reviews by Jon Freer

Courtesy of Jon Freer ( here are ten reviews of released and soon to be released albums (sorry no cover shots or tracklistings this time):

V/A – F Com Essentials (F Communications)

“F Com Essentials” is a brief glance at the back catalogue of one of the world’s leading electronic labels. Whether putting out House, Techno, Electronica or Downbeat, the quality of the music is imperative, and thus a 14 track CD is never going to fully represent a label that has released more than 250 records. One highlight is co label owner Laurent Garnier’s “The Man With The Red Face”, where an enthusiastic sax blasts over poised beats and bassline. On this compilation we are also treated to A Reminiscent Drive’s simply beautiful “Ambrosia” as covered by Bertrand Bergalat, with its lonely keys, guitar loveliness and walking pace percussion. F Comm is one of the few truly broadminded labels out there and thus every release is worth checking, regardless of your musical allegiances.

Louie Vega Pres. Luisito Quintero – Percussion Madness (BBE/Rapster)

Venezuelan percussionist Luisito Quintero and Louie Vega hook up here for an amazing modern Latin, House and Afrobeat journey. The material is strong and harnesses Louie’s awe inspiring production skills and Quintero’s hitting ability. “Gbagada, Gbagada, Gbogodo, Gbogodo” featuring Francis Mbape is wonderful Afro minded number, with sturdy brass, running water guitars and melodic vocals. Anané guests on the heartening “Our Love”, where her devotional words are backed by enchanting key work and cymballic percussion. Exciting covers and charming original material make “Percussion Madness” a fine LP.

The Longcut – A Call And Response (Deltasonic)

As expected, The Longcut’s debut LP is a body of full throttle guitar driven work, which benefits from Stuart Ogivie’s in-out of key vocals and the occasional bit of electronic intervention. It is the honesty and brutality of the music combined with a distinct ‘Longcutness’, which makes the group’s gripping compositions stand out. “A Last Act Of Desperate Men” is all rousing drums, guitars that spring into action and smudged vocals. Digital drum machine percussion, earnest guitars and upset vocals colour a moody track, entitled “The Kiss Off”. There’s a feeling that the ‘cut have been tamed a little by studio heads, but thankfully their unconventional musicality remains.

V/A – Kay Dee Records Compilation Vol 1 (Kay Dee Records)

Here, Keb Darge and Kenny Dope’s past embracing imprint give listeners a great selection of funked up and soulified lovelies. These committed record fiends have dug deeply into their vast collection, using this platform to expose some little known gems. A gorgeous flute, guitar niceness and stepping beats link up behind obsessing vocals on Wizdom’s brilliant “I’m So In Love With You”. Keb’s New Master Sounds version of Nu Yorican Soul’s “Nervous Track” is a wonderful retro-toned recent recording, with raw beats, rasping brass and half crazed organ play. A very tasty Funk and Soul driven compilation.

The Congos & Friends – Fisherman Style (Blood and Fire)

An all-star Jamaican cast revisits the famous ‘Fisherman’ rhythm on this Blood and Fire two disc set. There are some great singing, toasting and instrumental versions in this collection, which harness the seafaring power of The Congos original hearty tune. 24 versions does seem a little extreme, but it’s not that easy to tire of such a gorgeous rootsy rhythm track. On CD 1 Sugar Minott thanks ‘jah’ on “Captain Of The Ship”, whilst Dean Fraser gives a powerful sax driven performance in the shape of “Fisherman’s Anthem”. The second disc is home to Mr. Raggamonica’s sweet-toothed “Fisherman Melody” and Country Culture’s imploring “Make Poverty History”. The couple of videos on these discs provide a peak inside the studio where these tracks were recorded.

The Superimposers – Missing (Little League Productions)

“Missing” is an album of summery slouching Balearic grooves, which should be a perfect companion for the warmer months. However, all is not as it seems with this horizontal group, as according to Little League Productions, the Superimposers disappeared without trace before the release of this album. Rumours have also surfaced that the band took flight because they didn’t feel the album was ready to be released. The truth of the matter is not clear and cynical music observers may wonder if the whole story has actually been dreamed up to produce a web of intrigue that could generate copy and thus increase sales of this lovely album. Regardless of the controversy, “Holes In The Air” is a key kissed delight, with gorgeous acoustic guitar rhythmics and amazing organs. Hope giving vocals, psychedelic organs and good as gold strings do the hanging around on “I’ll Wait For You”. The lesson to be noted here is that the music is more important than accompanying stories and I’m sure the Superimposers mystery will be solved in due course!

DJ 3000 – Migration (Submerge/Motech)

“Migration” is an album of ice cool Techno and House, which exudes perceptible Eastern European influences, resulting from the fact this Detroitian’s parents were born in Albania. 3000 is able to produce intelligent electronic compositions that still have the necessary dancefloor bite, but on occasions he manipulates his Eastern sounds a little too much. Flowery keys, filtered vocals and incensed chords colour “Sangita”. “Tension Theory” is a relaxed number, where pursed lipped pipes shine. A thinking man’s Techno LP, which still has enough oomph to move the feet.

UNDO – Despacio (Factor City)

In the same vein as the recent 2020 Soundsystem album, UNDO aka Gabriel Berlanga spends a lot of his time combining Indie exuberance with industrial strength electronics. Gabriel has created some great melodically challenging indie-dance fusions, which sit comfortably alongside his probing technoid work. “Despacio” is a reassuring guitar driven number, with heartening synths and handclap beats. “Bounce Your Body, Gabi” will also move your feet, thanks to its commanding keys, snarling bass and super synths. Whether delivering cross-genre dreams or straight up Techno tunes, UNDO’s musical star shines brightly.

Daedelus – Denies The Days Demise (Ninja Tune)

What have we here? Classicaly minded electronica with Bruk steps, Techno pounce and Brazilian ideas. Daedelus manipulates his samples in a singularly ‘live’ way and thus his tracks sound organic and warm instead of cold and callous. Mr. D never sits still and so on occasions he can really frustrate his listeners by dropping really cool musical ideas without a second thought. “Bahia” is an old school Brazilian tune that has been defiled in the favelas of the 21st century, as insatiable guitars and crazy percussion mercilessly knife vocals and brass. “Sawtooth EKG” wobbles classical strings over Bboy beats. Musical madness that somehow makes perfect sense.

Mocky – Navy Brown Blues (Fine)

Poppy bubblegum hop is the name of the game for Mocky. Gorge simple melodies and cool harmonies are the basis of his infuriatingly catchy tunes. Sometime his raps get a little too much, but once he’s in full flow, you’ll already have been entranced by the melody. “One Of A Kind” is an adoration driven number, where percussion slaps shrieking keys in a playful manner. Feist’s cryin’ vocals soak light as cream brass, tender strings and key goodness on “Fightin’ Away The Tears”, as Mocky provides his own unhappy rap. This is an album of lovely fragile pop tunes, with a nod to Soul, Hip Hop and other musical flavours.


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