Good music is without question a timeless quality that lingers. Thus, I decided to share previous reviews that I wrote for BEAUTIFUL DECAY which can be found in their back catalog. Enjoy and download these fine audio offerings.
Nostalgia 77 | Everything Under The Sun | Ubiquity
Echoes of Free Form and Afro Blue are felt throughout
this refreshing piece. Various textures and tones of
depth are sprinkled on every track, with revisiting
moments of (if I may respectfully) John Coltrane,
Yusef Lateef, Flora Plurim and Kellee Patterson just
to name a few. The batucada friendly “Wildflower” is
infectious with a very tribal and majectic feel.
“Arora” is a very well composed tune with a reflective
mood while “Eastwind” is a jazz funk groove thats very
minimal yet tactful. Overall, this cd lives up to its
title by taking the listener on a musical sojourn
thats pure in range and emotion. This release is the
A-Ski | Beautiful Decay
Art Dont Sleep Presents | FROM LA WITH LOVE | Milan
An erray of assorted sounds and emotions bring together a hot bed of LA’s finest on this edgy release. Euphoric feelings blended with straight ahead tones are evident on this release. “All The Shallow Deep” feat Nobody/Blank Blue bears a Lalo Schriffin tone while backed by a funky/cool setting. In a beautifully brave remake of remake of Kool and The Gang’s “I Remember John W. Coltrane, Yesterday’s New Quintet delivers some serious funky tones. “Just Begin” feat A Race Of Angels is a warm, wet and vulnerable piece while Coleman’s “No Strings Attached” is a peaceful yet reflective track that is very moving. “Nag Champa by Carlos Nino /Miguel Atwood-Ferguson is a spritual awakening taking flight on an infinite level, an amazingly beautiful composition. From LA With Love bears various tones for all seasons while presenting an array of LA’s musical mavericks taking the listener on an never ending musical trip from Dusk til dawn, on and on.
A-Ski | Beautiful Decay
Ruff Draft | J DILLA | Stones Throw
The world will eventually catch up to a man that was far ahead of the world. Dilla aka Jay Dee/Jay Dilla exemplified honest music to the maximum which set him apart from his contemporaries. Ruff Draft is a very minimal yet potent piece which captures the essence of “street” and “experimental”. Featuring appearances from Dilla’s “Juice Crew”: Slum Village, Frank & Dank, Guilty Simpson,etc. “The $” is a hot club banger taking a Marley Marl/Whodini approach, “Wild” is an anthem friendly piece laced with an off beat groove, “Take Notice” is a nice braggadocio gem feat. Guilty Simpson. This release is further evidence that Dilla’s sound has left a permanent stamp in progressive movements in Hip Hop, Soul and beyond.
Dj A-Ski (Nu Soul Magazine 3/07)
DJ CENTER “Feel What Im Feelin”
An inviting collage of honest music and warm beats coming from
planet Brooklyn. Dj Center brings an exciting and delightful compilation of grooves while inviting you to his world and state of mind through these carefully picked selections. The presentation of this mixed
complilation is quite fascinating for the fact that this is
a double disc release covering the various degrees of Nu Soul/Hip Hop and Free Form Jazz. “Feel” also has an array of rare gems from artists such as Q Tip “Money Maker”, Sa-Ra
Pharoahe Monche “Glorius”
(remix) and the ultra rare Digable Planets “Dedicated”. Other artist featured are The Platinum Pied Pipers, Vinia Mojica (wassup
DJ Magnito!!), The Last Poets and many more.
The Hip Hop Soul disc serves as an appetizer for the motherlode which is the “Jazz in the Color Purple” disc. The “Jazz” disc is purely an invitation to the essence (next to Blues and Gospel) of Hip-Hip and Soul. These compesitions
are not only timeless but they bring an instensity and quality that you simply dont find in today’s musicians. The artists featured on this disc such as Pharoah Sanders, Ahmad Jamal, Yusef Lateef, Ramsey Lewis,Kenny Burrell,etc are not playing a groove, they are playing an experience. Center captures that feeling and emotion of these musical gods featuring pieces such as Pharoah Sander’s majestic piece “Lower Egypt” which sounds just as moving today as it did when I use to hear it as a child.
This disc also features a very regal
rendition of WAR’s “Slipping Into Darkness” perfomed by Chicago’s own Mr. Ramsey Lewis and the Gary Bartz/Andy Bey classic “Celestial Blues”.
The “Jazz” side is filled with a lot of “jellies and gems” but its clearly a testiment of pure perfection and feeling of these great musicians that will or may never be heard again in such a fashion. DJ Center takes you on one serious musical journey with this release and hopefully you too will get “the feeling”.
Reviews by Dj A-Ski
Ammon Contact chimes in with a beautiful collage of
Hip Hop, Be Bop, Soul, Funk, Jazz and other sincere
gems. A spiritual journey through the form of sound,
Ammon Contact presents a very honest approach with
challenging rhythms and beautiful tones. The entire
album is very uplifting with tracks such as “Drum
Riders” feat Brother J, “With Voices” feat Lil Sci,
Hip Hop heads please dont sleep on these gems! The
very majestic “A Zillion Tamborines” feat the
legendary Kamau Daaood, “Earth Children” feat Mia Doi
Todd and “Children of the Sun” feat “Dwight Trible”
are staples that are immersed in brilliance. This
release rings in different colors and emotions that
are sure to raise the standard in progressive music
alive. This release is the sure shot!
(courtesy of Beautiful Decay | 6.19.06)
People Under The Stairs
An uplifting collage of party rhymes and analogue rhythms, the “peoples” come with the goods. The intro sets the tone with a “Brady Bunch Gone Funky” sample while putting in overtime on the production with intricate arrangements and grooves leaning towards the 86-89 style but with a new school approach. Double K comes in strong with the rhyme flow, witty projection and punch. Thes One comes in as a good balance factor with a lighter approach yet tactful. An array of tones and emotions range on this release such as the retrospective “Days Like This” to the King Of Pop infueled “Tuxedo Rap”. “Flexx Off” is a really strong record as well which pays tribute to Uncle Jam George Clinton. Sir Nose later makes a cameo appearance in the ultra hip “The Doctor and The Kidd”. PUTS provides variety infused with excellent production and a sincere approach to this potential classic.
(courtesy of Beautiful Decay | 3.30.06)
Ambient tones, soulful echoes and electro sounds are few of the many ingredients created in this audio collage. Nicolay clocks in with a sequel to “City Lights v1” , in which “City Lights v2” bears a mature and seasoned sound. The many moods that are captured on this album takes the listener on an audio canvas as a painter searching for a visual climax. “Bullet Train” reigns in a euphoric yet busy atmosphere, while dwelling in a dark and promise future. “Omotesando” has a loose and open feeling while leaning on a heavy Jazz Fusion groove, this is my personal favorite under the “City Lights”. “Meiji Shrine” gives a pinch of the Nicolay signature sound found in previous works, while serving as a reminder that the funk is still in control. The “buzz” cut is “Wake Up In Another Life” featuring vocalist Carlitta Durand, this lively piece is another highlight on the album worth checking out. This release sets a fresh and redefinitive approach in additon to exploring new ground, “City Lights v2” is the sure shot!
I pulled this one out of the Unique74 archives. This was a review i did a few years back for Beautiful Decay.
Ohmega Watts | The Find
A collage of colorful beats and clean flows is exactly what you will
find in this flawless debut by this producer/mc from the groundbreaking camp Lightheaded. Compared to the likes of Soul
Brother Pete Rock to Digital Underground, Ohmega presents a release of love, life and labor as heard in his debut release. Very few hip hop albums you can actually listen to all the way through and come out feeling good, it is almost a lost art these days but Ohmega is one of the chosen few who bring that “analogue” warm feeling that we all long for in a hip hop record. Filled with groovy loops, dirty funk and mellow tones, “The Find” is a journey of a long lost feeling of intent and honesty once found in great records. This release is the part of the next chapter to breathe life into Hip Hop music and its integrity.
This release is comprised of well thought out concepts and detailed production. The beats themselves are full of life, giving you the “feel good” vibe. Personally, I was jumping up and down like a kid again when I heard tracks like “That Sound” (feat Noelle and The Procussions), the wisdom driven and beautiful “Mind Power”, the Augustus Pablo dub influenced ****”Track 10″ which is a potential dancefloor jammie (12 inch potential, hint, hint..) and a host of others. The entire album is well balanced with a healthy and honest approach in every song. This release is not to be slept on if you truly love Hip Hop music.
This next piece I still rock in my sets, I did a review a year prior to the Ohmega Watts review. Courtesy of Jointz Magazine.
Lightheaded | Never Square EP
This release takes it back to the basics of a great hip-hop record: concept, good beats, potent lyrics and energy. Lightheaded are part of a movement i’d like to call “breath of fresh air groups” that remind us why we love this thing called Hip Hop music. Having paid dues on the underground circuit which gave birth to their first release “Pure Thought” . The crew comes through strong with their vinyl debut “Never Square”. The title EP track “Never Square” chimes in with a mellow party vibe which celebrates the work of legendary jazz master Dr. Donald Byrd with his timeless piece “When I Hear Music” as the backing track. “Blink Of An Eye” sets an extreme B-Boy tone, comprised of braggadio rhymes and a slow tempo swing beat blessed by 9th Wonder which has the makings of a potential underground anthem.
The highlight track is “Blink Of An Eye” produced by Muneshine. This track has a very relaxed yet peaceful tone while the group’s delivery rides well with the track. Laced with the imcomparable Dorothy Ashby’s harps, her spirit stands out tremendously through this track. Peep the instrumental to truly capture the essence of this track. The “Never Square” EP is a sure winner like a Pioneer chicken dinner! Dont sleep on this sure shot!
Check out my latest review on the new India Arie album, courtesy of our friends at Nu Soul!
Check out my Ann Nesby Review courtesy of our friends at NU SOUL
The day before…
Madlib :: Sound Directions (Stones Throw)
This funky offering celebrates compositions by Soul, Jazz and Funk icons such as David Axelrod, Billy Brooks, JJ Johnson just to name a few. Armed with seasoned musicians featuring Madlib clocking in on drums, Sound Directions presents fresh and sincere approach to these timeless pieces. Intense musicianship to the 10th power incorporating horns and other settle elements. The personal highlight for me on this album is a rendition of the 60’s soul dancefloor classic “The Horse” originally by Cliff Nobles and Co. This loose and extra funky version will have you out on the floor in no time (took me back to the days when my mom literally wore this record out). Majestic horns are replaced by the guitars giving it an edge, the late Jessie James would be proud of this version. Sound Directions not only provides a lesson in Soul 101 by paying homage to these musical icons but it demonstrates Madlib’s ongoing and everchanging process in pushing the musical envelope in the name of honest and good music. Sound Directions is the destination!
The Budos Band :: Self Titled (Daptone)
Okay im gonna put it out there.This record is bananas! This funk outfit hails out of Shaolin aka Staten Island, clocking in with a pinch of Afro Beat & Latin tones immersed in the bottom line, Funk. Its weird listening to this release because one cannot help but think that it was recorded back in 70′. The major highlight of the release is their rendition of Sly and The Family Stone’s “Sing a Simple Song”. Now you would think that no one can top the original but the fellas hold their own putting their own staple in this timeless piece. Overall, The Budos are bound to become one of the groups to relight the flame in funk bands. Making this release the sure shot!