Review: There is lots to love about this one, from the tongue-in-cheek BBC moniker assumed by Bovell Brown and Cobby, to the unapologetic title, and of course on to the music. "Quality Weed" is a deep cut, heavy rolling rhythm with pitched down vocals that perfectly match the stoner mood. A noodling top line invites you to follow it to a higher state of consciousness and the warmth of the bass is truly irresistible. The remix on the flip is more upbeat and funkier thanks to the tight bass riff that rumbles away under the more house leaning drums.
Review: Reggae vocal prodigy Sandra Cross famously had her first hit at just 14 years old, and since then has remained a foundational part of the worldwide scene. Having worked with vital names like Mad Professor and Sly & Robbie, Cross has put out more than 60 odd tunes to date. Scoops continue their spotlight on her with a big new 7" that has contemporary dub riddims overlaid with her gloriously sunny and positive voice. "Jah Love" is the sort of timeless tune that works in any setting and any weather, while the "Version" on the flip packs a more direct punch.
Goody Gap & The Inn House Crew - "Madness Badness" (feat Vin Gordon) (4:16)
Goody Gap & The Inn House Crew - "Madness Badness" (feat Vin Gordon - version) (4:19)
Review: The Inn House Crew has been serving up the platters that matter on Room In The Sky long enough to have a firm following by now. Once again they bring rather melancholic vibes to this new one. "Madness Badness" feat. Vin Gordon is a flabby dub with pillow bass and rounded drums, but the trumpets that ring out are beautifully muted and sombre. Flip over for an alternative version that's more amped up and direct for those who are after something more energetic. Whichever side you go for, this is one you will want to add to your collection.
Review: All aboard the Zion Train for a fantastic first single from the artists' forthcoming 2020 album "Illuminate". This one features Prince Jamo of Black Rose studio working the rhythm and a host of musicians including Paolo Baldini of internationally renowned Dubfiles project on live bass and guitars and production from Perch. "Politrix" boasts chest pumping and rousing militant vibes with flabby bass and roots trumpet calls getting you up and moving. The dub version on the flip is just as hot and makes for a fine taster of what promises to be a standout album next year.
Review: In 2016 the Olympians - an all-star soul combo featuring members of The Dap-Kings, The Expressions and the Menahan Street Band - landed on Daptone with a fine debut album. Three years on, the Toby Pazner helmed group returns to action with a brand new "45". A-side "Midnight Movement" is a particularly sweet and ear-pleasing affair, with the band layering sweeping strings and lilting horn parts over a jaunty, piano-dominated instrumental soul groove. Over on side B, "Stand Tall" is a sharper, punchier and slightly funkier affair, with the band's fuzzy horns and fluttering flute solos rising above a Blaxploitation era-influenced backing track.
Review: Earlier this year, Durand Jones and the Indications delivered one of the revivalist soul albums of 2019: the conscious, politically charged "American Love Call". Their latest "45" boasts one of the album's standout moments, "Morning In America", a weary but impassioned commentary on Trump's United States that features evocative strings, laidback 60s soul grooves and a stunning lead vocal from Durand Jones. It comes backed by previously unheard cut "Cruisin' To The Park", a lusciously sugary, heartfelt and loved-up affair where drummer Aaron Frazer handles lead vocals. Like the A-side, it's a stunning slice of emotion-stirring soul.
Review: Is this pop? Is this experimental? These are the thoughts that will have crossed many minds when encountering the kind of baffle Jai Paul offers. A guy who seems intent on creating curveball works of art, "BTSTU" in many ways is minimalist stuff, save for the concepts behind the sounds. Or at least its structures give the illusion of minimalism. From the first waterfall of synth to the way in which vocals are allowed to (quite literally) speak for themselves - a multitude of characters with one voice - it's at once bound for the charts and your bookshelf of classic works.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Thule are back on the Icelandic techno reissue trip, this time returning to a serious classic from Sanasol (Yagya & Thor) that originally came out in 1997. This particular, highly sought after, gem leads in with the majorly heady house throb of "Seveneleven (Original Mix)" which piles the dubby processing and lush melodics on heavy while still retaining a sense of airiness to uplift the soul. By contrast, the "Closedonsundays Mix" focuses on a tough but crooked beat and that undulating bassline for a completely different flavour. On the flip, the "Sanaramalonger Mix" returns to the mellower flow of the original but with a more submerged finish and some pronounced dub stabs. Then the "Ozzy Mix" finishes the package with a minimal take that prefigures the upsurge of dubby clicks n' cuts laptop beats that would explode in the years to come. Essential tackle for all deep techno explorers.
Review: Shahr Farang continues to blossom as a label, primarily as a vessel for the work of Sohrab Karimi and Rasul Gafarov, better known as Ahu and Lenta respectively. On this occasion, Ahu and Lenta have teamed up to present some intriguing clippings from two separate improvised studio jams. As is customary with the label, the primary mode of expression is minimal techno shrouded in hazy textures and atmospheric matter, but it veers more towards the kind of clicks and cuts you'd expect from a classic Scape record than anything geared towards the dancefloor. The steady tick of a 4/4 kick means this music isn't necessarily consigned to the headphones though - the right kind of warm up slot or backroom could be just the place to melt into these delicate productions.
Review: J Room steps up with a contribution to the minimal tech house conversation that sees emergent artist Jale making a strong statement with three powerful original tracks and a remix from Cosmjn. Jale's style leans on Detroit string synths for a sense of melancholic grandeur, and densely packed rhythm sections that bump as much as they punch. "Orbital Dream" takes things in a dreamy after hours direction, and "Eclipse" works up some rugged synth trysts that snap around a subtly broken beat. Cosmjn's remix of "Orbital Dream" is not to be slept on either as it subtly adjusts the accent of the groove to make an immersive tech house roller par excellence.
Review: Cheeky upstart label Club Of Jacks follows up on a strong opening statement with this boisterous bout of house workouts geared towards the peak time. "Follow Me" is on a serious garage flex, with rude bass, hooky sax leads and some naughty breaks chops all feeding into the melting pot. "Bring It Back" is a more soulful jam with some great vocal licks and sweet piano leads, while "Need Your Loving" keeps the heartfelt heat up with another powerful diva vocal and a buttery smooth bassline. "Don't Know You" takes things deeper without losing that powerful vocal presence, providing a perfect balance to this solid, all-rounder house 12".
Review: Amato brings the kind of nasty electro business that fits right in on Helena Hauff's mighty Return To Disorder stable, and you know it's serious from the opening strains of the VHS noir monster "Escape From Grenoble 2018". "Hydraulic Funk" takes things slower, coming on like a freaky Frak flipside and sounding excellent for it. "Machine Outil" takes things in a more muscular direction that sounds built for bench presses and body jerks - the consummate peak time sledgehammer. Umwelt takes this sturdy starting point and demolishes it into a hailstorm of acid malevolence that'll melt your face clean off.
Review: Heavy co-lab business, Bristol boys Mako and Mikal tag-up for a serious lesson on Mako's Utopia. "Under The Earth" takes the lead and you can spot the breaks as they fly by, all switching and cutting almost every beat at points before suddenly dropping out of the mix and leaving you in a bewilderingly oceanic breakdown. "Switch It", meanwhile, lives up to its name with a fantastically strange beat. Kinda 4/4 in spirit, there's a new sound lurking in this which is only just being explored here. Switch? Completely flip things beyond belief more like.
M&M Vs Andrei Swipe - "Analog Express" (Don Carlos remix) (7:29)
Review: There's an undeniable air of quality that lingers over the 12"s emerging on 14th Level Of Paradise, the mysterious label presenting originals, edits and repressed tracks for true house devotees. First up is a little known track from Sasha Makin and Suntetic, given a shimmering polish by Don Carlos and Steven Perri to become a heavy funking masterpiece, before Joe Claussell drops in a percussive dub delight on Monday Michiru's "Higher". On the flip, Vincent Inc and LA get things pumping with the slow but chunky, jazz-licked "Red Room", before Carlos returns for another deep house reverie as he remixes M&M and Andrei Swipe's "Analog Express".