The Looking Glass (feat Sarah Williams White) (4:17)
Last Winter (4:44)
Flashlight (feat Grace Walker) (4:43)
Think It Over (feat Shea Soul) (5:36)
All This Trouble (3:57)
Discussed Disgust (3:47)
Moon Food (feat Tamar Osborn) (3:35)
Review: Although a drummer by trade (he's a member of the expansions and has previously played with the Gene Dudley Group and Andrew Ashong), Jonny Drop is also one hell of a beat-maker. He's previously proved that through occasional releases on Albert's Favourites and here confirms it via a brand new album that portrays him as a wizard with an MPC and a penchant for soulful, jazzy musicality. The Only Sound is chock full of highlights, from the inspired neo-soul bliss of "32 Degrees" and "The Looking Glass", to the sinewy broken beat brilliance of "Think It Over" and drowsy mid-afternoon shuffle of "All This Trouble".
Review: Albert's Favourites is a south London studio, production family and label. Home to several collaborations and solo projects from the creators. It was founded by the namesake's grandson Adam Scrimshire with Jonny Drop and Dave Koor of The Expansions - who indeed present the label's next release here. When they self released their first single in 2013 - the laid-back jazz funk of "Lavender", it quickly gained strong support from soul and rare-groove aficionados including Kenny Dope, Dom Servini, Patrick Forge and Andy Smith. The band have been constantly busy, playing around Europe with legendary British-Ghanaian soul singer Andrew Ashong and the upcoming talent Connie Constance. Conceived in a barn somewhere deep in Suffolk, "Breakthrough" represents a moment when the band felt they had a much clearer direction with their writing. A searing hybrid of jazz and funk with a positively hip hop backbone.
Review: Having previously impressed with a trio of singles - particularly 2013 debut "Lavender" - hopes are naturally high for this first full-length from the James O'Keefe and Dave Koor-helmed Expansions project. Predictably, they deliver in spades, serving up a set whose fluid spontaneity and meandering solos owe much to the fact that the album was recorded in just three days. There's plenty of spacey jazz-funk and fusion fun to be found throughout, from the intergalactic synth solos of "Pocket 5" and dancefloor-burning heat of "Ivory Mountain", to the daydreaming Fender Rhodes motifs and fizzing drums of killer closer "Miles Away". Happily, fine recent single "Breakthrough" also makes an appearance.
Review: Earlier in the year, we were full of praise for "Murmuration", the long-awaited debut album from James O'Keefe and Dave Koor's Expansions project. Famously, that album was recorded in just three days, with the duo and their musical collaborators managing to deliver a polished set despite its spontaneous, freeform roots. We're not sure if the three cuts on this follow-up EP were recorded in a similar manner, but they're certainly pleasingly loose, languid and live sounding. Check the title track "Mosaic", where impeccable jazz-funk electric piano solos ride jaunty bass and swinging live drum breaks, before tucking into the cascading jazz guitar solos, hushed drums and spacey chords of "Transcoso". Over on side B, "Mariposa" sits somewhere between the two A-side cuts, with spacey, stretched-out synth solos catching the ear.
Review: Two years on from the release of Modifications: Set 1, Adam Scrimshire and Dave Koor join forces once more as Modified Man. This second "Set" explores similar sonic territory to its predecessor, with the duo delivering jaunty, semi-improvised cuts that mix Herbie Hancock style jazz-funk synthesizer work and sparkling, Dam Funk style sounds with beats and basslines that variously draw inspiration from dusty, sample-rich deep house, L.A experimental hip-hop, dub, broken beat (the ace "Croydon Rooftop Cafe Culture") and intergalactic space jazz (starburst closer "Thorns"). It takes a few listens to really get to grips with all of the duo's musical intricacies, but it's definitely worth the effort.
Review: Since launching the Modified Man project in 2016, Adam Scrimshire and Dave Koor have yet to put a foot wrong. The genius of their collaborative releases is their ability to combine loose-limbed instrumental improvisations with dusty samples, cleverly manipulated beats and an acute sense of atmosphere. This third volume in the series rolls along in a similar way, flitting between skewed, straight-to-tape boogie-house ("Blame's On You Bruv"), solo-laden deep house dreaminess ("Glass Army"), intergalactic jazz-funk/broken beat fusion ("Here Me Calling"), smooth and loved-up grooves (the amusingly titled "Sergio Arpeggio") and becalmed, ultra-deep downtempo beats ("Love Rising From The Dark Abyss of Sorrow").
Review: Born and raised in South London, Hector Plimmer is a designer, producer and DJ, who has been making some considerable waves in recent times. Beginning with an appearance on 2011's Brownswood Bubblers compilation, Hector proved his talent when he was selected as the winner of the PRS Steve Reid InNOVAtion Award. Originally released in early 2017, his Sunshine LP now gets a series of hot remixes. Some blunted urban hip-hop flavour on Reginald Omas Mamode IV's remix of "Sunshine", that dusty MPC deep house sound of Berlin courtesy of their city's finest Glenn Astro, on his remix of "Bossa" while Mr Beatnick turns in an utterly hypnotic remix of "Kalimba 2".
Review: While many labels out there are devoid of any vision or creative mission, Albert's Favourites has a very simply, incredibly sweet operating system at its core. Allegedly, the imprint is simply the prolongation of Albert's propensity to create tapes and soundtracks to his family's holiday, a little niche that he's always had, and one which he's successfully evolved here onto the commercial game. Hector Primmer is both new to the scene and new to the label, but "Eastern System", which features the MGMT-style vocals of Drahla, is clearly a tune that has been made by someone who has plenty of experience; its moody, percussive stance is both refreshing and excellently produced. "Kalimba" is no second-comer, and its rattling peaks and troughs of percussive flair remind us of the work of Don't DJ, if only a little bit further down the rabbit hole.
Review: Founded in 2017, Ronin Arkestra is a fusionist jazz/electronica collective from Tokyo founded by broken beat keys-man Mark de Clive-Lowe. Given that the band includes some of the finest players in Japan's contemporary jazz scene - most notably members of Kyoto Jazz Massive, WONK and Sleepwalker - you'd expect this first outing on Albert's Favourites to be rather good. It is, of course, with the band sashaying between dubbed-out soundscape jazz ("Stranger Searching"), sun-bright jazz-funk influenced positivity ("Redeye Reprisal"), loose-limbed, semi-improvised intensity ("The Silk Road Prelude") and, most notably, an awe-inspiring 21st century re-imagining of John Coltrane classic "A Love Supreme".