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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Smile / Soulparlor

Soulparlor - Smile

Tokyo Dawn

The trio from South Germany known as Soulparlor have steadily built a deep catalog of soulful broken beats, funky grooves and underground house that have won admirers from all around the globe. Their latest release "Smile" could very well be their strongest yet. Once again their disc represents a global collaboration of artists who pledge their allegiance to the funk. Erik Rico delivers two tracks here, "Out On The Floor" and "Wall"., both laced with funky synths. Amalia is an undisputed funk goddess and "Freakay Lady" oozes sweet nad sticky mid-tempo funk. Vocalist Leona Berlin is an artist to keep an eye on. Berlin contributes with three gorgeous dance tracks but "Cruel" is the highlight.. Capital A laments the watered down state of hip-hop while paying tribute to b-boys with "Nostalgia". "Smile" is one of those gems that you simply press play and walk away, it's that good. The trio's production skills combined with the vocal contributors ensure that you'll have a funky good time.

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Reg Dancy, 03/15

Do You Overstand? / Soulphiction

Soulphiction - Do You Overstand?

Sonar Kollektiv

Soulphiction, a.k.a. Stuttgart’s Michel Baumann, the man behind Philpot Records and one third of Manmadescience, is not a guy to be pigeonholed. Despite the tendency in his music to just chug along, lulling you into a groove-induced state of hypnosis, there are so many styles and influences crammed into his productions that he always has you on the hook, just as, say, Moodymann or Theo Parrish might. This whole album is one big tip of the hat to those dons of Detroit, with its scene-setting chords and jazzy, techno sound-scapes intertwining beautifully with twisted disco samples and Afro vocal snippets. Granted, this is not for everyone, but for many - myself included - this will be one of 2008’s real gems.

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Tom Breslin, 05/08

State Of Euphoria / Soulphiction

Soulphiction - State Of Euphoria

Sonar Kollektiv

Sonar Kollektiv have been amazingly consistent with every release over the last few years, with a slight bias towards things with a 4/4 beat but whatever the style, quality seems to be the most important thing. Michel Baumann is the man behind Soulphiction and also helped set up the well known and sought after Philpot Records, mainly due to the Moodyman/Theo Parrish influences in releases. "State Of Euphoria" is a big nod to the two legendary Detroit producers and covers downtempo and midtempo building up to good quality house. Baumann certainly knows his music and has injected jazz riffs, disco loops and broken beat influences into his productions. This has been hailed as house album of the year by many: it's maybe a little early to say but it'll certainly be up there.

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Simon Harrison, 07/06

Soundspecies / Soundspecies

Soundspecies - Soundspecies

Burnt Progress

The debut of the Keen brothers, Barnaby & Nathaniel aka Sounspecies is filled with soulful down-tempo grooves and funky hip-hop beats drenched in a soulful vibe that will have you wondering where have these guys been all along. The brothers, with a little help from their friends skillfully combine electronic grooves with live instrumentation and the result is a well crafted and deeply satisfying debut. The disc starts out with “Stars Wars”, an instrumental jam with a thumping bass line. That is followed up with “Something new”, a blissful and melodic gem. The lush arrangements plus the mesmerizing voice of Emilia Martensson takes this track on a musical voyage that his truly devine. “CDR People” is a funky dose of hip hop that features the Foreign Beggars. “Journeyman” is an ambient jazzy number that is enhanced by Ben Hadwen’s playing on flute and sax. The disc wraps up with the soothing “Waiting for the Sun to come up”, which features Barnaby and Deborah Jordan on vocals. Soundspecies spent many years in London cultivating their sound. This debut proves that they have learned their lessons well. This is an exceptional record that you shouldn’t miss.

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Reg Dancy, 06/09

A Life In The Day of B19: Tales Of The Tower Block / Soweto Kinch

Soweto Kinch - A Life In The Day of B19: Tales Of The Tower Block

Dune

Music from high above the streets, from where the inspiration came, for this first of a two parter. This is jazz at its most adventurous best, a story narrated by Moira Stewart with the characters MCing over jazz blowing and hip hop flowing while musical boundaries open up. This is Birmingham from a high rise block, take a listen to the dialogue between the aspiring MC and the Job Centre worker, on the button . Love it.

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Graham Radley, 11/06

Endless Light / Space Ghost

Space Ghost - Endless Light

Tartelet

Oakland producer Space Ghost's second lp "Endless Light" is an amalgamation of 80s synth grooves sprinkled over melodic tempos ranging from funk to house. "Color Waves" is mid-tempo cosmic funk with sparse drum programming and synths. On standout tracks "Following A Vision" and "Eyes Closed", Ghost developes a pattern of building a house tempo before settling back into mellow atmospheric beats and synths. "Strong Heart" is a dreamy down-tempo voyage that features him on the vocoder. Space Ghost cultivates his own sound with this release by pushing the boundaries of soul, ambience and electronica. In a crowded electronic field he's emerging as a standout.

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Reg Dancy, 06/18

Soul:Fi / Space Invadas

Space Invadas - Soul:Fi

BBE Records

If you haven’t had this conversation yet, you will one day explain to your kids or somebody else’s kid that music didn’t always require a drum machine to make beats, or a sample wasn’t necessary to capture the right hook or feature the right voice. The days of lo-fi recordings are from another place in time but when played today you can’t help but get lifted by the raw soul seeping into your veins. It has been a daunting task to bridge the gap from the old to the new but the Space Invadas are more than capable of filling that role. Producer Ashley Anderson, aka Katalyst and vocalist Steve Spacek are on a mission to bring you soul music in its purest form and suffice to say, you’ll gladly come along for the ride. Their debut, “Soul Fi” starts out by transporting you to a time when soul music was the norm and not the exception. Upon arrival, you’re treated to “Imaginist”, a funky track that merges a fierce rhythm guitar groove and lush strings that serves as the canvas for Spacek’s falsetto voice.  “Super Sweet” is another uptempo foot stomper that finds vocalists Fantine and Spacek playfully flirting with one another over a wicked bass groove and drum beat. “Ready Or Not” is an midtempo gem that utilizes The Delfonics sample of the same name that was so successful for the Fugees mid nineties hit. Spacek sprinkles his voice over the rhythm section and transforms the track into his own. On “Way We Feel”, The Space Invadas bring the pace down to a slow burn and create a sultry slow jam reminiscent of Love Unlimited classics. Indeed “Soul Fi” has all the ingredients of a soul classic and would serve as the antidote for any party in need of a funk injection. This is certainly one of the best early full length releases of 2011.

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Reg Dancy, 03/11

Wild World / Space Invadas

Space Invadas - Wild World

Invada Records

Hard to believe it's been seven years since Steve Spacek and Ashley Anderson aka Katalyst last appeared on the scene. That doesn't seem to matter for the duo known as Space Invadas are as sharp as ever. With their new lp "Wild World" Katalyst lays the foundation with classic soul inspired samples with an analog sound and beats tailor made for Spacek's falsetto vocals. That's apparent right out the gate with "Welcome". Katalyst laces the track with heavy beats for Spacek and Melbourne vocalist Natalie Slade's sweet soulful vocals to soar. The title track is a hip-hop soulful banger where rapper Remi and spacek wax poetic about the state of affairs in the world today. "Don't Ever Look Back" has a percussion filled Latin vibe while "Say Something" is a mellowed out love song. This is a tightly produced lp with twelve strong tracks. Katalyst has distinguished himself as a premier producer while Spacek's recognizable voice is always a delight. These two make quite a team and it's great to have them back.

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Reg Dancy, 06/18

Introducing Spam Allstars / Spam Allstars

Spam Allstars - Introducing Spam Allstars

Introducing

This CD takes material from the Miami bands’ earlier CDs and introduces them to a hopefully wider audience. The band state their mission is to ‘blend improvisational electronic elements and turntables with Latin, funk, hip-hop and dub to create a sound that is unique – an electronic descarga.’ Excellent musicians combined with a love of playing live give them a real chilled buzz. Very much one to discover, if you’ve not already of course.

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Graham Radley, 09/08

I / Spanky Wilson & The Quantic Soul Orchestra

Spanky Wilson & The Quantic Soul Orchestra - I

Tru Thoughts Recordings

A few years ago Will Holland went in search of Spanky Wilson to feature on his 2001 album "Mishaps Happening", and of course the anthem "Don't joke with a hungry man" bowled everyone over. I would have loved to have seen his face when she agreed to record an album with him: he must have been smiling for weeks. The Quantic Soul Orchestra side of Will's productions is funk at its best and with Spanky on vocals it was never ever going to fail. The tracks are not obvious and do take a little getting used to but to me it's another classic Quantic collaboration.

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Simon Harrison, 10/06

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