Music Reviews

Show: New reviews | Artists beginning with: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0-9 | Compilations
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The Electric Chair Presents<br>Electric Soul Summer Sessions / Mixed by the Unabombers

Mixed by the Unabombers - The Electric Chair Presents<br>Electric Soul Summer Sessions

PIAS/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.

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Jax, 06/05

Suits & Dashikis / MKL Presents

MKL Presents - Suits & Dashikis

R2 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.

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Simon Harrison, 08/06

Navy Brown Blues / Mocky

Mocky - Navy Brown Blues

Fine 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.

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Tom Breslin, 04/06

Nexus / Monday Michiru

Monday Michiru - Nexus

ArtistShare

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.

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Reg Dancy, 08/08

Routes / Monday Michiru

Monday Michiru - Routes

Artist Share

I've been going through a lot of Monday's old albums recently and what has astonished me is that not only do her production and voice sound timeless, but she's released over 19 albums since her debut in 1995: yes I've also got some hunting to do. Here is yet another self-produced album where Jazz and Soul is at the forefront of all thirteen varied tracks. Here she mixes up dancefloor tracks like 'The Right Time' through the Jazz style 'Yellow Light' and beautifully soulful 'I'm Still Here'. 'Routes' is released via Artist Share as was the previous album 'Naked Breath', a rather clever and interesting way to get your music to the masses. Hopefully this will give her the attention she has worked very hard for over the years.

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Simon Harrison, 12/05

Hard Work Not Hype / Monty Luke

Monty Luke - Hard Work Not Hype

Dogmatik

"Hard Work Not Hype" is the debut  of Detroit based DJ/producer Monty Luke. Luke previously was the label manager for Carl Craig's Planet E imprint but appears ready to step out with his impressive debut. The opening track "City Lights" is filled with pulsating drum programming and emotive synths. "Move" is a shimmering electro tinged house gem while "Willie Maze" is a chilled out down-tempo delight. Luke symbolizes the new generation of Detroit producers carrying the torch for deep house and electronic music. This deeply satisfying release shows the future is in good hands

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Reg Dancy, 01/19

Voyager / Moonchild

Moonchild - Voyager

Tru Thoughts

"Voyager", the third full length release from Moonchild displays tremendous growth from the West coast trio. Once again there's plenty of lush compositions filled with RnB, soul and folk influences. However "Voyager" is heighthen by a string section and a harpist giving this release a fuller sound. Collectively they've penned compositions centering around the varying dynamics of love. Amog the standouts are "Cure", led by Amber Navran's soothing vocals and gorgeous keyboard melodies. "Now and Then" features funky beats from producer Max Bryk not often heard from their compositions. "Let You Go" is aided by gentle guitar rhythms. It's easy to see why this trio has garnered a long line of admirers. This disc is filled with one gorgeous composition after another. Three years in the making, "Voyager" is well worth the wait.

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Reg Dancy, 08/17

Kiss of Kali / Mop Mop

Mop Mop - Kiss of Kali

Infracom

Mop Mop is the creation of musician/DJ Andrea Benini. “Kiss of Kali” is a combination of big band swing with a Latin flavor that would be right at home in any club. While “The 11th Pill”, Mop Mop’s previous record was more of an acoustic set, this release is serving sophisticated dance floor grooves that you will find irresistible. One common theme for both records is Benini’s production is flawless. The result is spicey, hip, funky jazz music that is certain to move your body. Standout tracks include “Living Beat”, an upbeat modern jazz number that lures you in with a wicked bassline followed by a stellar horn section and topped off by the vocals of Alan Farrington. “Jazzdancer” displays similar horn arrangements as well as a fine performance by Pasquale Mirra on vibes. The title track “Kiss of Kali” provides plenty of tasty samba rhythms plus the sassy voice of Robina Veda. Kiss of Kali is proof that music of the past can be recreated to sound relevant today with outstanding results. If this cd doesn’t make you move then check your pulse. This is essential listening.

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Reg Dancy, 03/09

The Ecstatic / Mos Def

Mos Def - The Ecstatic

Downtown

There are few rappers in the game that can release just two albums over a ten year span and remain prominent, let alone relevant. Mos Def is one of those few rappers who keeps us yearning for more because of his undeniable talent and the body of work he has attained thus far. With two critically acclaimed albums under his belt (one as a member of Black Star alongside Talib Qweli), the level of expectations can be enormous. To his credit Mos hasn’t taken the easy route and simply make “Black on both Sides part 2”. The challenge of expanding the musical boundaries while maintaining creditability can be daunting (the new danger comes to mind). With “The Ecstatic” it appears that Mos has finally found the happy medium. “The Ecstatic” features all star production from Madlib, Chad Hugo and the late J-Dilla and succeeds in creating head nod music as well as providing thought provoking lyrics. The album starts out with “Supermagic”, armed with hard hitting beats, crackling electric guitar riffs and a Middle Eastern flavor. It’s not your typical boom bap record but it definitely works. Other highlights include “Quiet Dog”, the beats and percussion played on here are infectious. If you don’t move to this then check your pulse. “Roses” featuring Georgia Anne Muldrow is easily one of the best tracks on the album. Mos is in top form spitting verses while Ms Muldrow’s lyrics and blissful voice caresses the chorus over a piano laden beat. “History” finds Mos teamed up once again with Talib Qweli. Playing off each other over a J-Dilla beat, the two prove why they make up one of the best one two punches in hip-hop. This is the album that fans of Mos Def have been waiting for. The “Ecstatic” proves that Mos hasn’t lost his touch and in fact sounds better than ever.

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Reg Dancy, 11/09

Home Sweet Home / Moussu Te lei jovents

Moussu Te lei jovents - Home Sweet Home

Chant Du Monde

Marseilles’ fabulous ambassadors bring us more musical sunshine and smiles as they sing to us in a mix of French, English and the local Occitan language. Good time music that is fired along by Blu’s distinctive banjo and Tatou’s vocals, a terrific live band, this set captures that enthusiasm just right. Well good.

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Graham Radley, 11/08

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