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The DreZone - DreCountry

LP of the Week

The ubiquitous Dre: as at home as a DJ as he is a performer at numerous venues over the years. Indeed, taking early musical journeys via Drum & Bass then later, producing full-on Minneapolis Funk jams. In the summer of 2021, he arrives with an all-new, ten-track long-player. 

Over the course of this excursion, Dre exemplifies what beautiful art can result from an unprecedented, global lockdown. 'On the Down' reflects on this very time: accompanied by resonant Rhodes piano, Dre's snappy drum syncopations, horn stabs and his subtle vocal delivery, feeling like it could have been the flipside to Prince's 1996 'Jam of the Year'. Dre heads into early '80s Jazz-Funk territory on 'The Crusade' contrasted with 'End of Summer Blue as distanced, reverbed vocals and an encompassing atmosphere, echoing the mood of Marvin's 'Save the Children' . 'Fallen 4 Your Love' is pure, undulating harmony and melody in a late'70s soul mold: perhaps the personal highlight for this listener.
Personal choice aside, this is an outstanding collection of modern soul-music with nods to Jazz and Funk along the way but most of all, it is the quality of the songs that takes 'Drecountry' to another plateau. Let's hope it gets the attention it deserves. 

Out on 6th August.


 

Kettama - Higher

KETTAMA brings his signature full-on rave-fuelled house to Mall Grab’s SCDD label with ‘Higher (Steel City Power House)’ out now . 

 

The Galway producer, hotly tipped by artists and clubbers alike as one of the most exciting talents of the moment has exploded through the ranks thanks to his euphoric core-rattling cuts on a plethora of seminal labels, including R&S Records, Shall Not Fade, Dance Trax, Madhouse, and most recently his rework of Anastasia Kristensen’s ‘Voice Within’ on Houndstooth. ‘Higher (Steel City Power House)’ marks his debut on Australian/London-based imprint SCDD, who have been championing genre-fluid music and artists for the last five years - a perfect home for KETTAMA’s raucous bass-heavy output. This is a fast, relentless, in your face barrage of heavy drums beefed up with hi-hats and all the percussion in the shop, spiced with febrile female soul-drenched vocal riffs. Breakdowns with jumping keyboard chords or swoony white noise barely let up on the onslaught on the senses; this is one to get temperatures sky-high for summer ravers. 

 

KETTAMA has also launched his own G-TOWN Records imprint this year and just announced a run of four G-TOWN shows at venues including London’s Village Underground and Glasgow’s Galvanizers (SWG3), on top of shows at Field Day Festival (August) and Riverside Festival (September).

 

Matters - A Beginning

Matters are proud to announce the release of their debut single 'A Beginning' lifted from their upcoming album 'We Aren't Just' planned for later this year.

This is the debut project from the multi-instrumentalist and composer Jonny Enser. A solo project emerging from his work as a key contributor to the UK afro-jazz pioneers Nubiyan Twist, Jonny has gathered some of the most talented forces contributing to the London Scene drawing from projects such as Nerija, Noya Rao, Allysha Joy's and Emma-Jean Thackray's bands to create a kaleidoscopic project of united musical visions.

 

Jonny is deeply influenced by Spiritual Jazz, with undercurrents carrying grooves from the roots of the Blues to West Coast beats. This is particularly prevalent in ‘A Beginning’ , a track that explores both time and space and lets the listener sink into the music. This track was written when he "finally found a space to express myself fully” , after 10 years of navigating the Jazz, Pop and Brass Band scene this is a place he can fully exhibit his creative work. Matters' debut album ‘We Aren’t Just’ delivers a sound that “is at once known and not known” drawing from a long musical legacy steeped in spirituality, while combining the group’s interpretations to create something new. The project comes with an Artistic Manifesto that naturally occurred as the project formed : “Project and propel tradition, there lies the intersection between experience and heritage.

 

Free the mind to find divine inspiration, life lies in all things” For such a recently formed band, the musicians create the feel of an ensemble who have performed together for years. Jonny sums up the project succinctly; “This is Celestial Blues, wrapped in contemporary global grooves. Matters simply defines all things and all thoughts. Inspiration can occur from anything. Each member of the project is a huge spiritual influence for me. They have found me through years of hard graft in the industry.” This record is one of diverse sounds and influences fusing under his innovative production to create a compelling and unique sound in today's UK jazz landscape.

The first single, 'A Beginning', is out now.

Kasper Bjørke - Sprinkles

There is a distinct thread that runs through Kasper Bjørke’s vast body of work.

Whether it’s an instrumental club track, a radio friendly affair, one of his forays into the more ambient side of things - or everything that falls in between - the DNA is unmistakably Bjørke’s. Finding that perfect balance of emotion and groove has always been his trademark. And though the musical scenery might change over time, Kasper Bjørke’s sound and vision is clearly evident throughout.

Kaspers new album Sprinkles is reminiscent of a utopian postcard sent from the past. Recorded and produced while spending extensive periods of time in the family’s cabin by a secluded beach, Bjørke reflects on what feels like distant memories; the energy and euphoria from his countless DJ gigs over the past decades.

Sprinkles is rooted in a multicolored sound and filled with light and warmth. The balearic vibes and dream house grooves merge with synth choirs, guitars, fretless and acid bass lines and intertwine playfully into a coherent sonic stream of consciousness.

The 13 track instrumental album stands as a breath of fresh air and a much needed, warm ray of sunshine.

Named after, and inspired by, Danish visual artist Luca Bjørnsten’s mesmerizing work “Sprinkles”, picturing an empty, lush and colorful landscape with a large, romantic fountain, perfectly embodies the surreal scenario that we have all become much too familiar with.

Mark Rae - The Caterpillar Club

Alongside the novel, Rae has produced an album of music that was inspired by chapters or characters in the book, from which 'Second Hand Pram' is taken. He has also released an ambient version of this album entitled 'The Caterpillar Club (Readers Version)' available here.

Simon Radcliffe faces an identity crisis. Music is life, now his life itself is under threat. 
The Caterpillar Club soundtrack reflects the inherent questions posed in the debut novel by Mark Rae. 

 

Can we reinvent ourselves? Embrace forgiveness? Make life begin again?
The complex rhythms, chords and melodies of the instrumental soundtrack weave through the emotions of the book’s chapters. West London plays its part, it is here that the book is set, and its musical DNA courses through the soundtrack’s veins. A European soul carved from the broken echoes of a world split between the analogue and digital. A soundtrack that seeks a life force, glimmering somewhere within. Drums are sampled from the machines of the past. Is it a part of Simon’s past that has come to haunt him?

Riding on a rhythm of syncopated marimbas, bass and drums, ‘Second Hand Pram’ finds Simon in the local charity shop looking for samples and scoring a nice selection of imported Brazilian records. The Latin overtones reflect the distorted blend of broken beats and the haunting lilt of memories trapped in the vinyl.

'Irish Frank married a Brazilian lady; it didn’t last long but the music stuck to him like a hot Twix in a bag full of stickle bricks. “Reminds me of the sex..” he used to say to Bossa Nova enthusiasts in the bars of Soho.’

The debut novel, The Caterpillar Club is published on hardback in September and available at all good bookshops.

.“Pat Kalla & Le Super Mojo propel us into a whirlwind métisse of Africangroove and Caribbean funk, Afro-disco, Afrobeat, Makossa ... (Their music) dances with the musicality of political poetry, all expressed through a storyteller's Creole."

 

'Hymne à la Vie', Pat Kalla's second full-length LP out on Heavenly Sweetness is not only as the title has it, a hymn to life, it's also a fine showcase of his band, the "Lyon-based groovers," le Super Mojo and a select group of guests from West Africa (DjeuhDoah, Doctor Lass).

 

Parisian singer Lieutenant Nicholson joins DjeuhDoah to perform a touching duet on the closer and West Indies singer/songwriter - and fellow Heavenly Sweetness artist - David Walters shines on the LP in a lilting pop-funk number drenched in a luxurious groove. Add to this the delicate, sophisticated production pallette of the DJ/producer Guts - another Heavenly Sweetness labelmate - and you have a release of subtle, satisfying power. Throughout his multi-decade musical career, the singer/songwriter and MC born Patrice Kalla N'Galle (his Cameroonian father named him after the assassinated Congolese political leader, Patrice Lumumba) has created music that responds to his African heritage in strikingly creative and innovative ways.

Rão Kyao - Gandhi

Baaba Maal and Seckou Keita’s paths have crossed many times over the past 25 years at festivals and shared stages. They have developed a mutual respect and love for each other's music and have been talking about a collaboration for a while. They finally used the quieter time offered by the pandemic to realise their wish with HOMELAND - arriving with us on 25th June 2021.

José Mauro - A Viagem Das Horas

For years it was believed that José Mauro was dead. Rumours on blogs and comment sections circulated that the mysterious Brazilian genius had either been killed in a road accident, or been ‘disappeared’ by Brazil’s military junta in the 1970s. But following Far Out’s 2016 reissue of José Mauro’s debut album Obnoxius, the label heard word that José Mauro is in fact alive and well, living a quiet life on the outskirts of Rio.

 

After years of trying to track him down (with many twists and turns along the way), Far Out Recordings is overjoyed to finally present, with the blessing of the man himself, the long-awaited release of José Mauro’s forgotten masterpiece A Viagem Das Horas, featuring three previously unreleased and unheard tracks from the original studio sessions.

Recorded in 1970 at Odeon studios in Rio de Janeiro: the same time and place as all the music he ever recorded, José Mauro’s A Viagem Das Horas wasn’t released until six years later, when label owner and producer Roberto Quartin licensed the tracks to fellow Brazilian label Tapecar, who curiously released the album with several tracks already released on Obnoxius. Finally, over half a century on, A Viagem Das Horas will be released with three never before heard tracks, “Rua Dois”, “Moenda'' and “Variação Sobre Um Antigo Tema”, as Mauro and Quartin had originally intended. Out now.

Chip Wickham - Blue to Red Remixed

Three songs taken from Chip Wickham’s spiritual jazz album Blue to Red get reshaped by Photay, Medlar, and Chip Wickham himself. The result is a lush ep, every bit as good as the combination of a wonderful original track and an uber-talented remixer could be.

Photay has deconstructed the peaceful Blue to Red to turn it into a bomb—a storming dance track that keeps the spiritual vibe intact. The extra beatless version soothes your ear while creating a certain sense of anticipation.

The original version of Interstellar blends fusion jazz with the sound of West London’s seminal broken beat scene. Medlar has plucked the track apart, then rebuilt it by adding some extra perc and synth sounds to the bass-driven beats. The result is some deep and heavy and funky business.

And finally, Chip recovered a take of a wonderful astral slow jam The Cosmos that didn’t make it onto the album, one with no drums, and cooked up a roomy cosmic dub, full-on Space Echo.