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
The Feel Good Agenda Vol.1 / Mike City

Mike City - The Feel Good Agenda Vol.1

BBE

Producer/writer Mike City made his mark in the early 2000s with the smash hit "I Wish" by Carl Thomas. From that point he would go on to pen tracks for Brandy, Angie Stone and countless others. For his latest full length release, he's invited a  number of his friends are on board to lift these impressive RnB infused dance tracks to another level. Veteran Fayth Evans urban edged soprano vocals are the perfect match for the track "When I Luv". The angelic vocals of Teedra Moses float on the soulful house inspired "Been Too Afraid". The mid-tempo burner "You're In Heaven" is boasted by the deep smokey vocals of acclaimed songstress Lalah Hathaway. Additional appearances range from Terri Walker, Maysa to UK RnB legend Junior. The title speaks for itself. "The Feel Good Agenda Vol.1" is certain to give you happy feet and provoke repeated listens.

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Reg Dancy, 09/17

Harmonies / Lord Echo

Lord Echo - Harmonies

Soundway Records

Melbourne producer Lord Echo has built an impressive resume filled with compositions that fuse reggae, afrobeat and latin rhythms. His latest full length release "Harmonies" may be his best yet. There's plenty to savor here right from the outset. "Woah! There's No Limit" is an engaging reggae tune with swaying horns and tropical rhythms. "The Sweetest Meditation" is a gorgeous boogie tune filled soothing vibes and infectious percussion. Both of the aforementioned tunes feature the golden falsetto vocals of Mara TK who appears on two additional racks as well. Two other noteworthy reggae tunes are "Low To The Street" and the superb cover of The O'Jays "I Love Music" Both tunes feature the blissful vocals of Lisa Tomlins. Throw in the afro-soul instrumental "Makossa" and you have one of the more enjoyable albums of the year.

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Reg Dancy, 09/17

The Self / Richard Spaven

Richard Spaven - The Self

Soul Has No Tempo

Richard Spaven continues a steady ascent as one of the premiere drummers on the scene today. He has gained international acclaim through his trademark drumming style, resulting in collaborations with the likes of Jose James, Flying Lotus and others. "The Self", his latest release is a culmination of all his influences, notably jazz, electronica and drum n bass. "Stills" is a atmospheric gem highlighted by frequent collaborator Jordan Rakei's smooth falsetto. "The Hidden Camera", filled with dub step rhythms is a nod to the London club culture. "Greeting to Saud" is a blissful tribute to the great McCoy Tyner is laced with gorgeous synth melodies courtesy of pianist Kris Bowers. A visual album filled with ambient sound and textures worthy of repeated listens. If you're familiar with Mr Spaven then you know his music defies genres and for that we're grateful based on the results. If you're new to him then you're in for a treat.

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Reg Dancy, 09/17

Dilla / The Abstract Orchestra

The Abstract Orchestra - Dilla

ATA

The Abstract Orchestra is a big band comprised of jazz musicians from around the UK placing an emphasis on hip-hop with "Dilla". Their latest release is filled with alternate takes from the catalogue of the acclaimed producer, the late J Dilla. Led by saxophonist Rob Mitchell who mirrors the mixture of rhythms and textures frequently constructed in hip-hop productions. "Fall In Love" brings all the elements together perfectly. Backed by an irresistible drum snare beat and topped off by lush strings and soothing horns. "A.N.G.E.L." is another banger that highlights the synergy between the strings and horns along with lush backing vocals. "Dilla Mix 1 & 2 is a medley of Dilla treats like "Last Donut" and "Welcome to The Show". Mitchell and company successfully capture the spirit of hip-hop and Dilla specifically with a superb LP that will remind you of his brillance.

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Reg Dancy, 08/17

Voyager / Moonchild

Moonchild - Voyager

Tru Thoughts

"Voyager", the third full length release from Moonchild displays tremendous growth from the West coast trio. Once again there's plenty of lush compositions filled with RnB, soul and folk influences. However "Voyager" is heighthen by a string section and a harpist giving this release a fuller sound. Collectively they've penned compositions centering around the varying dynamics of love. Amog the standouts are "Cure", led by Amber Navran's soothing vocals and gorgeous keyboard melodies. "Now and Then" features funky beats from producer Max Bryk not often heard from their compositions. "Let You Go" is aided by gentle guitar rhythms. It's easy to see why this trio has garnered a long line of admirers. This disc is filled with one gorgeous composition after another. Three years in the making, "Voyager" is well worth the wait.

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Reg Dancy, 08/17

Lab Experiments Vol. 1 - Mixin / Cookin On 3 Burners

Cookin On 3 Burners - Lab Experiments Vol. 1 - Mixin

Soul Messin

Hailing from Australia, Guitarist Dan West, Drummer Ivan "Choi" Khatchoyan and Organist Jake Mason make up the organ grinding trio known as Cookin On 3 Burners. "Lab Experiments Vol.1" is filled with 60s-influenced funk and soul compositions certain to get your groove on. Among the highlights are "Real Life Baby", a laid back tune with bluesy guitar rhythms from Dan West and soaring vocals from Emmi. "Wind Up" is a funky instrumental filled with wicked organ rhythms and funky guitar riffs. Veteran soul singer and native New Zealander Kylie Audist adds her strong pipes to the sun drenched mid-tempo "More Than a Mouthful". An engaging album that would easily fit into the crowded classic soul arena and hold it's own. These cats indeed know how to burn.

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Reg Dancy, 08/17

Where Do I Begin? / Profusion

Profusion - Where Do I Begin?

First Word

Kieron Ifill, aka K15 and Emerson make up the duo known as Profusion. K15 has rapidly established himself as a premiere producer with an ear for future soul beats and cosmic synths. Emerson velvet vocals has landed him on a number of tasty projects from labels like BBE to Toyko Dawn and others. Although they've collaborated for years they've finally stepped forward with their debut lp. On the title track "Where Do I Begin" Emerson's golden vocals glide over warm n spacey chords and a mid-tempo beat. "Golden" has elements of drum n bass complimenting warm synths. "Flying" is filled with heartfelt lyrics and soothing synths. This lp is brimming with warm vibes and representive of the quality of British soul emerging in 2017.

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Reg Dancy, 07/17

Inspirations / Dwight Trible

Dwight Trible - Inspirations

Gondwana

The list of musicians Dwight Trible has performed with ranges from hard bop musicians such as Bobby Hutcherson to the late J Dilla. For his latest project entitled "Inspirations" Trible teams up with trumpeter Matthew Halsall on the Gondwana records imprint. The two share a love for transcendental and spiritual jazz and they mesh seamlessly here. On "Tryin Times" Trible's baritone complements Halsall's rich tone on the Donny Hathaway composition. Pianist Taz Modi's tender melodies strike deep emotions on the Coltrane classic "Dear Lord". Bassist Gavin Barras's shivering grooves establishes the overall sound for the group. There are other glorious covers such as "Feeling Good" and "What the World Needs Now is Love". What you need to do now is simply hurry up and purchase this wonderful record. Trible's totally identifiable voice combined with Halsall's phrasing and production will no doubt result in repeated listens.

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Reg Dancy, 07/17

Standing On The Wall / BB Boogie

BB Boogie - Standing On The Wall

R2

One of the pioneers of the West London broken beat scene, Daz-I-Kue shifts gears, relocates to Atlanta and gets into the spirit of the boogie with "Standing On The Wall". Daz invites a superb collection of vocal talent to capture the essence of seventies boogie grooves. Among the highlights are "We Can Do it" a high energy floor burner featuring Vanessa Freeman. "In The Middle", a cover of the seventies funk group Unlimited Touch is an engaging boogie tune featuring Joy Jones. "Tonight We're Gonna" is soaring Disco funk that features legendary Soul and Dance vocalist Leroy Burgess. A splendid collection of soulful dance tunes filled with infectious rhythms certain to get your party on.

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Reg Dancy, 07/17

Freedom TV / Wayne Snow

Wayne Snow - Freedom TV

Tartelet Records

Nigerian born and now based in Berlin, Wayne Snow serves up an array of future tripped out soul sounds with "Freedom TV". Fellow Berliner Max Graef lends his much sought after production skills to six tracks here as well. Two of those standouts are "Drunk" where Snow's smooth falsetto rides over a spacey uptempo synth groove. The other is "Rosie", a slow grinding funk gem that would easily fit into a D'Angelo tracklist. "Nothing Wrong", produced by Nu Guinea is an uptempo dance floor gem that starts off with simmering percussion followed by an infectious bass groove. After two impressive EPs, Snow has delivered one of the more engaging albums to emerge this year.

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Reg Dancy, 07/17

Trudi's Songbook / Ruby Rushton

Ruby Rushton - Trudi's Songbook

22a

"Trudi's Songbook" is the latest release from the six piece London based band known as Ruby Rushton. Reedist Edward Cawthorne wrote and arranged all tracks here and his flute playing figures prominently throughout the disc. "Moonlight Woman" features a mellow groove that's driven by Aidan Shepherd's spacey keys and wicked bass licks from Fergus Ireland. "Prayer for Yusef" taps into the spirit of the acclaimed reedist with Cawthorne's bamboo flute phrasings. Percussionist Joseph Deenmamode takes the lead of spirited interplay with the rest of the band. This is a slow burning experimental fusion of funk and jazz filled with influences from Dilla to Herbie Hancock's "Head Hunters". Cawthorne and company provide plenty of moments that make this release deeply satisfying.

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Reg Dancy, 06/17

Ankhor / Liz Aku

Liz Aku - Ankhor

Sonar Kollektiv

Belgian vocalist Liz Aku has made a name for herself with solo projects and collaborations over the past fifteen years. Now she comes into her own with her latest release on Sonar Kollektiv. "Ankhor", produced primarily by Mara TK from Electric Wire Hustle is a future soul serenade filled with wicked grooves and visual melodies. "Seasons Change", originally an instrumental from Canadian production duo Potatohead People is filled with airy vibes and heavy drums. Aku's vocals layered on top is pure bliss. "Secrets Die" is built around warm Rhodes and Natalia Mann's beautiful harp melodies. "Just What I Need" is the one track performed with a band. Drummer Lander Gyselinck sets the tone and pianist Bram Weijters creates gorgeous melodies. "Breathing Underwater" is one of two sublime duets with Mara TK. Simply one of the best records to emerge this year and one that should propel Aku to a wider audience.

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Reg Dancy, 06/17

Gilles Peterson Presents Havana Cultura Anthology / Various Artists

Various Artists - Gilles Peterson Presents Havana Cultura Anthology

Brownswood

Havana Cultura Anthology", presented by Gilles Peterson celebrates eight years of the Havana Cultura series. The Havana Cultura initiative was founded in 2007 under the auspices of Cuban rum maker Havana Club. He extended an invitation to Gilles to visit Cuba and listen first hand to the emerging diverse talent channeling all genres. It was an easy decision based on the superb compositions presented here. The Havana Cultura Band figures prominently throughout but there are other sterling performances as well. "Espera Mi Gente" is simmering down-tempo fusion from the band which includes performances from Edrey Riveri aka Ogguere and Danay Suarez on vocals. The energy level kicks up a few levels on "Roforofo Fight" featuring vocalist Mayra Caridad Valdes. Jazz and Hip-Hop mesh seamlessly on "Check La Rima", the band's cover of A Tribe Called Qwest's "Check The Rhyme". If this is your first exposure to this splendid series then you're in for a treat. If you're already familiar then you can expect a continuation of the finest that Cuba has to offer.

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Reg Dancy, 06/17

Just / Lo Tide

Lo Tide - Just

Diventa Music

Lo Tide returns with another assortment of the electronic serene soundscapes we've come to expect from him. "Just", his latest release is a contrast of moods and textures. "Sea and Wind" is a blissful instrumental with warm string arrangements. "Heat" is a down-tempo tune that features the sultry vocals of Frankie Uyterlinde. "Shine A Light" provides a welcome shift to a up-tempo number with a measured groove. Lo Tide's sound continues to grow and each release is an adventure onto itself. "Just" has dark moments and bright moments and drenched in emotion. He's rising up the ranks of producers of electronic music.

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Reg Dancy, 05/17

Canvas / Duke Hugh

Duke Hugh - Canvas

Rhythm Section

In just three years, Rhythm Section International has become one of the premier record labels in South London. They're been relentless in debuting an impressive array of newcomers and Netherlands native Duke Hugh is no exception. "Canvas" is his impressive full length debut that demonstrates a deft touch for arranging laid back grooves as well as an ear for melody. Highlights include "Greenleaf", a breezy tune with tasty guitar riffs. "Home" is another mid tempo tune filled with bouncy drums and synths. "Canvas" is a pleasant portrait of Hugh's creativity as a producer. These are tunes you'll want to bring along for your chill out moments. He's certainly one to keep an eye on.

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Reg Dancy, 05/17

Drunk / Thundercat

Thundercat - Drunk

Brainfeeder

"Drunk", the third full length release from LA bassist Stephen Bruner aka Thundercat is a genre bending pot of eccentric jazz infused with funk and pop rhythms. The 23 track release is a journey of contrasting moods, from light hearted humor to dark subject matters. In order to express these emotions he's invited a number of his friends from the burgeoning LA scene to take these compositions to another level. On "Uh Uh" he teams up with mufti-instrumentalist Zack Sekoff and unleashes sparkling bass riffs. "Lava Lamp" is a dreamy melodic down-tempo tune featuring red hot producer Sounwave. "Friend zone" is a upbeat number laced with trippy synths that touches on the awkward position of relationships. Flying Lotus jumps on board for several tracks, most notably "Show You The Way" and "Them Changes", the former featuring icons Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins. Thundercat's virtuoso bass wizardry combined with his soft falsetto and zany lyrics are an adventure to behold, not to mention an fascinating listen.

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Reg Dancy, 05/17

Sunshine / Hector Plimmer

Hector Plimmer - Sunshine

Albert's Favourites

"Sunshine", the latest release from DJ/Instrumentalist Hector Plimmer is a pleasant release filled with soft ambient rhythms, delicate drumming and synths. Plimmer's mellow arrangements project a mood of solitude were inspired by his recent live performances caught the attention of the rising London label Albert's Favourites. Notable tracks include "Sunshine" featuring hypnotizing vocals from And Is Phi. "I Wish" is filled with gorgeous synths and vocals. "Eastern System" is drenched in tribal rhythms, enhanced by the Kalimba. Whether it's hip-hop, jazz or a mash up of rhythms Hector is pushing his music forward and this could be the release that gives him the acclaim he deserves.

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Reg Dancy, 04/17

Jambu / Jungle Fire

Jungle Fire - Jambu

Nacional

"Jambu" is the second full length LP from the Los Angeles based band known as Jungle Fire. The ten member group's scorching sound spans Afrobeat and Latin rhythms layered over gritty funk. They started out by gathering for occasional jam sessions for b-boy acts before morphing into a full time unit. Those jam sessions would eventually lead to a record deal with the acclaimed North Hollywood California based Nacional Records. "Jambu features a mix of fiery up-tempo bangers as well as some mild mid-tempo grooves. "LA Kossa" is infectious Latin funk with blistering horns. "Efori" has a mellow groove with a light touch of percussion. "Bele Bele" is complemented by electric guitar licks and funky horns. Jungle Fire's brand of "Tropi-Funk" ensures you're gonna have a funky good time.

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Reg Dancy, 04/17

Biorhythm / Inner City Sound Clash

Inner City Sound Clash - Biorhythm

Stilnovo Music

"Biorhythm" is the debut album of Eleonora Cutala under the moniker of Inner City Sound Clash. The ten track release is a collection of emotive electronic soundscapes and a melange of moods. In addition, Cutala has collaborated with an array of artists who are in touch with her vision and are superb in expressing themselves through her recordings. The sweet sultry vocals of Jaidene Veda provides plenty of warmth on "The One For Me". "Sunrise To Sunset" is filled with hazy synths, warm vibes and a perfect match for Olu's falsetto vocals. "Forgiven" is sultry house bolstered by the vocals of Dezaray. Cutala's compositions are pure bliss and a sonic journey that you shouldn't miss.

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Reg Dancy, 04/17

Love In Beats / Omar

Omar - Love In Beats

Freestyle

"Love In Beats", album number eight is another brilliant release from Omar. As the title suggests there's plenty of head nodding beats spread across a broad range of rhythms. Part of the formula for the enduring sound is the production between Omar and his brother aka Scratch Professor. If that wasn't enough the array of guests on board lift these tracks to another level. Evidence of that lies in the opening track "Vicky's Tune" where Robert Glasper pushes the rhythm with a burst of piano stylings and Ty adds his customary clever wordplay. "Give My Heart" has an air of seventies classic soul with heart warming strings that features the late Leon Ware. "Deja Vu" has an international vibe due in part to French vocalist Mayre Andrada. While many chase the latest trends Omar has cultivated his own sound and it continues to evolve with each release. When it comes to soul music he is the gift that keeps on giving.

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Reg Dancy, 03/17

Fenix / Azymuth

Azymuth - Fenix

Far Out

One of the crown jewels of Brazil for over forty years, Azymuth returns with their first album in five years. "Fenix" captures their wide range of rhythms, from jazzy fuk to sun drench fusion. Keyboardist Kiko Continentino fills the huge shoes created by the passing of long time member Roberto Bertrami and his energy shines throughout here. Take for instance his spacey chords on "Fenix" which complements Alex Malheiros funky bass grooves. "Orange Clouds" is warm and sublime Brazilian Jazz. "Carumb" is their signature brand of "Samba Doido" aka crazy Samba laced with spirited percussion from Ivan Conti. Longtime fans will be pleased to find the group once again on top of their game.

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Reg Dancy, 03/17

Cage Street Memorial - The Pilgrimage / Carleen Anderson

Carleen Anderson - Cage Street Memorial - The Pilgrimage

Freestyle

Carleen Anderson's seventh LP, "Cage Street Memorial - The Pilgrimage" is the third piece of a trilogy that involves a book and a one woman show. Anderson's latest release is an amalgamation of soul, gospel, and classical rhythms emanating from lifelong experiences and influences. There's an element of her heritage can be heard in songs like "Wade In The Water". While "At The Cross" is steeped in the Southern baptist church. "Upwards From The Ground" has elements of folk and showcases Carleen's vocal range. "There are notable contributors from Orphy Robinson on vibes and bassist/co-producer Renell Shaw piercing groove on "All That Glitters" will warm your soul. Anderson wrote, arranged  and played piano on all tracks here. This is a deeply personal and poetic project that utilizes all of her talents and is certainly her most ambitious project yet.

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Reg Dancy, 03/17

One Point One / Myele Manzanza

Myele Manzanza - One Point One

First Word

Drummer and New Zealand native Myele Manzanza and First Word Records are a perfect match in that they consistently deliver stellar music. Manzanza's latest release "One Point One" is a entertaining live recording at the Blue Whale in Los Angeles. The date is a string laden affair featuring the Quartetto Fantastico String Quartet, as well as Mark De Clive Lowe on keys and many more. "Bar Thing" is a gorgeous tune that begins with a whirlwind of strings and percussion followed by De Clive Lowe's simmering keys. The tune continues to heighten the anticipation before bassist Ben Shepard unleashes an infectious groove that is augmented by the vocals of Nia Andrews. "Montara" is a beautiful cover of the Bobby Hutcherson classic where the vibes are replaced by the violinist of the String Quartet and De Clive Lowe on rhodes yet still captures the warm and beauty of the original. Miquel Atwood Ferguson imprint figures prominently on this disc, specifically his arrangements on the sublime "Atlantis" which features Andrews again as well as MC Charlie K This is the live recording where you envision yourself sitting front and center admiring great performances and absorbing one superb recording after another. This is essential listening to say the least.

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Reg Dancy, 03/17

Overflow / Edwin Sanz

Edwin Sanz - Overflow

Alex Wilson Records

Percussionist Edwin Sanz might be known more for his work with the European based band Mercadonega however he's done far more than that. After many successful years with them he went on to perform with the Cuban Orchestra known as Rodrigo & Gabriel. With "Overflow" his second release as a solo artist he's poised to become a household name. Sanz adds zest to his original compositions and a few covers as well. "Ella" kicks off with a soothing piano melody followed up with Elvin Castillo on vocals "Something About You" originally penned by soul singer Anthony David is transformed it into an infectious merengue. "Eres Tu" is a tender Latin ballad that features Wladimir Patz on vocals. "Overflow" represents the global influences that have helped shaped Sanz blossoming career. This is an engaging disc that's firing on all cylinders you'll no doubt enjoy.

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Reg Dancy, 02/17

Boogie Breakdown South African Synth Disco 1980-1984 / Various Artists

Various Artists - Boogie Breakdown South African Synth Disco 1980-1984

Cultures Of Soul

"Boogie Breakdown" is a collection of the eighties Disco period in South Africa. Compiled by Deano Sounds of the Boston US based label Cultures Of Soul and Dj Okapi, the disc highlights the largely forgotten period and the US influence on the artists highlighted here. The disc features two tracks each from six of South Africa's most prominent acts during this period. "Good Vibes" from Harari features sublime keys and funky guitar riffs. "I Wanna Be Myself" by Don Laka is filled with wicked synths and thumping bass grooves. These tracks could've easily fit right in the eighties boogie era and certainly deserved a larger audience. Cultures Of Soul compilations have successfully explored various rhythms from around the globe and this is no exception.

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Reg Dancy, 02/17