Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Autumn LPs #1




Rodriguez - Cold Fact (Light in the Attic)
V/A - Computer Incarnations for World Peace II (Sonar Kollektiv)
Roots Manuva - Slime & Reason (Big Dada)
V/A - David Guetta Presents F*** Me I’m Famous! International Vol 2 (Ministry Of Sound)
Modey Lemon - Season of Sweets (Birdman)
Monika Kruse - Changes of Perception (Terminal M)
V/A - 4hero…Mixing: Dego (Sonar Kollektiv)
Smile Down Upon Us - Smile Down Upon Us (Static Caravan)
Golden Animals - Free Your Mind and Win a Pony (Happy Parts)
Quasimode - The Land of Freedom (Sonar Kollektiv)
V/A - Housexy Ibiza (Housexy)
Huge Hephner - Nymphotech (Siteholder)
V/A - Amplified: Dirty Soul Electric (BBE)
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Rodriguez - Cold Fact (Light in the Attic)
Web: http://www.lightintheattic.net
After languishing in non man’s land for close to four decades, Rodriguez’s mighty psychedelic masterpiece that charts the trials and tribulations that life brings gets a full re-release courtesy of Light in the Attic. The universal subject matter, from relationship dysfunction to the lure of mind expanding chemicals and life on the lowest rung of the ladder, will resonate with listeners today everywhere from Sixto Rodriguez’s city of Detroit, to those living all over the world that deal with the same struggles. Highs appear in the form of songs such as the enticing Sugar Man, bitter Hate Street Dialogue and convention slaying Rich Folks Hoax. No nonsense musicianship and honest heartfelt lyricism triumph on this forgotten gem from Rodriguez.

V/A - Computer Incarnations for World Peace II (Sonar Kollektiv)
Web: http://www.sonarkollektiv.de
Computer Incarnations for World Peace II is good at inducing glazed eyes and a mesmerised state of being, due to its glorious soundtrack of stoned discoid pleasures. The spun out grooves may in some cases be more likely to cause a loss of movement than a dancefloor based flurry of activity, but this is music for the mind first and body second. Moments of awe inspiring beauty include Todd Terje & Prins Thomas’s smile inducing Reinbågen, Daniel Wang & Brennan Green’s barely conscious retouch of Crazy P’s Keep On and Mark E’s gorgeous Fighter. Woozy soundscapes for lost moments.

Roots Manuva - Slime & Reason (Big Dada)
Web: http://www.myspace.com/rootsmanuva
This album is a product of the UK soundsystem culture, where the bass is raw, lyrics frank and what floats between is a myriad of musical vibes melded together in a brutal but functional manner. It may in essence be a hip hop album, but on Slime & Reason Mr. Rodney ’Roots Manuva’ Smith gives his observations on life over grooves of varying shapes and colours. The production from various beat conductors is hot and standouts include the wheeling reggae vibes of Again & Again, the eastern ragga bump of Buff Nuff and the frightened 2 Much 2 Soon. Rodney has delivered a very British LP in terms of musical style and lyrical content, which certainly does the business.

V/A - David Guetta Presents F*** Me I’m Famous! International Vol 2 (Ministry Of Sound)
Web:
It is easy to poke fun at Guetta’s extremely commercially accessible vision of modern club music, which in some circles is known as electro, but is basically just a re-branding of house, or the way in which he pushes it through pretentious bashes and dance-pop hits. However, at the end of the day he plays hedonistic tracks with incredible vitality and takes clubfloor music to huge audiences. Some of the vocal efforts on this compilation are perhaps a bridge too far, but the overall energy is impressive and there are some magnificent cuts. Disc 1 winners include Who’s Who?’s barbed Klack and Guetta’s own demented Jack Is Back. Disc 2 follows with notables such as Eric Prydz’s anthemic Pjanoo and Mark Knight & Funkagenda’s chemically enhanced cover of Man With The Red Face. In a world where many DJs and producers take themselves way too seriously Guetta shows how fun and excitement can be had with popular modern club music.

Modey Lemon - Season of Sweets (Birdman)
Web: http://www.birdmanrecords.com
The blood splattered confectionary on the album cover suggests they are not a band to be taken lightly and Pittsburgh’s Modey Lemon hit hard with fizzing guitars, squawking half spoken half sung vocals and tough drums. Seasons of Sweets is an onslaught from start to finish, with full out rocking numbers featuring alongside psyche touched mind expanding efforts. Winners include the disorientating Sacred Place, hilarious Become A Monk and jagged Milk Moustache. The band hit the UK shores in September with the full on Modey Lemon live experience.

Monika Kruse - Changes of Perception (Terminal M)
Web: http://www.monikakruse.com
Techno pin up Monika Kruse invites you to witness her Changes of Perception on this LP, which is both contemplative and dancefloor satiating. With help from Gregor Trescher, the Berlin based producer has created an album of warm productions that tick current musical boxes, but are water tight and sparkle enough to have some longevity. Highs include the trippy keyed Hope, moody Fragile and old school influenced Wackypaky. Changes of Perception is a technoid treat that holds the attention from start to finish.

V/A - 4hero…Mixing: Dego (Sonar Kollektiv)
Web: http://www.4hero.co.uk
Involved at the inception of various forms of UK dance music and a record spinner since those early days, Dego McFarlane brings us an excellent DJ set as suitable for head nodding as club grooving. The bias is towards slower bpms, featuring hippety hoppity and soul infused numbers alongside boogie gems and heavy reggae efforts. Highs include The Skatalites’s mournful Roots Dub, Patrice Rushen’s buoyant Message In The Music and the SA-RA re-cut of Roy Hargrove’s tender On The One. A true pioneer of modern electronic music, Dego has come full circle in recent years and here shows how much enjoyment can be had with old-fashioned songs, beats, bass and rhymes.

Smile Down Upon Us - Smile Down Upon Us (Static Caravan)
Web: http://www.smiledownuponus.org.uk
In another life, two thirds of Smile Down Upon Us made music as Phelan Sheppard, and that outfit’s love affair with beautiful melodies and intricate instrumentation has made an impression on this project. Here, the duo of Keiron Phlelan and David Sheppard are joined by Japanese artist moomLoo, who adds her heart melting lyrics and sweet electronics. The self titled LP brought cross continental collaboration and features beautiful moments such as the calm Girl Of A Skin Coloured Blanket No.2, the angsty My Body’s Continents and a gentle effort entitled Rayla No Lullaby. This trio really does make music that smiles at its listeners.

Golden Animals - Free Your Mind and Win a Pony (Happy Parts)
Web: http://www.myspace.com/goldenanimals
Golden Animals wield fuzzy guitars, solid drums and hearty, if downcast vocals. The animals are a twosome consisting of Tommy Eisner and Linda Beecroft, and the scorched rock sound of their album is at least in part due to fact that it was recorded in the peaceful Californian desert. Highs include the bluesy Queen Mary (The Flop), the grooviness of Try On Me, and the enticing Follow Me Down. Fuzzy fun for all.

Quasimode - The Land of Freedom (Sonar Kollektiv)
Web: http://quasimode.ddo.jp
Japanese neo jazz artists have a tradition of not shying away from expressing themselves through grandiose musical displays and this album from Quasiomde is filled with the sort of dramatic phraseology and animated musicianship one has become to associate with this genre. For this release, Quasimode have enlisted the talents of Carmen Lundy and Masato Nakamura of Sleep Walker fame to help get their musical messages across. Full on musical assaults such as the majestic For Self Defense and triumphant title track are backed by gorgeous calming episodes such as Last Nine Days and Raw Cotton Field. Quasimode are musically grounded and so their powerful instrumental displays don’t feel unnecessarily over the top.

V/A - Housexy Ibiza (Housexy)
Web: http://www.housexy.com
Housexy bring us a rather homogenised sound, focusing on obvious diva vocals, electroid synth workouts and jumped up beats. This means that compilation features a number of covers and remixes of classic dance records, tweaked in that glam house manner. Disc 1 builds subtly and features classy efforts such as Cloudburst’s euphoric Paradise and the gutsy 2008 remix of HajI & Emanuel feat. Erie’s Take Me Away. Disc 2 starts off where Disc 1 left off and features notable cuts such as The Shapeshifter’s powering cover of Orbital’s Chime and Laidback Luke’s twisting refix of Blake & Monroe’s Sick Of Hearing Love Songs. The Housexy sound is never going to win any awards for musical innovation, but it is incredibly uplifting and shows that the ‘funky‘ or ’electro’ strand of house is far from retirement.

Huge Hephner - Nymphotech (Siteholder)
Web: http://www.siteholder.net
Huge Hephner is Billy Dalessandro, one of the people behind the Siteholder Records imprint and here he brings us his debut LP under the moniker on the Chicago based imprint. His sound is essentially infectious body moving techno, but the grooves are fattened in a way that makes his music a welcome breather from anorexic fair. Winners include the suggestive My Money Your Body, synthilating Lotus Bomb and crunching Quickie Bounce. This cool album of sleazy technoid grooves is available as a digital long player and on two vinyl EPs.

V/A - Amplified: Dirty Soul Electric (BBE)
Web: http://www.bbemusic.com
London party promoters Amplified hook up with BBE for a compilation that proves neo soul isn’t a thing of the past. The album features both established players and new faces, whose dulcet tones sit atop various hippety hoppity inspired backings. Real winners include Tiombe Lockhardt’s egotistical You Need Me, Coultrain’s lazy grooved The Girl Of My Dreams and Jimi James‘ nasty Holl‘ Up. With the return of Badu and the emergence of talents like Kissey Asplund and the newbies on this compilation, the sweetened soulful sound is back with vengeance.

All reviews by Jon Freer

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