Cited by Hollis as: “This album is basically a culmination of everything I’ve done musically up until now” and you can readily feel all that inspiration and acquired knowledge etched into every groove. Playing like a bittersweet love story to New York will surely resonate with those who have been equally inspired by the city and all its associated imaginings. That notion is compacted by the use of sampled speech and stories which go to illuminate the cinematic atmospheres so comfortably highlighted by that breathless skyline. There are also plenty of Jazz and Bluesy references which chime with the musical landscape informing the tempting escapism all the more resolutely. Indeed, the music continues to tease out deeper, more soulful qualities alongside purposely retro drum-machines, notes and styles which I more than suspect will feel just as good located in any era.
Lifted from his forthcoming album ‘Arrival 13:36 Gate 63’ is this hotwired Disco number that serves up its additively, undulating bassline in full effect. Aided only by occasional funky percussion, high-end strings hits and a couple of excitable breakdowns this is both simple/ uncomplicated yet straight to the point. Three remixes accompany the original plus an acapella featuring Gramma Funk’s particular brand of the spoken word. First up is Gruia who adds a bouncier groove, while cutting up the vocals to reset the Disco angle. As does Danny O whose excellent driving, percussion punctuated rhythms really get under your skin. Then Italian duo Jonny N Travis fuse a more haunting, atmospherically charged version that sounds like the perfect complement to the album mix.
Release: Sept 1
What You’ve Done
Hollis Parker’s tempting ‘What You’ve Done’ points in the direction of a forthcoming album: The Last Raw Era of which I’ll be reviewing shortly. As the title suggests this evokes the past which will come as either a pleasant reminder or possibility even a relatively pointless exercise. Or, you could just simply enjoy what is essentially quality music. Its smoky, Saxophone punctuated rhythms certainly feel emotive in that classically soulful way neatly capturing the essence of the early 90’s. Punchy beats plus guitar flourishes all go to colour in the background most effectively while the yearning vocal lines add a certain extra bite. Next, is Parker’s Lament which also the retraces deeper, more ‘soulful’ moods of the period and again sounds like good music to me (still).
Release: September 5
Ashford & Simpson
Love Will Fix It: The Best of Ashford & Simpson
Groove Line Records
It’s in the region of 29 degrees outside (hot for the UK) and this compilation of beautiful moments from Ashford & Simpson is blazing away on the stereo. Spread across two circles of vinyl it’s always striking just how well produced the music still sounds decades later, and also the supremely gifted song writing abilities of the duo, plus of course those heaven sent voices. A bunch of personal favourites are on here, not least of all It Seems To Hang On. But feel blessed, enjoy the weather, love their timeless music.