Review: Byron Blaylock's last extended outing, last year's brilliant Ambrosia on Jeff Mills' Axis label, delivered a perfect balance between live, colourful jazz-funk instrumentation and club-ready deep house grooves. The Alabama native taps into that sound again on The New Beginning, his third full length excursion, while also reppin' head-nodding instrumental hip-hop, sci-fi seeped future boogie, dusty jazz, spacey peak-time club workouts and jaunty dancefloor jazz. Such is the quality on show, picking individual highlights is tough, though our current favourites include the sax-laden romp 'Universal Insanity', the piano-sporting deep house breeziness of 'Cosmic Dub', the Motor City influenced wonder of 'The End of the World' and the sparkling, Dam Funk-esque 'Smoke One For Huckaby'.
Review: Fresh from the release of his killer, jazz-funk flavoured Ambroisa album on Axis, Byron the Aquarius returns to Shall Not Fade with the second instalment in his ongoing What Up Doe? series. This time round he's in a more forthright, peak-time focused move, charging between the tough-but-drowsy deep house brilliance of 'She Want To Work It', the slowly building, acid-fired heaviness of 'I Can Feel That (Dub)', the kickdrum-heavy, sci-fi futurism of 'Apes Of Mars Part 2', the immersive, Larry Heard-goes-deep techno brilliance of 'Cosmic Raindance' and the sample-house dustiness of 'Can We Do It Again'
Review: After focusing on purely synthesizer and drum machine-based music for the last 28 years, Jeff Mills has decided to broaden the musical horizons of his Axis label. That means releasing music made with more traditional instruments as well as the sci-fi techno fare that the Motor City label has long been associated with. To showcase the potential of this new era, Mills has first offered up a fresh album from Byron The Aquarius that adds jazz-funk instrumentation (think spacey synth solos, fluid piano lines, breathy flutes and rubbery bass guitar) to a combination of organic and programmed deep house and nu-jazz grooves. It's a brilliantly expansive and spiritual set full of intricate musical details, with a number of the best tracks being accompanied by equally as inspired alternative mixes.
Review: Since surfacing on Sound Signature in 2016, Byron The Aquarius has emerged at the front of house music's ever-rolling and contemporary new wave, with his music is four short years making it to labels like Rush Hour, Ninja Tune and Eglo to Kyle Hall's Wild Oats, and Shall Not Fade. BTA now lands on Funkineven's Apron label with keeping it classic, beat down, soulful and full of that dusty, renegade funk ("Dr Funk Yo Mind") to something more X-rated in "A$trotron". Get yer broken beats in "Girls Girls Girls" with some straight up house vibes in "Let Go (Sunshine)" to more skittering jazz numbers in "Fun Fun Fun (feat Brandon Banks)". Deeper still is the spacey dubs of "I Want To Go" to some sweetly distorted deep house and percussion work outs in "If Only She Knew".
Review: For his first outing since the release of his superb debut album last year, Byron The Aquarius has chosen to throw his lot in with Shall Not Fade, a Bristol-based label that has consistently put out some of the best house music around over the last few years. The Atlanta-based artist has naturally delivered the goods, confidently strutting between crunchy analogue deep house jazziness (the synth-and-piano-laden opener "Feelings Is It Real"), 21st century broken house/jazz-funk fusion (the jacking drum machine fills, Kaidi Tatham synth motifs and acid squelch of "Age of Ultron (MDMA Mix)"), spacey deep techno futurism ("Techno Is Black (Respeck)"), woozy deep house warmth ("Falling In Love (Dub)") and intergalactic downtempo beats ("CyBoTrAx").
Review: Since going solo last year, former Onra collaborator Byron Blaylock has yet to put a foot wrong. Each successive EP has brought with it a swathe of killer new jams straddling the blurred lines between soul, jazz, hip-hop, deep house and jazz-funk. There's more of the same on Leaving This Planet, the Alabama-raised producer's first EP for the mighty Eglo. So while opener "Song for a Friend" is a superior, jazz-flecked deep house bumper smothered in killer electric piano solos, the track that follows, "Mind, Body & Soul" is a squelchy tech-jazz masterpiece. It's the same story on the flip, as floor-friendly jazz-breaks ("Blow Your Mind") make way for a heady trip into intergalactic jazz-funk territory ("SSDP"). As the worn-out old saying goes, this is "all killer, no filler".
Review: Set up as a continuation of their podcast back in 2008, this Russian label joins the dots between jazz various genres. Footwork House Jam no.1 is a homage to the global house culture and the eponymous Moscow-based club night in particular. The idea behind this compilation 'is to provide the fuel for house dance culture and house movement to expand further on' the label claims. Starting off with Baltimore legend Karizma and his jagged groove therapy session titled "Church Chords" there's more quality with Brit Nubian Mindz with the glitched out disco house of "Check Da Discotheque" which will contort you even more with its nifty beat repeat effects. Then it is Intr0beatz with the sexy late night deep house of "That DUB" where he goes for that timeless formula of emotive chords, swing fuelled rhythms and sampled diva vocals to full effect.. but wait for that bassline to drop, like seriously! Finally, Dopeness Galore darling Jacob Otten aka Kid Sublime drops the soulful and life affirming broken beat nu-jazz experiment "Wings Of Love".
Byron The Aquarius & S3A - "Nights In Tokyo" - (6:31) 123 BPM
Spacing Out - (2:08) 127 BPM
Memories Of Kenzu - (4:26) 120 BPM
Review: The seventh release for Parisian label Sampling As An Art comes courtesy of Atlanta's Byron The Aquarius with the Euphoria EP. If you checked Byron's prior 2016 releases for Sound Signature and Wild Oats, you'll know to expect a diverse range of styles all produced with consummate expertise and that's exactly what we have on the Euphoria EP. There's some dusty hip hop joints like on "Intro", Coming To Detroit" and "The Essence" but there's also some real proper deep house. Like when we get treated with the wonderful "The Love Below" which is reminiscent of Fresh 'N Low and the rather KDJ sounding collaboration with S3A "Nights In Tokyo".