Review: Joe Armon-Jones has been a driving force in the resurgence of contemporary jazz and now makes something of a victory lap with this new album on the always essential Brownswood. It's a very modern mix of bass and dub, du jour club culture and his own jazz styles featuring peers like Moses Boyd and Nubya Garcia. Frankly, the whole record is silky, starry-eyed and sublime and the excellent artwork also hist at the cosmic subtleties of this album, but our picks of the bunch are the neo-soul, summery stroll through the park vibes of "Yellow Dandelion", "Gnawa Sweet" which glows with mellifluous Rhodes chords and the uncompromising yet accessible sax and big brass action of album highlight "You Didn't Care".
Review: Pitched somewhere between the gritty, propulsive beats of Los Angeles, and the exploratory jazz of Cosmogramma, Flying Lotus's fourth album, Until The Quiet Comes is arguably the most delicate record he's ever produced. Described as a "collage of mystical states, dreams, sleep and lullabies", it steers away from bigger moments, choosing instead to present an understated patchwork of breezy jazz samples, dusty hip-hop beats smeared vocals seemingly inspired by DMT hallucinations. While previous efforts were wildly futuristic at times, Until The Quiet Comes is confidently classicist - and seals Flying Lotus's position as one of our generation's visionary producers.
Intuit - "Planet Birth" (feat Andy Bey - Xantone Blacq remix/Volcov edit)
Quentin Kane & Simon Sheldon - "The Blue Room" (feat TK Blue - Kaidi Tatham's Shokazuku remix)
Numbers - "Moonblood" (IG SOS mix)
Honey Sweet - "I Put A Spell On You" (feat Cindy Mizelle)
Skymark - "Finding The Peace"
Harry Whitaker - "The After Life" (part 2)
Tony Williams - "Lawra" (Volcov edit)
Review: Two years ago, Volcov set our pulses racing with From The Archive, a superb selection of killer cuts from the depth of his notoriously impressive record collection. Volume 2 is equally as inspired, though the focus is a little different. Whereas Volcov previously chose to concentrate on soul, funk and disco, this edition is far more widescreen in scope. So, we get soaring soul-jazz bliss (Collective Peace's "Let The Music Play"), head-nodding hip-hop soul (Eric Lau remixing Ruth Koleva), futurist jazz-funk (Ron Trent's wild but brilliant "Ori Space"), soul-fired broken beat (Volcov's own re-edit of Xantone Blacq's vintage remix of Intuit's "Planet Birth"), impeccable soundscape jazz ("Lawra" by Tony Williams) and much more besides.
Kathy Kosins & Paul Randolph - "Could You Be Me?" (Theo Ss translation)
Tatham, Mensah, Lord & Ranks - "Cascade"
Cotonete - "Earth Overshoot Day" (Hugo LX remix)
Cro-Magnon - "Midnight Magic" (feat Roy Ayers)
Freeeze - "Stay"
Grooveman Spot - "Do The Dance"
Root Soul - "My Dream Came True"
Kip Hanrahan - "Her Boyfriend Assesses His Value & Pleads His Case"
Nicole Willis - "Curiosity" (Zanzibar remix)
Velvet Hammer - "Party Hardy" (Alex Attias edit)
Material With Nona Hendryx - "Over & Over"
Sunaga T Experience - "It's You" (Disco Alert mix)
Paul Johnson - "Better Than This" (Soul Talk remix)
Review: Veteran Swiss DJ/producer Alex Attias has long been one of Europe's more versatile and open-minded DJs, so it's fitting that BBE have given him a chance to flex his curatorial muscles. LillyLillyGood, which shares its name with a monthly party and label Attias runs, was inspired by Attias's desire to present "really good grooves that people want to dance to or listen to or home". He's done just that, whizzing through an unmixed selection that giddily flits between trippy, polyrhythmic acid madness (Grooveman Spot), jaunty jazz-funk (Freeeze, Cro Magnon's ultra-deep hook-up with Roy Ayers), synth-fuelled broken beat business (Tatham, Mensah, Lord and Ranks), deliciously spacey deep house (the Zanzibar remix of Nicole Willis's "Curiosity") and killer disco (Attias's own edit of Velvet Hammer's "Party Hearty").
Review: Conceived by Colombian musician Mario Galeano and English producer Will Holland, (better known as Quantic), Ondatropica brings together Colombian legends and young musicians alike and mixes up Columbian styles such as cumbia and champeta with beatboxing, hip-hop and funk. Although the project is undeniably audacious, the results are hugely impressive, with classical styles going hand in hand with all manner of analogue squiggles and experimental dub. Highlights are too numerous to mention, but include the dubbed out weirdness and live instrumentation of "Punkero Sonidero" and the live beatboxing and copious effect mangling on "3 Reyes De La Terepia". The CD version also comes with a 52 page booklet telling the fascinating story behind the project.
Programming/Unauthorized Procedure/Criminal Drug Evasion
Soul Control/Quarter Run (feat Alena Waters)
Flotation Device/Fear Or Laziness?
Laziness (feat Amp Fiddler)
Usually Suspected/The Quest (feat Amp Fiddler)
Second Chances (feat Monica Blaire)
Space Cowboys & The Interplanetary Gangster Edit
Review: Theo Parrish's masterful Sound Sculptures Vol 1 on triple LP format gets a timely repressing!! In total here there are 9 of the 27 tracks from the full double CD version but these still run the gamut of Theo's inimitable talents, from rough and tumble disco edits to saccharine soul, raw beatdown and leftfield esoterica. Be sure to check the Omar S- featuring "Synthetic Flemm" and long time Juno favourite "Flotation Device". If ever there was a selection of tracks that fully showcased the incredible breadth of production talent this man has, this is it. Not to be missed!
Review: Here's something to set the pulse racing: a collaborative debut album (on Sound Signature, no less) from London broken beat veterans Dego and Kaidi Tatham. As with their previous joint releases on 2000 Black, Rush Hour, Eglo and, of course, Sound Signature, it's the duo's love of rich, jazz-fuelled musicality, sun-kissed melodies and loose, languid rhythms that shines through. There are naturally nods towards disco, boogie, jazz-funk, Afrobeat, hip-hop and classic "bruk", with a stellar cast list of guest musicians and vocalists swinging by to lend a hand. If Herbie Hancock decamped to Ladbroke Grove and made an album with Bugz in the Attic, it would probably sound like this. In our book, that's a very good thing indeed.
Review: This brilliant album sees United Future Organisation co-founder Toshio Matsura re-imagine a string of influential and classic club cuts with the assistance of Sons of Kemet maestro Tom Skinner and some of Britain's best young jazz musicians. Thrillingly, for the most part the resultant covers are remarkably radical, offering brilliant interpretations of very well known records. For example, Flying Lotus's "Do The Astral Plane" is re-cast as a cheery jazz-funk workout, Carl Craig's "At Les" becomes a blissed-out chunk of Philip Glass style synthesizer minimalism and Roni Size Reprazent's "Brown Paper Bag" resurfaces as a creepy jazz standard. And that's before we get to the inspired jazz-rock wig-out that is the group's version of Rotary Connection standard "I Am The Black Gold of the Sun".
Review: Building on his Brownswood debut earlier this year - "Go See" on the label's deep-digging We Out Here collection - Ezra Collective's pianist and composer lays down his most expansive and expressive body of work to date. Weighing in at near album size, it's a powerful experience from the off as Afrikan Revolution's Asheber sets a political framework and sense of freshness and unity on the title track. Elsewhere we're treated to hazy bluesy hip-hop on "Ragify", raw freeform fizz on "London's Face" and soul-soothing narratives in the form of "Mollison Dub". Stunning.
Brenda Boykin - "Hard Swing Travellin'" (Smoove remix)
Dilouya & Smoove & Turrell - "The Way It Goes" (feat Sandra Nkake)
Electric Empire - "Baby Your Lovin'" (Smoove remix)
The New Mastersounds - "Witness" (Smoove remix)
The Juju Orchestra - "Kind Of Latin Rhythm" (Smoove remix)
Charlie Funk, Afrika Bambaataa & King Kamonzi - "It's My Funk" (Smoove P Funk Disco remix)
Kraak & Smaak - "Call Up To Heaven" (feat Lex Empress - Smoove remix)
The Third Degree - "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" (Smoove remix)
The Bahama Soul Club - "Nassau Jam" (Smoove Funky Jam remix)
Da Wiesel - "Boogaloo Stomp" (Smoove remix)
Una Mas Trio - "Son Montuno" (Smoove remix)
Nick Pride & The Pimptones - "Waitin' So Long" (Smoove remix)
Kojato & The Afro Latin Cougaritas - "Like A Gypsy" (Smoove remix)
Review: For years now, Newcastle-based funk/breaks fusionist Smoove has been one of Jalepeno's most decorated artists. His particular brand of party-starting groovery continues to be popular with dancefloors - hence the rather large amount of remix requests he gets. First Class gathers together 13 of his favourite remixes to date, offering a string of soulful, floor-friendly reworks that verge from the boisterous (the heavy percussion of his New Mastersounds tweak) to the banging (a hectic revision of The Third Degree's "Can't Get You Out of My Head"). There are sweaty moments by the armful, too (check the Bahama Soul Club re-make) and toe tapping jams aplenty (Brenda Boykin). Funk fans will love it.
Review: A super hot reissue of Moodymann's Forevernevermore album on Peacfrog. This was Kenny Dixon Jnr's third album (following the seminal Silentintroduction and Black Mahogani), released back in 2000. The pleasing thud of "Tribute" and idiosyncratic deep strut of "Your Sweet Lovin" linger long in the ears, whether you're hearing for the first time of the 100th. Indeed everything here is dripping with MPC brilliance; jazzy samples, crackly Detroit atmospherics and the occasional recording of Moodymann's own distinctive croaky voice, making it an utterly essential purchase for Detroit cognoscenti who missed it the first time round.
Review: Don't be fooled by the smoky jazzy horns on the intro: The Allergies are still at the front of the party queue! They were just lulling us into a false sense of security before hitting us with a precision range of big soul swingers and dynamite party killers; both "Hold You Close" and "Since You've Been Gone" pop with big beat bangs, "Entitled To That" stamps and sweats like Wigan Pier is still holding the best dances in the country, "Main Event" parps and pumps while long-standing affiliate Andy Cooper reminds us who's boss while "It Won't Be Me" (also with Cooper) is coded with so much horn and guitar powered gusto you could be fooled into thinking Ugly Duckling are back. Yet another triumphant album from one of Jalapeno's most exciting acts.
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: There's a growing feeling both inside and outside jazz that Kamasi Washington could well turn out to be one of the style's all-time greats. He's certainly making all the right moves, delivering thought-provoking concept albums of eyebrow-raising length that simply refuse to settle on one sound, rhythm, style or sub-genre. Heaven & Earth, his first album for almost three years, continues this trend, comprising angry instrumental answers to America's growing issues with class division and racism, Rotary Connection style workouts, Sun Ra-esque spiritual workouts, funk and soul-influenced burners, spiraling choral and orchestral affairs, and electric fusions of rubbery synth-funk and mind-altering jazz-blues. Typically, the results are never less than sublime, with Washington's virtuoso saxophone playing taking centre stage throughout.
Review: Hot on the heels of his No Beginning No End album, Jose returns with yet another arresting tale of modern day soul. His distinctive baritone humming with raw emotion he covers a broad soundscape that includes contemporary off-beat fracturisms ("U R The 1"), dreamy psychedelia ("Were Sleeping"), heavy bluesy rock ("Anywhere U Go") and Bonobo-style string drama ("4 Noble Truths"). Far-reaching, arresting and delivered with real authenticity, Jose's repertoire is as spotless and creative as it was when Giles Peterson first signed him 10 years ago.
Review: Proudly pushing their music through Germany's Agogo imprint, the Hidden Jazz Quartett have always released stunning jazz music with a nod to the classics of the past, but with also an inherently modern twist to the sounds, arrangements, and mood. Their latest album, Raw & Cooked, is as smooth as silk, and instantly gets you in a soulful kind of mood with the sultry "High Heels", powered by the deep and luscious vocals of Omar. Tracks like "Tap On The Backdoor" are livelier, feature organs and push the jazz into funk territories, but then there's also plenty of downtempo via cuts such as the mighty "Kimberley Hotel", verging gracefully onto hip hop with the help of Anthony Joseph. All in all, this is the right kinda joint for those looking to get down, and zone out to some stone-cold future soul. Beautiful.
Review: Anthony Joseph is a poet, novelist, musician and lecturer described as 'the leader of the black avant-garde in Britain'. For his latest outing, he presents an album that had long lurked inside his mind. He formed a band in Trinidad's capital, Port of Spain (the aptly named Caribbean Roots) and they began recording - soaking up the intense effervescence of the local music - past and present. They locked themselves in a house that they converted into a studio in the earlier part of 2017, where among them were practitioners of the steelpan, soca and rapso right, alongside lovers of more contemporary R&B, soul and rock flavours. The steelpan's metallic overtones are the album's guiding musical thread throughout, helping to highlight Joseph's political lyrics, social commentary and conscience of black identity. The grooves are strong and they bring both the players and listeners together in a collective trance. People Of The Sun is sure to push Trinidadian music to new listeners, far beyond its sandy shores.
Review: Baltimore house legend Karizma steps forth with his debut album as Kaytronik, which continues his long running association with UK label R2 Records. At 17 tracks long, Thee Album is somewhat conservative compared to Chris Clayton's last Karizma outing, 2013's 39-track Wall Of Sound, but canvasses the full spectrum of his widely lauded production talents. Leading out with some vintage string heavy boom bap, the Kaytronik sound unfolds to encompass classic US house, tougher DJ tools, jagged brukked up rhythms, jazzy beatdown and everything in between. In simple terms Thee Album is a true master at work. Don't Sleep!
Review: Since releasing his first Floating Points record back in 2009, Sam Shepherd has constantly surprised. Predictably, he's done it again with Reflections: Mojave Desert, an album created from impromptu recordings of his live band made during a visit to Joshua Tree National Park. Inspired by their surroundings and the natural environment, Shepherd's ensemble have created a five-track set - and accompanying Super 8 film, shot and edited by the band's traveling visual artist - that's as atmospheric as anything the producer has released to date. While a unique proposition with its own distinctive vibe, the tracks variously touch on ambient, new age, spiritual jazz, woozy electronica, post-rock and the kind of Stockhausen-inspired experimentalism explored on Ragnar Grippe's recently reissued "Sand".
J Rawls presents The Liquid Crystal Project - "A Tribute To Troy"
Sons Of Time - "Before Sundown" (feat J-Live)
Sam Krats - "Revive Rap" (feat El Da Sensei & Gee Bag - Jim Sharp remix)
Space Invaders - "Done It Again"
Melvin Sparks - "If You Want My Love" (with Jimmy Scott)
Smith & The Honey Badgers - "The Billionaire Strut"
Laura Vane & The Vipertones - "Man Of Your Word"
Osaka Monaurail - "No Trouble On This Mountain" (feat Shirley Davis)
Ann Sexton & The Baltic Soul Orchestra - "You're Losing Me"
Marc Gregor - "Mabusso"
Benjamin & The Dreamdancers - "Not One More Tear"
Djar One - "The Get Down" (feat Andy Cooper)
Misumani - "Prove Your Love" (feat First Touch)
Skyy - "Call Me"
Hollie Cook - "Postman"
Review: In 2008, German label Unique asked crate-digging party starters Soulinus and Pun to put together the first volume in their "This is DJs Choice" compilation series. Only one further instalment - with tracks selected by Keb Darge and Lucinda Slim - appeared before the series was shelved. Happily, Unique has decided to re-launch it, with Marc Hype and DJ Suspect in charge of the track list. They've done a bang up job, all told, offering up a sizzling, 15-track selection that giddily sprints between steel band reggae (Hollie Cook), soul-jazz (Melvin Sparks), heavy funk (Smith & The Honey Badgers, Osaka Monoaurail), boogie (Skyy), Afro-latin heaviness (Marc Gregor) and head-nodding hip-hop (Sons Of Time, Benjamin & The Dreamdancers).
Review: Despite a career that stretches back to 2004 and has included 12" releases on 20:20 Vision, Battle and Souvenir, Dancers is, rather surprisingly, Tim Paris's debut album. For those used to his techno and electro-tinged house sound, the content may come as a little surprise. Paris has used the opportunity provided by a full-length to deliver tracks in a wide range of styles, from the strobelight disco-tech of "Minireich" and fuzzy punk-funk of "Rain" and "Golden Ratio", to the slo-mo new wave oddness of "You'll Never Know", and sun-bright Balearic blast of "Extreme Nails". Throughout, Dancers is stylish, impeccably produced and constantly surprising. In other words, it's an unlikely triumph.
Review: Klaus Waldeck is well aware that his most commercially successful album, 2007's 1920s and '30s-influenced "Ballroom Stories", played a role in defining the electro-swing sound. While he's spent the 11 years since trying to shake off these shackles, his latest album, "Atlantic Ballroom", is at least in part a sequel of sorts. There's little actual electro-swing, though many of his influences - blues, classic jazz, tango, Dave Brubeck, Henry Mancini, John Barry and Lalo Schifrin amongst there - are apparent in this album, peppered with vintage downtempo grooves and smoky Viennese electronics. The results are by and large hugely enjoyable, with the presence of some of the producer's most trusted vocalists and collaborators giving the whole thing a joyful, celebratory feel.