Review: While most editions of the DJ Kicks mix series feature at least one track created by the artist behind the mix, Kamaal Williams' forthcoming version features quite a few - hence this four-track EP of previously unreleased material. The talented keyboardist, DJ and producer first offers up a brilliant live, full-band version of "Bitches Brew" rich in spoken word vocals, snaking horn lines, frequent changes in tempo and his own sublime keys work, before delivering the stunning, piano-only lament "Shinjuku (DJ Kicks)". He dons his familiar Henry Wu alias to lay down the squelchy deep house hypnotism of "Wivout U" - a track seemingly created for the "We Out Here" festival - before reverting to jazz-funk/jazz-fusion mode on ear-catching closing cut "Strings (ATL)". In a word: delicious.
Review: Nightmares On Wax relaunched DMC's 'Back To Mine' series after a 10-year absence in January, and now next to slide into the selector's hot seat are chart-bothering pop/indie-dance duo Jungle. They've curated an impressively varied selection of downtempo grooves that runs the gamut from the contemporary jazz of Kamaal Williams and Mansur Brown to the psych-pop of LA hopefuls The Marias, the Balearic disco of Admin's 'Space Cadet', the lo-fi George Harrison vibes of Paul Cherry's 'Like Yesterday', the deep tropical house of DrumTalk's 'Red Haze' and the sunny Afro-funk of Inflo's 'No Fear'. A whimsical, engaging collection that's best served whole for maximum effect.
Review: There's much to admire about Kamaal Williams' contribution to the long running DJ Kicks series, not least the producer, DJ and keyboardist's blend of self-made exclusives (both under his name and his alternative Henry Wu alias) and largely overlooked gems. Highlights in the former category include a stunning live version of "Snitches Brew", the jazzy Latin house of "Projections" (a Henry Wu hook-up with Earl Jeffers) and "Lowrider", a jazz guitar-propelled cut from his collaborative Yusuf Kamaal project. In the latter category, we'd suggest wrapping your ears around Awanto 3's dusty and ultra-deep "Pregnant", the deep jazz-funk bliss of Diggs Duke's "Cause I Love You", the up-tempo dancefloor soul of Peven Everett's "Stuck" and the slow motion wonder that is Steve Spacek's "Hey There".