Suite Grooves Review

Str4ta is a collaboration between iconic British based DJ Gilles Peterson and Jean-Paul Maunick aka Bluey who was once in jazz funk groovers Incognito. They were inspired by 80s Brit Funk bands such as Central Line and Atmosfear. Brit Funk is a jazz-funk fusion loaded up with disco, drum machines, slap bass and a little reggae. Brand New Heavies and Jamiroquai dabbled in it to. On Suite Grooves we thought it sounded quite like Khruangbin. STR4TASFEAR is their second full-length album. They’re joined by keyboardist Peter Hinds (from Atmosfear), British singer Omar and Rob Gallagher formerly with acid jazz group Galliano.

Suite Grooves picks are the frantic keys of City Sounds and Why Must You Fly which mysteriously features Omar on lead synthesizer – he doesn’t sing a note! (Words Stu Connolly)


Pitchfork Review


From Bandcamp:

Welcome to ‘STR4TASFEAR’, Gilles Peterson and Jean Paul “Bluey” Maunick’s sophomore STR4TA album. A collection of songs, melodies, grooves and sounds that sit perfectly in the brand new music world it’s part of. Gilles and Bluey are both men who emerged into the Brit-funk world. They were both part of this truly thrilling chapter in the story of homegrown music; which manifests itself here in a sumptuous mixture of twanging basslines, spacey synth melodies, clicking beats and wispy, ethereal voices. ‘STR4TASFEAR’ is available on digital, CD & 12″ vinyl LP formats with a special edition white 12″ LP on 11th November 2022 released via Brownswood Recordings.

For this new set, they’ve got a few like-minded souls along to join the party, connecting legacy with a new generation of innovators on the music scene. As a core concept of the album, nostalgic reflection meets a pivotal desire to celebrate the present moment, expressed through key features on the record. Namely, multi-talented neo soul Godfather Omar, who in a shock plot twist, was enlisted to lay down his intricate wonky synth lines on ‘Why Must You Fly’. The legacy family collaborations ensue with celebrated vocalist, Valerie Etienne, on ‘Find Your Bounce’ co-written by Rob Gallagher (Galliano, Talkin’ Loud) emulating Brit-funk’s first wave.

Extending the family, catapulting STR4TA to a cosmic contemporary plane, is free-spirited musical polymath, Emma-Jean Thackray laying down her refreshing, breathy vocals and production acumen on ‘Lazy Days’. Also welcomed into the fold and garnering the admiration of Gilles and Bluey over his illustrious career, is Floridian trumpeter/vocalist Theo Croker, who breezed into the jam-style studio session encapsulating the innovation of future jazz with the soulfulness of a bygone era on ‘Soothsayer’ and ‘To Be As One’. Representing the dynamic US influences from the birth of Brit-funk and the current surge of multifaceted, jazz-trained artists exploring unchartered soundscapes. Plus Brighton duo Anushka, jump on ‘Bad Weather’, whose melting electronica sound gleefully displays its roots from that aforementioned era.

The epicentre of ‘STR4TASFEAR’ still remains the ‘meeting of minds’ and treasured friendship between the band’s founders, a solid production duo whose clearly defined roles compliment and inspire each other. Gilles Peterson as executive producer, sonically enriching the production process with his extensive and encyclopaedic knowledge from Brit-funk and Electro-soul of the late 70s/ early 80s to ushering in a new wave of musicians over his esteemed career as a DJ, label owner and broadcaster. Feeding the creative flow of highly acclaimed musician and producer Jean Paul “Bluey” Maunick who in record-time, single-handedly produced ‘Night Flight’ following one of their inspirational sessions characterised by the TR808 drum machine. With the invaluable contribution of Mo Hausler, an instrumental figure in completing the soundscape of the album. The vision was finessed by the magic touch of legendary keys/piano player Peter Hinds (Atmosfear, Light of The World, Incognito), appearing throughout the record, and is at the pinnacle of paying homage to the incredible pioneering work of bands such as SunPalace & Freeez, paving the way of UK electro-soul for artists like Total Contrast & Stephen Dante (produced by Bluey in the mid-80s). This sound is now being revived by contemporary producers like Dâm-Funk, Zopelar & Space Ghost to name a few.

STR4TA is the new wave jazz funk project pioneered by Gilles Peterson and Jean-Paul “Bluey” Maunick. Long-time friends and collaborators, STR4TA sees them mine new musical possibilities inspired by a shared formative era. Their debut album ‘Aspects’ was released in March 2021 to a rapturous reception, in the first material that Maunick and Peterson have released together in over a decade. With standout tracks ‘We Like It’ achieving over 1 million streams on Spotify, ‘Rhythm In Your Mind’ exceeding 12 weeks on Jazz FM’s playlist, and a remix EP featuring Melé, Dave Lee, Greg Wilson, Dave Aju & more released at the end of 2021. Heavily supported by BBC 6Music, The Guardian, Wax Poetics, The Vinyl Factory, CLASH, Télérama (FR), Radio Nova (FR), KCRW (US), Rolling Stones Italy & Japan. STR4TA have performed electrifying live shows at We Out Here (UK), Primavera Sound (Spain) and headline show at The Jazz Cafe, London.

STR4TA’s second studio album ‘STR4TASFEAR’ is released on digital, CD & 12″ LP formats with a special edition white 12″ LP on 11th November 2022 via Brownswood Recordings.

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