Jon Freer’s Autumn Selection (Part 2)
V/A – Kenny Dope & Keb Darge Presents Kay-Dee Records Vol 2
Dope'n'Darge's Kay Dee imprint has made a name for itself unearthing the best in lost, forgotten and overlooked funk and soul gems from the 70s and 80s. Despite being primarily known for his work in House'n'Hip Hop circles, Dope is an unashamed lover of music of varying shades and this is shown in the quality of the tunes on this CD, which he compiled with distinguished Scottish Funk'n'Soul collector Keb Darge. Kenny Dope has also tweaked some of the tunes himself for added dance floor satisfaction. Stellar efforts include Ricky Calloway's emotive opener entitled Shed A Tear, 7 Miles Per Hour Band's triumphant Latin Freak and Family Of Eve's disco dipped I Wanna Be Loved By You. The tunes still sound magical after all these years and we must thank Dope and Darge for making these songs available to the record buying public.
V/A – Gilles Peterson Digs America 2
Label: Luv N' Haight
Radio 1's worldwide don has stepped back into his Brownswood Basement vinyl vault to choose more dusty jazzy-souly-funkified tunes for the second installment of his Digs America series. Picking up where the last compilation left off, this will appeal to all of those who love prim and proper jazzy material. Much of the music has a 'cinematic' quality and some of the less flamboyant tunes may even placate those turned off by the currently stagnant nu-er jazz scene. Notable mentions must go to the fame obsessed song that is Irene Krai's Going To California, Carrie Cleveland's soul-kissed Make Love To Me and the gorgeous flute laced Boys With Toys from Gay Magione. A little heavy on the complicated jazzy flavours in places, this is still another wonderful compilation from Gilles and is on a par with Volume 1 of this series.
Tiger Stripes – Safari
Label: Nite Grooves/King Street
Under his D'Malicoius guise, Swedish DJ and producer Mikael Nordgren has created technoid pounders, whilst he has released hard-hitting House records under his big cat derived name. This album is dominated by instrumental grooves that have been made using pinpoint beats, penetrating synths and pizzicato strings. In the same vein as the techier releases on Ibadan, it came as no surprised when Nordgren created the mighty Stockholm Go Bang with Ibadan daddy Jerome Sydenham. Unfortunately that offering is not included here, but instead listeners get simple but incredibly elating House numbers, often with an oriental flavour, which are suited to both the dance floor and the front room. Highlights include the polite Spirited Away, a pulsating Sandcastles derivative named The Voyage and the breathtaking Rasmus Faber Plays the Marimba, where Nordgren's contemporary does just that. Safari is a collection of body moving tunes and not a proper album per say, but you'll want to keep coming back to it nonetheless.
Mayra Andrade – Navega
So she's billed as a Cape Verdean, but this enchanting singer was born in Cuba, currently resides in Paris and has spent time in Senegal and Germany. The concentration on the Cape Verde dimension to Mayra Andrade's stems from the fact that she sings in the Portuguese derived Cape Verdean Creole. This young singer may turn out to be the isle's most significant musical export since the large lunged Cesaria Evora, whose music has been reshaped by a number of forward-thinking electronic producers with dazzling results. A Brazilian sway of the hips infects the effortless and pretty much acoustic based music that backs Andrade's delicate tones, which also displays Cuban and African influences. Dimokransa charts a 'lopsided democracy' in a surprisingly upbeat manner, Tumbuka is a similarly sparkling effort and Comme S'il En Pleuvait sees Andrade duet with Tét é over circling guitar lines. Maya Andrade's poppy debut is titled Navega, which means 'It Sails' and it is enjoyable to be carried along by the album's warm breeze.
Nancy Elizabeth – Battle and Victory
Label: The Leaf Label
This Lancashire based singer and multi-instrumentalist follows in a long line of chanteuses that have the power to bewitch listeners with their magical tones. When using guitar, sonorous khim, harp or a range of other instruments, Nancy Elizabeth creates wonderful musical backings for her vocals that are distinctly 'northern' in texture and words. This, her debut album, is in a similar style but musically fatter than her very special Wheel Turning King EP, which was released by Manchester's Timbreland imprint a while back. Winners on this album include the tender I'm Like The Paper, a hypnotic piece entitled The Remote Past and the smile inducing Coriander. This is a reassuringly down to earth album that should gain many plaudits due to Nancy's distinctive vocals and impressive instrumentation.
V/A – The Very Best of Éthiopiques
The source for this compilation is music from Ethiopia, produced in the early to mid 1970s and originally released as part of Francis Falceto's Éthiopiques compilation series. This double CD set focuses on the expressive and often melancholic jazzified and soul-blessed sounds emanating from Addis Ababa and beyond in the period before and after the fall of Emperor Haile Selassie. CD1 features gems such as Bahta Gèbrè-Heywèt's smoky brass laced Enwèt Yèt Lagegnesh and Tlahoun Gèssèssè's euphoric Tchuhetén Betsèmu. Highlights on the second disc include Mulatu Astatqé's beautiful Tezeta and Muluqèn Mèllèssè & Dahlak Band's rootsy Bèné mote. This is an unexpected but greatly received exploration of a magical music that is not well known in the west.
V/A – Wildstyle 25th Anniversary Edition
Label: Mr Bongo
Genre: Hip Hop
25 years after originally hitting our screens and inspiring generations of music makers with its choice footage of graffiti daubed trains, rapping battles and other facets of Hip Hop culture, the influential Wildstyle film comes to DVD, backed by a new issuing of the soundtrack courtesy of Mr Bongo. The inspiring original soundtrack is all here, with its dialogue snatches, free flowing rhymes and raw beats'n'bass combination. This time it is accompanied by a disc of previously unreleased instrumental, bonus mixes and new cut-ups, but the original disc is the one that will excite listeners the most. Choice moments include the paint can shaking Subway Theme, a short but sweet number entitled Busy Bee's Limo Rap and the rough and ready Double Trouble at The Ampitheatre. As a standalone, this comp is impressive, but without the visual element derived from the film, the true nature of the South Bronx based embryonic Wildstyle scene is not revealed.
V/A – secretsundaze volume 1
Genre: House/Techno/Nu Disco
This London based Sunday daytime clubbing institution is now rather less hush-hush than it once was, owing to the press attention that the night has generated in recent years and the appearance of this double CD set. However, they have stuck to their musical guns and this compilation features the sort of technified House and discotronic sounds that make them tick. The secretsundaze DJs spin on days other than the Sabbath and have spread their net wider than London, but it's not worth quibbling with descriptions when the serve up the sort of music that is on show here. Gilles Smith has compiled and mixed the first disc, which features predominantly instrumental atmospheric and slowing evolving House fair such as Monne Automne's key draped Automne and Johnick's warming Johnick Planet. James Priestly takes over for the second disc, which continues in a similarly spaced out manner, but is perhaps slightly more extrovert than Smith's CD. Highlights on the second disc include the 'bariz e syntho' dub of Kissogram's My Friend Is A Seahorse, a Dubby-Balearic-House remix penned by Priestly himself alongside Dan Berkson, and Kaos's flying Panopeeps. This is a subtle yet addictive musical offering from Smith and Priestly, who launched secretsundaze back in 2001.
Shawn Lee's Ping Pong Orchestra – Hits the Hits
Hits the Hits is yet another long player from studioholic and accomplished vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Shawn Lee, who continues his barrage of long players with this rather endearing effort. It is an album of cheeky and downright silly funk'n'soulified covers, which is way more fun than the celebrity name-dropping monstrosity devised by Mark Ronson. Familiar poppy material goes under Lee's surgical knife and on occasions the musical plastic surgery that he provides is an improvement, as he brings out the underlying melodies on his mainly instrumental reformulations. His most appealing alternative versions include a harmonica driven take on Outkast's Hey Ya!, a super cool funkacious refix of Kelis's Trick Me and a gorgeous flute tipped revision of Badly Drawn Boy's Once Around The Block. Hits the Hits is an amusing and musically spot-on ride from start to finish.
Federico Aubele – Panamericana
It comes as little surprise that Federico Aubele's second album shows a great deal of the South American charm that was so obvious on the Gotan Project's first album, when you realise that Aubele hails from Buenos Aires and currently resides in Europe. Panamericana was inspired by a craving for his homeland and in some ways would be better titled Panlatina, as the music on this album features Latin derived melodies and Spanish vocals that have been cut with European electronics, in a similar way to La Revancha Del Tango. Listeners familiar with Aubele's debut, Granhotelbuenosaires, will find similarities with Federico's newer offering, which is perhaps a little musically lighter than his previous longplaying foray, released by ESL in 2003. This is a similarly impressive album with highlights such as the winding guitar bathed María José, the satisfying En canda Lugar (It locks into place) and the sleek Corazón (Heart). Muy bien.
V/A – Milky Disco
Label: Lo Recordings
Genre: Nu Disco
The neo disco scene has spawned a number of compilations of late and this tasty CD from Lo is another effort that trades on wide-eyed synths, wind-swept guitars and measured percussive patterns. When 12"'s and artist albums dominate a 'scene', it is difficult to put together a compilation that truly represents the sound. However, all the usual suspects are here and so this CD should win some new converts to the sound. Hopefully it will also appease some of the notoriously difficult to please nu-disco bigwigs, but they may curse the fact that some of their prized tracks have made it to the digital format. Thrilling efforts on this disc include the throbbing key and Claussell esque sax dominated number that is Padded Cell's Konkorde Lafayette, the dazed Housiness of Black Mustang/Kerrier District's Mad As Hell (Dub) and Sorcerer's spellbinding Surfing At Midnight. Spaced out post-discoid magic.
V/A – Soul Heaven: Kenny Dope & Karizma
Label: Soul Heaven
London based event promoters Soul Heaven continue their double barreled US DJ focused mix series with this hot effort from NY's Kenny Dope and Baltimore's Karizma. Both are well known in producing and spinning circles, with the former having asserted his dominance a number of years ago and the latter stepping out of the Basement Boys shadow recently. KD presents a peak and trough laden vocal House feast that features efforts such as the probing Dennis Ferrer and Abicah Soul's overhaul of Telepopmusik's melancholic Love Can Damage Your Health and Ruffneck's vibraphone assisted Get It Right, all stuck together in typical Dope fashion. Broken House man Karizma offers a percussive mission where his own productions and remixes play a starring a role and highlights include his energetic 'Bruk It Down' Remix of Taylor McFerrin's vocal acrobatics dominated Georgia and his own string bathed Requiem For a DJ. This is another solid effort from the Soul Heaven stable, with Karizma just beating KD to the finishing line on this occasion.
V/A – Producer No1
Label: Fat City
Genre: Hip Hop/Soul/Downtempo
Fat City's Aaron Fitzgerald has really managed a coup here, sniping fifteen hot Hippety-Broken-Hop-Soul tunes for this tidy long player, which features eleven cuts that have never previously seen the light of day. Producer No. 1 manages to get the balance between underground heroes and new talent just right, so the well known names will reel listeners in and the unknown beat technicians will keep them hooked. Notable contributions include Ge-ology feat. Mos Def's clunky Superstar, Ta'Raach's soul-steeped Baby and Trusme's cinematic downbeat opus entitled Phone Spittin. This compilation comes with beautifully designed artwork and is also available on two vinyl EPs for the traditional DJ.
Electric Conversation – Communication
Genre: Broken Soul
A smoky soul sound emanates from the speakers of Electric Conversation, a Parisian collective who bring in numerous singers and lyric spitters from various places and walks of life. The collective's use of guest vocal talent ensures that it is difficult to place Electric Conversation's Hip Hop grounded sound geographically and thus it is best just to pposition them musically alongside artists such as Spacek and Break Reform who make (or in Break Reform's case made) truly touching soul-hop. As far as picks go, Communication is a gluey key encased number, whilst Melodie switches language, but the sentiment can still be felt and In My Mind is an introspective number featuring Deborah Jordan. There's a couple of Ursula Rucker type vocalised numbers that don't really convince, but that aside, it is difficult to find fault with this striking long player.
Circle Research – Who?
Label: Circle Research
Genre: Hip Hop/Turntablism
After Doing Right for a while, Toronto twosome Circle Research branch out on their own and bring us a marathon thirty seven track album. Admittedly this is one of those mixtape type Hip Hop albums like Jay Dilla's Donuts and so the tracks last between one and two minutes. This a diversion from Circle Research's previous Mulligan Stew album, which was a side splittingly funny effort that featured a raft of guest MCs. Who? is an instrumental album and impresses due the group's incisive wit and ability to create musical grooves from all types of sample sources. Don't miss fleeting efforts such as the jubilant OH SNAP!, the PPP type Confessions, a powerfully sweet sub-twenty second ditty entitled After Hours and Interlude (#1, #2 and #3) which is a chopped phone conversation that sees the group attempt to garner financial support from a rather unlikely benefactor. Brimming over with impressive scratches, samples and vocal lines, this album is great for those with short attention spans and those who like their music diced. Lets hope Circle Research loop up some of these great ideas to create longer tracks and a new full album!
V/A – Vintage Grooves: Funk Volume 1
V/A – Vintage Grooves: Old School Hip-Hop Volume 1Label: Seamless
Genre: Funk/Hip Hop
A DJ and record collector since the 1970s, Ian Dewhirst launched the acclaimed Mastercuts series in 1990 after a decade of A&R work. His Mastercuts selections showed that he was a selector able to discern the wheat from the chaff when it came to all types of classic dancefloor records and Vintage Grooves aims to carry on where that series left off. Instead of cramming as many cuts as humanly possible onto one CD, Vintage Grooves goes for full-length versions and spreads the tunes over two discs. The first two compilations to emerge in the series are the Funk and Old School Hip Hop collections, with both treading familiar ground, but doing it well. Time honoured favourites on the Funk installment include Curtis Mayfield's emotive Freddie's Dead, The Emotions poignant I Don't Wanna Lose Your Love and Cheryl Lynn's magnificent Got To Be Real. Winners on the Old School Hip Hop installment include the electronified magic of Grandmaster Flash's The Message, Stetsasonic's blunt Talkin' All That Jazz and Boogie Down Productions' thoughtful My Philosophy. There's always going to be a number of notable omissions with this sort of compilation, but as both of these collections are explicitly titled Volume 1, more classics from both genres should surface in the future.
V/A – Sci-Fi-Lo-Fi: Compiled by Andrew Weatherall
The mighty Andrew Weatherall drops the sort of compilation that an electronic music label would never have got away with few years ago and it provides a direct contrast to the techy Sci.Fi.Hi.Fi series that spawned this spin-off. In true Weatherall style, Sci-Fi-Lo-Fi takes a musical theme and runs with it, featuring the guitar based rocky-punky-psychey music that inspired his latest Two Lone Swordsman venture with Keith Tenniswood. This compilation features a glut of music from the 50s and 60s and then slowly crawls along the chronological ladder, in order to pick up gems from more recent decades. Highs include Joe Boot And The Fabulous Winds swinging Rock N Roll Radio, The Strangeloves jolly I Want Candy and a couple of contributions from Weatherall himself; the mind-bending TLS remix of Primal Scream's Blood and the awesome Feathers. Those expecting a fearsome main room Techno-Electrofied set will be sorely disappointed, but anybody partial to his 'alternative' rockabilly type dalliances will find some musical food for thought here.
Pig & Dan – Imagine
Pig & Dan met in the sky when they shared the same aeroplane flight to Spain and this happenstance seems quite fitting, considering the type of music they make. The duo produce electronified House with Technoid stylings that has the ability to make listeners feel like they are flying. This is because Pig & Dan create levitating grooves that hold the attention and keep bodies moving, which are based on simple synth, bass and percussion patterns. Winners on this album include the exhilarating Sly Detector, the disorientating Imagine and queasy keyed Saturday Morning. Motivated by the dance floor and best heard through a powerful nightclub sound system, this album still has enough magic for the House and Techno appreciating home listener.
V/A – Eskimo Vol V: Selected & Mixed By The Glimmers
Genre: Nu Disco/House/Pop
Benoelie and Mo have been creating genre crossing CDs for Eskimo since 2000, pre-dating recent obsessions with 'eclecticism'. The Glimmers switch between musical styles easier than most and their compilations flow effortlessly. Eskimo Vol V isn't quite as varied as some of their previous efforts, but is best described as discontronic. It features everything from strung out Balearic lovelies to funny poppy groovers, neo disco rump shakers and post-house efforts. High points include Dissidenten's hypnotic Fata Morgana, the raw sleaze of The Glimmers own Kiss Me and Pleasure Pump's acid soaked Fantasize Me. This is another winning installment in the Eskimo series from The Glimmers.
V/A – Shir Khan: Maxmize!
Genre: House/Techno/Hip Hop/Electro/Punk/Pop/Rock
Whether Shir Khan took his name from his local curry vendor is unconfirmed, but there is little doubt regarding his taste in music. The cooler than cool Berlin spinner is a champion of the colourful and rather fashionable basic electronic sound that has been embraced by the indie press (and to a lesser extent what is left of the dance music press), which steals and compresses elements of House, Techno, Hip Hop, Electro, Punk, Pop and Rock. The terms that have been banded around in the press such as New Rave or Electro do not describe the sound accurately, but it's a genuine exciting fusion of older sounds that has unsurprisingly got the kids in raptures. Shir Khan's mix runs through tunes at a frightening pace and in just over a couple of hours he manages to play more than forty tracks. Quick fire tunes on CD1 that are worthy of your attention include the twisted 'Alavi Rerox' of Tepr's En Direct De La Cote and the assaultive synth driven Adam Sky re-rub of Riot In Belgium's La Musique. CD2 bullets of note include Herve's spongy basslined and g-funk annihilating 'FxxK Mix' of Hijack's Hijackin and Stereotyp's rolling Boy Da Cara Breta. Musically there is nothing new here and certain elements are 'gimmicky', but there's something genuinely refreshing about this sound. The excitement stems from a healthy disregard for genre guidelines and a passion for putting music of all persuasions and from all corners of the globe into the blender.
Bob Marley & The Wailers – Roots, Rock, Remixed
It's difficult to review this sort of remix collection, as trying to compare the remixes to the originals makes them seem like pale imitations of Robert Nesta Marley's original compositions. However, if they are judged on their own merit, as reggae infused electronic compositions that feature a particularly fine guest vocalist, then their own merits can be determined. The mixes that work best are those that stray musically the furthest away from the original musical territory and create their own soundscapes. The best of the bunch are DJ Spooky's heavily FXed and smoky re-rub of Rainbow Country, the Dub House stylings of Jimpsters' revision of 400 Years and Cordovan's melancholic Soul-Hop re-touch of One Love. Marley, but not as we know him!
- Jon Freer’s Autumn Selection (Part 2)
- by Jon Freer
- Published on November 10th, 2007
- Kenny Dope, Keb Darge, Gilles Peterson, Tiger Stripes, Mayra Andrade, Nancy Elizabeth, Ethipiques, Wildstyle, Shawn Lee, Federico Aubele, Karizma, Electric Conversation, Circle Research, Pig & Dan, The Glimmers, Bob Marley and various other artists...
More from Jon Freer:
Jon Freers Winter ’08 Selection
Kicking off the reviews in 2008 include: A selection from Sonar Kollektiv, Joey Negro, Sven Vath, Kelley Polar, The Glimmers, DJ Dolores, Sascha Funke, Benny Sings, Spoonface, Miss Kitten, The Rurals, Seiji and various others!
Jon Freer’s Autumn Selection (Part 2)
Part 2 includes: Kenny Dope, Keb Darge, Gilles Peterson, Tiger Stripes, Mayra Andrade, Nancy Elizabeth, Ethipiques, Wildstyle, Shawn Lee, Federico Aubele, Karizma, Electric Conversation, Circle Research, Pig & Dan, The Glimmers, Bob Marley and various other artists…
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Jon Freer’s Autumn Selection (Part 1)
So much music we’ve had to split the feature! Part 1 includes: José Padilla, Prince Fatty, You Say Party! We Say Die!, Jazzanova, Karizma, Miguel Migs, Ananda Project, Waajeed, Eddy Meets Yannah, Tweek, The Broken Family Band, The Spirals, and various other artists…
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