The Digest - 10 April 2013

10 Apr 2013

Read our guide to the week's best releases.

In the second instalment of our new Digest series, RFB has sifted through a vintage week of releases to find four of the best. Buy these albums, and check back next week for more.

James Blake

James Blake - Overgrown

James Blake's debut album mercilessly split opinion. To some he proved himself to be soul’s electronic second coming; to others he was a totem of the vagaries of fixie-wave. Many of the compositional tics of the first record have carried over into Overgrown, not least amongst them Blake's propensity for self-plagiarism. Thus, the same vocal figures repeat themselves through the album - the melodic patterns into which Blake clearly falls by default. But while on his debut this seemed the sign of a limited palette, here it is somehow soothing - as is the recurring chromatic piano filigree that serves as a constant reminder that Overgrown remains, at heart, a soul record. A vastly superior set to its predecessor, and highly recommended.

Letherette

Letherette - Letherette

Featurette, Letherette’s delightfully titled first EP for Ninja Tune, was one of the label’s finest releases of 2012; a quartet of painfully melancholic tracks that took outrageous funk melodicism and made a judicious application of filter swoops and sidechaining. On their debut longplayer the Wolverhampton duo plough the same bountiful furrow, continuing to explore what would happen if you made Daft Punk really, really sad. Fantastic fun.

Owiny Sigoma Band

Owiny Sigoma Band - Power Punch

London-Kenyan long-distance outfit Owiny Sigoma Band continue to explore the floor-filling potential of dance-music-not-dance-music. On Power Punch the dynamic of the first album has been inverted, with the Kenyan musicians decamping to London to record. The capital’s influences hang heavy here, with thick electronics louchely applied throughout, but at its core this remains an African record retooled, in the vein of Shangaan Electro. One for the adventurous DJs.

Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou

 

Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou - Volume 3: The Skeletal Essences of Voodoo Funk

Analog Africa is part of the holy triumvirate of reissue labels, a triple-threat group that also includes Soundway and Strut. Here the Berlin imprint continues its rediscovery of the extraordinary back catalogue of Benin’s Orchestre Poly-Rhythmo de Cotonou - a band that has been active for half a century. This volume comprises the outfit’s recordings from 1969 to 1980, and includes the utterly beautiful ‘Min We Tun So’, to which you can listen below.

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