Reviews October 15, 2006

Picks of the Week

Jenny Morrisson "Brand new life" (Deep Haven Music Records CD Promo)

"Brand new life" is produced by Blvd East (the duo of James Rivera and Christian Perez) and features a soulful and passionate vocal performance by Jenny Morrisson. It is is an inspiring song that comes in a variety of mixes, with the original being an uplifting affair built around a driving thumpin' groove that is topped with wicked keys. Blvd East smooth it down on their remix to give the song a more laidback feeling, while Fuzion (George Mena & Franke Estevez) deliver a groovy remix that lets the vocals shine alongside great keys.

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In the Spotlight: Quentin Harris "No politics" (Pony Canyon/Un-Restricted Access 2xCD)

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Quentin's longplayer "No politics" is finally here after having been expected to drop earlier this year, and for the time being it is only available as Japan import. Beside "Hate won't change me" featuring Byron Stingily and "Let's be young", the album features all new material with vocals provided by Colton Ford, Jason Walker, Lavonz, Georgia Cee, Cordell McClary and Monique Bingham. Among the songs is a cover of the After 7 classic "Can't stop" and a collaboration with Haldo. The biggest surprise is "Beautiful black women come from Brooklyn" featuring Monique Bingham where Quentin goes for a leftfield downtempo affair while the other songs stay in Quentin's tradition of uplifting and fierce house grooves. Also included are the new instrumental tracks "Haunted", a highlight of the album and the brand new 12" release, and "Moist groove". As a bonus, this japanese release includes a three track bonus CD including an extened version of the of Haldo collaboration and the instrumental tracks "House" (the flipside to the "Haunted" 12") and "Episodes #3 (the lost episode)".

Reviews October 8, 2006

Picks of the Week

Raw Artistic Soul featuring Wummi "Oya O" (GoGo Music Records CD Promo)

Image "Oya O" is taken from the forthcoming longplayer "You got rhythm too" (to be released in spring 2007) and stays in the tradition of outstanding musicianship from mastermind Phil Kullmann and his Raw Artistic Soul ensemble, making you want for more of their beautiful music. Phil's main mix is a wonderful smooth yet resistless afro house track featuring an incredible yoruban vocal performance by Wummi, with a brilliant saxophone solo (there is also a digital download only 'Alternative Main Mix' that replaces the saxopohone with a marvellous flute). His reprise is a mellow affair perfect for chilling, while the digital download only 'Afro Dub' gives it a deeper, more laidback afro house feeling. The remixes are courtesy of Alix Alvarez who spices things up on his rework using phat beats and an added ultra-deep bassline. For all the heads, there is is a fierce 'Bonus Beats' version as well as a digital download only instrumental of Alix Alvarez' remix availabale.
 

Lucillia "The sun goes down" (Barcoda Records CD Promo)

Barcoda (the label run by Central Avenue aka Andy Lee) have licensed the beautiful "The sun goes down" by London based artist Lucillia, a track written by Fernandes & Jalil. "The sun goes down" features a sexy vocal performance by Lucillia and comes in a great variety of mixes. The 'Central Avenue Main Mix' is a powerful yet soulful affair with a melodic instrumentation that is spreading an uplifting feeling, with the accompanying 'Central Avenue Dub' firing things up to turn it into a peaktime favorite. The 'Seven Hills Soul Mix' is smoothing it down, with a beautiful jazzy piano leading the way, while the 'Soulbasics Mix' is on a deeper vibe and is based around sweet percussion that give it a mellow vibe. Lastly there is the '4Luv Mix', a great smooth and soulful mix with a warm instrumentation.

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Reviews October 1, 2006

Picks of the Week

Balage "Love We Left Behind EP" (Hermosa Records CD Promo)

First Balage gave us the wonderful "Got you on my mind", now he comes up with an exceptional four track EP not to be missed! The title track "Love we left behind" features spoken words by Louis Hale and the soulful voice of Dolores Peterson over a steadily groovin' backing music that will keep you dancing. On the "Impressions", it's all about the music, more precisely about a wonderful guitar solo combined with a laidback, latin infused groove. Next is "Thank you" featuring the incomparable Dolores Peterson who delivers an emotional vocal over a deep and sweet, almost chilled-out groove. On "How do we get to here", Balage teams up with Louis Hale who graces us with his soulful voice while the music is infectious yet soulful and organic. Words can't really describe what treat we got here - simply one of the best records of the year with each of the four tracks having the class to be released on its own. A remix package of the EP is in the works, involving the likes of Bongolovers, Richard Earnshaw, Justin Michael, Roberto De Carlo, Macam and Solo.
 

Juke Joint featuring Yvonne Brown "Gotta get up" (Tony Records CD Promo)

Juke Joint aka DJ Dealer and DJ Sensé team up for the resistless "Gotta get up" which features singer Yvonne Brown who adds a passionate vocal to the song. Their original is a funky house gem on a classic vibe, featuring great strings and infectious keys. This already great club track was handed over to DJ Spen for a remix, and the result will blow you away!! The beats are kickin', the guitar by Ivrin Madden is of the hook, the keys by Gary Hudgins are unreal - and Yvonne Brown sings her heart out. A killer remix that will take dancefloors by storm. And then the vocal and instrumental dub mixes by DJ Spen are the perfect complement to the package.

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Reviews September 27, 2006

Picks of the Week

Roy Ayers and Fela Kuti "2000 blacks got to be free" (Louie Vega Eol Mix)(from "Africa plays on..." on WEA Records CD)

The jazz-funk gem "2000 blacks got to be free" is a collaboration between Fela Kuti and amercian vibraphonist Roy Ayers who wrote and sings on this vision of a black-unity future that's the closest Africa 70 ever came to making a disco record. The track was originally released in 1980 on the "Music of many colors" album and got reworked here by Louie Vega in a respectful way that keeps the vibe and spirit of the original alive. You can find this updated version on the "Africa plays on..." compilation CD.

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Reviews September 24, 2006

Picks of the Week

Soulato featuring Wayne Howard "Ain't no doubt" (The Unreleased Mixes)(Paradax Records CD Promo)

Originally released in 2003 as part of the "The 12:01 A.M. Project" release, we now get Aaron Arce's unreleased mixes. His 'Jazz Mix' addds a true jazz vibe to the song - the result is not jazzy house, it is house combined with the essence of jazz, and with Wayne Howard delivering a surpassing soulful vocal performance, this one is full of spirituality and uplifting energy. The dub is a masterpiece on its own, spiced with funky flavors it is irresistibly groovin' from the beginning to the end. Excellent release.
 

Deepswing & DJ Meme featuring Linda Jackson "Lift up! (your soul & your spirit)" (Generate Music Records CD Promo)

Eric Wikman and DJ Meme team up for the uplifting "Lift up!" which features a powerful and emotional vocal performance by Linda Jackson that makes this a feel good song that is spreading good vibrations everytime it gets played. Deepswing's 'Original PowerHouse Mix' is a pumped up affair spiced with disco flavors, creating a relentless vibe on the dancefloor. DJ Meme's mix is on a smoother tip, featuring fender rhodes, funky guitar and orchestral strings make it an instant classic. And with Vincent Montana Jr. laying his magic hands on this mix, it's guaranteed to be timeless.

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In the Spotlight: "GO!!..." mixed by Ralf GUM (GoGo Music Records CD)

Image GoGo Music was founded five years ago by Ralf GUM and has established itself as a leading label for soulful house music, with an impressive catalog of releases that got them the "Pick of the Week" spot here at Spirit of House time after time. Their second label compilation - selected and mixed by label head Ralf Gum - combines both recent and upcoming releases to a beautiful  flow that keeps it soulful, letting the house beats flow with the various influences from funk, soul, afro-latin and jazz adding a unique touch. This truly versatile selection features some brand new jewels such as the afro-house track "Oya O" by Raw Artistic Soul featuring Wummi (remixed by Alix Alvarez), the irresistible "Easy" by Ralf GUM (listen to that wicked chorus) or the groovy and laidback "Warriors" by Ralf GUM feauturing Beate S. Lech. There is more to be discovered, but find out for yourself and enter the journey to explore this sweet and soulful selection.

Reviews September 20, 2006

Picks of the Week

John Beltran presents Nostalgic "Going Home EP" (Groovia Sound Project Records 12")

Image John Beltran follows up last years impressive EP (that includes the marvellous "Especially" featuring John Arnold) with the "Going home EP" that is another blessing for the music enthusiast. Detroit is famous for electronic music but has much more to offer like this new release of techno veteran John Beltran that takes the electronic genre to new heights - soulful grooves with influences from other music styles characterise this release. There is the poetic "Placid angels" featuring female spoken words and a melodic instrumentation, or we have "Going home", a laidback track with majestic keys over a smooth groove. For yet another evolvement, check "Sweet soul" which is drenched with latin rhythms and features a lovely clarinet solo. Lastly there is "Detroit moments", a melancholic track with dazzling melodies that creates its own athmosphere. Listen to it and enjoy the musical explorations.
 

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Reviews September 17, 2006

Picks of the Week

The Beard featuring Amma "Call me" (ReelGroove Records CD Promo)

ReelGroove Records is the brand new label by Greg Dorban whose debut release is "Call me" by The Beard which unfortunately did not get the attention it deserves when it was first released on NY Soul back in august 2004. The original version is an uplifting production with a warm melodic instrumentation that features a seductive vocal performance by Amma, while the accompanying dub strips the vocal down to create a more laidback groove. The first of the brand new mixes is courtesy of Groove Assassin who delivers a smooth yet powerful reworking that features a wonderful instrumentation including a great guitar solo. Sueno Soul provide the second reworking that comes on a jazz-funky tip, giving the song cool laidback feeling.
 

Y-Man & Yenza featuring C King "Smile" (Remixes)(UK Basic Records CD Promo)

Swedish trio Y-Man, Yenza and Charlie King are the writers of this wonderful song, with Charlie King being the featured singer. Responsible for the mixes are Kenny Carvajal who blesses us with another one of his musical masterpieces that will take you on a journey into soulful house music - just listen to it and you know what I'm talking about. The other mixes are courtesy of John Kumahara who turns the song into a deeply storming affair with spacey keys courtesy of Martino that give these mixes a unique touch.

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Reviews September 10, 2006

Picks of the Week

Exclusive Review: Riverside Soul featuring De'Monica "Not the one" (Part One)(Vino Records CD Promo)

It has almost been a year since the last release on Vino Records, but gladly they now return with "Not the one" by Riverside Soul featuring singer De'Monica. This is part one featuring label head Monte Hilleman's mixes, part two will follow in a few weeks. "Not the one" is a beautiful organic production with a true live feel that is build around a funky bouncin' groove that is enriched with a deep bassline, lovely guitar and magnificent keys alongside sensitive vocals by De'Monica, with a great saxophone coming in later. The dub version is a great addition to the vocal, giving extra room to the instrumentation.
 

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Pour Le Connaisseur: J Dilla "The shining'" (BBE Music Records CD / Digital Downloads)

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About a month ago, we brought the Pour Le Connaisseur section back with a big bang - this month we follow it up with an even bigger explosion as we bring you a milestone in hip hop history. We pay tribute to James 'J Dilla' Yancey aka Jay Dee who sadly passed away on February 10th, 2006.

With "The shining'", BBE Music present an album that re-affirms what J Dilla's previous releases like "Donuts" or "Welcome do Detroit" already established. The album showcases his many skills of being not only a producer, but also a rapper, singer and musician that covers the whole spectrum from slow jams to mid and up tempo songs, contributing to both the underground and mainstream. Blending live instruments with sample loops and superior lyrics, he helped hip hop to evolve and enter new grounds as well as attracting new fans. This album features guest appearances from many artists like Busta Rhymes, Common, D'Angelo, Dwele, Pharoahe Monch, Madlib and many more, some of which he provided his production talents in the past.

This is not your ordinary hip hop album, this is one for the real music lover - the connaisseur.

Digital Downloads and sound samples are available at Dancetracks Digital.

Reviews September 3, 2006

Picks of the Week

Andy Holder featuring Carl Stanley & Lone Catalysts "Uncivilised people" (Nuwavonic Records CD Promo)

Image After various releases and remixes for such prominent labels as Soulfuric, deVICE and Soulfunk Digital, Andy Holder launches his own label Nuwavonic Records which will be digital only for the moment (promos will be available through Traxsource). For the first release "Uncivilised people", Andy Holder teams up with hip-hop vocalist J. Sands (of the Lone Catalysts) performing the spoken word vocals and jazz musician Carl Stanley contributing saxophone and rhodes solos. The original version is spreading a feel-good vibe, bringing the vocals and jazzy instrumentation to full effect, with the 'Prime Time Dub' taking the track to the next level by firing things up. The 'Inner City Vocal Mix' takes the track to deeper grounds using a deeply stormin' groove and melodic keys, while the 'Inner City Dub Mix' offers an intensified, even deeper variation. Lastly there is Carl Stanley's 'Spirit Mix', a soulful reworking that lets the beautiful instrumentation create an uplifting vibe.

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