Reelsoul – Mind Games EP

mind games ep

Will ‘Reelsoul’ Rodriquez is one of those rare creative musicians who has that ‘special something’, the secret ‘wow’ factor, a gift, a natural flair for what sounds right, and the world is beginning to realise what an amazing producer this man is. Last year I remember looking at a list of the top 40 House producers and being astonished that Reelsoul did not feature, he is definitely one of my top 3.

Born in 1980, Will grew up with a music-loving father, and started his collection of 45’s at the tender age of four. Influenced by a whole range of dance music genres, Will taught himself how to play keyboards by ear and by the age of 12 he was already creating his own productions with two tape decks and a keyboard. Since then he has developed and perfected his signature soulful sound, giving each track a different flavour of the ‘Reelsoul Bounce’. You can feel the California sunshine in every release.

Will has collaborated with Frankie Feliciano on the Ricanstruction label, and Mr V on the Sole Channel label, and is now in demand worldwide for his top quality DJ and production skills. He names DJ Spinna, Masters At Work, and Alix Alvarez among his greatest influences.

The instrumental ‘Mind Games’ EP is a chilled-out, atmospheric departure from Reelsoul’s regular bouncy dance beats but still has all of the hallmark elements that we know and love about his music. In keeping with Will’s departure from the norm, I have chosen to review the tracks in a different way from my usual matter-of-fact manner. This time I am describing where the music takes me, the very personal journey in my mind, aah yes I think I am beginning to understand why the EP is called Mind Games.

The introductory piece – ‘Waiting’ – takes me to a rainy evening in the city where I am walking along with my umbrella enjoying how the rain has refreshed everything and made the world feel brand new. The jazzy feel with brass elements and smooth piano calms my mind, and as the music fades out, the storm has passed and order is restored in the world.

Daydream’ takes me to a deserted beach on a hot day with the waves rolling in as the sun beats down draping me in warmth. The music slowly bounces along, swinging in time with the roll of the waves, the gentle sunshine keys warm my skin, making this tune the epitome of a beautiful carefree summer day.

Sweetness’ comes next with its broken beat, hint of deepness, soft chords, and minimal keys. This track takes me on a night out to the city to a stylish bar, a smart restaurant, a relaxed kind of glamour, soaking up the atmosphere and watching the beautiful people go by. I feel content, immersed in good company, part of the city scene, and enjoying the sweetness of life.

With its rhythmic beat, warm keys and balanced percussion, ‘Shy’ takes me out dancing. Now I am at the club, my body is moving and I am part of the crowd, but also in my own zone, feeling the beat, absorbing the undulating keys throughout, at one with the music and in the place I love to be.

3.46am’ the outro, with its raindrop keys, and gorgeous ethereal vibe, has a late night feel. I am driving home in the early hours after a superb night out with friends, tired, but happy and reflective, remembering the fun and laughter we had.

This EP took my mind on a journey that I want to take again and again, to nice memories – relaxing, chilled, and beautiful, this EP is musical soul food that will warm your heart.

Reelsoul is a man who certainly knows how to produce music, his natural flair and pursuit of perfection radiates throughout every track, but more than anything he is able to capture an atmosphere, a feeling, a moment in time – and that’s a very rare gift.

Mind Games EP – Reelsoul available at https://willreelsoul.bandcamp.com/album/mind-games-e-p

(Gotta Be) Free – Beat Rivals ft Lifford (ULTIMATE REMIX PACKAGE)

Gotta Be Free

The 2TUF4U label was created in 2002 by Karl “Tuff Enuff” Brown following his “Tuff Jam” days with Matt Jam Lamont. Acclaimed DJ and production duo Karl and Matt were pioneers on the UK garage scene in the 1990’s and also presented a show on London’s Kiss FM.

(Gotta Be) Free was originally released on the 2TUF4U label in September 2012, with a follow up second package in October 2013. This exclusive 2014 mammoth compilation of 40 mixes has been especially compiled for the debut of the 2TUF4U label on Traxsource, and it comprises of the best of the original two packages along with an impressive stack of brand new remixes, available exclusively for the first time.

The track is the brainchild of London production duo Beat Rivals, coupled with the rich vocals of accomplished singer Lifford Shillingford. Beat Rivals – KrazyK and Soulshy – have been producing music together for two decades and have developed their skills with the assistance and mentorship of Karl Brown . The Beat Rivals trademark production packages always include an individual mix from each Beat Rival combined with at least one joint mix, resulting in a selection of sounds which complement each other while reflecting the individual styles of each producer.

Lifford is most famous for featuring on Artful Dodger’s “It’s all about the Stragglers” album in 2000, as the vocalist on two tracks – “Something” and the top ten hit “Please Don’t Turn Me On”. Lifford is currently working on a solo album which reflects on his personal experiences, and he continues to perform and write quality music in a variety of genres. He has also featured on a second Beat Rivals track “If I Could” which was released in April 2014.

(Gotta Be) Free is an upbeat dance track with a dynamic beat and soulful keys. The lyrics convey a positive and philosophical message about doing your own thing in life and not allowing yourself to be manipulated or pushed around by others. Lifford delivers this message convincingly with his melodic, honey-toned, soulful vocals.

The current re-release package of 40 mixes spoils us all for choice and includes contributions from established leading producers such as Booker T, Mike Sharon and Japan’s Carpainter.

Lovers of techno and electronica will enjoy the varied synth sounds of the CJ Reign Broken Dub, Ayklogic and Call Me Jack remixes, with Brighton boy – One Dark Martian, and Prescribe Da Vibe providing exquisite broken beat versions.

The Deep Dub mix has a heavy swinging beat reminiscent of dub reggae, while the unique Benbo Bass mix has a big busy sound which will rouse the dance crowd.

Deep and luscious offerings include Undertone’s Stuck in the Groove mix, DJ Nav’s underground mix and Middle-East based impresario – Mike Sharon’s divine mesmerising vibe.

For the soulful faithful, Live Groove’s mix brings a soulful jazzy edge, while the gorgeous Carpainter Remix is a skilled jazzy take with soft organ stabs, and CJ Reign’s Classique Vocal mix is an uplifting soulful groove. London based ace – Booker T’s skills shine through with his Vocal Reconstruction refix and its great positive club vibe.

GE’s Not Havin It dub has a hypnotic dance beat that will take you to the zone, while Sweeter Groove’s remix has the makings of a dance anthem with its classic vocal and stomping house beat. Manchester maestro Danny Phillips brings an energetic, crowd pleasing blend with woodwind touches while the Broken Species afro groove touches the other end of the spectrum with its sexy afro-salsa beat and maracas. Hewitt & Brown treat us to even more afro rhythms with their Raw Filter mix.

Everybody will have a favourite in this package, and some will find it hard to pick one clear winner. It just goes to show how many uplifting and melodious flavours can be created from one good quality track, and (Gotta Be) Free certainly proves that there are many facets of this song to explore that will appeal to lovers of Soulful House music right across the globe.

(Gotta Be) Free – the Ultimate Remix Package from 2TUF4U, available exclusively from Traxsource on 11 August 2014.

Click Here to visit Traxsource

Track List:

01. Original Mix

02. Live Groove Mix

03. Sweeter Groove’s All Free Mix

04. One Dark Martian Mix

05. Undertone’s Stuck In The Groove Mix

06. DJ Nav Underground Dub Mix

07. DJ Nav DC 2 London Dub Mix

08. Original Instrumental Mix

09. Live Groove 7″ Instrumental

10. Carpainter Remix

11. CJ Reign Broken Dub Mix

12. CJ Reign Classique Vocal Mix

13. Danny Phillips Liberated Mix – DIY Re-editized

14. Danny Phillips Liberated Mix – DIY Re-editized Instrumental

15. Danny Phillips Liberated Remix

16. Danny Phillips Liberated Remix Instrumental

17. DJ Nav’s Metro Beat Mix

18. DJ Nav’s DC 2 London Dub Instrumental

19. Booker T Reconstruction Instrumental

20. Krazy Club House Mix

21. One Dark Martian Broken Beat Instrumental

22. Prescribe Da Vibe Remix

23. Prescribe Da Vibe Instrumental

24. Static’s Ruff Dub

25. Sweeter Grooves Chorded Mix

26. Sweeter Grooves Chorded Instrumental

27. They Call Me Jack’s Another House Mix

28. Undertone’s Carmine Street Edit

29. UVM’s Switch Dub

30. Mike Sharon Mix

31. Beat Rivals Deep Dub (remastered by Toni Economides)

32. Booker T Vocal Reconstruction Mix

33. GE’s Not Havin It Dub Mix

34. UVM’s Deep Freeze Dub

35. Benbo Bass Mix

36. Beat Rivals Re-Structured Dub

37. Broken Species Afro Groove Mix

38. Hewitt & Brown Raw Filter Mix

39. Ayklogic Dub

40. Original (Re-mastered by Toni Economides)