First Thoughts – K15 – Sunbeams

Eglo records kicked off their new year nicely with the ever growing K15 delivering a sonically pleasing, Latin house inspired EP.  Previous work with Henry Wu through Eglo records sights at a range of influences, entrusting jazz and hip -hop with their core influence, with the added ‘broken beat’ style production being a consistence presence in their solo work as well.

bt-k15-secondThis photo is courtesy of K15

The ‘Broken beats’ in the UK’s dance scene derived from house producers, Domu, Seiji and Neon Phusions wanting to add something extra house music. They helped pioneer the Co -Op movement in the early 1990s – early 2000s, along with artists such as; IG culture, Dego and Alex Phounikz as well as other. Coming from different scenes the movement came together at a time where they sought to change the underground scene to incorporate a different groove to their work. In some ways, K15 has somewhat backed the break beat resurgence in the last few years, as well as the recently formed selectors assemble.

K15 throughout the EP seems to showcase his deep love for the broken beat style beats, as he seems to blend that with some Afro and Latin inspired synthesized percussion. Sunbeams’ is an infectious rhythm, with the funky bassline setting pace early on, whilst the quick looped Congo drums and persistent bells provides the energy, reminiscent of current Latin House tracks. ‘Starbursts 3’ on the other hand, is a pulsating house, broken beat styled track with a concoction of exotic percussion, giving the track a great party feel. ‘Escenia’ closes the EP blissfully, with a downtempo but still challenging piece.

With only three tracks, your kind left wanting one more, and with each track fitting so nicely together it almost feels like one long track. Nevertheless, K15 is an talented producer who is definitely worth keeping an eye on.

Have a listen to this month’s release from Culross Close (K15) release below:

First Thoughts: Various Artists – We Out Here

Brownswood seem to be making a habit of churning out some exceptional healing and soulful music. If we cast back to last year releases, from London based jazz influenced singer/songwriter; Zara MacFarlane album titled; ‘Arise’, and Cuban star singer; Dayme Arocena’s album titled; ‘Cubafonia’, you may remember how both vocalist stunningly took center stage throughout their albums, as well as, both using their respective Cuban and Jamaican heritage as influence for their lyrics.

Nevertheless, we moved into the new year with something which anyone interested in the jazz will have been waiting for. ‘We Out Here’ is a culmination of everything exciting about London’s jazz scene, with many artists’ in the album having recently released recognised solo projects of their own, it only seemed foretelling this would be great LP. Featuring artists like Nubya Garcia, Theon cross, Moses Boyd, Ezra collective, to name few.

EzraThis photo is courtesy of Ezra Collective

Opening with the tasteful decadent arrangement of Jazz refreshed members; Maisha’s track, which beautifully opens the LP with a cosmic fluid ride. The gentle flute and abrasive bass clarinet complement each other perfectly, providing a befitting opening to the LP.

The Five-piece band Ezra Collective take over with the track ‘Pure Shade’. An infectious vibrant track with an ever-teasing opening with momentous build up eventually equating to a high energy segment, with Joe Armon on the keys and Femi on the drums almost trying to outdo each other for tempo. That momentum gradually fades into a slow downtempo closing to the track.

9793453.jpgThis photo is courtesy of Shabaka Hutchings

We close the LP on a lighter note to previous tracks with afrobeat collective; Kokoroko’s track ‘Abusey Junction’. Their lead Guitarist Oscar Jerome has been making waves with solo material of his own, with the recent album ‘Where Are Your Branches?’. A befittingly calming end to a predominately high energy and creative LP, Oscar’s finger work on the guitar unassumingly puts you at ease, whilst the trombone and trumpets gently fade in and out throughout the track.

I imagine many of the artist siting early jazz to be their main core of influence, this LP represents how jazz has evolved in their eyes, as they have seemingly drawn upon other influences giving their work more vigor to move dancefloors. This LP can only be telling of the great things to come from these artists in future.

First Thoughts: Portable presents RANGEr

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Alan Abrahams aka Portable, is an artist very much defined by his past and his journey from South Africa to Paris via Berlin and Lisbon. This journey has seen him develop into a critically acclaimed producer, singer and video artist working with some of the biggest players in house and techno. His latest venture with recently turned record label Waella’s choice, run by Stamp the Wax founder; Aaron Levitt, and Andy Lemay (Dimension Festival), seems to draw upon a range of influences.

Three of the tracks feature South African Capella group ‘Korus’, who effortlessly take center piece with some beautiful native south African vocals. The first track ‘Bazonkonwaba’ is an amazing hazy tranquil piece, with lovely warm synths accompanying Korus’ vocals, giving an a kind of Afro-futuristic influence with heavy use of synths. This afro-futuristic theme is again spilled over in the next two tracks on the first side, (‘Normalizo’ and ‘Indaba’) with the Korus acapella group vocals.

The EP closes with the focus shifting to Portable’s arrangement in tracks ‘Vessel’ and ‘Reset’. Vessel transitions out of the cosmic journey from the first three tracks to an uplifting groovy jazz and funk production. With the wicked bassline riff remaining a constant throughout is reminiscent of some recent indie rock tracks. Whilst the bubbling synths, various percussion and keys bouncing off the electronic funk rhythm, makes the track so easy to nod to. A truly wonderful EP from Portable, definitely someone to keep tabs on if you’re not already, and of course, keep an eye out for any pending releases through Waella’s choice!

You can listen here:

 

First Thoughts: Penya – Super Liminal

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Like most artists these day, Penya are a group which are difficult to pinpoint to a particular genre. However, Penya can be described as a percussion driven, electronic quartet led by producer and multi-instrumentalist; Magnus PI, whose most recent EP; Super Liminal has been receiving some rave reviews from various publications; such as Stamp the Wax and Boiler Room, as well as, Brownswood founder Gilles Peterson. The various versions of Acclere from their previous EP, had an infectious, high energy displaying Latin influences in not just the vocals, but also the heavy percussion and vibrant guitar giving the track a cosmic warmth.

Super liminal (released through On The Corner Records) seems to culminate their percussive wanderings through Cuba, Turkey, Morocco, Tanzania, India, Peru which they describe to have driven their alternative tribal Afro-Latin rhythms. There’s a perfect balance of dance floor workers with fantastic tribal energy, as shown in tracks like ‘Search It Out‘ and ‘Karachi’. Tracks such as ‘Cham bomb’, ‘Beat your Demon’ and ‘Lysesa’ seemingly take you through a cosmic tranquil journey of Penya’s experiences and influences, all three offer a sense of contemplation and peace. There’s something incredibly enriching about this album which is very difficult to describe in words. Every track sounds organic and unique in their own right but still congeal together under similar influences which help form Penya’s sound.