Review: Paul SG's Jazzsticks returns to their irregularly regular Hidden Tunes series with a second instalment of restrained rollers from understated up-and-comers and friends of the label alike. If you know the Jazzsticks sound, you'll already know the sterling vibe: dusty, soulful, warm and organic from some of the sharpest talents in the game. Highlights include the big jazz whirlwind of Soul Deep founder Scott Allen's "Soul Desire", a 97-style horn-melting stepper from Decon ("Cool Breeze") and Pulsaar's dreamweaving shakedown "Room For Two". What once was hidden is now found... And will remain in your playlist until the next instalment lands in years to come.
Review: It's been a very long time since Cologne Jazzassin Decon delivered a full EP but it's been worth the wait. Flexing his versatile, elastic groove signature in five clear (and highly chop slapping) directions, every cut here is party dynamite: "Too Easy" hits with the big horned flare of an early 2000s Hospital joint, "Boxin Music" continues the funk but does so with a bulbous system shaking sub bass while "Keep Away" is a much wavier, dreamier experience thanks to its big dubby piano washes. Dig deeper for the title track "Third Coming" which kicks off with a big siren before tossing you in a deep turquoise jazz sea, then finally the restrained and delicate cascades of "Truth Dub". Decon... Don't leave it so long next time.
Review: Cologne-based craftsman and one quarter of the Jazzassins, Decon delivers his debut LP on SG's Jazzsticks. Covering the deeper, slinkier and soulful styles in great detail and character, highlights across this accomplished set include the hazy, cloudy textures and dubby bass of "Rough & Fast", the incredible drum work of "Simple As That", the lolloping jazz majesty of "Sugar Drop", the early 2000s liquid style string swoops of "Heavy On Your Head", the classic breaks and gully jungle wriggles and spills of "The Jam".... The list goes on.
Review: Cologne-based producer Decon has spent much of his career releasing loose-but-punchy, funk-fuelled D&B rinse-outs on Paul SG's Jazzsticks label. Here he returns to the imprint with five more tracks of carnival-ready junglist funk. Naturally there's plenty to enjoy, from the wah-wah laden funk guitars, rubbery double bass and snappy jungle rhythms of "Extinct", to the steppy beats, liquid moods and dreamy vocal hits of "Basement Memories". The EP also boasts a cracking collaboration with Flowrian, "Lost Fragments", which sounds like classic Tongue & Groove (later to find fame as London Elektricity) mixed with early Cinematic Orchestra.
Review: Austrian D&B imprint of true distinction, Jazzsticks get jiggy once again with this shimmering slab of uptempo soul from emerging player Decon. "Can't Take That" rides and rolls with a selection of deep, warping synth lines that instantly bring back memories of early Good Looking releases. With warm chords and even a spot of horn action, it's quintessential liquid for the heads. "Key Version" takes a slightly deeper approach with a hypnotic "Circles" style bassline and spiralling elements that wash over you and instantly clear your mind of any stresses you might be feeling right now.
Review: Decon's "Rareties" doesn't mess around. There's no subtle build-up or calming introduction; instead, it goes for the jugular straight away, launching into a jump-up inspired rolling jungle breakbeat, soaring strings, paring horns and what sounds like a piano sample from Patti-Jo's disco-soul classic "Make Me Believe in You". It's a whirlwind of jazz-flecked "disco drum and bass", clearly designed to please dancefloors at summer festivals. Paul SG offers brief respite, choosing to begin "Vienna Melange (VIP)" with 70 seconds of calming, atmospheric build before dropping into another funk-fuelled junglist rhythm. While not as instantly adorable as its predecessor, it's every bit as likeable, not least because the bongo-laden drums are just that little bit funkier.
Paul SG & Salem - "Jazzstrophobia" - (5:13) 174 BPM
Locksmith - "Jahseh" - (6:10) 176 BPM
Review: Seek and you shall find... Paul SG's Jazzsticks returns with another superb five-piece suite of rich soulful drum & bass in the form of "Hidden Tunes". Decon sets the bar high with the Brazilian charm and energy of "How It Is", Pulsaar brings us right back to the bedroom with lush pianos and just a touch of disco finesse on the stabs, Tryangle whips up a beautiful contrast between the lavish soulful intro and powerful main rolling groove. Elsewhere we find Carter getting his filtered freak on with "Traveller", we see Paul SG & Salem jamming out over a killer swing sample on "Jazzstophobia" before Locksmith shuts us down with the bendiest double-bass bassline Jazzsticks have ever blessed us with. There's no hiding the majesty at play here.
Review: Swiss deep jazz drum & bass aficionado Flowrian returns to the studio for Jazzsticks, and yes, it's rather jazzy. Teaming up with critically-acclaimed soulful D&B producer Paul SG and Jazzsticks favourite Decon, all three producers have pitched in to create a beautifully smooth, flowing pair of tracks. Capturing the heart and soul of jazz-influenced drum & bass, both tunes bring live brass and orchestral sampling into the mix while retaining that all important kick from hard-hitting drums and driving basslines. Two summer anthems on the same release, what more could you ask for?
Review: From a glorious rolling start to shimmering, euphoria-high end, this various artist EP exudes the sort of good time feelings that usually only come with hearing liquid drum and bass on a gorgeous beach somewhere. In lieu of that scenario, this release offers sunny sounds and vibes that are enough to fool you into being there. Which is just perfect. "Blue" kicks us off with beautiful piano and sax, Flowrian's remix of "Rarities" is a flowing, bass-driven romp around funky brass and Pulsaar's "Maximillian" remix takes an edgier detour through junglist bass and percussion. Finally Rhodesomes gets a Soul Structure overhaul complete with sexy brass and an even more sultry vibe. Liquid perfection.
Review: The serene stylings of Austrian drum and bass maestro Paul SG have been soothing thousands across the world and on his latest release for Jazzsticks, there's a definite sense of the good old days returning to his sound. "Deegee" starts the EP off a rolling tip with bass straight from the old school, followed closely by "This Is Jazz" which, as expected, lifts things up with soulful jazzy vibes. "Chief Grand Master" takes that old James Brown sample to new levels of old school introspection and "Ballad of a Nubian Princess" is as sultry as they come, rolling out smooth and lush. Final track "Love Theme" is dramatic and deep with a bassy kick, just how we like it. Get some emotive rollers in your collection, you definitely won't regret it.
Scott Allen - "Deeply Rooted" (original mix) - (6:58) 176 BPM
Blok One - "Falls In Drops" (original mix) - (5:52) 175 BPM
Review: The word jazz is criminally misused. One can wear jazzy trousers. One can flash jazzy hands. Shucks, one can even cook a recipe called 'jazzy potatoes'. But real, actual, jazz - the idea of fusion, improvisation and the notion of not following formula - is hard to find outside of the genre itself. Until you hit the fringes and deeper or classical side of drum & bass. Textures Music Group's Jazz Legends series is a great example; the wily drum dynamics on Soultec's "The Happening", the stroppy sub bass wriggles on Blade's "Back In The Days", the cosy synth nests between the snares on Aquasion's "Sax In The City". The true spirit of contemporary jazz is alive and kicking at 170BPM right here.
Review: Jazzsticks has to be one of the finest soulful and jazzy drum & bass vessels in the business, and this compilation shows us all how and why. Featuring tunes from the incredible Paul SG dotted throughout, joining forces with Flowrian and Clart and even some tracks from Munich's own Rowpieces, the album charts the successes of this fresh young label and looks towards the hazy, optimistic sound of a bright future for D&B.