Liquid Saloon - GuetaRaw Tapes
Liquid Saloon is a trio of up and coming musicians based in Tel Aviv, Israel. "Gueta" is inspired by afro-beat rhythms and experimantal jazz. Drummer Amir Bresler drives the beat on the title track which also features local instrumentalists such as Nital Hershkovits and Rejoicer on keys. Eyal Talmudi's melodic clarinet solo towards the end is an added bonus. "Polaroid Banana" is a funky highlight laced with warped out synths and tasty percussion. Fellow Tel Aviv resident Jenny Penkin's blissful vocals are a delight on the slow fusion burner "Won't Be Led By Fear". An impressive debut filled with vibrant rhythms and wicked grooves that shouldn't be missed.
Reg Dancy, 05/19
Liquid Spirits - MusicKindred Spirits
Liquid Spirits are an 8-piece band, consisting of drums, guitar, bass, keys and four vocalists, and, under the stewardship of producers Manuel Hugas and Wilboud Burkens, they make pure, unadulterated Soul music of the highest order. There is something of Kindred The Family Soul in their sound, as well as a touch of Acid Jazz along the lines of The Brand New Heavies, but there are no scratches, no samples, no drum machines; just real people singing and playing instruments. Even when Phonte, of Little Brother fame, pops up on the wonderful, Tribe-like ‘If You Don’t Love Me’, the grooves are understated and organic, but always, always funky. Elsewhere, Leon Ware adds to the feeling of overall authenticity with a performance truly befitting a legendary vocal veteran of his calibre. The album’s not quite perfect, for it displays a tendency to occasionally stray into syrupy, lounge territory, but to complain here would be to split hairs. Any Soul fan worth their salt will definitely want to give this a whirl and I’m guessing that most will be extremely pleased that they did.
Tom Breslin, 02/09
Liz Aku - AnkhorSonar Kollektiv
Belgian vocalist Liz Aku has made a name for herself with solo projects and collaborations over the past fifteen years. Now she comes into her own with her latest release on Sonar Kollektiv. "Ankhor", produced primarily by Mara TK from Electric Wire Hustle is a future soul serenade filled with wicked grooves and visual melodies. "Seasons Change", originally an instrumental from Canadian production duo Potatohead People is filled with airy vibes and heavy drums. Aku's vocals layered on top is pure bliss. "Secrets Die" is built around warm Rhodes and Natalia Mann's beautiful harp melodies. "Just What I Need" is the one track performed with a band. Drummer Lander Gyselinck sets the tone and pianist Bram Weijters creates gorgeous melodies. "Breathing Underwater" is one of two sublime duets with Mara TK. Simply one of the best records to emerge this year and one that should propel Aku to a wider audience.
Reg Dancy, 06/17
Lizzy Parks - Raising The RoofTru Thoughts Recordings
Tru-thoughts has a new songbird on their roster and her name is Lizzy Parks. The promise that Lizzy displayed on her 2005 release “Watching Space” is shining through on “Raising The Roof”. With production from Ben Lamdin of Nostalgia 77, you know that the musicianship here is top notch. In addition, Riaan Vosloo does masterful job on string arrangements. As for Ms Parks, she displays a sultry voice and flawless phrasing on this eleven track disc. The disc starts out with the title track, what immediately stands out is the synergy that exists within Lizzy and the trio, particularly the crisp playing on double bass and the sparse drum beat. On a great sound system you would think you were at a live concert. Lizzy shows that she can groove on the soul jazz tune “All That”, a swinging tune that is aided by the funky riffs of the Hammond B-3 organ. On “Prayer”, Lizzy’s voice is so tender and yet so powerful as she weaves through an orchestral aesthetic of wonderful soundscapes. This is a climatic ending for a wonderful record that should catapult Lizzy to star status. Highly recommended.
Reg Dancy, 10/08
Lloyd Miller & The Heliocentrics - Lloyd Miller & The HeliocentricsStrut Records
Multi-instrumentalist and Ethnomusicologist Lloyd Miller teams up with The Heliocentrics to explore the methodology between Eastern and Western music and the results are deeply satisfying. Led by drummer Malcolm Catto, the UK collective utilize an assortment of instruments commonly used in world music like the oud, a pear shaped guitar and the harp like Chinese Swarm among others. Standout selections are “Nava”, a contemporary jazz piece with Indian influences that features James Arben on tenor sax and Catto on piano. “Spirit Jazz” is a beautiful Middle Eastern piece that plays like a musical canvas layered with many colors. The centerpiece is Jack Yglesias on flute and also features Lloyd Miller and Catto on vibes and various instruments. “Modality” features both Arben and Ray Carless on sax overlapping melodies that are augmented by percussion work of Adrian Owusu. Lloyd Miller’s musical passage of the last thirty years is skillfully brought back life and the Heliocentrics have provided the wings to make the music soar. This collaboration is a must have for any enthusiast of spiritual minded music.
Reg Dancy, 10/10
Lo Tide - JustDiventa Music
Lo Tide returns with another assortment of the electronic serene soundscapes we've come to expect from him. "Just", his latest release is a contrast of moods and textures. "Sea and Wind" is a blissful instrumental with warm string arrangements. "Heat" is a down-tempo tune that features the sultry vocals of Frankie Uyterlinde. "Shine A Light" provides a welcome shift to a up-tempo number with a measured groove. Lo Tide's sound continues to grow and each release is an adventure onto itself. "Just" has dark moments and bright moments and drenched in emotion. He's rising up the ranks of producers of electronic music.
Reg Dancy, 05/17
Lone - LemurianDealmaker Records
As Nottingham’s answer to Flying Lotus, Lone is an expert in the field of surreal, off kilter, wonky-tonk Hip Hop beats and with song titles like ‘Green Sea Pageant’, ‘Sea Spray’ and ‘Buried Coral Banks’ it is hardly a major surprise that much of his work evokes a warm and unmistakably oceanic feeling. Every sound has been tweaked, compressed and manipulated to within an inch of its life, creating the slightly unnerving, but nevertheless very welcome, sensation that the music (without wanting to borrow too heavily from Alan Partridge’s ‘Deep Bath’ metaphor) really is just washing over you. You get the idea. This is top-drawer ambient, electronic music and the initial comparisons with Boards of Canada are altogether justified.
Tom Breslin, 10/08
Lord Echo - CuriositiesBastard Jazz
Producer and mufti-instrumentalist Mike Fabs, aka Lord Echo first made his impact from his work with the reggae dub group The Black Seeds. He followed up that successful release with his sparkling debut "Melodies" in 2010 which featured some hypnotic dub beats, wicked grooves and tasty vocals as well. With his sophomore release "Curiosities" he incorporates vintage 60's rhythms with authentic reggae grooves certain to keep your finger on the repeat button. One of those highlights include "Bohemian Idol" which features Toby Laing of Fat Freddy's Drop on vocals. "Digital Haircut" features a wicked groove reminiscent of James Brown's "Sex Machine". "Put It In My Head" blends reggae grooves with a disco beat. In addition, Mara TK's velvet falsetto takes it to another level. Overall "Curiosities" demonstrates Fabs growth as a producer and a keen ear for classic grooves. Like his debut, this release is a winner and deserves a place in your playlist.
Reg Dancy, 02/14
Lord Echo - HarmoniesSoundway Records
Melbourne producer Lord Echo has built an impressive resume filled with compositions that fuse reggae, afrobeat and latin rhythms. His latest full length release "Harmonies" may be his best yet. There's plenty to savor here right from the outset. "Woah! There's No Limit" is an engaging reggae tune with swaying horns and tropical rhythms. "The Sweetest Meditation" is a gorgeous boogie tune filled soothing vibes and infectious percussion. Both of the aforementioned tunes feature the golden falsetto vocals of Mara TK who appears on two additional racks as well. Two other noteworthy reggae tunes are "Low To The Street" and the superb cover of The O'Jays "I Love Music" Both tunes feature the blissful vocals of Lisa Tomlins. Throw in the afro-soul instrumental "Makossa" and you have one of the more enjoyable albums of the year.
Reg Dancy, 09/17
LoTide - Learn To WaitOrganik
"Learn To Wait", the third LP from Australian producer Lo Tide is a sublime electronic recording with ethereal soundscapes. Several vocalists from around the globe occupy one half of the LP while the second half is filled with instrumental dreamy compositions."Moving On" features seductive guitar riffs that complement the gorgeous vocals of Jenna K. Tomina Vincent's vocals soar alongside the atmospheric backdrop of "Swallow The Stars". "Family" is another gem filled with classical Indian rhythms. Overall these down-tempo compositions deliver a depth not found from his previous releases. There is much more space that allows the listener to fill in their own visual imagery.With gorgeous recordings such as these you'll take delight in embarking on this musical journey.
Reg Dancy, 11/15