reviews:85

Tone of Arc - The Time was Right packshotTone of Arc
The Time Was Right
No.19 Music

So excited to get to review Derrick Boyd and Zoe Presnick’s Tone of Arc debut album. The Time Was Right captures everything I love about music that sits just outside that very loose term of soulful dance music, although of course this packs more emotion than a lot of that very same cliché. With song titles like Surrender, Lost In The Machine, and Hardly Standing setting the scene this plays out like life’s alternative with a smouldering, funky drive that would make Bowie blush with envy on the irresistible Love Kissed! Sure, you can hear the influences loud and proud but it makes for sparkling refreshment not to hear the early 90’s replayed over and over again, with the intriguing vocals referencing the lost era of new-wave. All that and their superlative cover of ‘Goodbye Horses’ go to vary the light and shade of the album while tempos live at varied speeds giving you that rush of excitement Tone of Arc do so very well.

release: May 13

https://www.facebook.com/pages/TONE-of-ARC/206988806053907

https://www.facebook.com/no19music

 

Tapesh & Maximiljan
Feelings
Leena Music

Slightly late in reviewing this but none the less a first rate release from the Dusseldorf duo sees the excellent All The Time at the top of the list with its infectious, brooding atmospheres and darkly sophisticated arrangement sizzling with infectious energy. Given the human touch via yearning spoken vocals this has to be one of my favourite releases from the label so far. Feelings, follows with more of a sense of urgency coupled with sleazier bass. Leaving, Get It On to deliver more of that Acid attitude as yet another excellent production sparks your imagination with fiery electronic sounds and rhythms.

http://www.beatport.com/release/feelings/1059737

https://www.facebook.com/tapesh.official

https://www.facebook.com/maximiljan.arndt?fref=ts

http://www.mobilee-records.de/

https://soundcloud.com/djtapesh/t-m-feelings-snippet-mp3

 

InnerCityRecords_LogoVarious Artists
InnerCity Records Vol 1
InnerCity Records

InnerCity Records is the brand new Manchester based label from Mark Horsfall and Danny Stott and their first volume points the way forward to good times ahead. Music from the likes of Giom’s impressive bass-bizzy Exhausted and from Dale Howard’s typically pulsating Go Deeper indicates what lies in store in terms of fresh thinking House Music that isn’t afraid to look forward. The remaining artists included are: Leigh D Oliver, Roland Nights, Gutto Serta and finally Casey Lee Jones whose invigorating Feel It ends this most promising package. Listen below…

release: May 6

https://www.facebook.com/innercityrecs

 

AL011IGThe Black 80s
Give Me Something
Air London

The Black 80s aka Hollis P Monroe & Overnite deliver a strikingly original piece of music with their latest for Air London. Not least of all because Give Me Something features a soul infused vocal that sits somewhere between light and shade, although with a haunting edge that will you find yourself mesmerised by. The music does a similar thing with drum machine beats and atmospheric electronics feeling distinctive and other worldly. Meanwhile, the Hollis P Monroe Mix replays the elements with a pacier tempo and further spaced out sounds to compliment the original.

Release: June 5

https://www.facebook.com/hollispmonroemusically

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Overnite/307543039338386

http://www.airlondonmusic.com/

https://soundcloud.com/airlondon/a1-give-me-something-overnite

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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:49

Tone Of Arc
Shaking The Baby/ No Pushers
No.19 Music

And so the story continues with Tone Of Arc and this deliciously funky production that combines effortless cool with heavy-duty electronics. Providing a taster of what’s in store from his forthcoming album for the label Derrick Boyd’s distinctive ‘live’ style incorporates all that’s hot at this very moment: creatively treated voices saying something alongside irresistibly dark-bass notes, with imaginative arrangements of percussion and sound. No Pushers, then expands those boundaries by delving further and deeper with sumptuous keys and almost jazzy Rhodes that feel comfortably warm, while reverberating vocals remain tastefully soulful. Outstanding.

release: May 21

http://soundcloud.com/no19music/tone-of-arc-shaking-the-sky

http://soundcloud.com/no19music/tone-of-arc-no-pushers

 

Aidan Lavelle
Tinnitus EP
RebelLION

Not in any way to make light of Tinnitus but this does sound good. The title track sizzles with sparkling sythns which offset the deep beats and bass perfectly, and it’s those very notes that give the production such a unique feel. You could say, hypnotic and even apply the words trance inducing…
Stronger, feels moodier and again plays challenging keys off against throbbing rhythms, ending up seemingly sinister with its unsettling, insistent vocal edits driving the distraction. Play It, almost lightens the mood with funkier feeling drums and bass, though also retains its playful sense of experimentation and probing, nearly ambient, sounds.

http://www.beatport.com/#release/tinnitus/908124

http://www.aidanlavelle.com/

http://www.crosstownrebels.com/

 

Tristesse Contemporaine
Tristesse Contemporaine
Dirty / Pschent

An excellent debut album from, Tristesse Contemporaine whose electrifying take on new-wave is all at once dangerously exciting, yet always deeply emotional. Love the way the words play with the late seventies inspired guitar sounds on some tracks and the tension these arrangements inspire. For starters can’t get enough of the beginning number, Empty Hearts which is a case in point with its Hook styled bassline, Magazine beats and icy cool vocals sounding so in-vogue it hurts. But, it’s certainly not all about historical reference points as the album plays very much like today with spoken words rapping over irresistible rhythms and uniquely, contemporary electronics. Try the video to I Didn’t Know below and you’ll get a piece of the action…

release:  May 21

http://www.tristessecontemporaine.com/

https://www.facebook.com/tristessecontemporaine

http://www.d-i-r-t-y.com/

 

Various Artists
Paper Cuts #1
Paper Recordings

Desperately trying to avoid the cliché but there actually is: something for everyone on here. That is if your mind is open to touches of everything from Balearic to Latin, to House and Disco, plus with most shades coloured in-between you could also pretty much use that other cliché: essential. Music like the Mudds Width and Comfort remix of Key boy ‘Viva Blue’ makes you pray for summer days to materialise sooner rather than later (U.K) while Flash Atkins, Crazy P and Neil Diablo will have you gravitating towards the nearest dancefloor. But that’s probably to undersell the sum total of the twenty two tracks which are offered here on what is essentially a first-rate compilation.

release: May 21

http://recordlabelservices.com/

http://soundcloud.com/paperecordings

 

Bill Withers
Just As I Am
bbr

Bill Withers debut album from 1971 gets a timely reissue care of bbr and a record that contains not only Harlem and Ain’t No Sunshine, but also Grandma’s Hands can really only be regarded as a classic. If you were lucky enough to catch BBC 4’s recent excellent documentary: Still Bill then this album is all the more profound as his experienced wit and wisdom can benefit us all. Produced by Booker T. Jones this still sounds incredible today and there are a couple of great covers to witness too, namely Let It Be and Everybody’s Talkin’. But don’t miss out on the exquisitely mournful Hope She’ll Be Happier and or the blues/ rock inflected Better Off Dead either – indeed don’t go missing out on any of it!

http://www.billwithers.com/

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

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