Thursday, 30 April 2009

top tunes - april 2009

blimey! nearly missed the boat this month! anyway...better late than never, huh? in no particular order (because like children, if i had them, i couldn't possibly pick favourites) here's a selection of the beats and breaks that have been consuming my ears the most over the last 30 days or so...

Fort Knox Five - Insight (A Skillz remix) [Fort Knox Recordings]
Around this time last year people started caning A Skillz' remix of Kraak & Smaak's "Squeeze Me"...and it lasted right through the summer as a festival party anthem - a true banker for any DJ dropping a funky breaks set. Well, i think Mr Skillz has gone and done it again here, and this time it's Fort Knox Five who get the man with the golden touch's treatment. Uptempo, solid big beats, ravey synths and a vocal that urges you to "put your hands in the air" - bet you can't resist, either. Buy it now so you know what it is before it drives you mad with curiosity at every festival you attend in 2009.

Download @ Juno

Dwilt Sharpp feat. Lorett Fleur - I Need You Close [Favorite]
I don't know anything about Dwilt Sharpp...nor Lorett Fleur, i'm afraid - but this is one of the loveliest bits of nu-soul i've heard in a good while. Low-slung beats and a guitar hook that oozes class, Fleur's vocals smother the track in beauty and sublime dubbed-out soul stylings. Favorite have put out an early summer winner here...a must for any soul or downtempo fan...or DJ.

Dwiltt Sharpp @ MySpace

Rupert - Just Woke Up [Hear Today]

OK i'm cheating here - this is an album release - but I wont do this often unless the album in question is really outstanding...and this one is, believe me. Previously signed to Tru Thoughts' sister label, Zebra Traffic, and then known as Rup, this young man from South London has been carving a name for himself on the UK hip-hop scene for a few years now. With his vocal style often drawing comparisons with Mike Skinner, his "everyday" lyrical content is a joy to listen to. On this album, released through the brilliant Hear Today records, he's teamed up with a swathe of fine producers; from Steve Clear and Naim, and even a track with former TT label-mate Bonobo. Full review soon, honest...but in the meantime get over to the Hear Today website, buy it, and then come back to have a go at me when you can't get the hook to "Something That You Like" out of your head. Mwahahahaha.

Rupert @ MySpace
Buy the album @ Hear Today Records

Lopez - Jellybean [Keep Up]

You'll be able to hear this on the Beat Dispenser E.P. - yet another quality release from the ever-consistent Keep Up records. If you've been following the label's output you'll have undoubtedly come across Lopez's work before; usually a producer of latin-influenced funk beats and breaks, on this release the producer has turned things around and opted to give us a taste of his more wonky, electro-tinged side. It doesn't disappoint either, and hasn't been off my decks since I got hold of it earlier in the month. Hint's also done a smart remix of this tune, but you've gotta check out the plod and bassy drive on the original. Essential listening.

Lopez @ Keep Up
Buy the "Beat Dispenser" EP @ Juno

Hint - One Woman Army (Hint Remix) [Tru Thoughts]
The original was brilliant, i'll give you I was intrigued to see what Hint could bring to his own track to take it somewhere else and enhance an already perfectly acceptable slab of music. Well, he's knocked the tempo up to a 2-steppy, broken beat speed, laced some subtle organy-synthy (i believe that's the technical term) stabs over the top, and then underpinned it with a proper knee-wobbler of a bassline. Oh, and did I mention the undeniably fantastic strings? If you liked what he did to Hot 8 Brass Band's "Jisten To Me", you'll love this. Just go and check it out on his MySpace, then buy it - you know it makes sense.

Hint @ MySpace

Amplified Orchestra - Fun Thing [Clone Records]
It's all the rage at the moment, this disco-chug stuff. I've never really known where to start, as there's simply so much about it's a bit bewildering. If you like things with a little bit of wonk, a splash of acid moog, a backdrop of funk and strings direct from a 70s New York pimp's underwear drawer, then check this out. Relentless, funky and all kinds of disco greatness - ideal for late-night grooving. Or something.

Listen/buy @

Mayer Hawthorne & The County - Just Ain't Gonna Work Out [Stones Throw]
Late. I'm bloody late again! By now you've probably read about this recent signing to the brilliant Stones Throw label - and if you haven't you should really check out this feature here. Originally this double-sided, heart-shaped vinyl was put out on a very limited run. I missed it that time round. Then another slew of them came through, and I grabbed one while the going was good. It's nu-soul, but it sounds's really quite remarkable, and i'm yet to play it to a classic soul fan who doesn't love it...and insist "this can't be just can't". Expect big things from Mayer Hawthorne in 2009, and grab anything you can by him until the inevitable album drops.

G Frequency - Let's Begin EP [Scribble Records]
A real beaut of a hip-hop four-tracker here, from a label who hail from Dublin, Ireland...of all places. Tracks like "Flight Ticket" ooze a Pharcyde-ish sensibility and production style, and the groove and charm on title track "Let's Begin" (with its contents encompassing a bunch of kids being tutored in the ethics of real hip-hop) is irresistable. Not an offensive track on it, you could play this to your Nan and she'd probably love it. Well, i know mine would. Seek out and enjoy - it'll sound great in yo yard with a beer when the sun shines.

Listen/download @ Clickgroove

DJ Wood - Eye Know [Goodgroove]

This is actually tucked away on the latest Featurecast "Regrooved Series" EP, and while the A-side tracks are entertaining enough ("Soul Flower" being particularly enjoyable, with its sneaky interlooping of Paul Weller's "Sunflower"), it was this track that caught my ear and had me bopping, and grinning, like a loon this month. Basically, it's the hook from De La Soul's seminal tune of the same name, but turned into a 127bpm banger with a nice summery vibe to the whole damn affair. Another one for the bars at the festivals, i'd imagine.

Listen/buy the 12" @ Juno

John Robinson - The Author [Fat City]
Yet more ESSENTIAL hip-hop i'm afraid - but again, if you haven't heard this already, I think you'll be thanking me for hooking you up (and in turn I gotta thank Beatsfortea for bringing it to my attention). It's not new, this - I believe it was released back last year (2008) on the truly awesome "I Am Not For Sale" LP, but it's one of those that could have quite easily passed you by. Man-of-the-moment Flying Lotus is employed to produce this particular beat, and it carries his typcially wonky, off-kilter style...which matches perfectly with Robinson's delivery (who you'd be forgiven for thinking sounds a tad like MF Doom - they're good pals, after all). Get hold of the album and revel in a bit of quality NY hip-hop...and realise that the good stuff hasn't "disappeared".

John Robinson @ MySpace

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

weekend warm-up 24/04/09

here's my most recent radio outing if you fancy getting your ears around something and missed the original broadcast. again i had to pre-record the show, as i was off on my RAVE TRAVELS enjoying some brilliantly obscure, and pretty tough music down at the Bangface Weekender. anyway, this time i managed to grab a mic and do some chatting over it, which makes for a slightly more interesting listen. or less - i'll leave that up to you to decide.

the show runs through hip-hop, funk/party breaks, a touch of house and a smattering of drum & bass, and features new-and-upcoming releases from Ninja Tune, Favorite, Rhythmicity, Tru Thoughts & Scribble...amongst many more.


count bass d - jussa playa [day by day entertainment]
ghost - feel pain [breakin' bread]
dwilt sharpp feat. lorret fleur - i need you close [favorite recordings]
kinny feat. souldrop - water for chocolate [tru thoughts]
mophono - the edge [cb records]
g frequency - outside my window [scribble records]
speech debelle - the key [big dada]
krafty kuts - we do this [against the grain]
badboe - let's get ill [goodgroove]
mr scruff ft. roots manuva - nice up the function (remix) [ninja tune]
john robinson - the author [fat city]
the dynamics - miracles [big single]
arcadion - ghost feeder [dc recordings]
ltj x-perience - no rhyme no reason (pluton kids remix) [irma records]
the middle agent ft. tech n9ne & garth culti-vader - keep it hott (bradelectro remix) [tarantic records]
grant green - let the music take your mind (live at inside out studio mix by muro) [mukatsuku]
paikan - dancefloor fight [jazzman]
flevans - endless things [tru thoughts]
thunderheist - sweet 16 [big dada]
fort knox five - insight (a skillz mix) [fort knox recordings]
etienne de crecy - 3 day weekend [xl recordings]
mel rosario - still maintaining [rhythmicity]
willie graff & tuccillo - 123 yeah yeah [freerange]
high contrast - the basement track (hc upstairs downstairs) [hospital records]
me&you - wouri river (redeyes mix) [tru thoughts]
the insiders - stepdub [intrigue music]
dj moodie - made jah look [large hole]
rupert ft. naim - zone out [hear today]
g frequency - flight ticket [scribble records]
flying lotus - gng bng [warp]


i hope you like it - holla if you encounter any problems with the download.

(the Weekend Warm-Up goes out every other Friday, 6pm-8pm GMT on Purple Radio)


Tuesday, 21 April 2009

kutiman - mother of all funk chords

this isn't new, it's been knocking around for a while god knows why it's taken me so long to post it up on here.

Kutiman (aka Ophir Kutiel) is an Israeli-born musician, composer & animator...and recently began making a name for himself with his ThruYou music video project. in basic terms, Kutiman's taken the culture of sampling records to make new beats, but applied this to videos he's found while browsing YouTube.

in the words of the man himself: "what you are about to see is a mix of unrelated YouTube videos/clips edited together to create ThruYou. in other words - what you see is what you hear..."

enjoy this - and i hope it puts as much of a smile on your face as it does on mine...


Tuesday, 14 April 2009

weekend warm-up 10/04/09

on Friday night i made my "grand return" to Purple Radio's wonderful airwaves...although it wasn't as grand as i'd have liked, as i was unable to do the show live due to family commitments, and didn't have a mic to use for the pre-record either. ah well - it's still two hours of my top tunes at the moment, some mixed together better than others (i decided to pre-record after an unexpectedly brilliant night at a pub please excuse any drunken shoddiness).

some of them you might notice from my March "Top Tunes" update, and some will be featuring in my April "Top Tunes"...which i'm hoping to list this week. honest.


count bass d - jussa playa [day by day entertainment]
stonephace - five miles high [tru thoughts]
mayer hawthorne & the county - when i said goodbye [stones throw]
rupert feat. naim - something that you like [hear today]
john robinson - i am not for sale [fat city]
son of ran - the so [unknown]
lopez - theo's beat [keep up]
gagle - snow revolution (dj mitsu the beats 2008 instrumental edit) [mukatsuku]
dragon fli empire - civic pride [makebelieve]
q-tip - manwomanboogie [universal motown]
amplified orchestra - fun thing [clone records]
przasnik - swingalong [funky mamas & papas poland]
mr scruff feat. skuff & inja - zen [ninja tune]
benga - someone 20 [tempa]
featurecast - soul flower [goodgroove]
fort knox five - insight (a skillz mix) [fort knox recordings]
neighbour vs. dj soup - stars over kingston [home breakin records]
domu - le grand grunt [unknown]
hint - one woman army (hint remix) [tru thoughts]
orbital - chime (del gazeebo breaks edit) [unknown]
zinc feat. no lay - killa sound [unknown]
fingerlickin allstars - 2 da break (a skillz remix) [fingerlickin records]
dj wood - eye know [goodgroove]
flevans - 27 devils [tru thoughts]
tom central & kaitain - akama [keep up]
fort knox five - funk 4 peace (nick thayer remix) [fort knox recordings]
dj shepdog - limb by limb (militia mix) [large hole]
gagle - practice & tactix (souljazz instr - guynamukat edit) [mukatsuku]
lewis parker feat. jehst - communications [melankolic]
rupert feat. bonobo - geography [hear today]


i hope you like it - holla if you encounter any problems with the download.

(the Weekend Warm-Up goes out every other Friday, 6pm-8pm GMT on Purple Radio)


Monday, 6 April 2009

review: hint @ glo bar 03/04/09

I’ve been living in Cardiff for a couple of years now, but much to my dismay have yet to see a Tru Thoughts artist playing here. That was until this weekend, when the mighty Hint made the journey into the Welsh capital to play at the opening night of Glo Bar’s new weekly event, “Big City Beats”.

Musically, the flyers and posters promised “funk, soul, hip-hop, breaks & mashups”, and I had a feeling that a set from Hint, who’s style has come a long way since his debut Portakabin Fever (Hombre, 2003), would fit the bill perfectly. It’s definitely fair to say that his latest offering, Driven From Distraction (Tru Thoughts, 2008) has seen him take a bigger step towards dancefloor-orientated beats, with his funk, soul and jazz influences melding nicely together with electronica – more specifically those current yoot fave elements “basslines” and “wobble/wonk”. Just go and check out “The Tremmuh” or “At The Dance” if you want a better idea of what I’m talking about. I guess it’s easy to see, when listening to that album and then reading Glo’s musical remit for the event, why they chose Hint to come down to open the party.

I got to the venue at about 11-ish, and was surprised by how quiet it was – not in terms of volume (Glo Bar doesn’t have a problem there – I think they’ve upgraded their soundsystem since I last paid a visit!), but more numbers of people. It’s a popular place at weekends and I expected it to be pretty packed by 11pm on a Friday. Not so – not this week anyway. Still, it enabled me to grab a seat with friends and listen to the support DJs do their thing.

After an hour or so of funk classics, a smattering of hip-hop and a selection of some pretty shady bootlegs/mashups (it’s a fine art nailing a mashup, and there’s some real guff out there unfortunately), Hint took to the decks. Bizarrely, the venue hadn’t really got much busier than when I first arrived, and I was increasingly amazed (and frustrated) by the fact that, despite having a pretty intimate “club/dancefloor” area on the basement level, Glo Bar had opted instead to keep all the DJs playing in the corner of the room in the upstairs bar. Which is mostly filled with tables and chairs – and thus isn’t really conducive to dancing (or swaying haphazardly, in my case).

Hint didn’t seem too phased by this though, and settled into opening his set with some brilliant soulful tunes. Starting the show came a corking little refix of Sunshine Anderson’s “Heard It All Before”, and not long after we were treated to Mary Jane Girls’ classic “All Night Long”, before he dropped the brilliant “One Woman Army” from his latest album. By this point the atmosphere seemed to be picking up and there was a move from head-nodding and foot-tapping into a few shimmies and shakes…good to see!

It wasn’t long before Hint progressed his set into a more disco-oriented vibe, notably playing Aretha Franklin’s “Jump To It” and (possibly the tune of the night, for me) Firefly’s “Love (Is Gonna Be On Your Side)”. By this point I’d had a few pints and had really begun to enjoy myself – and so had a few others. It was around this time, however, that the venue’s mistake in choosing to have the DJs upstairs, playing to a seating area, became all-too apparent. Though there were small spaces where you could dance, it seemed daft to do so next to people who were just sitting around enjoying a chat. It turned out that the management were piping the music from upstairs into the club space below, although this just resulted in a mass of people heading down there so they could dance, leaving the bar itself feeling even quieter. It must have been a nightmare for Hint to play in that kind of environment – how do you try to read a crowd when they’ve pissed off to dance where you can’t even see them?!

Still, the tunes kept coming and a more heavyweight selection of electronica, 2-step and broken beat began to creep in. I urge you to keep an ear out for Hint’s very own remix of his own “One Woman Army”, which sounded sublime through Glo Bar’s system. A lush bit of knee-shaking broken beat – perfect for city-centre Friday night grooving, trust me. Before finishing his set, Hint took the tempo back down and treated us to a bit of a hip-hop & funk “breaks” mix, rinsing out Prince’s “Gett Off”, the ever-pleasing “Soul Power 74”, and a storming bit of mixing from hip-hop favourite “The Message” into Sly’s “Family Affair”. Ooof – top work!

Hint is a fantastic DJ, there’s little doubt about that. The set eased its way from one genre to another, and within each genre a magnificent representative selection of tunes were mixed seamlessly into one another. Everything was on beat, every drop fell into place perfectly, and every selection flowed nicely into what had gone before. I’ve also got nuff respect for anyone who can keep a dancefloor (in another room) going while all they’ve got in front of them is people sitting at tables! If this is what he can do in a small, laidback bar, I’d love to see him play on a massive system in a decent-sized, packed-out club. Preferably somewhere a bit dark, too - so nobody can see my embarrassed shuffling (it's what i do when i'm "dancing") and drunken air-synths. Again....christ - I should get some help for that.

So, top marks to Hint for taking the time to visit us in Cardiff and for bringing a class box of tunes with him…and I’m afraid it’s a “must do better” for Glo Bar, who should really be using their club space if they’re going to book such great guest DJs.