Review: If you enjoyed the loose, warm and organic musical fusions of Italian outfits Nu Guinea and Mystic Jungle, we'd recommend checking out this fine debut album from fellow countrymen Aura Safari. The Perugua-based quartet explore similar influences - think jazz, jazz-funk, dusty deep house, Afro-cosmic, Balearica and boogie, for starters - and rely on a similar blend of vintage synthesizer sounds, live and programmed drums, jazz-friendly brass instruments and elastic bass guitar. The resultant album, then, feels like it comes from a similar sonic place, even if Aura Safari's distinctive musical blend is even more eclectic, emotive and atmospheric than that offered by their aforementioned contemporaries. Either way, it's a superb set.
Mm Mm (feat Angelique Kidjo & Roundhouse Choir) (4:11)
Snowfire (feat Bugge Wesseltoft) (5:17)
Ricochet (feat Dennis 'Funkybone' Rollins) (3:14)
Why Yellow (feat Rob Auton) (3:17)
Hypothetical (feat James Taylor) (3:37)
Netsanet (feat Mulatu Astatke) (5:44)
Without You (feat YVA) (3:32)
Crushing Lactic (Comp Tom Rogerson) (3:55)
What's Gone Before (feat Pete Wareham) (4:03)
Climbing Up My Own Life Until I Die (feat Rob Auton) (9:37)
Derashe (feat Mulatu Astatke) (6:12)
Review: Famed for their New Orleans style brass band covers - most notably a riotous Prodigy medley and tasty takes on Toto's "Africa" and Blackstreet's "No Diggidy" - the Hackney Colliery Band has decided to do things differently on their latest full-length excursion. As the title suggests, "Collaborations Volume 1" sees them join forces with a dizzying array of artists from the worlds of jazz, soul, funk, Afrobeat and hip-hop. The results are uniformly excellent, with highlights including the Afro-gospel brilliance of Angelique Kidjo and Roundhouse Choir hook-up "Mm Mm", the sunrise Afro-jazz breeze of Netsanet (featuring Mulatu Astatke), and the urgent stomp of percussion-laden workout "Crushing Lactic" with Tom Rogerson.