Alex Barck & Jonatan Backelie - "Don't Hold Back" - (6:33)
Alex Barck & Jonatan Backelie - "Don't Hold Back" (Copy Paste Soul remix) - (6:44)
Re-Set (feat Pete Josef) - (5:28)
Re-set (feat Pete Josef - Hannes Fischer Remix) - (6:14)
Re-set (feat Pete Josef - Marlow Remix) - (7:04)
Alex Barck has achieved a lot over the last two decades - pioneering nu-jazz blends with Jazzanova, helping set up Sonar Kollektiv, a fine album with Christian Prommer - but he's not released many solo records. In fact, his debut solo album, Reunion, is due later in the year. This taster gives a glimpse as to what to expect, a dewy-eyed blend of electronic soul, bruk-influenced deep house and unbridled positivity. The EP's two original tracks are predictably sublime, with Pete Josef collaboration "Re-Set" - an exercise in effortlessly soulful, heavily electronic deep house - just edging out the more obviously anthemic Jonathan Backelie hook-up "Don't Hold Back". Elsewhere, Marlow's deep acid rework of "Re-Set" is also superb.
Jazzanova's Sonar Kollektiv label has been fairly quiet of late, so it's nice to see them back with a bang. Here, they offer up the debut full-length from soul singer/songwriter Fetsum, a man who has previously only made guest appearances on a smattering of singles. Fetsum's style is classic soul, his Marvin-meets-Usher vocals soaring above a variety of earnest, organic backdrops. For the most part, the music is positive and life affirming, all warm horns, clipped guitars and long, lazy organ chords. There's the odd musical curveball - trips into reggae, slow jam and instrumental territory - but for the most part it's as slick, heartfelt and soulful as you'd expect.
Born to Eritrean revolutionists, Fetsum embarked on a nomadic existence before settling in Italy where he forged his nascent musical roots. His subsequent exposure to an even bigger variety of international music has resulted in his recent debut album, "The Colour Of Love". This lead track from the LP is a jaunty number that combines his upbeat, melodic sensibilities with plenty of world music flavours.
Bass explorer extraordinaire Jah Wobble has been taking us on all kinds of low-end journeys since his days with the mighty PiL back in the '70s. So, when he decides to present you with something, you know it's bound to be good. PJ Higgins (Dub Colossus) wraps her golden larynx round eight tracks of smoky late night throbbers, each generously cooked with various world ("What Have I Become"), chill-out ("Inspiration") and blues ("Chaingang") tinged flavours. The requisite rolling dubby basslines come courtesy of Mr Wobble of course, topping off an already successful mood record.
For this new release, the German DJ collective Jazzanova see their collaboration with singer Paul Randolph remixed by Brooklyn's Afro-jazz DJ, Jeremy Sole. Taking the original's vocals, Sole layers them over one of his trademark live workouts turning the song into the kind of laid-back, ska-tinged anthem heard at a 70s New York block party.
As part of Sonar Kollektiv's 15th anniversary celebrations, Jazzanova has remixed one of their favourite tracks, Joe Bataan's 1967 smooth Latin soul shuffler "Ordinary Guy". The original was remade by Bataan many times in various styles (boogaloo and disco included), but none were as effortlessly sunny, loose and organic as Jazzanova's re-recording. Bataan's original vocals are laced over a sun-bright lazy soul groove. With loose drums, gorgeous guitars and the lopsided swing of a live performance, Jazzanova's vocal and instrumental takes are both wonderfully authentic and naggingly addictive. There's also a great drum break in the middle, tailor-made for mixing.