Julie Fowlis - CuilidhShoeshine Records
Follow up to the excellent 'Mar A Tha Mo Chridhe (As My Heart Is)' Julie further explores the folklore of her native North Uist in the Western Isles of Scotland. Her beautiful voice and excellent supporting musicians- including Eamon Doorley (Danu), John McCusker, Chris Thile (Nickel Creek), Mark Kelly (Altan), John Doyle (Solas) and Donald Shaw (Capercaillie) make this the perfect package. Divine.
Graham Radley, 04/07
Julien Dyne - Pins and DigitsBBE Records
Many folks may be familiar with drummer/producer Julien Dyne from his work with the group Opensouls. Their signature sound is rooted in raw soul and funk but you won’t find anything like that here. Instead we have an organic collection of soulful hip-hop beats blended with jazz tinged vibes. Among the highlights are “Layer”, a mid-tempo track with a funky bass line and “Stained glass fresh Frozen”, a soulful electronic joint with horns. Both tracks feature Mara tk who provides vocals and additional beat arrangements. “Falling” is a laid back ethereal gem with heavy beats and earthy chords that features Julien on vocals. This is the type of track you could picture someone like Dwele singing over it. Although there are fourteen tracks, three or four barely exceeded 2 minutes but they still manage to keep your attention. That said, “Pins and Digits” is an impressive debut by an emerging talent. Julien successfully merges live instrumentation with electronica and creates futuristic soul that you don’t want to miss.
Reg Dancy, 10/09
Jumbonics - Talk To The AnimalsTru Thoughts Recordings
Rob Mac and Matt Smooth are back and showing no end to their talents, after their excellent Gum Drop and Speeka projects. The track you've probably heard of here is their funk re-working of The Strokes "Last Nite": I was rather surprised that I knew the track and when playing out, it's certainly a crowd pleaser. What made this album really special for me was vocalist Norman Anderson, who just blew me away. It seems whatever style Rob and Matt throw at him, Norman's wonderful voice excels on every tune. To top it off, just like the Gum Drop album, they've brought in violinist Lucy Wilkins to add to the beautiful arrangements. A must!!
Simon Harrison, 03/07
Jungle Fire - JambuNacional
"Jambu" is the second full length LP from the Los Angeles based band known as Jungle Fire. The ten member group's scorching sound spans Afrobeat and Latin rhythms layered over gritty funk. They started out by gathering for occasional jam sessions for b-boy acts before morphing into a full time unit. Those jam sessions would eventually lead to a record deal with the acclaimed North Hollywood California based Nacional Records. "Jambu features a mix of fiery up-tempo bangers as well as some mild mid-tempo grooves. "LA Kossa" is infectious Latin funk with blistering horns. "Efori" has a mellow groove with a light touch of percussion. "Bele Bele" is complemented by electric guitar licks and funky horns. Jungle Fire's brand of "Tropi-Funk" ensures you're gonna have a funky good time.
Reg Dancy, 04/17