Mike Whellans - Fired Up & ReadyTemple Records
Terrific one man blues band who is a fine singer, guitarist and blues harpist. He’s not against inviting some classy friends to join him either including David Bromberg and Mike Katz with my pick going to to his take on Rory Gallagher’s ‘Going To My Home town’ joined by Brian Miller on mandolin. Great stuff.
Graham Radley, 10/08
Mikey Ras Starr - Fire & RainMakasound
Makasound find another gem, with this release originally recorded in 1979. plus various singles including Mikey’s first one ‘Got To say Love’ from 1975 and others through to 1984, great collection of musicians too including Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh and Robbie Shakespeare. Sweet.
Graham Radley, 08/08
Milez Benjamin - Feel GloriousTru Thoughts Recordings
Futuristic funk from the trio known as Milez Benjamin. Milez Benjamin consists of three members Gerd, Delgui and Colonel Red. They all came together in 2004 and started planting the seeds for this project and the results are very impressive. “Chop That Wood” is as funky as any record you’ll hear this year. Colonel Red leads the trio on the chorus and features some stellar bass playing. “Our House” keeps things moving in the same direction with the only difference is that it features some nice synth playing to add flavor to the track. “Soundcheckin’” is a little more broken than most of the tracks here but it’s funky and loose. All in all, “Feel Glorious” makes it very hard for you not to have a good time. Each track is armed with catchy hooks and a thumping bass throughout. These guys sound like they had a lot of fun making this record. You’ll have fun watching your friends move to this at your next party.
Reg Dancy, 04/08
Milton Nascimento - Maria MariaFar Out Recordings
Far Out recordings presents "Maria Maria" a classic recording from Milton Nascimento. Originally recorded in 1976, it features some of Brazil's most revered musicians such as the late Nana Vasconcelos and Joao Donato. The concept of "Maria Maria" came from a show conceived by himself and songwriter Fernando Brant based on the composite life story of the daughter of a black slave called Maria. Nascimento wrote the music while Brant wrote the lyrics but they both collaborated on the title track. This cinematic production is filled with spoken word interludes bridged between Nascimento's smoothing vocals and folk flavoured compositions. Highlights include "Trabalhos" and "Os Escravos De Jo", the latter is a spirited composition that features Toninho Horta on guitar along with vocalists such as Nana Caymmi, Fala de Belem and Beto Guedes. Nascimento's love of cinema is brought to life here and is falsetto vocals lifts these compositions to another level. For long time fans these previous hard to find recordings are a must have. For newcomers this is a great introduction for one of Brazil's most treasured vocalists.
Reg Dancy, 02/20
Minus 8 - Slow MotionCompost Records
Robert Jan Mayer, the architect behind Minus 8 is well established as a producer of quality drum n bass and down-tempo music. On his latest release, “Slow Motion” he delivers his usual assortment of gorgeous lounge flavored down-tempo grooves but he has also crafted some delicious dance tracks as well. Let’s start with “Letting Go”, where Virag’s blissful vocals are layered with an acoustic guitar strumming that feels like a cool breeze on an autumn afternoon. “Soverato” is a warm and seductive instrumental that is augmented by the sultry saxophone playing. “Enigma of a summer afternoon” is a mellow synthesized mid-tempo groover. Robert has exercised his ability to stretch out into different genres on previous releases with uneven results. Here he does a nice job infusing blissful dance tunes like “Wonderland”, which features Mirian S. “Make your Day” is an 80’s style boogie tune that is delightful and fun. “Hustler” sounds a little out of place here and the vocals are uninspiring but that is the only hiccup here on this otherwise enjoyable record. Overall “Slow Motion” will satisfy long time fans and will make new listeners feel right at home.
Reg Dancy, 12/09
Miquel Migs - Outside The SkylineOm
On his third studio album, DJ/producer Miguel Migs not only delivers his customary deep dishes of house music but also blends elements of lounge and reggae with sterling results. Migs superb production is highlighted with contributions from Meshell Ndegeocello, Capleton and Evelyn “Champagne” King just to name a few. Meshell sets the mood with the chilled out hip shaking “Tonight” with her husky vocals over a thumping bass groove. This is followed up with the soulful disco groove of “Everybody”, aided by dance diva Evelyn “Champagne” King. “They don’t know” is a reggae inspired drum n bass groover that features pioneer Freddie McGregor. “Changin” and “Getaway” are samplings of the infectious soulful house grooves we’ve come to expect, the former is a irresistible foot stomper with vocals courtesy of Sonny J Mason. This is one of the best full length DJ recordings you’ll find this year. Few will top this combination of soulful dance grooves and great vocalists and arrange a record as strong as this one.
Reg Dancy, 11/11
Mixed by the Unabombers - The Electric Chair Presents<br>Electric Soul Summer SessionsPIAS/Electric Chair
Now when it gets to the third in a series, some compilations get very tired - you know what to expect and they usually miss the boat altogether from the time its mixed to the eventual release date. But not here, the Unabombers manage to hit the spot with every track. From the slow funked up sound of the highly rated Platinum Pied Pipers, the blissful vocals of S.I.A. right through to the awesome isolee remix of Cardiology by Recloose. Regulars at Electric chair in Manchester will no doubt snap this up, but i'd also recommend it to anyone with a bit of soul - its as simple as that.
MKL Presents - Suits & DashikisR2 Records
Most of you should know MKL from his 3 Generations Walking guise that surfaced on Joe Claussell's Spiritual Life a few years ago, and he certainly caused a stir with DJs around the world. Lion1music was then launched and continued pushing the soulful deep house vibes. R2 Records have wisely put together a fine selection of sought after tracks and remixes from MKL's back catalogue on to cd. There were quite a few I missed, so this has been handy for me. Highlights include the 3 Generations Walking remix of Fat Freddy's Drop "Hope"and Francois Kevorkian's dub of "Midnight Bustling", and the other nine tracks are wonderfully produced house flavours.
Simon Harrison, 08/06
Mocky - Navy Brown BluesFine Records
Mocky's third solo recording sees him emerge with a sophisticated brand of Synth-Pop far superior to most. With an ear for a catchy chorus, the former Peaches and Gonzales cohort builds on soulful, melodic foundations with club-friendly beats and slick, electronic touches to (mostly) great effect here. Warp's Jamie Lidell co-wrote several of the tracks and lends his trademark falsetto to one. However, it is 'Fightin' Away The Tears', a collaboration with former Broken Social Scene vocalist Feist, that really impresses - she is certainly a vocal talent to listen out for. That said, Mocky's penchant for a one-dimensional, faux-Beck rap does grate on me, but there will be many who find this enjoyable, rather than just irritating.
Tom Breslin, 04/06
Monday Michiru - NexusArtistShare
With all the albums that Monday Michiru has dropped over the past ten years, it’s a crime she hasn’t received the acclaim she rightly deserves. “Nexus” is the fourth lp she has released through Artistshare and purchased through her website. Without the restrictions of the majors, she is free to create a record that capitalizes on her classically jazz influenced background while infusing an array of diverse dance and rhythms. To label her sound as acid jazz isn’t accurate when you have first rate musicians like Adam Rodgers on guitar and Kyoto Jazz Massive to give the music a fuller sound. The track “Your Eyes”, produced by Soulfeenix is a funky uptempo tune that features some nice Fender Rhodes playing beneath the sweet horn arrangements. “Sands Of Time” is an uplifting soulful club flavored track. “Candy” is a nice midtempo track that finds Adam Rodgers on acoustic guitar surrounding Monday’s voice with warm colorful melodies. I’ve only touched on a few but, the truth is, this a strong record throughout. If you own any of Monday Michiru’s records then this will make a nice addition to some of her strongest material (Optimista, 4 Seasons, Routes). If you’re new to her then purchasing this wonderful record would be a great place to start to familiarize yourself with such a talented artist.
Reg Dancy, 08/08