Reviewed this week
Something tells us that this compilation isn't about smoking mere tobacco. Perhaps it's the green-eyed bad boy on the cover brandishing a suspiciously plump 'roll up'. Or maybe it's simply because of the hazy, lazy and groovy 70s vibes contained within. Robsoul Essential has managed to overcome the munchies, get off the couch and actually find nine expert reworks of old disco joints. Highlights include the bleary eyed, organic hip-hop beats of "This Is What It Is" by Homequest, the deep, heady loops of "Six Flags" by Chris Carrier and the bonged-out neo-soul of "Mondae".
The Paris/London based reissue label, Africa Seven, have a strongly defined manifesto, in which they see it as their 'mission to re-release hard to find records with strong connections to the African Continent'. Here they've done it again, uncovering the rare as hen's teeth African Sound LP by super-rare Cameroonian group Dikalo. The band was led by the one and only Eko Roosevelt who not only sang, but played guitar, arranged all the music even conducted the group too. Highlights include the choppy electro Afro-funk of "Equality", the wah-wah and keys freak out "Old Fisher Man" and the synth squelches of "Yeh Bobe".
From modest beginnings in Scotland, LuckyMe now operate out of London and New York City. Besides releasing records, they also manage a number of artists and run LuckyMe Studio - a film production company and agency for select clients, in music and fashion. A staple of the label for many years now, Cid Rim is back with another standout EP. The Viennese beatsmith serves up "Four-Eighteen", featuring fellow Austrians Dorian Concept & The Clonious. It's a serving of chilled yet riveting future beat experimentation, contrasted by some smooth jazzy elements for added measure.
Mercury Prize-nominated act, The Invisible, recently dropped their acclaimed LP, Patience. The album offered a glimpse into their more uplifting side and featured a host of collaborators. Here we get a remix EP of certain album tracks with "Love Me Again (feat Anna Calvi)" appearing twice - first as a loose and swaggering form in the "Chaos In The CBD remix" and again as a bleepy cosmic opus in the Chris FYI mix. "The Darkstar remix of "So Well" is infectious leftfield synth-funk and lastly Conan Moccasin hook-up "K Town Sunset" becomes a dreamy, distant analogue white-out in the "Tee Mango Summer Daze Revision".
The 1973 classic Bongo Rock album by muso supergroup Incredible Bongo Band enjoyed further success in the 80s by providing a million breaks to the sample-hungry early rappers and again in the 90s being sampled again by the likes of Bentley Rhythm Ace, Fatboy Slim and Macy Gray amongst others. Now it's lesser-known 1974 follow-up The Return Of The Incredible Bongo Band, finally gets re-released and will expand minds and dancefloors again with its 11 tracks of totally out-there percussion-based grooves.
Inkswel dropped his album, Unity 4 Utopia, last year and a highlight of the LP was "Outer Space Connection", with deep emotional production (from 'disco minimalist' Harvey Sutherland), jazzy vibes and soulful vocals from Steve Spacek. Here the original has the single spotlight shone upon it and is released with a host of impressive remixes in tow. Italian duo The Mixtapers reduce the track to a smooth cocktail house incarnation, Medline remix meanwhile, re-imagines it as Bootsy Collins doing psychedelic electro, Edseven provides quality broken beat in his version and Worldwide recreates the glory of 80s synth-pop on his joyous rework.