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
Transglobal Underground - MoonshoutMule Satellite Recordings
Seventh album time and TGU move ever onwards mixing it up across the continents, opening with 'Dancehall Operator', an excellent way to set their stall out with a catchy mix of Brazilian and Indian , the title track follows including the brilliant Hungarian MC Rise and Shugmonkey (UK), Natacha Atlas with Iraqi rapper Naufalle guest on 'Awal' and on we roll.Look out especially for 'Total Rebellion' a collaboration with Portugal's Blasted Mechanism and the stunning 'Spice Garden' featuring legendary Bulgarian vocalist Yanka Rupkina. Superb.
Graham Radley, 08/07
Travis and Tom - The London Cologne Journeys of Travis Blaque and Shareholder TomBuro 9
The seeds of Travis & tom were planted in 2009 when London based MC Travis Blaque and Colonge producer Shareholder Tom first met. This was during the recording sessions for Shareholder Tom's debut album. A friendship formed over the years and it was only a matter of time before they would collaborate for a LP. The result is "The London Colonge Journeies of Travis and Shareholder Tom" Travis's smooth flow shines on the Afro funk grooves of "The Good Good" and the reggae flavored "Lisa. You have to Change". "I've got To Get Away" is a tropical infused pop tune certain to generate good vibes. .This is another gem to emerge from the Cologne Germany based Buro 9 label.
Reg Dancy, 07/16
Tread - Tread 4Third Ear Recordings
Here is the next instalment from Japan's multi-talented Hiroshi Watanabe, also known as Kaito (Kompakt) and of course Tread. 7 tracks of the deepest house music that's you'll find on the planet. Lovely warm productions and lush keys that will appeal to fans of the Detroit house heads aka fans of Moodymann and Theo Parrish. Of course you knew this was going to be good because it's released on Third Ear.
Simon Harrison, 09/05
Trevor Lawrence Jr - RelationshipsRopeadope
The name Trevor Lawrence Jr may not jump off the page at first but when you dig a little deeper you'll find that the Los Angeles native has been drumming for everyone from Bruno Mars, Kendrick Lamar to Stevie Wonder just to name a few. If that wasn't enough he's also the drummer for saxophonist Terrace Martin's new group, The Pollyseeds. Somehow he found the time to craft his full length debut entitled "Relationships". Lawrence's debut illustrates his musical vision of traditional soul, jazz, hip-hop and funk. Among the highlights are "B-Side" a seventies inspired soul layered with wah wah rhythms and sultry vocals. "The Guts" is gritty street soul featuring Shariff Simmons on spoken word and tasty trumpet riffs from Nicholas Payton. "Bring The Party" is a catchy up-tempo jazz funk instrumental. "Tiptoe" is blissful RnB enhanced by live and programmed drums and features Neka on vocals. There's an enormous amount of talent emerging from LA and Lawrence Jr is the latest example. He's certainly one to watch.
Reg Dancy, 10/17
Trilok Gurtu - Twenty Years Of Talking TablaManteca
Spanning a most significant period in jazz, Trilok's fusion with the likes of Don Cherry, Pharaoh Sanders, Jan Garbarek and John McLaughlin are just some of the amazing musicians he has worked with and presented in this milestone release. Trilok's Tabla work on this release does not highlight his excellence but rather shows how he compliments other musicians creating a soundscape of jazz rather than indo-jazz as found with other musicians. For those of you unfamiliar with his work this would make for a great window into his world. Other recommended releases by Trilok are 1990's 'Living Magic', 'African Fantasy' from 2000 and my particular fave 'Miles_Gurtu' from 2004. Either way you play it, there is some great music with this man behind it and in front - go explore the world that is Trilok Gurtu.
Steve Williams, 08/07