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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Golden Lady / Reel People Presents

Reel People Presents - Golden Lady

Reel People Music

Oli Lazarus, founder of Papa Records and Reel People return with their third release. Once again they deliver that customary soulful house sound that you’ve come to expect from them, albeit with a twist. Take for example the title track; Oli and singer Tony Momrelle flip the Stevie Wonder classic into a blissful Brazilian foot stomper. “Sure” featuring singer Darien continues along this theme blending a touch of samba and rhythm guitar into this soaring dance number. “It’s Hard” appears on the disc courtesy of Phil Asher and his Restless Soul Fun Band. This is a straight up soulful floor burner with sexy vocals and well placed horns.  “Nights In Africa” rounds out the disc and is arguably the highlight as well. Produced by Toni Economides and Kaidi Tatham, they create an uplifting afro-soul burner that is augmented by the vocals of newcomer Renn. With additional appearances from Choklate and Simon Grey, Oli and the crew have ensured that “Golden Lady” will receive plenty of burn throughout the year. I can’t emphasize the word burn enough, this is one hot record.

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Reg Dancy, 03/11

DNA / Reggie B

Reggie B - DNA

Tokyo Dawn

Reggie-B has been sprinkling eps and singles showcasing his brand of electro-funk for several years now. With his full length debut on Tokyo Dawn, he's poised to strike a chord with funk enthusiasts past and present with the aptly titled "DNA". Reggie's rich vocals serve as the main ingredient within a deep dish of bass heavy up-tempo gems featuring an impressive collection of contributors like DJ Spinna, Dam Funk and many more. There are many highlights here to ignite your funk groove like "Light Horizon" featuring Onra and Ubiquitous. "Her Own Way" is a smooth mid-tempo soul funk groove. In addition there are a number of gentle ballads that are treated with a delicate touch as well.  "Just enough" features a romantic verse from D-Lok. "Love The Way" is another soothing track that features the Moog and synth wizardry of Kan Sano. With seventeen tracks in total I was afraid there might be some filler tracks but not to worry. This is a superb album with an assortment of contributors fully committed to bringing the funk. Along with emerging artists like Dam Funk, B-Bravo and Teeko, Reggie-B is spearheading a renaissance of deep funk with wicked hooks. With an album this good it's assured that the future of the funk is in good hands

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Reg Dancy, 10/13

The Unclosed Mind / Rep Life

Rep Life - The Unclosed Mind

Futuristica Music

Simon S of Futuristica has shown to be on the cutting edge of soul music with releases by Electric Conversation and Low Budget Soul, just to name a few. It appears that he has a good ear for quality hip hop as well because “The Unclosed Mind” by Cleveland native Replife is easily one of the biggest releases this year. With an all star production team featuring Dego, Kaidi Tatham, Mark De Clive Lowe and Atjazz, Replife takes chances on this disc that few rappers dare to take. On “Elevation”, Replife is joined by Deborah Jordan and Noni Limar on this mellow soul jazz flavored track. The Dego produced “Spirit” is a funky synth laden tribute to the late J Dilla. “Out Of Soul”, produced by Don Ray is a wonderful slice of broken soul with a touch of jazz thanks to the trumpet playing of Sean Winters and the scatting of Ki Allen. Some of you may remember Replife from The Politik release last year. The promise he displayed on that project is fulfilled beyond expectations here. Replife sounds wise beyond his years in his delivery and his lyrics offer insight to the depth of knowledge and intelligence the man brings to the table. It all adds up to an outstanding record that delivers quality hip hop and progressive beats from start to finish. There’s no doubt that this disc will remain in the cd rotation for quite some time.

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Reg Dancy, 06/08

08-09 / Repeat Pattern

Repeat Pattern - 08-09

Cascade

Repeat Pattern has been a fixture in the circles of hip-hop from back in the day from his work with Ultramagnetic MC’s “Critical Breakdown” back in 1988. He has on the grind working with numerous artists ever since carving out his niche as a beat maker. Repeat Pattern’s sixteen track release is filled with jazzy laidback melodic beats that is more tease than treat as majority of the tracks barely exceed two minutes but clearly showcase his skills. Each track is enjoyable so you’re bound to stick around for the ride. There are many tunes here that will pique your interest like “RLFS3”, “STAB” and “QEQA”. All have that warm jazzy hip-hop vibe just ripe for a MC to spit over. A few appearances would have been nice but overall there are enough quality beats to hold your interest.

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Reg Dancy, 06/12

Afterglow / Resolution 88

Resolution 88 - Afterglow

Splash Blue

Resolution 88 is a four piece band from London led by composer and keyboardist Tom O'Grady. "Afterglow" their second full length LP builds on their brand of jazz tinged funk styling with impressive results. Among the highlights are "three Four Or More". filled with O'Grady's spacey keys and funky bass grooves from Tiago Coimbra. "Raios Do Sol" embodies the Brazilian heritage of bassist Coimbra with warm and melodic rhythms. "Phantom Of The Oberheim" is another winner. Drummer Ric Elsworth lays down a funky rhythm and provides plenty of space for O'Grady's spacey keys and Alex Hitchcock's riffs on bass clarinet. Inspired by projects like Herbie Hancock's "Headhunters" and Asymuth, this is an engaging slice of fusion filled with catchy hooks and funky riffs in abundance.

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Reg Dancy, 10/16

Revolutions / Resolution 88

Resolution 88 - Revolutions

Legere

"Revolutions", the third lp from the London based band Resolution 88 is drenched in 70s inspired jazz funk. Tom O'Grady's melodic arrangements elevate the band's sound from the traditional raw funk and soul band. Things get off to a rousing start with "Pitching Up". The track opens up with Tiago Coimbra's funky electric guitar while O'Grady's swirling Rhodes plays well off Alex Hitchcock's tenor. "Runout Groove" has a simmering drum and bass groove. Ric Elsworth's spirited drumming sets the tone for O'Grady's wizardry on rhodes and Coimbra's hypnotic bass. "Tracking Force" jams at a frentic pace as each member flexes their musical chops. Clearly the band found inspiration in Herbie Hancock's ground breaking "Head Hunters". While they didn't craft the blueprint for jazz funk they're doing a superb job at carrying the torch.

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Reg Dancy, 11/19

The Constant / Resonators

Resonators - The Constant

Wah Wah 45s

The diamond in the rough phrase certainly applies to the emergence of Resonators in the Dub Step/Reggae field. Indeed, the Brighton/London based group captures the spirit of Roots Reggae by merging sparkling rhythms, thumping bass grooves and soothing vocals from Kassia Zermon and Faye Houston. The performances on “The Constant” reflect a band that plays with the precision and fluidity that comes from numerous sessions and constant touring. Highlights include “Soldier”, “Vipers” and the Dub plate vocals of “Surrender” . The production is superb as well complete with additional horns and overdubs. “The Constant” is a breath of fresh air that is not only a first rate reggae album but simply one of the more impressive records of 2012.

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Reg Dancy, 01/13

Reverie / Rhi

Rhi - Reverie

Tru Thoughts

"Reverie", the debut from London based singer songwriter Rhi is a ten track assortment of dreamy explorative electronica filled with haunting mellow beats. Among the highlights are the ambient downtempo "Cherry Glow". "Romance" is a passionate tune filled with warm keys and sensual phrasings. Blissful vocals and miminal production is the theme throughout here. Rhi has created an album filled with mystique and romanticism which makes for an enchanting listen.

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Reg Dancy, 03/18

Abeng / Rich Brown

Rich Brown - Abeng

Rich Brown

Guitarist Rich Brown is well known as a superb bass player yet on his latest release "Abeng" he's proving to be an exceptional composer as well. With a first rate band surrounding him, he proceeds to create clever compositions filled with superb soloing as well as incredible ensemble playing. For instance Luis Deniz's colorful phrasings shine on "Window Seat" and especially on "The Lotus Ascension". In addition pianist Chris Donnelly Brown's playing is inventive, melodic and exploratory, specifically on the triumphant finale "Achilles and The Tortoise". "Chant Of The Exiled (Abeng)" is another standout. The significance of the Abeng is that it is an instrument used by The Maroons (escaped African slvaes) to communicate specific messages throughout their community. In a climate filled with divisiveness Brown expresses his hope for change by pursuing unfamiliar paths. The result is an exciting passage of rhythms and some of Brown's most exciting work to date.

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Reg Dancy, 11/15

Connecting The Dots / Rich Medina

Rich Medina - Connecting The Dots

Kindred Spirits

Demonstrating that he is not only a superlative spoken-word artist and skilled DJ, but a gifted producer to boot, Philadelphia's Rich Medina draws from a vast pool of influences here to deliver a work that takes us from Philly to Detroit via Nigeria and West-London. With an impressive array of guest-vocalists and musicians, and stylish, original melodies, we are treated to head-nodding Hip-Hop, mid-tempo soulful House, the finest Soul, and other boundary-defying grooves. 1xtra's Benji B is a fan, and so should you be!

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Tom Breslin, 11/05

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