Blue Lab Beats – Motherland Journey (2022) [FLAC 24bit/44,1kHz]

Blue Lab Beats – Motherland Journey (2022)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 01:00:23 minutes | 706 MB | Genre: Funk, Soul, Blues, Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Blue Note Records

London-based Jazztronica duo Blue Lab Beats make their full-length Blue Note Records debut with Motherland Journey, an album years in the making that is a celebration of pushing boundaries, taking risks, and overcoming adversity. Following their appearance on 2020’s acclaimed Blue Note Re:imagined project, and their 2021 EP We Will Rise, the new album is a star-studded affair featuring the duo—producer NK-OK and multi-instrumentalist Mr DM—joined by collaborators including Ghetto Boy, Kiefer, Kofi Stone, Tiana Major9, KillBeatz, Teni Tinks, Poppy Daniels, Emmavie, Jackson Mathod, Kaidi Akinnibi, Ego Ella May, Pip Millett, Dylan Jones, and Jerome Thomas.

One of the fastest-rising production duos in the world right now, with a Grammy nomination for their work on the Angelique Kidjo album Mother Nature, and a MOBO nomination for ‘Best Jazz Act’ in 2021 testament to their rise, Blue Lab Beats craft a supple, wide-ranging sound inspired by the pioneers of hip-hop and the music of the African diaspora while staying true to their London roots.

Since issuing their self-titled four-track EP in 2016, Blue Lab Beats, the Grammy- and MOBO-nominated jazztronica project of producer NK-OK and multi-instrumentalist Mr DM, have documented the sonic evolution of London’s jazz, rap, and neo-soul scenes. Over more than 40 singles and EPs and three previous albums (counting 2021’s wonderful digital-only Sounds of Afrotronica), they have consistently blurred genre divisions between jazz, funk, soul, Afrobeat, soca, dub, hip-hop, and electronica. Motherland Journey, the duo’s debut Blue Note long-player, includes a star-studded cast of old and new friends. Over two years in the making, it began as a set of 70 gritty demos and has been curated to yield 17 meticulously crafted tracks. After the jazzy, broken beat intro “Sky Reflections,” neo-soul princess Tiana Major9 and rapper Kofi Stone lead Blue Lab Beats onto the jazz-hop path in “Labels,” where they’re framed by ringing modal piano chords, ticking hi-hats, and bubbly basslines. Teni Tinks, an elegant neo-soul singer and vocal producer, provides a soaring delivery on “I’ll Be Here for You.” A bumping R&B rhythm track, sampled strings, languid guitars, and a labyrinthine bassline underscore breaks from an alto sax and trumpet. Trumpeter Poppy Daniels lends her inimitable horn to the summery, Hugh Masekela-influenced groover “Gotta Go Fast.” R&B singer and producer Emmavie Mbongo lends her voice to the exotic club jazz of “Don’t Let It Get Away.” Accra, Ghana’s Afrobeat prince Ghetto Boy works alongside the duo on the single “Blow You Away (Delilah),” with layered interplay between juju and highlife guitars, slippery tom-toms, Auto-Tuned backing vocals, and swaying township-style jazz horns. These elements commingle in his appearance on “Sensual Loving” a steamy, dubby syncopated meld of Afrobeat, club, and soul-jazz. Fela Kuti’s estate are fans of BLB; they gave permission for use of his voice on the title-track collaboration with producer KillBeatz. The production weds tenets of mid-’70s Philly International to the chart sophistication of CTI and smooth atmospherics of GRP. Fela’s voice rises above a chanted female chorus as brass and reeds exchange swinging call-and-response lines below a winding guitar break. In “Dat It,” Drake sideman and Stones Throw recording artist Kiefer joins his piano to BLB’s slippery, laid-back futurist soul-jazz. “Warp” features saxophonist Kaidi Akinnibi and trumpeter Jackson Mathod moving around a skittering drum’n’bass vamp before evolving into a soaring contemporary jazz jam. Vocalist Pip Millett and trumpeter Dylan Jones join for the sultry, soul-driven, funky jazz of “Home.” “Real Good,” with singer Jerome Thomas, sounds like Curtis Mayfield jamming with the Robert Glasper Experiment. The duo’s five instrumentals — intro, outro, and three interludes — ghost trace jazz-funk’s development from Roy Ayers and Lonnie Liston Smith to Ronny Jordan and Guru’s Jazzmatazz to Nubya Garcia, Emma-Jean Thackray, and Ruby Rushton. Motherland Journey imprints these influences with a unique 21st century sonic signature that reveals Blue Lab Beats’ depth, breadth, and widescreen vision. – Thom Jurek

1-1. Blue Lab Beats – Sky Reflections (Intro) (01:21)
1-2. Blue Lab Beats – Labels (feat. Tiana Major9 & Kofi Stone) (05:21)
1-3. Blue Lab Beats – I’ll Be Here For You (feat. Teni Tinks) (04:06)
1-4. Blue Lab Beats – Gotta Go Fast (feat. Poppy Daniels) (03:50)
1-5. Blue Lab Beats – A Vibe (03:38)
1-6. Blue Lab Beats – Don’t Let It Get Away (feat. Emmavie) (03:56)
1-7. Blue Lab Beats – Inhale & Exhale (Interlude) (01:56)
1-8. Blue Lab Beats – Blow You Away (Delilah (feat. Ghetto Boy) (03:18)
1-9. Blue Lab Beats – Sensual Loving (feat. Ghetto Boy) (02:53)
1-10. Blue Lab Beats – Motherland Journey (feat. KillBeatz & Fela Kuti) (04:19)
1-11. Blue Lab Beats – Ultramarine (Interlude) (01:58)
1-12. Blue Lab Beats – Warp (feat. Jackson Mathod & Kaidi Akinnibi) (04:25)
1-13. Blue Lab Beats – Slow Down (feat. Ego Ella May) (04:16)
1-14. Blue Lab Beats – Dat It (feat. Kiefer) (04:46)
1-15. Blue Lab Beats – Home (feat. Pip Millett & Dylan Jones) (03:35)
1-16. Blue Lab Beats – Real Good (feat. Jerome Thomas) (03:27)
1-17. Blue Lab Beats – Reflection (Outro) (03:12)