Growing up in Chicago, later Detroit-based music producer, Theo Parrish is internationally well known for his own inimitable downtempo house music style. The approach Parrish took to compiling DJ-Kicks was very ambitious, inviting his Detroit peers to produce a collection of brand new material, and in turn creating the first ever all exclusive entry to the esteemed series. “Detroit creates. But rarely imitates. Why? We hear and see many from other places do that with what we originate. No need to follow. Get it straight. In the Great Lakes there are always more under the surface than those that appear to penetrate the top layer of attention and recognition. What about them that defy tradition? Those that side step the inaccurate definitions often given from outside positions? This is that evidence. Enjoy.”
DJ TLR @ 2020 Intergalactic FM Streaming Festival
Medline & Stéphane Carricondo – A Quest Called Tribe [MBLP05]
“A Quest Called Tribe” begins with a series of portraits drawn by Stéphane Carricondo in 2017 dedicated to Hip-Hop legends. As close partner in art Medline proposed to create a soundtrack for them, and first interpreting ATCQ’s classics with elements of the past, present and future. The best way to materialize this multidimensional tribute was obviously a vinyl. And it’s the one we unveil today. On the visual side, ATCQ’s portraits are composing the front cover and, assembled into a great scene, are printed on a colorful A2 poster. Stéphane Carricondo’s natural lines are highlighting each member’s soul map. The alchemy of the dark ink on emptiness gives to them an impressive sparkle of life. On the musical side, the classic themes are transformed into a polymorphic fusion, were jazz, funk and soul from the original sample sources converse with Tribe’s characteristic beats. Medline added a hint of his magic, unique rhythms, improvisations, arrangements, original orchestration and inspired melodies. The album is an ode to the band that marked both artist’s life and mind. A cultural print and school of sound that designed Hip-Hop foundations. With a blooming expression Medline and Stéphane Carricondo are going to the roots of ATCQ in a quest for the tribe.
Abstract Orchestra – Madvillain, Vol. 1 [ATALP012]
Abstract Orchestra’s Madvillain Vol 1. explores the jazz, TV soundtrack and film score aspect of the original work, combining it with classic big band writing and a focus on improvisation. Bandleader and arranger Rob Mitchell says of the record: ‘”Madvillain’ is a jazz album as much as it is a hip-hop album and I wanted to explore this reciprocal territory there has always been between jazz and hip-hop. 70’s cop show soundtracks have always captured my interest and imagination, and I discovered so much amazing music through TV themes, Quincy Jones and Lalo Schifrin in particular. They explored sounds that were menacing, angular, dissonant, frantic and yet captivating. They were also able to write music that was the flip side of all that dark chaos, and write lush and beautiful music. Arranging and scoring up Madvillain Vol 1. Has allowed me to explore these sounds that I’ve always loved, yet keeping a strong hip-hop identity as the core of its sound.”
J Dilla – Dillatronic [GSE781DLP]
The previous 3 volume series is now compiled as a compact 2LP. The late, great J Dilla is rightly celebrated as one of the greatest hip-hop producers of all time, in part because his ear for music was so diverse and expansive. As Dilla’s mother Ma Dukes explains, “He didn’t come with a limited capacity, and real producers produce, produce, and produce. “There are no formats for genius workers…just non-stop creations.” Now, a fresh batch of those creations will be made available to the world for the first time, in the form of the latest official J Dilla release, Dillatronic. Presented by Ma Dukes and compiled by DJs Alien Villainz (fellow Detroit natives who worked closely with Dilla), Dillatronic contains over 40 rare instrumentals that showcase Dilla’s undeniable electronic influences. J Dilla’s music was impacted by the diverse musical history of Detroit – the birthplace of Techno and one of the most important cities in the history of electronic music. “You can hear it in songs like ‘Raise It Up’ for Slum Village or ‘Make It Hurt’ for Busta Rhymes,” says Young RJ (Dilla’s protégé and member of Slum Village). “The Detroit influence is part of what gave him an edge in production.” With today’s music sounding more electronic than ever, Dillatronic has a shockingly contemporary feel. “These tracks are still ahead of their time sonically,” explains RJ. “The things producers are doing now, Dilla did that 15 years ago.”
Leonardo Martelli – Menti Singole Vol. 2 [ATN040]
It’s already been two years since Leonardo Martelli’s debut with the four-tracker Menti Singole. He has since been following the direction he took with this first release, at a rather slow path, releasing a lone and haunted mini-album, Previsto, in the meantime. With Menti Singole Vol.2, Martelli establishes a picture of his music, an update of his aspirations in the feminine.
Darkhouse Family – The Offering [FW168]
First Word Records present you with ‘The Offering’ – the debut album by Darkhouse Family, a Cardiff-based duo consisting of Earl Jeffers & Don Leisure. Previously releasing music under their respective monikers, Metabeats and Jamal, they’ve produced an assortment of sounds over the years, from Hip Hop to House to D’n’B. Connecting as a duo almost a decade ago, this merger logically saw the birth of their own unique style, comprised of a bonafide fusion of genres. Recruiting friends Daf Davies on drums, Jonathan Williams on strings and cameos from Henry Wu; a keen eye on the soulful jazzy details is maintained throughout as swooning, sunny side keys, dusty samples and gorgeous vocals from the likes of Vanity Jay, Jessy Allen and Esther wrap themselves around their hybrid of chopped beats and Daf’s lavish, highly swung drums. Highlights include the Soul II Soul style “Journey To Love”, the twinkling slo-mo bruk of “GAEA”, the slinky slap bass and Rhodes tickle of “Modaji Suite” and the spiritual climax of the finale “The Accession”.
30/70 – Elevate [RS020]
30/70 are the latest collective to emerge from Melbourne’s buzzing scene. ‘Elevate’ is a sublime statement; at once a cry for help and a call to arms, it balances delicate poetry and potent aggression with ease – all of this done with a beguiling pop sensibility. This collection of songs, their second studio effort after their debut LP, ‘Cold Radish Coma’, is set to elevate them to the international stage.
Abstract Orchestra – Dilla [ATA006]
“Dilla” by Abstract Orchestra has been generating a buzz since it’s inception in 2016 and subsequent UK tour, during which the album was presented to the public in its live form. Led by Saxophonist Rob Mitchell, Abstract Orchestra seeks to reflect the diversity of music sampled by Hip-Hop producers by presenting music that has the complexity of jazz, framed within the simpler structures of Hip-Hop. Complex harmonies are framed within simple loops and complex bar structures and time signatures can pass by unnoticed. “I selected the tracks on the album with very much the live performance in mind” says band-leader and arranger Rob Mitchell “So the album is a reflection of the tour and the music we performed”. Inspired by the legendary live performances of The Roots with Jay-Z and the 40 piece orchestral arrangements by Miguel-Atwood Ferguson of the work of J Dilla, classic arranging techniques underpin modern loop-based structures.The band itself is based on the classic jazz big band instrumentation of saxes, trumpets and trombones and features the cream of the north of England’s jazz scene who collectively have played with Jamiroquai, Corinne Bailey Rae, Mark Ronson, Martha Reeves, John Legend & the Roots, Roots Manuva and Amy Winehouse. “Dilla” by Abstract Orchestra is a tribute to the work of the highly acclaimed and influential producer.
A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service 
The general consensus is that “We Got It From Here, Thank You 4 Your Service”, A Tribe Called Quest’s sixth and final album, is something of a triumph, with many critics hailing it as the best full-length of 2016. It’s certainly a fine set, full of their trademark musically rich backing tracks (enhanced, this time round, with a greater reliance on live instrumentation), conscious lyrics and distinctive, on-point vocal delivery. Given their legendary status within hip-hop, it’s unsurprising to see a string of similarly high profile guests dotted throughout, with Busta Rhymes, Andre 3000, Kayne West, Consequence, Jack White and Elton John (presumably in sampled form) all lending a hand. Even if you’re only mildly interested in hip-hop, this should be essential listening.
Cuthead – Return Of The Sample Jesus [UV040]
In a world without hope, a world with no appetite for sonic adventures, there’s only one man who can save us all. He is… the Sample Jesus! From behind the enchanted pyramids of Egypt comes a man that has nothing to prove but a lot to give. Taught by a legendary Pharaoh, he has lived the life of an eremite for decades. Exhausted after years of asceticism there was only one goal on his mind: to blow all the misery out of our heads. On the constant search for the perfect sample he listened to the finest Mongolian folk to experimental Tuvan Throat singings. It was only recently that he was returning from his self-imposed exile to come up with a record that hits deep in everybody’s soul. Hallelujah, House-heads and Hip-Hop-kids, be prepared. Listen to the word of the Sample Jesus!
Moodymann – DJ Kicks [K7327]
Following a year that saw the 50th entry in the long-running series released to wide acclaim, DJ-Kicks returns in 2016 another landmark edition. Iconic Detroit DJ and producer Moodymann is at the helm for his first ever multi-artist DJ mix compilation. Born Kenny Dixon Jr., Moodymann is a one-of-a-kind electronic music icon, hailing from, and wholly synonymous with the Motor City. He is an outspoken, impossibly charismatic artist who has been putting a distinctive and soulful stamp on house and techno since the early 90s. Melting together jazz, funk, soul, blues and rock in captivating ways, he is responsible for some of electronic music’s most definitive tracks, EPs and LPs on labels like Planet E, Peacefrog and his own KDJ and Mahogani Music imprints. As able to serve up the sweetest and most sensual sounds as he is the darkest and most depraved grooves, his own unique voice and stream of conscious musings infuse expertly sought-out samples for music that is decisively alive and authentic.
Hodini – Money $ex 03 [MS003]
The mysterious Hodini takes the wheel on this, the third outing on Money $ex. Another triumphant tapestry of sample sources, reinvented and ramped up into an effortlessly effective extended player, taking dusty MPC sample sessions through a variety of moods from head-nod bumpers to wayward House numbers – Swing set to stun all the way and another top quality outing on this label Collaborating with the very best of Germany’s new school.
Cuthead – Total Sellout [UVLP002]
Cuthead got known to the wider public via his releases on Uncanny Valley but his roots reach way back before the label’s start. There was a time when Cuthead and his brothers from another mother threw wild parties at abandoned industrial locations or in the woods around Dresden. The crew, which was known as Kunst:stoff Breakz, also established a label where Cuthead released two albums and one EP as free downloads between 2006 and 2010. Over the years the calls for vinyl versions of those early joints were getting louder and so Uncanny Valley decided to give the best tracks from that era a new life on physical sound carriers and start the ”Total Sellout”. Through refinement and rearrangement 51 tracks were boiled down to a selection of 18 and ended up as an album full of catchy bass lines, heavy beats and sampling excesses. Among the tracks are party starters like the strings-infiltrated ”Scissorhands”, ”The Poncho” or the ever devastating ”Iron Lung” which still kicks like Dubstep has never faded. Since Cuthead has always been heavily influenced by Rap music, there are of course lots of great Hip Hop beats on ”Total Sellout”. Either in the form of funky sample studies like ”Painquilizer” and ”VibraSkit” or in true fashion with Raps by crew member Alibi on ”Hidden Track”. Also included on the album are ”Rock My Soul” and ”All Night Long”, some early examples of Cuthead’s knack for well tempered and super catchy House tracks, while the double-bass driven ”Rythmus ’78” shows another jazzy side of him. Once again, the artwork was conceived and designed by Till Hohmann who already did a brilliant job on last year’s ”Everlasting Sunday”.
Seven Davis JR. – The Lost Tapes Vol. 1 [IZWID002]
The Lost Tapes Vol. 1 draws together material spanning some twelve years of unreleased four and eight track recordings from Houston-born Seven Davis Jnr. “once lost in storage via a lengthy hiatus due to drug addiction and depression”. Plucked by Kutmah to appear on the Worldwide Family Vol 2 issued on Brownswood last year, Davis Jnr. has subsequently self released material via bandcamp, dropped a killer house focused 12? on Jay Simon’s Must Have Records and has a record with Funkineven on the way . Brandishing a rough and rugged mastery of drums and a truly soulful vocal, Seven Davis Jnr has the capacity to cover a broad range of styles (a cover version of Prince’s “Controversy” that can be found online is a notable highlight). This much is more than evident on the newly issued collection of works for IZWID, with the bugged out mutant soul of “Sorry” being a stand out track.
Cuthead – Resteessen [UV019+] FREE ALBUM
“When we selected music for Cuthead’s Everlasting Sunday LP we had to leave out several great tracks due to the limited space on the record. So Cuthead decided to give it away for free as digital only album via our bandcamp site. Enjoy!”
Cuthead – Everlasting Sunday [UV019]
Cuthead returns with the long awaited follow-up to his “Brother EP”. His new record “Everlasting Sunday” surely fulfils some dreams as it is packed with no less than nine tracks. Three catchy House tunes on the A-Side and six Hip-Hop-jams on the B-side make for a very extended EP or a mini-album. Right at the beginning we start with the sample-heavy “Maputo Jam”, a tune in classical Cuthead-manner with its irresistible drumming full of stumbling blocks and layers of sweet synth-melodies. “Nautic Walking” is a straighter House track with a guitar line and clapping samples but that bass line quickly reminds you whom you’re listening to. “Minerals” starts off pretty deeply before evolving from a jazzy House affair into an almost orchestral tune with opulent strings. The flipside is an extensive expression of Cuthead’s inexhaustible love for Hip-Hop. There is feel-good material like “Everlasting Sunday” and “Deep Shadows” as well as banging joints like “Calculator Watch” with all the typical Cuthead-trademarks: sick bass work, stammering drumming and imaginative sampling.
Orlando Voorn – La Cliqa [VF003]
Vital Force is proud to present the new album from the legendary producer Orlando Voorn. A hip hop fan since the 80’s, Orlando used his unique scratching skills to win the Dutch DMC DJ championship in 1986. It was clear he always had a true love for all things Hip-Hop. Orlando has also traveled the globe as a Techno DJ during which time he regularly hooked up with many talented MC’s. Voorn began to compile the music created in these sessions which started way back in 2000. The various collaborations resulted in the album La Cliqa. The album represents the best in fluid, clever lyricism and a production style which sounds fresh and contemporary while giving an unashamed nod to the hip-hop golden age of the early noughties. In his career which began almost three decades ago, Voorn has used many different aliases and produced an abundant amount of styles of music but it’s his Detroit Techno/House productions that have gained him the admiration of the electronic music scene. With the release of ‘La Cliqa’ Orlando hopes to introduce his sound to a whole new audience.
Reavis Mitchell – Soul Beats Volume 1 [DS12001]
Scientist/Producer/Artist Reavis Mitchell breaks the sound barrier again. Though he recently became prominent as a co-founder of BKE Technology and an architect of the Beat Thang Mobile Music Production System, Rev has been manufacturing beats for years. On Soul Beats Volume 1, the Soulbeat Scientist concocted a collection of signature soul-infused hip hop and funk for your sonic toolbox.
J Dilla – Lost Tapes, Reels, and More [MM032]
Moodymann’s Mahogani label releases another posthumous J Dilla release, titled ‘Lost Tapes, reels + more’. Despite his untimely passing in 2006, J Dilla’s legacy has remained strong thanks to the enduring qualities of his back catalogue, the endeavours of the J Dilla Foundation and the Yancey Media Group, not to mention the countless Dilla themed reissues and projects that have surfaced in the wake of his death. Moodymann’s Mahogani imprint have of course played their own part in ensuring J Dilla’s enduring legacy with the release of the Dillatroit EP last year, a 12-track release of previously unreleased J Dilla material done in collaboration with the aforementioned Yancey Media Group and J Dilla Foundation.