Here's a selection of tracks that are doing the business for me at the moment. Please support the artists and labels by buying their music, attending their gigs and sending them emails of adoration. They'll love you for it and continue to deliver more stunning work if you do...
Kinny – Water For Chocolate (feat. Souldrop) (Tru Thoughts)
Gorgeous, laid back soul with a twist from Tru Thoughts’ “one to watch” in 2009 – lush guitar-led production from Souldrop underpins Kinny’s attitude-laden vocals. How many soul numbers open with the lyrics “fuck this”? Not enough, if this is anything to go by. I’m going to put a full review together in the very near-future, but in the meantime head get your diaries out and pencil in the release date for the album “Idle Forest of Chit Chat” - coming on 23rd March 2009.
The Insiders – Stepdub (Intrigue Music)
Is it dubstep? Is it electronica? Is it just a drum & bass tune that never actually drops into a full DnB step? Who cares – it’s immense! Brilliant drums and percussion pound a steady beat under some great techy noises, and a bassline that goes “waaaarrrrrrb” a lot. You’ve gotta like that, huh? If you don’t, go see your doctor. Pretty standard drum & bass fare (“
Tom Central & Kaitain – Akama (Keep Up!)
Keep Up are definitely a
Kev Luckhurst – Dreams (Unique Uncut)
I hadn’t really heard of Kev Luckhurst (formerly known as Phat Kev) before I got hold of this - a crime, I know. Now I’m seeking out everything he’s put his name to (any suggestions gratefully received!). This is a fine example in taking soul/jazz melodies and weaving them into a beautiful, intelligent piece of hip-hop instrumental work. All it needs is to be a couple of minutes longer and maybe feature a nice vocal…but I’ll leave that to the re-editers amongst you and bask in the warmth of this track in the meantime.
Stonephace – Five Miles High (Tru Thoughts)
More pre-release treats from the Tru Thoughts camp (I’ve been spoilt this last month!). Stonephace continue the label’s leaning into classy jazz and bring together an all-star lineup with which to do so. The album hosts jazz veteran Larry Stabbins, Portishead guitarist Adrian Utley and bassist Jim Barr, and even a guest turn from Dizzy Gillespie collaborator Guy Barker on trumpet. The production is overseen by Cornish resident Krzysztof Oktalski, and trust me – it’s awesome. If you like the kinds of sounds Madlib brought on “Shades of Blue”, or you just enjoy some quality, low-slung jazz, then you’ll want this. Self-titled album due on 20th April 2009.
Gagle – The Funky Instrumentals: Vol.3 (Mukatsuku)
Another fine label who are in the habit of putting out must-own records, Mukatsuku made me firm right up (sorry
Frikstailers – To Com Saudade (feat. MC Maiquinho) (Man Recordings)
Taken from the 8th installment in the “Funk Mundial” series, this track bridges electronica, hiphop and funk with an infectious vocal hook, crazy synth lines and an absolute stomper of a beat. Do you like basslines that make your tummy rumble? Then you’d be daft to pass this one up – more tummy rumble than Starvin Marvin yo!
Przasnik – Swingalong (Funky Mamas & Papas –
Another fine “lesson” of a track here – this time the lesson being “how to take a bit of dusty old jazz and turn it into something cheeky and modern”. Instantly catchy and another dancefloor-pleaser without any doubt, Polish-based Przasnik has come up trumps here. You’d be forgiven for thinking it’s Mr Scruff producing under a pseudonym (maybe it is?!), given the infectious jazz-wobble-meets-irresistible-beats that it encompasses. Out now on 7”, with a nice bit of edit action in the form of “Get Bambaata” on the a-side.
Mr Scruff – Whiplash (Ninja Tuna)
I know, I know…I can already hear you saying “Marky, mate – this is oooold news now bro”, and maybe it is. But Scruff recently (and finally!) put this monster of a track from his 2008 Ninja Tuna album out on 12”, so I figured I’d elbow it in to my Top 10 for March. And hey – what’s not to like about it? Absolutely a tune of two halves, it opens up at 137bpm with a frantic set of drums laced under some scarily-wonky brass stabs…and then suddenly boils down into a 92bpm rumbler. Like, a proper rumbler. More wub-wub bass than you can shake a stick at, too. Another one that doesn’t fail to do the business whenever I slide it into a set, it got a huuuuge reaction at Electric Vindaloo last weekend. Get that 12” in your shopping basket and lap it up.
Flevans – 27 Devils (Tru Thoughts)
Woah woah woah! Bit of a “stop press” moment here! Still getting my ears around this one, but the new Flevans album is on its way and the promo landed on my doormat just last week. I’ll be saying a lot more on it in the very near future, but I just had to give props to this, the title track, which has really blown me away. Loose-sounding drums which drop into a nice tight rhythm, a good smattering of ivory-tinkling and some dutty dutty bass – I guess you can tell why this one stood out on the initial listen! Also continues Flevans’ knack for giving us tunes of two halves (though now this has become more subtle), this one moves from jazzy funk into an almost haunting piano melody for the last section. Just. You. Wait. All kinds of aces!