Kyoto Jazz Massive EPs

V/A For KJM EP 01 (K) (Especial Distribution)

Kyoto Jazz Massive are one of the few eastern protagonists of modern dancefloorunderstanding jazzual grooves to have a high profile outside of their native country. The release of this clutch of EPs (and the CD they are taken from) containing exclusive tracks from major artists underlines the esteem in which KJM are held around the world. Phil ‘Restless Soul’ Asher contributes the buoyant “Time To Fly”, where positively minded keys and a subtle bass provide an excellent backing to Rasiyahs vocals that suggest the only way forward is to take matters into one’s own hands, instead of having an ostrich-like approach to making decisions. There’s also a slightly more relaxed LP Mix of this track,with resting keys, smiling synths and simple percussive action. Alison David joins the Afronaught on “Now Or Never”, a demanding outing where a darkly minded bass meets excited strings and keys with their head in the clouds. “Faces NoFear” has been produced by the illustrious Dego, and her musically minded vocals sit comfortably over slowly walking guitars and a murky bass. The vocals on Markus Enochson’s “Listen 4 It “track might not make much sense, but the strolling percussion and happy keys work nicely together.

V/A For KJM EP 02 (J) (Especial Distribution)

These EPs are a little demanding on the wallets and purses of the record buying public, but the calibre of artists that KJM have brought together means that many music fans will find it difficult to resist purchasing at least one of the 3 releases. The pick of J is Dego & Kaidi Tatham’s “Come With Me”, a persuasive vocal outing with lifted synths, cluttered beats and sure keys. There’s also an instrumental for those who want to feel the full force of the joyous keys, pouring bass and tinkering guitars. Da Lata’s Ronco De Cuica uses trustable guitars, battering drums and straight to the point brass to create an ideal springboard for the trio of vocalists that contribute to this track. Louie Vega & the EOL Band’s version of “Aphrodite” is a merry vibraphone-addled groover, whilst Domu contributes “Take Flight”, an elevating string-kissed cut.

V/A For KJM EP 03 (M) (Especial Distribution)

On the final EP, KJM themselves pop up with a track, but they are outshone by London’s super Reel People crew. The Reel People have donated two versions of the outstanding philosophically toned “Tomorrow Never Comes”. The RPs Club Mix sees abrupt beats, piercing synths and a blackened bass link up under Vanessa Freemans reverential vocals. The Album Version pits Vanessa’s dedicated vocals against riveting guitars, enamouring strings and shiny keys. Lars Bartkuhn of the deeper than deep Needs crew gives us “First Friendship”, a welcoming track with happiness inducing keys, contorted guitars and flowing strings. KJM’s own “Endless Flight” in 12 edit format is a musically cultured composition, where charming keys, magnetic synths and rising vocals link up. (Jon Freer)

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