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.
Goran Kajfeš Subtropic Arkestra - The Reason Why Vol. 2
A very welcome Volume 2 from this ground-breaking Swedish trumpeter as he leads the Arkestra into new and eclectic fusions. Sounds from the Bosphorus region lead off the 6-track LP on Dokuz Seki/Esmerim on a stew of Heliocentrics-like funk, winding melody and undulating atmosphere, replete with the open minds of Per Johansson, Jonas Kullhammar, Andreas Söderström, Reine Fiske and Johan Holmegard to name only a few musicians on display. 'New Track' is an exhalted European mix of jazz-rock and west Africa that keeps lifting the listener. 'The Reason Why Vo. 2' is out now on Headspin Recordings.
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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 in July.
A modern-soul original returns for a second outing in advance of his 4th official LP 'In Another Life'. Hailing from that most musical of cities, Philadelphia, early recordings like the heart-felt 'Sometimes' and 'When Will You Call' set the template for the high-end of African-American music. After a few years in the wilderness, he made a welcome comeback, signing to BBE Records (in Europe) in 2013 and releasing the widely acclaimed collection 'A Love Surreal'. This single sets in place the anticipation of another eclectic adventure as 'Satellites' is underpinned by skipping drums, a constant organ and powerful lead vocal from the man himself. We can place faith in this torchbearers to carry soul-related music into the future.
Dele Sosimi-You No Fit Touch Am
Well-established in the pantheon of Nigerian music as a colloborator with two generations of the Kuti family, keyboardist, Dele Sosimi announces his arrival at the delightful and discerning Wah Wah 45s label. No dilution of the Afrobeat sound will be found amongst the 7 tracks on display here. The message is present, the rhythm tough throughout; from guitar to drums and horns. From the relentless pursuit of the title track to the shuffling mid-tempo on 'We Siddon, We Dey Look' and 'Na My Turn', personal pick is the slow-burner 'Where We Want Be'. Somewhere, the master will be nodding approval.
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Seckou Keita-22 Strings
One man, his instrument and the voice. Near 20 years since his arrival on the international scene, Senegalese musical royalty makes the solo album he has aspired towards for many years. ARC Music Productions host an assembly of 10 songs of purity as they take the listener away from the traumas of everyday life. This is the sound of West Africa's harp, the Kora, in the hands of Mr Keita, opening with the hypnotic 'The Path from Gabou' through the deeply personal reference to his brother on 'N'Doke'. Seckou sings in his indigenous tongue on 'Mandé' and 'The Invisible Man'. This is Soul Music. This is Seckou Keita.
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 rrives 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.
Dino Lenny & Doorly-The Magic Room remixes
What a fine example of simple, straight and terse dance music. Adorned by a message-led monologue which heads into a laconic male vocal, the pulsating single-note bass synth and piano riffs complete a track that may be causing a stir on dancefloors worldwide for the coming months. Doorly toughens the beats on the 'Re-chunk' mix and progresses the original while The Deepshakerz focus directly on the rhythm aspects. 'Respect': both the theme of 'The Magic Room' and mutually felt towards its providers. Out now on Fine Human Records.