Teddy Pendergrass - "And If I Had" - (4:18) 130 BPM
Headhunters - "I Remember I Made You Cry" - (3:09) 102 BPM
Rascals - "I'm Gonna Love You" - (2:35) 100 BPM
Jose Feliciano - "The Windmills Of Your Mind" - (3:40) 69 BPM
Liquid, Liquid - "Cavern" - (3:15) 116 BPM
Quincey Jones - "Ironside" - (3:54) 132 BPM
Prince - "If I Was Your Girlfriend" - (2:33) 97 BPM
Esg - "UFO" - (3:53) 105 BPM
Al Green - "Love And Happiness" - (2:29) 100 BPM
Claudja Barry - "Love For The Sake Of Love" - (3:22) 91 BPM
Ever a duo of fine taste, Mobb Deep have sampled many a musical gem. There's too many collected here to name them all (25 in total) but some of the album's many highlights include Giorgio Moroder's snowblind and slick Scarface disco on "Tony's Theme", the cavernous '70s funk rock of "Dirty Feet" (as famously pinched for "Shook Ones Pt II"), another "Cavern" this time Liquid Liquid's punk-funk masterpiece, and the hysterical intimacy overload of Prince's "If I Was Your Girlfriend".
For their next trick, classic cult label Honest Jon's serve up a collection of field recordings of the Mijikenda tribes, made in different spots in and around Mukunguni village, coastal Kenya. There's 14 in total, and it proves a fascinating listen: first track, the creepily percussive "Ndema" is played to sound like a bat, with shrill frequencies intended to heal the village sick, the chant of "Dena" is haunting, "Matatizo" is fantastic acapella pop, while elsewhere multi drums are utilised to chase away "Pepo Mlume", the devil who poisons the imagination. Essential listening.
The mighty Honest Jon's Records brings in the new year with an exquisite and highly awaited set of long-lost gems from the most obscure Iranian recordings dating back to the beginning of the twentieth century. Much like the gorgeous "To Scratch Your Heart" release from a few years back, this stunning collection of ethnic music is easily some of the most tasteful compilations you will ever set your ears on. "Painstakingly restored from 78s at Abbey Road", the music moves from one mystical dimension to another, giving us a detailed snapshot of what was going on back then in cities like Tehran. Trumpets, clarinets, enchanting voices, improvisational strings and a significant swell of nostalgia wrap this winner of a compilation up into what will most likely be one of the most important chronologies of music available today.
The lovely Editions Mego just has definitely delivered the goods in 2012, and to be honest, we're pretty damn excited for this last LP by the wonderful Emeralds. As we'd expected, the record is beautifully diverse and oozing with emotion right from its opener, "Before Your Eyes", a dreamy patchwork of crestfallen melodies which blend fluidly into other utopian synth-hymns such as "Through & Through" and "The Loser Keeps America Clean" - a particularly eerie amalgamation of noises. But the whole affair wouldn't be complete without the spark and zeal of "Adrenochrome", a fast-moving quasi-electro number; or the guitar-shaped rhythms of the title track, "Just To Feel Anything", the key pieces to this enticing puzzle!
Chris Watson is a bit of a legend. Being one of the founding members of Cabaret Voltaire and later The Hafler Trio, he's an inspiring figure as much as a truly interesting source of knowledge. Touch, London's long running homebase for conceptual electronic music and experimental artists seems like a perfect match for Watson's impressionistic recordings, who has already released countless EPs for Jon Wozencroft's carefully curated imprint. This time, nature seem to be the source of Watson's inspiration, giving us "Winter" through to "Haefest" via "Lechten" and "Sumor", an eerie introspective into mother nature herself and the power of often overlooked noises and bleeps from the forest. Daunting, charismatic, and fantastic.