reviews:63

Scarlett Nina
The End EP
Turquoise Blue

One of the reasons Dance have been so very exciting over the past number of years is down to the sheer breadth of music which reside within the House Music bracket. Not that that hasn’t always been the case of course, there’s just something particularly exhilarating about the clash of ideas being generated between the USA and Europe –  just as much as the revived sounds of the early 90’s continue to reinvigorate the genre too. What that in mind Scarlett Nina’s amazing sounds and devilish moods fit the bill perfectly. The End, sends shivers along with staccato guitar notes and sinister, tripped-out voices inducing a powerful reaction to this notably original production. As you might expect Tone Of Arc the remix is stunning with pulsating organ and vocal treatments building the tension with typical aplomb, while the Special Case version twists the bass into something altogether more sinister on their equally impressive take. Who Am I To Disagree, explores the same atmospheres with electronic funk and the remix comes from David K Marabunta Remix whose haunting techno also fits the bill.

release: October 1

http://soundcloud.com/turquoise-blue-recordings/sets/scarlett-nina-the-end-ep

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Turquoise-Blue-Recordings/192161454150065

 

 

Waze & Odyssey
Dance, Yeah, How?
This Is Music Ltd

And so the story continues with this killer production from Waze & Odyssey whose deft blend of classic House influences are creatively put to the test. This moves beyond a simple revival of sounds by developing its theme with expansive pads and clever vocal twists that complete the moody yet uplifting arrangement. Love the thumping Kick drum and chiming, deep bass which underpins the rich mood generated by the remaining sounds. Try for yourself.

Release: exclusive to Beatport Sept 24. October 8 on general release

http://soundcloud.com/wazeandodyssey/dance-yeah-how

https://www.facebook.com/Waze.Odyssey

https://twitter.com/wazeodyssey

http://www.thisismusicltd.com/

 

Maigret Jnr
Sick Friends EP
Make Mine

Gently side-stepping Dance music for the duration of this limited 7” vinyl and digital EP we revisit Maigret Jnr once again purely because this is so f**king good. For lovers of slightly melancholy, though conversely, uplifting music will greatly benefit from what’s on offer. You may already know the anthemic beauty of Always Again, which starts with the prophetic line ‘Silence is Golden’ but if not its swirling strings and heart beating drums are a joy to behold.  New track, Breathe feels every bit as good covering the same territory emotionally, with poignant piano and rich baritone vocals sounding just as impressive. While the title track, Sick Friends dares to lift the sound with a heavier beat and bassline, although while this doesn’t have quite the same impact it still works neatly.

release: Sept 30

http://soundcloud.com/maigretjnr

https://www.facebook.com/maigretjnrmusic

http://makemine.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/makemine

 

MFSB
Love Is The Message
Philadelphia International Records/ bbr

If this album only contained two tracks it would still be worth its weight in gold. For within just under eleven minutes of music this 1973 release went a long way to define what became known as the Disco sound. The first track Love Is The Message is simply a seminal classic featuring Early Young’s masterful drumming, who alongside the striking keyboards, emotive Strings, strident Bass and blazing Saxophone cumulates into a sequence of one of my (and many others) favourite all time dance grooves. It all sounds so effortless, yet so completely stunning. The second track TSOP (The Sound Of Philadelphia) featured for a time as Soul Train’s theme and also provided a hit single for the label. Again the instrumentation is flawless, supremely funky and must have felt oh so good way back then, as it also does right now. Plus of course, it featured the sassy vocals of The Three Degrees. Both tracks appear in their original, and more importantly, their extended form with Tom Moulton’s epic reworking of ‘Love Is…’  adding vocals from The Three Degrees while highlighting the keyboard and rhythm section with devastating flair – a genius at work. While TSOP again expands the rhythm section into something seminal and heavenly. It really doesn’t get much better.

http://www.cherryred.co.uk/bigbreak-exd.asp?id=3806

http://www.cherryred.co.uk/bigbreak.asp

https://www.facebook.com/BigBreakRecords

Love Is The Message (Tom Moulton Mix)

TSOP (The Sound Of Philadelphia) Original 12″ Version with Soul Train dancers…

Earl Young drums…

 

Double Exposure
Ten Percent
Salsoul Records/ bbr

Next to Philadelphia International Records, Salsoul was the other 70’s American dance label which had the greatest impact and influence both then and today.  Their debut album featured the powerhouse vocals of James Williams, Joseph Harris, Charles Whittington, and Leonard ‘Butch’ Davis whose range spanned the very depths of Soul to the dizzying heights of explosive Disco. Produced by one time Philly producer (the legendary) Norman Harris the album features three timeless cuts that defy history: Ten Percent, Everyman, and My Love Is Free. All of which pack more emotional punch then most music can muster today in terms of emotion vocally, alongside poignant funkiness. Although,  that’s not so surprising as the players included Early Young, Vince Montana Jr. and Bunny Sigler amongst many significant others. The package also contains the first commercially available 12” single (1976): the superlative Walter Gibbons version of the title track which sounds every bit as powerful as production does today, along with Tom Moulton’s gorgeous mix of My Love Is Free, and Joe Claussell’s remix of Everyman. Despite the fact that these tracks overshadow the remainder of the songs that shouldn’t deter you from soaking up the rest, as they all display those wonderful voices and sumptuous grooves in their full glory. A truly classic album.

http://www.cherryred.co.uk/shopexd.asp?id=3774

http://www.doubleexposureonline.com/debio.htm

http://www.cherryred.co.uk/bigbreak.asp

https://www.facebook.com/BigBreakRecords

The original Walter Gibbons 12” Mix of ‘Ten Percent’

Double Exposure ‘Everyman’

 

Instant Funk
Instant Funk
Salsoul Records/ bbr

And last but certainly not least this week is this gem from Instant Funk which also appeared on the Salsoul label. Released in 1979 their second album again contains a classic which defined the band: Got My Mind Made Up (You Can Get It Girl). Appearing both as the album version and with the full Larry Levan remix, which clocks in just shy of ten minutes, this proves to be peerless funk. Everything about this production is just right from the fanfare of Horns which intro, straight through to the sassy percussion, and devastating bass and guitar combination upon which the soaring vocals aim skyward. Again, the remainder of the album has plenty of other gems such as Crying and the hard-core Don’t You Want To Party, while they explore notable Jazz-fusion on Wide World Of Sports. The band also played on the likes of ‘Shame’, Archie Bell & The Drells ‘Let’s Groove’ and South Shore Commission ‘Free Man’ so the familiarity of their playing just goes to prove how good they where/ are. A classic production from Bunny Sigler and engineered by Bob Last.

http://www.cherryred.co.uk/bigbreak.asp

https://www.facebook.com/SalsoulRecords

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reviews:60

Kolombo
Busta Business EP
2DIY4

How could you possibly not love this? Diynamic Music’s sister label release Kolombo’s solo debut featuring a good-time rap (albeit even funkier for being stylishly detuned) alongside fuzzy synths and a particularly, perky bassline. Meanwhile the voice intones I Want It All and then lists a series of demands – sounds reasonable. The vocal theme is then explored across the next three tracks linking the EP together like a concept. Musically the grooves never stray from the dancefloor and all feature a creative sequence of electronic events that never fail but to excite and electrify. But, let’s cut to the chase. It’s the final track, Dancing On The Floor that caps it all with a knowing, infectious chorus line to grab you coupled with a bassline which completely destroys it….

release:  September 3

http://soundcloud.com/kolombo/kolombo-my-own-business-ep

https://www.facebook.com/kolomboofficialfanpage

 

Sunshine Jones
Gas Masks & Crazy-Girls
Cosmic Disco Records

Dubtribe Sound System’s maverick producer Sunshine Jones returns with this latest long player. Jam packed full of emotion this plays like sunshine for a hazy afternoon. Exploring moments of melancholy one minute, such as on the opening Fall Down, then transferring the pleasure to the dancefloor on the following Mem Mem Mem with its slap-bass and Acid extremes, the album is never afraid of taking chances with your expectations. The gorgeous Absurdity Of Possession works especially well by evoking an array of feelings with its stirring pads and deep, velvety vocals. I suspect the more you listen to Gas Masks & Crazy-Girls the more will be revealed, and its finishing Beautiful Daydream conjures all sorts of memories with the Balearic infused rhythms and spacey voices striking the perfect note (to end on ).

release:  September 3

http://cosmic-disco.com/

www.soundcloud.com/cosmicdisco-records

www.facebook.com/cosmicdisconl

 

Mastercris
My Pleasure EP
Acryl Music

This Swiss based label has been releasing plenty in the way of quality for the past number of years and this also sits comfortably within that description. Opening with the EP’s title track, My Pleasure is underpinned by harsh synths cutting out a distinct edge, while the remainder peaks with building tribal drums and layers of vocal harmony. Not surprisingly then Percussive View is also big on drums and swirling delays that are once again complimented by rough synth sounds, and which again has a intriguing, hypnotic quality.  You, keeps the feeling going and is the most uplifting of the three with cool organ sounds and funky bass taking you there.

release: Beatport exclusive August 23

http://www.acrylmusic.ch/

http://soundcloud.com/acryl-music

https://www.facebook.com/acrylmusic

 

Maigret Jnr
Always Again
Make Mine Records

If it was still safe to use the word ‘awesome’ without being sniggered at then that’s just how I would describe Always Again. It’s the opening track from Maigret Jnr’s forthcoming Sick Friends EP which is so inspired that I had to play it again, just to check I wasn’t dreaming. Powered by beautifully low-slung beats, heart-wrenching strings and topped off by a rich baritone vocal delivery this feels enigmatic, yet all too familiar – and that’s an excellent place to be.

release date: Sept 3

http://soundcloud.com/makeminerecords/maigret-jnr-always-again

http://www.makeminerecords.com/site/

https://twitter.com/makemine

 
Best Of Robsoul Recordings: Phil Weeks
Robsoul Recordings

Phil Weeks brings his inimitable brand of funk to the table with the release of his part of the series explaining the labels ethos since 2000. Do expect plenty of sassy samples and repetitive loops to work their way pleasurably into your brain and then take up residence. Don’t expect fluffy melodies and uninspired rhythms. The ‘Best Of’ series is an impressive succession of six mini albums from many of the labels stalwarts such as DJ Sneak, Joss Moog and DJ W!LD. Beginning as weekly releases in mid August the final instalment reaches its climax on September 14 with Fries & Bridges selection. But back to the labels head, Phil Weeks who journeys his way through tough, unrelenting beats on the excellent Jack To My Groove and winds up at the tastefully atmospheric Don’t Give Up.

http://www.robsoulrecordings.com/

 

Marlena Shaw
Who Is The Bitch, Anyway?
Blue Note Records

Her fourth album for the prestigious Blue Note label saw Shaw release this strikingly titled long player in 1975. Influenced by the name of Richard Pryor’s That Nigger’s Crazy, which won a gammy the previous year, the album opens with a steamy dialogue between the singer and a (factitious) random client who meet in a bar. You, Me &Ethel/ Street Walkin’ Woman then rips through a tempo changing exercise in funky/ soul proving to be the most energetic song on the release. Already revered for songs such as California Soul and Woman Of The Ghetto she was impressively the first female artist to be signed to the label which happened, as late as, 1973. The selection of music here ranges from tearjerker to mid-tempo shuffles such as Davy, although even more notably Gospel as on the fiery rendition of The Lord Giveth And The Lord Taketh Away (written by Shaw). The album is always adult without ever feeling AOR or MOR with Marlena Shaw’s impassioned voice always cutting to the bone. And, is backed here by a wealth of skilful players, which are much in evidence on Loving You Was Like A Party the second most spirited track. A touch of pure class.

release: August 27

http://www.cherryred.co.uk/shopexd.asp?id=3788

 

Billy Paul
360 Degrees Of Billy Paul
bbr

After having released Philadelphia International Records first album Billy Paul went on to win a Grammy for Me And Mrs Jones, which is also included on this album released in 1972. It’s hard to imagine now the impact music such as this, with its socially/ politically aware lyrics, must have had in the early seventies, especially when dwelling upon Ziggy Stardust’s cultural repercussions here in the UK the same year. And unlike his mid-sixties counterparts what became so much more exhilarating is how the raw blend of Jazz, Blues, Soul and Psychedelia expanded beyond 3 minute singles into self-aware anthems. It’s hard to argue with the hard funk of I’m I Black Enough For You or the Psychedlic Soul of Brown Baby, and certainly not with the sheer authority of Billy Paul’s smoky vocal. Or indeed with Gamble & Huff’s superlative production which still sound s as timeless as it always will do. Having said that, and after all the album is titled: 360 Degress Of… you also get a number of covers ranging from Carol King’s It’s Too Late to Elton John’s Your Song, so perhaps there’s something for everybody, as they used to say.

release: August 27

http://www.cherryred.co.uk/shopexd.asp?id=3778

 

(and finally) something for the weekend…great video from FEEL MY BICEP & Stijn Hoebeke

 

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