Deep : Files #50
Covering a wide range of global influences is the amazing ‘Tradition In Transition’ on Tru Thoughts from Will Holland’s latest project Quantic & His Soul Barbaro.
Having settled in Colombia, Holland has assembled a motley group of “barbarian” artists including Panamanian singer Kabir, Indian singer Falu along with talent from Colombia and Brazil to write and play alongside himself and Heliocentrics drummer Catto. The result is his most ambitious album to date - from the deep strings of ‘Dreaming In Mind’ to the Afro-Brazilian psychedelica of ‘Mas Pan’ to the Latin/Indian fusion of ‘Albela’.
Danny Lewis returns to his Enzyme Black project with a forthcoming release. ‘New Life’ (Ava’s Theme) keeps the big synth basslines characteristic of all the Enzyme Black stuff but adds some piano chords, pads and jazz guitar from Rick ‘Rock’ Green to deliver a soulful summer groove.
In a similar big bass vein is Dutchican Soul’s remix of Lisa Shaw’s ‘Like I Want To’ on Salted Music, which stays just the right side of cheesy. Two other releases err on the wrong side of over-produced, over-compressed, run-of-the-mill house but are rescued by more imaginative remixes. First is Positive Flow’s ‘Dance Of The Soul’ on Stillnovo, which is given a few twists by Jay Tripwire, most notably in a heavy bass style in his 8 Channel Dub and working the broken techno angle with added marimbas in the Higher Vibrations Dub. Second is Stephanie Mills’ Free on Expansion. Jon Cutler is responsible for the forgettable versions. Far better are The Layabouts deeper interpretations, but the pick of the bunch are Domu’s, who works the sub bass, soca drum pattern and layered effects
Domu also features on two recent releases. First is an excellent compilation of his remixes along with unreleased tracks and B-sides. Released on the aforementioned Tru Thoughts with the imaginative title ‘One Offs, Remixes & B Sides’, the double CD is a great intro into his varied work. Split between his own productions and his remixes, highlights are his bass-heavy, broken beat take on Daedelus’ ‘Impending Doom’ from a few years back or the hi-tech jazz of his own ‘Quarantine’.
The second release is his ‘Disco Jazz Vol 1’ compilation on ESP DJ Classics out of Japan. Featuring original versions and a few of his edits of the likes of Cameo’s classic ‘Sound Table’ and Roy Ayers’ ‘Our Time Is Coming’ along with lesser known tracks from Panache and Manchild, it explores the connection between jazz and disco that’s typically overlooked. It’s most evident in the strongest tracks, Chaka Khan’s ‘Bebop Melody’ and The Emotion’s ‘Love Vibe’.
Jazz disco was covered in last month’s despatch courtesy of John Arnold’s ‘Nightlife’ on Future Soul and the label is back with another strong release in the form of Joy Jones’ debut album Godchild. Expanding on the funk of ‘This Too Will Pass Ms Jones’ covers a wider range of genres and influences on this album from soul to afrobeat to folk to jazz and the neo-soul stylings of Erykah Badu. Daz-I-Kue follows his remix of ‘This Too Will Pass’ with another uptempo bruk take, this time for ‘The Joy’. Other highlights are ‘Supernova’ and the jazz waltz of ‘Glass Boxes’.
After his remix of Bopstar’s ‘Desire’ mentioned last month, Restless Soul’s Jose Carretas delivers another summer groover with his own latin-influenced ‘Memories’. Out on Son Liva, the original version makes great use of flamenco guitar, Brazilian Portuguese vocals from Nina Miranda and congas, especially in the long breakdown. Anton Vitale jettisons the subtlety, wodging in a huge bouncing bass – it’s probably more effective in the instrumental version where, bereft of the vocals it’s possible to detect the slightest hint of Mr Finger’s classic ‘Washing Machine’ in the bass.
Sticking with the deep house worth a check is ‘Hypnotize You’ from Soulscience featuring Dennis Baker on Deeper Shades. The vocal is nothing special so skip straight to Atjazz’s Afrotech remix instrumental for Martin Iveson’s brand of dub reggae-styled house (also featuring a Mr Fingers-referencing acid bass). In a similar vein is the Abicah Soul remixes of Nathan Adams and Zepherin Saint’s ‘Circle’ on Tribe Records. Vocal is slightly better than the Soulscience but as the dub version shows: less is more
The Rurals depart from their habitual deep house with ‘Rural Disco Vibes 2’ - a selection of disco-sample fuelled house tracks. Looking further back than the filtered disco sound, they recall early ‘90s tracks by the likes of Pal Joey and Disco Elements
Out on Gotta Keep Faith, Leeds-based Definition of Soul’s eponymous track uses a classic three rhodes chords progression, similar to Oscar’s cover version of Phreek’s ‘Weekend’ and 400 Blows 1984 cover of Brass Construction’s ‘Movin’’. Coupled with a spoken word vocal, it works best in the original version, DJ PsM’s Dohipuro remix or the Bali remix, there are also five more mostly redundant remixes. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
Sticking with the UK, Soul Renegades show Brit funk and 1980s jazz funk inspiration on their soulful house cut ‘Thank You’. Backed with the gospel tinged ‘Oh Yeah’, it’s out on the Restless Soul imprint. Yam Who? may have a terrible rep for shambolic DJ sets but there’s no shortage of quality on their boogie-influenced productions. ‘Summertime’, their collaboration with Noel McKoy and the legendary Leroy Burgess a few years back, gets tuned up by IG Culture for 2009 courtesy of Papa records. The NSM remixes add his characteristic stuttering broken beats while the Son of Scientist remixes stick to a more tech-y four-on-the-floor template but - having abandoned the signature chord changes - aren’t really a massive improvement on the original.
Another producer keeping the boogie flame going is French artist L’Aroye, whose latest on Love 4 A Minute has all the elements: the conga pattern, the synth riffs, chords and the little distorted cowbell reminiscent of Burgess’ classic ‘Universal Robot Band’ - the track the Barely Breaking Even label is named after, as it happens. BBE are doing their part with the release of Georg Levin’s ‘Falling Masonry; EP. Levin is probably better known for the classic house joint ‘I Got Somebody New’ from 2002, but tries out a few different styles here. ‘Falling Masonry’ is a little folk waltz, ‘Runaway’ has more of a 1980s rock feel but the main track to check is the monster Teutonic neo-boogie of ‘The Better Life’.