Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

Welcome To B&S




Working the late-night shift… Ben Lovett
Working the late-night shift… Ben Lovett

August is a quiet month; a very quiet month. Everyone buggers off to Ibiza and the news slows down. It feels like a good time to mention Amsterdam. Whilst all the focus is currently on the Balearics, here is a city slowly building its reputation for top-notch club nights, DJs and producers. In fact, this October’s ADE – the Amsterdam Dance Event – should reflect just how far the Dutch capital has come in terms of cutting edge electronic music...


ADE is quickly establishing itself as one of Europe’s key club music events, bundling insightful industry conferences, seminars and workshops together with major parties. Indeed, come October 21-24 you can expect quality entertainment from the likes of Laurent Garnier, Steve Lawler, DJ Pierre, Stacey Pullen and Body & Soul stalwart Francois K. One of my favourite soul-house labels MN2S is also in on the act; they’ll be hosting a shindig at Amsterdam’s Sugar Factory, October 23, with spinners including Sandy Rivera, Ron Carroll and disco-dons Full Intention.

All of this, of course, comes off the back of major development within Amsterdam’s club scene. Back in the early days of house the city had RoXY, a club which opened in 1987 and effectively brought the soulful dance sound to Holland. RoXY regularly attracted stellar artists like Larry Heard before burning down in 1999; tragically, on the day of co-founder Peter Giele’s funeral.

The locals will never, it’s apparent, forget the RoXY legacy but, finally, Amsterdam has moved on. There’s a feeling that what is now happening on the city circuit could well eclipse those halcyon days and leave the Dutch capital with a new sonic legacy.

Clubs like Studio 80, Trouw and the Sugar Factory are offering a solid platform for local, up-and-coming house and techno talent such as Daniel Sanchez and Amsterdam 661. As are Amsterdam labels Intacto, Remote Area/Area Remote and 100% Pure. The city is brimming with confidence and ADE should, fingers crossed, offer a stunning conclusion to the year.


Back in London, and only a week or so away is Terry Farley’s massive Faith party at Matter, the o2 Dome’s relatively new nightclub. I mentioned the shindig in my recent B&S interview with Farley but it really does deserve a second trumpet. August 22 will see Faith partner up with Need2Soul to host an outrageously soulful and funky gathering featuring DJ sets from Spiritual Life’s ‘Joe’ Claussell, Timmy Regisford, Gilles Peterson, Brothers Vibe, Dave Jarvis, Stuart Patterson and Farley.


Elsewhere, the ‘S Man’ Roger Sanchez is unleashing a 7-hour set on Ministry Of Sound this Saturday – the sound is expected to be a little darker and minimal, especially when you consider the supporting cast comprises Ben De La Pena, Michael Woods and Ryan Stern. Should be a good one….

On to the small crop of reviews for this month then….


Dekata Project: Viral EP (UK Doshiwa)

The fruits of UK garage don ‘n’ dubstepper Zed Bias and sax player Sam Sharp, this is one nifty EP of catchy, impeccably produced soul-house songs. Bias and Sharp serve up warm, stirring arrangements for super confident vocalists including Natalie Williams (who has worked with Goldie and Jamie Cullum,) Chloe Morgan, Yvette Riby-Williams and Neo Josua. At Least We Can Dance, with its deeper drums and marauding bassline, is a real highlight.

Nathan C: Ike (UK Audio Damage)

Tough four-to-the-floor sounds on all three versions included. Nathan C’s original mix drops a minimal, throbbing house groove sharpened by waspish, under-your-skin riffs which Kid Massive and Groove Garcia also adopt for their remixes – tripped-up house and techno respectively. Hard hitting but hypnotic.

Bah Samba feat. Tasita D’Mour: Live In The Summer (UK Favouritizm)

Wonderful seasonal sounds from the Brighton collective famed for releases such as Reach Inside and Carnival. Their smooth, sophisticated jazz-soul sound is fully in evidence on the original cut, but remixers Andy Ward, DJ Meme, Filsonik and The Super-Phonics do their very best to steal Bah Samba’s dancefloor thunder. Ward strikes up two sultry summer-house edits, whist Meme adds sprinkles of percussive Latino magic to his Havaianas mix, Filsonik drops cool minimal beats and The Supers offer a quality 80s-sounding boogie-down complete with outrageous trumpet solos. Immense.

K’Dee Orchestra: Journey (US Ill Friction)

Whenever has Kenny ‘Dope’ Gonzalez not taken you on a journey? The Master At Work continues to lead the way among his peers with this wholly accomplished excursion into live-house and orchestral sounds. The production is just so sweet; live drums rolling underneath cascading jazz organs, tinkling pianos, loose bass guitar, killer horns, flutes, trumpets and sax. Nothing is out of place, the seven-odd minutes of groove just builds and builds into soulful disco-funk heaven. Journey, released on Dope’s own label, also boasts the usual array of K-Dope remixes, each highlighting a particular element of the original cut, be that bass, synth or beat….

Sunlightsquare: Let’s Groove (UK Sunlightsquare)

Vocalist Tasita D’Mour gets another outing this month on what is a decent jazz-house cover of Earth, Wind & Fire by London jazz collective Sunlightsquare. There’s 13 remixes in total and the standards, remarkably, dip only slightly on Frisco’s electro-poppy outings; elsewhere, D’Mour’s vocals, alongside those of Sol, fall nicely into place; whether it be on Sunlightsquare’s own jazzy and rare groove-inspired edits, Hedi ‘Afromento’ Benromdan’s slick house rubs or, perhaps the pick, Mustafa’s deeper soul-dance glides. Tasteful rather than tacky.

Soopasoul: Do Me Wrong (UK Jalapeno)

Another solid offering from Danny Hybrid’s acclaimed jazz-funked-up debut album Twin Stix, which whips up an irresistibly funky storm of breaks, brass and peppy vocals from Sitzka. Nothing wrong with the songwriting either – Do Me Wrong might dwell on heartbreak but its live, butt-shaking attitude is more than likely to enamour. No wonder Danny Krivit and Ashley Beedle like Mr H….

Phuturesonic: World Adrift (UK Funkhop)

An impressive debut release for the self-styled London ‘funk-hop’ posse, fusing sharp beats, jazzy sax and neat piano licks with cutting rhymes from former Full Cycle gal MelanieJane and MC Jon Audio. Jon Kennedy’s remix ups tempo but at no expense to quality, whilst Jeremy Sylvester delivers tough, but likeable house interpretations and Henry G unleashes intelligent, soulful drum & bass stylings with more than a hint of Bukem. Great package; the likes of Roger Sanchez, Mark Rae and Rainer Truby are already over this lot like a rash….

Laz: Let You Know (UK Superstonic)

Laz invites the listener on a dramatic descent into dark, electro-fied tech territories that are plainly not for the faint hearted. Let You Know is a rich if sinister production – wiry vocals, cold, clipped beats and pulsing electro basslines building intense, chaotic atmosphere with ruthless efficiency. So much so, that harder dancefloors are likely to rumble with this one for some time.


Afterlife: Electrosensitive (UK Bargrooves)

Steve Miller AKA Afterlife has been making ‘chillout’ for years now and racked up over 500 appearances on compilations in his time; he’s actually had more tracks included on Café Del Mar’s legendary CDs than anyone else.

It’s good to hear on this fourth studio album of his, then, that such laidback pedigree has been put to good use. Make no mistake, this isn’t a bog-standard seasonal release full of identikit summery tunes; Miller has managed to draw upon everything from soul to psychedelic to Latino, house and electronica, and create a very complete suite of music.

The deep house meanderings of Fantasy, Hendrix-style guitars of Elijah and totally dubbed-out grooves of Far Away represent major highlights, but then everything on this record flows so delightfully.

Miller has named the album after his much (recently) publicised sensitivity to magnetic fields - a unique condition leaving him allergic to WiFi, and which has forced him to retreat to rural Cornwall and sadly rule out touring. Rest assured Miller’s new material, at least, should travel everywhere this summer and hopefully the man will find treatment in the near future.

Various – Defected Presents Classics In The House (UK Defected)

A great if not revelatory triple-CD comp from Defected, with the owness on classic dancefloor tunes, rather than exclusive ones.

The vibe is upfront and uplifting throughout, not to mention soulful and funky. Therefore you have crossover anthems like Ultra Nate’s Free (in full Mood II Swing mix format,) Pete Heller’s Big Love and Moloko’s The Time Is Now alongside similarly blockbuster numbers from Chic, De La Soul, Robin S, En Vogue and even New Order.

On a slightly deeper but no less accessible tip, there are contributions from Blaze, Octave One and Jon Cutler.

46 tunes in total and not really any that are dud. Smooth mixing from Simon Dunmore. A tasty all-rounder….

Various: Café Mambo Ibiza 09 (UK Defected)

Café Mambo, like Del Mar, is a pretty reliable name when it comes to chill – both have impressive track records in terms of bottling that unique laidback Balearic atmosphere and pouring it into long-running, hugely successful compilation series.

So what treats does Mambo’s release for 09 have in store for the listener? For starters it’s mixed by Ibiza legend Jose Padilla. The White Isle veteran, a leading musical figure in Ibiza for over 30 years now and principle catalyst for the Del Mar comps as far back as 1995, offers a delectable selection of tracks covering an entirely satisfying array of genres, moods and atmospheres in just the right amounts.

Rare inclusions like Amycanbe’s soaring, sweeping, utterly enchanting 24 Hours, a tune which Padilla claims he could listen to for ever (and who are we to disagree?,) rub suitably relaxed shoulders with upbeat, but still mellow dance grooves like Si’s N’ Jones feat. Isac;s Jami and Jellybean Benitez feat. Marlon D’s piano-led Latina.

The overall result is one of sophisticated calm. Mambo Ibiza 09 represents beach-beat culture at its horizontal best.

And there you have it. Until the next time – unless I see you at Matter – have a good one!

Ben Lovett


Please feel free to contact me at B&S with any dance orientated news that you feel would benefit others - Cheers!

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