Review: Sometimes the road gets too rough. Sometimes you just have to annihilate a punching bag due to the high levels of gully coming into your ears. Whatever you do when things get too stinky, however you deal with the body-blowing pressure of absolutely foul tracks, we know you're going to do it to this new EP from Perez who is on such a roll right now it's crazy. Following his dubstep EP "Last Rites" comes this awesome back-to-dnb-grit session. Opener "Trinity" is just utter high voltage darkness, "Phantonym" takes things even deeper with some proper gruesome bass bubbles while "SWRV" takes us back to Alix's soulful side and "Vibrations" plays the perfect game of contrasts and shade. What an EP.
Review: Some 15 months after the first multi-artist "Folio" EP landed in stores, 1985 Music has dropped a sequel. It's another all-action affair, with all four cuts hitting home hard. Label founder Alix Perez kicks things off with "White Lies", a minimalist roller where metallic percussion hits and evocative soul vocals rise above a thoroughly filthy, wobble-powered bassline. Label favourites Submarine step up with sub-heavy hot-stepper "Grunge", before Scepticz and Lavance take things up a notch or two via the industrial strength distorted bass, mind-altering electronics and punchy beats of "Flatline". To round things off, Hyroglifics and Visages get together on the skewed but energy-packed creepiness of "Searching".
Review: This is proving to be a big breakthrough year for Kosh, a producer hailing from Casablanca in Morocco. After making a first appearance last year on Casa Voyager, he's returned to that label a second time before dropping the "Endless Quest" 12" on eudemonia. But now he's made a marked leap forward with this transmission on 20:20 Vision, where his incredibly well-read take on vintage electro sounds right at home. There is quality pouring from every corner of this record, but we recommend you make a beeline for the sumptuous "Vicious Love," an acid-laced burner with soul to match its snarl.
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: Hot on the heels of the release of his fine fourth album, "Hard Rain", Edward "Tenderlonious" Cawthorne delivers his first solo EP on 22a in three years. Opener "Think Twice", a deliciously deep, hypnotic and atmospheric fusion of locked-in house grooves and spacey instrumentation, delivers a jaw-dropping start, before Cawthorne moves towards sunny, jazz-funk influenced deep house territory on the luscious "Uncle Larry". His love of lilting space funk synth solos comes to the fore on late night MPC house treat "BIG Leffe", while Dennis Ayler swings by to add his deft musical touch to "Tru Blue", a jazzy broken house number in which Cawthorne once again proves his ability as a flautist.
Review: A master of all things dark and gritty when it comes to jungle and drum & bass, Ray Keith is back with a vengeance here across two devastating cuts. A side "Jungle Fi Dread" is built on his archetypal dread bass sound, stepping breaks and flailing hits, and it adds up to a controlled bit of dance floor frenzy with numerous peaks and troughs. "What Time Dread" on the flip has a rude vocal stretched and warped over rinsed out breakbeats that shimmer while a droning bassline conjures up some sort of doom-laden final level boss scene from your favourite RPG.
Review: Where were you seven years ago? School? High school? College? First job? Last job? Whatever the answer it's certainly not the same place as Efterklang were, and still are. The Danish trio have never been of this world, yet give us so many opportunities to consider the emotion and passion this world offers. The first album to be fully written in their native tongue accentuates those qualities - dreamy soundscapes, different and decidedly bewitching intonation. It's an epic journey, with the likes of "Uden Ansigt" among the most epic, like Bon Iver's vocals slow dancing with the soaring instrumentation of Sigur Ros. "Havet Lofter Sig" ups the beauty, fittingly on the shortest track - gentle pianos, unnaturally pitched backing voices and baritone lead creating real yearning, proving nothing great lasts forever. Or longer than a couple of minutes. Cutting to the chase, it's a mesmerising work you're sure to have on repeat.
Review: Steve Bicknell does not muck about on this one. The 25 year techno veteran is a UK mainstay but somehow often rather slips under the radar. Sure, he had a few years away from 2005 to 2013, but he has rarely made a misstep since for fans of hard, dense techno. After EPs on Ostgut Ton and highly touted collabs with Function and Luke Slater as LSD, he's back on his own 6dimensions with an EP that you may have already heard DJ Nobu and Jeff Mills playing in recent sets. Three of the cuts pack a visceral punch, with hammering drums and walls of sheet metal synths and frazzled percussion applying huge amounts of dance floor pressure. Our pick of the bunch: hypnotic and stripped back closer "Undue Identification".
Review: 7th Storey Projects welcome back Necrotype and Tim Reaper for the "Exclusive To Bandcamp EP", which isn't actually available on Bandcamp. It's an adventurous outing that covers all bases - Necrotype takes care of the a side with "Track 1": all pitch-shifted hardcore vocals and rinsing breakbeats with a mellow but euphoric feel, while "Track 2" is similar but with even more energy in the drums. Tim Reaper steps up first for the ravey banger that is "Track 3" before rounding things off with the a blissed out and intergalactic roller ("Track 4)". These two might be young guns, but they certainly know what they're doing.
Money Boss Players & Large Professor - "Track 3" (3:52)
Serch - "Track 4" (0:37)
Non Phixion - "Track 5" (3:06)
Boot Camp Clik - "Track 6" (4:01)
Lord Finesse - "Track 7" (1:21)
Teflon & MOP9 - "Track 8" (2:05)
Outkast - "Track 9" (3:44)
Chino Xl - "Track 10" (2:05)
Mr Complex - "Track 11" (3:19)
Everlast & Divine Styler - "Track 12" (1:40)
Review: Freestyles are always fundamental to a rap artist's game. If you can drop a rhyme on the street and win over your hard-to-impress peers, then convincing music industry critics of your skills should be easy. Previously an unofficial release in 2004, this collection of freestyles arrives via US label 88HIPHOP, which was a B-Side TV network that produced and exchanged hip hop videos around the world. Dozens of MCs appeared on the live show and now recordings from the likes of Keith Murray, Serch, Mr Complex, Chino XL and many others all come together on a red hot collection.
Ahead Of Time (with Park Hye Jin - album mix) (6:59)
Study Of You (6:26)
Forever Alone (4:23)
Review: New York's Baltra follows up his well received debut album from 2016 with a new one named "Ted" in honour of his father who passed away unexpectedly during the writing process. Inevitably that lends the record an extra air of melancholy, even when the grooves are surging. Making a surprise appearance is South Korean artist Park Hye Jin on the busy melodic track "Ahead Of Time" with an intoxicating dreamy verse of her own. As is this artist's style, his crisp drum work is complemented with fizzing electronics and glowing harmonies that are almost impossibly bright and vivid. It makes for an album that really grabs your attention.
Review: It's been four years since A&R Edits ceased releasing music after serving up nine essential EPs between 2013 and 2015. This return to action has been masterminded by Merseyside scalpel fiends Greg Wilson ("GW") and Henry Greenwood, whose fine revision of Neneh Cherry's "Buffalo Stance" kick-started the imprint six years ago. A-side "Disco Mondo" is a rolling revision of a lesser-known breathy disco jam of (we think) Italian origin. It boasts a metronomic groove, wah-wah guitars, elongated organ chords, congas for days and a few well-placed swirling electronic effects. Over on side B, "In The City" is a dreamy chunk of mid-tempo, Italo-disco influenced synth-pop.
Review: Who remembers when Hip Hop was a force for good? A happy, colourful sound brimming with positivity and realness, rather than the blingy boasts of studio gangsters? Whether you do or don't, this new Daisy Age compilation by Saint Etienne's Bob Stanley is a timely release that shines a light on that small but golden era back in the late 80s. Key protagonists like Jungle Brothers and A Tribe Called Quest, as well as De La Soul, whose "3 Feet High and Rising" album was at the centre of this micro-movement, all feature alongside Pop and R&B with a similarly positive outlook. Essential.
Review: The jazz and broken beat revival continues apace as we race through 2019, so original pioneers of the sound are rightly coming back into focus. Enter the Brand New Heavies, one of the key acts of the mid-eighties who sound as good on this brand new album as ever. It's littered with funk-licked pop, crystalline acid jazz and singalong songs that range from tender ballads to soaring soul. Angie Stone, Beverley Knight and other vocalists lend their tones along the way, but importantly TBNH is not a revival or self-satisfied celebration. Instead, it feels like a forward-looking and accomplished album that takes the band in subtle new directions.
Review: Discerning diggers will know that an original copy of this funk soul gem from 1978 often fetch close to four figures. Initially released on a little known label in Mississippi, Acid Jazz now give it the proper reissue treatment. It is filled with passionate soul songs that stride forward with purpose and pride. "Let Me Be Your Lover" is the breakout single that will get most club plays, but the sliding hi hats and twangy bass of "Gonna Find A True Love" will also do plenty of damage. The version included here is slightly different to the single that was reissued earlier this year, but is well worthy of its inclusion.