Mexican Summer Records
A fantastic, fully fledged production from Arp, who drops this woozy, tropical synth-ony onto hungry ears. Splitting itself with portions of recognisable influences, from the deepest chasms of Balearic record rarities to kitsch Italo disco oddities, it’s a curious beast that snakes and swings with charm and grace. This is the record that you don’t want to categorise: it’s a feel-good, other-worldly rhythm that once played, works its ear worm magic. He just nailed it.
'Beni Lane EP'
Lead track ‘Major Stef’ could be a stealth ace in the pack in the peak season festival sets ahead. This firecracker from iZem teases itself into your conscious with a cheeky half time saunter, before propelling its full force into the ether. Cute drum drops, samples and crisp percussion pepper the arrangement, which is smoothed by some deft Recloose style keyboard dabs. The rest of the EP isn’t too shabby either: more bass heavy, sparse but thoughtful arranging for the thinking feet.
The Leaf Label
Yet another new and intriguing signing for The Leaf Label…well, what did you expect?! When you discover the names involved, it all kind of makes sense too: comprising of Laurence Pike (and his band), along with Luke Abbott and Portico Quartet’s Jack Wyllie, you can hear traces of each and every contributor’s DNA within the musical make up of ‘Constellation’: loose, improvisational jazz drums, deep, swirling atmospherics, soaring saxophones and searing synths all bathed in a warm analogue glow. Watch this space.
'Home Away From Home (feat Laura Darlington)'
A Stable Sound
Pitching up somewhere between Stereolab and Broadcast, you could argue that this single marks a bit of a departure for Chemist in terms of production and style, but in truth he’s been switching it up a lot over the last couple of years. And as his productions have become less hip-hop centric and more reflective of his broad musical tastes, so too his albums have changed to encompass more electronic and indie sounds. This is a perfect example, as he teams up with Laura Darlington for this electronic pop gem.
On the whole I can generally take or leave Calibro 35. They are definitely one of the strongest acts on the label, but as with much of the Record Kicks output, it’s reliable, solid and dependable, if not a little predictable and obvious from time to time. Here, though, they dole out a bit of a peach: fusing Afrobeat, funk, jazz and the usual soundtrack shenanigans to great effect. ‘Polymeri’ on the flip is an altogether more out-there, experimental free-jazz type proposition.
Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Adrian Younge
'Questions (feat CeeLo Green) '
As collaborations go, this one between ATCQ's Ali Shaheed Muhammad and LA composer/arranger/producer Adrian Younge was only ever destined to be golden. I am struggling to recall a bad record that either were involved in, and given the strength of their 2014 Souls Of Mischief collaboration, you just know that this is destined for greatness too. Recorded in glorious analogue, with a full orchestra and rhythm section, this lavish and beautiful soul/bossa lead single should give you all the proof you need.
Vintage sounds par excellence from Fatty, who takes the 1976 Roy Ayers classic and dubs it out into a reggae masterpiece. Known previously for his infamous analogue productions that hark back to pre-digital compression days, Prince Fatty aka Mike Pelanconi shows us again why he is a master of production and desk art. Oh, and did we mention that Omar is responsible for the vocal? Yeah. Released for Record Store Day in limited numbers. Hunt yours down.
James L' Estraunge Orchestra
Although ‘We Rise’, lifted from L’Estraunge’s suave ‘Eventual Reality’ LP, has undergone the remixer's blade here, it’s still the original, with all its layered textures and fractured beauty, that shines through again. 6th Borough Project and Sumsuch add the dancefloor aesthetic, but if it’s more a question of songsmanship, then seek out the original, where synths and strings, floating harmonies and ethereal FX all skip the light fandango. File alongside those Floating Points, Caribou, Four Tet and early Zero 7 rekkids.