Veteran Timewarp producer Leon is back with mini-album School Of Groove, which he considers to be his most musical and conceptual album so far. Taking in a wide breadth of influences taking in jazz, '70s neo soul and cinematic arrangements. Highlights include the sleek, jazzy lounge-house of "House Space", the string-laden disco of "We Just Can't Get Enough" and the title track's raw, retro block-rockin' funk.
Although chiefly aimed at "all the 140 lovers", there's stuff on Power Of The Drum that will appeal to many more listeners. Here label bosses Brad Lush and Marcus Visionary deliver 15 unreleased tribal, dub and soca-influenced cuts, the kind of which they've used to shake up their native Toronto scene. Highlights include the amphetamine soca rush of "Mas Jumble", the whiplash tropical grind of "Ease Up" and the urgent haunted carnival workout "Fire Fate".
Gilles Peterson's Brownswood Bubblers series aims to distil the exciting new artists that can be heard in the revered tastemaker's charts and DJ sets into a 'suite of perfect bumps". An interesting description, but in layman's terms it's a compilation of rising acts from every corner of the globe. This eleventh instalment presents all kinds of sounds including the gentle minimal claps of Hector Plimmer's "Tomorrow", the haunted slo-mo R&B house of "A Part Of You" by Kuage, the distorted and warped space soul of Like's "Nothing Matters" and Moonchilds breezy and chilled jazz-hop ballad "The Truth". More ones to watch!
The Broken Circuit album from Brighton's future soul duo is proving to be the gift that keeps on giving, as here we get two more LP tracks coupled with two new titles. The previously heard "Broken Circuit" and "Atom Bomb" are sugary lo-fi soul-pop and a seductive broken beat lament respectively. Of the fresh tracks, "World In Room" is garage-influenced fizz-house at its best and the prayer-like enchanting digi-soul of "Blessings" wraps things up nicely.
Brazilian DJ Dolores is a man of many talents, being a graphic designer, TV documentary producer, soundtrack composer and veteran DJ (he's been active since the late '80s). Here on Banda Sonora Musica Para Filmes he combines these talents to present a collection of club-friendly dance-rock inspired by films and footage of the natural world, all with a distinctive nod to his country's often neglected musical heritage.
Catz N Dogz have taken a leap of faith with their Pets Recordings label here on the Warsoul EP, eschewing the expected 4/4 house for something a little different. Celebrating new talent from deeper into their hometown Warsaw's clubland, we hear sounds with much more of a soul, R&B and hip-hop influence. Highlights include Teielte & Sonar Soul's hauntingly minimal footwork jam "Saturn", the Afrojazz meets half-step of "Kali" by Envee and the fuzzed-out, space soul of Archeo's "Warsoul".
London-based, Brazil-leaning label Far Out has had a good year. If in doubt, here's the evidence - a 15-track compilation to sum its last twelve months in style. Highlights include Friends From Rio slinky take on the timeless classic "Mas Que Nada", the sultry, if a little bonkers, disco tones of Far Out Disco Orchestra's "The Last Carnival", the dreamy jazz lounge of Sean Khan's "Don't Let The Sun Go Down" and the sumptuous deep house of Kirk Degiorgio's "Prazeres".
This Parisian ensemble arrived in the late '90s, fusing all kinds of rhythms and instruments with a DJ's approach. This saw them rocket to success with help from the likes of Gilles Peterson, and here they've decided to remind listeners of their dance culture roots. Club Secreto is their first compilation of remixes and over the course of 12 tracks we get an exotic mix of sounds including digital cumbia from Lagartijeando, tropical bass from Poirier, Daniel Haaksman's Soca from Berlin, Parisian swing from Nicolas Repac and finally an Arizona acoustic 'version' from Calexico. Good stuff!
Berlin duo Duct Tape like to embellish of the truth a little (one of them's called Batsauce), claiming to have both been born on a moon of Saturn. It's also stated that their music is informed by their intergalactic travels! All interesting stuff, considering that the other member, Wynton Kelly Stevenson, is the offspring of the late great (and earth-based) musician Rudy Stevenson. Less We Can features 16 tracks cut from long jams on "cheap 80s keyboards, guitar pedals, a beat machine, a bass guitar, and a cheap microphone", resulting in a suitably spacey listen.
Second time around for native New Yorker Gabriel Garzon Montana's criminally overlooked debut album, Bishoune: Alma Del Huila. Montana is a rare talent: a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and producer with Colombian and French heritage whose poignant, evocative and thoughtful songs join the dots between modern soul, James Blake style fragility, jazz, deep house, experimental hip-hop and broken beat. It's a mix that makes for wonderful listening, with the accompanying remixes - not featured on the original release - enhancing the experience. The Archie Pelago rework of "Pour Mamman" - a soul-jazz classic in the making - and Patrick Russell's dub techno influenced rework of the same track are probably the picks of a strong bunch.