Articles tagged with soul

Mr. Vacation with Special Guest Brett Burton

February 7

Mr. Vacation is back and this time he’s got a new DJ partner — Brett Burton. Two DJs with very different methods will have to work together if they’re gonna see this thing through. Their reputations on the line, a friendship on the edge and a dance floor caught in the middle, it’s an explosive cocktail. This action packed, all-vinyl thrill ride will delight fans of Funk, Disco, Garage, Soul and more!  ★★★★

Legowelt – “And The Beat Goes On”

October 23

Dutch producer Danny Wolfers, aka Legowelt, just uploaded this track to his Soundcloud, a curious but charming interpretation of The Whsipers’ 1980 boogie hit “And the Beat Goes On.” Incorporating the glorious muted tonality of budget synths captured on normal-bias cassette tape, it preserves the basic structure of the song, minus of the vocals (aside from Legowelt’s timid recitation of “and the beat goes on” peeking out occasionally from under his thick blanket of sound. Call it chillwave, call it abstract funk, I definitely call it compelling, coming from a man who proclaims on his very-retro website that he’s been “running deep in a silent corner of the internet since 1998.”

You can grab this track for free from Legowelt’s Soundcloud page.

– Spoolwork

Joe Bataan – "Call My Name"

June 27


“Call My Name” – Joe Bataan

When Bataan Nitollano, better known as Joe Bataan, was fifteen he was already giving orders as the leader of East Harlem street gang The Dragons, til one bad luck night he got busted driving around town in a stolen car and spent the next five years in Coxsackie State Prison. When he finally got out in ’65, he used the music skills he’d developed while locked up to fuse Latin rhythms with R&B, helping to mold Latin soul. Later, when disco was on the rise, he released “Rap-O-Clap-O,” an early disco-rap tune, resulting in one of the first ever hits in the nascent days of hip-hop. Shortly after, he became a counselor for at-risk youth and went musically mute, staying silent for 20 years before returning with this track and its accompanying album, recorded at Daptone studios in NYC. It was a hefty wait, but worth it, the results every bit as soulful as his early work and just as likely to still sound great after another couple decades go by.

– Spoolwork

Mo Kolours – “Keep It Up”

June 12


Mo Kolours – “Keep It Up”

London-based beatsmith Mo Kolours dropped his latest EP Banana Wine a little bit ago, and it’s a gurgling, lo-fi wash of Jamaican dub, hip hop and soul, with a hint of the traditional sega music peeking in from time to time via his family’s roots in Mauritius. “Keep It Up” is a nice example of the genre blending at work here- imagine King Tubby and D’Angelo huddled over a four-track and a sticky MPC2000, bobbing their heads in unison til a perfect beat congeals, echoing the familiar and sounding completely new.

Mo Kolours’ Banana Wine is out now via One-Handed Music and can be downloaded for free from Bandcamp.

– Spoolwork

May 8


Portentous preachings aside (“Kali Yuga” being the Hindu age of vice in which we’ll all sink beneath black flames of ignorance, avarice, addiction and lust), this track from Georgia Anne Muldrow’s new disc Seeds is about as inviting as a slow burn can get. The LA based singer/musician teams up with producer Madlib, whose junk drawer approach to sampled beat construction- gluing ramshackle bits of forgotten vinyl into woozy slabs of jelly-neck funk- fits Ms. Muldrow’s voice like silky, dust-caked glove. Dangling her luscious voice over thick drops of kick and snare, she leaves enough space for Madlib to fill in the gaps with horn stabs, disembodied backup singers and a wave of human voices, either crying out in anguish or begging for more. If this is what the age of vice sounds like, I’ll opt for the latter.

Georgia Anne Muldrow’s Seeds is out now on SomeOthaShip Connect.

– Spoolwork

April 19

Coming into the DJ scene in the mid 90s, I was inundated with soulful, spacey music.  Lounge was king, Techno was dark, House was deep and most tracks seemed geared more for after hours parties than for the peak of the evening.  In contrast, my tastes ran more towards straight-ahead bangers — music for ass shaking, glass breaking and pill taking.  I wasn’t looking for smart music, I was just looking to get the party started.  Because of that early over-exposure, it has taken me a long time to come round to subtler dance music sounds.

Detroit’s Moodymann has built a career crafting the kind of music I never really dug.  He famously said “I don’t make music for the masses to dance to, I make music for the small majority that listens.”  Well, I finally started listening, if only because I got tired of everything sounding the same.

A devoted and vocal proponent of Detroit’s Jazz, Soul and R+B heritage, Moodymann, aka Kenny Dixon Jr., champions Techno’s early stripped-down sound and the Black artists who built the genre.  He’s also a huge supporter of vinyl, often stoping tracks in the middle of DJ sets to proclaim that his women prefer 12”s.  This made his choice to release his newest “record” digitally via Scion A/V a surprise, but a pleasant one.

The opening track 9 Nites 2 Nowhere features a driving disco pulse, blaring synth stabs and super dry white noise snares.  Moodymann saves the reverb for the unexpected horn interludes.  It’s as if the door to a hole-in-the-wall jazz club has swung open as a drunk stumbles out.  Just as he moves out of the lamp light and into the darkened streets, we’re back to the tight, hypnotic beat.   

If you’re not having fun yet, then you need to join the crowd that sets off Basement Party.  The funkiest cut of the 8 tracks, it’s got a Parliament feel to it, propelled by a wild swinging LFO sample and a nasty fartastic bass synth.  The production is purposely mixed so it sounds like it’s coming through the floor boards.  In case the name didn’t tip you off, Moodymann is more interested in creating a mood than anything else. 

Saturday at the Rock is upbeat and creepy in just the right Detroit techno way.  There’s a background melody burbling like curbside muck or drainpipe runoff from some abandoned industrial building.  The interplay between the snare hits and the sci-fi synth stabs is both seedy and robotic.  It’s Kraftwerk on food stamps.

U Ranaway opens with a stray R+B a cappella that runs for 1:36 before a clicky Minimal Techno metronome and druggy organ noodling enter.  Discordant spaced-out House pads complete the track, which was designed to be played in places with no sign out front that don’t open till every place else is closed.

Uplifting and simple, Pray 4 Love is a dubbed out Space Disco track.  Catchy hooks and a positive vibe are like the comedown after an all-nighter with the P.L.U.R. crowd.  It recalls the 70s via the 90s.  It’s Donna Summer but cooler and with less production muscle.  Think Paradise Garage Sale.

Hold it Down is like listening to a Smooth Jazz band playing along to Prince’s answering machine message.  The flute solos and glistening cocktail hour piano contrast oddly with the soul shout-outs to various cities.  The singer’s insistence that we hold it down is almost comedic considering how down everything already is.  In fact, if things get held down any more, I might need to order a cheese plate and some red wine.

With a rubber band rhythm, slinky guitar riffage and various vocal samples., Got 2 Make It is what Daft Punk might sound like if they were produced by DJ Shadow.  The opening and closing of the track break down to the underlying infectious beat.  It’s a bit like Mylo’s Drop The Pressure but unplugged.  It’s so simple, yet so good, you are left wishing the whole track sounded like this.  That’s probably why there’s also a dub mix.

Picture This is a love letter to Detroit music, be it Soul, Jazz, House or Techno.  It’s Black, sexual, spooky and … well, moody.  But it’s also fun and danceable, at least at moments.  This is not music to be ignored or relegated to the wee hours and back rooms of places you shouldn’t be in the first place.  This is headphone music, car music and dance floor music that proves every record doesn’t have to be 128 beats per minute.  More please — some of us are actually listening.

-Dope Werewolf

February 28

Gospel’s been reborn on the DJ decks before (see Larry Levan’s retelling of “Stand on the Word” for the late night faithful at the Paradise Garage), but such resurrections are rare. Maybe the church and the dance floor should team up more often, though, seeing how they’re both working hard to feed our souls, or at least get them cranked and rattling and ready to meet the world again. “Take those shackles off my feet so I can dance,” Mary Mary sing in this Drop Out Orchestra mix, and even if we aren’t spinning next to them in the pew this Sunday, we’re just as ecstatic the night before, shaking off the weight of last week’s woes, feeling our flames catch hold and burn a little brighter and remembering that, at least right now, it feels pretty damn good to be alive. 

– Spoolwork