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
It's A World Before You / Kaidi Tatham

Kaidi Tatham - It's A World Before You

First Word

One of the pioneers of the West London broken beat scene, Kaidi Tatham continues to push his music forward with a sparkling new lp. "It's A World Before You" is filled with breathless up-tempo broken beat and nu soul grooves filled with optimistic vibes. The opener "Joyous" is simply that, an uplifting banger laced with jolting keys and bass. "Out Here On My Own" is mid-tempo soul featuring label mates Children Of Zeus. The title track is another up-tempo heater. It's also the only one where he shares instrumental duties in which he's joined by kindred spirit and broken beat stalwart Dego. Together their keyboard arrangements along with Tatham's drum programming shine through. Mixed by producer extraodianaire Eric Lau who knows how master a recording with the best of them. It adds up to a superb recording that will stay on repeat this summer.

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Reg Dancy, 07/18

Wvr Bvby / Wvr Bvby

Wvr Bvby - Wvr Bvby

Plug Seven

Pronounced "War Baby", Wvr Bvby is an eight piece band from Melbourne. Their debut for Plug Seven records is a mesmerizing collection of high energy compositions built around meditative rhythms and a hypnotic horn section. Lead/Bassist Carl Lindeberg demonstrates strong songwriting skills on all but 2 tracks here and allows freedom for everyone to shine. "Magnetic Ruins" is filled with swaying horns and seductive rhodes playing from Phoebe Elsworth who also wrote the tune. "BSP" kicks off with engaging guitar licks from Joseph Orton followed up with breezy flute melodies from Erica Tucceri. The band's sublime melodies steadily builds towards a dramatic orchestrated climax. The finale "And Another Thing" is a ten minute number that follows the same formula. Superb songwriting layered with strong musicianship throughout as opposed to long winded jam sessions. Overall an impressive release from yet another talented band from Melbourne that deserves your attention.

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Reg Dancy, 07/18

Jack Of All Trades / Lack Of Afro

Lack Of Afro - Jack Of All Trades

LOA Records

Multi-instrumentalist Adam Gibbons aka Lack Of Afro's aptly titled "Jack Of All Trades" finds him stretching out across a myriad of genres. As a result we suggest you dust off your party shoes and get into the assortment of grooves he's delivered. Whatever your taste is there's plenty here to get your motor running here. "Reach Out (Talk To Me)" is a classic soul floor burner with a tasty guitar groove featuring crooner Elliot Cole. "Only You & Me" is a funky Disco floor filler that features Alyssa & Camila Recchio. Wax & Herbal are two MCs that know how to get the party jumping and they demonstrate on "Back In Business" and "Take It Up A Notch". Gibbons finds room for a little rock and folk as well with "Over & Out" and "Home" respectively. Gibbon's sixth lp is much like previous releases, well produced and packed with tasty grooves. Loyal fans are in for a treat and new fans will be equally pleased.

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Reg Dancy, 07/18

Y-OTIS / Otis Sandsjo

Otis Sandsjo - Y-OTIS

Wejazz

This is the debut album from Swedish native and Berlin based Saxophonist Otis Sandsjo. "Y-OTIS" is filled with dazzling compositions built around wobbly polyrhythms and electronics. Bassist Frans Petter Eldh, who also produced the album knows how to shake things up end move in an exploratory direction. On engaging tracks like "Yung" and "BOO!", Sandsjo's melodic riffs meld seamlessly with glorious interaction from pianist Elias Stemeseder. "Sun Sun" is another abstract tune that kicks off with heavy beats from drummer Tilo Weber followed by hazy horn riffs and imaginative keys. Each member of this quartet has received their share of praise from the jazz community but they're unafraid to soar beyond the boundaries. This is a creative gem that you shouldn't miss.

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Reg Dancy, 07/18

Waaju / Waaju

Waaju - Waaju

Olindo Records

Waaju is a quintet specializing in Afro Caribbean funk with a touch of jazz. The London based band have collaborated with a number of acts like Ashley Henry, Jordan Rakei and others. Although it's only an ep with five tracks they leave a lasting impression with infectious compositions and sparkling performances. The energetic opening track "Ali's Mall"is filled with pulsating percussion and warm guitar arrangements. It's also a nod to Malian guitarist Ali Farka Toure, a huge influence on the band. The polyrhythmnic "Kaolack" has sketches of dub and features sparkling cerebral electric guitar playing from Tal Janes. "Waaju" is filled with spirited percussion from Ernesto Marichales. Sam Rapley's Tenor sax is also a highlight. One can only hope that this is just the appetizer and a full length lp will be forthcoming. It should be a certainty based on the strength of this engaging record.

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Reg Dancy, 07/18

Shamal Wind / Chip Wickham

Chip Wickham - Shamal Wind

Lovemonk

With "Shamal Wind" flutist/saxophonist Chip Wickham draws inspiration from Arabian influences. Specifically Doha, a land rooted in ancient cultures and a destination for him to recover from throat Cancer. A new perspective on life inspires him to release five albums within the next five years. For now let's just enjoy this engaging record. Recorded in Madrid, Wickham's band is comprised of musicians from Spain as well as the UK who were part of the soul jazz circuit he helped cultivate from years past. On the sublime title "Shamal Wind", Wickham's warm touch receives harmonic support from Ton Risco on vibes. "Snake Eyes" is a explosive tune that showcases Wickham's fluttering expressive flute and Phil Wilkinson's prowess on keys. Matthew Halsall jumps aboard and combines warm melodies on the splendid modal ballad "The Mirage". Wickham is following the lineage of Spiritual jazz multi-instrumentalists like Yusef Lateef and Sahib Shihab. It's a blessing that he's restored his health and contributing superb compositions once again.

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Reg Dancy, 06/18

Earth / Emanative

Emanative - Earth

Jazzman

Nick Woodmansey aka Emanative's 2009 release "Space" was a celestial beauty of cosmic compositions. That astral journey would lead to "The Light Years Of The Darkness", the first release for the Steve Reid Foundation. Through that project he would connect with a number of like minded musicians that would inspire a deeper dive into his spirituality, which brings us to "Earth". Emanative's latest release focuses on African, Indian and Middle Eastern influences. Among the highlights are "Heaven's Mirror", enhanced by The Pyramids Idris Ackamoor's psychedelic horn riffs and David Molina's deep bass grooves. "Iyaami" sets the tone with a five minute balafon solo before seguing into a slow simmering Afrobeat groove for vocalist Dele Sosimi. "Sandhyavandanam" is a meditative tune with a hypnotic bass and Tabla rhythms. Nat Birchall contributes his tenor sax melodies to "Spice Route Suite" and "Reflection". The latter features heavenly vocal harmonies from Liz Elensky. Other notable contributors throughout this disc include Jessica Lauren, Sarathy Korwar, Tamar Osborn, Ben Hadwen and Ahu just to name a few. Woodmansey set a high bar with his previous projects yet he has easily surpassed them with a tremendous record.

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Reg Dancy, 06/18

Let Your Light Shine On / Nicola Conte

Nicola Conte - Let Your Light Shine On

MPS

Once known as simply a DJ/Producer, Nicola Conte has turned himself into a credible guitarist as well. "Let Your Light Shine On", his first release for MPS records showcases his own playing along with his band Spiritual Galaxy. The band members are a accomplish group who are joined by an A-list of guest stars. Together they blaze through an array of jazz infused Afro soul compositions. Trombonist Glantuca Petrella's coloring behind the beautiful vocals of Bridgette Amofah on the sun drenched "Space Dimensions" is a delight. Another lovely voice, Zara Mac Farlane serenades us with her tender vocals on the soulful sublime "Ogun". "Mystic Revolution" and "Me Do Wo" are two mellow Afrobeat tunes that feature trumpeter Theo Coker and alto saxophonist Logan Richardson. Every track stands on it's own and worth playing throughout. Conte's sparkling release emanates positive vibes during restless times and makes for a joyful listen.

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Reg Dancy, 06/18

Stranger In The Mirror / Jake Mason

Jake Mason - Stranger In The Mirror

Soul Messin

Jake Mason previously occupied the Organ chair for the funk group Cookin' On 3 Burners steps out on his own with his full length debut. "Stranger In The Mirror" is a blues rooted soul jazz Organ trio made famously by stalwarts such as Jimmy Smith and Jack Mc Duff. The ten track disc is filled primarily with laid back swaying soul grooves but some tasty funky numbers as well. Mason and company dial it up on the hot buttered track "Rib Eye". Guitarist James Sherlock stretches out but leaves room for guest saxophonist Paul Williamson to shine. They ease up on the gas with the burnin ballad "People Two & One". They close out with the toe tappin' "Candy Smack", ensuring that everyone's having a groovin' good time. This trio has played together for more than 20 years and are having as much fun as ever. You're certain to enjoy the ride as well.

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Reg Dancy, 06/18

Ancient Lights / Uniting Of Opposites

Uniting Of Opposites - Ancient Lights

Tru Thoughts

Uniting of Opposites is the trio of Tim Liken, Clem Alford and Ben Hazelton. "Ancient Lights" blends electronica with classical Middle Eastern rhythms and the results are quite enjoyable. The opener "Mint" is a spirited tune that features Idris Rahman on Clarinet. Rahman's phrasings figure prominently on The title track which includes Marcina Arnold on vocals. "Dr Roach" is a drum, bass and clarinet interplay where Rahman's solos dance around drummer Eddie Hick's energetic rhythms. "Car Number 27" and "The Uniting Of Opposites" are more traditional Indian meditative compositions that feature Manjeet Singh Rasiya on Tabla and Alford on the Sitar. Overall the trio's modernistic take pays dividends and breathes new life into the rich Indian musical legacy.

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Reg Dancy, 06/18

The Subtle Art Of Distraction / The Magnificent Tape Band

The Magnificent Tape Band - The Subtle Art Of Distraction

ATA Recordds

The Magnificent Tape Band is made up of ATA Records founders Neil Innes & Pete Williams. Their eight track lp is psychedelic soul filled with sophisticated compositions and arrangements. Top that off with the powerful soulful vocals of Sheffield born Rachel Modest and you have a recording that would fit alongside the 60s Stax recordings. The disc kicks off with "Let The Church Say", stirring organ grinding ballad that showcases her gospel roots. "When I Saw You" is another soul ballad where Modest's falsetto is complemented by Gareth Wilkin's heavenly harp melodies. "Not That Kind Of Woman" is filled with sublime strings and hypnotic guitar rhythms. Modest's falsetto will evoke images of Russell Tompkins Jr of the Stylistics but she clearly has her own sound. This is a tremendous debut and a must have for fans of classic soul.

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Reg Dancy, 06/18

Starting Today / Joe Armon-Jones

Joe Armon-Jones - Starting Today

Brownswood

There's a wave of up and coming UK musicians interconnected and revitalizing the Jazz scene. They're not subscribing to the jazz genre but pushing the boundaries in all matter of styles. Right in the middle of it all is pianist Joe Armon-Jones. Jones last appeared with the Ezra Collective and more recently the Brownswood compilation "We Out Here" which featured Nubya Garcia, drummer Moses Boyd and other newcomers. With his full length debut he's ready to take center stage. Jones opens up with the scorching title track "Starting Today". Joined by roots reggae poet Asheber, Jones dynamic flurries on Fender Rhodes are accompanied by Garcia on tenor sax and trumpeter Dylan Jones. They shift gears on "Mollison Dub", a blissed out dub groove named after Ezra Collective Saxophonist James Mollison. Mollison pairs with fellow tenor Garcia on the track as well. David Mrakpor adds warm rumbling bass lines over Jones's chords. "London's Face" is a spirited tune that features drummers Boyd and Kwake Bass along with Oscar Jerome on vocals. This is a superb demonstration of Jones wide musical palette, not to mention his deft touch on the keys. You'll want to seek out his other collaborations but only after repeated listens of this enjoyable record.

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Reg Dancy, 06/18

Endless Light / Space Ghost

Space Ghost - Endless Light

Tartelet

Oakland producer Space Ghost's second lp "Endless Light" is an amalgamation of 80s synth grooves sprinkled over melodic tempos ranging from funk to house. "Color Waves" is mid-tempo cosmic funk with sparse drum programming and synths. On standout tracks "Following A Vision" and "Eyes Closed", Ghost developes a pattern of building a house tempo before settling back into mellow atmospheric beats and synths. "Strong Heart" is a dreamy down-tempo voyage that features him on the vocoder. Space Ghost cultivates his own sound with this release by pushing the boundaries of soul, ambience and electronica. In a crowded electronic field he's emerging as a standout.

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Reg Dancy, 06/18

Wild World / Space Invadas

Space Invadas - Wild World

Invada Records

Hard to believe it's been seven years since Steve Spacek and Ashley Anderson aka Katalyst last appeared on the scene. That doesn't seem to matter for the duo known as Space Invadas are as sharp as ever. With their new lp "Wild World" Katalyst lays the foundation with classic soul inspired samples with an analog sound and beats tailor made for Spacek's falsetto vocals. That's apparent right out the gate with "Welcome". Katalyst laces the track with heavy beats for Spacek and Melbourne vocalist Natalie Slade's sweet soulful vocals to soar. The title track is a hip-hop soulful banger where rapper Remi and spacek wax poetic about the state of affairs in the world today. "Don't Ever Look Back" has a percussion filled Latin vibe while "Say Something" is a mellowed out love song. This is a tightly produced lp with twelve strong tracks. Katalyst has distinguished himself as a premier producer while Spacek's recognizable voice is always a delight. These two make quite a team and it's great to have them back.

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Reg Dancy, 06/18

Renewable Energy / The New Mastersounds

The New Mastersounds - Renewable Energy

One Note Records

Not resting on their laurels, The New Mastersounds continue to push the envelope towards crafting jazz infused funk and soul. They used two sessions to complete this record spending time in New Orleans once again and Denver Colorado. There's a couple tracks reminiscent of the trademark Mastersound but the emphasis here is more on laid back soulful grooves. Evidence lies in the aptly titled "Pudding Pie and "Living That Jazz Life". On the former, guitarist Eddie Roberts lays down an easy like Sunday morning type of groove made for finger poppin'. Keyboardist Joe Tatton chips in with some sweet swaying melodies. "Gonna Be Just Me" is an up-tempo burner that features Adryon De Leon from the LA funk band Orgone. The mellow finale "Swimming With My Fishes" glides into the sunset thanks in part to Mike Olmos and Joe Cohen of The West Coast Horns. Sometimes you want to get up and have a funky good time. Other times you want to lean back and enjoy the groove. Whatever you choose just make sure you bring this quartet along with you. They won't disappoint you.

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Reg Dancy, 06/18

Almeria / Jessica Lauren

Jessica Lauren - Almeria

Freestyle

"Almeria", a province of Spain is scenic, sublime and a natural paradise not known to everyone. For pianist Jessica Lauren, it's a place filled with fond memories and a romantic charm. They serve as an ideal inspiration to this beautiful new release. Lauren's warm approach to harmony and rhythm are reflected in this blissful collection of modal compositions. "Kofi Nomad" is a simmering afro rhythmic tune augmented by Collocutor member Tamar Osborn's baritone sax phrasings. "Amalfi" is a brimming bossa nova treat that features trumpeter Yazz Ahmed, Osborn on flute with Lauren singing the melody. The closing "Argentina" is a stirring duet between Lauren and Osborn. Lauren's channels the subtlety of Horace Silver on this wonderful ballad. Simply put this is another winner from the premier pianist that shouldn't be missed.

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Reg Dancy, 05/18

Nick and Astro's Guide To The Galaxy / Potatohead People

Potatohead People - Nick and Astro's Guide To The Galaxy

Bastard Jazz

Nick Wisdom and astrological, the Vancouver duo better known as Potatohead People have built an impressive resume over the years based on their brand of mid-tempo electro funk. "Nick and Astro's Guide to The Galaxy" is their full length debut after an assortment of EPs over the years. "Quest For Love" embodies their signature sound with a laid back groove and a swaying chorus. "Do My Thing" reflects their J Dilla influence with a neck snapping drum snare beat. Illa J, brother of the late great aforementioned producer jumps on this track and two others as well. "No Sleep Til MTL" is an 80s flavored boogie tune with jazzy trumpet phrasings. These guys have nailed the art of beats and rhythms and this engaging release is evidence of that.

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Reg Dancy, 05/18

The Friends Of Eddie Coyle / Dave Grusin

Dave Grusin - The Friends Of Eddie Coyle

We Want Sounds

With a career spanning four decades, there's plenty of material to choose from the Dave Grusin catalog. Somehow "The Friends of Eddie Cole", the soundtrack to the crime drama was never released until now. Grusin creates a cat and mouse imagery that mirrors the films deliberate slow pace. "Partridge Robbery/Take A Walk" is the only track over three minutes. It's a slow burning cinematic gem heightened by an impressive string section as well as percussionist Emil Richards. "Jacky Meets Pete And Andrea" is a funky wah wah inspired tune but it's woefully short at just over a minute. It's just enough time for Saxophonist Tom Scott and bassist Chuck Rainey to cut loose. With "Baylis Robbery", Grusin's string arrangements build a quiet tension that only heightens the drama of the heist. It's a theme played throughout the disc. Grusin demonstrates here that he's unheralded when it comes to music scores. Like the film itself, it's well worth going back to re-examine the rest of his work.

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Reg Dancy, 05/18

Alex Attias Presents LillyGood Party / Various Artists

Various Artists - Alex Attias Presents LillyGood Party

BBE

"LillyGood Party" is a nod to the parties hosted by DJ/Producer Alex Attias in his native Lausanne. Over the years He's release a number of tracks under various monikers such as Mustang or Freedom Soundz. He also was a part of West London's broken beat scene during it's apex via his Vision label. His latest release is a mashup of dance floor bangers and rare gems in various styles. There's something for everyone starting with the high octane Disco funk of "Earth Overshoot Day" from Cotonete, armed with a Hugo LX remix. One of Tokyo's finest producers Grooveman Spot's "Do The Dance" has an wobbly infectious groove that will instantly fill a dance floor. "Curiosity" by Nicole Willis is remixed into a smoothed out soulful banger. Other highlights include a broken beat heater from Kaidi Tatham and Dego and classic RnB soul from Root Soul. Be sure to check Mr Attias next time he's in your town. This compilation is evidence that he knows how to rock a party.

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Reg Dancy, 05/18

Bijou Caillou Voyou / Florian Pellisier

Florian Pellisier - Bijou Caillou Voyou

Heavenly Sweetness

Pianist Florian Pellisier's third release "Bijou Caillou Voyou" continues his stretch of impressive albums. "Bijou Caillou Voyou" exudes a smokey night club ultra cool jazz vibe reminiscent of the late sixties NYC bebop era. Pellisier's quintet of over a decade convey that vibe to perfection. "Coup De Foudre a Thessalonique" is an earthy tune feels like a cool summer breeze. Pellisier's swirling melodies align with trumpeter Yoan Loustalot's joyous soloing. "Boca" is festive number that finds poet Anthony Joseph waxing a tale over drummer David Georgelet's bubbling percussion. Pellisier's two handed forays and his propulsive style shine on "Colosse de Rhodes" He unleashes a glorious melody for both trumpeter Loustalot and Christophe Panzani's tenor to glide over. Georgelet keeps the rhythm in high gear. This is a superb release from a band that can swing hard and takes no prisoners. Pellisier is proving to be a priemier pianist and this hard bop gem will provide definite satisfaction.

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Reg Dancy, 05/18

Oonops Drops Vol. 1 / Various Artists

Various Artists - Oonops Drops Vol. 1

Agogo

"Oonops Drops" is the name of DJ Oonops monthly broadcast on Brooklyn Radio (NYC). Oonops radio show has featured an array of guests from around the globe to expand his listeners musical horizons. When he's not hosting his show he's performing DJ sets with an eclectic mix from Dub, afrobeat to hip-hop and more. An avid vinyl collector, he digs deep in the crates to bring some hidden gems for his debut. Among the highlights are "Shadows In The city" by Figub Brazlevic, a dubbed out breakbeat banger that would fit in any soundsystem party. "Suff Daddy is a bouncy boogie tune remixed by Pat Van Dyke. "Mysterious Vibes", originally a Donald Byrd and the Blackbyrds gem receives a proper edit from Cro-Magnum. ShinSight Trio tastefully covers Side Effect's soulful 70s classic "Always There" in the form of "You Got Soul". Released on Agogo records Oonops first compilation fits in with their global state of mind. It also stands among their impressive string of releases this year worthy of your attention.

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Reg Dancy, 05/18

LovePlayDance - 8 Scenes From The Floor / Toshio Matsuura Group

Toshio Matsuura Group - LovePlayDance - 8 Scenes From The Floor

Brownswood

For his latest album renowned DJ/Producer Toshio Matsuura enlisted some of the Uk's finest musicians, including drummer Tom skinner as musical director. "Love Play Dance - 8 Scenes From The Floor" is an alternate take on covers that captures Matsuura's wide ranging taste from Jazz to dance and beyond. Cuban vocalist Dayme Arocena adds a new flavor to Rotary Connection's "Black Gold Of The Sun" with the help of her Havana based musicians. "Kitty Bey", a spiritual jazz classic originally performed by Byron Morris and Unity. The intense reboot features Yussef Dayes, trumpeter Yazz Ahmed and rising star Nubya Garcia respectively. The Flying Lotus cover "Do The Astral Plane" is transformed from avant garde electronica to swinging jazz suitable for the dance floor. This is another enjoyable disc from Brownswood recordings that deserves your attention. Matsuuro demonstrates that jazz and dance aren't worlds apart when placed in the right hands.

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Reg Dancy, 05/18

Ruthless Day / Giselle Smith

Giselle Smith - Ruthless Day

Jalapeno Records

"Ruthless Day" is the second full length lp from Giselle Smith. Formely the front woman for the Mighty Mocambos Giselle has arranged a collection of high powered funk that allow her vocals to soar. Among the highlights are "Sweet Memories", a mid-tempo track oozing with wah-wah guitar funk. "Hero" is a bluesy duet with Eric Boss. "Around again" is infectious funk with tasty piano arrangements. A potent release filled with emotive lyrics, Giselle is a welcome addition to the funk and soul scene.

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Reg Dancy, 04/18

Three/Three / Dabrye

Dabrye - Three/Three

Ghostly International

Hailing from Ann Arbor Michigan, Tadd Mullinix aka Dabrye wasn't sure if or when he would create another record. Twelve years since the release of "Two/Three" A case of writers block and family matters put his projects on ice. So it was a cause for celebration to discover he was back in the studio wrapping up his long awaited follow up. "Three/Three" fuses laid back electronic beats as well as gritty boom bap joints that made "Two/Three" such a highlight. Detroit is represented well by Guilty Simpson on "Tunnel Vision" while Kadence along with Intricate Dialect & Silas Green trade verses on the spacey beats of "Culture Shuffle". Shigeto, another Detroit Alum brings his diverse electronic sound with the funk deluxe "Sunset". Dabrye's connections extend well beyond Detroit with premiere rappers such as Ghostface Killah, Doom and Jonwayne jumping on board. "Three/Three" has a little bit of everything to keep your head on a constant nod. It's a huge gap between albums but Dabrye has picked up from where he left off and that's a boon for everyone.

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Reg Dancy, 04/18

Black Sun / Far Out Monster Disco Orchestra

Far Out Monster Disco Orchestra - Black Sun

Far Out Recordings

Ever since their first compilation in 2014 The Far Out Monster Orchestra has delighted us with invigorating dance tracks remixed by some of today's acclaimed DJs. With three members of Azymuth, including Arthur Verocai and Jose Roberto Bertrami plus fellow Rio funk legends Banda Black Rio are back to deliver another fabulous collection of original compositions. On the title track we're delighted by the vocals of Heidi Vogel over a bass driven dance friendly groove. "The Two Of Us" with Mia Mendes on lead vocals is another winner that's filled with blissful orchestral arrangements and gorgeous vocal harmonies. This album comes with six vocal recordings and an instrumental of each track as well. It's quality disco stripped down where the focus is on groove, melody and lush arrangements. These musicians have quite the resume when it comes to Jazz, Brazilian and funk compositions. With this release they've proven to be equally adept at infectious dance tracks as well.

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Reg Dancy, 04/18