Sun Circle - RebornFuturistica Music
Simon S’s soulful electronic compositions and Deborah’s angelic vocals have given birth to many wonderful Futuristica recordings. With “Reborn” the duo has crafted a canvas filled with sublime down tempo music that will paint pictures of peace and serenity. Among the highlights are “If You Speak”, a jazz influenced soulful tune enhanced by a lovely melody and warm yet subtle keyboard arrangements. “My Story” is a lush arrangement that features Deborah supported by lush strings These compositions would sound great with anyone but when Deborah lays her vocals down, they turn to gold. Simon’s catalogue continues to grow with high quality music and is firmly established as one of the leaders of electronic soul filled with melodic jazzy soundscapes and this record is further proof of that.
Reg Dancy, 08/10
Super Smoky Soul - CyclingCirculations
I'm not sure if it was the sad loss of J Dilla aka Jay Dee (R.I.P) in 2006 that sparked a new interest in beats but over the last few months we've seen quality albums from the likes Flying Lotus, Dr. Who Dat aka Jnerio Jarel, Hudson Mohawke and many more, with of course re-issues and new releases of Dilla material. Super Smoky Soul take the gauntlet and produce twenty heavy weight beats, that have had many beat junkies drooling. I don't know much about these guys but once you get your ears around the likes of "After Smoke", "Every", "Simply", "Smile" or "Classius Clay", just to name a few, you'll be hooked. The vinyl sampler will be in limited quantites, so be warned.
Simon Harrison, 02/07
Swollen Members - Black MagicBattle Axe Records
Swollen Members return with their 5th studio album packed to the hilt with fat beats and smart rhymes, returning once again on Battle axe records.
This album flows along nicely and has some top notch guest appearances from the in form Ghostface Killah, DJ Swamp, DJ Babu and the dancehall master Mr Vegas.
Stand out tracks include 'Pressure', 'Grind' and the title track 'Black Magic'. The whole album is as expected, fully sample driven, but there is a heavy emphasis on piano's and guitar licks. Its production is executively taken care of by Mad Child and it's produced very tight. Fans of previous Swollen Members long players will no doubt dig this. It by no means delves into adventurous territory buts it's a solid album that should be checked!
Sy Smith - Fast and CuriousPsykol Records
Despite three impressive albums and two EPs to her credit Sy Smith has yet to receive the recognition that her body of work would suggest. Sy’s vocal talents have graced the recordings of esteemed artists like the Chaka Khan, Me’Shell N’degeocello and many more as well as a frequent contributor to the Foreign Exchange. All of her releases have been well received by her devoted fan base yet they haven’t taken off to the masses. That could very well change now with the infectious “Fast and Curious”. Mark De Clive Lowe takes hold of the production chores and provides Sy with a soulful dance sound that guarantees hip twisting and neck snapping movement. His wizardry behind the boards and on keys combined with Sy’s angelic vocals feels like the perfect marriage. The disc kicks off with the title track which is built on a mid-tempo groove and funky synths. From there the tempo builds with “Truth” but the formula of funky bass grooves and clever synth arrangements remains the same. Sy’s cover of two classic recordings is also impressive. On “Nights” (Feel like Getting Down) she’s joined by Rahsaan Patterson as they breathe life into the Billy Ocean dance hit. While on “Lovergirl” she woos her lover while flipping the Teena Marie dance track into a tender mid-tempo teaser. From start to finish this disc delivers and could easily ignite your next house party or simply quench your daily soul music thirst. Whatever the case be sure not to miss it.
Reg Dancy, 08/12