Review: It's been five years since Truth & Soul's octet gave us the incredible Wu Tang version album. It's been two years since they last dropped a single, too. However the band is back and their trademark cinematic soul is richer and more emotive than ever. From the instant the trembling flute and guitar open with the cuddly, ultimately positive "Kiddy Ditty" we're whisked on a largely instrumental journey that flings us through the wild west ("Little House"), soul's early JB chapters ("This Song For You") and straight up NY low-slung funk ("A Little Sloppy"). Climaxing with a Lee Fields featured "By The Time I Get To Phoenix", Loose Change is a kind reminder of just how accomplished and creative El Michels Affair are. No change there, then.
Review: Seven years later... Jay Kay and his band of merry soulmen return with bonafide grooves. Raw, to the point and covering a huge amount of ground, "Automaton" is an electrified hair-raiser that's designed to lift floors while "Nights Out In The Jungle" tickles the backbone from Daptone with its slinky, JB-style bass/drum groove and light rap/spoken word. Pure funk in both its original and most futuristic style... and on limited clear vinyl, too.
Review: One of two sun-kissed KC excursions from the mighty Todd Terje for RSD, here we find him dissecting the horn-blasting feel-good 1976 strutter "I'm Your Boogie Man". Stripping the feels right back to the tight guitar and bass spine then redressing it slowly with each silky element, he's switched the concentrated party into a dramatic precession where every aspect gets its own place on the red carpeted groove.
Review: Destination mid 70s Nairobi where Madagascan guitarist Jimmy Mawi was laying down some serious vibes... Signed to EMI's Pathe imprint, he released three singles during his career which have all since faded to obscurity. Until now. Dusty, garagey and steaming with raw blues fusion, it's hard to deny any parallels to Hendrix as Mawi expresses himself with a rough heartfelt frenzy. Highlights include the Zep-level smoked out soul of "Blue Star Blues" and the insistent drive and reverbed out faraway vocals on "Black Dialogue". Another exemplary Afro-funk find from Soundway.
Review: Slipping out incongruously on Honest Jon's without any forewarning, you might mistake Rocket Juice & The Moon's loose, jam-fuelled funk for any number of unearthed rarities from around the world. The fact that Damon Albarn, Flea and Tony Allen are in fact responsible pleasingly makes no odds when it comes to enjoying these three tasters from the album. There's a strong focus on keeping the recording raw and live, as Allen's drums sit tangibly close in the mix while while Flea's bass lines are pointedly simplistic compared to the flair for which he's known. For all the bombast the participants may be known for, these are just great unwound grooves of a simple nature.
Review: Afrobeat alert right here, for even the most cynical of Fela believers - no lie! Trombonist Toli Nameless leads this magnificent EP, out through the fledgling Kooyman Records, in what is actually a sort of reissue... or rather an unearthing of some pretty special material that was recorded in the NYC area around about 2003. In what was a series of infamous live performances back then, these recordings has gained fame in the underground name and so this must be a rather special event for anyone whose been longing for their mystical charm until now. "See Line" is the most energetic of the trio, all guns blazing on the percussion front and vocal voodoo, while "Talk Da Shit" provides your more typical Afro funk, except that its way sexier thanks to Toli's brass vibes. The instrumental dub to "Def Ears", however, is the more special of the three and the one to bring out that lovely, heartical bounce that we all yearn for. A magnificent EP. Highly recommended!