05 December 2012

Review: Breakbot 'By Your Side'

By Your Side
[Ed Banger/Warners]

The front cover of By Your Side depicts Breakbot aka French producer Thibaut Berland as a partially unwrapped bar of chocolate, and his debut album crammed full of French funk, pop and sugary soul certainly falls into the "guilty pleasure" category. Sounding at times like Daft Punk or Crazy P or Phoenix or even Prince - though, admittedly, a slimmed down, low-fat kinda version - the album is enjoyable enough, it's just that almost every song sounds "like" somebody else. The title track sounds like Chromeo. One Out Of Two sounds like Hall & Oates or Supertramp. Fantasy sounds like Justin Timberlake doing his best Michael Jackson impression. Frankly, anything that guest vocalist Ruckazoid touches sounds like that, but perhaps that's part of the album's sweet treat charms: familiarity. Or at least enough familiarity to keep ears piqued, as there are a handful of tracks (Break Of Dawn, Intersection, Programme) which stray a little further into "interesting" territory - though these are all instrumental tracks, funnily enough. Programme is probably the most left field, which possibly says something about which area of the road this album is targetting. There are a couple of singles which have been fairly thrashed round these parts (Baby I'm Yours in particular), but the long and short is that Breakbot's debut album is chocka with music that's here for a good time, not a long time. Mind you, who can resist dipping back into a guilty pleasure now and again...?

3 stars from 5

Check out some album snippets in the player below, or the full album here.

breakbot - by your side (album preview) by experimedia

Review: Ondatropica

[Soundway Records]

Many of us mere mortals fantasise of following our dreams, throwing in the tools and breaking the shackles of modern life for something more exciting, more challenging. Something more real. Some of us don't dream, they just do. One of those people is Will Holland, Better known as Quantic. Some time back (after releasing about twelve albums in the space of seven years) Hollands followed his deep interest in the music and people of South America with a number of visits, before moving to and deciding to live in Colombia. He is now fully ensconced and has released a number of albums, with a mixture of local and guest musicians, as Quantic and His Combo Barbaro, and Quantic Presenta Flowering Inferno. On this occasion though, Holland has teamed up with Mario Galeano, the brains and power behind Colombian band Frente Cumbiero, to present Ondatropica. The project is an ambitious one, putting together in the famous Discos Fuentes studio in Medellin some of Colombian music's most legendary figures with young players from both Holland and Galeano's bands and asking them to represent both the classic and modern styles of Colombian music. Ambitious, yes, but ultimately, successful. There is a ahuge amount of music to digest in one sitting, but taken piece by piece Ondatropica is a rambling, sprawling triumph, and a credit to the spirit in which it was recorded. Lovingly released by those good folks at Soundway Records, Ondatropica is highly recormmended for summertime listening, dancing - and maybe even dreaming.

3 and 1/2 stars from 5

Check out a couple of cuts from Ondatropica in the player below, or via one of the many links above. You can also watch a "making of" film here.

Ondatropica by Barbican Music

04 December 2012

Wax Wednesday: Playlist 'In The Pocket with 90' Wed 28 Nov on Radio Ponsonby

Another 45s only "special" today. Check it out...

The Budos Band | Ghostwalk
Aiff | Akwaaba
Quantic Soul Orchestra | San Sebastian Strut
The Tornadoes | Huihui
Opensouls | What Do You Do?
Red The Man Without A Machine | I Should Tell Ya Mamma On Ya (Dam-Funk remix)
Human Race | Human Race
Plenty Action | Soft Touch
Suff Daddy | Comin2ULive
Urbs | The Incident
Smooth Daddy | If It's Funky, We Did It!
Saravah Soul | Supersossego (inst.)
Ben Westbeech | Hang Around
Recloose | Mana's Bounce
The Bamboos | Tighten Up
Cookin' On 3 Burners | Gravel Rash
The Limp Twins | Elemental
The Nostalgia 77 Octet | Freedom (The Freedom Zombie Dance) (Pt. 1)
The Broken Keys | Slingshot (Pt. 1)
Quantic Soul Orchestra | Don't Joke With A Hungry Man (Pt. 3)
The Undisputed Truth | California Soul
Heatwave | I'll Beat Your Booty
The Real Thing | Keep An Eye (On Your Best Friend)
Billy Paul | Am I Black Enough For You?
100 Proof Aged In Soul | Not Enough Love To Satisfy
Natalie Cole | Sophisticated Lady (She's A Different Lady)
Parliament | Flashlight
Ota | Nunui
Habitual Parking Violators | One To Twelve