April 27, 2012

V4YS EP Review - Rush'd - For My Dogz EP (Square Harmony Records)

Earlier this year we mentionned up-and-coming Saint-Petersburg-based label Square Harmony following a brillant slo-mo house EP from Axo Lott titled Finding Futura.

Alternating lo-fi/house releases with uk-inspired future bass sounds, the Russian label is definitely gaining traction and is now back with a new treat, the For My Dogz EP by producer Rush'd (aka Educated Fool).

Gathering a couple of powerful, dark & bass-heavy dubstep cuts (For My Dogs and its remix by Koloah), the EP's hot part definitely is a soulful deep-dubstep anthem titled Easy that should have a few good dancefloors...easily shaking thanks to its warm kzyboard and vocals samples supported by an infectious rythm.

Check it out by yourself with the streaming below. The label is also offering a free download of the track on its soundcloud page !

Il y a quelques semaines je vous mentionnais le jeune label russe Square Harmony via le superbe premier maxi slo-mo house d'Axo Lott intitulé Finding Futura
Alternant les sorties lo-fi/house avec des opus future bass/dubstep d'influence Uk, le label basé à Saint-Petersbourg est en pleine ébullition depuis sa création en 2011 comme en témoigne cette nouvelle petite perle intitulée For My Dogz EP que l'on doit au producteur Rush'd (aussi connu sous l'alias Educated Fool).
Rassemblant deux titres assez sombres aux lignes de basses surpuissantes (For My Dogs et son remix par Koloah), le point d'orgue du maxi est le morceau Easy, hymne dubstep soulful où les chaleureux samples de claviers et de vocals font mouche. Nul doute qu'il devrait retourner quelques bons dancefloors...easy !

Ci-dessus streaming et lien download offert par le label via sa page soundcloud !

April 18, 2012

Patrick Watson - Adventures In Your Own Backyard (Domino Records)

I came accross singer/songwriter Patrick Watson in 2007 through his mind-blowing contribution to Cinematic Orchestra album Ma Fleur.

If I had immediately been seduced by his singing talent, it is only three years later, after attending an unforgettable concert of Cinematic at the Royal Albert Hall where he made a splendid appearance, that I started to really dig into his own solo productions.
Lending his name to a four-men band, he had actually already been releasing three beautiful folk records, Just Another Ordinary DayClose To Paradise and Wooden Arms. He now comes back on Domino records with a new little gem titled Adventures In Your Own Backyard.

Still composed of Mishka Stein (bass), Simon Angell (guitars), Robbie Kuster (drums) and himself on keyboards, piano and vocals, the band recorded this third LP almost entirely in Patrick's apartment-turned-studio in Montreal. Alternating between melancholic acoustic songs and lush candy-like pop moments, the LP also gathers a wide range of instruments, all beautifully arranged, demonstrating Patrick Watson's edge for production. The icing on the cake is of course his pure high-pitched voice acting as a breadcrump trail towards emotion !

I'm already mad to be out of town next week when they come to visit Paris, if you want to avoid such a disappointment, check out their their tour dates here.

Below a couple of extracts : Words In the Fire live acoustic on a fire escape for a Montreal newspaper and Into Giants, live acoustic as well !

J'ai découvert le chanteur/songwriter canadien Patrick Watson en 2007 à travers sa contribution à l'incontournable album de Cinematic Orchestra intitulé Ma Fleur
Paradoxalement ce n'est que trois ans plus tard, après avoir eu le privilège d'assister à un concert inoubliable du groupe anglais au Royal Albert Hall de Londres où il fit une apparition éblouissante, que je me suis mis à m'intéresser à ses propres productions.
Prêtant son nom à un groupe de 4 musiciens (Mishka Stein - basse, Simon Angell - guitares, Robbie Kuster-batterie, et lui-même au chant et piano) il avait en fait déjà enregistré 3 albums folk dont l'excellent Close To Paradise qui rencontra un franc succès dès sa sortie. 

Après avoir longtemps tourné un peu partout dans le monde, les 4 compères nous reviennent avec un nouveau petit bijou folk intitulé Adventures In Your Own Backyard qui sort sur le label Domino records.
Enregistré quasi intégralement à Montréal dans l'appartement de Patrick transformé en studio, le disque a donné lieu à une orchestration très riche, bien mise en valeur par des arrangements soignés et une production de grande qualité. Alternant les passages intimistes où les mélodies au piano et à la guitare dégagent une douce mélancolie avec des moments plus flamboyants, voir pop, ces "aventures dans votre jardinet" ont surtout pour guide la voix splendide de Watson, source inépuisable d'émotions.

J'enrage déjà de ne pouvoir me rendre au Cabaret Sauvage la semaine prochaine pour leur venue à Paris.
Toutes les dates de leur tournée sont disponibles ici.
Ci-dessus deux extraits, Words In The Fire, en live acoustique dans une cage d'escalier pour un journal de Montréal et Into Giants en live acoustique sur scène.

April 16, 2012

Rocket Juice & The Moon (Damon Albarn, Tony Allen, Flea, Erykah Badu, Fatoumata Diawara and Guests) - Rocket Juice & The Moon (Honest Jon's Records)

Musically speaking Damon Albarn definitely is a Jack of all trades and a master of all.

Never resting, the former Blur leader keeps on testing new artistic frontiers, successfully multiplying the audacious projects with a wide range of musicians. Confirming his love story with african sounds that saw him work on several high-quality productions these last few years with artists like Fela drummer Tony Allen, legendary Kora player Toumani Diabaté or Kenya-based Owiny Sigoma Band (whose first LP was one of 2011 best afro/world record), he is now back with a new musical UFO titled Rocket Juice & The Moon.

Set-up around his friend Tony Allen, Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea and himself, this new project also welcomed a top-notch list of guests like Erykah Badu, french/malian singer Fatoumatou Diawara (whose 2011 LP Fatou was part of our records of the year selection), the furious horns from the HypnoticBrass Ensemble or Ghanaian rapper M.anifest.

With this epic journey of 20 songs, Albarn once again proves he has become an amazing director able to make the most of a dream-team of artists that obviously took an immense pleasure to take part in his open-minded musical laboratory. The roads opened by each and every of these musicians are diverse, we travel from afrobeat, to highlife, funk, soul, hip-hop and even dub without ending up getting lost as the phenomenal rythmic roadbook designed by the Allen/Flea duo acts as a powerful lighthouse.

It's hard to extract one specific cut from a delighfully loose ensemble that sounds best when enjoyed as a whole but here are three picks that form a valid snapshot of the diversity of a record that to me is the second afro/world schock of 2012 alongside Ebo Taylor's new LP.
First Manuela where Erykah Badu enters the futuristic afro-groove space, then Chop-Up and its sunny and joyful guitar line, finally Poison where we remember that Damon Albarn is first and foremost a great singer.

Retrouvez cette chronique en français sur le site WegoFunk !

April 15, 2012

V4YS Album Review - Jazzanova - Funkhaus Studio Sessions with Band & Paul Randolph (Sonar Kollektiv)

Well-known producers & DJs, members of Berlin-based Jazzanova crew have consistently been spreading great sounds around  for the last 15 years whether through the many splendid releases of Sonar Kollektiv (their own outfit that has become one of the best european independent label) or through their live acts and brillant radio shows (Kaleidoscop & Jazzanova Radio Show).

Following a mostly electro career, their 2008 (must-have) soul/groove/dub album Of All The Things opened the door to live instruments and was subsequently followed by an outstanding "full band" live tour that saw them travel the world for almost three years.

Pushing forward in this new musical direction, Jazzanova producers Axel Reinemer & Stefan Leisering decided to record a live studio sessions as a proper legacy of the recent tour.
Featuring the same live band and singer Paul Randolph, these Funkhaus Studio Sessions deliver their fair share of infectious drumlines, groovy basslines, funky guitars, hot Rhodes keyboards and powerful vocals. Nothing is missing to fully grasp the soulful essence of the crew.
From the now classic Fedime's Flight and Theme from Belle Et Fou to the brand new cut I Human to several songs from Of All the Things, the record is an essential snapshot of one of the cornerstone collective of the nu-groove/electro scene.

Below a couple of extracts from these live sessions, Let Me Show YaI Human :

Retrouvez cette chronique en français sur le site WegoFunk !

April 14, 2012

V4YS EP Review - Moodymann - Picture This EP (Scion A/V - free download)

Legendary house producer Moodymann (aka Kenny Dixon Jr.) is back with a beautiful new EP available as a free download on Scion A/V site (the alternative artistic platform set-up by a not so-underground commercial sponsor...Toyota).

Gathering 8 tracks, the record is a classic moment of deepness "made-in-Moodymann" where fans of the Detroit-based producer will enjoy retrieving his deep beats, warm keyboards, jazzy samples and soulful vocals, all essential ingredients in his unique deep house sound, both soulful and sensual.

Probably my favorite release from the man since his reference Black Mahogani series back in 2004 !

Below streaming of U Ranaway, Pray For Love & Got 2 Make It :

Retrouvez cette chronique en français sur le site WegoFunk !

April 12, 2012

V4YS Album Review - Ebo Taylor - Appia Kwa Bridge (Strut Records)

Back in 2009/2010, roughly at the same time US label Truth & Soul was giving a second youth to Lee Fields, bringing the 70's soul/funk singer back to the spotlights, Strut records was also rejuvenating and old-school artist who had somehow disappeared from the stage. With the release of the album Love And Death and the tour that followed it, the UK label allowed a wide audience to (re)discover an african music legend, ghaneian guitarist and singer Ebo Taylor.

Driving the point home, Ebo is now releasing another LP on Strut titled Appia Kwa Bridge gathering 6 brand new compositions and a couple of covers (Yaa Amponsah a traditional song from his beloved home country Ghana, and Kruman Dey, one of his song from the 70's).

Supported by his friends from German band Afrobeat Academy band and with the help of several guests among whom the tireless Fela drummer Tony Allen, Ebo Taylor once again delights us with his exotic "highlife" sound.

Built around his sweet electric guitar melodies, each track is a poetic journey supported by a recognizable rythmic frame flirting with Nigeria's afrobeat while not being as fast and furious. Among my favorite moments let's mention the splendid Nsu Na Kwan where the vocal chorus answering the horns is just irresistible, Assom Dwee where his guitar play is at its best or Appia Kwa Bridge and his cheerful horns line.

Probably the best afro/world production I've heard so far this year. Try it and I guarantee you won't be able to repress that cool smile on your face. To be confirmed live during the tour starting next month!

Below an interview/making-off  :

Retrouvez cette review en français sur le site WegoFunk !

April 7, 2012

V4YS Concert Review - Robert Glasper Experiment feat. Bilal & Hindi Zahra - Live at Le Trianon Paris, 060412

Casey Benjamin, 060412, Paris

Revisiting live with a spicy nu-jazz flava sounds from John Coltrane, Jay Dilla or Nirvana may look like a real challenge.

Not for pianist Robert Glasper who has accustomed us to do just that for the last 4 or 5 years and who did it again brillantly yesterday night in Paris where he and his crew from  the Experiment were stopping to present on stage their new LP Black Radio (which by the way is my favorite record of 2012 so far).

Mark Colenburg

Supported by the remarkable Derrick Hodge on bass and Casey Benjamin on vocoder/sax, he was for once not joined by drums genious Chris Dave, who was nevertheless brillantly replaced by Mark Colenburg, who added a great personal touch with a few digital drumming effects on top of his regular jazz/hip-hop drums.

Alternating on the vocals with Casey Benjamin's always stunning vocoder-singing was special guest Bilal, who performed the sweet Letter To Hermione a cover from David Bowie featuring on Black Radio, as well as his own hit All Matter and Jay Dilla's classic track Reminisce.

Until that point nothing everything was cool but nothing was really new either for any regular fan of the Glasper's crew live acts.

Hindi Zahra

The real "nu-thrill" actually started when french/moroccan singer Hindi Zahra (known for her great first LP Handmade as well as her collaborations with Blundetto and probably soon with José James) came on stage to perform a sublime song titled Fever that I actually had missed at the time of reviewing Black Radio as it only featured as a bonus song on the CD version so not on the digital release.
A moment of pure nu-soul magic as only this band can deliver !

Below a few video extracts from the show : Letter To Hermione (Bowie cover), The Light (Bobby Caldwell / Dilla-Common cover), Fever (thanks to alaindmj for this particular video) as well as a streaming of the studio version of Fever :

Derrick Hodge

Robert Glasper

Casey Benjamin

Retrouvez cette chronique en français sur le site WegoFunk !

April 4, 2012

V4Y Album Review - Red Bull Music Academy - "Various Assets - Not For Sale" Compilation

There are many commercial sponsorships of musical events, productions and shows around, still very few projects involving a global brand offer consistently quality underground sounds as does the Red Bull Music Academy.

Whether they design special live concerts focusing on well-thought artistic themes (like the phenomenal closing nights of 2010 & 2011 La Villette Jazz Festival in Paris) or organize creative studio encounters between up-and-coming artists, they always set-up audacious and uncompromising artistic projects.

Latest example : the release of this 35-track long compilation recorded in late 2011 in Madrid.
Gathering some already experienced names like Dorian Concept, Mark Pritchard or Om Unit and a myriad of underground artists, these studio sessions allowed these talented electro producers, instrumentalists or singers to work together for a few days to write and record exclusive new tracks.

The result is particularly rejoicing selection of sounds, feeling like an exotic trip between house, dubstep, nu-jazz or downtempo. The album is downloadable for free on their Bandcamp Page, I highly recommend you discover it!

Below streamings of some of my favorite tracks :

Concerts exceptionnels autour de thématiques bien pensées comme les soirées de clôtures exceptionnelles des deux derniers festivals Jazz à La Villette à Paris, organisation récurrente d'audacieuses rencontres studios entre artistes de tous horizons, la Red Bull Music Academy démontre avec brio depuis trois ou quatre ans que sponsoring commercial et musique peuvent aussi rimer avec une vraie démarche artistique de qualité.
Dernier exemple en date la sortie d'une compilation de 35 titres originaux enregistrés en Novembre dernier lors d'une session spéciale rassemblant sur quelques jours à Madrid quelques noms déjà émergés comme Dorian ConceptMark Pritchard ou Om Unit et une myriade de producteurs et musiciens underground.
Le résultat est une ballade dépaysante entre house, dubstep, nu-jazz ou downtempo que l'Academy vous offre en download gratuit sur sa page Bandcamp. Surtout ne vous privez pas !
Ci-dessus streaming de quelques-uns de mes morceaux favoris.

April 1, 2012

V4YS EP Review - Scrimshire - Everything You Say (Feat. Heidi Vogel) - (Wah Wah 45's records)

Spring is finally up-and-running and here is a refreshing record to celebrate it.

Released on the always prescient Wah Wah 45s label, Everything You Say is the third EP from London-based musician, Dj and producer Scrimshire (who also is co-owner of Wah Wah).

Featuring the talented Cinematic Orchestra muse Heidi Vogel on the vocals, the record gathers a sweet and sunny afro-soul song (Everything You Say) as well as a splendid deep dubstep remix by LV, and a cool dub version spiced up with laid-back reggae vibes.

Add to this a beautiful folk ballad (A Promise Is All It Was) reminiscent in some way of recent productions by songwriter Fink, and you get a delighfully exotic EP.

Full streaming below, get it on the Scrimshire's Bandcamp page.

Retrouvez cette chronique en français sur le site WegoFunk !