Friday 31 December 2021

2021 in 100 Songs

We at Blue-in-Green:RADIO are increasingly enamoured by the amazing music we manage to get our hands on each year and are always compelled to celebrate such wonderful pieces of brilliance in any way we can.  So this year, we're unveiling 100 of our favourite songs that we were just over the moon about and desperate to share with you all.  

These year-end lists should always come with the caveat that this is naturally a celebration of the music we were actually able to get our hands on so that discovery will naturally continue into the new year.  Also, the list is compiled alphabetically so not ranked in any way.

Please let us know if there's any we may have missed though and we hope some of the below tracks will inspire you all to explore catalogues and artists further.

1. 'A Brand New Soul' by Soul Hunters featuring Paola Gladys Arcieri and Brian Ferreir

Soul Hunters; A.MA Records

With a collective comprised of guitarist Alberto Parmegiani and revered sound engineer Tullio Ciriello, the trio is excitedly rounded out by A.MA founder himself, Antonio Martino, who serves as the project's co-producer.  There's something about this album that makes the project, both, something distinctly an A.MA release yet something wholly original for them at the same time.  The elegant production and arrangements, the crisp performances from an awesome collection of artists, are all synonymous with the label's past releases but this new direction that strives to pay homage to a new and modern era of soul music just all adds up to a fantastic record within the A.MA catalogue. 

2. '(Don’t Sleep On The) Mome Roths' by PS5

Unconscious Collective; Hyperjazz Records

The new album from Italian saxophonist, producer and composer, Pietro Santangelo, marks the unveiling of his new quintet project, PS5.  A revered improviser, much of that associated energy is masterfully captured by Santangelo and the team throughout this album. With compositions continuing in that Hyperjazz style of joyful exploration, the musicians seem to celebrate the luxury of the playground afforded to them as members of PS5

3. '187 South' by Guido Spannocchi

Periherlion; Audioguido Records

Born in Vienna but ultimately finding his passion for jazz drawing him to London, Guido Spannocchi has since immersed himself within the UK's revived appetite for jazz music.  The sound throughout is rich and vibrant and Spannocchi's penchant for capturing that unadulterated energy between himself and his fellow performers works a real treat with 'Perihelion'.

4. '911 Blue (For George)' by Nick Etwell featuring Bill Laurance

Color Red Records

It's sad that such a beautiful song would have to be born of such horrific events but the exquisite piece of music from trumpeter Nick Etwell was created following the events surrounding the death of George Floyd at the hands of arresting police officers.  Featuring Snarky Puppy's Bill Laurance on piano, '911 Blue' serves as a passionate and relevant voice in times where such voices are needed. 

5. 'A Sad Love Song (Wadiya's Song)' by Mumia Abu-Jamal

A Night on Canopy

An incredibly beautiful, poignant and powerful number marks the reissue of the Mumia Abu-Jamal penned number written for his wife.  The political activist and journalist became widely known for his writings and commentary on the US criminal justice system, having been imprisoned since 1982 for the murder of a Philadelphia police officer.  With piano and arrangements by Alain Jean-Marie and a lovely vocal from Morena Fattorini, this ten-minute masterpiece kindly donates all proceeds to Abu-Jamal's defence.

6. 'All or Nothing' by Laura Llorens & The Shadows of Love

The 2021 single from Laura Llorens & The Shadows of Love acts as a swift follow-up to last year's full-length, debut record released through Q-Sounds.  The US vocalist, now based in Paris, delivered an excellent introduction with 'Home/Chez Moi' which boasted a series of fantastic tunes!  Bolstered by a great video, 'All or Nothing' builds nicely on the groundwork set out by its predecessor and we look forward to the new directions the collective will take their music in for subsequent releases. 

7. 'Ally' by Adryon de Leon

Color Red Records

8. 'Ambivalence - Belgrade Tango Suite' by Ugljesa Novakovic

Reflections; A.MA Records

Ugljesa Novakovic has long been a flag waver for his native, Serbian, jazz and is an artist who has long committed his efforts towards seeing its rise in prominence on a global platform.  And with the release of the saxophonist's sophomore album release, Novakovic's outstanding vision is realised as he builds upon the music of jazz pioneers and icons while still steering his music into new territories.

9. 'Another Way' [Original Mix] by Ronnie Herel featuring Dannis Winston

Quantize Recordings


10. 'Astral Sorcery' by Future Jazz Ensemble & XL Regular

Outlines V.A.; ANMA & Cognitiva Records


11. 'Baby Got Work' [DJ Jazzy Jeff & Kaidi Tatham Remix] by Potatohead People featuring Posdnuos & Kapok


12. 'Bag' by Smokin Rope

Finding the Wave

Comprised of Gabriel Nacu on guitar, Tim Higgins on bass, Dave Kendall on keys and Luke Simmons on drums, Smokin' Rope unveil their four-track EP that sees the quartet boldly take their music into exciting new directions not previously explored.  The EP opener 'Bag' kicks the project off brilliantly - starting off with a harder and grittier tone which surprisingly makes way for some fantastic synths which is frankly a genius inclusion to the song. 

13. 'Ballards' by Tize

Lost in Translation; Antidote Music

With Antidote Music themselves approaching their tenth year as a purveyor of versatile interpretations of deep, soulful and afrocentric house, Tize's clear-cut vision for his place within that sonic landscape results in a genuine standout release for the label.  'Lost in Translation' is a three-track EP which continues Tize's celebration of house music across three brilliantly unique compositions.

14. 'Be Seeing You' by Nick Walters & The Paradox Ensemble

Implicate Order; D.O.T. Records

This excellent album from Ruby Rushton trumpeter, Nick Walters, marks the first release under his own label, D.O.T. Records.  Normally housing his releases via Rushton bandmate Ed 'Tenderlonious' Cawthorne's 22a label, Walters reignites his Paradox Ensemble collective who initially unveiled their debut recording, via a different line-up, back in 2013.

15. 'Believe in Things' by Matt Wilde

Believe in Things; Root Records

Matt Wilde's debut four-track EP - 'Believe in Things' - delivers as a wonderful response to events of the last year, while also serving as a project indicative of Manchester's booming hub of beats-inspired productions.  From its celebration of diverse club culture, hip-hop, dance and electronica, Manchester has long been at the forefront of an open-minded approach to music.  And it's a perspective shared by Wilde and wonderfully realised by the producer and musician.  'Believe in Things' boasts intricately woven, multi-textured compositions that celebrate hip-hop's influence on contemporary UK jazz. 

16. 'Better' [Kaidi Tatham Remix] by Allysha Joy

Light It Again Remixes; First Word Records


17. 'Bitter Streets' by Sault

Nine; Forever Living Originals

From what was the blink-and-you-miss-it fifth album release from Sault, this poignant take on London's knife crime and gang culture only received a limited-time release via the group's Bandcamp page so pat yourself on the back if you were able to capitalise on the album while it was available.  The InFlo-helmed collective have put music out at an incredible pace since their debut of '5' in 2019 cultivating a dedicated following in the process.

18. 'Black Elixir' by MELONYX

Black Elixir EP; Tru Thoughts Records

Georgia Copeland and Nadia Latoya comprising the vocal duo of MELONYX can lay claim to one of the best EP releases to come out this year.  With some fantastic production from Joe Buhdha, tracks veer from hip-hop-heavy inspirations to neo-soul and then there's the Lover's Rock interpretation of 'You Make Me Feel Brand New' by The Stylistics which rounds the release off perfectly.  A project beaming with pride and celebrating the notions of confidence and self-appreciation, we're excited by the idea of more from MELONYX in 2022.

19. 'Bow' by Jamire Williams featuring Corey King

But Only After You Have Suffered; International Anthem Recordings

Over the course of the album's twelve tracks, listeners are treated to otherworldly sonic explorations courtesy of drummer, multi-instrumentalist and producer, Jamire Williams, that boldly weave between themes and styles from psychedelic jazz, left-field hip-hop and explorative improvisation.  With tracks flowing into each other in true mixtape fashion, 'But Only After You Have Suffered' is presented in all facets as a complete piece of work – a project intended to be consumed from start to finish and a project that still holds the concept of an album with due reverence for the artform that it is.

20. 'Caroline' by Arlo Parks

Collapsed in Sunbeams; Transgressive

21. 'Celestial Dance' by PVIBEZ

Forming one of several single releases from the talented producer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist this year, 'Celestial Dance' was an exciting new take on Paul Morgan's music to date.  While typically relishing sounds more akin to R&B and neo-soul, 'Celestial Dance' was a more experimental, instrumental, jazz-fusion inspired workout that pays dividends.

22. 'Ceres' by Rohne



23. 'Cette Lettre La' by The Vogs

Q-Sounds Recordings

The new single by the latest inductees into the Q-Sounds fold, The Vogs, comes in the form of a double A-side (along with 'Pour que tu ne m'oublies pas') introducing their blend of exquisitely-presented Northern Soul that is a real treat.  With a five-star performance from Vogs vocalist, Elodie, the band members provide the perfect backdrop steeped in its authenticity and commitment to the genre.  Currently busying away putting the finishing touches on the new album, we definitely look forward to more music from the Vogs/Q-Sounds pairing.

24. 'Chilli' by Drimia



25. 'City Dreams' by Telemakus

The New Heritage; Radio Juicy


26. 'Come Back' by Flyt

27. 'Come Over' by VanJess

Homegrown EP; Keep Cool

28. 'Connexao' by Ali Shaheed Muhammad & Adrian Younge featuring João Donato

Jazz is Dead #7; Jazz is Dead

The staggering achievement that was the Jazz is Dead series should never be overlooked for the colossal project that it was.  Pairing the brilliant production duo of Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad with a range of iconic names within jazz from Roy Ayers, Azymuth and Gary Bartz for full-length releases is beyond inspired and regarding the entire project as a "must have" is surely the only approach fans should have towards it.  Here's us quietly hoping for a "Soul is Dead" series to follow after they have afforded themselves the luxury of a well-deserved break of course.

29. 'Dilla Impresses Me' by Matt Wilde

Root Records

Outside of the earlier discussed 'Believe in Things' EP, Matt Wilde would go on to release a further 3 singles spearheaded by this stunning number that not only harks back to the brilliance of the iconic James "Dilla" Yancey but equally acts as an homage to Wilde's own musical journey.  It was Dilla's own homage to Ahmad Jamal that had spawned his beat 'Ahmad Impresses Me' as he masterfully manipulated Jamal's 'The Awakening' transforming it into an entirely new composition.  It was a track that took Wilde, a burgeoning Dilla fan, into the realms of jazz as the wonders of Ahmad Jamal were subsequently treasures now at his disposal.  Wilde now tips his hat to the musical hero who he credits for setting him on to his own path with this incredible new single.  

30. 'Dimsensions' by NasteeLuvzYou

Keep This Far Apart; Millennium Jazz Music

With such a wealth of releases from the brilliant Millennium Jazz Music this year, we've selected something from the New York-based NasteeLuvzYou project - his first through the London-based label.  Serving as a brilliant, high-energy instrumental hip-hop release, 'Dimensions' in particular really connects as the standout from the brilliant release.  Again, all credit to MJM for housing some excellent genre-defying releases this year.

31. 'Dissolving Parts' by OTOOTO

This Love is For You; April Records

Headed-up by saxophonist Oilly Wallace and trumpeter Jonas Due, OTOOTO is indicative of the duo's expansive styles and disciplines across the ever-broadening scope of contemporary jazz.  From big band projects to the avant-garde to improvisational collectives, Wallace and Due also each share a strong penchant for the infectious groove-based, neo-soul stylings that adorn the music throughout 'This Love is For You'. 

32. 'Distant Mode' by Ali Shaheed Muhammad & Adrian Younge featuring Gary Bartz

Jazz is Dead #6; Jazz is Dead


33. 'Don't Go' [Portico Quartet Remix] by Gogo Penguin

GGP/RMX; Blue Note Records

34. 'Don't Let It Go To Your Head' by Cleo Sol

Mother; Forever Living Originals


35. 'Drifting' by B-Ahwe


Few words could do justice to the flawless and inimitable vocal work of singer and songwriter, B-ahwe.  With her 'Nuance' full-length released just the year prior, 'Motions' features an incredible selection of tracks and numbers like 'Drifting' and 'Fall Into' truly deserved the attention of listeners the world over.  Beautiful.

36. 'Earthsuit' by Joy Guerrilla

The Park is Closed

'The Park Is Closed' marks the third project from keyboardist Magdalena Daniec and bassist Adam Grab following 'E.N.O.' in 2015 and 'Skyline' in 2018. The enigmatic pairing has consistently delivered their genuinely inspired instrumental jazz-funk compositions which act as varying soundtracks to Los Angeles life – sometimes that soundtrack is presented as a love letter to their surroundings while other times it’s presented as a mirror offering a harsh reflection.  Whichever the lens though, the personality that really shines from these tracks is undeniable as evident through the glossy, synth-inspired presentation of the brilliant 'Earthsuit'. 

37. 'Ecaroh' by Makaya McCraven

Deciphering the Message; Blue Note Records

Blue Note Records have long embraced the idea of having their catalogue reimagined within contemporary settings.  'The New Groove: The Blue Note Remix Project' from 1996 embraced the crossover appeal of hip-hop and jazz by featuring remixes from revered 90s DJs and producers and just last year's 'Blue Note Re;imagined' project relinquished control of their catalogue to the energised hands of the UK's premier names within jazz.  This year was the turn of the incredible drummer and producer, Makaya McCraven, who in turn bestows an absolute gem unto the catalogue of Blue Note with his latest release featuring his revisiting of personal classics backed by an all-star band. 

38. 'Fangst' by Bad Uok

Lateless; Trouble In The East

As the brainchild of drummer, Andrea Grillini, Bad Uok's incredibly bold and inspired approach to jazz has been set in motion as far back as 2010 with the collective's initial debut album, 'Enter', having been released in 2013 through Italy's Auand label. Grillini's style is rooted within his ability to begin with a set-piece but still have the freedom to take the performance into unexplored territory while empowering his fellow players to take those same risks and creative freedoms.

39. 'Feelings in Disguise' by Arya

Peace of Mind; Atelier 71

40. 'Find My Way' by Aurora Dee Raynes

Invisible Things; Tru Thoughts Records

41. 'Gimsoy' by Petter Eldh featuring Gard Nilssen

Projekt Drums vol.1; Edition Records

The new album from Swedish bassist and producer, Petter Eldh, continues in his inspiring vein of boundlessly creative projects that see him boldly embrace the challenges of steering his music into new directions.  With each of the six tracks presented here showcasing a collaboration with a different drummer, Eldh and his featured "plus one" seek to celebrate the concepts of – as aptly described via the artist's Bandcamp page – "heavy beats, psychedelic sounds and musical collaboration". 

42. 'Give It Up (Don't Take Part in the Madness)' [Abstract Orchestra Remix] by The Haggis Horns featuring John McCallum

Haggis Records

This spectacular remix by Rob Mitchell's Abstract Orchestra completely reimagines the UK's celebrated "live funk orchestra" to a glorious Jay Dee-sounding composition which sounds too good to be true.  As a devout Dilla fan himself - be sure to check out the Abstract Orchestra's 'Dilla' album which serves as a dedication to the late-producer's genius productions.  

43. 'Gobez (Brave)' by Anbessa Orchestra

The fantastic 7-piece Anbessa Orchestra have presented their celebration of 60s/70s Ethiopian music and culture for years now.  Latest single, 'Gobez', strives to continue within that positive Anbessa ethos this time celebrating the very nature of resilience.  Anbessa's music is very much becoming a product of the times it finds itself created within - although offering a sometimes harsh social commentary, it will always be the Anbessa Orchestra's goal to inspire listeners towards positive and uplifting experiences despite stemming from such difficult and extraordinary times.

44. 'Henny' [Resavoir Remix] by Dougie Stu

Ropeadope Records

While bassist and producer Dougie Stu's debut solo project, 'Familiar Future', was actually released back in 2020, the album has since seen new life following the release of two singles that were unveiled this year.  The remix from International Anthem recording artist Resavoir (Will Miller) kicked the double off in thrilling fashion also marking a truly dream collaboration between two inspired artists in Stuart and Miller. 

45. 'High Life' by Leona Berlin featuring Cedric Perry

In the build-up to Leona Berlin's sophomore album release, Berlin has racked up some really first-rate singles including 'Cage', 'Wrong Lane' and the anthemic 'Feminine Energy'.  Produced by drummer and frequent collaborator Magro, 'High Life' pairs the Berlin-based singer, songwriter and producer with US vocalist Sedric Perry for an awesome collaboration that missed out on a spot for Berlin's Change album that would follow later in the year but still a track that genuinely ranks amongst one of Berlin's best.  

46. 'Hold On To Your Dreams' by Nicola Conte & Gianluca Petrella featuring Debo Ray

People Need People; Schema Records

47. 'How Much a Dollar Cost' by R+R=Now

R+R=Now Live; Blue Note Records

Undeniably comprising the supergroup of all contemporary supergroups, the Robert Glasper-helmed collective which included Terrace Martin, Justin Tyson, Christian Scott, Taylor McFerrin and Derrick Hodge released an awesome album in 'Collagically Speaking' back in 2018.  This year saw the results of the team having hit the road in support of the album with this brilliant take on Kendrick Lamar's Terrace Martin-produced track from his seminal 'To Pimp a Butterfly' album.

48. 'Hurt You Once Again' by Kalaha featuring Hjalte Ross

Mystafa; April Records

While the eclectic Danish quartet, Kalaha, are a group steeped within their affections for improvised music, the end result seems to be the product of a collective with a very clear and defined vision of their music.  The clear album highlight arrives in the form of 'Hurt You Once Again' - featuring an excellent vocal from folk singer, Hjalte Ross, the track plays out like a recently unearthed, dark, 80s synthpop or new wave gem that had remained undiscovered for years.  

49. 'I Burn For You' by Nate Smith featuring Amma Whatt

Kinfolk 2: See the Birds; Edition Records

Now finding its home on the UK's Edition Records, 'Kinfolk 2' seeks to build upon the groundwork as laid out by this album's predecessor four years prior.  Musically, the sonic soundscapes are far more expansive this go-round with a deliberate attempt for drummer and composer, Nate Smith, to incorporate more influences and styles throughout the music.  Bolstered by a stellar cast of musicians and vocalists, 'Kinfolk 2' serves as the second in the planned three-part Kinfolk series.

50. 'It Should Have Been You' [Sunrise Mix] by Lasperanza featuring Izzy Chase

Dome Records

Initially released in 2019, 'Seeds' served as a genuine treasure from the hallowed catalogue of Dome Records courtesy of the saxophonist, multi-instrumentalist and producer, Rico Garofalo.  The ten-track debut project saw Rico & company tackle some revered classics lovingly reimagining them with a refined, soul-drenched and string-heavy perspective but it's Gwen Guthrie's 'It Should Have Been You' however which has the great fortune of finding itself the subject of a second life.  Featuring a great vocal from Izzy Chase, Garofalo's update to the rousing soul number provides a worthy extension for the incredible ground work established by Seeds.

51. 'Joy Ride' [Jeff Parker Remix] by Dougie Stu

Ropeadope Records

52. 'Jump the Line' by Olivier St Louis

Matters of The Heartless (M.O.T.H.); First Word Records

'M.O.T.H.' is very much a soul album for contemporary times - inspired in its approach and unhindered in its vision.  The dynamic soundscapes that the project relishes in showcasing throughout is very indicative of Olivier's myriad of influences following past project releases through Warp and Jakarta before finding himself at home with First Word.

53. 'Kick' by Midori Jaeger

See Touch Kick and Sweat

54. 'Life Stories' by Sun Circle

Life Stories EP; Futuristica Music

After a lengthy hiatus, it's with great excitement that the musical pairing of Deborah Jordan and Simon S reunite under the Sun Circle umbrella for their new EP 'Life Stories' - their first joint release in twelve years.  'Life Stories' boasts subtle variations within the compositions providing a nice update to the Sun Circle aesthetic as established through this EP's predecessor.  The project's title track is the clear scene-stealer here however - with sublime and stirring production built around lush strings, Jordan so aptly makes herself at home breathing spine-tingling life into this absolute gem.

55. 'London' by Myele Manzanza

Crisis & Opportunity vol.1 - London; DeepMatter Records

Manzanza has always had a naturally strategic approach to his music that allows his projects to straddle these exciting grey areas between jazz and electronic music. While his debut album ‘One’ (BBE, 2013) was more a celebration of a broken beat aesthetic, his breakthrough project ‘A Love Requited’ (First Word, 2019) made those electronic influences perhaps that little more subtle.  'Crisis & Opportunity' masterfully straddles those two disparate worlds with confidence - 'London' for example delivers as a strong highlight as Ashley Henry's piano elegantly skips alongside Manzanza's drums aided by the ambience of Mark de Clive-Lowe transporting you to somewhere ethereal.

56. 'Lost' by As Valet featuring J.McFysian

Virgo Stellar; Futuristica Music

While past solo projects - 'Primitive' (2010), 'A.K.W.A.' (2016) and 'Inner Journey' (2020) - have each continually demonstrated As Valet's boundless talents and versatility, much of those projects found their sound rooted within an instrumental hip-hop aesthetic boasting a mish-mash of styles and clever use of samples throughout.  'Virgo Stellar', however, looks to see As Valet's style evolve into exciting new dimensions as it finds its home within an inspired soulful style of electronica - music at times perhaps more akin to those glorious Electric Conversation recordings that first introduced As Valet to the world.

57. 'Love Dancer' by Hemai featuring Fifi Robo

Strange Beauty; Tru Thoughts

58. 'Love of Humanity' by Panam Panic

Love of Humanity

Dubbing themselves a "jazz groove band", the term doesn't actually do justice to the multitude of styles and influences that are infused within Panam Panic's representation of modern day jazz music.  Proudly showcasing their affections for hip-hop with subtle teases of electronica and neo-soul throughout their compositions, the quintet - as a collective and as individual musicians - each bring a wealth of experience to the project with such diverse backgrounds.  'Love of Humanity' is indicative of an exciting and wholly unique portrayal of jazz music in the modern era.

59. 'Maybe Baby (Lovin You Was Never Ideal)' by Gizelle Smith

Revealing; Jalapeno Records

'Revealing' looks to slightly edge Gizelle Smith's sound towards more alternative directions as with the case of the album's lead single – an exceptional cover of Kate Bush's 'King of the Mountain' boasting just a twinge of psychedlic-esque influences – which sets the tone perfectly for these exploratory and innovative aspects to the album.  While there are certainly songs that showcase the elements most commonly associated with Gizelle Smith releases, 'Revealing' does find itself most at home – maybe surprisingly – when challenging those expectations.  The transition into these new musical realms is executed with all the confidence of an artist ready to take those decided next steps.

60. 'Morning Light' by Nubiyan Twist featuring Ria Moran

Freedom Fables; Strut Records

61. 'Nobody' by Sunim Koria

Ecstasy and the Apple Tree

The release of Sunim Koria's debut album this year came with great excitement seeing as it was the culmination of a 16 year journey.  Inspired by the pioneering efforts of those glorious early broken beat acts like Silhouette Brown and Kaidi Tatham, Sunim's 'Ecstasy and the Apple Tree' is an excellent fusion of a variety of styles and influences - very much a love letter not just to that era of music but to the period that inspired his passion in the first instance.

62. 'Notre Damn' by Apifera featuring Sharada Shashidhar

Stones Throw Records

63. 'Odysea' by Robohands

Shapes; KingUnderground Records

64. 'On a Summer's Day' by Archie the Goldfish

Water & Light

Headed up by guitarist Chris Bestwick and trumpeter Graeme Flowers, the duo have assembled an excellent guest list for their five-track EP which presents their statement of musical intent through a wonderfully eclectic and diverse sonic palette.  The music throughout is indicative of the vast and vibrant styles and genres Bestwick & Flowers have celebrated over their lengthy careers and the EP masterfully pulls together the immeasurable wealth of experience accumulated between the two.

65. 'Organic Rust' by Alfa Mist

Bring Backs; Anti- Records

66. 'Overcome Any Obstacle With a Horse' by Alex Hitchcock

Dream Band; Fresh Sound New Talent

Recorded in London over the course of three days with the band arrangements mixed up for each session, the end results of this album must serve as a wholly satisfying experience for saxophonist Hitchcock - hand-picking a range of fifteen world class artists whose talents each hold personal significance and being able to establish the artistic course for a project that is built around discussion, trust and open collaboration must all result in a career high for this incredibly talented artist.

67. 'Pace' [Moses Boyd Remix] by Nubya Garcia

SOURCE ⧺ WE MOVE; Concord Jazz

Following the success of Nubya Garcia's 'Source' album in 2020, listeners are gifted to a reimagined version of the project courtesy of nine remixes from some fantastic contributors including Georgia Anne Muldrow, Kaidi Tatham and KeiyaA.  For completists, I'd urge you to check out bonus remixes from Makaya McCraven and Mark de Clive-Lowe that didn't make the cut here but are available to purchase separately.  Either Way, this remix compilation boasts some brilliant takes and is a worthy successor to Garcia's major label outing.

68. 'Part of the Game' by Masok

ok, let go; Raw Tapes

We're somewhat convinced that everything bearing the name of Raw Tapes is an essential purchase.  It's certainly a true statement when considering releases from the label's neo-soul supergroup comprised of Jenny Penkin, Nomok, Tal Kohavi and Omri Shani.  The release of this year's EP boasts five tracks that sit alongside some of the group's best work including past singles and their full-length debut, 'The Bigger The Risk'.

69. 'Purple Shoes Steps' by Milena Jancuric

Shapes and Stories; A.MA Records

'Shapes and Stories' is an album demonstrative of Milena Jancuric's immeasurable talent - from her world class ability as a performer to also serving as the project's producer and composer - the flautist masterfully uses the opportunity to solidify herself as an accomplished and, frankly, brilliant artist.

70. 'Rainy Days' Kasia Konstance featuring Thelonious Coltrane

Cosmic Dust EP

'Cosmic Dust' delivers as the perfect and formal introduction to an artist on the cusp of significant recognition and marks a further feather in the cap of what's already been a hugely successful year for Konstance.  Comprised of five tracks and spearheaded by the lush, acoustic guitar-driven number, 'You Never Do', released earlier this summer, the 'Cosmic Dust' EP is genuinely a treasure trove of contemporary soul-infused and dynamic R&B. 

71. 'Rebel' by Carmy Love

Big AC Records

The brilliant vocalist Carmy Love unveiled two singles for the UK-based contemporary soul label, Big AC Records.  And while we'd love to shout out their efforts this year, including new music from label co-founder Nick Corbin, it's been a real pleasure to see Love step into the spotlight through two excellent singles, 'Rebel' and 'Thinkin About You'.  

72. 'Rock Bruk Park' by Karmasound

For anyone that doesn't watch Karmasound's Soundcloud page like a hawk eager to grab a hold of exclusive free-to-download remixes is absolutely missing out on some incredible treats.  Last year's exquisite reimagining of Bobby Hutcherson's 'Montara', featuring Lucien Memi and Sara Bee, which we screamed very loudly about upon release should have taught us all that much.  This go round sees The Blackbirds receive the inimitable Karmasound treatment for this broken beat reworking so grab yourself a copy below:

73. 'Roses' [XL Middleton Remix] by Lynda Dawn

Extra Soul Perception Records

74. 'Rosie' by Apollo Suns

A Relationship of Force; Color Red

From Winnipeg, Manitoba, 'A Relationship of Force' marks the debut release for Colorado's Color Red Records.  Again, a fantastic year for Color Red whose overall aesthtic perfectly fits in with past releases by the mighty Apollo Suns.  With the EP infused with glorious touches of psychedlic soul, 'Rosie' is a six-minute jazz-fusion gem that showcases the talents of the band as a whole as well as closing out an incredible release in 'A Relationship of Force'.

75. 'Sankofa' by Amaro Freitas

Sankofa; Far Out Recordings

76. 'Shades of Blue' by The Soul Sound Collective

Featuring long-standing Collective members Tim Higgins on bass, Simon Lee on guitar and Craig Sims on everything else - including a notably excellent vocal that Sims is unveiling for the first time - 'Shades of Blue' may genuinely rank amongst one of the group's best ever releases which is really saying something when considering the scope of fantastic music credited to their name. 

77. 'Silence' by Magro featuring Ronja


2021 proved to be an exceptional year for the Berlin-based drummer and producer.  Having released two instrumental beat tapes along with delivering a strong contribution to Leona Berlin's Change album (#93 on this list), the year also saw Magro release his highly-anticipated, debut full-length effort.  Boasting a bold and broad sonic landscape, 'Trippin' revelled in darker and trippy production just as much as it did eclectic future soul soundscapes.  His past releases introduced him as an awesome talent but 'Trippin' now confirms his masterful and enduring brilliance.

78. 'The Skin She's In (Leucosia​)​' by Annabel (lee)

Heaven's Lathe

'The Skin She's In (Leucosia​)​' / 'Hold My Breath' is the new 7" lathe cut vinyl release from Annabel (lee) exclusive to the Heaven's Lathe label.  There are subtle thematic call-backs to the Ninja Tune debut with 'The Skin She's In' serving as an ode to the Greek mythological Siren, Leucosia.  Sheila B's celestial delivery beautifully captivates and does justice to the deceptively enchanting tones of the mythological femme fatales, while Richard E's transcendent production on 'Hold My Breath' reaffirms everything listeners have come to cherish about Annabel (lee)'s music to date.

79. 'Slowly Starting to Take Form' by vbnd

Scum Funk; DeepMatter Records

80. 'Spectre' by Emma-Jean Thackray

Yellow; Movementt Records

81. 'Start From Scratch' by Principles of Joy

9-3; Q-Sounds Recordings

Initially formed in 2017, the Principles of Joy unveiled an awesome introduction to their distinctive style via the stunning 'Strong Ain't Wrong' in 2019. As with the past effort, '9-3' showcases the band's unique ability - through delicate shifts in their music - to steer their sound towards varying styles and elements.  The northern soul of 'Ready To Go' and 'God Only Knows', the sweet soul of 'No Matter What' and the trippy cinematic scope of 'Start From Scratch' are all winners and now with two spectacular albums under their belt, the Principles of Joy once again prove themselves to be a glorious gem amongst the treasure chest that is Q-Sounds Recordings.

82. 'Stay' [Little Dragon Remix] by Valerie June

Fantasy Records

83. 'Summertime' by Antonio Neves

A Pegada Agora E Essa; Far Out Recordings

84. 'Take it Back' by Deborah Jordan

Futuristica 15; Futuristica Music

From the two-disc compilation celebrating the milestone of Futuristica's fifteenth year as an independent label, this gem from the exceptional Deborah Jordan, produced by Mecca:83, serves as one of several new recordings that adorn the compilation.  New music from Marc Rapson and Georgie Sweet sit alongside some of the label's revered releases along with some that are making their way to physical copy for the first time.

85. 'Take Your Time' [Flevans Disco Revision] by The SOS Band

86. 'Tell Me Something I Don't Know' by Celeste

Not Your Muse; Both Sides/Polydor Records

87. 'The Creator Has a Master Plan' by Julia Biel

Live From the Church

'Live From The Church', recorded in Brighton's Unitarian Church this year, boasts six beautifully-performed songs plucked mostly from Biel's impeccable catalogue.  An inspired rendition of 'The Creator Has A Master Plan' by the revered Pharoah Sanders kicks the project off perfectly: "The creator has a working plan; Peace and happiness for every man" - certainly poignant words in light of global events that have unfolded over the last two years.

88. 'The End' by Ink Project featuring Fifi Rong

Rhythm Spirit; Blind Colour Records

89. 'The Gift' by Ishmael Ensemble featuring Tiny Chapter

Visions of Light; Severn Songs

The sophomore album release from the phenomenal Bristol-based collective, Ishmael Ensemble, delivered numerous high-points which was no easy task considering the high bar set from their 'A State of Flow' debut (2019).  'The Gift' featuring Tiny Chapter not only warrants its place within this list but could very well have taken the distinction of our song of the year with its sublime vocal and intricate production.

90. 'The World's Aflame' by Father Sky featuring Jamie Breiwick

91. 'Tonight / What Has Love Done for You?' by Filah Lah Lah

We're Gonna Be Just Fine

92. 'Too Good' by Leona Berlin


Three years following her self-titled debut release, singer, songwriter and producer, Leona Berlin unveils the brilliant follow-up record which continues to expertly present her vision for contemporary R&B and neo-soul.  'Change' is very much indicative of Berlin's continual evolution as an artist.  An album that seems to provide a snapshot of herself in this moment - embracing concepts of hope and optimism over some brilliantly-produced pieces of music. 

93. 'Under the Porch' by Bright Dog Red

In Vivo; Ropeadope Records

The improvisational jazz collective from Albany, New York, released their fourth album with Ropeadope Records this year - a fantastic live set recorded in November 2020 at ShapeShifter Lab studios.  Entitled 'In Vivo', the live and improvised set gives wonderful insight to how Bright Dog Red create music in this context and it's genuinely a thrilling set.  

94. 'Walk With Me' by Alessia Piermarini

A.MA Records

Marking her first release for A.MA, Alessia Piermarini finds herself in fine company as she strives to spread her message of hope as a retort to, at times, fairly horrific global events of the last 18 months.  Other than the understated presence of the piano on the track, all elements of the song's backdrop are created by Piermarini from beat-boxing to vocal percussions, ingeniously building 'Walk With Me' around these disparate layers.

95. 'Wasting All Your Loving' by The KBCS featuring Bowie

Color Box; Sonar Kollektiv

From undeniably an album that makes an incredibly strong case for being one of the best full-length releases of the year, The KBCS have delivered a stunning effort with Color Box.  Selecting just one song from this project proved to be a real challenge as really this list should should comprise several songs from the album - which in turn is aided by excellent contributors including J.Lamotta and Olivier St Louis.  

96. 'Week-end' by LaNote

Rebirth; Futuristica Music

Following her wonderful contributions as part of Parisian future soul quartet, Electric Conversation, singer and producer LaNote releases her long-overdue debut album.  Produced by EC stablemate, As Valet, many of the tracks hover around that two-and-a-half to three-minute mark, accentuating the project's beat-tape style, use of lush samples, hip-hop-inspired production and soulful aesthetic... it all works beautifully as a fitting extension to Electric Conversation's legacy.  Plus the album comes with the bonus remix disc featuring the talents of DJ Spinna, Marc Rapson, Mecca:83 and aCatCalledFritz amongst others.

97. 'What If Nile Rodgers and Fela Kuti Were Friends' by All Day Breakfast Cafe

Builders Brew EP

As explained in the title, this glorious 8-minute composition explores the harmony and correlation between the seemingly worlds apart genres of disco and afrobeat and, in genius fashion, finds ways to highlight their musical parallels while also celebrating their differences at the same time.  It's disco, it's afrobeat, it's jazz... at any point when you think you've cracked the code, the song changes and introduces a further captivating dimension to it.  Following on from All Day Breakfast Café's first single - the high energy disco-funk of 'Old School Struggling' - the sextet couldn't have the groundwork any better for their excellent Builders Brew EP.

98. 'What Goes Around' by Simon S featuring LaNote

Futuristica 15; Futuristica Music

Dipping into another record from Futuristica's 15 compilation, this time from label founder, Simon S.  A great year for Futuristica but also for Simon S as an artist in his own right boasting a clutch of remixes this year for LaNote, Nathan Thomas and As Valet, the reissue of his 2018 'Music 4 Alternative Souls' album and the release of volume 2 of his 're-edits and re-mixes' series.

99. 'Wonder' by Nightmares On Wax featuring Haile Supreme & Shabaka Hutchings

100. 'Yum Yum' by Snazzback featuring China Bowls

In The Place; Worm Discs

Dubbed "new wave dancefloor instrumentalists", there's more of an explorative nature to the band's music that's fascinating to hear unfold through the album's repeated listens. The lengthy and more meaty tracks on 'In The Place' are punctuated by shorter interlude-style compositions that are like mini-experiments in their own right.  Vocalist China Bowls, graces four of the album's tracks with her presence following a similarly strong contribution to the band's 'Hedge' debut. Herself poised for great things, China Bowls really excels when backed by the incredible soundscapes that Snazzback provide making her contribution to 'In The Pace' invaluable.

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