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Review: Incognito Who Needs Love

Label: Dome

Perennial jazz-funk pioneers Incognito show they're still full of life with this offering for the symmetrical Dome imprint. As expected, jaw-dropping instrumentation is high on the menu. "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" has nothing to do with an evergreen, large-buttocked Australian popstress-it's a strolling, needy, lovesick vocal escapade with gliding orchestral strings and a soul-steeped guitar. "Fly" spreads its wings and ascends heavenward, thanks to visionary keys, a flourishing sax and hip-swinging guitar. Read more » 

Review: Mathematics Respect Mine (Feat. Wu-Tang Clan)

Label: High Times

On "Respect Mine," extended Wu-Tang family member Mathematics graciously hosts the Clan. So graciously, in fact, that he's outshined on his own song. If you like the Wu, you'll like this. Math's featured more prominently on the flip's "Just Can't Luv," as is a repetitive/abrasive vocal sample that makes you miss the Wu. Read more » 

Review: Phife Dawg U Know U Want It

Label: Smokin Needles

On "U Know U Want It," Phife proves that he can still kick it. DJ/producer Rasta Root creates a beat that would make any Tribe head nod, while songstresses Slick and Rose croon the chorus. On the flip's "Diggy Dialect," Kingston's Hawkeye joins Mutty Ranks for the perfect balance of dancehall and hip-hop. Ya dunn know. Read more » 

Review: Strand Messages

Label: Delsin

Outside of the great celebrated triumvirate of Atkins, Saunderson and May, Detroit has dozens of journeymen waiting to be discovered. The trio called Strand is no exception. Eschewing the formulaic approach, their first full-length album is full of intricacies and quirks, but remains a very smooth production. "Vamp" is an excellent example, swinging a nerdy, harpsichord-like sound and '80s bass around in modern staccato construct. It's evidence that the new wave influence is still working itself out in fascinating ways. Read more » 

Review: Freddie Foxx A.K.A. Bumpy Knuckles Konexxion

Label: BBE-Rapster

On "Konexion," the self-proclaimed "Rakim with muscles" lets you know that he's hip-hop and you're not. His newfound spirituality and self-knowledge do nothing to temper his trademark invective-he's still Freddie from the (cell) block. The flipside's "P.A.I.N.E." is a dark Premier beat, tailor-made for the man with mic skills and hand skills. Read more » 

Review: Gridlok Under the Knife

Label: Sudden Def

Oakland's own Gridlok continues to spread the disease, dropping a pair of hallucinogenic bits designed to set the dancefloor dreamers on fire. "Under the Knife" stands out as the top cut, centered on heavy-duty atmosphere that slowly evolves into the full-blown beast at the core. Partygoers best look out for the drop, because that bass will suck the air right out the room. Big tune! Read more » 

Review: Ramsey & Fen What You Want

Label: Bug

Old school stalwarts Ramsay & Fen deliver two cuts that show they haven't lost the fire. "What You Want" is the pick, in which a vocalist makes like a male Beyonc? over some clever beats; stabbing strings and 2-step's trademark bump & flex mix with some darker breakbeat bass noises for a creative club stormer. "Playboy" on the flip finds the crew working their magic with a pumping 4/4 rinse. Read more » 

Review: Monobox Molecule

Label: Logistic

No longer is it reasonable to suppose that history unfolds as narratives of "great men" and "great events." Nevertheless, for those living it, history is, as Chaucer put it, "the smiler with the dagger beneath the cloak." In the fabled and often inaccurate stories of Detroit during its late 20th-century technological renaissance, Robert Hood's name is everywhere. But it remains a mystery as to why his name is absent from so many accounts of the minimalist strand in contemporary techno and house. Read more » 

Review: Matthias Tanzmann Those Nights

Label: Moon Harbour

Leipzig's minimalist house master Tanzmann breaks it down to the bone with the dubby 'n' skeletal title tune, while the flip's "Side Effects" puts spitting percussion upfront and floating synth chords in the distance. The closing "Ladies First" is all in yr face, hinting perhaps at Tanzmann's late-'80s house influence. Moody and essential. Read more » 

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