November 21, 2009

Vibes4YourSoul 2009 Favourite Records!

Well 2009 is almost gone and it's therefore time to look back to a year full of great musical surprises.
No meaningless ranking here, just a selection of albums/Ep's I particularly enjoyed this year in a wide range of musical styles.
If you're not familiar with the artists mentionned I hope this will make you want to discover their work.
If you know them all already, feel free to let me know if you agree/disagree with my enthusiasm about the records I picked!
Here is a streaming with an extract from each record to help convince you!

José James & Jef Neve - Facing East, The Music Of Alice & John Coltrane (Jazz)
Well I’m cheating a bit here as this is not an album, at least not yet, but a live project set up by Belgian jazz pianist Jef Neve and American singer Jose James along with two other great jazz musicians.They revisited some Alice and John Coltrane standards on which the incredible singer José James wrote lyrics. The result is a fascinating spiritual jazz experience.
They did only 4 live shows so far, I was privileged enough to attend the one in Paris at the “New Morning” last september for a truly unique musical moment. More concert dates and a studio record may be released next year so beware.
In the meantime, luckily for our ears, they did a live video recording of the first concert in Brussels and broadcasted it for free on the web (link here), audio extract here.

As José keeps sermoning during the gig, quoting the Coltrane's from their standard "Cosmic Music" album : "may there be peace, and love and perfection throughout all creations”

Build An Ark – Love Pt.1
(Kindred Spirits Records) (Jazz)
Build An Ark is a californian jazz collective (45+ musicians) under, among others, the magical supervision of great producer Carlos Nino and arranger Miguel Atwood-Ferguson.
Associating spiritual jazz and poetry, in the direct filiation of the likes of Pharoah Sanders or Alice and John Coltrane,(yes them again!), the band first two LP’s were spaced-out musical journeys inviting to peace and meditation.
Let’s make it straight : Love Pt.1, their third album, goes even deeper in that direction. We’re talking about a pure musical jewel here, an incredibly well produced spiritual jazz album.
Anyone sensitive enough to receive the peaceful vibes irrading from this music will enjoy a moment of grace and poetry, really. A must-listen to!

Want to know more about this record : click here (Kindred Spirits Records page link)

Lee Fields & The Expressions - My World (Truth&Soul) (Soul/Funk)
A long awaited record after the promising early release of a few of its tracks in 07/08 on the great “Fallin’ Of The Reel” compilations from the remarkable Tru Thoughts label.
Lee Fields is a soul/funk scene veteran singer, and in fact by listening to “My World” you could truly believe that it was released in the 70’s, same “old-school” sound, same powerful voice, in short everything a classic soul/funk fan is looking for. To me this is the best record of this category in a long long time.
Essential, period.
Want to know more about this record : click here (Truth&Soul Records page link)

Quantic & His Combo Barbaro – Tradition in Transition (Tru Thoughts)(Latin/Soul/Funk)
Uk-based producer and Will Holland (aka Quantic) is well-known to most modern soul/funk lovers thanks to his multiple great productions as Quantic or with his Quantic Soul Orchestra. But this time he moved south, to Colombia where he settled for a while, living in the city of Cali, known for its rich and diverse musical history.
The result has been the creation of the “Combo Barbaro”, an orchestra set up with revered central and south-american musicians. Together they produced this refreshing and innovative latin groove record that just put a big smile on your face while inevitably making you want to move to its sunny beats.
I saw the band perform in Paris last October, it was a great concert, each and every musician of the combo is amazing, with a special mention to the outstanding piano legend Alfredo Linares. Highly recommended if they play anywhere nearby you!
Want to know more about this record? click here (Tru Thoughts Record page link)

Cesar's Salad The Latin Beat (Perfect Toy Records) (Latin Jazz & Beats)
The Latin Beat is Cesar's Salad first album. This a great latin jazz/beats record revisiting several afro-latin & brazilian classics.
The combo counts only 4 musicians : 1 drummer, 1 congas, 1 bass and 1 piano players. It is therefore rather heavily geared toward the beats/percussion side as no horns or vocals counterbalance them, this makes the originality of this album that stick to the core of these great latin tracks : the rhythm.
If you like percussion you will enjoy this salad that should make you shake a bit!
Want to know more about this record? click here (dustygroove page link)

Kings Of Convenience – Declaration Of Dependence (Astralwerks )(Pop/Folk)
Kings Of Convenience are a norwegian pop/folk duo formed by Eirik Glambek Bøe and well-known musician and producer Erlend Øye.
After 5 years of absence, Declaration of Dependence is their third album. If there’s no revolution from their earlier work as we’re still in a minimalist acoustic guitars/voices environment, the duo hasn’t forgotten its skills : creating beautiful melodies and bringing their listeners a healthy dose of melancholy. This works again this time and I like it!
Want to know more about this record? click here (Kings Of Convenience site link)

Fink – Sort Of Revolution (Ninja Tunes) (Pop/Folk/R&B)
Fink is Fin Greenhall, a Uk-based musician/producer. Sort Of Revolution is his third album.
Either alone at the guitar, or supported by a bass player and a drummer, Fink manages to mix his amazing songwriting talent to a kind of groovy vibration, this combination make this record really special, at the frontier between pop, folk and R&B. Maybe the fact that famous soul-producer John Legend contributed on two tracks explains this a bit. If “quietly groovy” means something then this is what I feel when listening to it.
Want to know more about this record? click here (Ninja Tunes page link)

Bibio – Ambivalence Avenue (Warp) (Beats/Downtempo/Pop/Experimental)
Hard to classify this record, is it Beats? Downtempo? Pop? Well a bit of all of that I would say, but more importantly a great musical experience with amazingly creative sounds. Typically the type of record that needs to be listened to a few times in full to truly grasp its essence.
I also strongly recommend his first three LPs, “Fi”, “Hand Cranked”and “Vignetting The Compost”. They all are great melancolic ambient/pop albums, there again the quality of the production and the variety of sounds are astonishing. His productions remind me of one of my favourite ambient indie/pop group : Broken Social Scene.
Want to know more about this record? click here
(Warp Records page link)
Floating Points - Love Me Like This & Vacuum Boogie Ep's (Eglo) (House)
Sam Sheperd, the young man behind Floating Points, is a stunningly talented London-based producer. To me these two Eps, alongside with other things he has been releasing on his Eglo label recently, simply represents house music as good as it can get. These tracks transport you in a “spacy” groovy mode. Actually “floating” is a good word to describe your state while listening to these soulful deeeeeep vibes!
Want to know more about these records? click here (Floating Points MySpace page link)

Break SL - City Wastelands
(Philpot) (Electro/House)
Break SL is a young german producer from Dresden, Sebastian Lohse. After two great EP’s released in 07 and 08, City Wasteland is his first album. “When german minimal electro goes soulful” would be my definition of this record.I particularly love the warm and spaced-out keyboards works on most tracks that seem to be one of Break SL's signature.
Want to know more about these records? click here (Break SL MySpace page link)

Ooft / The Revenge - Instruments Of Rapture Part Three (IOR Records)
I had to pick one of the multiple superb NuDisco / Disco Re-edits Ep’s that have been flourishing for the last couple of years and that were again really numerous in 2009. Glasgow-based Ooft being my favourite producers in that field I chose this IOR Part Three Ep which is a perfect example of the current quality of productions in that space. The original track “This Sound” is a true funky house gem while the amazing Marvin Gaye “Heavy Love Affair” re-edit by The Revenge is so groooovy!
Want to know more about these records? click here (Ooft MySpace page link)

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