Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Ben Lovett's Grooveyard 1080

Ben Lovett's Grooveyard 1080
Ben Lovett's Grooveyard 1080 Great Glastonbury lineup 2017 Eastern Electrics Festival 2017 Hï Ibiza logo Glitterbox at Hï Ibiza Glitterbox at the Ministry Of Sound BPitch: Nost Irvine Welsh RIP Ikutaro Kakehashi Osunlade: Dedication EP (Yoruba) Zepherin Saint & Sara Devine: Hurry (Tribe) Damian Lazarus & The Ancient Moons: I Found You (Crosstown Rebels) Jamiroquai: Automaton (Virgin-EMI) Joe Goddard: Electric Lines (Greco-Roman)

Spring isn’t just daffodils, springy lambs in green fields and, with the clocks going forward, noticeably lighter, longer evenings – it is also a relentless onslaught of news around summer festival line-ups.


Relentless, but largely exciting. Indeed, literally as I start this column in comes an update on the dance acts confirmed for Glastonbury 2017. It’s well worth sharing. Following the announcement of headliners Radiohead, Foo Fighters, Ed Sheeran and country (‘stroke’ movie) legend Kris Kristofferson now comes a roll-call of over 80 additional acts – many appealing to this column’s dancefloor-minded sensibilities.

So what of the new names already?! Wandsworth’s finest, The XX, will attend and their distinctive mix of everything from brooding synth-scapes to snappy disco. So too chic French electronic duo Justice and Swedish fire-crackers Little Dragon. Elsewhere, and in no particular order, you can expect Sampha, Chic, Major Lazer, The Jacksons, Annie Mac, Moderat and techno nomad Boyz Noise. There’s room also for master turntablist DJ Shadow, grime kingpins Stormzy, Wiley and Dizzee Rascal, and superlative house tag-team Sasha & (John) Digweed. The pair, famed for their Nineties’ collaborations under the Renaissance banner, are enjoying something of an er… renaissance.


Beyond Glasto – June 21-26, Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset by the way – favourite club festival Eastern Electrics has confirmed the ‘stage hosts’ for this year’s gathering, which will move from Hertfordshire to a ‘brand new London location’ on August 5. Hot Since 82’s cult Knee Deep In Sound party will curate the Switchyard Stage, a new EE addition promising major ‘all star’ DJ support. Defected In The House is also new, taking over the Big Top, whilst Skreamizm (hosted by festival family member Skream) returns to the Bigger Top. The EE team continues to host the Main Stage itself (which last year embraced a surprise Tuskagee ‘back-to-back’ with Seth Troxler and the Martinez Brothers) whilst Rinse FM, Steve Lawler’s VIVa Warriors, Jocks & Nerds and Tropical Tea Party also commandeer festival zones. Line-up info is imminent but, clearly, the stage (literally) is well set.


Moving on to Lovebox, raring to go in East London’s Victoria Park across July 14-15. Much has already been made of Frank Ocean headlining, and associate acts like Rag ‘N’ Bone Man, Kano, Kaytranada, Jamie Jones, Jamie XX and Bristolian maverick Eats Everything. Now back-from-the-dead superclub Fabric has unveiled its fabulous Lovebox return – only its second ever festival sortie, after last year’s debut. Fabric will take its own stage, in partnership with Pioneer Pro Audio. The Friday night will boast Terry Francis as resident, and feature guest turns from Seth Troxler, Bicep, Hammer and KiNK (live). The following evening promises Craig Richards in the resident slot, and lead performances from Ricardo Villalobos, Dixon and Mike Servito. Details of the obligatory afterparties back at HQ in Charterhouse Street will be revealed nearer the time. Meantime, grab the latest intel at



I’ll have more on Ibiza in subsequent columns but I can tell you that life after Space is already full throttle. Space’s final ever DJ set, consummately directed by Carl Cox after some 27 years of historic operation, was an emotionally devastating occasion (in all the best and worst ways) last October. Since then the Ushuaia-owning Palladium Hotel Group has taken up ownership and reimagined Space as probably Ibiza’s most-anticipated opening of 2017 - Hï Ibiza. Palladium’s new venture opens officially May 28, with entertainment courtesy of Apollonia, Luciano and South African soul-house general Black Coffee. There is further quality support from Andrea Oliva and Davide Squillace (playing ‘back to back’), Bas Ibellini, Djebali, Joris Voorn, Kolsch, Luciano, Matthias Tanzmann and Nic Fanciulli.


Speaking of Coffee, he will also be hosting a Saturday night residency at Hï Ibiza, running June 3 to September 30. And there are freshly announced residencies, too, for Eric Prydz (at the other, pop-tinted end of the house scale), Tuesdays, June 20 to August 22; Armin Van Buuren, his U R party running Wednesdays, June 21 to September 13; and Hï Ibiza’s in-house creative team The Night League – In The Dark will occupy Thursdays, June 8 to September 28, and lead with Joris Voorn, Kolsch, Luciano, Nic Fanciulli and Steve Lawler.


There’s more. Geographically-speaking, White Isle jewel Glitterbox stays absolutely put in 2017 – which means it moves gracefully from Space to Hï Ibiza, and retains its supremely popular Friday night slot. The party, which has quickly earned nu-classic status in Ibiza thanks to an uninhibited ‘revivalist’ mix of house, garage and disco – both vintage and contemporary – with cutting edge ‘stage’ production and glamorous dance crew performance, promises even bigger thrills ‘n’ spills this season yet continued independence from the linear tech and EDM-flavoured sounds that have long dominated Balearic revelry.


Closer to home, and rather sooner, Glitterbox returns to London’s Ministry of Sound on Sunday April 30 with another special Roller Disco Day & Night Party. Eli Escobar, John Morales and Luke Solomon are among those hosting the Courtyard, 3-8pm, whilst incorrigible funkster Yam Who? tackles all things roller in Ministry’s fabled Box Room. That evening, Roger Sanchez, Karizma and Aeroplane headline, with Baptiste and Flo rustling up soul-funk and rare groove in the Loft. The omens are sensational. More info at


Time for some quick artist and industry news before we head onto reviews. Great to hear that BPitch Control head Ellen Allien is releasing a new album, some four years after her last. That record, LISm, was the ambient, largely beat-less accompaniment to a contemporary dance piece co-produced with BPitch colleague Thomas Muller. The new record, however, is firmly focused on the techno dancefloor and features Allien’s own vocals. Nost, out May 10, is named after the feeling of nostalgia – we’ll know soon enough if that theme extends to the music as well as the lyrical content. Berlin-based Allien launched BPitch in 1997 and has built a fearsome global reputation as DJ, producer, label boss and fashion designer.


Back with Ibiza, word reaches me that Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh is co-writing a new TV show about the island with former music journo and regular collaborator Dean Cavanagh. The project, Ibiza87, will sit against the late Eighties backdrop of acid house revolution with several London friends holidaying on the White Isle, witnessing one of contemporary club culture’s biggest eureka moments and returning as DJs. It’s a story that seems fairly well aligned to the famous real-life Ibiza exploits of Danny Rampling, Paul Oakenfold, Nicky Holloway and Johnny Walker back in the day. The former three are, in actual fact, already discussing soundtrack duties.


Still with acid – the genre celebrating its 30th anniversary this year - it is sad to hear that legendary engineer Ikutaro Kakehashi has died at the age of 87. Kakehashi founded Roland in Japan in 1972 and played a pivotal role in bringing acid’s seminal TB-303 bassline synthesiser to market, not to mention the TR-808 and 909 drum machines. These ‘black boxes’ are some of house, techno and hip-hop’s earliest foundation stones. RIP Ikutaro…




More far-reaching musical meditation from house music’s high priest. Between the deep piano-house poetry of opener Unspoken and percussive jazz slink of closing joint People First lies a multitude of similarly mellow, similarly first-rate grooves tied to the genres of disco (the swinging thump of Cosmic Signs stands out), funk and tribal house. Loosely tied, of course, for such is Osunlade’s soulful wide-ranging vision Dedication represents an EP for all danceable eras and ages. Expansive.


Tribe chief Saint ropes US R&B chanteuse Devine back into the house arena with impressive results. Hurry, in its main vocal format, is deeply stirring soul-house, buoyed by some particularly nice electronic-bass and brass work. Devine, a remix favourite for Louie Vega, sounds as engaging as ever. Even more so on the alternative live edit, where string parts, bass guitar and delicious skipping drums come to the fore. You might well want to rush out for this one….


The hugely requested I Found You – from Lazarus’ live project The Ancient Moons – finally earns release following its debut at Mexico’s Day Zero festival in January. The track’s anthemic swell of electronica, cascading piano and song (delivered with earthy power by Zulu) is quite something - a warmer, more soulful turn of events for Lazarus. The remixes deliver as well. Patrice Baumel plumbs moodier, atmospheric depths while Black Coffee thunders along upon a masterful torrent of tech production and tribal stomp – another shade of epic.



The circle is, as Darth Vader once intoned, complete. Where, in the Nineties, Jamiroquai ruled the funky roost, today we have Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams, and even the likes of Kaytranada and Justice, leading the popular line. And here now comes a new Jamiroquai studio album (the band’s eighth) appearing to weave the sounds of 2017 into its established (and still magnetic) disco-jazz-pop patter. Interesting. Automaton’s disco-shimmying opener Shake It On, with that pulse of electro bass running throughout, is a snappy scene-setter. Superfresh, another early moment, is an equally astute balance of old and new – fashionable vocoders, synths and Chic guitar-flicks helping propel Jay Kay’s nimble-as-ever vocals. The album’s title track pushes even further into contemporary electronic territory, an arresting robo-strut with plenty of ‘Punk’ spirit and then some. Tempering that, Jamiroquai still know how to craft a well polished, love-fuelled jam – Something About You and Summer Girl are nostalgically sweeping. Carla, named after (and about) Kay’s eldest daughter, avoids soppy distraction thanks, in part, to a dazzlingly sharp synth riff. There is nothing revolutionary about Automaton, but then there doesn’t need to be given a musical climate currently conducive to Jamiroquai’s long-standing mirrorball mantra. Impressively Kay and co. have built on their core sound, acknowledging the spin-offs other artists have introduced to it in recent years and re-packaging in such a way as to confidently command a whole new thrust of mainstream attention. They’ve still got the moves…


It’s been a whopping eight years since Hot Chipper Goddard’s last long-player, his lauded debut Harvest Festival. Sophomore effort Electric Lines undoubtedly reflects progression; a further refining of the sonic splice between club, mainstream and the electronic scene’s bleeding pioneer edge. Ordinary Madness, a resplendent, immaculately controlled electro-pop production voiced by Jess Mills and instantly deserving of crossover exposure, kicks us off nicely. Mills’ other contribution Music Is The Answer is, at album close, the perfect pop counterpoint – graceful yet powerful, and stunningly melancholic in its reworking of a classic Danny Tenaglia house lick. Electric Lines fizzes with variety but, unlike its predecessor, truly excels thanks to better, more effective execution. Lose Your Love’s lush digital soul builds convincingly into euphoric 4-4 whilst Lasers peddles body-rattling smarts in its snaking interplay between drum machine and deep, deep b-line. Across the euphoric, synth-spiralling 4-4 of Children, sashaying disco-sample house of Home and crisp computer 2-step of Truth Is Life, Goddard demonstrates style and substance. ‘I like the sound of adventure’ sings Hot Chip bandmate Alexis Taylor on the supremely uplifting title track – Goddard’s new record delivers this in spades, yet amplifies it with clear direction and plugged-in, often dazzling musical purpose.


1). Jasper Street Co.Wanna Be Happy (DJ Spen & David Anthony DA Vibes Remix) (US Basement Boys)

2). KapoteThe Body Move (Ger Toy Tonics)

3). Zepherin Saint & Sara DevineHurry (Live Full Vocal Version) (UK Tribe)

4). Sean McCabe, Pete Simpson & Lem SpringsteenNew World (Sean & Lem’s Original Vocal) (UK Good Vibrations)

5). Lydia HarrellHeard It All Before (Reel People Vocal Mix) (UK Reel People Music)

6). AtjazzTrack 1 (Mix 1) (UK Atjazz Record Company)

7). Eli EscobarHappiness Pt 2 (Kon’s Discofied Remix) (UK Classic Music)

8). ChristopheDance Pants (UK Futureboogie Recordings)

9). The Fitness & PonySex I’m An Addict (Soul Clap Booty Mix) (US Soul Clap)

10). Boris SmithLet The Music (Original Mix) (US Nurvous Records)

11). OsunladeDedication EP (Gr Yoruba)

12). Nicolas JaarTime For Us (’17 Remastered) (US Wolf + Lamb)

13). Loleatta HollowayCan’t Let You Go (Louie Vega & Josh Milan Truth Dub 1) (US Vega)

14). LeMel HumesAin’t Nobody Like You (Timmy Regisford Remix) (US Quantize Recordings)

15). Sampha(No One Knows Me) Like The Piano (Ben Gomori’s Minor Edit) (UK White)

16). Kiko NavarroBlack Is Back (UK BBE)

17). JoeskiTribute EP (UK Crosstown Rebels)

18). Josh MilanI Will Wait (Honeycomb Vocal Mix) (US Honeycomb Music)

19). Damian Lazarus & The Ancient MoonsI Found You (Black Coffee Journey Remix)

20). DJ FudgeEverybody’s Dancing (Sp Tejal)



...Still working the late shift!!!

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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