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Billy Ocean - Nights (Feel Like Gettin Down)

If you admire the artistry and inventiveness the pre-digital age demanded, and if one middle 8 is not enough for you, you greedy little music pig, then this tune is the anthem you need to know. It has the perfectionist feel you might expect in a Quincy Jones track (this is produced by Nigel Martinez), yet it comes with familiar overtones from this side of the Atlantic. Oh, and it’s dangerously addictive. You might even catch yourself turning rapidly towards then away from a mirror in time with one of the horn hits. Probably.

 

Taylor McFerrin - Memory Digital

This is a tapestry of skilled musicianship. The phrase ‘less is more’ seems to be applied effectively to this piece of groove. It’s as nasty as it is pretty. If you don’t find yourself chanting along with this one, you need a holiday. You’d expect great production from such lineage and you will indeed find it here. It’s a surprisingly versatile piece of music and suits most moods. Like Cheddar, but with fewer allergic reactions. 

 

Dazz Band - You Are My Starship - Urbanstar Mix

Soaked in soulful vocals, Urbanstar utilised the type of Dilla Time beat that was driving us insane in the early 2000s. But it’s the simple, yet powerful bassline that lit clubs up, with crowds more often than not demanding a rewind. It’s incredible and never wanes.

 

Free Nationals and Chronixx - Eternal Light

From a project that forged a number of masterpieces, this is another of my favourites, the complexity of which is in the finely tuned simplicity. Chronixx delivers such a warm vocal performance containing a very sweet sentiment. The elevating guitar and bass riffs dance around each other as they elevate each cycle. Superb.

 

Stevie Wonder - That Girl

If it weren’t for the timeline-giveaway beat, you might be forgiven for confusing which era this tune comes from. As you’d expect, the storytelling and songwriting are so engaging, yet it’s the chorus that drives home the sheer scale of this track: An operatic sequence of layered vocal hits paint a skilful and rousing riff over Stevie’s chorus. Dope!

 

D’Angelo - Spanish Joint

Voodoo is a timeless classic to me. Each listen conjures up fascinating memories and details of how the project came about, and how it was moulded and recorded. Spanish Joint’s jazz values are conveyed admirably through the partnership of live drums and horns. Of course, the man himself’s signature vocals ‘top and tail’ a magnificent, timeless production.