Paco Pena - His Essential RecordingsManteca Records
Two CDs which showcase this virtuosa guitarist in a range of solo, duo and group performances. Tracks include: Madrid Flamenco, Cordero De Dios: Bulerias, Tango Mayor Y Menor and De La Prima a la Bordona (one of seven tracks featuring Eduardo Falu). Master at work.
Graham Radley, 05/07
Panacea - The Scenic RouteRawkus Records
If you're like me, you look back at the mid-nineties as the golden age of hip-hop. This was a time where the music was at it's creative peak. There was such diversity that even the groups you didn't like, at least you respected them for what they brought to the table. When I listened to the Washington D.C. based duo Panacea's latest cd, it reminded me of the early days of the Native Tongues when they regularly put out quality work. The aptly named "The Scenic Route" their third disc, is a blissful ride of soulful grooves from start to finish. Producer Kyle Murdock does a masterful job of fusing jazz with funk and soul atmospheres. While Jason Moore takes the music to another level with his thought provoking and witty rhymes. On the track "Pops Said", Jason kicks rhymes of the some of the advice his pops imparted on him. "Square 1" is another banger that will have your heading nodding for sure. Raheem DeVaughn stops by to assist on "Flashback to Stardom". Raheem's falsetto fits in perfectly between Kyle Murdock's beat and Jason's Rhymes. "Katana" is has a lazy laidback groove accompanied by a soothing rhythm guitar throughout. Jason spits a rhyme about a girl that stays on his mind. "Drop me a line, you're all in my mind". Kyle has created a sound that is soulful and euphoric. I can't get enough of listening to this disc. The kind of hip-hop that springs positive vibes and takes your mind to other places. Having enjoyed their last release "Ink Is My Drink", I'm simply loving the "Scenic Route" I know you will too. Highly recommended.
Reg Dancy, 12/07
Paolo Fedreghini & Marco Bianchi - Several Additional WavesSchema Records
Fedreghini & Bianchi released 'Several People' to great acclaim in 2005 and they've now revisited the album to create 'Several Additional Waves' with new reworks rather than remixes. From the original recording only the vocals have been maintained and everything else has been re-programmed and played again, giving the tracks a more electronic feel. Some of the purists may prefer the original but for me it highlights their talent and proves they are in tune with modern clubs and classic compositions. Go on, buy both versions.
Simon Harrison, 02/06
Paper Tiger - Blast OffWah Wah 45s
Paper Tiger is a six piece band out of Leeds that made quite a splash with their 2013 debut "Laptop Suntan". Their second LP entitled "Blast Off" picks up where they left off with funky futuristic hip-hop beats and layered electronic production augmented by edgy lyrics from the band's leader and lyricist Raphael Attar. In addition the group has enlisted an eclectic array of guests whose talents mesh seamlessly with their sound. Among the highlights are the intergalactic funk gem "Weight In Space" featuring Shafiq Husayn. "Same Mistakes" is filled with off kilter beats and synths. "Ooh" features heralded Stones Throw member Pyramid Vritra spitting over an obscure beat.The disc closes with "Ongami Sessions", featuring red hot rapper Chester Watson displaying his monotone flow over laid back moody rhythms. The expansive layers of beats and synths will make you move and doesn't let up. You won't complain, instead you'll just keep coming back for more. Another impressive release from the superb Wah Wah 45s label.
Reg Dancy, 09/16
Paper Tiger - Rogue PlanetWah Wah 45s
Paper Tiger returns with their third lp. "Rogue Planet" picks up where "Blast Off" left off. That means more left of center sci-fi beats coinciding with their engaging brand of hip-hop. There's much to savor from this project whether it's rapper Raphael Attar displaying his lyrical dexterity on bangers such as "Lullaby" and the jovial "Old". There's notable guest appearances from Steve Spacek on "The Cycle"."Bioluminescent" features blissful vocals from Noya Rao bandmate Olivia Bhattacharjee. "Slinky" and "Posture Poseurs" are two of several notable instrumentals to keep your head on a constant nod. The Leeds based band find the right balance between electronica and soulful instrumentation and are growing with each release. It all adds up to a superb record that provides immediate satisfaction.
Reg Dancy, 07/19
Part 2 - Live From The BreadlineBig Dada Records
Part 2 of New Flesh fame unleashes his first solo album on the Big Dada label. This album has been work in progress for a few years now as he is been kept busy with New flesh and various other side projects. The album is rammer-jammed with superb guest vocalists entwinded with very fat sounds ranging from Grime to Reggae to Detroit fuelled rhythms.The double A-side of 'Get Square feat. Fallacy' and 'Will It Ever feat. Sandra Melody is already getting some great response in the press and on the floor - and i'm sure the full deal will receive the same praise on its release at the end of Sept '05. The beats are fully loaded and he's really gotten the most from his vocalist side-kicks. Well worth checking out.
Part Time Heroes - LightfallsWah Wah 45s
It must be a daunting task to follow up a critically acclaimed album such as “Meanwhile” but Ross Wakefield and Toby Vane, aka Part Time Heroes have pulled it off with “Lightfalls”. Their sophomore disc is filled with lovely string laden songs with warm emotive vocals from featured songstress Sarah Scott. Their first disc featured several tracks that were suitable for the dance floor and were logical choices for DJ’s. This release however is mellower in an orchestral vein that will stir your soul with compositions heavy on lyrical depth and arrangements filled with cinematic soundscapes. Sarah shines on a number of tunes here, most notably “Flight” an epic tune that begins in a down-tempo mood then evolves into a passage augmented by the crescendo of the strings. On “Leaving” the strings serve as the appetizer along with a hollowing acoustic bass that slides in comfortably alongside Sarah’s lovely voice. Colonel Red leaves you wondering doesn’t he sing more ballads as he effortlessly strokes the heartstrings on the powerful “Day”. Four years can feel like an eternity when you’re waiting for an encore this wonderful record by PTH is well worth the wait.
Reg Dancy, 04/12
Part Time Heroes - Meanwhile...Wah Wah 45s
The Part Time Heroes are two guys who have been consistently delivering high quality singles and remixes for an assortment of artists on the Wah Wah 45’s label over the years. So there has been much anticipation for their full length debut. With “Meanwhile”, they have created a near flawless nu-soul classic filled with great vocalists, crisp production and lush arrangements. The wonderful display of music and lyrics here will linger in your ears the way your favorite meal lingers in your mouth. Where do I begin? For starters there’s the opening track “Ready For Change”, the inspiring soulful dance number that features the gospel tinged voice of Pete Simpson. We also have the smash hit “Realize”, the jazzy number featuring soul-folk singer Jono McCleery. “Sun Will Shine” is a wonderful record that includes fine piano play by Ross Wakefield. Bridgette Amofah’s serene voice is so soothing and simply soars over this downtempo melodic track. Every track here is supported by warm string arrangements and a core of musicians who add multiple colors to a impressive canvas. I literally drove myself crazy trying to pick a standout track here. Don't bother, just purchase it, let it play and treat yourself to what is easily one of the best records released this year.
Reg Dancy, 09/08
Pat D - Take A Little TimeA Bridge Too Far Recordings
Beatmaker Patrick Dooner, aka Pat D returns with the impressive "Take A Little Time". Pat D was last heard from with his 2007 album “Kind Of Peace”. That disc offered a glimpse of Pat D’s production talents. Then further proof came when he remixed Common’s "The 6th Sense" last year. It’s clear that he has been a student of hip hop’s true school producers like DJ Premier and Prince Paul. His debut cd "Take A Little Time" is a collection of laidback soulful hip hop inspired beats to chill to. Pat D has assembled an eclectic collection of underground rappers and vocalists from the UK to New York to take his tracks to another level. One of those rappers would be Melodiq. His easygoing style fits perfectly on "Relax Your Mind." The underappreciated "Voice" lays down her customary lyrical brilliance on "Fly Away". Lauren Jade serves up some sweet soulful vocals on “Need Me Around”. Pat D doesn’t break any new ground here but his beat making prowess has allowed him to create a disc that breathes old school hip hop with a breezy feel good vibe. This is a very enjoyable record that is definitely worth a listen.
Reg Dancy, 07/08
Patchworks Galactic Project - SpaceFavorite Recordings
Bruno "Patchworks" Hovart has built quite a diverse resume over the years. He has collaborated to projects like Mr President, The Dynamics and many more. He returns under the title of Patchworks Galactic Project. With his latest release entitled "Space" he has composed a collection of spaced out boogie tunes with a nod towards seventies Disco soul as well. Patchwork's fascination with the outer limits is apparent from the outset with the opening track "Cosmic Tripping", a slow burning soul tune with spacey synths. "Cruising Through Space" is a soulful Disco tune with sweet string arrangements. "Dancing Among The Stars" is atmospheric space funk. Patchworks succeeds in transporting the listener into his musical galaxy. With these polished arrangements it's a trip worth repeated visits.
Reg Dancy, 12/13