Reviews: 161

The Salsoul Orchestra Story
40th Anniversary Collection
Groove Line Records

WOW! Three cd’s worth of the Salsoul Orchestra. Or, to put it another way, heaven on earth. The clue is of course contained within the title: Salsoul from the infinitely influential record label for a start, secondly the word Orchestra and all of the musical prowess which accompanies the noun. I love that you can simply switch the music on, then get lost in a world of soaring strings, driving beats and bass, and yes occasionally sleazy, though always sensual, uplifting lyrics. At times there’s the sheer romance of it all, at others hard and heavy grooves drive it all home. Needless to say if you haven’t yet experienced the soulful joy of ‘Take Some Time Out (For Love)’ featuring Jocelyn Brown or the classic rhythms of Shep Pettibone’s mix of ‘Ooh, I Love It (Love Break)’ then here’s the chance. A wealth of talent informed the orchestra’s production’s and remixes too from Larry Levan to Tom Moulton to Walter Gibbons. And, with arrangements from the likes of Vincent Montana Jr., Bunny Sigler, and Patrick Adams this newly remastered exploration of their sights and sounds from 1975 to the early eighties is both exceptional and essential.

Oskar Offermann
Le Grand To Do
Mule Musiq

“Music is the direct access to the soul” sounds like a good a place as any to start this review of Oskar Offermann’s spellbinding new long player. Fuelled by an undulating funkiness the album delves into all sorts of landscapes which reach ambient depths to edgier heights. Sometimes purely atmospheric without the reliance on beats, sometimes up-tempo and energising such as on ‘Carol’s Howl’ there really isn’t any identifiable rule book being followed – good. What you do get is an exciting travelogue of gritty, booming, speech laden, probing, emotive music which embraces funky breaks as much as it does sizzling electronics. Further.

Release: November 13

Pop Ambient 2016

kom_345_sleeve.inddTo label this as merely ambient may do a disservice to the rather glorious, beautifully textured music that lies within. However, let’s go with Pop Ambient, although as the selection of tracks doesn’t display any melodic resonance perhaps that doesn’t quite accurately describe what’s going on either. Never mind. This 2016 edition of the long-standing series of atmospheric brilliance maintains breath taking standards as distinct layers of sound lift and drop all five senses with immaculate precision. The second track typifies the inclination with who else but The Orb’s epically charged ‘Alpine Dawn’ stretching sonic boundaries via all sorts of expanding ideas. You will also find the caliber of artists such as Stephan Mathieu and Mikkel Metal alongside Max Würden’s deeply involving ‘Unterwasser’. A truly wonderful compilation of music which talks its own melody.

Release: November 13


Reviews: 155

FP-Oner (aka Fred P)
mule musiq

In one of those revelatory moments Fred P literally transports your mind, body and soul into the cosmos care off this electrifying set of sonically charged, teasing jazziness. The Soul People Music head begins a trilogy of releases with this album, under his FP-Oner guise, for Toshiya Kawasaki’s Tokyo based label and is quite simply extraordinary. With reassuring titles such as ‘In The Mist Of Sunrise’ and ‘Cycles of Life’ you can expect music that probes and searches rather than merely functions as dancefloor fodder. Indeed 5 exists on so many different planes that you could become exhausted trying to figure them all out. Suffice to say you could listen to this album anywhere, most probably at any time, and it would always say something to you. If you’re not afraid of chord progressions or funky, soulful meanderings then try the exceptional ‘The Law Of Correspondence’ if nothing else today and get amazed.

Release: June 29

Love Somebody
Hot Creations

Achieving the accolade of the label’s fourth artist album Alexandre Paounov AKA delivers a set of finely tuned gems for your pleasure. Flitting between breezy melodies and darker moods, Love Somebody sounds just about right for 2015 capturing smouldering intensity on Your Eyes, while opening via the bouncy rhythms of Words Gone feat. Arno Joey. That playful funkiness continues on Get Together and is contrasted again by the demanding peak-time beats of I Want U, striking a neat balance between styles and flavours on what is essentially a most rewarding listen.

Release: June 29

Brummie Blagger
Outer Circle Grooves EP

Brought to my attention care off the Blagger himself this four track release for Supersexy captures the essence of pumping House Music and delivers it loud and clear into your stereo. Can’t Stop Now fuses Detroit bass together with Chicago Acid accompanied by suitably feverish vocal edits. Next, the bizarrely titled Blagger Rids The World Of Evil Vampers hits you with Todd Terry styled stabs amid plenty of attitude, while third and standout number Keep The Peace gets frisky with the percussion, leaving Blag On Mars to replay familiar synths over fizzy hi-hats and awkward beats. Consider yourself blagged.