Review: After spending three years wowing us with dazzling EPs on Sampling As An Art, Ego, Wild Oats and Sound Signature, Byron The Aquarius is finally ready to drop his debut album. As the title suggests, "Astral Traveling" is a suitably starry affair, with the fast-rising producer wrapping twinkling electronics, dreamy pads, hazy vocals and jazz-funk influences keys around sumptuous deep house grooves, dusty hip-hop beats and pitched-down, post-boogie backing tracks. Highlights include the deep space jazz-funk flex of "Deep In That ***** (feat. MDMA)", the driving Detroit deep house soulfulness of "Sorry Kari (Lu$t)", the jazzy downtempo beats and sultry soul vocals of "My Only Life (featuring Brandon Banks)" and the ultra-deep head-nodding hip-hop of "I Can't Help Myself (U)".
Review: Ivan Ave's new album - his first for three years - has all the makings of an essential summer classic. Hazy, humid, languid and quietly colourful, it offers a soulful, sun-soaked fusion of modern soul, yacht rock, jazz-funk, drowsy electrofunk and hip-hop that sounds superb blasting out of speakers on a sweltering summer's day. It's immaculately played and produced too, with the Norwegian's own sung and rapped vocals being complemented by the voices and musical skills of a fine cast list of guest artists. Impressively, this cast-list includes Silentjay, Byron The Aquarius, Kiefer, multi-instrumentalist Sasac, Hiatus Kaiyote's Clever Austin and chanteuse Sarah Naero.
Review: Premier Norwegian rapper Ivan Ave is set to release his long-awaited debut album in April, but before that he serves up this sweet 7". He's established himself in the Soundcloud generation as a man with a distinctive voice and ear for melody. Check "Triple Double Love", where his voice floats smoothly above the beats that lull you into a mellow vibe. "Phone Won't Charge" is a rickety one with lush chords and hits poking through to add bite, while the instrumental versions on the flip are fully laid back and spaced out quality stoner jams. That album can't come fast enough.
Bluestaeb - "Everyday" (feat The Galactic Suite) (2:48)
Jake Milliner - "Maybe Later" (2:54)
10.4 Rog - "Groovebox" (4:13)
Shungu - "Dream Discipline" (1:18)
Jabar Ligla - "Frihavnsession" (1:31)
Fredfades - "Rockets" (1:19)
10.4 Rog - "Une" (2:06)
Jabar Ligla - "Zeon" (1:13)
Brainorchestra - "Go-On" (1:59)
Ol’ Burger Beats - "It's New" (2:18)
Review: Mutual Friends is a third compilation from Mutual Intentions man Stian Stu and is another vital collection of instrumental hip hop beats that cover plenty of ground. Lazy Sunday smoke sessions and sci-fi explorations that drift though the cosmos and jazzy hip hop beats from top shelf contemporary producers such as FloFilz, Bluestaeb and Fredfades, who are all in-house talents and close friends of the label. Sraw's "Casio" (feat Kristoffer Eikre) is a highlight with its squelchy bass and conversational trumpet leads, and it's just one of many golden grooves in this comp.