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Review: Systemwide Live at the Festival International De Jazz De Montreal

Label: BSI

Studio experimentation and roots reggae don't always make a tasteful melange, but Systemwide manages to straddle the line between live music and mixing board. The band's leisurely instrumentals and geist resonances are an anodyne for any dub-head weary of cocktail hour downtempo and club-style fluff. In Live at the Festival International de Jazz Montreal Systemwide re-captures the populist spirit of dub with "Burning Dub," a languorous adaptation of The Wailer's "Burning and Looting," and "Ripe Up," a paean to marijuana. Read more » 

Review: Fireclap Begin Without End

Label: Emmoworks

Southern Cali represents on the indie side with panache yet again. Rhymers LMNO, Zaire Black and June 22 coolly ride a bad-ass jazz-funk riddim by DJ Westafa. Spacious lines, no garble, no emo indulgence, just Emmoworks smoothness. "The beginning/of what is to be endless," whines the scratched phrase. We hope so. Read more » 

Review: DJ Cam Soulshine

Label: Koch

Soulshine is Cam's reflection on US r&b and soul (there's even a tribute to Aaliyah), a side-step from his previous hip-hop-centric approach and hard-hitting jazz cutups. More grounded than his Loa Project trilogy, Cam uses a slew of guest players and vocalists to good effect here, centered around minimal, laidback grooves. The DJ Premier remix of "Voodoo Child" makes this all the more evident-it's the oldest cut here, and is much more in your face than the sophisticated r&b rubric motivating the bulk of the album. Read more » 

Review: Eastenders Orientation

Label: Kriztal

Sexy tabla and sarod bleed into electronica-inspired studio effects on Eastenders' Orientation-a beveled reflection of Euriental diaspora. Overly-saturated tracks like Digital Jockey's "Ach ware ich ein zug, so fuhre ich in dein herz!" (whose schmaltzy synths are redolent of Erik Satie's "Gymnopedie" for piano) are complemented by more distilled arrangements like Orient Expressions' "Istanbul 1:26 am," in which a swank bongo dialogues with a jazzy saxophone. Read more » 

Review: Manitoba Jacknuggeted

Label: Leaf

Relax, take a breath, LISTEN. Enjoy the slow romantic indie rock "Seaweed," the kind of stuff you can play for your mom, without being bored yourself. Tons of jingles over acoustic drums ("Thistles and Felt"). Vocal delights! You will have dreams about lemonade. Read more » 

Review: Cex Being Ridden

Label: Temporary Residence

Rjyan Kidwell makes me feel mad old. He's barely into his twenties, and Being Ridden is the fourth full-length he's dropped under the Cex name in as many years. Having mastered clank & grind IDM and goofball-white-man's party rap on his previous albums, Kidwell now keeps the mic in one hand, the acoustic guitar in the other and the laptop nearby. Read more » 

Review: Seba Producer 06

Label: Good Looking

Scandinavian electronic music aficionado Seba is a multi-genre master of all things melodic and emotional. Producer 06 focuses on the pick of smooth d&b gems he cooked up for Good Looking. "Remedy" takes healing power from a rapturous transforming synth that is draped over natural breaks and wide-eyed keys. "Soul 2000" sees kaleidoscope keys and firing beats underpin a grandiose string section. Seba calls on sometime-production partner Lotek for "So Long," where vocals agonize, heavenly keys soothe and a twisting bass engulfs all. Read more » 

Review: Red Snapper Red Snapper

Label: Lo

Red Snapper's final album is warmer and considerably more mellow. The group flanks meaty, thick grooves with an upright bass that at times serves as a solid anchor and at others a quivering catapult. "Regrettable" is striped with deep-red shadings of piano, horns and strings. "Ultraviolet's" shifty, shuffling break gives way to a funkier 4/4, moving from its initial jazziness to twinklier techno, though the flip and slap of hand against bass remains audible. Read more » 

Review: Doujah Raze Spinmata

Label: Brick

"Spinmata" is a tale of the woe and intrigue suffered by club DJs. Raze vents about requests from taxin' Anglo-Saxons ("Can you play some hip-hop...like Britney Spears?") over a slow, reggae-tinged horn track by The Beatminerz. The flip's "The Breakoff" holds it down with guests Optical and Thad Reid, and blazing cuts from DJ Dial Tone. Read more » 

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