Review: Brand new music from Nicole Willis and her intrepid Soul Investigators, their first new material since 2013's Tortured Soul album, and its business as usual. "Paint Me In A Corner" is a lively strutting funk gem peppered with harmonies and driven by a strict, solid drum beat and subtle percussion. "Where Are You Now", meanwhile, is a slower, more heartfelt ballad with lush swooning horns that nestle Nicole's raw and heartfelt vocal imagery consummately.
Jaye Williams - "Let Me Be The One" (vocal) (4:52)
Semi Automatic - "Let Me Be The One" (instrumental) (4:36)
Review: The rebirth of 1980s UK soul and reggae imprint Local Records continues apace with the reissue of another John Collins-produced gem from 1984. In signature Collins fashion, the A-side Jaye Williams version of "Let Me Be The One" portrays many of his reggae influences - think liberal use of delay and reverb, as well as a distinctive lilt to the super-sweet vocals - while basing the musical action around a sharp, rubbery backing track rich in fizzing electronics, spacey synths and post-boogie, electro-influenced drums. The flipside Semi-Automatic version is basically Collins' intergalactic soul rhythm track smothered in snaking saxophone solos, which is no bad thing.
Review: Cultures Of Soul dig deep into India's funkiest corners with this sophomore selection of Bombay mixes. Rich in range and references, highlights include Asha Bhosie's "Wild Thing" style riffage on "Pass Aao Na", Kishore Kumar's sudden gunshot switches between Mancini and Moroder on "Aaya Sanam Aaya Dweewana Tera" and the ridiculously infectious, stamp-heavy "Dance Music" which more than lives up to its name. A unique collection with attention to detail and sounds that have seldom been heard outside the sub continent, Brother Cleve has done himself proud.
Review: Vocally-led by child sensation, Foster Sylvers, The Sylvers family grew into their own throughout the 70s, and 1973's The Sylvers II really instilled their sound as the gold standard fo funk music. We're talking about a family of kids who were all incredible musicians, truly offering the world a heartfelt performance, whichever aesthetic they were going for. Mr Bongo has delivered the goods once again with this reissue, and we are totally stoked about the fact that we are receiving the sort of funk and soul which still has not been experienced by everyone. It is about the mystique, it is about the charm, and it's most certainly high time for some soothing soul direct from the source - oh, and check that bassline on the magnetic "Handle It". Recommended.
Kenny Smith - "Lord What's Happened To Your People" (2:51)
Kenny Smith & The Loveliters - "Go For Your Self" (full) (4:49)
Review: Soul Street maestro's breakthrough release from 1971 gets a much needed spotlight from Counterpart... "Lord What's Happening To Your People" is gospel re-imagined as raw funk as Kenny calls out humanity's problems with the help of a full backing chorus and some very slick, dramatic orchestration. "Go For Yourself" takes us further back into Kenny's career to 1966. Leaner than the A-side but comes with the same elements -tight bandmanship, emphatic backing vocals, instant feel-good dynamics - and is also loaded with some exceptionally clean drum breaks. Go fun yourselves.
WAKE (For Grenfell) (feat Cherise Adams-Burnett) (9:07)
Stargaze #2: LAU (2:04)
Interplanetary Migration (feat Mr Ekow) (7:04)
Review: Jazz Re:freshed has a reputation for championing rising stars of British jazz, so it's little surprise to find the label releasing the debut album from SEED Ensemble, a ten-piece outfit led by saxophonist Cassie Kinoshi. And what a debut it is, too. Built around uniquely British twists on spiritual and uplifting jazz, the eight original compositions are beautifully written and performed. The handful of included vocal numbers boast politically charged lyrics that take aim at injustice and inequality, with "WAKE (for Grenfell)" standing out. It feels like an important record as much as an enjoyable one, and could well be the start of a very bright future for both Kinoshi and the SEED Ensemble.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Having worked with the likes of Don Cherry and Laurie Anderson, there's little doubting the credentials of Ramuntcho Matta. Emotional Rescue have tapped him up for some truly outernational jams that sport African percussion, skronky jazz tones and an engaging minimalism that's hard to resist. The fretless bass and exotic animal cries of "Ecoute" are especially appealing, while the squelchy sound design in "O Clapo" may well do funny things to all who hear it. It's a startlingly original record that serves as a perfect introduction to a lesser known figure in leftfield music with a great heritage behind him.
Review: German funk act of legendary proportions, The Poets Of Rhythm arrived at time when the genre was a million miles away from the agenda. Digging deep into the roots with consummate dexterity, at first no one even believed they came from Europe. Morphing and mutating with myriad aliases along the way, the four-piece found themselves on labels as disparate as Gomma, Ninja Tune and Soulcity during their ten year tenure. And this is a collection of their very best moments. Spanning vibes from the screaming sax on the party jam "More Mess On My Thing" to the mournful, far-away flute soliloquy of "Choking On A Piece Of Meat" via the more frenetic bass and organ reflections on "The Donkey", The Poets Of Rhythm knew funk more intimately than most married couples know each other. An essential collection for anyone who's so much as smiled at a trumpet or breakbeat in the last five years.
Review: Last year, Portuguese producer Pedro Ricardo joined forces with Jenna Camille to release an assured debut single on Wolf Music Recordings. Here he returns to the Brighton-based imprint with a seriously good solo salvo. By and large, he's on a loose and language jazz tip, with free-jazz influencer opener "She Is" being joined by the cyclical clipped guitars and fluid piano motifs of the laidback "Faces Sob O Sol" and the sparkling, synth-heavy, intergalactic jazz-funk flex of "Alef". Straight-up dancefloor thrills are provided by Moomin's deep, spacey and wonderfully dreamy drum and bass rework of "Faces Sob O Sol".