Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Incisive ft YJ - Everything's Alright

I was recently chatting to hip-hop nice guy Incisive on Twitter, a hugely talented vocalist who I came to know through DJing at Shoreditch House. Having been introduced through Shakka (an up-and-coming artist in his own right who has recently been in the studio with Wretch 32), I was given a copy of his first mixtape and have been hooked ever since.

On his latest jam, Incisive turns to the skills of rapper YJ to reassure us that 'Everything's Alright'. Production comes courtesy of Touchtone and Piano P who lay down an melodic synth-led headnodder. Video production from Dego Visionz and Nangtv. And all shot in west London - a little taste of home. :-)

'Everything is Alright' comes packaged as part of Incisive's latest mixtape 'Where is He' which is out now. Grab it from iTunes here. | @Incisive1 | @TheLifeOfYJ

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Various - ΣCLIPSE (Project: Mooncircle) [Download]

Project: Mooncircle is a label I am having a new and exciting love affair with. In much a similar vein to Innovative Leisure, the imprint releases experimental, super-atmospheric electronica, each release playing like a futuristic film score.

Berlin-based clothing brand Ucon have teamed-up with the PM team on the latest teaser video for their Spring Summer collection. For me, this is what the label’s output is all about – it screams ‘soundtrack’. It’s music that’s written to be felt, to be experienced, so I’ll be keeping a close eye on the label’s video channels from now on.

Ucon | SS '13 Collection from Ucon GmbH on Vimeo.

On this free release, Project: Mooncircle continue us on this journey, with the ‘ΣCLIPSE’ compilation bringing together unreleased material from some of the label’s most cutting-edge artists, including Robot Koch, Submerse, Rain Dog, Sieren, Daisuke Tanabe, Lomovolokno, KRTS, and Daixie.

Hedonistic, and moody, soulful and hypnotic, this mini-album really does have it all. Essential.

‘ΣCLIPSE’ is available for free download from here now. Keep an eye out for more from this super exciting stable at projectmooncircle.com.

Omar - The Man (Freestyle Records)

Ever since his early releases on Talkin' Loud, Omar has become something of nu soul royalty. Indeed, to quote Stevie Wonder, 'When I grow up I want to be like Omar'. Praise indeed.

As one of my favourite funk/soul labels, I'm hugely excited to hear that Omar has now signed to Craig Charles fave Freestyle with a new single on 'The Man', the first release from his forthcoming album of the same name.

The title track is driven by a gargantuan bass clarinet rhythm, Omar's comforting melancholic vocals gliding over a crisp, percussive instrumental. Delicate chimes and a soft woodwind section bring structure to the melody, creating a gorgeous slice of nu skool soul.

The remix package takes an already massive track into the stratosphere, with both Shafiq Husayn and Maddslinky bringing their trademark styles to the party. Essential listening for any fan of nu soul and R&B.

'The Man' is out on 6th May via Freestyle Records. | freestylerecords.co.uk

Scrimshire - Bight (Wah Wah 45s)

I’ve spent endless hours absorbing so much music over the years across every genre imaginable, yet I can still list on one hand the number of artists that truly embody the spirit of my current undertaking – the artists that make me Stop, Look and Listen – the musicians that take me to another world all their own, that capture, captivate and inspire me to the point of wanting to absorb every note and hang on every word. For anyone that knows me, you’ll know that Adam Scrimshire is one of those artists.

I first heard Scrimshire’s material during a period when, amidst a flood of increasingly nonspecific deep house, I was seeking refuge for the soul. For me that came in the form of ‘Along Came The Devil One Night’, Adam’s first album and a personal epiphany, driving me to broaden my listening horizons and find new music that still touched the heart and soothed the soul. It’s much the reason I’m writing this now – it offered hope in what seemed an otherwise emotionless universe of digital generica.

On this, Adam’s third album, that theme thankfully continues. Barriers are broken and boundaries breached, the EP referencing a multitude of styles and genres with trademark guitar and funked accordion bringing the whole piece together. It plays like a very personal musical journey with a wholly honest and unique vibe banishing any hint of cliché. It’s a coming-of age story that I can only imagine Scrimshire never envisaged producing. And that’s what’s so captivating – it feels like music written from the heart without promise, predetermination or purpose. For someone experiencing tussles of the heart and mind having moved to the other side of the world, it connects.

Whilst I’d usually rattle something off about the standout tracks, this is an album that has been rarely curated as exactly such. It’s a performance to be enjoyed and embraced on joyful rinse and repeat. To quote Gilles Peterson, ‘contender for album of the year’. Enough said.

'Bight' is out on 27th May via Wah Wah 45s. | wahwah45s.com | scrimshire.com

In the build-up to the launch, Adam is releasing a number of 'postcards', videos set to album teasers that give a glimpse into the destinations the record is themed around - check the first one above. Follow @scrimshire on Twitter to keep up-to-date on new postcards in the coming weeks.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Various - Based On Misunderstandings Vol. 1 (Sonar Kollektiv)

Throughout my 14 years of music fanaticism and frantic record collecting, no label has shaped my eclectricity more than Sonar Kollektiv. Like an old friend, it carried me through as I made that difficult and somewhat uncomfortable journey from my 4/4 comfort zone into the realms of more soulful broken rhythm and future beats. The ‘Based On Misunderstandings’ series was a turning point for me, coming at a time when I was becoming jaded by wave upon wave of non-specific deep house, looking for something fresh and exciting.

At the time I was playing at venues like Ministry and the Horse & Groom, playing pretty much any track I could find championed by the likes of Innervisionaries Dixon and Âme. That sound just seemed to have an edge in its ability to frame memories in my mind, a quality that insisted repeated listens, something that I’d not been able to find since that most delicate of transitions from vinyl to pure digital DJing. Maybe it was my age, but everything sounded, well, samey. As such, I’m hugely excited to hear that label stalwart and Jazzanova soul-pusher Alex Barck will be releasing a new compilation to celebrate what has become a hugely successful sub-label for Sonar.

The album is a fascinating compendium of future house, spanning everything from chillwave through nu disco to the deep, dubby, quality cuts SK has become so famed for. Personal faves are the first and last tracks from the album – a somewhat choppy, sample-happy nu soul cut on Vect’s ‘Soulful’ and a crunchy, lo-fi jazz rip on Phil Gerus' 'Votre Voix, Vos Mains, Vos Lèvres'.

Across a spectrum of sounds, be it razor-sharp square leads, funky samples or warm, moody atmospherics, this album has it all. Expect everything you’d expect of Sonar Kollektiv, and expect nothing at all. As the press release says, ‘almost none of the tunes here have anything in common. Just the fact that they all please Alex Barck’s ears’. If you’re lucky enough to have ever heard anything by Jazzanova, you already know you need this. Go buy!

'Based On Misunderstandings Vol. 1' is out on 29th April via Sonar Kollektiv when you can purchase the digital release here. | sonarkollektiv.com

Jaw Jam – The Truth (Tuff Wax)

It’s often true that the genius in some music lies in what’s not heard rather than what is. And this is the first thing that springs to mind on firing up Jaw Jam’s ‘The Truth’, because unlike most modern electronica the real intelligence and expressive depth lies in the bold minimalism of this 5-track release.

Jaw Jam’s style is fresh in its experimental exploration of 2-step-esque samples and melody, with this relatively new producer offering the listener a rather unique opportunity to experience the intricate manipulation of each and every musical element, the absence of complex instrumental layering letting you get to the very heart of each track. The result is an EP which takes its time subtly building intrigue and suspense to draw you in and get you hooked.

The EP also comes loaded with B-side cuts in the shape of ‘Late Nite’, a rework of ‘Music is the Answer’, and remixes of The Truth from label head Lockah and fellow Scotsman Yoin. One word: moreish.

'The Truth EP' is out on 6th May via Tuff Wax and is available to pre-order here. | tuffwaxrecords.com

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Stop.Look.Listen. Podcast #6

So here we go with Podcast Number 6, a special extended edition to make up for a few weeks away. Apparently I can fit three Tru Thoughts releases into one podcast - safe to say Robert Luis and the guys are on FIRE at the moment. Enjoy!

#6 - 22nd Apr 2013

01. George Ezra – It's Just My Skin (Bandcamp) [download]
02. Evil Needle – Radiance (Self Released) [download]
03. D33J – Park (Tape Version) (Self Released) [download]
04. Nefarious! – Buena Vista (Self Released) [download]
05. Ta-ku – ONEFORTREY (Soulection) [download]
06. Roane Namuh – Down Supreme (Bandcamp) [download]
07. El Ten Eleven – Thanks Bill (Com Truise Remix) (Fake) [download]
08. Ben Mono - The List (Bandcamp) [download]
09. Robin Thicke – Wanna Love You Girl (Sango Remix) (Self Released) [download]
10. Sango – On My Mind All the Time (Self Released) [download]
11. Ayanna Witter-Johnson – Roxanne (Bandcamp) [download]
12. Lady – Karma (Truth & Soul Promo)
13. Numbe:ra – There I Go feat. Frank Nitt (Tokyo Dawn Promo)
14. The Gene Dudley Group – The New Lots Of Cooperstown (Wah Wah 45s Promo) [download]
15. Homeboy Sandman – Peace & Love (Stones Throw Promo)
16. The Allergies – You Wouldn't Know (Riddim Fruit Promo)
17. Uraz Kurt – Beach Dance (Soulab Promo)
18. Hot 8 Brass Band – Milwaukee Fat (Tru Thoughts Promo)
19. London Posse – Money Mad (Wrongtom Remix) (Tru Thoughts Promo)
20. Olivier Daysoul – I Want You (Self Released) [download]
21. Mayer Hawthorne – Designer Drug (Self Released) [download]
22. The Hi-Fly Orchestra – Get Ready feat. Karl Frierson (Agogo Promo)
23. Alice Russell – Hard And Strong (Tru Thoughts Promo)
24. Kalabrese – Purple Rose (Sonar Kollektiv Promo)
25. The Knife – A Tooth For An Eye (Rabid Records Promo)
26. Omar – The Man (Maddslinky Remix) (Freestyle Promo)
27. Anushka – Yes Guess (Chesus R.A.W. Mix) (Brownswood Promo) [download]
28. TNGHT – ACRYLICS (Warp Promo)
29. D Tiberio – Lie/Losing Form (Turntable Promo)
30. JAW JAM – The Truth (Yoin's Nothing But The Truth Remix) (Tuff Wax Promo)

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Hot 8 Brass Band – Milwaukee Fat (Tru Thoughts)

Yet another release coming from Brighton’s Tru Thoughts, ‘Milwaukee Fat’ is the first single from the Hot 8 Brass Band’s eagerly anticipated new album ‘Tombstone’, due for release on 20th May.

Offering a lens on the lives and loves of the band, the lead single is actually a dedication to tuba player Kerwin James – otherwise known as Milwaukee Fat – formerly of New Orleans outfit the New Birth Brass Band and a close friend of Hot 8. Sadly Kerwin died suddenly following his evacuation to Houston in the wake of Hurricane Kartrina, with the track bearing his name a true testament to the high regard which they clearly held him. As such, the recording is full of exuberant energy in its excitable instrumental style and zealous vocal ad-libs, playing like a suddenly realized music revelation in its assertive sonic confidence.
‘Hot 8 Shit’ is of similar ilk in its massive party vibe, be it with a slightly more pronounced hip hop flavor.

Call it B-hop, B-funk or whatever you want, the Hot 8 gang continues to deliver incredible, forward thinking brass-led dancefloor fodder in spades, and clearly have a bloody good time doing it!

‘Milwaukee Fat’ is out on 6th May via Tru Thoughts. Preview and pre-order the single on iTunes here. | truthoughts.co.uk

Saturday, 20 April 2013

D Tiberio - Lie EP (Timetable)

I recently reviewed the ‘Ouroboros’ compilation from label Innovative Leisure as it had me bowled over in the fresh complexity with which it presented soulful electronica. As such, I’m again excited to present the first EP from LA artist D Tiberio due to be released on Nosaj Thing’s Timetable imprint, which has been born out of the same stable.

D Tiberio’s sound perfectly reflects the Innovative Leisure ethos in presenting three cuts of ambient electronic beats awash with carefully constructed drum patterns, moody synth layers, atmospheric samples and melancholic vocals.

‘Lie/Losing Form’ is my favourite track from this 3-tracker in its intensity and distinctive, hypnotic quality. Another EP worthy of repeated listens, each track is a real grower.

The Lie EP is out via Timetable now - you can grab it from iTunes here. | timetablerecords.com

London Posse - Money Mad (Tru Thoughts)

As a relative newcomer to hip-hop, I’ve got to admit that the London Posse are a group I haven’t been familiar with until now (I know).

Having read through the press release, it’s fairly clear that I have committed some kind of heinous crime as a self-proclaimed music lover. That said, better late than never and, if you’re in a similar boat to me, I can hopefully help you right this wrong too.

The London Posse are held-up as one of the most definitive hip hop crews of all time, with their single ‘Money Mad’ widely regarded as the finest rap recording ever made. Released as part of their ‘Gangster Chronicle’ album some 20 years ago, Tru Thoughts have taken it upon themselves to put the album back into circulation for a new generation, with ‘Money Mad’ the first single release from a deluxe re-issue package due to hit shelves on 17th June.

In its original form, ‘Money Mad’ is a dub-infused hip hop cut offering raw reflection of urban culture all those years ago, a scene which ultimately inspired a world of new producers and led to the prevalence of a genre that continues to dominate dancefloors and evolve to this day.

The track is sensitively bought bang up-to-date by TT’s dubby new boy Wrongtom, as well as Drumagick who gives the single both a jungle and dubstep slant with two very distinct reworks.

If you’ve been living in ignorance like me, get involved as this single plays like a precious musical relic – essential listening for anyone with an interest in the roots of contemporary hip-hop and rap. Check the mini documentary below to learn a bit more about this seminal act.

‘Money Mad’ is out on 13th May. | truthoughts.co.uk

Friday, 19 April 2013

Lady - Lady (Truth & Soul)

For years producers across the land have sought the soulful Holy Grail – to reproduce and reinterpret the sounds made famous by the Motown record label. A true feat if one can achieve it, as it means hitting a chord which envelopes the true spirit of funk and soul.

For some that can mean harking back to truly organic, analog production, for others it’s felt in the very fabric of the music – the feeling, the energy, the hairs-on-the-back-of-your-neck moment. Well I’m hugely excited to report that this is an accomplishment achieved by Lady, the new collaboration between long-time songstress Terri Walker and Nicole Wray, with production from Truth & Soul.

The album has a number of different vibes, with ‘Lady’ shooting like a bullet from a late-70s funk floor, ‘Karma’ offering a slow string-led brass ballad, and ‘Good Lovin’’ sprinkling some disco flavour into the mix.

A fantastic, standard-setting nu soul release. Essential.

'Lady' is out now on Truth & Soul. Check the album sampler below and download it now. | truthandsoulrecords.com

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Uraz Kurt – Discofied (Soulab)

Soulab has been a consistent powerhouse in the nu soul/broken-beat scene for some years, with every one of its releases firmly entrenched in the SLL musical armory.

On this latest release, the French funkmeisters hand the reins to Turkish producer Uraz Kurt, a name I’m not particularly familiar with but with certainly be looking out for in future. Safe to say there’s a lot of wicked stuff coming out of Istanbul these days – take note.

‘Discofied’ is an eclectic mix of modern electronic sounds, including brave covers of Inner City’s epic ‘Big Fun’ and Donny Hathaway’s ‘Little Ghetto Boy’. The result is a choppy, sample-happy package, all driven by gorgeous live instrumentals and arpy leads. Kurt’s partner Cagri Ultay adds the final polish, her tender vocals piercing the grooves to calm the spirit and move the mind.

‘Discofied’ is out now on Soulab – go get! | soulab.com

TNGHT - Acrylics (Warp)

'Acrylics' is the new single from TNGHT, the collab between SLL faves and future music pioneers Hudson Mohawke and Lunice.

Like a haunting nursery rhyme, the track is threaded around the delicate, wharped chimes of a mobile from a child's cot, the distorted minor melody building into an massive dancefloor tour de force.

Typical of Hud Mo and Lunice output, offbeat bassdrums dominate before leading into a horn-led ravey stormer, laced with dark vocal snippets and atmospheric FX. It's the kind of old skool-inspired track Liam Howlett could have written in its immensely bold and genre-defining style.

For me, this is the future sound of electronic dance - brave in its approach, flawless in its finish. Cracking.

'Acrylics' is out now on Warp. Head over to Juno and get on the download. | warp.net

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Jamie Lidell - You Naked (Remixes) (Warp)

On this latest release from Jamie Lidell's self-titled album, 'You Naked' comes with remix support from Detroit house veteran Jimmy Edgar as well as highly-credited nu skool producers RL Grime & Salva.

Jimmy's interpretation is the one for me, with a typically distinctive, stripped-back style building on his repertoire as a continually fresh, innovative producer. Piercing, distorted percussion, chord-driven grooves and just the right amount of cowbell give the hypnotic vocals plenty of space to breathe, with subtle pads lifting and teasing the listener just short of erupting into an all-out musical assault. A wicked early evening builder.

The full album 'Jamie Lidell' is out now on Warp. Check it out and grab it now. | warp.net

Sunday, 14 April 2013

The Knife - Shaking The Habitual (Rabid Records)

The Knife’s new album comes in the form of ‘Shaking the Habitual’. Press play and there are immediate hints of Börk and Kate Bush, a theme which permeates the whole release.

The album moves the listener through an often dark and pained cinematic soundscape, its influences spanning vast oceans through African, oriental and middle-eastern musical references. But there are no clichés here.

The organic and electronic fuse perfectly in a twisted myriad of raw world samples, 808 drum loops, techy arps and spacey atmospherics. It almost plays like an Underworld or Coldcut album – an album that evolves on every listen.

The crazy pink artwork will see you cross-eyed, as will the unique and trippy vibes. An education, an experience.

'Shaking The Habitual' is out now on Rabid Records. Check the audio/video of my favourite single 'A Tooth For An Eye' and head over to Juno and download it

You can also stream the whole album over at the official website: theknife.net

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Stop.Look.Listen. Podcast #5

This week's podcast was recorded in the gorgeous, sunny village of Crescent Head in eastern Australia, about 5 hours north of Sydney over the Easter weekend. More crackers for ya, including some dubby bits appropriate to the weather and the vibe.


#5 - 25th Mar 2013

01. Taylor McFerrin - Broken Vibes (ChoiceCuts) [download]
02. ESTA.- Sunnyside(Up) (Self Released) [download]
03. Kalamari Beats - Humble Love (Riddim Fruit Promo) [download]
04. The Strides - F.K.D. (Record Kicks Promo)
05. Kill Emi - Don't Love With Hatred (Riddim Fruit Promo) [download]
06. Mr Bird - Monkey Funk (Vital Force Promo)
07. Caroline Lacaze - Soultempo (Légère Recordings Promo)
08. The Kerbside Collection - Sweet Like Nectar (Légère Recordings Promo)
09. Timewarp inc - Kotzak (Revisit) (Timewarp Promo)
10. Jamie Lidell - You Naked (Jimmy Edgar Remix) (Warp Promo)
11. Alex Barck - Don't Hold Back (Sonar Kollektiv Promo)
12. Machinedrum - Whatnot (Innovative Leisure)
13. Anenon - Sunsets and Clocks (Non Projects Promo) [download]
14. Osmojam - La Isla Bonita (Madonna Cover) (Self Released) [download]
15. Allen Hoist - The Closer I Get To You (SouLab Promo)
16. Evil Needle - Falling Leaves (Self Released) [download]
17. Bonobo - Towers (Ft. Szjerdene) (Ninja Tune Promo)
18. J's Bee - Lights (Far Out Promo)

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Monday, 1 April 2013

Do you run a soul-fuelled blog?

I've just been scouting around the interwang and realised that in the grand scheme of things there are few real go-to blogs out there which summarise the best beats, funk, soul, jazz, and electronic music all in one place.

With only so many hours in the day, I find it increasingly difficult to listen through the vast quantity of stuff out there across innumerate sites to hit on releases I'm really into. My hope is that I'm just looking in the wrong place and that there's actually loads of blogs out there that aggregate the best soulful nuggets in this way and can help me find those gems much more quickly.

After the Google Reader debacle, I have now followed the masses over to Feedly (which is wicked by the way!) and am now looking for more interesting blog articles to add to my reading list. So I thought I'd turn to the blog and ask you guys and gals whether you've got some essential reading to share? If you could pop any links in the comments section and help us get our read on, that'd be great.

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