Thursday, September 30, 2010
The Strange Games series...which began in the summer of 1997, represents the blueprint for modern R&B and rap music. It joins the dots between 70's soul, 80's rare groove and 90's mass market hip hop. This compilation contains a wide variety of styles of tracks, from classic dance-floor fillers as well as lesser known delights. A more accessible diggers delight if you wish with an emphasis on quality tracks and not just songs worth having for a 2 second sample. Featuring a much more worldly selection than its predecessors - tracks by the multi platinum selling WAR to Sylvia (founder of Sugarhill Records) sit side by side with world music underground icons like C.K. Mann and Francisco Aguabella. This volume is the 5th in a series of compilations that appears to have the widest appeal of all BBE's compilations and proves to be even better by the fact that there is a bonus mixed CD by the one and only DJ Spinna!
01. Ned Doheny – Get It Up for Love
02. Sylvia – Sweet Stuff
03. The Ambassadors – I Ain’t Got The Love (Of One Girl On My Mind)
04. Richard Evans feat. Linda Williams – Capricorn Rising
05. Starvue – Body Fusion
06. Sylvia St James – Motherland
07. The Soul Searchers – Ashley’s Roachclip
08. Willie Hale – Groove On
09. Eddy Senay – Cameo
10. SSO – Faded Lady
11. Cal Tjader – Morning
12. Francisco Aguabella – Ramon’s Desire
13. The Philly Armada Orchestra – For The Love Of Money
14. Family Tree feat. Sharon Brown – Family Tree
15. The Perfect Circle – The Hands Of Time
16. WAR – War Is Coming, War Is Coming
17. Hiroshi Fukumura – Hunt Up Wind
18. Wood Brass And Steel – Always There
19. C.K. Mann & His Carousel 7 – Asafo Beesuon / Obaa Yaa Aye Me Bone (Medley) Edit
20. Merry Clayton – Gimme Shelter
21. Bill Summers – Bra! zilian S kies
Strange Games and Funky Things 5 - Mix by DJ Spinna by MemeMagazine
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
The Cusp is the third album from Robert Mitchell’s Panacea and the group’s first on EDITION RECORDS. The Cusp is a negotiation of vision and territory. It’s not a facile carving out of ground in an already overcrowded market-place. For pianist and composer Robert Mitchell it’s a matter of securing a space for a highly personal aesthetic. Panacea was the Greek goddess of medicine and cures. In Mitchell’s world the healing finds its expression in song.
The Cusp is the sharp intake of breath before you reply. The title track with fine Fender Rhodes and lyrics from Mitchell and spoken word from HKB Finn cries out for social and ecological transformation while finding solace in the emotional renewal that comes from parenthood. Aura’s angular strings and piano auger a lyric that calls for the transcending of all those things that divide us, not just racially, ethnically or sexually but interpersonally as well, while Mio Inamorato with just voice and piano is about the determination to rescue a relationship gone stale. These songs are an antidote to rock bombast, the misogyny and misandry of R&B and the tired reliance on the Great American Songbook. Hardly surprising then that Mitchell finds inspiration for his adult themes and concerns in the lyrics of such diverse and distinctive writers as Prince, Paddy McAloon of Prefab Sprout and singer Norma Winstone.
The Cusp is simultaneously modern jazz and contemporary soul music. In Mitchell’s piano one hears echoes of the harmonies of Bill Evans and the warm, Caribbean melodies of Andrew Hill, while his skilled deployment of strings suggests the intriguing influence of European art music. In the gentle and expressive tones of singer Deborah Jordan, Mitchell has found the perfect voice for his words of healing, while his rhythm team move between jazz, rock and soul with accomplished ease.
You will hear nothing else like The Cusp this year. Literate, articulate and authoritative – The Cusp is a work of pride, integrity and remarkable maturity.
Conya Doss has been busy burning the midnight oil composing and arranging music for this dazzling, well-crafted 2010 album that sets the tone for what lies ahead. Her unabashedly emotional fifth studio album Blu Transition, with Blu being the name of her newborn son, is not only a collection of words set to music, it is a gift; an energy exchange that reflects the duality of love and pain. It’s an anointed story. It’s one of endurance, but more importantly it is about life being full of unexpected moments with both tragedies (death) and triumphs (birth).
With a refreshingly crisp and remarkable vocal range, as well as sparse yet beautiful instrumentation, Conya Doss has found success in simplicity. Blu Transition continues in Doss’ brilliant delivery of sweet, supple and heartfelt lyrics but she plunges deep into a bluesy-jazz vibe with spiritual undertones reminiscent of a 70’s sound in both harmony and mood. The music carries a laid-back, earthy quality that features various moments; from truly moving and haunting to a rootsy reflection of where the singer has come from with messages steeped in love, risk-taking, rejection and heartbreak. Composing yet another intricately crafted and cohesive body of work that illuminates her unequaled musicianship.
Blu Transition stretches Doss once again to express herself to the bare bones, this time around in impressive varieties of vocal styles. On the single “Best Thing” we find the songbird flying high in a falsetto tone while dipping low into baritone territory on “Wi Fi.” Doss is most poignant on the records that expose her soul, acknowledging what her life has been like since her last album. “All In You”, “Celebrate” and “Never Be The Same” are sure to overwhelmingly echo the sentiment of fans, newcomers and singers alike that will qualify them as classics. Each note she parts her lips to sing, Doss sets free a pure tone that moves you through lifetimes, which is like a light bulb turning on in one’s head; a gentle reminder that there are other people to consider in life besides oneself.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Musical powerhouses John Legend & The Roots' fiery new offering, Wake Up!, features soulful music from the 60's and 70's all with an underlying theme of awareness, engagement and consciousness — effectively telling listeners to Wake Up!
Inspired by the recent historical Presidential election campaign of 2008, Legend and The Roots felt a need to enter the action. What started as plans for a single quickly developed into a passionate album representing change, hope and activism — not only referencing one particular moment in time, but on a larger scale, holding true no matter what the political climate may be.
The resulting album features eleven profoundly evocative songs infused with sounds of gospel, rock and reggae inflections with hip hop influences. The album is highlighted by familiar tracks like "Wholly Holy" by Marvin Gaye and "Little Ghetto Boy" by Donny Hathaway mixed with the more obscure selections of Baby Huey and the Babysitters' "Hard Times," and "Hang on in There" by Mike James Kirkland.
"These songs sound so relevant now," Legend says. "On most of them, you wouldn't change a lyric. "Wake Up Everybody" (the album's first single, featuring contributions from Melanie Fiona and Common) has four verses—the first one is a general statement, the second is about education, third is about health care, and the fourth is about making a better environment. No editing needed."
The album features one original composition, Legend's song "Shine," which is featured in Academy Award-winning director Davis Guggenheim's upcoming documentary film Waiting for Superman. The song, a "Stevie-Wonder-meets-gospel" stunner, clearly demonstrates the strengths of this specific group of musicians. Wake Up! blends Legend's expressive, thoughtful vocal interpretations with an element of funk that only The Roots can provide.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Grammy-nominated musical artist Bilal (Philadelphia, PA) returns with his third studio album, Airtight's
Revenge, which will be released September 14th through Plug Research Music and distributed through The Orchard. A provocative genre-bending album that dissects love, politics and relationships, Airtight's Revenge demonstrates the Philly-bred singer's growth as an artist. 'It's a mix of jazz, hip-hop, soul, blues, and experimental free music,' says Bilal. The differences in economical social classes inspired the track 'Robots,' which scrutinizes societal and governmental effects on people. After watching the 2007 documentary, 'Zeitgeist: The Movie,' Bilal wrote 'Who Are You.' 'Of all religions, I drive to be human,' says Bilal. At the end of the day, we are all one. We need to connect with the spiritual side of ourselves; we don't need to inflict that on others. It's OK to have free thought. 'Little Ones,' a smooth track with a soulful sound is
dedicated to his sons. 'My youngest son has Sickle Cell and my oldest son has Autism. This song is for them,' stated Bilal. Steve McKie (Jill Scott, Estelle, Kindred, Vivian Green) co-produced the album with Bilal, recorded in Philadelphia, Virginia and Los Angeles. The album also features production by Nottz (Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, Drake), 88 Keys (Mos Def, Macy Gray, Musiq Soulchild), Shafiq Husayn of Sa-Ra and Tone Whitefield.
What a frequency What a voice.. I love Bilal.. I couldn't imagine a music world without his voice. --Erykah Badu
I have a very conected history with Bilal.. I heard his demo years ago.. I heard all of the magic
instantly.. He's a master at interpretation of song. --Q-Tip
Bilal is hands down one of the greatest specimens of voice in post-modern hip-hop culture. --Questlove