Review: This time last year, French combo Cotonete joined forces with Brazilian singer Di Melo to deliver what became one of the sleeper hits of last summer - the Latin disco/jazz-funk fusion of "A.E.I.O.U.". Here they continue their partnership with a first collaborative full length. It's a quietly impressive outing, with Di Melo's distinctive vocals rising above cuts that variously doff a cap to sultry Brazilian disco-funk, Azymuth-esque jazz-funk, soundtrack-friendly cinematic soundscapes, Astrud Gilberto style sweetness and humid salsa-funk (standout "Kilario (2019 Version)". It's a warm, loose and hazy set that feels authentically South American despite its Parisian roots.
Review: African-American consciousness is the primary theme of this 10-track collection from Damon Locks Black Monument Ensemble, a 15-piece musical collective headed up by eponymous improvisational artist Damon Locks, who's based in the Windy City. Sampled Civil Rights-era speeches, Afro-gospel harmonies, heavy 909 kicks and found sounds all find their way into freeform jazz excursions, providing the primary ingredients for a musical stew that defies easy categorisation. If you're looking for soothing, lounge-y vibes you're in the wrong place, but if you like your music 'challenging' both rhythmically and intellectually, this is an album that's worth investigating.
Review: Here's something to set the pulse racing: a collaborative debut album (on Sound Signature, no less) from London broken beat veterans Dego and Kaidi Tatham. As with their previous joint releases on 2000 Black, Rush Hour, Eglo and, of course, Sound Signature, it's the duo's love of rich, jazz-fuelled musicality, sun-kissed melodies and loose, languid rhythms that shines through. There are naturally nods towards disco, boogie, jazz-funk, Afrobeat, hip-hop and classic "bruk", with a stellar cast list of guest musicians and vocalists swinging by to lend a hand. If Herbie Hancock decamped to Ladbroke Grove and made an album with Bugz in the Attic, it would probably sound like this. In our book, that's a very good thing indeed.
J Rawls presents The Liquid Crystal Project - "A Tribute To Troy"
Sons Of Time - "Before Sundown" (feat J-Live)
Sam Krats - "Revive Rap" (feat El Da Sensei & Gee Bag - Jim Sharp remix)
Space Invaders - "Done It Again"
Melvin Sparks - "If You Want My Love" (with Jimmy Scott)
Smith & The Honey Badgers - "The Billionaire Strut"
Laura Vane & The Vipertones - "Man Of Your Word"
Osaka Monaurail - "No Trouble On This Mountain" (feat Shirley Davis)
Ann Sexton & The Baltic Soul Orchestra - "You're Losing Me"
Marc Gregor - "Mabusso"
Benjamin & The Dreamdancers - "Not One More Tear"
Djar One - "The Get Down" (feat Andy Cooper)
Misumani - "Prove Your Love" (feat First Touch)
Skyy - "Call Me"
Hollie Cook - "Postman"
Review: In 2008, German label Unique asked crate-digging party starters Soulinus and Pun to put together the first volume in their "This is DJs Choice" compilation series. Only one further instalment - with tracks selected by Keb Darge and Lucinda Slim - appeared before the series was shelved. Happily, Unique has decided to re-launch it, with Marc Hype and DJ Suspect in charge of the track list. They've done a bang up job, all told, offering up a sizzling, 15-track selection that giddily sprints between steel band reggae (Hollie Cook), soul-jazz (Melvin Sparks), heavy funk (Smith & The Honey Badgers, Osaka Monoaurail), boogie (Skyy), Afro-latin heaviness (Marc Gregor) and head-nodding hip-hop (Sons Of Time, Benjamin & The Dreamdancers).