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Various Artists Swearhead Presents: Volume 1

Label: Swear

Once upon a time in a city called London, a shoe company named Swear decided to compile a CD of songs that people in their store frequently inquired about and distribute it, free of charge, to all of their customers. It's a cool idea-you've certainly got to appreciate music to entertain such an endeavor. Read more » 

Illskills Forgive Myself

Label: Critical

On the original of this one, Austria's Dkay and Rawfull come up with a tasty combination of gentle yet grounded female vocals, lovely melodic keyboard melodies, and semi-ravey synth stabs over a festival of "Apache" breaks. So why has Dkay's overdramatic, unecessarily built-up remix of the tune landed on the A-side? Please, next time leave well enough alone and hit us with another track. Read more » 

Seel Fresh Nickelpump

Label: Rapstar

On "Nickel Pimp," Chicago's Seel Fresh explains "the art of gettin' over." Even though Dug Infinite provides the slow, sparse, slamming beat, the b-side's "Generation Lost" wins. The offbeat piano track by Mind has serious nod factor, Noble's scratches are tight, and Seel's frustrated flow fits perfectly. Fo' shickel, my nickel. Read more » 

Various Artists Le Future Le Funk

Label: Hooj Choons

Now that record stores are stuck with a glut of mediocre house music mixes, it's encouraging to know some labels are actually trying to inject some new life into the mix-CD genre. UK label Hooj, self-proclaimed occasional providers of "half decent house" fulfills its obligations with the decent Le Future Le Funk. Compiled and mixed by Red Jerry and Ross Cale, Le Future benefits from a wide range of track selections of glitzy, new-school house and techno, featuring Metro Area, Brooks, Swayzak, Mr. Read more » 

Luciano Serve Jah

Label: VP

Now out of the voice of the one called Luciano comes a musical thing all courtesy of Black Scorpio studio. This anticipated release from the Manchester Messenjah is pure classic. "I Will Survive" is liveness, featuring an unccredited Sizzla sound-alike a' sing say. Only other guest is the Prophet on "Hail King Selassie." Murderation, bredren. See right now, it's all about strictly God-hearted lyrics churned out like cornmeal dumplin' over recognizable riddim tracks. Overall, it's far from 1995's Where There Is Life, and there's some outdated 'chunes included here. Read more » 

Breakneck Uplink

Label: TCR

Nice to hear such a simplified sound come from a production trio on this, their fourth slab. For the title track, Pete Voyager, Tamsin and Vlad throw down a grounded rhythm and top it with a sweet two-note bassline and ragga samples to create a fundamental dancefloor burner. The flip's "Chinese Burn" runs the same essentalist territory with more understated, squiggly techno effects added to the mix. Read more » 

Various Artists Universal Funk: Re:Done

Label: April

Nine of Europe's future-jazz luminaries get to grips with Universal Funk's debut. Instead of releasing a remix album with a dozen (often pointless) re-takes of three or four prime cuts, April have chosen each artist to remold a single track. Andreas Saag's uses a nifty elasticized guitar, keys that hit the nail on the head and distraught vocals from Elsa to create a heart-stopping Swell Session re-take. Cai Bojsen-Moller's remix of "Kuta" pleads for brotherly love and understanding, with heavy, swaying percussion, a gleaming synth and an intense, staring bass. Read more » 

Martin Gadgil Partykle Science EP

Label: Megabop

New Zealand-raised Londoner Gadgil offers up a much-needed atmospheric-yet-kinetic take on d & b that borders on dubby psychedelia without dipping into indulgence. The title track emphasizes whooshing electronics over bassy machismo, and works well on those merits. The flip's "Proto Clown" goes slower and more marauding, with reptilian bass blurps and ominous atmospheres, while "Days When" rolls more contemplatively electro. A gutsy group of jams. Read more » 

Pest Necessary Measures

Label: Ninja Tune

New Ninja five-piece Pest deliver their debut album, and despite the rumors, this is not nearly as groundbreaking or different as you'll be led to believe. Sounding like "mental" jazz-break-stealing magpies-but with live instruments-Pest take great delight in mangling grooves from funk, punk, and jazz into some unholy collage. This collage, though, bears all the hallmarks of someone constantly asking "wouldn't it be funny if..?" Which is all very well for a single, but doesn't work for a long player. Read more » 

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