Crucial Material – November 23rd, 2020

Hope you are doing well and that some of these records will make your day!

Here are our favorite EP’s, Albums and Reissues of the past week. As always we encourage you to buy digital or physical releases if you discover a release you love. Support artists and labels!


Various — Mr Bongo Record Club Volume Four

In what has been truly an incredible compilation series over the past few years, the good people at the Brighton-based label and record shop have put out the fourth volume of their ‘Mr Bongo Record Club’. Always featuring a wide range of music from all corners of the globe, this well-curated double LP includes Mr Bongo staff favorites and some of the most obscure Brazilian, African, soul, funk, and disco gems.
— Selected by TJ Gorton

Om Unit Meets Seekers International — Secret Location

A killer dubwise EP fusing a vast array of styles and eras of bass music culture all running through the mixing board shared by Om Unit and Seekers International. From UK hardcore, rave, jungle, dancehall, it’s all here plus a ton of your favorite samples make an appearance, including my personal favorite: that bansuri flute lick from all those goa trance 90’s comps. Another incredible release from the Berceuse Heroique label.
— Selected by Lexis

Various -— Color De Trópico Compiled By El Drágon Criollo & El Palmas

Wonderful compilation on the El Palmas imprint exploring rare gems from Venezuela’s under appreciated and explored musical history. From jazz, rock, salsa, funk, psych, prog and disco, to guajira, cumbia, cha-cha-cha and the very Venezuelan joropo. Highlights include Hugo Blanco’s “Guajira con Arpa” and the dancefloor-ready “Zambo” by Le Retreta Major. Also recommended from El Palmas, Columbian salsa-punkeros Contento and their “Lo Bueno Está Aquí” album, featuring ‘Color De Trópico’ compiler, El Drágon Criollo.
— Selected by Oli Brunetti

De.Ville — Atlantique

Montreal based proto Raï beat band De.Ville present a short but powerful EP dedicated to those who have fallen in the migrant struggle. The title track showcases the group’s sound, chemistry and message while 80s tinged Dopamina showcases their signature warmth. Finally on “Waters”, the incredible trumpet work meshes into Desjardin’s soulful arrangements and leaves room for Ziad Qoulaii’s sublime hypnotic vocals. A musical gem in response to a pressing crisis.
— Selected by ASMA


Matthew Halsall — Salute to the Sun

For over a decade, composer, trumpeter, producer, DJ and founder of Gondwana Records, Matthew Halsall has consistently been at the forefront of the UK’s thriving jazz scene. He returns with a brilliant new album featuring some of the finest young musicians from Manchester. Inspired by ambient rainforest and jungle field recordings, this earthy and organic sounding recording blends together deep spiritual jazz grooves, hypnotic harp melodies, and kalimba patterns
— Selected by TJ Gorton

Rob Mazurek / Exploding Star Orchestra — Dimensional Stardust

Prolific trumpeter, composer & multidisciplinarian Rob Mazurek, leads Chicago luminaries, such as Nicole Mitchell, Jeff Parker, Jaimie Branch, and Damon Locks, on this remarkable outing for IARC, falling somewhere between experimental impressionism, free-jazz, contemporary classical and post-rock. Song titles, such as “Sun Core Tet (Parable 99)” fit this otherworldly music well. A major statement to round off 2020, setting an optimistic tone for the year ahead.
— Selected by Oli Brunetti


Family Of Swede — Set Your Free 

Breezy cosmic soul courtesy of 1970s west coast band Family of Swede. The band originally only issued one single in 1976 until Cordial Records uncovered a whole batch of unreleased recordings earlier this year, including the short version of “Set You Free”. After another rummage into the vaults this epic 12-minute version was discovered, now presented on this killer 12” –  a big Gilles Peterson spin!
— Selected by Dom Ore

Sons of the James — Everlasting 

Refreshing sounds from this exciting Richmond, VA based duo. Singer/songwriter Rob Milton and producer/musician DJ Harrison (Butcher Brown / Stones Throw) brew a potent blend of classic gospel music, hip hop, jazz and Soulquarians era (aka “neo”) soul. The Georgia Anne Muldrow featuring “Things I Should Have Said” and funktafied “Happy” were the initial hook, but the album delivers on its promise.
— Selected by Oli Brunetti

SaiR — Light Headed

Beautiful Modern Funk instrumental album from Porto producer SaiR. “Light Headed, a compilation of life events and experiences summed up into 7 instrumental tracks composed and recorded under the sensation of lightheadedness.”
— Selected by Walla P

Allysha Joy — Light it Again 

30/70 Collective’s Allysha Joy returns in 2020, two years after her brilliant debut “Arcadia:Raw” (a firm Balance favorite), with an EP featuring four beautifully deep, soulful cuts. A stellar cast, as is to be expected, including Horatio Luna on bass, Josh Kelly on sax and Ziggy Zeitgeist on drums. Out now on the always quality First Word Records. 
— Selected by Spacewalker


Dance System — Where’s The Party At?

The most fun album of 2020, hands down. Dance System (FKA L-Vis 1990) gathers an all star lineup of collaborators (DJ Deeon, Herbert, India Jordan, A-Trak, Hudson Mohawke, Sally C, UNIIQU3, …) for 20 tracks of pure nostalgic-yet-futuristic rave house. I can’t even express how much this bangs; you’ve got disco, ghetto, soulful, breaks, glitch, deliciously processed synth stabs all over, reverses, woos, filters, sassy vocals – all of this executed with a frantic urgency. Get me to this party for the love of god!
— Selected by dileta

Avtomat — Gusła (Human Rites)

Amazing new leftfield club discovery from Poland! It has Night Slugs/Fade To Mind synth stylings, but delicately flips the structure over by adding clever twists in the melodies, scraping glitches and textures, various syncopated drums and dark drones. The EP also comments on the current inhumane treatment of LGBTQ+ people by the Polish government
— Selected by dileta

Nazar — Territorial

Stunning EP from Nazar exploring the continuum of cutting edge worldwide black club music. Touching on experimental music, Gqom, Batida, rough Kuduro and UK Funky featuring collaborations with Citizen Boy and A.K.A Adrix (of Principe fame) + remixes from the mighty from Scratchclart (aka Scratcha DVA), DJ ADAMM, and Slikback.  Every single track shares the same relentless energy. This EP is no joke.
— Selected by Lexis

Scrimshire — Believers

A superb, life-affirming album from Scrimshire, weaving soul, jazz, and Afro disco with a broad electronica pallet, into an impeccably produced, composed and arranged album. Featuring star turns from rising artists such as K.O.G, Bessi and And is Phi, MIMS faves such as Tamar of Collocutor, and Penya, and even the legendary Omar.
— Selected by Oli Brunetti



Ulla Strayss & Perila’s newly formed Log duo is off to a stunning start. ‘LOG ET3RNAL’ is a gauzy, dubbed-out, dense yet calming, mystical listening experience. Gets deeper every time you dive into it. 
— Selected by Lexis

We also invite you to check out our main five playlists where you’ll find our current favorites across Spotify, Apple Music and Bandcamp.