Review: Champion sound! Sampled over 500 times but still funkier than a sleepover at Kanye's, The Mohawks "The Champ" enjoys gold status for this limited Record Store Day special. Flip for the instant horn-heaved call to arms "Sound Of The Witchdoctor". Fresh from 68, and still as bewitching... You might call this a magnificent 7" (not sorry)
Review: A true hot stepper and one of the best of its kind, this 1984 masterpiece from Ini Kamoze is heavy, real and authentic. It was actually Jamaican born artist Cecil Campbell's debut album and features spacious, slow motion dubs that invite you deep within their cavernous drums. The chattery percussion, echoing hits and loose percussion all make a real mark. "World-A-Music" has a beat fans of Damien Marley will recognise, and "General" features some of Campbells more vulnerable vocal work. For fans old and new, this is a perfect roots album with a unique perspective.
Review: "Do You Like My Tight Sweater?" is the album that announced Moloko to the world, but is also one of their most experimental. The dance duo's debut featured big singles like "Dominoid" and the UK Top 40 charting "Fun For Me", which was also used in the Batman & Robin soundtrack of 1997. The album finds producer Mark Brydon combining elements of trip hop, big beat, disco and electronica with Roisin Murphy's sensuous and widescreen art-pop vocals, despite the fact that at the time she had zero prior professional experience. This timely limited reissue comes on heavyweight turquoise vinyl and reminds us of a golden era of UK electronica.
Review: Essential reissue alert: Arguably one of his most influential albums of his illustrious career, Wally's third album Echoes has matured incredibly well, joining the dots between electronica, island music, reggae, pop and ambient better than most self-styled Balearic DJs. Sampled by the likes Massive Attack ("Mambo") and Pete Herbert ("Chief Inspector"), we're moved through the moods in such a simplistic but warm, dynamic way as Wally switches from shedding a tear on the Scarface-era Moroder style "Canyons" to shedding a few pounds on the runaway boogie cut "Endless Race". Still sounding current 32 years deep, there's a reason the likes of Grace Jones, Level 42, Herbie Hancock and Black Uhuru worked with him.
Review: The late Pete Namlook remains a giant of the ambient world. His vast catalogue of works has defined and redefined the genre over and over again, often alongside fellow greats from Move D to Richie Hawtin. In 2016, however, it was Klaus Schulze at the controls alongside his German countryman and together they cooked up this eight-part adventure into cosmic ambience and psychedelic sound design. Some parts reference Eno's seminal "Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks", some are more synth heavy, Vangelis-style epics, and some dip into Detroit techno for their cues. It makes for an album as expansive as it is excellent.
Review: Real reggae lovers will long have been attuned to this "Soul Of Jamaica" compilation, which draws together the best of the 60s onto one essential slab of wax. The original is highly sought after so this is a welcome reissue from Music on Vinyl. Twelve small but perfectly formed nuggets from artists like Alton Ellis, Tommy McCook and The Paragons exude that dusty, gauzy authenticity that defined this early era-reggae. Some of the tunes swagger, some of them soar, there are sun kissed uplifters and blue-eyed downbeats, but all of them hit the spot.
Review: This newly expanded reissue of classic Desmond Dekker compilation "Double Dekker" includes six rare bonus cuts next to the rest of the material that helped it make such an international impact. There isn't much cross over with other compilations, either, making it a must for fans of the late vocalist. Interestingly, this release was compiled after Dekker had left Trojan for the newly formed rival Creole, and it went on to become one of their biggest sellers, at the same time as putting his newer recordings into the shadows. So sink in and enjoy one of rocksteady's best.
Review: Krush's eighth - and last - album Jaku is up there with Endtroducing and Donuts in terms of seminal, influential and forward-thinking beat longer players. 10 years since its release and it still sounds as timeless, unique and exciting as it did in 2004. The slick licks of a young Mr Lif on "Nosferatu", the post-apocalyptic tension of "Univearth" the sludgy, swampy cosmic hip-hop of the Aesop Rock-featured "Kill Switch" and the unashamed sax sex of "Slit Of Cloud"..... Do we need to go on? Limited edition, 180g transparent vinyl; even if you already have this in your collection this is a very, very appealing investment.
Review: Jamaican ska vocalist Justin Hines was one of the many popular jewels on Duke Reid's Treasure Isle label. He often worked with the Dominoes backing singers and their first album, reissued here by Music On Vinyl, was reportedly a firm favourite of Bob Marley. Pure roots at its finest and straight from the mid-seventies, this is feel good music that brims with warmth and earthy vibes. It's a celebration of dreadlock culture, the beauty of the Jamaican motherland and a fine reflection of the horizontal pace of life out in the Caribbean.
Review: Early 80s new Wave pop outfit Haircut One Hundred are best known for their big single "Love Plus One" but this album proves they were more than one trick ponies. Infusing their pop, rock and synth sound with Conga, woodwind and Brazilian percussion leads to superbly colourful tracks that brim with sunshine. There's an upbeat and youthful innocence to "Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl)" that is utterly infectious, while busier post punk funk like "Love Plus One" will get you on your toes even after all these years, and "Kingsize (You're My Little Steam Whistle)" gets all sexy with its lead sax and clattering steel drum tumbles.
Review: ** REPRESS ALERT ** For the uninitiated: Billy Cobham is a Panamanian-American jazz drummer, composer and bandleader. He is also the brother of multi instrumentalist Wayne Cobham. He was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Classic Drummer Hall of Fame in 2013. Produced with the legendary Jan Hammer (a former bandmate) and engineer Ken Scott in 1973, Spectrum was Cobham's first solo album after leaving his previous group Mahavishnu Orchestra. The album was heavily influenced by the music of Miles Davis, with whom Cobham had previously collaborated extensively. A seminal album of the jazz fusion scene. A Swiss resident since 1980s, Cobham now lives in Schoepfen, a canton near Bern.
Angelo Badalamenti - "Fred & Renee Make Love" (2:08)
Marilyn Manson - "Apple Of Sodom" (4:22)
Antonio Carlos Jobim - "Insensatez" (2:53)
Barry Adamson - "Something Wicked This Way Comes" (edit) (2:58)
Marilyn Manson - "I Put A Spell On You" (3:28)
Angelo Badalamenti - "Fats Revisited" (2:32)
Angelo Badalamenti - "Fred's World" (3:02)
Rammstein - "Rammstein" (edit) (3:26)
Barry Adamson - "Hollywood Sunset" (2:00)
Rammstein - "Heirate Mich" (edit) (3:05)
Angelo Badalamenti - "Police" (1:39)
Trent Reznor - "Driver Down" (5:18)
David Bowie - "I'm Deranged" (reprise) (3:47)
Review: Since its release in 1997, David Lynch's neo-noir-horror, Lost Highway, has become something of a cult classic. The accompanying soundtrack album, here reissued on weighty double vinyl, is similarly revered in some circles. Put together by Nine Inch Nails' frontman Trent Reznor, composer Angelo Badalamenti, and punk-turned-producer Barry Adamson, it's a mish-mash of darkly intense songs (Bowie, Smashing Pumpkins, Lou Reed and Rammstein all contribute), and the kind of creepy, other-worldly soundscapes that have always been a feature of Lynch's work. It's arguably the latter tracks, composed by Badalementi and Adamson, which remain creepily potent all these years on.
You Better Be Good (Or The Devil Gon' Getcha) (2:57)
L.T.D. (Life, Truth & Death) (7:21)
My Brightest Day (4:03)
I Promise To Remember (2:59)
Creation (Epilogue) (1:03)
Review: A bona fide piece of history right here: Jimmy Castor led a furiously funky and politically-charged troupe through 70s by way of 10 albums. And this is where it all began... The title track is known to all thanks to its heavy sampling but its counterparts are just as enduring - the swampy blues funk fusion of "You Better Be Good", the wry society critique of "Troglodyte" and the hazy, honeyed Motown soul of "My Brightest Day" are just three of the many highlights throughout the album. Seminal blueprint business, it will never age.
Review: Klaus Schulze and Peter Namlook's The Dark Side Of The Moog series receives a timely update on vinyl, having only been reissued a handful of times since its first release in the early to mid 90s. Much like the second volume, which should be bought in conjuction with this opener, you'll be stuck to find any better sources of ambient or drone on these charts. Yes, the modern kids might verge further into the heart of the rave, but this music has a way of lifting the soul that's rarely matched. Led by images of time and space, the legendary duo's music is truly capable of tele-transporting you into a higher state of consciousness; the best thing about it is how rich and fresh it sounds upon each new listen. Highly recommended.
Review: It was in churches in the late sixties that Pablo Moses first started performing and a decade later he was putting out his own releases and making an immediate impact on the dub world. "Pave The Way" was his third full length album and was produced, recorded then mixed by the hands of the revered Geoffrey Chung of Jamaican Dynamic Sounds. Our picks of the bunch include album highlight "Africa Is For Me", the shuffling "A Step Before Hell" and superbly hazy "I See It Everyday".
Review: Lamb's first new material in almost four years and highly limited numbered gatefold on 180 transparent vinyl... This has got it all. Most importantly, it sounds beautiful, too. Picking up where they left us, Lou Rhodes' vocal is still as delicate and soul searching and Andrew Barlow's instrumentation and production is still as broad and contemporary. From the timeless piano/string ballad "As Satellites Go By" to the heavy bass jacker "Seven Sails" via the rim-shot wriggling space jazz of "Nobody Else", Lamb remain as alluring, exciting and relevant than ever. Unwinding material just went next level.
Review: Aside from the visual spectacle that is Game Of Thrones, its mythical musical is what really shapes the atmosphere surrounding the series. Composed by Ramin Djawadi, the score to Season 4 is diverse and enchanting, made up of many different acoustic styles and genres. The second track, "The Rains Of Castamere", is even composed by Sigur Ros who give a seriously powerful performance as per usual. There's over twenty tracks spanning two tasty vinyl plates, filled to the brim with seductive strings, new age melodies and militant battle drums for that euphoric blockbuster hit! Stick it on and immerse yourself in a parallel world of mystical wars and fairytales.
Review: The Pioneers were pivotal during the skinhead reggae period and their 1970 album Battle Of The Giants on the mighty Trojan Records is as fine as they come. At the time it was released, the band was spending lots of time in the UK and taking cues from ska, but always returned to Jamaica to record. It shows in a record that mixes driving reggae grooves with more pop leaning songs and flourishes of soul. Swaggering rhythms like "Samfie Man" sit next to love struck tunes like "Consider Me" and it's not hard to see why this outfit was one of the first to have international reggae hits in the post-rocksteady era.
Review: A serious RSD reissue here as Music On Vinyl reanimate the cult afro-funk's one and only 45" on Pye sub-label Dawn. Emphatic, layered, energetic and dizzying - just like their albums Afreaka and Roots & Offshoots - each cut is bewilderingly funky and soulful experience. The lead track is one of the best Screamin' Jay Hawkins covers ever pressed to wax, "Message To Mankind" tips a nod to the Tamla school of thought with a belting yearn for better times while "Fuzs Oriental Blues" is just a straight up savage blues jam with some firing Afro twists towards the finale. Stone cold; this one won't hang around for long.
Review: Perspective: Raymond Scott create these albums in 1962 when he was in his mid 50s. Even to this day they sound relevant and entirely futuristic. A true electronic pioneer, he was generations before his time... And was clearly on a mission to influence future generations about electronic music from the earliest age possible with the Soothing Sounds For Babies albums. Dubby, loopy, clever, detailed and spacious - we're not sure whether they were scientifically proven to soothe babbers (some of the more intense loops are way too stimulating) but they definitely soften our souls. A unique moment in electronic music history.
Review: For those that don't know, Ex:El was the third LP by British electronic pioneers 808 State released in 1991. The album features guest vocalists such as New Order's Bernard Sumner on "Spanish Heart' and Bjork on "Qmart" and "Ooops" which would result in the Icelandic singer having a continued working relationship with Graham Massey over the years. Their teaming up with figures of the alternative music scene of the time started a trend that many other electronic music groups would become to follow. Perceived by many to be one of their finest albums, this one will be a welcome edition to any 808 State fans collection on vinyl.
Review: Music On Vinyl are our new best friends. With a wide range of music being reissued as of late, Yello's 1987 One Second is just spoiling us. Never being fully acclaimed when it was originally released, this is one album which really spans the full circle in terms of artistic ideas sonic experimentations. While being tagged primarily as a pop work, it's really more of a lesson in synth manipulations and nutty beat-making. "The Rhythm Divine" has to be out top track but do check the whole thing, it's magnificent...
Review: Originally released on Point Music, Philip Glass' 1993 masterpiece is now available on vinyl for the first time. Having always been reissued as a CDR, the wonderful folks over at Music On Vinyl have remastered this three-tracker for turntable use, on 180 G format, of course, and it was about time somebody did so! The three works are deep, luscious and glide between neo-classical and avant-garde with utter ease. Our cherry pick has to be "Subterraneans" for its delicate waves of strings and general feeling of peace. This is THE soundtrack EP and it's a shame it has yet to be used...
Young Person's Guide To The Orchestra, Op 34 (17:12)
Review: This recording of the Philadelphia Orchestra performing Sergei Prokofiev's 1936 story and orchestral score Peter and the Wolf was recorded in 1977 and was originally released in 1978. The role of the narrator on the recording was initially offered to both Peter Ustinov and Alec Guinness who both turned it down, before David Bowie agreed to take on the role, supposedly as a Christmas present to his son. On the B-side is another equally as charming piece of recent classical history, Benjamin Britten's Young Person's Guide To The Orchestra as narrated by Hugh Downs.