Ministry of sound
With so many decent artists contributing to this compilation, you’d imagine it would be hard to fail. And Ministy Of Sound seemingly gave it their best shot. Yet truthfully, i’ve never known such a yawn fest. With the exception of Biggy Smalls, Nelly & Kelly Rowland and Brandy & Monica, skip the first 40 odd tracks, please.
How difficult was it to mess this one up? This sacred genre has such a wealth of sumptuous material in its back catalogue you can create 10 panty dropping baby-making compilations with more than enough music to spare. The run in does bring out some quality with Randy Crawford, Joyce Sims & Al Green, but by the time you’re that deep in, the album probably turned a gun on yourself. Stay well clear of this pile of tat and just stick Marvin Gaye on repeat. 1/5 SS.
STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON SOUNDTRACK
NWA / Various
If you were anywhere near the sound of the streets in the late 1980’s then NWA’s debut album may well have changed your life. Being the album solely responsible for the birth of gangsta rap, the combination of Ice Cube’s explosive lyrics, Eazy-E’s jarring tones and Dr Dre’s almost prescient production skills, Straight Outta Compton transcended mere music to become a voice of youth, a socio-policital statement and an undeniable legend in the annals of rap, hip hop and urban culture in general.
So when the boipic of this hard-hitting “boys-from-the-hood” story was announced, expectations were high. The movie delivered everything it needed to and the soundtrack went hand in hand. Featuring all the classic NWA jams plus a few sneaky Ice Cube solos, the soundtrack also indulged in some important influences such as the P-Funk sound of Parliament and Funkadelic, along with summertime soul hits from Roy Ayers. Ultimately the soundtrack couldn’t lose – and as such, won big. 4.5/5 JMC
BIG BLACK COAT
In the five-year gap between 2011’s It’s All True and the long awaited Big Black Coat, Canadian electronic duo Jeremy Greenspan and Matt Didemus pursued solo endeavors, taking time away to regroup and redefine the unmistakably sexy late night sound of J unior Boys.
Departing from their previous introspective blend of synthpop and R&B, Big Black Coat delivers a combination of harder, accented electronics reminiscent of early Detroit techno curiously mixed with underground house, disco and 80’s electro bedroom-pop to to bring a new sound that is still remarkably familiar. And as their most liberating release in a decade, who’s to argue? Pulsating basslines accented by Greenspan’s sultry falsetto woven into infectious arpeggios are all the ingredients that fuel a Junior Boys addiction. With tracks like the epic “What You Won’t Do for Love,” delving boldly into techno, alongside comedown classics such as “And It’s Forver” this marks a return to form through personal progression that perfectly satisfies eagerly awaited ears. 4/5 JMC
Leftfield ignited the senses of the jilted generation with this explosive and inspirational 1995 release. Queue the cliches; “pioneers”, “timeless,” “ground breaking” etc. This is all of them. The opening track reminds me of those Orb/Orbital moments of ambience when out of nowhere the drums kick, dub drums. The flavour remains the same throughout the album, long breakdowns of blissful ambience pepped up with ragga breakbeats through to pulsating techno.
You are given plenty of time to catch your breath with excellent tracks such as ‘Melt’ and ‘Original’ – and that’s the genius of this album, it plays like a live set. No sooner you are blissed out, than you are being torn apart again by huge beats. ‘Release The Pressure’ epitomises this.
Aging well is an indication of just how good this album is. I’m still using Space Shanty in my DJ sets 20 years later and it still sounds as fresh as ever. Quite Brillant. 5/5 SS
Arriving in Southeast Asia over fifteen years ago, Simon of Koh Samui Events has since held many residencies in Thailand including a 5 year stint at the Full Moon Party. You can catch Simon Solo in one of his many residencies on Koh Samui, whether busting out banging house at Bar Solo or playing poolside vocal house and soul jams at Beach Republic.