Review: Much talk abounds on where the devil dubstep can go next - it's been everywhere from the darkest underground cavern to the most vibrant, white-hot spotlights. Where can it go next? We'll tell you: live. Not the pressing buttons style of live (which has its place) but full-on brass, string, double drum kit live. Complete with spine-shuddering vocals and a gut-punching sense of classically orchestrated drama, this is a whole new chapter for dubstep. Like a rich organic cross between Submotion Orchestra and Jazzsteppa, this is a really exciting release.
Review: Hero No 7 were leading lights of the UK mash up/party cuts scene of the late 90s even going so far as having a track featured on The Herbaliser's Fabric mix cd. They also run their eponymous record label and here we have a 13-track compilation of their (own) output, which also includes some of their best remixes of other acts. Sounding surprisingly fresh, we find that perky breakbeats fused with snippets of found vocals and vintage funk samples are the order of the day. Standout tracks include the moody "Black Mountain" and the eerie "Futuristics".
Review: A teaming up between Renegades of Jazz' David Hanker and DJ Deli-Kutt, Mash & Munkee kick it in an old-skool style on this full-length album "We Like It Like That". All manner of '70s funk styles come together with scratches and processed drums on tracks like "Wake Up", "Sunny Day" and "Point Vista" while "Mexican B-Boy" goes slow and low - adding flutes and lilting guitars for a very mellow vibe indeed.
Review: Here we have a mini-super group, The Monades, who are a hybrid of Renegades Of Jazz and jazz-hop DJ, Herma Puma. On this, their debut release, they are joined by guitarist Paul Curtis, keyboard guy Romeo Sandri and guest vocalists Dariya and Rayna, the pair conjure up a sizzling live jazz funk vibe over two tracks: the sassy, vintage soul roller "Not Tonight" and the Latin bouncer "Shake Me".
Review: A debut release for this British duo who have benefited from support from, amongst others, 6Music's Craig Charles. Comprising DJ Chris Tarn and double-bassist Phil Smith, Weekend Sun conjure up gorgeous echoes of piano jazz legend Ramsey Lewis on lead song "Figo" and evoke smoky Northern Soul on "Keep Running". They also show off a more studio-based production savvy on "The Last Monkey", with some beautifully punchy drums shining through a miasmic range of oscillating keyboards and alto sax.
Review: The North-East's leading sunkissed soul enthusiasts Weekend Sun continue their exploits in vintage funk bliss on "Feeling Inside". The original is a trad-soul anthem featuring wizened words bellowed by a mysterious leather-lunged belter. Elsewhere we get delicious dub from Jonny Makes Beats, analogue disco-funk from Renegades Of Jazz and some intense, white heat funk courtesy of Hero No 7.
Review: Retro funk enthusiasts Weekend Sun have teased us with a string of sizzling singles and the like, but it's taken until now for their debut long player, Forever Tomorrow, to drop. It's a colourful affair heavily indebted to the kind of sample-heavy 90s hip-hop that blended 1960s soul, funk and even hip jazz. However, despite the hip-hop influences, this collective of northeast musicians are all about classic songwriting dressed with vintage soul stylings, and this they do very well. Standouts here include the lushly forlorn "Love Remains" and the broken-soul-beat of "Lies".
Review: Although sounding like they come from another time and place, the core of Weekend Sun are actually two funk enthusiasts from the North-East of England. Their blend of exotic-tinged funk and soul has already been championed by the likes of Craig Charles and Pete Isaac. This EP of live and authentic retro funk will undoubtedly win even more followers with it's almost Acid Jazz-esque workouts. Highlights include the female-led title track and it's New Voyager-style remix by Hero 7 (Distant Hero mix).