Album Reviews

J*S*T*A*R*S – Put Me On A Planet

(Steel Tiger) UK release date: 4 September 2006

The J-Stars – sounds like the name for a funkcollective of indescribable talent, projecting youinto the middle of the dancefloor with remarkablespeed.

Coming down to earth, it’s actually the musicof two blokes from Sheffield and Hull. Mind you, thediscovery that the name is an acronym for an air forceprogram looking behind enemy lines lends something alittle more sinister to the equation. The JointSurveillance Target Attack Radar System – now thatsounds like a devious arrangement.

Close scrutiny of the J*S*T*A*R*S make-up revealsthat both its practitioners have expertise in the artof making people dance and smile. Steve Cobbyis one half of Fila Brazillia, a prolific teamof consistently good albums (eleven at last estimate!)and countless remixes, their speciality beinginstrumental grooves to charm away the early hours.

Sim Lister has worked with him before at 23Records, the company now looking after all Filaproductions. Together with Fila’s other half DaveMcSherry the small collective have become famedfor their breezy funk, shot through with a sense ofhumour in quirky samples or athletic bass lines.

Put Me On A Planet is an extension of this,containing all the elements that make Fila’s music soenjoyable. The titles offer a clue of the subtlehumour involved – Faberge Tang and Blu Genes forinstance. With each track leading into the next itcomes across as a semi-mix album, obviously gearedmore towards the floor than the sofa. And wheninsistent riffs such as the one that dominates ThatHefty Track make themselves known, I know where I’drather be.

Even by then, the second track, you’ll have caughtthe bug. The beats are springy, the harmonies spicy,the loops insistently making a play for the middle ofyour head. Mostly instrumental, they include melodiesfrom trumpet and saxophone to complement theelectronic wizardy going on elsewhere, SpanishHustle’s evocative sax solo a good example.

A couple of the older tracks appeared on 23 Recordssamplers back in 2004, but have not lost their appeal.Tripping The Light Fantastic scoots along withelectronic squiggles and snippets of brass, whileSpansules takes a trip to the disco, brass sectiononce again in tow. Finally Loose Nuke Threat, anotherfeelgood track, nods its head to Mr Scruff witha nifty aside or two.

One listen all the way through and I guaranteeyou’ll have the bug. J*S*T*A*R*S may be a typist’snightmare, but their music offers a feelgood extensionto the summer. You’d be silly not to join in.

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J*S*T*A*R*S – Put Me On A Planet