Record Of The Week

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). ⁣

Angel Bat Dawid & Tha Brothahood - Live (Intergalactic Mantra/International Anthem)

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Since her debut album ‘The Oracle’ hit the store in late 2019 we’ve been total fans of Angel Bat Dawid, the Chicago-based instrumentalist, composer and bandleader who carved out her own unique path in modern spiritual jazz.

Recorded live at the Berlin JazzFest, Angel’s new double album catches her at her fiercest after her longtime collaborator Viktor Le Givens was hospitalized when he passed out en route to the airport, subsequently missing his flight to the gig. When contacted the festival organizers simply told her that it was ‘her problem, not theirs’, unwilling to work out a solution, much to Angel’s dismay.

The band did eventually make it to the gig, playing their hearts out, with an unleashed Angel raging over what she felt was blatant racism - the same racism she and so many others had experienced so many times before. ‘“We’re human beings! I’m just human!”, she cries out on ‘Black Family’ (“black family is the strongest institution in the world!”). The sheer intensity is enough to bring you to your knees, especially when she proceeds to launch into the hauntingly beautiful piano-led ‘What Shall I Tell My Children Who Are Black’, based on Margaret Taylor-Burroughs’ poem of the same name.

It’s that tension between Angel’s anger, frustration and despair on one hand and the deep spirituality and beauty that’s always shimmering under the surface on the other that makes this essential listening. Angel’s band Tha Brothahood (a band that includes Capetown drummer Asher Gamedze and multi-instrumentalist Adam Zanoline) is on fire here and they use that fire both to start a riot and to light a candle - not to mention a stick of incense. The smoke clearing halfway through ‘We Are Starzz’ after seven intense minutes to make way for a gentle piano melody brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it - and I’ve played this many times already. (RO). ⁣

Benedek - Mr. Goods (L.I.E.S.)

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It’s been buzzing around Rush Hour’s headquarters for a bit, but now it’s finally in: the new album by L.A. producer Nicky Benedek for New York bad boy corporation L.I.E.S..

Benedek, who’s been releasing records on P.P.U., Leaving and Superior Elevation over the last eight years, has a gift for taking all sorts of mostly eighties-inspired musical elements and turning them into something new - a meticulously produced hybrid of memories that never were.

Opener ‘Fever’ is a prime example of that sound: primitive Chicago house percussion that screams ‘1986’, dito NY freestyle ramblings and a creeping little distorted acid line are thrown into the equation until the perfectly timed neon-lit synth sweeps demand your full attention. You’ve heard it all before - but not quite like this.

‘Doodat’ is classic eighties New York electro with a nod to same era Detroit techno. ‘Lighten Up’ is exactly the other way around. Firmly based on early Transmat, the track is gradually taken over by NY freestyle including cut ‘n’ paste vocal samples and matching scratches. It’s all distinctively retro, but it could only have been made in hindsight. ‘Mr. Goods’ is an incredibly well produced album that’s filled to the brim with great ideas, but most importantly, it’s all great fun. (RO)

Biosphere- Angel’s Flight (AD 93)

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Ever since he debuted on Origo/Apollo with the groundbreaking ’Microgravity’, now thirty years ago, Geir Jenssen has been a major force in ambient techno, steadily building a catalogue that’s rivalled only by few.

After three wonderful albums on Biophon (2018’s ’The Hilvarenbeek Recordings’, that has Jenssen samplng a broad palette of Dutch farm sounds is a total store favorite) the Norwegian maestro has now landed on AD 93 with a thoroughly unique album.

Originally composed in 2019 for Uncoordinated Dog, a dance production by the Norwegian Ingun Bjørnsgaard Prosjekt, It features twelve tracks based on Beethoven’s infamous String Quartet No. 14 - a piece that Beethoven himself considered to be one of the best works he ever composed.

Jenssen manipulates and morphs the classical masterpiece into something entirely his own, giving the string harmonies a thin veil of Northern light on the first four parts before catapulting the German giant into space on the fifth and sixth movements.

Proceedings get downright depressed on the heavy-hearted seventh movement ‘As Pale As A Pearl’ (which is, of course, not necessarily a bad thing), before Jenssen loops up some of the fourteenth most recognizable micro-melodies into two of the most striking pieces on the album in a way that resembles Akira Rabelais’ approach on the classic ‘Spellewauerynsherde’ and ‘Eisoptrophobia’ albums.

It’s those two tracks (‘Faith and Reverence’ and ‘Unclouded Splendor’) that form the heart of this ominous and at times pitch-dark album that has Jenssen successfully crossing over from Nordic ambient to avantgarde postmodern classical. And although ‘Angel’s Flight’ may not be for everyone, it’s one of his most accomplished albums to date and one of the most interesting albums to come out this year so far. (RO) ⁣

DOMENIQUE DUMONT - PEOPLE ON SUNDAY (LEAF)

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Latvian man of mystery Domenique Dumont creates a new soundtrack to an ninety year old silent movie. The results are stunning.

‘People on Sunday’ (original title: Menschen am Sonntag) is a 1930 German silent drama film directed by Robert Siodmak and Edgar G. Ulmer from a screenplay by the great Billy Wilder. Part documentary, part fiction, it’s a everyday depiction of life in Berlin between the two world wars. A true classic and still a great watch some ninety years later (check out the restored version on Daily Motion if you have time to spare).

Although Domenique Dumont’s soundtrack is far from the first new musical interpretation to accompany Wilder’s Weimar classic, it does add a new dimension and flavor to the storied original. The Latvian producer’s subdued approach - a gentle and often sparse one, is perfectly in tune with the feeling evoked by the movie itself.

Created with a wide palette of vintage synthesizers, Dumont’s movie music sometimes resembles the sound of both Hiroshi Yoshimura’s ambient masterpieces ‘Green’ and ‘Music for Nine Post Cards’ and Mort Garson’s ‘Plantasia’ (no shabby references) without ever trying to emulate any of those masterworks. Dumont is too good a composer to simply imitate others.

Just check out the circular opening track ‘Arrival’, built around a gently rotating melodic loop evoking the feeling of times less complicated. Or the shimmering ‘Sunshine in 1929’ (‘29 was the year the movie was actually shot) - three minutes and forty-five seconds of pure naive bliss. Something we can all use more of right now. (RO) ⁣

YU SU - YELLOW RIVER BLUE (MUSIC FROM MEMORY)

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In 2019 Kaifeng born, Vancouver based artist Yu Su released the excellent ‘Roll With The Punches’ on Second Circle. ‘Yellow River Blue’ is her stunning debut album for Second Circle’s parent label Music From Memory.

A collaboration with the Beijing-based bié imprint (yes, that lowercase is intentional), ‘Yellow River Blue’ is a tribute to the mighty Huanghe river that flows all the way from the Bayan Har mountains in Western China to the Bohai Sea with an estimated length nearing 5500 km, but also a testament of Yu Su’s personal journey to the other side of the world.

Yu Su’s freeflowing approach allows her to translate this personal journey into a unique musical universe that’s influenced by anything from traditional Chinese folk and avantgarde modern classical music to plastic eighties pop, pulsating dub and dusty nineties-inspired triphop without ever fully committing to any one style to make sure her music stays intangible at all times.

This approach results in a one of a kind debut album with eight compositions that all sound totally different but somehow form a beautifully coherent whole, thanks to Yu Su’s highly personalized style of looking for new angles and a plethora of good ideas, culminating in one of the coolest records to come out this year so far (RO). ⁣

BRIDGE - CRYING FOR LOVE (HIGH JAZZ)

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These last few years so many good records were unearthed and rereleased it’s almost impossible to keep track of them all, even for the most seasoned and fanatical of record buyers, but Bridge’s ‘Crying for Love’ is something else entirely.

Recorded over a four week period in a Boulder, Colorado studio for CBS subsidiary Bang, the tracks on Bridge’s ‘Crying for Love’ were never released. After years of playing the Bay Area, the studio sessions proved to be the beginning of the end for Bridge. Arguments over money and the fact Bang brought in their own producers and session players didn’t sit well with the incredibly gifted outfit, that had all but completely disintegrated by the end of the month.

A crying shame, since Bridge was just as good, if not better than most of the big name outfits of the time, playing ultra tight modern soul, bumping boogie and stellar funk with heartbreakingly beautiful vocals by Debravon Lewis (just check out the title track and prepare to be blown away completely) and Derick Hughes, whose sound and range strongly resembles Donny Hathaway - and that’s saying something.

Drummer Paul Tillman Smith, who wrote songs for Cold Blood, Norman Connors, Pharoah Sanders, Jean Carne and Webster Lewis penned the songs for the ill-fated album by the band that should have been a household name, using some of the best material of his career. There are literally no weak moments on this stunning collection of winners, making you almost feel sorry for the generation that missed out on this - this could well be the greatest modern soul album that never was (RO). ⁣

Terrence Dixon - From the Far Future Part Three (Tresor)

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If we were to name one artist that has carved out a singular musical path for himself without ever wavering it would be Terrence Dixon. After more than a quarter of a century the groundbreaking Detroit techno producer still proudly sounds unlike anyone else, his powerful sound untouched by fads and trends that came and went throughout the years.

It’s safe to say we’re all fans of the artist also known as Population One here at Rush Hour. So much so, in fact, that the store was actually named after a track that was featured on one of his early releases, ‘Hippnotic Culture’ on Claude Young’s Utensil Records. The Dixon connection has always been a strong one and was cemented by two different rereleases of the track that gave our store and label its name and 2014’s magnificent double album ‘Theater of a Confused Mind’, a project we are still very proud of.

The Detroit don has always had a strong Berlin bond too, with a string of rock steady releases on the mighty Tresor imprint. The monumental first part of ‘From the Far Future’ was released in 2000, its equally strong follow-up in 2012. Some eight years later Part Three proves Dixon is still one of the major forces in Detroit techno. If anything he has only gotten stronger.

‘FTFF3’ is an instant classic concocted from the usual ingredients. Chaos, space, science fiction, afrofuturism, gravity, minimalism, shifting patterns, darkness and light all play their part in Dixon’s parallel universe of alienated soundscapes and hyperenergetic machine funk. It’s a sound that’s instantly recognizable, yet has only gained power over the years. In 2020 Dixon is still light years ahead of most, if not all of them, sending back coded messages from the far future for us mortals to decipher. (RO) ⁣

DEZRON DOUGLAS & BRANDEE YOUNGER - FORCE MAJEUR (INTERNATIONAL ANTHEM)

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With their steady flow of mind-altering new releases by Makaya McCraven, Angel Bat Dawid, Anteloper, Jeff Parker, Emma-Jean Thackray and Carlos Niño & Miguel Atwood-Ferguson the Chicago-based International Anthem imprint has fast become one of our favorite jazz labels in recent history. Their latest release by bassist Dezron Douglas & harpist Brandee Younger is another work of pure beauty.

Like most of us Douglas and Younger, who are partners both in music and in real life, were stuck in their house earlier this year (in this case a Harlem, New York apartment) but unlike many of us they decided not to waste any time. The two, who have worked with Pharoah Sanders, Ravi Coltrane, David Murray, Jack DeJohnette, Charlie Haden, Stevie Wonder, The Roots, Lauryn Hill, Moses Sumney and many others started hosting live-stream performances from their living room, playing their interpretations of classic tunes for friends and family every friday.

Some of the highlights of these sessions are captured on ’Force Majeure’, an album that has the duo playing spirited lockdown interpretations of songs by Alice & John Coltrane, The Stylistics, The Jackson 5, Pharoah Sanders, Kate Bush, Sting and The Carpenters, all presented ’as is’ in a pure and honest way - without the fancy studio equipment and endless overdubs. It’s that spontaneity that greatly adds to the beauty of it all. It’s as if you’re there, sitting in a corner quietly, just listening. Something most of us have been missing - getting together without any restrictions to celebrate life and listen to good music.

The duo’s brilliant take on Pharoah Sanders’ classic spiritual jazz anthem ‘The Creator Has A Master Plan’ is a firm favorite here (are there songs more beautiful to begin with?), but there are no weak moments on this wonderfully understated album. These two can take on anything, flip it, make it their own and win you over instantly - just check out their bittersweet version of The Stylistics’ schmaltzy soul-pop evergreen ‘You Make Me Feel Brand New’ for further proof (RO). ⁣

Celebrity BBQ Sauce Band - Celebrity BBQ Sauce (Mahogani)

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At Rush Hour we’ve been dedicated Moodymann fans since our inception over 23 years ago, so if something new comes up on his esteemed Mahogani label you can be sure we’re paying attention.

‘Celebrity BBQ Sauce’ is a project led by infamous Detroit keyboardist and producer Gerald Mitchell (Los Hermanos/Underground Resistance) and vocalist Billy Love (Members of the House/Sound Signature), two seasoned veterans (no pun intended) who have both made a huge mark on the history of Detroit house and techno and are now coming up with a double dose of slick funk and dirty boogie.

The Roy Ayers and Herbie Hancock vibes of ‘Please Don’t Fail Me’ make it clear straight away that ‘Celebrity BBQ Sauce’ is all about the groove, something that’s underlined by the discofied boogie joint ‘Formula of Passion’.

The title track is the centerpiece of the album - a twenty one and a half minute P-funk jam in the best Funkadelic tradition, complete with Clinton-style vocals, extensive guitar solos and a Funky Worm-inspired ARP synthesizer theme that would make the late great Junie Morrison proud. It’s the sort of groove that just won’t stop.

The house and techno background of Mitchell and Love is most evident on the four-to-the-floor disco stomper ‘Music is My Hustle’ and the fast technoid funk jam ‘Live It, Walk It, Wear It’ that closes off this great album, making sure there’s a little something for everyone here (RO). ⁣

MP Productions - EP1 (Warp)

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With a career dating back over three decades Mark Pritchard (Global Communication, Jedi Knights) has always been one of the most powerful producers in British electronic music when it comes to sound architecture and sonic innovation. His sensational first EP as MP Productions proves he’s still miles ahead of the pack some thirty years after he started.

Opener ’Be Like Water’ is based around a mesmerising harmonic synth loop, a heavy UK snake bass and a plethora of lush oriental strings and flutes and mainly serves to open your senses to the relentless sonic attack that is ’Rakatak’ - a 150 BPM breakneck batucada track that can turn a dancefloor into a Category 6 tribal frenzy. A track so riotous it almost tore the entire place down when it was played by Antal at the Lowlands Festival after a long eventful night last year.

Another obvious highlight here is ’LFO Special’, a rather bold experiment in advanced crowdfuckery that starts with the first 15 seconds of LFO’s classic 1990 self-titled debut single before it’s broken down into a midtempo dubsteppy dancehall riddim.

’One Way Mirror’ starts off as a harsh take on Dopplereffekt’s particular brand of scientific Detroit electro before the hoover kicks in, augmented by some of the hardest beats west of The Hague. Halfway the whole thing evaporates into a brilliantly ironic neon advertising nightmare that flows into the hectic hyper-IDM of ’In My Heart’ - the perfect conclusion to this exceptionally versatile EP that needs to be heard to be believed (RO). ⁣

Sauce and Dogs - S/T (Not on Label))

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Very little is known about the debut album by Sauce and Dogs except for a rather vague and ultra-short description accompanying the release (“a mysterious but obviously very experienced group”), but at Rush Hour we tend to trust our ears - there’s something special going on here.

A cloud of vagueness surrounds this ten track album that looks like a charming DIY project (the only other info available says “actual sleeves are hand printed in London”), but the contents clearly give away this is the work of a bunch of highly skilled professionals on a mission. It’s been on high rotation at the store all week, even though we’re not even sure how we got these. In fact there’s so little information about this album out there that I was immediately presented with the answer to one of life’s bigger questions when I tried to Google it: “can my dog eat spaghetti sauce?”

What we do know about Sauce and Dogs’ self-titled album is that it’s a solid group effort that merges elements of post-punk, dub, spiritual jazz, samba and psych into something truely unique. A sound that’s augmented by impeccable production.

A wavey bassline, jazzy percussion and a wide array of free-floating string instruments set the tone on opening statement ‘Spit and Sawdust’. ‘Wax and Buff’ is cut from a different cloth - a heavy samba tune dipped in psychedelica. Things get trippy on the weirdly wonderful ‘Bun and Cheese’ and the hazey title track that melts dreamy shoegaze, slo-mo bossa and spacey dub into four and a half minutes of pure bliss. And that’s just the A-side.

“OK, But what about the bigger question?”, you’re asking. Well, apparently it’s not a good idea to feed your dog spaghetti sauce. “Tomatoes contain significant quantities of the toxic alkaloid that is bad for dogs, although a single ripe red tomatoe is essentially harmless. However, do not feed Fido ketchup or pasta sauce, as they contain several other ingredients that are bad for him, such as onions, chives, and even garlic in large doses.” (RO) ⁣

PLOY - UNLIT SIGNALS (L.I.E.S.)

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UK post-bass producer Ploy pours his dark soul out on his intensely captivating debut album for L.I.E.S.

Here’s a record we were exceptionally curious about since it was first announced early this year: the debut album by UK technoid post-bass don Ploy of Hessle Audio and Timedance fame for NYC’s tough guy corporation L.I.E.S. After all it’s quite a long way from the grimey streets of South-London to the seedy sewers of New York - sonically speaking, we mean.

First issued as a cassette-only release in early summer, ‘Unlit Signals’ is one of this year’s biggest musical surprises. It’s a dark and dense album that sounds like a spooky nighttime ride on a deserted neon-lit rollercoaster somewhere at the edge of the world.

The ominous opener ‘Gulch’ sets the whole thing in motion with a doomy prepared piano emerging from a sinister half sunken soundscape that leads to the intense beating that is ‘Clubtek’, with militant percussion beating on top of a desolate post-industrial setting. ‘Dog Ants’ is next, a ritualistic, menacing bass exercition rotating like an ancient dervish.

‘Pax Cultura’ is another shocker - a slow and low post-dancehall riddim overridden by frantic marching band percussion - another unexpected combination that works wonderfully well. It leads up to the sample-heavy highly explosive breakbeat monster that is ‘Molotov’.

‘Busy’ is another mindbender, starting out as a modern-day b-boy anthem before slowly morphing into something of a sonic nightmare leading up to the ultra heavy ‘Keys in the Dark’. There’s no letting up on the doom and gloom here and that’s definitely a good thing. ‘Unlit Signal’ is another strong contender for the title of Record of the Year (RO). The New Jersey garage-inspired ’Timeless’ proves Byron hasn’t completely forgotten about the househeads after all, even if they have to wait until the very end. ’Ambrosia’ is a creative triumph for Byron the Aquarius - one that also marks a new direction for Detroit techno titan Jeff Mills’ monumental Axis imprint (RO). ⁣

BYRON THE AQUARIUS - AMBROSIA (AXIS)

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Stepping your game up from making jazzy house and hiphop-influenced downtempo joints to come up with a fully-fledged high quality jazz album is no mean feat, but Byron the Aquarius has done just that with ’Ambrosia’.

Jazz has always been a major influence in house music when it comes to key patterns, percussion and song structure, but on his new album for Jeff Mills’ mighty Axis Records the Birmingham-born house don is not content to merely use it as a main ingredient, opting for a fully organic sound with a touch of house instead.

Recorded in his native Atlanta over a couple of days with the help of a select crew of musician friends just before COVID-19 shut down large parts of the country, the heartbeat of this accomplished double album is provided by veteran drummer Lil John Roberts and Brazilian bass player Chocolat Costa giving the whole project a distinctly funky feel, with trumpeter Dashill Smith and flutist Rasheeda Ali adding extra colour and flavor.

Herbie-ish keys, raw sounding bass and shuffling percussion interact beautifully with Rasheeda Ali’s spirited flute playing on opener ‘New Beginning’, before going for a more streamlined discofied jazzfunk sound on ‘Space & Time’.

Things get a bit deeper on the loosely-knit improvisational eight minute jazzdance stepper ‘Edgewood Ave’, followed by the funky latin-infused ‘Spirit Of Juju’, that’s the perfect showcase for Lil John Roberts’ impressive drumming skills.

The New Jersey garage-inspired ’Timeless’ proves Byron hasn’t completely forgotten about the househeads after all, even if they have to wait until the very end. ’Ambrosia’ is a creative triumph for Byron the Aquarius - one that also marks a new direction for Detroit techno titan Jeff Mills’ monumental Axis imprint (RO). ⁣


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