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Thundercat (feat. Steve Lacy and Steve Arrington) - Black Qualls

Thundercat is set to release his new album “It Is What It Is” on Brainfeeder Records on April 3, 2020.

 

The album, produced by Flying Lotus and Thundercat, features musical contributions from Ty Dolla $ign, Childish Gambino, Lil B, Kamasi Washington, Steve Lacy, Steve Arrington, BADBADNOTGOOD, Louis Cole and Zack Fox. “It Is What It Is” follows his game-changing third album “Drunk” (2017). That record completed his transition from virtuoso bassist to bonafide star and cemented his reputation as a unique voice that transcends genre.

 

“This album is about love, loss, life and the ups and downs that come with that,” Bruner says about “It Is What It Is”. “It’s a bit tongue-in-cheek, but at different points in life you come across places that you don’t necessarily understand… some things just aren’t meant to be understood.” The unruly bounce of new single ‘Black Qualls’ is classic Thundercat, teaming up with Steve Lacy (The Internet) and Funk icon Steve Arrington (Slave). It’s another example of Stephen Lee Bruner’s desire to highlight the lineage of his music and pay his respects to the musicians who inspired him. Discovering Arrington’s output in his late teens, Bruner says he fell in love with his music immediately: “The tone of the bass, the way his stuff feels and moves, it resonated through my whole body.” ‘Black Qualls’ emerged from writing sessions with Lacy, whom Thundercat describes as “the physical incarnate of the Ohio Players in one person - he genuinely is a funky ass dude”. It references what it means to be a black American with a young mindset: “What it feels like to be in this position right now… the weird ins and outs, we’re talking about those feelings… Part of me knew this [track] was where Steve [Arrington] left us.” Thundercat forms a cornerstone of the Brainfeeder label; he released “Golden Age of Apocalypse” (2011), “Apocalypse” (2013), followed by EP “The Beyond / Where The Giants Roam” featuring the modern classic ‘Them Changes’. He was later “at the creative epicenter” of the 21st century’s most influential hip-hop album Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp A Butterfly”, where he won a Grammy for his collaboration on the track ‘These Walls’.  

Brainfeeder's bass man returns with his twisted soul/yacht rock/funk fusion...

David Walters -Soleil Kreyol

Creole Soul - just two words needed for David Walters to summarize his forthcoming debut album for Heavenly Sweetness, ‘Soleil Kreyol’
 
Creole is the culture that crosses oceans, linking continents and paving the way for Africa, America, Europe and the Caribbean to converse in the universal language of music, dance and carnival. Scattered around the globe, these different Creole cultures once found a nub where they were first represented: New York. It was this inspiration from the Big Apple that David Walters decided to pave the way for the long player.
 
On the lead single ‘Krye Mwen’, a hedonistic state of mind that reigned in New York during the 70s and 80s is present, as the bass line and key chords slide over a slice of modern Boogie.​ Funk, soul, and kompa explorations are exemplified in tracks like ‘Manye’ and included within this package single 'Mama'. Co-produced with musical mastermind, Bruno ‘Patchworks’ Hovart (Mr. President, Voilààà Sound System). Recorded between Paris and Lyon, they wrote, composed, recorded and played all the instruments on ‘Soleil Kreyol’.

'Krye Mwen' was selected by Gilles Peterson in his albums of 2020 to look out for on BBC Radio 6Music.‘Soleil Kreyol’ the LP releases 07/02/2020 on Heavenly Sweetness.

Sparkle - Sparkle

In a genre that has classically been driven primarily by hot twelve-inches, it can sometimes be hard to find a disco album that delivers the goods from end to end—let alone a disco LP that could be described as “perfect.” Cultures of Soul Records presents Sparkle’s self-titled album which many disco aficionados would put into this category.

Sparkle was a female vocal trio from Connecticut, assembled by the producer Harold Sargent, erstwhile drummer of the sterling funk band Wood, Brass & Steel, and creator of manifold drum breaks that would go on to be sampled for decades. Originally released in 1979, the album and the group are fittingly titled as the music is a scintillating, radiant collection of shimmering disco and dazzling funk, performed by  Too Much Too Soon—the multiracial R&B band that featured Evan Rogers and Carl Sturken, the writing/production team that would discover Rihanna and power her career to global dominance fifteen years later.

Also on hand is musical prodigy Rahni Harris, whose Sargent-assisted club classic “Six Million Steps” is also included on the album. The result is an album that by far exceeds the sum of its parts, delivering a truly transcendent disco experience. The album goes in a gatefold jacket with extensive liner notes and unreleased photos of group. Coming out on January 24th.

Dubfire (feat. Carl Craig and Kate Elsworth) - Lotus (remixes)

Global pioneer Dubfire appears on Crosstown Rebels for the first time this February, also featuring the legendary Carl Craig and the enchanting vocals of Kate Elsworth to bring 'Lotus' to the wider world.

'This was hatched on a sunny January day in Los Angeles: something a bit deeper than I am known for, but just as emotionally powerful.' Dubfire

This three-tracker opens with a delicate bassline, textures of atmospheric synth are introduced as the sensual whispers of Kate Elsworth fade in, her stunning vocals gradually become more prominent, before all the unique elements of subtlety come together. On the dub version, hypnotising chords blend with a functional groove, retaining the mystical romance of the original, it will translate this magic to the dancefloor. Recently picked up by Damian Lazarus for a release on Crosstown sister label Rebellion, Tibi Dabo adds his style of deep melancholy and spirited percussion to the remix.

From the world-renowned Grammy Award winning Deep Dish to equal accomplishments within the underground scene, Dubfire is an artist who has remained in the top ranks of dance music for over a decade.

From solo performances at the best clubs and festivals to his remarkable story documented in the Above Ground Level Film, running the acclaimed SCI+TEC label and the 2017 A Decade of Dubfire album, he is in a class of his own. With his early tracks seen as iconic classics, Ali Shirazinia has continued to innovate, with ongoing impressive productions, high profile remixes and his immersive concert experiences HYBRID and EVOLV. Through his Planet E label, Detroit Love parties and charity foundation, the common thread running through Carl Craig’s projects is a resounding fascination with futurism. The prolific producer, who has also worked under numerous aliases, has cultivated a unique path as an artist, entrepreneur and civic leader who has remained committed to Detroit throughout. 

Ihsan Al-Munzer - Belly Dance Disco


Ihsan Al-Munzer’s first release as a solo artist, ‘Belly Dance Disco’ aimed to fuse ‘Western’ modern music and bellydance to make it more accessible to the local audience in the late 1970s. “I wanted to put a mixture of European beat with Arabic percussion, but I made the European rhythm and harmony very easy to listen to for the Arabic ear – soft and understandable” says Al- Munzer. Today, the composer’s music has made the return journey back to the West; with tracks on the album featured by hip hop artists such as Mos Def, who sampled Al-Munzer’s composition ‘Joy of Lina’ on his 2009 song ‘The Embassy’.

The 10-track album was released in 1979 on the legendary Voix De L’Orient label, which was also home to pioneering Lebanese composers The Rahbani Brothers. One of the earliest artists to introduce the synthesizer to Middle Eastern music, Al-Munzer leads the band, playing the main melody lines on the Kawai Organ and Solina String Synthesizer. Three of his original compositions feature on the album, alongside creative re-imaginings of Turkish and Arabic folklore and modern classics, pushing the boundaries of bellydance music to chime with the international scene.

Al-Munzer’s five titles from the 1970s and 1980s are part of BBE’s ‘Middle Eastern Heavens’ reissue series, a collection of groundbreaking productions from Lebanon, curated by Lebanese DJ, compiler and music researcher Ernesto Chahoud.

Various Artists - Hyperswim (Hyperdub 15th Anniversary)

Such a delightful tapestry of the avant-garde, congratulations to Hyperdub for bringing just that for 15 years.
Off-kilter rhythms, experimental expression and sophisticated simplicity are just a few of the adjectives to describe the time that the label has been with us. Within this 19-strong collection, you will find the sought-after music of Burial (represented by 'Old Tape'), Cooly G on the tribal 'Nocturnal', label chief Kode9 (Steve Goodman) on a typically profound suite of soundscape-and-broken-rhythm while Footwork and Juke groundbreaker, DJ Spinn, delivers high-end 'Opiods'.

Hyperdub was born out of the early Dubstep scene and has been a springboard for electronic music innovation ever since. 'Hyperswim' is released in conjunction with Adult Swim channel, and represents most of the current roster. Out now.

Anthony Rinaldi - The Infinite Sky

A delight to come across this artist from Toronto, Canada with something new to say.

An LP referencing elements from bygone eras of Funk, Acid-Jazz and Hip-Hop, Anthony features himself on baritone and tenor saxophone with 'The Infinite Sky' also including fellow Canadian talents from across the country.

There is much to enjoy from this album, running at under 30 minutes with memorable cuts dotted throughout. Opening with the man's horn on 'All Systems Go', scratches and a rap ensue, very much rekindling that feeling had with Guru's Jazzmatazz project. 'Can you Remember?' features Joanna Mohammed's lovely soulful vocal atop a slice of smiling soulful R'n'B. Short instrumental interludes like 'The Past' and 'The Present' fit perfectly, changing the pace of the album. 


The title cut is a tour de force as the Rinaldi saxophone meanders through while also sparring with Steve John Dale's guitar and effects. (One may recall the New Power Generation's 'Exodus' cut as a bedfellow to this). 'Keep on Truckin' is an ethereal piece of Jazz Funk (and personal favourite), rounding off a full-fledged collection.

'The Infinite Sky' can be found on Bandcamp.

Floating Points - Crush

Sam Shepherd aka Floating Points offers us another insight into his second long player 'Crush', released on 18 October on Ninja Tune.   2015 debut album “Elaenia” was met with rave reviews – including being named Pitchfork’s ‘Best New Music’ and Resident Advisor’s ‘Album of the Year’ – and took him from dancefloors to festival stages worldwide. 

Fresh from the release earlier this year of his compilation of lambent, analogous ambient and atmospheric music for the esteemed Late Night Tales compilation series, Floating Points’ first album in four years, “Crush”, twists whatever you think you know about him on its head again. 'Anasickmodular' is a terse, purely electronic, instrumental, in contrast to the many epic journeys he has taken us on over the last 10 years though no less impactive. His new album feels similarly instantaneous – and vital. It’s the sound of the many sides of Floating Points finally fusing together. 


It draws from the "explosive" moments during his sets, the moments that usually occur when he throws together unexpected genres, for the very simple reason that he gets excited about wanting to "hear this record, really loud, now!" and then puts the needle on. It’s "just like what happens when you’re at home playing music with your friends and it's going all over the place," he says.
Don't miss the next chapter of a musical alchemist.

Back to Mine - Jungle (Various)

Until the beginning of 2019, it had been eleven years since the last of the 'match-winning' compilation/mix series, Back to Mine, returned to celebrate; appropriately choosing taste-meister and authority, Nightmares on Wax for the relaunch.

For part 2 of the new B T M generation, it is Josh Lloyd-Watson and Tom McFarland who make their ways to to the mixtable. Leaders of the septet Jungle, they made their formal announcement to the music scene in 2014, the impact made was comparable to that of Zero 7, 15 years earlier: revered debut albums; reputable spinners and tastemakers in equal measure.


Here, they take the eclectic approach, absorbing many dancefloor categories, aimed at the connoisseur and seasoned nightlife afterhours family with music of considerable class.
Barabara Moore's 'Steam Heat', a melting pot of vocal harmony, Bluegrass and Funk, breaks the waves, as we step into Jungle producer, Inflo and a slice of full-fat, Dubstep-inflected Afrobeat. As time passes, we are escorted into exotic Future Soul territory with Mocky on 'How it Goes' before blending perfectly into the Trip-Hop era, sophisticated Pop sound of 'Cariño' by The Marías. Kamaal Williams is a perfect choice (watch him go over the next few years) before Jungle themselves offer something new: the ethereal Shuggie Otis-like Soul of 'Come Back a Different Day' leads us into an exhilarating climax of Psychedelic Soul and mid-tempo shuffling, highlighted by Sault's 'Masterpiece'.

A tremendous set, worthy of the badge with selection and mixing so good that it is easy to lose which track you are listening to. What the heck, this is what mixes are meant to be about isn't it?
Out now.

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