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For many of us 2020 sapped the optimism out of us and finding inspiration was dim. As a result Si Green aka Bonobo went through a period of writers block and felt the need to step away for a bit. Not only did he eventually find the spark, he may in fact created his best album to date. “Fragments” features an array of talented vocalists to an album filled with superb electronic as well as acoustic recordings. “Tides” features blissful vocals from Jamilla Woods was one of the tunes that helped Bonobo get his groove back. “Sapien” is a signature Bonobo electronic tune with infectious beats and synths. The finale “Day by Day” is an uplifting soulful tune featuring Kadhja Bonet. Other notable contributions feature Jordan Rakei and Miguel Atwood-Ferguson among others. This is a testament of transcending through the darkness and finding the light through music. Simply a marvelous record and a welcome return.
Eddy Ramich has crafted remixes for the likes of Arthur Verocai, Tania Maria and Sun Ra among others. In addition his house project Eddy meets Yannah and his DJ sets at Kontrapunkt in Zagreb solidifies him as one of the premier DJ/producers of the last twenty years. “Croatian Blue” is a tasty thumping compilation that showcases some of the musicians of his Croatian homeland. The disc starts out with a laid back vibe with the bouncy groove of “Koolade” from Mary & Steff. After that things heat up in a hurry. “South Side” kicks off with percolating percussion and breezy chords that puts you in a Belearic state of mind. “Dissolve” is a punchy tune with an atmospheric vibe that can certainly fill up a dance floor. The ten track disc doesn’t let up and that’s just fine with me. Ramich shines a light on home grown talent while delivering infectious club music in the process.
“Sons Of The Son is the duo of Jtronius and Maverick Quest. Texas based vocalist Jtronius (Joshua Taylor) has built an underground following while London based Maverick Quest has worked with an impressive array of musicians in his own right. Their self titled debut is filled with hot buttered funk and soul compositions. Evidence of that can be heard on “Oceanside”, way too short at a minute and thirty seconds. Long enough however to display their pulse on psychedelic funk. The track is ignited by a seductive guitar groove and a swaying chorus. “Underwater Dreaming” finds Jtronius crooning to a bouncy mid-tempo beat serenaded by sweet syrupy horns. The finale “Shine Like The Sun” is slow minimalist moody funk. Jtronious’s soulful falsetto has plenty of swagger. Add a funky cohesive rhythm section and now you’re onto something. These two have a good thing going here. Let’s hope this is just the beginning of more to come.
Vancouver native and keyboardist Jonny Tobin’s fourth release was inspired to lift the spirits and soothe the souls of folks suffering from the devastating year that was 2020. “Together”. a joyous collection of tunes goes a long way to doing just that. “Neon Afterglow” a funky up-tempo tune displays some his synth wizardry. “Always” is a dreamy laidback tune well suited for lazy afternoons. “Super Genesis 64” is fast paced funk that kicks off a flurry of piano riffs. “Vivid Dreams” is an atmospheric gem filled with glorious vocal harmonies. Tobin’s compositions are vibrant, imaginative and separates him from other beat makers. You can feel the good vibes flowing throughout his beats. A superb recording filled with optimism and worthy of repeated listens.
MF Robots are the duo of Jan Kincaid and Dawn Joseph. If the name Kincaid rings a bell, it’s because he’s one of the founding members of the Iconic UK group The Brand New Heavies. Together the duo has arranged an array of sophisicated funk, soul and disco compositions that are refreshing and downright enjoyable. Notable tracks are “Gold”, an irresistible dance friendly tune filled with lush vocals and funky horns. “Good People” is a mid-tempo stomper with slick keyboards and funky rhythm guitar. The aptly titled “Happy Song” is bursting with sparkling percussion, tasty horns and arm vocal harmonies. In the age of electronics and DIY production, Music For Robots is reminding us how enjoyable the sound of a sparkling rhythm section can be. Add some horns and sweet vocals with heartfelt lyrics and you got a bonafide banger.
With “Supreme Love”, UK saxophonist Sean Khan breathes new life into the timeless recordings of the saxophone colossus John Coltrane. Khan is joined by legendary UK jazz musicians Saxophonist Peter King and guitarist Jim Mullen as they cover different periods in the Tenor titan’s career. Vocalist Heidi Vogel, a supreme vocalist known for her work with the Cinematic Orchestra among others elevates the spiritual recordings of “A Love Supreme” and “Naima”. She equally shines on “Starchild” as well. Khan lets loose on “Cousin Mary”, one of Coltrane’s premiere bebop compositions. Also on board are Kaidi Tatham and Daz I Kue, two old friends from the broken beat movement. Tatham’s remixes on “Starchild” and “Azawala” are notable highlights. Khan’s journey through music has led him to this moment. Covering Coltrane’s work is no easy task but he has met the moment. A marvelous record that shouldn’t be missed.