Various Artists - Fabric 24 - Mixed By Rob Da BankFabric
Now what a daunting proposition Rob had about a year ago. Radio 1 wanted him to take over from the mighty John Peel – the greatest radio DJ who has ever lived. I think Rob’s done a stern job and now Fabric have come knocking so he can interpret his diverse taste onto one of their highly respected compilations. Those familiar with Rob Da Bank’s radio shows or DJ sets will know that his taste is very broad and in a good way, all over the shop. This Fabric CD is pretty much in the same vein, except it’s mixed and mixed very well indeed. He selects some belters from Nathan Fake and Michael Mayer before dropping in the timeless DJ friend ‘Spastik’ by yer man Richie Hawtin. In the latter stages of the mix he flips to some great indie dance (urggggh awful phrase) in the form of the Futureheads and The Fiery Furnaces before finalising the mix with 2 of house music’s seminal masterpieces from Mr Fingers and Frankie Knuckles. This is good stuff from fabric – may they continue to treat us to quality compilations.
Various Artists - Faith Presents House Ain't Dead!BBE
It’s safe to say that house music isn’t going anywhere. It may never achieve the status of other genres but the underground support is strong and has been for years. Besides, there’s nothing like the sound of a soulful dance track with deep grooves getting inside your body. That’s the feeling you certain to have when you listen to “House Ain’t Dead” by Faith. A collection of classic house tracks and future classics by some of the premier dj’s on the scene today. One of those classics is “The Craze” by Prosumer, a Chicago inspired soulful track with a light but effective percussions and a funky bass line that is sure to lure you onto dance floor. Henrik Schwarz, with the help of Dixon does a fierce remix on Ane Brun’s Headphone Silence. Ane’s melancholy voice works well in contrast to the electronic deep house grooves at work here. I especially loved Pepe Bradock’s “Intriguing Feathered Creative”. The exotic synths and syncopated rhythms just add to the ambient feel of this wonderful track. “House Ain’t Dead” offers some traditional house moments and some twisted moments but overall the results are deeply satisfying.
Reg Dancy, 09/08
Various Artists - Fantastic Freeriding [The Next Chapter]Switchstance Recordings
Out of Moers, Germany comes the third in the compilation series 'Fantastic Freeriding' which showcases music from Kabanjak, Protassov, Deela, Subrok Mission and Ancient Astronauts. The beats are heavy throughout with touches of soul, funk, hip-hop, dub and electronica all thrown in along the way. The set's opener, 'The Rain' and 'Night People', both from Kabanjak along with Ancient Astronauts' 'Until The Stars Go Out' all beautiful atmospheric outings but also check out the funky fusion sound of 'Makulu' by Deela. This one could go massive if given the right exposure.
Andy Allen, 08/06
Various Artists - Far Out Strictly SambaFar Out Recordings
The folks at Far Out recordings have routinely turned out quality Brazilian music and this project is no exception. Strictly Samba features exceptional work from some of Brazil’s most talented artists to have recorded for the label. These musicians are already stars back home but Far Out aims to showcase them to a wider audience. There are several here who have already achieved that status. For starters there is the immensely talented Seu Jorge on the track “Carolina” a laidback mid-tempo samba. Azymuth has represented Brazil as arguably their most successful jazz groups for many years and for good reason. “Depois do Caranaval” is a warm, spacey harmonic gem. The Ipanemas serenade us with their trademark afro-samba sound on the track “Era Bom”. A pleasant surprise amongst this collection is the work of guitarist Arthur Verocai. The tune “Tudo de Bom”, features lively horn arrangements and the guitar skills that have people buzzing about him. Joyce and Elza Soares have been performing for over forty years. Together on “Samba da Silva”, they create a warm and blissful samba that will conjure visions of sunny afternoons on the beach and other tropical delights. This is just an example of the sixteen quality recordings presented here that will provide immediate satisfaction. This is essential listening for Samba enthusiasts.
Reg Dancy, 01/09
Various Artists - Folk Is Not A Four Letter Word Vol.2Delay 68 Records
Andy Votel again delves into the world of tripped-out acid-folk and unearths another mighty fine selection of obscurities for the second volume of 'Folk Is Not A Four Letter Word'. As with volume one, Carol Batton kicks off proceedings with an enchanted poetry intro entitled 'Winter' before we're treated to delights such as the Indian influenced 'Son Of God' from Parchment, Pentangle's 'I Saw An Angel', Alexis Korner & CCS' 'Sunrise' which is reminiscent of David Axelrod in places, and the beautiful simplicity of Woody Simmons' 'Grey Today'. Kick back, relax and let the tranquil waves wash over you.
Andy Allen, 01/07
Various Artists - FootprintsJazz and Milk
"Footprints", the latest release from the Munich based label features a diverse collection of previously unreleased funk and Afro-soul compositions from an array of international artists. Highlights include "Time", filled with wicked rhodes and funky samples from Sam Iri. Karl Hector and The Malcouns drops some gritty funk with "Who's Foolin Who". Bad Jazz Troupe contributes some raw funkiness of their own with "Seventy Three" and "Afro Hop", the latter filled with Latin rhythms and remixed by label founder Dusty. Dusty's superb collection of hidden gems makes this disc worthy of repeated listens. This is certainly of the better compilations you'll hear this year.
Reg Dancy, 08/14
Various Artists - Free Spirits Vol. II - For JC, Love Is SupremeKindred Spirits
Following last months' 10" release Kindred Spirits deliver the full album in celebration of what would have been John Coltrane's 80th birthday (23rd September 2006). The tracks from the 10", 'A Love Supreme' by Dwight Trible and 'John Coltrane' from Our Cry For Peace featuring Dwight are included along with Clifford Jordan's original of the latter and Rufus Harley's outstanding take on the former. Pharoah Sanders' 'Prince Of Peace' takes its rightful place as do the two versions of 'Naima' from 4Hero and Mark De Clive-Lowe featuring the voice of Bembe Segue. There's also Karin Krog & Nils Lindberg's haunting 'John Coltrane's A Love Supreme', Billy Gaunt's 'Mode For Trane', the incredible spoken word outing, 'Liberation Of The Spirit' from Kamau Daaood and the epic 'Duke And Trane' by Heikki Samarto Ensemble, Gregg Smith Vocal Quartet & Long Island Symphonic Choral Association. This is a truly stunning collection and a fitting tribute to jazz's number one son. My only criticism would be the lack of information in the sleeve notes about some of the more obscure tracks.
Andy Allen, 11/06
Various Artists - Freedom Jazz Dance Book IISchema Records
Schema records have been digging in the vaults to give us some unreleased tracks and remixes for this second in the series of Freedom Jazz Dance compilations. Here you have the wonderful Nicola Conte Remix of Gerardo Frisina's 'Giga's Dance', Paolo Fedreghini and Marco Bianchi's unreleased 'Stars', S-Tone Inc's "Some Kind Of Blues" and Quintetto Lo Greco "Yes and No". Let's hope there's more to be unleashed from the Schema archives.
Simon Harrison, 10/05
Various Artists - Freedom Jazz Dance IIISchema Records
Yep it's the third instalment from the successful series on the ever consistent Schema Records. There are unreleased gems here from Gerardo Frisina, Soulstance, Quintetto Lo Greco and Luis Ferri. Some of you may have picked up the ace Five Corners Quintet's remix of Sunaga T Experience: if not it's here in all its glory. Plus there is the first glimpse of the project by Mario Biondi & High Five Quintet, with an album dropping in 2007. Excited? - well, I am. They also dig back and highlight some classics from the past by Kenny Clarke-Frency Boland Sextet and Sahib Shiab. The best thing is all the tracks are on vinyl and cd... Whooohooo!
Simon Harrison, 11/06
Various Artists - Freedom Jazz FranceHeavenly Sweetness
The Parisian label Heavenly Sweetness once again have dug deep into their vaults to showcase some of the most obscure yet very stimulating Jazz compositions. "Freedom Jazz France", a collection of spiritual Jazz recordings spanning from the mid to late sixties from artists who had taken up residence in Paris for one reason or another. No matter the reason, there are timeless treasures like "Note So High", a hard bop tune that features vocals from vocalist Stella Levitt. "Colchiques" is sublime modal jazz from organist Eddie Louiss. "La Musique d' orphee" is celestial jazz with melodic background vocals. These recordings certainly were influenced by the burgeoning free jazz movement of the late sixties yet each artist has their own unique story to share and their impressive compositions are a testament to that. Overall this is a fascinating listen and another superb release from Heavenly Sweetness.
Reg Dancy, 02/14