It was a tricky prospect bringing Jazz to Boomtown but last year felt like exactly the right time and we were proved right! This year The Windmill is very much sticking with a Jazz heavy line up with some of the best UK artists such as Zara McFarlane, Alfa Mist, Mammal Hands, Vels Trio and Blue Lab Beats alongside the more soulful side of things with the legendary Bilal, Connie Constance and Nubiyan Twist, boundary pushing East African artist Otim Alpha, in fact boundaries pushing all over the place with the likes of Benin City, Kobi Onyame, Kalaha, Shama Rahman and arguable this country’s most exciting and forward thinking record label Black Acre Records doing a whole Thursday takeover with Romare’s Full Live Band, Clap! Clap!, Rocks FOE (the greatest Grime artist in the country by now by my standards) and Scott Xylo. Top this off with headliners such as Maribou State and Jah Wobble’s Invaders Of The Heart and hopefully you see why I’m most excited about this stage… if you don’t get it then here’s a video playlist to help you along!

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I’ve been busy putting the Boomtown line up together! For those who missed the first announcement, here it is…

Plus here’s a little playlist I put together for it, which pretty much follows the poster left to right. More to come as the remaining district releases come out.

In case you missed the first trailer video for Chapter 10, here’s that also.

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Baloji – Soleil De Volt

A beautiful blend of Hip-hop and Afrobeat, French House and Post Punk, this latest from Belgian based artist Baloji is super catchy considering I have no handle of the language whatsoever. It’s taken from his forthcoming album ‘137 Avenue Kaniama’ due for release on Bella Union – 23 March 2018.

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Baja Frequencia feat. Skarra Mucci – Badman a Badman

Saw these guys supporting Chinese Man (they’re signed to their record label) in Bristol last night and they rocked it. I have to give a nod of respect to the 02 Academy for finally updating their in house PA to L-Acoustics as it really helped these fellas. It’s rare I enjoy any shows in that venue but the new system thankfully transforms the space.

I’m not entirely sure what bracket these guys fall into, I’m hesitant to use the word Tropical but I’m sure many would (okay so technically I just did), however this track has elements of Dem Bow Dancehall and Trap with vocals courtesy of Skarra Mucci, a Jamaican artist now based in Europe who is as consistently quailty as he is prolific when it comes to tunes.

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Jus Now x Dismantle x Busy Signal – Fire (Spotie) – Video

There are a number of producers involved in evolving the sounds of Soca right now. Bad Royale, Ultimate Rejects and Stadic are a few favourites, but for me Jus Now are really leading the charge and where the others tend to lean towards more American style EDM tendencies, these boys are very much rooted in UK Bass culture as much as they are Trinidad Carnival history. That is very much evident in this track which also features Dismantle, a producer who is making some seriously exciting music right now, both solo and with DJ Die as Diemantle.

This track has been around as a riddim for a few months and worked well on it’s own, the Outkast horn sample is epic in a rave, however now they’ve added one of Jamaica’s biggest Dancehall artists to the mix, the danger levels of this tune are raised out of control.

Add to all this a video shot in New Orleans which features Hot 8 Brass Band and it’s goodnight!

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The Power Generation EP! / Prove It

Although from over here in the UK it’s hard to see a decline in Power Soca (an extra high energy strain of Soca which averages around 160 bpm), the fact that there have been two recent releases having to clarify that it’s ‘not dead’, shows that maybe it’s maybe been dwindling a little back in Trinidad.

The first release is a collective of production houses which includes Kasey Phillips’ Precision Productions with a number of his previous collaborators: AdvoKit Productions; P.A.G.E; and Smash Productions. Their new EP ‘The Power Generation’ is something of a game changer.

Largely instrumental with a few choice vocal refrains on some of the tunes, the release maintains the spirit of Carnival whilst very much keeping one eye on the crossover.

‘Dear Carnival [Intro]’ starts with a heavy riddim that is easily recognisable as Power Soca riddim, then drops into a breakdown that’s more reminiscent of an 80s power ballad and a poem from L’shun “Jimmy October” Emmanuel, which serves as a love letter to Carnival.

This is followed by ‘Can’t Lose This Time’ where dreamy filtered vocals (courtesy of Syntyche Bishop), strings and uplifting choral refrains give an almost Hipster friendly Indie Pop feel to the trademark Carnival calls of “put your hands in the air” and “meet me on the road”. It’s a recipe that works remarkably well.

‘Til We Drop’ has a strong African influence, somewhere along the lines of Mbaqanga or Soukous. It’s a style that worked very well for AdvoKit Productions on their recent Folklore Riddim, although that was much slower at around 105bpm compared to 155bpm here.

‘Celebration’ and ‘Gotta Move’ are uplifting instrumentals whilst ‘Midnight Robber’ goes a little darker into Jab Jab territory, all have EDM influences which include a couple of pretty dodgy dubstep/trap breakdowns, but don’t let that put you off, all are still great tunes.

The EP works well as a whole body of work and I’d be very interested to see how the tracks work individually in the dance or on the road.

The second release is from legendary Soca band Traffik (or more correctly Traffik 7.0 as the ever evolving band are now in their 7th incarnation), featuring vocals from Actor/Producer/Director Rob Riley, whom I somewhat shamefully recognised as being from the new Dynasty series on Netflix (not my choice of viewing I swear!).

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Nomadic Massive – Rap N’ Roll

A fresh video for a phat tune taken from the multi-lingual Montreal collective’s 2016 album The Big Band Theory.

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