Capturing the essence of uplifting this smooth combination of classic, filtered piano and breathy vocals works notably well, just as you would expect from Manuel Tur. Love Me Well sounds timeless in so far as the feelings it creates, although in other hands this formula could seem a little tired, however the producer gets it just right balancing past and present with an imaginative production that ignites smouldering bass alongside understated drums, plus a heavy dose of atmospheric release. Paperasse (below) follows suit via crisper tones with hints of smoky melodies evoking an equally mood enhancing piece of music that if anything is even more captivating than the title track. Leaving the robust low-end of Touch Move to channel 1980’s Chicago into future moves that prove to be both energised and tastefully introspective.
Long been an admirer of this artists eloquently powerful use of language to convey his many meanings. Here We Are feels more than that though as Bruce Loko’s rich, classically enhanced elements fuse together to create an uplifting, wonderful piece of music that stands out in its own class. Chiming, shimmering keys wash across the breadth of stereo as if Robert Fripp’s magical chemistry had a hand in it, leaving the voice to permeate the sounds in as always thoughtful ways, until the crunch of extra percussion hits perfectly at mid-point. An Instrumental follows should you choose, while the remix by Nutty Nys adds vocoder into the blend plus the beautiful bounce of classic chords providing a most wonderful alternative.
The collision of light and shade on Mind Is In A Daze which opens the EP is all at once soulful yet brutal. Exploding in a tantalising array of colours this fierce combination of tough, rolling rhythms alongside heavenly keys welcomes the inclusion of breathy voices like it all means something. The intense percussion informing The Kiss feels equally fiery, while the treated drums of Let Me See You Jack takes you back to an imagined 1980’s somewhere lost in the wealth of the underground. Optical Illusions completes with deeper tones exploring fresh conclusions to musical existence, contrasting the need for dancefloor crunch plus a satisfying emotional resonance.
Release: April 23 (Vinyl) / April 30 (Digital).
There’s something uniquely magical about the way Rhodes can translate human emotion into a celebration of the conflict between happiness and sadness. The opening bars of Soul Spectral testify to that very point as depths are reached by the pressing of keys. Followed by the shuffle of Laroye’s soulful percussion and the punctuation of organ stabs, accompanied by Greg Paulus’ haunting trumpet, this is a masterclass in realisation. The dancefloor flavour of Sanguine then greets you via funky drums which are quickly offset by a much deeper, probing set of synthesisers, perhaps making the music more about thought than dance (which is just as important in my book). The elegant keys which again infuse the closing number, Think Of You Always play out in evocative ways as the serene sense of Jazz compounds the sounds in all sorts of imaginary ways. After all, music doesn’t get much betterâ€¦
Members of the nervous deposition should tune immediately into Simon Hinter’s exhilarating release of life-assuring energy. Who doesn’t love the touch of classic camp as delivered on the title tracks fiercely demanding vocal which simmers across a defining punch of House, Jazz and funk in three equal measures. The taste continues with the gorgeously introspective Heaven & Hell as deeper chords alongside the tease of smoky moods sense late-night escapades, brisk percussion then informs the breezier Lifestreams coming complete with vital touches of Loleatta in the mix. Looking Back, ends by sequencing the historic thread from then to now via a whir of musical keys, plus accompanying filtered elements, suggesting there’s still some hope left.
Release: June 5
This very much feels like a lot of classic Acid moments all rolled into one. You can hear it in the Chicago/ Detroit inspired bassline as much as you can in the keys adding soul and melody to the equation. Those jazzy American influences shine through too and all the while Vogue is simply a very fine piece of music. The Bonus Butch Edit adds a slice of drumming intensity into an alternative arrangement, while Jimpster’s remix sequences tribal flair to the beats alongside a psychedelic wash of vocals and heady rush of punchy arpeggios. The playful percussion, warm brushes of organ plus harmonious synth lines of Windeck then complete this standout, celebratory release from the label.
Release: November 29
A sense of mystery unfolds while the opening keys infect the airwaves with a sense of curious trepidation via the life-fuelling Nostrand Ave ft DJ Heure. Then the bassline hits. Feeling resolute and perfect. A brilliant production in anyone’s book this engages you in ways lacking in some electronic/ dance music because it illuminates the imagination, causing thought as well as monument. In ways it reminds me of something from Nu Groove years ago but then that is simply a compliment and a half. Next, and I love this fact, is Portland Headlights which refers to the historic lighthouse which has been signalling to ships in Casco Bay since 1791. Dreamy rushes of keys drift under a wealth of breathy, emotive voices and once again the word sublime applies to this concoction of spiritually rich music. The Garrett David Remix adds shuffling percussion and a more ‘danceable’ flair to his arrangement, but either way an outstanding piece of music and release from M. Vaughan and likewise Freerange.
Release: April 19
The third retrospective set of remixes by Freerange co-head Jamie Odell (aka Jimpster) further completes the outstanding breadth of his output covering the years 2008 to 2017. There is a timeless quality to the music here which only goes to reinforce its strength and consequently the innate power of House Music, although there are certain keynote signatures which the artist employs setting both his own standards and distinctive flavours. While obviously taking cues from America there are determined UK and European hints to it all via the keys, beats and playfulness. And it is this distinction which enables the music stand out from the rest. Fair to say that there’s not a shallow moment contained across the entire selection from the techier movements of Kasper BjÃ¸rke â€“ Alcatraz, through to the tougher version of Josh Wink’s excellent – Jus Right, and certainly not forgetting his outstanding rework of Andre Lodemann – Where Are You Now, to highlight but just a few. Proving that music does not exist in decimals in-between numbers and robustly works, or not, as decibels on its own merits this latest compilation arrives primed and ready for the seasons determined heat. The package also contains a continuous mix by the artist himself, so there is really no excuse not toâ€¦
Release: July 13
If music is all about sharing emotion, from whatever source, then James Teej’s latest for Freerange is a clear-cut case of tens across the board. Obviously referencing House Music’s past via the infectious use of samples which are cut-up and reprogrammed into something else altogether, it is so worth the wait as the eventual rush of soulful feelings are released in a cherished chorus of harmony on Hypochondriac. Next, Ghosted picks up the tempo with sizzling drums augmenting the atmospheric keys, while Existential takes it deeper featuring Jeremy Glenn’s soaring vocals. Finally, the Jazz-Funk strains of Movement complete the occasion with breezy grooves firing out across tough beats.
Release: April 6
Catching up and quality is rest assured as Jimpster’s latest long player ignites ideas, sights and sounds across this tempting duration of sometimes smoky, sometimes breezy but always engaging set of tracks. Silent Stars sounds blissful, magnificent with stirring, soulful voices amid tastefully shuffling percussion. While, The Sun Comes Up featuring Jinadu feels equally rewarding care of captivating, emotive keys alongside its life affirming vocals. And so the story continues on with tempos lifting and falling, along with moods and atmospheres, from the taught House movements of Power Of The Doof right down to the cinematic explorations of Spend The Night this album covers more than most when it comes to size, scale and ambition. A beautiful listen to retreat inside – in or outside of the sunshine.