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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Sonar Kollektiv 21 years...Feel / Sonar Kollektiv

Sonar Kollektiv - Sonar Kollektiv 21 years...Feel

Sonar Kollektiv

It's no stretch to say that the label from Berlin as known as Sonar Kollektiv has been one of the most admired labels over the last twenty years. So it seems proper to salute them for all the quality recordings they've blessed us with. "21 years" features thirty plus tracks that have stood the test of time and hearing them again is simply a breath of fresh air. It's a superb collection of their own compositions as well as re-releasing recordings from artists they've been drawn to over the years. What's more is this is the first of two compilations so expect another batch of thirty more recordings soon but let's focus on these for now. The disc begins with "Oh Africa", the infectious 2013 dance track from Alex Barck, one of the founding members of Jazzanova. "Make It Good" is another floor burner that evokes happy memories from The White Lamp which featured Pete Josef. There's a load of unreleased gems as well. "Charizo Pancho" is a splendid simmering samba treat from Marlow & Truby. For those drawn to slower tempos there's the sublime "Paradiso" from Lars Barkuhn. "Feel Like a Feel" is melancholy folk from Paul Bryan aka Sergio Sa. We've just scratched the surface for there's so much to savor here you could spends weeks combing through it all. Believe me you'll be glad you did. As far as compilations go this will be hard to beat.

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Reg Dancy, 03/20

Guaranteed Niceness / Sonar Kollektiv Orchester

Sonar Kollektiv Orchester - Guaranteed Niceness

Sonar Kollektiv

Sonar Kollektiv really know how to celebrate because here's another way to celebrate 10 years in business: yes, it continues into 2008. They got 15 label artists and friends, led by Volker Meitz, to create the Sonar Kollektiv Orchester. This was another good excuse to go through the back catalogue and produce some cracking new versions of the anthems we all know and love, so giving them a new breath of life. Tracks that got me hooked on the first few plays were the covers of Meitz's "Africa", Thief's "Atlantic" and of course the five Jazzanova tracks. Volker has done himself proud, but, with such good material, he was never going to fail. Whilst you're waiting for the official release, do check out this wonderful video of their live session at the Tabe Club Festival: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3jtw8_tabe-club-festival-sk-orchester-200_music

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Simon Harrison, 04/08

Burn / Sons Of Kemet

Sons Of Kemet - Burn

Naim Jazz

"Burn", the aptly titled debut from the quartet known as Sons Of Kemit doesn't just burn, it scorches. The ten track debut is a fusion of African, folk and spiritual Jazz rhythms that is engaging, intense and defies categories. Clarinetist/Saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings apprenticeship with Courtney Pine and Tomorrow's Warriors has served him well here. His explosive playing and ambitious compositions is complimented by the dual drumming of Tom Skinner and Seb Rochford. On "Inner Babylon" Hutchings and Tuba player Oren Marshall rhythmic explorations and lyrical content extend into Afro-Caribbean ancestry. "Adonia's Lullaby" evokes deep passion and emotions highlighted by Hutching's melodic clarinet rhythms. Each member is a leader in their own right yet they come together focused on their take on the movement of the African Diaspora and the result is one of the best records of the year.

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Reg Dancy, 11/13

Words Came Back To Me / Sonya Kitchell

Sonya Kitchell - Words Came Back To Me

Velour Music Group

Recorded when she was 16 (18 now) Sonya draws here influences from much older music forms especially acoustic blues, folk and jazz. These twelve self penned tracks make this a notable debut which has drawn a lot of comparisons to Norah Jones although I'm not sure that's altogether valid as her style is probably more widely influenced than that, so think classic songwriters from Joni Mitchell to Van Morrison. You're going to be hearing a lot more about and from Sonya Kitchell.

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Graham Radley, 07/07

Tradition / Soothsayers

Soothsayers - Tradition

Wah Wah 45s

The South London Afro Dub collective Soothsayers have been enlightening listeners about social issues through stimulating dub rhythms for two decades. "Tradition" is their first full length release for Wah Wah 45s and it's filled with thought provoking messages layered over a thumping sounds system. "Sleepwalking" is inspired by Fela Kuti so having Dele Sosimi on vocals makes perfect sense. "Take Me High" is filled with hypnotic guitar rhythms and features the falsetto of Cornell Campbell. "Natural Mystic" starts out with a warm flute solo followed by hypnotic horns and percussion that will take you on a journey to the Motherland. Overall an engaging record loaded with strong instrumentation and good vibrations.

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Reg Dancy, 09/18

Break The Habit / Sophie Barker

Sophie Barker - Break The Habit

Disco Gecko

"Break The Habit" the third album from vocalist Sophie Barker. Formerly a collaborator with Zero 7 and Groove Armada, Barker's latest release is filled with lush compositions and haunting guitar rhythms. Producer Alex Pilkington has orchestrated a intimate sound, limiting the number of musicians to allow the warmth to pour through the recordings. Each of these tunes are a delight within itself. "3 Things" features a searing electric guitar as the perfect compliment to Barker's melodic vocals."Breathe Me In", performed with a full band is a stirring number that will strum the heartstrings. "Let's Start Again" demonstrates the contrast in sounds with synths and trippy drums. Superb emotive songwriting and musicianship throughout, it will be quite difficult to break the habit of repeated spins from this wonderful record.

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Reg Dancy, 01/17

Dose / Sorceress

Sorceress - Dose

Wonderwheel

Formerly known as Funkommunity, the rising five piece band from New Zealand and founded by composer Isaac Aesili has re-emerged as Sorceress. The reason for this change is for everyone to recognize them as a band of many styles beyond funk. Their previous release, the sorely slept on "Chequered Thoughts" is evidence of their universal yet progressive sound and "Dose" builds on that formula. Among the prime selections are the Afrobeat flavored "Desire" filled with percussive rhythms .   "Teacups" features a tasty groove aided by soothing trumpet phrasings. "Freeloadoubt" is blissful futuristic soul with playful lyrics courtesy of vocalist Rachel Fraser. "Dose" is filled with twisting melodies and phrasings that will seduce your eardrums. It all adds up to an enjoyable record that you don't want to miss.

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Reg Dancy, 07/14

Evolutionism / Soul Designers

Soul Designers - Evolutionism

Third Ear

“Evolutionism” is the new release from Fabrice Lig, aka Soul Designer. The fact that this recording is on Third Ear recordings is fitting because this disc embodies the high quality techno soul that would make the forefathers of Detroit techno proud. Soul Designer is Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson. Kevin, in particular had an huge influence on Fabrice’s sound which can be heard throughout here. The title track, sans vocals is techno funk with deep soulful grooves. “The Power Of  A City” is another winner. Special guest  Clo providing soulful vocals while Fabrice combines synths and thumping bass licks to complement the scorching beats. With poet/rapper Hbk Finn providing thought provoking spoken word regarding the concerns for humanity in between tracks, “Evolutionism” is truly music for the mind and the soul and Fabrice’s most inspiring work to date.

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Reg Dancy, 07/08

Background Noise / Soul Vigilantes

Soul Vigilantes - Background Noise

Lovemonk Records

What exactly is a Soul Vigilante? I presume that Jose "Jas" Alvarez, the architect of the group is taking up the cause of preserving the genre into his own hands to ensure that it doesn't fade to black. Well, at least he has enlisted some very talented musicians for "Background Noise", an entertaining modern soul offering that has been years in the making. The first single "Shy" was first released in 2004. This rousing sophisticated soul stomper with Jocelyn Medina on vocals has been in constant rotation by dj's worldwide. Nigerian born Xan Blacq, a rising star in the UK provides his velvet vocals on the title track as well as three other tracks. "Do It Like Roger" is a tribute to the late Roger Troutman that will leave you feeling nostalgic for some Zapp classics like "More Bounce To The Ounce". "Jas" Alvarez has assembled a lighthearted funk project with an 80's vibe. This may not crack your fave five this summer but it's still an enjoyable record that will find its way onto your rotation.

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Reg Dancy, 07/08

Sex, Love &amp; Philosophy / Soul:ID

Soul:ID - Sex, Love &amp; Philosophy

ABB Soul

The presence of the rnb soul group has become a dying breed in today’s music playing field. So when a group comes along with a back to basics approach to their music you have to lean back and take notice. Say hello to Soul:Id whose debut cd “Sex, Love & Philosophy” has been making noise ever since they hit the scene back in 2005. One of the strengths of Soul-Id is the diversity of musical talent they bring to the table. Three quarters of the group originate from Africa (Burundi, DR Congo and Rwanda) and the fourth member, producer Urban Deep from Belgium. Soul:Id brings an array of musical styles to the table. One of the qualities that stand out is the soulful harmonies from each member that filters throughout each song. Highlights include “Believe” a soulful track that features Dad’D on vocals. “Is This Love” features the soothing soulful voice of Tchai’, the lone female of the group. “Whatcha Looking For” finds Dad’D and Tchai’ trading verses on the funky hip hop flavored beat. I generally frown upon a disc that has as many as seventeen tracks but there’s no filler here. Just sixty minutes of enjoyable soulful music that will keep your body movin’. This is exceptional work by Soul:ID and it would be shameful for you to pass it up.

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Reg Dancy, 10/08

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