Review: This time last year, cult Munich label Public Possession showcased their more horizontal side on Chill Pill, a collection of immersive, enveloping downtempo tracks tailor made for sofa-bound after-hours listening. 12 months on they're at it again on Chill Pill II, a welcome sequel that's arguably even stronger than its predecessor. Ther are countless high points amongst the 19 uniformly excellent outings on show, with our picks including the weightless ambient warmth of Vanessa Worm's 'Onion Number 3', the sparkling, sunrise-ready joy of Occupanther's '4D Lemmings', the jaunty dubtronica of Secret Circuit's 'Under Mi Yard', the trippy spaciousness of JD Twitch's 'Jimi', and the sweeping, evolving electronic movement that is Apiento's fittingly titled '5AM Swim'.
Review: Hip-hop super group Run The Jewels aka Brooklyn-based rapper-producer El-P and Atlanta-based rapper Killer Mike return with their fourth in their self-titled album series. Once again the American heavyweights call on a big roster of collaborators with DJ Premier, 2-Chainz, Pharrell Williams and Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme all appearing. The tracks remain hard-edged and direct, with cacophonous synths and oversized hits making each track an attention grab. The rhymes are of course on point throughout, with standouts including the machine gun bars of 'Walking The Shadow.'
Review: The fourth album from English pop experimentalist XCX was made over just six week in a "do-it-yourself" collaborative process with her fans. It is inspired by the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown and was executively produced by A. G. Cook and BJ Burton. Fans and critics alike fell immediately in love with the record which was also shortlisted for the 2020 Mercury Prize. Edgy experimental production and hooky pop songwriting have rarely collided as successfully as they do here, with plenty of hyper-energetic sounds and shimmering synths, bubblegum bass and mechanical motifs all making this as much an impromptu mixtape as a studio album. Truly, this is a work of its time.
Review: First released in 2001 and now getting the reissue treatment, Skanking With The Upsetter gathers together 14 lesser-known Lee 'Scratch' Perry dubs and alternative mixes from the legendary producer's most productive period in the early 1970s. This was a time when Perry was working with a regular set of musicians at Black Ark, the studio he built in the back garden of his Kingston home. It was a set up that resulted in a string of classic reggae records - and even greater flipside dubs. Those versed in Perry's work in the period will know what to expect, namely tight, bass-heavy reggae riddims, stripped-back instrumentation, occasional odd sounds and the briefest snippets of vocal - all mixed live to tape with copious amounts of well-placed delay and reverb.
Review: Second time around for Singaporean duo Aspidistrafly's sophomore set, which originally appeared in stores way back in 2011. Nine years on, the album still resonates, in part because its fusion of contrasting and complimentary musical elements is little less than sublime. Over the course of 12 tracks, you can expect to hear them mix and match dewy-eyed female vocals, emotive neo-classical strings, pastoral acoustic sounds, ambient electronics, crackling noises, droning aural textures, effects-laden guitars and curiously recorded instrumentation. While Aspidistrafly's intentions are rarely less than experimental throughout, the album is also impressively accessible. As a result, it's genuinely a joy to listen to.
Review: A few eyebrows were raised when Omar-S announced the title of his latest album. While clearly meant as a controversial talking point, the title should not distract from what is one of Alex 'Omar' Smith's strongest collections of cuts to date - and one with an all-star cast of Motor City collaborators (Rick Wilhite, Norm Talley and OB Ignitt all feature). Musically, it's pleasingly diverse, with Smith effortlessly drifting between 21st century P-funk ("In My City"), cowbell-powered deep-house funk ("Don't Leave Me Standing Yeea"), sparse and synth-heavy house hypnotism ("Mell'like Boom Boom In'dair"), disco-house jack ("Washtenaw County Horn Section"), sub-heavy Detroit-meets-Sheffield minimalism ("You Gotta Beat The Clock") and sunrise-ready dancefloor dreaminess ("Simply"). This CD edition also includes four cuts not available on the vinyl edition.
Review: Kelly Lee Owens makes her anticipated return with her second album, building on the promise of her self-titled debut with another assured expedition in the fruitful realm between melancholic pop and melodic, widescreen techno. There's a renewed energy and purpose second time around, with bolder song structures emerging around Owens' more forthright vocals. Tracks like "On" certainly tug at the heartstrings, but there's also space for outright dancefloor cuts like the wired mechanical thrust of "Melt!". Coming on like a confident step forward from her strong starting position, Inner Song sees Kelly Lee Owens stepping into a role as a fully-fledged pop artist with serious production chops, and making it all her own.
Review: The ever-prolific Delroy Pottinger is back at it with a new album on Hospital, this time working in tandem with the mighty Dynamite MC for a bold and ambitious approach to the D&B artist album. Pottinger's style is flexible enough to weave a strong narrative from track to track, while Dynamite's dexterous flow and rounded vocal tone binds the album together. There's guest after guest too, from SPY and DJ Zinc to Calibre, Marky and many more besides, all feeding into this cinematic strain of cutting edge drum & bass that DRS has made his own.
Clandestino - "Crack In The Sky" (Beat Broker Dream dub)
Last Waltz - "Tribute" (Machete Savane remix)
DJ Rocca & Daniele Baldelli - "Sartana"
Daniel Wainwright - "Doing It"
The Saint Petersburg Disco Spin Club - "Neva Liv U"
Ilija Rudman - "Second Screen"
Felix Dickenson - "Ousana" (Coyote remix)
I-Boat Captain - "Poly Punk"
Coyote - "California Jam"
Craig Bratley - "Maverick Sound System Mix"
Max Essa - "Burning Palms"
Rompante - "How Low Can You Dance" (Ahiki remix)
Sorcerer - "Zulu Honda"
Coyote - "Sin Distracciones"
9DW - "Right On" (original mix)
Leo Mas & Fabrice - "Sunrise 87" (Balearic Militant mix)
Downtown Party Network - "The Returning" (Prins Thomas Diskomiks)
Max Essa - "Feel The Machine"
Baptiste & Pierre - "Virage" (Ruf Dug extension)
Joe Morris - "Mpondo Theme"
Review: 2016 sees Coyote arrive at a decade of posing the question Is It Balearic? Replicating the compilation shaped celebrations surrounding their fifth anniversary, the landmark is noted with this fine 2CD collection. The compiling skills of Balearic chieftain Max Essa are called on for the first disc selections, with Coyote taking care of business on the second for a fine horizontally-minded celebration of all things Balearic encompassing 22 tracks. Tempos nudge back and forth, different vibes coming to the fore along the way as a dash of steel drum is replaced by forthright synth glistens and upright basslines. Legends mingle alongside future heroes, Foolish Felix and Baldelli impressing as much as Last Waltz and Clandestino. As the end nears, up pops Prins Thomas's classic Diskomiks of Downtown Party Network. Here's to another ten years Is it Balearic?
Richard Bone - "Alternate Music For The Hindenberg Lounge"
Review: Over the last few years, Interstellar Funk (real name Olf van Elden) has become one of the Netherlands most enthusiastic collectors of what he calls "wave music" - that hard-to-define, synthesiser-heavy style that first emerged at the turn-of-the-80s and has been evolving ever since. Artificial Dancers, his first compilation, continues this trend by gathering together personal favourites and rarities spanning 40 years of wave music. It's a brilliant collection, with highlights including the moody dancefloor brilliance of Clan Of Xymox's 'Stranger (Demo)', the Human League's exceedingly rare 1979 tribute to JG Ballard ('4JG'), a killer live recording of 'Dias Cortas' by EBM kings Liaisons Dangereuse and the Norwegian eccentricity of Det Gylne Triangel's wayward post-punk synth-pop classic 'Maskindans'.
Review: Dating from tape recordings made between 1996 - 2012, Cosmic Vibrations follows the Tropical Psychedelics (ERS003) album for the label, this time digging deeper in to the mind of Secret Circuit than the more dance flor inspired sounds heard on last years album Tactile Galactics album for Beats In Space. Again we glimpse a melting pot of pyschedelia, techno, balearic and ambient to create an electronic gem, but all done with a wry smile and jesters wink rather than today's penchant of moody seriousness. Life on the US West Coast shines from the album, from opener Out West to She Got Love, sunshine music that couldn't be made anywhere else. It's not all hippy-happy vibes though with Minimal Vibrations and the dub of Straightline taking things in to deeper and instropective territory. However, all things resonate in Eddie's analogue meets kitchen sink synthesis. Layer after layer flats across the album to create a smile-inducing whole. Journeying from the folk guitar of Somnambulation to the minimilism of Glass Skeletons, before bidding a fond farewell in the apt, Bells. This second and fial collection of early cassette works is not an end, but a blessing.
Will You Return/When You Come Down (feat Micah Nelson (Particle Kid))
Watching The Lightbugs Glow
Flowers Of Neptune 6
Dinosaurs On The Mountain
At The Movies On Quaaludes
Mother I've Taken LSD
You N Me Sellin' Weed
Mother Please Don't Be Sad
When We Die When We're High
Assassins Of Youth
God & The Policeman (feat Kacey Musgraves)
My Religion Is You
Review: The Flaming Lips didn't really find new noise and drone trajectories during the last decade- they were making white distortion before most of us knew it was music, meaning the recent change of tact is more of a nod to the band's formative years rather than completely new chapter. In the same way, American Head now sees the outfit return to their more feted and famed styles; epic operatic psychedelic pop-rock drama that seems to come from the stratosphere.
It's classic Flaming Lips but with a fittingly 2020 edge - the drug references so clearly evident on track names like 'At The Movies on Quaaludes' and 'Mother, I've Taken LSD' may reveal plenty about the frontman's own well-tweeted discovery of certain mind-altering substances, but it's also ideal fuel for a year in which most of us would rather be anywhere other than alone with our sober thoughts.
Luke Solomon presents Jean Caffeine - "Jean Aftertought"
Point G - "La Lampe du Vizir Adjané"
Modal - "Lovers" (Roy Davis & Dj Skull remix)
Skymaster - "Final Link"
Lazare Hoche & Malin Génie - "Formes"
Nimbus Quartet - "Your House Is Yours"
Lazare Hoche & Malin Génie - "Session 2"
Unit T - "Mystery Tones"
Mandar - "Fouad"
Review: Lazare Hoche doesn't release that much music, but what he does put out is invariably excellent. Following a smattering of singles and an acclaimed collaborative album alongside Malin Genie - 2013's I Don't Sync So Volume II - he's decided to put together a compilation featuring his own productions and those by music industry mates. Access, then, is a lesson in warm and luscious deep house, with significant contributions coming from Luke Solomon (donning the Jean Caffeine guise on the dreamy and rolling "Jean Afterthought"), DJ Gregory's Point G project (the ultra-deep pulse of "La Lampe Du Vizir Adjane"), and pals Skymaster and Mandal. Hoche's own contributions rank amongst the compilation's highlights, with the title track delivering a pitch-perfect lesson in the seductive powers of dreamy, dust-encrusted deep house.
Review: Armed with a vast array of instruments (both electronic and acoustic),Ed Hawthorne AKA Tenderlonious spent the COVID-19 lockdown making music in his South London flat. The result is "Quarantena", the 22a founder's third solo full-length. Musically, it's a glorious hotch-potch of analogue synthesizer-driven dystopian soundscapes (see opener "1984 (Part One)"), breezy electro-jazz ("Roco's Raga", the blissful and Balearic title track), shimmering new age ambience ("Falkor Flight", "Total Recall"), jaunty jazz-funk ("Lockdown Boogie", "Moment's Notice"), sun-kissed jazz ("COVID Blues"), and hard-to-pigeonhole, dancefloor-ready workouts ("Maskup/Gloveup"). Taken as a whole, it's far more downtempo and picturesque than his previous albums, offering genuine musical escapism tailor-made for these troubled times.
Review: Their chops were already up thanks to their tenure as James Brown's backing band, but this album was the first time The J.B.'s stepped out on their own in 1971. It's enjoyed the odd vinyl repress over the years, but this is the first time These Are The J.B.'s has been released on CD. Any serious funk head should know what to expect here - foundational funk and soul from some of the most seminal architects of the genre, laying the blueprint for a mind-boggling amount of musical culture that was to follow. It doesn't get more seminal than this.
Hollywood Freeway - "You're The Song (That I Can't Stop Singing)"
Liverpool Express - "You Are My Love"
John Cameron - "Liquid Sunshine"
Sylvia - "Not On The Outside"
Blue Mink - "Stay With Me"
Steve Miller Band - "Wild Mountain Honey"
Hamilton & Joe Frank & Reynolds - "Fallin' In Love"
The Emotion - "Flowers" (album version)
Azimuth - "Montreal City"
Barclay James Harvest - "Rock'N'Roll Star"
Gilbert O'Sullivan - "Miss My Love Today"
Carmen McRae - "Music"
Review: On his latest compilation for Ace, St Etienne's Bob Stanley has chosen to evoke memories of the summer of 1976, when Britain sweltered under a heatwave and those under the age of 16 felt like the school holidays went on forever. Stanley's vision is undoubtedly a nostalgic one, with many of his on-point musical selections seemingly coming with their own opaque, easy listening-tinged sepia hue (see Lynsey de Paul's 'Sugar Shuffle' and Jefferson Starship's hazy 'Miracles'). Highlights are plentiful, from the jammed-out Clavinet solos of Simon Park's 'Stoned Out' and the soul sweetness of Shuggie Otis's 'Inspiration Information', to the Bob James style jazz-funk of John Cameron's 'Liquid Sunshine', and the bubbly Brazilian bliss of Azymuth's 'Montreal City'.
Review: The Beneficiaries is an all-new collaboration between three of Detroit's finest - techno pioneers Jeff Mills and Eddie "Flashin" Fowlkes, and poet artist Jessica Care Moore - and this debut album is nothing less than a touching, whole-hearted tribute to their home city and its rich cultural history. Musically, it's intoxicating, far-sighted and otherworldly, with Care Moore adding a variety of ear-catching spoken word vocals to backing tracks that veer from acid-fired alien techno (epic opener "Metallic Stars", "Star Children of Orion"), percussive, dubbed-out late night murkiness ("People"), sun-bright analogue ambient melodiousness (the sparkling "When The Sun Loves You Back"), dark and moody electronica ("The X"), and heady, bongo-powered hypnotism ("The Crystal City Is Alive"). In other words, it's as great as we expected, and then some.
Review: Rotterdam's The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble have been operating as a shapeshifting project since 2000, now equally known to manifest as The Mount Fuji Darkjazz Ensemble for live improv in the field of dark ambient. Denovali have reissued their third studio album, originally released in 2011, and it shows the band freewheeling through a variety of scenes from gutsy, big room electronica dramatics to lilting, smoky trip hop-meets-opera. That this is all captured with the skill of some highly proficient players and singers only makes the music all the more impressive. It's kinetic, left-of-centre and oh so easy to lock onto, while all draped in the kind of spooky atmospherics that the project has made its name with.
Review: While it had only been a few months since the release of her 4 Track Demos project, when To Bring You My Love first arrived in 1994 it felt like it had been a long time coming. Taking elements that made her early studio efforts stand out - the twisted mania of Dry and the Patti Smith-esque agony of Rid of Me - here Polly Jean Harvey fully embraced a kind of pained grunge-blues.
The resulting brew is particularly potent. Whether you're listening to the hushed, mysterious groove of 'Working For The Man', 'Long Snake Moan''s dark metal edges, or the sparse, troubled and deeply pained anthem 'Teclo', everything here is clearly the work of a genius. A fact that rings particularly true given these stunning versions represent her work in its original demo form.
Review: Whether offering up club-focused Motor City techno, futuristic tech-jazz, bubbly electronica or sofa-bound ambient compositions, John Beltran always wrings the maximum amount of beauty and soul from the machines he uses to make music. He's at it again on "The Season Series", an inspired album of picturesque electronic compositions on Delsin. Variously fusing swelling, almost classical chord sequences, stirring melodic refrains, effects-laden shoegaze guitars, effected vocal snippets and beats (when used) that touch on many of Beltran's main influences (think IDM and Detroit techno), Beltran has produced a simply stunning album that amply rewards those who give themselves in to its positive, emotion-rich charms.
Review: [Emotional] Especial looks back at the first 9 releases since its inception to provide a
selection or "Eleccio" via a special dubbed out DJ meets studio mix from label stalwart
Jamie Paton. Ever since the first white labels appeared at the end of Summer 2013, [Emotional] Especial
has been busy putting out music that are their own warped take on club music. Mixing the
influences of dub, electro, disco, proto-house, house and techno, a sound appeared without any preordained plan. To celebrate the end of the first series of releases come EES10CD - a DJ meets studio
compilation mix created by label artist, remixer and even in-house designer, Jamie Paton. Freaturing tracks from every EP, including two unreleased remixes are the tight productions
of Richard Sen; the wiggle of Scott Fraser; deep, chugging Cage & Aviary dubs; the Eastern
influences of Baris K and newcomers Khidja; the quirky discoid wonk of Maurice & Charles and finally not forgetting of course, the stand out Timothy J Fairplay touches. Whether
alongside Mr Weatherall, Andy Blake or in solo remix mode, young "Junior"s skills (and name)
grows and grows.
All this is perfectly put together by Jamie Paton, the man who launched the label with his
Bizarre Feeling EP. As well as the inclusion of several unreleased cuts, Jamie has edited the
"selection", adding live studio dubbing, FX and the odd mega-mix to make it truly (E)special.
Spectrasoul - "Away With Me" (feat Tamara Blessa - Calibre remix)
Zero - "Refusal" (feat Steo - Calibre mix)
Lynx & Hellrazor - "Passing Time"
Calibre - "Notting Hill"
D-Bridge - "Inner Disbelief"
Calibre - "Hummer"
Kodo - "The Jackal" (D-Bridge remix)
Calibre - "Fire & Water"
Genotype - "Justice Over Law"
Calibre - "Blazin"
Calibre - "Student Music"
Calibre - "Outro"
Review: Calibre has always been one of the more thoughtful members of the drum & bass fraternity, with a passion not just for rumbling rhythms, but also pleasing musicality. It's these two sonic traits that come to the fore on FabricLive 68, his first contribution to the London super club's long running mix series. While there are plenty of sublime moments punctuated by punchy percussion, it's the more fluid, musically complex tracks that stand out (see the twinkling pianos of DRS's "Keep The Faith", Marky & SPY's carnival-tastic "Yellow Shoes (Calibre Remix)" and Zero's "Inner City Life"-ish "Refusal"). As a result, FabricLive 68 is a loose, languid journey through D&B's greener pastures.
Review: Second time around for Saint Etienne's 2012 album "Words and Music by Saint Etienne", a typically breezy, summery and ear-pleasing affair in which Bob Stanley, Pete Wiggs and Sarah Cracknell delivered a suitably glossy, up-beat take on synth-pop with their usual effortlessly Balearic twist. Highlights are plentiful, from sunny opener "I've Got Your Music" and the string-laden swell of "The Last Days of Disco", to the largely acapella "Record Doctor", baggy and Balearic "Twenty Five Years" and the attractively jangling "Haunted Jukebox". The pop perfection continues on disc two ("More Words and Music"), a previously highly limited bonus album that was originally sold during one of the band's tours of North America.
Review: 'Mordechai is another blissed-out record from Texan party-chill-psyche trio Khruangbin. It's also among the outfit's most defined and driven, a smooth, sticky hot funk odyssey made for hazy afternoon soirees. Leader Laura Lee is, as ever, unfathomably siren-like on vocals, her bass grooves aiding the process of seduction no end. Even at the most upbeat and anthemic, 'Time (You and I)', it's hard not to feel woozy and intoxicated by the pared-back breaks and guitar lick combination. Dance floor ammo for sure, as is Pelota. Overall, though, it's an album best savoured slowly, allowing you to fully appreciate every lackadaisical moment of opiate goodness, with tracks such as 'Father Bird, Mother Bird', 'One To Remember' and 'Shida' summoning stunning sticky, heavy, deep atmospheres.
Review: Given how prolific Detlef Weinrich was earlier in his career, we were rather surprised to learn that Jumping Dead Leafs? is his first solo album as Tolouse Low Tracks for almost six years. In keeping with his work to date, much of the gently mind-altering material on show blurs the boundaries between styles, with Weinrich variously offering up trippy, post hip-hop hypnotism ('Berrytone Souvenir'), sludgy dystopian beat-scapes ('The Incomprehensible Image', the jaunty and unusual title track), slow-burn ambient dub ('Inverted Sea'), exceedingly spaced-out dubtronica ('Milk in Water'), and pedal-steel laden early morning eccentricity ('Sales Pitch'). While hard to pigeonhole, it's an excellent album, with Weinrich striking a perfect balance between challenging sounds, heady grooves and wavy, ear-pleasing instrumentation.
Review: When he launched the "Xerrox" series way back in 2007, Alva Noto intended it to run to five volumes. Here he presents the fourth volume, which largely eschews "external samples" of everyday sounds - the series was inspired by the idea of creating new musical motifs from "copies of copies" - in favour of greater warmth, emotion and musical dexterity. There's much to enjoy throughout, from the appealing, slow-burn haziness of deep ambient opener "Xerrox Kirlian" and the distinctly cinematic, Angelo Badalamenti-in-"Twin Peaks"-mode beauty of "Xerrox Voyage", to the Radiophonic Workshop style creepiness of "Xerrox Cosmos" and the melancholic, string-laden swell of "Xerrox Canaux".
Review: After recent releases on the Save Fabric album, Alola & Jack Trax, Mr.C has delved deep into his musical psyche to deliver an acid master-class that's influenced by Ska, Dub, Electro, Italo Disco, Acid House & Tech House, bringing his roots up to date with this massive modern production. Incidents is about things that can happen while clubbing. Down-tempo tracks Entry Search, A Civil Dose & Quick Exit will dub you out. Slightly quicker Acid Fever & Stand Up will completely groove you & dance tracks Do It For Me, Disco Rebellion, Shape Your Dreams, Raid, Ripple Effect & Master Of The Universe will make you dance like no-one's watching. Incidents is the complete electronic album that pulls all the punches, gives a nod to the past & yet has it's feet firmly embedded in the future. This is easily Mr.C's best solo work to date & essential listening.
Review: Percussion, sax and piano trio Mammal Hands have long been a unique proposition within British jazz, with their increasing use of both Indian Tabla rhythms and electronic sounds - as well as a fondness for Steve Reich/Terry Riley style minimalism - making their albums especially hard to pigeonhole. Captured Spirits, the Norwich-based combo's fourth studio set, keeps up this tradition. While rooted in the twinkling piano motifs and seductive, ear-pleasing saxophone solos of jazz, percussionist Jesse Barrett's rhythms are particularly bold and forthright, drawing just as much from contemporary dancefloor grooves and club-ready jazz-funk as more traditional jazz fare. It's an especially addictive combination and one that makes Captured Spirits a gorgeous and lively listen.
Review: San Francisco-based DJ/producer Nick Monaco has long been part of the Soul Clap family, releasing his first 12" on the label back in 2012. Mating Call, a double 12" set running at album length, is easily his most expansive release yet. It's typically eccentric, delivering a range of songs - featuring his own distinctive vocals - that blend numerous styles whilst retaining a loose, funky and altogether rather kaleidoscopic feel. It's rooted in Balearic pop, but also touches on dub, deep house, boogie, dub disco and a strangely deep and contemporary take on the triple-beat rhythms of glam rock. It's hard to accurately describe, but is really rather good; certainly, it's one of Soul Clap's strongest releases of recent times.
Review: Brian and Roger Eno have their own accomplished legacies in music - Brian as a polymath producer and artist, and Roger as a composer. Now the brothers have pooled their talents into their first collaborative album, Mixing Colours, which has taken shape over a 15 year period. The overall process involved Roger recording piano parts in MIDI to send to his older brother for processing, resulting in a mass of work which they finally whittled down to this exquisite collection. Lovers of both artists will be immensely satisfied, as the fusion of classical piano composition and adventurous ambient electronics merge for an engaging, hypnagogic listening experience.
In The Trees (Jerome Sydenham & Tiger Stripes rendition)
In The Trees (Jerome Sydenham & Tiger Stripes Dark rub)
In The Trees (Jerome Sydenham & Tiger Stripes club mix)
In The Trees (original 1996 version)
In The Trees (Carl Craig C2 mix #2)
Review: In 2007 Juno Records is ten years old, and we've decided to celebrate by releasing 10 singles throughout the year. Each one is a classic dance track featuring new remixes from the some of the most exciting and established names in the business, including Julien Jabre, Spirit Catcher, Dimitri from Paris, Lindstrom, Troy Pierce, Cobblestone Jazz and many more. These releases will initially only be available from www.juno.co.uk and www.junodownload.com. To launch the series we have pulled out all the stops with the re-release of the timeless "In The Trees" by Faze Action, featuring remixes from the legendary Carl Craig and Jerome Sydenham & Tiger Stripes, as well as the brilliant 1996 original mix. A genuinely huge release, this could be the first of 10 future classics! ***Stop press 19/12/07: the Carl Craig mix has been voted #3 in residentadvisor.net's "Top 5 Remixes Of 2007".
Review: Since 2016, Stockholm outfit Viagra Boys has offered up a swathe of singles that excitedly veer between heavy post-punk, krautrock and angry, riff-powered alternative rock. "Street Worms", their debut album, boasts the same swaggering, lo-fi approach as their previous singles, zipping between the fuzz-fuelled dancefloor stomp of "Amphetanarchy", the growling riffs and razor-sharp solos of "Shrimp Shack", the mangled sax solos, bellowed vocals and tempo-changing insanity of "Sports" and the low-slung brilliance of "Slow Learner", which boasts far more funk than much of the rest of the album put together. This CD edition includes a quintet of bonus cuts, with the skewed Americana-80s alt-rock fusion of "Beijing Taxi" and throbbing "Special Helmet" standing out.
Review: Just when you thought all hope was lost along come The Strokes to fulfil the promises they made way, way back with their startling debut 'Is This It'. That was 17 years ago, and while the outfit have made plenty worthy of note in the years between then and now, we'd be surprised if we're the only ones thinking this latest is their best effort since that inaugural outing. Confident but also hungry, rather than bloated and lazy, there's plenty here that you won't be able to get away from in a hurry. 'Brooklyn Bridge To Chorus' might define the package best, delivering some powerful pop energy in an all-round homage to and critique of the 1980s, an era revisited again on 'Bad Decisions', which owes plenty to Billy Idol's Generation X classic, 'Dancing With Myself', with tracks like 'Why Are Sundays So Depressing' diverting to a synthdom route and 'Not The Same Anymore' throwing crooner styles into the mix. Exceptional stuff.
Review: There's certainly plenty to talk about here. British chart-topping and stadium-filling enigmas The 1975 return to prove you really can't predict what the troupe will do next, delivering what would be their most divisive and explorative album if it weren't for the fact they command so much loyalty from fans you could be forgiven for thinking dark forces were at play. 'Notes On A Conditional Form' is easily the furthest we've wandered from the formative years of a band that cut teeth doing teen-punk covers, and it's hard not to notice the subtle theme here. From 'Having No Head', which rides on a sharp house groove, through the garage breaks of 'Yeah I Know', low slung dub of 'Shiny Collarbone' and the shoegaze of 'Streaming', it plays out like a celebration of the breadth and diversity of UK pop culture.
Review: Now happily back in business following drummer Joe Seward's long recovery from a near-fatal accident in 2018, Oxford four-piece Glass Animals return with what could be their most colourful, vibrant and ear-catching album to date. Musically, it's all effervescent, synthesizer-driven production, dreamy vocal arrangements, neon-lit R&B sounds and hip-hop inspired beats, yet the songs are deeply personal, with front man Dave Bayley (assisted on standout "Tokyo Drifting" by rapper Denzel Curry) offering autobiographical lyrics for the very first time. It's a great combination, all told, and one that makes "Dreamland" really sparkle.
Review: Emotional Rescue label boss Stuart Leath is particularly excited about this release, and it's not hard to see why. While Spanish singer/songwriter Javier Bergia is not widely known in the UK, his releases - either solo, or as part of the Finas Africae and Arium Musicae groups - are held in high regard by those of a Balearic persuasion. Eclipse is something of a treat, gathering together the best of Bergia's solo work from 1985 to the present day. Featuring Bergia's spoken and sung vocals atop a mix of gentle acoustics, atmospheric strings, delay-laden percussion and subtle global rhythms, Eclipse impresses from start to finish. It should be essential listening for anyone with even the tiniest interest in Balearica.
Review: While 1990 may have been a vintage year for UK dance music, there weren't that many albums recorded that year that have really lasted the test of time. The Beloved's "Happiness", a loved-up, ecstasy-fuelled fusion of tactile synth-pop, soft-focus house and jangling, acid-flecked indie-pop, is one such album. Here it gets a much deserved 20th anniversary edition, with the freshly remastered original album being joined by a bonus disc featuring demo versions, B-sides and alternative mixes. These include a stunning "Piano-303 demo" of "Take Me Higher", the utterly gorgeous "demo dub" of "Time After Time" and a deliciously squelchy "Evening Session Remix" of the ultimate sun-up anthem, "The Sun Rising".
Sly & Lovechild - "The World According To Sly & Lovechild" (Andrew Weatherall Soul Of Europe mix)
Dorisburg - "Rytm804"
Hiver - "Pert"
Kyle Hall - "Flemmenup"
DMX Krew - "EPR Phenomena"
JRMS - "3"
Shades Of Rhythm - "Exorcist"
Kode 9 - "Magnetic City"
The System - "Vampirella"
Black Merlin - "Kundu"
Aphex Twin - "Vordhosbn"
R-Tyme - "Illusion" (Mayday remix)
Psyche - "Crackdown"
Deniro - "Epirus"
I:Cube - "Cassette Jam 1993"
Review: South Korean star Peggy Gou continues her seemingly unstoppable rise by serving up her first ever DJ mix CD. It's a contribution to one of the longest running series in the business, DJ Kicks, and she's used the opportunity to showcase the depth and variety of the music in her crates. Beginning with the classic early '90s ambient of Spacetime Continuum, Gou flits between humid, mid-tempo Balearic house (her own "Hungboo"), acid-fired downtempo electronica (Pearson Sound), throbbing 1990 peak-time anthems (Weatherall's ace but largely forgotten remix of Sly & Lovechild), hypnotic techno minimalism (Dorisburg), main room throb-jobs (Hiver), pulsating electro (DMX Krew), classic breakbeat hardcore (Shades of Rhythm), post-dubstep (Kode 9), dark tribal drum jams (Black Merlin) and sunrise ready Motor City brilliance (Deniro).
Salvation (Act III: Upon Whose Shoulders We Stand)
Theme For Cecil
Virgin (Act IV: 400 Years: The Clotilda)
The Last Slave Ship
Review: Those familiar with the catalogue of Idris Ackabor and the Pyramids will tell you that there's always been something special about the long-serving band's inspired blend of spiritual jazz, space-age sounds, Afro-jazz and extra-percussive polyrhythms. Even so, new album "Shaman!" is particularly awe-inspiring. Constructed as a four-act musical journey stretched across two slabs of wax, it adds a wealth of intriguing additional musical ingredients (think dubby soul-jazz, Afrobeat, jazz-rock and free-jazz) to their already highly seasoned sound soup with predictably tasty results. It takes a few listens to really get to grips with (there's a lot going on, despite the set's obvious accessibility), but it's such a good album that you'll want to fully immerse yourself as many times as possible.
Review: Those interested in the roots of UK bass music have been well-served of late, with a number of books and compilations focusing on the first wave of British dance music in the late 80s and early 90s. Soul Jazz's latest compilation is a superb addition to this growing list. It showcases music made in the post-bleep and early breakbeat hardcore period, where basslines got bigger, drum breaks faster, and ragga influences started to come to the fore. The selections are on-point throughout from the dub-wise rave rush of Babylon Timewarp's "Durban Poison" and the bleep-and-breaks-meets-proto-jungle shuffle of DJ Dubplate's "Tings A Go On", to the rave-rap goodness of The Freaky's "Time & Age" and the heavily edited darkcore/early jungle insanity that is Krome & Time's terrific "Ganja Man". In a word: essential.
Review: Brothers Simon and Robin Lee have long excelled at the album format, delivering occasional sets that ripple with impressive musicality, sinewy strings, cozy downtempo moods and upbeat dancefloor moments. Body of One, their fourth full length (their first dropped on Nuphonic back in 1997), continues this trend, offering a compelling trip through the pair's myriad influences. After opening with a sweaty post-punk thumper ("Prisoner of Your Love"), we're variously treated to Italo-influenced vintage house ("Magic Touch"), rubbery disco-funk ("Freak For Your Love"), Arthur Russell-influenced tropical downtempo pop ("Caruso's Monkey House"), dreamy Balearica ("Floating World") and string-laden gorgeousness. As for the title track, it sounds like So-era Peter Gabriel.
Jonas Friedlich/Kloves - "Praise Your Name/Eksibit"
Kuf/Les Gammas/Midland/Patrick Cowley - "Konflikt/Guauanco (The Cinematic Orchestra remix)/Decompression Suite/Uhura"
Review: Given that Scuba was officially the last DJ to play at Fabric before the club's controversial closure, it seems rather fitting that he's the first DJ to contribute to their lauded mix series since then. As if keen to celebrate the Farringdon venue's legendary status, he's pulled out all the stops, creating an inspired musical journey created using snippets of no less than 42 tracks. Scuffed, lo-fi techno grooves, warped bass music sounds, feverish African rhythms and throbbing electronics bob in and out of the mix, with Scuba effectively creating entirely new tracks by blending elements of tracks and remixes from the likes of Ricardo Villalobos, Pearson Sound, Patrick Cowley, Cinematic Orchestra, Ben Klock and Donato Dozzy. It's hugely impressive, all told, and amongst the Hotflush producer's best work.
Review: Four years have passed since Jessy Lanza last offered-up an album, the Jeremy Greenspan co-produced leftfield space-pop masterpiece that was "Oh No". While plenty has changed in Lanza's working life since then - she now lives in New York and improvises more with "modular and semi-modular" synthesizers - her commitment to delivering a genuinely unique take on 21st century synth-pop remains. Those versed in the work of the Junior Boys will hear the hand of regular collaborator Jeremy Greenspan in the chords, melodies and synthesizer settings, but "All The Time" is undoubtedly Lanza's vision. Combining her usual glassy-eyed vocals and ear-pleasing, often melancholic synth-pop sounds with the colourful vibrancy of future R&B and grooves that subtly reference all manner of styles (dubstep included), it's most perfect underground pop album you'll hear all year.
Review: Given that keyboardist and producer Kamaal Williams' 2018 debut album "The Return" was such a rip-roaring success critically and commercially, hopes are naturally sky-high for this delayed sequel. Happily, we can confirm that Williams has arguably excelled himself on "Wu Hen", once again blurring the boundaries between jazz-funk, seductive downtempo grooves, hazy space jazz, deep house influenced dancefloor workouts (see "Mr Wu", whose title references his other artistic alias, Henry Wu) and soft-focus soul - all with the assistance of an expanded line-up of guest musicians and vocalists. Perhaps the biggest impact is made by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, a composer whose string arrangements add an ear-catching new dimension to Williams work. Stunning stuff all told.
Review: Library music maestro and original member of The Shadows Brian Bennett has a raft of sought-after records to his name, but this is surely one of the most prized. As with the best library music, the execution of the compositions is impeccable - like slipping on silken luxury leisurewear for your ears. The record has been a rich source for sampling over the years, so half the joy is in spotting licks and loops from your favourite tunes, but equally these disco-fied delicacies funk all on their own. Lovers of the Black Devil Disco Club vibe will be more than happy getting down to these tasteful cosmic groovers, unbelievably repressed for just the first time on Isle Of Jura since the original release in 1978.
Review: Under the A Vision of Panorama alias, Mikhail Khavsko has released some of the most beguiling nu-Balearic music of the past few years. Aquafusion is his long-awaited debut album, and is sure to further enhance his already high reputation. Drawing on sun kissed synthesizer grooves, languid nu-disco and hazy pop for inspiration, the album boasts all manner of ear-pleasing highlights. These include the new age inspired ambient slinkiness of "Open Sequences", the Gigi Masin style bliss of "Seagulls", the mid-'80s synth-pop-goes-dancing bounce of "Barbados", and the baked, horizontal pop of "Duality" (which notably features the drowsy vocals of Krista Michaela).
Tommy Awards - "Sessions II Untitled Track 1" (Balearic remix)
Review: It's that time of year when thoughts turn to lazy afternoons down the beach, early evenings sat watching White Isle sunsets and sticky nights of loved-up debauchery. In other words, it's the perfect time to dive into the latest volume in the consistet Balearic compilation series. There's naturally much to admire in the now-familiar Cafe Del Mar/Cafe Mambo style, from the horizontal, flute-laden samba shuffle of The Madrigal's "The Ride to the Moon" and Shay Lovers exceedingly drowsy "Black & White", to the warm chords and head-nodding beats of Steve Cobby's remix of "Tradewinds" by Penelope Antena, and tropical exuberance of Maajo's "Musa Paradisa". Best of all, though, is Mudd's impeccable "Mix for Emma" of Zee Erf's blissful cover of "Southern Freeez", which is one of the most stunning tracks you'll hear all year.
Review: Having built their reputation through 12" singles for the likes of Crosstown Rebels and Poker Flat, Dan Berkson and James What deliver their debut album, on their freshly minted imprint Modelmaker. Interestingly, Keep Up Appearances is an altogether warmer, melodious and more evocative set than you'd perhaps expect, with a smattering of rich downtempo cuts joining a solid selection of dancefloor-friendly deep house. You can hear a classic dub techno influence in cuts such as "Keep Up Appearances" and "Shadow Theory", while the acid-flecked, soul-soaked "Make It True" sounds like classic Osunlade. Best of all, though, are the more forthright efforts, with the ragged "Seraphim" standing out.
Review: Two years ago, Jon Hassell made more than a few jaws drop with "Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume 1)", the genre-bending trumpeter and composer's first studio album in nine years. On that album, he effortlessly updated his trademark "Fourth World" sound - a decidedly cosmic, impossible-to-pigeonhole mix of traditional, otherworldly, exotic and cutting-edge sounds - for a new era. He takes a similar approach on this "companion album", somehow fusing experimental jazz, disparate global sounds, ambient, electronica and digi-dub in a myriad of thrilling, boundary blurring ways. It's a startling piece of work and one that defiantly rewards repeat listens, but then we expect nothing less from someone of Hassell's skill and standing. Recommended.
Made In America (feat Dufflebag Hottie & Elcamino)
The Hunter 2 (feat Skyzoo)
A Lot (feat Dufflebag Hottie & Elcamino)
Jackpot (feat Elcamino)
Review: Buffalo's finest Benny The Butcher leapt from Upstate New York to the world with his tough rhymes and real talk. A Friend Of Ours marked a major step forward for the rapper, drawing serious praise thanks in no small part to the heavyweight production spots from Rick Hyde, Chup, DJ Shay and Marc Spano. Rolling somewhere between a mini-album and EP, and packed with cameos from 38 Spesh, El Camino, Dark Lo, Dufflebag Hottie and Skyzoo, this is a sure shot of modern day hip hop with more than a few nods to a certain seminal mob series.