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Perhaps the artwork for Stone By Stone, the new album from tight eclectic instrumental funksters Ikebe Shakedown, sums things up appropriately: between the vintage overlay and the barren-yet-inspiring desert-scape, these stones clearly have soul. Opener “The Offering” sets the tone, as horns - led by the sax - ride a groove controlled by the strong rhythm section and slightly skanking guitar. A live video has just been released as well:
 

 
The title track takes thing into deeper and more melancholic territory, with the blasting brass reigned in before hitting free jazz territory. “The Beast” takes a steady afrobeat groove, led by the drums but empowered by the bass, and inspires dancing feet courtesy of an entrancing melody. Often called cinematic soul, ultimately this is beyond genre, a subtle display of impressive musicianship that is aware of the pillars of the past and the potential of the future.
 
“By Hook Or By Crook” may soar, but “Rio Grande” seems to have most directly inspired the album art, recalling Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass in all the best ways. “Last Stand” pushes the tempo back up, then rides off into the sunset; “Cover Your Tracks” then, is perhaps the most poignant track of all, as the seven-piece slip into a smoky late-night vibe before disappearing whence they came. “Chosen Path” follows a similar formula - not in a derivative way, just in the sense of an evolving band digging deeper into their own sound. The closing pair of tracks, “The Illusion,” and “Dram,” begin hauntingly and invitingly, respectively, as the former is driven by a powerful walking bass-line and the latter, while slightly more reserved, is opened up to allow the reverberating guitar to end things in psychedelic style. Ten strong tracks, definitely intended to be listened to in succession:
 
Stone By Stone by Ikebe Shakedown
 
A timely remix comes from Beat Gates, who takes on “No Name Bar” from Ikebe Shakedown’s self-titled album. Emphasizing the low-end via a slightly thunderous clap, the original’s spirit shines through as it confidently enters beat-tape territory. Free download: 
 

 
In need of more Ikebe Shakedown? Fair enough. Their stellar debut EP Hard Steppin’ is available here:
 
Ikebe Shakedown - Hard Steppin’ EP (Debut) by Ikebe Shakedown
 
And “Dead Wrong” is a cool mashup with the Notorious BIG:
 

 
Perhaps the artwork for Stone By Stone, the new album from tight eclectic instrumental funksters Ikebe Shakedown, sums things up appropriately: between the vintage overlay and the barren-yet-inspiring desert-scape, these stones clearly have soul. Opener “The Offering” sets the tone, as horns - led by the sax - ride a groove controlled by the strong rhythm section and slightly skanking guitar. A live video has just been released as well:

 

 

The title track takes thing into deeper and more melancholic territory, with the blasting brass reigned in before hitting free jazz territory. “The Beast” takes a steady afrobeat groove, led by the drums but empowered by the bass, and inspires dancing feet courtesy of an entrancing melody. Often called cinematic soul, ultimately this is beyond genre, a subtle display of impressive musicianship that is aware of the pillars of the past and the potential of the future.

 

“By Hook Or By Crook” may soar, but “Rio Grande” seems to have most directly inspired the album art, recalling Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass in all the best ways. “Last Stand” pushes the tempo back up, then rides off into the sunset; “Cover Your Tracks” then, is perhaps the most poignant track of all, as the seven-piece slip into a smoky late-night vibe before disappearing whence they came. “Chosen Path” follows a similar formula - not in a derivative way, just in the sense of an evolving band digging deeper into their own sound. The closing pair of tracks, “The Illusion,” and “Dram,” begin hauntingly and invitingly, respectively, as the former is driven by a powerful walking bass-line and the latter, while slightly more reserved, is opened up to allow the reverberating guitar to end things in psychedelic style. Ten strong tracks, definitely intended to be listened to in succession:

 

 

A timely remix comes from Beat Gates, who takes on “No Name Bar” from Ikebe Shakedown’s self-titled album. Emphasizing the low-end via a slightly thunderous clap, the original’s spirit shines through as it confidently enters beat-tape territory. Free download:

 

 

In need of more Ikebe Shakedown? Fair enough. Their stellar debut EP Hard Steppin’ is available here:

 

Ikebe Shakedown - Hard Steppin’ EP (Debut) by Ikebe Shakedown

 

And “Dead Wrong” is a cool mashup with the Notorious BIG:

 

 

As the sounds filter in on opener “Salta Corazon” (Jumping Hearts Mix), it becomes readily apparent that Los Chicos Altos are not simply expanding on the enjoyable “well-layered funky Afro-Latin dance-party” of their Se Va Mamba EP [reviewed April 2012] - their beats are more widely influenced than ever, yet blissfully playful. Featuring Palo Q’Sea, El Diablo Alegre - really a four-track remix EP - may be steeped in funk, but it is the mixture of Latin grooves and modern bass that creates such a rich sound. The Novalima remix of the title track is funky house gone tropical and polyrhythmic; “Chande“‘s chants are instantly captivating - which is fortunate given the four versions: K. Sabroso & Axel Cloud chop and mutate the vocals; the Club and Radio Edits stay funky and dancefloor-friendly; the album-closing Superpendejos Remix feat. Julio Carbonell “Mandinga Sax” brings in some classic synths and 80s vocoder vibes before the expected saxophone takes control at the break. Horns are also brought to the forefront on “La Conoa,” which summons the spirit of Miami Sound Machine while not getting unnecessarily nostalgic. However, “Chande” is definitely the single here, with a video properly introducing Los Chicos Altos and Palo Q’Sea’s blend of Afro/Latin beats, goofy humor, and acceptable styles of dance:
 
 

 
As the sounds filter in on opener “Salta Corazon” (Jumping Hearts Mix), it becomes readily apparent that Los Chicos Altos are not simply expanding on the enjoyable “well-layered funky Afro-Latin dance-party” of their Se Va Mamba EP [reviewed April 2012] - their beats are more widely influenced than ever, yet blissfully playful. Featuring Palo Q’Sea, El Diablo Alegre - really a four-track remix EP - may be steeped in funk, but it is the mixture of Latin grooves and modern bass that creates such a rich sound. The Novalima remix of the title track is funky house gone tropical and polyrhythmic; “Chande“‘s chants are instantly captivating - which is fortunate given the four versions: K. Sabroso & Axel Cloud chop and mutate the vocals; the Club and Radio Edits stay funky and dancefloor-friendly; the album-closing Superpendejos Remix feat. Julio Carbonell “Mandinga Sax” brings in some classic synths and 80s vocoder vibes before the expected saxophone takes control at the break. Horns are also brought to the forefront on “La Conoa,” which summons the spirit of Miami Sound Machine while not getting unnecessarily nostalgic. However, “Chande” is definitely the single here, with a video properly introducing Los Chicos Altos and Palo Q’Sea’s blend of Afro/Latin beats, goofy humor, and acceptable styles of dance:

 

 

 

From Bass to Indie to Beats - a variety of fresh tunes and mixes have been released out of Hong Kong in the past week.

In preparation of his upcoming Saturday night gig [Frequency], Bass Music China’s 5th Guest Mix comes from Command Strange. China Commands Strange Bass Music? Perhaps, but more importantly it’s funky drum-n-bass that’s well-worth listening to as it wisely avoids the common repetitive traps of the genre.

If you missed the 4th installment from JCC, check it out as well:

 

Hong Kong’s indie darlings Noughts and Exes have just released their third album. Self-titled, it showcases their eclectic musicianship and taut melodies. Or their taut musicianship and eclectic melodies? Either way, it’s catchy meets quality:

J-Hoon has a beat featured, along with label regulars 1988, Samedi Sound System, Voodoo Dred, Science Project, and plenty more, on Dub Temple Records’ latest beat tape tribute. This volume’s recipient is Linton Kwesi Johnson, resulting in some heavy samples for the beat makers to work wonders with.

From the true Hong Kong underground, Jordinho and Loki Dolo have both dropped multi-genre-influenced beats. With “Shoedrink & Boot,” Jordinho unleashes some sparse dubby funk with a lush shimmering break. On “House of Cards,” Loki Dolo finds comfort in noir jazz as a beat struts out from a layered haze.

 

Here’s a regional bonus as well, out of Beijing comes Emcee Heretic with the first video “Whoa!” off his summer-time release Long Time Coming. The album is smartly-produced conscious hip-hop which wears its influences well.

 

And finally, if you missed French Fries in town this summer like I did, Sync Sing Sin and Trenchtown Music have thoughtfully prepared a re-cap video to emphasize what a mistake that was. Or if you attended, re-live your dance floor memories:

More posts out soon, and if you love dub I hope to see you at Midnight & Co. on Wednesday, October 2nd, as MC Loki Dolo and myself go on a bass-fueled musical exploration of Jamaican-influenced music…