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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Rough Guide to the music of Vietnam / Various Artists

Various Artists - Rough Guide to the music of Vietnam

World Music Network

A lot of new music to me here and so very varied including Huong Thanh who gently infuses jazz into Vietnamees traditional music while Thanh Quy keeps it traditional with a quan ho song illustrating Vietnam’s oldest singing tradition. Taking us in an entirely different direction is Blue Asia, featuring dan bao player Thuy Hanh getting down and dirty with the blues - wonderful and the truly wild closing track - a live version of Ghost Riders In The Sky by Dan Bao Vietnam (remember when you listen to this that the dan bao only has one string!). Highly recommended.

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Graham Radley, 08/07

Scattered Snares Vol 2 / Various Artists

Various Artists - Scattered Snares Vol 2

Twisted Funk

This is one I've been really looking forward to after hearing the snips on the Twisted Funk label website, and boy does it deliver. Marc Mac compiles the finest selection of the best broken beats you'll hear in 2007, produced by some of the biggest players in the bruk scene. Yes they're just about all here: Somatik, Cyberworks, Mark Force, Jonny Miller, Seiji, Hopper, Nu Era, Dr Stepper, Sonar Circle aka Domu and of course two tracks from Marc Mac. If you need any more convincing, I give up.

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Simon Harrison, 02/07

Searching For Soul / Various Artists

Various Artists - Searching For Soul

Luv N' Haight

Subtitled ‘Rare & Classic Soul, Funk And Jazz From Michigan 1968-1980’, this compilation showcases just a small selection of the countless records which originated from the North American state. On small independent labels with low budgets and often limited distribution, many of these records were largely overshadowed by the hit making machine of Detroit’s Motown. However, there’s no denying the talent of these artists particularly on tracks such as Dee Edwards’ outstanding soul stepper ‘(I Can) Deal With That’. In fact it’s the album’s soul cuts which really shine through for me. Try Burning Desire’s ‘Why She Had To Go’, a funky mid-pacer, the slow motion grinding groove of ‘Trust Me’ from Aged In Harmony or Wendell Harrison’s wonderful bright and breezy soul/jazz offering ‘Take Time Out’ for solid examples of what it is.

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Andy Allen, 11/05

Secret Love 3 / Various Artists

Various Artists - Secret Love 3

Sonar Kollektiv

Here's the third instalment of the Secret Love series compiled by Jazzanova and Resoul, who have been on the hunt for more gems from the folk scene. A number of them you will/should know: The Beauty Room, Micah, Clara Hill, Mocky, Fink and Jose Gonzalez. The rest were unknown to me but it has opened my ears up to this side of Folk, which is gaining interest with DJs around the world. I read a lot about Soul Village's version of "Everybody Love The Sunshine" and even though we've heard the original many times before, it does work. I'm not going to highlight the best of the other tracks because they are worth their weight in gold and you'll be the one missing out.

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Simon Harrison, 11/06

Secret Love 4 / Various Artists

Various Artists - Secret Love 4

Sonar Kollektiv

The fourth volume in the 'Secret Love' series and yet another quality selection of modern tripped-out folk delights. Midlake's 'Roscoe (Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve Mix)', 'Duet' by Breaks Co-Op, Roe Beck's 'Atlantic' and 'The Loved' from Paul Weller are tracks I was previously unfamiliar with but all instantly hit the spot. Also included is Clara Hill's 'About You' from her new 'Folkwaves' album, 'Down Down' by Thief, Nostalgia 77's Little Steps and 'Twice' by Yukimi Nagano's new project Little Dragon.

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Andy Allen, 10/07

Secret Love 5 / Various Artists

Various Artists - Secret Love 5

Sonar Kollektiv

The Secret Love compilations have been successful at unearthing some of the highest quality of folk music from around the world. The trend continues with their fifth installment. As usual, the selections are a mixture of acoustic and electronic compositions and the results are sublime and peaceful. Some of the highlights are “Broken Promises” by Quiet Village, a dreamy cinematic slice of downtempo soul with strings. Recloose’s “Deep Waters” receives an alternate take, this time as an acoustic tune which works well when you have the velvet voice of Joe Dukie. “Down Down” by Thief also receives a makeover, courtesy of Philip Owusu, thereby turning this pop folk tune into a downtempo soul groover. For some danceable folk we are treated to The Rubies “I Feel Electric”. Tiedeye remixes this track into a funky electro pop tune that displays some percolating bass playing by Teri Loewenthal, soothing vocals by Simone Rubi and a guest appearance by Feist. With fifteen tracks here, Jazzanova takes us on a musical adventure through the many variations of modern day folk music. You will definitely enjoy the ride.

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Reg Dancy, 09/08

Shapes 07.01 / Various Artists

Various Artists - Shapes 07.01

Tru Thoughts Recordings

The 'Shapes' compilation series continues into 2007 and as with past editions it showcases previously released material from the Tru Thoughts label, along with forthcoming cuts and exclusive bits. It kicks off with Boub's reggae re-rub of Alice Russell's 'Hurry On Now' before moving through to the killer nu-soul steppers, 'Good Things' by Spengler, one of the exclusives, and 'Pushing On' from Freddie Kruger featuring Linn. Nostalgia 77's 'Wildflower' is also included along with Lanu's 'Dis-information', Diesler's 'Into The Woods' featuring Carla Alexandar, an infectious digital bossa groove from his forthcoming third album and Ze Zam's tech-samba excursion 'Me & You'. With tracks of this standard and for less than a fiver this album is an absolute must.

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Andy Allen, 03/07

Shapes Compilation / Various Artists

Various Artists - Shapes Compilation

Tru Troughts Recordings

Yet another corking compilation from Tru Thoughts and it features all their heavyweight artists including Alice Russell, The Nostalgia 77 Octet, The Bamboos, Diesler and more. If you’re a vinyl junkie there is a chance you may have picked up a few of these tracks: if not this is a must. Tracks worthy of your attention are Quantic & Nickodemus' "Mi Swing Es Tropical", Diesler's remix of Nirobi & Barakas "Bungee Jump Against Racism", Polar Pair v Maddslinky's "Over My Head" and DJ Vadim’s remix of Alice Russell's "A Fly In The Hand". Check out the Tru Thoughts website now because you can purchase this for a bargain reduced price.

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Simon Harrison, 05/06

Shapes Compilation Part 2 / Various Artists

Various Artists - Shapes Compilation Part 2

Tru Thoughts Recordings

It was only a few months ago that part 1 was released and it goes to show how much excellent music Tru Thoughts have up their sleeve when they can release part 2 so soon. You may be thinking 'not another compilation', but wait- this has some wonderful gems. Nostalgia 77 is releasing albums almost as quick as Quantic and two of his tracks are here. Nativeland, which was recorded live at the jazz cafe is brilliant, and the track with Wah Wah 45s Capstone is beautiful. Also featured are the ace first instalment of the collaboration with Quantic and Spanky Wilson and ace remix of Alice Russell's "Mirror Mirror on the Wolf" by Bonobo. Hip-hop is covered by Simpson, Dirty Diggers and Phi-Life Cypher, with some funk by The Broken Keys... Pheew.

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Simon Harrison, 09/06

Single Minded / Various Artists

Various Artists - Single Minded

Freestyle Records

The idea behind “Single Minded” belongs Adrian Gibson, head of London’s popular Jazz Café and founder of Freestyle records. Adrian is celebrating the labels fifth year anniversary with a bunch of 12” singles that were only available on vinyl. Adrian has compiled an eclectic collection of hip hop, disco, Afrobeat, latin and soul music spread across a two disc set. Among the many highlights include Sleeve’s “Get It On”, a funky uptempo number aided by the sampling of Funkadelic’s “Knee Deep”. Afrodizz delivers an electrifying afrobeat jam entitled “Kalakuta Show”. You can never go wrong when you include a track by the underrated soul crooner Lewis Taylor. His falsetto voice sounds wonderful on “When will I ever Learn”. There are other prime cuts on the second disc like Lanu’s “Mosquito Coast, a delightful samba tune. Los Cabrones provides some enjoyable Afro-Cuban Latin Jazz with the sensational “Hola Que Tal”. Adrian Gibson once again demonstrates his love for all flavors of music. His knack for uncovering underground hits and forgotten gems proves to be essential listening. This is one of many quality recordings to emerge from the Freestyle roster this year that shouldn’t be missed.

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Reg Dancy, 10/08

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