Global Sounds is a collaboration of artists from around the world creating infectious groove infused electronic compositions. The lineup is stellar with appearances by Steve Spacek, Scrimshire, Afronaut Zu and many more. The disc kicks off in a mellow mood with “Say No More” featuring the blissed out vocals of Bryony Jarman-Pinto. London based vocalist Andre Espeut appears on three tracks and each are high energy bangers. He teams up with DJ/Producer Footshooter on “Looking Back” and pairs with producer Duke High on “Pilolo With Me”. On the broken beat flavored “Sunrays” he’s joined by multi-instrumentalist Mark De Clive Lowe. Each track offers an eclectic pairing that pushes the boundaries that are both cohesive and impressive.
UK Bassist Daniel Casimir grabbed our attention with the 2019 release “These Days”. With his full length debut “Boxed In” he flexes his notable chops not only as a bassist but as a composer as well. On this set he blends traditional jazz compositions with heavenly string arrangements. Casimir fills out his quintet with some of London’s premiere musicians. Nubya Garcia’s soothing tenor aligns with trumpeter James Copus”s warm melodic tone throughout the disc. The title track and “Safe Pt 1” are among the highlights. Singer Ria Moran showcases her songwriting skills on “Get Even” as well as two other tunes. Is Casmir boxed in? Just the opposite, he’s serving notice that he can play and compose in all matter of styles. A marvelous album that’s dramatic at times but overall pure elegance.
On the strength of two impressive EPs, Brisbane native DJ/Producer Sampology embarks on an atmospheric journey with “Regrowth”. The disc is filled with sublime recordings intended to heal the soul during these trying times. “Suffer and Swim” is one of many highlights, a warm and blissful composition heightened by warm guitar rhythms courtesy of Beau Diako and the blissful vocals of 30/70 member Allysha Joy. “Reassemble” is another delight that features James Chatburn’s soft falsetto vocals layered over tender guitar strokes and subtle horn arrangements. “Ten Foot Flowers” starts out with spiritual hymns laced with hypnotic tenor sax melodies that gives way to a brooding mid-tempo groove. Once again Austrailia blesses us with an essential album from their deep pool of emerging artists. While the first EPs featured tasty doses of sampling, “Regrowth” flourishes with live instrumentation throughout. As I was listening to this record, I was instantly transported to somewhere on a beach comforted by a warm Summer breeze. Your imagination may take you somewhere else but not without this marvelous record.
“Conversation Peace”, the latest release from Damu the Fudgemunk is the culmination of beats, rhythms and cinematic soundcapes compiled from the storied archive of KPM/EMI records. The London based music library has amassed over 30,000 pieces of vinyl dating back to 1956. They have forged an arrangement with fellow London label Def Presse to open the vault and Damu is the first to reap the benefits. The Washington DC based DJ/Producer flew to London after wrapping up his critically acclaimed release “Ocean Bridges”. He spent over a week crate digging, compiled some hidden gems and chopped it up. In addition, a few friends dropped in that shared his musical vision for the project. The result is a nine track banger that delivers straight fire right out of the gate. “Power of Mind” is classic boom bap hip-hop armed with head nodding beats, jazz infused vibraphone samples and razor sharp verses from Raw Poetic. On “God Speed” rapper Blu spits over string laden rhythms and beats reminiscent of seventies cinematic action soundtracks. Nitty Scott and Damu are working together for the first time. She sounds right at home over the ambient soundscapes of “Four Better or Worse Pt.1”. Damu is coy about where he uses samples or live instrumentation on each track, preferring to leave it up to the listener to determine. No doubt you’ll spend more time nodding your head from start to finish. Damu is on fire and this is provides definitesatisfaction.
Another gem from Albert’s Favourites. The label spearheaded by Adam Scrimshire, Jonny Drop and Dave Koor continues to deliver with genre bending gems. The latest, “Salvation” is the full length debut from Matthew Gordon aka Pie Eye Collective. The ten track lp is a cosmic journey that explores exuberant and moody textures while incorporating elements of electronica, dub and hip-hop. The opening track “Gratitude” blossoms with cascades of ambient soundscapes fused with sketches of trip-hop. “Assimilation” is filled with compulsive hooks and layered with intergalactic synths. MettaShiba adds her dreamy vocals to the atmospheric vibes of “Hymn”. Gordon’s compositions eases into your body and soothes you with warm emotive synths, harmonies and infectious beats. He’s is an emerging talent to keep an eye on.
Inner Tribe has rapidly become one of my go to labels for forward thinking soul, funk and hip-hop. The growing number artists contributing to the label include Inswel, Kid Sublime, Soulparlor and many more. “Lemonade City Vol.1” is a twenty one track banger from artists across the globe. It’s a great collection of emerging artists you’ll want to get to know better. The aforementioned Inkswel brings fire to the table with “The Sun”. Rapper Ohmega Watts and vocalist Lailah Reich jump on the track and take it to another level. “Tomorrow” is a gorgeous up-tempo soul tune featuring Erin Buku & Jonny Faith. “Thinking About You” is burning hot soulful house from Oliver Night. For those who struggle to find quality soul and hip-hop, you need this in your collection. Inner Tribe does the digging so you don’t have to.
International Anthem continues to deliver cutting edge music. “City Of Mirrors” from Dos Santos is their first release since 2018. The five member band fuses traditional Latin music with spirited electric guitar rhythms. Baritone saxophonist Elliot Bergman formerly with the band Nomo brings an Afrobeat element to the session. Their compositions explore the emotions of social injustice within their communities of East Los Angeles. “A Shot in the Dark” is bolstered by rich harmonies, searing guitars and percussion. Guitarist/Keyboardist Alex Chavez soaring vocals punctuate the track and his guitar playing is superb. The title track employs the band’s trademark Latin meets electric blues sound. Bergman’s hypnotic clarinet adds a nice touch. “Cages and Palaces” is a pulsating up-tempo track driven by feverish guitar and organ rhythms. “Ghost. Me.” is a moving ballad. Chavez’s vocals are strong throughout and the band rises to the occasion. Their lyrics deal with important issues yet provide hope for better days. This is a marvelous record you can’t listen to enough.
Adam Scrimshire has been quite busy. Fresh off the sterling release of “Believers Vol.1” he was all set to work on Vol.2. Instead the lockdown shifted his plans. It didn’t slow down his production but like the rest of us, it did affect his emotional state. The feeling of lost and sadness would eventually become the seeds for “Nothing Feels Like Everything”. There’s loads of atmospheric gems here that will stroke your heartstrings. Like “Believers Vol.1” the guess list is beyond impressive. The opener “The Pile” erupts with soft percussion intertwined with folksy guitar and swaying strings. Virtuoso vocalist Cleveland Watkiss sings about life in a post George Floyd world. The hauntingly beautiful “Heron” blossoms with a slow burning melody highlighted by the blissful vocals of Miryam Solomon. “Within Without”, one of many exceptional instrumentals starts out with heavenly strings. From that point the groove is driven by Jessica Lauren’s melodic flourishes on Fender rhodes, Huw Marc Bennett on bass and Emanative on percussion. Only nine tracks here but goodness, each tune is superb. Even in those moments of emptiness, something beautiful emerges. Scrimshire once again delivers another winner that you shouldn’t miss.
Greg Foat has become one of most prolific pianist in the UK today. He has delivered several gems for labels like Athens Of The North and Strut records. While performing in Finland he decided to head to the studio with two of the finest musicians among the fertile burgeoning jazz scene. “Gone To The Cats” released on Jazz Aggression records features drummer Aleksi Heinola and Bassist Teemu Akerblom. The eight track recording is filled with vibrant compositions that finds Foat utilizing the Fender Rhodes, Moog and synthesizers. On “Feline Fantasy” and “Valley of The Black Cats” Foat’s melodic flourishes are matched by Heinola’s driving rhythms. “Yim & John” finds Foat turning to the Moog and dives deep into the outer limits of melody and gliding around Akerblom’s subtle yet poignant bass grooves. Just when you thought he reached his peak he returns to the Fender Rhodes to travel farther into the galaxy. No filler at all here, just glorious music to savor. Not sure what the cat reference means. All I know is these are some cool cats making great music.
It has been a busy year for Austrailian producer Jules Habib aka InksWel. He dropped the deeply satisfying “Astral Love” earlier this year. Now he returns with the intergalactic beat tape “Mind Beats Vol.1”. Inkswel chops up an array of dark and moody beats surrounded with outtakes of interviews of Sun Ra. Among the highlights are “Journey For All Men” filled with spacey chords and thick beats. “War” is another banger laced with cosmic synths and features rapper Social Change. “One For Doom” is a fitting tribute to the late iconic rapper. In fact if you’re fans of Doom or beatmakers such as Madlib then you’ll certainly vibe to this.