Cabrakid – Busy With Another

So we wanted to round out the year with a return to Norfolk and bring you another bit of hot East Anglian property. No it’s not a beach house at Wells-next-the-Sea, it’s Cabrakid and their 2016 mixtape ‘Busy With Another’.

So, who dem!? Cabrakid are the combined efforts of producer Allergy Kid and wordsmith High Priest Cabrakan. We featured the former in our review of his double up with Maya Law – ‘Her or Him’ earlier this month. The latter also features on this mixtape but it is on ‘Busy With Another’ that he is given the space to let his talents truly shine.

From the upbeat opener ‘Where I Am’ to the murky depths of ‘Viera’, the dream like ‘Long Run’ right through to the saxophone smoothness of closing track ‘My Name’, the mixtape is rich with exquisitely extracted samples, personally reflective lyrics and a whole magic box of production tricks.

There is an accomplishment to the structures of the songs, chopping of samples, lyrical content and delivery that indicates a talent way beyond their current notoriety. Having supported the excellent Loyle Carner earlier this year, their sound is already being put on the right kind of bills to build the base that will pave the way to their musical stock growing.

Keep those ears peeled for more from these gents in 2017, apparently it’s forthcoming. For Dash ‘n’ Verve in 2016 though, it’s over and out.

TriForce – TriForce 5ive

For the latest in the rather excellent Jazz Re:freshed – 5ive series (previously featuring the likes of Richard Spaven, Kaidi Tatham and Ashley Henry) we have TriForce, a new four piece (threw us too) jazz outfit from South London.

The EP showcases a very confident band working their way through a range of tracks that evidence their unity and versatility in fine style.

After the initial frenzy of heavier tracks ‘Mikayoko’ and the funk charged ‘Red Lagoon’, you are moved onto smoother ground with the slow jam special ‘Righteous’. Things get more abstract on ‘Swank’ but still offer moments of the aggressive, almost rock edge we heard earlier on. The closing curtain is the bass led and saxophone complemented ‘Elijah’s Remedy’.

As is only right, this EP is being pressed on vinyl. But you don’t have to wait until then to enjoy it in all it’s glory. You can get a high quality download from Bandcamp now while you wait for the vinyl press to finish its run.

Tayla – Call Me Danger

Don’t let the sweetly bobbing synths, steel drum tinkles and 90s R&B power pop opening vocals lull you into a false sense of security, this track is packed full of sass and attitude.

Born and raised in Birmingham as an opening gambit Tayla’s come out of the blocks strong with her debut offering ‘Call Me Danger’. We’re excited to see what more she has to offer in the New Year…

‘Call Me Danger’ is out now on Shooting Gallery Records.

Jay Daniel – Broken Knowz

No we’re not reviewing this on the eve of Christmas because the first sound you hear on the album is a sleigh bell, that’s just a festive coincidence. The debut full length from Detroit musician / DJ Jay Daniel is a directional shift for an artist known for more hard hitting techno productions. Fear not though, the elements that have made previous releases as impactful as they were are still there, just with a new glaze.

The playful start of ‘Last Of The Dogons’ before you are eased into the blissful ‘Paradise Valley’ is possibly a little misleading of what’s to come. The scene start to get a lot deeper and mysterious as you journey through the next two tracks, before your head is lifted back above ground on ‘Squeaky Maya’. You’ll find yourself bouncing between emotions for the rest of the album, from skittish rhythms (see ‘$hake It Down’ and ‘Boolin’) to more spacious textures (i.e. ‘Knowledge Of Selfie’ and ‘Yemaya’). Whilst the balance between styles works on average across the album, at times this back and forth can feel a little hard to follow, but don’t let this detract from your experience of the tracks in isolation.

What’s clear from this release is that Daniel’s skills exist way beyond the programming of drums. He is more than capable of developing live beats too as evidenced by the range of drumming skills exhibited throughout. Once these are nourished with his blend of complementary (and often also live) sounds we are gifted with inviting soundscapes that give you a deep sense of connection to the compositions. Where he has taken his music on this album also opens up the arenas that his music can be enjoyed. You could happily let this album spin whilst sat in your favourite arm chair, equally these tracks could change the shape and emotion of a club with the flutter of a high hat.

‘Broken Knows’ is out now on Ninja Tune.

Flamingods – Gojira

A five piece band making “Exotic Psychedelia” and formed in Bahrain you say? Yes we do, and they are called Flamingods.

‘Gorija’ is a flighty audial experience lush with scattered drum rhythms and guitar breaks which explodes into an electrical pulse driven frenzy as it rises and then dips before climaxing. We think they’ve captured the mood rather well with the visuals too.

Their adventurous album Majesty was released on Soundway Records this year. Time to jump on your magic carpet to the record store to buy it.

BADBADNOTGOOD – IV

Sure, we’ve been listening to this album for the best part of six months now (as I’m sure you have too), but like a fine wine these things need time to breath and develop for their true flavour to come through.

But before we get into our thoughts on what for us has been the stand out album of 2016, let us take you back five years, to the first introduction BADBADNOTGOOD gave the wider world to their musical stylings.

United by their passion for hip-hop, they felt it their duty to interpret some of their favourites from the scene in a live jazz performance titled ‘The Odd Future Sessions Part 1″ (incidentally they used to be called the Odd Trio, but not for long). This led to team ups with OFWKTA’s Tyler, The Creator on some heavily viewed YouTube action and later a full album (‘Sour Soul’) with Wu Tang’s Ghostface Killah.

In between their role as the go to backing band for the hip-hop industry, they have compiled four albums on their own, very helpfully titled with sequential Roman numerals so you can easily follow their progression.

We’ve heard on more than one occasion others exclaiming that ‘IV’ is the “commercial” breakthrough for the band, helped in part by tracks featuring Samuel T. Herring of Future Islands, fellow Canadian (actually originally Haitian), soul-electronic maestro KAYTRANADA amongst others. We view it more as the public finally awakening to a talent and sound that they just hadn’t come to understand yet.

Even after half a year living with the album, we are not singing along with every track (well there aren’t lyrics on most of them so how would we). The experience is somewhat developmental instead. With each new spin we identify another feature in a song, a new instrument nestled at the back left of the mix behind a speaker that we’d not noticed before. All of this leads to an enhancement of our enjoyment. It’s as if the album is transforming over time by itself, which of course it’s not, but that’s certainly a sign to us of the strength of their latest offering.

‘IV’ evidences a versatility that many who have listened to BBNG before may not have appreciated was there. The jazz stylings and strength of instrumentation have certainly not disappeared though, particularly not on the title track which appears as a sonic eruption after the more placid ‘Chompy’s Paradise’. The vocal features on ‘Time Moves Slow’‘Hyssop of Love’ and ‘In Your Eyes’ give the album points of access that were not previously available, and will undoubtably open the door to more collabs in the future. The blend is just right on this album and sets a template for further future success.

Pop a few logs on the fire, settle in to the wing back and rap yourself in a blanket. Listen deep and see if you can find something more in this album than you have before. It’s there to be savoured.