Deep : Files # 2
Last month’s column - and specifically Altered Natives’ ‘Naked’ - got me thinking about new tracks with that syncopated triplet-based drum pattern,along the likes as used in Jazzanova's remix of Furry Phreaks’ ‘All Over The World’ a couple of years ago or The Clark Sisters’ gospel classic ‘You Brought The Sunshine’.
First up is The Emptyheads' ‘Crazydayz’ on Shake and Pop. There's a fairly decent house remix by Aphrodisiax but it's Restless Souls’ offering which catches the ear, the triplets lending an extra drive to the song. Triplets also feature on ‘Love It All’ by Dutch outfit Wicked Jazz Sounds Band which is out on United.
The lush jazz soul of the original is given a slightly more electronic and dubby edge in the Rightwise remix while the ‘Simple & Easy’ version takes it even deeper into dubstep territory.
Also marrying soul and dubstep but with a techier edge is Trebleo's release ‘I Don't Know’ from NS2 vs Leroy Jones. For those who can't quite get into its complicated beats, there's a pair of remixes from Domu in his Zoltar guise which keep the spirit of the original, adding some Kaidi Tatham-style keyboards and a more orthodox 4/4 house backing.
Another crossover tune, but coming the other way this time, is Kode9's ‘Black Sun’ which sounds a lot more like a broken techno cut from 4 Hero's alter ego Nu Era than the dubstep the Scottish producer's more commonly associated with.
Nu Era's ‘Some Think Electro’ Ep from 2003 sees a digital rerelease on Twisted Funk. Also on Twisted Funk is the latest from one half of Nu Era/4Hero, Marc Mac, whose ‘Steady Rockin’’ EP picks up where his ‘Headspin/Throwdown’ 12” left off with similar tough beats and tight stripped down production. Pick of the bunch is ‘Footwork’ which has a nagging synth riff reminiscent of his bandmate's Nutmeg project. ‘Jazz Flares’ adds a slight hint of Soul Weekender jazz funk.
Soulfeenix do a fairly straight cover of George Duke's classic ‘Brazilian Love Affair’ with Monday Michuru on vocals. Out on Xtrasolar, it's nothing special but on the flip is a gem. ‘Vulture Funk’ is a midtempo jazz funk groover with a prominent boogie bassline and Patrice Rushen-style Rhodes solo.
More 1980s influence on the ‘Discofari EP’ from Neighbour vs DJ Soup. Bro Chant's P-Funk bass synth, two step beats and cowbells are straight from the template established in the 1980s Boston's Prince Charles and The City Beat Band. ‘Stars Over Kingston’ manages to mash together ragga chat with that p-funk bass and a nod to Grandmaster Flash's The Message while ‘Kick It Like Old School’ hardly merits further description with a title like that.
German artists Sygaire (Jazzanova's Roskow) and Defcon's work covers the gamut from funk to breaks to house. Their latest on Melting Pot is a tribute to obscure crate-digging and is a hectic slice of Turkish breakbeat fusion
Nik Weston's Mukatsuku records is a strictly vinyl-only operation, just for the connoisseurs. His latest release is a heavy – and at 180gms, in both senses of the word - slab of vinyl entitled ‘Japanese Jazz With Attitude’ with the monster tune ‘Heat’ by Jazztronik featuring Shacho (who is Soil and Pimp Session's non-instrument playing “agitator” which makes him the Japanese Jazz version of the Happy Mondays' Bez). On the other side is Jam's ‘Quiet Fire’, an uptempo piano-driven jazz-dancer that wouldn't have sounded out of place of a late ‘80s Sunday afternoon at Dingwalls.
Another vinyl only release, at least for now is ‘Futuristic Abeba’ on Kindred Spirits. Anyone who dug the Mulatu Astatke Heliocentrics collaboration mentioned in last month's dispatch would do well to check this out. 1970s Ethiopia meets late 2000s Netherlands, this has four quality tracks of psychedelic, futuristic Ethiopian-style jazz from Legowelt masquerading as Nacho Patrol.
Out on Tru Thoughts, French producer's Azaax's debut ‘The Exotic Delight Bay’ is a mixed bag. There's nothing dreadful on it but the bulk of the album is pretty ordinary, apart from a few tracks: the latin-flavoured ‘Pygmy Ballad’ and slightly slower ‘Zorbanissimo’ chug along nicely. ‘Coco Nuts Ba’y isn't quite as successful at pulling off the broken-tech sound but ‘Smoothly Morning’ delivers a solid midtempo keyboard-driven groove.
Busy People's ‘Change Your Ways’ is a boogie-flavoured broken joint out on Sunshine Enterprises but is outshined by the other tracks on the eponymous EP. ‘Get Out’, remixed by Just One keeps the broken beats but adds a hypnotic stabbing synth and ‘Someday’ is an epic deep house cut courtesy of Isoul8. In a similar vein is Atjazz' pair of remixes of Andre Zimma's ‘Music’, out on Swedish Brandy, and Jimpster's remix of Milton Jackson's The Rhythm Track on Freerange.
Another excellent release is out on Spain's Deep Explorer label. Kai Alce's ‘Alpha Revisited’ EP has four deep house cuts clearly indebted to a certain Detroit legend. ‘Kzr Gruv’ is the more uptempo of the tracks with a slight dub reggae influence as does ‘Smoov Bumps’. ‘Ooohh!’ is improved by the Dubbyman remix, the keys recalling Ame's remix of Truby Trio's ‘Universal Love’ from a few years back.
Worth checking out from Gilles Peterson's label Brownswood is Dobie's ‘The New Madness’. The title track sees the London hip-hop producer bust out some serious Detroit-style jazz techno. ‘Good Will Hunting’ delivers a slice of bruk house acid fusion while the downbeat ‘Dumb Girl From Allen Road’ returns to the hip hop roots still retaining an electronic edge with the nasty distorted bass.
By Frank McGahon
Last months column here