Saturday, 30 September 2017

Habibi Funk Mix 008 - Late 80s/early 90s Algerian Tapes

Habibi Funk Mix 008
Just Cheb Hasni (Late 80s/early 90s Algerian Tapes)

Here's something a little way different... the exceptional Arabic music foragers Habibi Funk have released the 8th instalment of their mix series, and it's as interesting a tale as it is sonic experience. In fact, having done so much homework themselves, I'll just let them explain the rationale behind this latest mix below. What I can tell you is it's an immaculately presented mix of 80s and 90s Algerian tapes solely featuring the late, assassinated Cheb Hasni. Cheb was, apparently, a phenomenally popular Algerian popstar, murdered by Islamic extremists. 

If you're not already following Habibi Funk you realy need to - get to know them here 

Notes on Habibi Funk Mix 008 from Habibi Funk themselves:
"Usually our focus with Habibi Funk (الترجمة العربية أسفله) is not music from the 1990s and we tend to focus on more obscure releases (not always though, e.g. Al Massrieen or Ahmed Malek are well known in their countries of origin). Cheb Hasni is an exeption to this. The music is very 1990s and he is to this day a major star, his not very active and most likely not official FB page has more then three-million likes. I know very few artists that did so many songs that I deeply love. Keep in mind Hasni was incredibly productive. In his short live he recorded around 100 albums so there is a plethora of songs to choose from and my passion goes especially towards the ones he did in the years before he got murdered. It’s rai, but it’s the type of rai sentimental that also fused the production astethic of early hip hop and house to a very unique fusion. His lyrics were often fairly explizit dealing with everything from love, sex, alcohol, divorce, a mix that made him a prime aim for the non progressive forces in Algerian society of the time.
Today marks the 23rd anniversary of his assassination by Islamists who had threatened to kill him throughout the most time of his career. Especially since Cheb Hasni was murdered for what he stood for as a musician we feel it’s even more important to keep his legacy alive and spread his name, even amongst those who might not know him outside of the Arab world so it felt right to dedicate Habibi Funk Mix #8“ solely to him. The selection is a very personal one and might not reflect what were his most popular ones but it’s the songs I love the most..."

Monday, 25 September 2017

Blockhead - Funeral Balloons

Blockhead - Funeral Balloons

Backwoodz Studioz

New Blockhead music is always welcome, like a visit from an old friend. It's a peculiar phenomenon that friendships cultivated during late teens/early twenties seem most likely to survive the paucity of communication dictated by later-life concerns. While friendships made later in life can quickly wither without regular feeding, the bonds of a twenties-friendship are like cacti... water once in a blue moon and no visible deterioration presents.
So it is with the new Blockhead record Funeral Balloons. Not much has changed, style-wise, from previous efforts dating all the way back to Music By Cavelight, the 2004 album that brought him global acclaim via the legendary Ninja Tune label. It was also the record that created the bond I feel with Blockhead, AKA Tony Simon, and his music. At a time when Hip-Hop was at the forefront of my musical life and the likes of RJD2, Joey Beats, Aim, Madlib and Jel were showing what could be achieved by elevating Beats music to new ambitions, influenced no doubt by the seminal works produced on my own doorstep by the likes of Portishead, Tricky  and Massive Attack. It was a time of experimentation with what Hip-Hop could achieve, and what it could mean. Post Golden-Era and fiercely separatist from the creeping spectre of the blingy Pop-Hop that stole Hip-Hop's name, the music of that time had a particular flavour. 
That's not to say the music on Funeral Balloons feels stagnant - far from it. Blockhead has always had a masterful touch, an ear for a captivating arrangement and a delicate, nuanced palate that lift what are essentially Hip-Hop Instrumentals to a far loftier pedestal. This is music to get lost in, music to drive to, music to fall in love to, and with.
Blockhead is a master beatsmith, and while the beats he crafts are less fashionable than they were a decade ago, don't let that distract you from the majesty within Funeral Balloons.
Particular highlights: Festival Paramedics' swirling, conflictual yet uplifting double-time, Cop Rock's surreal take on 50s Rock n Roll that brings out such a range of emotions one can hardly believe it's all in the same song, and the majestic, soundtrack-ish Funeral Balloons.

Get it through Bandcamp or check Discogs

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Rest in Power: Charles Bradley

Daptones Records have lost another great. We've all lost another great. Following all too soon after the passing of modern soul legend Sharon Jones, the one and only Charles Bradley has died, aged just 68.
Sadly the cancer he was diagnosed with in 2016 has taken its toll on a man whose voice carried the weight of power and soul that only a handful have ever possessed. A humble man by nature, he was always grateful to the fans who gave him the opportunity to do what he loved; he was even able to continue touring right up until last month.
"Right now, I don't see a stopping point 'cause I don't see no place where I can stop at and rest in peace," he told Rolling Stone last year. "But I know that from doing shows for the public, the love when I go out into the audience and hug 'em and the things that they say to me personally … [pauses] Wow. It's not only me onstage doing it. I open their hearts up and they feel the love of my heart and when I go out there and really respond to 'em and talk to 'em, they tell me some things."

Having only found the stardom he deserved at the age of 62, his story is one of poverty, pain, loss and struggle - things that ultimately infused his music with the screaming soul power audiences fell in love with. On a personal level, his music has been a staple of the Funk From The Trunk sound ever since he made his rise to prominence, and we had the good fortune to meet and support him several times over the years. Thus it's with a truly heavy heart I write of his passing. A great man, a one-in-a-million voice and the provider of so much incredible soul music. Mr Bradley, we salute you. Rest in Power, sir.

I've attempted to pay further tribute to the Screaming Eagle of Soul by spending the day remixing one of my favourite Charles Bradley tracks, which is available below.
I thoroughly recommend you also dig in to his three excellent studio albums and full discography, available here

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Ikebe Shakedown - Supermoon

Ikebe Shakedown - Supermoon

Colemine Records

Bold, brassy, full of classic library flavour and on a fetching 'moon-coloured' vinyl, the new 45 from Ikebe Shakedown is here, and it's tasty. Limited to 300 copies, fans of the golden era of library grooves should move fast before it's gobbled up by hungry beat-freaks.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Frankie Boyle - Prometheus Vol.1

Frankie Boyle has released a stand-up performance to Youtube, and it's very funny. I wasn't really sure if I should post it here as it's not really 'on-brand'... but I think he's wicked and so should you.

Sory Bamba - Du Mali (Repress)

Sory Bamba - Du Mali

Africa 7

Africa 7 Records have just released a huge number of rare-as-Theresa May-vertebrae African funk records from the Sonodisc catalogue. This is documented far more thoroughly than CMFCP cares to on an excellent Bandcamp exposé which includes interviews with the Africa 7 bosses. Check it out here 

We just wanted to draw particular attention to the positively bananas Du Mali by Malian legend Sory Bamba

It's bloody marvellous. Buy it, you won't be 'Sory'

Atsushi Yano - Rottie Bites EP

Atsushi Yana - Rottie Bites

Omena Records

Japanese producer Atsushi Yano joins the excellent Omena Records clan with a pleasantly unusual EP that sounds like a little bit of Lamb, Fatboy Slim, Romare and John Coltrane all at once.
Quirky, densely-layered and sample-heavy, Rottie Bites is well worth checking out, with the menacing, late-night jazz-in-Harlem Barbital a particular highlight.

Available at Juno here

Hidden Orchestra - East London Street

Hidden Orchestra - East London StreetTru Thoughts

I love Hidden Orchestra. I love Game of Throne, too. If only there were some way of enjoying them both together...

Enter East London Street, the third single from the brilliant Dawn Chorus album that came out in June. It has trademark field recordings, snaking, melancholic strings and academic arrangements in abundance. It also sounds really rather like the Ramin Djawadi-penned GoT theme. Double the win, right?

Thursday, 21 September 2017

KH (Fourtet) - Question

KH - Questions

Text Records

Kieran Hebden AKA Fourtet reprises his KH alter-ego (where did he come up with that?) for a floor-filling edit of rare funk. As it gradually speeds up and layers crunchy, sticky percussion over the insistent groove and sweet soul vocal we can be assured that this jam will ignite dancefloors everywhere.
Limited run on Text Records, this one will fly off the shelves and is already fetching silly money on Discogs.
Less is very much more.

Noah Slee - Radar (Video) & Otherland (Album)

Noah Slee - Radar / Otherland
Majestic Casual 

Noah Slee has burst onto the scene in dramatic fashion with his debut full-length OtherlandRadar represents a proper dancefloor treat among the variously soulful, plaintive and swaggering efforts withinBleeding-edge production sensibilities and happy-go-lucky lyrics keep the vibe summery and mellow, yet his voice inspires a more emotional response. Marking the welcome re-emergence of the oft-maligned and awkwardly monickered 'neo-soul' sound, Otherland comfortably rubs shoulders with the likes of Mndsgn, Solange and James Blake, while maintaining a character and vision of its own.

Gleefully championed by Majestic Casual, it's a sublime debut across 17 tracks... the pick of which being this house-inspired ode to hanging-out with your peeps.

Cop the video below, and the album right here

Them Mushrooms

Them Mushrooms (Afro 7)Reissue

Afro7 continue their inspired limited 12" series with a taste package from Them Mushrooms. A fully licensed EP of four catchy 80's afro-synth tracks out of Kenya. Housed in a beautiful cardboard jacket with silk screened coastal-inspired artwork designed by Steve Roden.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Hober Mallow - Change

Hober Mallow - Change

Hober Mallow came to my attention on Soundcloud, sporting some extremely tasty Disco edits. His selections were indicative of a fellow with impeccable taste, so I was intrigued to know more. Turns out he makes some slinky, lo-fi electro-soul, reminiscent of perhaps Andrew Weatherall or the kind of 80s oddity that Andy Votel would dig up from 1980's Romania.

I don't often associate Australian music with subtlety, despite the welcome and high-quality resurgence of Disco from Down Under, so it's great to hear someone keeping the avant-garde spirit of unheralded Australian 70's sci-fi pop group Cybotron alive and well!
If anyone can correct my ignorance of Australian avant-garde music, please feel encouraged to drop a comment.

Bjork - The Gate (Video)

Bjork - The Gate

There aren't really the right superlatives in human dialects to describe Bjork, which is fitting since she is the type of artist that makes everyone wonder if they're really human at all. Similarly to the much-missed Bowie and Prince, Bjork is a creative force so fierce and unstoppable, so relentlessly progressive she appears to be a visitor from another, infinitely more beautiful, realm.
She's back with a new video The Gate, created in collaboration with

Gucci’s Alessandro Michele and artist Andrew Thomas Huang. 

It's predictably brilliant and brilliantly unpredictable.

Bjork has told Dazed magazine it's about "rediscovering love, but in a spiritual way - for lack of a better word". Perhaps the love of a mother for their child? I can't be sure, but the ball of energy that enters and leaves her abdomen at regular intervals throughout the video and the plaintive call of 'I will care for you' certainly give that impression. It's deeply touching, and technically, artistically mesmerising. She is a true auteur, her art light years beyond most of our comprehension. Her collaborators, aforementioned and also the ridiculously talented producer Arca, deserve great credit too. The sound design, the imagery, the sparsity, the songwriting: Majestic. Without compare. Scintillating. Stultifying. See? I really need some new superlatives.

Bjork's new album, procuced by Arca, is out soon on One Little Indian.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Sampha wins Mercury Music Prize with Process

Sampha - Process

Young Turks

Mercury Music Prize Winner

I'm not going to lay into Ed Sheeran online. For starters, I'd be very late to the party. Secondly, I really don't think he deserves the monstrous amount of negativity he receives from the self-proclaimed Music Heads across the globe. Thirdly, he's ginger. As a flame-haired brother-in-arms I'm with anyone that could navigate the school system of the 90s and emerge emotionally intact.
He's talented, he looks like someone you know from the pub, and he's insanely, inexplicably successful. I can't stand his music, but at least he writes it himself. At least he isn't another pretty boy puppet on the end of Simon Cowell's strings. Fair play to him.
Having said that, I'm infinitely pleased he didn't win the Mercury Prize, as he was tipped to do. If that is the best album of 2017 we're all doomed.

Sampha, on the other hand, released not only the album of the year, but possibly of the last five. Process is a spell-bindingly beautiful, gloriously unpolished album that lays bare the emotional journey he went through processing the death of his mother. It's a work of such staggering soulfulness it could reduce Putin to tears. Yet, in contrast to many emotionally-charged, melancholic records, it is never maudlin. Pure, raw, heartfelt and musically brilliant, the record begs to be listened to in entirety, although if you had to pick one track No-One Knows Me like the Piano is a towering example of Process' magnificence.

CMFCP would like to congratulate Sampha on a richly-deserved achievement! 

Rhi - Reverie

Rhi - Reverie

Tru Thoughts

Rhi is back on Tru Thoughts with an intimate, dreamy collection of super slo-mo soul music.
She has a breathy, soft and pure voice that soars set against the sparse, shimmering clicks and shuffles in lead track The Same, which you can check out below. You can also pre-order the whole shebang if you feel inclined.
What better way to help Tru Thoughts celebrate their 18th birthday?

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Mark Rae - Northern Sulphuric Soulboy *Half-Price Sale*

Mark Rae's brilliant album and book combo Northern Sulphuric Soulboy is at half-price for a limited time! For those who don't know, Mark is a seminal player in the UK hip-hop and beats scene from his time heading up the legendary Grand Central Records, writing hits with Rae & Christian (whose new album is part of the bundle) and an endless list of other heavyweight credits. He's also travelled the earth with his records and can chart the emergence of hip-hop in the UK with authority. His story is particularly fascinating as it coincides with the rise and fall of sampling, the lawsuits leading to the collapse of Grand Central and his ensuing exile to America.

 Over to the press department with further particulars: 

"To mark the anniversary of this groundbreaking release, we are offering the book/vinyl for half price as well as the last Rae & Christian CD "Mercury Rising"! The 10" vinyl that fits in the books cover has 6 new tracks featuring Tony D, Pete Simpson and Kate Rogers. Two additional tracks and all of the instrumentals are included with the digital download. The music provides a perfect partner for the stories within the book as the influence of 80's soul, hiphop, gogo and the traditions of Grand Central Records are heavily leant upon. The book begins in Tyneside in the early 70's as Mark's first exposure to music begins, before going on to explore the late 80's Manchester club scene, Fat City, Grand Central, Rae & Christian and Yesking. The book also covers Mark's time in Los Angeles and the recording of the Mercury Rising album. Jimmy Turrell the man behind the artwork took Mark's old photographs to make a sublime montage that spans the entire inner gatefold and captures a visual history of the books contents." 

Jackson - Keep Swimming (Video)

Jackson - Keep Swimming

In an age of rapidly shrinking revenues and dying platforms for unsigned and new artists, there's an understandable shift of focus for those attempting to fulfill their musical dreams. After all, everyone needs to put food on the table.
Artists find the lure of the crowd-pleaser difficult to resist. Bands across the world find that cover song they used to close with is the only song anyone seems to want to hear nowadays... so they do another. And another. And soon enough their set is predominantly covers, with the odd original apologetically thrown in.
It's hard to blame them - Money is king, yet doesn't grow on trees. Plus, if money is King, in the musical landscape Nostalgia would have a fairly strong claim to the throne were Money to suffer an impromptu death. Edits, Remixes, Covers, and Reissues all easily outstrip sales of new music.
So we could forgive Jackson for toning down their idiosyncracy, smoothing out their edges and delivering their 3rd record as a smooth jazz/funk record with pop stylings. And of course a few covers.

That would, however, be predictable, dull and disappointing to these pages, as you'll know from my full EP review here. We love music that sticks to its guns and Jackson shows absolutely no sign of compromising.

Kicking off with 5 x DMC Champion scratch-master-cum-vocalist Asian Hawk, Keep Swimming immediately melds some incredibly disaparate sounds. The vocals have been likened to Jamiroquai but could just as easily be from an early 90s Mudhoney record. Cuts like an experimental DJ Shadow joint. Beats in 3/4 and mesmeric, loping instrumentatin a la Art Ensemble of Chicago or Pharoah Sanders, plus distorted guitars that could come from an early Tool record... it shouldn't really work, but it's glorious.
Giving a deserved platform to the exceptional performance calibre Jackson have at their disposal, the video, in contrast to its soundtrack, is unfussy and played with a straight bat - simple portraiture of a band at the top of their game.

Buy Jackson - Push Through Here: Bandcamp / iTunes

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Asbest the Moor King - Mind of a Few

Asbest The Moor King - Mind of a Few


Brightonian Asbest the Moor King returns with his most accomplished record to date. It's a sample heavy, reclined and raw exposition of a much-maligned genre.

UK Hip-Hop is a peculiar entity. The yanks have a kind of natural aptitude that renders most of their efforts listenable, even when unspectacular, at least to those partial to the genre. The British are generally horrendous. The average UKHH record is almost certainly going to make you cringe more than it makes you draw gunfingers. Another song about weed: check. Another stoned monologue explaining how the system isn't very nice to poor people: check. At it's worst, and most common, it's a jaded, impotently angry and soporific style of music that has lost almost all relevancy, particularly now that Grime has injected such vitality into street music.
Despite this, it still engenders a particular satisfaction when it comes correct. When it's not trying to be something it isn't, and goes out with an uncompromising game-plan. Jehst, Braintax, Rodney P and of course Roots Manuva. Ty, Chester P, Blak Twang and Skinnyman. These guys, and many more, have served up some truly brilliant, unique and inherently British examples of the Hip-Hop genre. Of course, their output has been variously consistent, and ensuing live performances can veer from stupefyingly brilliant, to simply stupefied... but those moments of chaotic magic give any US exponents a run for their doo-rags.
UK Hip-Hop is far from dead, even set against the ultra-commercialized Pop-Hop that claims the popular affection.
There's the virulent, vital Grime, with superstars Skepta, Boy Better Know and so on. Brass-band toting Hip-Hop live acts such as the tremendous Lazy Habits, Disraeli and The Small Gods (RIP) and The Mouse Outfit, and the party-starting beats and breaks of 6Music favourites The Allergies are testament to the perennial appeal of the genre.
What we haven't seen, for a very long time, is much in the way of credible 'conscious rap'. Enter Asbest the Moor King, with new album Mind of a Few.
Despite welcome similarities to indie American legends such as Deep Puddle Dynamics, Slug and Alias, there's a proper Britishness on display here. Not so much a poverty-stricken council estate Britishness, as a weed-smoke and urban poetry one. A British dedication to an American-originated artform, really. Asbest and friends care about the Elements of Hip-Hop, as the occasional odes to Graffiti culture, Freestyling and Breaking attest. Yet more than a hackneyed fetishisation, there's something scholarly going on here. Asbest's rhymes are dense and delivered with the conviction of a man who has studied his artform in depth. The beats are crafted with skill and a sample-spotter's nous. It's not about doing something brand new; it's about attempting to perfect something established.
The result is a record that could sound cliched, and occasionally does, yet crucially is delivered with such evident commitment to the craft that we end up with something genuinely mellifluous. Harkening back to a time of relative simplicity; a time of skateboards, skinning up and sketching out, Mind of a Few is an accomplished example of a style that thrives in an outsider state. Dooz Kawa and Marcus Mandible provide some standout guest-raps alongside James Reindeer and Speech Urchin, with Asbest himself on the boards for everything else.
Fans of Anticon, Anti-Pop Consortium and Diverse will be well-served, as will anyone interested in the concept of intelligent, impassioned hip-hop that avoids patronizing its listeners with bumper sticker wisdom.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Ozo - Anambra (Isle of Jura)

Ozo - Anambra

Isle of Jura

I'm in two minds here. This is very definitely Curious Music. I'm not convinced, however, that it's particularly good. That said, I feel there's a time and a place, possibly a state of inebriation, which would render listening to Ozo Anambra an exceptionally enjoyable experience.
Perhaps it's a victim of the stigma attached to chanting yogis and so on that means I can't help feeling like I'm in a holistic massage salon, rather than a transcendental state of bliss, which is probably not what cult 70s Dub-Folkers Ozo were trying to elicit. There's a point where I genuinely thought they were chanting 'Puff The Magic Dragon'.
At what point does an original concept become degraded by the existence of flattering, and sometimes mocking, imitators? Can we really view the origins of a trope through a lens unclouded by our knowledge of future mimickry? Where do clichés begin? 
As much as the Anambra sounds like the orgy scene soundtrack in Anchorman, it was the 70s when this was recorded, and I bet seeing Ozo perform it would have totally kicked ass. 
Plus you get a free tote bag with every order. So, swings, roundabouts, you know... 'Ommmmmmmmmmm'

V/A - Zoo Keeping 2 (Particle Zoo Recordings)

V/A - Zoo Keeping 2 Particle Zoo Recordings

Indie Electronic label Particle Zoo Recordings have curated a brand new Free Compilation featuring some of the hottest rising talent and established artists in the electronic music world. 

Weighing in at a hefty nineteen exclusive tracks, ranging in tone from soulful Electronica, quirky Synth-Pop, and Deep House with actual depth, to varying shades of DnB and party-starting Midtempo, Big Room House and Ambient Downtempo, Zoo Keeping 2 is an accomplished label sampler that should have something for everyone interested in unusual Electronic Music.

Get your copy exclusively at Bandcamp on a Pay What You Want basis. 

Average EP (Junior Executive)

Average - S/T EP
Junior Executive

The press release makes no mention of the fact that the lead track on this rather brilliant EP is full on Afrobeat/Disco... something you'd think would seem worth shouting about. Haye Haye is, in fact, a really, really infectious groove that blends triumphal, South African sounding, exultations with classic disco bass twanging and jangly guitars. The result is a cacophonous exhortation to dance, and while the kick and snare combo is perhaps a little over-compressed, there's no doubt it makes us want to freaking boogie.
Another reason to love this record is its bewitching diversity. From the aforementioned uptempo of Haye Haye we dive straight into the atmospheric, melancholic Cold; wherein a brooding, resonant guitar refrain loops over long pads, 80s drum machines and plaintive wailing, before climaxing in a proggy latin guitar section and a reverb-drenched vocal call. It's like Alan Parsons, Manu Dibango, Paul Simon and Peter Gabriel all at once.
Finishing off this 3-tracker is Hisingen. With library style grooves aplenty it slowly, ever so slowly, develops its ever so slow loops, gradually introducing flutes and what I assume is a Norwegian vocal which is so short it's hard to imagine how it was conceived.
Eminently listenable stuff.

We couldn't find many stockists of this badboy but they have it at Redeye Records so get in there while you can!

Friday, 1 September 2017

Claire Northey - Mavromati

Claire Northey - Mavromati                              
CHK One (Bandcamp)                                       

Claire Northey is a French Bristol-dweller with a loopstation, a violin, a voice and a vivid imagination. Using but these simple tools* she's created a really delicate, beguiling album of genuine quirkiness.

Mavromati is a 9-track effort comprising live performances recorded in one take, using aforementioned tools. Musically the tone is folky, reminiscent of another Bristol act I Am Horse, or possibly The Books. The Books' brand of shuffling art-jazz was remixed to great effect by Prefuse 73 a few years back, and it's easy to see how the similarly crafted tones of Claire Northey made an attractive collaborative proposition with Radio 6's much-heralded DJ Yoda... between them they created a Radio 6 Music 'Album of The Day' no less. 

Here. we're invited to a stripped back, oftentimes humourous and compelling exposition of expert musicianship propelled by giddy playfulness - there's a palpable sense of fun combined with a jaunty academia. The musical equivalent of playing Knockout Ginger with Noam Chomsky. Or something. Anyay, it's really good. Go buy.

More on Claire Northey here

*Nick Oakley also contributed flugelhorn, but acknowledging that ruins my journalistic flow. Fake news!

Aeon Musk - Time

Aeon Musk - Time                              

Part of the forthcoming Zoo Keeping 2 compilation from Particle Zoo Recordings (more on that later), Aeon Musk announce themselves with a fairly bonkers Space-pop/Synthwave track called Time

Time is a free download from the Particle Zoo Bandcamp site

Mind Fair - Stepping Out - Mark E Merc Dub

Mind Fair - Stepping Out (Mark E Dub)
Merc Music                                       

This is one ridiculously stripped back joint!

Mark E accosts Joe Jackson's classic, empties its pockets, nicks its wallet and strips the clothes off its very back, leaving a stark naked yet undeniably bewitching piece of house music.

Released on Merc, it's available at Picadilly Records on wax and Beatport/Juno on digi.