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Latest reviews

Man-of-the-moment Felipe Gordon was little more than a Columbian producer with promise when he first appeared on Razor N Tape Reserve back in 2019. It's therefore nice to see him back on the Brooklyn-based imprint two years on. Those who've followed Gordon's career of late will know what to expect - namely heady, musically rich dancefloor workouts that join the dots between deep house, nu-disco and jazz-funk. Opener 'Strings of the Afterline' is pleasingly hazy and dreamy whilst boasting Gordon's usual synth-heavy squelch, while 'The Fall of a Withered Empire' is a rare vocal number with a deep jazz-house feel. Elsewhere, 'Classico' is a bouncy, classic-sounding deep house bounce-along rich in sparkling synth riffs, while 'Julia Y Lewis' is a more languid and laidback chunk of jazz-sampling, funk-fuelled deep house haziness.
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Last October, acclaimed saxophonist Pharoah Sanders turned 80 years young, and his input on this album is testimony to the fact he has clearly aged like a fine wine. Not that this is to suggest preceding outings were anything less worthy than this collaborative project, which sees Sam Shepherd, the British electronic artist better known to most as Floating Points, write nine spectacular arrangements which are then performed by said brass legend, alongside The London Symphony Orchestra. The results are spectacular, and wildly far-reaching, albeit firmly rooted in jazz with classical undertones. From the movements that made this final cut, some are whisper quiet and delicate to the point of risking breaking off if you were handling haphazardly. Others are booming loud, musical jumbo jets landing at the end of another great crescendo. Whether hushed or monumental, though, we can feel every note and bar of this masterpiece.
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Acclaimed DJ, singer, remixer and songwriter DJ KAWASAKI shows another side to himself on this new double album for his own label. On it, he serves up instrumental tracks inspired by Afro, jazz, and funk. Every single sound you hear is played live and guests include artists like Sauce81, who you will know from labels like Eglo, and jazz vocalist Ayana. A host of musicians have helped to realise this most lively and upbeat album including Kyoto Jazz Sextet, Kenichi Ikeda of ROOT SOUL and Venue Vincent, Hiderow Nishioka of CENTRAL. It is a real triumph that comes 11 years after his equally acclaimed Paradise album from 2010.
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Nature Sounds have put together this special reissue album for Record Store Day Black Friday. It is a record originally from 2013 and featuring Jadakiss, NORE, Raekwon, and Sheek Louch. The whole thing was produced by Scram Jones and now it gets pressed onto wax for the first time on limited clear vinyl. The beats hit hard, with crunchy hits and urban swagger all topped off with plenty great bars from the various vocalists. It still sounds fresh today and is an essential piece for any discerning hip-hop head.
Split Secs / Franz Scala - XXX013
Next up on Amsterdam's XXX we have a wicked double header coming from a bunch of right heroes of the dark disco scene, across both sides of the Atlantic. Los Angeles-based duo Split Secs, comprised of west coast veteran TK Disco and Frenchman Alexandre Mouracade (aka SONNS) who head up the Machine LTD imprint, contribute the low-slung, slo-mo throb job that is 'Accept The Answer'. Secondly, Berlin by-way-of Pescara's Franz Scala, main man at Wrong Era and co-chief at Slow Motion, serves up the neon-lit modern Italo antics of 'Overflash'. They then proceed to do a mighty fine job of remixing each other on the flip. Tip!
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Employee is the new alias of Berlin-based producer Max Graef. Those expecting his usual sample-heavy and dusty MPC house vibe are in for a surprise here on Hold Music Vol. 2, where he explores more downtempo styled music that sounds like GM MIDI files from the early '90s, or perhaps like the name suggests, some customer service hold music in the vein of the Cisco theme. Disgruntled customers can calm down to the chilled groove of 'Reset your Strategy', or instead just light one up and imagine themselves backpacking across the middle of America on 'Original Canyon', or just feel like they can levitate up to outer space - after waiting an eternity for an agent to answer their billing complaint - on 'Invested, Succeeded'.
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This week on Bordello A Parigi we have a release originally from 1983 on Cinofilm Produzione. Berlin-based, Italian producer Armonics (Slow Motion) came across the 'Radio' 7? by coincidence in 2020 near his home in Southern Italy. Vito Lisco wrote and produced the track together with Renzo Maria La Costa back in the 80's in a basement. The original track has been revised with the vocal parts re-recorded, plus some added guitar riffs and remixed for a modern take on this eccentric Italo production by Evolution (L&L). Limited to 200 copies.
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Free The Robots - Datu (reissue)
Free The Robots is the alias of Los Angeles-based Chris Alfaro, who infuses traditional jazz with psychedelic sounds that continue to draw a massive underground following for him. Datu was Alfaro's fifth album, self-released back in 2019 on his Astral Travels label, and reissued here courtesy of Lille's Besides Records. Across the assortment of tracks featured on this great album, he mixes hip-hop and electronic music with tribal percussion and other sounds that come from his Philippine origins.

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