DJ Spinna - The Sound Beyond StarsBBE
DJ Spinna's roots in house music date back to the time spent around the likes of New York house icons Shep Pettibone and Larry Levan. Although he would cultivate a reputation as a hip-hop dj/producer, he displayed a natural ability to transition into the crowded dj house arena. That was evident when he dropped the Shaun Escoffery remixes for "Space Rider" and Days Like These". Both remain dance floor fillers to this day. Several timeless treats would follow and most are compiled here on the wonderful release, "The Sound Beyond Stars". With over forty tracks here this two disc compilation successfully shines a light on his first rate arrangements. "Live In The Light", featuring Navasha Daya and "What Am I Gonna Do" with Rashaan Patterson are infectious soulful dance tracks that will elevate your spirit as only a great house track can. By the time you get to the end of disc 1 with "Little W. 12st" your spirit has been whipped into a frenzy. Disc 2 is a bit more mellow but no less engaging. "Dear Friend" is an atmospheric house gem and the thumping bass of "The Power" will keep your head on a swivel. This isn't just a collection of tracks, instead it's a great performance of true DJ who knows how to set a mood while taking you higher in the process. As far as compilations go, this is as good as it gets. Highly recommended.
Reg Dancy, 04/15
DJ Spinna & BBE Soundsystem - Strange Things & Funky Things Vol.5BBE Records
DJ Spinna continues to dig in the crates in order to shine the light on the underground soul and rare grooves of the seventies with satisfying results. “Strange Things & Funky Things Vol.5” is jam packed with an assortment of tasty treats you may or may not be familiar with but you’ll no doubt enjoy them. The disc starts out with the silky seductive “Sweet Stuff” by Sylvia. This is definitely a dim the lights and hold your lady tight track. “Capricorn Rising” is one of those quality timeless tracks that slips through the cracks and you’re left wondering why. This is a wonderful jazz infused record by Richard Evans reminiscent of Charles Stepney’s arrangements with Earth, Wind & Fire. Other highlights include the afro-Latin rhythmic “War Is Coming” by War and “Obaa Yaa Aye Me Bone” by CK Mann & his Carousel 7. The latter is a thirteen minute medley of deep and funky Afrobeat rhythms that is essential listening. Overall DJ Spinna has created a tremendous passage into an era where quality recordings were the rule and not the exception. Need an immediate soul and funk injection, you’ll be wise to pick this one up.
Reg Dancy, 12/10
DJ Vadim - Double SidedBBE
DJ Vadim and Californian songwriter vocalist Katrina Blackstone return following their successful collaboration on "Dubcather" with "Double sided". Vadim's latest release is amalgamation of dub step grooves, boogie tunes with several eclectic rhythms mixed in between. Among the highlights are "Choose" where Blackstone's sultry vocals ride over a wicked synth laden beat. "Stand Up" is roots reggae laced with funky dub echo effects and pulsing drums. "How Long" is an upbeat boogie tune with a catchy melody that lingers long after the song is over. Vadim has delivered another impressive disc full of live instrumentation and thumping bass grooves. Along with Ms Blackstone they've formed the perfect musical combination.
Reg Dancy, 10/17
DJ Vadim - DubcatcherBBE
DJ Vadim has been very busy these days. When he isn't DJ'ing around the world he's also producing for numerous artists in all manner of styles. With his latest release "Dubcatcher" he has composed a rich collection of Dub beats and Dance hall rhythms enhanced by an array of talented vocalists and rappers alike. There's so much to savor starting with "Hope" and "Rise". Each tune feature Bassist/Vocalist Rio Hemopo and frequent Vadim contributor Sabira Jade. "Action" featuring rising star Jimmy Screech is another winner that packs a lot of bass and Hip-Hop beats. Other notable tracks include "Nah Join" and "Originate It", the latter featuring Dynamite MC. Locked and loaded with sixteen tracks, "Dubcatcher" flows with one great vocalist after another and the production is first rate. If you purchase only one Dub record this year, make sure this is the one.
Reg Dancy, 06/14
DJ Vadim - The SoundcatcherBBE Records
Back again with new material, and DJ Vadim has been working hard, because there are 17 tracks here, with no fillers or interludes. What's more, if you like one song, I think you'll probably like them all, for The Soundcatcher maintains a certain summery style and feel-good factor throughout that makes it a perfect head-bobbing, relaxing-on-the-beach album. The beats are generally of a Hip Hop nature, but few tracks are straight-up raps. The rest are smooth instrumentals (a la Rae & Christian), laidback, Reggae influenced vocals and all other varieties of pre-party flavours that DJ Vadim has become known for. A good album that will be loved by many.
Tom Breslin, 04/07
DJ Vadim and Sena - Grow SlowBBE
"Grow Slow", the aptly titled new release from DJ Vadim and Ghanaian native Sena has been brewing for several years. Their chance meeting in 2005 at a festival in Hungary led to a blistering appearance on Vadim's 2007 critically acclaimed release "Soundcatcher". Sena has since built an enormous following complete with two solo albums of her own and sold out shows as well. So the time felt right to finally collaborate on a full length lp and there's much to be excited about here. "Work Hard" is an infectious up-tempo tune with well placed synths, African funk and South London beats. The title track kicks off with a tasty rhodes riff before settling into a mid-tempo funky groove. "Morning Light" is a mellow burner filled with fat beats and wicked guitar licks. As one has come to expect from a Vadim recording, the sound system is superb and the arrangements are tailored to bring out the best in his artist. Overall "Grow Slow" packs a punch and keeps on hitting you with rough and rugged grooves and powerful vocals. If you haven't already taken notice of this emerging talent, it's time to get familiar.
Reg Dancy, 08/15
Djivan Gasparyan - Soul Of ArmeniaNetwork
To celebrate one of the world's finest musicians as he approaches his 80th birthday, next year, Network put together this 2 CD package of old and new. Djivan Gasparyan gave his first public performance on the duduk (Armenian flute which was mainly played by shepherds) 60 years ago, He has gone on to tour the world , play on many film soundtracks (Gladiator etc) and win many awards including the Womex Lifetime Achievement Award. There are several exclusive new recordings here but I think my pick would have to be the 2005 recording with Michael Brook featuring Djivan plus Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - pure magic.
Graham Radley, 12/07
Doctor L - The Great DepressionComet
Ten years in the making, Liam Farrell aka Doctor L presents “The Great Depression”, an amalgamation of African rhythms, North American funk grooves and jazzy vibes shaken and stirred to perfection. Doctor L has arranged these ingredients with a little help from his esteemed musical friends like the legendary drummer Tony Allen, Antibalas and others and the results are superb. This is apparent immediately with the spirited opener “Mystery Travels”, which features contributions from The Nairobi Descendants. With an infectious groove, hypnotic percussion and Laurent Fickleson on keys, you quickly realize that you’re in for a musical treat and a sudden urge to turn the volume up. The Descendants appear again with Tony Allen on the equally infectious afro-Cuban “By Surprise”. “Vocal Kidnapping” is another enjoyable track that features poignant spoken word from Unknown Poets. Overall “The Great Depression” pulls off the difficult feat of enlightening the listener of the socio-political climate while enriching their soul and shaking their hips with ease. Farrell’s compositions will find a definite place in your musical playlist and is worthy of repeated listens.
Reg Dancy, 03/12
Dogdaze - In Dog We TrustDogdaze Productions
One of the best ways to get your music out there is basically to do everything yourself, and that's what Dogdaze has done - and full respect. What we have here is an album with no compromises which features some of the darkest beats and heaviest basslines you'll hear this year. Dave has been taking tips from the likes of Danny Breaks and Tipper, especially in "Junglism" and "Transmission". "In Dog We Trust" bridges the gaps between broken beats, hiphop and soul. Broken beats monsters "So" and "Ride" will find a home with fans of Domu. Heavyweight stuff.
Simon Harrison, 10/06
Dojo Cuts - Take From MeFreestyle
The Sydney based band known as Dojo Cuts build on the promise shown on their self-titled debut from 2009. Their latest, “Take From Me” features a strong collection of tasty grooves and the soulful voice of Roxie Ray that is reminiscent of blue light basement parties, plaid bell bottom pants and quality soul music in abundance. Roxie’s seductive voice soars on a number of tracks here, most notably “Easy To Come Home” and “Lift Me Up”, two simmering mid-tempo tunes featuring silky smooth horns and finger popping guitar licks. “Sonny’s Strut” is a funky instrumental that finds the band stretching out and laying down grooves certain to fill any dance floor. “In This Moment” is a slow burner that is indicative of the entire disc, soulful and seductive grooves that ease up and rock you, over and over again. In a world filled with over-produced recordings and the sound of auto-tune makes you want to scream, Dojo Cuts take you back to the essence of soul and chances are you won’t make any plans to go anywhere else.
Reg Dancy, 04/12