reviews by Jon Freer

Courtesy of Jon Freer ( here are 21 reviews of released and soon to be released 12″es (sorry no cover shots or tracklistings this time):

Shoreline – From Eden, Home & In Between (Yesternow)

The seaside dwelling Shoreline surface with a refreshingly honest EP of neo-folk, which should make nu-folkette’s and more traditionally eared listeners swoon. “Lightning” hits home, courtesy of regretful vocals, high-spirited twanging and hollow percussive keys. Harmonious murmurs give way to reassuring singing on the guitar driven “Shipwrecked”, which defies its hopeless title. The sentences might be constructed at random on “Sounds Like”, but the charming lute like bouzouki play and sweet pianos make sense. Vocalist Beatrice sounds like she’s at the end of her tether on “Kings”, but running water producing guitars make sure she doesn’t collapse as a result of her emotional trauma.

V/A – Buzzin’ Fly Vol 3: The Special Remixes EP (Buzzin’ Fly)

With the compilation slated for a CD only release, Buzzin’ Fly please vinyl lovers and digital fans with this attractive remixes EP. German men of the moment Âme make Rodamaal’s “Insomnia” an even more unsettling prospect, with levitating siren-synths and nervous keys taking centre stage on their revision. King Britt becomes ‘The Nova Dream Sequence’ and uses calm keys, pleased synths and wet acid chords to create a streamlined version of Lephtee’s “So Far Back”. MP3 devotees also get Charles Webster’s driving keyed version of Kayot’s “Clear Sky”, which is a re-edit of Manoo & Francois A’s initial remix.

Mark de Clive-Lowe – Twilight (Especial)

This is a rather special collaboration, which brings together Mark de Clive-Lowe’s production flair alongside the sweet-scented vocals of Lady Alma. It’s MdCL’s ‘Mashi’s Flipside Mix’ which really does the pair justice, with Alma’s company loving vocals riding atop Mark’s gargling synths and complex percussion arrangement. ‘Mashi’s Instrumental’ soakes the perplexingly intricate percussion in a bath of sweet chords and synth goodness.

Taku Ishizaki / Koichi Ozaki – Eurasian Suite EP 05 (Eurasian Suite)

Just when I’d given up hope of Koichi Ozaki making another musical appearance, he returns with the fifth instalment of his seemingly annual ‘Eurasian Suite EP’ series. This time he invites Taku Ishizaki to help. Ishizaki is up first and gives a good show with sweet flute laced “Story Of Annabelle” and “Tokyo Nocturne”, a voyage under the cover of darkness, where rain-like Kalimba and an experimental piano provide the excitement. Firing broken percussion and piano chords that will shake you into action dominate Ozaki’s “In Daylight”, whilst steering chords show inquisitive keys and dusty beats the way forward on “Pale Moonlight”.

Lil’ Kim – Whoa (True Visionary Extended Club Mix) (Atlantic)

Famed for their Housework, E-Smoove and Lidell Townsell give Lil’ Kim the explosive R&B treatment. Kim’s vocals, which are both angry and boastful, are backed by violent beats and corrosive synths on this choice mix from Lidell and E.

PTH Projects – Pretend Paradise (Wah Wah 45s)

This pair of Southampton starlets give Wah Wah more jazzified broken soul ammunition on this, their debut 12″ outing for the imprint. “Pretend Paradise” sees beaming brass and high maintenance cymballed percussion back guest vocalist Liane Carroll’s complaining vocals. Laura Vane drops by to add confidence failing vocals to the well-articulated sax driven “Thin Air”.

Sesong – Love Untold (Wah Wah 45s)

Dom Servini and Simon Goss look north here, bringing in Sesong who hail from Stavanger in Norway. First up from the group is “Love Untold”, where reflective guitars and positive keys back gorgeous vocals. Flip for “Cold”, a guitar coated weepy, with teary keys, tightly sticking percussion and faith losing vocals.

Citizen Cope – Bullet & A Target (PTH Projects RMX) (Wah Wah Dubplate)

The PTH guys have given the broken treatment to this direct number from US artist Citizen Cope, which marks the start of a Wah Wah sub label whose output will be strictly limited. Day brightening percussion meets having fun keys and a frightened bass behind Cope’s warning dispensing vocals.

Mr. Ozio – Nazis (F Communications)

He of “Flat Beat” fame is in no mood for messing about on this evil sounding teched up release for the ever-impressive F Communications imprint. “Nazis” is an angular speaker scorcher, with spiky synth action, probing beats and dysfunctional keys. Justice’s remix serves up a headache inducing bass and beats that are at sixes and sevens, whilst the bonus “Half An Edit” takes a hacksaw to the vocals, bass and keys.

Trackheadz – My Love (RMXS) (NRK)

An amorous number from Toronto’s legendary Trackheadz’s, aka Nick Holder and Kaje, has been rejigged for 2006 by Freerange artist Shur-I-Kan and the Trackheadz themselves. Shur’s mix sprays fizzing vox slices over bright eyed keys and simple beats. Sharp beats, strings of great strength and twinklin’ keys come together on Nick and Kajae’s own retouch.

Butta Verses feat. Chocolate – It Goes (Round And Round) (Scenario)

De La Soul protégée Butta Verses comes up with the souly hop goods on this rather heartening number. A shining sax and a fuzzied bass link up behind a female sung narrative and chilled rappin’ male vocals on “It Goes (Round And Round)”.

Jimpster – Armour Remix EP (Freerange)

Jimpster’s “Armour” LP is pretty damn special and so in some ways this remix EP is a little unnecessary, but as have enlisted the talents of a West London House don and a pair of steel city House faves to do the honours, you can’t really complain. Jesse Rose supplies the choice remix of “Love You Better”, where robotic synths and sharp percussion call the shots. Standing firm keys, a wobbly bass, hearty beats and dragging strings all feature on Swag’s Dub of “Don’t Push it”.

Sasso – Erotic City (White)

Sasso surfaces for the first time in an age with a couple of choice reinterpretations. Electrified beats, a woozy bass and splurging synths give a lustful show on “Erotic City”. “Visions” blurs the lines between fantasy and reality, where dreamy guitars, gazing heavenward strings and measured percussion provide the backing.

Fat Freddy’s Drop – Cay’s Crays (Kartel)

The FFD train rolls on, with the mellow “Cay’s Cray” being the third single from their album to drop. Weary brass, perfectionist guitar work and a head nodding bass sit behind those observant vocals on this lovely album track.

Hajime Yoshizawa – Echo From Another Side Of The Universe Sampler (Especial).

Hajime Yoshizawa gets the once over from some reliable jazzy talent. Domu gives “Keep It Movin’” extra strength, courtesy of reliable percussion, a heavy set bass and smilin’ keys. Glowing guitars and whirring percussion appear on Da Lata’s retouch of “Verao No Ar”, whilst KJM take things in a smoochy direction with their remix of “Believe Again”. The ‘Live Drum Mix’ of “Beyond The Sunshine” is a true highlight, with its shakin’ percussion, live bass niceness and heavenly vocals.

Think Twice – Sous Substances EP (F Communications)

Technophiles Think Twice serve up an unsettling double header, which draws on music ideas from the past. “You Work, You Live, To Party” is dominated by overbearing acidious synths, which keep all the other musical elements in check. The calmly percussed “Acid Rrrrock La Housssssse” pokes fun at the revivalist movement, but then the inevitable acid madness takes hold.

Kelvin K feat. Dom Thompson – 2 Doors Down (Nordic Trax)

Forget ‘dirty’, ‘electro’ and ‘tech’, this EP from Nordic Trax bring us some cool ‘Rhodes’ House. Hippe’s ‘Feel Dat Remix’ places his usual synth digs and hittin’ beats alongside a catchy key hook that will draw in the listener. Member Only supply a heartier remix, with spiralling keys, detached vocal licks and a murky bass. Attention stealing keys and normal beats are joined by some saxadelic grooviness on the ‘Unreleased Sax Mix’.

Jay Tripwire – The Gastown Shuffle EP (Nordic Trax)

Vancouver’s Jay Tripwire brings us an EP that fits in nicely with Nordic’s Deeply minded Housey ideals. “Call & Answer” in original form is a nervously keyed and sax licked partier, whilst the ‘Deep Dub’ brings in brightly coloured synths. “C U Bownse” floats life-loving strings and addictive keys over closely held percussion. Luke McKeehan and Gavin Froome provide a superior remix of “C U Bownse”, where yo-yoing synths, grinning keys and steady beats do their dance.

C-Soul – Got To Be With U EP (On The House)

Magnus Asberg and Jimmy Day return with their second C-Soul outing on the fledgling On The House imprint. “Got To Be With U” is a saxed up number, where vocals politely ask for lurve and keys’n'flute get in the way. “Everybody”
features rather odd vocals from Rithma, which are joined on stage by shadowy keys and dunken sax ramblings. Nathan Coles’ remix of “Everybody” is the type of bassline driven rumbler you’d expect from the Wiggle man.

V/A – Worlds Collide EP 1 (Walking Monster)

The Worlds Collide EP, taken from the compilation of the same name, features contributions from Bazwaana and Keith Thmopson. Thompson’s own “Africa In Your Veins” is the winner, which in ‘Mahoota Extended’ form is a groovy guitar driven House escapade. The ‘Afro Blue Roots Mix’ is also worth a mention, courtesy of its ace live bass movement, power vocals and beaten drums.

The Jackpot – Too Much Time / Fickle (The Jackpot)

The ‘pot might sound a wee bit like a bunch of frozen Yorkshire simians, but these reformed gamblers have enough of youthful exuberance, guts and guitar bite of their own to make the indie set take notice. Skip the standard “Too Much Time” and head straight for “Fickle”, which shows Jackpot in the best light. It is the explosive drums, standing to attention guitars and vocals frustrated with an object of affection’s behaviour, which make “Fickle” the winner.


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