Tru Thoughts show, once again, why they are a leader in showcasing independent music. J-Felix recently featured on the latest of the label's 'Shapes' compilations and lands a first LP by diving into the electronic side of 80's soul/dance. Well-paced with tracks averaging around the 3.30 mark, the writing, arrangement and production give it a perfect summer sound, backed up by a number of uplifting hooks , wise drum machine/synth-programme choices - topped off with guest vocal appearances by Abi Flynn, Sophie Paul and Seychelles. '101 Reasons', 'Show 'em How It's Done' and 'Time' are all highlights.
Appreciate? Try the Tokyo Dawn Records roster and Opolopo on Z Records.
Lurupean Dub Stars-Mayflower Dub
A refreshing stumble upon a French-German alliance as Olivier Coffi and Uwe Hübner embark upon a second album . With the dub template as its foundation, the 13 cuts of 'Heroes' use this to showcase the electric guitar and harmonica as lead instruments, producing a unique sound where Jamaica-meets-north-Africa comes to mind. Enjoyable music that falls into a comfortable pattern. It is 'Mayflower Dub' that drives along, supported by Uwe's rumbling bass guitar and Oliver's simple melody, potentially fitting into an early-evening Dubstep DJ set. 'The extended number, 'You Dub' is a close second. The full LP is out on Herr Hübner's Ubass Records.
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The Gene Dudley Group-Zambidoose
Wah Wah 45s celebrates a second summer LP release - and celebration is what you will find at the nub of the music herein. Positivity abounds from the ebullient drums behind the storming vocal of Anne Frankenstein on originals like 'Dynamite in the Still of the Night' before heading into a rich, instrumental hybrid of Reggae and Funk on 'Tiger Jaw': irresistible chord changes and horn riffs abound. The multi-instrumentalist puts the horn section and rhythm guitar at the helm of recent B-side - Todd Terje cover, 'Inspector Norse', as the drums continue to roll with fervour. Anne Frankenstein returns on another two. 'Jackpot' has a soul revue feel, reminiscent of the revival led by Amy's 'Back to Black' LP. Providing such a number of career-high melodies, hooks and bridges brings much to enjoy from Mr Dudley's 11-track collection on a potential perennial sound-of-summer collection. Out now.
'Who Is Jill Scott?' still feels like a very fresh memory: natural for such a timeless and eminent collection of exalted soul and R'n'B songs. Fifteen years on, the next installment of Miss Scott's career lands, having just been treated to a roundup of her first three studio Hidden Beach Recordings. (and the post-exit, '...from the Vault') Her second away from the label, 'Woman', is here. Progress made through its diversity., in particular through this slice of stripped beauty. Almost peerless over the breadth of her career, we now have another piece of the answer to the first question.
Anja Schneider-Circle Culture
Finding time to record as well as continuing to be in demand for her DJ sets and the small matter of running her own label, Mobilee Records, Berlin's Anja Schneider returns with another teasing two tracks of minimal tech-house. The A side keeps it stripped with kick drum, and a spine of claps as it grows and fattens out with hi-hats and wispy, arpeggiated synths. Konstantin Sibold & Leif Müller bring urgency with their remix, beefing the single further abefore Anja finishes with personal favourite 'The Squaring'. Stripped of its top end at the beginning, a skipping bass drum pattern travels into moody territory over a captivating 10 1/2 minutes.
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Poker Flat Recordings host the latest single from André Hommen as he veers away from the deeper into the soundscapes of atmospheric Minimal/Tech House. André's most recent release on the Objektivity label 'Battery Park' from earlier this year gave a hint of what was to come on this three-tracker. Highlighted by the Dub version of 'Introspectral', it opens with a template percussive intro for its genre and eases into a simple keyboard pattern accompanied by a crashing upbeat. B-side, 'Centrifuge' feels like a half-brother and actually reaches a better peak than its sibling. Just out.
Ruth Koleva-Rhythm Slave (Remix LP)
Bulgaria's finest is back, 18 months on from her triumphant debut, 'Ruth', which included a dominant Richie Spaven on drums and some high-end restless soul songwriting. The 6 remixes/2 new compilation reads like a who's who of leftfield remixers - all veterans of the scene. London-based Eric Lau brings the mature side of R'n'B to 'Turn This Around' while former Bugz...members Mark De Clive-Lowe and Kaidi Tatham break up the beats to their usual high standard. The TDR label's own, Positive Flow, supplies his soulful, electronic edge to 'Disonant' and Opolopo, the remixer of the moment, with his distinctive syncopated beats around 4/4 on 'Clarity'. Ruth's voice and harmonies fit perfectly over all.
Switzerland's Drumpoet keep it local with Zurich-based Domenico Ferrari and Balint Dobozi. Deep techno-based goodness for headphones and the floor arrives on vinyl and download, in the form of three fine cuts. Large sonic atmospheres, (reflective of their involvement in film scoring), link each one, led by A-side 'Blaze' as it aims for late night dancefloor, mind-altering escapism. The palette expands with 'Desert Sky''s arpeggiated builder and concludes with the pick of the bunch, '6.54' - built on an ostinato of two notes while it rides a wave of synth-phonic, head-nodding appreciation. Already with us in 12" form and due a digital release, mid-July.
Never too late to happen upon visionary music. Part of the talent-heavy stable of Whirlwind Records, Partikel recently released their third LP. Led by the compositions of soprano and tenor saxophonist, Duncan Eagles, there is a feeling that evolution and revolution have crossed paths as we get to indulge in the finished article. Beginning with the trilogy, 'Clash of the Clans', part 1 arrives with a frantic string intro (given centre-stage on the LP) before settling down into some consummate interplay. A Mingus-like intro (a la 'Haitian Fight Song') from Max Luthbert's bass leads the band into the organic 'Seeking Shadows' and seemlessly into part 3's 'Midnight Mass' as the string section returns. Highlights abound, prompting the need for a full LP purchase. The soaring 'Wray Common', and personal highlight, 'Bartering with Bob', as the trio follow the driving syncopation of Eric Ford's drums. Outstanding.