Sunday, 6 April 2014

Alton Miller feat. Bantu Soul - Ngizo Ku Linda - Moods & Grooves

Much to my regret and indeed eternal shame as a music lover, it took me until the Clouds Are Gone EP on Deeper Soul from 1995 to finally ‘discover’ Alton Miller. That was more than a decade into the Detroit artist’s recording career and with releases already running into double digits on essential labels such as 20:20, Peacefrog, Plant E and Track Mode.

Better late than never I guess. Which has made it all the more satisfying that a likeminded soul should give me the heads up before it dip below my radar on the man’s latest release on Moods & Grooves, his third for Mike Grant’s long-established and ever-relevant imprint but more than ten years since his last outing for the Motor City outfit.

Not that Miller has been in the least bit idle during that time. Yet whatever the reasons for the hiatus from M&G, the Ngizo Ku Linda EP is nevertheless a welcome and worthy re-acquaintance. Recorded in South Africa and featuring the sublime vocal talents of Bantu Soul, Ngizo Ku Linda is a one track-three versions triumph. Classic soulful house in every sense of the phrase.

Given the talent on board for this project it is little wonder all three tracks exude confidence and class. Melding afro, house and a touch of jazz, the original version is achingly soulful and effortlessly smooth, the renowned South African artist/producer’s vocal delivery both heart-warming and yet somehow heart-breaking at the same time. Divine.

For those still afraid of vocals, the instrumental edit should take care of that being a beautiful, evocative and lingeringly gentle breeze of a track with little intent other than to ease and tease a dance-floor.

Erstwhile Miller cohort Abicah Soul (aka Miguel Davis) pitches in with a top-notch remix that adds a little more Detroit grit, though pleasingly not too much. Hanging onto some of the original vocal snippets and weighing in with a punchy Quentin Harris-style stab, Davis goes deeper and just a little dirtier too. Recommended.

Brad P - Inner Visions - Inner Shift Music

It says much about an artist’s ability, especially in the house and techno arena where the Ep whether it be vinyl or digital is king, when he or she can stretch their work across the length of an album without a dip in quality. No filler, no padding, no unnecessary noodling. 

Brad P [aka Brad Peterson] has managed just that with his debut album Inner Visions on the lovely Inner Shift label he runs jointly with partner Rai Scott. But then it probably comes as no surprise to those that know as the American artist now settled in Edinburgh is something of a producers’ producer and an underground favourite these days amongst those heads that keep a canny ear to the ground.

In a recording career stretching back to the turn of the Millennium both solo or in partnership with Scott as 2DeepSoul and encompassing labels such as Altered Moods, Minuendo, Moods & Grooves and Yore, Peterson has gradually built a loyal following devoted to his deep, lush grooves and ethereal vibes inspired by the early house and techno pioneers, notably the one and only Larry Heard.

Until now though Peterson’s work has been confined to a string of must-have Eps on vinyl. With Inner Visions, however, he has been able to cut loose and skilfully shape his ideas across an eight-track digital album supported by an essential four-track colour-marbled vinyl release of the same name.

Whichever option you plump for though it is nevertheless a case of satisfaction guaranteed. Quality is always key with Peterson. Album highlights are in no short supply, from the perky house/techno hybrid opener Don’t You Know to the ├╝ber-chilled Slow Walker and from the truly-inspired future jazz of Light Years to the more abstract and intriguing Polyphony Trip, Peterson is a man on form right now.

No filler, no padding, no noodling? No way. That’s not Peterson’s style.

CHECK OUT: Inner Visions by Brad P on Inner Shift Music here.