Review: Way back in 1998 when Massive Attack's career-defining "Mezzanine" was first released, legendary dub technician Mad Professor cooked up some radical reworking. They now get their first official release alongside dubs of two tracks that never actually made it onto the album - Metal Banshee: a dub version of "Superpredators" which was a cover of Siouxsie and the Banshees' "Metal Postcard", and "Wire", which was actually recorded for the film "Welcome to Sarajevo". Wild effects, plenty of knob twiddling and oodles of reverb define this freaky late night collection and mark another essential release in the catalogue of the already legendary Mad Professor.
Review: Originally issued back in 1998, Mezzanine remains the most commercially successful album released by Bristol troupe Massive Attack, thanks in no small part to the Liz Fraser-featuring "Teardrop". This third album signalled a change in sonic direction that played more explicitly on the darkness and tension that was always an undercurrent of their much loved debut Blue Lines and successor Protection. After numerous bootlegs over the years, Virgin have done the right thing and presented this official reissue of Mezzanine to appease fans of Massive Attack and it's clear the LP has lost none of it's bewitching power. The Quincy Jones and Isaac Hayes sampling "Exhange" and "Exchange" remain a delight in particular.
Review: To tie in with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landings, Brian Eno has decided to put out a new edition of his decidedly spacey 1983 ambient album "Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks", which started life as the soundtrack to a long-forgotten documentary about NASA's space program. The edition is rather special, not only because it contains a remastered version of the original set created by Eno, his brother Roger and regular collaborator Daniel Lanois, but also because it contains a second disc of previously unheard material. This is not old, though, but rather brand new recordings - described as "new interpretations of the film soundtrack" - made by the Lanois and the Eno brothers late last year in a similar style. In a word: essential.
The Temptations - "Standing On The Top" (feat Rick James - dub beat mix) (6:38)
Rick James - "Big Time" (Big Time vocal dub) (5:28)
Commodores - "Brick House" (Brick That dub house mix) (4:04)
Review: John Morales - one half of the beyond-legendary production team M+M - finally delivers the new Club Motown series that began in 2014. The last 12" focused on divas but here we're celebrating two of the funkiest names in funk soul; Rick James and The Temptations. From the epic 11 minute reprise of "Standing On The Top" to the equally extensive shake up of "Brick House" via the brand new arrangement of "Big Time", it's another collection that only Morales could concoct. The stomping percussion-heavy into on the vocal dub of "Big Time" is impossible to sniff at too...
Smokey Robinson - "And I Don't Love You" (instrumental dub)
Peech Boys - "Don't Make Me Wait" (extended version)
Review: Larry Levan's influence on the development of dance music in New York during the 1980s cannot be overstated. That much is clear from Genius Of Time, a two-disc collection of the Paradise Garage resident's finest remixes. Heavy on dub delays, spaced-out synthesizers and rolling grooves, it gathers together a swathe of stone-cold classics - killer reworks of Gwen Guthrie, Man Friday, Peech Boys, Loose Joints and Jimmy Ross - with lesser-known, but no less vital, tweaks of cuts from Dee Dee Bridgewater, Esther Williams, Smokey Robinson and Tramaine. While dedicated fans will have many of these already, it serves as the perfect introduction to Levan's distinctive and hugely influential style.
Review: Cruising the slipstream of Black Messiah, D'Angelo's debut album gets a timely reissue 20 years after its release. The neo-soul foundations dig deep with every nuance and subtlety D'Angelo has become known for; the Gaye-level harmonies of "Crusin'", the jazz meanders of "Sh*t Damn Motherf*ker" and the unstoppably sexual drive of "Lady"... If this isn't in your collection already, now is most definitely the time.
Review: Rick Smith and Karl Hyde's Underworld name is one of those UK heritage projects that's been more than influential in shaping the mood of the scene nowadays. Since the late 1980s these guys have done it all and seen it all, accompanied by the likes of Darren Emerson on the journeys, and even featured on film soundtracks such as Danny Boyle's Trainspotting. Second Toughest In The Infants is their 1996 album, and while we hadn't heard it in a while, we're pleased to hear that it has aged remarkably well. In fact, its magnificent blend of growling house beats and placid breakbeat is almost refreshing to the ears nowadays. The freedom with which these guys operated is a pleasure to immerse yourself in, and if you haven't heard this LP yet, do yourself a favour.