December 20, 2016

Vibes4YourSoul 2016 Favorites

Welcome to Vibes4YourSoul 2016 Favorites, an incomplete revisit of the records that inspired me most this year. In this selection, you'll find a healthy dose of eclectic vibes from all over the world, edging from nu-jazz, to indie, pop, folk,  hip-hop, lo-fi & electro.

It comes with a special chill podcast focusing on the "non-dancefloor" releases mentioned, plus a few extras (tracklisting below, dwlnd link here).

I hope you'll enjoy the journey,

Jm / Vibes4YourSoul


Thomas Cohen - Bloom Forever
(Indie, Folk / Stolen Recordings) 

Written in the wake of a personal tragedy (the brutal passing away of his wife), Thomas Cohen debut solo album echoes the best hours of 70's melancholic rock. A flawless orchestration built around slow rhythms and spacy guitars acts as a warm frame for his deep and touching voice (which reminds me of Suede's Brett Anderson in some way). The type of fluid record that almost immediately sounds like a long-time companion.

Melanie De Biasio - Blackened Cities
(NuJazz / PIAS Records) 

A fascinating one-track, 25mn-long record, built as a deep techno set, Blackened Cities is also the fusion of one of the most gifted & creative Jazz singer of her generation, into the notes of a handful of trusted talented musicians. If the words "musical journey" means something, this must be it.

Frank Ocean - Blond(e)
(R&B,NuSoul / Boys Don't Cry Records) 

4 years after the beautiful Channel Orange, another home-run from the young R&B UFO Frank Ocean. A nostalgic moment tainted with lo-fi shades of folk & soul, supported by a remarkable singing achievement. 

Bon Iver - 22, A Million 
(Indie, Folk / Domino Records) 

A musical rebirth following a deep depressive period for band leader Justin Vernon22, A Million blends the band's sublime melodic signature, to an addictive mysterious atmosphere distilled by an innovative homemade vocoder.

Blood Orange - Freetown Sound
(Electro-Pop, Indie, R&B / Domino Records) 

An unclassifiable artist, London-based Dev Hynes offers another fascinating musical experiment with his third LP as Blood Orange. Melancholic pad synths & Dev's majestic voice act as a common denominator for 17 ethereal tracks smelling something like futuristic soul with an indie-flavored pop accent. As chaotic as his compositions may sometimes sound, you'll easily get carried away by the warmth of the ensemble.

A Tribe Called Quest - We Got It From Here...Thank You For Your Service 
(Hip-Hop / Epic Records) 
When a record has been rumored and hoped for so long, when the band in question is nothing short of legendary, there's this lingering "will they spoil the myth?" type of fear. Well...they didn't, and the 90's Golden age of Hip-Hop got a fast forward ticket to the 21st century.

Lee Fields & The Expressions - Special Night
(Soul / Big Crown Records)

Still brilliantly supported by his band The ExpressionsLee Field's voice seems immune to the passage of time. Classic soul ballads, funkier moments, he still does it all in 2016, as back in the day. A delightful old-school soul/funk journey.

Whitney - Light Upon The Lake
(Folk, Indie / Secretly Canadian Records)

Unpretending soulful folk melodies, a sweet falsetto voice singing love stories, a laid-back melancholic atmosphere...US indie duo Whitney do not reinvent anything there, but their debut LP flows naturally...and it simply feels good.

BadBadNotGood - IV
(Nujazz, Hip-Hop / Innovative Leisure Records) 

Pursuing their exciting journey in the worlds of NuJazz, Hip-Hop & Soul, the Canadian trio, now quartet, delivers its best record so far, retaining the fresh live-like sound from their debuts, while adding some wonderful vocal featurings & high standards studio quality to the mix.

DIIV - Is The Is Are
(Indie Rock / Captured Tracks Records) 

17 tracks, 17 great shoegaze infused indie anthems. If hazy effects still surround Zacharie Cole vocals, their presence is less pronounced than on the band acclaimed debut release Oshin, a successful evolution for the Brooklyn band which confirms its talent.

Ablebody - Adults Contemporary
(Indie, Pop / Lollipop Records) 

Bright, shimmering and nostalgic at the same time, Ablebody debut album is a perfect example of a "dream pop" wave that keeps getting bigger year after year. The twin brothers from LA master the art of designing crystal clear synths & guitars-led melodies, dressed-up with delicate ethereal vocals.

Flamingods - Majesty
(World, Jazz, Pop / Soundway Records) 

A multicultural collective blending Arabic and UK roots, Flamingods' sound transcends genres to create an exotic melting-pot hard to describe. Entering the jungle of Majesty is plunging into a luxurious atmosphere where disorientation is the new normal.

Nicolas Jaar - Sirens
(Electro, Downtempo / Other People Records)

One step further in the experimental & disorientation kind, the new LP from Nicolas Jaar is also a true concept LP. More than a collection of amazing sound textures, Sirens is an ambitious electronic symphony, where new doors open after each new listening experience.

Carlos Niño & Friends- It's All Happening
(NuJazz, Downtempo / Leaving Records) 
Also very much "experimental"It's All Happening is a Yogi-style cosmic Jazz experience and a condensed version of Carlos Niño intense creativity. Think Alice Coltrane, The Doors most cuckoo-land moments. Track-by-track zapping not recommended: if you really wanna open this gate to sweet transcendental meditation, you need to immerse yourself in the whole record, it's all happening here!

 EPs / Beat Tapes (more electro-centric)

Photay - Sadie EP
(Downtempo / Astro Nautico Records) 

A feelgood EP filled with lush sounds textures, dreamy keyboards and joyful grooves confirming the talent of this young American producer.

Mocky - The Moxtape Vol. III
(Downtempo, Pop / Domino Records)

The splendid third batch of Mocky's "Moxtape" series, gathering more of his signature dreamy moments, made of sweet piano and bells-led melodies.

Moscoman & Red Axes - Dikembe Manutu & Rage In The Cage EP
(House, Techno, Nudisco / ESP Records)
Israeli duo Red Axes have been resonating more and more loudly with me these last few months. Their techno sound is also delicately groovy, and fits well in my nudisco-oriented DJ sets. Among the many great releases from them this year, I picked this excellent deep slo-mo EP done with Berlin minimal producer Moscoman.

Yuksek - Sweet Addiction EP
(Nudisco, Pop / Partyfine Records)

The hit single's groove is infectious, spiced up by a remarkable vocal featuring from Her. But that's not all, a slo-mo dub pearl and a downtempo version of Make It Happen,feat. Juveniles make this EP a perfect teaser for a soon-to-be released new album.

Alex Gopher - Back To Basics EP
(House, Go 4 Music Records)
When I started DJing for fun, almost 20 years ago, Alex Gopher was one of my most trusted purveyors of fat French house sound. His come back hasn't made me feel any younger...but certainly almost as euphoric as back in the day, courtesy of an explosive EP that has been on heavy rotation in my sets all year-long.

Voilaaa - On Te L'Avait Dit Remixes EP
(Nudisco, House / Favorite Recordings)

French producer Patchworks's Voilaaa afro disco project meets Dimitri From Paris remixing magic. Funny French lyrics, unstoppable percs, what a dancing machine!
Lovebirds - The Hamburg Years Pt.2 EP
(Deep House, Nudisco / Teardrop Recordings)

German House producer Lovebids has been a core member of my house moments through his regular drop of groovy soulful mid-tempo house gems. This EP is a great example of his sound, the track National being one of my most-played track in 2016.

Sirens Of Lesbos - I Got New Feelings Ep & Essays Vol#3 Ep
(House, Deep Techno / Armada Music & Exploited Records)

Will your resist the infectious slo-mo grooves from this Spanish collective oscillating between house and deeper tech-inspired beats.

Alaia & GalloFeat. Kevin Hadden - Who Is He Ep
(House / Soul Heaven Records)
The timeless Bill Withers classic getting three quality house revisits courtesy of a powerful vocal performance by Kevin Hadden and producing skills of Alaia & Gallo, but also the inevitable Claptone as well as The Reflex, who definitely ranks high in my purveyors' list of amazing edits.

 EDIT of the year

Delegation - Oh Honey (Poolside Edit) + Le Pamplemousse - Gimmie What You Got (Poolside Edit)

For the last three years, Californian DJs and producers Poolside have been my number one source of inspiration and quality as a DJ and producer. These two reworks are just another splendid example of their gift for refreshing forgotten grooves.

Podcast Tracklisting:

Carlos Nino-Calimayan (feat. Nate Morgan & Yaakov Levy) / Mala-Sound Of The River (Feat. Sylvia Falcon) / Maylight - How Soon Is Now (The Smiths Cover) / Bon Iver-666? / Photay-Monday / Mocky-Exception To The Rule / Blood Orange-I Know / Frank Ocean-Pink+White (Feat. Beyoncé) / Kendrick Lamar-Untitled06 / Lee Fields & The Expressions-Special Love / Anderson Paak-Celebrate / A Tribe Called Quest-Whateva Will Be / BADBADNOTGOD-Times Moves Slow (feat. Sam Herring) / Whitney-No Woman / The Tibbs-The Story Goes / Thomas Cohen-Bloom Forever / Cass McCombs-Opposite House / Ablebody-Backseat Heart / DIIV-Bent (Roi's Song) / Melanie De Biasio-Blackened Cities / Flamingods-Majestic Fruit

November 27, 2016

Bob McGilpin x Get A Room! - Sexy Thing (V4YS I Say Rework)

This one is a nod to the craziest sounds diggers I know, Jeff & Aurel, aka French duo Get A Room!
A while ago, they resurrected Sexy Thing, a 1978 gem from Bob McGilpin, editing it for one of their highly recommended Dig Out Your Own Spade compilations.

Here is my House/Nudisco take. 

Download link on The Artist Union

November 7, 2016

Vibes4YourSoul Mixes#35 - Indian Summer Tape

Old stuff, new stuff, groove, nudisco, house...hope you'll enjoy this new colourful mixtape gathering tracks I've been regularly playing these last few months.

Dwlnd link here.

November 5, 2016

Lee Fields & The Expressions - Special Night (Big Crown Records)

Among the many "back to the future" Soul/Funk artists that tried to bring back some 60's/70's magic to the 21st century, Lee Fields is certainly one of the most successful example.

His 2009 come-back LP My World is already a classic, that would fool many during blind tests aiming at identifying release years. If his productions since then were less memorable, his new album, Special Night,released this week on Big Crown Records gets close to reaching My World heights.

Still brillantly supported by The Expressions, Lee's singing seems immune to the passage of time. Classic soul ballads, funkier moments, he does it all in 2016, as back in the day. A delightful old-school journey.

October 13, 2016

Cedric Im Brooks - Africa (V4YS Motherland Edit)

Jamaican saxophonist & arranger Cedric Im Brooks is one of my most cherished reggae artist.

Actually, confining him to the reggae scene would be a massive understatement. A brilliant musician, he kept on blurring the lines between spiritual Free-jazz (think Sun Ra), Afro grooves (think Fela), Latin rhythms and, of course, Reggae.

A cornerstone of legendary label Studio One, his musical legacy is impressive & if you're not familiar with him, I urge you to dig into his most famous albums, mostly recorded in the 70's with his band The Light Of Saba (United Africa, Im Flash Forward or The Magical Light Of Saba) & get ready for some colourful funky journey.

Africa is one of my favorite track by him, an afro-funk jam whose joyful & infectious horns chorus is hard to resist. With a clear hint at the "back to Motherland" Rasta myth, Africa is also a great example of Cedric's spiritual Rastafari faith, often present in his songs lyrics.
Here is my DJ-friendly nudisco-flavored edit of it.

September 27, 2016

Sarathy Korwar - Day To Day (Ninja Tune)

Somewhere between Jazz and World Music, Day To Day, the debut album from percussionist & producer Sarathy Korwar is an exciting trip to this multicultural artist (US-born, raised in India, living in London) colourful global musical village.

Think 70's spiritual Jazz spiced up by Indian rhythmic elements. Sitars and tabla drums languishing vibes, acting as snake charmers for a saxophone, a piano or an electric guitar.

The addition of colourful street life samples have me thinking of Christophe Chassol work. A more essential parallel between the two artists: as for the french pianist masterpiece, Indiamore, Sarathy Korward's record is also a fascinating ode to open-mindedness, dialogue and exchange. Some basic values sometimes in short supply these days.

Out a few weeks ago on Ninja Tune, a couple of extracts below:

September 20, 2016

David Bowie - Young Americans (V4YS All Night Edit)

Released in 1975, the Young Americans album was recorded in the US, where David Bowie was living at the time under the heavy influence of philly soul and early disco sounds.
On this record David surrounded himself with musicians from these scenes, most notably Puerto-Rican Guitarist Carlos Alomar, as well as Luther Vandross, who features on various side vocals.

If Fame is, well, the most...famous track of the LP (and David first true hit with the US audience), the song Young Americans is extremely groovy as well, with its anthem-like chorus hard to resist.

Here is my "DJ-friendly" drummed-up edit of it.

Note for the French-speaking readers: que vous soyez fan de Bowie ou simplement interessés par son parcours artistique, je vous recommande l'excellente série de 4 podcasts que l'émission "La Grande Traversée" de France Culture lui a récemment consacré. Une plongée passionnante dans ses multiples périodes et influences, mais aussi son processus de création. Disponible en podcast/streaming ici.

September 12, 2016

Tamba 4 - Samba Blim (V4YS 43°6° Rework)

A late sixties/early seventies Brazilian band, Tamba 4 released three highly recommended LPs at the time, oscillating between laid-back Bossa/Jazz and groovier Samba flavas.

Here is a "housy" rework I just finished of Samba Blim, one of their most famous song, released in 1968 as part of an eponymous album.

August 29, 2016

Frank Ocean - Blond(e) (Boys Don't Cry Records)

4 years after the stunning Channel Orange, R&B UFO Frank Ocean is back with his second album, Blond(e), released on his own label Boys Don't Cry, a few days after Endless, a demo tape mostly aimed at fulfilling his contractual obligations to Universal.

A hyped profile inherited from his terrific debuts, a long list of prestigious guests, high expectations following such a long wait since his debut LP: this kind of recipe often spells disappointment. But the 28-year old singer & producer strikes another home-run with a nostalgic journey tainted with lo-fi shades of folk & soul, supported by another remarkable singing achievement.
A true concept LP ideal to shelter you from post-summer blues.


August 4, 2016

Vibes4YourSoul Mixes#34 - (re)fresh tape

From Brazilian vibes, to funky nudisco beats or deep techno sounds, here is a summer tape gathering tracks I've been regularly playing these last few months. A groovy condensed snapshot of my eclectic DJ sets.

Hope you'll dance, run, love or simply chill to it!

Dwnld link.

July 30, 2016

Marvin Gaye - Where Are We Going (V4YS Rework)

Originally recorded in 1973, Where Are We Going was supposed to be part of the legendary Let's Get It On album. For some reason it did not make the cut, and this beautiful song written by Larry Mizell was first heard through a jazz/funk cover by Donald Byrd & his Blackbyrds.

It's only in 2001 that the original Marvin Gaye version was released as part of Let's Get It On LP reissue featuring various b-sides & studio sessions. Ever since I first heard it a few years ago, it has immediately become one of my favorite Marvin's song, because of its irresistible groove, Marvin's singing at his best, but also its thoughtful lyrics.

Here is my DJ-friendly beefed up take of this overlooked track.

July 25, 2016

Mélanie De Biasio - Blackened Cities

Blackened Cities is a the latest stunning release from Belgium singer Mélanie De Biasio, whose 2014 splendid LP, No Deal, is still resonating loudly in my mind.

It's hard not to get carried away by this 24-minutes-long recording, almost built as a seamless minimal-techno DJ Set. Driven by a remarkable rhythmic frame (notably the astonishing drumming of Dre Pallemaerts), Mélanie's captivating velvety voice designs a feeling of darkness and mystery. An almost perfect sound echo of the industrial landscapes she refers to as a source of influence for this record.

June 5, 2016

BadBadNotGood - IV (Innovative Leisure Records)

Ever since their promising demo LP, back in 2011, I've been keeping an attentive ear to the musical journey of Canadian "Jazz-Hop" quartet BadBadNotGood.

Experiencing new artistic routes, working with various high profile artists, pursuing their exciting journey in the worlds of nu-jazz, hip-hop & soul, the trio, now quartet, has not lost their refreshing live-jam sound in the process. Still, as good have been their subsequent productions, I always kept a marked preference for their debut demo album...until this week and the release of their new record, IV, on Innovative Leisure Records.

In this fourth release their signature funky free-jazz forays reach new heights, notably supported by the powerful, albeit weightless, drumming of Alex Sowinski and remarkable post-production work, retaining their fresh live-like sound, while offering some high standards studio quality to the mix.

What I consider as their best production to date climaxes with the incredible Time Moves Slow, featuring singer Sam Herring. Probably my favorite track so far this year, all styles considered.

May 28, 2016

Bruce Springsteen - Secret garden (V4YS "Show Me A Hero" Rework)

We all need heroes right? Among mine, US director & scriptwriter David Simon holds a pretty good ranking. We owe him some of the best thought-provoking, humanist & politically-conscious drama series of the modern TV era. Starting with the best of all (an unquestionable fact validated by...myself:), The Wire (2002/2008, HBO).

 Resonating all the more with me, music plays an integer part in David's work. That's obvious in his remarkable heartfelt appeal to post-Katrina New Orleans ("Treme", 2010/2013, HBO), but is also a common thread in all his productions.

His latest gem, "Show Me A Hero" (2015, HBO), is no exception to the rule.
This mini-series evokes a true story from the late 70's/early 80's, depicting the struggles of a young Mayor in a NYC suburban town, to deal with social & racial cohesion in a stressed budgetary situation. Unsurpringly somehow, considering the "deep America" social themes at play here, Bruce Springsteen was a great fit to fill a spot in the show soundtrack. His beautiful melancholic ballad, Secret Garden, is omnipresent in each of the the miniseries 4 episodes. Here is a deep, balearic/slo-mo style rework I made of it.

May 22, 2016

Mocky - The Moxtape Vol.III

Let's stay in the bubbling futuristic Jazz & Lo-Fi Californian scene for a moment, with some new treats from LA-based Canadian producer Mocky.

His phenomenal 2015 LP Key Change still hasn't left my Iphone heavy rotation playlist, that I already have to find some extra storage space to host the beautiful third batch of his "Moxtape" series.
More than a kaleidoscope of forgotten B-sides, this Volume III parts gathers more of his signature dreamy moments, made of sweet piano and bells-led melodies.
The contribution of a few high-profile guests like violin master Miguel Atwood-Ferguson (him again!) adds to the overall poetic feeling emanating from this new release.

The Moxtape Vol.III is available on his Bandcamp page, my favorites extracts below:

May 18, 2016

Carlos Niño & Friends - Flute, Echoes, It's All Happening! (Leaving Records)

A musical UFO, is how I'd coined Californian producer Carlos Niño to anyone not familiar with is genius. Alongside his inseparable string master friend Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, he has relentlessly been irrading us with cosmic spiritual Jazz vibes for more than a decade now. His latest project, out now on Leaving Records, is a condensed version of his intense creativity.

Spiced-up by several high profiles guests, such as Sax whizz-kid Kamasi Washington (whose phenomenal debut LP last year was part of our 2015 Favorites selection), this indefinable Yogi-style musical journey fits well with West Coast legendary free-jazz-like legacy. Think Alice Coltrane, think The Doors most remote cuckoo-land moments, or, more recently, the Flying Lotus/Thundercat spacy productions.
So open this gate to sweet transcendental meditation, and get organically high, it's all happening here!

May 4, 2016

V4YS - A 70's Tape

Only classics, only edits/reworks from some of my favorite producers to celebrate this golden musical era where rock, disco, funk, latin and afro sounds where happily sharing the stage.

Hope you'll enjoy it!

Thanks to the cool "Lost In The Seventies" blog for the pic:)

April 26, 2016

Prince - Controversy (V4YS Rework)

July 2010, Nice, French Riviera, 11pm.
Closing his regular stadium gig, the Kid hints at an after show in the nearby city of Cannes. Having missed the phenomenal surprise late night performance he had been giving a couple of days before at The New Morning, my favorite Parisian venue, I know I can't miss this one.

- Midnight, Cannes, Palais des Festivals Nightclub.
Here I am, alongside 100 or 150 fans straight out of the gig. Perfect culture clash with this posh club's usual summer crowd, mostly made of rich Russian teenagers. Unaware of the funky storm to come, they lavishly spend ther daily summer allowances in 2000$ champagne bottles.

- 2am, still nothing, but the little stage set-up in a corner of the dancefloor tells me this whole thing is not a scam.

- 3am, there's finally some action, it's very dark, but how not to recognize the Kid's musicians who just arrived. Sound check going on.

- 3:30am The local DJ slows things down and plays Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On". No one really pays attention to the side stage anymore, as there seems to be endless technical problems. Still, I know my Marvin, and this splendid guitar solo I'm hearing is not in the original I get next to the empty dark stage, I distinguish a guy on the side, testing his guitar, mic open, by having fun improvising on Marvin's tune. Guess who it was...

I'll stop here, no need to mention the incredible jam session he offered us afterwards, covering many of the classic US soul & funk legendary tunes he loved so much.

Ironically, a couple of weeks before the sad news, I had been starting to rework an old edit I had made of here it is, as a little tribute...let's get it on.

April 4, 2016

Terry Callier - Holdin' On (V4YS Rework)

Here is a rework of my favorite Terry Callier track, Holdin' On (To Your Love), a groove pearl made of soulful horns, touching politically-conscious lyrics and Terry's incredibly warm voice at his best.

It was released in 1978 as part of his classic LP Fire On Ice. I tried to give it a Dj-friendly nudisco touch, I hope you'll enjoy it.

March 30, 2016

Photay - Sadie EP (Astro Nautico Records)

US producer Photay has been on my lo-fi/electro radar since his first official LP release in 2014.

He's back on Brooklyn outfit Astro Nautico with a remarkable 4-track EP.

Get your fair share of deep beats, 80's flavored ethereal keyboards atmospheres and anthemic moments, climaxing with the absolutely splendid Monday track.

Sadie EP is available on Astro Nautico Bandcamp page.

March 14, 2016

Erik Truffaz Quartet - Doni Doni (Parlophone Records)

Since the late nineties and his first groundbreaking LPs (The Dawn, Bending New Corners...), blowing up the frontiers between nu-jazz, drum & bass, hip-hop & groove, Erik Truffaz Quartet has been a core member of my "desert island" playlist.

With the exception of the unmovable bassist Marcello Giuliani, Erik's quartet line-up has changed over the years, while never losing in cohesion and coherence. 
From the early days, featuring memorable drummer Marc Erbetta and Patrick Muller on piano, to the current formation with Arthur Knatek (drums) and the groove machine Benoit Corboz on keyboards, the quartet has also always retained an open-mind, constantly on the hook for new experiences and influences. The regular invitations of quality vocalists, bringing their own universe to the mix, has also without a doubt played a major role in the band's ability to constantly reinvent itself and surprise us with fascinating new atmospheres.

Their latest LP, Doni Doni is no exception to the game. Rokia Traoré's delicate west-African touch, as well as French rapper Oxmo Puccino flow are a perfect fit to a record travelling between world music and nu-jazz grooves. Another faultless release from Erik's crew, to be fully appreciated live, where their virtuosity is sometimes almost paranormal.

March 1, 2016

Tindersticks - The Waiting Room

Tindersticks' 10th LP is a gift that keeps on giving.

The more I listen to it, the more I feel at home, soothed by its soft & delicate rythmic background, enlightened by its colourful horns. As for the feeling of gravity, Stuart Staples' inimitable nagging singing is at its best, not to mention the precious help from the late Lhasa de Sela and Savages' Jhenny Beth on a couple of tracks. 

A few ultra smooth electro touches here and there, a superb afrobeat-inspired moment ("Help Yourself"), this "indie/world" masterpiece has me thinking of some productions by favorite "outside-of-the-box", horns-friendly indie band, Broken Social Scene. I bet you'll love get stuck in this Waiting Room.

February 16, 2016

Nonkeen - The Gamble (R&S Records)

Berlin-based trio Nonkeen debut LP The Gamble is a remarkable deep & minimal electro-jazz production.

It's also a great story of three German kids discovering music in the late 80's/early 90's, through the lense of good old-school tape recorders. From Hamburg to East Berlin, the trio grew up, staid in touch, but took more than a decade to finally offer us this remarkable introspective musical journey.

Their countless teenage years tape recordings sessions acted as an inspiring patchwork, but make no mistake, this album is not the work of gifted amateur musicians. It's much more than that, and I have no fear comparing their accomplishment to renewed electro-jazz pioneers like Bugge Wesseltoft or Portico Quartet.

Check it out for yourself on their Bandcamp Page & R&S Records:

January 31, 2016

Raury - All We Need (Columbia Records)

Also released in the final weeks of 2015, Atlanta-based young singer & songwriter Raury's debut LP also should have been in my 2015 favorites list.
Contrary to Erykah Badu's album-like "mixtape" I just mentioned, All We Need actually smells more like a demo mixtape than a finished debut LP released on a major label (Columbia). This "unfinished", acoustic-like imperfect feeling is what makes it truly touching.
Simple words, nice melodies and a musical frame on the edge of folk, soul, hip-hop and indie world, all combine to design an unpretending laid-back atmosphere. It also alludes to the sound of Uk songwriter Ady Suleiman, a name I often recommended on the blog.

Erykah Badu - But You Cain't Use My Phone (Mixtape)

Sorry for the quiet activity on the blog this month, but I have to say the year started quite slowly for me in terms of musical surprises.
So I'll open 2016 with a couple of late 2015 releases, starting with the one and only nu-soul queen, Eryka Badu.

In my 2015 Favorites selection I mentioned Erykah's cover of Drake's Hotline Bling.
But the lady did not hang up there, she subsequently released an entire concept album/mixtape around the phone addiction allegory. And you'd better make sure to stay on her line, as this record is a pure delight, truthful to her unique sensual sound.

This project was designed and recorded in less than two weeks, with the help of a young Dallas producer (Zach Witness). This sums up Erykah's rare ability to put her artistic forays & feelings first, far away from an often empty R&B/Hip-Hop mainstream road she could have easily embraced considering her notoriety. With several hints at contemporary R&B songs, but also to the late Jay Dilla, But You Cain't Use My Phone is another milestone in her faultless discography. Totally addictive!