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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Voltage Controlled Feelings / Opolopo

Opolopo - Voltage Controlled Feelings

Tokyo Dawn Records

With his third full length release “Voltage Controlled Feelings”, Swedish producer Opolopo has crafted a record that captures the spirit of the boogie and the power of the funk with impressive results. Opolopo’s childhood influences,  ranging from Herbie Hancock, Earth, Wind & Fire to Kraftwerk has figured prominently in all of his recordings. In addition he gained valuable experience as a youth traveling with his Father, a keyboard player himself. One thing I can count on from an Opolopo tune is that his songs, although they’re listed in the dance category are all drenched in the sauce of soul and jazz that makes them stand out from the rest. As the case with previous Opolopo releases, “Voltage Controlled Feelings” contains an array of talented vocalists to add spice to his creative compositions. Among the highlights are “Reversed”, mid-tempo tune with a clever melody and deep bass line that features vocalists Amalia and Blacktop. “Our World featuring Erik Rico” is an electro funk jam with catchy synth arrangements. “Waiting” is an energetic electro dance track with an infectious groove that features Farah on vocals. There are also plenty of tasty treats to cool down to like the mellow madness of “The Singularity” and the laid back soul 0f “Take It Slow” with Sacha Williamson. With so many selections here to enjoy it’s easy to see why the remix services of Opolopo are in high demand. Hopefully he doesn’t spread himself too thin so he can continue to create high quality recordings such as this one that provide immediate satisfaction.

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Reg Dancy, 03/11

When Time Doesn't Know Itself / Orakel

Orakel - When Time Doesn't Know Itself

4Lux Recordings

Orakel, the Austrian collective’s debut is a cosmic groove odyssey surrounded with delicious nuggets of electronica and hip-hop samplings. Their hypnotic melodies will have you locked in immediately with the opener “The Gate” a spacey synth flavored intro filled with astral soundscapes and the wordless phrases of Dwight Trible. Trible appears again with uplifting vocal melodies on “Recreation Song”, a mellow jazz-funk slow burner. “Suo Do Futuro” finds them shifting gears from a jazz fusion vibe to a down-tempo electronic gem that features vocals from Vilja Larjosto. Dorian Concept stops by to provide additional keys to the dreamy “After All”. Overall this is a stunning release filled with impressive compositions reminiscent of the seventies jazz-funk period as well as future electro grooves that will certainly provide immediate satisfaction. This is the kind of release that already has me wondering, what will these guys do for an encore? This is sure to get plenty of burn until then.

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Reg Dancy, 09/11

The Vodoun Effect / Orchestre Poly-Rythmo De Cotonou

Orchestre Poly-Rythmo De Cotonou - The Vodoun Effect

Analog Africa

Covering 1973-1975 this is funk & sato from Benin’s obscure labels often recorded in the most basic of ways. This is music for the people, people who want to dance to this raw mix of horns, guitar, organ on a driving bedrock of bass and drums. It’s amazing where all this brilliant music keeps coming from but you end up wondering how you’ve not come across it before. Thanks Analog Africa - keep them coming.

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Graham Radley, 12/08

Moonfruit / Orgatronics

Orgatronics - Moonfruit

One Note Records

Orgatronics is the debut album from producers Sam Bell and Rich Arthurs, who've made quite a name for themselves on the Latin Jazz scene with bands such as The New Mastersounds and Saudade. Here they mix electronica with Latin and Flamenco instrumentals to create some really classy and catchy numbers. There is definitely some Zero 7 and Air influences mixed in the pot, which is certainly no bad thing.

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Simon Harrison, 12/05

Cali Fever / Orgone

Orgone - Cali Fever

Ubiquity Records

I like my share of electronica as much as anyone but eventually I have to come back home to the funk and a band that has been bringing that raw sound with each performance is the nine member group called Orgone. The LA based band opened eyes with their debut, “The Killion Floor” and they continue to lay down a fierce groove on “Cali Fever”. There is much to savor among the twelve tracks here. On “Crazy Queen”, Fanny Franklin’s soaring vocals fit perfectly with the funky upbeat groove performed by the rhythm and horn section. The title track is a rhythmic Afrobeat flavored gem that provides a snapshot of their diverse musical influences.. “The Only One” is a welcome blend of funk meets disco. The track features a steady groove that breaks down three and a half minutes deep and then is followed by a wicked percussion solo that takes it to another level. “Cali Fever” is filled with raw funky grooves that will satisfy all admirers of funk and soul and are poised to carry the torch ignited by groups like the Booker T & The MG’s and the Meters.

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Reg Dancy, 10/10

The Killion Floor / Orgone

Orgone - The Killion Floor

Ubiquity Records

Ubiquity records has become one of my favorite labels over the last few years. Their commitment to releasing quality music by independent artists has resulted in some outstanding projects. One of those standout projects was the Rewind compilations, specifically Rewind 4. It was on Rewind 4 that I was introduced to the band known as Orgone. Their cover of “Funky Nassau” is every bit as funky as the original. Now Orgone finally blesses us with their debut cd, The Killion Floor. Armed with eighteen tracks, Orgone takes us on a journey through the sounds of soul, funk and boogaloo with a laid-back California vibe. On the track “It’s What You Do”, the band demonstrates it’s robust horn and gritty organ playing on this medium tempo funk pleaser . On “Dialed Up”, the band steps out of their easy going vibe by delivering this refreshing uptempo sophisticated soul gem. As the weather begins to heat up, “The Killion Floor” would make a great companion for your barbecue. As a multi-instrumentalist band, Orgone, has laid down the groove for several hip hop acts in the game today. Now it’s their time to show they can rightfully stand out on their own.

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Reg Dancy, 06/08

Carnaval So Ano Que Vem / Orquestra Imperial

Orquestra Imperial - Carnaval So Ano Que Vem

Totolo

Big band samba is back and oh yes it sounds sweet, the driving force is producer Alexandre Kassin, plus percussionist Domenico Lancellotti and singer/guitarist Moreno Veloso (son of Caetano) who started Orquestra Imperial as a side project, Listen out too for veteran samba star Wilson das Neves, cool tasty and vibrant.

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Graham Radley, 02/08

Aquarian Moon / Osunlade

Osunlade - Aquarian Moon

Yoruba/BBE Records

I was rather excited to get this album mainly due to it being the return of Osunlade. He's been hammering out remixes ten to the dozen and all of them of supreme quality and of the 4/4 variety. This is the second opportunity to see where the well known DJ and producer is at musically and yes we already know it's going to be deep. What I didn't realise before was that Osunlade plays just about every instrument and produces all the tracks. He may have done that on his previous album "Paradigm" but I never checked the sleeve notes. All the tracks are beautifully structured and vary from deep percussion house, to funk and tracks that are more downbeat than you might expect. Osunlade now lives in Greece which may well explain the slight change in direction and I hope this change will be reflected in his next remixes.

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Simon Harrison, 05/06

Elements Beyond / Osunlade

Osunlade - Elements Beyond

Strictly Rhythm

In less than a decade Osunlade's become something of a phenomena to those that resolutely support the underground house scene. To be frank before 1999 I didn't really know anything about the deep house, Afro, broken beat, soul spirited producer, DJ and musician native of New York. Setting up Yoruba Records over seven years ago, opened up many doors for him, namely acquiring himself a record and distribution deal with UK independent Soul Jazz records, which definitely helped to put him on the map following his 'Paradigm' debut offering for the said label. Offloading many LP, DJ mix compilations and singles for any credible label worth its salt both in England, Japan and Europe, it's a wonder how the Nigerian ordained priest of his Ifa faith, who lived for a while in Puerto Rico and now presently resides in Greece manages to find the time come up with any fresh material as he has done on his latest 'Elements Beyond' magnificent project. Its shortly due for release on the new repackaged, rebranded Strictly Rhythm label - thanks to Simon Dunmore of Defected. For fans of his work expect no real surprises in terms of genres; from the minimalist approaches of dreamy techno on "139th Street", the rather hauntingly demure ripplings of "A Monk's Tale", the middle eastern subtleties of "Frequencies" to the appealing disco funk homage of the seventies on "Momma's Groove" which sit alongside each other with the greatest of ease. Other highlights include the rap timing monologue of Lotus A on the "Cream" love ballad, whereas the beats per minute drive full throttle but not manically on the Afro house musing called "April". The one and only disappointing feature "Queen's Battle" has a horde of foul language that totally ruins the track's production of what could have been adopted by today's funk devotees. As far a comebacks go Strictly have made a good move showing that they have moved with the times in the sounds of house. Kicking off with a class name as Osunlade should prove a solid investment on all sides, be you a DJ or a collector, you'll dig this for sure.

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Marcia Carr, 06/07

Rebirth / Osunlade

Osunlade - Rebirth

Yoruba Records

When you think of Osunlade, you think of spiritual house music of the highest order. You will find nothing of the sort on his latest release “Rebirth”, instead you’re treated to an assortment of down tempo nusoul compositions written and produced by the man himself. Each song packs plenty of lyrical depth and has a personal feel overall. “Paint Me A Picture” is a warm atmospheric gem driven by a gorgeous piano melody that will take your mind to a peaceful place. “The Dating Game”, the first single released has an easy going uptempo groove that captures that signature Osunlade sound. “Complacent” is a pretty acoustic tune with strings about a person pursuing their passions once and for all instead of years of pursuing the dreams of others. Overall “Rebirth” is a nice laidback record to relax to on lazy afternoons. It also demonstrates an artist with immeasurable talent who continues to grow and expand his music in all directions.

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Reg Dancy, 07/10

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