Bob Marley - "Is This Love" (Redmo acoustic takedown)
Redmo - "Sadi Soul"
Review: Sam Redmore has quietly been doing his thing in hometown Birmingham for some time, crafting soul-soaked re-edits, bootleg remixes and mash-ups that tend towards the tasteful end of the spectrum. Having previously built up a solid fan base via his own Bandcamp page, he's finally made it onto wax. The two cuts featured here are amongst his best. The A-side revision of Bob Marley's "Is This Love" is particularly potent. It strips out the drums, thus emphasizing the genuine sweetness of Marley's original. Flip for "Sadi Soul", an upbeat, headnodding rework of a vibraphone and double bass-laced jazz-funk jam with added hip-hop swing.
Review: There was much excitement surrounding Granit Records' recent reissue of Claude Rodap's sole album, 1982's synthesizer-heavy fusion of traditional Martinique styles and (then) contemporary electronic music, Syn-Ka. Now Rush Hour is getting in on the act, issuing three more obscure Rodap productions - this time made around the turn of the Millennium - on vinyl for the first time. There's naturally plenty to enjoy, from the rainforest melodies, spacey synth-bass and gentle tropical rhythms of "Hiwa", to the glistening, guitar-laden Caribbean Balerica of closer "Zouklove". The track that sits in between, the denser, jazzier, solo heavy "Paco", is also superb.
Review: Founded in 2017, Ronin Arkestra is a fusionist jazz/electronica collective from Tokyo founded by broken beat keys-man Mark de Clive-Lowe. Given that the band includes some of the finest players in Japan's contemporary jazz scene - most notably members of Kyoto Jazz Massive, WONK and Sleepwalker - you'd expect this first outing on Albert's Favourites to be rather good. It is, of course, with the band sashaying between dubbed-out soundscape jazz ("Stranger Searching"), sun-bright jazz-funk influenced positivity ("Redeye Reprisal"), loose-limbed, semi-improvised intensity ("The Silk Road Prelude") and, most notably, an awe-inspiring 21st century re-imagining of John Coltrane classic "A Love Supreme".
The Rotating Assembly - "Seasons Of My Life" (feat Billy Lo)
Green Pickles - "Feedback" (feat Billy Lo & M Pittman)
Review: Sound Signature kick off the new year with a pleasing reissue of some smoky soul from Theo Parrish's outlet for his most jazzy tendencies. On "Seasons Of My Life" Billy Lo croons over a muted trumpet while a surprisingly rough stomp gets hammered out of a live kit. It's a dreamy, sunkissed jam with all the loose, free-flowing elements you would expect from something with Parrish's stamp on it. Marcellus Pittman helps out on "Feedback", as a sparser, meandering groove does the nasty with some restrained keys. For that Detroit beatdown flavour away from the dancefloor, this is as good as it gets.
Review: Freshly minted label Dance Regular has pushed the boat out for release number one, pulling together no less than six tracks on a multi-artist extravaganza. James Rudie steps up first via the Rhodes-laden, off-kilter deep house dustiness of "Good Fry Up", before Szajna doffs a cap towards 2000 Black on the deep and musically rich broken beat business of "Break In My Back". Captain Over's "No-Look Nutmeg" is a suitably bass-heavy bruk workout laden with 8-bit electronics, while Xtra Brux's "Somebody" brilliant joins the dots between broken beat and two-step garage. Elsewhere, Trev's "For You Around Me" is a sumptuous chunk of summery and soulful dancefloor bliss, while Ishfaq's "Hypnosis No 9" is jazzy, synth-heavy and wayward in the best possible way.
Review: It would seem we're back on the Christmas card list... 2000 Black supergroup comprising the likes of Dego, Mensah and original Bugz members Lord and Tatham have been slowly ramping up their releases again and this year has seen their largest output yet. Following "Two Way Here One Way Go", "Simmering" proffers three more sublime and silky instrumentals from deeply decorated foursome. "Simmering" is a tight jazz funk jam with a sprung guitar groove spine and a blissful switch into soothing flutes midway, "Private Life" flips for a sunnyside digidub, all spacious and rippling with its breezy keys while "Climb The Sun" brings us back to the funk root note but with rising synth insistency that's bruk to the bone. Simmering now, boiling tomorrow...
(Soul) Rebel 23 (Reginald Omas Mamode IV remix) (3:30)
Snake Eyes (Ishmael Ensemble remix) (8:11)
Review: If you've not yet got your ears around Roger 'Chip' Wickham's sensationally sunny, jazz-fired "Shamal Wind" mini-album, we suggest you check it out post-haste. In the meantime, Lovemonk has reminded us of its magnificence via a new set of reworks from some seriously hot producers. Max Graef handles side A, first serving up a chugging, mind altering and heavily percussive "Bongo Mix" of "Soho Strut", before reaching for the sub-bass and fizzing, juke-tempo jazz rhythms on the bonkers but brilliant "Bass Mix" of the very same song. Over on the flipside, Peckham beat-maker Reginald Omas Mamode IV serves up a dusty, Rhodes-laden take on "(Soul) Rebel 23" featuring his own soulful vocals, before Gilles Peterson favourites Ishmael Ensemble mix live jazz instrumentation with rolling house beats on a sublime revision of "Snake Eyes".
Review: Jordan Rakei's brilliant debut album, Cloak, made such an impact that the multi-talented New Zealander now finds himself signed to one of the world's most successful independent labels, Ninja Tune. The move into the big leagues seems to have inspired the multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and producer to up his game, because Wallflower is arguably even better than his debut. Rakei has taken a more widescreen approach, largely ditching the trusty MPC in favour of live drums, bass, guitars, pianos and, on a couple of stand-out cuts, what sounds like a string quartet. As a result, his usually woozy and sun-kissed songs sound even warmer and sunnier, with the Rakei's impeccable vocals coming gift-wrapped in classic musicality. In other words, it's a bit good.
Review: Since launching a few years back, Matthew Halsall's Gondwana Records has released some terrific albums from a string of talented but often little-known artists. This brilliant set is another. It comes from Hania Rani, a pianist, composer and producer better known for her collaborative work with the likes of Christian Loffler, Dobrawa Czocher and Hior Chronik. "Esja" is Rani's solo debut and sees her sashay between atmospheric, often poignant pieces that put her impeccable piano playing at the heart of the action. It's exceedingly elegant and picturesque, with Rani's subtle use of field recordings and crackling background noise only enhancing the listening experience.
Review: It is strange that Reginald Omas Mamode IV didn't release a self-titled LP as his first album but, then again, this guy bangs to the beat of a different drum. Literally. We first clocked onto him thanks to an EP his released on London's 22a imprint, and we've been avid listeners ever since. He has a natural ability to embed an honest level of jazz sensibility into house or hip-hop, and we love that. If you're on a Floating Points or Dego tip, then this dude should be on your radar at all costs, with this album firmly in your bag. Across its fifteen songs, Mamode delivers sublime arrangements of jazz-minded house music, loose and hip-hop-minded broken beat, and plenty of his very own strain of high-grade. This material is too dope. Don't miss it.
Review: David Hanke's Renegades Of Jazz project has been relatively successfully in achieving its initial aims, namely "bringing the jazz back to the dancefloor". After a three-year hiatus Hanke and company are back with a new album, "Nevertheless" - a funk-fuelled romp through bustling breakbeats, elastic double bass, fuzzy Stax style horns, jammed out piano lines and groovy guitar riffs. Hanke has roped in a number of guest vocalists and collaborators to put their stamp on the set, with stellar contributions from rapper Donnie Numeric (the hip-hop/jazz/funk fusion of "Hot Wired"), soul singer Clair Fallows (see the punchy floor-rocker "Light Me Up") and Afrika Fuentes (check the tropical funk brilliance of "Don't Break My Love").
The Consequences Of Jealousy (feat Meshell Ndegeocello)
Why Do We Try (feat Stokley)
Black Radio (feat Yasiin Bey)
Letter To Hermione (feat Bilal)
Smells Like Teen Spirit
Review: Black Radio is a future landmark album that boldly stakes out new musical territory and transcends any notion of genre, drawing from jazz, hip-hop, R&B and rock, but refusing to be pinned down by any one tag. Black Radio also features many of Glasper''s famous friends from the spectrum of urban music, seamlessly incorporating appearances from a jaw-dropping roll call of special guests including Erykah Badu, Bilal, Lupe Fiasco, Lalah Hathaway, Shafi q Husayn (Sa-Ra), KING, Ledisi, Chrisette Michele, Musiq Soulchild, Meshell Ndegeocello, Stokley Williams (Mint Condition), and yasiin bey (Mos Def).
Review: Ninja Tune's relentless release schedule continues apace here with the much anticipated debut album from Romare. Under the name, London producer Archie Fairhurst first made waves with a couple of excellent 12" releases for the Black Acre label which revealed a quite distinct approach to production. Inspired by the collages of noted US artist Romare Bearden, Fairhurst's fascination with African-American culture is explored through his productions which deftly weaved in untold amounts of samples in an illuminating fashion. How Romare applies this approach to the album format is one of the most compelling thoughts you will have when listening to Projections. The resultant 11 tracks suggest Fairhurst has achieved it with aplomb.
Review: Archie 'Romare' Fairhurst is a productive chap. This sophomore album appears barely 12 months after his acclaimed debut full-length, Projections. It sees him revisiting a theme first explored on 2013's Love Songs: Part One EP on Black Acre. According to the press release, it's a musical journey through affairs of the heart, moving from the gentle sensuality of melodious beat jam "Who Do You Love", to the sexually-charged dancefloor thrills of restless house cut "New Love", via the gooey-eyed spooning electronica of "L.U.V", and the sweaty, post-punk disco blues of stand-out "All Night". As usual, it's tricky to pin down musically - Fairhurst has always had a thing for darting between sounds and styles at will - but is immaculately produced and hugely entertaining.
Review: Tenderlonious' prolific explorations of contemporary jazz continue unabated with this new album from his supergroup, Ruby Rushton. With Mo Kolours and Yussef Dayes (formerly of Yussef Kamaal) amongst the highly skilled players in this ensemble, the quality spilling out of their fourth album need not be questioned. The band leader's signature flute stylings skip and twirl across the top of the music, with the overall brew striking that elusive but oh-so-sweet balance between loose, free-wheeling expression and rock solid groove. Fresh and satisfying at every turn, this is proof of why the modern jazz scene is so vibrant right now. Ruby Rushton can do no wrong!
Review: It's been almost four years since Ed "Tenderlonious" Cawthorne launched the Ruby Rushton project alongside a slew of musician pals, including Yussef Kamaal drummer Yussef Deyes and Mo Kolours man Joseph Deenmamode. In that time, they've released a trio of fine albums, two of which - "Trudi's Songbook" volumes one and two - are here reissued on one double-vinyl set. If you missed out first time around, it should be an essential purchase. Both albums offer a superbly imaginative and entertaining fusion of jazz, soul, hip-hop, salsa, Afro-jazz, freestyle improvisations and punchy jazz-funk epics, with Cawthorne's smart, unfussy production allowing the quality of the band's performances to really shine.
Review: Up until Peter Gordon's recent revival, excerpts from Arthur Russell's 1975 composition Instrumentals - inspired by his studies of Indian and western music while in San Francisco a few years previously - had only ever been performed in public on a handful of occasions. While this may have partly been due to the Russell's desire for it to be performed in a single 48-hour cycle, it has meant that the few recordings that do exist have remained hidden for decades. This superb double album gathers together those excerpts, recorded between 1974 and 78 in New York, alongside recordings of two other early Russell works. Musically, it's as strange, imaginative and touching as you'd expect, with Instrumentals variously fusing pastoral classical music, Indian mysticism, and (then) contemporary Americana.