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Review: Soul Supreme The Saturday Night Agenda

Label: Inebriated Rhythm-Gri

At the risk of sounding like a hater, I have to admit to an insidious feeling of dread when I pick up new independent hip-hop albums. Maybe it's the fact that all the really jiggy club shit is just killing it these days (thanks Pharrell!). Or, maybe I'm just getting soft. For real, I've been listening to so much Snoop and Freeway, I totally slept on The Saturday Night Agenda. Producer Soul Supreme comes correct with some staight-up rap shit. Read more » 

Review: Various Artists Sunset Nights

Label: Nutone Discos

Jazz has managed to surreptitiously infiltrate the dancefloor with stunning results. Thanks to the likes of Kruder & Dorfmeister, Trüby Trio, Attica Blues, et al, it has permeated genres as disparate as deep house, broken beat and drum & bass. Sunset Nights attempts to introduce the listener to a cerebral selection of sublime jazz with a club-friendly mantel. With nary a hint of snobbery, this gorgeously crafted selection includes contributions from the likes of LTJ Bukem, Jazzanova, Bazoo Bajou and Tony Allen. Read more » 

Review: Marques Wyatt United DJs of America Vol 20

Label: DMC

What's left to say about the godfather of West Coast house? Read more » 

Review: Various Artists Roots of Dub Funk 3

Label: Tanty

The third release from the UK's Dub Funk Association comes across in sort of a dark, Bill Laswell vein, wrapping your brain in hissing echoes while thick basslines punch you in the gut. A range of producers works on the tracks here, including the Version City Rockers, Jah Warrior, Alpha & Omega, and the Dub Funk Association themselves. Nearly every track showcases sparsely grooving drums in the style of King Tubby or Mad Professor, with delays, sliding faders and flighty horns. Don't be misled by the title; this is some very good straight-ahead dub reggae, but it's not really funky. Read more » 

Review: Jon Cutler Turn

Label: Distant Music

Distant Music head honcho Jon Cutler delivers a choice selection of underground house bits that reflect his own affinity for the deep and soulful end of things. With a heavy representation of his own stellar productions, Cutler also gives the nod to artists like Dennis Ferrer, DJ Jorj, Yalopa and Richard Earnshaw, who each contribute their own vision of liquid beauty to the mix. Heavy on the vocals, Cutler touches on all corners of the underground vibe, hypnotizing with tribal beats before resurfacing with anthemic floor-killers, giving equal love to the smooth, the jazzy and the lounge vibe. Read more » 

Review: Various Artists King Jammy's The Rhythm King: 18 Dancehall Classics

Label: Maximum Pressure

King Jammy emerged from King Tubby's tutelage to become the most popular (and prolific) producer of the '80s in Jamaica, largely due to his innovative Casio-fueled style. This compilation brings together eighteen of his hottest hiccupping digital rhythms covered in honey-voiced singing. The grooves on this compilation are more laidback than modern ragga, with performances by Johnny Osbourne, Sugar Minott, Eek-A-Mouse and Horace Andy among others. Though most of the music is strictly based on digi-riddims, Jammy is tops at making electronic beats sound soulful. Read more » 

Review: Various Artists Floorplay 3: House Broken

Label: Play

Keep those dancing shoes in the box-this is the kind of stuff that makes headphones worthwhile. With a smattering of sharp, broken beat tunes buffered by deep, subdued house, Floorplay 3 stays well away from the soporific without coming off as willfully eclectic or clever. Contributions from the likes of Titonton Duvante, the Lazy Boys and Mad Professor fuse together into a multi-faceted, intriguing sonic document rife with stuttered beats, haunting vocals and crisp percussion. An arresting mix like this deserves intent listening-missing a beat on this album would seem almost shameful. Read more » 

Review: Chris Watson Star Switch On

Label: Touch

Unusually, Star Switch On features the sounds of large grouse and goat-herders, nocturnal birds and death-watch beetles. Chris Watson's lead instrument is his tape recorder: a former member of Cabaret Voltaire, Watson now specializes in natural history sound recording for radio, film and TV. Watson has previously released a pair of remarkable, Bjork-feted albums-Stepping Into The Dark and Outside The Circle Of Fire-featuring his untreated wildlife recordings. Read more » 

Review: Various Artists Broklyn Beats 7" Series

Label: Broklyn Beats

It seems NYC hasn't been content to stop at the noisy aggression of El-P's percussion, but instead appears to have befriended Alec Empire and Digital Hardcore based on this collection of dirty, rugged, industrial, chaotic beats. From droney hip-hop to tidbits of driven drum & bass buried beneath a million tons of sonic sludge to head-banging, sample-heavy gabber militancy, Broklyn Beats leaves no rhythm safe, as the likes of I-Sound, DJ /rupture and Rotator deliver enough sonic damage to bring the toughest rave-torn warrior down. Read more » 

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