Review: Following fine outings from Fort Knox Five, the Allergies, Smoove and Marc Hype, amongst others, Bomb Strikes' reliable Funk N' Beats compilation series returns with rising star X-Ray Ted at the controls. In keeping with the series' heavyweight, funk-fuelled style, the Bristol-based DJ and beat-maker has gathered together a killer collection of soul, hip-hop and funk club cuts, with a smattering of more laidback numbers to keep things fresh. Highlights are plentiful throughout, with our picks including the boom-bap brilliance is Aldo Vanucci's tidy remix of 'All Down' by Mr Doris and D-Funk, the dancefloor jazz heaviness of Nostalgia 77's 'Changes', the cut-and-paste craziness of Double Dee & Steinski's 'Jazz' and the disco-funk masterclass that is X-Ray Ted's own 'Party Time'.
Review: Bristol duo The Allergies continue to hint at a future album release with this two-track digital 7", Lean On You. Featuring bespoke lyrics from Dynamite MC in its lead cut, it's a track that subtly touches on Southern rap as it does rock and Gorillaz-styled funk or Cypress Hill-styled hip hop. Venturing further down a looped-up blues and rootsy funk tip in "Working On Me", lyrics are swapped for classic vocal samples, brass horns, big beat loops and clever funky drummer motifs. Spicy hot.
Review: Maintaining their place as a leading force in experimentally laced club and drum & bass music, Ivy Lab continue their run of form with another mind expanding double-drop. Delivering something both up-and-downbeat across each track here, "Nasdaq" goes large with its vamped synths, pulsations of dub and stuttered rhythms adding to a groove pushed along by walls of distortion, gushing white noise and a sidewinding melody. "Novy" on the other hand opts for cinematic drone and thumping two step bass that thins out into something percussive, industrial and ultimately epic. With lost R&B vocals to boot, this is huge.
Review: Formed in 2012, Bristol duo The Allergies have spent the past eight years crafting a signature style that's like the missing link between Stereo MCs and The Dap Kings. This, their third studio long-player, doesn't throw up any huge surprises - yet again they float effortlessly from party-style hip-hop and funk breaks to effective 'new old' funk and northern soul pastiche - but is notable for its range of guest vocalists, who include Dynamite MC, The Cuban Brothers (on Latin excursion 'Let Them Know') and veteran Ugly Duckling rapper Andy Cooper, not to mention Bristol's own most notorious busker, Mr Woodnote. The Ike & Tina vibes of 'Every Trick In The Book' and the fast-n-furious 'I'm On It' (feat Dr Syntax) are among the highlights.
Review: With 50 Cent acapellas back in full effect for the Resense label, Voodoocuts brings a stone cold 2000s hip hop classic to the jazz funk realm perfect for any 'hip hop' request. On the flipside Slick Walk pays homage to Young Holt-Unlimited's "Soulful Strut" in a DJ-friendly, instrumental slice of disco-edit gold.
Review: First released on wax almost three years ago, Hade's first edits EP for Razor 'N' Tape has finally made it to digital download. This is undoubtedly a great thing, because it's arguably one of the Brooklyn imprint's strongest collections of cuts to date (and that's saying something). He opens via the sweaty, occasionally dubbed-out disco-funk goodness of "Say What You Wanna Say", whose combination of killer grooves and slowly building heaviness guarantees good times. He flips the script entirely on "Jeep Cherokee XJ", crafting a killer hip-hop jam out of dusty jazz samples and boom-bap beats, before dancing his way through an early slab of harmonica-laden disco-rap ("My Thang"). To round things off, Hade once more joins the dots between hip-hop and jazz on hazy closing cut "Range Rover HSE".
Review: Bringing a select bevvy of the best Bombstrikes tracks the label has released in 2020, it's enjoyed an explosive year of tunes from Krafty Kuts, Jet Boot Jack, Lack Jemmon, Shaka Loves You and more! They feature here with "Blow Your Whistle", a funked-out "Let's Move" and the lowdown swing-track "I'm A Boss". Other highlights include the Cypress Hill style hip house track "Stir It Up Sister (feat K MI & KDS)" to Prosper & Stabfinger's squelchy, space bubble cruise down mainstreet: "Down In The Basement (feat Awoke)". With some tear-out bass, horns and synths coming out of Ninjulas' "You Know I Like It", check out some lo-fi and slamming funk, disco and house from X-Ray Ted's "On The Floor'' alongside The Nice Guys' Godzilla-themes "Turn It Out" and Jet Boot Jack's strings in "Straight To My Head". Boom!
Review: Five-piece skat pack DJazz .OrgOnite hook up with Timewarp Music for one of the more curious releases the Greek label has put out in sometime. Combining abstract jazz instrumentation with influences of soul, funk and hip hop, the group's sound comes across as an oddball pairing of Mr Oizo & Ricardo Villalobos in an acoustic and electrified free jazz vibe. With touches of banjo added to "Nu-Frisco-Funk", relax into flashes of New York lounge time through "Double 'O Jazz", Blaxploitation grooves of "Yo Sco" to the solo-centric "Duck Dis Drunk Dromedary". Get involved!
Review: It's been a brief minute since we heard from the forward thinking Cimm, with his recent LP drop being one of our recent steppers highlights. This latest four tracker continues in the same reign of form, with 'Endo' providing us with a haunted yet wonderfully wonky introduction, packed with creepy percussive inputs and grizzly electronic leads. Next, Cimm shows his elegance with sampling as 'Grape Lime Ricky' gives us a more mellow dive into the dubstep depths, followed by the dungeon ready delay designs of 'Endless Sky' and dubwise influenced compositional structure of 'Space Queen' to round off the release with real finesse. Amazing work.
Review: Resense serve up two tracks that owe a clear debt to party-style hip-hop from the 90s: think A Tribe Called Quest, Arrested Development or more specifically Jurassic 5, whose vocal from 'In The House' forms the basis for Lord Funk & Moar's 'Hip Hop Control' (even if that track did come out in 2006), with the original's electrofunk backdrop replaced by a jazzier groove complete with breathy flutes. Gelatine Thugs' 'Do The Don't Stop' then takes us into jazzier pastures still, while biting a snatch of vocal from a certain Mr M. Jackson. Floors that move to the likes of The Allergies or Speedometer will lap these two cuts up.
Get That (feat Mr Traumatik & Harawai) - (4:14) 78 BPM
Incognito (feat Joe Burn) - (3:01) 75 BPM
Never Ever - (3:26) 120 BPM
The Truth (feat Wyatt Earp) - (2:41) 120 BPM
Watch My Company (feat Axel Holy & Wish Master) - (3:56) 65 BPM
On My Case - (3:30) 120 BPM
Poison - (4:27) 120 BPM
Scott Free (feat Confusion) - (3:14) 80 BPM
Infamous (feat Manlikemally) - (3:27) 70 BPM
The Lost Track - (3:00) 65 BPM
Sunday - (4:08) 125 BPM
No More Fun & Games - (2:32) 115 BPM
Stress - (2:57) 131 BPM
On The Block (feat Wyatt Earp & R.B) - (3:34) 120 BPM
T Way & M Ways - (2:58) 70 BPM
Drippin (feat Mash) - (4:06) 95 BPM
Review: As always with the Split Prophets imprint, we see them bring us a slice of the unexpected as they welcome Datkid & Skinzmann onboard with the highly anticipated full length drop of 'Sleepless In Pinhoe'. With Skinzmann providing a serious display of instrumental mastery, Datkid is allowed to run riot across fourteen powerful originals. The first thing to note about this album is the level of quality spread among both the solo performances and the collaborations, which just so happen to include Wyatt Earp, Axel Holy, Wishmaster Confusion, Manlikemally, R.B & Mash. There is so much variation in this project sonically, from the eerie and wonky waves of 'Sunday' and demonic harmonies of 'Never Ever' to the more west coast influenced vibes of 'T Way & M Ways' and classic UK rap sounds of 'The Lost Track'. It's a powerful producer / MC combination, with our favourites including the haunted sounding melodic switches of 'Stress' and anthem-like arrangement of 'No More Fun & Games'. Tidy work!