Hector Plimmer - SunshineAlbert's Favourites
"Sunshine", the latest release from DJ/Instrumentalist Hector Plimmer is a pleasant release filled with soft ambient rhythms, delicate drumming and synths. Plimmer's mellow arrangements project a mood of solitude were inspired by his recent live performances caught the attention of the rising London label Albert's Favourites. Notable tracks include "Sunshine" featuring hypnotizing vocals from And Is Phi. "I Wish" is filled with gorgeous synths and vocals. "Eastern System" is drenched in tribal rhythms, enhanced by the Kalimba. Whether it's hip-hop, jazz or a mash up of rhythms Hector is pushing his music forward and this could be the release that gives him the acclaim he deserves.
Reg Dancy, 04/17
Henrik Schwarz - DJ Kicks!K7
This is one the finest series of compilations the electronic music world has ever had. They pick superb producers and artists to select some music and craft it onto a splendid long player. This selection by Germany's Henrik Schwarz is no different in that it's good all the way through. Just about everything is covered on this album, there is Detroit Techno from Drexciya, Funk from James Brown, Reggae from Sugar Minot and house from Schwarz himself. There are also slices of soul music and a tad bit of Jazz. It's well put together and plays perfect as a whole album. Preceding this release will be a limited 12" from Schwarz of the "written especially for this compilation" single - 'Imagination Limitation'. You'd be a fool not to check this out, or for that matter virtually all of the DJ Kicks series.
Herb Geller - An American In Hamburg: The View From HereTramp Records
An appropriate title for this set by jazz saxophonist Herb Geller, who was indeed an American living and working in Hamburg. Originally released in Germany on Nova in 1975, with a condensed version re-titled Rhyme & Reason issued on Atlantic for the US market the same year, this album has long been in demand, mainly due to the appearance of legendary vocalist Mark Murphy on three tracks. Space A La Mode is probably the most well known of these due to it’s inclusion on a rather suspect looking compilation back in the early 90s but the other Murphy fronted tunes, Sudden Senility and The Power Of A Smile are also wonderful examples of vocal fusion which journey through varying tempos and moods. Earl Jordan is a vocalist I can find very few other recordings by but he puts in a strong performance on the funked up Rhyme & Reason. Tidal Wave, an instrumental dancer is also worthy of note and as for the rest of the album it is made up of instrumental versions of the four vocal tracks.
Andy Allen, 03/14
Herbert - ScaleK7
Back some ten years I was very lucky to be working in a record shop when the limited first releases on Phono records appeared with productions by a new name - Herbert. Still to this day, I dig out those first 12"s and of course he churned out some brilliant albums and remixes over the years. Herbert has been known to sample all manner of things over the years and this album cover features 37 pictures of the 723 objects sampled in the making of "Scale". As with all of Herbert's previous albums, there is a serious message behind the songs, which will certainly make you think. "Scale" is the most obvious album to date with disco, jazz and house bits thrown in there but it just goes to prove this man is a modern day genius.
Simon Harrison, 07/06
Herbie Hancock - River: The Joni LettersVerve
For his latest project Herbie delves into the Joni Mitchell songbook. With a band including Wayne Shorter and vocal performances from Norah Jones ('Court And Spark'), Corinne Bailey Rae ('River'), Leonard Cohen ('The Jungle Line') and Joni herself ('Tea Leaf Prophecy') this makes for a pleasant listening experience and could well see some airplay on the likes of BBC Radio 2. The real standout here though is a version of one of my all time favourite Joni tracks, 'Edith And The Kingpin' featuring Tina Turner. I can't say I've ever been a huge fan of Ms Turner but here her vocals are more restrained than usual yet retain those wonderful earthy tones which sit perfectly on this glorious laid back jazz interpretation.
Andy Allen, 01/08
Hi-Fly Orchestra - Mambo AtomicoTramp Records
For some bands it can take years to develop cohesion, when several members become one unit. The Hi-Fly Orchestra have been together since 2005 but the chemistry that exists between them on “Mambo Atomico” suggest a much longer union. Throughout the nine track disc the six member band flawlessly performs danceable Latin jazz tunes and a couple of slow tracks as well. The opening tune, “Afro-Boo” finds the band swinging hard right out the gate. The sweet horn soloing by Johannes Herrlich on Trombone dances over the percussion work of Norbert Kupper and sounds superb. “Chove Chuva” is a wonderful bossa tune features the soothing voice of Miriam Aida, who also sings on “Polonesa”. “Mrs Shing-A-Ling” is a nice mid tempo samba tune that finds the group locked in the groove and having a good time without showing off. They're just simply creating quality music that you can dance to or just kick back and nod your head to. “Mambo Atomico” is an impressive record by a band that is firing on all cylinders. If you like Latin jazz you certainly enjoy the music of the Hi-Fly Orchestra.
Reg Dancy, 10/08
Hiatus Kaiyote - Choose Your WeaponSony
Out of nowhere "Tawk Tomahawk", the debut from the Australia based group Hiatus Kaiyote swooped in and sunk into our hearts and souls and captured everyone's attention. Their debut was rich with gorgeous melodies, creative songwriting and a multifaceted talent in vocalist/guitarist Nai Palm. Their follow up lp "Choose Your Weapon" is a wonderful record with an myriad of unpredictable melodies with a soulful element that defies categories. "Shaolin Munk Motherfunk" is a syncopation of rhythms thanks in part to Simon Mavin's imaginative keyboard arrangements. "Jekyll" starts out with Mavin's lush piano melody that gradually builds into a thematic gem. "Breathing Underwater", an ode to Stevie Wonder is full of warm arrangements and swaying melodies. Paul Bender lays down hypnotic guitar rhythms on the Japanese cinematic inspired "The Lung". Few releases with eighteen tracks could keep you satisfied quite like this one. Not only is this an exception but it's certainly one of the best releases of the year. Highly recommended.
Reg Dancy, 07/15
Hilary Field & Patrice O'Neill - Siente Night Songs From Around The WorldYellow Tail Records
A collection of lullabies from around the world put together by classical guitarist Hilary and vocalist Patrice. Material sourced from Ireland, Russia, Spain, Indonesia, Italy, France and more with the common theme being to get little ones to sleep peacefully. Well, not always little ones, it worked a treat on me as well !
Graham Radley, 08/07
Hint - Driven From DistractionTru Thoughts Recordings
After releasing several entertaining ep’s for Tru Thoughts, Jonathan James, aka Hint has finally dropped his second full length disc “Driven For Distraction”. While “Portakabin Fever” was a chilled out downtempo affair, “Driven” is full of instrumental clubs tracks and soulful delights. One of those delights is the opening track “Keep On Your Shirt On” featuring the soulful voice of Laura Vane. This upbeat track is a great introduction to the diversity of Hint’s talents. “Afro Love Forest” is an intoxicating melodic uptempo jam that features underrated label mate Kinny. Aside from the stellar vocal performances, “Driven” contains an assortment of club bangin’ instrumental joints like “Mutes And Drops”, a funky piano driven jam. The disc wraps up on a high note with the hit “The Tremmuh”, a funky broken beat track that made its way onto many dj’s playlists ever since it premiered as an ep back in 2005. In a short period of time, Hint has compiled an array of compositions that should catapult his status as one of the most talented producers on the rise.
Reg Dancy, 08/08
Hipnosis - CarrouselPerfect Toy Records
Hipnosis drop their second long player "Carrousel" on Perfect Toy Records after their much praised debut album 'Jazz'. Here they continue the traditional jazz theme to stunning affect with all nine tracks being new compositions. The lp kicks off with the self titled track featuring the wonderful vocals of Merit Ostermann that will completely blow you away. In fact I've played 'Carrousel' to a number of friends and they have bought the lp because of that one track, need I say more. If you're a fan of Ricky Tick Records, Teddy Rock Seven and Nicola Conte, make sure you have this at the top of your wants list.
Simon Harrison, 05/05