Review: Two distinctly contrasting funk/soul numbers make up this latest EP from the mighty Jalapeno camp. 'Knew You Were Coming' is a foot-stompin' funker ? la Fatback, laden with wukka-wukking guitars and topped with a proclaimin' male vocal whose chorus, oddly, this writer remembers from Ultra Boogie's 1994 house/garage cut 'Head On', so Lord alone knows what's going on there! Meanwhile, 'Ponderosa' takes us into much smoother soul territory - though don't worry, it's still pacey enough for dancefloor play - and features a full-lunged vocal from Dena Deadly, an LA-based singer borrowed from the band Memoir.
Review: Jalapeno have long been reliable providers of 21st Century funk and soul, and this third album from Plymouth's Aldo Vanucci doesn't disappoint. There's no post-breakbeat filter here: the 12 tracks featured instead work on the principle that if you want to pay homage to musical days gone by, you should do so as faithfully as possible. Vanucci's eclectic approach and an array of guest vocalists of both sexes ensure that things never get too predictable, though, with tracks like 'Ponderosa' (feat Dena Deadly) bringing the Winehouse vibes, 'Get A Hold On This' (feat Kyle Audist) rocking the country-funk and 'Spell It Out' (feat QNC) playing us out on a smoked-out hip-hop note.
Review: Featuring the much in-demand tonsils of Kylie Aulist, 'Get A Hold On This' was one of the standout cuts on Vanucci's recent 'Digging For A Living' and now gets the single release it deserves. The country-tinged album version is present and correct, while Bristol's finest funk and hip-hop crew The Allergies ditch the country swing and instead serve up a rawer take that's dripping in southern soul. But it's Dr Rubberfunk's remix that makes this truly essential, as he strips things right back to the bones, drops the tempo a tiny bit and adds a killer Hammond groove of his own.
Review: Sizzlingly hot UK label Jalepeno's latest signing is Brighton based producer-slash-intelligent-sound-designer, Asta Hiroki. The Balance EP is Hiroki's debut effort and features four tracks heavily indebted to Teebs, James Blake and Flying Lotus. Two tracks features the silky vocals of Kathrin deBoer (Tru Thoughts) - the sensuously orchestrated acoustic-lead "Her Image In Focus" and the loose and loungey "Hold Tight". Elsewhere we get the 90s-style hazily broken dub-out "Beatrice" and the ethereal loops of the almost vanished "Most & Least". Quality stuff.
Review: Our main man DR Rubberfunk is back to enrich our weekends with some outernational vibes and quality drum breaking, courtesy of the ever-reliable Jalapeno label. "How Beautiful" instils the good vibes with a strong cut of drums, breaks, bass and, of course, the man's trademark vocal samples - a true party tune! The title track "Pressure Cooker" is funkier, more melodic, and leaning on some surf-rock vibes, while "Beautiful Drums" strips the melodies down to a banging, seductive rhythm of kicks and percussive samples. This is pure party material, people!
Review: Jalapeno veteran Dr Rubberfunk returns to the Brighton label with two more slabs of authentic-sounding retro funk and soul. The sax-led 'Canvas Cathedral' (feat Ben Castle) is up first, underpinning a melodic topline that veers close to muzak territory with beats which owe more to lo-fi hip-hop, making for a track that'll appeal to b-boys, funkateers and coffee shop yummy mummies alike. 'A Little Blahzay' (feat Izo FitzRoy) then offers a complete change of pace, channelling 90s/00s R&B and neo-soul ? la D'Angelo, Erykah Badu et al. S'good, but 'Cathedral City' is the one for club play.
Review: It's been 14 years since Simon Ward AKA Dr Rubberfunk released his second album 'My Life At 33', so something doesn't quite add up there! Happily, though, that's about the only grumble you're likely to have with this, his fourth long-player, on which he demonstrates an impressive musical versatility as he deftly weaves between raw 70s-inspired soul (see the Stephanie Whitelock and Izo Fitz-Roy collabs), mellifluous virtuoso jazz-funk (see 'Slim's Mood' and 'Steppin' In', hazy, blues-y psychedelic funk-rock ('Boom!' feat John Turrell), scorching Hammond grooves ('Pressure Cooker') and more besides. "Not a real doctor since 1992," Ward's website proclaims proudly - and long may it continue.