Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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BEN LOVETT*** THE GROOVEYARD

BEN LOVETT'S GROOVEYARD
BEN LOVETT'S GROOVEYARD

I really have been working the late-night shift this month, believe me! My wife has just had our second child (her musical education has already begunâ€Â¦) and the last month or so has been a bit of sleepless whirlwind. Still, always time for a little quality club time (baby sat on my knee, literally bouncing to the beat as I work my way through the reviewsâ€Â¦.) and time well spent it is.

MATTER

There are some seriously cool dates at London super-club Matter next month for starters. Matter, Fabric̢۪s sister venue, has just turned one, working hard to establish a good rotation of DJs, and acts over the past 12 months; not to mention crowds. Nestled within the O2 Arena on the outskirts of the capital, it̢۪s not the easiest place to get to but long-term Jubilee Line upgrades have finally been implemented, as well as a free shuttle bus service to and from Matter's nearest Tube station North Greenwich. That should really help.

So what of the shows? (and concert-style shows they are, such is Matter’s particular clubbing philosophyâ€Â¦.) Well, on Saturday December 27, Dirty London takes centre stage – a special event which sees NYC house don Dennis Ferrer flying in alongside Big Apple protégés The Martinez Brothers. Local DJ support is provided by the inimitable Phil Asher; there are also performances from Bugz In The Attic, the excellent Deep Teknologi and Copyright, who join singer Tasita d’Amor for a live rendition of new Defected single We Can Rise.

Come New Year’s Eve, and Germany’s legendary techno posse Cocoon takes over. Cocoon head honcho Sven Vath is confirmed to DJ, alongside the likes of Cassy and Andre Galluzzi; not forgetting ‘Scouse’ house man Yousef. Expect a firm and unflinching dancefloor push into 2010, but all in the best possible taste. Vath never generally lets his audiences down; check www.matterlondon.com for moreâ€Â¦.

EGG/1EXTRA LIVE 2009

Egg London is also set for cracking (sorryâ€Â¦) New Year’s celebrations – the North London club’s end of 09 Masquerade Ball promises exclusive DJ sets from Irish duo Fish Go Deep, alongside The Cure & The Cause collaborator Tracy K, and prolific Japanese producer Hideo Kobayashi, whose achingly soulful deep-house moves have found their way onto releases by quality labels such as Chez, Ibadan, Om and Transport. Never heard Kobayashi spin, but his reputation behind the decks is much in line with that behind the studio desk. Should be a goodie – ticket info is available via www.egglondon.net

At the end of this month, the Sheffield Hallam Arena hosts Radio 1Xtra’s biggest ever event 1Xtra Live 2009. Saccharine pop favourites JLS will be joining the likes of Dizzee Rascal, Kano, funky houser Donae’o and cult, but upwardly mobile drum & bass duo Chase & Status. All in all a respectable line-upâ€Â¦.

UNDERWORLD/TRUS'ME

Before we hit the reviews, just time to report that legendary head-bangers Underworld are rather soulfully changing tack for the November 23 release of a new compilation alongside The Misterons, entitled Athens. The vibe is jazzy and housey, with welcome input from Moodyman (Rectify), Osunlade (The Promise) and talented Frenchie Laurent Garnierâ€Â¦.

Meantime, Mancunian house artist Trus̢۪Me (AKA David Wolstencroft) is finally ready to release his eagerly awaited second album In The Red at the end of the month. Expect deep, funky organic sounds with the helping hand of guests Amp Fiddler (involved on two cuts, one a neat Bill Withers cover,) LA boogie-boy Dam-Funk, and singers Paul Randolph and Piranhahead.

SOUTHPORT 45

Finally – reviews in a sec, I promise! – a few lines on Southport 45. Last weekend was, I hear, quite the spectacle one would expect from one of Europe’s most prestigious soul-based music festivals. Legendary singers India and Mica Paris stood out; so too, the samba-tastic Azymuth. Singer Paul Randolph (yes, him againâ€Â¦) earned big vocal spurs and The Sunburst Band stormed it with a winning mix of disco, funk and super-rare-grooveâ€Â¦.

Of the jocks, Frankie Knuckles delighted; as did Studio 54 veteran Nicky Siano – making a blinding Weekender debut. Tony Humphries’ irresistible bumpin’, grindin’ house attack might just have eclipsed that golden pair, however; and if that decision was still in doubt, then the Club Zanzibar set he dropped at his own afterpartyâ€Â¦. Wow, sounds pretty damn amazing judging by the emails I’ve been getting. Bring on 46 in May!!!

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SINGLE REVIEWS
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3 Amigos feat. Dawn Tallman – We Are One (Love, Faith & Trust) (US Jellybean Soul)

Nu Yorican trio Marlon D, George Mena and the legendary John ‘Jellybean’ Benitez follows up its summer slammer The Adventure EP with this euphoric, soulful house groove; a groove built around sweet key work and brass sections, and decorated with those towering Dawn Tallman vocals. The remixes from Temple Movement and London boys The Layabouts wrap things up in fine style.
4/5

Ali King feat. Fabolous – Losing My Mind (US Fuego Recordings)

Another release on a Jellybean imprint, but this one a debut and the vibe largely urban. Rather good it is too, King’s sassy vocals working well with US chart-topper Fabolous’ rhyming and the bumpin’ production. Remixes up the tempo considerably but without harm to the overall package – the ever consistent Karmatronic conjure slick electro-house; That Kid Chris offers infectiously dark drums and synths; Gomi & Ras take it tribal; and Marlon D and regular cohort Mena Keys slide in some gorgeous, rolling house grooves. Tight enough.
3/5

DeepCitySoul – Earthly Angel (UK DeeCeeEss)

The Brummie lads hit it for six with this, their fourth single. Jazzy, deeply sophisticated house, topped with sensitive vocals from Jonathon Allen and Darren Ellison, this release is an absolute soul-dance belter. Sir Piers and Guy Robin serve up equally sweet ‘n’ soulful re-rubs, whilst Dropfunkdialect whip up smart nu-beat electro-boogie fever and Italians Ciappy DJ, Davide Murri and saxophonist Fabrizio Scarafile take it deep down and brassy. Heavenly.
5/5

Julien Dyne - Pins & Digits EP (UK BBE)

Kiwi Dyne is a visual artist when he's not playing the drums or producing soulful, percussive EPs like this one - clearly, Pins & Digits paints the picture of someone totally at home with making emotive music. Dyne's debut album is as yet unreleased but should feature a number of the tracks on offer here; Dyne, who has worked with the likes of Nathan Haines and Verse Two, skillfully incorporates studio hip-hop and live instrumentation into his plans, before adding everything from Afro-beat and subtle nu-jazz. It's a potent formula that bodes well for the long-player....
4/5

ALBUMS REVIEWS
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Various Artists – Hospitality Presents This Is Drum + Bass (UK New State Music)

A high-octane 54-track drum & bass rollercoaster reflecting the music’s mainstream club and radio prowess this year; club night Hospitality has quite literally toured its butt off for insatiable UK crowds in recent months. Don’t expect anything too sophisticated here, just a welter of energetic, and infectious (for the most part) beats from artists including Logistics, Nu:Tone, Netsky, Danny Byrd and J Majik. Several cuts do, admittedly, veer off in other genre-directions but with High Contrast and London Elektricity on mix duties, this big ‘n’ bolshy double-CD generally keeps its shape and makes its mark.
3/5

Jack de Marseille – Innversions (Fr Wicked Music)

The six-year wait following debut album Free My Music has been well worth it. Gallic electro-house pioneer de Marseille utterly beguiles with this classy romp across old-skool house, minimal Detroit and deep, driving Euro-tech. An impactful follow-up album, Inner Visions twists and turns but never frivolously so; highlight tracks include the atmospheric deep house opener So Lonely and beautifully percussive, Afro-tinged Deep Inside.
5/5

Various Artists – Subliminal Sessions Winter 2009 Mixed By Steve Angello (US Subliminal)

You know the Sessions vibe by now. Erick Morillo’s Subliminal label has made a highly consistent name for itself in recent years churning out peak-time, main-room house gems on quality comps. This year’s 'winter' mix is fronted by man-of-the-moment Steve Angello; he of Swedish House Mafia fame. Angello has rocked it this year with major remixes of Robin S’ classic Show Me Love and Mafia tunes like Leave The World Behind; thankfully, he has a little gold dust left to sprinkle on this engaging double-CD mix package. Tunes are well chosen, ordered and mixed; this certainly isn’t a comp by numbers. Upfront house and electro highlights include Union Jackers’ Drop, Alan Fitzpatrick's Bumblebee and Angello’s own trancey epic Tivoli. At the end of the month, the man drops a Year Book (via Defected) of his best bits this year – can’t waitâ€Â¦.
4/5

Various Artists – Defected In The House: Zouk Out Singapore 10 (UK Defected)

More bold moves from Defected, a label refusing to stick only to Ibiza when it comes to new mix comps. Defected’s latest offering, mixed by head man Simon Dunmore, aims to convey the progressive flavour of Asian hub Singapore – in particular, Singapore’s major music festival Zouk Out (an event in turn organised by major international club Zouk.) Jagged, driving club beats are order of the day, but always served with feeling – artists include ATFC, DJ Fudge, Joris Voorn, Dennis Ferrer and Michael Cleis.
4/5

Various Artists – Future Sound Of Brasil (UK BBE)

A wonderful mix of sounds from the country that has, over the past decade, successfully pushed its insanely creative sonic agenda to pretty much all four corners of the planet. Supervised by those ever consistent, taste-making folk at London label BBE, Future Sound... spans house and electro, drum & bass and techno with real finesse. Major names like drum & bass pioneer DJ Marky appear alongside upcoming talents such as Copacabana Club and Rio duo The Twelves; the latter with a storming Daft Punk-esque robo rub of Terry Poison̢۪s Comme Ci, Comme Ca. Elsewhere, Sao Paulo̢۪s Mixhell showcase their trademark rock-tronica sound on the mesmeric Boom Da. Refreshing.
5/5

DJ Devastate - Movement/Silence (UK BBE)

Dope debut long player from the Swede turntablist with a penchant for jazzy, funked up beats, rhymes and scratches. Aptly titled opening track Start Movin pretty much epitomises the entire album, a slick, laidback b-line hustle invigorated by heavy drum loops, vocal scratches, pads and instrumentation. At every turn, jazz melodies lilt enchantingly over deep, soulful keys and organic funk sounds; where things do pick up pace, as on the gloriously old-skool hip-hopper Spinnin' the results are equally impressive. Movement/Silence is a wonderful multi-layered production that actually gives the listener more with each listen. Here's one to watch.
5/5

Various Artists - Strange Breaks & Mr Thing Vol II (UK BBE)

Like Devastate, Mr Thing enjoys splicing refined hip-hop, soul and funk. His DJ sets are always gloriously inventive; much like his second BBE compilation of quirky breakbeats and rare grooves here. Only the seriously purist will have heard of even some of the cuts included but Thing ensures his choices remain accessible and downright dancefloor-worthy. Johnny Griffith Inc's super-soulful, epic and orchestral Love Is Just A Word is spine tingling stuff; and Ruby Andrews' lowdown, funky vocal number You Made A Believer (Out Of Me) plainly slams it - sampled by Q-Tip on album The Renaissance. Elsewhere vintage cuts from The Meters and Jake Wade & The Soul Searchers provide classy pump; not forgetting neat covers of The Jackson Five's ABC and Sly And The Family Stone's It's A Family Affair. Different and delicious; well worth a snoop.
5/5

Working the late night shift...
Ben Lovett

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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