Revisiting Tears To Sound from 2018 Ron Trent delivers on the originals vocal promise with this immaculate instrumental version. First appearing on NuNorthern Soul this release now marks the third from the accompanying Through Gods Own Eyes and as you would expect dives headlong into deeper territory, while remaining resolutely soulful. Pounding drums alongside robust low-end denote this production as a fiery array of heady keys and sizzling percussion compliment it all most tastefully. Next, Barnaby Bruce of Palms and Charms flips the groove with something altogether breezier in nature, channelling early house influences throughout the sequence of chiming rhythms.
This highly notable track made its first appearance on last year’s Dusk to Dawn and now gets thoroughly revitalised by DJ Tennis. But back to the original which remains tantalisingly exciting via its rolling Acid lines plus pounding drums, which reach out for dramatic conclusions over the course of twelve minutes of trepidation (below). The complimentary remix is defiantly disco, happily in the European sense, sizzling with sleazy tension as the syncopated bassline and dreamy vocals work their explosive magic in truly excellent fashion. It is called the DJ Tennis Disko Bang Club Mix after all…
Release: February 28
Stripped right down to rugged essentials Marina Trench’s interpretation of soulfully charged music hits all the right buttons. Take the uncompromising Waterside which channel’s the ghost of Ron Hardy through tough, repeating bass alongside occasionally smooth keys, fiery percussion and vocal touches to heighten the occasion. Next, Get In reworks a series of consequential chords through various effects, again over heady drums, and again with big results. PS the bassline is delicious/ brutal in equal measure. The groovier, Train Call follows with an abundance of drum machines punctuating the pianos, while breathing fresh life into older formulas of House Music. Finally, Straight aims at the heart of the matter via breezy melodies drifting across the horizon, providing contrast to the previous riotous ignition.
Release: February 28
A beautifully realised collection music that sees worlds collude in the interplay between sound, revolution and flying colours. Sometime in the 1960’s artists such as The Beatles took note of what was happening in the counter-cultural stream of consciousness populated by the Avant Garde. They, of course, had been tinkering at the edges of what music could be for some time but the influence provided helped shape the next generation of popular albums by expanding what the simple structure of song could be evolving from the basic refrain of I love You, plus by taking the accompanying scale of rock n roll chords to new heights.
Quite naturally Karlheinz Stockhausen and John Cage are ever present, as is Bernard Herrmann whose score for Hitchcock’s Pyscho remains a keynote moment in cinematic history, alongside the unmistakable Ravi Shankar and Jacques Brel. Jazz giants Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane and the Bill Evans Trio, who neatly supply Autumn Leaves, also appear as do a wealth of classical composers from the wonderful Claude Debussy through to Bach. But in many ways it’s the sheer thrill of hearing pieces like Luciano Berio’s Thema (Omaggio A Joyce) with its rugged deconstruction of sound and voice that proves to be the most exciting, certainly dangerous, in ways Rhythm and Blues never was. Followed by Cage’s brutal Williams Mix which sees the clash of quarter-inch magnetic tapes create their own universe this is just about as provocative as it gets. Three CD’s span the concept, each delving into different arenas, each worth their weight in gold. From radical fire to the more traditional, there is quite literally something for everyone to treasure here.
Release: February 21
Beginning this latest collection of pieces from Steve Hadfield is the blistering uncertainty generated by The Sunlight. Residing in grainy tension this exploration of mood tears at the edges of emotion as shimmering Sitar sounds collide gracefully against whirring synthesizers. And so that very clash of ideas, influences and more continue to pursue their objective. Not so much ambience but a series of unfolding suggestions pulsing with imagination, resulting in cause and effect – sometimes dark, sometimes light. The simpler numbers such as the piano adorned Space work wonderfully well, while the following Reflections escapes into a world of feeling as treated orchestral notes and natural intonations sync together in perfect harmony. The choral harmonies of Middle Distance complete the journey via fuzzy intensity which fades off into the distance as memories are touched upon and then exploited passionately.
When music transcends the disquiet generated the surrounding world you know that you have discovered something pretty special. When sounds escape the structures of clique and are free to roam their own path the listening experience becomes all the more significant. This collection of pieces from Japanese percussionist and ambient producer Kazuya Nagaya moves your soul in unexpected ways, leaving a pivotal sense of loss that contrasts sublimely within a place of inner peace. Compelling and beautiful for those reasons alone and yet that doesn’t quite feel like enough explanation as to the power certain music can produce. The final sequence is called, Dream Interpretation I Old Theatre Mix and while the strings play out, amid a haunting breath of reality, the unfolding chimes and consequent tension all find a place to communicate. On occasion words aren’t really enough. Sometimes it is simply better to recline, encounter and absorb….
Release: February 7
You can already tell from the cover art that this is going to be far-reaching music resonating with soulful intent. Escaping the confines of clique its warm keys and deep beats all sum up that intention as the telling vocal does the rest, effortlessly, on both of Fait Du Prince’s excellent versions. Always welcome to hear the human touch in music too. Miyagi then probes at the alternatives via splashes of guitar plus punchier drums, leaving the final David Hasert & Francesco Mami Remix to end on a definitive high with crisp percussion adding brevity to a song encompassing meaning and precision.
Release: February 21
Crosstown Rebels has remained a potent source of inspiration for many years now and this latest release from respected artists Dubfire feat. Carl Craig fits the bill nicely. Lotus, also has the pleasure of Kate Elsworth’s breathy vocal delivery which adds fire to the production that is in itself already smouldering, tempting you into an alternative reality. A fine piece of music with an array of subtle keys punctuating the heady rhythms and shuffling percussive motifs producing richly rewarding, beautifully atmospheric sounds. A Dub version follows, then it’s down to Tibi Dabo who provides a lusciously deep rendition which equally tugs at your emotions, while sequencing a slice of pure instrumental magic on the outro.
Release: February 14
As the poet once said: free your mind and your ass will follow. The sound of Mr.G is Mr.G which is at once deep, furiously emotional, heavy-duty and most of all resolutely soulful in nature. That said it’s also the playful element of uncertain danger that sometimes ignites the ignition and this new collection of six titles, each inspired by recent experience in the USA, exudes everything you have come to expect, plus that bit more. There’s a surprisingly amount of variation in here too as grainy Techno sits beside fiery break-breaks, amid moments of ambient clarity all resulting in a breathless whisper which, depending on the time of day or night you choose to listen, produces impressions of extraordinary experience.
Release: January 31
Celebrating the Tilly Jam’s tenth release is this excellent piece of music from label head Till Von Sein. It’s almost understated relying as much on subtle intensity as it does rigorous emotional content. Soulfully charged as it tears at the heart-strings and yet the drums feel almost brutal by way of contrast. Simple strings, piano and occasional vocal touches all produce that sense of occasion rather wonderfully on the aptly titled, Winter. Next, 61 State Of Mind expands the ideas into something more akin to Deeper House as classic drum machines inform the landscape of moody pads plus sprinkles of tasteful keys to complete.
Release: January 24