Review: Back in the early 80s, the zeitgeist was all about reinventing old funk licks as hip-hop, but Panache, a Brooklyn-based outfit headed up by producer and multi-instrumentalist Freddie Thompson, headed in the opposite direction, taking the bassline from Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five's 'The Message' and re-employing it in a slice of raw, black consciousness-raising funk with lyrics from vocalist Denise Williams. This re-release from Kevin Griffiths' Adelaide-based Isle Of Jura packs Original and Instrumental passes, plus a Special Version from Jura Soundsystem that has a slightly dubbier feel (in the Larry Levan rather than the King Tubby sense).
Review: Earlier in the year, Isle of Jura boss Kev Griffiths offered up the first fruits of his extensive digging into the Caribbean disco-reggae scene: a new EP containing a couple of dub-infused disco-rap cuts from Norman Watson and Stanley Shaw AKA The Pearls. Here he reissues another of the pair's obscure and in-demand singles, 1980 number 'Groovy Beat'. It's another killer concoction, with Shaw rapping attractively over a hybrid disco-boogie backing track piled high with cowbells, electric piano chords and rubbery bass guitar licks. The latter elements come to the fore on the accompanying 'Dub' mix, while Griffiths stitches together the best of both versions on his attractive and dancefloor-ready Jura Sound System edit.
Review: Through digging into the turn-of-the-'80s Caribbean disco-reggae scene, Isle of Jura boss Kev Griffiths has uncovered a stash of obscure gems to reissue. To kick off the series, he's decided to offer up "On & On", quite possibly the finest hour of little-known Jamaican disco-rap and disco-reggae duo The Pearls (AKA Norman Watson and Stanley Shaw. First issued in small numbers in 1980, the track is a sparse, squelchy mixture of rubbery synth-bass, light disco instrumentation and party-starting raps. Isle of Jura's essential reissue backs the pair's main mix with the original flipside "all-star" dub mix, and a brilliant new extended edit from Waxist that successfully stitches together elements from both versions.
Review: Since launching in 2016, Kevin Griffiths' Isle of Jura label has become one of the most talked about imprints around, something we attribute to its inspired mix of dusty-fingered crate-digging reissues and the Australia-based Brit's own colourful productions as Jura Soundsystem. This label sampler tells the story so far, gathering together some of the most sought-after slabs from the imprint's growing catalogue. Highlights are plentiful throughout, from the disco-reggae sunshine of Yvonne Archer's cover of Chaka Khan favourite "Ain't Nobody", and the deep ambient house trip that is the 'Sun & Moon Mix" of Holy Ghost Inc's "Walking On Air", to the flute-laden, unearthly new age exotica of Zann's "Tatopani" and the hazy, synth-laden Balearic bliss of Chayell's "Beach". In a word: essential.
Review: Hot on the heels of recent Isle Of Jura label compilation 'Tales Of Jura' comes a new six-track EP from label boss Jura Soundsystem AKA Kevin Griffiths himself. Griffiths cites "dub, ambient house, leftfield disco and Balearica" as influences - a contention that's readily borne out by the grooves contained herein, with the first two tracks getting things going in a dubby kinda vein before more electronic influences start to hold sway. 'Wonder Drops' is a particular stand-out, coming on like slowed-down Chi-town house heard through a sunshine haze, while 'With You' will please the leftfield/downtempo spinners and 'Movement' could find its way into progressive or minimal sets.
Review: When he's not releasing clubbier house wares from the likes of Detroit Swindle, Waze & Odyssey or The Carter Brothers, the Australian-based Kevin Griffiths can be seen releasing what he calls Eclectic Musical Magic via his Isle Of Jura label. Following a stream of releases since 2016, first up for 2020 is a reggae disco cover of "Ain't Nobody" by Jamaican artist Yvonne Archer. Originally released in 1980 (40 years ago!) this release comes packed with a Lovers Rock leaning "Checking Out The Way I Feel" with a Jura Soundsystem edit and dub of the original - stripping back guitars for newer delay techniques, washier vocals and extra groove effects for the first of two licensed releases from John Rubie that will appear on Isle Of Jura this year.
Review: Isle Of Jura's latest must-have reissue isn't a slept-on Balearic gem, but rather a turn-of-the-'80s disco-boogie classic from sadly departed Nigerian musician Harry Mosco. Many may know the breezy Afro/disco/funk fusion of opener "Sexy Dancer" and the hazy disco-funk genius of "Step On" (both have been reissued in the past), yet it's the lesser-known cuts - particularly the lolloping, Clavinet-heavy dub disco of "Peace & Harmony", spaced-out "Peaceful Dub" and sumptuous jazz-funk slow jam "Do It Together" - that really set the pulse racing. The reissue sounds superb, too, thanks to a killer re-mastering job, so it's no stretch to suggest that it's worth picking this version up rather than tracking down an original pressing.
Review: Last year Tsuba Records and Isle of Jura founder Kevin Griffiths returned to the studio, eschewing his house and techno past to create deliciously warm, Balearic-minded grooves under the Jura Soundsystem alias. It was, it seems, a smart move, because the music contained on "Monster Skies", his first ever full-length, is undoubtedly the best he's made to date. Warm, humid and wonderfully horizontal, the album sees him fuse a variety of influences - most notably dub, turn-of-the-'90s ambient house, Italian dream house, new age, synth-boogie and those hard-to-define mid 1980s cuts that turn up on Music From Memory compilations - in a myriad of colourful, saucer-eyed ways. The results are uniformly superb, making "Monster Skies" a superb, must-check set.
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: Having excelled via a series of mind-blowing reissues, the Isle of Jura label has given birth to a new offshoot focusing on fresh material, Temple of Jura. The sub-label's debut EP is a notably dub-wise affair, featuring killer cuts from Melbourne man Len Leise and Adelaide-based overlords Jura Soundsystem. Liese's picturesque and breezy "Dear Adrian" is a perfectly pitched tribute to Adrian Sherwood's 1980s peak with a glistening Balearic sheen. It's very good, of course, but it's the three versions of Jura Soundsystem's "Udaberri Blues" that have really set our pulses racing. The rootsy, floor-friendly original version comes accompanied by a heavyweight, breakbeat-driven Dub straight from the top drawer, and a blissfully brilliant Space Mix that sounds like a long lost, undiscovered relic from the ambient house era.
Review: A sweet reissue of an underground classic from 1982 here, bootlegged badly in recent years, but Isle of Jura does it right with this remaster by Matt Colton. Q were a one hit wonder (if you could even call them that!), responsible for "The Voice Of Q". Comprised of American producers Bruce Weeden & Michael Forte with their revolving cast of musicians - this electro funk/disco project is finally getting paid its dues. Deep, funked-up and spacey disco, complete with vocoder - it almost seems familiar! A true spirit of the times. Then features a previously unreleased track, "Keep It Strong" (unreleased dub edit) which is a balearic tinged number that's equally as good.
Review: Isle of Jura's latest deep dive into electronic music's margins focuses on an obscure, previously cassette-only release from 1993. Champagne in Mozambique was the debut release from Ingleton Falls - AKA lesser-known producers Andy Eardley and Andy Seymour - and remains a laidback, saucer-eyed delight. Typical of the chill-out movement of the period, the mini album's five tracks effortlessly join the dots between ambient dub, psychedelic late night techno, drowsy downtempo grooves and horizontal instrumental synth-pop, with the duo peppering each production with trippy or amusing spoken word samples, intricate melodies and copies amounts of dub delay. It's a fine example of a necessary reissue: without Isle of Jura's intervention, few would be able to revel in its hazy, early morning charms.
Review: Isle Of Jura is an Adelaide based record label from Kevin Griffiths (Tsuba) focusing on reissues of forgotten musical gems with occasional releases from today's artists. For the next official reissue, the label goes back to 1976 to resurrect "Anambra", the jewel in the crown of dub, soul and funk outfit Ozo. The track is is something of a classic: a unique song that's slow, ritualistic and spiritual, mixing African & Nyabinghi drumming with a Buddhist Sanskrit mantra. There are three versions featured here, including an alternate version named "Anambra River" which appears for the first time. Completely re-mastered for 2017. Other reissues in 2017 have come courtesy of British trance innovators Holy Ghost Inc, the Belgian new beat of Chayell and Brian Bennett: best known as the drummer of the UK band The Shadows.
Review: Originally released back in 1990, on their own, self-titled label, Holy Ghost Inc's second record has long been a collector's item. Faced with spiraling prices on the second hand market, Australian label Isle of Jura has done the sensible thing and reissued it. They deserve props for including the Sun & Moon Mix: with its ponderous bass and dubbed out effects, it has long been a crossover for house, ambient and even trance fans. At the other end of the spectrum, the Amphibious Carbine version is a classic 90s trance-y house groove. The label also deserves extra praise for including two previously unreleased dub mixes that alternate between ebbing and flowing effortlessly or tripping the light fantastic - on both occasions against a backdrop of subtle break beats.
Review: Emanating from late 80s Belgium, and originally released by seminal New Beat label Antler Records, here we have a welcome re-release of Chayell's 1987 classic "Beach", courtesy of Isle Of Jura. The tune has aged like a fine wine - a brooding slo-mo dark groove gives way to melancholic tropical synths and raunchy dialogue. For those that like the Miami-Vice-drug-bust-music element more, there's a dubby spaced out version on the digital flipside in shape of "Tropic". From the legendary Boccaccio nightclub to the Balearic Isles, this tune was a classic then and still is now.
Review: Escape From New York's 1984 cut "Fire In My Heart" has long been considered something of a Balearic classic. Original copies of the Rollerball Records release 12" are hard to come by, though, so this digital version is more than welcome. The original version - all slo-mo electro drums, rubbery dub bass, exotic melodies and intoxicating vocals - is joined by the now infamous Instrumental Dub version, which has been a staple in Balearic DJs' sets for more than 30 years. If that wasn't enough, there's also a chance to savour to woozy, dub-influenced synth-pop of original bonus cut "Won't Be Your Fool".