Wednesday, February 21, 2007

AIM - Hinterland

2002 release that beautifully reflects Grand Central's commitment to funky, un-abrasive Hip Hop. Like a soundtrack Hinterland unfolds, changes its pace, and evokes a specific locality for its audience. Dark beats, hypnotic strings, soundtrack samples, and deep bass merge into a cohesive producers statement. On 'The Girl That Fell Through The Ice' Kate Rogers sings enigmatically over orchestrated strings. Diamond D displays his storytelling skills as he narrates Aim's haunting production on the 'Omen'. While Oakland's Souls Of Mischief turn in a classic appearance on 'No Restrictions' flipping tempos and rhyming with superb skill and fluidity. Hinterland is a progressive and contemplative album, tinged with remarkable soulful grooves, trip hop ballads, and emotive melodies.

1. Intro
2. The Girl Who Fell Through The Ice
3. What Do People Do All Day
4. No Restriction
5. Fall Break
6. Guimar
7. Good Disease
8. The Omen
9. Linctus
10. Vipco
11. A Twilight Zone
12. From A Seaside Town
13. Hinterland

Monday, February 19, 2007

Acethetic - Reflections

Struck with a love and talent for music at an early age, Acethetic began DJing, producing, and rhyming in the late 90's. "Hip-Hop was always in my blood," says Ace. "Conscious lyrics and a beat that hit hard always hit home." Also being inspired by artists like James Brown, Miles Davis, and John Coltrane, Ace began studying Jazz, playing the guitar, and developing his own sound. Born in San Diego, CA, Ace emerged in the Underground Hip-Hop scene in 2003 with his debut album Park Benches. In 2006, Acethetic joined forces with a live band to perform at the Epicentre in San Diego for the release of his latest CD "Reflections". Today, Acethetic resides in the Bay Area and performs regularly. He incorporates elements of Jazz with smooth basslines, heavy hitting drums, and rhythmatic cuts to produce a sound all his own. "A true artist must remain open-minded," says Ace. "I try to continue to learn and grow while expressing my true emotion, thoughts, and soul." His eclectic beats and conscious lyrics combined with elements of Funk, Jazz, Soul, and whatever else he decides to toss into the gumbo, makes his songs all the more fresher. Cop This!!

1. Intro
2. Bless
3. Fresh Like
4. Diabolical Melodic
5. Freedom Song
6. Azul
7. The Jazzmatist
8. Scars
9. Sun Down
10. Night
11. Heaven Bound
12. What Time Is It
13. Teach Our Children
14. Perspective
15. Kuroshio Oak Tree
16. No More
17. Reflections

Scientist - Dub In The Roots Tradition

This CD is nothing short of excellent and features dub workouts from the legendary mixmaster Scientist.The tracks featured were previously very rare and were taken from the roots tradition label.Blood and fire have done an excellent job with this release and the tracks are total dynamite for fans of dub reggae.You can really hear scientists talent at the mixing board plus the legendary sound of king tubby's high pass filters and reverb/echo units giving these dubs the edge. This is one of the best dub releases ever, so I definently recommend picking this up.

1. King Tubby's Answer
2. Dub Bible
3. Dub 16
4. Pick Up The Dub
5. Don't Rush The Dub
6. No Dub Island
7. Love You Dub
8. When I Love Dub
9. See A Dub Face
10. One Man Dub
11. Sunshine Version
12. Dub Livity
13. Babylon Fight Dub
14. African Daughter Dub
15. Home Version

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Preach - Garveyism

Preach is the leader of Hip Hop band Kindablu out of Columbia, SC.

His first official solo offering "Garveyism" includes production by Nicolay of the critically acclaimed Foreign Exchange along with soulful backdrops by Clokwork (who has done production for Boston's Brick Records),Jah Freedom, and Midi Marc amongst others.

For supporters of A Tribe Called Quest and other acts during Hip Hop's glory years, "Garveyism" makes you feel as if they never left.

1. Sunday Morning (intro)
2. Revoluccion (Start Button)
3. South Coca
4. Believe
5. Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda
6. Dance
7. I Can Fly f. Butterfly Brown
8. Take 5
9. War Paint
10. That Feeling
11. Cool Out
12. Rise
13. Sunday Morning (reprise)
14. From the Soul

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Kid Loco - A Grand Love Story

A Grand Love Story is an irresistible romp through the lighthearted, pastoral side of trip-hop by way of orchestral pop paragons like Bacharach, Gainsbourg, and Love. Songs like the single "Relaxin' With Cherry" and "She's My Lover" are beautiful pop songs, constructed mostly from sampled material with a few live guitar and basslines plus vocals by Prieur and the Pastels' Katrina Mitchell. If the '70s fixations of Air were shifted back a decade, the results would be quite close to A Grand Love Story.

1. Grand Love Theme
2. Relaxin' With Cherry
3. Love Me Sweet
4. Bootleggers
5. Calling Aventura King
6. Sister Curare
7. She's My Lover (A Song For R )
8. She Woolf Daydreaming
9. Alone Again So
10. Cosmic Supernatural

Kid Loco - Another Late Night

Number seven in the ever consistent Another Late Night series finds Frenchman Kid Loco at the helm with another fine selection of nocturnal treats. As ever, the emphasis is on quality rather than quantity. But with an impressive 23 tracks to choose from you thankfully get your fair share of both. Concentrating on a much more contemporary style than previous contributors such as Tommy Guerrero, the boy wonder pays only cursory attention to the oldie but goldie route, with Public Image Limited, Gabor Szabo, Harvey Mandel, John Lucien and Frankie Valentine providing the only pre-1990s support. Instead Loco heads down the route once marked trip-hop, favouring a sluggish, head nodding trawl through hip-hop inspired downbeats and bass-heavy personal favourites. But, what it may lose in variation it makes up for in the well executed mix, a seamless cut and paste journey through a host of long forgotten beats and breaks. From the Herbaliser's "Hard Stuff" and Aim's "Fall Break" to Up Bustle and Out's "The Domino Boys" and Tranquility Bass' "Soldier's Sweetheart". And that's just for starters

1. Mizrab - Gabor Szabo
2. Hard stuff - The Herbaliser
3. Ancoats 2 Zambia - The Baby Namboos (Geoff Barrow mix)
4. Religion l - Public Image Ltd
5. Uplink - Stratus
6. Barcelone - Tommy Hools
7. Cold spin - Zero Theory
8. Fall break - Aim
9. Nana Reprise - Frankie Valentine
10. Tubular Belgian in my goldfiel - Departure Lounge
11. Summer love - Billy Wright (Beyond there mix)
12. So blue its black - The Underwolves (Heavy Manners mix)
13. 183 (Head Nod) - DJ Crystal
14. Top dog - Markus Kienzl (New Version)
15. Wade in water - Harvey Mandel
16. Soldiers sweetheart - Tranquility Bass
17. Lilly Hall - Kraze 1 & Aniis Le Neve
18. The Domino Boys - Up, Bustle And Out
19. Street Preacher - Troublemakers
20. Spooked - Flevans
21. Paralysed - Kid Loco
22. Attitude - Marie et Les Garcons
23. Rashida - John Lucien

The Away Team - National Anthem

This is a very good cd. The production is by far the bast part of this cd. Khrysis is one of my favorite producers right now, pretty much anything that comes out of North Carolina is quality shit. NC is running the "hip-hop" game right now. Little Brother, Kenn Starr, Cesar Comanche, Edgar Allen Floe, Median, L.E.G.A.C.Y., Supastition, and The Away Team are all my favorites right now. This music bangs because of all the great producers that reside in North Carolina like; 9th Wonder, Khrysis and many more, plus Dutch Producer Nicolay (who helps all the MC's in NC). Pick this up for sure.

1. And Now Folks
2. Competition, The
3. Likka Hi (Last Call)
4. Shining, The
5. Come On Down - (with Smif-N-Wessun)
6. Blah Blah, The
7. So I Tells The B!tch Right
8. F*ck You
9. Let Off A Round
10. Me And My Fellows
11. Make It Hot - (with Phonte/Joe Scudda)
12. End Of The Day, The
13. Upnatem
14. One-N-Only - (with Percy Miracles)
15. Always Be Around
16. On The Line - (with Big Pooh/Chaundon/Joe Scudda)
17. Caution - (bonus track)
18. Lights Out - (bonus track)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

St. Germain - Tourist

One of the original French dance artists, alongside Laurent Garnier, long before the likes of Daft Punk and Air, Ludovic Navarre, or St Germain as he is better known, has waited five years to produce a follow up to his first album. With Boulevard, he was already spicing up his deep house with blues, gospel and jazz, long before Moby. But Tourist is in a different league altogether. First, the man has landed a deal with the jazz masters' label, Blue Note. Second, with Tourist, Navarre takes his bluesy deep house further into jazz land. From the opening track, Rose Rouge, with its infectious groove, to the last, it is groove all round. On every track, you can feel the influences. Hampton, Armstrong, Davis, they’re all there. But Navarre does use these influences in style. Here, the masters are at his service. Tourist is one of the most enjoyable albums ever, and St Germain is slowly but surely becoming one of the major talents on the international dance scene.

1. Rose Rouge
2. Montego Bay Spleen
3. So Flute
4. Land Of...
5. Latin Note
6. Sure Thing
7. Pont Des Arts
8. La Goutte D'Or
9. What You Think About...

St. Germain - Boulevard (New Version: The Complete Series)

St. Germain (the brainchild of French producer Ludovic Navarre) has become a respected benchmark on the international music scene. Predating other French talents such as Daft Punk, Air and Dimitri From Paris, St. Germain’s influence is clearly audible in those artists’ work as well. PIAS America continue to unearth the classic gems of electronic music with the timely issue of St. Germain’s "Boulevard, new version the complete series". Never before released in the United States, Boulevard finds smoldering jazz vibes nestled amidst lush dance rhythms in an un-self-consciously eclectic album with tremendous crossover potential.

Before St. Germain caught the ear of legendary American jazz label Blue Note, which led to the 2000 release of the album Tourist and a string of sold-out shows across the U.S., Navarre was an innovator within the electronic music scene (with St. Germain and several other aliases). His early releases on France’s respected F Communications label (run by another great French talent, Laurent Garnier) did more to put Paris on the international map than any of his predecessors. No other artist in recent history has garnered such acceptance across wide musical boundaries, leapfrogging from discerning house music lovers to ardent jazz enthusiasts with effortless motion. Billboard named St. Germain their "Top Contemporary Jazz Artist" and Tourist their "Top Contemporary Jazz Album" of 2001, while the album appeared on countless "best of" playlists from the world’s top DJs.

Originally released in 1995, Boulevard sold over 300,000 copies worldwide, was elected Record of the Year in England and served as a cornerstone for a legion of artists and producers interested in trying to capture its elusive and sexy grooves. Boulevard, new version the complete series includes two special extra songs, including the rare early hit "Alabama Blues," both taken from 1999’s From Detroit to St. Germain, a compilation of cuts recorded over seven years.

While much electronic music seemingly comes with an expiration date and built-in obsolescence, the sound of St. Germain is enduring and undoubtedly takes a cue from the jazz masters in terms of longevity. Here is a choice opportunity to take a listen to the rich backstory of an artist with no signs of slowing down in the future.

1. Deep In It
2. Street Scene (4 Schazz)
3. Sentimental Mood
4. What's New?
5. Dub Experience II
6. Forget It
7. Soul Salsa Soul
8. Alabama Blues

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Funki Porcini - Hed Phone Sex

Funki Porcini (saxophone); Jessica Kidden, The Little Girl Guides, Chewna Tuna (vocals); Organ O'Fosphate (organ); Mr. Oink (synthesizer); Funghi Mutt (bass); Thud and Blunder (drums, percussion); Tina Peel (drums); Sig. Destiny, Grassy Greenspan (sound effects); Trumpets Of Orpheus. Recorded at the Uterus Goldmine, Walsall, Britain.

Triphop's naughty grooves and sweaty jazz riffing always run the risk of lapsing into sleazy-listening parody. With the non-stop visual innuendoes of HED PHONE SEX, James Braddell pushes the music-as-dirty metaphor mindset to humorous extremes. The Funki Porcini tag distances Braddell from the acid-jazz legacy of 9 Lazy 9, his partnership with Keir Fraser. HED PHONE SEX keeps Braddell's finger on the hip-shaking pulse of 9L9 while opening the Funki sound to such current influences as reggae (on the delectable "Dubble") and dub ("King Ashabanapal"), ambient mood-sculpture, and heavily sedated drum n' bass. A narcotic languor creeps into HED PHONE SEX, blurring neon, wine-bar piano and horns, and streaked headlights into one long and profound hangover. There are moments of lucidity among the slow-mo hiphop beats and smeary instrumentation--more so on the second disc, a generous loose-ends collection of earlier singles and remixes that occasionally swims in the same inebriated haze as the album proper. "26 West 17th Street" and "Suck Acid, Pearl & Dean" are trip-stagger-stumble-hop riddled with tricky breaks. Both Digidub and Plaid tailor "King Ashabanapal" to suit their own distinctive threads, while the other tracks teem with ear-pricking samples snatched from the periphery of semi-consciousness.

1. A Word Of Vice
2. B Monkey
3. Dubble
4. King Ashabanapal, Pt. 1
5. The Deep
6. King Ashabanapal, Pt. 2
7. Michaels' Little Friend
8. White Slave
9. Poseathon
10. Wicked, Cruel Nasty And Bad
11. Pork Albumen
12. The Softest Thing In The World (Motorway Incident)
13. Something Wonderful
14. Tiny Kangaroo Dolphin (From Hell)
15. Long Road

DJ Drez - Jahta Beat

Described as, “an exploration through hip hop and downtempo with a focus on vibrations from India to North Africa” ethnic percussion and vocal work, piano, sitar, ambient synths, flute and even some deft turntabalist work create a mesmerising spiritual LP that calms the senses and encourages clarity of thought.

With ‘Voice’ and ‘Contact’ being the best examples of this majestic sound there are also flashes of snappy raw grooves like in the funky bass and chopped vocal samples of ‘Morocco’ the ice cool vibe, dope beats and sparse spoken word segments of ‘Inner Vision’ and the loose bhangra funk of ‘Time.’ And at 15 tracks long you’ll certainly be getting your money’s worth.

1. Intro
2. Voice
3. The Road
4. She's Callin
5. Morocco
6. So Good
7. Universe
8. InI
9. Inner Vision
10. Cinema7
11. Sela
12. After The Rain
13. Time
14. Contact
15. Nya Sky

The Good, The Bad & The Queen

This Project Began in 2004 When Damon Albarn and Simon Tong Travelled to Nigeria to Record with Afrobeat Pioneer Tony Allen. Much Later, Albarn Gave the Tapes to Producer Brian "Danger Mouse" Burton and his Attitude Changed, Feeling Like He Would Just Write the Songs but Not Sing. Danger Mouse Helped Gel the Project and Albarn Just Wanted to Write Tales of West London. The Final Collaborator was Clash Bassist Paul Simonon, Whose Presence Changed the Whole Dynamic. The Result is a Record that Traces a Journey from the English Music Hall Tradition Over to West Africa for Afrobeat, Zigzagging Through the West Indies and Its Reggae and Dub, Back to England and London's Punk Scene, all the While Taking in a Strand of British Beat Music from the '50s Right Through to Britpop. A Very English Record, the Title Refers to a Saying in the Area that is Another Way of Saying "This is About Today, this is About the Present". A Heartfelt Tribute to London.

1. History Song
2. 80's Life
3. Northern Whale
4. Kingdom Of Doom
5. Herculean
6. Behind The Sun
7. The Bunting Song
8. Nature Springs
9. A Soldier's Tale
10. Three Changes
11. Green Fields
12. The Good, The Bad & The Queen

Mr. Cooper - Amongst Strangers

This Brighton based producer is either very confident in there work or just plain lazy, but ‘Amongst Strangers’ has twelve tracks and not one of them has been named. I guess it’s not necessarily a cocky act, maybe it’s to allow the listener to make up their own mind on the work. Personally, I feel names give a window into what the artist was thinking when putting the work together, but I guess we’ll never know.

What has gone into making this record is clear with or without names though; passion, creativity and most importantly… talent! Across the 12 tracks the listener is treated to instrumental beats which are in the most part, chilled but still very emotive. This is not wishy-washy hippy music destined to be played in lifts circa 2020, but music that you can relax to and let yourself be taken on a musical journey. Ok, so a few of the beats I can’t help myself but think would have been better with an emcee or vocalist on, but perhaps that would ruin the faultless flow of ‘Amongst Strangers’, for this is a rare album that you can easily play out every time you put it on. Is this because it’s only 42 minutes long? Well no. It’s because that each track length is just right, with enough variation to stop the nauseam that can all too often come hand in hand with instrumental albums.

There is little to fault an album like this, which can be played as a mood leveller, as background music, or simply put on and given your undivided. Mr Cooper has an immense talent on the boards, which shines throughout the album. A Must Have!

1. One
2. Two
3. Three
4. Four
5. Five
6. Six
7. Seven
8. Eight
9. Nine
10. Ten
11. Eleven
12. Twelve

Friday, January 12, 2007

Desmond Williams - Delights Of The Garden

Born in Jamaica and raised in New Jersey, Desmond Williams has been experimenting with electronic music for nearly 15 years. His work with legendary dub engineer Scientist caught the ears of Thievery Corporation, and Williams has been a part of the ESL Studios and a resident at Eighteenth Street Lounge ever since. From the dub-spiced bossa of 'Um Favor' to the afro-beat reggae of 'Dread A the Roughest', Williams' debut album is a sublime piece of work that pushes downtempo into previously uncharted territories.

1. Um Favor
2. Cadance
3. First Touch
4. Theme From A Dream
5. This Morning
6. Dread A The Roughest
7. Spy Glass
8. Saturday
9. Delights Of The Garden
10. Oxygen
11. High Speed Drift
12. For The Trees
13. Brooklyn Blues
14. Wilcher Waltz

Dan The Automator - (somewhat new + improved) A Much Better Tomorrow

Hip-Hop. The Title Track features the Wackiness of Kool Keith (Dr Octagon, Black Elvis) as his Sinister 6000 Alter Ego & the Other Tracks Are What Point the Listener to Nakamura's Better Tomorrow Vision: A World in which Hip-Hop is Free to Expand on the Myriad Sonic Possibilities He Touches On. This Reissue is Complemented with Brand New Mastering & the Addition of Six Never-Before-Released Kool Keith. Automator Tracks from the Original Dr Octagon Sessions.

1. Better Tomorrow
2. King of NY
3. I Want da Mic
4. Sleep - Dan the Automator
5. Wiling - Dan the Automator,
6. Cartoon Capers
7. 4:17 - Dan the Automator
8. Buck Buck
9. Truth - Dan the Automator
10. It's Over Now
11. Better Tomorrow, Pt. 2

Cut Chemist - The Audience's Listening

The debut album from Cut Chemist, formerly of pioneering underground hip-hop group Jurassic 5, The Audience's Listening is evocative of an era when sound enthusiasts put out records for the adventure of it, not as a vehicle tied to hit singles and booty-shaking videos. Using a turntable, mixer and computer to create the songs, this gifted DJ has conjured an homage to what is possible. Varied, uplifting and unexpected, rooted in hip-hop but leaping into new sonic territory, The Audience's Listening offers musical magic created by the alchemist known as Cut Chemist.

1. Motivational Speaker
2. My 1st Big Break
3. The Lift
4. The Garden
5. Spat
6. What's The Altitude (featuring Hymnal)
7. Metrorail Thru Space
8. Storm (featuring Edan and Mr. Lif)
9. 2266 Cambridge
10. Spoon
11. A Peak In Time
12. The Audience Is Listening (Theme Song)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

D-Styles - Phantazmagorea

This amazing album represents 19 musical compositions (and they are in fact quite musical) created entirely on turntables - in fact, the entire equipment list is as follows: two Vestax PDX2000 decks, a Vestax mixer and a 30 year old Roland Space Echo tape delay, with a tiny smattering of guest musicians. Must be heard to be believed - but good enough that its easy to forget the entire thing has been created start to finish on entirely a set of decks. Respect! This is the best release that any of the Invisibl Skratch Pickles have had, straight up a CLASSIC. A Must Have!!!

1. Beautiful Ugly Sound
2. John Wayne On Acid
3. Hamburgers And Chocolate Ice Cream
4. Won't You Be My Neighbor
5. The Murder Faktory
6. Charlie's An Angel
7. Diabolikal
8. Smorgasborg Of Sodomy
9. Like That Chall
10. F.U.P.M.
11. Portal Stalker
12. Felonious Funk
13. Know Your Dope Fiend
14. Terror In Dub
15. Clifford's Mustache
16. Your Favorite DJ
17. Flowtation Device
18. Size D Batteries
19. Mr. Arrogant

Ulrich Schnauss - Far Away Trains Passing By

Ulrich Schnauss is a German electronic artist who is influenced by forebears like Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk--but unlike retro-space artists, he doesn't sound like he just emerged from their dusty studios after being marooned there for 30 years. Instead, his synthesizers bristle with contemporary electro-rhythms, a bit of New Wave romanticism, and melodies you want to last forever. Schnauss has perfected a balance between quiet yearning and joyful heroism in his music, with sweeping major-chord progressions that are triumphal without being ostentatious, expansive without being pompous. For someone who is so rhythm-centered with crackling snares and electro-glitches, it's ultimately the melodies that draw you in, turned on glistening, bell-like timbres and space-organ sustains. Far Away Trains Passing By is actually his first album, released in Europe in 2001, but it's been out of print and is being issued in the United States for the first time. The reissue comes with a bonus CD that includes six pieces pulled from various Schnauss side projects and tracks that didn't make the original album. Far Away Trains Passing By is electronica with a melancholy soul, and it has lost nothing in the intervening years.

1. Knuddelmaus
2. Between Us And Them
3. Passing By
4. Blumenwiese Neben Autobahn
5. Nobody's Home
6. Molfsee

1. Sunday Evenings In Your Street
2. Suddenly The Trees
3. Nothing Happens In June
4. As If You've Never Been Away
5. Crazy For You
6. Wherever You Are

Monday, January 8, 2007

Blockhead - Music By Cavelight

Best known for his atmospheric, leftfield production work with alterna-rapper Aesop Rock, Blockhead makes a perfect addition to the outstanding roster of Ninja Tune, the most consistent purveyor of experimental hip-hop and downtempo electronica on the planet. Like his Ninja labelmates Amon Tobin and Bonobo, he excels at grafting delicate, ambient soundscapes onto chunky beats (check “Carnivores Unite” and the groovy sitar break on the title track). Like Wagon Christ and Kid Koala, he’s got a great ear for goofy samples -- scratched-up Charlie Brown voices on “Hello Popartz,” variable-speed jazz vocals on “Triptych.” Coolest of all, though, is Blockhead’s skillful use of horns, strings and other sampled orchestral touches, which lend ambitiously dense cuts like “Breath and Start,” “Sunday Seance” and especially the excellent “Insomniac Olympics” a grandeur that few other underground hip-hop producers, apart from Tobin, have even attempted.

1. Intro: Hello Popartz
2. You've Got Maelstrom
3. Carnivores Unite
4. Sunday Silence
5. A Better Place
6. Road Rage Breakdown
7. Triptych Pt. 1
8. Triptych Pt. 2
9. Triptych Pt. 3
10. Jet Son
11. Cavelight
12. Breathe And Start
13.Bullfight In Ireland
14. Insomniac Olympics

Tommy Guerrero - Soul Food Taqueria

Professional skater turned musician Tommy Guerrero's latest solo record, Soul Food Taqueria is a warm slab of soul music, ran through a funk grater, coming out as the soundtrack to an uplifting movie set in East L.A. Brimming with hope and optimism, you'll be playing attention to the grooves and rhythms well before you ever notice Guerrero's singing style that compliments the cloudy, danceable flow of the record. This cd is great to just throw on and sit back and just listen. Great Release. Probably my favorite of all his cd's.

1. Intro Lectric Chile Goat
2. Abierto
3. Organism
4. Thank You MK
5. Tatanka
6. Interlude Train of Thought
7. It Gets Heavy - Tommy Guerrero,
8. Thin Brown Layer
9. Interlude So Many Years Ago
10. Terra Unfirma
11. Gettin It Together - Tommy Guerrero, Lyrics Born
12. Another Brother Gone
13. Broken Blood
14. Interlude and the Day Goes By
15. Lost Unfound
16. Color of Life
17. Falling Awake