Music Reviews

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Lost and Found / S-Tone

S-Tone - Lost and Found

Ishtar

Four years since the release of "Moon In Libra" S-Tone Inc. return with a marvelous collection of Breaks n Bossa beats. "Lost and Found" is a collection of both new and unreleased material as well as two tasty covers, One of those covers is the Nina Simone classic "I Put A Spell On You". Vocalist Laura Fedele transforms the tune into a down-tempo sultry groover. Fedele also performs on the jazz inspired dance track "Lady Word", one of the new compositions featured here. "Serengeti", a house flavored instrumental tune is another winner that's highlighted by African vocals, lush keyboard arrangements and Marco Brioschi's trumpet playing. "Bahia Mon Amour" was originally included on S-Tone's earlier lp "Sobrenatural" has been reworked into an infectious drum n bass heater. Other remix contributors include Grooveman Spot and Combo Moderna, the latter reworking "Entre O Ceus" which also appeared on "Sobrenatural". There are wide gaps between a S-Tone release but when they sound this good they're certainly worth the wait.

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Reg Dancy, 09/13

Nuclear evolution: The Age of Love / Sa Ra Creative Partners

Sa Ra Creative Partners - Nuclear evolution: The Age of Love

Ubiquity Records

There have been many groups that have come through and displayed the ability lay down the funk. Very few have shown the potential to create the cosmic slop like Sa Ra Creative Partners. Since they emerged on the scene back in 2000, Sa Ra has teased us with a single here and there, most notably the underground hit “Glorious” before finally releasing their debut in 2007. Their latest release, “Nuclear Evolution” fulfills some of the promise that has been long associated with the group. With their trademark psychedelic funk spread across 23 tracks, Sa Ra waxes poetic on tales of partying and all night sexual encounters. Some of the highlights include “Dirty Beauty”, which features Erykah Badu. “Melodee N Mynor” and “Gemini’s Rising featuring Rozzie Daime”. “Traffika” depicts a wild night of chaos in New York City. They slow things down for a moment to enter the galaxy of love on “Love Today”. Each track features their trademark spacey synths, funky basslines and soulful production. Sa Ra’s stylish compositions have been sought after for many hip-hop and soul artists alike. “Nuclear” demonstrates a definitive progression from their debut and will satisfy the legion of fans who like their funk to stretch out beyond the outer limits. Simply put, this is one of the most creative and enjoyable records of 2009.

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Reg Dancy, 08/09

Jidka - The Line / Saba

Saba - Jidka - The Line

Riverboat Records

Debut CD (although well known as an actress in Italy) she explores the gap between her birthplace of Somalia and her adopted home of Italy. It's a modern tale that lets the traditional sounds and instruments of Africa discover more contemporary European influences and flourish in their company. Refreshing.

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Graham Radley, 11/07

Dreaming / Sabrina Malheiros

Sabrina Malheiros - Dreaming

Far Out Recordings

Sabrina Malheiros has been one of the new Ambassadors of Brazilian music for a minute now. Her third full length release “Dreaming” seamlessly blends the classical Brazilian rhythms with the soulful electronica grooves that were featured on her debut lp “Eqilibria”. “Dreaming” is filled with sunny chilled out rhythms will have you dreaming of warm beaches instantly. Once again she surrounded by an all-star list of Brazil’s finest musicians including her father, Alex Melheiros of Asymuth fame. In addition, Daniel “Venom” Maurick, son of Bluey (Incognito) who collaborated on her debut shares writing and production duties here as well. Among the highlights are “Bobeira”, a samba flavored tune augmented by the rhythmic guitar and flute arrangements. “Fragil“ is another favorite where Sabrina’s vocals float over this breezy tune bursting with warm melodies and percussion. “Paranoia” is one of more soul oriented tracks here but is no less enjoyable. In fact, there is hardly a weak track among this gorgeous selection.  This is a wonderful record that should jettison Sabrina as a premiere vocalist whose star shines brighter with every release.

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Reg Dancy, 12/11

Sambistas / Sambistas

Sambistas - Sambistas

Sambistas

Veteran sambistas Jair Rodrigues and Elza Soares are joined by two of the new wave - City Of God star Seu Jorge and Luciana Mello plus 40 (yes 40) of Brazil’s best musicians to reinterpret 11 classic samba songs plus a couple of new ones. My pick is Seu Jorge who does a geat version of Dorival Caymmi's ‘Samba Da Minha Terra‘. Refreshing.

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Graham Radley, 12/08

La Despedida / San Lazaro

San Lazaro - La Despedida

Hope Street

Based in Melbourne, San Lazaro is a collection of musicians with roots spanning from Chile to Cuba and Catalonia. Their taut experimental compositions fall into many categories but the foundation is authentic Latin music with a spice of Cuban flavor. "Esperanza De La Rumba" starts off with hypnotic percussion followed by wah-wah guitar and soaring vocals. "Descarga Soledad", arguably the strongest track is Latin meets psychedelic rhythms. "Rompe El Cascaron" features strong vocal contributions from everyone augmented by tender guitar rhythms. San Lazaro's lyrics are laced with gripping stories chronicling everyday life. Overall their harmonic vocals, robust horns and infectious guitar rhythms make for an engaging listen.

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Reg Dancy, 08/16

Echoes / Sandboy

Sandboy - Echoes

Hinterland Records

Tobias Meggle returns with his next instalment and he's gone and released another classic. 'Echoes' includes a few new tracks, some remixes of tracks from 2004's 'Wanderlust' album and some from the man himself. Things kick off with two corking new tracks, with Randolph Matthews featuring on 'Call Out' and 'Common Cause' with Clara Hill. I would have bought 'Echoes' on these tracks alone. Also included are wonderful remixes by Break Reform, Smiles Ahead and Gerd. For a bonus ball you have Sandboy's remix of Gerd's 'So Real' featuring Vanessa Freeman. Surely I don't need to sell this to you any more.

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Simon Harrison, 09/05

Oya’s Daughter / Sandra St. Victor

Sandra St. Victor - Oya’s Daughter

Shanachie

Sandra St. Victor first came to my attention back in 1990 as the vocalist for The Family Stand who recorded the huge club soul track Ghetto Heaven. Although her debut solo album Mack Diva Saves The World was released in 1996, her recording output has unfortunately been slim with Oya’s Daughter marking only her third offering in thirteen years. It’s been well worth the wait though. Produced by Mark de Clive-Lowe this is an edgy future soul outing with Ms St. Victor’s raw vocals sounding as strong as ever. The bounce of What Have We Learned Pt.1 is certainly one of the highlights as is Another Kind Of Diva (Success Hooker) and Grateful with its’ heavy synth stabs. Even better though are Spirit Talk and I Prefer (Oya) but unfortunately both are under three minutes long which just isn’t long enough for grooves this good! A 12” with extended versions of these two tracks would be nice, please!

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Andy Allen, 03/14

Messages From The Future / Sarah Linhares

Sarah Linhares - Messages From The Future

Public Transit Recordings

After releasing an EP of the same name in 2009, Montreal resident Sarah Linhares finally releases her full length lp. “Messages from the Future” is filled with soulful electronic bottom heavy beats mixed and produced by some of the most cutting edge producers on the Canadian underground music scene. The most prominent of this group is label mate/Public Transit Record exec Moonstarr. He produced four tracks on the album including “Step Up”, laced with edgy synths and progressive beats. “No Question”, produced by Akilmitize is another bouncy track with a wicked groove, catchy synths and neck snappin’ beats. Fellow Montreal resident Kenlo Craqnuques also contributed four tracks including the mellow “Move Along” and the hip-hop drum heavy “I Get Scared”. Sarah’s warm vocals are the perfect complement to these tracks. Her voice isn’t overpowering but her warm tones and lyrics will resonate with you.  From top to bottom this is a futuristic soul gem that is definitely enjoyable and certainly worth checking out.

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Reg Dancy, 11/11

 / Scrimshire

Scrimshire -

Wah Wah 45s

Adam Scrimshire is known to many as a producer, musician and dj, having delivered a number of singles over the years for Wah Wah 45’s. “Along came the devil one night” is his first full length release and it undoubtedly demonstrates that he is an artist deserving of a bigger stage. Scrimshire has taken all his musical influences in jazz, soul, Latin and folk to craft a record filled with great melodic tunes and an array of talented vocalists to propel them to greater heights. Let’s start with “The low road”, a lovely track that fuses elements of jazz and pop and is aided by the husky voice of Rob Hynd. The title track is a wonderful instrumental filled with tango influences and warm string arrangements. “Springtime” is a lush, eloquent jazzy number that features the beautiful voice of Claire Laurent. The disc finishes up with the folk flavored “I have come to you” which features Stac. I was a little disappointed that there were only nine tracks here. One can’t complain when every track embodies superb compositions, gorgeous songwriting and talented musicians to match. Simply put, this record is a flat out winner.

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Reg Dancy, 07/09

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