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Stro Elliot – La Villa [Def Pressé]

DJ/Producer Stro Elliot is the latest Def Pressé member to dive into the vaults of the London based KPM/EMI record library. You may be familiar with Stro’s hip-hop samples through his affiliation with the Roots. The KPM libary spans seventy years of music across a myriad of genres. The arrangement between KPM and Def Presse was a benefit to fellow labelmate Damu the Fudgemunk and his recent projects. Based on this release Elliot came away with some hidden gems with a seventies soul vibe. Specifically they would feel right at home in a James Brown catalog. The opening track “Monday’s Generation” is a prime example. The drum kit snare lays down the beat while the uplifting flute and guitar rhythms round things out into form. “Bamboo” is a mid-tempo hypnotic boom bap tune. The Asian cinematic soundscapes would easily fit into a Wu Tang recording. It must have been a daunting task for Elliot to narrow down his selections. That being said the ten tracks he came up with certainly have hit the mark.


Superduty Tough Work – Paradigm Shift [Next Door Records]

Superduty Tough Work is a hip-hop collective from Winnipeg Canada. “Paradigm Shift”, their debut lp that hits the mark with ten heavyweight tracks, Front man Brandon Grey’s lyrics cover a myriad of topics with a razor sharp delivery. On “Guillotine Dreams” Grey pulls no punches with a number of poignant lyrics like the following; “The hunger falters, schizophrenic vultures, counselors throwing us money to pimp the culture”. “New Sight” kicks off with a drum n bass groove while Grey shows he easily keep up the pace. “Molotov Cocktails at Brunch”, although a mellow slow burner it still packs a punch. Once again Grey effortlessly weaves from one topic to another. This is straight up essential hip-hop that you shouldn’t miss.


Web Web – Web Max II [Compost Records]

The Munich based quartet return with their fifth album. “Web Max II” once again features producer Max Herre. Herre gives the disc an understated spiritual jazz vibe filled with moments of intense soloing. “Perennial Journey” features spoken word paying homage to the pioneers that paved the way before them. The tune has a seductive grooe aided by an infectious guitar rhythms and mediatative flute. “Testimony” is ignited by a brooding melody and haunting bass clarinet flurries alongside a heavenly chorus. “Olobo” is a sublime orchestral recording that features Carlos Nino on cymbals, chimes and other instruments. The band continues to explore the depths of spiritual jazz and come away with another marvelous recording.


Ahu – Stellar [Mythstery Records]

Hard to believe that this is Ahu’s first solo project. The Turkish singer/songwriter has guested on numerous projects over the past fifteen years. You may recognize her voice from the Flying Lotus track “Roberta Flack”. “Stellar” features amixture of laidback and uptempo tunes that showcase her vocal talents. “I and I” starts the disc off with dreamy chords that complement her feathery vocals. “Same Sky” is a mid-tempo finger poppin’ tune with a soulful horn section. “Good News” is an uptempo sixties flavored soul number with an infectious drum snare beat. “Stellar” allows Ahu to stretch out present her own musical horizons. Let’s hope the wait isn’t too long for the next record.


Isiah Collier – Parallel Universe [Night Dreamer]

“Parallel Universe”, is the latest release from Chicago native multi-instrumentalist Isiah Collier. This is a spiritual jazz journey that explores the African diaspora and connects the dots from the past to the present. “Village Song” is a thirteen minute spiritual anthem highlighted by Jimetta Rose on vocals and Sonny Daze fiery percussion. “The Lean” is an extended jam session fueled by bassist Micah Collier’s funky groove and Julien Reid’s subtle yet effective keys on top. “The Last Song” is a fitting climax to this voyage. A ten minute mellow roll call filled hazy synths and a slow burning guitar groove. A direct to disc recording, the band simply nails it in one take. Jimetta Rose’s honey soaked vocals shine throughout. Night Dreamer, the London based label has consistently delivered impressive direct to disc recordings and this is no exception. The Ancestors will be pleased and so will you.


Feiertag – Roots [Sonar Kollektiv]

Joris Feiertag, aka Feiertag is a dutch based drummer/producer from the Netherlands. “Roots”, his third release on Sonar Kollektiv is a fresh concoction of tasty uptempo electronic grooves laced with live instrumentation. There’s a number of talented vocalists on board lifting the compositions to greater heights. “Keep Your Head Up” percolates with warm percussive rhythms aligned with the falsetto vocals of Noah Slee. UK Poet Nego True appears on two tracks, the laid back “Love Hills” and the infectious banger “Feel Me”. “Law Of Attraction” has a slow burning lovers rock kind of vibe that features Oshun. Fellow labelmate Pete Josef adds his golden voice to the joyful “Give A Little”. Although the lineup is impressive it’s Feiertag’s array of creative compositions that ignite this disc. This is a joyful listen throughout that’s worthy of your attention.


Little Dragon – Slugs of Love [Ninja Tune]

“Slugs of Love”, the latest release from Little Dragon doesn’t deviate from what they do best. That is deliver another collection of gorgeous synth pop recordings certain to brighthen your mood. There’s a couple of guests on board to spice things up. Vocalist Damon Albarn adds a nice contrast to lead vocalist Yukimi Nagano on the dreamy “Glow”. Rapper JID adds clever rhymnes on “Stay”. The title track is an up-tempo number that erupts with a rumbling guitar groove with a hint of a new wave nineties vibe. Throughout the disc Nagano’s vocals sparkle while elevating the sublime arrangements. This band just continues to deliver feel good music.


Session Victim – Low Key, Low Pressure [Night Time Stories]

“Low Key, Low Pressure” is the fifth album from the German duo known as Session Victim. Hauke and Matthias have delivered countless house tracks for labels such Rhythm Section, Toy Tonics among others. With this release on the London based label Night Time Stories, they slow the tempo down and deliver eleven tracks ranging from down-tempo dub to elements of tripped out ambient vibes. Among the highlights are “Mycellum Dub”, a trippy ethereal down-tempo gem that emanates calm vibes. “The Hidden Trail”, is an up-tempo tune featuring a hypnotic guitar accompanied by tight rhythmic synth textures. “Porchless” is another winner with warped chords and lush vocals. The first half of the disc is ideal to relax to while the tempo steadily builds along the way. This is an engaging lp worthy of repeated listens.


Pedro Ricardo & Dami​á​n Botigué – Un Nuevo Amanecer [Canela En Surco]

“Un Nuevo Amanecer” is the debut of Pedro Ricardo and Damian Botigue (aka Karmasound). The title speaks to the journey between two worlds. Ricardo is from Portugal while Botigue is from Argentina. Out on the Barcelona label Canela En Succo, the seven track lp is striped down Latin jazz aligned with fusion and folk harmonies. The title track is a simmering blend of warm guitar rhythms and vocal harmonies layered over wobbly electric piano riffs. “Atlantico” heats up the mood with sunny chords and percolating percussion. “Mar de Fora” brims with a bossa nova groove along with subtle guitar licks from Luis Tanez. Label boss Breixo MArtinez add soft vocal harmonies alluding to the Galician beach of Mar de Fora. You don’t have to be near the Galician beach to enjoy this record. Just find yourself a quiet place and let this lp sink into your body. You won’t regret it.


VA – Reference Point [BBE Music]

Mark GV Taylor and George Arthur are the curators for Reference Point. Since 201
2 Reference Point has hosted events that have attracted listeners and musicians
world wide. The twelve track lp features a global menu of glorious music old and new. “Palavras” erupts with warm Samba vibes courtesy of Caixa Cubo. “We Don’t Have To Talk About It” is classic rock with a touch of mellow jazz from the NYC based band Bell Helium. “A Place In Space” is a laid back seventies boogie tune from Joe Thomas. “Factory Rhythms” is sublime modal jazz from the JR Quintet. Once again BBE delivers with another marvelous compilation certainly worth checking. A great combination of reuniting with familiar tunes as well as an introduction to something new.


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