Block 16 Morning Sun

For a true music fan, there's very little more exciting than to hear an album clearly created from the sheer love of music. Block 16's Morning Sun is just that. Two years in the making, this debut has been lovingly crafted by a trio of friends: house producer and frequent Idjut Boys collaborator Raj Gupta, aka Laj, classically trained Faze Action keyboardist Pete Zivkovic and DJ/producer Glen Gunner, of Street Corner Symphony. The three have made the world a better place with this heartfelt offering; dripping in emotion, talent, and positivity, the appropriately titled album absolutely exudes sunshine. Of course, having a cast of vocal collaborators including the likes of Jhelisa, Jon Lucien, Robert Owens and Bim Sherman doesn't hurt, but Block 16 truly understand how to best showcase their guests. "Find an Oasis" is joyful, rich and powerful. Innovative in a way that all neo-soul artists should aspire to, the song features the strong, deep vocals of Jhelisa soaring over strings and killer percussion. It's positively gorgeous, as is the inspirational title track, where the unmistakable vocals of jazz/R&B legend Jon Lucien are perfectly enveloped in bumping grooves, plucked strings and enough warmth to heat California, on any day. "My Sunshine" is one of the last things that reggae vocal legend Bim Sherman recorded before his untimely death last year, and this roots-informed, dubbed-out masterpiece does the man proud. Longing has rarely sounded so lovely. Block 16 sound just as good on their instrumentals; whether listening to the gritty electro of "Elektrokution" and "Ain't Got Time for No Jibber Jabber," the soulful, jazzy "And Voodoo" or the playful Latin boogaloo of "Sweet Bassoon," one comes away with the same conclusion: instant classic. (Nuphonic)