Where would we be without bootlegs? After all they make for such fun, especially when the sample at hand turns out to play much better than on the original version. Toto’s â€˜Africa’ is either eighties hell or Balearic heaven, depending on your point of view, but here it is re-imagined as Bless The Rains over a sea of low-slung beats, and while the music unfolds it does feel that bit special none-the-less. The vocals hits around the 4.30 mark so you can make up your mind by then. My Body’s on Fire is a much friskier affair with Janet Jackson sounding typically Jackson-esque over sassy filtered House grooves. The excellent Not In Love Anymore finishes with Michael McDonald’s warm tones and an easier tempo reflecting all the breezy soulfulness note perfectly.
release: April 8
Let’s Play House was always going to be a winning name for a record label and the four tracks that go make up this EP certainly do the implication justice. Manteiga continues the vogue for â€˜big in the 90’s’ vocal samples which plays over, dare I say it, happy vibes and pumping filtered action that feels very summer time indeed. Fingerpaint’s â€˜Change Yr Mind’ is next up with moodier bass and loops that feel hypnotic until the rousing piano hits you hard. Cosmic Kids supply the next two tracks firstly the acid tinged, Higgs Boson. And secondly, the excellent Whisper Softly which features a sample that’s so achingly familiar that I can’t remember it. Running at a low slung tempo this sounds like a Balearic dream, hinting at the eighties while channeling today very nicely thank you.
release: March 25
There’s just something about this that a) scares the hell out of me (especially when played loud in a dark room) and b) I can’t get enough of. The sheer intensity of this minimalist exercise in bass and beats is nothing short of breathtaking. I also love the fact that this transcends being conveniently slotted into any one genre. Try Nebula. Then try, To Feel whose unfeasibly huge bassline sounds epic and nasty, yet sublimely funky all at the same time running alongside a dark cinematic landscape that almost defies words. Breathless.
Release: March 25
Phil Weeks excellent Robsoul Recordings now takes a sideways step into Jazzier flavours with Around 7’s debut album, and indeed release, for his new imprint: Robsoul Jazz. Around 7 is the Parisian based SÃ©bastien Guertau who neatly fuses together a diverse selection of inspired sights and sounds from Modern Jazz to off-beat funk. And, although there is something timeless about the way the music plays it also transcends the listening space it finds itself in i.e. it will sound great anywhere. By combining more ambient textures, such as on the opening Welcome To Basics, then by raising the tempo on Bro, the album passes through dreamy grooves straight through to hard hitting beats, and is never less than thought provoking/ exhilarating. Back To Basics is essential listening morning, noon or night.
Release: March 29