Review: Earlier in the month, Parisian producer Afshin joined forces with Kiss My Black Jazz and served up a brilliant, two-track missive of jazz-funk and blues-house reworks on G.A.M.M. Here they reunite for round two. This time round, they begin by reworking a shuffling, chant-along Afro-Brazilian gem of unknown origin, extending the carnival-ready percussive intro before unleashing the shuffling, sun-kissed samba rhythm and some of the sweetest vocals this side of a sing-along in a chocolate factory. Over on side B they give a similar tune to a killer chunk of reggae-funk fusion rich in warm dub bass, bongo-laden beats, bluesy guitar solos, fuzzy horns and James Brown style guttural vocals.
Review: Bouncing his time between Antibalas and his Marcos Garcia and Chico Mann projects, Chico returns after several years of silence with a sweet slice of lolloping broken soul. With its soft padded synths and cotton wool hug of Kendra Morris's vocals, there's a delicate tumble to proceedings as we nod and slide into a sound that's remained in its own soul universe since emerging almost 20 years ago. When done as well and with as much authenticity as this, it's timeless.
Review: UK legend Dego and killer keys-man Kaidi Tatham have been in a rich vein of form of late, dropping brilliant EPs on Eglo, Sound Signature and Rush Hour (the latter under their 2000Black alias). Here, they return to Eglo with four more slices of warm, rich, soul-flecked fluidity. As with previous outings, much of the material has a laidback jazz-funk feel, particularly "Orbiting Uhara" and the delicious "The Vault Descends" (think bustling bruk rhythms and darting boogie synths). They also offer up some tougher, synth-laden bruk-funk in the shape of "Man Made", while "Black Is Key" sees them unfurl a head-nodding vocal roller.
Review: Yes Eglo! Alex Nut and crew turn to two elder statesmen of London beat science in Dego and Kaidi Tatham for a killer induction into the art of crafting 'broken beat bullets'. For those who don't possess the necessary knowledge, Dego is the most familiar handle of Dennis McFarlane, founding member of 4Hero and responsible for so much good music over the years, and Tatham has an equally important role in the whole Broken Beat movement, being an integral member of the Bugz In the Attic collective. The pair have worked together previously on numerous occasions and they are on top form here with lead track "Ankle Injury" demonstrating a perfect balance of melody and crafty rhythm. Imagine Theo and Floating Points collaborating and your heads in the right spot to enjoy this track and "Acting Up On That Shit Don't Count" which is the sort of music you could imagine RAMP to be making if they were on the rise today. Do check the sumptuous piano and Rhodes vibes on final cut "Carrots & Sesame"!!
Review: The first release from the Axis Audiophile Series. Jeff Mills has formed an electronic jazz fusion band and this 12? is a recording of their recent performance in Kobe during the TodaysArt.JP Festival. Mills manages the decks, drums and percussion and is joined Detroit legend and Underground Resistance stalwart Gerald Mitchell (Los Hermanos/Galaxy 2 Galaxy), keyboardist Yumiko Ohno and bassist Kenji Jino. "Eventide" has the same kind of urban, uplifting soul as anything Kaidi Thatham or Mark de Clive-Lowe have made and isn't bad at all! On the flip "Happy Gamma Ray" features uplifting keys and emotive chords backed by funk bass and one of Mills' unmistakeable 909 drum machine workouts. It really seems that there's no limit to this Motor City legend's creativity which has spanned nearly 30 years and we're excited about this new chapter in the Wizard's sonic universe.
Review: Under the K15 alias, Kieran Ifill has been responsible for some wonderful deep, expansive and soulful music on Eglo, Wild Oats, Lo Recordings and WotNot Music. Here he returns to the latter for the first time in four years. He hits his stride straight away with "Be Glad You Create Anything", a sparkling, mid-tempo shuffler that wraps darting, Kaidi Tatham style jazz-funk synth motifs around loose and languid beats and a suitably warm and attractive bassline. Ifill's love of fluid piano lines, eyes-closed electronics and dreamy chords once again comes to the fore on 120 BPM deep bumper "Communion", before the producer treats us to the deliciously loved-up, poignant and sumptuous head-nodding bliss that is fine closer "You're Alive (There's Still Time)". In a word: superb.
Review: Eglo Records' 10th birthday celebrations are in full swing. They've already notched up a riotous birthday party that got rave reviews, and later in the year will release a brand new compilation of previously unheard treats. It's this collection that's being trailed here via Kieran "K15" Ifill's "Devotion", a dancefloor-focused chunk of soul-flecked broken beat that Ego co-founder Alexander Nut recently described as "music for the mind, body and soul". Over on the flip there's a vinyl-only exclusive in the shape of Ifill's remix of Patrick Gibin and Javonntte's recent jazz-funk fired soulful house workout "Cloud 9". Ifill opts for a heavy bruk-up flavour, wrapping soulful musical elements from the original around punchy, loose-limbed beats and speaker-bothering low-end pressure.
Review: Dave Aju, Alland Byallo, Kenneth Scott and Marc Smith joined together as KAMM, resulting in a mini-album called Kick Drunk Love for marcel Vogel's Amsterdam based label Intimate Friends.iDescribed in a press release as being influenced by the artists' "love of early '90s MoWax era laid-back beats," it features Barrite on lead vocals (with Byallo and Scott also contributing vocals), Smith on guitar, Byallo on trumpet and Scott on Moog synth. There's a couple guest appearances as well: Damian Schwartz plays some bass on "Sidewalks" and Eureka provides "a hell of a [vacuum] rev" on "Stage Left."
Review: Since the success of his breathlessly good debut album 99.9% in 2016, Kaytranada has become one of the most in-demand producers on the future R&B and leftfield hip-hop scenes. Here he takes a break from remixing Robert Glasper and producing Craig David records to drop three high-grade instrumental versions of tracks included on last year's U.S-only "Nothin Like U" EP. "Chances", a gorgeous mix of spacey chords, crunchy MPC beats, intergalactic synths and lilting melodies, sets the tone, before he reaches for the pianos on the low-down fusion of twinkling pianos, rolling beats and raw bass that is "It Was Meant 2 B". Closer "Track 3", meanwhile, is a sparkling slab of unfussy positivity.
Vocoder So Sexy (Quad IBB's Funk-Trib original mix)
Vocoder So Sexy (instrumental)
Review: Donnie Tempo has only appeared once previously as Knu Je', and that was way back in 2001. Now the alias is revived on Sound Reflection in a shimmering, twirling expression of broken beat and boogie sensibilities for those who like their beats soul n' sun drenched. It's actually his Quad IBB alias that serves up the "original mix" of "Vocoder So Sexy", and it's nothing short of stunning. The rich layers of vocals cavort with the expressive key changes and sharply angled beats, making for a truly striking cut that sounds equally fresh in its instrumental form on the B side.
David Tapfuma - "Magamba" (Esa Zimtronix Direct mix) (5:19)
Review: This compilation style outing from Southern African music enthusiasts Nyami Nyami is billed as "an ode to the music of Zimbabwe past and future". Side A boasts cuts from two Bulawayo-based "Kwela" outfits: a terrific, heavily percussive future dub interpretation of Bulawayo Kwela's "Mysterious Africa" by The Comet Is Coming producer Danalogue, and the sparse, sun-kissed acoustic bliss of Elliot Phiri's "Nomalanga". Turn to the flip for two versions of Hararre-based David Tapfuma's beautiful "Magumba". There's the original version, where Tapfuma sings over a solo mbira melody, and a superbly glassy-eyed, synth-heavy 21st century club version by Auntie Flo collaborator (and hugely talented producer) Esa Williams. As good as the rest of the EP is, his version is worth the admission price on its own.
Review: Hot on the heels of "Mission" earlier this year, Shuya Okino's Kyoto Jazz Sextet troupe present another gem from last year's Unity album complete with a remix of the highest calibre. This time the cascading, Latin rhythm and frenetic horn leads of "Rising" are given the midas dancefloor touch by none other than Ron Trent. Maintaining the wily spirit of the original while coating in warm organ blasts and subtly bumping kicks, it's a precision translation that brings the original into a whole new context.
Paul Randolph, Kathy Kosins & Theo Parrish - "Be Like Me" (SS translation) (9:41)
John Douglas, Amp Fiddler, Ideeyah & Theo Parrish - "Leave The Funk To Us" (full mix) (6:37)
Review: Theo Parrish's "Gentrified Love" series hits its fourth instalment with two stunning extensions/takes. First up is a powerful expansion of "Leave The Funk To Us". First spotted on the second edition of the series, it's now full length with the golden touch of Amp Fiddler. "Be Like Me", meanwhile, takes Paul Randolph & Kathy Kosins' Brownswood Bubbler to a whole new cosmos with lavish twists and cleverly subverted layers. Yet another precision trip from Parrish.
Review: It was only a matter of time before Henry Wu and K15 would link up with London's Eglo, and their respective prior releases for the likes of Wild Oats, Rhythm Section and 22a have earned them a spot in one of the finest house and broken beat labels around. "Love's Gambit" is a perfect example of the latter genre, a sublime blend of jazzy percussion swings and smooth melodic drifts, followed by the even more soulful bounces of the gentle "Space & Time" - one for the jazz fusion heads! "The Anthem" heads towards more housey spheres thanks to its stable beat pattern - it-s an absolute peach of a tune, by the way - but it's "Shahada" that governs the dancefloor with its rough MPC drum programming and finger-licking synth rotations. A beautiful and fitting addition to the catalogue.
Review: DJ, producer, multi-instrumentalist, singer... Kalabrese's talents know no bounds. Naturally his range is equally bountiful, but nothing in his past discography matches the colour, warmth and scope of this extensive second album. Ranging from the WhoMadeWho style lollops of the title track to the ghostly Blakey echoes of "Das Haus Am Fluss", the Zurich-based artist has polished his technique with finesse. With a delivery that's not far off a young Byrne, and an ability to conjure up some very interesting studio sounds (case in point: the fluctuating bass on "Makossa"), Kalabrese has hit a rich vein of form. Available as a special gatefold vinyl and CD package, this is a very wise investment opportunity.
Review: Is there a more genuinely eclectic producer than Kalbata operating right now? We certainly can't think of one. Over the last decade and a half he's turned his hand to everything from dub, techno, dubstep and electro to Balearic beats, downtempo grooves and inspired musical fusions that simply cannot be categorized. His latest excursion - made in cahoots with five-piece Israeli band Tigris -falls into the latter category, offering up a brilliant blend of African and Caribbean rhythms, Turkish psych-funk organ solos, off-kilter electronics, wavy ambient chords and glistening guitars. It's hard to accurately describe but brilliantly produced and hugely entertaining. Don't sleep on this one!