Review: Benjamin Smith and Paul "Mudd" Murphy rarely disappoint, as those who copped 2016 album Gorthleck will confirm. "Janet 50" marks the experienced duo's first new material since (though we have it on good authority that a fresh full-length is also on the way). The track is typical of their work, with sumptuous, jazzy guitars, deep space effects and rich electric piano parts reclining over a blazed, Balearic disco groove. It's a sublime piece of music, all told, which is arguably made even better by remixer I:Cube. The Parisian veteran thrillingly re-casts the track as a spacey, synthesizer-heavy treat rich in bleep techno inspired bass, Kelley Polar synths, gentle acid lines and Ben Smith's brilliant guitar improvisations. In other words, it's out-of-this-world good.
Review: Seven years since the last Smith & Mudd album kissed our ears... Gorthlek is a long-awaited treat that's landed (by no coincidence we suspect) right at the start of prime sandy season. Picking up where they left us (together and as part of the Bison collective), it's every bit as soul soothing, soft-focus and poised as you'd expect. It's the weight and richness that will grab most fans the hardest; amid the floral pastoral instrumentation on tracks such as "Alrick" and "Gorthlek Part 1", there's real swampy bluesy fusion such as "Mr Coats", there's fiddle-flipping cosmic folk on "Enos" and naked piano striking drama on the closure "Gorthlek Part 2". Instrumental Balearic bliss.
Review: Paul "Mudd" Murphy's Claremont 56 is fast making a name for itself as the first stop for proper disco and balearic aficionados. The dreamy and summery Latin infusion of "24/7" is sheer genius and the most feel good track you'll hear all year. You can just imagine yourself lying in a hammock on a deserted island with the sun shining in your face while sipping a pina colada. Check it out! If that wasn't enough, they get in Detroit's finest Recloose for a remix. He might have been living in New Zealand for the better part of 13 years but he's still got the Motor City in him. His version gets more deep and dirty with funk bass and guitar being the perfect backdrop for those nice bongos but just wait 'til his trademark soulful strings come rushing in. Tip!
Review: Ben Smith and Paul Murphy return with US vocalist Quinn Lamont Luke in tow, and together they serve up as authentic a slice of blissed-out blue-eyed soul/yacht rock as you're likely to encounter in 2019. An unhurried, sumptuously produced affair, 'The Distance' is drenched in live instrumentation - including some very fine six-string action towards the end - and really needs to be blasted on huge Klipsch speakers from the verandah of your Laurel Canyon mansion for maximum effect! It comes supplied in Original and Instrumental mixes, while Ron Basejam discos things up with heftier kicks and a bassline redolent of Jackie Moore's 'This Time Baby'. Classy stuff all round.