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Mario Luciano & Lauren Santi – Shades of Mauve [Madlib Invasion]

The Madlib invasion Music Library series continues with Producer Mario Luciano and vocalist Lauren Santi. “Shades of Mauve” is a collection of breezy jazz samples. Luciano’s keyboard arrangements take center stage while guitarist Gerson Zaragoza and drummer Ayepee play big roles. Santi’s vocal phrasings are spread throughout the fifteen track disc. “Inner Search” is layered with hazy synths and wordless vocal phrasings. “Psych Impression” is a cinematic offering highlighted by Santi’s opera styled vocals. “Blue Miles” captures the spirit of the Mountains with warm guitar and spacey rhodes. If you’re into laidback beats and dreamy soundscapes you’ll no doubt enjoy this one.


Kai Meara – Statik [XVI Records]

London based beatmaker Kai Meara’s latest project “Statik” hits you like a warm Summer breeze. The twelve track disc starts and ends with warm and mellow beats and hypnotic chords. Like all good beat tapes it instantly puts you constant head nod mode and you willingly go along for the ride. The disc begins with “Self is Gone”, a hazy jazz infused mellow soul burner. “Madbass” seduces you with sizzling fender rhodes and wicked basslines. Maxing out at around twenty minutes, each track hits the mark and sets the mood while quickly moving onto the next track. Meara’s previous releases all have mellow textures but “Statik” packs more soulful grooves. All of them are a pleasant listen and this one is no exception.


Daniel Villarreal – Panama 77 [International Anthem]

“Panama 77” is the debut of Panamanian born and Chicago based drummer Daniel Villarreal. The twelve track disc is layered with psychedelic Latin rhythms aligned with jazz fusion and folkloric sensibilities. Villarreal has been a fixture in the Chicago music scene, recently as a member of the group Dos Santos. The disc kicks off with “Bella Vista” where Villarreal demonstrates a keen sense of polyrhythms. Villarreal’s spirited percussion creates an enchanting groove for Elliot Bergman’s howling baritone. “In/On features labelmate guitarist Jeff Parker. Villarreal’s hypnotic percussion simmers over a samba beat alongside organist Dave Vettraino. With Parker’s glorious electric guitar rhythms layered on top you have an irresistible groove worthy of repeated listens. “Parque En Seis” opens with Villareal on congas and cow bells, paving the way for Bardo Martinez’s bass guitar grooves and synths. Chicago based International Anthem is known for their roster of genre bending jazz artists. Villarreal’s debut is left of center brilliance that stacks up well with their catalog.


Inkswel & The Snaglepuss – Chasing Infinity [Cosmocities Records]

DJ/Producer Jules Habib, aka Inkswel has proven to have traces of funk and a knack for the groove in his DNA. He has compiled a catalogue of essential grooves ranging from boom bap hip-hop to funk n soul. Inkswel’s latest release “Chasing Infinity” is no exception. It’s a album filled with bumpin tracks aided by a star studded lineup. “Everything” is tasty hip-hop featuring veteran rapper Dudley Perkins. “Butterflies” is laid back cosmic funk featuring the familiar falsetto vocals of Steve Spacek. The title track is an infectious dance track with a thumping groove that features veteran House vocalist Oliver Knight. We’re just scratching the surface here as there’s notable contributions from Kylie Audist, Amp Fiddler and more. An energetic album filled with various tempos certain to shake your hips and press repeat.


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.


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