A love letter to the Basement Boys 2001 classic with Ras Baraka "An American Poem", Malik Ameer Crumpler lays down an incredible, wry and poignant sermon over a swing beat that builds into some fine freeform horn work from Leron Thomas. A fusion that spans Sheffield, Paris and New York, pays homage to Gil Scott Heron and delivers a critical message, the timeliness of this is legitimate.
Question: Who needs a DJ or producer when you've got a 12-strong troupe of drummers, percussionists and horn players? Answer: no one. Certainly not when Hamburg's Meute are in the locale. Having picked up heat with a few cheeky one-trackers, they now unleash their full album and it's an incredible piece of work; from their dramatic conversion of The Detroit Experiment's "Think Twice" and their touching, twinkling twist on Trentemoller's "Miss You" to the cascading breath-taking bluesy touch of Bodzin & Romboy's "Kerberos" and the strident twist on N'To's super-dreamy "Every Wall Is A Door", everything about this album is detailed, considered and powerful. And that's before we even mention the really big cuts like "Rej" and "Man With The Red Face". Techno cover versions are generally a no-no but this is a big yes yes.
Having teased us earlier this year with their debut "Closer / Groovin' You", The James L'Estraunge Orchestra finally unveil themselves in full. Headed up by Soul Renegade Ricky Reid, the project is the result of an en-mass jamming session deep in the beautiful Highlands and the music is just as busy, romantic and dramatic as we're struck by nods to Elements Of Life, 4Hero, RSL and Cinematic Orchestra all with a combined vibe of their own; from the spiralling string theatrics of the opening title track to the final delicate pianos of the pensive, poignant finale "The Call", the entire album is an emphatic ride through jazz, broken beat, soul and all vital shades between. Carefully balancing driven dancefloor moments with an overwhelming emotional experience as a full body of work to immerse yourself in, this really is a fantastic debut album. Essential.
Marking a year since their evergreen soul album Flames & Figures, Bay Area fusioneers The Seshen revisit the title track with an unreleased instrumental and much needed acapalla that allows us to focus wholly on Lain St Juste's stirring vocals and evocative lyrics. Still as smoky and alluring and otherworldly as it was when it blew our heads off last year, it's now been re-envisioned by rising beat-splicer Naytronix for added cosmic pleasure. Go (flame and) figure.
Here Brighton's Tru Thoughts present the latest offering from Brixton-based DJ/producer Kxngs. Drawing inspiration from his passion for exploring world cultures, his work has been heavily influenced by the musical sounds of South African house and Latin flavours, to Afrobeat, Kuduro and hip-hop. For "Air Sign", Kxngs' extensive cultural intuition has homed in on the recurring musical themes, rhythms and melodies found in Persian culture. This is particularly evident on opening track "Lifetime Celebration" while some hypnotically exotic percussion merges with grime sensibilities on "Purple Visions'. "Tarof" is sublime deep dubstep - by way of the Sahara.
This is Dear Earth's second LP to date, and it's already becoming clear that the artist will be at the forefront of the next wave of 'deep' house musicians. We mean that in the best possible way and, most importantly, this is someone who truly does get way down low, leaving out that stale designer shit for someone else. Gone Solid Gone is a rich and diverse piece of work that spans just about every corner of music; the output just so happens to be something close to house. For example, "The Day We Left The Solar System" and "Attacked The Church" are, indeed, led by a 4/4 swing of drums, but the palette of sounds within is much closer to jazz and komische. It's a truly arduous affair to even begin to pick a favourite here, with every tune bringing something fresh and innovative, whether that's hip-hop, broken beat, or anything else that can be wrapped into something danceable. This will be one many people will sleep on...and no doubt cause mass hysteria when they realise it's up on Discogs for hundreds. Recommended.