Review: One of this year's Mercury Prize nominees, Wisdom Of Elders sees London saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings hitting a new ambitious high as he recorded the whole body of work with a troupe of South African musicians led by Mandla Mlangeni in one single day. Aptly described as afro-futurism, the collective melt down nuances of jazz, psychedelia and traditional South African music to paint a unique picture that's delightfully frenzied yet soulfully smooth all at once. From the big Rhodes washes and vocal textures of "The Observer" to the dramatic percussive tumbles and lonely trumpet of "The Observed" by way of epic multi-suite adventures such as "The Sea" and the incendiary opener "Mzwandile", Wisdom Of Elders lives up to its name with a spirit that's at once both future and timeless.
Review: This debut album from Jo'burg via Doncaster's Skinny Pelembe comes with a weight of expectation. The distinctive soul maverick has been turning heads with his output on Gilles Peterson's Brownswood Recordings for the past two years, and now he's come good on the promise of those singles and EPs with a wonderful, many-sided LP that oozes personality, depth, and a dusty, hand-wrought musicality that hits on an instinctive level. There are flurries of broken beats, low slung wood-carved percussion, rugged neo soul and weather-beaten funk aplenty, with the lines between organic and electronic beautifully blurred. This album deserves to be huge, positioning Pelembe as a vital new talent in the vanguard of UK soul music.