For those of us who doubted nu-jazz's staying power, Detroit's Mr. Arnold opens a can of Oh No You Fucking Don't. "Anaconda" finds him lacing a crisp and quick Afrobeat-style rhythm with some techno synth action, while on the flip he offers up a boosted cover of Herbie Hancock's criminally overlooked "Rough," in which he lands vocalist Ayro into a forest of pure wah. Rude for the dancefloor. Read more »
Eighteenth St. Lounge associate Desmond Williams and Avatars of Dub's Philip Brooks launch their DC-based Rhythm and Culture imprint with two smoking Latin jams. "Homage" runs a deadly downtempo rhythm under the salsa, while "Querida Vida" goes the percussive uptempo route with solid results. An auspicious debut. Read more »
From Calibre's smooth and hypnotic "Brother" to Kaleb's hard-edged soul-fusion on "Count on Me," Defunked has obviously saved the best for last in its high-powered Mind, Body & Soul series. Carlito contributes to the cause with the epic, Rhodes-driven "Turn It Up" before Funk 'n' Flex brings "Walk By Faith," with a top-notch production centered on the sublime vocals of David Holness and Ed Funk on drums. Definitely coming to a dancefloor near you-look out! Read more »
Downtempo prodigy Will Holland (a.k.a. Quantic) broadens his previous output's scope with this vibrant album of raw, blistering funk, jazz and soul featuring Holland and friends as an all-live groove machine. Bad-ass jams like "South Coastin'" (which combines a bass-heavy backbeat with bubbling flute licks) or opening salvo "Stampede" (which kicks off the album with a furiously-paced guitar, horn and breakbeat workout) transcend the funk template with expressive soloing that lends a psychedelic edge to its heavy, earthy grooves. Read more »
Dave Cridge, head of Bristol's Tribe imprint, teams up with American DJ Tasha to let ya know that drum & bass has well retained its ragga roots. Rugged, subtly placed vocal samples, half-time chords and them damn sirens decorate the buzz-bass-&-Amen scheme of the title tune, while the flip's "Cuban Lingo" hands over skillfully arranged, conga-heavy Latin flavor. Ace. Read more »
Coming out of Dorchester, MA, Akrobatik has been making noise for several years now, releasing an EP and multiple singles, such as the notorious "Internet MCs" joint back in '99. On his debut full-length, Balance, he flaunts a smooth but strong rhyme style, addressing ever-pertinent topics like the ladies, knuckleheads and real hip-hop. Production duties are handled by Fakts One, DJ Revolution, Diamond D and Da Beatminerz, who all come nice with bump-heavy, sample-based beats. Read more »
Coming from Australia, these boys know how to fire up the dance. "Trail of Sevens" is an epic tune, starting off with a nice melodic intro and a simple but effective arpeggio-style sound, just to drop into funked-up Reese-ness with some punchy beats and bass. Read more »
Coming back from the wrong side of the tracks is the Artifacts' Tame One, giving indie hip-hop a much-needed dose of back-to-basics rhyming. Considering how long it has been since he's had product out, Tame has very quickly knocked the dust off his flow, updating it with a few more multisyllabic rhymes. His delivery shows that he hasn't missed a step during his hiatus, as he confidently kicks clever metaphors like I register game like "Jon Schecter." Unfortunately, the production isn't up to Tame's level-the tracks range from plodding and boring to mediocre. Read more »
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