Bloody hell. What a fortnight we’ve had with our telephone line made unoperational by the action of some junk Internet provider, having our editorial team accordingly unaware to communicate both internally and externally. This having us unable to have (amongst others) our weekly chat published on time this Tuesday. Anyway, we’ve managed to have them though and what a shinny gift having us welcoming the much sought after Bah Samba crew.
Our deepest apologizes once again to you, our readers and the many of you whose messages have stayed unanswered for a while, having us in the uncapacity to update our sections the way we usually do… We go back in the daze this week having the Salsoul 30th Anniversary double CD as our Album Of The Month. On the 12’’ front 280 West’s’Fly’ gets a new life courtesy of Blaze at their highest providing Phuture Soul Recordings with their first Single Of The Week for 2K5. Meanwhile, as usual on this period of the month, we offer you another selection of some of the best albums around on our 33RPM monthly session.
End (eurgh sorry : the beginning but you know why) of the month ? You know the score… Time for another delivery of big formats having us going a bit everywhere this month. From UK the venerable Salsoul Records celebrating their 30th B-Day with a double CD including 30 cuts selected by 30 amongst the hottest DJ’s (our Album Of The Month) to Istanbul with Mercan Dede and a whole bunch of Oriental groove activists on Doublemoon Records. From the Greek neighbour of the latest Mikael Delta returning to the light with his 3rd LP to Ralf Gum’s first comp on his GoGo Music label and many more like this new series of Everything But The Girl’s remixed choons…
Disco ? That’s where the happy people go, as said by the Trammps almost 30 years ago at a time where everything had to be written. No doubt Salsoul Records would see their contribution as a seminal point in the establishment of what was to become the dance/club culture. Their 30th Anniversary collection speaks for itself having most of its components revamped if not sampled by a countless amount of people along the three past decades (Sussd). Headlining the latest installment of the In The House series, Joey Negro has no doubt been influenced by such gems, fuelling his current productions with influences inherited from this period time and his new selection for Defected makes no exception. Good work from our man, although we’d have liked him following the path of his predecessor - Jazzy Jeff - with more eclectism.
Germany’s not that well known in terms of deep’N’soulful house apart from Needs and some experiences from the Sonar Kollektiv stable. GoGo Music head of Ralf Gum who we’ve introduced you with a few weeks ago is definitely a name to watch out, not only in terms of DJing but also productions. Go !, his first CD mix on his own label, gives us a brilliant proof of what he’s into including works from Raw Artistic Soul, Deep Bros. featuring Dawn Tallman, Roberto De Carlo and Conchita Buika to name but a few on a very dynamic mix. On the new name tip, US jocks/producer David Harness is another one to watch, delivering the Heartbeat CD mix for Loveslap ! and subsequently adding his voice to a growing alternative championning the soulful vocal side of house music in California with activists such as Marques Wyatt and Ruben Mancias to name but a few. The concept of his mix is quite nice and friendly starting with cool atmospheric vibes to end up of some more in yer face ones, having tracks from people such as Lady Alma, Kenny Bobien, Goapele, Beady Belle, French producer Franky Boissy alongside Roland Clark and Blaze on board.
Adapt Or Die is a title quite illustrative of the current situation having us not only not only living under the influences of the unceasing arrival of new trends, but also in the middle of the biggest mutation that the record industry has never had to go thru so far. As a matter of fact, there’s no choice for us than… adapt or die ! A thang that long time adventurer Ben Watt and his former alter ego Tracey Thorn under their EBTG guise have made their for quite some time surfing over the waves with a constant accuracy as shown by this new series of reworks awaited on March 14 with the help of people like Jazzy Jeff, Adam F, Knee Deep, King Britt, Kevin Yost, Jay ‘Sinister’ Sealee and Todd Terry amongst others (Virgin). Meanwhile the M3 Summit is getting ready to welcome Watt and his label mates at Buzzin’Fly for the opening night in Miami on March 23. Awaited to perform at the M3 Summit as well on 03/26, Louie Vega delivers the first installment of his Dance Ritual compilations on UK label R2 and what a(nother) mix/selection !!! with some of the hottest tunes around and a bit of hard to find ones from Thievery Corporation featuring David Byrne, Quentin Harris presents Cordell McClary, Stephanie Mills, Franck Roger, Stephanie Cooke, Kerri Chandler, Mr. V, Kemdi, Sara Divine, Pushim, Ustad Sultan Khan and Bah Samba to name but a few, not to mention a CD2 unmixed and a triple vinyl box set !
Adapt Or Die… A reality that Georgia based Chris Brann has learnt to make for himself as well, from his early days alongside Chris Udoh and Chris C under the Wamdue Kids banner to the many guises he’s embraced along the years to show us his various facets, from P’Taah to Wamdue Project and this gorgeous Ananda one that he’s launched for NiteGrooves/King Street in 1998. Brann has always managed to stay aside from anyone to the exceptions of singers Heather Johnson and Terrance Downs who’ve been around since the very beginning. The threesome managing to evolve on their own universe whereas you’ll find a bit of everything from soul to funk, jazz and latin vibes altogether with a deep atmospheric perspective over some real groove. You must be the change you wish to see in the world, said Gandhi. In other words, be yourself ! Something that Brann no doubt is, and his new double CD album called Relight makes no exception.
We’re going up North to discover another of the countless sides of the Motorcity, welcoming Jeremy Ellis with the release of his second LP - Lotus Blossom - on Ubiquity. An offering mainly destined for the jazz headz with many latin influences on it brought from a bad experience that Ellis had in Puerto Rico, as shown by the typical ‘’Contano A Elena ‘’ where you might feel the proximity of Cuba or the opening percussive ‘’Take Your Time’’. But this album has much more on offer, exploring numerous sides of the broken beat and twisting it with many different moods, from old school jazz funk jam to R&B/abstract phonk with a drop of acidic sharp feel at some time.
Another place obviously influential in the world is the Mediterranean See as a transition path or route from Africa to Europe and East and West, with almost every country around it having its own scene. This Sea which has inspired so many people looks like having a particular effect on humans pushing them to show us what seems to be some introspective side of theirs. Athens based Mikael Delta makes no exception with his aptly named Deep Inside 3rd album to date for his debut on Greek label Klik Records. It’s still house though, although at some of its most plaintive side full of aerial vibrant melody lines and with a trancey feel on it (if not somehow cinematic), not that far away at the end of the day from certain works of Kevin Yost or Chris Brann.
The appliance of Turkey to become a part of the EEC is another subject of divisions on this side of the Atlantic that we will leave to the politicians as the supposed proper of music - being much to its power - is to cross the boarderlines and it’s exactly what Mercan Dede has achieved having a Canadian passport although Turkish roots. The guy who’s now been around for quite some time takes us deeper on his fascinating universe on his SU album and subsequently giving us the opportunity to know a bit more about the extreme diversity and subtlety of the Eastern folklore, the way the so (badly) called British Asian scene would do a few years ago with Talvin Singh, State Of Bengal and Nitin Sawhney to name but a few. And you’ve got to believe this, this is absolute delight bringing you into some sensorial Eden and internal peace and what an orchestration folks. A real treasure from a rare musicologist which should reach the hearts of people like DJ Pathaan, Jose Padilla, Phil Mison and Kenneth Bagger, as shown by the crying ‘’Ab-i Hazan’’ with another stunning vocal performance from Dhafer Yousef (Doublemoon). Gotta be quite inspired to have a careful listen to the many new releases of this Istanbul based label as it’s far from being it as brilliantly demonstrated thereafter by Can Utkan aka DJ Yakuza, Cem Yildiz and Richard Hamer united under the Orient Expressions guise and a bunch of selected vocalists on their Divan album, bringing the best of traditional Turkish Alevi art of singing with Western atmospheric vibes which could be somehow taken as the local answer to dZihan & Kamien’s works. Meanwhile, for a better understanding, the label delivers the 3rd installment of its East2West series, quite worth the listen for those into contemplative vibes. See ya next month with an already almost completed selection of new gems by the likes of UK soul diva Verna Francis, Japanese nu jazz breaker Jazztronik, France’s twosome Tom & Joyce, King Britt opening a new series on Slip’N’Slide and the already 16th installment of the Jazz In The House series for the same label amongst others. Peace, yall. MFSB
MERCAN DEDE Ab-i Hazan (Doublemoon)
MIKAEL DELTA Drinking Vinyl (Klik Records)
ANANDA PROJECT Secrets - Relight Mix (NiteGrooves)
PUSHIM Like A Sunshine - EOL Mix - from V/A : Dance Ritual triple vinyl (R2)
JEREMY ELLIS Cantano A Elenea (Ubiquity)
DOUBLE EXPOSURE My Love Is Free - from V/A : SALSOUL 30th ANNIVERSARY (Sussd)
TONY SES & RALF GUM Beautiful - Raw Artistic Soul Mix - from V/A : Go ! (GoGo Music)
EVERYTHING BUT THE GIRL Wrong - Todd Terry Unreleased Freeze Mix (Virgin)
BEADY BELLE Hindsight - Frankie Feliciano Ricanstruction - from V/A : Heartbeat (Loveslap !)
ORIENT EXPRESSION Kerkuk Divani (Doublemoon)