A surprisingly great take on the Tijuana Brass sound of the 60s – one that offers up new remixes of classics, but which is nicely respectful of the original Herb Albert groove! Unlike other remix projects of this type, which sometimes clutter up the tracks with too many extra bits – or abstract the originals past the point of recognition – this one maintains the sense of space, time, and rhythm that Herb first brought to his work in the 60s, while also updating the tunes with a 21st Century aesthetic. Remixers include Medeski Martin & Wood, Mocean Worker, Thievery Corporation, John King (Dust Brothers), and Anthony Marinelli – and titles include "Whipped Cream", "Taste Of Honey", "Green Peppers", "Bittersweet Samba", "Peanuts", "Love Potion #9", and "Butterball". (Now Sound, New Grooves)CD
Of all the lost club classic groups we've stocked over the years, Atmosfear has probably been the most in-demand, and has garnered a huge amount of interest for their early mix of electronics and club grooves, in a brilliantly spacey way that prefigures lots of today's techno and happy hardcore grooves. The folks at Mr. Bongo put together this fab set of remixes to pay tribute to the genius of Atmosfear – and they've got some pretty darn good help on the project, from famous guests like Masters At Work, Francois K, Idjut Boys, and Dimitri From Paris. The set's got nice remakes/reworkings of Atmosfear classics, like "Dancing In Outer Space", "Too Spaced Out", "Alternative II", "Extract", "Feel Up", and "Motivation". Handsomely packaged, and with a fresh cosmic sound that spans 2 decades! (Soul, New Grooves)CD
IV ... CD Innovative Leisure, 2016. Used ...
Badbadnotgood have always been pretty damn great, actually – and never better than on album IV – a remarkable step forward for the group! As ever, they take inspiration from some of the best prog, jazz, funk (and proggy jazz funk...they blend) of the 70s and beyond, but weave it into fairly distinctive and genuinely fun modern sound. It's built to last, too –we're sure be able to come back to their work in a couple decades and it'll still work! IV finds them with the confidence to trade in some fairly subtle, smoothed out moments between to more boisterous ones, and they're more dexterous in the instrumentation – especially in the horns, keys and percussion – but some great vibes, strings, flute and more when the mood calls. Includes the great vocal track "Time Moves Slow" with Sam Herring of Future Islands, "And That, Too", "Lavender", "IV", "Chompy's Paradise", "Structure No. 3", "Cashmere", "Hyssops Of Love" and more. CD
The first album in a number of years from Black Grass – and they seem to have used the time to pick up a whole host of new musical influences! The core soulful style of their debut is still strongly in place, but this set also features a fair bit of dubbier, dirtier sounds as well – a bit more grit in the grooves, and a definite influence from both Jamaican and hip hop-based spheres of production! The shift is a good one, and keeps Black Grass from sounding too "turn of the 21st Century" – and gives their music a nastier undercurrent than we remember, almost with a bit of Ninja Tune bite, but less abstract overall. Album features guest work by Jehst, Okou, Maylay Sparks, Rider Shafique, and Micall Parknsun – and titles include "So Many Ways", "Don't Try", "Sweet To Taste", "Nemesis", "Oh Jah", "The Floating Wizard", "Nobody Knows (It's Sunday)", and "Lucha Contra De La Injustica". CD
One of the most righteous albums of the 21st century so far – and an instant classic we'll be loving for years! Build An Ark are a seriously heavy soul jazz ensemble, with roots and traditions that stretch back to the most righteous days of the 70s underground – the brainchild of producer Carlos Nino and vocalist Dwight Trible – and featuring work by soul jazz stalwarts that include Phil Ranelin, Nate Morgan, Derf Reklaw, Adam Rudolph, and others – all coming together in a fresh, new expression of the righteous ideals that first motivated their original work! Under the guidance of Nino, the group really gels together nicely – working in a loose mode that's a nice change from the tighter cosmic 21st century soul of the European scene – and returning to the organic, almost folksy forms that first emerged on 70s independent labels like Tribe, Strata East, and Nimbus. LA luminary Nate Morgan plays some great Fender Rhodes on many of the album's best tracks – and singer Dwight Trible has a soulful range that's somewhere between the style of Terry Callier and Leon Thomas. The album features a massively beautiful remake of Pharoah Sanders "You've Got To Have Freedom" – one that's very different than the original – plus a host of other great cuts that include Stanley Cowell's "Equipoise", Phil Ranelin's "Vibes From The Tribe", Ronnie Laws' "Always There", and Michael White's "Guidance" – as well as the original tracks "Peace & Love", "Conversations", "Precious Priceless", and "Love Is Our Nationality". CD
Beautiful modern grooves from one of the best new Brazilian-oriented groups around! Da Lata features the talents of Smoke City's Chris Franck and the stellar London DJ Patrick Forge, one of the original partners of Gilles Peterson in the Talkin' Loud enterprise, and a key force in developing the Brazilian groove in the UK over the past decade. The pair have only ever issued a small amount of singles – most of which are now out of print – and have checked in with some of the best Brazilian-tinged remixes of the past few years, but this is their first-ever LP as a group, and it was well worth the wait! The record's one of the best attempts to update a Brazilian groove that we've ever heard – and thanks to solid vocals by Liliana Chacian and Oli Savill, the overall sound is still quite authentic. Titles include "Binti", "Cores", "O Mago E A Borboleta", "Rio Vida", and "Pra Manha". (Brazil, New Grooves)CD
An expansive exploration into the future of funky jazz – put together by DJ Smash, and even better than the first volume in the series! The set brings together recent tracks from a variety of Blue Note releases from around the globe – including a few from the ultra-tasty Blue Note France line – and it also includes a few remixes of straight jazz tracks as well. Titles include "Mesquelero" by Goran Kajfes, "Planet Rock" by Jason Moran, "Street Sounds" by Charlie Hunter with Mos Def, "Poetry In Motion" by Greg Osby, "Bridge To Bama (Hi Tek rmx dub)" by Soulive with Talib Kweli, "Kiss (DJ Smash rmx)" by Bob Belden Project with Jimi Tunnell, "Magrouni (Imhotep rmx)" by Erik Truffaz, "Jazz Mediterranee (Koop rmx)" by Henri Salvador, "Battlefield (Joe Claussell rmx)" by Wild Magnolias, "Into the Dark" by Marc Moulin, "Belmondo's Lip (DJ Spooky rmx)" by Don Byron, "Pat & Joe (DJ Smash rmx)" by Bobby Mc Ferrin, "Come Together (DJ Kingsize rmx)" by Bob Beldon Project with Cassandra Wilson & Dianne Reeves, and "Uninvisible (DJ Smash rmx)" by Medeski Martin & Wood. CD