Record Of The Week

LERON CARSON - UNDER THE CONDITIONS (SOUND SIGNATURE)

With the end of the year fast approaching Sound Signature drops a double album that’s sure to grace a lot of 2021 lists - the big Rush Hour crew favorite that is the late LeRon Carson’s ‘Under the Conditions’.

Apart from four contributions to the Sound Signature catalogue (the debut split ‘1987 EP’, the Omar-S engineered ‘Red Lightbulb Theory ‘87-‘88’, 2014’s ‘Tracks from the Tape’ and 2016’s ‘Lemonlime’), little is known about the near-mythical Chicago producer, who was particularly prolific in his teen years in the late eighties.

But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, for, in the words of Sound Signature, “to speak about LeRon is to talk about the music itself.” “His dedication was on the border of obsession. He was always making tracks, and if not that, he was practicing mixing. Never once did I hear him complain about the equipment he did’n’t have, records he wished he could afford or material things he couldn’t obtain. LeRon made do with whatever he had access to.”

The eight tracks on ‘Under the Conditions’ were made in ‘88 and ‘89, when Carson wasn’t even eighteen years old and display a unique talent that perfectly embodies the innovative spirit of house music. Restored from the original cassette tapes they vary from Armando-style jack tracks and Virgo- and Fingers-inspired deep grooves to loop-based disco house predating Cajmere’s work by a few years. As it says in the liner notes: “LeRon was miles ahead of us in musical development.” (RO) ⁣

THEO CROKER - BLK2LIFE: A FUTURE PAST (MUSIC ON VINYL)

Here’s another record that’s been gracing our expanded Klipschorn set-up a lot over the last week: Theo Croker’s ‘Blk2Life: A Future Past’.

On his sixth album, his most expansive and accomplished to date, everything falls into place for the American trumpeter, composer and producer who’s worked with anyone from Dee Dee Bridgewater to Common and J. Cole.

Written and recorded in his childhood home in Leesburg, Florida during the pandemic, much of the album was informed by psilocybin meditations and astral travels.

The result is a universal sound palette that encompasses jazz, funk, soul, pop, hiphop and broken beat, all flowing together in a completely natural manner.

Or, as Croker tells it: “Our hero received a transmission from his ancestors while in meditation that set him on a mission to raise the planet's vibrations through music that defies the confines of a ‘genre’ and frees the culture from the imminent threat of commercial gentrification”.

Standout cuts are the beautifully fluid ‘Soul Call/Vibrate’ with its sweeping horn theme and gently floating piano chords, the warm-blooded ‘Anthem’ with Croker’s former teacher Gary Bartz and the frantic spiritual jazz attack that is ‘Hero Stomp’, but this is the sort of album that’s best appreciated in full - it’s worth the trip. (RO) ⁣

Bremer McCoy - Natten (Luaka Bop)

Natten’ is the fifth album by Bremer McCoy, the Danish duo that once started out as a part-time reggae sound system and has now made a full transition to creating transcendental ambient jazz.

Recorded straight to tape as to avoid any form of overthinking it’s Jonathan Bremer (acoustic bass) and Morten McCoy (keys and tape delay)’s finest effort to date - a meditation exercise that has the two effortlessly floating in a zone of their own.

Intuition is key on this gently shimmering album, from the star-sprinkled opening sequence of the title track (which means ‘The Night’ in Danish) to the wavering end notes of the Mulatu ode that is ‘Lalibela’.

‘Aurora’ may well be the key track on this translucent beauty - a lotus-shaped new age composition that’s decorated with a luminous and brilliantly conceived piano theme. It’s one of the most striking creations on this flawless multi-faceted ambient jazz diamond. (RO) ⁣

DEAN BLUNT - BLACK METAL 2 (ROUGH TRADE)

Seven years after part one elusive UK escape artist Dean Blunt drops ‘Black Metal 2’, his most well-rounded album to date.

Despite being involved in a myriad of albums, collaborations, mixtapes, music videos and side projects (including an opera and an attempt to sell a toy car stuffed with weed on eBay) over the last ten years it somehow seems both Black Metal albums are at the very core of Blunt’s artistry, although you can never tell for sure. After all this is Dean Blunt.

On ‘Black Metal 2’ Blunt lets his inner singer-songwriter roam freely once again, his instantly recognizable baritone at the front of the mix more prominently than ever, floating over jangly guitars and understated beats, but it’s still impossible to pin the man down.

Painting open-end anecdotal scenes in his typical deadpan manner, often aided by frequent collaborator Joanne Robertson’s contrasting vocals, there’s a fatalistic melancholy hanging over ‘Black Metal 2’ that’s much heavier than the tongue-in-cheek title and the trollish logo reference to Dr. Dre’s ‘2001’ suggest, despite Blunt’s claims everything will be allright on the surprisingly soft ‘Dash Snow’, one of the key songs on the album.

It’s this ambiguity that’s right at the heart of ‘Black Metal 2’. “LSD, CBT, EDT, daddy’s broke, what a joke, future’s bleak, ain’t it neat?”, he muses on ‘Nil By Mouth’, illustrating the sense of hopelessness that runs through the whole album. The pain is real on ‘Black Metal 2’, and so is the beauty that comes with it. (RO) ⁣

OCEANIC - TOTAL COMFORT (RUSH HOUR)

DJ/producer Job Oberman is both one of the most versatile and talented artists to emerge from the Netherlands in the last few years.

Just look at some of his more recent output, that comprises a 40-minute registration of an ambient-leaning sit-down concert performed on his custom-made string instrument connected to a modular synth (2018’s ‘Live at de School’), his experimental mindclash with free jazz deity Greetje Bijma (2020’s ‘Swallow a Party’) and the set of club-ready derivations of his School performance that came out last year.

On his outstanding debut for Rush Hour the multi-talented Dutch musician displays his skills as an increasingly confident producer while keeping an eye out on the dancefloor, taking cues from classic Detroit-, mid-nineties UK- and post-modern Berlin breakbeat techno.

Opener ‘Total Comfort’ is a remarkable display of restraint - a retro-futurist slice of Detroit-inspired techno that relies on string structure solely without any dominant percussion, executed in a fashion reminiscent of some of Carl Craig’s nineties work.

‘Q On 6’ follows a similar path before the bear bones are buried under a pile of nervous stutter steps and pulsating bass. ‘Foam To’ and ‘Connect in Rest’ both hint at new directions for this gifted producer, taking the post-modern breakbeat techno sound to a whole new level. (RO) ⁣

Germán Bringas - Tunel Hacia Ti (Smiling C)

I came to the realization that I had synesthesia - I played a note, and the first thing I know is that I’m picturing a color. A quest for new colors followed suit: metallic blue, light green, orange, and yellow. Then, I started to combine them, without knowing that I was actually improvising. So colors are the first thing that I ever played.”

Here’s a record that totally blew us away over the course of the last few weeks and sounds absolutely mesmerising on our new vintage Klipschorn speakers: ‘Tunel Hacia Tí’ by Mexican jazz synesthete Germán Bringas.

Comprised of tracks taken from his lost cassette-only ambient jazz masterpiece ‘Caminatas’ (‘Hikes’), its successor ‘Exposición Al Vacio’ (‘Vacuum Exposure’) and unreleased works from the nineties Bringas plays all instruments on this kaleidoscopic sixteen track sound adventure that was recorded in a small studio in the back of his home.

Minimal music, new age ambient, improvised jazz, pastoral music and Fourth World influences all flow together in the mind of Bringas who witnesses colors as he plays, resulting in a unique cross-sensory sound language that’s as intuitive as it is moving. It’s this almost supernatural sensitivity that allows Bringas to find the perfect balance between experimentation and sheer beauty. (RO)

PS. Make sure to check out Smiling C’s equally beautiful accompanying twelve-minute documentary ‘Caminatas: La Historia De Germán Bringas’ (https://youtu.be/aeVXRmvaiRE). It’s one of the best things you’ll see and hear all year. ⁣

Steve Summers - Generation Loss (L.I.E.S.)

Exactly ten years after his first EP for L.I.E.S. Chicago jakbeat maverick Steve Summers delivers his first album for Ron Morelli’s Brooklyn-born imprint - a double dose of raw jackin’ house.

Summers, who has worked under a myriad of names and is also known as one third of Mutant Beat Dance with Traxx and Beau Wanzer, has perfected his take on the late eighties to early nineties-house sound (think Drewsky, early Paul Johnson and foundation Steve Poindexter) to a tee, but the ideas on ‘Generation Loss’ are entirely his own.

Starting off with the Armando-esque acid stomper ‘Who Knows’ and the aptly titled ‘90’s’ Summers snakes his way through a full palette of classic early Chicago jack styles on the first two sides of this double album to take them to a new intensity level on the third and fourth.

‘Boxed In’ (C1) sees the Chicago maverick going into full overdrive, while he flirts with swirling deep techno on ‘Loose Connections’ and bleak EDM on ‘Unclubbable’. There are literally no weak moments on this awesome display of raw jakbeat power. (RO) ⁣

ON OUR OWN CLOCK - ON OUR OWN CLOCK (MUSHROOM HOUR HALF HOUR)

Just imagine some of the best musicians of the contemporary South-African, Senegalese and UK jazz scenes getting together in the studio to create an album that celebrates the universality of music. That was what was supposed to happen here.

Then came the pandemic, making sure the plan had to be altered, dividing the kindred spirits into separate groups on different continents, sending the results of their spirited studio sessions back and forth for their overseas counterparts to react.

The result is an extraordinary album overflowing with creative ideas coming in from all angles. Ideas that are sometimes stacked on top of each other in layers to form a mouthwatering musical cake, but also allow a sneak peek into the kitchen - or kitchens - of this five star distant gathering.

Just look at that line-up, that includes tuba don Theon Cross, Alabaster dePlume, Siya Makuzeni (SPAZA), Zoe Molelekwa, Asher Gamedze, Kora virtuoso Tarang Cissoko and Balimaya Project’s Yahael Camara Onono - all forces that will not be held back by distance and time. Like the title of the three-part reflection on long-distance creation suggests, this is How To Make Art In A Pandemic 101. (RO) ⁣

IVAN MAMÃO CONTI & GRASSMASS - NATURAL (NEW DAWN))

Here’s a record we’re all exceptionally proud of at Rush Hour: ‘Natural’ by legendary master drummer Ivan ‘Mamão’ Conti and Recife born, São Paulo based bass player and producer grassmass (yes, that lowercase is intentional) on our sister label New Dawn.

Having already worked with big names like Naná Vasconcelos and Arto Lindsay while simultaneously hosting projects with some of today's brazilian edgiest talents like Negro Leo and Thiago Nassif grassmass (real name Rodrigo Coelho), who also runs the experimental UIVO imprint, is the perfect match for the Azymuth founding member.

‘A Mina’ and ‘Caatinga’ are both prime examples of Mamão’s constant desire to move forward, despite being in the game for more than half a century - a desire that’s perfectly illustrated by these two experimental funk monsters. Both tracks display the Brazilian maestro’s unrivaled skill level and irrepressible penchant to keep things funky while steadily pushing his signature sound towards the future. No one can stop Ivan ‘Mamão’ Conti. (RO) ⁣

Masters at Work - Mattel (MAW)

Ever since their early releases together as Masters of Work the sounds of Louie Vega and Kenny Dope have been a major influence on the formation of Rush Hour, their unrivalled output being omnipresent in clubs worldwide during the nineties and beyond, Amsterdam being no exception.

Thirty years later the two are still major forces in house, hiphop, funk and Latin music, but it’s been over two decades since they last released anything as Masters at Work, so it would be a massive understatement to say this release is a special one.

Named after the Synsonics, a drum synthesizer marketed by toy manufacturer Mattel in the early eighties, ‘Mattel’ is a high-pressure dancefloor bomb that takes the MAW-sound Into new directions.

With fireworks percussion played live in an Ibizan studio by Kenny Dope and bass and stabs provided by his fellow Master, ‘Mattel’ is perfect proof the two haven’t lost any of their touch. Not that there were any doubts, of course. (RO) ⁣

GREG FOAT / ALEKSI HEINOLA / TEEMU ÅKERBLOM - GONE TO THE CATS (JAZZAGRESSION)

On heavy rotation at Rush Hour right now: ‘Gone to the Cats’, the new album by multi-talented UK jazz pianist, keyboardist, arranger and composer Greg Foat for the Norwegian Jazzagression imprint.

Recorded in a small cabin in snowy Norway in the winter of 2020 with a Finnish rhythm section consisting of Aleksi Heinola on drums and Teemu Åkerblom on bass, the three conjure up six golden jazzfunk grooves in the spirit of Les McCann’s 1972 masterpiece ‘Layers’ and Galt MacDermot, David McCallum and David Axelrod’s finest soundtrack work with some Bob James and Cortex thrown in for good measure, yet with a slightly more modern feel.

The Finnish foundation of drum and bass is rock solid and funky from A to Z, with Foat providing a buttery flavor on Moog and Fender Rhodes. It’s a proven yet still highly addictive recipe that works just as good in ‘21 as it did half a century ago. (RO) ⁣

Joy Orbison - still slipping vol. 1 (XL Recordings)

Despite being one of the defining figures in the UK underground for more than a decade, ‘still slipping vol. 1’ (written in lowercase) is Joy Orbison’s first ever longplayer.

Ever since his anthemic debut single ‘Hyph Mngo’, that was released by Hotflush in 2009, Joy O. has shown a remarkable versatility in styles and range, but all of his productions have one thing in common - they’re all firmly rooted in the finest UK tradition, echoing decades of UK garage, dubstep, bass, drum & bass and Sheffield-leaning IDM, yet never fully succumbing to any one of those styles.

With guest appearances by Herron, James Massiah, Bathe, Léa Sen, Gumbani and a host of family members (such as his cousin Leighann who introduced the young Joy O. to jungle and UK garage and graces the album’s cover and his parents, sister, uncles and aunties chatting and laughing throughout the album in a series of recorded messages and conversations) ‘still slipping’ is as much a UK as it is a family affair.

With only a few tracks aimed directly at the dancefloor (most notably the garagey ‘swag’ and the sultry Ibiza groover ‘better’, no caps used here), ‘still slipping’ is a grippingly intimate album that reflects both Joy O’s personal journey of the last decade and the last year and a half without serious partying. It’s a highly personal album that has ‘post-everything’ written over it in big letters. (RO) ⁣

Porter Ricks - Biokinetics (Mille Plateaux)

‘Biokinetics’ is the monumental debut album by seminal German dub techno innovators Porter Ricks, the legendary duo consisting of Thomas Köner and Andy Mellwig.

Originally released as a CD-only project in 1996, the album is centered around the pioneering duo’s first three singles for Basic Channel subsidiary Chain Reaction (also home to illustrious contemporaries like Monolake, Fluxion and Vainqueur) and still stands as one of the defining moments in dub techno twenty-five years later.

Merely calling this groundbreaking masterpiece a dub techno album doesn’t do it justice, though. Köner and Mellwig take the fabric of the aesthetic spun by Moritz von Oswald and Mark Ernestus and morph it into something else completely - a thick, dense and ridiculously detailed amalgam of pulsating techno, fully saturated ambient soundscapes that somehow sound entirely organic and mind-altering psychedelic drone.

Twenty-five years on ‘Biokinetics’ (a term that refers both to the study of the metabolism and transport of drugs through the body and the study of physical motions) still stands as one of the most important achievements in electronic music and certainly hasn’t lost any of its awesome power. Essential listening for everyone even remotely interested in modern electronic music (RO). ⁣

ANDRÉS - PRAISES (MAHOGANI MUSIC)

Well-respected Detroit artist Andrés doesn’t need much of an introduction. For about two decades the man has been enriching our musical worlds with rock solid productions and soulful DJ-sets. Yet he doesn’t seem to be slowing down a bit as he sets the bar higher again with his latest single ‘Praises’ on Mahogani Music.

‘Praises’ is a great example of bringing your A-game to the A-side of a record. The title track is a thumping piece of house music with a fiery gospel flavor. The intro is made up of a slick beat and soft delicate keys that hint to an intimate get-together. Misleading, as the firework is unleashed in the blink of an eye. With the use of various scorching gospel samples, the track bursts out in flames. The result is the perfect weapon to tear down a dancefloor while the sweat drips off the ceiling. This track is a bomb that is proudly ticking as it waits for the dancefloors to be (re)opened to release its heat.

Bringing your A-game to the A-side is quite what you would expect, right? That doesn’t mean that the B-side is inferior though. Sometimes you just have to save the best for last. Andrés and his talented entourage treat us to the live version of his hit ‘New For You’ on the flip. Some consider this version to be the best, and we can definitely understand why. It’s warm, soulful and very charming too. The build up is like an intimate walk along the water as the sun goes down. It gracefully moves towards the climax which feels like celebrating a glorious victory after a rough ride. That said I guess this twelve will be one of those sureshots in our dj-bags for a while. (Roman) ⁣

DAMON LOCKS & BLACK MONUMENT ENSEMBLE - NOW (INTERNATIONAL ANTHEM)

‘Now’ is the second album by Chicago visual and sound artist Damon Locks’ Black Momument Ensemble for International Anthem after 2019’s ‘Where Future Unfolds’ and it’s yet another milestone in the Chicago imprint’s increasingly impressive catalogue. .

On ‘Now’ Locks uses samples, loops, spoken word and what sounds like tape experimentation to enhance the improvisational compositions created in the garden behind Chicago’s Experimental Sound Studio in the summer of 2020 with a band that includes fellow International Anthem recording artists Angel Bat Dawid and Ben LaMar Gay..

Recorded in only a few takes to capture the freshness and spontaneity of the original ideas ‘Now’ has a raw urgency directly reflecting the pandemic-induced fear and isolation and uncertainty and the social turmoil of these crazy times..

There’s plenty of joy and hope on ‘Now’ too, though, making this album a deep statement that basically encompasses all elements of life. The joy of getting together to make music again is obvious here as illustrated by the band’s reactions to the takes that were used that have purposely been left in..

But there’s more to ‘Now’ than Locks and his extended band jamming in a humid garden accompanied by an army of chirping cicades occasionally taking over the band alltogether. At times Locks’ urge to isolate elements from the sessions and loop them into infinity puts him in a different realm escaping everything that’s happening down here, but when It all comes together again it’s a beautiful thing. (RO) ⁣

Évé - Canto Aberto (Komos)

‘Canto Aberto’ is the only album Brazilian singer-songwriter Everaldo ‘Évé’ Marcial ever made and it’s a work of rare beauty.

Born and raised in São Paulo in the early fifties Évé fled the Brazilian dictatorship in 1974 and ended up in France, recording ‘Canto Aberto’ with a band consisting of both Parisian musicians and fellow expatriates, including the great Manduka.

Released a year later on the Free Lance imprint the album however failed to make the desired impact, causing Évé to quit music alltogether and move to the US to start yet another new life. You can’t help but wonder what would have happened if he hadn’t made such a radical decision, for Marcial is clearly an exceptionally gifted guitarist and songwriter who’s also blessed with a beautiful voice.

On ‘Canto Aberto’ he navigates between well-constructed MPB, deep samba, jazzy freeform songwriting and folky Brazilian protest-style songs, placing him somewhere in the musical constellation of Egberto Gismonti, Nana Vasconselos, Milton Nascimento and Piry Reis, but with a haunting voice that’s entirely his own. Warm, spirited and beautifully detailed ‘Canto Aberto’ is a grower that will stay with you all summer and beyond. (RO) ⁣

Carlos Niño - More Energy Fields, Current (International Anthem)

Prolific L.A. producer, arranger, composer, musician and poet Carlos Niño follows up last year’s ‘Chicago Waves’ (with Miguel Atwood-Ferguson) with a beautiful second album for International Anthem.

It’s hard to keep track of the L.A. whirlwind, who released nine albums as Carlos Niño & Friends alone, but is also the driving force behind Build an Ark, AmmonContact, Hu Vibrational and numerous other collaborative projects. Niño is an unstoppable force, but somehow manages to bless each project with the same amount of positive energy and spiritual power, co-creating a universe all of his own.

‘More Energy Fields, Currently’ is certainly no exception. Described as a ‘spiritual, improvisational space collage’ is has some of the L.A. scene’s best players (including Sam Gendel, Nate Mercereau, Jamael Dean, and Jamire Williams) orbit around the maestro in ten meditative compositions that float somewhere between esoteric ambient and spiritual jazz and are both aquatic (‘Nightswimming’, ‘Ripples Reflection Loop’) and earthly (‘Thanking the Earth’, ‘Salon Winds’) in nature, but are all tied together by an unseen sacred force. ‘More Energy Fields, Current’ is yet another Niño beauty and the perfect addition to International Anthem’s ever expanding catalogue. (RO) ⁣

SUZANNE KRAFT - ABOUT YOU (MELODY AS TRUTH)

With a discography that ranges from sticky boogie-not-boogie to imaginative post-new age it would be an understatement to merely describe Suzanne Kraft’s work as ‘versatile’. With this new album for Melody as Truth he reinvents himself once again, this time as a hazy, gazey DIY indie rocker.

Opening with the understated ‘On Our Hands’ Kraft (real name Diego Herreira) hesitantly tries his hand at sunkissed dreampop and DIY stoner rock, albeit of the softer kind, displaying his impressive newfound songwriting skills only to crank up the noise on side B and go full shoegaze.

It’s a sound that’s informed by the jangly indie rock of The Go-Betweens and Teenage Fanclub and the wavey pop of Polyrock, The Motels and The Passions, as exemplified by the accompanying playlist on Spotify that reads “some all-timers, influences and things I've just been listening to that somehow relate to my album 'About You’”.

‘About You’ isn’t just about absorbing influences and using them to your advantage, though. ‘About You’ is a personal statement about vulnerability that’s hard to resist because of its sheer intimacy. Need more of this? Then check out Kraft’s SK Radio on dublab.de, displaying the full range of his musical influences. (RO) ⁣

⁣Wildflower - Better Times (Tropic of Love)

Named after her monthly show on NTS, Tropic of Love is Portuguese selector Mafalda’s new imprint and she’s off with a flying start.

The first album on the newly founded label is the third by Wildflower, the project consisting of seasoned UK jazz musicians Idris Rahman, Leon Brichard and Tom Skinner, who released their excellent first two albums on freestyle jazz platform Ill Considered.

Recorded in London in 2019, each of the four songs has a colour code suggesting a specific mood and flow. Opener ‘Blue’ sets the tone with a thumping heartbeat driven by oxygen and air, while ‘Yellow’ sounds like a march in search of the sun.

B1 ‘Green’ has a more natural, freeflowing sound and the understated ‘Red’ has a steady pulse underlaying strong emotional playing by Idris Rahman. The four tracks make up a colorful palette used to paint a vivid and effortlessly flowing post-modern jazz picture that transcends all space and time while we wait for better times. (RO) ⁣

Terrence Dixon - Reporting from Detroit (Rush Hour)

⁣ Seven years after the classic ‘Theater of a Confused Mind’ (as Population One), Detroit techno phenomenon Terrence Dixon is back on Rush Hour with a new album, this time under his own name. It would be a massive understatement to say we’re proud of this one. After all our whole operation was named after one of Dixon’s early tracks (‘Rush Hour’ originally appeared on a double EP called ‘Hippnotic Culture’ on fellow Detroit legend Claude Young’s Utensil Records in 1995) and ‘Reporting from Detroit’ again finds the maestro in outstanding form.

‘Reporting from Detroit’ is another prime example of the distinctly unique sound language Dixon has developed over the last three decades - defiant, forward-thinking afrofuturist techno that could only have been made in the Motor City.

But this is not just mere Detroit techno - it’s a sound language that’s unique to Dixon. An instantly recognizable high-octane sonic language fueled by frantic funk that’s constantly pushing the boundaries of machine music without ever losing the connection to the magic of the Detroit streets at night.

PS. The first pressing of ‘Reporting from Detroit comes with an extra 12” containing two bonus tracks (‘Electronic Travellers’ and ‘Growth and Development’), so we’d strongly advise you to get yours now. (RO) ⁣

SKEE MASK - POOL (ILIAN TAPE)

⁣ It’s been exactly three years since Ilian Tape first released Skee Mask’s hugely influential ’Compro’, an album that’s now widely considered as one of the most important works in post-modern IDM and contemporary breakbeat techno.

In the three years that followed the German producer whose real name is Bryan Müller released only four EP’s (three of which were part of the Ilian Skee Series using a more ambient-focused approach), so this surprise album is a welcome one.

On his third album for the Zenker Brothers’ imprint Müller wastes no time in diving off the deep end, trading in the liquid drum ‘n’ bass and breakbeat influences of ‘Compro’ for a more aquatic sound on the first few sides with the fast-paced electro bubbler ‘Nvivo’, the acidic ‘Stone Cold 369’ and the deep and dubby ‘Rdvnedub’.

From there on anything goes on this exceptionally well-produced triple album: Müller successfully tries his hand at hypnotic house on ‘CZ3000 Dub’, effortlessly drags nineties UK breakbeat into the 21st century on ‘Collapse Casual’ and its spectacular counterpart ‘Breathing Method’ and spaces out completely on ‘Ozone’ and ‘Rio Dub’. It’s all done with a midas touch, for everything this man touches turns to gold (RO). ⁣

NURON / FUGUE - LIKEMIND 06 (LIKEMIND)

⁣ The start of the 90’s was considered by many as one of the most fertile years of electronic dance music. Especially in the UK. Autechre, Aphex Twin, Mark Pritchard and various other legends pathed the way for a new and complex cosmic sound that could either enchant dancefloors or enrich the living room. Grasped by the zeitgeist, UK was breathing and exploring the genre ‘braindance’, taking it to otherworldly realms.

One unsung hero who delved into this zeitgeist and understood its potential was Nurmad Jusat aka Nuron. Through the label Likemind, Nuron has been channeling A++ braindance into the world since 1993. Many heads considered his output as legendary, and as such; Likemind records have always been a treasure that has been guarded by a pricey dragon. That’s why we’re so happy that Likemind has decided to repress Nuron’s output on a luxury double pack. Emerge yourself into ‘Madam 6’, Bathe in ‘Eau Rouge, and look at the ‘Mirage’ of yourself. This is just an absolute gem that must be heard by all. Enjoy! (Ocke @ockethekid) ⁣

MOODYMANN - TAKEN AWAY (KDJ)

⁣ While we’re getting ready to celebrate our 25th anniversary next year it’s safe to say Rush Hour wouldn’t have existed without the music of Moodymann and the rest of the Detroit house illuminaries that emerged in the mid-nineties. At least not in this shape or form.

In the quarter of a century since Carl Craig’s Planet E imprint released Kenny Dixon Jr’s debut album ‘Silentintroduction’ Moodymann has been a major inspiration to our operation, something that hasn’t changed over the years. In 2021 he is as relevant as ever, still doing things his own way at his own pace, untouched by trends or fads.

The joy is still there and so is the pain - the pain of being black in America for instance, something Moodymann got a double dose of when he was violently harassed by the police on his own property for no reason at all in 2019 - and the simpler pains of a love gone South, as is the case on the Al Green-sampling opener ‘Do Wrong’, a trademark slo-mo KDJ house joint with the sort of bassline only Moody could have come up with.

The joy and pain are perfectly exemplified on the title track. Built around Roberta Flack’s ‘Sunday and Sister Jones’ it balances an upbeat boogie house groove with cries of despair, ominous strings, thunder and police sirens coming just a little too close for comfort before speeding off into the distance.

‘Slow Down’ and ‘Just Stay A While’ both sound gorgeous over our Klipsch speakers; two slow-burning funk-fueled boogie house joints that evoke images of long hot summer days in the city - but not without the drama and the trauma - there’s those damn police sirens again. (RO) ⁣

DON CHERRY - OM SHANTI OM (BLACK SWEAT RECORDS)

⁣ Over the last few years we’ve been spoiled with great spiritual jazz reissues coming from all directions, but Don Cherry’s ‘Om Shanti Om’ is a special one.

Recorded at the Italian RAI studios in 1976 for a television broadcast, it features Don Cherry and his wife Moki at the height of their spiritual and creative powers, accompanied by legendary Brazilian percussionist Naná Vasconcelos.

Together they form the heart of Organic Music Theatre, the improvisational group that toured worldwide festivals during the first half of the seventies and recorded the utterly fantastic album of the same name for the Swedish Caprice imprint. They’re joined here by Italian multi-instrumentalist Gian Piero Pramaggiore.

As anyone who has seen the forty minute concert registration will attest (the whole thing is on YouTube in full black-and-white glory and it’s one of the greatest things the web has to offer - you owe it to yourself to check it out in its entirety) this performance is a work of wonder - a musical get-together that consists of elements of free jazz, classical and spiritual music inspired by Cherry’s time in India with the Dagar Brothers, sacred Buddhist melodies from Tibet and the Trans-Amazonian sounds of Nana Vasconcelos, but transcends any genre label you’d want to put on it. ‘Om Shanti Om’ is a freeflowing ceremonial celebration of life that’s completely free of any restriction or pretense - a mindblowing work of pure altruistic beauty. (RO) ⁣

JORDAN GCZ - INTROSPECTIVE ACID (RUSH HOUR)

⁣ Jordan ‘GCZ’ Czamanski follows up his excellent 2018 ‘Pinball Lizard’ EP and last year’s ‘Outnumbered’ (a collabo with the mighty Terrence Dixon) with a whooping new EP for Rush Hour - his most elaborate and probably his best so far.

‘Introspective Acid’, the title track of his new four track EP, is a spacey eight-and-a-half minute 303-infused house track that sounds like it’s made for navigating endless deserted highways in the dead of night - a ride through a timeless dimension of slowly moving objects and softly pulsating lights.

On ‘Jaguar Dreamin’ Jordan veers towards a more Detroit-inspired deep space techno sound not unlike some of Jeff Mills’ more recent work, but with a softness hinting at some of the more accomplished nineties UK techno.

The tempo is cranked up three notches on ‘Spring Has Sprung’, a restlessly neurotic techno belter that sounds like an early Kenny Larkin outtake on speed. A track that’s followed by the almost equally frantic ‘Wild Bounce’, this time putting more emphasis on the percussive elements, closing out this near-perfect mini album in style. (RO) ⁣

An Anomaly - Decadent Skies (Offen)

⁣ One particular record has been punishing our Klipsch speakers for a solid week now: ‘Decadent Skies’ by mysterious outfit An Anomaly on the ever reliable Offen Music imprint.

Firmly built on the legacy of Belgian EBM/new beat/early European house bastions Liaisons Dangereuses Radio and Boccaccio (do check out the excellent ‘Sound of Belgium’ documentary if you have the chance - it’s on YouTube) it perfectly captures the excitement and grit of the Belgian late eighties sound while dragging it into the 21th century pants down.

Opening with the raw and demented electronic body music drums of the primitive sample-heavy ‘Concrete Chorus’ and the sleazy darkroom beating that is ‘Eye For An Eye’, An Anomaly’s intentions are clear from the get go: they’re not here to make friends.

The hypnotically zooming ‘Dialog of Dr. No’ and commanding ‘Velocity’ are further shop favorites here, while the acidic ‘Sky 13’ and ‘Sunset Storming Heaven on LSD’ are perfect for zoned-out after hours in desolate places. It’s dirty, deprived and decadent and we love it from A to Z. (RO) ⁣

Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders & the London Symphony Orchestra - Promises (Luaka Bop)

⁣ Here’s a record that’s destined to be all over 2021’s end-of-year-lists: Floating Points’ collaboration with Pharoah Sanders, the spiritual jazz master who has worked with both John and Alice Coltrane extensively and is responsible for some of the most memorable masterpieces in jazz history - cornerstone compositions like ‘The Creator Has A Master Plan’ and ‘You’ve Got To Have Freedom’. To name just a few.

Now 80, the maestro who was once described by fellow jazz giant Ornette Coleman as ‘probably the best tenor player in the world’ is now well beyond his wilder years, but he certainly hasn’t lost any of his rich, meditative aesthetic. The awesome power of his younger years is still there, but he chooses to use it more wisely, playing in a more subdued and introverted fashion most of the time - and it’s absolutely beautiful.

Centered around a brilliant little seven note melodic theme that turns into a mantra over time, Sam Shepherd (Floating Points’ real name) paints a subtle yet rich backdrop both in pastel and brighter colours that’s augmented by the strings of the London Symphony Orchestra. A backdrop that varies from sparse and delicate to dense and mesmerising without ever being overpowering, giving ample space to the master who can even be heard when he’s not playing here. It’s this thoughtfulness on Shepherd’s part and Pharoah Sanders’ unrivalled level of mastery that makes ‘Promises’ one of the best albums of the years so far. (RO)

SWAVE VILLI US (BACKATCHA)

⁣ Special attention for one of the coolest compilations we’ve heard this year so far: ‘Swave Villi Us’, a stellar compilation that contains sixteen sought after independent soul cuts that were recorded between 1971 and 1984. ⁣

Named after the b-side of a crazy rare and equally beautiful New Mexico spiritual soul seven that was only handed out to family and friends when it originally came out in 1978, ‘Swave Villi Us’ is a veritable treasure chest of gold nuggets that failed to reach a larger audience the first time around but are worthy to be heard by all. ⁣

There are no household names here (let’s face it: you just don’t trip over records by the Nassauvians, AKA Shaic, Ivan R. Sturdivant and the Antwants on a day-to-day basis), but obscurity is certainly not a goal in itself here - the aim is pure unadulterated awesomeness. And there’s more than enough of that to go around here. ⁣

Just check out the wonderfully slick slice of Bahama funk that is ‘Slacking Off’ by the Nassauvians, Theatre West’s bittersweet tingling ‘Children of Tomorrow’s Dreams’ (both rereleased as a 7” and 12” respectively prior to this album) or the Terry Callier-inspired vibes of No I.D.’s ‘Changes’ for further proof - this is a clear case of all killers, no fillers. (RO) ⁣

ALTIN GÜN - YOL (GLITTERBEAT)

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Ever since their first seven inch ‘Goca Dünya’ hit the store in 2017 Altin Gün’s music has been a staple at Rush Hour. On their third album ‘Yol’ they successfully try their hand at experimenting with new influences.

Although still firmly rooted in psychedelic Turkish folk, rock and funk (the music of Baris Manço, Selda Bağcan, Erkin Koray and Neşet Ertaş has always been at the core of Altin Gün’s work) the Grammy-nominated Amsterdam band is clearly looking for ways to evolve their signature sound. A sound they crafted on their debut album ‘On’ and perfected on ‘Yol’’s predecessor ‘Gece’.

The new direction is manifested straight away on the eighties synth-laden opening sequence ‘Bahçada Yeşil Çınar’ and the sleek neon-lit ‘Ordunun Dereleri’ that has a glowing newfound yachtrocky city pop sensitivity that works wonderfully well with the underlaying Anatolian melodic richness.

The production veers towards a slicker eighties pop sound throughout the whole album (Dutch eighties pop idols Doe Maar are a particularly big influence on the spiky and smart ‘Bulunur Mu’), but if anything this new approach only adds extra flavour to the overall sound, giving the funky Anatolian guitar licks and swaying vocals the new dimension that was needed to move the band forward. ‘Yol’ is Altın Gün 2.0 (RO). ⁣

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