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Air + Baricco City Readings

Label: Astralwerks

I've always found Air's moody loungescapes a little flabby-sentimental without discretion and full without restraint. Their work for The Virgin Suicides, though, breathed fresh life into the duo; their cinematic aspirations finally fit when corseted by both visual and narrative parameters. City Readings is Air's collaboration with Alessandro Baricco's tale of youth and grizzle, urbanity and the Wild West, and the result's a soothing hour of scene-setting and storytelling. Read more » 

Pete Miser Radio Free Brooklyn

Label: Ho-Made Media

How's this for a recommendation? Read more » 

Black Panther Presents...Suicide

Label: Third Earth Music

Horny for evil? Brooklyn DJ-turned-producer Black Panther hosts Pumpkinhead and C Rayz Walz on this dark double-sider. Pumpkinhead's tune, "Suicide," opens with frenetic scratching over a dark track accented by lush horns (RZA?). On the flip's "Expand 2," lifelong activist and vegetarian C Rayz blazes a hyper-intelligent flow (GZA?) over 32nd-note hi-hats and sinister strings. Read more » 

The Executioners Scratchology

Label: Sequence

Hoping to release the definitive "history of the scratch" compilation, Sequence Records (home to other hip-hop DJ anthologies such as Dan The Automator's Wanna Buy A Monkey? and Babu's Duck Season) recruits the X-Ecutioners to put it down. One of the most visible crews in turntablism, the X-Ecutioners have graced the big screen (in Doug Pray's documentary Scratch), and even made it to MTV and arenas around the world with their Linkin Park duet. Read more » 

Fresh The Daleks

Label: Breakbeat Kaos

Having been a badman for a long time now, Fresh simply knows his studio, and it always reaches the dancefloor. "The Daleks" gets the party started-twisted up synth-hooks and bass meet clashing drums. If you liked "Torpedo," you'll love this. Read more » 

Browntempo Homage

Label: Rhythm and Culture

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 » 

JOHN ARNOLD Anaconda

Label: Ubiquity

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 » 

Various Artists Mind, Body & Soul: Phase 3

Label: Defunked

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 » 

Quantic Soul Orchestra Stampede

Label: Tru Thoughts

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 » 

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