Sabrina Malheiros-Clareia (LP and single remixes)
A Cantora e Artista of her generation in Brazil, Senhora Malheiros carries on the standards she has set since her lauded debut 'Equilibria' back in 2005.
Twelve years later, with a number of colloborations - both acoustic and electronic - and two studio albums, the timing looks good for her new LP 'Clareia'. All tracks are written by either Sabrina, or in collaboration with her father, (Azymuth bassist and slap'n'popper on 'Sol...'), Alex Malheiros and producer, Daniel Maunick. The album was written and recorded in Niteroi, Brazil, overlooking Gunabara Bay and Rio’s beaches, mountains and forests. Two taster tracks have arrived: the title cut begins with inimitable acoustic rhythm guitar patterns that her heritage owns, Sabrina's voice, the perfect veneer for the shuffling, Nu-Bossa rhythms that she knows so well and the evergreen Rhodes piano, freely flourishing underneath. On 'Sol, Ceu e Mar', Sabrina supplies this era's companion to Tania Maria's 'Come with Me', recalling glory days of the Brazilian-Boogie Fusion of the late 1970s, early 1980s and befitting of its translation. With the title cut also out, courtesy of Henry Wu, Dego and IG Culture, there is little of this nature in the current music marketplace.
Byron the Aquarius-Leaving this Planet
Birmingham, Alabama born Byron Blaylock announces his arrival on the boundary-pushing British label Eglo Records. It was a decade ago that the man appeared alongside fellow visionary French artist Onra on 'The Big Payback'. Here, it is deep, 120bpm, Rhodes-soaked House music with the assistance of Cropper on 'Song for a Friend', juxtaposed with two yet-to-be-heard Jazz outings on this forthcoming 4-track 12" vinyl (also available on download). Can't wait for August 25th? Check out the real House travels of Jazz-inflected 'Aquarian Voyage'. Byron is currently appearing in the US on the Festival scene.
Mulatu Astatke-Mulatu of Ethiopia
If only having a superficial knowledge of continental African music, the name 'Mulatu' would likely be one of those that arose: a reason for that may well be this seminal 1972 album. Transcending its era, it is thanks to long-time Astatke supporters Strut Records that 'Mulatu in Ethiopia' returns, re-released in both stereo and mono forms from Gil Snapper's Worthy Records. The vibraphonist's travels took him to the UK then onto the US, where he strove to adapt the hypnotic jumps in intervals of the pentatonic scale, to his Berklee College music education. It led to this collection's birth taking place in New York where Mulatu recorded the seven tracks herein. 'Mulatu' opens the expedition with a typically undulating melody before the diversity then nods towards Brazil's Bossa Nova on 'Mascaram Setaba'. It is tranches of Free-Jazz, sandwiched unexpectedly between the longer phrases of breezy, captivating swinging Jazz, dictated by the tenor sax spearheading an inspired horn section. With elements of sound-of-the-times Funk being part of the approach, it is with impatient anticipation that we are reminded of a monumental recording. Out now.
Balako-Hora de Balako
Balako head to the Brazilian disco to capture the mood once set by Venezuelan underground hero, Daniel Grau. With an eclectic approach to the Electronic and the organic, it is within the confines of string-led, late '70's Dance Music that Diogo Strausz and Rodrigo Peirao sling their hook this time. Real instrumentation is the key, as the bass guitar provides the backbone here, octave-jumping with the popular slap-and-pop routine of that time. Brief and on point, the 132bpm kick drum drives 'Hora de Balako' strengthened by heavy latin percussion, fizzing hi-hats and punchy horns reignites a sound that helped define an era. Balako is Brazilian-Portuguese slang for 'a good type of mess': a notion that Hot Chip's Joe Goddard may have been attracted to when signing the duo to the Greco-Roman label.
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Soundspecies & Ache Meyi-Soundspecies & Ache Meyi
Cuban label Manana Recordings present an intense onslaught of hand-driven percussive beats, voices and electronics via two British brothers and a Bembe band from Santiago de Cuba, led by Hector Borjas. Soundspecies come from a foundation of open-minded adventure in Electronic music, recently exploring the relationships between African-Latin percussion and Electronica. This release immediately recalls Mala's bringing-together of his pioneering Dubstep with the many facets of Cuban music. Initial reaction is one that this will at least match that. A consummate collection of nine songs, exemplified from the opening bars of 'Meme' where voices reverberate alongside an increasingly frantic build of percussive tones and patterns: call and response vocals.
It is then that the 185bpm piece launches into warm minor chords and heads out . The tracks herein are nowhere near predictable and take the 'journey' approach to song composition.
There is prima facie evidence here of a happening. Don't miss it.
DJ Vadim & Katrina Blackstone-Double Sided
BBE Records plays host to another outing involving the irrepressible Vadim as he joins forces with American songstress Ms Blackstone. The male half of this fascinating duo needs little introduction: a career covering the bases of Hip-Hop, Dub, Reggae and Soul, DJ Vadim has always looked to pushed the boundaries of genre. Recent albums, including those on BBE Records, have solidified his unquenchable thirst to keep producing music of interest. Kindred spirit Katrina fits snugly into this ethos, initially allying with Vadim on his first 'Dubcatcher' LP. So, 14 tracks straddling those very genres, veering towards the Caribbean in its influence. There's Bowie-like Funk on 'Luv 2 Luv' a la 'Fame', stacatto rhythms under Katrina's Soulful plea on 'Choose', Soul-II-Soul-tempo quiet storm on 'Re Run'; 'Rewind' at the same pace, competing as the best song on the album. 'Stand Up' brings Dub and Dubstep together with aplomb, Blackstone getting all Jill Scott on us via 'That's Not Me' while Vadim's clever use of Gwen McCrae's 'Doin' It' on 'Shoop Shoop' squares the circle.
Saint Etienne-Dive (EP)
This eminent '90s trio have been busy of late. 'Home Counties' is the album and now landing with a new 4-track CD and a collection of digital remixes, the calibre of which includes Colorama, Shawn Lee and Matt Berry. Also joining these luminaries are DJ and champion of the re-edit scene who needs little introduction, and Derek Kaye. They formed their alliance through the very same as Mr Kaye delivered re-works of classics like original Brit-Disco outfit Player's Association's 'Turn the Music Up'. Greg Wilson's contribution is the bench mark helping to form a genre all of its own. St Etienne came to us as part of an alternative electronic/dance scene in 1991, notable for the 'Foxbase Alpha' LP that catapulted them and singles like 'You're in a Bad Way' plus the glowing cover of Neil Young's 'Only Love Can Break Your Heart'. This remix of 'Dive' brings a straight-ahead, percussive, four-to-the-floor piece. Sitting around the 120bpm mark, the track is largely instrumental, built on rhythm guitar and a fine clavinet/keyboard melody line until 3 1/2 minutes when the chorus arrives. Big late-summer tune to help the evening build, giving much more than the lazy 'Nu-Disco' categorisation.
Recorded a number of years ago but seeing daylight only this year, Mr Mosley is a founder member of the LA 'West Coast Get Down' collective that spawned Jazz-revivalist and tenor saxophonist Kamasi Washington. A vocalist, bassist, writer, producer and arranger, 'Uprising' comes from the same spiritual template - and sessions - as Kamasi's 'The Epic' although following a Soul/Blues route to reach his musical nirvana. The contents are rich with message, string, horn and rhythm sections and atmosphere. In addition, Miles delivers impactive lyrics, often using analogy with historical references.
'Young Lion' starts the journey, hitting hard on the accelerator pedal replete with big horn punches, crashing cymbals, constant congas and psychedelic guitar riffs: his reference to '73 is where this song could have come from. 'Abraham' takes the tempo down a notch, drawing parallels with the biblical prophet. 'More than This' is another of the many highlights: Southern Soul downtempo accompanied by Mosley's lyrics of deep disappointment for what has gone before...then the Funk kicks in, riding out over a chant '...you can't take it with you when you're gone' amongst a electric guitar solo. Much to absorb over 11 tracks, this is for those who like to return to a whole collection years later and recall that their investment was wise. Out on Verve Records.
Co-Op Presents-Selectors Assemble
'It was 20 years ago today...' not quite but that timeless line is as good an introduction as any to remember the edgy arrival of unpredictable rhythm patterns and stacatto beats that are Broken Beat. Artists like the duo 4Hero, Germany's Jazzanova, the UK collective, Bugz in the Attic and New Sector Movements' chief, I G Culture are just a few of its champions. Initially, the next big thing into the millennium as it grew towards the end of its first decade, such a challenging yet inclusive element of dance music seemed to reach an impasse. 'Bruk' is back however: Grime and its relatives owe much to it and could be facing a rival for its affections beyond 2017. The Co-Op was a rather popular London night for the electronic pioneers not so long ago and lends its name here to those beat-makers and some of the new players. Kicking off this EP is one of the latter: Henry Wu strengthening his kudos on 'Substance' as it receives the IG Culture/Alex Phountzi Dancehall-leaning treatment. Alex, IG and Henry bring the claps, weighty drums, moods and textures on, perhaps, the EP's highlight. NameBrandSound and Sonar's Ghost ride a warm keyboard riffs back and forth on a bed of stuttering pads and vocal effects. Son of Scientist pick up the pace for a stew of clipped Electro-tinged sonics.