Review: Having previously impressed with a trio of singles - particularly 2013 debut "Lavender" - hopes are naturally high for this first full-length from the James O'Keefe and Dave Koor-helmed Expansions project. Predictably, they deliver in spades, serving up a set whose fluid spontaneity and meandering solos owe much to the fact that the album was recorded in just three days. There's plenty of spacey jazz-funk and fusion fun to be found throughout, from the intergalactic synth solos of "Pocket 5" and dancefloor-burning heat of "Ivory Mountain", to the daydreaming Fender Rhodes motifs and fizzing drums of killer closer "Miles Away". Happily, fine recent single "Breakthrough" also makes an appearance.
Next To Nothing (feat Ego Emma-Jean Thackray) (2:47)
Sonnet 17 (feat Ego Ella May) (3:26)
Still Here (4:42)
Somebody Else (feat Andrew Ashong) (3:45)
Stack (feat Pie Eye Collective) (2:27)
Before The Sun (feat Ego Ella May) (1:47)
Joyfulness (feat Alexa Harley) (3:34)
2 Minute Switch (feat Pie Eye Collective) (3:05)
Wall Street (feat Andrew Ashong) (3:19)
Communication Control (3:06)
Review: London beat-maker Hector Plimmer has a wide palette of influences - think off-kilter hip-hop grooves of Flying Lotus, contemporary jazz, British bass music, the soul-fired deep house of Theo Parrish and the jazz-funk influenced skip of broken beat - yet the music he makes is never cluttered, confused or needlessly eclectic. In fact, as this second album proves, he has a clear vision. Deep, soulful, warm and attractive, the set's 13 tracks are universally superb and come laden with vocals from a high-grade cast-list of guests including Andrew Ashong, Emma-Jean Thackray, Ella May and the Pie Eye Collective. It's one of those albums that will almost certainly be slept on, so do yourself a favour and don't let it pass you by.
Review: Headed up by jazz-man and broken beat hero Mark de Clive-Lowe, Tokyo's Ronin Arkestra is an all-star collective that includes members of some of Japan's leading jazz and electronic music outfits. We shouldn't really be surprised, then, that debut album "Sonkei" is rather special. It features some suitably grandiose and epic contemporary jazz workouts - see "Onkochishin", the wonderfully spiritual and dancefloor-friendly "The Art of Altercation" and loose-limbed closing cut "Tempestuous Temperaments" - but the influence of other forms of music (most notably dub, ambient and electronica) is evident throughout, often in subtle and surprising ways. In other words, it sounds like a future jazz classic in the making.