[RATING: 5] He might be called Bouklas but this Greek producer is a long way from beatless on the evidence of his twelve-track second solo LP The Groove Chronicles. Actually that much was already clear even in April when the monkey announced said album’s forthcoming release date. Back then, MB previewed the only two tracks available at the time – LP opener Deep, an heavyweight head-nod earworm with a chopped-up female soul sample hook, and the livelier Watch Me which also rocks a heavy boom-bap soul sound employing a pitched-up Johnny Taylor loop and U-God’s son, INteLL, on the mic. Now that the full album is out (actually, depending on your outlet it’s anywhere from having been out a month an a half already to still ‘forthcoming’) consider yourself reliably informed that everything else on it is straight dope too.
Half the balance of the remaining cuts also feature guest contributions. What You Came For delivers a dependably heavy but jazz-inflected piano-led beat featuring cuts and scratches from labelmate and like-mind DJ Moya and singer Alida SoulMama while the dreamy Cotton-Club-by-way-of-Staten-Island bump Money sees French singers Cam & Nelly strut their stuff. Cali emcee Mic Bles drops bars on the dub-influenced Smoke and Shiny, (which mixes organic drum breaks with synth melodies) provides a backdrop for Martzi to deliver quirky vocals that nod to nineties trip-hop. The instros are just as phat though and mine a rich vein of soul, jazz and blues samples. Never Ever Die, provides an booming cinematic groove with a vocal loop punctuated by the scratch antics of final guest – French DMC champion DJ Groove Sparkz. Meanwhile, Clap To It is all about the boom-clap while Love’s Fury is powered by thumping great slo-mo drum breaks and chipmunk soul samples. Pitched-up vocals also make an appearance on dreamy closer Played The Fool and a further two of the LPs instro highlights, the chopped-up, broken beats of the bluesy stoner anthem – ahem – Stoned and the faster, more intense Feel which rivals opener Deep for the LP’s best instro. Strong stuff throughout then with Watch Me arguably the best cut overall and a tantalising hint at what a Bouklas and INTell might come up with on a longer collaboration.
(Out now HERE)