Music Reviews

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Tales From The Beach / Incognito

Incognito - Tales From The Beach

Dome Records

It may have been ten years between the release of Incognito’s debut album ‘Jazz Funk’ (1981) and their second ‘Inside Life’ (1991) but since then Bluey and his collective have certainly made up for it as ‘Tales From The Beach’ marks their 13th release. As always the production is faultless and although there’s nothing unexpected here it will no doubt please their legion of fans. For me though the real winner on this set is ‘Feel The Pressure’, an infectious jazz-funk meets broken-beat monster co-produced by Ski Oakenfull and featuring Tony Momrelle, Imaani and Joy Rose on vocals.

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Andy Allen, 06/08

Transatlantic RPM / Incognito

Incognito - Transatlantic RPM

Dome Records

Incognito has been blessing us with jazzy flavored soulful dance tracks for over thirty years and on their latest release “Transatlantic RPM”, One has to admire Bluey’s taste in musicians across the pond for he has recruited an all star line-up to add some additional flavor to his signature sound. You can’t go wrong when you open the set with the incomparable Chaka Khan. While she does a fine job covering the Boz Scaggs classic “Low Down”, she sounds superb alongside Mario Biondi on “The Song”. “Gotta” features a softer side of Poet/Singer Ursula Rucker that is soothing to the eardrums. Of course an Incognito album wouldn’t be complete without the beautiful voice of Maysa and she shines on “Your Sun My Sky”. The rhythm section stretches out and lays down a nice groove on “Expresso Madureira” and “Can’t Get Enough” is an infectious dance track. When you think of the pinnacle of Incognito albums, “Positivity” and “100 Degrees and Rising” come to mind. I’m not ready to add this one to that list but it’s certainly their strongest release since “Adventures In Black Sunshine”. Long time fans and newcomers will certainly this one throughout.

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Reg Dancy, 01/11

Demonstration / Indigo Jam Unit

Indigo Jam Unit - Demonstration

Basis Records

More quality Japanese jazz gear, this time from Indigo Jam Unit, who are essentially a trio with Yoshichika Tarue on piano, BJ (Katsuhiko Sasai) on bass and Isao Wasano and Kenichi Tateiwa alternating on drums. These guys can really swing which is evidenced on the sizzling 'Palette', the hypnotic '7th Feeling' and the Latin tinged 'Teardrop'. They are equally at home though on the slower material, 'Snow', a stunningly beautiful piece, being a good example. The standard of musicianship on show here is exceptional but you'll have to be quick, as this is a seriously limited release.

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Andy Allen, 11/06

Biorhythm / Inner City Sound Clash

Inner City Sound Clash - Biorhythm

Stilnovo Music

"Biorhythm" is the debut album of Eleonora Cutala under the moniker of Inner City Sound Clash. The ten track release is a collection of emotive electronic soundscapes and a melange of moods. In addition, Cutala has collaborated with an array of artists who are in touch with her vision and are superb in expressing themselves through her recordings. The sweet sultry vocals of Jaidene Veda provides plenty of warmth on "The One For Me". "Sunrise To Sunset" is filled with hazy synths, warm vibes and a perfect match for Olu's falsetto vocals. "Forgiven" is sultry house bolstered by the vocals of Dezaray. Cutala's compositions are pure bliss and a sonic journey that you shouldn't miss.

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Reg Dancy, 04/17

 / Inverse Cinematics

Inverse Cinematics -

Pulver Records

Although Inverse Cinematics have been providing us with top quality productions and remixes since 2002 surprisingly ‘Passin’ Through’ is their first long player. It’s been well worth the wait though as this is a fantastic collection of new material (other than the inclusion of the anthemic ‘Detroit Jazzin’’) which effortlessly fuses elements of deep house, jazz and hip-hop. ‘Sundrops’, ‘Sambatime’ and ‘Don’t Give Up’ are all heavy hitters in the vein of the aforementioned ‘Detroit Jazzin’’ but not to be overlooked are ‘Interplanetary Motivations’ and the title track, two slow motion chuggers, plus the jazzy hip-hop jam ‘Take It Back To 86’ featuring Jebidiah.

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Andy Allen, 06/08

French Riviera / Isabelle Antena

Isabelle Antena - French Riviera

Gate Records

Despite numerous releases I've got to admit to knowing little by French vocalist Isabelle Antena other than 'Playback' from her 1986 LP 'En Cavale', which was covered brilliantly by Yukihiro Fukutomi in more recent times. Her latest offering, 'French Riviera' sees her team up with some of Japan's top producers such as the aforementioned Yukihiro Fukutomi, Tatsuo Sunaga (Sunaga T), Kazuma Fujimoto (Orange Pekoe) and Jazztronik. The result is a gorgeous bossa laced jazz set which includes the outstanding fusion dancer 'Brazilian Dorian Dream' produced by Kyoto Jazz Massive'.

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Andy Allen, 12/06

A State of Flow / Ishmael Ensemble

Ishmael Ensemble - A State of Flow

Seven Songs

Led by saxophonist, band leader and Bristol resident Peter Cunningham, Ishmael Ensemble's nine track lp is celestial jazz meets electronica filled with atmospheric soundscapes. "Full Circle" pulls you in instantly with the glorious harp rhythms and pulsating drums topped off by the emotive vocals of Holysseus Fly. "Siren" starts out with a funky bass lick before diving into a flurry of broken beats, horns and synths that build toward an exhilarating crescendo. "The River" is a meditative tune that's elevated by trumpeter Yazz Ahmed's warm effortless tone. Overall "A State Of Flow" is a bold and adventurous release that you shouldn't miss.

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Reg Dancy, 04/19

Balance / Isoul8

Isoul8 - Balance

Sonar Kollektiv

Following a number of impressive 12s for Sonar Kollektiv and Still Music Enrico Crivellaro aka Isoul8 delivers a full album of deep house delights. The tracks from the 12s, 'Give It Up' featuring Valerie Etienne, 'Speak Your Word' with Rasiyah & Osunlade, 'Free' featuring Just One and the magnificent Paul Randolph fronted 'On My Heart' are all present and correct. Cuts such as 'How I Feel' and 'No Longer Fear' with Marcus Begg on vocals pay homage to the old school and come complete with drum machine hand-clap effects. 'Clover' and 'So Simple' again graced by Paul Randolph and Rasiyah respectively both have a real sunshine vibe and feature gentle acoustic guitar touches. Not to be overlooked though is the collaboration with Kaidi Tatham 'A Silent Force', an atmospheric track which echoes the sounds of the jungle.

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Andy Allen, 09/06

Mali Koura / Issa Bagayogo

Issa Bagayogo - Mali Koura

Six Degrees Records

Excellent release from yet another wonderful Malian artist, with great production, from Yves Wernert and Philippe Berthier, neatly mixing the rural sound with a raw funkiness and Western dance loops. Gael Le Billan is a major player as well, not only as an arranger but also adding a whole range of playing from acoustic guitar to sax to this album of many flavours. Issa Bagayogo is clearly with this CD ready to find a bigger audience, I recommend you are one of them.

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Graham Radley, 12/08

Poison Fruit / Ivan "Mamao" Conti

Ivan "Mamao" Conti - Poison Fruit

Far Out Recordings

It's hard to imagine that "Poison Fruit" is Ivan "Mamao" Conti's first release in over twenty years. Although the legendary drummer is one third of the infamous group Asymuth, don't expect this to be your typical Asymuth album. Instead "Poison Fruit" is filled with experimental house beats and electronic rhythms. That's due in part to London based producer Daniel Maunick. Mamao was introduced to Maunick by his son Thiago Maranhao who serves as co-producer. Tracks like "Encontro" will sound right at home with the traditional Asymuth sound. While "Bacurau" opens with explosive percussion rhythm riding a bass driven house groove. The title track goes deeper into experimental left-field house with spacey synths. As a bonus there are some superb remixes from notable DJ/Producers like Glenn Astro, Max Graef just to name a few. Samba flavored jazz fusion combined with samples and electronics pays dividends here. Mamao and Maunick connect the dots and emerge with a splendid record.

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Reg Dancy, 03/19

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