Music Reviews

Show: New reviews | Artists beginning with: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0-9 | Compilations
Night Dreamer Direct to Disc Sessions / Seu Jorge & Roge

Seu Jorge & Roge - Night Dreamer Direct to Disc Sessions

Night Dreamer

Seu Jorge & Roge have built a friendship going back 25 years. Although they grew up together in Rio De Janeiro and wrote songs they've never recorded together until now. Due to scheduling conflicts they didn't have time for rehearsing so the recording for this duet was done in one session. Based on the results that's all they needed. This stripped down acoustic recording is accompanied by two percussionists, Peu Meurray and Pretinho da Serrinha. Roge's falsetto vocals lead off on "Meu Brasil" followed by Jorge's regal baritone against the backdrop of sweeping brushes and percussion. Their vocals intertwine seamlessly on "Pra Voce Amigo". "Onda Carioca" is a festive composition with a tasty guitar groove that culminates the recording. Seven splendid songs performed by two of Brazil's finest vocalists. A delightful album that shouldn’t be missed.

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Reg Dancy, 02/20

Rainer Trueby Presents Soulgliding / Various Artists

Various Artists - Rainer Trueby Presents Soulgliding

BBE

"Soulgliding", the compilation courtesy of DJ/Producer Rainer Trueby is a breezy collection of late seventy early eighties mellow grooves and boogie tunes. It's a gorgeous compilation of hidden gems from familiar artists as well as the obscure. A nice reminder that among the synth heavy party jams there were plenty of melodic compositions worthy of repeated spins today. The dreamy soundscapes of Peter Brown's "Without Love" sets the mood with meditative rhythms. "Lady Of The Night" is mellow soul jazz courtesy of LA composer Les Hooper. "It Ain't No Big Thing" is an infectious mid-tempo boogie from Donna McGhee. "Dust To Dust" is sublime spacey soul from Cloud One, the moniker created by Patrick Adams. There are other highlights throughout here that make this a musical paradise you shouldn't miss.

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Reg Dancy, 02/20

The Anthology / Omar

Omar - The Anthology

Freestyle

While scanning the thirty plus track listing for "The Anthology" from Omar, I couldn't help but think how many artists would've rolled out a "Greatest Hits" while barely having half the catalogue that he has under his belt. With that said this is a great opportunity to rejoice in the stunning collection of music from the Don of UK Soul. From early favourites like "There's Nothing Like This", The Anthology is a lovely trip down memory lane with timeless recordings. "Best By Far" is an underrated record if that's even possible. it's left-field soul that's still sounds brand new. Let's not forget the notable duets he has shared the mic with over the years. "Be Thankful" with Erykah Badu, "Who Chooses The Seasons" with Carleen Anderson and of course "Feeling You" with Stevie Wonder. That's not all, "Pass It On", a mid-tempo funky number featuring Terri Walker is one of two new tracks here along with "Long Time Coming". Seriously, you should have most of these songs already but if you don't then you need this this in your collection now. This is simply a great selection from the Man who is still at the top of his game. Salute!

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Reg Dancy, 02/20

Maria Maria / Milton Nascimento

Milton Nascimento - Maria Maria

Far Out Recordings

Far Out recordings presents "Maria Maria" a classic recording from Milton Nascimento. Originally recorded in 1976, it features some of Brazil's most revered musicians such as the late Nana Vasconcelos and Joao Donato. The concept of "Maria Maria" came from a show conceived by himself and songwriter Fernando Brant based on the composite life story of the daughter of a black slave called Maria. Nascimento wrote the music while Brant wrote the lyrics but they both collaborated on the title track. This cinematic production is filled with spoken word interludes bridged between Nascimento's smoothing vocals and folk flavoured compositions. Highlights include "Trabalhos" and "Os Escravos De Jo", the latter is a spirited composition that features Toninho Horta on guitar along with vocalists such as Nana Caymmi, Fala de Belem and Beto Guedes. Nascimento's love of cinema is brought to life here and is falsetto vocals lifts these compositions to another level. For long time fans these previous hard to find recordings are a must have. For newcomers this is a great introduction for one of Brazil's most treasured vocalists.

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Reg Dancy, 02/20

Starts Again / Tawiah

Tawiah - Starts Again

First Word

Singer songwriter Tawiah has been a staple in the South London music scene with numerous guest appearances and a couple of EPs under her belt. Her heavenly vocals has taken lead for The Cinematic Orchestra, Eric Lau and many more. "Starts Again" is her full length début and sounds nothing like what she's done before. That being said the ten track lp is a brilliant stripped down session that weaves together her musical outlook while chronicling her life journey. "Recreate" starts out with a rumbling drum beat and a bass heavy groove. "Borders" is a soul pop tune filled with a joyous chorus that spreads her message that her love has no boundaries. "How Much Left" floats with warm string arrangements courtesy of Miquel Atwood Ferguson. Co-Produced by Sam Beste and notable contributions from Sharlene Hector, Rahel Debebe Dessalegne among others. This is a superb outing from an ultra talented vocalist.

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Reg Dancy, 02/20

11th Street Sekondi / Gyedu Blay Ambolley

Gyedu Blay Ambolley - 11th Street Sekondi

Agogo

Ghanian legend Gyedu Blay Ambolley has been a staple of West Ghana since his début in 1973. The seventy two year old vocalist and saxophonist follows up his acclaimed 2017 release "Ketan" with "11th Street Sekondi", named after the area he grew up in West Ghana. Ambolley has performed alongside legends such as Fela Kuti and Ebo Taylor. The nine track touches social and political topics while blending genres better known within the region as Highlife. "I No Dey Talk I Do Dey Lie" is a slow burning funk with soulful horns and afrobeat rhythms. "Sunkwa" begins with a flurry of horns and a funky guitar groove. Ambolley's vocal style is more like his signature rap style known as Simigwa. Factor in his baritone voice and Tenor sax prowess and you're in for a treat. "11th Street Sekondi" is warm, funky and engaging. Ambolley's career, already filled with accolades is showing no signs of slowing down.

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Reg Dancy, 01/20

All Rise / Michele Manzo

Michele Manzo - All Rise

Darker Than Wax

Italian native multi-instrumentalist Michele Manzo's release "All Rise" flows from boom bap beats to laid back grooves. He demonstrates an ability to blend drum progarmming with live instrumentation seamlessly. "Crackablackalacka" is neck snapping hip-hop featuring Dudley Perkins and Georgia Anne Muldrow. "Train From Cali" is an mellow instrumental that oozes with warm vibes. Nicolas Ryan Gant's elevates the funky track "The Best" with his smooth vocals. A solid offering from the talented musician/producer that's certainly worth checking out.

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Reg Dancy, 01/20

Batik / Gabriele Poso

Gabriele Poso - Batik

Soundway Records

Percussionist Gabriele Poso returns with "Batik", his first release on Soundway records. He first appeared on Osunlade's Yoruba records label in 2008 and has recorded for Infra Com, BBE, and Agogo as well. Poso along with his Organik trio compose a brillant album ripe with Afro-Cuban rhythms merged with jazz and house. The title track kicks off the disc with Poso on vocals alongside a heavenly chorus layered over a potent groove, tropical beats and moog synths. "Equitoreal" also makes a splash with thunderous percussion, hi hat rhythms and a sensual house groove. "Goldfish" is a blissful instrumental that will instantly create images of blue skies in the Caribbean. Poso lends his vocals on most of the recordings while enlisting renowned vocalists such as Nailah Porter, Nina Rodriguez, Quetzal Guerrero and Sofia Rolio. DJ/Producer Kiko Navarro provides the right balance of beats and programming to make you want to dance or simply kick back and listen. Poso is developing into one of the premier percussionists on the scene today and this album is evidence of that.

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Reg Dancy, 01/20

Expanse / Sefi Zisling

Sefi Zisling - Expanse

Tru Thoughts

The Tel Aviv music scene has blessed us with some amazing musicians in recent years, none more impressive than trumpeter Sefi Zisling. His sophomore album "Expanse" is filled with warm cozy grooves and captures the spirit of 60s soul jazz groups like Jimmy Smith and Grant Green. Zisling recorded this in a live session with an array of talented musicians and they stay firmly in the pocket. "Happy Solar Return" is a nine minute afrobeat inspired number that features multi-instrumentalist Kutiman and fueled by Idan Kupferberg on percussion "Ongoing Morning" is a slow and dreamy ballad that showcases Zisling's clean tone. The finale is a sixteen bouncy soul groove jam session certain to get your toes tapping. Zisling embraces the groundwork of the pioneers before him while pushing the music forward. Ensuring that you're gonna have a funky good time.

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Reg Dancy, 01/20

Downundaground / Various Artists

Various Artists - Downundaground

La Sape

The talent from Melbourne continues to flow like water from the faucet. They're the gift that keeps on giving and "Downundaground" is evidence of that. This sparkling compilation features up and coming Australian musicians directed by veteran instrumentalist Horatio Luna. For starters the JK Group is a band to keep an eye on. "Nutha One" is spirited jazz fusion with a funky groove and a touch of broken beat. Antiphon is another group to place on your radar. "Spartan" is cosmic funk with heavy synths and an infectious groove. Big Chief is a collective of musicians that was originally a side project of the rising group 30/70. Fronted by Horatio Luna, "Later That Day" is a ten minute journey of experimental jazz infused house. The only quibble is there's only seven songs yet each track is a potent recording. Make room in your daily rotation for this one. An impressive recording that's worthy of repeated listens.

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Reg Dancy, 01/20

Mathias Modica presents Kraut Jazz Futurism / Various Artists

Various Artists - Mathias Modica presents Kraut Jazz Futurism

Kryptox

In recent years Berlin has become a musical hotspot for creative musicians, specifically for electronic music. It's time to make room for Jazz as well. Mathias Modica's "Kraut Jazz Futurism" is proof of that. The sixteen track compilation features the emerging talent on the German scene showcasing their home grown influences. Karl Hector and The Malcouns might be the most familiar among the bands on this disc. Their brand of Krautrock: groove drenched afrobeat rhythms are on display here with "Orange Man". The Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra are an impressive 20 piece international collective led by Berlin composer Daniel Glatzel. "J Schleia" is a dynamic eleven minute odyssey that glides through various styles ranging from jazz to classical. "Free" (Get Yourself Together) is infectious psychedelic jazz rock by the Torben Unit band. "The Flood" is filled with cinematic soundscapes and classical arrangements courtesy of saxophonist and Composer Ralph Heidel. As far as compilations go this is an absolute gem that offers something for everyone. You'll feel as though you've entered a portal into a blossoming musical community. Enjoy your stay, you won't be disappointed.

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Reg Dancy, 01/20

Lake / 3TM

3TM - Lake

We Jazz

Drummer Teppo Makynen one third of 3TM started out with the critically acclaimed "Form". They followed that up with "Abyss" serving as a prelude to their new release "Lake". Tenor sax man Jussi Kannaste and bassist Antti Lotjonen complete the trio. Together they navigate through nine thematic compositions centered around the elements of natural scenery. On the title track Kannaste's soloing is restrained yet ebbs and flows while Makynen's cymbal sound and subtle use of electronics creates an atmospheric landscape. "Suburban Portraits" opens with warped synths that comes and goes while Kannaste soloing navigates through the ambient terrain. There's little use for fireworks here, rather everyone simply surrenders to the needs of the song and in this case that's more than enough. Makynen has compose a compelling piece of work here that's pure bliss from start to finish.

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Reg Dancy, 01/20

Th3rd / Brisa

Brisa - Th3rd

Bastard Jazz

Fukuoka, Japan based DJ/Producer Brisa has delighted us with an array of soulful house, drum n bass and other infectious grooves since his début lp "Elevation Perception in 2008. During that time he has become one of the première DJ/Producers on the scene today. On his latest full length release "Th3rd" he eschews his signature house arrangements for an assortment of electronic excursions encompassing various tempos. The opening track "Cloudnine" is a mid-tempo tune with warm melodic synths and vocals. "New Way" is a bombastic heater laced with restless drums and bass that we've come to expect from him. "DLMD" is another standout up-tempo track that sparkles with soulful rhodes wizardry and funky percussion. Brisa could've taken the safe route and released another "Wide Awake" lp. Instead he demonstrates his versatility as well as delivering another quality recording.

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Reg Dancy, 01/20

Eglo Records Vol. 2 / Various Artists

Various Artists - Eglo Records Vol. 2

Eglo

Volume 2 of the new Eglo records compilation celebrates ten years in the game. Initially started by Alexander Nut and Sam Shepard aka Floating Points. Shepard has moved on but Nut has carried the mantle of consistency delivering timeless gems ranging from futuristic soul, broken beat, electronica and much more. There have been some notable contributions along the way from artists who have become household names. K15, Fatima and Steve Spacek just to name a few. Spacek is featured on six tracks and each one is marvellous but "If U Wan 2 Find Me" and the cosmic flavored "The Abstract Eye" are standouts. The aforementioned Fatima's career has been ascending from the start. "Phoneline" represents her earlier work with producer Funkineven and the bottom heavy beats of "Somebody Else" is from her latest lp. Australian artists Destiny71z and Natalie Slade are two of the emerging new talents signed to the label. "Foodprogramvoltage" is irresistible left of center house from Destiny71z that combines analog and electronic thumping beats. Slade's "Humidity" is laid back soul and a prelude to her upcoming debut lp which will properly showcase her soulful vocals. There's much more to digest here so you absolutely need this in your collection. Simply put Eglo has been one of the première labels over the last decade and there's no hint that will change any time soon.

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Reg Dancy, 01/20

2 Steps Away / The Pendletons

The Pendletons - 2 Steps Away

Bastard Jazz

Bastard Jazz consistently delivers quality recordings spanning a variety of genres since 2001. "2 Steps Away" the debut lp from The Pendletons is no exception. The duo of E Da Boss and Trailer Limon showcase their love of vintage boogie funk reminiscent of the eighties era that produced so many funk bands. Now armed with a full horn section to mesh with the band, they're set to take their sound to another level. The sublime "Blessings for the World" opens the album with an infectious groove augmented by gorgeous harmonic vocals and keys. Guitarist Jeff Locket's spirited plucking fuels "No Regrets" an uplifting boogie funk banger that would fit easily into a Shalamar or Dynasty catalogue. "19 Flavors" is disco funk at it's best ripe with a thumping rhythm, pulsating groove and vocals by Ishtar to top it off. The Pendletons are all about making that feel good music that slips into your body and forces you to move. If you don't you need to check your pulse.

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Reg Dancy, 12/19

The Pale Queen / Rhi

Rhi - The Pale Queen

Tru Thoughts

Canadian singer songwriter and now London resident Rhi is back with her sophomore release. "The Pale Queen" is filled with haunting down tempo soundscapes and raw unabashed lyrics that made her debut "Reverie" such a success. "Plain Jane" is driven by brooding synths and a heavy bottom. Sensual whispers coat the hypnotic throb of "It Was Love". The tempo picks up a notch with the chill-hop flavored "The Tempter". Chilled out electronica combined with soft spoken vocals makes for the perfect sonic marriage. Rhi pulls it off with ease.

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Reg Dancy, 12/19

Cogito Ergo Jam / Natural Lateral

Natural Lateral - Cogito Ergo Jam

Social Joy

Natural Lateral is a four piece band assembled organically out of frequent jam sessions at the Lazy Robot Studio in North London. The quartet's musical range flows between Brazilian rhythms, modal Jazz and a touch of fusion woven together. "Bossa Blue" kicks the disc off with infectious percussion and warm Brazilian melodies. "Days with Amber" is bluesy modal tune that features Oli Arlotto on sax. "Safe as Sound" is laid back Latin jazz funk laced with a melodic vibaphone groove. Aziz Mustafa, Ozan Nidayi, Malte From and Tim Balasubramaniam make up the rest of the band. Together they've created a relaxed atmosphere with free flowing rhythms that evolve into a deeply satisfying album.

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Reg Dancy, 12/19

Shake It / The New Mastersounds

The New Mastersounds - Shake It

Color-Red

With twenty years in the game The New Mastersounds need no introduction. They continue to be pioneers of funk and soul and their new release "Shake It" doesn't disappoint. As the title suggests they've shaken things up a bit by shedding the fusion from their previous recordings for a grittier funky sound. Acclaimed soul singer Lamar Williams Jr joins the band for this session and immediately puts his stamp on these body shaking recordings. "Let's Go Back" kicks off with Eddie Roberts down south bluesy guitar riff before morphing into New Orleans funk along with soaring vocals from Williams Jr. "Taking Me Down" flourishes with Afrobeat rhythms and lively percussion from Thievery Corporation drummer Jeff Franca. "Kings & Queens" is another heater with funky horns and a soulful rhythm section. From slow burners to high energy grooves NMS have added another jewel in their  crown with another jam packed lp.

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Reg Dancy, 12/19

Sonkei / Ronin Arkestra

Ronin Arkestra - Sonkei

Albert's Favourites

Ronin Arkestra is a Tokyo based collective led by multi-instrumentalist Mark De Clive Lowe. De Clive has assembled some of the première players in Japan's jazz scene for this date. "Sonkei" is filled with rich and engaging compositions driven to greater heights thanks to Wataru Hamasaki on sax and De Clive Lowe on keys. Drummer Nobuaki Fujii from the amazing group Sleepwalker keeps the rhythm at a fever pitch and creates a canvas for everyone to paint figures of color and passion. "Onkochishin" and Cosmic Collisions are evidence of that. The latter finds De Clive Lowe alternating between synths and electronics playing off the explosive horn section. "Circle of Transmigration" is a delight that finds Hamasaki delivering breezy flute melodies The creativity flowing through this session soars from start to finish and leaves you thirsty for more. An exceptional piece of work that belongs every spiritual jazz fan's collection.

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Reg Dancy, 12/19

Crush  / Floating Points

Floating Points - Crush

Ninja Tune

Sam Sheppard aka Floating Points latest release "Crush" was made during a five week period during 2017. Whereas his previous release "Elaenia" was a five year process. No matter the length of time the work of art he continues to release is majestic. Sheppard's utilization of electronics while encompassing a myriad of styles pays dividends once again starting with the opener. "Falaise" brims with intensity, filled with electronic experimentation and strings reaching a climatic fever pitch. "Last Bloom" ratchets up the tempo while providing atmospheric soundscapes. "Environments" starts out melodic and dreamy before shifting the tempo into overdrive. Best you laced those dancing shoes tight. The recordings for this release are more suited for the dance floor as opposed to ambient landscape of "Elaenia". Nonetheless, this is another set of mesmerizing work from Mr Sheppard who continues to push his music forward and beyond.

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Reg Dancy, 12/19

Birds / Da-Lata

Da-Lata - Birds

Kartel Music Group

"Birds", the fourth lp from London collective Da-Lata is destined to warm your soul with warm tropical Brazilian vibes. Originally formed in 1988 by Christian Franck and Patrick Forge, "Birds" is mainly Franck's project with a few long time contributors along for the ride. Among the highlights are the aptly titled "Sway", a blissful Afro-Brazilian tune laced with sparkling percussion and guitar rhythms plus soothing vocals from Vanessa Freeman. "Memory Man" simmers with warm Bossa Nova rhythms and the soulful vocals of Syren Rivers. "To B" is a stripped down acoustic tune with Franck on guitar and warm vocal melodies once again from Freeman. "Thunder Of Silence" is an up-tempo number with an irresistible groove and a funky horn section that features the unmistakable vocals of Bembe Segue. Ten tracks that will sink into your body and fill you up with good musical feelings, "Birds" is a gorgeous recording that shouldn't be missed.

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Reg Dancy, 12/19

Revolutions / Resolution 88

Resolution 88 - Revolutions

Legere

"Revolutions", the third lp from the London based band Resolution 88 is drenched in 70s inspired jazz funk. Tom O'Grady's melodic arrangements elevate the band's sound from the traditional raw funk and soul band. Things get off to a rousing start with "Pitching Up". The track opens up with Tiago Coimbra's funky electric guitar while O'Grady's swirling Rhodes plays well off Alex Hitchcock's tenor. "Runout Groove" has a simmering drum and bass groove. Ric Elsworth's spirited drumming sets the tone for O'Grady's wizardry on rhodes and Coimbra's hypnotic bass. "Tracking Force" jams at a frentic pace as each member flexes their musical chops. Clearly the band found inspiration in Herbie Hancock's ground breaking "Head Hunters". While they didn't craft the blueprint for jazz funk they're doing a superb job at carrying the torch.

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Reg Dancy, 11/19

Rainbow Deux / Leon Ware

Leon Ware - Rainbow Deux

Be With Records

"Rainbow Deux" is the final opus from one of our most treasured songwriters, the late singer Leon Ware. The album was completed around August of 2016, six months before his transition. Co-produced by Taylor Graves, a notable songwriter in his own right. The two were close friends as well as Los Angeles residents which placed them at the center of the talented L.A. musical eco system. Hence the cameo appearances from Kamasi Washington and Thundercat among others. When it came to sensual romantic songwriting no one did it better than Ware. Just go back and listen to Marvin Gaye's "I Want You" in addition to countless other contributions throughout his career. There's plenty to savor here with quality recordings throughout this lp. "For The Rainbow" is a sultry tune that opens with sparkling keys and percussion, setting the table for Ware's buttery falsetto vocals. "The Darkest Night" is a mid-tempo stomper with an infectious head nodding groove. The sun soaked sounds of "Samba Dreams" and "Wishful Thinking" are a reflection of Ware's affinity for Brazilian rhythms. The latter is a gorgeous number filled with wind swept strings and melodic guitar rhythms. The irony here is that "Rainbow Deux" is easily one of his best albums he has ever released. Graves production is top notch and his keyboard arrangements superb. Just thinking of him gone is sad but this record will serve as a reminder of his greatness.

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Reg Dancy, 11/19

Next To Nothing / Hector Plimmer

Hector Plimmer - Next To Nothing

Albert's Favourites

South London beat maker Hector Plimmer's brand new lp "Next to Nothing" is a hauntingly beautiful album filled with ethereal moods and ambient soundscapes. Plimmer's flair for abstract beats and rhythms was apparent on his debut "Sunshine". With this release his arrangements flow like a suite with each track complementing the next. The title track opens the album with Emma Jean Thackery's soloing over the hums of Ego Ella May and other harmonies. Andrew Ashong adds hypnotic vocal patterns over Plimmer's infectious Rhodes on "Somebody Else". The spacey overtones of "Joyfulness" are complemented by the blissful vocals of Alexa Harley. "Stack" featuring Pie Eye Collective is a polyrhythmnic gem and one of many engaging instrumentals. This is an adventurous recording that you'll find irresistible. Bring it along with you on long drives or simply to vibe out. It will be worth it.

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Reg Dancy, 11/19

Too Much / Dego

Dego - Too Much

2000black

Dj/Producer Dego has consistently delivered infectious soul infused dance tracks that defy any genre via his 2000black imprint. With his third full length lp "Too Much" the grooves are a bit subdued compared to previous releases yet pack plenty of punch to shake your hips and move your feet. Once again he's enlisted an array of esteemed vocalists to take his compositions to the next level. Highlights include "A Strong Move For Truth" featuring West London vocalist Nadine Charles. "Just Leave it" featuring House vocalist Lady Alma is another foot stomper. Instrumental tracks like "Unknown Faults", "You Are Virgo" and "Ogawa Okasan Said Just Play" capture the essence of the disc with funky extended grooves complemented by tasty synths. This is what we've come to expect from Dego. He weaves various cultures of soul, bruk and boogie into his signature sound that's noticeable from the first note. Prepare to get your groove on.

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Reg Dancy, 11/19