young mother and so perfect for the "mid-life" singer. The as-yet unheralded Patrick Watson, a remarkable vocalist from Montreal, became the youngest of the trio.
Review: The word 'legend' gets banded about rather a lot, but it is certainly applicable to West London scene stalwart Kaidi Tatham. Further confirmation of this elevated status can be found throughout "It's A World Before You", a staggeringly good album that marks the musician-producer's first solo set for some seven years. While rooted in the kind of warm, rich and life-affirming jazz-funk-fuelled broken beat workouts with which Tatham is most readily associated (and they're naturally superb), there's plenty of killer diversions dotted throughout. These include a couple of spacey, soul-flecked ambient rubs, a sublime collaboration with hip-hop/modern soul fusionists Children of Zeus, and a fine head-nodding hip-hop jam featuring rapper Uhmeer. In a word: essential.
Review: DJ, producer, multi-instrumentalist, singer... Kalabrese's talents know no bounds. Naturally his range is equally bountiful, but nothing in his past discography matches the colour, warmth and scope of this extensive second album. Ranging from the WhoMadeWho style lollops of the title track to the ghostly Blakey echoes of "Das Haus Am Fluss", the Zurich-based artist has polished his technique with finesse. With a delivery that's not far off a young Byrne, and an ability to conjure up some very interesting studio sounds (case in point: the fluctuating bass on "Makossa"), Kalabrese has hit a rich vein of form. Available as a special gatefold vinyl and CD package, this is a very wise investment opportunity.
Review: Krush's eighth - and last - album Jaku is up there with Endtroducing and Donuts in terms of seminal, influential and forward-thinking beat longer players. 10 years since its release and it still sounds as timeless, unique and exciting as it did in 2004. The slick licks of a young Mr Lif on "Nosferatu", the post-apocalyptic tension of "Univearth" the sludgy, swampy cosmic hip-hop of the Aesop Rock-featured "Kill Switch" and the unashamed sax sex of "Slit Of Cloud"..... Do we need to go on? Limited edition, 180g transparent vinyl; even if you already have this in your collection this is a very, very appealing investment.
Review: Los Angeles' beat-maker Ringgo Achetta has released some fine music under the MNDSGN moniker, including solid sets for Leaving Records and Fresh Selects. Body Wash marks his return to Stones Throw after a two year absense, and is every bit as vibrant and colourful as you'd expect. Rooted in a particularly psychedelic take on hip-hop, soul and jazz, the album's 16 tracks flit between acid-fried boogie, sumptuous slow jams, head-nodding jazz-funk instrumentals, jazzy interludes, and spaced-out, soft-touch songs whose lyrics reference love and space in equal measure. There's no doubt that Achetta has a unique musical voice - think Dam Funk, Nilsson and Madlib jamming in space - and this comes through loud and clear on Body Wash.
Review: Already out in the ether since the summer, Kamasi's sprawling three-part jazz opus finally sees the light of vinyl day. Presented on heavyweight vinyl with his striking signature artwork, its delivery befits the album's rave reviews on its original arrival. Highlights, in case you haven't heard it yet, are the awe-inspiring switch from fusion to swing on "The Next Step" the album's overall sparing inclusion of vocal that make "The Rhythm Changes" really stand out and sparkle and the attention to detail on the narrative structure on reprise notes such as "Re Run Home". A must-have for any jazz/Brainfeeder fan.
Show You The Way (feat Michael McDonald & Kenny Loggins) (3:35)
Walk On By (feat Kendrick Lamar) (3:22)
Jameel's Space Ride (1:11)
Friend Zone (3:12)
Them Changes (3:05)
Where I'm Going (2:04)
Drink Dat (feat Wiz Khalifa) (3:41)
I Am Crazy (0:26)
The Turn Down (feat Pharell) (2:29)
Review: Flying Lotus collaborator Thundercat returns to Brainfeeder with his first full album since 2013's superb Apocalypse. Presented over four coloured pieces of 10" vinyl, Drunk is a thrill-a-minute, mix-tape style trip through the multi-instrumentalist and beat-maker's various inspirations (think skewed hip-hop, jazz, soul, funk, left-of-centre electronica, and so on), all of which have been fused and mutated to fit his unique musical perspective. His high standing within the leffield hip-hop community has allowed Thundercat to snag some impressive guest stars, too, including Kendrick Lamarr, blue-eyed soul legend Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins, Pharell and jazz man Kamasi Washington. Old pal Fly-Lo also lends a hand.
Review: Having given keen listeners a healthy preview in his Fabric live mix last year, the artist formerly known as Stopmakingme delivers his full-length album for Erol Alkan's Phantasy Sound. It's a limber brew that channels a strong dose of analogue trickery through smart and snappy beat constructions, all bubbling, aquatic synths and troubled delays propelled by unfussy drum patterns so that the melodies can do the talking. Primarily this is a dancefloor album, moving from peppy breakbeat driven numbers to gently bumping house, but always the playful, ineffably warm synth work sets the tone, from "Naive Response"s robotic charm to "Drone Logic"s soaring grind. It's an album brimming in confidence and nailed with precision, and it's packed full of incredibly usable floor rockers to boot.
Review: Matthew Halsall founded Gondwana Records in 2008. An independent label based in Manchester, it's gone on to release music by Dwight Trible, GoGo Penguin, Nat Birchall and Halsall himself. The label has won acclaim across the world and can claim the likes of Gilles Peterson, Mr Scruff and Bonobo as fans. Next up are the Mercury Prize nominated Portico Quartet with their powerful new album Art In The Age Of Automation: where they're now rebooted as a quartet after a brief spell as the three-piece Portico. They have always been an impossible band to pin down; taking in aspects of jazz, electronica, ambient music and minimalism but the group have undoubtedly crafted their own singular sound. There's the dashing and cinematic bliss of "Objects To Place In A Tomb" and the hypnotic live drum and bass of "A Luminous Beam" amongst other highlights.
Review: Since the first pressing of Binh's Ship of Imagination double-pack sold out at the tail end of 2016, demand for the record has rocketed online. Happily, My Own Jupiter owners Edume and Nicolas Lutz has bowed to demand and quickly sorted out this re-press. It's a fine record, with the producer effortlessly blending elements of Detroit techno, electro and chunky deep house rhythms with the kind of spacey synthesizer sounds and razor-sharp TB-303 lines most commonly found in early '90s British "intelligent techno" records. In other words, it's sounds like the kind of set that could have been released around 1994 by one of the greats of our scene.
Climaco Sarmiento Y Su Orquesta - "Cumbia Sabrosa"
Monteria Swing - "La Samaria"
Los Guacharacos - "Esperma Y Ron"
Los Gavilanes De La Costa - "Los Gavilanes"
La Sonora Cienaguera - "La Piojosa"
Review: World Circuit's reputation zoops up to another level as they loving re-compile their original Cumbia compendiums and present them on discerningly weighted 180g vinyl and a gorgeous gatefold sleeve. Perfect summer time fodder, or indeed any time of year when you want to feel some warmth inside, this 30-strong concoction of red-blooded Latin rhythm is the ideal entry point into Columbian music. From the epic vibrancy of Los Immortales' "La Piragua" to the more sentimental sounds of Los Corraleros De Majagual's "Llora Acordeon" to the absolute chaos of Los Guacharacos's "Baila Rosita" is a beautiful balance of education and entertainment.
Review: Jan Jelinek has made many fine albums over the years, under both his given name and a handful of occasional aliases. One such pseudonym was Gramm, a handle he plucked out of thin air for the release of the now celebrated 1999 full-length "Personal Rock". Here that set is given a deserved 20th anniversary vinyl reissue, allowing a whole new generation to investigate the dusty nooks and crannies of one of the producer's most techno-centric releases. It is every bit as sample-heavy, glitchy and crackling as his other work, whereas other outings explored skewed hip-hop beats and downtempo grooves, "Personal Rock" was more informed by the steady pulse of dub techno, the deep space fluidity of ambient techno and the locked-in hypnotism of original era minimal techno. The results are out of this world.
Thank You/Dream State Of A Bellmaker/Big Sur (14:00)
Review: A mere four years after making his 12" debut on Fathers & Sons Productions, Samuel Andre Madsen delivers his debut album on Delaphine, the label he set up to release his music back in 2013. There's much to admire about Dream State of A Bellmaker, which attractively drifts between undulating ambient bliss, deep and melodious techno shufflers, evocative electronica, becalmed drone explorations, and atmospheric compositions that define easy categorization (see the electronic jazz/ambient/dream house fusion of "Better To Have Loved"). It's a hugely enjoyable and entertaining set, full of intricately programmed and life-affirming music.
Review: You won't hear many albums as direct, hard hitting and confrontational as this: musing on the black experience, culture, identity, love and trauma, it is a spoken word and poetic masterclass from California born Tenesha The Wordsmith with production from Khalab. Jazz, electronic dance, afro rhythms, hip hop and broken beat all make up the grooves and beautifully frame the album's thundering truths and uncomfortable realities. At times intimate and personal, at others chest beating and empowering, it is an album that makes a lasting impact. "I hope your compassion for others grows," says Tenesha of listening to it, and surely it will.
Here Comes The Warrior (Super short Version) (15:00)
Discotico Sinetico (8:25)
Life Is Strange, Life Is Hard, Life Is Great (5:39)
Spacer Rainbow Woman (8:11)
Fears Come True (5:44)
A Numb Gas To The Future (6:53)
Pow Pow (6:39)
Discotico Estatico (8:14)
Dance Warrior Dance (10:37)
Here Comes The Worrior (Super short album version)
Life Is Strange, Life Is Hard, Life Is Great
Spacer Rainbow Woman
Fears Come True
A Numb Gas To The Future
Dance Warrior Dance
Review: Mexico's Rebolledo has played an important part in Comeme's development over the years, and his nutty strain of electronic dance music fit perfectly in line with the label's tone of voice. Never straight enough to be categorised as house but always too structured to be labelled simply as ambient, Rebolledo is one of the few artist's truly making 'outsider' music these days. This latest album, Mondo Alterado, is perfect for anyone wanting something deep and mystical but that still carries enough weight and shape to be played to other human beings. In fact, a big part of the tunes on this LP verge onto the 'dance' side of things, but the producer has a distinct knack for making that sound constantly surprising, a sort of perennial sonic morphing that steers clear of any concrete genres. TIP!
Review: Before finding fame as part of the extended Rhythm Section International family, Peckham beat-maker Al Dobson Jr. caught listeners' attention via the IZWID released "Sounds From The Village Volume One". Five years on, he's finally produced a sequel. Like its' predecessor, "Volume 2" contains a dizzying number of short-but-sweet workouts that mix-and-match elements of blazed instrumental hip-hop, tropical drum music, bass-heavy electronica, jaunty jazz-funk, dusty jazz, dub riddims, spaced-out soundscapes and almost Balearic musical positivity. With short tracks coming and going at a furious pace, it's sometimes hard to keep up with Dobson's imagination let alone what's coming out of the speakers. That, though, is undeniably a good thing, because "Sounds From The Village Volume 2" sparkles from start to finish.
Review: Ninja Tune's relentless release schedule continues apace here with the much anticipated debut album from Romare. Under the name, London producer Archie Fairhurst first made waves with a couple of excellent 12" releases for the Black Acre label which revealed a quite distinct approach to production. Inspired by the collages of noted US artist Romare Bearden, Fairhurst's fascination with African-American culture is explored through his productions which deftly weaved in untold amounts of samples in an illuminating fashion. How Romare applies this approach to the album format is one of the most compelling thoughts you will have when listening to Projections. The resultant 11 tracks suggest Fairhurst has achieved it with aplomb.
Review: It's been some six years since Mr Scruff's last album, roughly the average length of one of his marathon DJ sets. Much has changed in the musical landscape since then, but the tea-loving Mancunian is still ploughing his own mixed-up, soul-influenced furrow. That means tracks that comfortably meld hip-hop, dub, jazz, dubstep, downtempo groovery and - most pleasingly - broken beat. It's actually the album's "bruk" moments - the Vanessa Freeman-voiced West London soul of "Come Find Me" and thrilling Robert Owens hook-up "He Don't", in particularly - that really set the pulse racing. Of course, confirmed fans will find plenty more to enjoy, from the baggy sweetness of "Render Me" to the classic Scruff-isms of "What", which sounds like something from his 1997 debut on Pleasure Music.
Ich Schreib' Dir Ein Buch 2013 (feat Hildegard Knef)
Review: Though his career has taken many turns over the last decade, DJ Koze has remained that most illusive of creatures: a minimal-minded producer with an ear for a melody. This fourth full-length, packed to the rafters with big-name collaborations (Apparat, Caribou, Ada and Matthew Dear all feature), continues his move towards the home-listening sphere. So, while many of the heady rhythms and shuffling grooves hark back to his stripped-back past, Amygdala impresses with its woozy songs, genre-straddling fusions (see the modern soul meets deep house of "Homesick" or the steppy, tropical vibes of "Marilyn Whirlwind") and homely atmosphere.
Review: The grandly titled Sounds Of The Universe: Art + Sound 2012-15 sees the always excellent Soul Jazz compile together the series of limited 12" releases the label has issued over the past three years. The double CD release features both these cuts and a whole host of new productions from some like-minded artists, but this LP sampler houses just those previously released tracks. It's a great move by Soul Jazz too, given how rare the original 12"s were and any self-respecting fan of electronic music should check Art + Sound for the Kassem Mosse, Andres, Heatsick and Tenderlonious cuts in particular. Taking grip of the entire B-side, Mosse's heat treated track "Staat Aus Glas" is 13 minutes long but could easily go one for three times as long without losing any of its charm.
Original Nairobi Afro Band - "Soul Makossa (No 1)" (7") (4:20)
Sir Victor Uwaifo & His Melody Maestroes - "Jungle Beat (Mutaba)" (3:05)
Review: Jump 'N' Funk started life as a small event in New York, organized by Rich Medina in order to pay tribute to the genius of Fela Kuti. Since then, parties have been held across the world, with Medina and guests showcasing music by, or inspired by, the Nigerian Afrobeat legend. This debut Jump N Funk compilation follows a similar formula, delivering both purist Afrobeat cuts (see Fela's punchy "Stalemate", and "Na Oil" by son Seun and his band, Egypt 80), and tracks in other styles that draw heavily on the style. Highlights in the latter category include the hazy Afro hip-hop of Aquil, a tasty Afro-house dub of River Ocean's cover of Timmy Thomas' classic "Why Can't We Live Together", and the lazy, sun-kissed glory of Kutiman's "Bango Fields".
Lianne La Havas - "Lost & Found" (Matthew Herbert remix) (6:13)
Ada - "You & Me" (5:21)
Roman Flugel - "9 Years" (DJ Koze remix) (9:56)
Jackmate - "Pacemaker" (feat Nik Reiff) (7:57)
Axel Boman - "In the Dust of This Planet" (7:36)
Nasrawi - "Bump With You" (3:23)
Lawrence - "Glow" (6:25)
Stimming - "No. 17" (6:01)
Funkstorung - "I Does It" (feat Sensational) (3:07)
Josef - "I Wonder" (2:18)
Mount Kimbie - "Bells 5" (4:26)
Michel Cleis - "Un Prince" (4:47)
Die Vogel - "Everything" (feqa Sophia Kennedy) (4:16)
Isolee - "I Like It Here Can I Stay?" (6:05)
Jamie XX vs Kosi Kos - "Come We Go" (5:43)
Dntel - "Snowshoe" (3:36)
Acid Pauli - "Nana" (vinyl version) (10:07)
Gold Panda - "Black Voices" (5:18)
Roman Flugel - "9 Years" (4:23)
Review: The first compilation on Koze's Pampa label is a lovingly curated affair. It starts with the left field house of Herbert's take on Lianne La Havas and Ada's r&b-infused "You & Me", as well as DJ Koze's own hymnal take on Roman Flugel's "9 Years". Other Pampa regulars like Axel Boman are well represented and he provides the ultra-mellow "In The Dust of This Planet". Equally though, Koze also provides a platform for newcomers to the fold. There's the utterly bizarre, glitch-hop of Nasrawi and Funskstorung's contributions, and at the other end of the spectrum, wide-eyed deep house from Mount Kimbie and Jamie xx & Kosi Kos' pumping indie-dance "Come We Go".
Review: Before landing a privileged spot on the legendary Blue Note label, Manchester's GoGo Penguin had released a string of LPs, through Gondwana Records, that have become notoriously difficult to find. Moreover, they are respected by the very best of the contemporary DJs, including Worldwide FM's ever-present Gilles Peterson. This deluxe edition of V2.0, the ensemble's second studio album, will provide you both with a decently-priced copy of the vinyl edition, along with plenty of added bonus takes and interludes that were missing from the original cut. Thanks to subtle waves of electronica and improvisation, GoGo Penguin are putting the "contemporary" into jazz and, along with that, providing us with an LP that is changing conceptions of the genre for younger audiences. An RSD 2018 special.
Review: Manmade Science is producer Michel Baumann (aka Jackmate/SoulPhiction), engineer Nik Reiff and percussionist Benjamin Lieten (aka Phlegmatic). With the feeling of a raw live session, this masterpiece comes along in a variety between jazz and techno, soul and house. It also contains a live track from a Manmade Sciences Concert at the Jazz Open in Stuttgart. There are also collaborations with guest musicians like conductor, musical-director and multi-instrumentalist John Thrower playing the sax on the starter "Chicago Sidewalks" and the last song "Brown Sugar". There are some lovely vocals from Isaiah Femi Awonaike on "Turn down the Lights" and the garage feel comes with the stunning voice of Haldor Laegreid on "Just tell me when...". If you're looking for something with more flesh than just bones check this out!
Review: Former Panorama Bar resident and local Berlin fixture Cassy Britton presents her first full length release since giving up her residency and leaving Europe's clubbing capital for the sunny shores of Los Angeles. The Donna LP features some dusty classic house sounds of the deeper spectrum, as heard previously on her eponymous imprint, Uzuri or Perlon sporadically over the last 10 years and her great vocals which veer from spoken word, haunting/monotone to high pitched diva moves are a constant throughout. Highlights for us were the uplifting deep disco of "All I Do", the soulful deep funk on her cover of Prince's "Strange Relationship" or the emotive yet tough techno of "Move".
Review: Innervisions bosses Frank Wiedemann and Kristian Beyer return as Ame, and present their first full length entitled Dream House - described as a home listening styled journey. The German duo spent three years working on the LP and it features collaborations with legends of German electronic music such as Roedelius and Gudrun Gut, as well as Bolivian singer David Lemaitre and Jens Kuross - who was a member of Wiedemann's other venture The Howling, with Ry Cuming. Highlights include their dramatic collaboration with Matthew Herbert "The Line", the upbeat disco number "Blind Eye" (featuring Planningtorock), the chill balearica of "Positivland" and the evocative/melodic dreamscape of "No War".
Ingrid Lukas - "We Are" (Manuel Tur remix 3) (6:47)
Rampa - "Necessity" (7:46)
Fred Und Luna - "Im Klanggarten" (Prins Thomas remix) (9:56)
Mosca - "In This Life Or The Next" (6:12)
Alex.Do - "Drenched" (7:35)
Eagles & Butterflies - "X" (7:19)
Davis - "Blind" (feat Cameo Culture) (5:53)
Denis Horvat - "Momak" (8:02)
Quarion - "Monolith" (6:24)
Dino Lenny - "A Certain Distance" (Dixon Retouch) (7:32)
Culoe De Song - "Judgement Day" (6:56)
Francesco Chiocci - "Nightmares" (7:30)
Review: Since launching back in 2007, Innervisions' Secret Weapons series has been consistently impressive. Its' various EPs and compilations feature tracks that have been doing the business in the sets of label chiefs Dixon and Ame, some of which have never previously been released. Part 8 is the most expansive volume yet, with 13 tracks stretched across four weighty slabs of wax. There's naturally plenty to enjoy, from the cinematic creepiness of Mosca's "In This Life or The Next", and the dreamy, slow-building wooziness of Prins Thomas' remix of Fred Und Luna's "Im Klanggarten", to the undulating, soul-flecked goodness of "Blind" by David, and the late night, broken techno brilliance of Culoe De Song's "Judgement Day".
Review: Peace and football: not only the best compilation album title of 2006 (and possibly every year since) but also an immaculate collection of Brazilian folk, funk, disco and soul by Sonar Kollektiv champs Jazzanova. Ten years on and the SK dons are back with a second edition of Paz E Futbol, compiled with just as much care as an homage to football's spiritual home as that debut record. To adopt the football parlance, the band's digging duties score goal after goal after goal; the smoky Simoneisms of Ary Lobo, the heavenly vibraphonics of Skymark, the slippery time signature and almost cosmic bossa of Lucas Santana, the raw jazz soul of Nathan Haines, the list goes on. Peace out.
Review: From the bones of Staff Benda Bilili, Congolese misfits Mbongawna Star arise to make their debut. And it's clear their intention to turn African music completely on its head. From the hip-hop style chants and processed vocals of "Masobele" to the punk-like fury and frenzy of "Nganshe" via the soft, yearning bluegrass slides and soul of "Coco Blues", From Kinshasa fuses, amuses and at points confuses. Most importantly it keeps you coming back for more. Genuinely an album like no other.
Review: Following their "Cuban Tapes" several years ago, freestyle ensemble Bahama Social Club return to the motherland and pay homage to the island's most notorious pre-Castro nightspot. Languishing in late night slinky soul, the whole album celebrates Cuban, Latin and soul with contemporary fusion glee: the opening swoons and glissandos of "Something Unique", the Nina Simone style swag and brushed drum sass of "No Words", the lolloping double bass momentum of "Rumba Fugaz" and so much more comprise this richly detailed and sun-kissed body of work. Stunning.
Review: Up until Peter Gordon's recent revival, excerpts from Arthur Russell's 1975 composition Instrumentals - inspired by his studies of Indian and western music while in San Francisco a few years previously - had only ever been performed in public on a handful of occasions. While this may have partly been due to the Russell's desire for it to be performed in a single 48-hour cycle, it has meant that the few recordings that do exist have remained hidden for decades. This superb double album gathers together those excerpts, recorded between 1974 and 78 in New York, alongside recordings of two other early Russell works. Musically, it's as strange, imaginative and touching as you'd expect, with Instrumentals variously fusing pastoral classical music, Indian mysticism, and (then) contemporary Americana.
As He Fell Through The Sunrise (feat Olivia Lincoln) (3:44)
Aurora (Siren Song Of A Counter Culture) (4:10)
Let Go (4:34)
Truffle Majic (3:32)
Rise & Funk (feat Olivia Lincoln) (6:51)
Lift Off (part 2) (7:12)
Comedown Cosmonaut (3:23)
Review: Theo Conrad (better known for his work under the Paxton Fettel alias) has long been one of Greta Cottage Workshop's most intriguing artists. His first full-length for the Devon imprint, Everything Stays The Same, inhibited similar territory to the classic deep house/downtempo/soul/jazz fusion of fellow West Country dwellers The Rurals. This follow-up is, if anything, even better. Described by the label as "instrumental contemporary jazz-funk", the album sees Conrad combining loose jazz breaks and jazzy synths with the kind of rich grooves, fireside textures and dreamy electronics more often found in vintage deep house productions. It's a formula that results in a string of brilliant tracks.
Review: It has been 16 years since Daze Maxim's last album, Same Place The Bot Got Smashed. Markus Manowki's new album is on his own Hello Repeat imprint that he runs with Jan Krueger. The title refers to meditative breathing exercises, something that he had begun at the same time as working on the LP. As you'd expect it is all fairly minimal, like most of his output since the label began. Starting out with the wacky ambience of "Diachronica" and the mellow piano led vibes of "Happy Collapse" it's soon business as usual like on the dubby deep house of "Melted Talk" or "On The Way Back", the druggy after-hours minimalism of "Darkness In Your Pocket" or "Shift Limbs" not to mention the several other interesting ambient and downbeat interludes throughout the album. All in all a strong effort.
Review: With a great emphasis placed on presentation and artistic statement, Swiss label Les Points has already established itself as a serious operator within the bustling minimal house and techno scene. This split release from Barbir and Nicola Kazmir is yet further proof of the ambitious intentions the label has in delivering the most creatively inspired music possible, and there is certainly plenty of music to get your teeth into here. There's twitchy house constructions aplenty to enjoy from both artists, as well as some intriguing remixes of STL loops at the end of each side in a nod to the inspirational power of the German producer, whose own leftfield leanings fit into the lineage of this release.
Review: One for the Sam Shepherd completists here; the 2015 debut Floating Points LP, Elaeina, now available in US import edition via David Byrne's Luaka Bop label. We've been waiting on this one since "J&W Beat" six years ago; there's something about Floating Points sound that instantly lends itself to full-length album immersion. It's clear he feels this way too; using the album to delve deeper into electronic deconstructions and delicate ensemble arrangements. At its most adventurous and contemporary classical "Argente" is up there with Frahm, at is dreamiest and jazz-influenced "For Marmish" is a deeply cosmic affair with disparate chords making more sense than they perhaps should. At its most traditional Floating Points we hit the finale "Perotation Six" where the brushed drums are buried under layers of sound and elements in a way that's not dissimilar to Radiohead. Well worth the wait.
Review: It is strange that Reginald Omas Mamode IV didn't release a self-titled LP as his first album but, then again, this guy bangs to the beat of a different drum. Literally. We first clocked onto him thanks to an EP his released on London's 22a imprint, and we've been avid listeners ever since. He has a natural ability to embed an honest level of jazz sensibility into house or hip-hop, and we love that. If you're on a Floating Points or Dego tip, then this dude should be on your radar at all costs, with this album firmly in your bag. Across its fifteen songs, Mamode delivers sublime arrangements of jazz-minded house music, loose and hip-hop-minded broken beat, and plenty of his very own strain of high-grade. This material is too dope. Don't miss it.
Review: J walking is illegal in some countries and US states... Mercifully it's not in the UK. Which is great news for all fuzzy funk, future retro and psychedelic jazz fans. A long awaited return to the album format, J Walk lays down a diverse-but-consistent collection of instrumentals that capture the most imaginative fusion of rich melodies, analogue instruments and cosmic motifs. The bluesy space-age flurries of "World Inaction", the upbeat Italo-punk frenetic fire of "Electric Dancing Song", the liquid twangs and shimmers of "Mexicali Hoodoo", the trembling Theremin backbone of "Yesterday's Crowd"... Everything J Walk has conjured here will resonate with every possible reference in your musical library. An illegally good listen.
Review: For a small label with minute sounds, An dromeda is a heavyweight when it comes to releasing the finest in experimental, sparse and dub-laden, extra-ordinary minimal techno. Vid inaugurated the label in 2012 and now provides the outlet with its first album via a triple 12". Should you find the early releases of Giegling appealing, its likely Vid's debut LP will be of interest too through its poppy beats, watery undertones, balanced percussion and dynamic piano manoeuvres. Productions plunge deep without the need of booming kick drums as demonstrated in "Pasul Unu", or the looped chords of "Tripusor", while rustic tribalisms form in "Landrum Bun". An intriguing album transforming how we perceive the micro-isms of danceable electronic music.
Review: The brainchild of Ghent musician Pieter Santens; Studio 58 is the result of almost 10 hours of jams with members of Compro Oro and Big Whoop. Reduced to six pristine grooves and two skits, the final product hits that perfect combination of a warm, loose spirit but fully focused and dynamically arranged. From the wily switch between vibraphone and snaking wah wah guitar on "Red Seats Carpets" to the soft sunrise soul and jazzy swoons of "Midnight Wires" via the chugging club-focused tribal drums and Rodgers-level riffage of "Lalibela", this is a superb and highly immersive work of groove art.
Review: Apparel Music return and introduce a new sub label Apparel Tronic. The intention for diffusion label is to shift focus towards UK-rooted beats, nu-jazz, downtempo and even jungle - or what the label likes to to term 'bliss-beat'. Here Giuseppe D'Alessandro a.k.a Kisk and Ludovico Schilling have a new project which they inaugurate with the Hella LP: a collection of UK influenced dance tracks that merge influences from the aforementioned street-sound genres Originally born in Milan, Schilling relies on a process that he likes to describe as a 'contamination' of sound which entails the layering of field recordings and the sounds of his home environment with those of synths, real instruments and samples'. This approach distinguishes his productions and enables him to create a truly singular strand of dance music: and it's this that brings together the nine disparate tracks on this fine album.