Keep it Unreal
To Celebrate 20 years since the release of the album, Ninja Tune have released this lovely green vinyl version which comes with a pull out poster of all 200 flyers of my Manchester party. Signed copies available below...
Worldwide Festival 2019
Keep it Unreal 20th Birthday
1. Kaidi Tatham - You Find That I’ve Got It 12"
Kaidi, stop it! Mr. Tatham seems to be releasing a record every month at them moment. The midtempo title track has a lovely, unexpected twist where it goes all Roy Hargrove & then almost a bit Steely Dan with stabby keys, vocals & killer chord changes. There is so much sunshine in these grooves that it almost seems out of place at this time of year. The B side is a more uptempo heads-down broken beat killer.
Listen and purchase here
2. DJ Nigga Fox - Cartas Na Manga (2LP)
The debut album from one of the mainstays of the amazing Principe label. As rugged & loose/swinging as ever, but with a new level of musicality that scoops up other influences & filters them through his uncompromisingly funky lens. Check 'A Minha’ for example.. A boingy 1 note synth riff, rock solid drums, and the usual naggingly insistent Principé grooves, with added rhodes chords & a bonus acid squiggle, or 'Talanzele’ with a Manu Dibango-esque vocal, filtered sax plips, 1 note flute and a baggy, tough, muscular polyrhythmic drum track, the 6/8 shaker tussling with the loose 4/4 percussive grove. Vicio comes across like a deranged popcorn-era electronic library tune on steroids, on a trampoline. The closer ‘5 Violinos’ is a peculiar, sinister, delicate, low slung piece, where pitch shifted chat meets a mumbling marimba & deadly subs. The whole LP is an intriguing, entertaining listen from start to finish, at once pushing forward the ghetto sound of Lisbon and bringing it to new ears.
3. Gang Starr - One Of The Best Yet (2LP)
Wow. DJ Premier pulls together a final Gang Starr album from a stack of unused Guru vocals, building beats around acapellas. This will inevitably be compared with classic albums like Hard to Earn, and at its best it fits like a glove. 'From A Distance’ sees guest Jeru on form with his visual mystic style. 'Family and Loyalty’ hits the spot with classic, timeless Primo beat that really lets Guru’s vocal’s shine & J Cole killing it on guest duties (he is the only ‘modern’ artist on the LP, and despite his jumpy flow sitting at odds with everyone else’s straight up NY style, anyone who can squeeze the word ‘vestibule’ into a verse gets my vote). ‘Bring it Here’ is mini masterpeice, 50 seconds of rushing strings, a marching fat beat and Guru on angry top form. Premier also comes with some sparse, slo-mo winners alongside the grimy, rolling toughness that he is legendary for. The intro to ‘Get Together’ is a slo-mo discordant joy, and ’So Many Rappers’ is sparse & layered, much more dynamic that the style we are used to, sort of futuristic/sparse meets late 80’s Ultras/Paul C style production. Considering that Premier started with a hotch-potch assortment of acapellas, he has done a remarkable job to reverse engineer a record of this quality & stitch together a fine blanket. A labour of love.
4. Sault - 7 (LP)
The 2nd album by this mysterious bunch, quick on the heels of the much-needed repress of their recent debut album ‘5'. Fun, sparse, loose, catchy post-punk-funk-disco goodness with loads of dynamic, restraint and depth. Shades of the sloppiness & fun spirit of ESG and the funky simplicity of the Meters or Portishead, but with splashes of soulful colour here and there to shake things up. My faves are the prowling ‘Living In America’, the perky nibbler 'Smile and Go’ with its fat bass & curly harmonies, the lush, swampy ’Threats’ and the tickly, soulful ‘Friends’ with 80’s soul flavours, a welcome percussive clonk & a delicious lightness of touch.