Following two EP releases on Delusions Of Grandeur the time felt right for thatmanmonkz to get working on his debut LP. The Sheffield b-boy is no newcomer to production having been releasing music since the mid-noughties but has seen a definite rise in interest the last few years following essential releases on his own Shadeleaf label as well as remixes and productions for the likes of Classic, Kolour LTD and Kon’s StarTime.
With his first musical love being Hip Hop it’s easy to understand how his approach to house turns out so refreshing. Inevitably MPC’s, big, bold samples, Jay Dee inspired grooves and a raw, underproduced sound all play a big part and never one to shy away from an interesting collaboration he has enlisted the skills of several vocalists including Detroit MC Ta‘raach (whose credits include Slum Village and Jill Scott), Erik Rico (collabs include Ron Trent and DJ Spinna), Khalil, Dave Aju, Pete Simpson (as A Brother Is...) and Malik Ameer.
Things kick off with a low-slung soul jam entitled Air featuring Kahil Anthony complete with sparkling Rhodes arps and a dub-wise bassline underpinning a beautifully lazy groove. Jus Anutha Wunna Deez follows with a rough and ready house jam that clearly doffs its cap to those old Sound Signature and Mahogoni Music releases we know and love so much. Next up we have Boogie Down with Erik Rico rocking some Parliament inspired vocal business bringing the feelgood vibes to this rolling P-Funker. Some Ol’ Nex’ Ish goes for a jazz samba meets house fusion whilst A Fly New Tune goes strictly old school with a classic combo of dusty break, filtered fusion rhodes n bass sample, movie dialogue snippets and a masterful flow delivered by Ta’raach. Dave Aju steps up next on Turn It Out laying down a unison vocal refrain to compliment the bumping disco groove complete with a call and response section for some singalong party participation!
As we continue, Another Night Under The Glitterball sees thatmanmonkz back in familiar territory with a rock solid, deep jazz-house jam. On I Can Hardly Breathe we’re treated to a downtempo gospel-infused affair which leads us perfectly into the most bumpy club- friendly track of the LP For Bae. Moon On The Hill is a collaboration with Italian DJ Kali and his Raw Standard crew and treats us to some distinctly mid 90’s Kruder and Dorfmeister vibes to zone out to before heading off in an altogether more bonkers, psychedelic dancehall direction on Vampires. Baked is another classy thatmanmonkz take on Hip Hop featuring Malik Ameer on the mic. Take U 2 My House sounds like something Prince might have made in the mid-80’s if he’d just come off a 3 day bender at Panorama Bar. And closing the show in perfect style and fashion we have For Those I’ve Lost Along The Way which is a blunted yet beautifully optimistic number that has echoes of Lonnie Liston Smith and a brilliant spiritual vocal sample which provides the perfect closer to an amazing debut LP.
Published: 4th February 2016