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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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

Little Ghost / Moonchild

Moonchild - Little Ghost

Tru Thoughts

"Little Ghost", the fourth lp from Moonchild picks up where "Voyager" left off. That means plenty of warm melodic mid-tempo compositions and hypnotic vocals. Lead singer Amber Navran along with Max Bryk and Andris Mattson collaborate on heavenly harmonies as well as horn and string arrangements. Like the previous release their lyrics paint colours of love and passion. The opener "Wise Women" is a funky number with swaying horn arrangements. "Sweet Love" follows suit with warped beats and chords that melt into your body. The aptly titled "Whistling" adds another layer of gorgeous melodies to their repertoire. This band has rapidly made a name for themselves by delivering yet another brilliant album. Navran's vocals are food for the soul. Pure bliss from beginning to end.

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Reg Dancy, 10/19

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

Strange Breaks And Mr Thing 3 / Mr Thing

Mr Thing - Strange Breaks And Mr Thing 3

BBE

Mr Thing has built up a resume as one of the most sought after DJ/Producers on the scene today. He and BBE have formed a strong relationship that is going well beyond a decade now and with "Strange Breaks Vol. 3", it certainly feels like a happy marriage. "Vol. 3" is all about the funk and I mean Deep Funk. Mr Thing has dusted off an assortment of gritty funk joints from the seventies that will inspire you to shake your groove thing on any given day. He kicks things off with The Disco Orchestra's "Do It Again" which features slick horn arrangements that covers Issac Hayes "Do Ya". Amral's Trinidad Cavaliers "It Sure Is Funky" is highlighted by beat scratching and tasty Steel Pan rhythms.  "Fire To The Galleon" lays out some infectious guitar grooves. If you love rare grooves and funky rhythms then you'll certainly enjoy this disc.

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Reg Dancy, 06/14

 / Mr. Lif

Mr. Lif -

Definitive Jux

With his status as a leading light of independent Hip-Hop already cemented, Boston-bred MC, Mr. Lif returns with a bang, delivering an explosive, but cerebral commentary on the state of US society. It is unfortunate then, that his immense lyrical talent is often drowned-out here by a relentlessly tough, speaker-puncturing production style, courtesy of Def Jux honcho El-P. It's not all bad news, but the chaos of the Funk and Rock-fuelled soundscape makes it tough to appreciate the presence of a gifted vocalist.

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Tom Breslin, 05/06

Frankie Splits / Muallem

Muallem - Frankie Splits

Compost Records

Munich's DJ Force aka David Muallem delivers his debut album for Compost Records ,and in true tradition it's another album you need in your collection, mixing tempos and styles of new and old, somewhere between Hip Hop and House. The soundtrack provides old skool B-Boy rhythms and electronic dancefloor bombs that will appeal to the kids, especially with those 80's style synthesizers. David has got his ideas set high because he also brought in some heavy-weight vocalists, including Martine Girault, Shawn Lee, Audrey, Lyrics Born, Wordsworth and Beans. With each one he's not gone for the same old sound expected from the specific vocalist; instead he's pushing things forward and trying out new ideas to great effect. Compost's on a winner here.

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Simon Harrison, 03/06

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