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
Domu - Return Of The RogueArchive Records
I've lost count of Dominic Stanton's aliases and releases but here is the latest instalment under Domu. I went to the release party of "Return Of The Rogue" back in May but thankfully this will be out soon. Believe me this is an absolute classic from the man who never seems to stop working. As we've come to expect from Domu over the years, you never quite know what's coming next. Well I won't spoil the plot for you because this is fantastic from start to end. This is sure to be one of the best albums in 2005.
Simon Harrison, 08/05
Domu presents Pete Simpson - Look A Little FurtherPapa Records
In my recent review of the Elektrons album, on which Pete Simpson is featured, I commented that he is a talented but under recorded vocalist. Well to my welcome relief here is a full length set from the man with the added bonus of Domu on production duties. It comprises of ten beautifully crafted, largely mid-tempo soul/boogie cuts which are all nothing short of brilliant, so there absolutely no point in me trying to select highlights. Just do yourself a favour and buy what will be a heavy weight contender for album of the year!
Andy Allen, 09/07
Donnie Munro - An TurasGreentrax
Recorded live at 2008’s Celtic Connections, the title translates to The Journey and is based on emigration from Scotland to America. ‘Heart Of America’ evolved from a 2004 trip to the US where a visit to Ellis Island was very significant and proved to be the catalyst for the project. Donnie’s band is joined by guests like Fraser Fifield, Sandy Brechin and the Glasgow Islay Choir plus strings from RSAMD Glasgow. Rousing.
Graham Radley, 08/08
Donso - DonsoComet Records
Donso is a foursome that hails from France and Mali. Pierre Antoine Grison is the producer and Gedeon Papa Diarra, who hails from Mali is the vocalist. Guimba Kouyate and Djele Nlgoni fill out the rest of the group. Together they have created a melodic blend of Malian music sweetened up with electronic pop grooves. The opening track “Kenya” has a traditional Malian sound enhanced by the falsetto voice of Gedeon. “Mogoya” has more of a modern sound thanks to Grison’s electronic programming arrangements. “Tiyamba” is a nice relaxing tune that features Ballake Sissoko playing the Kora, a 21 string instrument made very popular in West Africa. It has a very interesting sound that’s a cross between a harp and a flute. From the first track to the last, Donso flows seamlessly and captures the spirit of the Malian musical experience. Long time admirers of the music will certainly enjoy the traditional vibe while newcomers will quickly warm up to a folk inspired sound that embraces the styles of today. Overall a quality album that certainly merits your attention.
Reg Dancy, 09/10