Soul, Funk & Jazz

All posts tagged Soul, Funk & Jazz

Mark de Clive-Lowe

Anyone at least a little familiar with this site and its history will know that among other things we have a heavy interest in the genre that is (was) dubbed ‘broken beat’. From that now seemingly dormant scene there is perhaps one man that, since the mid-noughties, has continued to forge a lead all of his own, building an impressive CV that has seen him relentlessly tour (both as a musician and a DJ), promote, collaborate and release eight albums over a productive sixteen year stint.

With his ninth album ‘CHURCH’ now in the bag and due to be issued later on May 27th via Mashibeats/Ropeadope (on digital, CD and 2 LP vinyl!), Mark de Clive-Lowe is now back on the promotion trail to ensure he maximises the returns on an album that promises to put the producer firmly back in the spotlight as a present-day pioneer. In celebrating the recent milestone of acquiring 20,000 fans on Facebook, the producer, beat-maker and virtuoso keyboardist has decided to compile a 2GB collection of his previously recorded work and release it free via the BitTorrent platform. Comprising of early albums such as his debut ‘Six Degrees’, the trailblazing ‘Tide’s Arising’ and the super rare Japanese outing ‘Journey 2 The Light’, as well as EPs, remixes and rarities, the package serves as a perfect introduction to the man and his music and a reminder to more seasoned followers of the quality and depth of his back catalogue.

Available for only 24 hours, the file should be off air by 17:00 BST tonight, so whether you want to download everything or simply plug a few gaps in your current MDCL collection, we urge you to visit this site NOW.

If you still need a little persuading, you’ll find five of our favourite picks from de Clive-Lowe’s early discography below. If you’re a fan of electronic soul, then there’s a whole heap of treasure to discover!

Jesse Futerman

The Toronto beat maker follows up his trilogy of atmospheric Jazz drenched EPs for London label Jus Like Music Records with an album of unreleased tracks, b-sides and remixes.

There’s something a little melancholy about the music of Jesse Futerman. Whether it’s the siren calls of long forgotten Jazz divas excavated from the past that are often so richly sampled, or rather the moods that he creates with each additional layer of instrumentation, Futerman’s work is deep. Rooted in hip-hop, but with flourishes of soul, Jazz and electronica, the producer has already crafted three exquisite EPs for the Jus Like Music imprint and here he closes out this particular chapter of his work with the release of ‘Hidden Basement’, a ten-track exploration of previously unreleased beats.

At just over 30 minutes in length, it’s a short but engaging listen, one bubbling with a traditional hip-hop sensibility but twisted in way that somehow makes the end result sound otherworldly. In the process of constructing his tracks, Futerman pulls from a variety of sources to elaborate on the ethereal vibe he very often creates, a crisp kick drum or snare pushed front and centre in the mix to bring that little bit of bite to each piece. The first five tracks very much tread the same route, beat-driven downtempo sounds rich with samples derived from dusty old jazz records, film dialogue and a touch of psychedelic folk in places. The results are well produced and glide effortlessly along but it’s not until the producer pairs with Toronto associate Deebs on the excellent ‘Lonely Soul’ that we get a little something different, handclaps and a Moroder-esque synth workout pushing things in an almost nu-disco direction. There’s further experiments in four to the floor territory as ‘I Don’€™t Go Out Very Often’  turns into memorable late night jam heavily inspired by the late Terry Callier, while the all too brief ‘Futureman’ is perhaps the most straight ahead take on house with its analog synths and bassline throb. A pair of remixes close out the set, both firmly planted in beat territory, Kidkanevil dropping a tasty reflip of ‘A Good Man Is Gone’ (originally released on Futerman’s ‘Super Basement’ EP) while Ryan Hemsworth reworks the previously unreleased ‘Santiago’ into a bass heavy monster.

Overall it’s another inviting glimpse into the world of the producer and his ongoing experiments, and with a release forthcoming on the R&S affiliated Apollo Records, the future looks bright for the young Canadian. Stream the album below and head on over to Bandcamp to name your price.

Playing catch up? Complete the series >>
Jesse Futerman - Exquisite Basement EP Jesse Futerman - Fuse The Witches EP Jesse Futerman - Super Basement EP

Stanton Davis and the Ghetto Mysticism Band – Isis Voyage

Back in 2011, the Cultures of Soul record label reissued the seldom seen rare groove ‘Brighter Days’ recorded by Stanton Davis’ Ghetto/Mysticism band. A cult favourite among vinyl collectors around the world, the original press on the privately owned Outrageous Records imprint was released back in 1977 and now fetches big money when it occasionally changes hands, its mystique only intensifying when Madlib professed that it was one of his favourite jazz albums (he also famously sampled it in Madlib Medicine Show #7) .

Sought for both its scarcity and the grooves embedded in the wax are just so damn funky, the album is one of only  two records cut by Davis as a leader (the other being ‘Manhattan Melody’, Enja, 1988), the New Orleans trumpeter spending much of the 1970’s as a sideman for many of George Russell’s bands. ‘Brighter Days’ was in fact his debut and with tracks such as ‘Space-A-Nova’, ‘High Jazz’ and the excellent title track, this is certainly no one track album. It’s a killer example of a man and his band at the top of their game, combining as it does elements of spiritual jazz, African rhythms, psychedelic soul and hard-hitting funk into one scintillating long player.

After gaining the rights to the LP from Mr. Davis and following the subsequent success of the reissue, Cultures of Soul label boss and DJ Deano Sounds sought to prep a second release that included the extended versions of some of the original songs as well as unreleased tracks and instrumentals taken from the same Ghetto Mysticism reel to reel tapes. This week that very album hits stores and gives us a further glimpse into the immense musicianship of Davis and this particular group of musicians. Now not just confined to the original edits, the source material really stretches out and bubbles with intensity, while new tracks like  the previously unheard ‘Odwalla’ (a blissed out, otherworldly jam) and ‘Isis Voyage’ (from which the new LP takes its name) are equally essential and to round off the package, renowned record collector and expert on all things disco Al Kent from Million Dollar Disco is brought in to emphasis the spaced-out melodies of both ‘Things Cannot Stop Forever’ and ‘High Jazz’, in turn exerting all his usual magic to tweak both for a modern dancefloor setting.

We recently caught up with Deano and asked him a few questions about his ongoing project to bring Stanton Davis’ music to a wider audience. Here’s what he had to say:

Q. When did you first uncover the original pressing of the ‘Brighter Days’ LP and what made you decide to reissue it for today’s market?

I found a copy of it at record fair in Montreal. I’d been looking for it for a few years and just got lucky. I felt at the time which I still feel today that the tracks on it are so unique, timeless, and funky that it should get the proper exposure it deserves, as it is a significant piece of work as an album and it never received much attention in America.

Q. Was it easy to find Stanton Davis to get his blessing initially and was he surprised when you first made contact?

It was relatively easy to track down Mr. Davis but it did take a little convincing to prove to him that my label was worthy of putting out one of his most prized pieces of work.

Q.The new LP ‘Isis Voyage’ builds upon the success of the first and reintroduces different versions of a number of tracks, including a few remixes. Was it an easy decision to compile a second LP?

It was easy because there was so much material there that was significantly different than the material on the original ‘Brighter Days’ album. People don’t realize how much of the tracks on the original album were edited down to fit a more accessible format. Not to mention the fact that there are also two totally unreleased compositions on ‘Isis Voyage’.

Q. Al Kent put together two great disco mixes of some of the original album tracks. Do you think the LP lends itself well to more disco remixes being produced, and have you got plans to get more commissioned at some point?

It does because there are multi-tracks for most of the material making it easier for remixers to work with these tracks. I’d love to do an album of remixes and I’ve got a few legends in mind to do the remixes but we’ll have to see how well this sells first!

Q. Is Mr. Davis still actively making music? Do you think there’s a chance he might get back in the studio again? 

I’m sure he is always composing but at the moment he is more busy performing and teaching.

Q. What’s up next on the Cultures of Soul agenda? Have you got anything else coming up release wise that we should be looking out for? 

We’ve got a smorgasbord of different releases coming out this year! A compilation called ‘Bombay Disco – Disco Hits from Hindi Films from 1979 to 1985’, a 45 box set selected by myself and DJ Andy Smith, a couple of Trinidad Disco 12″s, and a compilation of Caribbean Disco music. It’s going to be a busy year!


You can buy Stanton Davis and The Ghetto Mysticism Band’s ‘Isis Voyage’ now on both LP and CD direct from the Cultures of Soul website, or via your usual local vinyl stockists including Juno, Phonica and Sounds of the Universe

Charles Trees

Following the release of his extended set of electronic gems on Christmas Eve last year, Ann Arbour producer Charles Trees once again steps into the limelight with a new EP on Madrid’s suitably eclectic Lovemonk.

Enter stage left Charles Trees, so far a pretty likeable character out of Ann Arbour, Michigan, a state that single-handedly seems to have a stronghold on our writing of late. Truth be told this post had already been half written before the full samples of his new six-track EP had even been unearthed. There was just something totally irresistible about the title track “Rootwork” which had us hooked when it turned up in our music stream on Bandcamp earlier this month (shout to Mike Guerreri on that one). A unique mix of spaced out jazz, sax, electronic badness and 303 bass lines, it’s five and a half minutes of totally original music, all twists and turns – oh and it bangs HARD. That’s Dan Bennett on baritone sax (you may have already heard his work previously as part of the band Nomo) and we presume Mr Trees on all other machinery.

Thankfully it turns out the EP isn’t just a one-tracker as the Trees has a talent for constructing slow building jams that approach the age old problem of ‘genre’ in such a haphazard way, that things just seem to end up sonically pleasing. Take “Exodus” for instance, a tune which at the start bears more than a passing resemblance to a drum circle attempting to recreate a beatdown track, before a heavy kick punctuates the groove and we go off in search of that dark corner in the disco, next to the speaker stack. “Get Advanced” is what you would call futuristic hip hop if Konono No. 1 happened to employ a DJ, Detroit rapper, poet and Egyptologist Intricate Dialect effortlessly spitting lyrics over a distorted wall of percussion and acidic stabs. Then there’s the final of Tree’s four productions here, “What’s Next”, a shimmering, celestial build that breaks out into the most delicious of synthed out boogie cuts, the aforementioned Mr Bennett returning to add a little further sax spice in the second half.

The EP is rounded off with two very different remixes from Madrid’s very own veteran techno producer DJ F and fellow Ann Arbour native Shigeto. On his “DJ F Restructure”,  F strips away the organic feel of “Rootdown” and concentrates on building a fairly angular piece of house, all tripped out keys, breaks and mechanical beats, while Shigeto sets about contorting “What’s  Left” into an extended 9 minute behemoth, ramping up the original’s atmospherics before unleashing a driving slab of deep techno.

The EP is out today digitally and you can download it direct via Bandcamp. There’s also a 12″ floating about in all your usual spots (always nice to know). Try before you buy below!

A Race Of Angels - Just Begin

The second in the series of twelves released on the new Theo Parrish affiliated imprint Wildheart Recordings dropped over the weekend and it’s another sweet spot from the legendary Detroit DJ and producer.

The A-Side is a composition by Los Angeleno A Race of Angels, a studio project of musician and vocalist Yeofi Andoh which originally saw the light of day back in 2007 on the ‘From L.A. with Love’ compilation put together by the ArtDontSleep family. Obviously Mr Parrish has been digging deep recently for his new project as this achingly beautiful slice of celestial vocal jazz appears to have been pretty much criminally slept on in Internet Land, people possibly preferring to dabble in the more well-known quantities of FlyLo, Georgia Anne Muldrow and Exile on the compilation (we have to admit we actually have a fondness for this tune too, a precursor no doubt to this). Nevertheless, Parrish’s trained ear has once again revived the track for a new generation of beat fanatics and on the flip, he’s entrusted the established team of Dego and Akwesi Mensah to work their magic on a broken boogie beatdown flex for the body poppers amongst you.

After the success of the debut split release late last year that featured the combined talents of Tony Allen, Eska, Andrew Ashong and David Okumu (of The Invisible), and with a reported new release already in the pipe line from the Myele Manzana Trio lined up for later this year, Wildheart is shaping up to be just as trailblazing and essential as it’s sister label Sound Signature. Music for the mind indeed. Keep a look out and in the meantime peep the original and remix below, and should you wish go grab the goods from your preferred retailer below.

12″: Juno | Phonica | Sounds of the Universe