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Mental Combat 912

Author: Blaze
Monday, 16 June 2008
Never thought I’d ask this question, but what do Mark Holden’s beatboxing prodigy Joel Turner and the UK’s man of many titles Joseph Christie aka Braintax have in common- A producer called Colin Emmanuel. He came to prominence during the early to mid 90s acid jazz trend as C-Swing and found himself on labels such as New Breed and half a dozen of those Fat Jazzy Grooves compilations. As well as working with some UK soul/RNB artists he’s also made beats for people such as Doc Brown, Mystro, Rodney P and even worked with the leftfield Scottish act The Beta Band. Apparently he’s also a neighbour of Braintax and subsequently the friendship resulted in Colin working on Tax’s album Biro Funk as well as his own album Emmanuel He also created the majority of the beats for Turner’s second album, the poorly selling Out of the Box. This time he provides all the music for Braintax’s latest effort, the stellar sounding My Last & Best Album (Low Life/Shogun). Last- Who knows, but how many artists have uttered the same thing to then completely do a 180 on their audience- Shitloads. It’s a tiresome trick of the trade, but if this is indeed his last album, then he certainly did go out with his best. The music from C-Swing is top-notch on every level. The diversity is triumphant and the breadth is impressive. It’s a classy little number indeed. It’s got ya mellow beats, to ya fidgety drums, to the electronic space funk and even some skittery boom bap, but lyrically it’s also as varied. Joey Brains raps about shopping, the media, people, bedding, being hungry, living it up in Spain, current politics and whatever he felt he needed to get out of his system before he retired from the mic. Just look for the lurid green and white cover.

The German label Unique is a favourite and this year they celebrate 20 years of operation. Now that is something to be proud of indeed. So what do they do- They decide the best way is to not serve up the clichéd ‘best of’ compilation, but to instead grab a couple of DJs to select a grab bag of tunes that reflect their own tastes from any label they desire for the new spin-off with the hit-‘em-between-the-eyes moniker of This Is DJ’s Choice (Unique/Creative Vibes). And who would these lucky upstarts be- Er, the Swiss lads Soulinus & Pun. One wears a cloth cap with scarf and the other dons what looks like an Exacto sweater. So music nerds no doubt. I trust them on clothing apparel alone. Amazingly of the 13 tracks chosen, seven of them are unreleased tunes. The Spanish funk outfit The Sweet Vandals’ Losing Me and Glen Anthony Henry’s excellent Hope are the only Unique releases that come to mind. So all in all it’s a worthwhile compilation that offers up some exclusives that aren’t from the label’s own domain. Some of my own favourites have even turned up on here. The Lack of Afro remix of The Eddie Roberts Quintet’s Giorgio’s Brother and the Tim Wood remix of the Dutch based The JazzInvaders and their track Up & Out. It’s a shame it’s not mixed, but I guess it’s all ready for the Serato kids who’ve been locked out of their favourite MP3 site and need some new beats quick smart from the likes of Keno-1, Leisure All Stars, Beatfanatic, Flevans, Tombee and Quantic.

While I’m typing this, sick with the flu, Peanut Butter Wolf is spinning 45 versions of Arabian Prince’s Strange Life mixed into Connie’s Funky Little Beat at the Oxford Art Factory and I’m here trying to comprehend what is the nature of a fella called James Pants. New clothing label or just a doggone tired marathon runner- You decide, ‘cause I can’t. Let’s just put him under the category of ‘fruit loop’ in the record bins at your localand and watch the spotty kids screw up their faces in amazement. Think Spod, but with better teeth. It’s a healthy mix of two-parts Rich Cason styled electro, a teaspoon of 80’s RNB, some of Howard Jones’ hair, a dob of Delia Derbyshire, a cup full of irony, a measurement of Ant Banks and some healthy knob twiddling via the likes of a Casio sampler. The album is called Welcome (Stones Throw/Creative Vibes). Respect goes to someone who can invoke the charm of Isan with the originality of Les Baxter. There, was that enough references for you to make up your mind- I can’t get the track You’re The One, featuring keyboardist Gary Davis of P&P label fame, out of my head. Top stuff.