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Michael Jackson – Maria (You Were The Only One)

My personal favourite Michael Jackson tune, taken from his debut solo album when MJ was only 13 years old. Unbelievable to think that a 13 year old can sing about a girl (Maria) with so much passion and emotion, but as it proved to be, he was a special talent. Alot of attention in recent years has moved away from Michael’s musical talents, but as a younger man he reached the very height of the Motown movement before crossing over and dominating the pop charts for over 10 years. A great tune, sampled heavily, most notably in my recollection by Fat Joe, and well worth a listen if you’ve never heard of it.

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September 28, 2010 Posted by | Jazz, Soul | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bestival 2010 – The Review

The Arcadia Stage

Woah. Simply ridiculous. At least 50 feet to the top of this giant metallic three-legged spider, with a rotating circular shaped dj booth towards its top, the Arcadia Stage is visually something a little special. But this freakish giant spider doesn’t only blow your mind with its booming sound-system, pumping tunes hot off the fingers of the worlds hottest dj’s, producers, and bands, it also breathes fire. Giant fire-balls flow from its top and two sides providing your eyes with something to feast on, whilst your ears will be ravished by drum shattering bass beats. But why stop there? catch the Arcadia Stage at the right time of the night, and you can expect to see an enormous lightning show with the three-legged beast producing frightening storms from its inner core. Fire, Lightning, and Sounds to match the visual spectacular, one not to miss.

Four Tet

Undoubtedly one of the world biggest and best producers and dj’s, initially known for his trip hop beats, now specialising in minimalistic breakbeat and electro tunes. Awesome to see him live, but a part of me thinks this kind of music isn’t always the best in a live performance with a massive crowd. The music’s so down tempo and chilled, and has so many levels to it, that among a huge audience it can be hard to really interpret what the dj, in this case Four Tet really wants to get accross to the crowd. But nonetheless a top set from a heroic dj and producer, and a man who I’m proud to have seen live.

Bruce Bane

How bloody cool is this guy. I’d never heard of him before Bestival 2010, and got a brilliant recommendation off a mate, telling me to go and check out his performance. It was the first thing i saw on the Friday morning, and any amount of partying up untill Sunday night couldn’t have forced the memories of Bane from me. A two-man show, but really a one-man performance with a guitarist occasionally adding to the mood and atmosphere, but believe me, Bane (Joe Bone) does all the work. More than just a one-man show, Joe transports you into a movie world, creating countless different characters, voices, sounds and faces all aiding to the story behind the man Bruce Bane – a hired-hand from the world of the old-school. Incredibly light-hearted where the audience can’t help but smile, interspersed with touches of absolute genius. He received rave reviews at The EdinburghFestival and I can’t see Joe Bone falling away any time soon, definitely a name for the future, and if you’ve never heard of him, one hundred percent check out his three-tiered act, they are about an hour-long a piece and each tells a different story from the world of Bruce Bane. Check out his facebook page here ; http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Bane/104197804790

The Flaming Lips

To tell the truth i wasn’t the biggest Flaming Lips fans, but i hadn’t heard alot of their stuff. But i had heard they always put on an amazing psychedelic show, and they definately did that. The lead singer Wayne Coyne enters the show on a Zorbing ball, and rolls around on top of the crowd before getting down to track one, whilst the rest of the band enter the stage through the legs of a naked woman imaged on the screen of the main stage. The show was spectacular, right up there with the rest of the best visual sights at Bestival 2010 (of which there were many), and the music, despite not being my current cup of tea, enticed me enough to want to seek out more of their work. Here’s one tune i do remember them playing, and got the crowd fully involved.

Gil Scott Heron

More than just a musician, this guy is an absolute legend. It was an honour to finally see him live, as i had tickets to see him at The Royal Albert Hall a few months back, but the gig was cancelled due to the Icelandic volcano spewing ash and stopping planes from flying…bloody nature. But Gil was everything i had hoped for, his presence on stage is something special. As an ageing man, who could easily be mistaken for a tramp on a US Subway his voice disproves this endlessly. The tone he sings with captures so much pain from his past with a croaky, somewhat crackling edge to it. It’s the clear the man is a musical genius, without whom, music styles we know and love so much in the modern-day would be entirely different. Not to mention the political history of the icon. A hero, and a definite highlight of Bestival 2010. 

The xx

Hot on the press straight after winning the Mercury Music Award for 2010 The xx were a must see at Bestival 2010. Saying that, i pretty much missed all of it. They’ve encapsulated audiences since releasing their album ‘XX’ at the end of 2009 and have grown and grown in stature with each single released. Impossible to quantify into any one specific genre their crossover album entices respect from music lovers from all backgrounds. Their massive singles ‘Crystallised’, and ‘Islands’ are huge tunes…so check em out.

Submotion Orchestra

The brainchild of drummer Tommy Evans and without doubt the highlight of my festival, i’ve been a fan of these guys for some time now, and can’t wait to hear their album when they finish making it. I was lucky enough to be right at the front of the crowd for the gig and was stunned by the beauty of the music and voice of lead vocalist Ruby Wood. It was the perfect hangover cure set, chilled out live dubstep style beats, with jazzy, soulful overtones. If your yet to hear of these guys, please check em out, their a little bit special, (the best band i’ve heard for many years)so for that reason, here’s everything i can find of theirs at the moment.

Gentleman’s Dub Club

Tommy Evans, the drummer from Submotion Orchestra leads the way once more in the Ranking Records Leeds based Reggae/Ska crew. A proper jump up, and get rowdy band creating tunes that start off with melodic reggae vibes, that switch towards massive Ska beats towards the end of most songs. Such a good vibe, and a really tight band, another Ranking Records class act, definitely a record label to look out for in the future. http://www.rankingrecords.com/Home.html – Ranking Records home page.

 

The Prodigy

Sunday night main stage headliners, and pure energy releasing greatness, this Prodigy set will be something I’ll never forget. Just the aggressiveness and emotion behind the tracks makes you move, you can’t help but throw your head around manically with a constant smile on your face. It was (apparently) the last live performance from the guys for a while, and so as expected we got a huge array of the bands classic singles. What a way to end a festival!

pictures courtesy of David Goldsmith & Isabella Dupree Nelson

 

September 18, 2010 Posted by | Breakbeat, Downtempo, Dubstep, Electro, Hip Hop, Jazz, Reggae, Rock, Ska, Soul, Trip Hop | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Submotion Orchestra

Iv’e already posted one tune by these guys from Leeds (‘All Night’) but everything that comes from them seems to be gold. These next two tunes are absolute quality, so chilled out, with a groovy summery electronic vibe, and a  female vocalist (Ruby Wood) delivering textured soulful and melancholic tones ontop of the beats.  

They share the same jazzy feel as The Cinematic Orchestra and quote heavy influences from them and other NinjaTune trip hoppy artists, such as Bonobo, Andreya Triana, and Amon Tobin to name just a few. They’re heavily touring the globe at the moment playing at many major festivals, including Secret Garden Party, Outlook, Greenman, Lattitude, and Shambala festival.

July 13, 2010 Posted by | Electro, Jazz, Soul, Trip Hop | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Laura Marling

As written by Laura Marling – http://www.lauramarling.com/biodisco.php – 

‘Alas I Cannot Swim’ Laura’s debut album, is produced by Noah And The Whale mainman Charlie Fink, and besides its warm, sweet arrangements for guitar, trumpet, brushed drums and even a male choir, the album is infused with a real intimacy.

You’ll notice that this album doesn’t just appear in a ‘normal’ format – the music is part of a ‘Song Box’, designed by Laura, which contains postcards, trinkets and stories – plus a concert ticket to her shows in March. ‘The idea came of a conversation I had with a guy who owned the studio I was recording in,’ says Marling. ‘He said he was depressed with the way music’s going, because nobody buys records any more and people are listening to MP3s on bad headphones, using music for wallpaper.’ So, she designed the chart-ineligible, beautifully printed ‘Song Box’: ‘I want people to love music,’ she says, ‘I want people to treasure it, not just my songs, but treasure music

Laura Marling has undoubteldly one of the most beautiful voices currently producing music for the British charts. She has a subtle and smooth texture to her voice, whilst her lyrics often add a darker edge to many of her songs. Laura has released two albums to date, the most recent release; ‘I Speak Because I can’, and her debut album, ‘Alas I Cannot Swim’, whilst also releasing a further two EP’s, ‘My Manic And I’, and ‘The London Town EP’.

Laura Marling (born 1st February 1990) is a 20 year old English folk singer from Eversley, United Kingdom just outside of Reading. She began playing the guitar at the age of three, first being taught the blues by her father in front of the family fire, and has been enthralled by the songs and lyrics of the likes of Neil Young, Bob Dylan, James Taylor and John Mayall ever since. It’s not just the “golden-oldies” that Laura admires; she also harbours a rather deep love for alt.country’s favourite son, Ryan Adams. “He’s brilliant, there’s nothing that even comes close, he can paint the most amazing pictures in your mind.” Jamie T personally invited her on tour with him last year after being impressed by her modern folk-pop when he caught her playing just her second ever gig. Marling is part of the extended Way Out West family, having played five eminent shows at the label’s Brentford FC night before the club was finally moved on, and was also a member of Noah and the Whale until May 2008, contributing vocals and instruments throughout, and seen in the “Five Years Time” video playing recorder. Following her London Town EP, Marling’s debut album Alas I Cannot Swim was released by Virgin on 4th February 2008. Originally released in a large Song Box containing mementos and trinkets personal to the songs, as well as a concert ticket., the album was nominated for the 2008 Mercury Music Prize.Marling releases the follow-up, I Speak Because I Can on March 22nd 2010.

July 7, 2010 Posted by | Acoustic, Folk, Indie, Jazz, Soul | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Submotion Orchestra – All Night

Spawned from the vibrant music scene in Leeds – where their weekly residency at Hukaz bar has become a staple Monday night haunt for the local populous – 7 piece outfit Submotion Orchestra have spent the duration of their first year taking away the breath of music lovers from the UK and abroad. Using both electronic and acoustic instruments with live mixing and effects from superstar dubstep producer/dj Ruckspin (who, with Quark, coined the original and much requested version of ʻSunshineʼ), Submo base their style around elements of dubstep, downtempo and soul music to create a warm, textured sound that leaves lead singer Ruby Wood ample space on which to float her haunting, smoky vocal lines.

The bulk of Submotionʼs material is written by drummer Tommy Evans (also of Gentlemanʼs Dub Club) and producer/live fx man Dom Howard aka Ruckspin. Smooth, sexy and beautifully arranged, the E.P explores the space and bass weight of dubstep whilst holding true to the soul/jazz background of the musicians. From the shimmering, melancholy Rhodes in Finest Hour to the muted trumpet licks in ʻSunshineʼ, Submotionʼs unique sound works as a full shiatsu massage for the eardrums, and will have the radio and club DJʼs mouths watering. Finest Hour gets the Planas treatment for the remix: a euphoric hands-in-the-air banger designed to take the dance floor to another level.

Submotion Orchestra has a busy summer in front of them, appearing at many of the major festivals across the UK and Europe. The band is currently working on their debut album, which will be hitting the shops in September. Watch this space!

June 2, 2010 Posted by | Acoustic, Dubstep, Electro, Jazz, Soul | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Isaac Hayes – Ike’s Mood

A true classic, sampled by a host of producers throughout many genres and styles, the piano switch at about 2:00 minutes is stunning, but the whole song from start to finish is a work of art really. The song ‘Ike’s Mood’ comes from the 1970 Hayes album, ‘To Be Continued’ which was his second release that year, after ‘The Isaac Hayes Movement’. Both these albums were released under Stax Records. Isaac Hayes is known throughout music and the wider media role, from his production of the soundtrack to Shaft, to his role in South Park, and later his belief in Scientology which led him to leave the comedy show. Isaac Hayes’ most premier work came in the 1960’s with Stax Records where he quickly became one of the leading artists at the label and a prominent figure and a force in the rise of Southern Soul at Stax. He recorded successful soul albums such as ‘Hot Buttered Soul’ (1969) and ‘Black Moses’ in 1971. His best known work, for the 1971 soul cinema classic film Shaft, earned Hayes an Academy Award for Best Original Song (the first Academy Award received by an African-American in a non-acting category) and two Grammy Awards. He received a third Grammy for the album Black Moses.

April 27, 2010 Posted by | Soul | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eddie Floyd – Big Bird

1968 Stax Records classic soul and rhythm & blues hit. It’s amazing, an absolute tune, with so much energy and life, just a single click on play, and for 3:16 try to contain yourself from moving along to the beat, it’s impossible. Eddie Floyd was born in 1935, and is most notoriously known for his hit single ‘Knock on Wood’, which can be seen below. Floyd enjoyed and still enjoys a hugely successful career, working with some of the biggest names in soul and r&b during the 60’s and 70’s including work with Carla Thomas, Otis Redding, Booker T and the MG’s and many more. The song “Big Bird” (seen above, featuring Booker T. Jones on organ and guitar, Al Jackson, Jr. on drums, and Donald “Duck” Dunn on bass) was written while Floyd waited in a London airport for a plane back to the United States for Otis Redding’s funeral. Although not a US hit, it became an underground favorite in the UK, and was later covered by The Jam, and also was featured on the video game, Test Drive Unlimited. In 2008 Eddie Floyd rejoined Stax records to release his first new album in six years named ‘Eddie Loves You’, and it went on sale in July 2008.

April 27, 2010 Posted by | Funk, Rythym & Blues, Soul | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Les McCann – Benjamin

Born in 1935 in Lexington, Kentucky, Les McCann is a heroic Soul, Jazz, Piano player and vocalist.  His music has been sampled by many defining artists within the industry, including underground hip hop duo Mobb Deep (Prodigy & Havoc) in thier hit “Right Back At You” (BMG/Loud Records). Les is best known for his work in the late 60s and early 70s with partner and saxophonist Eddie Harris, whom he first encountered at the Montreux Jazz Festival. The resulting album, Swiss Movement (1960), was a top selling jazz 12″, and the single “Compared to What” sold platinum.  Les McCann helped pioneer the use of the electric piano, clarinet, and synthesizer, and his work into the 1970’s acted as a pioneer for the electronic jazz movement. Here’s ‘Benjamin’ by Les, which is sampled by Mobb Deep, and is absolutely beautiful. Click the link, and enjoy.

January 21, 2010 Posted by | Jazz | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Etta James – I’d Rather Go Blind

So i haven’t known about this song for that long, but when i first heard it a few months ago now, i was absorbed by her voice. So distinctive, powerful, absolutely stunning, i couldn’t believe such a motown classic had never passed my ears before. Etta James (born Jamesetta Hawkins on January 25, 1938) is an American blues, soul, R&B, rock & roll, gospel and jazz singer and songwriter. James is the winner of four Grammys and seventeen Blues Music Awards, and she was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, the Blues Hall of Fame in 2001, and the Grammy Hall of Fame in both 1999 and 2008. Etta has released 27 studio produced albums, and countless live albums, with over 25 singles making it into the US music charts, she truly represents a modern day hero and icon for the music industry. The song ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’ was first recorded by Etta James, and done so in 1969, but to this day sever other versions exist, these include efforts by BB King, Clarence Carter, Rod Stewart and Beyonce Knowles. However i think it would be difficult to argue with people that suggest the Etta James version still maintains the highest props. The emotion in the track, provides a raw power that is seldom seem with music in the current generation, whilst the lyrics (written by Ellington Jordan), serve to emphasise James’s voice to perfection. So here it is, hope you enjoy.

December 22, 2009 Posted by | Soul | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Andreya Triana

A great find for 2009,  the Brighton based Soul / Folk / Acoustic singer and songwriter Andreya Triana is set to release her debut album in 2010,and is produced by the legendary trip hop producer Bonobo. Andreya is signed to the NinjaTune record label, along with Bonobo and Fink who she also co-writes with. Andreya’s been on the music scene for some time and has collaborated with a variety of top-notch artists including Bonobo, Mr Scruff, TM Juke & The Jack Baker Trio, Natural Self, Kidkanevil and Flying Lotus, but 2010 will see the Ninja Tune signee stepping out on her own and releasing her debut album sometime in the spring. The first single from the project, ‘Lost Where I Belong’, is a fantastic slice of chilled out soul, with Andreya’s gorgeous vocal laid over a great track. The song is co-written by yet another Ninja Tune artist, Fink. The single is officialy released on 8th February 2010. (Click the pics to check out ‘Lost Where i Belong’ & my favourite of Andreya’s, ‘The Keeper’, also produced by Bonobo).

December 19, 2009 Posted by | Soul | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment