We always look forward to a new installment in the School Yard Breaks series, and with 25 more vintage gems on here, they haven't let us down. It's the same drill - obscure original tunes that provided famous samples - but with new thrills. Highlights include Bobby Byrd's raunchy groover "I Need Help I Can't Do It Alone" (best known for its "I know you got soul!" line), the '70s cop show grit of "E Colition Alpha" and Rabbit & Carrott's classic "Express Yourself" (famously reworked by N.W.A.).
The latest curator of the esteemed series of groovy re-edits is none other than rising star, Ree Keen. There's four reworks featured here, all of which perfectly capture the noted diversity of his influences. Opener "Blue Devils" is all bluesy looped nonchalance, "Smooth Changes" is a party ragtime jaunt through Annie-style musical swing. "Horny Me Swing" is a mash-up of Mousse T and big band jive that's as improbable as it sounds and "Paper Bossa Loser" fuses vintage Beck with chiming, sunkissed bossa nova. It shouldn't work, but it does!
To paraphrase the great Jay-Z, it's time to brush that dust off ya fingers! The 26th time in fact, as the tireless Strictly Breaks label take another voluminous trawl through the archives of past library and funk for a 25 track edition of the Dusty Fingers series. As with previous volumes, perhaps the most valuable lesson from this Dusty Fingers compilation is the manner in which it educates and introduces the curious listener to the sizeable canons of the artists featured. So sink in and enjoy the samplealicious treats on offer from Piero Umiliani, KPM, Iris, Inoue Takayuki Band and oh so many more.
Extra Medium is a producer equally known for his iconic moustache as much as his unique skill in turning 20s and 30s obscurities into bass heavy monsters. Ever one for generous notions of sizing, here he gives us five new sizzlers. From the raw-blues-meets-menacing-electro-thump of "Blues Boogie Bass", to the gentle acoustic breeze of "Lazy Bones" via the buzzsaw-Charleston of "Go Away". 4 times World DMC Champion Mr Switch and horn man Cab Canavaral both appear on the Jazz Age-stepper "Size Up" and the dubsteppy "Swinggae".
Canada's premiere afro-Latin fusionists Souljazz Orchestra return with their ninth album, Resistance, which arrives a decade after they first announced themselves to the world with the dazzling debut Uprooted. That album was issued on their own Funk Manchu Records, but the collective are firmly within the Strut Records bosom these days with Resistance their fourth album for the UK stronghold. Never a band to tread water, this 10 track collection finds the Souljazz Orchestra exploring new territory on record, explicitly the French Caribbean and Francophone West African influences that have been key to the band from their earliest days. What's most impressive here is the band's sheer versatility with saxman Ray Murray, percussionist Marielle Rivard, drummer Philippe Lafreniere and keyboardist Pierre Chretien all taking on lead vocal duties as Resistance progresses.
Being a bit of a musical clever clogs, ROJ leader, David Hanke, based the title of their recent album Paradise Lost on John Milton's famous poem of the same name. Now we get a follow-up collection of remixes that utilises the title of Milton's own sequel: Paradise Regain'd. Highlights include Skeewiff's clavinet-heavy hip-house rework of "Fire", Ride Of The Renegades' raspy, blues-rock version of "Hellesens" and its back to the days of Gypsy Woman on Titenots' retro house mix of "Neverday".
Very much like the work of label founder Tiago, you're never quite sure what to expect from Interzona 13. This latest label EP - featuring work from Tiago himself - is as eccentric, left-of-centre - and enjoyable as you'd expect. Sitting somewhere between cut-and-paste, sample-heavy reworks, original production and re-edits, all four tracks bristle with psychedelic ideas. Opener "Para Quem" is a humid, chopped-up Balearic soul affair, while "Andar E Esquecer (2)" layers picturesque - if slightly unsettling - music box melodies, rubbery bass and backwards guitars over a bumpin' deep house groove. "Roy Brooks" is a trippy, dubbed-out jazz house affair, while closer "Reach Out & Touch Somebody" expertly combines psychedelic disco and rock samples with a heavy, relentless techno groove.
RVNG come up trumps once again, delving much deeper into the Kerry Leimer archive for a most compelling collection of works the Seattle based musician released under the Savant banner during the rich 1980s period. Calling on a cast of local musicians, Leimer created Savant as an 'artificial band' if you will, using the project as an outlet to explore a wilder style of music to the loop-based minimalism he was focusing on in solitude. Some 14 tracks deep, Artificial Dance is a most compelling listen, with a series of odd percussive sketches and strange new age compositions that will leave a similar impression as the Byrne-Eno classic My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts. A must if you enjoyed the Leimer retrospective on RVNG last year. One wonders what other Leimer-shaped treats the label has in store?
Inspired by the likes of Burial, Bonobo, and MJ Cole, UK producer Ghostchant (aka Joe Cornwell) has created a sonic world of hazy atmospherics, soon to be showcased on his forthcoming debut LP, Sincerity. "Reasons" is the lead track from the long player, a widescreen urban hymn featuring the smooth vocals of Anthony Kastelanides. Things gets bit more gangsta on the tense and moody "Habituary" (featuring Florida rapper, SpaceGhostPurrp) and Fila Brazilia's Steve Cobby delivers a more organic and funky remix of the title track.