Review: Paul SG's Jazzsticks returns to their irregularly regular Hidden Tunes series with a second instalment of restrained rollers from understated up-and-comers and friends of the label alike. If you know the Jazzsticks sound, you'll already know the sterling vibe: dusty, soulful, warm and organic from some of the sharpest talents in the game. Highlights include the big jazz whirlwind of Soul Deep founder Scott Allen's "Soul Desire", a 97-style horn-melting stepper from Decon ("Cool Breeze") and Pulsaar's dreamweaving shakedown "Room For Two". What once was hidden is now found... And will remain in your playlist until the next instalment lands in years to come.
Review: Cologne-based craftsman and one quarter of the Jazzassins, Decon delivers his debut LP on SG's Jazzsticks. Covering the deeper, slinkier and soulful styles in great detail and character, highlights across this accomplished set include the hazy, cloudy textures and dubby bass of "Rough & Fast", the incredible drum work of "Simple As That", the lolloping jazz majesty of "Sugar Drop", the early 2000s liquid style string swoops of "Heavy On Your Head", the classic breaks and gully jungle wriggles and spills of "The Jam".... The list goes on.
Review: Cologne-based producer Decon has spent much of his career releasing loose-but-punchy, funk-fuelled D&B rinse-outs on Paul SG's Jazzsticks label. Here he returns to the imprint with five more tracks of carnival-ready junglist funk. Naturally there's plenty to enjoy, from the wah-wah laden funk guitars, rubbery double bass and snappy jungle rhythms of "Extinct", to the steppy beats, liquid moods and dreamy vocal hits of "Basement Memories". The EP also boasts a cracking collaboration with Flowrian, "Lost Fragments", which sounds like classic Tongue & Groove (later to find fame as London Elektricity) mixed with early Cinematic Orchestra.
Review: Austrian D&B imprint of true distinction, Jazzsticks get jiggy once again with this shimmering slab of uptempo soul from emerging player Decon. "Can't Take That" rides and rolls with a selection of deep, warping synth lines that instantly bring back memories of early Good Looking releases. With warm chords and even a spot of horn action, it's quintessential liquid for the heads. "Key Version" takes a slightly deeper approach with a hypnotic "Circles" style bassline and spiralling elements that wash over you and instantly clear your mind of any stresses you might be feeling right now.
Review: It's been a very long time since Cologne Jazzassin Decon delivered a full EP but it's been worth the wait. Flexing his versatile, elastic groove signature in five clear (and highly chop slapping) directions, every cut here is party dynamite: "Too Easy" hits with the big horned flare of an early 2000s Hospital joint, "Boxin Music" continues the funk but does so with a bulbous system shaking sub bass while "Keep Away" is a much wavier, dreamier experience thanks to its big dubby piano washes. Dig deeper for the title track "Third Coming" which kicks off with a big siren before tossing you in a deep turquoise jazz sea, then finally the restrained and delicate cascades of "Truth Dub". Decon... Don't leave it so long next time.
Review: Decon's "Rareties" doesn't mess around. There's no subtle build-up or calming introduction; instead, it goes for the jugular straight away, launching into a jump-up inspired rolling jungle breakbeat, soaring strings, paring horns and what sounds like a piano sample from Patti-Jo's disco-soul classic "Make Me Believe in You". It's a whirlwind of jazz-flecked "disco drum and bass", clearly designed to please dancefloors at summer festivals. Paul SG offers brief respite, choosing to begin "Vienna Melange (VIP)" with 70 seconds of calming, atmospheric build before dropping into another funk-fuelled junglist rhythm. While not as instantly adorable as its predecessor, it's every bit as likeable, not least because the bongo-laden drums are just that little bit funkier.
Paul SG & Salem - "Jazzstrophobia" - (5:13) 174 BPM
Locksmith - "Jahseh" - (6:10) 176 BPM
Review: Seek and you shall find... Paul SG's Jazzsticks returns with another superb five-piece suite of rich soulful drum & bass in the form of "Hidden Tunes". Decon sets the bar high with the Brazilian charm and energy of "How It Is", Pulsaar brings us right back to the bedroom with lush pianos and just a touch of disco finesse on the stabs, Tryangle whips up a beautiful contrast between the lavish soulful intro and powerful main rolling groove. Elsewhere we find Carter getting his filtered freak on with "Traveller", we see Paul SG & Salem jamming out over a killer swing sample on "Jazzstophobia" before Locksmith shuts us down with the bendiest double-bass bassline Jazzsticks have ever blessed us with. There's no hiding the majesty at play here.
Review: Longstanding Swiss representer, Flowrian steps over to Jazzsticks for a fluid five-piece. If you're familiar with his output on Fokuz then you'll know the level of groove weight at play... Anchored liquid that fires rather than floats. Highlights include the bravado horns and slinky bass of "Point Of No Return" and the tightly plucked, infinitesimally edited jazz sample on "Tennenbaum". "Breakup With The Past", his cobweb-blasting, organ hammering vocal jam with Paul SG, shouldn't be sniffed at either. Solid.
Paul SG & Carter - "Telly's Theme" - (5:33) 174 BPM
Review: Beautiful deep and intelligent drum & bass from some of the industry's most inspiring producers. Kicking off with the fresh sounds of Flowrian "Unusual Order", there's a tint of the far east influencing the melody lines while each note seems to drip delicately into a deep pool of bass. Big, interesting layers are at play and it all sounds incredibly cinematic. Jazzier and with the type of rolling rhythm that brings club floors to critical mass, Paul SG and Carter's gorgeous contribution "Telly's Theme" brings a touch of class. How D&B should be.
Review: Swiss deep jazz drum & bass aficionado Flowrian returns to the studio for Jazzsticks, and yes, it's rather jazzy. Teaming up with critically-acclaimed soulful D&B producer Paul SG and Jazzsticks favourite Decon, all three producers have pitched in to create a beautifully smooth, flowing pair of tracks. Capturing the heart and soul of jazz-influenced drum & bass, both tunes bring live brass and orchestral sampling into the mix while retaining that all important kick from hard-hitting drums and driving basslines. Two summer anthems on the same release, what more could you ask for?
Review: From a glorious rolling start to shimmering, euphoria-high end, this various artist EP exudes the sort of good time feelings that usually only come with hearing liquid drum and bass on a gorgeous beach somewhere. In lieu of that scenario, this release offers sunny sounds and vibes that are enough to fool you into being there. Which is just perfect. "Blue" kicks us off with beautiful piano and sax, Flowrian's remix of "Rarities" is a flowing, bass-driven romp around funky brass and Pulsaar's "Maximillian" remix takes an edgier detour through junglist bass and percussion. Finally Rhodesomes gets a Soul Structure overhaul complete with sexy brass and an even more sultry vibe. Liquid perfection.
Review: Swiss producer and DJ Flowrian has a lot to be happy about. With a string of releases across Europe and beyond, he's one of the main pillars of the fresh new liquid funk sound coming from the continent. Collaborating with fellow Swiss producer Pulsaar, "The Way It Is" comes together in a pastel-perfect blend of smooth, rolling bass and classy vintage touches, and is a fantastic example of where Liquid Funk is at right now. Rowpieces' Jazz VIP of "Stroke of Genius" oozes funk and soul, with just a hint of classic Photek along for the ride. Sultry summer instant classics; all we need now is some sun.
Review: Jazzsticks lay down the soul gospel once more: Swiss mainstay Flowrian reaches Calibre proportions with his piano-laced break-rattler that's at once dreamy, lean but sprung with a loose, funky groove. Newcomer Sinbin makes his debut with a similarly breezy roll-out where crisp drums, light organs and strange cascading elements fuse to form a groove that wouldn't go amiss in Marky's arsenal.
Review: It's a scientifically proven fact that a D&B DJ is never more than two metres away from a Jazzsticks record. Check this beautifully crafted doublet and you'll understand just why. Flowrian's "Lifetime" wafts gracefully with breezy synths, dreamy flourishes and a delectable slap bass hook. Static follows suits with an equally captivating number: "Brass It" charges full steam with an epic orchestral hook. Horns and strings a-go-go, it's not dissimilar to London Elektricity's early output. Timelessly funky and scientifically solid, these demand your attention.
Review: First up Furney teams up with Paul SG and Locksmith for the title track "Musho" on Jazzsticks Recordings. A minimal intro, dominated only by light percussion and hypnotic spoken word vocal sample, starts things off before the track develops with rolling beats and dreamy, mellifluous SFX, punctuated by the occasional chirrup or instrumental flourish. Things continue to be interesting when Paul SG goes solo on the accompanying venture "Just A Theory" which is another minimal, experimental piece characterized by a chopped up vocal snippet, punchy beats and a blissed out soundscape.
Review: Paul SG, Flowrian, Pulsaar and Decon's super-troupe finally deliver their first full lengther. And it's a bit special. Written in the Swiss mountains with no distractions and two studios worth out kit, it's an instant assault of D&B's warmest dynamics and textures. Simple grooves, subtle instrumentation and concrete drums ensure each one will work on the dancefloor but the real prize comes from repeat home listens as cuts such as piano-sprinkled "Tigerstyle" and the early V-style "Flooded" reveal more and more on every experience. Smoky, bluesy and ultimately timeless, this will resonate with all flavours and fields of D&B fan.
The Stars Turn And A Time Presents Itself - (4:55) 172 BPM
Precious - (5:14) 172 BPM
Review: Jazzsticks is run out of Austria by Paul SG, one of the undoubted masters of funk and soul at 170bpm. Kenobi is landing on the label with what is a gorgeously sultry liquid two-tracker featuring vibrant instrumentation, uplifting melancholia and soulful atmospherics. The title track is Calibre-esque in its construction, with one main piano riff upon which harmonies and melodies flow like water. 'Precious' is similar but this doesn't dampen its impact - its delicate, pure, rolling funk. Unbelievable.
Review: Paul SG's Jazzsticks hits the big four-oh with a precision balanced soul excursion; newcomer Locksmith breaks into our hearts, minds and dancing feet with a light-touched roller that's loaded with just the right amount of shakers, warm chords and lilting keys while Pulsaar - one of SG's longest standing affiliates in this game - gets physical with a Brazilian-style funk work out that drops into some smoky horn hypnotism on the breakdown. Divine.
Review: As one of the scene's leading perpetrators in swooning, lyrical jazz and soul-influenced drum & bass, Jazzsticks Recordings have played a blinder with this pairing from burgeoning breakbeat obsessive Madcap and rising Austrian D&B star Paul SG. Rolling in with vintage sounds straight from drum & bass' heyday, Madcap runs things with a deep groove and plenty of hi-hat smashing breaks. "Toxic Cloud" follows the pace with jazzy percussion and dub-influenced sampling to create a bouncing unique sound. Both demand big, bassy systems and the largest of nights.
Review: Jazzy and fast-paced is the only way to describe the corking opening track of this twin release, as "Extract of the Essence" rolls out effortlessly with grooving bass and tons of real instrumentation and character brought in from vintage samples. The class continues in "Domino" as tabla and sustained strings bring a sense of mystery to hollow drums before launching into a truly old school full-bodied skank-out. All you have to do is whack this on and close your eyes and it's '96 again.
Review: The serene stylings of Austrian drum and bass maestro Paul SG have been soothing thousands across the world and on his latest release for Jazzsticks, there's a definite sense of the good old days returning to his sound. "Deegee" starts the EP off a rolling tip with bass straight from the old school, followed closely by "This Is Jazz" which, as expected, lifts things up with soulful jazzy vibes. "Chief Grand Master" takes that old James Brown sample to new levels of old school introspection and "Ballad of a Nubian Princess" is as sultry as they come, rolling out smooth and lush. Final track "Love Theme" is dramatic and deep with a bassy kick, just how we like it. Get some emotive rollers in your collection, you definitely won't regret it.
Review: Let's say it now: it's about time! Vienna's Paul SG has been quietly donning the currently massive Austrian D&B scene for much longer than some of his more hyped peers. No drama, no ego or fanfare....just a consistent stream of soulful groove for almost 10 years; a full length release has been expected, hoped and longed for years. Naturally he hasn't disappointed. Highlights include the brilliant juddering funk of "Lefthanded", the spacey jazzy Bingo Beats bass phrasing, the absolute soul of Angelina Dove on "Cherry Blossom", the TRAC-fronted Breakbeat Era style "Poverty" and the fluttering aesthetic of "You All Never Know". With Conrad on the vocals, it's the timeless cherry on a truly authentic D&B cake. Delicious.
Start A Fire (feat Danny Wheeler) - (6:26) 174 BPM
Phunk Phenomenon - (5:19) 172 BPM
Soul Asylum - (6:02) 172 BPM
Forever VIP - (5:42) 174 BPM
Review: It's about time! Jazzsticks bossman and one of Vienna's finest soul operators Paul SG has been a little quiet on the release front this year. Following a few one-offs on EPs such as "Hidden Gems" and "Best Friends", this dreamy five-tracker is his most substantial release in a long time. Highlights include the smoky guitar twangs and pneumatic percussion of "Walking Notes", the near-Bristolian badness and ravey mischief of "Phunk Phenomenon" and the dreamboat jazz flare of "Soul Asylum". SG stands for sick guy: this is a fact.
Review: A true master of the soulful D&B genre, Paul SG makes it to Jazzsticks for an outing of beautiful, effervescent rolling tunes. Picking up some sultry saxophone in "Gone Too Far" to complement a lush, rounded bass, he then moves to sophisticated jazz influences in the lounge-esque piano loops of "Destination Unknown". "Never Knew It Was You" adds jazz flute and sound effects from a long since forgotten stylish '60s film, and "A lot To Talk About" uses skipped breaks to add a touch of edge to an otherwise sleek and sedentary roller. Finally, romantically-titled "Completely Mine" puts a crisper edge on the proceedings, taking things down a touch with minor chords and wistful, drawn-out vocals. Gorgeous work from Mr Paul SG.
Review: Jazzsticks Recordings is without a doubt one of the most underrated liquid labels around because, with Paul SG at the helm, they're genuinely committed to rolling out funk in the most infectious manner possible. This single is exactly that, but with an added dose of lounging nonchalance. Title track 'Dizzy' is as laidback as they come, with crisp drum hits and an oozing bassline that squirms underneath in a wonderfully subtle display of production finesse. 'Mesmeriser' goes for more of an introduction and it works great, that long intro prepping you nicely for the tracks wisping pads and ghostly string sections. Lovely stuff.
Review: Fancy some beautifully crafted drum & bass? Start here with Paul SG and Flowrian's latest collaborative effort, a mixture of rough and smooth. First track "Strive" features TRAC and LaMedusa who help the phat-ass bassline along with classy old school hip hop vibes and decent, snappy flows. Add to that some sax and you've got yourself a winner. "Contact" is a whole other kettle of fish though, ranging those high-end snares way up there, keeping it fresh and tight as the icy atmosphere fills out around a roaming jazzy bassline. Crisp, clean and definitely a must-have.
Review: Fresh, fast-paced and totally jazzed, both tracks on this double-header are packed with all the soul and furious snares Paul SG has come to be known for. First tune "Gangster Boogie" is a brass-fuelled jazz exorcism, blasting fun and funky melodies out through rapidfire percussion. On the flip, 'White Storm' is smoother and sweeter, taking things down to lounge town. Different paces for different scenarios - yeah, this is good stuff. These two can work together again.
Review: What can be said about Paul SG that hasn't been said before? The man could give soul to the soulless. Representing this time for Jazzsticks, "Soulrider" is best described as a hybrid of old school drum & bass, old motown records recovered from the vault and the smoother than smooth theme from a '70s cop show that never came to be. Classy and smooth with a hint of humour. Rowpieces cuts in for the flipside with "Jazzmerising", a frenetic clash of hyper breaks and funk guitar (and even a vibraphone makes an appearance). Not imagining eating fondue aboard a luxury yacht in 1976 while listening to this? Friend, you're doing it wrong.
Review: Swiss beatmaker Pulsaar gets deep and emotional with his brand new EP on Jazzsticks. Who said D&B couldn't be romantic? Full of soulful rhythms, jazz flute and jazzier sax and deep basslines made to get booties shaking across the land, this is a dancefloor-perfect release made to get crowds feelin' the love. Featuring the amazing Paul SG on the cool and breezy "City Trip", every other track on the release is self-made solo work taken from the jazziest, most soulful recesses of Pulsaar's imagination. "Misunderstandings" finishes off on a gorgeously old-school note. You can't afford to miss this, get it bought.
Review: It's been a busy year for Paul SG's Jazzsticks as they conclude 2012's business affairs by adding two new members to their jazzy fam. Pulsaar gets all early Good Lookin' with a swooning string number that swings and sways with a rusty breakbeat and an infectious shaker on the fills. Carter's "Lost In Being Human" is a jazzier affair that blushes with dubbed out trumpet parps and a curtseys to some beautifully strident piano strikes. Go on, start "Living The Moment".
Paul SG - "Catastrophical Balance" - (5:16) 172 BPM
Review: By now, we should all know what to expect from Viennese jungle imprint Jazzsticks Recordings. The imprint has become a bastion for jazz-flecked drum and bass, promoting a sound that blends elements of trad jazz with snappy, rolling, old skool influenced jungle breaks. That's exactly what you get from Rowpieces' "Scat Bop", an attractive fusion of sampled horns, low-sling double bass, hazy effects and punchy D&B breaks. Label boss Paul SG goes for a slightly tougher but no less musically mature flex on "Catastrophical Balance", whose surging bass contrasts nicely with the deep, woozy, 808 State style chords.
Review: Soulstructure's new Origin EP delivers five slices of beautifully evocative atmospherics propelled by dynamic drum and bass hallmarks. Highlights include SoulStructure's jazz-flecked remix of 'Kyoto" and the live bass-boasting "Melody Is Life". Both are productions that hark back to the rolling and flamboyant early years of Hospital, and moreover, the EP is upbeat to the point of being euphoric without reaching the point of being cheesy, as you'll find on the skipping and melodious "Origin" and "Together".
Paul SG And Pulsaar - "Extraordinaire" - (5:20) 172 BPM
Review: Already two releases deep into the new year, Paul SG's Jazzsticks aren't messing around... Here we find Soulstructure updating his slowly-building body of work with "Brooklyn Belles". With sweeping orchestration, rugged amen rolls and a cheeky Gwen Guthrie sample and a turbulent switch midway, it's a genuine turbo love song. Label boss and longtime cohort Pulsaar follow in hot pursuit with a big string chase scene style roller. Jazzy, panicking but still majestic - it's quintessential Jazzsticks material. Don't sleep.
Review: An exciting range of underground artists feature on the Hidden Tunes Part 1 on Jazzsticks Records including the likes of: Flowrian, Altitude, Rowpieces, Clart & Dave Owen, Undersound & Andy Sim and Pulsaar. Tuning in to the deeper and more experimental side of the D&B spectrum expect plenty of shuffling beats and soulful touches in "City Guide", while "Recollections" is a more swooning, vocal-led cut. Also make sure you check out "Deep Cover" - a lovely slice of soulfulness with jazzy trumpet touches - before "2012" concludes the EP.