Deniz Kurtel’s second album defies time and space with a collection smouldering electronics that fuse technology together with provocative vocals and emotive synthesisers. The Way We Live goes a long way in proving just how excellent music is at the moment, from the opening I Knew This Would Happen, which is one of the most atmospheric pieces of music so far this year, through to the exquisitely rapped Right On featuring Michael Franti. While this is more about horizontal listening there is an occasional nod towards he dancefloor such as on the Soul Clap collaboration, Safe Word – the album being enriched throughout with an amalgamation of impressive guest artists. By and large the album feels like sharing someone else’s introspection – which is what I think art is supposed to be about after all, isn’t it?
release: June 4
Matthias Tanzmann’s Leipzig based label again delivers another selection of captivating productions, which in this case have been provocatively mixed together by Dan Drastic and whose own percussion fuelled Freaks and Geeks makes its timely appearance too. Despite being three years since the last one standards haven’t slipped either, with the likes of Guido Scheinder’s excellent Luna sitting alongside music from Marinez and of course Tanzmann himself. Watch out for Reboot’s devastating Bucaboca if you like your bass twisted and Luna City Express, Ultimo if you’re more into seductive atmosphere!
release: June 6
The mystery unfolds as Cocoon’s yearly compilation now explores the lovely letter L. Standing for the love of… the music here builds from Tale Of Us & Visionquest’s ambient foundations of Equilibrio and then twists and turns through a first rate selection of electronic music. The sounds get progressively heavier, though all contain that funky intensity associated with Sven Vath’s label, and while it would be easier to simply say that all the tracks are good/great it has to be said that there are some particular standouts: Tim Green’s shuffling Curious Green, Sian’s buzzing East Of Eden and Daniel Stefanik’s expansive Everything Goes Green which also goes to finish off this highly recommended compilation.
release: June 8
Five tracks go to make up this debut release for the label and there’s something almost restrained, yet deeply intense, about the way the opening production Runner plays out. Its imaginative use of vocal snippets and old school – sounding very new school – stabs work with the shuffling rhythms to become purely addictive. Some of the same principles apply to Things with its warmer, funkier bassline and this again hits the spot. Amore then explores more in the way of spacious tones, while the more apt Attitude goes tougher with yet more vocal cut-ups and moody keys, leaving the equally impressive Standing to end on a – not feeling too blue in the process -Jazz note.
release: June 4
Sassafras comprises of label bosses’ Mirus (Norway) Paul Loraine (U.K) and Dominic Plaza (Sweden) who along with seriously hot sounding vocalist Nikol Kollars (Hawaii) have combined to deliver one of the more curious highlights this week. Deep, stripped back grooves set the scene while haunting spoken vocals sizzle suggestively on top, accompanied by the occasional burst of organ and spaced out fx. The Hatikvah remix then treats the voice and adds in even moodier sounds, while Paul Loraine flavours it heavily with percussion, and Vlad Malinovskiy’s remix pumps it up still further for the dancefloor. Though for me the original is best.
release: July 5
Three heads are clearly better than one as this new ep goes to prove from Culprit. LAX begins with deep beats and ends up with a punchy tech bassline competing for your attention along with striking tribal snares, edgy keys and voices which all feel tastefully irresistible. Globe, then provides another thoughtful collection of ideas which this time play intriguing keyboards over quick fire eighties percussion, leaving Metronomy to get deeper with gorgeous lush bass and mood enhancing synths to round off.
release: June 4
The multi- talented Nigel Hayes shows what all the fuss is about with this new selection of carefully crafted grooves that lean heavily on the Jazz/ Funk side of life – good. Whether it’s the squelchy funk of the opening Santos or indeed the ‘Expansion’s’ flavoured Jazz Funk this unquestionably plays like a touch of class. Moody Cha Cha’s excellently titled number finishes off with jazzed-up percussion and sassy vocals combined neatly with expressive horns, though not before the Northern Lights has the chance to shine in your direction with gorgeous piano, double bass and cool muted trumpet.
release: STOMPY EXCLUSIVE : JUNE 4TH
Next in bbr’s superlative series of reissues sees the legendary Odyssey’s 1980 album get a fresh make over, and as is the custom with the label it’s accompanied by invaluable sleeve notes. No matter what you may, or may not, think of Use It Up And wear It Out (which is also on here) the group wrote many bone fide classics such as Going Back To My Roots and Native New Yorker in their time. But back to Hang Together and its opening title track displays the musical and vocal process which made them famous and this you can also witness on supremely funky Don’t Tell Me Tell Her. But as was the want at that time some bands filled out their albums with ballads and even flirted with other styles of music, although not always successfully. Never the less this is excellently produced by Sandy Linzer at NYC’s Hit Factory…