Madera Limpia - La CoronaOut|here Records
Madera Limpia is Yasel Gonzalez Rivera and Gerald Thomas Collymore, their first album was released as the soundtrack to the 2004 documentary Paraiso which was about their life in their home of Guantánamo, Cuba.. On La Corona they blend local acoustic traditional music especially Changui with the music of urban youth in Cuba. Driving percussion driven rap, reggae and reggaeton underpinned by the roots of their homeland. Highly recommended.
Graham Radley, 09/08
Madrid De Los Austrias - Mas AmorSunshine Enterprises
Austrian duo Heinz Tronigger and Michael ‘Pogo’ Kreiner, aka Madrid De Los Austrias recorded this their second album in Spain. Traditional flamenco is seamlessly blended with soul, jazz and contemporary dance rhythms to create a sun soaked fusion. ‘Un Mensaje’ and ‘Para Don Alonso’, which featured on the 12” are both present in their original form and whilst the former doesn’t quite have the same impact as the Yam Who? Rework it’s still a solid cut. In a similar 2 step vein is the title track ‘Mas Amor’ and for the dancers check ‘No A La Guerra’ and ‘Rua Do Trombeta’, two great modern jazz-funk excursions.
Andy Allen, 12/05
Makossa + Megablast - KunuakaG-stone Recordings
After 20 successful compilations in the last ten years Makossa's heritage sits tight beneath this album, with hard beats and subtle tones. The collaboration here with Megablast works like some music mad conjoined twins permanently in the studio together. This is a breath of fresh air including two of the tuffest tunes so far this year - 'Kunuaka' and 'Mama'. Give this release your undivided attention as its place in your collection is just.
Steve Williams, 08/07
Makoto - Believe In My SoulGood Lookin
The Good Lookin' label, home to Drum 'n' Bass pioneer LTJ Bukem, had rather drifted off my musical map of late, so it is particularly heartening to see it release a new artist album. Makoto, a confirmed Bukem-disciple, makes the kind of uplifting, melodic Drum 'n' Bass that is all too rare these days. You know, the kind with a sunny disposition, rather than the kind that was spawned by the Dark Overlord. Believe In My Soul is not breaking any new ground, but it's not supposed to. It's a high quality album full of intricately woven, musical Drum 'n' Bass, infused throughout with Jazz samples and soulful snippets that will please Good Lookin' fans both old and new. And, if that's not enough, it also includes bonus remixes by Marky and XRS.
Tom Breslin, 04/07
Malena Perez - StarsCubanita Groove
Malena Perez comes with a strong album of deep Latin house, which will appeal to lovers of Osunlade, who incidentally handles some of the production along with Alix Alvarez and Carlos Nino (Build An Ark). It features the singles 'Free To Fly', 'Chase The Butterflies' with both the original and Kenny Dope remix present here and 'Praise The Day'. The down-tempo groove of 'Surrender' and the breezy 'Tomorrow' are also deserving of your attention but the real standouts are 'Confession', an infectious flute and organ laced piece and the 4 Hero influenced 'What Do I Do'.
Andy Allen, 10/06
Mamer - EagleReal World Records
Dubbed as ‘Chinagrass’ this is music which is steeped in the traditions of Xinjiang, China’s wild, desert province, the heart of Muslim culture in China. Layered, ambient music with traditional throat singing meeting alt country, it might sound strange but it’s a perfectly natural unioun as on ‘Celebration’ with a guest slot for Bella Fleck. The Womad live set was great too.
Graham Radley, 08/09
Marathon Men - BlessingsChillifunk Records
The Marathon Men have been causing quite a stir over the last few months with their deep house workout featuring Me'shell Ndegeocello “In Paradise”. Out of the blue comes their debut on Loft’s Chillifunk records. Simbad and partner in crime Freddie McQuinn, really know how to mix up the styles with Garage, Broken, Hiphop beats and a full range of vocalists to suit the arrangements. At the start of a few of the tracks, I was little unsure of some of the vocals; but then half-way through each track it made sense. On second listen, all the parts of the puzzle were in place. Their first single “Tell Me What You Know” is very much in a Basement Jaxx affair, which will hopefully give them the attention they fully deserve.
Simon Harrison, 11/05
Marc Mac presents Visioneers - Dirty Old Hip HopBBE Records
The wait is over! Marc Mac "better known as one half of 4 Hero" has finally delivered his much-anticipated Visioneers long player. This meeting of Jazz and Hip-Hop cultures sees Mac reclaiming some of the best-loved samples from Hip-Hop's heyday and recycling them in a fresh and powerful manner (check Benji B favourite Ike's Mood I and the timely cover of The Pharcyde's Dilla-produced Runnin'), as well as uncovering some serious gems of his own. And, he manages to create 15 Jazz, Soul and Funk driven grooves without ever even threatening to become tedious. Dinner Jazz this is not!
Every track on Dirty Old Hip Hop has an organic energy about it, with welcome contributions from Twisted Funk's Brad Somatik and the telented 4 Hero drummer Luke Parkhouse. Picking stand-outs from this album is nigh-on impossible and stellar rap-cameos from the ever-impressive Capitol A and female emcee Voice on Funk Box and Replay, respectively, simply put the icing on the cake. In paying homage to the likes of Jazzy Jeff, Jay Dee and Pete Rock, Mac travels far beyond mere imitation and proves once again that he really ain't too shabby himself. Essential listening!
Tom Breslin, 03/06
Marco Di Marco Trio - At The Living RoomArision Records
Following on from 2004's 'My London Friends', Arision have kindly given us a chance to own a copy of this now legendary jazz album, where the original sells for big bucks. Recorded at the Living Room in Paris in 1973, this has to be up there with the best piano jazz albums ever recorded. Here Marco plays both the fender Rhodes and piano, to amazing effect with Jacky Sampson on bass and Charles Saudrais on drums, to achieve those funky basslines. Watch out for more reissues from the Arision stable.
Simon Harrison, 06/05
Mario Lucio - BadyoLusaAfrica
Third solo release since his days as songwriter for Simentera. ‘Badyo’ but the first one to get an International release. On this he takes his Cape Verdean roots back to the arrival of the African slaves and the styles and influences they brought with them (he wears a chain around his neck instead of a tie on the cover image). It’s a grower this one with a subtle but telling rawness that soon involves you and brings you back for more, very good.
Graham Radley, 06/08