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Crackazat – Evergreen [Freerange Records]

“Evergreen” is the latest release from multi-instrumentalist Ben Jacobs, aka Crackazat. The twelve track lp is a bundle of infectious house grooves layered with joyful chords and vibrant melodies. Jacob’s fingerprints are everywhere from tasty guitar licks and electronics to his sparkling falsetto vocals. Among the highlights are “It’s All Different” a delicious house tune that finds Jacobs crooning over a pulsating groove and a heart pounding beat. “True Power” is equally engaging. The bass and drums set up the groove, and Jacobs layers glorious synths on top. If you don’t move to this you need to check your pulse. Overall this is a fantastic voyage of wondrous house tracks that will inspire instant body movement. It’s no wonder that Jacobs is rising up the ranks as one of the premier house producers on the scene today. With the standout London based label Freerange records behind him, the skies the limit.


Deborah Jordan & K15 – Human [Futuristica Music]

“Human” is the collaborative project from pianist/producer Kieron Ifill aka K15 and vocalist Deborah Jordan. K15 has produced a number of tracks for Jordan’s solo work in the past but this is their first full length project. What the two have in common is their ability to stir the depths of our emotions through their compositions. Whether through his jazz quintet Culross Close or his house & broken beat projects, K15’s compositions sink into your body and lift your spirits. Jordan’s lush vocals and heartfelt lyrics have always strum the heartstrings since her early work on Silhouette Brown with Dego and Kaidi Tatham. The way they they play together feels complimentary musically and the result is a gorgeous collection of thought provoking compositions. As the song titles suggest, this project explores the various layers of humanity, diving into an array of emotions that make us vulnerable. “Heartbroken” kicks off with a subtle down-tempo hip-hop beat that creates a canvas for Jordan’s blissful vocals. On “Fragility” Ifill opens with a slinky beat followed by tender chords and warm melodies. Jordan laments about the fragile state we find ourselves in the world today. The album goes on like this, delivering one engaging track after another. It’s a marvelous record you shouldn’t miss.


Allysha Joy – Torn Tonic [First Word Records]

“Torn Tonic” is the second full length solo release from Melbourne based artist Allysha Joy. Joy who produced this album also serves as a member of the collective 30/70. In addition she’s a frequent guest on a number of emerging Australian artists in an burgeoning music scene. The ten track release is loaded with superb down-tempo compositions that showcase her husky vocals and her lyrical prowess. “Calling You” is a warm composition that features another talented lyricist in her own right in London based vocalist Ego Ella May. “Still Dreaming” is a sonic soulful gem enhanced by Rara Zulu’s melodic phrasings. Joy’s keyboard arrangements are soothing and hypnotic. An introspective LP where Joy tackles personal, social and political issues. It’s a triumph to find her transcending through trying times and finding joy, no pun intended on the other side. Let’s shine a light on this multi-talented artist. All she does is create timeless recordings. This album is no exception.

Daniel Maulnick – Persistence [Far Out Recordings]

Multi-instrumentalist Daniel Maulnick, son of the infamous Jean “Bluey” Maulnick has certainly blazed his own trail these days. In a short time he’s become a prolific producer for Far Out Recordings and has delivered a number of essential remixes and numerous guest appearances. Maunick’s latest release “Persistance” pulls from influences ranging from drum n bass to Detroit house and garage. The opener “Arraia” exudes infectious deep house rhythms that soothes you even in it’s intense moments. “The Love has Gone” provides blistering drum n bass grooves. “Just Deserts” channels the spirits of Theo Parrish and other Detroit house pioneers. Like many tracks here it has a meditative quality that lingers long after the song is over. “Persistance” is all about pushing through the tough times of lockdown and coming through on the other side. It’s not easy for everyone to quaratine and emerge with essential recordings but Maulnick certainly does and hits the mark.


Culross Close – Pressure [Esencia]

“Pressure” is the latest from Culross Close, the London quintet featuring producer/pianist Anthony Kieron aka K15. Fans of K15 who have long embraced his soulfully deep electronic recordings have certainly appreciated his growth as a pianist as well. The opening trumpet melodies of “To Belong” serve as e serenading appetizer to the heavenly strings and chords that propels the tune to greater heights. “Convictions” kicks off with spoken word while easing into a mellow piano driven hip-hop inspired tune. The finale “The Will to Live” raises the tempo and unleashes infectious beats and synths. Kieron and his bandmates blurr the lines between jazz and electronica and the results are an array of splendid emotive recordings.


VA – New Tangents In Kampala, London & Nairobi Vol. 1 [Extra Soul Perception]

“New Tangents In Kampala, London and Nairobi” a collaboration from Extra Soul Perception, like-minded musicians spanning from London to Africa. Some of the artists on hand here are familiar to many, others may not be but all are brillant. “Hold On” has a laid back hip hop beat laced with emotive chords from pianist/producer K15. Nairobi based vocalist Karun and North London rapper/poet Lex Amor’s tender vocal textures complement each other beautifully. “Roses” is a mellow RnB funk banger featuring soul siren Lynda Dawn. “Hewe” is a mediative percussion driven tune with sketches of African rhythms and haunting vocals from West African native Azu Tiwaline. The musical pathways of London and Africa cross and create a marvelous collection of sublime soulful compositions that will prove to be very satisfying.


VA – Future Sounds of Jazz Vol 15 [Compost Records]

“Future Sounds of Jazz Vol 15” is the latest compilation from the reliable German based Compost Records. The twenty one track release features compositions with sketches of jazz layered over house grooves, electronics and African rhythms. The selections are curated by Label head Michael Reinboth. The disc kicks off with the warm percussion driven groove of “Last Home” from Bristol based DJ/producer Typesun. “At Les” from Toshio Matasura is a rich and vibrant composition laced with percolating guitar rhythms. “Sunday Afternoon” is a ten minute atmospheric gem filled with relentless beats out front and seductive horns and jazz tinged chords around the edges. The track has a meditative quality that pulls you before you even know it. “Future Sounds of Jazz” is a sampling of worlds colliding, the visceral vibes of future sounds with the cerebral cool of Jazz. It’s a splendid compilation from Reinboth.


Aurora Dee Raynes – Invisible Things [Tru Thoughts Recordings]

“Invisible Things” is the debut from the North London band known as Aurora Dee Raynes. The band started as a duo between Stephen Raynes and Danielle Kranedonk before morphing into a live band. The ten track lp blurres the lines between live instrumentation and electronica while topping things off with soothing vocals from the aforementioned Kranendonk. Standout tracks include “Crazy That You Love”, a bubbling tune with dynamic drums, vibes and strings. “Drawn to Sciences” is another simmering track with tasty drumming and soaring vocals from Kranendonk. The downbeat percussion rhythms of “Shout Shout” is augmented by warm chords and a touch of reverb certain to transport you a place of paradise. There’s enough promise here to hope there’s more to come from this talented group. Just another strong release from the dependable Tru thoughts label.


Alex Malheiros – Tempos Futuros [Far Out Recordings]

Bassist Alex Malheiros, one third of the legendary jazz fusion group Azymuth returns with “Tempos Futuros”. Malheiros’s signature Brazilian jazz fusion melodies are on full display here, as well as an array of Brazil’s premiere musicians. “Telegrammas Para Arp” glistens with Dudu Viana’s warm understated synths and Malheiros funky bass grooves. “Prece” percolates with infectious percussion from Sidinho and Ian Moreira. Malheiros daughter Sabrina. a major talent in her own right tops off the tune with her feathery vocals. “O Temporal” is equal parts warm and melodic while brimming with funky guitar grooves and synths. UK based producer/multi-instrumentalist Daniel Maunick’s organ flurries are a welcome bonus. Maunick seamlessly weaves the traditional Brazilian melodies with a touch of future grooves in all the right places. This record is a bundle of warm melodic vibes and infectious samba funk certain to elevate your mood. A joyful listen that you shouldn’t miss.


Jimpster – Birdhouse [Freerange Records]

“Birdhouse”, the seventh lp from DJ/Producer Jamie Odell, aka Jimpster was created during the lockdown of 2020. It finds him taking a step back in time with a collection of soulful down-tempo electronic gems. There’s much to savor here with plenty of selections worthy of repeated listens. “Ascension” is a warm and sultry track featuring UK vocalist Oliver Night. “Beautiful Day” featuring Cairo is equally engaging. Cairo’s feathery vocals layered over Odell’s emotive rhodes arrangements add up to an intoxicating mix. “Future Paradise”, one of the few instrumentals here is an gorgeous cascade of lush strings and synths. “Tell You” is awash in spiritual vibes and heavenly vocals. I do hope this isn’t a one and done project. Odell has made some exceptional House music and there’s no doubt there’s more on the way. That being said we need an occasional release here and there like this one. Simply a marvelous release that deserves a place on your shelf.

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