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: Colliding cool jazz with post-UK and post-US club sounds, Kuna & Maze revitalise their palettes with a fresh album that lifts its influences from Chicago footwork, UK garage and two-step to Detroit house! In a truly refreshing and unique album from the French- Bruxelles duo, the pair do Tru Thoughts a true service by delivering a colourful and spritely album that's as much broken beat as is beat down and beautiful. With too many influences and genres to mention, this will go down with us as Tru Thoughts' best release of the year. Our picks? "JPS", "ZBRA" and "Monopoli Driver". Tip!
Review: One of Africa's most influential and enduring musical figures, and big time player in the Ethio-Jazz scene, Mulatu Astatke presents the To Know Without Knowing LP, an inspired work and second collaboration with twelve piece global-funk-machine, Black Jesus Experience. Laced with cool jazz and lounge vibes to wax poetics in both "A Chance To Give" and "Living On Stolen Land" find more laid back, alluring and sultry numbers in "To Know Without Knowing", with hotter rhythms coming through "Ambassa Lemdi" and the cocktail vibes of "Blue Light". Afro-beat free fusion and soul.
Review: Next up from the Ragtime crew, we witness yet another fantastic display, this time from Spekrfreks, who unveil their fabulous eleven track breakbeat spectacular entitled 'Roaring 20's'. From start to finish the team showcase a fabulous display of versatility and expertise, from the subtle dancefloor flavours of 'Dilly Dally' to the more experimental country guitar riffs and jazzy horn licks of 'Same As It Ever Was'. The funky switch ups of 'Just Let Go' also grab our attention, alongside the hard hitting 4x4 explosions of 'Fortuna'. Wicked stuff from start to finish!
Review: When it comes to making drum and bass that strikes a balance between the needs of DJs and home listeners, few are better than Dominick Martin AKA Calibre. It's for this reason that the album format suits him so well. The Deep, his 12th full-length in total, could well be his best set yet. Jam-packed with effortlessly soulful moments, evocative piano flourishes, rich live instrumentation and yearning vocals, it's a far more expansive and ambitious set than most D&B albums. It also supplements his trademark, club-ready rollers with tracks that look to modern soul, jazz breaks, dub and R&B for inspiration. Throughout, Martin barely puts a foot wrong, delivering a set that more than stands up to repeat listens.
Review: Since first emerging at the tail end of the '90s, Simon Green has become downtempo music's most marketable star, appealing just as much to occasional listeners and 40-something housewives as underground heads. Throughout that time, he's carefully shifted his sound to take in current trends and musical developments, whilst retaining a certain picturesque aesthetic. This fifth full-length, his fourth for Ninja Tune, continues that trend. Amongst the usual shuffling beats and twinkling melodies you'll find garage-esque vocal cut-ups, rubbery dancefloor rhythms, Floating Points style neo-jazz, string-laden two-step and some seriously wonky soul featuring vocals from Erykah Badu.
Review: An album that's as ubiquitous in people's record shelves as Anthony Kiedis' Scar Tissue biography is for people bookshelves, Smoker's Delight has been the definitive Nightmares On Wax record since its original release 25 years ago. Regarded as one of the finest trip-hop albums of all time, this 20-track anniversary edition sees the inclusion of new and largely unheard material in the jazzy beatdown vibes of "Aquaself", and dubbed out piano loops of "Ascend". Extra bonus material includes a funk version of lounge time hit "Dreaddoverboard", and a live recording of Nightmares On Wax's all time classic "Night's Introlude". Take another hit.
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.
Can You See What I'm Trying To Say - (3:43) 80 BPM
Acting For Liberation (Pt 2) - (1:26) 94 BPM
Persia & Cornelius - (3:26) 77 BPM
The Glory - (4:43) 70 BPM
Soul Fire - (3:08) 80 BPM
Twelve Wire Byrd - (0:59) 71 BPM
Only In A Dream - (7:42) 123 BPM
Review: Lascelle Lascelles has a long musical pedigree: he was playing house at London's Wag club back in the late 80s, and went on to co-found Brand New Heavies before joining NME darlings Compaq Velocet. But what we have here is the second long-player (following on from 2017's 'Blackism') from his Vibration Black Project, for which the primary inspiration here is Afrocentric 70s freeform jazz from the likes of Sun Ra. As such, some of the tracks will be a little out-there for some, while others are really just short skits. But it's an album that's definitely worth approaching with ears and mind open, its finest moments sitting somewhere between trip-hop and 40s noir soundtrack vibes.
Review: Any (of the many) fans of luscious lounge lizards Mo' Horizons currently tearing their hair out with anticipation of their new album can now whet their appetite with this stop-gap treasure trove courtesy of Agogo. Divided into two halves, we initially have the Hannover duo (Ralf Droesemeyer and Mark Wetzlar)'s latest LP, The Banana Soundsystem, overhauled and remixed before being treated to a further selection of the pair's most impressive remixes of other artists. Mo' Horizons like to celebrate 'the art of musical cross fertilization' and it's never been more true here, with 21 tracks overflowing with international influences.
Review: Sicilian duo Swingrowers follow up their eponymous 2012 debut album with this life-affirmin collection of wholesome swing and innocent party insinuations. Riddled with big organic instrumentation and Lorendana's emphatic, gutsy vocals, each cut tells its own tale. From the unashamed confidence and insistent rhythm & blues vibes of "That's Right" to the jazzier, piano-stroking jauntiness of "Frank" via the softer, more electronic tendencies of "Break Out", Remote is the sound of a band maturing at a rapid pace. Swing bands are a dime a dozen, but genuinely good swing bands are rarer than a platinum accordion.
Review: Solo Moderna is a Dutch producer who hails from Tilburg, and who specialises in eclectic grooves inspired by world music, or in his words, "cumbia, Afro, ragga, electroting, lo-fi and baile". Accordingly, this album - his third - ranges from the Latin party vibes of 'La Bandolera' and 'Feliz Sintetizador' to the Afro-funk of 'Boum Boum', via doses of 1950s Jamaica ('Mento Moderna'), high-life ('Momento Disco') and more. Hammonds, hand percussion and fluttering acoustic guitars are much in evidence throughout but there are hints, too, of a more contemporary, post-house/techno production aesthetic on cuts like 'Sonido SiD Africano'.