archiv of the category reviews


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.


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.


Jazzhole Poet’s Walk

It’s May, we haven’t even reached the middle of the year yet and there are already quite a few albums that will surely end in my top list of 2006 like Andile Yenana’s Who’s Got The Map, Natural Selection’s Come On Over, Jhelisa’s A Primitive Guide To Being There, Grupo X’s Food For Your Latin Soul, Malena Perez’s Stars or Karen Bernod’s Life @ 360 Degrees to name just a few. The new album by Jazzhole, Poet’s Walk, is another strong contender for album of the year. This time it has been released in Europe first by Soul Brother Records, who also featured two cuts of Jazzhole’s Circle Of The Sun album on the Organic Soul 3 compilation and who released Marlon Saunder’s Enter My Mind album in Europe. An US release is scheduled for July 11th.
Just one thing about Soul Brother Records and the sticker they’ve put on the CD’s jewel case. They’re citing three reviews and two of them compare Poet’s Walk to “the best album Maxwell never made” and “the second album that Maxwell should have made.” Come on B&S (once known as Blues & Soul…that must have really been in a previous life when I’ve read Blues & Soul, nowadays they start reviews with “Don’t be put off by the name [Jazzhole]“…how any lover of soul music can be put off by jazz is beyond me) and Echoes, these comparisons do neither this album nor Jazzhole as a band nor Marlon Saunders as singer any justice. Jazzhole and Marlon Saunders both have shown more than once - actually this is Jazzhole’s fifth album release - that they can deliver the goods, for example listen to Marlon’s second album A Groove So Deep. And besides, this album just isn’t Urban Hang Suite Part II.
If they’ve called it Marlon’s third solo album than I would agree. While Jazzhole engaged different singers on their previous releases this time it’s all about Marlon as a the voice of Jazzhole. So the idea of a collective with different voices and styles is somehow gone. But if the result is such a deep, soulful and great album as this one than I hardly can argue against this decision.
All but two cuts were written by Marlon Saunders, Warren Rosenstein and John Pondel, the core members of Jazzhole. The two cover versions are great updates of Boz Scaggs’ Lowdown and the SOS Band’s Take Your Time (Do It Right).
It’s really hard to pick a favourite here. All songs ooze soul and quality. There’s the midtempo delight All The Ways, maybe the one song that evoked the aforementioned comparisons to Maxwell, or the groovy Jonesing spiced up by Dave Binney on saxophone. The gentle latin inspired It Would Have Been Enough is a captivating duet with Yemen-native vocalist Michal Cohen and a great tune for a hot summer evening. The stripped down ballad The Slipping Of Time with Marlon and John Pondel on guitar only is just too good to be true.
The song Timeless sums up what the music on Poet’s Walk is all about: strong songs, organic instrumentation and a great singer. In a nutshell it’s soul music with a timeless quality, that you can listen to over and over again. A real must-have for any serious soul music fan.

Tracklisting of Jazzhole Poet’s Walk: 1. Poet’s Walk/ 2. All The Ways/ 3. Jonesing/ 4. Lowdown/ 5. One More Time/ 6. It Would Have Been Enough/ 7. The Slipping Of Time/ 8. Do It Right/ 9. Timeless/ 10. All The Ways (Dub) | released 2006 by Beave Music/Soul Brother Records

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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):

Osunlade – Aquarian Moon (BBE)

A respected producer, known for his knack at producing thrilling dancefloor odysseys, Ifa priest Osunlade explores all types of musical terrain on “Aquarian Moon”. This organic and musically picturesque longplayer is a fitting tribute to his current home, the beautiful Greek island of Santorini. “They Day We Met For Coffee” looks back to a treasured memory, flanked by wide-eyed keys, thunderous applause and rapturous guitar play. Keys breathe life into regal strings and starry guitars on “Circles”. A beguiling aural escapade.
[note: here’s another review of Osunlade’s Aquarian Moon with covershot and tracklisting.]

V/A – Buzzin’ Fly Volume 3 (Buzzin’ Fly)

Toughened techy deepness takes the front seat on this comp from Ben Watt’s consistent Buzzin’ Fly imprint. Ace recent back catalogue material and a wealth of angular material borrowed from various imprints features on this third instalment. Snipped beats, melodic key intricacies and a snarling bass meet on Fairmont’s “Gazebo”. Darkmountaingroup’s “Lose Control” is all menacing synths, thumped beats and bass nastiness. A pretty accurate reflection of BF’s current musical state of mind, this comp should satisfy longtime admirers and the ’sheep’ currently infatuated with Deep, Techy and Minimal House.

V/A – DJ Deep’s City To City Part 2 (BBE)

This is the second instalment of Deep’s series that pays tribute to the foot stompin’ US House tunes of yesteryear. There are some wonderful timeless sounding cuts on this CD, but unfortunately a few haven’t aged particularly well. A particular standout is Mr Fingers’ “Distant Planet”, where fearful keys and inquisitive vocals look out into space. Another gem that still cuts the mustard today is Risqué III’s “Essence Of A Dream”, which is a lovelorn ode covered by controlling strings. This timely reminder shows how House was made back in the day, and shows how forgotten classics render a lot of recent revivalist House records as obsolete.

Frank Popp Ensemble – Touch And Go (Unique)

Feel good Indie-Garage-Soul is the flavour of this fun album from Frank Popp and his ensemble. Proper songwriting combined with a foot stomping power will have you singing along and tapping your feet to the more extrovert compositions on this LP, whilst a few of the more introverted numbers might have you reaching for the skip button or nudging the needle onward. “Business & Pleasure” shows the perils of mixing the two, as dirtied brass and unforgiving drums back Sam Leigh-Brown’s frank vocals. A yelping organ, thumping drums and frustrated vocals plead on “Leave Me Alone”. The gregarious tracks on this album, which harness exhilarating true soulfulness and rockin’ power, show how boundaries can be crossed in style.

Blitzen Trapper – Field Rexx (Good Time Folk)

Intriguing songwriting meets rugged instrumentation on this endearing album from Blitzen Trapper, who have a tendency to go off the rails once in a while. When Trapper’s ideas pan out, they serve up heart-wrenching folky and popped out compositions for their listeners. A few of the early tracks on this album are a little heavy, but the wonderful music follows once BT have mellowed a little. “40 Stripes” is a rather emotional number, with heartbreaking vocals and moving guitar work. If the morose vocals on “Dreamers & Giants” don’t get you, the absorbing guitar play surely will. BT’s wiry guitar driven tunes leave you stumbling for words. On occasions they sound like a destitute Sufjan Stevens, whose faith has deserted him, but don’t let this macabre description put you off, as the group’s music is certainly worth your while.

Keith – Red Thread (Lucky Number)

Much has been made of this band’s rather odd choice of name, but the music is always the bottom line and their weakness for nice melodies and sweet vocals make Keith sound fine. “Red Thread” features a handful of tracks from the pleasant “Hold That Gun EP” alongside a load of new additions. Smooth drums, roughened guitars and hopeful vocals meet on “Back There”. Visibly hurt vocals are backed by crashing drums and tear shedding guitars on “Unsold Thoughts”. A likeable debut.

V/A – Experience Brazil (Nascente)

DJ Cliffy brings a plate of steaming Brazilian delights to the table on this comp, where the material has been sourced from the EMI Brazil catalogue. There are some real beauties here, ranging from enlivening summer shakers to wonderfully thoughtful material. Gorgeous vocals, a mindblowing flute and perfect percussion meet on Quarteto Em Cy’s outstanding version of “Tudo Que Voce Podia Ser”. Marcos Valle’s “Os Grillos” sweeps fine strings over melodious vocals and sprightly guitar work. This is another compilation that shows the current fascination with Brazilian music is justified.

Hill St. Soul – SOULidified (Shanachie)

Well, considering this outfit’s name and album title, it comes as no surprise this LP is a collection of sumptuous Neo Soul numbers. The brightness of Victor Redwood Sawyer’s production work and the soul dripping nature of Hilary Mwela’s vocals makes for an excellent musical combination. This album doesn’t really cover any new musical ground that hasn’t already been trodden by other future soul talents, but it does coast along rather nicely. “Hey Boy” places inviting vocals over sweet guitars and magic chords. “Sweet On You” is a declaration of attraction, flanked by key excitement and clap driven percussion. “SOULidifed” is a strong LP of lovin’ tunes from the London based outfit.

Dub Syndicate – The Rasta Far I (Collision)

Digi-dub niceness is on show from start to finish on this double CD collection, which comes from a fine On-U-Sound act. Various vocalists drop by and it’s rather easy to get lost in the Syndicate’s world. CD 1 boasts the jagged electric guitar driven “Sound Clash” and the winding keyed “Creation”. CD 2 features the jumpy “Ziggy” and “Patient Man”, where circling guitars and a heavy bass wobbles. A heady dubbed out journey…

V/A – Mr Trick & Waxfactor: Up The Anti (Rhythm Incursions)

It must have taken a lot of effort to piece together this 130 track sampleathon. As well as ‘normal’ tracks, there’s a wealth of sound fx, spoken dialogue excerpts, tricks, cuts and scratches, which makes it difficult to keep up at times. There’s some cool hoppy dancehall action at the start, which leads to some hoppier tunes and even jump up jungle action late on. “Up The Anti” is a mindboggling hour long mix set.


Malena Pérez Stars

This delightful album arrived just at the right time. With Nothern Germany skipping spring in 2006 and heading straight for pre-summer madness Malena Pérez’s debut album Stars offers the perfect soundtrack. This album has summer written all over it.
Only a few days ago I reviewed the Kenny Dope remix of Chase The Butterflies and while this version is a great latin house song, featured on Stars as a bonus track by the way, it only represents a small section of what Malena Pérez has to offer musically. In fact, now that I know the original album version I’d say this is the better version!
Malena Perez first single, the Michael Johnson produced Free To Fly, is also featured on Stars, and it’s a deep no-nonsense house inspired song with Malena singing in Spanish and English. The midtempo offbeat soul of Surrender shows that Malena feels at home in different music genres. Tomorrow is another highlight, this gently flowing latin breeze will certainly appeal to those who loved the second disc of Bah Samba’s double album 4.
Cubanita Groove is one of the best name-dropping grooves I have ever heard. Here we have Malena mentioning all her heros like Flora Purim, Sade, Minnie Riperton, Maya Angelou, Amel Larrieux, Tracey Thorn or Mercedes Sosa.
The next single, Praise The Day, is Malena’s collaboration with Osunlade. The result is an inspiring, percussion driven deep house affair that makes me wish Malena Perez and Osunlade would work together more often. Confesión is another house winner, this time Malena joined Alix Alvarez in the studio. Monet on flute gives this song that special something. The album’s title track, Stars, is a welcome ballad with just Malena and sparse keys. Another highlight comes with What Do I Do, a modern soul song on which Malena reminds me a lot of Julie Dexter on her Dexterity album. And that’s not because Julie had a song called What Do I Do on this album as well. Malena’s own What Do I Do sounds more like a mixture of Julie’s Moving On meets a slower version of Ketch A Vibe.
Gracias A La Vida is - like Stars - an unornamented song with just Malena’s voice and one instrument. Here it’s a stringed instrument, which gives the song an artistic feeling and actually that’s the one song on Stars I needed a few listenings to really get into it. The hidden track, How Can I Keep From Singing, is a heartfelt a cappella with a nice gospel feeling.
In a nutshell Stars is a great debut album by Malena Pérez full of superduper deep house latin soul and then some and it’s THE summer album of 2006.

Tracklisting of Malena Pérez Stars: 1. Oriente/ 2. Free To Fly/ 3. Chase The Butterflies/ 4. Surrender/ 5. Tomorrow/ 6. Cubanita Groove/ 7. Praise The Day/ 8. Confesion/ 9. Stars/ 10. What Do I Do/ 11. Nshala/ 12. Gracias A La Vida/ 13. Chase The Butterflies (Kenny Dope Remix)/14. How Can I Keep From Singing (hidden track) | released July 11th, 2006 by Cubanita Groove Records

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[If you want to discuss Malena Pérez’s music, you can leave your comment below and also use the forum]


Yam Who featuring Noel McKoy Summertime

Ah, Noel McKoy one of the unsung heros of UK soul. In my opinion he’s one of the voices of British soul music who really should get wider recognition. He has released one album with his family as McKoy (Full Cirlce) and two solo albums (Mind Is The Keeper and Please Take This Personal), recorded with the James Taylor Quartet and appeared on numerous songs as session singer, he even recorded a song with Elisha La’Verne (I Remember Summer). The good news is that he’s finally back with a new song (this one reviewed here) and a new album called Cut From The Same Cloth that’s due for a release in June 2006.
Yam Who?, who are more famous for their remix works for the likes of N’Dambi, Alison Crockett, Amp Fiddler or Incognito, finally make their Papa Records debut with a cover of Summertime, originally recorded by A High Frequency in 1980 and released on Nia Records.
This new version is an uplifting feel good house song with inspiring organ, piano and strings solos. Well, just what one needs when the temperature’s rising. With only a Main Mix and an Instrumental Mix available here this is just like in the good ol’ days when you didn’t suffer from a remix overkill.
So don’t look any further for the summer anthem of 2006. Yam Who? and Papa Record have released it already.

Tracklisting of Summertime: 1. Main Mix/ 2. Instrumental Mix | released 2006 by Papa Records

For more infos visit, and

[If you want to discuss Yam Who’s music, you can leave your comment below and also use the forum]


Malena Perez Chase The Butterflies (Kenny Dope Remixes)

Free To Fly, the first single by Malena Pérez, released by Divine Recordings, written and recorded with Atlanta producer Michael Johnson and remixed by JustOne (KemeticJust) somehow created a little buzz in the house music scene in 2004. Malena, born in Atlanta, Georgia to a Cuban father and German mother, has been busy establishing her own label Cubanita Records and working on her debut album Stars (to be released in June 2006) since then. As an appetizer Giant Step releases the first single, Chase The Butterflies. They spared neither costs nor efforts and engaged Kenny Dope to remix the song. The Kenny Dope Remix is the best mix here, it’s a deep soulful house mix something like Everything But The Girl meeting Naked Music in a Latin club with just the right amount of uptempo vibe to make it a dancefloor filler. The K-Dope Rubber Dub gives the song a harder edge with some electro effects. The Beats and Instrumental are nice to play around for the DJs but discerning listeners should head straight to the first remix for maximum pleasure.
According to Malena’s myspace site the next single release will be Praise The Day, her collaboration with Osunlade.

Tracklisting of Chase The Butterflies: 1. Kenny Dope Remix/ 2. Kenny Dope Beats/ 3. K-Dope Rubber Dub/ 4. K-Dope Rubber Inst. | released 2006 by Cubanita Groove Records/Giant Step

For more infos visit, and

[If you want to discuss Malena Perez’s music, you can leave your comment below and also use the forum]


reviews by Jon Freer

Courtesy of Jon Freer ( here are 22 reviews of released and soon to be released 12″es (sorry no cover shots or tracklistings this time):

Moses McClean feat. Nedra – Dream (Still Music)

Still Music take a slight diversion from their usual sound with this gorgeous vocal House effort from Moses McClean aka Mitch Moses and Vince McClean. The original is a day brightening vocal number, with darting guitar work, life loving keys and high-flying synths. Normal business is resumed with Isoul 8’s moogified mood deepener and Patchwork’s understanding chord touched retouch. DJ 3000 presents a startling technoid remix, where spiralling chords, focused beats and satisfying stabs pull the punches.

Voice – Know Rhythm / Guerilla Hustlin’ (Public Transit)

Scorching lyricsmith Voice makes her thoughts known on this spiky rhythm driven EP, which features production work from Alister Johnson and Moonstarr. “Know Rhythm” is Johnson’s tune, where beautiful keys, clappin’ percussion and brass blasts team up behind Voice’s Rucker esque suitor slaying delivery. On Moonstarr’s “Guerilla Hustlin’”, Voice comes through with a diatribe against those that make her feel claustrophobic, backed by a strengthening flute and clap slap beats. Moon’s instrumental is home to heavily fractured beats and an ear catching flute.

Max Cole – Star Charts Sampler (Wah Wah 45s)

Wah Wah continue to their run of excellent form with this rather ear catching EP from broken jazz magician Max Cole. “Wall Flowerin’” is an apologetic number, with slippery synths and keys that are careful where they step. Flashing keys, a squidgy bass and walking pace beats line up behind the yearning vocals on “Who Got The Keys?”. Synthy goodness coats those fascinated vocals on “Ay Calor”, whilst a flute from the heavens lets rip on “Silver Linings”.

V/A – Blueprints # 01 (Dealers Of Nordic Music)

DNM release distinctly Scandinavian future jazz, broken soul and organic techy tunes, which demand repeat listens. The highlight of this sampler EP is Hird’s “Running Low”, where stooped in concentration strings and closely held keys lose themselves in melancholia. Quant gives us a shocking string display and acid key washes on a track called “The Shadow”, whilst Solar Sound’s “Things We Do (Nils Krogh Edit) is all dinner jazz love and butt swinging beats. A bright synth display and gorgeous bass work dominates Tennis Hero’s “Alone”.

Rasiyah – U Better Run (Antipodean)

Neo Soul newcomer Rasiyah shows promise on this EP, which has been produced by future soul and broken jazz don Mark de Clive-Lowe. Rasiyah’s positive vocals are backed by slippery keys and strolling beats on “U Better Run”. Rasiyah tries to be strong on “Untitled (My Love)”, but gooey keys and serous strings block her path.

SUMO – The Danceband / Unlove Me (Heya Hifi)

Stockholm’s hefty SUMO twosome team up with Swedish MC Aaron Phiri for some straight-talking, posterior shaking House action. Determined beats, high reaching strings and dance praisin’ vox meet on “The Danceband”. “Unlove Me” is a thoroughly frustrated vocal number, with crazed keys and familiar cowbells.

Candidate – Anticipation (Arcobaleno)

Serge Santiago and Chris Bones hook on this release, which is more about the immediate thrill of losing yourself in music than foreseeing the future. A hypnotic bassline, angular beats and pondering synths combine on the magical “Anticipation”. Forceful beats and a pounding bassline hit home on the ‘Beatapella’.

Mister Leisure – The Bitching Hour (Genericide)

Matt Corwine goes for a slightly left of centre House attack with the premier release on his Genericide imprint. “The Bitching Hour” is a charming number, with business meaning drums, nervous synths and cheeky key work. Prodding beats, funny keys and spacey vocoders create “My Perfect Little World”

Jol – Life In The Sun (Dealers Of Nordic Music)

Jol thanks nature on this ear glowing EP for DNM. The title track is a lazy guitar touched and key kissed number, whilst Embee’s remix calls on electric guitars to enliven the mood. “Psycholude” is a weird keyed intermission, as “Spaceman” looks to the outer reaches of the galaxy for string driven inspiration.

Hansel The Unicorn - £5 an hour EP (HID Productions)

Jazz fiend HTU is probably not a unicorn, but he creates some fun little ditties under his fairytale guise. “That’s Killing” is all falling down stairs keys and thrown at wall percussion, whilst “£5 An Hour” wiggles courtesy of madcap percussion and a jiggling sax. “Milla and Margarita” is more sax horseplay, as a fun poking croon attempts to woo the “Rat Faced Girl” and the delusionally keyed “The Situation Is This” completes the tale.

V/A – House Invaderz EP 2/5 (HY:BR)

This EP of jacked up acidiness might be retro in focus, but the tunes have been programmed in a way to make them relevant today. The pick of the bunch is A Jackin’phreak’s “Pong Jacks”, where jolting digital keys and foghorn synths are put through their paces by rough kit percussion and manipulated scratches. Another quality track is Fafa Monteco’s “Bleepnotize”, with reliable percussion and a supple bass falling victim to all the usual acid trappings.

V/A – House Invaderz EP 1/5 (HY:BR)

The House Invadorz treat another quartet of production outfits to an acidious House bath. Arcade game keys, an evil bassline and filthy synths meet on Mazi’s great “Protons For Toddlers”, as waterful synths and no good keys colour Sam Karlsson and Gaffy’s “Invader’z Crazy Funk”. Jacked keys and scowling synths make their thoughts known on Alexkid and Chloé’s “Afterblaster”, with computerised synths and filed beats getting their way on Catwash’s “Nine Tendons”.

Cosmic Groove Transmission – It’s Not Blue EP (Phono Graffiti)

CGT get down for more jumpin’ funked out House business on the Leeds based crew’s own Phono Graffiti imprint. The choice mix comes from David Duriez, with breezy synths and a squelchy bass taking centre stage on his revision.

Alex Smoke – Never Want To See You Again (Soma)

The talented Smoke drops “Never Want To See You Again” and the original is accompanied by some tasty remixes. Smoke’s own ‘Floor Mix’ sprinkles thin vocal slices over mind losing keys and a moody bass. Ada’s remix sees synths pour out their feelings, whilst drummed percussion rouses heartbroken vocals. Slam’s revision is a heady mix of bleeping keys, jagged synths and powering beats.

Joseph Arthur – Can’t Exist (Remarkables RMX) (14th Floor)

Chris Tubbs of Atlantic Conveyor fame and the Next Men’s Brad Ellis have given NY singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur a simple House up. Feel good synths and sturdy kit percussion provide a great foundation for Arthur’s getting on with life vocals.

The Black Dog – Riphead EP (Soma)

The Black Dog is a revered name in electronic circles. Now comprising original member Ken Downie alongside Martin and Richard Dust, the trio have opened a new chapter in the musical canine’s history. “Ripheadv” is a distressing number, with melancholic keys, probing beats and a tearing bass. “Gawble Vianag” is an eerie number, where bass fuzz obscures kickin’ electroid percussion and creepy strings. Water drips into the “Mental Ward Sleep Machine”, which is powered by a petrifying bass and oddly shaped synths.

GarcyNoise and Davomat – Vending Machine (Justified Cause)

Spanish Housers GarcyNoise and Davomat team up for some dark teched up House business on Barcelona’s Justified Cause imprint. “Vending Machine” places nagging synths, well-shaken keys and a powerful bass in front of the listener. Brett Johnson and Tres Manos’ remix gives the track an energy injection, courtesy of some vigorous beats, stumbling vocals and wobbly synths.

V/A – House Invaderz EP 3/5 (HY:BR)

Not content with previous attacks, the House Invadorz return for another instalment. D.R.D’s “Motoracer (Jon Georgsson Remix)” is a skippily beaten digitised synth driven number, whilst Da Fresh’s “Hi Score” is all blinding keys and keen percussion. “Mind Your Head” from DJ Linus sees a bass attack tambourined percussion and stuttering synths, with Mr Barcode’s “Electronik Invadorz” pitting trilling keys against gargling acid.

John Stammers – The Fridge (Gardensticks)

Tender folkified compositions are the order of the day on this EP from John Stammers. “The Fridge” is a tale of heartache, backed by affectionate guitars and rather pretty strings. “Lonely Bird” gazes at nature, as “My Reply” sends sweet guitars over rough percussion.

Simian Mobile Disco – Hustler (Kitsuné)

Simian Mobile Disco turn up on the angular Kitsuné imprint with a pulsating floor batterer. Head straight for “Clik”, where vulgar synths jostle mind elevating keys for attention.

E-The-Hot pres. Franchising – The People (Distinctive)

Chic electronic button pusher Cagedbaby does the business here, giving E-The-Hot a mind twisting overhaul. Sprawling synths and messy keys spew their guts over steady beats and an unflinching bass on ‘baby’s retouch.

Timmy Vegas & Barbara Tucker – Dutty Funk (We Can Do) (MN2S)

The only mix worth the time of day here is Johnny Fiasco’s bumped up acied revisitation. On this overhaul, Barbara’s chewed up and spat out vocals are laid between sharp beats, a biting bass and dirty keys.


Karen Bernod Life At 360 Degrees

Is it really some sixteen years ago when Tribal House released Motherland? That was actually the first time I’ve heard Karen Bernod sing. Together with Pierre Salandy she also appeared one year later in 1991 on the house corker Mainline. Then it took some eight years until I heard Karen again on lead vocals [she did some background vocals on tracks like Beautiful People, Stay Together (both by Barbara Tucker) or on Erykah Badu’s Live album though], this time as a session singer on Incognito’s No Time Like The Future album (on Marrakech and More of Myself). And in 2000 she finally released her first solo album Some Othaness For U on her own Natively Creative imprint. Unfortunately this meant it was an hard to get album with almost zero promotion and distribution. Luckily I bought a copy while I was visiting London around that time. And just when I thought that would’ve been everything I could hear by Karen she finally surfaces with her sophomore album Life @ 360 Degrees. And thanks to Peter and Santosh at Dome Records in the UK, who licensed the album for a release from Karen’s Natively Creative Music Inc., there will be some promotion this time and folks in Europe should be able to buy this release in a normal record store.
Six years are a long time, almost an eternity in a world that becomes more and more fast moving where almost everyone just looks for the next thrill without demanding some realness and depth. But Life @ 360 Degrees is really worth the wait and it’s good to have Karen back as a solo artist. Although there have been thousands of new soul artists and albums since the release of Some Othaness For U (and this website, which started in late 2000 by the way, just shows you a small selection) there’s still enough room for Karen’s unique blend of real soul music.
The whole album has a welcome uplifting, cheerful vibe with no fillers in sight. The midtempo winners Love Is and Hair I Am set the mood and are a good indicator of the rest of the album. The metropolitan and funny Subway Love Game with tight background vocals by Carlos Ricketts, Shelene Thomas, John James and Keith Fluitt is a good example of an infectious midtempo Karen Bernod song and somehow Karen’s homage to public transport in NYC. The aptly titled African Chant (Roots Of Nature) is a fine percussive song with percussions by Bashiri Johnson.
One of my favourite songs is the smooth ultra soulful Dreamer. Never since Saturday Love by Cherrelle (& Alexander O’Neal) has a mentioning of the seven weekdays sounded so good. Actually the encouragement of dreaming appears every now and then in art. Langston Hughes for example states in his poem Dreams: “Hold fast to dreams/ For if dreams die/ Life is a broken-winged bird/ That cannot fly.” And the late Nina Simone once sang in The PusherAnd lord knows we need lots a sweet dreams.” So Karen is obviously in good company as a dreamer.
Another highlight is Family, a great and personal ode to the family as safe harbour and place to feel loved and understood. With Shelene Thomas and Carlos Ricketts on background vocals this song has an inspiring gospel tinged ending. One of the best songs Karen wrote with Greg Spooner on this album!
Add to this other exquisite songs like Comfort Zone, Tell ‘Em Let ‘Em know or the house remix of Spirit, which originally appeared on Some Otheness For U, and you have another strong album by Dome Records and a more than welcome return of Karen Bernod.

Tracklisting of Life @ 360 Degrees: 1. Love Is/ 2. Hair I Am/ 3. Subway Love Game/ 4. Comfort Zone/ 5. You/ 6. Ma, Renee & Me (Interlude)/7. African Chant (Roots Of Nature)/ 8. Tell ‘Em Let ‘Em Know/ 9. Truth Iz/ 10. Dreamer/ 11. Family/ 12. Spirit (Deeper Remix) | released May 15th, 2006 by Dome Records

For more infos visit, and

[If you want to discuss Karen Bernod’s music, you can leave your comment below and also use the forum]


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 – Rolando: From There To Here And Now (NRK)

Rolando Rocha is a Detroit knight in shining armour, who recently relocated to Edinburgh. Here he lays down a compilation of pulsating Tech escapades and relaxed House numeros. The breadth of music on show impresses, as does Senor Jaguar’s record manipulation. Disc one focuses on lively Discoid and Technified cuts, with hot cuts including Andreas Saag’s thumping sax laced “Release The Groove” and Rolando’s own “In-Transit”, where life-changing strings and brimming over keys cohabit. Disc two is a thoughtful affair, where super deep tunes such as Malik Alston’s enticingly keyed “Butterfly” and Vince Watson’s cosmic synth shaped “Cycles” are aired. Rocha may be known for fiery Techno and aching string arrangements, but this comp shows he’s as comfortable presiding over an afterhours gathering as pleasing a packed dancefloor.

Jimpster – Armour (Freerange)

The immediacy and ear catching nature of the tracks on this ever so deep effort from Jamie ‘Jimpster’ Odell gives “Armour” a spellbinding quality. The album sees Jimpster produce a number of wonderful tunes that range from foot shoving House numbers to ponderous broken soul outings. Elsa Hedburg drags you towards an inevitable liaison on “Slippin’”, as her sultry vocals grip taut keys tightly. “Jus’ Wanna Feel” places engaging vocal murmurs over half-step beats and attractive keys. This is the strongest Freerange release in a long while, with main man Jimpster showing that he’s the deepest of them all.

Max Cole – Star Charts (Wah Wah 45s)

Max Cole can play various instruments and sing like an angel, but that’s not all. “Star Charts” gives a clear indication of Cole’s talent as a beat programmer and his desire to stick out from the crowd. Cole’s reliance on real instruments gives his music a raw quality, which is lacked by the work of airbrush conscious, computer relying producers. It is the unprocessed nature of this Broken Soul angled LP, which makes Max’s compositions stand out from that of his contemporaries. “Ay Calor” is all lurching beats, wah wahing bass work and standing up straight beats. “Silver Linings” is more glorious summer weather than black cloud doom and gloom, as an astounding flute weaves its magical web around rustling percussion and unwell synths. Today’s forward thinking jazz and soul fraternity should take note, there’s a new kid on the block and he’s got the talent to rise to the top…

SUMO – The Danceband (Heya Hifi)

“The Danceband” is an album of boisterous, posterior shaking House tunes from a heavyweight Swedish pairing. The smile inducing tunes on this album make this album rather endearing, and they outweigh the few cold-hearted compositions. “Tribute” is a spirited number, with powering keys and reaching brass. “Nini” shoots speeding guitars and quick tongued vocals over swingin’ beats. Latin and Afro House fun for all.

V/A – Gold Diggers: As Sampled By Kanye West (Harmless)

Some of West’s sources are exposed on this soul-steeped compilation. It’s good to see the top quality tunes like Gil Scott Heron’s tormented “Home Is Where The Hatred Is” and Bobby Bland’s gruff guitarred “Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City” getting the full airing they deserve, but others sounded better as Kanye’s butchered samples. Collections like this are a little bit of a cheat, but “Gold Diggers” shows West’s prowess as a music manipulator and features some fine soul articles.

V/A – This Is How We Lounge 2 (Sunshine Enterprises)

A number of catalogue highlights from Vienna’s Sunshine Enterprises imprint have been revisited here in an intriguing manner. A number of usual suspects and habitual remixers have done stellar jobs, but some revisitations are a little lacklustre. Yam Who treat Madrid de los Austrias’ “Para Don Alonso” to a souled up brass banquet, where free guitars and an attentive bass provide assistance. Blackbeard gives Rob Scott’s “Fallin’” a wonderful broken soul once over, courtesy of well thought out percussion and brass interplay, guitars of love and string sweetness. This is a mixed bag, where remix dons such as Yam Who, Blackbeard and Restless Soul shine!

Jesse Rose – More Than One (Front Room)

Rose’s premier album is actually a collaborative effort from start to finish, with guest appearances from a number of major players. Collaborations are an excellent opportunity for the cross pollination of musical ideas, and here have resulted in some startling but nonetheless welcome results. Jesse Rose teams up with Trevor Loveys on “Drop What You’re Doing”, where curt beats back leavering bass work. “Stop, Look & Listen” sees Jesse draft in Henrik Schwarz for a moving number, where comforting chords and lost voices float over commanding percussion. Broadly speaking, “More Than One” is a House album, albeit not one that really focuses on the sick and twisted floor pounders that Rose and his cronies have found fame with.

V/A – Dub Club: Picked From The Floor (G-Stone)

Nu dub and various envelope pushing electronic styles make their presence known on this comp, which celebrates a decade of Dub Club parties. Naturally, there are some wonderful dub based workouts on this disc, but one has to question the inclusion of D&B stormers in the middle of the mix, as they unsettle the flow of the compilation. The Dub Club Remake of Stereotyp’s “Um-Dois-Tres” is a writhing synthoid number, with demented vocal shrieks and steppin’ beats. A sooty bass, flamboyant strings and primed keys colour OMFO’s “Bagdub”. This great comp lets you peak into the Dub Club.

V/A – remixed suSU (suSU)

Soul kissed tunage from the suSU House gets rejigged here in order to extend the life of these dancefloor filling tracks. Some of the remixes are rather heartening, but others have you yearning for the originals. Phil Hooton does a great job with Blaze and Kenny Bobien’s “Hiya Luv”, as buoyant beats lounge behind swirling synths, praisin’ vox and dark’n'light bass touches. Soul Central give Rosie Gaines’ “Closer Than Close” a sumptuous makeover, courtesy of sharp string work and thumped beats. Soulful House magic.

Waxfactor – Sci Fu (Needlework)

Waxfactor brings us more cut and paste business with a side helping of hoppy scratchin’ action. There are a few dull tunes, but Waxfactor holds the attention most of the time, referencing Downbeat, Breaks, Reggae and more, as well as bringing listeners the usual hearty Hip Hop serving. “Adverse Camber” places moody strings and disjointed keys over a nasty bass. “Contact” relies on pleading strings to liven up murmuring vocals and a tremouring bass. Scratchadelic sample based fun.


William Scott Who’s Afraid of William Scott?

Regular readers of jazz-not-jazz certainly know my desire for music that moves more than your body, for music with a political message. And an album that offers more than one political alibi track these days seems to be as rare as humane working condition in Chinese sweatshops. Well, Who’s Afraid Of William Scott is one of these rare albums that combines a message with a fresh blend of soul, R&B, hip hop and pop which at its best evokes memories of soul music’s halcyon days and Stevie, Curtis, Donny or Marvin.
William Scott labels his music as FreeSoul. Maybe it’s free because he’s proud to be black and gay and he isn’t afraid to mention this in his songs (namely Invisible Man). As most fans of black music may know there are quite a few gay singers/musicians but most of them are still in the closet and can’t be seen like invisible men, because they think they may lose their fans, sell less records, lose their record contracts, lose their friends (the term friend is used very loosely here because a real friend would of course stay through thick and thin) or whatever when they’s come out of the closet. So the late Sylvester is still the first who comes to people’s mind when talking about gay black artists. Maybe it was/is still easier these days to be open with your sexuality in the disco/dance music genre. It’s certainly harder in the more homophobic world of hip hop.
However, with the recent announcement that Sony Music launches a gay record label it looks like someone told them that gay people have a lot of money to spend. And with the rootkit desaster we all know how devoid of scruples Sony BMG Music is when it comes to making money. Maybe if CBS/Columbia would’ve come up with a gay label in 1969 (there was no Sony record label back then) it would’ve been innovative and maybe helpful for gay liberation. But in 2006? This is just a silly move from an almost dead dinosaur to make more cash.
Anyway, William Scott has released his debut album Who’s Afraid of William Scott? independently and thus had not to have meet any obligations but could decide freely what he wanted to sing about (another reason to call it FreeSoul).
The album starts with the soulful and pleading Mr. President. As a German, who doubts that just a change in the government without replacing the head himself is sufficient, I guess I rather don’t comment the line “Dear Mr.President we need a real change in the government/ Cause too many lives are spent on war please listen to my two cents“. All About Love is an inspiring uplifting soul song with a message straight out of the 70s (”If we are the higher species then/ Why is it boggling me that/ We can’t see what they see we can’t find a way to love/ Forget all the trivial stuff and/ Love whats inside of us/ So we can spread love to all man“). Act Like is a funky and catchy longing for the good ol’ days when black music actually had soul. In some way this is the musical translation of the article What the F**k Happened to Black Popular Music? by Kenny Drew, Jr.
You Are A Star is a soulful uptempo song with a slight house flavour and an uplifting message. William wrote this song in the awareness “that many people, minority groups such as African Americans and Homosexuals have not been affirmed by society [and] to give us that affirmation and self worth.
Songs like Revolution or Do It with their hip hop/R&B sound show that William Scott is musically really versatile and don’t want to be pinned. Although musically these songs miss the point for me (and the readers of jazz-not-jazz certainly know about my general problems with rap, urban and today’s R&B). But luckily things get deeper and soulful with tracks like Soul II Soul, Repetition, a beautiful song with just William and an acoustic guitar, or the midtempo delight More To Life. The albums closer, the downtempo soul/rock of Death To The Poet, is another winner and wouldn’t be out of place on an album by Carl Hancock-Rux.
All in all Who’s Afraid of William Scott? is an impressive and musically diverse debut and finally a much-needed album with a political message.

Tracklisting of Who’s Afraid of William Scott?: 1. The Dedication/ 2. Mr. President/ 3. All About Love/ 4. Act Like/ 5. Invisible Man/ 6. You Are A Star/ 7. Revolution/ 8. Little Drum and The Devil/ 9. Do It/ 10. Soul II Soul/ 11. Repetition/ 12. Hold On/ 13. More to Life/ 14. Death to the Poet/ 15. Freedom | released 2005 William Scott Davison

For more infos visit and

[If you want to discuss the William Scott’s music, you can leave your comment below and also use the forum]


Osunlade Aquarian Moon

Deep House Don Osunlade surely needs no introduction to most readers of jazz-not-jazz. Although there has been quite a few house producers/DJs/remixer who released full length albums, the main oeuvre can still be found on various 12″es. And if you have a look at Osunlade’s discography on his Yoruba Records site or on the discogs site you’ll see that this is still true. After his Paradigm release on Soul Jazz Records in 2001 his new album released by BBE Records in Europe is only his second album (if you don’t count the best of album Yoruba Records: El Primer Ano).
Quite a few things have changed since Paradigm , musically and in Osunlade’s life. He now lives on the Greek island of Santorini and Aquarian Moon pays homage to its rich culture. Musically this is a little bit different from his previous stuff. Albeit not too different, the trained listener will still recognize it’s Osunlade. Listening to this album sometimes reminded me of Larry Heard records like Sceneries Not Songs.
While there are still songs with a great dancefloor potential like the first single SokinSikartep (btw here’s a video of this song…although you might need quicktime to view it…or just use vlc) or the percussive ridden deep house title track Aquarian Moon, the overall concept of this album is creating a tapestry of richly orchestrated instrumentals and at its best spiritual moving soundscapes that take you on a musical journey. The Day We Met For Coffee with its lush strings is a good example.
On TwoPhish Osunlade digs into Down To The Bone territory with a damn funky uptempo groove. Fingerblood is an interesting downtempo track with piano sprinkles and cow bells!
One of my favourite cuts on this album is Circles, a fine late night electro jazz song. Other highlights includes the uplifitng groove of Casablanca Soul with its horn solo and the deep In Flight with lots of percussion.
Aquarian Moon shows a stimulating development of Osunlade as a musician who eventually have reached a state of being musically without boundaries or as he puts it “[Aquarian Moon] is not a house album, it is music, all styles are in there: jazz, funk, etc.

Tracklisting of Aquarian Moon: 1. Thira/ 2. Aquarian Moon/ 3. The Day We Met For Coffee/ 4. Flow/ 5. TwoFish/ 6. Fingerblood/ 7. Circles/ 8. Oia In Winter/ 9. SokinSikartep/ 10. Casablanca Soul/ 11. Music For The Gods/ 12. Inspiriation/ 13. In Flight (Hidden Track)| released May, 26th 2006 by Yoruba Records/BBE

For more infos visit, and

[If you want to discuss Osunlade’s music, you can leave your comment below and also use the forum]


reviews by Jon Freer

Courtesy of Jon Freer ( here are ten thousand reviews (er, actually a few less) of released and soon to be released singles (12″, 10″ and 7″) (sorry no cover shots or tracklistings this time):

X.Panded Dimension.S – Space Jungle (Sacred Rhythm Music)

Joaquin ‘Joe’ Claussell welcomes another spiritually aware House producer, Anthony Nicholson, to join him on his voyage to the stars. Here, he gets Nicholson to pen a wondrous stargazing release for Joe’s personal Sacred Rhythm imprint entitled “Space Jungle”. Empowered by nature lyrics are backed by dedicated percussion, guiding strings and free moving jazz keys on the vocal version. Fear allaying strings, joyous keys and electric guitars that have been given a free reign shine on the equally organic instrumental.

Misia – Shinin’ (Joaquin ‘Joe’ Claussell Remixes) (Rhythmedia)

Dreadlocked Japanese singer Misia’s “Shinin’” gets the empowering spiritual House treatment from NY master Joaquin ‘Joe’ Claussell. Joe’s ‘Club Love NY Vocal’ instils Misia’s vocals with a stronger sense of purpose, courtesy of enchanting violin and cello work, fascinating guitar play and resolute beats. The ‘Sacred Rhythm Version’ is a similarly touching rendition, with beaming guitars, gushing strings and courageous bass work. Demonstrative synths and compassionate guitars back Misia’s luminous vocals on the slightly more reserved original version.

280 West feat. Diamond Temple – I Never Knew (Phuture Sole)

Self styled purveyors of ‘uptempo soul music’, New Jersey’s 280 West follow up the heart stopping “Fly” with another earnest vocal stomper in the shape of “I Never Knew”. A breezy guitar bass, classy brass and swingin’ keys provide an ideal backdrop for Diamond Temple’s comprehending vocal display. The strength of the musical arrangement can be heard from a quick listen to the beatless ‘Reprise’, whilst the ‘Dub’ lets sharp brass and a funked out bass call the shots.

Phil Hooton – Revelations / Afro Phunk (Phuture Rhythms)

Phil Hooton gets Phuture Sole’s rhythmic sub-label going with an awesome jazzied House release. Spirited percussion, jiving brass and strong willed chords meet on the awe-inspiring “Revelations”. “Afro Phunk” is a brassed up dancer, but it’s the lead cut that demands repeat plays.

Liquid Dope feat. Chronkite – I Want You (Dope Wax)

Kenny Dope hooks up with soulster Chronkite on a charming cover of Marvin Gaye’s lustful “I Want You”. Kenny’s ‘Main Mix’ floats those desiring vocals over innocent keys, fiddling guitars and flashing synths. The ‘K-Dope Dub’ offers roughened bass work and persistent keys, whilst the ‘Dub Reprise’ is home to diligent keys and chunky yet supple drums.

Jim Noir – My Patch (Hot Chip Remix) (My Dad/Atlantic)

It seems that besuited guitar caresser Jim Noir has been kidnapped by demented electro-chemists Hot Chip and turned into a cyborg. Noir’s vocal chords have been roboticised and thus fit rather well over the Chipsters’ insolent keys and synthesised guitar grooves.

Jimpster – Armour LP Sampler (Freerange)

If this sampler is anything to go by, then Jamie ‘Jimpster’ Odell’s “Armour” LP should be pretty special. “A Love Like This” is unfortunately not a cover of Faith Evans’ Chic nabbing Disco & B banger, but instead is an uplifting synther, with commanding vocals and laughing keys. The other standouts on this sampler are a mind altering key driven number entitled “Seventh Wave” and “Don’t Push It”, where addictive keys and demonstrative strings rule.

Hanna Haïs – Jazz Samba (Atal Music/Bubble Soul)

Angelic French singer Hanna Haïs continues her House quest with “Jazz Samba”, a track produced by Danny Marques. Eloquent Latin guitars, well-defined percussion and a friendly bass back Ms. Haïs’ vocals on the original version. Gentle strings and slow to react keys calm the listener on the ‘Uranus Lounge Remix’.

Kirk Degiorgio pres. Esoterik – Starwave EP (Freerange)

Captain Kirk moves to previously uncharted Discoey shores on this release for Freerange. A circling bass, wow inducing synths and matter of fact percussion meet on the original version. Impolite beats and a live bass make their feelings known on Jimpster’s remix, with all-powerful synths rising to the top on Spirit Catcher’s retooling.

V/A – Gold Diggers: As Sampled By Kanye West SAMPLER (7″ Harmless)

Kayne West might be known in popular music circles for his rappin’ and production work on his own releases, but arguably it’s his talent as a beat manipulator for other R’n'B and Hip Hop heavyweights, which has transported West to where he is today. This 7″ is an aperitif for a full compilation, which exposes Kanye’s might as a sampler spotter. Careful keys, fresh air brass and slow walk percussion meet on Hank Crawford’s “Wallflower”. Etta James’ devoted vocals ring out over beautiful guitar play and bewitching brass on “My Funny Valentine”.

Burning Spear – Never (Remixes) (Burning Music Production)

Burning Spear get the once over in a disappointing trance-breaks style by superstar spinner Paul Oakenfold, but the day is saved by Barry O’Hare. Hare’s rootsy ‘O ‘Rastaman’ Dub Mix’ is home to a swirling bass, trorch holding brass and intriguing guitar work.

Speaker Junk – Scratch Up The Music (Speaker Junk)

New boy Herve teams up with Trevor Loveys for an instalment of head messing guttural House on the pair’s new Speaker Junk imprint. “Scratch Up The Music” is an ear-bending thumper, with subby bass rolls, demented computer sounds and ridiculous string hits. “Run The Track” is rather restrained by comparison, as a squelchy bass converses with committed beats and vox slices.

Blaze feat. Barbara Tucker – Most Precious Love (Freemasons RMX) (Defected).

The Freemasons make Dennis Ferrer’s refix of “Most Precious Love” a little easier to swallow, in order to boost the commercial appeal of this dancefloor monster. By taming Ferrer’s bassline, sanitising Ms. Tucker’s vocals and cleaning the bassline, the Freemasons have achieved their goal. If Defected feel the need to commission such a remix in order to guarantee commercial success, mainstream radio and the pop charts must value streamlined music over challenging creations.

Deepgroove – Attack! Attack! (Slave)

Slave keep the unapologetic House flag flying with this delightfully brutal release from Deepgroove. It ain’t very deep, but “Attack! Attack!” is a devastating housefloor belter, with cold hearted beats, pierced strings and a monstrous bassline. Bobby Lorenz & Kristoph’s synth driven ‘Lock-In’ Re-work’ is rather domesticated by comparison!

Jeremy Warmsley – Other People’s Secrets (10″ Transgressive)

Jeremy Warmsley is a musical prodigy just into his 20s, but he doesn’t seem like the type of guy that released his first Hip Hop album when he was 10 or passed his Grade 8 piano exams aged 12. Instead, he’s been busying himself producing engaging and musically accomplished downbeat tunes with heartfelt vocals and the occasional electronic flourish. His songs can have you captivated one moment and cringing the next, but this master craftsman is a welcome break from a flood of songwriters that always take guitars over instrumental variety and electronics. Snooty strings and ramshackle percussion dominate the embittered “Dirty Blue Jeans”, whilst “I Knew That Her Face Was A Lie” is only soft vocals and caught in the wind keys. Noble keys chart a tale of woe on “Jonathan And The Oak Tree”, as “Modern Children” comes on like macabre guitarists Interpol, until light keys and acoustic guitars bring fun to the proceedings. Predictably, “Hush” ends the EP on calm note, as slovenly vocals and lost keys attempt to escape from a quietly menacing bassline.

Dead Disco – The Treatment (High Voltage Sounds) (7″ SOLD OUT!)

This Leeds four piece made up of three ladies and a guy on drums don’t make music to stir the ghosts of Bernard Edwards (Chic), Larry Levan et al, but instead they create exciting electroic indie. It’s the ‘Metronomy Mix’ of “The Treatment” that stands out, courtesy of its screeching synths, slanted vocals and eccentric beats. The loopy-keyed original, with its controlling guitars and smug vocals, is a little dull by comparison.

Kill The Young – Addiction (7″ Discograph)

Many know Discograph for their Housey releases by the likes of Dimitri from Paris, but this imprint can also do it for the indie crowd. Kill The Young are three brothers that hail from a Manchester suburb and make powering guitar based compositions. “Addiction” is a tale of trying to find your niche, backed by running drums and quick paced guitars. “Radio” is stirring number, where frustration seeps into steadfast guitars.

Waxplanet – Streets On Fire (7″ Grand Transmission)

Waxplanet’s sunshiny guitar play and pert drumming is a little at odds with their adopted home, as they reside in a bohemian yet rough around the edges Manchester suburb, where the weather is more likely to be dreary than summery. “Streets on Fire” pays homage to the city they’ve come to call home, as dependable rhythmics and probing melodies keep the flames burning. “Get Involved” is another hi-octane display, with urging vocals and quick-cymballed percussion.

Autokat – Dish Out (7″ akoustik Anarkhy)

The dark Autokat bring us their second single in the shape of “Dish Out”, inspired by many a debauched gig driven party. The vocals ponder the sights, smells and everything else that goes with fun music-focused gatherings, backed by understated percussion and voracious guitars. Endearing guitars, single level vocals and dependable drums meet on “Get Off The Bar”.

Thomas Truax – Have We Been Left Behind? (7″ akoustik Anarkhy)

Mr. Truax is an endearing NY based musician who makes music with his own custom built instruments that include ‘The Stringaling’ and a drum machine called the ‘Sister Spinster’. Truax even manipulates his own voice, by putting his words through a gramaphone type ‘Hornicator’. “Have We Been Left Behind?” philosophises over jangling percussion and bendy melodics. Ostentatious strings, itch relieving rhythmics and off colour vocals inhabit the disturbed “Lessons In Art”.


Janet Klein & Her Parlor Boys Oh!

I’ve mentioned Janet Klein And Her Parlor Boys some weeks ago and finally I have a copy of her latest (and fifth) album Oh! for a review.
Janet and her Boys are really out there on a mission. And that mission is to keep old jazz and vaudeville from the 1910s, 20s and 30s from sinking into oblivion. Even if you think you’re not into the old stuff, I recommend to pay Janet’s website a visit because here we have an enthusiastic artist totally devoted to her music and wallowing in yesteryears’s design and glory. And with five albums under her belt you can tell that’s really her and not just a clever marketing decision.
Somehow Janet seems to be beamed from the past into our present to make us aware of the beautiful songs and melodies people have written decades ago. Sometimes you hear a few of these songs while watching vintage b&w movies. Whether it be The Jazz Singer (one of the first Vitaphone movies) or movies that featured songs that later became standards like The Bad in Every Man (made famous as Blue Moon) from Manhattan Melodrama, even screwball comedies like The Awful Truth featured scenes with song performances by a (in this case not really talented) songbird, who sang My Dreams Are Gone With the Wind).
And let’s not forget the Screen Songs with the bouncing ball (something like karaoke to sing along in the cinema, Irene Bordoni singing Just A Gigolo for example) and cartoons like the early Betty Boop that featured Cab Calloway (Snow White [St. James Infirmary Blues], Minnie The Moocher, The Old Man Of The Mountain) or Louis Armstrong (I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead, You Rascal You).
But Janet has dug much deeper. In an interview with David Reffkin she answered when asked how she finds new material: “I do collect sheet music, in a lot of cases for the beautiful graphics. From the mid-teens through the early thirties, every piece of sheet music, practically, had ukulele arrangements. I mostly work out things from listening to old recordings. Many of these tunes were not particularly meant to be played on ukulele. What works really well are the nice verses, the little prologues to the songs. Along the way the verses came to be considered corny. By the Forties, nobody bothered with these verses. But for me, they’re perfect to be performed rubato…out of time and they set up a story and are great for the ukulele.
(By the way, the Duke University gives us an impression what Janet may have meant with the beautiful graphics).
It’s not only Janet, her singing and her ukulele that bring the old songs back to live. Her Parlor Boys are equally important. With cornet, upright bass, piano, guitar, trombone, sousaphone, mandolin, banjo or accordion amongst others the Parlor Boys provide the perfect musical background.
If you listen closer to the songs there’s one thing that may be the most obvious difference to most of today’s music and that is that the writers of songs like That’s Love, Ida, I Do or Rebecca Came Back From Mecca really cared about the language they used and loved to play with it. The catchy That’s Love (written by Ray Henderson and Lew Brown) for example is a swinging song that’s really funny with its menagerie of comparisons (”When the bull looks at a cow, says eventually ‘Why not now’/ Ladies and gentlemen, that’s love/…/When the toucan at the zoo do what only two can do, Ladies and gentleman, that’s love“). Rebecca Came Back From Mecca features some racy lyrics about a quite emancipated young woman who spend two years in a Sultan’s harem and came back full of new ideas (”And since she got back from the harem/ She’s got clothes, but she don’t wear them.“) [Here’s a longer explanation of this song]
Baltimore is another highlight here. This song by Jimmy McHugh is really a great dance song with a memorable melody.
Sweet Man is one of my favourite tunes with Janet accompanied by the piano only. Here she impersonate the ever true and loyal lover (”He’s as true as I would expect him to be/ And he sees only me/ It’s true, I know, cause he told me so.“)
The daring I’m Busy And You Can’t Come In (originally from 1928) is another fine example that the 1920s were in some way more liberated then the decades that followed. Even today most people may feel a little puzzled if a woman tells you she’s busy rigth now with another.
With nineteen songs on offer there are actually too much to mention every song here. But believe me they are all worthwile and Oh! is a real lovely designed treasure box of long forgotten songs.

Tracklisting of Oh!: 1. Oh!/ 2. Concentratin’ On You/ 3. When the World Is At Rest/ 4. That’s Love/ 5. Baltimore/ 6. Ida I Do/ 7. Who-oo You-oo That’s Who!/ 8. Mon Ami Perdu/ 9. Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me/ 10. Undecided Now/ 11. Sweet Man/ 12. Hello Bluebird/ 13. Little Coquette/ 14. I’m Busy and You Can’t Come In/ 15. Lonesome and Sorry/ 16. Butterflies In the Rain/ 17. If You Hadn’t Gone Away/ 18. Rebecca Came Back from Mecca/ 19. When? | released 2006 Coeur de Jeanette

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[If you want to discuss the Janet Klein’s music, you can leave your comment below and also use the forum]


reviews by Jon Freer

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

Tortured Soul – Introducing Tortured Soul (R2 Records)

This magnificent three piece, headed by eloquent vocalist and drummer, John-Christian Urich, bring us an ace album of soul kissed House-floor tunes, with a few restrained broken soul numbers thrown in for good measure. Tortured Soul have done a wonderful favour by bringing songwriting and real musicianship to a listenership more often exposed to computerised grooves and lyrics of the lowest denomination. Highlights include a lovelorn synther entitled “How’s Your Life” and the helpless “I Might Do Something Wrong”, here re-rubbed in a hypnotically keyed fashion by Osunlade. It’s a crime that this album was barely acknowledged on it’s original US release a couple of years ago, and we should thank R2 for giving it a UK outing, albeit in a slightly different form. In a world where many acts prefer to stick with conformity and follow musical fashions, acts like TS that choose to be themselves and dance to their own beat should be supported.

[for more info visit]

2020 Soundsystem – No Order (2020 Vision)

The 2020 Soundsystem is comprised of 2020 label head Ralph Lawson, reliable drummer Danny ‘Dubble D’ and a pair of handy Argentinean musicians, Fernando Pulichino and Julian Sanza, known for their work as Silver City and under a multitude of other pseudonyms. Together, the group make top quality electronified cuts, which combine House type dancefloor sensibilities with committed indie and punked up guitar work and ear catching synth action. Sometimes when acts go for an indie-dance fusion, the listening public get a dull indefinable dirge, but thankfully that’s not the case with the 2020 Soundsystem. “Won’t Bother Me” is a collaboration with The Glass, and sees a jagged bass and steadfast drums back shiny guitars and downcast vocals. Trippy synths, a gurgling bass and confident guitars meet on the ‘Ewan Pearson Vs 2020 version’ of “Shiver”. The Soundsystem’s music is pretty accessible, but despite having the same musical dynamism as various painfully fashionable electronic-indie groups, it’s unlikely that this Leeds based act will attract the acclaim their music deserves outside of electronic circles.

David Borsu – Insight (Counterpoint)

Mr. Borsu, a talented Belgian neo jazz purveyor, finally brings us his debut album, two years after he originally entered the Counterpoint fold with the jaw dropping “Monster EP”. On this LP, Borsu shows how it’s possible to create new tracks that harness the emotional power of jazz and funk from the past in a stirring fashion, with tracks from the aforementioned EP still shining brightly. “Nocturne” is the location for a battle between twisted synths and falling keys. “Way Of Life” sums up the beguiling power of music, as wide-eyed string-synths breeze over loving keys and en-aweing bass action. “Insight” is an assured longplayer from an exciting jazzy talent.

Harvey Lindo – Kid Gloves: A Modaji Longplayer (Compost/Planet Groove)

Dominic Jacobsen adopts a new persona for this Hop slanted longplayer, which originally surfaced in the Far East last year. As per usual, it has taken a while for this album to make it to Western shores. Mr. Modaji has done a pretty good job, creating some rather endearing vocal and instrumental tracks. Rugged beats and ever-happy keys guide Phillipa Alexander’s nature conscious vocals on “Lifeforce”. Fluidous keys and heavy-footed beats are the focus of attention on the epic “Kalima”. Compost must be thanked for deciding to give the short but perfectly formed “Kid Gloves” another outing.

Thievery Corporation – Versions (ESL Music)

Perhaps somewhat predictably, “Versions” is a compilation of the Corp’s worldly-wise remixes. As with their own production work, The TC’s remixes feature beautifully crafted spacey ethereal soundscapes. The Corp’s work tends to be ever so polished and their remixing style only really suits certain artists, but when given suitable musical apparatus on which to experiment, the results are spellbinding. Stretched eastern chords, unhappy sounding keys and an encircling bass backs frustrated vocals on the Corp’s refix of Nouvelle Vague’s “This Is Not A Love Song”. Heavenward gazing strings and fragile guitars provide the answer on The Thievery’s sublime refix of Astrud Gilberto’s “Who Needs Forever?”. There are few surprises with this Washington DC based duo, but if you’re after a charming and easy to digest take on multicultural musical flavours, then look no further.

Dalminjo – One Day You’ll Dance For Me Tokyo (Deeplay Music)

“One Day You’ll Dance For Me Tokyo” is an album of electrocuted soulful compositions from the talented Dalminjo. He has the ability to make heartfelt tracks at varying tempos, but they unfortunately don’t all have the same musical dynamism and he excels when working on instrumental compositions. “Kosmisk Brekt Lapskaus” is home to charming keys and empowering bass work. Portly hop house beats and a mellow bass back Alexandra Hamnede’s encouraging vocals on “Come Here”. Charming digitised soul.

Alex Smoke – Paradolia (Soma)

“Paradolia” is another album of minimal trickery and thoughtful techy pressure from Alex Smoke. Thankfully, Smoke has not lost his singular production style between albums, even if this does mean a few tracks are a little cold hearted. A jumping bass dances with skippy beats behind sharp synths on “Meany”. Synths struggling to think straight dominate on “We Like It Insipid”. On this LP, Alex Smoke continues his one man Techy crusade against unruly machines.

V/A – Om Lounge Vol 10 (Om)

OM’s celebrated horizontal listening series finally makes it to double figures. There’s a range of lovely restrained stuff on this CD, produced by well-known artists and newcomers. There are a few sleep inducing numbers, but most hit home convincingly. Stolen Identity’s “Argentina” is a tingly stringed number, with guitar gold dust and sloath-like percussion. Tender guitar licks soak heavenly keys on Hideo Kobayashi’s “Almost There”. A luscious relaxation aid.


Kellylee Evans Fight Or Flight?

Canada is becoming more and more important upon the map of black music and the attentive readers of jazz-not-jazz surely remember Nick-e, Diane Taylor or LAL. Kellylee Evans is another Canadian who impresses with her debut album full of original songs.
Kellylee was born in Toronto but lives now just outside Ottawa, Ontario. Throughout the years, she performed at various talent shows and was a member of the Toronto Mendelssohn Youth Choir. At the Carleton University she was part of a school jazz combo. Soon she realised that studying law may be fine but her heart was really with music and she eventually pursued a career in music.
And Flight Or Fight?, her debut album, is really an amazing start. To start with, there’s the well photographed cover (yes, I’m always a sucker for a great photo) and unlike most of her peers Kellylee relies only on the strength of her own compostitions.
Kellylee offers a unique blend of jazz, soul, blues and reggae and then some with a few pop overtones on her debut album. “I started getting into jazz before Diana Krall started getting big. Her success really floored me,” Kellylee says. “Growing up, I wanted to be a pop star, but when I started liking jazz so much, I realized I wasn’t going to be pop star famous, but then Diana’s success really got exciting.
The majority of the songs were produced by Lonnie Plaxico and Kellylee and recorded within two days in New York City (January 12-14 2004 to be exact). Only the first two songs were recorded in April 2005 (again in NYC, but co-produced by Carlos Henderson).
The album’s starter What About Me?, is a great haunting slow tune with fine acoustic guitar input by Carl Burnett. The subtle Lead Me Closer is of the same calibre.
The powerful Hooked provides a nice change with its rock influences. The heartfelt I Don’t Want You To Love Me is one of my favourite tracks, here we have a singer torn between one of the greatest emotion and the fear of getting hurt one day (”I don’t want you to love me no, no/ I can’t handle the thought that you would go/ It’s easier if we cut these ties that bind/ Ever tightening as days go by/ This may come as a surprise but/ I don’t want you to love me goodbye/ Don’t think of this as a fear to commit/ My therapist said there’d be days like this/ Though it seemed that our love would go stronger each day/ It did, but I fear this attachment to you/ I know I’m not meant to feel passion this was/ Just as I know that you won’t stay“)
But Kellylee’s lyrics can cut even deeper. On the Latin-tinged title Fight Or Flight? (Help Me, Help You) for example. “That song is all about seeing tragedy and people in need all around you, but not really wanting to get involved; not being sure how far you can get involved,” Kellylee says. “So many people of my generation, we feel apathetic. We feel like if we make a move we’re not gonna be able to effect any change.
The album continues with the bluesy I Don’t Think I Want To Know, which adds further proof to Kellylee’s musical diversity. There’s even some reggae thrown into Let’s Call A Truce Tonight and Rapunzel impresses with a mixture of Spanish and French folk.
Finally there are more traditional jazz songs with How Can You Get Along Without Me? or Enough, which explores jazz in the vicinity of soul music.
With these different influences and styles it may seem that Kellylee tries everything not to get pigeonholed and this album may lack coherence. Quite the contrary, it’s her distinctive voice and her personal lyrics that make this a well-rounded album. To sum it up, Fight Or Flight? is an exceptional and musically diverse debut album.

Tracklisting of Fight Or Flight?: 1. What About Me?/ 2. Lead Me Closer/ 3. Hooked/ 4. I Don’t Want You To Love Me/ 5. Fight Or Flight? (Help Me, Help Me)/ 6. I Don’t Want To Know/ 7. Let’s Call A Truce Tonight/ 8. Rapunzel/ 9. How Can You Get Along Without Me?/ 10. Enough/ 11. Who Knows/ 12. What About Me (Bonus Track) | released May 2006 by Enliven! Media

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[If you want to discuss Kellylee Evans’s music, you can leave your comment below and also use the forum]