Tinariwen - Aman ImanIndependiente
The title means water is life and when you're desert nomads then the significance is all the greater. Third album, with Justin Adams on production duties again and it's a don't mess with what doesn't need fixing philosophy, allowing the music to roll along, drawing you in, evoking the spirit of the desert and using the blues to provide the shading to the landscape. They even managed to get onto the BBC's Glastonbury coverage which was brilliant especially when you consider the vast numbers of artists there (witness Africa Express as one very special example) who the BBC ignored. Excellent.
Graham Radley, 07/07
Tipper - Broken Soul JamboreeTippermusic
“Broken Soul Jamboree” is the creation of British producer Dave Tipper, who is no stranger to composing brilliant electronic music. With this release, he has arranged a batch of dreamy down-tempo gems that meshes elements of Indian, classical and electronica into a cinematic odyssey that is tailor made for late night lounge sessions. Some of the highlights are “Big Question Small Head”, a head nodder filled with infectious beats, a wicked bassline and clever use of the mandolin instrument. “Class 5 Roaming Vapor” is an ambient down-tempo gem due to the multi layered chord arrangements. “Royal Dragon Sire” is filled with dreamy cinematic soundscapes and is simply chill out music at its best. Tipper’s orchestral arrangements and live instrumentation make “Broken Soul Jamboree” essential listening. For those looking for electronic music that pushes the boundaries, you’ve come to the right place.
Reg Dancy, 07/11
TM Juke - ForwardTru Thoughts Recordings
Alex Cowen aka TM Juke returns with his second installment on Tru Thoughts. I'm pleased to say he has produced another corking track with Alice Russell -"So Good". Other guests include Elmore Judd on the ace "Electric Chair", Kinny on the quirky "Damn" and Sophie Faricy on the excellent single "Come Away"- you may have heard Sophie recently on the road with Bonobo. Instrumentals are covered and make sure you check out "Pencils for Dolphins". Alex has done himself proud.
Simon Harrison, 11/06
TM Juke & Jack Baker Trio - Boto And The Second LinersTru Thoughts Recordings
TM Juke’s production skills have been widely praised for his own recordings as well as his work with Alice Russell. His classical jazz training and affinity for hip hop beats make for explosive compositions. The Jack Baker Trio is really just a one man band who serves as a producer and the drummer for Ninja Tune artist Bonobo. Together they fuse a brilliant mix of soul, reggae, funk and samba that will have your feet moving and your ears craving for more long after the disc is over. Some of the highlights are “That Gut Feeling”, an afro-soul tune that bubbles with flavor. It dosen’t hurt to have the beautiful voice of Andreya Triana blessing the track and sets in motion a succession of delicious beats and rhythms. “Echoes From The Surface” is pure New Orleans funk with thumping bass, lively percussion and blistering horns. “Rolling Stone To Landslide” is a lovely mid-tempo melodic tune that features the soothing voice of Kathrin DeBoer. If that isn’t enough there’s the ultra talented Gecko Turner lending his vocals to the tropical flavored “Party Favours”. TM Juke & Jack Baker have created a musical gumbo that will excite your palate. This is simply an enjoyable record that gets better with every listen.
Reg Dancy, 11/08
Toco - Outro LugarSchema Records
'Outro Lugar' is the debut long player from Brazilian vocalist Tomaz Di Cunto AKA Toco. Recorded in Rio and produced by S-Tone this is a stunning collection, based in the classic bossa nova tradition of the 60s. His interpretation of Edu Lobo's 'Zum Zum' is immaculate as are 'Assuntos Banais', 'Guarapiranga', the title track and 'Bom Motivo' featuring the sun kissed vocals of Rosalia De Souza. With the onset of winter this album is sure to keep those winter blues at bay.
Andy Allen, 09/07
Tom Trago - IrisRush Hour
Amsterdam’s Tom Trego picks up from where he started with his debut; the disco flavored “Voyage Direct”. With his latest release “Iris”, he has enlisted an array of likeminded artists to enhance his eclectic soulful dance infused arrangements. On “Being With You” Tom flips the Smokey Robinson classic into a futuristic synth flavored club jam. “What You Do” is an electro soul gem with a wicked groove and fellow DJ Tyree Cooper fills in as the official hype man mid-way through the track. Om’Mas lends his vocals to the eighties inspired euro dance tune “So Cold”. With other notable appearances like Oliver Day Soul and Meikbar, “Iris” will certainly quench your thirst for twisted synth flavored dance tracks.
Reg Dancy, 08/11
Tony Allen - Secret AgentWorld Circuit
Legendary drummer Tony Allen oozes Afrobeat he was a mainstay of Fela Kuti’s Africa ’70 and here he returns to his Afrobeat roots after his more recent involvement with The Good, The Bad & The Queen’ . Produced by Tony Allen and using his tight funky band this is driving afrobeat with vocals from Nigerian singers Ayo, King Odudo, Switch, Kefee Obareki, Wura Samba and Allen himself on the title track and ‘Elewon Po’. Brilliant.
Graham Radley, 08/09
Tortured Soul - Introducing Tortured SoulR2 Records
I'm certain all the house heads out there have been playing this since it was released in 2004, but it's one I completely missed and thankfully R2 have given us a second chance to check out this excellent album. With predominantly house based tunes, these tracks are the best you can buy. Lead singer is of course Christian Urich from Cooly's Hot Box, who sounds as good as ever. Even though most tracks are for clubland, they mix Disco, Jazz and Soul elements which will even appeal to the true Soul boys. This is without doubt the best way to be introduced to Tortured Soul.
Simon Harrison, 02/06
Tosca - No Hassle!K7
This is the fifth full-length album from the Viennese duo of Richard Dorfmeister and Rupert Huber and it marks a return to the classic Tosca sound after 2005’s more exuberant and club-friendly “J.A.C.”. As the title suggests, “No Hassle” represents an effort to create an hour of pure relaxation and musical escapism, free of the mounting pressures and hassles of everyday life. “Boring”, “yawn”, I hear you cry, “I’ve heard it all before”. Well, in a sense, you probably have, for there is nothing particularly new or earth shattering here, and these days we have ambient, chill-out music up the wazoo. But, let’s not forget that these guys really are the pioneers of modern down tempo electronic music and that they have been honing and mastering this sound together for at least 15 years. And my word have they mastered it. So skilled are they at crafting lush, slow burning, spacious grooves that you just sit back, relax and never once reach for that ‘Skip’ button. Sometimes more of the same can be a good thing, if the “same” is something wonderful.
Tom Breslin, 05/09
Toshio Matsuura Group - LovePlayDance - 8 Scenes From The FloorBrownswood
For his latest album renowned DJ/Producer Toshio Matsuura enlisted some of the Uk's finest musicians, including drummer Tom skinner as musical director. "Love Play Dance - 8 Scenes From The Floor" is an alternate take on covers that captures Matsuura's wide ranging taste from Jazz to dance and beyond. Cuban vocalist Dayme Arocena adds a new flavor to Rotary Connection's "Black Gold Of The Sun" with the help of her Havana based musicians. "Kitty Bey", a spiritual jazz classic originally performed by Byron Morris and Unity. The intense reboot features Yussef Dayes, trumpeter Yazz Ahmed and rising star Nubya Garcia respectively. The Flying Lotus cover "Do The Astral Plane" is transformed from avant garde electronica to swinging jazz suitable for the dance floor. This is another enjoyable disc from Brownswood recordings that deserves your attention. Matsuuro demonstrates that jazz and dance aren't worlds apart when placed in the right hands.
Reg Dancy, 05/18