Monday, 22 April 2013

Interchill - Depth Charge Compilation Review

Artist: Various

Title: Depth Charge

Label: Interchill Records

Release Date: 23rd April 2013

Interchill’s latest release gives full respect to the BC Canadian festival sound that has a noticeable love for the bass.  From someone who is totally done with the diluted excuse that passes as Dub-Step these days, this has come as a welcome shot in the ear and a renewed faith in the original intelligent vibe of the sound.

Although, saying that this isn't just Dub-Step compilation. It encompasses the wide range of sounds that can be found in Bass music these days running the gauntlet of Down-Tempo, Future Roots, Dub-Tech and even 2-Step. Interchill has done a great job with the way it is compiled, working all the tunes into a cohesive whole.

It opens with the deep, sparse echoing 'don't stop' from new addition Daega Sound and what a way to kick proceedings off. Other new artists include Submotion Orchestra, Ruckspin, Kryptic Minds, Bakir, Occult and a few more which add a really fresh forward sounding vibe. The latter’s 'Loose Change' is a fine slice of hypnotic, melodic electronica. I have to say personally that the closing track 'Brief Passing' by Kryptic Minds is an absolute gem. So much atmosphere and puts me in mind of the label (7EVEN)

This is a real standout compilation for anyone who likes their Bass and Dubs. Whether you like bright n breezy future roots or dark cavernous dubs or something more experimental you will find it's in here. To sum it up 'Depth Charge' should be a welcome addition to your collection and coming in at fourteen tracks is well worth your hard earned.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Mahala Rai Banda - Balkan Reggae (Re-Mixes) Review

Artist: Mahala Rai Banda

Title:  Balkan Reggae (Re-Mixes)

Label: Asphalt Tango

Released: 9th April 2013

There is a Zen quote that states something along the lines of ‘you only need to look at the hand, to realise how something can change and yet remain the same’

I thought of that quote when listening to this EP a celebration of Jamaica’s 50 years of independence in 2012. Which resulted in 9 versions of the same track remixed by an assortment of artists some familiar to me, others completely new.

This EP brought it home to me once again how diverse Reggae music‘s range can be.  This EP draws its influence from the Balkans and Jah to make a perfect match. This is truly joyous, uplifting music.

This has been the soundtrack to my journey to work for the last few days and trust me ... this is Music guaranteed to bring a smile to your face and a bounce to your step. In my opinion there is not a single duff remix in the selection and it would be churlish to try and pick a favourite from the Dubbed out bliss of established dub heavyweights Nick Manasseh, Mad Professor and the Vibronics or indeed the sublime vocals of Adisha Zvekic, Errol Linton and Annique (who are all new to me).

Seriously... I’m writing this listening to the version with Errol Linton’s vocals which is as smooth as the Bacardi spice that I’m imbibing and the delicious, infectious horns led version by Kanka. Every single version is a winner.

As the man say’s ‘From Brixton to Bucharest, this sweet Balkan music is the best’.

Highly recommended.

Review by Matthew Foord

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Rena Jones - Echoes Review

Artist: Rena Jones

Title: Echoes

Label: Cartesian Binary Recordings

Released: 1st April 2013

It’s been a while since Rena Jones last album “Indra’s Web” released in 2009 and this release takes a different direction as a live studio recording, collaborating with artists such as Sophie Barker who Rena has drafted in for two tracks. From the offset I had no doubt the combination of Rena’s production and Sophie’s vocals would be nothing short of high quality. The question I asked myself is could they create a track with such appeal as Zero 7’s “In The Waiting Line”. Even before listening I’d hazard a guess that you’d need to appreciate strings with your electronica, which to some may draw comparisons along the lines of Bardo State. Now although the concept may be similar the result is ultimately quite different. Getting back to the question in the case of the first track “Wishes” I think the answer could well be yes, as I certainly enjoyed it. While the latter track “Mirror, Mirror” has a haunting vibe to the music for me I think it will take more listens to see if it’s a grower.

Other collaborations on the album include amongst others the solo violinist Ilya Goldberg (who previously worked with Emancipator) on my personal favourite the title track “Echoes”.  Additionally Rena also employs Matt Robinson (who has previously worked with Bjork, Lamb and Bats For Lashes) on Modular Synth, Earl Harvin (who has previously worked with Seal and Air) on drums, Laura Scarborough (part of the Quintox Fusion collaborative) on grand piano and a woodwind orchestra. Now bearing in mind not only does Rena have considerable experience of the violin and cello but also sound engineering it’s a no-brainer for those with a taste for organic/electronic fusions with an orchestral edge to at least have a listen.