Review: One of Good Groove's most popular releases gets an exclusive repress on clear dark blue vinyl before the label ends its run of sample based funk-outs in order to focus on original output. Catskills artist Feature Cast gets busy with a bunch of accapellas including a certain woman of the ghetto over an uptempo horn heavy funk groove. On the flip the mysterious QDUP foundation drown a cavalcade of classic hip-hop samples over a loose mid tempo bump.
Review: A really cool concept from Expansion here; one side is a reissued seminal classic, the other is a contemporary version. And what a way to start the start the series; hard bop hero Johnny Hammond influenced pretty much every soul, jazz, rare groove and funk artist who've followed in his path, and the joyously unpredictable "Los Conquistadores Chocolates" is one of his best. Naturally Japanese jazz outfit Quasimode are an ideal remix choice. Known for their wildstyle riffage and signature switches, they've paid the utmost respect to Hammond.
Review: Fans of QASB, Tokyo's foremost classic funk act, are in for a treat this week with two 7" hunks of high octane brass and drums business from the band issued through their regular home Soul Garden. By know you know QASB worship at the altar of prime '70s funk and what makes the band so special is the clear mastery of their art and the way their cuts are so damn danceable. Lead singer Amy A is key to horn heavy A Side "You're the Music" which has some killer breaks whilst the flipside instrumental cut sees her take a break to let the players lay down some heat.
Review: Amy A and her QASB cohorts come through with the second of two Soul Garden 7"s that really reaffirm their status as Tokyo's foremost exponents of the funk. QASB may be well schooled in the art of '70s funk but the lead cut here, "Fly", has a markedly more contemporary edge to it, and features some of Amy A's most powerful singing yet! As with most 45s from the band, the flip sees QASB flexing their instrumental muscles to the max on "Jaguar" a swift three minute exercise in how to rule on the horns!
Review: Long-serving Japanese band QASB tend to have two musical modes. Their releases are either sweet and soulful or funky and fulsome. This 7" definitely sits in the latter category. A-side "Get Down" is a cheery, up-tempo workout full of rising orchestration, bouncy disco-funk grooves, jazz-funk flourishes and a vocal from A Yu Mi urging us to shake our stuff on the floor. The party continues on the mostly instrumental flipside "Double Decker", a sumptuous, all-action affair full of sparring instrument solos, sweaty disco drum breaks and dreamy freestyle vocal improvisations. It reminded us a little of Pleasure's "Joyous", which is no bad thing.
Review: In amidst a veritable deluge of seven inch-shaped sharpness from Japan's crucial Soul Garden label this week comes this absolute must grip 45 session from Q.A.S.B. The nine-piece Tokyo funkateers have been holding it down since 2005 and this seven picks out a horn heavy highlight from last year's Q.A.S.B. III LP in the shape of "Good Guy." Throwing down a similar vibe to the Quantic Soul Orchestra, this track is all about the lead vocal from Amy A and those warm, tooting horns. Face down and QASB engage flipmode, slowing the tempo down and cranking the sass up on "Bad Boy". If seven inches were vegetables this would be one hot pepper!
Review: Cover versions don't come much sweeter (or respectful) than this epic two part homage to the Babe Ruth classic. A reissue of last year's 300-only press, part 1 sees the Japanese funk band laying down the foundations, paying deference to the original with their own upbeat twist. Part 2, however, is where they really let loose with each instrumentalist taking lead on the solos. With Hammond-hammering and screaming horns galore, QASB have delivered something very special here.
Review: The many faces and fusions of James Reeno continue as NYC drop another white hot, super-limited 45". Concentrated funk is main message across both sides as James switches persona and hooks up with inspiring compadres along the way. "Funk Weapon" lives up to its name as Reeno's bubbling bass zips and zaps beneath some salubrious guitar work from Mano Reza. "Don't Funk Wid Us" sees him donning a trippier, more introspective funk as Kozmik Funk. Loaded with Oakland's finest E.Live on the pads and peppered with subtle talkbox tones, the message is clear: it's not a good idea to funk with these cats. Essential.
Review: Flourishes of screaming Hammond organ and a distinct 1960s feel a la Kinks dominate the A Side here on this killer 7'' from the Qualitons. Flip over for ''Margit,'' a pulsating bass-led funk instrumental with a dose of fat back drums and a tasty brass section.
Atlantic Oscillations (The Maghreban remix) (6:18)
Atlantic Oscillations (Disco dub) (5:47)
Review: Since he's such a prolific collaborator and creator of bands, it's easy to overlook the fact that Will Holland hasn't released a solo album as Quantic for almost five years. "Atlantic Oscillations", then, is a welcome return - particularly since Tru Thoughts boss Robert Luis thinks it's Holland's "most cohesive and intricate album to date". It's certainly a strong collection, with Holland wrangling multiple styles, tempos and musical influences to create cuts that defy easy categorization. While there are downtempo moments, "Atlantic Oscillations" includes more bona-fide club cuts then he's delivered in recent years, with sun-kissed disco cut "September Blues", Cuban disco-funk workout "Atlantic Oscillations" and Afro-Latin house bumper "Motivic Retrograde" standing out.
Quantic feat Spanky Wilson - "When You're Through"
DJ Aeon Seven - "Funky Furious"
Review: Another sampler from the recent Modern Funk compilation, mapping the biggest players of 2007 in the funk world.
Retaining the style and ethics of original funk compositions, but giving them a new millennial twist, these 2 tracks
should see some action on the dancefloor. Kicking things off is living legend Spanky Wilson, responsible for the
anthemic cover of 'Sunshine Of Your Love', an end of night classic at clubs the world over. Hooking up with the
closest contender to James Brown's crown as 'the hardest working man in show-business' - Mr Will Holland (aka
Quantic), this is one of the finest examples of old meeting new and it works a treat! On the flip, a relative newcomer
to the funk scene, France's Aeon Seven gives us a drum heavy workout with some fat horns and fresh Hammond
thrown into the mix.
Review: The Quantic Soul Orchestra, an outfit specialising in all things jazz-related, has been led by the incorrigible Will Holland since 2001, and the group haven't put their foot off the break since they started; if you're looking for some ace, funk-fuelled harmonics with a 'cool' edge then you've come to the right place. This tidy new 7", out through Soulful Torino Records' sweet sublabel Tropical Tigers, kicks off with the warm, bubbly vocals of Kabir who has a little Tom Jones in him from the off and, just so we're clear, the man is handsomely backed by a sweet jazz-funk swing that would have sat very well with the likes of the Kudu catalogue from back in the day. The flip, Louis Soulful's edit, evolves into a deep, tidy, piano-led excursion that will render the original cut a monster out on the dance floor.
Review: Tear shaped vinyl! If that doesn't get your attention, the audio most certainly will. Taken from last year's collaborative album between Alice and Quantic, "I'd Cry" is a serenade of weeping strings and sentimental pianos coated with Alice's honey-dewed dulcets. "Here Again" is delivered on a sumptuous bed of drama. All staccato flutes, big horn back drops and more emphatic Russell goodness. Whether you have the album Look Around The Corner or not, this super-limited, lovely looking vinyl genuinely is essential.
Review: Look Around The Corner sees two of Tru Thoughts most successful artists reunite in the shape of Will Quantic Holland and Alice Russell. When the two have previously collaborated, the results have mostly been dipped in magic and lovingly various - compare the heaving funk of "Pushin On" with the more delicate "Sweet Calling". "Look Around The Corner" is the title track from the album of the same name, and it unfurls into a delightfully soulful flutter of instrumentation delivered by Quantic's world-renowned outfit the Combo Barbaro. It can't help but recall The Rotary Connection and the whole track is lifted beyond the clouds by Russell's immediately distinctive voice.
I'll Keep A Light In My Window (Direct To Disc version)
Review: Super limited Record Store Day release from two established Tru Thoughts acts, with two exclusively live recordings of "Look Around The Corner" and a version of the gospel classic made famous by NYCC, "I'll Keep A Light In My Window". Both were recorded in one take live direct to disc (a system which bypasses the use of magnetic tape) and features Will Quantic's band Combo Barbaro, including musicians from Peru and Columbia flown over to UK especially for the recording. Both releases are simply outstanding, with Alice Russell's vocals soaring in places and gentle in others. Collectable and, quite simply, essential.
Review: Red hot repress: Quantic and Anita Tijoux's 2013 blink-and-miss 45" enjoys a sudden re-front and every ounce of cumbian soul remains intact. The lead track is still one of the best covers of Lauryn Hill on the planet while "Entre Rejas" continues to shock and awe with its sultry, siesta allure. Once again highly limited, once again a beautiful cumbia couplet. Watch out for those accordions.