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.
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.
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.
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.
Kicking of the first of three tracks for Archie Hamilton’s tasty Moscow Records is the title track, Fill Callings. The first word here is Jamaica as its deep, pounding bassline sequences that heritage firmly into the punchy rhythms generated by the drums, plus a succession of stabs of various twists and turns. The Premiesku member Floog remixes by exciting the groove with more intense beats and bass, adding a rugged yet breathless quality to the number. Chaboi, then digs deeper via chugging House basslines coupled with an uncomplicated, direct arrangement of sounds, leaving the more robust Anak to take off once again via its sizzling hi-hats and more playful keys.
Contrasting another sense of stillness this resolutely beautiful work from Tokyo artist Chihei Hatakeyama pursues its purpose via the evolution of looped sounds. The result is a stunning one piercing the passage of time as seconds drift by. Again this album is the sum of its parts, or to put that another way forms part of one whole. The listening experience is immersive, as all notable succession of sounds should be, and its personal reflections tell their own life-story. Quietly and yet with great impact. The magic of music is the connection it enables across the globe and this tale of lucid movements transports the listener to elsewhere entirely. A sublime experience.
What’s left to say? Stillness Soundtracks the suggestion that there may be a whole left undiscovered, hinting at something beneath the surface that isn’t instantaneously recognisable. Rutger Zuydervelt’s journey into the remote landscapes of sound is far from a solitary one as the music, mysterious as it is, invites you into its imagination as expectations reveal themselves. Sometimes blissful, sometimes altogether darker in temptation. This soundtrack to the visual artist Esther Kokmeijer’s exploration of Antarctica terrain is also an intensely private affair between you and what springs from the speakers. Five pieces form the moments and although it would be unfair to highlight one in particular the warm rushes of emotion and melodic textures emanating from Stillness #9 (Hanusse Bay, Antarctica) are very appealing. Leaving you with the concluding Stillness #10 (Antarctic Sound, Antarctica) by also equalling the charm, this time via choir-like poignancy which is quite breath-taking, the score completes. The accompanying artwork is typically striking, likewise from Glacial Movements, which is incidentally just as well as Rutger Zuydervelt designs them all.
Beginning at the start with this thought. Some music is more important, more meaningful than others. That is not to be elitist, it’s simply a statement of truth. Listening to Armando Mendes journey into experience conjures up that implication as sounds, moods and musical possibility are all visited upon the listener via a joyous intent. The first thing that strikes you here is the sheer breadth of sight and notation which has been soaked up and then transferred through the stereo of life. Quality and imagination are bywords. For example experience the warm, poignancy noted across the beautifully haunting Things U Do 2 Me, Acid is then consumed by the grainy rhythms of the fierce Acid Yardies, while the soulful tear of Robert Owens is laid bare upon No Regrets – with one of his finest vocals. Never sticking to a single idea the music evolves in many exciting ways such as on the ambient bliss generated by MS20 Interlude, leaving darker impressions to contrast with One Night in Bangkok, or on the sublime electrics of Parallel Universe. It’s all just about discovery. But back to the very beginning as Ithaka ignites the thought-provoking This Life’s All We Got in low-slung, funky ways by breathing the anticipation of life into all the happens next.
Launching Saturn Return into 2020 Rowee delivers on a promise with four tastefully produced gems. The title track, Euphydryas slides into vision via booming, sumptuous kicks plus an accompanying melodic chime and atmospheric richness that you will already associate with the artist. Desert Rain neatly contrasts with Jazzy reflections amid taught drums and bass, this time alongside a flurry of treated voices. The more introspective and excellent Jewel Of The Seas follows suite, leaving the final mallet strikes of Origami to end on a further high completing this inaugural release from the brand new imprint.
Inner World is a spectacular piece of music in anyone’s book. Reading like a trip through a rich, musical landscape touching upon a series of seemingly random events that inform rhythm and soulful imagination in equal measure. Hinting at a cosmic Jazz-Funkiness as solo’ed synths soar skyward both the drums and stabbing, bass guitars feel tastefully cosmopolitan, while soaking a myriad of heady influences. The chugging, Indicus follows with spiritually inspired voices augmenting the landscape of sound unfolding the experience as you listen, aiming with pointed syncopation amid a swirling intensity.