C2C – Down the Road EP

You may or may not know that in addition to all things music production, I’m also a turntable nut. C2C have thus been on my radar for a long time, considering they’re in strong contention for the greatest turntablism group act of all time, completely dominating the DMC Team Championships for pretty much the entire time they competed.

Unlike many excellent turntablists, who for whatever reason have either kept their DJ and production identities firmly separate or not quite been able to commit the excitement of their live performances to record, C2C have been able to cross over into the world of production and merge their quick fader fingers and record hands seamlessly into the mix.

Their latest EP – Down the Road – has been available for a couple of months, but promotion has been limited to their homeland (France) until now, when they’re gearing up for a big ole global release. What we love about C2C isn’t just the aforementioned ability to blend turntablism into their records, but their general ear for taking different sounds and mashing them into a coherent whole to create an almost genre transcendent record. Elements of hip hop, soul, dubstep, jazz, big beat, and more besides pepper the EP, and it sounds fantastic.

The video to F.U.Y.A. is pretty sweet too – not simply for the clever concept, but for giving you an idea of the separate parts of the production process. Check it out, and go get the full EP from iTunes, unless you want to wait for the UK Vinyl release on the 7th of May…

Ahang Rooz - Collections

Ahang Rooz – Collections

I urge you to listen to all three collections of song snippets from Ahang Rooz – all on their Bandcamp. The collections here are a fascinating look into the music of 1960s and 1970s Iran and Afghanistan, ranging from straight up American styled funk and soul to pieces melding the jazz, soul, funk and psychedelic influences the west undeniably provided with local instrumentation, styles, and vocals.

there’s ample inspiration in these collections

Both sides of the coin have incredible moments, and there’s ample inspiration in these collections. Inspiration accompanied by the sobering reality that artistic expression is still illegal in Iran and Afghanistan, making these collections all the more important a document of the nations’ artistic heritage …

Jaetriks - EP

Jaetriks – EP

There’s something very beautiful about the melting pot of sound that is Jaetriks’ self titled EP. From the sound of blunt, chip tune like synthesised waveforms to vibrant, acoustic sounds of flute and saxophone, the hints of traditional Japanese and Indian music juxtaposed with jazz, Jaetriks’ EP never stays in one spot for too long.

Jaetriks’ EP never stays in one spot for too long.

When it does, it’s got the familiar sound of the Beat Scene tying it all together, and whilst those are the more generic of the EP’s moments, they have a cohering effect on the breadth of material on offer – and it’s done well, too, from the drum patterns, which at times are so wonky they feel as though they’re going to fall apart and derail the entire track, to the chorded synths and subtle, pitched vocals.

Footnote: If you sent me a promo in the past 10 days, please resend it. I received some promos that were lost when I changed servers – please don’t think I’m ignoring you!

Orelha Negra - M.I.R.I.A.M.

Orelha Negra – M.I.R.I.A.M.

The old pearl of wisdom ‘two heads are better than one’ is often ignored in electronic music production. There are obvious high profile exceptions to the rule, but in general it seems that the ability to be a one man band afforded by electronic music means that artists tend to work solo on their music.

The phrase ‘two heads are better than one’ is often ignored in electronic music production

That Portugese outfit Orelha Negra is a group, then, with different members contributing their strengths to the songs, is something of a rarity. Members Cruz, Ferrano, Gomes Prodigy, Mira Professional, and Rebelo Jazz Bass put their hands to scratches, drums, keyboards, sampler, and guitar, respectively, creating recordings that could physically be created by a single pair of hands; the important thing, though, is that they are not created by a single mind. Collectively, their individual experiences, influences, and strengths make the group as good as it is.

This track, M.I.R.I.A.M., is sultry soul and smooth jazz cut up and draped over funky drums, with sparing use of scratching to season the track. A collaboration with visual artist Vhils for the video showcases his individual technique perfectly; the explosion of the word love and ensuing fallout is a terrific metaphor…


The Hop - The Hop EP

The Hop – The Hop EP

The Hop is a recently formed French collective, their debut EP a lustrous fusion of jazz, hip hop and soul music. There are hints of ?uestlove  in the tight percussion style throughout, and the seven tracks are peppered with sounds, from the Ahmad Jamal-esque keys on Dreamland to classic talkbox effects on Le Rap Me Porte.

fans of the genres will hear callings to a huge range of influences on the EP

In fact, fans of the genres will hear callings to a huge range of influences on the EP, recreations of horns in the style that Pete Rock would love to sample on Rien Ne M’Arrêtera, smatterings of Dilla and D’angelo in the Intro and plenty more. A 12 piece with real talent, here, pulling off live recording with the thickness of sampled soul… The EP is available for purchase next week – stream below until then!

Bilal - Levels

Bilal – Levels

His debut LP, First Born Second, was released during ‘neo soul’s rallying period,  amongst his contemporaries the likes of Jill Scott, Angie Stone, Musiq Soulchild, D’Angelo and so on. Bilal’s more avant-garde approach to his sound, though, had the LP stand out with a few curveballs – a facet of his music that was echoed in last year’s follow up Airtight’s Revenge.

superb production seems to reference a melting pot of psych and prog rock, house, and jazz

Levels is one of those tracks, as Shafiq Husayn (with co-production from Bilal)’s superb production seems to reference a melting pot of psych and prog rock, house, and jazz, the unrelenting four on the floor drum beat an escaped voltage signal in a faulty machine, overdriven guitars imposing themselves as soft strings, pianos and synth tones dance around. Bilal’s vocal is the personification of delicate beauty.

Psychadelic, astral themed video direction by none other than Flying Lotus is totally mesmerising, and dare I say, made me think ‘Street Fighter’ in parts… watch and see if you agree.

Levels is available as an EP, which features the original, the instrumental, a Flying Lotus re-edit, and the SonnyMoon Remix. You can get it from iTunes

The Sounds of VTech / Bilal Levels   

Miss Baby Sol - Before I Begin (The Journey)

Miss Baby Sol – Before I Begin (The Journey)

Before I Begin (The Journey) may be Miss Baby Sol’s debut EP, but it certainly doesn’t mark her first foray into the music world; Baby has nearly a decade of experience in the industry as an artist – from solo work to group membership, backing vocals to writing. And on this generously endowed 8 track CD, it shows.

Before I Begin showcases the vocal and songwriting talents of Miss Baby Sol on an entirely acoustic recording

A combination of reggae, soul and jazz sounds, Before I Begin showcases the vocal and songwriting talents of Miss Baby Sol on an entirely acoustic recording. With the majority of production and instrumentation credits going to Boyan Bojan, with additional credits to Nutty P, J’nay, and Nihad Roshdi, the EP has not only a consistent feel, but a consistently strong one. Every single track hits the mark, with Baby Sol’s pitch perfect intonation and at times cheery, at times haunting lyrics riding sumptuous rhodes, horns, and guitars to create a timeless sound. It’s hard to pick a favourite track, but Sitting, reminiscent of early Jill Scott, or the heartening Tick Tock, are perhaps personal favourites.

The EP is available in a limited edition run of 500 CDs featuring beautifully printed artwork from Miss Baby Sol’s website, where you can also get cut price tickets to the 24th of January launch of her EP at London’s Hoxton Bar and Grill.

Space Equator - The Couch Surfing EP

Space Equator – The Couch Surfing EP

The fine line between avant garde and noodling self indulgence is a perilous one to tread, but Space Equator manages to dodge, at least for the most part, the latter.

The Couch Surfing EP has a quaint charm to its experiments with depth and direction

Sketchbooky and rough around the edges, The Couch Surfing EP has a quaint charm to its experiments with depth and direction, and passes the litmus test that so much technology availing jazz fails by actually being interesting to listen to for its relatively short duration…


DJ Wax On – Good Times Vol 2

There’s always time for a soul excursion, and you can always trust DJ Wax On to bring the heat. Good Times Vol 2 is a luscious mix of 60s and 70s soul and some jazz with a tinge of funk. Sample spotters will be giving each other knowing nods, and Wax’s deft deck skills combine with his crates of dusty records to create a free mix that’s well worth a download…

Don’t forget to get over to www.djwaxon.com for more mixes and stellar production by the man himself.

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