Review: "Call on Me" is the standout single from cult Japanese beat maker mabanua's 2018 album Blurred. It's an impossibly innocent and naive sounding track thanks to Chara's angelic vocal delivery and the gentle, carefree guitar licks beneath, but it gets totally flipped by Knxwledge. The in demand, LA-based Stones Throw artist reworks it into a slow motion beat with hazy chords and a superbly funky bassline. In his hands, Chara's vocal becomes somehow romantic, adding to the track's alluringly lovestruck vibe.
Gagle - "Vanta Black" (instrumental (Produced By DJ Mitsu The beats))
DJ Mitsu The Beats - "Old Town Uplift" (instrumental)
Review: Two tracks from Japan produced by DJ Mitsu the Beats . First up is a lush and string laden jazzy instrumental version of Vanta Black from DJ Mitsu's Sendai hip hop group GAGLE taken from the album of the same name from 2018. On the flipside we are presented with Old Town Uplift taken from the Turntable album on Jazzy Sport .Double bass focussed hipnotic jazz with poignant piano keys and strings from Otoji + Ray underscored with sounds effects from field recordings obtained in Tokushima. Limited to 300 hand-numbered copies and not available in Japan.
Review: Alex "Omar" Smith traditionally uses the "Sidetrakx" series to release music that doesn't fit with his club-rocking house and techno 12" series. Even so, few would have expected him to use the latest edition - the sixth in total - to offer up a dancehall cut featuring Jamaican singer and MC Nardo Ranks. "Love Me Like Cooked Food" features Ranks chatting and singing in Patois above a dancehall "riddim" rich in rubbery bass guitar, echo-laden machine drums and flanged guitar riffs. It may be a curveball, but it's rather good. Over on the flip, "Renault used car salesman" John FM guests on a lo-fi R&B/soul workout that also includes some deliciously tongue-in-cheek, poodle perm-sporting soft rock guitar solos.
Review: The Street Knowledge "45 series" appears to have been set up to educate heads on original 1990s hip-hop jams, or at the very least deliver fresh pressings of some seriously classic cuts. This inaugural release begins with Warren G and Nate Dogg's 1994 heater "Regulate", a deep and seductive number that makes great use of samples from Michael McDonald's teary blue-eyed soul classic "I Keep Forgetting". Flip to the B-side and you'll find Luniz 1995 hit "I Got 5 On It", a cut that's been bitten, reworked and re-made umpteen times in the 24 years that have passed since it was first released. As this reissue proves, the Oakland duo's original version is still streets ahead of the rest.