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
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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

15 Years Of Real Music For Real People / BBE 15

BBE 15 - 15 Years Of Real Music For Real People

BBE

Since 1996, BBE has released a whopping 160 compilations and in the process they have cemented their status as a groundbreaking record label that spans the musical landscape of quality music. Whether its funk, soul, house or hip-hop, you can always count on them to do it proper. This latest release highlights some of the prime cuts that only serious music lovers would be hip to over that period of time. Mixed by Chris Reed, “15 Years Of Real Music For Real People” starts out as a journey through early hip-hop with quality joints from Marly Marl’s “Spazz” to Pete Rock’s “Nothin Lesser”. There’s an assortment of soulful gems to savor in the form of Slakah The Beatchild’s “Enjoy Yo Self” and Katalyst’s “How Bout Us” feat. Steve Spacek. Vintage soul classics like “Funk In The Hole” and “Mystic Voyage”, courtesy of Roy Ayers fit nicely among these treats as well as the sorely underrated house track “Music In Me”, sung by Shaun Escoffery,  mixed by DJ Spinna. Tracks of honorable mention are “I See The Sun” by Vikter Duplaix and “Dancing Girl” by Aaron Jerome. With well over fifty tracks included here it would be easy to dismiss many as simply filler but that’s not the case here. With BBE 15, you’re treated to nothing but simply good music and this is a compilation that can rock a party on its own or simply quench your musical thirst to get you through the day. Either way you won’t be disappointed once you add this impressive disc to your collection.

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Reg Dancy, 10/11

Innerstand / Beam Up

Beam Up - Innerstand

BBE

Brian May aka Beam Up captures the spirit of experimental Dub with the release of "Innerstand". This release features an array of great vocal performances that compliment May's rough and rugged riddims. One of those vocalists is UK resident Terrence Alfonso Bowry. "I Must Be Dreaming", one of five tracks he appears on is filled with classic deep dub grooves, reverbs and monster bass. "No Chains" a traditional roots reggae tune with funky horns features the booming vocals of Jornick Joelick. "Dive" is a touch of spacey dub that features the blissful vocals of Katya Tasheva. The sound system throughout "Innerstand" is incredible and the arrangements are first rate. It's just the kind of record that will satisfy hard core fans while easily seducing new ones.

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Reg Dancy, 08/15

The Journey Is The Destination / Beatspoke

Beatspoke - The Journey Is The Destination

BBE

Off the heals of their impressive debut "No Rush", Sarah Gessler and Josh Fontan, the duo known as Beatspoke return with "The Journey Is The Destination". Their sophomore LP is features the electro-soul vibes that garnered them critical acclaim. Sarah's lush vocals glide over the emotive down-tempo beats like "Untended" and "Sink Or Swim". French rapper Pumpkin jumps on board and drops a few verses on the moody "Fading Fast" and "Solid Information". Multi-instrumentalist Rom lends his talents on "Lately". The tight production of Fontan, the spoken word of Gessler and a few friends make for a sublime melodic listening experience.

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Reg Dancy, 04/16

Rollerchain / Belleruche

Belleruche - Rollerchain

Tru Thoughts

The London trio Belleruche returns with their fourth album and they continue to evolve with their eclectic sound that knows no boundaries. While their debut “Turntable Soul Music” was more hip-hop driven and “The Express” contained more of a bluesy vibe, “Rollerchain” is a darker and more pop influenced. Nevertheless they make it all work with strong compositions and heavy bass infused grooves courtesy of guitarist Ricky Fabulous. What really brings it all together is the soothing voice of Kathrin DeBoer and she shines on an array of blissful tunes, most notably the seductive down-tempo “Wasted Time”. Other highlights include the slow stirring “Cloverleaf” and the percolating “Limelight” will certainly delight devout listeners and entice newcomers. Belleruche’s down to earth vibe endears them to us as if they’ve been long time friends prone to random jam sessions in your backyard. You can always count on them delivering good tunes and this disc is a testament to that.

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Reg Dancy, 08/12

The Express / Belleruche

Belleruche - The Express

Tru Thoughts Recordings

Belleruche serves up blues tinged soul with a touch of hip-hop for good measure. The trio builds on their warm soulful grooves that made their debut “Turntable Soul” such a success. On their latest release “The Express” vocalist Kathrin Deboer’s smooth smokey vocals complement Ricky Fabulous harmonic rhythm guitar playing. The disc starts off with the infectious “Anything You Want”. DJ Modest provides well placed sampling and electronic beats while Kathrin provides warmth to the mid-tempo soul track. “Goose Blues” has a traditional blues flavor that takes you back to the back roads of the Mississippi Delta. “Scratch My Soul” is a slow burning soul gem where Kathrin conveys enough passion to warm the coldest heart through the depth of her lyrics. “The Express” is a satisfying collection of soul and blues reminiscent of those dusty vinyl records buried in your parents basement. The production, arrangements and the trio’s diverse talents contribute to an eclectic musical experience that you shouldn’t miss.

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Reg Dancy, 10/08

Turntable Soul Music / Belleruche

Belleruche - Turntable Soul Music

Tru Thoughts Recordings

After releasing the singles, 'Reflection/Bird Mess' and 'The Itch/13:6:35' on their own Hippoflex label, Belleruche have now found a perfect home for their debut album with Tru Thoughts. Their style combines hip hop beats and funk and jazz breaks with the smoky blues vocals of Kathrin deBoer. Think of a UK version of Erykah Badu and you won't be too far off the mark. This is a consistent set throughout but for me it lacks a particular standout moment. Well worth investigating though.

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Andy Allen, 07/07

Matachin / Bellowhead

Bellowhead - Matachin

Navigator Records

Great second album from this exciting big band, as before based in folk but not afraid to rock and jazz it up as they draw in global influences. They gel together to make the music a natural development of their enthusiasm as they deliver shanties, drinking songs and more. Exciting and adventurous.

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Graham Radley, 11/08

Welcome To The Best Years of Your Life / Ben Westbeech

Ben Westbeech - Welcome To The Best Years of Your Life

Brownswood Recordings

Being championed by likes of Gilles Peterson for some time and now signed to his fledgling label is a dream come true I guess for the brilliant pianist, singer-songwriter and deejay Ben. He's since made a name for himself with the trendy "So Good Today" taken from his said album with its Domu soul-fuelled broken beat mixes gained him notoriety amongst the heads (at Co Op shindigs amongst others), the house lovers alluring grooves came about thanks to a Part 2 twelve-inch single release of deep Afro house tipped Osunlade rubs that made it into the boxes of certain DJ's and thereby giving the Bristolian a welcoming boost to those in the know. Ben has a definite love for soul, jazz classics and standards, drum and bass and for the original London sound of broken beat which have all made vast impressions on him. I dare say some of his productions may draw parallels to the early works of Jamiroquai when he offered a lot more soul passion in his work. However, Ben has a voice that is neither Black or urban in sound nor is it immediately obviously that of a blue-eyed soloist either. He's not trying to be or sound like anyone he's just keeping it real. What is original in his work is his ability to adapt melodies and bass lines of songs from yesteryear making them fresh and appealing by imprinting the technology of today's hi tech sounds with live piano to make it work for the present generation of clubbers out there. "Get Closer" is a prime example as it effortlessly twists and turns through a busy drum and bass line and frantic rhythms with clean drops out and reverb effects behind the flashback melody of "Elevate Your Mind", a rare groove joint. Other cuts like "Bright Future" jaunts around various panned out brass sounds, some hard stepping drum licks and snares that would suitably get hardcore jazz dancers or enthusiasts of early seventies jazz styles in Jamaican reggae going on any dance floor. Similarly made for both the floor and lounge listening the r & b ethos of "Hang Around" would be a huge pop winner given some major backing, "Nothing Else" and "Dance With Me" are great stand out cuts also with potential for single's options. Of the fifteen tracks showcased making a point of spotlighting Ben's more sensitive and social consciousness is not forgotten and is most notable on the down tempo scribes of "Gotta Keep On", the instrumental sound of "Beauty" and the acoustical "Grey Skies". Consistency and a tight production holds this set together very well, placing this newcomer in the spotlight to hold his own with great prospects for the future. He deserves to be supported.

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Marcia Carr, 04/07

Aleventa! / Benjamin Escoriza

Benjamin Escoriza - Aleventa!

World Music Network

Probably best known as the vocalist for the superb Radio Tarifa this is the debut solo album for Granada-born vocalist and lyricist Benjamín Escoriza. Several of Radio Tarifa guest on this acoustically driven album and that  blend of medieval, Moorish, Sephardic, Andalusia folk is still to be heard but flamenco comes more to the fore bringing out the best of the North African influences and driving this compelling CD forward. Highly recommended.

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Graham Radley, 05/07

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