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)


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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Reviews August 27, 2006

Picks of the Week

Bobby D "Optimistic" (SoulFuric Records CD Promo)

There are songs that will always be in our heads, no matter how old they are. "Optimistic" by Sounds of Blackness is one of these songs, dating back to 1991 when Gary Hines, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis unleashed this bomb. Three years ago, Bobby D'Ambrosio released a cover version of it on Definity Records, and now he unleashes an updated version of this timeless song once more featuring wonderfully performed vocals. His original version is a mellow and laidback affair with jazzy vibes, while Frankie C goes for an equally smooth funk-tinged interpretation that is somewhat reminiscent of the Sounds of Blackness original. Together with Brian Tappert, Bobby D'Ambrosio delivers a fierce reworking that keeps the soulful flavors while spicing it up for the dancefloors. Shik Stylko replaces the jazzy piano line with electrofied keys that get to full effect on his dub mix while on the club mix they emphasise the vocals. Lastly there is the stompin' 'Deliguori Dub Mix' that is driven by a wicked piano line.

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Reviews August 20, 2006

Picks of the Week

Exclusive Preview: Panevino featuring Xavior "Don't waste my time" (CD-R)
Exclusive Preview: Panevino "The way I am" (CD-R)

Swiss duo Sandro Endrighetti and Renato Abate aka Panevino present two new productions that are so fresh they have yet to be signed. "Don't waste my time" is an uplifting track featuring an inspirational vocal by Xavior over a thumpin' groove that is enriched with a funky bassline and old-school keys (there is a slight reminiscence to the David Jospeh classic "You can't hide" in some parts) alongside a wicked organ. The dub varies the keys to turn it into a peaktime favorite. "The way I am" features an incredible hot spoken word over a fiercely stompin' groove, with the wicked keys augmenting the irresistible vibe created by the vocals.

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Reviews August 13, 2006

Picks of the Week

Exclusive Preview: VMC "To the rock" (DJ Spen Mixes)(Hustle Music Records CD Promo)

The next release on Hustle Music will be an incredible gospel house production featuring the Visial Music Choir (aka VMC) from Hackney in London. Their inspirational gospel song "To the rock" has been reworked by DJ Spen who turns the song into an uplifting, soulfully stomping four-to-the-floor anthem that features a funked-up groove and wonderful jazzy keys. His dub strippes most the vocals, letting a wonderful jazzy piano taking centre stage, while the funky bassline is leading the way. A future gospel house anthem.

Omar "It's so..." (Bob Sinclar Remix)(Peppermint Jam Records CD Promo)

UK soul legend Omar will return with a new longplayer by the end of this month. The first single from the album "It's so..." has been given the remix treatment by none other than Bob Sinclar who's droppjng one bomb after another in recent months. With these mixes, he raises the bar again as the afro-influenced tribal rhythm is absolutely unbeatable, with the added vocal chants and synth lines augmenting the irresistible feeling. With vocal, dub and acapella mixes included, this is guaranteed to take the dancefloors by storm.

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Reviews August 6, 2006

Picks of the Week

Justin Imperiale "Deeper than EP" (Cabana Records CD Promo)

The long awaited premiere release on Cabana Reords is finally here, courtesy of Justin Imperiale who presents a fantastic three tracker. First off is "Deeper than", a journey into jazzy late night house grooves featuring a marvellous sax by Marcos and keys by Jerome, with Esteban adding the percussion to this wonderful production that is spreading a mellow vibe. Next up is "Jazz-a-nova", a track that melts deep house with the raw energy of jazz-funk, featuring Dennis (the Dragon) on keys and Ian Fisher on guitar. Fresh and full of jazz-funk flavors - a track to dance to. Last but not least is "From above", a spiritual journey into soulful deep house grooves featuring a beautiful flute by Joni Love alongside sweet percussion and fantastic spacial keys. What a terrifc release!!

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