Various Artists - Broadcite presents Unplugged Volume 2:<br>Internal ReflectionBroadcite
Reflecting the Broadcite label's own worthy output, this collection serves up the full spectrum of modern electronic soul, from the feel-good Hip-Hop of top female lyricist Voice (as heard on the recent Visioneers album), to Broken Beat gems from the likes of Brown (a CDR discovered talent) and Method Unique. A couple of Future Jazz fillers, which don't quite seem to develop fully, do detract from the CD's overall quality, but this is bolstered by some monstrous Deep House from Yoruba maestro Osunlade - his awesome Gwotet remix and NYC's Quentin Harris. With several of the tracks being CD exclusives, and a welcome showing from Ashley Beedle's much-loved Black Science Orchestra guise, this compilation certainly deserves a listen.
Tom Breslin, 04/06
Various Artists - Broadcite Unplugged Volume OneBroadcite
I think most of you have heard or read about the Broadcite collective, so I won't go into too much detail but these guys have been around for a number of years, creating their own music scene in London. We are now finally starting to their productions released on their own label and here is their first compilation, which features tracks signed from Public Transit and Sonar Kollektiv. This maintains the idea that anything goes but quality music is Broadcite's number one objective. With tracks that cover just about every style inc. Funk, Broken Beat, Nu Jazz, Electro and Soul, you just can't go wrong, adding this to your musical collection.
Simon Harrison, 06/05
Various Artists - Brownswood Bubblers 3Brownswood Recordings
For me the bar was raised significantly last year when Gilles Peterson dropped Brownswood Bubblers 2. Now Brownswood Bubblers 1, the first compilation on Gilles new label had some tasty treats but Bubblers 2 was off the charts. I’m not certain that Bubblers 3 is on the same level but it’s not far off. Either way the Brownswood Bubblers series are the compilations that trumps all compilations. There are many excellent selections here as proof such as the soul funk club banger "Turn It Out" by Joey Negro and The Sunburst Band. "How Bout’ Us" by Katalyst is definitely one of the hottest cuts this year thanks to the voice of Steve Spacek. One of the best records I’ve heard that few know about is the ballad "Where would I Be" by Yaw who simply sounds like the second coming of Sam Cooke. Another highlight is the funky spoken word gem "Prayers for Angry Young Men" by Charlie Dark. Once again Gilles has shined the light on underground hits. Let’s hope that a larger audience will take notice. Highly recommended.
Reg Dancy, 08/08
Various Artists - Brownswood Bubblers FiveBrownswood Recordings
It seems like yesterday that the Brownswood series began and here we are already on Bubblers five. Gilles Peterson is consistent with shining the light on underground gems that warrant your attention, this one is no exception. There are plenty of delights in all forms to enjoy like the opening track “They Don’t Want It”, a raw no holds barred electro soul jam courtesy of New Zealand’s Electric Wire Hustle. “Lil Girl” is a down tempo groover that combines the multi instrumental talents of Shafiq Husayn of SA-RA Creative Partners and warm blissful vocals of Fatima. “Into My Life” has a cinematic like intro before it morphs into a dark piano driven gem courtesy of Ron Basejam. The songstress Nailah is a perfect example of why the Bubblers series are so important. Her voice will remind you of Nina Simone one minute and Cassandra Wilson the next. The track “Sacred” will have you seeking more of her work. Likewise for Michael Olatuja, the guitarist and former member of Terrance Blanchard’s band features the late Lynden David Hall on “Hold On” that not only beautiful but also reminds you how sorely missed he is. There is much more to explore and plenty to appreciate until the next volume drops so treat yourself to some of the finest talent you’ve never heard of. After one listen you won’t soon forget them.
Reg Dancy, 08/10
Various Artists - Brownswood Bubblers TwoBrownswood Recordings
Volume One was full of real quality but the problem for me was that I had bought most of the tracks on there. Volume Two is somewhat different: yes there are a few tracks that I have, but if you don't they are essential, like tracks by Marcina Arnold, Nicola Kramer and Grand Union. The other thirteen artists were mostly unknown to me until recently and myspace has been great getting more information. It's so good to see the excellent "Tea Leaf Dancers" by Flying Lotus with beautiful vocals by Andreya Triana finally see the light of day because it's been on most peoples' wants list for months. You also need to hear tracks by Boomclap Bachelors, Matsi, Middlewood Sessions, Sarah Ann Webb and Daisuke Tanabe's remix of Elan Mehler. Truly essential.
Simon Harrison, 04/07
Various Artists - Carolina FunkJazzman Records
Thank goodness for labels like Jazzman Records to search where no man has searched before to resurrect the rare grooves of the 70’s. Last year, they released "Florida Funk" and it was a huge success. They've done it again with "Carolina Funk." The man responsible for this year's release is North Carolina resident and record collector, Jason Perlmutter. He's assembled 22 of the rarest funk gems to emerge from the Carolinas. There are songs that will make you get on the good foot like Dynamite Singletary’s "Super Good," a high energy track similar to James Brown’s "Super Bad." The Soul Drifters certainly burned up the dance floor with "Funky Soul Brother." The mood slows down for a moment with Paul Burton’s "So Very Hard To Make It”" Make no mistake, this disc lays the funk down hard and heavy from start to finish. It provides a glimpse into an era so rich in musical talent that the artists displayed here are now getting the attention they never received before. When you think of vintage soul, you can now add the Carolinas as a contributor to the conversation. We have Jason Perlmutter to thank for that.
Reg Dancy, 05/08
Various Artists -Chillfunk Records
Ten years ago I was working in a local record shop, and I remember the first release on Chilli Funk, DSL's 'Enfusion', arriving in a box of new releases, and I've been a fan ever since. With an extensive back catalogue, Lofty, the man behind Chilli Funk and selector of this compilation, has wisely chosen to spread the selection over two cds. If you've missed any of their back catalogue, this is the perfect opportunity to do some catching up. All the heavy weights are here: Nathan Haines, Eastwest Connection, Restless Soul, Marathon Men, Vanessa Freeman and Jody Watley, with remixes by the likes of Kenny Dope, Ashley Beedle, Blaze and DJ Gregory. A limited four track 12' will also appear and as if that's not enough, there is a bonus cd mixed by Notenshun. Phew, Chillifunk don't do things in halves.
Simon Harrison, 04/06
Various Artists - Chris Sullivan presents: The Wag Iconic tunes 1983-1987Harmless Records
"Iconic tunes from the Wag Club 1983-1987" pays homage to legendary London nightclub. A collection of funk, Disco and rare grooves has been spread across four discs by Wag founder Chris Sullivan. For those who may not have had the pleasure of gracing the club's dance floor will certainly recognize a number of these prime cuts. Gil Scott Heron's "17th Street" and James Brown's "The Boss" are some of the funky selections from disc one. "Life On Mars" and "Hijack",are two sizzling Disco tracks from the seventies from Dexter Wansel and Herbie Mann respectively. There's a few notable soul jazz gems such as Listen Here" by Eddie Harris and Rahsaan Roland Kirk's "Making Love After Hours". "Go Bang" by Dinosaur L (Arthur Russell) is a timeless classic that still fills a dance floor. A compilation packed with well over fifty tunes will transport you to a time and place where a diverse group of people gathered for good vibes and good music. You may not ever attended the club but after listening you will wish you did.
Reg Dancy, 09/16
Various Artists - Christmas In The HouseKing Street Sounds
It seems that some of us do have a heart that goes beyond living for the music, or the money to be made from it. This is great, particularly regarding the meaning, thoughts and intent on releasing this digital only album - thanks to the vision of Hiro Ishioka, KSS's A & R man also behind the recent success of instalment 2 of Toyko Calling series. Full of poignancy; lyrics flow with sincerity that is undeniably driven by an innate faith as demonstrated on Diviniti's soul electro stacked 'The Reason'. As is Kenny Bobien's inspirational and emotive falsetto signature mark that makes sound the basic of the original hymn 'Let Us Adore Him (Come O Ye Faithful)', adding a sense of meaning so strong even this MP3 generation can get to grips and fall in love with it. Equally gorgeous and made for those deeper house dance floor gatherings is the instrumental percussion consortium of 'Silent Night' - so well produced by industry house keyboardist Eric Kupper, it's never sounded so fresh. Sparkling and glittering not only to set disco lights off all over the place, but made with the season in mind - to be cheerful, as the Afro rhythms and jamboree come alive in piano playfulness on Jihad Muhammad's 'It's Holiday Time'. Noticeably, there tracks that might only get airtime during the holidays, whereas some have been so cleverly crafted and worded it won't matter what day or time they're played. That said, with so many stand out tracks including those of DJ Spen, Joi Cardwell, two vocal offerings from Chris Bran aka Ananda Project and the opening from Stephanie Cooke reminding us why and what we get into spirit of it all for; Jesus, family and peace. We can all indeed be spoilt for choice; Christmas can be in the house all year round.
Marcia Carr, 12/07
Various Artists - Chrome Children Volume 2Stones Throw Records
California-based Stones Throw, home to head-honcho Peanut Butter Wolf and leading light Madlib, is undoubtedly one of the world's most exciting and productive independent Hip Hop labels, and any new compilation from such a label is always cause for celebration. Far from predictable, Chrome Children 2 pulls together a collection that includes not only Hip Hop, but Jazz and Disco-tinged Funk and Electro (in the true sense of the word) as well. The featured Hip Hop matches some the hottest emcees around - Guilty Simpson, Aloe Blacc, M.E.D - with some of the most forward-thinking producers around - think Dabrye, Four Tet, Danny Breaks and Madlib himself - and the end result is satisfying indeed. For me though, the stand-outs are the Egon re-edit of the Clifford Nyren Disco-funker 'Keep Running Away' and 'Murder', by the rather comically named James Pants.
Tom Breslin, 04/07