Necksnappin’ is the debut album by French 5-piece band Dope Gems. Formed in 2011 by drummer/arranger Slikk Tim, Dope Gems are all about recreating the sound of 70s jazz-funk with a contemporary twist. Let’s put it this way, if you’re into the sound of BadBadNotGood, then you’ll certainly love DopeGems. From the opening track, Condor Redux, you can tell this crew is tight in their arrangements and that they have an excellent feel for a killer groove. First Come, First Serve is another injection of powerful funk, one that will have you freaking out on your seat and on discerning dancefloors. Album closer Quasar is probably our favorite cut, with the original Bennie Maupin composition on Herbie Hancock’s Crossings album being an all time favorite of ours.
One of the reasons we loved Jonathan Glazer’s Under The Skin film so much, was for Mica (Micachu & The Shapes) Levi’s astonishingly eerie soundtrack. There’s something claustrophobic yet sexy, about the humming, distorted strings that Mica utilizes, that perfectly suits the tension of the film. Best first enjoyed whilst watching the film, of course. Listen to Andrew Void for a taste.
This album from the young, NY hailing RATKING trio begins with a plea to not compare current hip hop with its predecessors, being of a different time. Valid point but nothing is born in a bubble and unless you’re under 18 and banned from the web, at some point you’ll come across something older people like, especially if music is your passion and you’re making it to boot. Nevertheless, such “no idols”, “no comparison”, rhetoric is still welcome as RATKING have managed to release one of the freshest hip hop albums in a long time, with comparisons to Company Flow’s debut not completely irrelevant. However, RATKING have their own sound. The flows require an initial effort to listen to, thank god, because they don’t sound like Kanye West, DOOM, Gucci Mane OR your favourite rapper from the ‘90s, and the beats are a step to the side too. Sure they might flip a sample like it’s ‘94 again, but much of the drum programming exposes a far wider share of influences. Album highlight, So Sick Stories, even features British poet/crooner King Krule on the hook. Best rap album so far this year? Maybe. Go listen.
Legowelt just keep on releasing quality electronic music with a distinct sound that is identifiably his: pulsing rhythms and hypnotic synth melodies with slightly eerie atmosphere, that sounds dated and modern at the same time. Here’s another highlight, 4 tracks for the reliable PPU label titled Los Alamos Motel. A solid EP throughout, Puzzles in Life was our favorite.
Kassem Mosse is back with a full length on Berlin’s Workshop. Some call it “leftfield house”, we call it raw drum machine workouts, reminiscent of the best slices of Detroit via Chicago House. If you’re looking for a record to close your eyes and nod your head to, this is the one.
Released by the ever excellent Jazzman Records as part of Record Store Day 2014 festivities, this 5xLP or 4xCD box set features early experiments in Ethnic jazz by french pianist, composer, and bandleader Jef Gilson, one of the holy grails of European spiritual jazz. The set includes 3 impossible to find albums released by Gilson et Malagasy in the 70s after his travels and immersion into the culture of Madagascar. The sound quality on these restored recordings is astonishing, it must be said Jazzman have done an excellent job at making the source material sound amazing and as heavy as it should. Listening to the whole set will probably require several days, but here are some of our favorite cuts:Chant Inca, a beautiful version of the Pharoah Sanders/Leon Thomas composition The Creator Has a Master-Plan, Newport Bounce, Buddah’s Vision, Ô Ambalavoa, and Unknown 1 to name just a few.