Wednesday 19 December 2018

Best of 2018 (pt1): Nu-Skool Soul Selection

This is the first of a three-part series celebrating the music of 2018: in part 1 we focus on the R&B, neo-, nu- and alt-soul releases that gave us the most joy.  Be sure to check out the recording of the show that aired 18th December 2018 featuring tracks by Teyana Taylor, Tall Black Guy, Henry Wu, Sunstone, Jazzanova, Jenny Penkin and much more...

'Conversations' by AgapeSoul
'Conversations' marks the sophomore album effort from the Darryl Anders-helmed collective known as AgapeSoul.  Six years after the band's debut album, 'Believe in Love', was released in 2012, AgapeSoul have taken their time to craft a stunning follow-up album and build on the foundations laid by this project's predecessor.  The music's rich, steeped in soul and draws elegantly from funk and jazz.  Comparisons to Incognito and The Brand New Heavies are fair but AgapeSoul bask in the sunshine of their own talent and achievements.

'Vibezlab EP' vol.1 by Pvibez
After having ammassed a slew of releases since 'Urban Xpressionz' in 2011, we were thrilled to have connected with Pvibez as he enters the next phase of his musical evolution with the 'Vibezlab' series of EPs.  The multi-talented producer and musician hooked up with Laurnea, Eshe Escoffery, Lifford and Andrea Bentley for the four-track EP with volume 2 scheduled for early-2019.  We were also thrilled Pvibez agreed to add radio presenter to his aforementioned skill set with two fantastic guest shows this year.  (Fingers crossed for more of those in 2019 too :))

'Strangers Tonight' by Goldiva featuring Sulene Fleming
UK's disco trio Goldiva gifted fans with two excellent singles this year available as free downloads via the band's Bandcamp page: 'Lovejoy' featuring vocalist Josh Tenor was released in October and earlier in the year saw the band collaborate with sometime Brand New Heavies vocalist Sulene Fleming for the excellent uptempo number, 'Strangers Tonight'.

'Stay A While' by The Soul Sound Collective
We were very excited by the release of the first single by The Soul Sound Collective in November of this year.  The band's Soundcloud page has been populated with teasers of tracks and alternate mixes for some time now so the release of the Sade-inspired number 'Stay A While' was very welcome and long overdue.  With Tim Higgins on bass, Colin Watling on sax and Craig Sims on all else, we're very much looking forward to more from the Collective in 2019.

'Voodoo' [Opolopo Remix] by Kathy Kosins [Maristar Productions]
Kathy Kosins really has had an exceptional few years - her album 'Uncovered Soul' saw its release in 2018 and was preceded by the singles 'Could You Be Me' with Paul Randolph along with the accompanying remixes by Gilles Peterson & Simbad and Opolopo in 2017.  Even since the album's release though, Kathy still found time to put out the excellent bonus single with Hubert Laws and Dayme Arocena, 'Fancy Free', and still not stopping there, we received the Opolopo Remix of 'Voodoo' from the album that has found itself a place on our best of 2018 show.

'Mind Full' by Leisure Centre [HopeStreet Recordings]
Leisure Centre's brand of "Neo/Digi/Future Soul" soars high on releases wew were excited about this year.  The music follows in the vein of what fans would hope for following their 2016 debut EP 'One Plus One' - there are respectful nods to synth-based styles from the 80s but it's not a specific sound that roots them in one genre or time as they easily forge ahead with finessing their own unique sound.  The song-writing deserves particular mention as it navigates sensitive subjects like sadness and loneliness while still managing to interweave songs about being in love and offering something hopeful by the album's conclusion.

'The Pool' by Jazzanova [Sonar Kolectiv Records]
The producer, DJ and musician collective known as Jazzanova returned in 2018 with an all-star effort featuring collaborations with Jamie Cullum, Paul Randolph and Ben Westbeech.  Perhaps veering away from what long-term fans would expect from a Jazzanova record - no nu-soulesque outings reminiscent of 2002's 'In Between' and no retro soul stylings from 2008's 'Of All The Things' this time either - 'The Pool' marks a decidedly more poppier effort.  Check for the additional remixes that accompanied the project, including the Jazzanova remix of the awesome 'Rain Makes The River' (featuring Rachel Sermanni) and the Osunlade Remix of 'Everything I Wanted', the latter of which finds itself a home on this show.

'Him, on the other hand' by Jenny Penkin [Raw Tapes]
All credit for this discovery goes to Steve Williams from UK Vibe as part of his monthly Blue-in-Green:RADIO residency (last Thursday of every month).  Jenny Penkin, the Tel Aviv based singer, released her six track EP in July and is a real gem of a record with production throughout by Sol Monk who collaboratively have delivered a real genre-defying project we look forward to more from next year.

'Changing Times'/'After Light' by flyt [Space Between Records]
Released through Space Between Records, 'After Light' and 'Changing Skies' were the two EPs put out by flyt this year building on their exciting resurgence in 2017.  Flyt continue to establish the band's unique chillout, nu-soul and R&B aesthetic with highlights including 'Like Water' and the jazzy, groove-riddled 'Anything, Everything'.  Mary Mycroft's ethereal voice continues to sound tailor-made for Josh's sublime production making their ever-expanding discography an ongoing pleasure.  Watch out also for the classy Kebo Music Remix of 'Secret Place' that makes its way into the show.

'Flava in ya Ear' [Tall Black Guy Remix] by Craig Mack [Street Corner Music/Fatbeats]
Tall Black Guy revisits Craig Mack's seminal all-star remix of the 1994 classic 'Flava In Ya Ear' with the added twist of remixing Marvin Gaye's 'Soon I'll Be Loving You Again' and throwing that into the mix as well.  Genius.  It's an inspired concoction - as is almost everything from Tall Black Guy - but this remix is so all-round perfect that it genuinely does insist you pick up the instrumental of this mix as well.  Again, all credit for this one goes out Raw Select Music's Sean Sophiea (Wednesdays on Blue-in-Green:RADIO).

'Art Science Remixes' by Robert Glasper Experiment x Kaytranada [Blue Note Records]
Sometimes it feels that not much time at all goes by without a new release from Robert Glasper; this year, aside from the R+R=Now project (to be featured in part 3 of this 2018 series), there was his revisiting of the Robert Glasper Experiment's 2017 release 'Art Science' with some additional help from producer Kaytranada who helped with reimagining a select portion of the songs for this EP.  Talib Kweli and Alex Isley appear as featured guests for that added incentive with Isley's appearance on the remixed 'No One Like You' being the show-stealer here.

No comments:

Post a Comment