26 April 2011

Review: Karlmarx 'The Karlmarx Project'

The Karlmarx Project

"An instrumental soundtrack for a retrospective science fiction movie that was never made." So reads the press release accompanying this album. I usually blithely ignore marketing blather, but in this instance, it's accurate. Karlmarx is brothers Isaac Aesili and Mark McNeill, and The Karlmarx Project is their debut album. It's dripping with spacey soundscapes awash with vintage synths, off-kilter drums and space-invader melodies - imagine Vangelis playing PS3 with Dam-Funk while tripping on LSD. Though there's a dark finish, with three of the last four tracks beatless, the mood is uplifting. Standouts include Knight Rider's alternate theme tune ( !! ), Leaning Shadows; the loose-limbed haze-funk of Wakatipu; and Transform, with its Gary Numan referencing bassline. Despite the lack of vocals, traditional melodies or song structures as such, the bulk of these tracks build beautifully, revealing their charms over repeated listens - but treat this as background music at your peril. Compelling.

3 and 1/2 stars from 5

George FM Playlist Tuesday 26th April "Free Range with 90"

Gazeebo | School Boy Chubby
Electric Empire | Baby Your Lovin'
Bobby C Sound TV | Boom For Rent
The Revenge | Curtis
Eddie C | 4 Your Love
Montauk | Kenny
Duffstep | Backseat
The Trammps | Rubber Band (Larry Levan remix)
Beatconductor | I Miss U 2
Uptown Funk Empire | Celestial Blues
Crazy P | Down To Love
Drop Out Orchestra | Release Myself
Al Kent | Loving Living Feeling
Homework | Hold Me Tight
Sleazy McQueen | Oh Sheila (2 Spare Astronauts remix)
Andy Ash | Freak
Symbol Skrip | Baby
Louis La Roche with Ad-Apt | Missing You (Go Go Bizkitt remix)
Johnny Dynell | Jam Hot (Tensnake remix)
Flying Lotus | Do The Astral Plane
Los Charly's Orchestra | Rio Chico's Sunset

Propers to Soane - as it was a blast covering Free Range for ya!

Review: Electric Empire 'Electric Empire'

Electric Empire
[Electric Empire Music]

The very best soul music straddles a fine line between being genuinely heartfelt and becoming overly saccharine. Bridging that gap successfully - which few acts manage - creates a special kind of spark which ignites particular emotions among both men and women; one of the best reasons good soul music remains so relevant in these days of meat-dresses, Witch House and "social" networking. Melbourne three-piece Electric Empire bridges that gap with aplomb on their self-titled, self-released debut album. Guitarist Dennis Dowlut, drummer Jason Heerah and keys player Aaron Mendoza are undoubtedly influenced by the organic sound and crafted song writing of the '70s as this slick, professional, but warm and understated trio at times recall Al Green, Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield and Donny Hathaway. However, their rootsy, soulful, considered pop music also sounds fresh and compelling. Rich with melodies and laden with their gorgeous vocal harmonies, this is a special debut album.

4 stars from 5

24 April 2011

George FM Playlist "Extended Easter Sunday Special All Seven Inch Vinyl Extravaganza" Sunday 24th April "In The Pocket with 90"

Paul Weller | No Tears To Cry (Leo Zero remix)
Tuomo | Don't Take It Too Hard
Quantic with Alice Russell | Sound Of Everything (WatchTV & Senorlobo remix)
Kool & The Gang | Dujii
Saravah Soul | Supersossego (inst.)
The Broken Keys | Slingshot (Pt. 2)
Coke Escovedo | I Wouldn't Change A Thing
The Quantic Soul Orchestra | Don't Joke With A Hungry Man (Pt. 3)
Una Mas Trio | Son Montuno
Sunlightsquare Latin Combo | I Believe In Miracles
Aiff | Akwaaba
Quantic Presents Flowering Inferno | Ciudad Del Swing
Louis Prima | I'm Just A Gigolo - I Ain't Got Nobody
Marvin Gaye | What's Going On (Truth & Rights remix)
Bob Marley & The Wailers | Buffalo (Dub)
Roots Manuva | Witness (Drums Of Death remix)
Ladi 6 | Walk Right Up
J Dilla | Crushin' (inst.)
Notorious | Turbulence
The Doors | People Are Strange
Son Of Dave | Low Rider
D'Angelo | Use Me
Dedy Dread | MIA's Big Stuff
The Brothers Johnson | Strawberry Letter 23
The Gap Band | Open Up Your Mind (Wide)
Ohio Players | Fire
Stevie Wonder | All Day Sucker
Johnnie Taylor | Somebody's Gettin' It
Lowrell | Smooth & Wild
Betty Wright | You Can't See For Lookin'
Gladys Knight & The Pips | Midnight Train To Georgia
Aretha Franklin | You Send Me
Natalie Cole | Sophisticated Lady (She's A Different Lady)
The Undisputed Truth | California Soul
Reparata & The Delrons | Saturday Night Didn't Happen
Sister Sledge | Thinking Of You
Barry White | It's Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next To Me
Chairman Of The Board | Finders Keepers
Soul II Soul | Jazzie's Groove (Jazzie's 7" edit)
Rhombus | Hawera
Belleruche | Drum At Dusk
Sunshine Anderson | Heard It All Before (QSO version)
Black Cow | Brother Sil
Fabulous Souls | Take Me
The Loosen Ups with Miss Ray T | You Got Me Cramp'd Up
Breakestra | Cramp Your Style
The Bamboos with Alice Russell | Step It Up
Gladys Knight & The Pips | Love To Feel The Feeling
Peoples Choice | Do It Any Way You Wanna
Smooth Daddy | If It's Funky, We Did It!
Itsu Uno | B-Boy Rave For The Ageing Hipster
Random Factor with Georg Levin | Move On (The New Mastersounds 7" remix)
The Jazz Invaders | Bonga Bonga Jazz (Aiff remix)
Average White Band | Work To Do
The Isley Brothers | Love The One You're With
The O'Jays | Used To Be My Girl
Philadelphia International All Stars | Let's Clean Up The Ghetto
Sly & The Family Stone | Luv n' Haight
Curtis Mayfield | Move On Up (The Dynamics version)

ALL seven inch vinyl - ALL four hours - ALL selected on the fly - ALL good !!

22 April 2011

Review: Mark de Clive-Lowe 'Leaving This Planet' EP

Leaving This Planet EP

To these ears Mark de Clive-Lowe is one of our more successful musical exports. Sure, he's not Neil Finn and he can't pull punters to shows like the Exponents might, but he remains fiercely innovative and incredibly highly regarded amongst musicians and music lovers globally. From having worked with the West London broken beat alumni to key underground soul scenes in the US, MdCL has an address book to die for and chops for days. Those skills are present on Leaving This Planet, a diverse and exciting self-released five-track EP which precedes his forthcoming Renegades album. Featuring appearances from Bembe Segue, Sharlene Hector, Tawiah, Dego and more, the flawlessly produced EP (with covers of songs by Gene Harris and Charles Earland) moves from soulful afro-dancefloor bounce (Dreams) to otherworldly twisted bruk (Eight), with a little house v downtempo (What It Is) thrown in to keep y'all guessing. Album please!

4 stars from 5

19 April 2011

Review: Scratch 22 'Distance From View'

Distance From View
[Round Trip Mars]

Considered, cinematic, cerebral and gently psychedelic. These are words which accurately describe Distance From View, the debut album from Auckland DJ and producer Scratch 22. We all knew the kid had skills (turntablist, radio host, remixer, support DJ to the stars), but this is an incredibly confident and assured debut - just like the man himself. Distance From View recalls Ennio Morricone and David Axelrod mixed with Clutchy Hopkins, Kid Loco or later RJD2 instrumentals, and while some ideas remain underdeveloped, it's refreshing to hear a young producer letting songs breathe. Standouts are Window Rattle, a soundtrack for a spaghetti western car chase (if that were even possible), the loose-limbed, vaguely Hendrix sounding Medicine Man Revisited, and Walking For Faces with its fat-laced, slow-burning funk. Guests include Mara TK (Electric Wire Hustle) and Jeremy Toy (She's So Rad, Opensouls), but without a doubt the star of this show is Scratch 22. Very impressive.

4 stars from 5

* Props to Pete McLennan at dubdotdash for the Scratch 22 aka Rodi Kirk interview, which I've linked to above and just back there where the text went a different colour...

17 April 2011

George FM Playlist Sunday 17th April "In The Pocket with 90"

Greg Perry | Come Fly With Me
Lenny Kravitz | Heaven Help
Rayko | Into My World
Grandmaster Flash | The Message (Roots Manuva remix)
The Black Seeds | Rotten Apples (Lowman's Block Rockin' Bass remix)
The Black Seeds | Make A Move (Downtown Brown remix feat. Mighty Asterix & MC Switch)
Oneself | Unfamiliar Places
Lewis McCallum | Fly Or Die
Natural Self | Feet Keep Moving
*The Humble Souls | Beads, Things & Flowers
*Don Wilkinson | Dem Tambourines
*The Har-You Percussion Group | Feed You Good
Al Kent | Loving Living Feeling
Eva Gina | Gappy Daze
Ed Wizard & Double Dee | Bumper Funk
*Marvin Gaye | Got To Gie It Up (Roy Davis Jnr remix)
*Ron Hall & The Muthafunkaz with Mark Evans | The Way You Love Me (Dim's T.S.O.P. remix)
Don Ray | Got To Have Loving
*Satoshi Tomiie with Arnold Jarvis | And I Loved You (The Classic Club mix)
10CC | I'm Not In Love

Selections marked with an * courtesy of Jay "Fat Albert" Jeffrey.

A big shout to my fellow guardian of the good groove, Mr Jay Jeffrey, for swinging by the studio this afternoon & laying down a handful of tasty tunes for our listening pleasure. Much appreciated, fella.

Review: Treefight For Sunlight 'Self-Titled'

Treefight For Sunlight
Treefight For Sunlight
[Bella Union]

Every once in a while a debut album arrives so fully-formed it knocks you off your feet. Treefight For Sunlight is one of those rare creatures. Released on Bella Union, the self-titled debut from the Danish four-piece (plus songwriting and performing producer Aske Zidore) is something special for fans of indie pop. Epic in scale yet instimate in scope, deliciously ambitious yet supremely focused, the album generates feelings of optimism and euphoria yet retains a depth and layering which thorougly maintains interest. This is the '60s West Coast pop of The Beach Boys and The Turtles caramelised with the propulsive rhythms and muscular orchestration of Arcade Fire and Vampire Weekend. Or perhaps Brian Wilson refereeing a wrestling match between MGMT and Empire Of The Sun. Either way, there are very few low moments amongst this harmony-drenched sunshine pop which showcases exellent songwriting and melodic eloquence from start to finish.

4 stars from 5

Review reprinted courtesy of Waikato Times

14 April 2011

Review: State Of Mind 'Nil By Ear'

Nil By Ear
[SOM Music]

State Of Mind's third album kicks off with the massively epic track Vega, featuring P.Digsss, and which could've been lifted from Shapeshifter's last studio album. Thankfully it's the only track which apes NZ's most famous drum and bass outfit. The remainder of Nil By Ear sees Patrick Hawkins and Stu Maxwell delving deeper into their dark, intense, bass-heavy sound while crafting an outstanding album listening experience. Some of the songwriting is a little patchy in places, but does that really matter when dance floor stompers and wee-hour wonders abound? Nil By Ear is an incredibly well produced album, ambitious without straying too far from their roots. Highlights include vocal turns from Sacha Vee (drum and bossa?) and Thomas Oliver; but I can't go past Downward Spiral, which sounds like Burial and D-Bridge bashing the bejeezus out of an old space invaders machine with a blowtorch and a baseball bat.

3 stars from 5

Reprinted courtesy of the Waikato Times

11 April 2011

George FM Playlist Sunday 10 April "In The Pocket with 90"

Paul Weller | No Tears To Cry (Leo Zero remix)
Sanchez Last Stand | Done With You
Jazzanova with Paul Randolph | Let Me Show Ya
Jumbonics | Take Me With You
Roy Ayers Ubiquity | We Live In Brooklyn Baby
Soul Village | Everybody Loves The Sunshine
Am Ko | House Party
Montauk | Kenny
Beatconductor | I Miss U 2
Henry Greenwood | The Rhythm
Eva Gina | Need U
Local Legend | Back Fo' Mo'
Al Kent | Loving Living Feeling
Latyrx | Lady Don't Tek No

Review: DUFFSTEP Getting To Sirius

Getting To Sirius
[Join The Dots]

When is dubstep not dubstep? When it's cleverly crafted, lushly layered and dripping with humour, pathos and sexuality. Young UK producer Duffstep aka Jeremy Duffy’s debut artist album Getting To Sirius, follows a slew of re-edits as Duff Disco, including rampant European dancefloor fillers from Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mark Morrison, Steve Miller and others. Getting To Sirius is creating quiet undercurrents worldwide and helping to redefine open-ended bass music in 2011, taking it beyond testosterone-fuelled aggressive posturing. Sure there are elements of dubstep present on the album, but in reality they’re daubs of slow, squelchy beats with a little wobble. To these ears this lush, considered downtempo music sounds more like Love Unlimited Orchestra getting into bed with Kruder & Dorfmeister, or the Cinematic Orchestra. It’s all very low-slung and sexy, with slow tempos and a hazy atmosphere throughout only serving to heighten the inherent sensuality here. A treat.

4 stars from 5

07 April 2011

REVIEW: Bibio 'Mind Bokeh'

Mind Bokeh

Bokeh is a photographic term referring to the blurring of an image. It's an apt title for an album which is an aural representation of a "mind blur" and quite capable of creating exactly that in the listener. UK producer Bibio aka Stephen Wilkinson began bleeping loudly on folks' radars with his Ambivalence Avenue album  (2009), which saw his tape-distressed British folk and ambient blends develop into a wierdly bent style of densely layered pop music. Mind Bokeh sees him step further into that realm - ten of these twelve tracks feature Wilkinson's breathy vocals - and the sense of adventure is exhilirating and contagious. With swilring atmospherics, lush layering of organic/electronic instrumentation and subtle, intimate, coolly intriguing vocals, Bibio manages to sound like J Dilla and Toro Y Moi jamming with Vampire Weekend and Jose Gonzalez - at 5am in the morning, smothered in treacle, that is. A challenging, highly rewarding listen.

4 stars from 5

05 April 2011

Review: Derrick Carter + David Rodigan Fabric Mix CDs



A good DJ mix is like making love. I don't mean fucking, I mean actually making love, properly, taking your time, with someone you care for deeply. There are peaks and troughs, there are highs and lows, there is giving and there is most certainly taking - it should be a fluid situation which ebbs and flows as the situation develops. Legendary Chicago DJ Derrick Carter is famed for his ability to lay down erotically charged funk-infused house music ideal for getting juiced up to, but, sadly, his Fabric.56 mix is devoid of emotion, personality and sensuality, instead relying on hard, jacking beats and the usual cliches of house music - big vocals, piano hooks and simple loops - to keep asses shaking. Sure, we all enjoy a rampant quickie now and then, but be aware: there is no making love going on here. If you like it hard, heavy and repetitive, bend over, baby.

In stark contrast is the startlingly relevant and exciting mix courtesy of UK reggae's most infamous hypeman, David Rodigan. Unlike Carter, Rodigan's focus is on keeping the listener's interest by ensuring the tunes are fresh and the selection tight throughout - so much so that he barely bothers with mixing, instead concerning himself with quality, placement and avoiding any obvious choices. This is no bad thing at all, as many a DJ has fallen into the trap of relying on showcasing their turntablist skills rather than playing good music (see review above). Fabriclive.54 features an impressive an informed blend of the new and the classic old school, with a clutch of rare tracks and unheard dubplates from Rodigan's travels in Jamaica across the decades and a lifetime of digesting reggae, dub and dancehall music. This is a properly crafted mix and a crucial selection which comes very highly recommended.

Derrick Carter   1 & 1/2 stars from 5
David Rodigan   4 stars from 5

04 April 2011

George FM Playlist Sunday 3rd April "In The Pocket with 90"

Jimmy Smith & Etta James | I Just Wanna Make Love To You
Colourbox | Baby I Love You So (Radikal Roots re-edit)
The Cool Kids | Mikey Rocks
Kenn Starr, Asheru & Talib Kweli | If
Kim Hill | Right Now (Presto remix)
Jill Scott | A Long Walk (A Touch Of Jazz remix)
Amp Fiddler | Freakin'
King Kapisi | Sub-Cranium Feeling
Herbie Hancock | Palm Grease
Kyoto Jazz Massive | The Brightness Of These Days (Quantic remix)
Me&You | The Hoop Loop (Solo Moderna remix)
Gecko Turner | Toda Mojaita (Dutch Rhythm Combo remix)
Soul Vigilantes with Mayka Edjole | Close The Door (TM Juke remix)
Afrodisiac Sound System with Raashan Ahmad | Revolution
K'Bonus | Flibberty Gibbert
Ebb | Be A Man (Chris Lumified's Vocal mix)
Earth, Wind & Fire | Jupiter