Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Radiohead ‎– Hail To The Thief (2003)

Style: Alternative Rock, Experimental
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Parlophone

Tracklist:
01.   2 + 2 = 5 (The Lukewarm.)
02.   Sit Down. Stand Up. (Snakes & Ladders.)
03.   Sail To The Moon. (Brush The Cobwebs Out Of The Sky.)
04.   Backdrifts. (Honeymoon Is Over.)
05.   Go To Sleep. (Little Man Being Erased.)
06.   Where I End And You Begin. (The Sky Is Falling In.)
07.   We Suck Young Blood. (Your Time Is Up.)
08.   The Gloaming. (Softly Open Our Mouths In The Cold.)
09.   There There. (The Boney King Of Nowhere.)
10.   I Will. (No Man's Land.)
11.   A Punchup At A Wedding. (No No No No No No No No.)
12.   Myxomatosis. (Judge, Jury & Executioner.)
13.   Scatterbrain. (As Dead As Leaves.)
14.   A Wolf At The Door. (It Girl. Rag Doll.)

Credits:
Bass, Synth, Sampler – Colin Greenwood
Drums, Percussion – Philip Selway
Guitar, Effects, Voice – Ed O'Brien
Guitar, Computer, Toy Piano, Glockenspiel, Ondes Martenot – Jonny Greenwood
Voice, Words By, Guitar, Piano, Computer – Thom Yorke
Written By, Performer – Radiohead

Radiohead’s Hail To the Thief is a product of its moment: recorded in late 2002, during the American and British governments’ slow, inevitable march to Iraq, of which lead singer Thom Yorke was an outspoken opponent. Hail is filled with images of monstrous, Orwellian force from which there is no escape. On “Sit down. Stand up,” Yorke assumes the voice of Big Brother, giving rote, meaningless orders — “Sit down/Stand up” — over and over. With equal parts whine and sneer, he says, “We can wipe you out anytime.” Radiohead have always been paranoid and pessimistic, but thanks to recent history, people who used to seem paranoid now seem prudent.

Hail begins with “2+2=5,” a brooding indictment of an apathetic public; the title is pulled directly from George Orwell’s 1984. While the world was being ruined, Yorke says, you were at home, allowing yourself to believe the lies. Now it’s too late. In a precious falsetto a boy might use in church, he sings, “It’s the devil’s way now/There is no way out.” But a moment later he’s manic, screaming, “Because you have not been paying attention!” Yorke then meditates on the words paying attention, repeating them until he sounds like he’s shaking with rage as he sings.

Despite the anger and bitterness, Hail to the Thief is more musically inviting than Radiohead’s last two outings. The album’s fourteen tracks — particularly the percussive, mesmerizing “There There” — are more tuneful and song-focused than 2000’s Kid A or 2001’s Amnesiac. Electronic textures still abound amid the guitars and piano — there’s still synth-y sonic schmutz and squiggles that seem like data transmitted from another plane of sound. But there are so many delicious melodies here, so much that’s both soothing and twisted and catchy, so much to sing along with, even if our prognosis is grim.

Consider “Myxomatosis,” definitely the best song ever about a diseased mongrel cat. The feline protagonist has just returned from outside and has possibly had sex, but now he’s confused, and he stammers against a tense heartbeat drum, “I don’t know why I feel so tongue-tied.” Thanks to the funky fuzzed-out guitar, somehow the name of the disgusting five-syllable rabbit disease flows from Yorke’s lips like poetry.

“A Punch-up at a Wedding” is a soulful, melancholy groove anchored by a snarling bass line and Yorke’s efficiency with lyrics. The imagery is so clear that the song becomes a short story. You can hear the family, dysfunctional beyond repair, hurling leftover anger at one another after perhaps the worst moment of their collective life: “You had to piss on our parade/You had to shred our bigday.” And yet the beautiful piano chords and Yorke yelling, “It’s a drunken punch-up at a wedding!” make it difficult not to sing along.

Hail‘s final song, “A Wolf at the Door,” asserts the impossibility of escaping your demons. “I keep the wolf from the door,” Yorke sings, “But he calls me up/Calls me on the phone/Tells me all the ways that he’s gonna mess me up.” It’s sad, dark, witty and hilarious all at once. Yorke has no answer for the wolf but to try and coo himself to peace. And the rest of us have Radiohead to help us get through.
Touré / Rolling Stone

Martha High ‎– Singing For The Good Times (2016)

Genre: Funk / Soul
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Blind Faith Records

Tracklist:
01.   Always Worth The Pain
02.   I'm A Woman
03.   Can't Hold On
04.   Fire Shut Up In My Bones
05.   Lean On Me
06.   Lovelight
07.   The Hard Way
08.   Singing This Song (For You)
09.   The Hardest Working Woman
10.   You Baby
11.   For The Good Times

Credits:
Mastered By – Brian Lucey
Producer, Recorded By, Mixed By – Luca Sapio

WHEN it comes to soul and funk, Martha High has been there, done that, and got the T-shirt. She was a long-time backing singer for James Brown, which makes it clear she has serious musical chops and her howl and scream-style vocals fits this material perfectly. 
Admittedly, this album cuts no new ground in a genre packed with top-notch singers and musicians, but bang this record on at any soul all-nighter and the dancefloor will be full in no time. 
Opener Always Worth The Pain sets the tone, as over a funky groove she wails and hollers about the travails of a relationship. I Am A Woman is another corker. 
Fire Shut In My Bones and the aptly-named For The Good Times also showcase Martha's vocals and get you grooving. So, ground-breaking no, top-notch soul funk? Most definitely yes.
Kim Mayo / Irish News 

Tom Misch & Yussef Dayes ‎– What Kinda Music (2020)

Genre: Electronic, Jazz
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Blue Note, Beyond The Groove

Tracklist:
01.   What Kinda Music
02.   Festival
03.   Nightrider
04.   Tidal Wave
05.   Sensational
06.   The Real
07.   Lift Off
08.   I Did It For You
09.   Last 100
10.   Kyiv
11.   Julie Mangos
12.   Storm Before The Calm

Credits:
Strings – Tobie Tripp
Guitar, Moog Bass – Miles James
Saxophone – Kaidi Akinnibi
Drums, Percussion – Yussef Dayes
Bass – Rocco Palladino, Tom Driessler
Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Piano, Synth – Tom Misch
Producer – Tom Misch

What Kinda Music? Well, that’s a very good question. Indie jazz? Hip-hop? R&B with hints of electronica? As the title hints, that really doesn’t need answering as it doesn’t matter. Carrying the torch of genreless music, South London pair Tom Misch and Yussef Dayes have teamed up to create an engaging and expansive project which pushes both artists into unchartered territory. A journey defined by vivid colours and flair.   
Young producer and singer-songwriter Tom Misch has been heading towards becoming a household name over the past few years, recognised for his catchy melodic writing which has captured his fan base. Alternatively, Yussef Dayes has come up through the jazz underground scene and his own cult following, creating a real name for himself with the duo Yussef Kamaal before going onto release material independently after the duo split. Having known each other for years through their South London settings, the pair reunited at a release event for Geography which became the spark for What Kinda Music. Although the pair may be from musically different backgrounds, the project shows that they jell well and highlight their broad musicality as they tap into each another’s’ energy.

From the get-go, you realise that What Kinda Music is a deviation from Misch’s previous style. Drawing on the vigour of live performance and jams, the record isn’t overproduced and helps to paint an encompassing musical atmosphere. The title-track immediately immerses us with psychedelic vibes, powered by deep thundering synths, Misch’s high howling vocals, lush swooping strings and Dayes’ punchy punctuated drums. ‘Festival’ encapsulates the free, swirling spirit of these summer gatherings. As painful as it is casting our minds on these beautiful settings in the time of Corona, the nostalgia of this bliss is intoxicating. This wistful dreamscape continues through the cool West Coast hip-hop vibes of ‘Nightrider’, where we see superb musicianship as we hear Dayes and Tom Driessler’s bass rhythmically dance, Misch’s vocal harmonies burst through in the chorus while Freddie Gibbs’ free-flowing verse flawlessly matches the scene. Rounding off the first half, we see brilliant sonic shapes with ‘Tidal Wave’ through the juxtaposition of Dayes’ dramatic drumming and Misch’s silky vocals, whilst the mighty Aretha Franklin’s vocals are channelled for ‘The Real’ to create the summery jazz-hop feel.

The second, funkier, half of the album beings with ‘Lift Off’, a masterclass of musical prowess. The song teems with energy and vibrance, styled by a stunning conversation between Rocco Palladino’s pulsating bass and Misch’s replying guitar, whilst Dayes’ inspired drumming glues the two together. ‘I Did It For You’ and ‘Last 100’ are characteristic of that “classic Tom Misch” sound - bright and airy. ‘Kyiv’ sees the musicians really stretch their legs, showcasing class instrumental passages from both players and helping to reinforce that Dayes is one of the best fucking drummers on the scene. The trance-like ‘Julie Mangos’ builds you to the final song ‘Storm Before The Calm’, which is the perfect outro to the album with the staunch beat of Dayes’ drumming allowing Kaidi Akinnibi’s powerful sax playing to let loose and riff us out.

Atmospheric and immersive, What Kinda Music exhibits the collaborative force of the contemporary music scene. It’s emotive and contemplative approach is enchanting, and it shows how Tom Misch and Yussef Dayes, who come from different musical settings, are able to bring out the best of each other. Spanning styles and sounds, both musicians stretch each other in different ways to create an impressive and profound work.

Ally J Steel / Jazz Revelations

Herbie Hancock ‎– Head Hunters (1973)

Genre: Electronic, Jazz, Funk/Soul
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Columbia, Sony

Tracklist:
1  Chameleon
2  Watermelon Man
3  Sly
4  Vein Melter

Credits:
Producer – David Rubinson
Yamaha Drums – Harvey Mason
Electric Bass, Marimbula – Paul Jackson
Fender Rhodes, Clavinet, Synthesizer, Pipe, Producer, Written-By – Herbie Hancock
Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Saxello, Bass Clarinet, Alto Flute – Bennie Maupin
Congas, Shekere, Balafon, Agogô, Cabasa, Whistle, Tambourine, Surdo, Bells, Slit Drum, Percussion – Bill Summers

Each Sunday, Pitchfork takes an in-depth look at a significant album from the past, and any record not in our archives is eligible. Today, we revisit Herbie Hancock’s jazz-funk masterpiece, a celebration of all that is modern and ancient. 
In 1973, Herbie Hancock, a virtuosic jazz dissident, stomped out an entire history of sound when he walked out a bassline on a modular synthesizer. This was not someone’s upright acoustic bass played with calloused fingers, it was preprogrammed on a circuit board obscured inside a small wooden box, amplified by some hidden electrical process. And it wasn’t one bassline crawling out of the speakers, it was two, dubbed on top of each other, split across the stereo field, blasphemed onto what was ostensibly a jazz recording in post-production. 
For purists, it was just another heretical element on another album of heresy from yet another jazz pioneer turned iconoclast. The afterimages of Miles Davis’ blinding turn toward the electric music a few years earlier were still being processed by audiences, players, and critics alike. Hancock, having played keys for six years with Miles Davis’ Second Great Quintet, had his own gauntlet to throw. Inspired by the power he saw in James Brown and Sly & the Family Stone, Hancock wanted to quit wafting in the rarified air of acoustic and avant-garde jazz. “I was not trying to make a jazz record,” Hancock said later. He wanted to get low, down to the floor, through the earth. He wanted to make a pure funk record. Instead, he made Head Hunters. 
A year before Hancock plunked out that bassline, his woodwind player, Bennie Maupin, sat among the sold-out crowd at Los Angeles Coliseum for Wattstax, a 1972 benefit concert sometimes referred to as “Black Woodstock.” Every marquee artist from the iconic Memphis soul label Stax performed that August afternoon—from the Staple Singers to the Bar-Kays to Isaac Hayes, who closed the concert wearing a gold chainmail cape. The eight-hour show meant to “give back to the community” in the primarily black Watts neighborhood, which had been torn by riots seven years earlier. Tickets were $1, and the security force was entirely black and unarmed. With over 110,000 in attendance, it was then the largest gathering of African Americans in one place since the civil rights March on Washington in 1963.

Maupin, a 32-year-old jazz woodwindist nonpareil from Detroit, had been playing with Hancock for the previous three years on a trilogy of experimental albums known as Hancock's Mwandishi period, from the Swahili name for “composer” that he had adopted at the time. Mwandishi (1971), Crossings (1972) and Sextant (1973) were lofty, sometimes electronic excursions, all influenced deeply by jazz’s big extinction event, Miles Davis’ 1970 album Bitches Brew. The Mwandishi group would sometimes sit in the tour bus and listen to records by German electronic music pioneer Karlheinz Stockhausen at Hancock’s request. In the studio they were incorporating the vanguard production techniques of Bitches Brew, which were verboten in traditionalist jazz circles: extensive editing, amplified instruments, two drummers, overdubs, synth loops. Having played bass clarinet on Bitches Brew, Maupin served as real connective tissue from the most infamous jazz record to the second most infamous jazz record: Head Hunters. When Hancock disbanded the Mwandishi group in search of a new sound, Maupin was the only member he kept. 
The heady strains of the Mwandishi era were a lot more highfalutin than the music Maupin witnessed at Wattstax, though. As the bands grooved to soul, R&B, and funk onstage, Maupin watched a group of young kids dancing the funky robot, popping and locking their joints at right angles. “I just started to hear in my mind melodies centered around that kind of movement,” Maupin later said. The melody: two little hitches, a staccato double-tap, followed by a bluesy riff down a minor pentatonic scale. Tributaries of jazz history flowed through Maupin, who had played with hard bop greats like Lee Morgan and avant-garde pioneers like Pharoah Sanders in the previous decade. But at Wattstax, he was tapping into a broader, more popular, more body-focused black experience. The music Hancock was plotting, like the melody Maupin imagined, drew from the politics of the Watts Riots and Black Nationalism and the counterculture, but also the beat, the one, the groove that made kids want to free their mind and dance. 
When the concert let out, Maupin brought his riff idea based on the funky robot back to Hancock at a rehearsal space in Los Angeles, where he fed it to the newly assembled Head Hunters lineup. Maupin didn’t use the woozy timbre of the bass clarinet but rather the gritty R&B sound of the tenor sax. The upheaval of avant-garde and the donning of funk all poured into “Chameleon,” an indefatigable 15-minute track that staked a new epoch for jazz the minute Hancock plunked out its bassline. Nothing was what it seemed: the bassline was a synth; the guitar-sounding riff was a bass, played by Bay Area funk stylist Paul Jackson in the altissimo register. Hancock plays his clavinet like Hendrix comping time with a wah-wah pedal. The in-demand R&B session drummer Harvey Mason plays in a straight-eighth funk feel, like Clyde Stubblefield did behind James Brown. “Chameleon” slid in and out of the downbeat of ’70s funk, the looseness of cool jazz, the musical modes of R&B, all while drawing upon the rhythms of Anlo-Ewe and Afro-Cuban drumming, black counterculture, and the vanguard of modular synthesizers. 
All this blending of traditional instruments and technology, of black American and African sound, was reflected on the album’s cover: Next to Maupin, there’s Jackson holding a Fender bass; Mason clutching a snare; a virtually unknown percussionist from the Bay Area, Bill Summers, holding gourd rattles. Front and center is Hancock, his face covered with something resembling the ritual kple kple mask worn by the Baoulé people of the Ivory Coast—the eyes, however, are radio knobs, and the mouth is a VU meter, an electronic tool for measuring loudness. 
A satellite view of Head Hunters reveals a vast bazaar of cultures and genres, a complicated interchange of artistic and personal histories. Recorded in a single week and released shortly thereafter, on October 13, 1973, it spent 42 weeks on the Billboard chart, becoming the first platinum-selling jazz album, as it was being slammed by critics as a rapacious commercial move. It was an album that captured jazz as it broke out and mingled with America, appealing both to the Wattstax crowd and to white suburbia. “Sure I’m getting a bigger white audience,” Hancock said a year after the album’s release. “But I’m also getting a big black audience, which I never had...I’ve finally been able to come out with some music the general black public can relate to.” 
By 1973, rock, pop, and R&B had been cannibalizing the jazz audience for over a decade. In the wake of Miles’ electric albums, jazz fusion groups like the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report, and Return to Forever tried to capture both sides of the aisle. The walls were crumbling between the haughty air of jazz and what was being played on commercial radio. Taking a cynical view, jazz historian Grover Sales put it this way: “Some bored rock artists had been gravitating towards jazz because they were bored, while jazz players dallied with rock to recapture their dwindling audience.” In the eyes of purists, fusion groups had poisoned the sanctity of jazz, for reasons ranging from crass commercialization of what was once a pure art form to something more pernicious. Head Hunters co-producer David Rubinson said that “jazz fusion meant... white people playing black music.” 
But Head Hunters avoids the fussy, technical chops of those fusion groups, and instead sinks deeply into funk. In a 1985 interview, Hancock revealed his mindset going into making a pure funk record: “When I heard [Sly & the Family Stone’s] “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin),” it just went to my core. I didn’t know what he was doing. I mean, I heard the chorus, but how could he think of that? I was afraid that was something I couldn’t do. And here I am, I call myself a musician. It bothered me…I decided to try my hand at funk.” 
Like jazz, funk was, at its genesis, a wholly black and political genre, tempered in the Black Power movement of the ’60s and carried forth into the Nixon era by Brown, Sly, George Clinton, Curtis Mayfield, and others. For all of funk’s nastiness and ecstasy, its subversive emancipation of mind and ass, its no-pretense elemental nature, Rickey Vincent, in his 1995 book on the history of funk, lands on a long-view definition. He writes that funk is “...an aesthetic of deliberate confusion, soulful behavior that remains viable because of a faith in instinct, a joy of self, and a joy of life, particularly unassimilated black American life.” The black roots of Head Hunters create this underground communion of joy, a funky celebration of all that is modern and ancient. 
Funk was psychedelic dance music, working-class rebellion, something elusive and unattainable to a mainstream white audience. And as always, mainstream America drank deep from this new well of underground black music. It made Hancock rich—and the numerous times “Chameleon” and “Watermelon Man” have been sampled in hip-hop only made him richer. But it was a sticking point for critics who called the great jazz piano player a pop sell-out. Members of the jazz cognoscenti did not want the hem of their garments sullied with the commercial slop of popular music. In conversation with famous jazz grouch Wynton Marsalis, Hancock defended Head Hunters not as an album that set out to make money, but an album that happened to make money. “Look I’d like to have a Rolls-Royce,” Hancock said, “but I’m not trying to set myself up to get a Rolls-Royce.” 
It is impossible to capture the whole external life of the galactically important Head Hunters, what it touched, how it functioned, its shape in society, its place on the great cosmic map (though musicologist Steven Pond approaches totality in his peerless 2005 book on the album). Truthfully, though, Head Hunters doesn’t confer great importance by the sound of it. It doesn’t scream “cash-grab,” or signal a fissure in jazz, or really exist in any of the contexts that surrounded its release almost five decades ago. The microbial funk of the album, its living power, lies below all that. 
Head Hunters states its intent in its name: The music will blow open your skull the second you press play, the instant the bassline from “Chameleon” comes out of the speakers in full stereo sound. And if that doesn’t move you, how about when Harvey Mason comes in with the funkiest drum part in the history of drumming, a groove even Hancock said he had never heard before in his life, that snare hit coming just before the two, the kick drum so dead and relaxed, are you kidding me? Head Hunters rightfully belongs to the Library of Congress as one of our nation's most treasured recordings, sitting there, smoking, untouchable, a factory of winces and hoooos. 
Hancock’s idea for Head Hunters involved making a funk album with players who brought many other worlds to the table. Mason was an R&B drummer who played deep in the pocket, but he didn’t just sit on one pattern, he tugged and pulled at it throughout the song, a tailor constantly adjusting the fit and feel. Then there’s Summers’ famous solo on beer bottles, pennywhistle, shekere, handclaps, and falsetto ad-libs at the beginning of “Watermelon Man,” a tune carried over and radically reinterpreted from Hancock’s earlier career as a more traditional jazz player. This section is an adaptation of the traditional calls of Ba-Benzélé pygmies of Central Africa, an effort by Summers “to bring up the level of appreciation of the African experience.” With a fat Fender sound, Jackson plays the best bassline on the album—better even than “Chameleon”—defining the one and creating the syncopation outside of Summers’ nest of percussion. 
Maupin doesn’t just riff around on the blues scale; on the vastly underappreciated “Sly,” he goes far out, squeaking and running high and low on the soprano sax, bringing his ’60s avant-gardism back into the soundscape, all on a song named after funk master Sly Stone himself. “Sly” may not have the cultural cachet of “Chameleon” or “Watermelon Man,” but it is the album’s true synthesis of funk texture and jazz feel. When the song shifts grooves around the two-minute mark, Hancock starts comping on his clavinet in stereo, Summers starts an Afro-Cuban groove on the conga, and Mason loosens his wrist on the snare to give Maupin as much room as he needs. By the time Hancock gets to his solo on his Rhodes, the song feels both impossibly free and tightly wound. 
Finally, Head Hunters cools down with “Vein Melter,” the corpse pose, a psalm on death written for a friend of Hancock’s who died of a heroin overdose. With Mason’s snare rolls every measure, it sounds like a funeral march, but Hancock doesn’t put anything to rights. He delays interment with a sneaky grin while comping on the Rhodes with preternatural chill. “Vein Melter” never succumbs to meditative repetition—you can hear the heaving breath, the residual energy of the first three songs pulsing behind it. 
Head Hunters is the bond that connects unnamable forces at the center of jazz and of funk, divine aspirations and base desires, head and body. It’s foolish to try to name the spark of music like this, a parlor game better left to the comedown of an acid trip or a street preacher on his last leg. Head Hunters isn’t the god, it’s just five consummate pros jamming, with a light amount of editing and production. It’s simple, really, even accidental. About six minutes and 55 seconds into “Chameleon,” as Hancock solos on his Arp Odyssey, he lands on a four-note phrase that’s about a half-step away from the key of the song. It is a phrase that pulls your shoulders up to your ears, makes you put your hands up to your face to block the punch. It is the single funkiest, unholiest, nastiest moment on the record, and it was a complete mistake. Hancock was futzing with the manual pitch bender on the synthesizer during his solo and didn’t realign it. He was playing the wrong notes, but the right notes were coming out.
Jeremy D. Larson / Pitchork

Herbie Hancock ‎– Future Shock (1983)

Genre: Electronic, Funk / Soul
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: CBS/Sony, Columbia

Tracklist:
1.   Rockit
2.   Future Shock
3.   TFS
4.   Earth Beat
5.   Autodrive
6.   Rough

Credits:
Mixed By – Dave Jerden
Producer – Herbie Hancock, Material

As with Ornette Coleman's The Shape of Jazz to Come , the title Future Shock says it all. With this record Herbie Hancock busted open jazz in a way that no one could have expected. It may have taken ten or twenty years for the rest of the world to catch up, but the foundation of DJ Spooky and like-minded post-modernists started right here.

Spinning a post apocalyptic view of urban music, Future Shock used hip-hop before it had ever began reaching a mass market. In the days when guys like Kurtis Blow and Grandmaster Flash were telling tales of the of inner-city life through poetry styles that originated in Jamaica, Hancock grabbed producer Bill Laswell and "Rockit" came thrashing out of speakers everywhere. With that said, the record may sound dated, but its importance cannot possibly be overstated. 
As the seventies came to a close, Herbie had seen these kids sampling his music in the great style known as dub. Dub was more or less the brainchild of Jamaican greats U-Roy and King Tubby and was the predecessor to hip-hop. Dub comes from dubbing (hence the name) instrumental, rhythm-based tracks of reggae and rock-steady that were pressed on B-sides of singles. 
These tracks started began showing up in the late sixties on reggae and rock-steady 45's. Soon dancehall DJ's became spinning them and saw people enjoyed singing along in a karaoke style event. As producers and mixers worked the music, it became a legitimate art form. At this time artists began making their lyrics and dub poetry started flying from some of genres elite the most important being U-Roy and his engineer King Tubby. Tubby mixed all of the instrumental tracks for U-Roy's amazing poetry. Tubby would take the layers of each track and mix them, lifting percussion, adjusting levels, and adding reverb and echo. From that point on dub was born. 
The hip-hop/turntablism of Grandmaster Flash was at this time emerging in the New York underground. Whereas pioneers The Sugarhill Gang were lighter more pop orientated, Flash had not only killer grooves, but a message from the streets via the poetry of rapper Melle Mel. Songs such as 'White Lines' and 'The Message' were prophesies of urban life and the poverty that destroyed those caught in its web. But his work as a DJ is what flows all over this record. Flash has been credited for being the inventor if such turntable skills as "cutting" (moving between tracks exactly on the beat), "back-spinning" (manually turning records to repeat brief snippets of sound), and "phasing" (manipulating turntable speeds) which are the meat of all spinners today. 
Hancock of course is no stranger to controversy. He helped usher in electronics, fusion, funk and avant-garde concepts to the jazz world. Future Shock built on all of those styles in a way no one except Hancock could. Using rap, turntables and hip-hop beats the record twisted in and out of burgeoning styles. Although the jazz community disregarded it then and in many ways still do. But while hip-hop and house music eagerly sampled the record it also became an inspiration for acid jazz. 
Looking back at this record, it is very much a product of its time. Although Hancock's records are and were cutting edge, Head Hunters sounds as fresh today as it did upon its release. With Head Hunters the primary root groove of funk has stayed fresh, whereas hip-hop nearly completely turned its back on its roots when it became a commercial commodity in the nineties. Songs such as the title track are dragged down with a mediocrity of bloated vibes that was electronic new wave. Yet on 'TFS' and 'Autodrive' the groove is tight and Herbie's chops cut loose and that's when this record shows its true jazz colors. 
Unlike the majority of Hancock's vast catalogue, Future Shock sounds most like a novelty. Don't let this fool you: it is still an important and interesting record for jazz fans to check out. If nothing else this record helps to understand how dub, hip-hop and jazz all merged into the electronica/jazz of today.
Trevor MacLaren / All About Jazz

Retta Young – Retta Young And The Devotions (1977)

Genre: Funk / Soul
Format: CD
Label: Essential Media Group, Wanderik Music

Tracklist:
1.   The Saga Of Willie Jones
2.   Let's Join Our Worlds Together
3.   The Dawning Of Love
4.   Love Has Found It's Way To Me
5.   You Put A Spell On Me
6.   No Greater Love
7.   Love's Unpredictable
8.   The Happiest Girl In The World

Credits:
Producer: Paul Kyser

Retta Young was a member of the Sixties group, The Superbs (not the same group as the Los Angeles based group). 
She was also the wife of Al Goodman of the group the Moments. 
The Superbs were a sister group of the male group The Superlatives. 
Retta Young formed the group Retta Young And The Devotions, who first recorded on Silver Dollar Records, later to appear on the Wanderik imprint. 
Paul Kyser wrote, produced and arranged all the tracks on the groups’ debut release.
soulwalking