Please excuse the well-meaning nerdy music fan stuff here, but I can still remember the first time I stumbled across Kutiman. It was 2013, and it was a little 7” on some obscure label I had never heard of. I remember being struck by his clever, well-crafted sample sources, the subtle fusion of funk, soul and rock, and the ultimately blurred lines between what was actually played and what was sampled. Fast forward several years, and we have this Anatolian style belter fusing orchestral psych-rock-soul, which adopts the very same line-blurring, crate-delving philosophies. What a way to help celebrate 20 years of Wah Wah!
Preacha ft. Rider Shafique
"Bukkha getting deep and heavy with Rider. Killer remixes too."
Carl Craig vs Beatless
'At Les (Beatless Version)'
‘At Les’ surely still stands as one of the finest techno (not techno) tracks of the last 25 years. Originally featured on the Planet E-released ‘More Songs About Food And Revolutionary Art’ in 1997, this timeless classic now gets another lease of life via this beautifully orchestrated, classically inspired — electronic free — re-interpretation. No offence, but forget Pete Tong and the Heritage Orchestra; this is the real deal.
'Hanging Tough/The Groove '
Two ultra impeccable covers from multi-instrumentalist Claudio Passavanti. ‘Hanging Tough’ is the more obscure of the two, but if you grew up on a diet of Bob James and B-boy breaks, then head for his tight keys rendition of Rodney Franklin's ‘The Groove’. Boasting flute, call and response keys, a beat tighter than an NHS budget and a funktified walking bassline, you’ve got it all there.
Brandt Brauer Frick
There are actually very few bands around at present who can navigate their way through so many styles, so seamlessly and with seemingly such little effort as these guys. ‘Rest’ seems to absorb jazz, electronics, classical, house and techno within the space of its four minutes. Never once feeling contrived, forced or disjointed, it's another beautiful record from the three Bs.
Three albums in, and Rakei may have hit the sweetest spot so far. With that Steve Spacek meets Fat Freddy’s Drop spatial soul vibe, the ex-pat from the southern hemisphere lays down his opener for forthcoming LP ‘Origin’. Having racked up multiple plays on 6Music, with sell out shows planned for his world tour, and catching the ears of LA producer Terrace Martin, the Rakei star is surely in soulful ascendance.
From the opening late night G-funk-isms of ‘The Flow’, you know that this is classic DaM FunK territory. Airbrushed synths smooth the ride, and you’d be forgiven for thinking that a touch of Maze’s ‘Twilight’ might kick in at any moment. In essence, it’s instrumental all the way and heads down into the dreamscape constructed by DF, where smooth pads interweave through snapping drums and just the right amount of bottom end throughout.
Sounds Of Liberation
The great thing about the vinyl revolution is that it has allowed for certain undiscovered, previously forgotten and lost gems to be reissued on the hallowed black plastic format. This is no exception. Five unreleased tracks from this on-fire jazz community group from Philadelphia, that put some of the more recognised artists of the genre to shame. Angular Afro-Cuban grooves underpin in part what is a soul jazz meltdown.
Night Time Stories
The amount of soundscaped electronica that floats into our inbox each month is substantial, and while it’s all pretty enough, it sadly has very little originality or character. Minimal piano music too, lands with equal regularity, and with equally uninspired results. This single, however, which combines the two — plus a touch of techno and jazz — does it in such a way that it makes you sit up and listen. Like Herbie Hancock’s ‘Dedication’ rewired for 2020.