Review: Having sprung into action with the Sol Explorer EP on Girasole, William Caycedo is back with a new selection of jams on the ever-developing SlapFunk. As the label's remit for minimal house and techno broadens, we're treated to low slung leftfield beats on "Booty Call" before the peppier broken beat groove of "Ain't No Joke". "Creepin'" and "G Groove" head into more familiar territory for SlapFunk fans, but there's still space for the crisp, laid back funk of "Tales From The West" and the off-kilter jazzy vibes of "Yes We Do" thrown in for good measure.
Review: After offering up EPs titled "Hard Times" and "Changing Times" in 2017, Kaidi Tatham returns to First Word to complete the trilogy with "Serious Times". Of course, the music contained within the EP's tightly packed grooves is as joyous, rich as intricate as ever. Check, for example, "Don't Cry Now", a samba-soaked, sun-kissed affair that wraps harmonic freestyle vocals, twinkling electric piano lines and darting jazz-funk bass around a seriously shuffling groove. Tatham's much-discussed jazz-funk influences are once again given an airing on "Sugar", while his fine piano work takes pride of place on instrumental hip-hop head-nodder "Zallom". Best of all, though, is opener "Cost of Living", which emphatically weaves together all of these strands and more besides.
Review: Imogen have stumbled across a rare gem here, presenting some previously unheard liquid funk jams from the lesser known Chicago pioneer James Perri. Some of his jams as Jimi Polo are perennial classics, while his time spent in Soul II Soul and elsewhere are testament to his gifts, but this particular set of recordings from the 90s have lain in wait for their time to shine. You can hear his skills as a session musician and arranger coming through in abundance on this warm, grooving, acid jazz inflected EP. "70s Theme" is a sparse, moody jazz funk cut, while "Brother Beware" is a smooth, sultry slice of message soul. "Express Yourself" is the truly uplifting slice of the pie, and it will chime just fine with any lovers of that classic Soul II Soul sound.
Review: Given the critical reception rightly afforded to Tahliah Barnett's superb debut album as FKA Twigs, it makes perfect sense for Young Turks to rustle up a swift reissue of FKA Twigs, the four track 12" that announced her to the pop music world last year. This EP was the first instance of Barnett's ethereal vocals weaved in amidst production work from Arca that was at times floating, others crushingly pressurised. Naturally the effects of the music are heightened when combined with Jesse Kanda's mind bending videos ("Water Me" especially) but late comers to the magic of Twigs will be all over this. Do check "Papi Pacify" as Arca is on some "Cry Me A River" era Timbalaand tip.
Review: If you've yet to succumb to the charms of Children of Zeus - and there can't be many out there who haven't - then this "odds and ends" LP offers a neat introduction. Five of the seven tracks have been plucked from the Manchester crew's previous full-length excursions, while the other two - seductively soulful two-step garage reworks of "Vibrations" and "Slow Down" by fellow Manchester resident Zed Bias - have previously been almost impossible to get hold of. Setting aside the club-ready remixes, what "Excess Baggage" proves is that Children of Zeus are one of British music's most essential outfits right now, delivering sensual and life-affirming cuts that brilliantly blend the best aspects of hip-hop, R&B and modern soul.
Review: This mini-album marks a shift in emphasis for Lustwerk Music, with boss Galcher Lustwerk choosing to showcase the work of another producer for the first time. He's apparently been nurturing Florida-based Quavius for some time, encouraging the young producer to "experiment more" while following his instincts. It seems to have worked, because the majority of music on this debut release is top notch. It covers a lot of ground, with the A-side alone moving between R&B-inspired hip-house ("Love The Way"), hip-hop ("Magic Man"), woozy electronica ("R 'n' V") and spacey deep house ("Composure"). There's naturally plenty more to enjoy on the flipside, too, from the old school deep hip-hop bump of "M 320", to the crunk-tinged, cut-up goodness of closer "Can I Be".
Review: The latest Emotional Response release provides something very special indeed, in the form of a new track from under the radar psychedelic rock musician Nick Nicely. Nicely has been making music from the 70s onwards, but his music has recently undergone something of a critical reappraisal, with the likes of Robert Wyatt and Robyn Hitchcock supposedly inspired by his work; "Wrottersley Road" provides the ideal entry into his music, a masterful piece of shoegaze pop filled with fuzzed out guitars and Eastern psychedelic tones. Remixes are provided by Invisible Hands, who provide a minimal 80's inspired electro-pop version, which comes saturated in radiophonic textures, and The Oscillation, who take the track into even more abstract ambient territory than the original, deep into a place where time seems to stand still entirely, drawing its rich textures out into infinity.
Where The Giants Roam/Field Of The Nephilim (2:44)
Review: The third album from Brainfeeder soul man Thundercat gets the coloured vinyl treatment. His haziest, softest and most consistent set so far, his falsetto dulcets wrap around a whirlwind of styles that are tailor made for vinyl. Sloping and sliding into each other all the way, from the slippery wah-wah guitar disco of "Them Changes" to the Plantlife-style funk of "Lone Wolf & Club" to the trippy ambience of "That Moment", we're gradually moved slowly, softly and sweetly throughout.