Review: Following on from the Distant Air EP, bright young things Anushka come back to Brownswood to deliver their debut album, showing off a distinctive twist on R&B that worms subtle flecks of minimal electronics, house music and more into a melancholic, richly melodic soulful whole. "Never Can Decide" is loaded with crossover appeal with its bombastic chorus sweeps while keeping a delicacy in the production that keeps the music on the right path. Really though it's Victoria Port's vocals that shape out the identity of Anushka, charged with just the right kind of energy to worm into many an ear as the Brighton-based duo spread their wings.
Review: The Highlife party by Brian d'Souza (aka Auntie Flo) in his hometown of Glasgow has been integral in establishing a new style of club music - merging electronic and world influences. He joins the Brownswood roster to deliver his third and most ambitious album: a natural companion piece to his Radio Highlife show on Worldwide FM (run by Brownswood boss Gilles Peterson) and the club night which he co-founded - known playing music from West Africa and Latin America. Contributions on the album come from a globetrotting cast of friends, including the inimitable Andrew Ashong, Laurie Pitt of local outfit Golden Teacher, Senegalese multi-instrumentalist Mame Ndiack and Cuban percussionist Yissy Garcia.
The Mauskovic Dance Band - "Continue The Fun" (Space version) (4:39)
Alxndr London - "Jury Judge Executioner" (2:36)
Yazmin Lacey - "Something My Heart Trusts" (4:39)
Tiana Khasi - "Nuketown" (3:59)
Review: The Gilles Peterson curated "Brownswood Bubblers" series has long been one of the most reliable sources of new music from previously unheralded artists, so it's no surprise that this thirteenth edition is packed to the rafters with high-grade gear. Peterson takes a widescreen approach, drawing together tracks in a variety of styles that in some way touch on soul or jazz. Highlights include the smoky, 21st century Portishead flex of Wu-Lu's "Sailor", the sparkling '80s soul revivalism of Lynda Dawn's brilliant "Move", the intergalactic jazz-funk flex of "Continue The Fun (Space Version)" by The Mauskovic Dance Band, and the shuffling jazz-soul bliss of Tiana Khasi's "Nuketown".
Review: This brilliant album sees United Future Organisation co-founder Toshio Matsura re-imagine a string of influential and classic club cuts with the assistance of Sons of Kemet maestro Tom Skinner and some of Britain's best young jazz musicians. Thrillingly, for the most part the resultant covers are remarkably radical, offering brilliant interpretations of very well known records. For example, Flying Lotus's "Do The Astral Plane" is re-cast as a cheery jazz-funk workout, Carl Craig's "At Les" becomes a blissed-out chunk of Philip Glass style synthesizer minimalism and Roni Size Reprazent's "Brown Paper Bag" resurfaces as a creepy jazz standard. And that's before we get to the inspired jazz-rock wig-out that is the group's version of Rotary Connection standard "I Am The Black Gold of the Sun".
Shabaka Hutchings - "Black Skin, Black Masks" (6:59)
Triforce - "Walls" (5:07)
Joe Armon-Jones - "Go See" (7:38)
Kokoroko - "Abusey Junction" (7:03)
Review: We Out Here, Brownswood Recordings' latest compilation, was born out of a desire by label boss Gilles Peterson to capture the essence of London's contemporary jazz scene. To ensure a sense of there "here and now", Peterson invited some of the city's brightest young bands and musicians into the studio in August 2017, recording the results over three action-packed days. The resulting never-heard-before tracks are, for the most part, joyous and thrilling, and range from trad jazz, jazz-funk and Latin jazz to acoustic-electronic fusions and groovy, guitar-laden downtempo explorations. It feels like a glimpse of a scene on the rise, and we wouldn't be surprised if many of those involved become modern British jazz greats in the years to come.
Review: Brownswood Recordings has high hopes for this debut album from the previously unheralded Yussef Kamaal, which brings together hyped producer Kamaal Williams (AKA Henry Wu) and fast-rising Afrobeat drummer Yussef Dayes. With such talent to draw on, you'd expect Black Focus to be rather good. Happily, it is, with the duo delivering a typically London-centric take on jazz funk. That means that they take as much inspiration from the work of Kaidi Tatham as, say, Herbie Hancock. The key to the album's success - and, yes, it is generally as special as Gilles Peterson suggests - is the fluid combination of Dayes' brilliant drumming and Williams' superb synth solos and effortlessly groovy Rhodes playing.