Review: This Christmas, if you run out of board games to play round the fire, don't fear: just throw this bulging collection (26 tracks!) on the stereo and enjoy hours of fun for all the family, guessing which sample matches which Jay-Z song (no prizes for Hard Knock Life though). Highlights of the many vintage grooves featured include The Doors "Five To One", The Jackson 5 "I Want You Back", Al Green's "Free At Last", Marcus Miller's "Much Too Much" and Talking Heads' classic, "Once In A Lifetime".
Review: There we were getting all smug about the frequency of the instalments in this series of compilations (virtually weekly!), and then nothing for like, a year! We're sorry if we jinxed it for the crate diggers around the world who have unintentionally gone cold turkey, being starved of the kind of rare breaks that only Strictly Breaks can provide. Well at least we can say it's been worth the wait with a whopping 26 tracks including the classic 70s soundtrack vibes of the "The Peterman", the sassy honky tonk boogie of "Lady Ostrich" and the frankly jaw dropping "The Swimming Pool" from Lalo Schifrin's Dirty Harry soundtrack.
Review: Here's the latest in the series of double albums that round up rare original B-Boy breaks, the kind that found greater fame as samples much later. As ever, selections largely hail from the 70s soul and funk worlds and include the lazy boogie stomp of "Checkin Out Your Love", the groovy percussive freak-out of "Drummer Man" and the crazy Moog-fest of "Tryin To Get Over".
Review: Here uber-compilers Strictly Breaks present their third collection of songs as sampled by classic hip hop act, A Tribe Called Quest. These collections serve as both testament to the taste and crate digging skills of the '90s act and, as well, just a great collection of songs to dig, ya dig? Highlights include the hip-cat modernist jazz of Cannonball Adderley's "Steam Drill", the spittle-flecked verbosity of Last Poets' "Time", the tragically beautiful "Midnight Cowboy" theme and Stevie Wonder's anthem to beat all anthems, "Sir Duke". Dope.
Review: Often, a lot of questionable feats and skills are retrospectively foisted upon music legends by the nerdier music fans amongst us. Classic DJs like Ron Hardy are regularly claimed to have seamlessly mixed the one copy of the same record for five hours with his toenail, whilst stood upside down and blindfolded in the booth. The sleeves of "School Yard Breaks" do nothing to change this, but for the most part we'll never really know what is truth and what is myth. However we do know what they played and here are another 25 b-boy breaks to play 'air mix toe' to.
Review: Here we have a bumper collection of tracks sampled by veteran New York hip-hoppers The Beatnuts. Essentially the Latino wing of the Native Tongues crew, these guys have been rockin' blocks since the late 80s with their trademark sample-led jazzy beats. Obviously Enoch Light's cover of "A Little Fugue For You And Me", the source of an infamous spat between these guys and Jennifer Lopez (she allegedly nicked their sample) appears first, but there are 30 more rare soul, funk and jazz bangers on here too, including "Mixed Drums", "Caseine" and "Sesame Street Theme".
Review: Deeply dug freshness from the Dusty Fingers crew, School Yard Breaks Volume 8 is another masterclass in super-fine-tuned source material searching. Big swinging drums, fuzzy organs, heaving horns, clam-tight guitars and yet more big swinging drums, whether you're a sample fiend, an eclectic DJ or just love the music from THE most important era in modern music, this is essential. Highlights across the 25 tracks can be found on every corner but stand outs have to be the subversive covers such as The Bully Boys' take on Harry Nilsson's "Everybody's Talkin'" and The First Impressions lo-fi, garage-rock style twist on "SGT Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band". Recess over... Back to class.
Isley Brothers - "Ballad For The Fallen" - (3:09) 82 BPM
Glen Frey - "You Belong To The City" - (2:39) 109 BPM
Jones Girls - "You Gonna Make Me" - (8:05) 107 BPM
Bohannon - "Save Their Souls" - (2:55) 85 BPM
Kraftwerk - "Hall Of Mirrors" - (3:01) 95 BPM
Ohio Players - "Pride & Vanity" - (2:55) 86 BPM
Wet Willie - "Beggar Song" - (3:17) 89 BPM
Lionel Bart - "Anything" - (1:25) 109 BPM
Review: Last Christmas Strictly Breaks treated us to the killer first instalment of this compilation series, and this year, it seems, Christmas has come early. There are many things you can say about Jay Z, none is truer than the fact that when it comes to samples, the man has serious taste. These albums simply add up to great genre-spanning history lessons, and here we get essential electro gems by Zapp and Kraftwerk, vintage Egyptian crooning (Abdel Halim Hafez), sultry funk (Commodores) and even the British musicals of Lionel Bart!
Review: On this compilation, Strictly Breaks aim to provide 'crazy' instrumental versions and rare mixes of some vintage soul and funk gems. They do that and then some over the course of 15 tracks, highlights of which include the gorgeous melancholia of The Emotions, the low down and dirty funk of Beat Mann's tough rework of Wilson Picket, the string laden joy of early Jacksons and some real car chase in a 70s cop movie vibes from Marvin Gaye. Damn funky!
Review: Strictly Breaks have so many compilation series on the go they're like those super flash DJs who have like four or five records on the go all at once. The Dusty Fingers releases were very frequent but now they've steadied to a more manageable rate, which of course keeps the crate diggers wanting more. There are 26 tracks again, all bursting with vintage coolness. Our faves here include the edge of your seat strings n' beats of "Mission Control", the muscular funk of "Northern Lights" and the stoner raunch-rock of The Stooges' "Dirt".
Review: More vintage sampled classics from the crew who do it best, Strictly Breaks. This time round they're concentrating on obscure '70s soul joints that all ended up being sampled left, right and centre. As always these albums work simply as solid collections of good songs too, highlights including the Otis Redding-style Southern RnB jam of "I Tried It And I Liked It", the brassy cop show swagger of "Butter Nut" and the amazingly-titled "Fondle Rock".
Review: What would we all do without Strictly Breaks, eh? Well, we'd all be spending much, much longer hours in dank basements digging for records for one thing. This compilation label tirelessly collects songs with classic breaks as used by many artists over time, with their albums working both as a reference source and as just good albums of classic tunes. Highlights here include Grace Jones' otherworldly tropicalia of "My Jamaican Guy", the raw and evocative free jazz of John Klemmer's "Free Soul" and the hazy grooves of Roy Ayers' ever-seductive "Searching".
Review: It's been ages since the last installment of Strictly Breaks' series that aims to rescue from obscurity rare instrumental versions and mixes of underground soul and funk gems. Now though, we've finally got "Soul Treats Vol 3" and again we get another 15 inspired tracks. Highlights this time round include the hypnotic "Soul Heaven", the sizzling b-boy breaks of The Jackson 5's "Its Great To Be Here", the evergreen magic of Isaac Hayes's take on "The Look Of Love" and forever famous bassline of The Ohio Players "Fire".
Review: Early '90s hip-hop act Brand Nubian courted much controversy over their allegedly extremist views and sometimes homophobic lyrics. What often gets lost in all this fuss is the matter of the music, an expertly crafted melange of deft samples. Here Strictly Breaks pick apart those samples and provide us with 28 of the best vintage cuts used as source material by the band. Highlights include the cheery anthem "Sing A Happy Song", James Brown's highly electable "Funky President" and Kool & The Gang's immortal "Jungle Boogie".