Thursday 29 February 2024

When it comes to global, jazz, funk and spiritual sounds, Shay Hazan's album 'Wusul' is going to be hard to beat in 2024, if not impossible!

'Wusul' (Arabic for 'arrival' - Shay became a Dad 3 months ago) certainly marks a musical turn up for the books, like a 12 track mainline terminal station with hot sand falling from ya sandals; or more accurately Shay's synths, guimbri, guitar and percussion . 

This sounds another but a one man band, the killer track 'Sunflowers' featuring the keys of Nitai Hershkovits which fades just as they get into a Mulatu afro-jazz groove; WHY? Even so, it's definitely "uplifting and danceable masterpiece". But don't worry as there's more guest and diversions on tracks to follow.

The core band joining Shay, Tal Avraham (trumpet), Eyal Netzer (tenor sax) and Shahar Haziza (drums) must have had a great time recording all this original Hazan compositions (the quieter/reflective/traditional 'Yarabi' being the one exception).

The guimbri is a traditional instrument of Morroco (lots of Morroco around at the moment like DJ/producers Omary and Dj Medi - perhaps they'd be up for a housey remix?) but in the hand of Shay it's hard to tells as his productions sound as much mod-twangy guitar and wild 70s synth.

There's a listening party on bandcamp today at 7pm (28th February - so tune in) and you'll hear the album open with 'Dew' which is like a jazz morning but it really gets cooking with 'Oladipo' that's like a desert blues mixed with Sun Ra (when he was hanging out with Astatke) with Fela hanging around.  'A Bite Of Sand', with it's Tinariwen twang at the wadi is hypnotic as the guimbri sounds like a harp at times. 'A Walk In Dir El-Assad' and 'Yooltz' are more on the danceable side with slips into Afro-jazz-2step-Joe Meek whilst and 'Shimo Kitazawa' is like a Japanese inspired 'Wusul' dub.

If there's one track that encapsulates the album it's probably 'Vide Jadid' but I wish that all the tracks were as long as the 5 minute 'Street Souls'; which links in nicely with the closing track 'Riff Raff' which is dedicated to the guys that live in the street outside of his studio and represents the 'thin walls' that separate us (all for that matter).  

People will want to experience this album livee/on tour (are there plans? I'll keep you posted) but if you can't make it to a gig, this album and his 2021 debut 'Reclusive Rituals' (both on Batov) are highly recommended.

Artist: Shay Hazan 

Title: Wusul وصول 

Release date: 1st March, 2024

Label: Batov Records 

Cat. No: BTR088

Format: Vinyl / Digital / Bandcamp

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North African house from Moroccan DJ/Producer Omary meets Keyan DJ/Producer Saint Evo that features to vocals of Morrocan singer Meryame, finds up absorbed on the dancefloor with 'El Amal'.

You'll remember the last release on the label, SMALL F and Thabiso Vocalist's 'Remember Me' (see review HERE) or last year's collaboration between Omary and kawtar Sadik on 'Maktoub' with Amine'O on the remix which kind of links all the Mediterean/North African house with the (ethnic) flute gang.

There seems a renewed interest in Morrocan influences from DJ Bob Hill (Illicit Groves half-term break session) to Shay Hazan's 'Wusul) (see review HERE).

Artist: Omary, Saint Evo

Title: El Amal feat. Meryame

Release date: 12th February, 2024

Label : Ostowana

Catalog Number : OST047

Format: Digital

Wednesday 28 February 2024

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BBE have done it again as the lady of house, Lady Alma, is joined by Kenny Bobien on Marley Marl's gospel classic, 'Joy (Hallelujah)'.

Can you call a tune that's just come out 'classic'? Well, when it's full of classic elements like this one - big vocals, silky backing vocals, pounding beats, lucious strings and a organ on the edge - that's all wrapped up in a hands in the air way; I'd say it was justified.

Come in extended orginal and radio edits with instrumentals, this fits in so well with the recent muscelcars releases on the same label (see review HERE) and Soul Liberation (see review HERE) to pick on just two.

This is pure JOY! for the ears, everday - let me hear "Hallelujah"!

Artist: Marley Marl feat. Lady Alma and Kenny Bobien
Title: Joy (Hallelujah) 
Release date: 23rd February, 2024
Label : BBE Music
Catalog Number : BBE762SDG
Format: 12" Vinyl / Digital / Bandcamp 
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If you're in Portugal this spring and after some jazzy funk groove, look out for the Casa Bonita as they tour their album, 'Casa Bonita'.

Very much is a 70s disco jazz-funk groove, this intrumental 10 track album will bring back memories for some and a renewed thirst for crate-digging synthy grooves.

That said, if's got the fresh modern production values that Azymuth's Far Out Recordings have along with influences of Herbie Hancock and old skool London groove (Surface Noise, Level 42 etc) and current trendy, Andre 3000.

Very much ready for sun, beach and pool parties as the tracks have a Latin-jazz DJ feel to them; "What's this track mate?" I can hear you say - it's off the new Casa Bonita album!  Especially, the spicey 'Sambal' and 'Vongole' but if you're after some laid back rain forest action, 'Vian' is cool and a bit dubby balearic.

Great find this much cheaper than some long lost Brazilian jazz fusion LP on Camden Market that's probably only got one good track on it; Casa Boita is a big 10 out of 10.

Live dates
Sala Lisa, Lisbon Portugal - Feb 2
Madalena, Faro Portugal - Mar 1
Collect, Lisbon Portugal - Apr 16 (live session)
TBA, Portugal - Apr 19
TBA, Portugal - Apr 20 

Artist: Casa Bonita
Title: Casa Bonita
Release date: Vinyl Spring 2024 - Digital 26th January 2024
Label: Aquário Records
Cat. No: -
Format: Digital / Bandcamp
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Ostowana is a record label that focuses on African and Middle Eastern culture and artists who promise to provide a wide variety of artists and an array of music; and you definitely get that from Small F and Thabiso Vocalist on 'Remember Me'. 

Following on from the previous Small F release from the end of last year, 'Kayhal EP' (definitely check out 'Clouds') this London-based Morocan DJ has teamed up with South African, Mr. Vocalist for a more African house vibe to remember them by.

As Ostowana approach their 50 release, we're definitely looking forward to that and checking out more of their back catalogue.

Artist: SMALL F Feat. Thabiso Vocalist 

Title: Remember Me 

Release date: 16th February, 2024

Label : Ostowana

Catalog Number : OST045

Format: Digital

Monday 26 February 2024

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Marc-Antoine Perrio's name might sound like he should be in a list of Michelin star chefs or the Italian mid-field, but this musician is looking at escapism in a musical form on his new album.

Multi-instrumentalist/composer Marc-Antoine Perrio 14 track album covers a fusion of R&B, jazz, ambient, cinematic, classical and, at times, dreamy rock guitar.

Sometimes these influences merge, like the track 'Veneza' (featuring Claude Violante) and at others, they absorb like the beautiful 'Mon Coeur' (feat Elise Preys) which is a cinematic meeting of a sleepy Tundercat and early Cinematic Orchestra ('Overnight II' is the one to pick-up for this end of the spectrum).

Sometimes it can get a bit proggy ('Peace Over') or R&B/Pop francaise ('Flash the other track that features Elise Preys) and at the other extreme, classically inspired OST ('Fenêtre ( No3)' being the most obvious example).  And then there's the radio friendly 'TTOO' (featuring ABS) and the krautrock inspired 'Cyclp Musiq' which could have been longer to get the full effect.

So it's kinda disjointed whilst at the same time being fluid and I love that there's an 'answer' track on the same album in 'Post Mon Coeur' (featuring Adrien Soleiman; another multi-instrumentalist) and interludes to keep with the OST/library theme; watch out for 'IE Prologue (When Dust Storm Becomes Mountain)' to shatter the mood as it's in total contrast to 'Ripere'.

If you're into the ENO ambience there's a "hidden track" but there's not much more you can cram into this release but is that what his escapism is all about? If music is the healing force of the universe, here's a little help to heal, 'till you live forever. 
Artist: Marc-Antoine Perrio 
Title: Escapist: Heal, 'till You Live Forever
Release date: 29th February, 2024
Label : Noble
Catalog Number : LP / Digital  

Mon Coeur (Feat Elise Preys):
Marc-Antoine Perrio: Electric Guitar, Piano, Voices, Percussions, Synths Elise Preys: Voices
Jennifer Hutt: Violins
Florent Nisse: Double Bass
Adrien Soleiman: Tenor Sax

Mix & Mastering: Nicolas Charlier

Friday 23 February 2024

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When you think of acorn falling and trees of a musical kind, you've got your multiple Wainwright family, Steve and Hollie Cook and now, re:ni (aka Lauren Bush) and her drum/percussion obsessed Dad, Glyn 'Bigga' Bush.

I mention the Bush history with drums (whether it be Magic Drum Orchestra, the reggae/dub of Ligntning Head,the house side of Rocker's HiFi, the prog The black Albumen or even the variety on his 1BTN show, Bigga's Big Dig), as the Timedance varient is very much darker coming out of the shadows of post-dubstep dark electronic d'n'b.

The four tracks kick off with 'BURSTTRAP' that's possibley trap on a dancehall dub trip which kinda sound Krautrock?

There's definitely some techno/trans europe express/warehouse to 'Below Sanpaku' and definitely some heavy industry assult on 'BeautySick' (that's Dad's favourite) whilst 'Blame is the Name of the Game' is more a mix of all the above with a gamelan-electronic tendancies.

re:ni was mentioned in our big interview/catch up with BiggaBush (see HERE) and she does a monthly radio show, 'RE:LAX' with Laska on NTS (next 3rd March - see HERE) for more "Forward-thinking sounds from across the bass spectrum".

Artist: re:ni 
Title: BeautySick
Release Date : 23rd February, 2023
Catalog Number : Timedance 032
Label :Timedance
Format: 12" / Digital / Bandcamp


New York flute gang gets 'Ha Ya!' with the musclecars for the first in the 'Best Of' 2024 folder!

You'll recall we were very excited about musclecars being represented on the Audrey Powne single, 'Feed The Fire'(see review HERE)

There's a deep spiritual feel to this and their other productions (what's the odd on them getting together with Alina Bzhezhinska & Tony Kofi on BBE with the 'Anima' project? - see reveiw HERE) and then there's others who just want to paaarrrrrrtteeeeeeee with the Shannon Harris' A Love 4 Joy Journey Mix.

And these guys do like the perfect lenght of 7-9 minutes per track and will be featuring in our charts for ever more: but where's the Audrey Powne remix? (don't forget last week's 'Single of the Week', 'From The Fire'. see review HERE)


Artist: musclecars feat. Natalie Greffel

Title: Ha Ya! (Eternal Life) original / instrumental / Shannon Harris' A Love 4 Joy Journey Mix.   

Release date: 23rd February, 2024

Label : BBE Music

Catalog Number : BBE763SDG2

Format: Digital  

Craig Charles' Funk & Soul show loves these guys and so will you when hurt walks out the door with their new single on Ramrock Records.

If you like that mix of US soul via Stax, Stateside, Motown (Marcus was a member of Detroit's very own Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels) and that UK style of  R&B (at random, say, Van Morrison, Frankie Miller, Jess Roden, Graham Parker), 'Hurt Walks Out The Door' is right up your street with it's immaculate horn arrangements and solid guitar solo (that really stands out on the instrumental version).

Kinda of reminds me of James Carr's classic, 'Dark End Of The Street' and don't forget the album 'Interstate 75' (see review HERE) for even more great tracks.

Even so, you gotta get the instrumental of 'When Hurt Walks Out The Door' as the organ will make the hairs on the back of your neck and the guitar solo will make you cry and reach for the Wah Wah pedal at the same time.

Artist: Marcus Malone & The Motor City Hustlers

Title: When Hurt Walks Out The Door

Release date: 23rd February, 2024

Label: Ramrock Red

Cat. No: RRR057

Format: Bandcamp / Digital

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The wait for the Peacey album continues but that's cool whilst Atjazz keep teasing us with singles like 'Playground' with instrumental and acid versions. 

Following on from the "holiday" release of 'Cultural Bandit' that featured the 'angry' and insightful spoken word poetry of Vanessa Hidary (see review HERE) this track is more of a post UKG boogie soul that features the vocals of Rona Ray whilst deep in the background in the spirit of Roger Troutman (Mr Peacey knows his synth history I reckon).

And it's the synth acid vocal version and dub that's going to get some serious club plays if you ask me.

Strongly suspect one of these tracks will be featured on this months' Colour & Pitch Sessions mixtape (see below) and 'Playground', like Culture Bandit' and ‘Play It By Ear’, are from the forthcoming Peacey album 'Play It By Ear' that's due out in a couple of months. 

Artist: Peacey

Title: Playground feat. Rona Ray

Release date: 23rd February 2024

Label: Atjazz Record Company

Catalog Number: ARC230ADS3 Digital / Bandcamp
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Eric Hilton if half of Thievery Corporation but his new album, Sound Vagabond, is no 50% effort, in fact it's more than 100% essential this year.

Thievery Corporation, as one of the early exponents of trip-hop, downtempo, dubby beats, making their name with Bebel Gilberto as one of Gilles Peterson's favourite tracks on the late 1990's, 'So Com Vocé', forming the ESL label and being sought after remixes ever since.

Since 2020 Eric has been just as busy as 'Sound Vagabond' is his sixth album on his own Montserrat House label.  Don't think for a moment he's not got the enthusiasm for a 14 track instrumental album as this sound vagabond has travelled the world and picked up so many influences that the album is a proper melting pot but not sloppy; all tracks are as sharp as the 60s mod artwork.

With such a history of making music with samples and remixing, it is incredible that the album has been formed with some free library music as a backbone.  From the opening track, hip-hoppy harp with 60s organ on 'Endless Affair' (like a modern day Thomas Crown) to the last track 'Lumi' (that possible encapsulates the whole album) you'll be thinking, "this is my favourite" track as it's quality throughout.

If you push me, 'Poppy Fields' is a fantastic mix of 60s cinematic Indo-funk acid jazz and the longest tracks on the album, 'Mumbai Hustle' (very sexy) and the dreamy jazz beats of 'Cerro Alegre' are mesmeric; along with 'The Grand Intro'.

This album has been inspired by many global influences and as an album for the world, the only problem with this album is tht all the tracks could be longer as they are so good and whilst we loved his album with Natalia Clavier, 'Corazón Kintsugi' from last year (see review HERE), 'Sound Vagabond' is even better! 

Artist: Eric Hilton  

Title: Sound Vagabond 

Release date: 23rd February, 2024

Label : Montserrat House
Catalog Number : MH027 Digital / Bandcamp 


The word on the streets was that Compost Records have got some really exciting projects lined up for us this year - and it's true! 

It hasn't taken us long to get impatient for Vol. 2 of the 'Future Sounds Of Kraut' compilation by Fred und Luna but here's another project  to get estatic over as globe trotting DJ and veteran of undergroung sounds, Tomasz Guiddo teams up with electronic/jazz/afrobeat/Sun Ra fan, Jimi Tenor: 'Future Sounds of Finland' you might say?

This EP features two tracks, 'Where The Wild Roam' and 'Smile' featuring Louie Austen who probably couldn't help but smile after getting the call to do some post-Rat Pack crooning for Compost.

'Smile' is a Guiddo/Tenor take on Lounge jazz and it's really cool with bits of Indo-Café Del Mar shuffle - a perfect compliment to Eric Hilton's 'Sound Vagabond' (see review HERE and also released today) especially as there's an instrumental version.

'Where The Wild Roam' is one for the Flute Gang (Jimi on top form as usual) along with some 60s space-mod organ and dreamy Mike Sammes Singer's style vocals.  Love the original and there's remixes by Erobique (pretty funky 'Disko' meets boogie), Ale Castro (Argentinian Italo-House stylee) and the approapriately more "less defined out-there" one by Freestyle Man. 

All the instrumentals and radio edits are great so get your orders in for the 12" as they're guaranteed to be 'Sold Out' before you can say, "Sähkö Puu" or "Philophon" - it's #1 on Sun Ra's Chart on Jupiter Radio.

Artist: Tomasz Guiddo & Jimi Tenor 

Title:  Where The Wild Roam

Release date: 23rd February, 2024

Label : Compost Records

Catalog Number :  CPT 627 12" / Digital / Bandcamp 
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We Jazz Records knows a winner project when it sees one and ' Y-OTIS TRE' is definitely that, three is a magic number after all!

Saxman Otis Sandsjö follows-up 'Y-Otis' and 'Y-Otis 2' with another adventure into experimental, avant-garde abstract jazz hip-hop soaked 12 tracks with multi-instrumentalist/bassist/producer Petter Eldh (he of ENEMY, Koma Saxo, Tilo Weber and more) and synths/keyboards of Dan Nicholls (he of divr's 'Is This Water' album- see review HERE)

This is going to be one of my favourite albums of the year as don't we all love a bit of Berlin based Scandi-space jazz that follows the paths of Jimi Tenor (recently 'discovered' by soul-jazz London DJ legend Robbie Vincent!), Madlib and Thundercat/Kamasi Washington.

Not convinced?  Listen to the totally manic-cinematic-Bruk-eque 'LOOMY' and 'midi day job, pt. 4' which stacks up to any 'golden-era' Daedelus or the other single, 'CLICKS 2023' or the instant favourite, 'perla / moln'.

No surprise then that Gilles Peterson, Jazzwise, WIRE and the like are early to the party with this one and any label as varied as hosting The Stance Brothers (see review HERE) and Anni Kiviniemi Trio (see review HERE) is going to be open to the Y-Otis project; FOUR as they might say (as in sometime words have more than one meaning).

Artist: Otis Sandsjö 

Title: Y-Otis Tre

Release date: 23rd February 2024

Label : We Jazz Records

Catalog Number : WJLP63

Format: LP / CD / Digital / Bandcamp 

Thursday 22 February 2024

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Don't be confused by the artwork as this isn't Acid, it's just a 'Groovy Smile' from Be Adult Music.

But it's more than a groovy smile cos there's a right groovy track behind it.  It's the first solo release by DJ David Manso, not to be confused with legend David Mancuso, even if there's a fair bit of Paradise Garage and funk influence on 'Reason To Smile' on a beach with the usual beach dreams of Be Adult Music.

The 'sister' track, 'Groovy W.' is even funkier and jazzy with a sax spurt that's 70s friendly; it's like a very cool remix of an unknown  Average White Band/Weather Report track.

This is a fantastic way to celebrate the label's 350th release and expect to hear this on all great parties this year and definitely one earmarked for this months' Colour & Pitch Mixtape.

Artist: David Manso
Title: Groovy Smile
Release date: 22nd February 2024
Label; Be Adult Music
Catalog Number: BAM350

Monday 19 February 2024

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Substance Abuse is a pretty cool name for a couple of High School kids that happened to find themselves growing up a the heart of the LA hip-hop scene in the 1990s; but what's this match up with Kurious all about in 2024?

Curiously enough, I find that I picked up their 'Profitless Thoughts' 12" featuring MF Doom a mere 10 years after it was released on Kutmasta Kurt's Santa Monica label Threshold Recordings, (Ed. it's take's that long for Imports?) but when you're hanging around Peanut Butter Wolf, Madlib, Declaime, Oh No and the like like they were, it's still a surprise that their 'Bridges' track (featuring Aceyalone) came on Ramrock Red  back in 2019.

Apparently, the connection with 'Bridges' was made via Ladbroke Audio's A&R man Neil who introduced Ramrock's Jo Wallace and Kurious is equally well connected with scene legends like Doom (particularly, on 'Born Like This' that features my favourite Dilla track, 'Lightworks') and Kool Keith (he of Dr. Octagon and many, many more).

'Don't Add Me' is more funky-jazz hip-hop, consious boom bap with the sideways poke (no pun) at the shallowness of the 'social media' fallacy of off quoted likes/adds/plays etc is some quality assurance (and that's without touching the evil of SM's role in the increasing list of teen/adult murders).  

Back to the record, in explicit, clean, instrumental forms, "Don't Add Me" is perhaps a reminder that social media can be a force tor good and any rap that warns us that, "Gil Scott-Heron will not post on Instagram" - is an odd mirror of 'This Revolution Will Not Be Televised'; a far cry from Kardasians/West self-implosion

Nicely follow's the label's Joeseph Malik's release, 'Be A Lion' featuring Kameelah Waheed (see review HERE) and in both cases, all are showing us that hip-hop still has substance and it's not to be abused; you do the sums (as the kids might say).

PS. Big radio shouts to BBC 6 Music for their Dilla day (especially Gilles Peterson for featuring BBE's Peter Adarkwah at Gilles Peterson - Pete BBE on J Dilla - BBC Sounds : as one Detroit resident put it, "it seems that you're doing more (to celebrate) than we are in Detroit".

Artist: Substance Abuse 

Title: Don't Add Me ft Kurious

Release date: 19th February, 2024

Label: Ramrock Red

Cat. No: RRR055

Format: Bandcamp / Digital

Friday 16 February 2024

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Edging ever closer to the album release, this single of 'From The Fire' with the instrumental goes to show what a talent BBE have discovered with Audrey Powne.

This track is a perfect mix of R&B/Soul, Herbie Hancock inspired jazz and Roy Hargrove hip-hip - much in the same ways as the equally 'Feed The Fire' (see review HERE with Atjazz and musclecars remixes).

Still no news on the Audrey Powne remix of musclecars as yet bit if half as good as the tinged-dub style of the instrumental of 'From The Fire', I can't wait.

Artist:  Audrey Powne 
Title: From The Fire + Instrumental  
Release date: 16th February, 2024
Label : BBE Music
Catalog Number : BBE753SDG2b
Format: Digital  

Thursday 15 February 2024

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Sonar Kollektiv's sense of the dancefloor is as diverse as the collective that makes the label so strong and inovative as they've found a nu-jazz of Janek van Laak with a single, 'The Killah Gorilla'.

This is taken form the forthcoming album, 'Circle Of Madness', the single is named after UFC's cage fighter, Jared 'The Killa Gorilla' Cannioner - I'm scared already. Somewhat of an odd choice for an Afro-jazz infused rocker.

Janek (drums) is joined by Richard Maegraith (alto sax, flutes, bass clarinet), Gabriel Garcia (trumpet and flügelhorn), Isabel Rößler’ (bass) and Tim Foley on percussion and they really come together on the track 'OCTAPUSSY' that you can check out on Bandcamp (see link below).

It looks like Sonar Kollektiv have the same artwork on this as TTeo's 'Loveexpress77' (see review HERE) and i wonder if a remix is on the cards?

Title: Janek van Laak
Title: The Killah Gorilla
Release date: 15th February, 2024
Label : Sonar Kolletiv
Catalog Number : SK479D / Digital / Bandcamp 

Friday 9 February 2024

What could be better than another album on Atjazz Record Company that brought you singles by Magic Number last year?  Only the full album itself and it's now out!

It's no secret that we loved 'Good Morning Sunshine' (see review HERE) and 'Better' (see review HERE) and I'm pleased to say that these two tracks do no overwhelm the other excellent seven tracks on the album entitled 'Badly Written Songs'.

Of course, what all these tracks do is to reinforced that the album's title is firmly in the self-deprecating tongue in cheek-to-cheek on a dancefloor as Magic Number (aka Ross Hillard) has brought all his experience of working with the likes of Louie Vega, DJ Spen, Kerri Chandler, Lay-Far and Atjazz (to name a few) to produce a soul-house album that musically have has elements of Matthew Herbert with the horns of a Big Band together with the vocals of Sophia Marshall who has a vocal style that reminds of Róisín Murphy, Alison Goldfrapp, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and at times, a Lana Del Rey.

'Thinkin' Bout' and 'SFS' are very Herbert 'jazz' and 'SFS' could be yet another single as could 'Loving You' that's is more in the mainstream and I'd say 'Was This Love' is very radio earworm you won't be able to get it out of your head (love the vibes on this one); and then 'All I Ever Wanted' isn't too far behind all of them with those deep synths and bassline. 

Whilst it's all very clever, 'Exit' might be the most obvious dance track with a great some catchy hook and I suspect Mr. Atjazz (Martin Iveson) must have been more than enthusiastic hearing this album by his mate as you can see in you minds eye/ear that he's thinking of a remix or to: both of their address books must be full of canidates but in all honesty, if that is in the future, there's no rush as this album/all these tracks are going to be on many a chart listing this year and if they can make the summer festival circuit, they're going to be very busy indeed.

Artist: Magic Number
Title: Badly Written Songs
Release date: 9th February, 2024
Label : Atjazz Record Company
Catalog Number : ARC240AD Digital / Bandcamp