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
Doom - Born Like ThisLex Records
Hip Hop’s favorite villain returns with his first solo project since 2004’s “MM..Food?”. “Born like This” doesn’t quite measure up to “Food” but there are several standout tracks that are well worth checking out. Highlights include “Gazillian Ear” where Doom’s unconventional rhyme style combined with his abstract production makes this one a clear cut winner. “Yessir” is also impressive, thanks in part to special guest Raekwon, whose dense delivery is the complement to Doom’s gritty beats. “Still Dope feat. Empress Sharhh” is another banger and further proof why many respected rappers yearn to lay down rhymes to a Doom produced track. If you’ve been a supporter of Doom’s work over the years then you’ll no doubt enjoy this release. For those who tire of watered down hip-hop, prepare to be enlightened to Doom’s dark tales and you’ll see why he’s one of the most respected underground rapper/producer on the scene today.
Reg Dancy, 01/10
Dopegems - NecksnappinHeavenly Sweetness
"Necksnappin" is the latest release from Dopegems, is filled with soulful psychedelic funk. Slick Tim, drummer, guitarist and producer of the french funk group knows how to lay down a good groove and surround it with wicked electric guitar rhythms. Highlights include "Condor Redux, a slow tempo funk with Wah Wah guitar rhythms". "Like A Thief In The Night" is a scorching up-tempo funk number filled with tasty vibes and Rhodes. "First Come, First Serve" is another slow tempo funk with soft rock sensibilities. There's no doubt that Slick Tim has embraced the seventies funk and fusion scene and has applied those lessons well. Tasty grooves surrounded by slick arrangements makes this an impressive release from the versatile five piece band.
Reg Dancy, 10/14
Dorian Concept - When Planets ExplodeKindred Spirits
This album quite simply defies categorisation. So much so that it’s going to be easier for me to start by telling you what it isn’t, than to steam straight into flailing around in vain trying to describe what it actually is. It’s not easy listening, that’s for sure. Well, not at first anyway. Although, after a short while, you do find yourself drifting off into a kind of head-nodding, groove-induced coma. It certainly isn’t organic, in the sense that the sounds and effects used have never been within 100 miles of, say, a guitar or a trumpet, or any other kind of acoustic instrument for that matter. And, most importantly, it sure as hell isn’t to be ignored. For, the music of Viennese beat-meister Dorian Concept is unashamedly synthetic, electronic and beat-driven, and yet (because of the man’s evident talent with a keyboard and his supreme production skills) it is so very, very musical. It isn’t just a neck-snapping beat here and a random squelch there; it is all intricately woven harmonies and textured grooves, crafted with a deft touch and full of a delightfully wonky jazziness. And, the balance is just right. You could just as easily find this music reverberating from within a blacked-out Hummer as you could in a contemporary Jazz nerd’s cans. Everyone should give this polished gem a try, but, for simplicity’s sake, fans of Harmonic 313, Dabrye and Kindred Spirits’ ‘Beat Dimensions’ collection should not sleep on this.
Tom Breslin, 04/09
Double Beat - Something NewBig Sur
'Something New' is Double Beat's follow up to 'International Funk Music' (Big Sur 2004). Stefano Ghittoni (manager of Big Sur Recordings) and Marco Rigamonti are both DJ/producers who together have produced a hybrid sound of funk and nu-jazz built around 4x4 house beats. For me the set lacks the vital ingredients to give it longevity but 'Profondo' and particularly 'Beat It' with its African vocal snippets would certainly work in a club environment.
Andy Allen, 03/07
Double Yellow - Life in the Slow LaneHere and Now recordings
Double Yellow is the duo of Singer/songwriter Dave Lilley and DJ/Producer Diesler. "Life in the Slow Lane”, their full length debut is a potpourri of musical flavors rooted in deep grooves and tasty funk. Among the highlights are the Dixie Jazz flavored “No One Knows” that features the sweet vocals of Suzanne Lilley. “Zygote No.9” is heavy funk with hypnotic grooves. “Dust Can Grow” is a laid back Latin jazz flavored tune that features vocals from Edward Pye and and Daniel Smith on trumpet. Lilley’s imaginative songwriting and Diesler’s beats make for an engaging record. Admirers of the “We Got Caught” ep will not be disappointed.
Reg Dancy, 01/13
Doug Hammond - A Real DealHeavenly Sweetness
Renowned jazz artist Doug Hammond makes a welcome return with his first studio album in 20 years. With Doug on drums, sanza and vocals accompanied occasionally by Kirk Lightsey on piano this is an extremely sparse set but one that retains the magical quality of his 70s recordings for Tribe. 'A Real Deal' is consistent throughout but the tracks particularly worth mentioning are 'Dope Of Power Suite (Four Tet Club Mix)', 'Rizz Biz', 'Moves' and the stunningly beautiful 'A Tear'.
Andy Allen, 11/07
Dozan - Introducing DozanIntroducing / World Music Network
Formed by Jordanian vocalist Shireen Abu-Khader to celebrate Arabic folklore. Their description on the sleeve notes as a ‘ modern folkloric chamber group’ sums them up well, the music is traditional with new arrangements but keeping the vocals very much to the fore on these Sufi influenced songs. Beautiful.
Graham Radley, 12/08
Drawbar - Flight of the TempestCounterpoint Records
In the world of Drawbar the Hammond organ is undoubtedly king. For the humble Hammond is the musical centrifuge around which every one of the eleven tracks on ‘Flight of the Tempest’ rotates and that, as it happens, is no bad thing. Admittedly, I wasn’t immediately taken with the Drawbar sound - thinking that I had heard it all somewhere before - but I can now say that it’s a definite grower. It’s a simmering stew of soul, jazz, a little Hip-Hop and a lot of funk that’s been bought to the boil under the heady influence of film scores and library music. Not at all bad for a crew of organ fanatics from Hastings!
Tom Breslin, 10/08