Review: Turning your hand to the catalogue of a jazz colossus like Yusef Lateef would be beyond most contemporary jazz musicians, but then Nat Birchall is currently one of the best saxophonists in the business. Alongside his quartet and with the aid of some unusual instruments from around the world - something Lateef was famously fond of doing - Birchall has delivered a set of covers that breathe breezy new life into some of the American multi-instrumentalist's most admired compositions whilst retaining some of the original flavour. Our favourites include the droning North African brilliance of "Mashariki", the sun-baked afternoon breeze of "Ringo Oiwake" and the piano-powered bliss of "Willow's Walk".
Steve Cobby - "Lefthanded Books" (feat Danielle Moore)
Soulphiction Presents SBM - "Gotta Have It"
Nightmares On Wax - "Look Up" (feat Andrew Ashong & Sadie Walker)
Fat Freddy's Drop - "Russia" (Nightmares On Wax remix)
Review: If you've ever wondered what you might hear if Nightmares on Wax man DJ E.A.S.E. invited you back to his Ibiza villa for a post-club crack on, this edition of the long-running "Back To Mine" series has all the answers. It's a fine mix, all told, with the Warp Records stalwart running through a range of soulful head-nodders (Children of Zeus, Ladi6, Creative Principle), and sun-kissed good-time grooves (Bosq, Massimo Vanoni), before gently upping the tempo via Dim Zach's Imagination-sampling nu-disco, the simmering jazz-funk of Chieftain, and the NYC proto-house style goodness of Soulphiction's SBM project. Naturally, you'll find a clutch of the Leeds-raised artist's own productions and reworks dotted throughout, including a wonderfully loved-up, string-laden house version of "Russia" by Fat Freddy's Drop.
Review: During the 1980s, Nkono Teles was one of West Africa's most sought-after producers - a studio don called upon when an artist or label sought a modernist, synthesizer and drum-machine heavy sound that had the potential to cross borders. Teles was also a talented multi-instrumentalist, as his brief solo career proved. The highlight of his own artistic endeavours was "Party Beats", a sought-after set that's here reissued by BBE for the very first time. Featuring delay-laden drum machine rhythms, sweet and chiming synthesizers, jaunty fretless bass, glistening guitars, lead vocals by the man himself and a nine-piece Nigerian choir on backing vocals, it's a brilliant set that giddily joins the dot between synth-pop, electro, South African style "bubblegum", highlife and U.S style '80s soul slow jams.