It feels like the label has provided the accompanying soundtrack for some-time now, indeed one glance at the title reveals its been all of 15 years’ worth of quality, innovation plus all the contemporary attributes which have collectively made the imprint into what it is in 2017. The track list spans music from M.A.N.D.Y. vs Booka Shade’s delicious bassline infused Body Language through to the self-explanatory Love For Mrs Rhodes by Raz Ohare & The Odd Orchestra. In-between are productions from a Disco styled DJ T. care of Philly, smouldering 1980’s keys from Junior Boys on No Kinda Man, Hot Since 82’s pounding Like You, and the gorgeously deep Jazzuelle feat. Matthias Vogt – Narnia, amongst others. Signifying that the label imagined by DJ T., M.A.N.D.Y. and Booka Shade is more than just a sign of the times probing at the architecture of sights and sounds with informed, exciting results which have conjured up some great music along the way. Looking forward to the next instalment in 2032!
Excellent new release on Hot Since 82’s label with the original version sounding inescapably big in all the right places. Fuelled by driving percussion and a grinding bassline that feels irresistibly funky, plus with the vocal line adding just the right slice of melody, this soon climaxes via a blaze of synthesiser colouring the arrangement. Remixes come from Mendo who pumps up the rhythm with fresh vocal samples and fiery snares hits, and from Get Physical’s Fabio Gianelli who injects Acid flavour into his first-rate version giving the vocals a new lease of life with an evolving sense of tension crafted from a sizzling blend of synths.
You don’t have to love Jazz to dig this but of course you should already do so in the first place! I guess the title track refers to one of great pianists of last century, Thelonious Monk whose innovative genius has yet to be bettered in this millennium. The arrangement is a piecing collection of notes that fall into place as the music evolves with moody pads and edgy atmosphere’s accompanying the jazzy notation to produce a startlingly cool piece of music that also hints at the roots of House. An Evening At Urban Spree happens next with spoken words adding bite to the brutal, snazzy percussion alongside blazing Saxophone. The more organic On The Loose (Feat. Elbi) ends on a deeper tip with soulfully charged vocals feeling bittersweet over a piano adornment, rich in life and cinematic in scope.
Two new tracks go to make up this latest release from Asymmetric with the Greek Dj’s Dazzling by name and nature certainly sounding epic. Love the strange concoction of off-the-wall sound effects that lend this a jagged edge while the straight-up drums and rumbling bass supply an inexcusably big punch to the production. Second original, Consistency then fuses gritty Acid synths together with crisp drums again producing music high on atmosphere that sounds even more impactful the louder it gets!
Ahh, the sound of summer soul music. Just as the title says: life is good. Spend time and check this raspy, emotive vocal delivery which says something about the state of play that’s actually worth saying. The sassy guitar and drums backing sound all the better with the rousing horn section plus good old bv’s supporting too. Lots of mixes to choose from beside the classy original with special attention going to Technimatic’s blissful yet energetic D&B which is quite possibly even better.
I did think of Durutti Column when I first heard Rivero Brito’s sensitively plucked guitar streaming through stereo and that’s of course a most welcoming experience. But, it’s also equally refreshing not to plant thoughts in your mind as this EP conjures up all sorts of people you could reference, despite the music having a life very much of its own. After experiencing the rather beautiful title track, the even more so, Keep Your Eyes Closed defies logic with uber-cool Double Bass and fizzy electronics blending together impressively with thought-enhancing arrangements and subtleties. The Arkist Remix adds beats, though cleverly doesn’t lose the charm, on an excellent version that can only come highly recommended. The Live Take of Last Page then finishes off with what must have put a rather large smile on Ben Watts face… 9
Fresh remixes of Boris Dlugosch’s biggie from the mid nineties sees Inaya Day’s vocals revitalised once again, and this time round over equally contemporary versions. Firstly from the excellent Joel Alter who swings delicious bass off hissing hi-hats and funky organ, while utilising snippets of appropriate voice to deliver more typically irresistible grooves. The Coyu Kitty-Push remix gives the drums much more of a tribal flavour and uses more melody, all of which eventually reaches the joyous chorus line. 8
This new instalment from Moda Music begins life with another notable Leeds artist, Hot Since 82. Hurt You, fuels the senses with an infectious bassline, tripped-out voices and insistent hi-hats which punctuate the production throughout – you couldn’t really ask for a better start from the label. Second track, Sundown compliments the picture with darker notation and funkier percussion being offset by semi- melodic vocal snippets and dark, brooding synth chords which all feel suitably lush. 8
Sounding enviously similar to The Cure circa 1980 with its evocative, gothic overtones and that uniquely, haunting bass-guitar sound, this even manages to transcend that very possibility via heavenly treated voices and shimmering electronic percussion. A truly excellent piece of music to refresh the soul – or at least words to that effect. One Day In May, proceeds with a stunning chord progression that deifies simplicity and is again aided by a surreal collection of voices and sounds so tempting that you can almost taste them. The Snake Pit Dub of the title track ends by tweaking the elements into yet more ethereal beauty as a special bonus for the digital package. 9
Kate Simko & Matt Tolfrey The Same Page EP Leftroom
Leftroom’s Matt Tolfrey teams up with Chicago’s Kate Simko to produce this devastating collection of one, two, three tracks. Opening with, Take It Easy which blurs the lines between Jazz, House and Electro – which if you ask me sounds like the perfect idea – by playing cool guitar alongside big fuzzy chords and electro-funk bass, this also boasts a clever arrangement that is never less than electrifying. Synthetic sounds continue to flow with, Lazy B coming complete with refreshingly funky percussion, leaving No Shame to develop the Chicago theme further into the ethos. 9
Dropping the tempo but never easing up on the mood comes this latest from the creative hands belonging to Voices Of Black. It’s hard not to admire the audacity of their spirit as these laid back vocals tease a sense of drama from the quietly addictive, head-nodding rhythms, and it’s even harder not to nod likewise. Remixes are from the even more down-tempo Taner Ross, who furthers the tension still to highlight the vocals’ charm, and No Regualr Play feat. John Camp Remix who pick up the pace again giving the song some House pizzazz via the detuned voices and funky arpeggios. 8
Proving once again the strength of contemporary music, The White Lamp show the way the way forward with their combination of irresistibly cool grooves and knowing vocals. I guess the clue is in the labels’ name: Futureboogie. The drive of It’s You lies within the pulsating basslines and a vocal delivery which places tension against melody, and is nothing but completely enticing. Ron Basejam aka Jim Baron from Crazy P supplies the remix with typical panache and comes up funky as ever with a selection of deliciously soulful chords, leaving the Eats Everything and Christophe Acid Ouse remix to do that very thing in equal style. 8