Review: Beatnik City is one of the chief exponents of the Northern Soul sound and its crate digging culture. Here they present what they dub "BarBeat", which is a good way to describe the non-purist approach of the edits featured - perfect fodder for bars rather than big room clubs. Perfect examples of this approach include "Finti Cents" where In Da Club gets taken back into time to a shimmying Motown backing groove or the 90s-hip-hop-goes-retro-big-beat vibes of "Jurassic Jive".
Review: The first in a series of compilations by Jura Soundsystem which blends dub, ambient, downtempo, boogie and proto house with a focus on previously unreleased music, out of print titles and some special versions edited specifically for the album. According to label boss Kevin Griffiths, the intention of this project was to delve deeper into the reissue pond and unearth some lesser known tracks and artists. Light one up and swagger to the sunkissed groove of Astral Engineering's "Seashore Dub", submit to the sweet steel drums and cosmo-dub vibes of Ken Dang's "Born In Borneo" (Jura Soundsystem Edit) or get down to the boogie-down vibe of Tabou Combo Superstars' "Ooh La La" (Jura Soundsystem Edit). The end of the album includes some soothing ambient tools.
Review: Still reeling from the Linkwood & Foat self-titled collaborative LP released on Athens Of The North earlier this year, Greg Foat, a versatile mainstay in the UK jazz scene, brings in bandmates Moses Boyd, Art Themen, Clark Tracey and Phil Achille to create Symphonie Pacifique. Ebbing and flowing between ambient soul and liquid jazz in the live and improvised "After The Storm", there's lounge time flamenco in "Pointe Venus" to pastoral acid in "Man Vs Machine". Amid cinematic scores and library music you'll find heavy piano chords in the album's hit "Yonaguni" alongside dedications to the late Duncan Lamont ("Lament For Lamont") and 20th century French painters (Henry Valensi) in the cover art. Magnifique!
Review: Italian duo Nu Guinea has previously proved adept at creating humid, sultry deep house and tropical-infused electronics. Here, they focus a little more on the latter with a concept album based around the distinctive Afrobeat rhythms of legendary drummer Tony Allen. With his blessing, and that of the Comet label on which he's been releasing since the 1980s, the Early Sounds Recordings pair has cut-up and re-constructed Allen's drums, combining them with their own steamy electronics, vintage synthesizer lines and classic drum machines. It's an intoxicating and hugely entertaining blend that sits somewhere between their previous outings, Danny Wolfers' material under the Nacho Patrol guise, and the dreamy late '80s/early '90s work of forgotten Italian producer Mr Marvin.
Review: Amazingly, it's 25 years since George 'E.A.S.E' Evelyn and then production partner Kevin 'Boy Wonder' Harper sat down and recorded "Dextrous", their monstrous, bleep-era classic on Warp. A quarter of a century later, Evelyn is still going strong, though the grooves have mellowed a lot in that time. Here, Warp celebrate the producer's epic career with a much-deserved retrospective. All the familiar favourites are present, from the rush-inducing thrill of early dancefloor smashers "I'm For Real" and "Aftermath", to the sinewy downtempo goodness of the decidedly Balearic "Les Nuits", the blazed hip-hop dub of "195 Llbs" and stoner soul of "70s 80s". This version also includes a number of exclusive remixes, with names like JD Twitch, Special Request, LFO, Morgan Geist and Loco Dice putting their own spin on this classic material.
Review: An incredible 23 years and 58 instalments into this series, School Yard Breaks' in-house team of cratediggers have been going deeper than ever in search of cool drum breaks, unexpectedly funky basslines and other turntablist-friendly sonic ammunition. Artists here range from Ennio Morricone to prog-rock survivors Camel, and from short-lived jazz-funk outfit Hot Fudge (AKA Jacky Giordano/Black Devil Disco Club) to French 'zeuhl' combo Eskaton, via forgotten 70s rockers Thunderhead 75. Maggie MacNeal's Ike & Tina-esque cover of Cream's 'White Room' and John Sangster's instrumental organ take on a 'Sgt Peppers' fave are among the highlights; a Carpenters cover in Russian (?) is perhaps less essential, but gives you a good idea of the wonky, eclectic vibe overall.
Review: This thirty eighth release by Resense is actually a split EP, divided between Switzerland's Bandura who fly in Trinidad's The Duke for their first 'calypso mash-up', "Calypso Invasion" and the label's own Sono Rhizmo who updates that cool 50s voodoo jazz sound on the appropriately named "Voodoo". Hot stuff!
Review: Before Domino, Late Night Tales and Skrillex back-to-back sets there was the original Kieran Hebden, aka Four Tet. Back some 20 years ago the storied producer was associated with an electro-acoustic style of freeform jazz, broken beats, ambient and electronica that was given full and early support from Trevor Jackson's Output label. Dialogue presents Four Tet's first official studio album (released in 1999) conjuring up a montage of guitars, horns, big beat drums and other instrumentals alongside humming rhodes, electrified bass, and deeper, old school classics like "The Butterfly Effect". Enjoy this on the back of Four Tet's newest album, Sixteen Oceans (2020
Review: Though known mostly for jazz- and swing-infused grooves, French producer Minimatic takes a detour into hip-hop pastures here, albeit there are also noticeable bossa/lounge influences in play. 'That Golden Bossa Hop' brings to mind the output of Bristol crew The Allergies, 'Drop It Like It's Hot' reworks the Snoop Dogg classic of the same name in a Latin jazz stylee, 'Cognac Wanksta' is a laidback, blunted affair, 'De La Bossa' recalls vintage Galliano from the early 90s, and bonus cut 'Ladi Dadi Doo' has a rawer, demo-like feel. If you love both golden age hip-hop and jazz, you'll dig this EP for sure.
Review: Leeds legend Nightmares On Wax has long been affiliated with UK electronica giants Warp since the very beginning. 'Shape The Future' will mark his eighth LP for the label and that's not forgetting a couple of dozen EPs he's done for them over the years too. Put simply, George Evelyn is one of the most respected producers in UK electronica and we're sure excited whenever he puts out new music. Mixing hip-hop, dub, soul and gospel sounds, the album features guest artists such as Kuahitl Vasquez, Jordan Rakei and Sadie Walker. Evelyn has explained that the album was a journey 'both inwardly and outwardly all over the world, and both physically and emotionally'. Highlights include the dope yet soulful beats of "Tell My Vision" featuring the fine vocal talents of the aforementioned Ashong, the wicked dub / Afrobeat crossover of "Tomorrow" featuring LSK and of course the super soulful lead single "Citizen Kane" featuring Mozez.
Review: Since making his bow on Katakana Edits last April, Amsterdam-based Brit Gary Shepherd AKA Streamer has become a reliable source of cheeky re-edits and reworks. Unsurprisingly, the producer's latest outing - his first of any kind since July 2018 - contains four more high quality revisions. He begins by joining the dots between stab-happy funk, hip-hop heroes House of Pain and acid funk on "Pain Around", before turning a Cajun style hoedown into a skittish, rap-sporting drum and bass roller ("The Fastest Gumbo"). Arguably even better is his punchy, horn-heavy bossa-boogie take on Beats International classic "Just Be Good To Me", while "Feel Good (Funksploitation Version)" is a dub-wise workout rich in James Brown samples and fuzzy horns.
Review: Just four tracks to be found on the Katakana Edits crew's latest instalment their ongoing disco comp series. Still, it's all about the quality, not the quantity and there's plenty of that still to be found. Bonnie & Klein deliver the warped hypnotic funk of "Kung Fu Love", LCA & Voodoo Cuts serve up a vintage-jazz-meets-daisy-age-rap joint, old skool ragga-roots is the order of the day on Timewrap's good time anthem, "Dubshine". Oligarch arrives with the raucous "Swingin'" to wrap things nicely, and nicely he does.
Review: For the uninitiated, The Gaff is a Canada-based DJ, producer and prodigious maker of "party breaks" - shorthand for re-edits and reworks that should appeal for those DJs for whom loose rhythms are of more interest than a straight 4/4 pulse. This first contribution to the digital-only Katakana Edits series is full of funk and soul-laden jams with heavy but snappy drums. There's a global feel, too, with excellent forays into afro-funk ("High Life") and Latin beats ("Mambo Number 5"). While all four tracks are carefully tuned to the needs of dancefloors, the afro-flecked disco-funk grooves of "Funny Saga" stands out.
Review: GAMM welcome a new face into the fold in the shape of Stockholm's Seegweed, who aptly demonstrates his panache for the edit on some classic jams. First up, Seegweed drops a subtle take on Angela Bofill's Stylistics cover, clearly not wanting to mess with a classic like "People Make The World Go Round". Deft percussive touches and some bottom end embellishment are added to the core which takes full effect on the midpoint break. Up next, the jazz funk break delight of Ben Sidran's "About Love" gets the subtle Seegweed treatment, and he does a neat job of extending out the sweetness that is Sly & The Family Stone's "Family Affair".