Review: 10 years ago, Ed Solo & Skool of Thought's debut album 'Random Acts of Kindness' made a sizeable impression. Its bottom heavy, vocal laced, feel good affair of varying tempos ducked and weaved through the genres of dubstep, breaks and drum 'n' bass. Label manager Skool of Thought (who is also boss for the now Australian based Against The Grain label) and Ed Solo have decided to invite a small group of talent who they greatly respect to rework the key tracks: and keep the momentum going. Best known for its upbeat collaborations with MC Darrison, the album has some real party friendly moments, but also had its deep and dark moments. Highlights for us this time around were the hip-hop party starter "We Play The Music" (feat Darrison & JFB), the Jazzamatazz style street language of "Sometimes" (feat Bukue One & Pimpernal Jones) to the ska influenced block-rocker "Life Gets Better" (feat Darrison) and the jump up drum and bass destroyer "Always There".
Review: Hip hop heads be stickin' their necks out for this, MCs Madlib & Oh No present The Professionals. A new collaboration harking back to all those sweet samples, breaks and 2000s hip hop attitude now pre-modded for a 2020 context. The two have only collaborated on a few stray tracks in the years before with the name first appearing on Madlib's WLIB AM: King of the Wigflip. Each track here is pure dopeness waxing lyrical on all matter of confronting, world-wide and burrow-sentric observations. From the subtle rolling of windchimes in "Make Due" to the Vietnam War era twangs of "Dishonored Valor", wicked atmospheres of speakeasy blues, swung soul and royal strings fall and combine with dusty hip hop beats, mad rhymes and slower tropes into jazz. Bonafide material.
Review: It's time to join the Dome of Doom crew for this one as they bring forward unto us, the latest album project from none other than Gnome Beats, an LA based producer who's incredibly smooth production style is gaining him quite the reputation. This project is made up of thirteen sumptuous originals, varying from the experimental clanks of 'Sleepless In Mojave' to the futuristic dance rhythms of 'Ai Kansha' alongside Kokoro Star and classic choppy hip hop flavours of 'Paradise Flip. There are a couple of clear standouts, including the bubbling electronic sounds of 'Firebird' and demonic harmonies of 'Odd Tropics' alongside Wylie Cable!
Review: There's a reason why HNNY's "Sunday" is called what it is and take one listen to it and we don't think any further explanation will be needed. It's a marvellous opener that leads into a quirky 20 second loop followed by the Moby-esque "Cheer Up My Brother". Remember "The Sunscreen Song"? For a house version focused on fidelity check out "You Feeling Alright", and there's some dubbed out chimes in "Memory Tape One". Should albums by the likes of The Avalanches, Fat Freddy's Drop and Fatboy Slim to Quasimodo, Leon Vynehall and/or Paxton Fettel be your thing, give this a spin on your next day off.
Review: On their two previous albums, Texan trio Khruangbin have explored a wide range of stylistic pastures, from funk and soul, to indie and psychedelia, to Middle and Far Eastern music. Long player #3, however, finds them largely in reggae/dub mode. There's definitely still an eclectic slant - 'How I Love', for instance, has an Afro-French feel, while 'A La Sala' sounds like ESG jamming with Talking Heads - but it's the sounds of Jamaica that are by far the overwhelming influence here, with the inclusion of a couple of dubs by the legendary Scientist underlining the point. A sofa-based delight.