Review: It's been a while since Zolta Pal last used the Jaffa Surfa alias. In fact, his last outing under the pseudonym dropped three years ago on Houseworx (the US garage-flavoured Pimpin' EP). This three-tracker happily finds him in fine form, delivering a more tech-tinged trio of aquatic deep house cuts. There's naturally plenty to enjoy, from the subterranean shuffle and liquid melodies of "Bazz" and heavy percussive bump of "Psy Lance" - all thickset, multi-tracked drums, calming pads and fizzing electronics - to the beatless bliss of "Preacha Bonus", which - unsurprisingly given the title - features a deep south preacher chatting over heady ambient chords.
Review: Vinyl copies of Japanese jazz drummer Takeo Moriyama's modal masterpiece Smile have long been in-demand amongst collectors. This can partly be attributed to its obvious quality, but also to the fact that few copies ever made it out of Japan. This reissue of the 1981 release, then, is more than welcome. Moriyama and his accompanying musicians recorded the four-track set in November 1980, serving up instrumental workouts that got a good balance between advancement of killer grooves and the showcasing of some remarkable instrumental solos. The most remarkable thing, of course, is Moriyama's drumming. In fact, you'll find few finer jazz drum solos than those on the album's standout moment, epic opener "Exchange" (though Moriyama's work on the title track is almost as good).
Review: Emotional Rescue again delves in the world of private pressings, with a reissue of British electronic pop meets proto-House duo 4AM. With copies of their self titled album now highly sought after, this timely reissue presents two of their songs as a stand alone 7".
Consisting of multi-instrumentalist Steve Kirby - piano, guitar, bass, programming - and vocalist Kevin Finch, 4AM came together after youths filled with a love of music. Following a string of band attempts, Steve dived in to the world of midi, allowing him to build a studio set up and play solo. A meeting with new work colleague Kevin quickly developed to joining forces to expand on his early demos.
Their melodic, dance-influenced pop draws on a love of Japan, OMD and The The, but also ECM jazz and a touch of "white boy soul". The TR-808 drum and hi-hats, string stabs and random acid squelches - although no TR-303 was used - highlights the influence the nascent House sounds emanating from the "second summer of love" of 1988 / 89 had in their music melting pot.
Over this, personal lyrics flow, full of honest emotions and a touch of youthful naivety thrown in - of relationships, love, sex and passions. Intended as a personal artifact, the original album was released in 1990 with no promotion or live shows and has taken until now, some 30 years, to find a cult audience. I want you with a Passion.