Review: Way back in 1998 when Massive Attack's career-defining "Mezzanine" was first released, legendary dub technician Mad Professor cooked up some radical reworking. They now get their first official release alongside dubs of two tracks that never actually made it onto the album - Metal Banshee: a dub version of "Superpredators" which was a cover of Siouxsie and the Banshees' "Metal Postcard", and "Wire", which was actually recorded for the film "Welcome to Sarajevo". Wild effects, plenty of knob twiddling and oodles of reverb define this freaky late night collection and mark another essential release in the catalogue of the already legendary Mad Professor.
Review: Originally issued back in 1998, Mezzanine remains the most commercially successful album released by Bristol troupe Massive Attack, thanks in no small part to the Liz Fraser-featuring "Teardrop". This third album signalled a change in sonic direction that played more explicitly on the darkness and tension that was always an undercurrent of their much loved debut Blue Lines and successor Protection. After numerous bootlegs over the years, Virgin have done the right thing and presented this official reissue of Mezzanine to appease fans of Massive Attack and it's clear the LP has lost none of it's bewitching power. The Quincy Jones and Isaac Hayes sampling "Exhange" and "Exchange" remain a delight in particular.
Review: To tie in with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landings, Brian Eno has decided to put out a new edition of his decidedly spacey 1983 ambient album "Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks", which started life as the soundtrack to a long-forgotten documentary about NASA's space program. The edition is rather special, not only because it contains a remastered version of the original set created by Eno, his brother Roger and regular collaborator Daniel Lanois, but also because it contains a second disc of previously unheard material. This is not old, though, but rather brand new recordings - described as "new interpretations of the film soundtrack" - made by the Lanois and the Eno brothers late last year in a similar style. In a word: essential.
The Temptations - "Standing On The Top" (feat Rick James - dub beat mix) (6:38)
Rick James - "Big Time" (Big Time vocal dub) (5:28)
Commodores - "Brick House" (Brick That dub house mix) (4:04)
Review: John Morales - one half of the beyond-legendary production team M+M - finally delivers the new Club Motown series that began in 2014. The last 12" focused on divas but here we're celebrating two of the funkiest names in funk soul; Rick James and The Temptations. From the epic 11 minute reprise of "Standing On The Top" to the equally extensive shake up of "Brick House" via the brand new arrangement of "Big Time", it's another collection that only Morales could concoct. The stomping percussion-heavy into on the vocal dub of "Big Time" is impossible to sniff at too...
Review: There are a few Beastie Boys reissue projects in the works at the moment, but none will be more popular than this 30th anniversary edition of one of the band's best. After their experimental mini-album "Roots Down", "Paul's Boutique" is composed, vocals aside, almost entirely of samples all put together in Matt Dike's apartment and the Record Plant in Los Angeles from 1988 to 1989. It marked the moment they were taken seriously, became hip hop giants and broke free of their one hit wonder tag. Its retro style and gleeful misuse of samples was thrillingly original yet familiar and despite the myriad of sounds, scenes and styles drawn upon, somehow they all added up to make this a cohesive album.