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 Renaissance / Q-Tip

Q-Tip - The Renaissance

Universal Motown

It’s hard to believe that it’s been nine years since Q-Tip’s last full length release. That would be an eternity for most rappers but it feels as though Q-Tip hasn’t gone anywhere. He’s had opportunities to record but chose to wait for the right project to come along. “The Renaissance” feels like the right project at the right time. Q-Tip has always demonstrated that he knows a hot beat when he hears one and “The Renaissance” unleashes one hot track after another. Among the highlights are “Gettin’ Up”, a bangin’ track that finds Q-Tip praising his girl and the bond that exists between them. The track makes great use of a sample of old school soul group Black Ivory’s “You And I”. “We Fight, Love” is a warm soulful track gets production and vocal assistance from Raphael Saadiq. “Move” is another boom bap banger that features production by the Late J-Dilla and features a sample of the Jackson Five’s “Dancin’ Machine”. “I Believe, Featuring D’Angelo” was actually released a few years ago and receives an alternative take here. The original version was an up-tempo party song but this version has more of a mid-tempo soul groove. “Life Is Better” is another satisfying track with a mid-tempo groove and the blissful vocals of Norah Jones. Infectious beats and thought provoking rhymes, “The Renaissance” is a triumphant return for Q-Tip. Let’s hope that he’s here to stay for awhile.

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Reg Dancy, 11/08

Death of the Revolution / Quantic Presenta Flowering Inferno

Quantic Presenta Flowering Inferno - Death of the Revolution

Tru Thoughts Recordings

Will Holland (a.k.a. Quantic) is nothing if not prolific and, as we all know, in music, quantity very often leads to an inevitable dip in quality that simply proves the famous mantra. Holland, though, likes to buck the trend and in “Death of the Revolution” he has managed to up the ante and deliver an album of undeniable quality. Inspired and produced in Columbia, recorded in the brand spanking new studio at Holland’s South American base, this is possibly my favourite Quantic-related album. It’s not complicated or fancy, or even particularly original in concept, it’s just plain, old-fashioned, good, easy listening music. Largely instrumentals, the tracks are all developments on a laid back, dub-reggae theme, decorated with welcome Latin flourishes. Holland himself plays piano, guitar and whatever else he can lay his hands on here, whilst being ably supported by the talented locals who are now members of the Quantic touring party. All in all, the grooves are infectious, there’s funk in abundance and there’s never any need for the ‘skip’ button.

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Tom Breslin, 12/08

Pushin On / Quantic Soul Orchestra

Quantic Soul Orchestra - Pushin On

Tru Thoughts Recordings

The first question to be asked is when on earth does Will Holland get time to sleep, with six albums behind him in just four years. You'd be thinking he would be ready for a rock band/pop band break to find himself but no, he's back with his storming live band where there's no room for sampling, just pure funk and jazz. Like 'Stampede' there are some big cover versions and I think only Alice Russell could get away with covering Nina Simone's 'Feeling Good' to such great effect, she can be found singing her heart out on 5 of the album's 11 tracks. Their fantastic version of Mr Scruff's 'Get A Move On' is here, as are some reworked instrumentals that featured on the Rebtuz bootlegs. Simply the Quantic Soul Orchestra rule.

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Simon Harrison, 05/05

Quarter Street / Quarter Street

Quarter Street - Quarter Street

Hope Street Recordings

Quarter Street, the debut lp of the Melbourne Australia based collective is packed with classic Latin jazz and dance rhythms. Lead singer Sergio Bolero's powerful voice soars over an array of blistering compositions backed by an exciting ensemble. There's plenty of party tracks here starting with "Fantasia" laced with a thundering piano melody and funky horns. "Libre Soy" has a simmering groove complete with fiery percussion, a tasty trombone solo and finishes off with scorching keys. "De Cualquier Manera" rides along on a mid tempo groove and piano melody. This is a joyous listen that will transport you to that vibrant era of 1960-70 Latin Jazz and boogaloo that flowed throughout Spanish Harlem. We're already looking forward to future recordings from this talented group.

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Reg Dancy, 09/15

Oneself - Likeness / Quasimode

Quasimode - Oneself - Likeness

Inpartmaint

After impressing with their version of Tubby Hayes' 'Down In The Village' for Raw Fusion, the Japanese jazz quartet now deliver their debut long player. The said cut is here along with the title track which also featured on that 12" plus 'Ipe Amarelo' and '1000 Days Of Spirit' from their new single also out on Raw Fusion. Other tracks of note are the percussive 'Skeleton Coast', 'Lucky Luciano' which has a lovely Latin swing and the monster dancer 'Giant Black Shadow'. The album is produced by Masato Komatsu aka Slowly, who has just released a version of Lesette Wilson's 'Caveman Boogie' featuring Quasimode, which is also worthy of your attention.

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Andy Allen, 11/06

The Land Of Freedom / Quasimode

Quasimode - The Land Of Freedom

Geneon Music

Japanese jazz quartet Quasimode follow up their debut 'Oneself-Likeness' with another first rate set packed with firing jazz dance material. 'The Man From Nagpur', 'For Self Defense', 'Percussion Revolver' and 'Dark Beauty' featuring Mika Arisaka all hit the spot but what makes this album so special is a guest appearance from my favourite female jazz vocalist bar none, Carmen Lundy. She graces the spoken word intro 'Over The Horrizon', the immaculate 'Object In The Mirror' and a new version of her classic 'Time Is Love'. Need I say more!

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Andy Allen, 10/07

Further Adventures Of Lord Quas / Quasimoto

Quasimoto - Further Adventures Of Lord Quas

Stones Throw Records

Can you believe it is five years since first hearing the groundbreaking 'The Unseen'. How was Madlib going to follow up such a classic album? As you expect he just carries on what he does best, digging for rare samples, some of Madlib's finest beats are here with fantastic vocals and lyrics which include guests MF Doom and Med. It may not be as instant as his debut but give it a few listens and it's up there with his best.

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Simon Harrison, 06/05

Timeless Re:collection / Quentin Harris

Quentin Harris - Timeless Re:collection

King Street Records

Life has taken a rather different turn for the Detroit native musician, DJ and producer since stepping into the world of house since 2001. Original creations for labels Jellybean, Restricted Access, Shelter, Strictly Rhythm and NRK along with faultless club mixes of Donnie’s ‘Rocketship’ and ‘Cloud 9’ to ‘Let’s Be Young’ amongst others has catapulted him into the international house forum as a main player for sometime now. Considered a star of deeper, definitive raw-edged and sometimes evocative house remixes and productions - he’s the man with the know how in turning out dance floor gems when it comes to R & B too. Quentin’s prior schooling as a trumpeter session player for Aretha Franklin by the time he was 20, preceded by an apprenticeship in his own formed MC troupe Da Bio Chemist with the then unknown members of D12, Slum Village and Eminem, later rounded off by a relocation to New York, to handle work with his group The Masterminds; stints that lead to his venture to step into remix work. An India Irie remix proved to be the break for him that gave him a major promotion by default, an opportunity like no other. Thanks to Timmy Regisford, he then became the resident DJ with him at the renowned Club Shelter. Moving on, finding time in his rather pressing schedule, 2007 was the year Quentin felt to launch his own night ‘Kiss My Black A**’. According to him it is a vision declaring confidently “I feel music is something that brings people together”. All sorts of “club kids” venture through the doors - his own homosexual leanings attract the straight one’s too, costumes freaks and party go-getters alike. They’re there for the music and to have fun. Expressing that vibe on vinyl/CD, King Street Sounds who are celebrating their 15th anniversary this year decided to take advantage of his brassy attitude by enlisting Quentin’s musical talents to add his signature stamp to the label’s 17th instalment of MTV. A great move in the right direction for house music, this mix is truly too hot to handle. Non stop is the energy, as each track represents a chapter of a story book; your gripped from the start, taken to a climax and with an ending that any diva worth her lyrical weight in words would proudly ask ‘don’t you want some more?’ The resultant project is a gritty, soul combo that is typically indicative of underground house – some long gone. Altogether, its vibe rewound me to an era of the nineties house sounds that emanated from many a London club, Feel Real being a good example. Gospel stoked songs ‘Heal My Heart’ by Kerri Chandler or the organ derived ‘Show Me’ by Urban Soul are just of the two tracks expressing deliverance – good for those caught up in the seedy murky world that club land has at times become. To work your mind into overdrive the darker, sublime repetitive driving beats and patterned template of cuts like Muzzaik Productions’s ‘Reflex’, or the hypnotic techno rhythmical slap of ‘P 2 DA J’s by Dennis Ferrer becomes sweetly entwined with Johnny Dangerous’s poem ‘Only Yourself’. Thankfully, one’s mind is renewed afresh from any likely moodiness with Carol Sylvan’s ‘Closer’ classic – the fierce bounce and groovy Dub mix from Mood II Swing became a wow highlight for me. As is KC’s ‘Hallelujah’ nugget, in addition to modern anthem ‘Touched The Sky’ which beautifully work as one in a seamless mix. It’s an inviting prelude to the mind of his forthcoming UK licensing of his highly anticipated long player ‘No Politics’.

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Marcia Carr, 03/08

Silent Movie / Quiet Village

Quiet Village - Silent Movie

Studio K7!

The hype and hope surrounding Quiet Village’s long player has been building ever since their rare-as-hen’s-teeth singles started appearing on New York’s ultra hip Whatever We Want label about 3 years ago. Consisting of Joel Martin and Matt Edwards (better known as DJ and House music star Radio Slave), Quiet Village has garnered an enviable reputation for creating - for want of a less obvious description - surreal, dreamy, mid-tempo music that quite simply soothes the ears. As the title suggests, ‘Silent Movie’ is heavily indebted to the influence of film scores, but don’t be fooled into thinking this is just another ambient, chill-out, Balearic record to play in the background. This is much more than that, and when the Grace Jones-esque, tropical disco-dub of ‘Too High to Move’ is washing over you for the tenth time in a row, you’ll realise why. An excellent album.

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Tom Breslin, 05/08

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