John-Paul Shiver

John-Paul Shiver

SF Music Journalist who writes for @pulplab @sfsonicmag , likes more songs about buildings and food. He's written for several Bay Area Music publications over the past 15 years.

Future Classics

Kaidi Tatham “It’s A World Before You” (First Word Records)

Broken Beat

Don’t even allow yourself to think for one nanosecond that “It’s A World Before You” is any type of comeback record for Kaidi Tatham.

The UK electronic music innovator has played, produced, influenced and collaborated with the Bugz In The Attic and Dego from 4hero for 20 plus years – three names that remain an influential catalyst still pushing Black EDM culture in London’s underground music scene.

It’s a legacy that extends from Jungle to future Jazz. Tatham’s influence can be heard today in the music of Joe Armon-Jones and Kamaal Williams, two flourishing London keys players thriving in the current UK Jazz Explosion. That wave stands on the shoulders of Kaidi, a day one Broken Beat pioneer. His 12 track long player, seven years in the making, will please House music aficionados with its Afrobeat informed West London Broken Beat oeuvre, golden age Hip Hop fiends and dance floor Jazz heads who appreciate the Ahmad Jamal type phrasing via the Fender Rhodes over surgical drum programming.

The single and album title “It’s A World Before You” which features Dego, carries a bit of that 4hero orchestration. The warmth of major key progressions, Pan-African guitar strumming and horn charts complement the inclusive spirit at work here.

But it’s the levels…

‘Your Dreams Don’t Mean A Thing’ is a meditative reminder of the Jungle Jazz era with synth acid washes and acoustic bass runs laid out over the chopped drum programming, with a Herbie Hancock like keyboard flourish towards the end. More stutter drum patterns ensue with the rhythmic dexterity found on the aptly titled ‘Cold’. But it’s the straightaway Phuture Boogie encrusted in the monsta bass line of ‘It’s About Who You Know’, that shows how to turn the Funk phasers past 11. This humid slice of London Hustle, equipped with jiggle and sway, would fit squarely in any American modern Funk DJ set. The following selection ‘Outtah Audah’, two minutes of 70’s Funk-Jazz bedlam, gives the feet a rest and the mind an opportunity to ponder Blaxploitation scenarios.

Besides appearances from Dego and Children Of Zeus, everything on the record was played by Tatham himself. And it’s quite fitting for there are few producers moving the bar so multi-directional while nailing all the points in this advanced arrangement.

“It’s A World Before You” release June 29, 2018 on First Word Records

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