Robert Luis is responsible for A&R for Tru Thoughts and this very affordable compilation (a two-disc set retailing for £4.99) represents his hot tips for 2010.
With Tru Thoughts' general focus on high quality funk and soul the result is consistently good, if sporting few surprises. On the whole this is a trip through the record crate of someone who clearly knows their stuff, but admittedly a little more here than anyone but the purist needs. Given the extremely good value for money however, it would be unfair to complain so instead BlackPlastic suggests the listener focuses in on what transcends the barrier between good and great.
So pretty much everything is good, in a 'won't offend anyone' kind of way but some of tracks included inevitably stand out. Azaxx's rough stop-start funk 'Play Again' is as much hip-hop as soul or funk and amongst some of the slightly blander tracks on Shapes it definitely stands out. Similarly, the epic, almost David Axelrod-esque eponymous 'Stonephace' really carves a place out for itself, leaving whimsical female soul vocals for dust and concentrating on blowing your mind instead.
Shapes 10:01 is a great taster for Tru Thoughts in 2010 but at times the sheer quality of tracks like 'Stonephace' just mean the overall package is in danger of feeling bland. Ultimately though the only real criticism that can be levelled at this album is that it is too much - a stripped back one disc set would have been so full of future classics that it would unquestionably justify its existence, but with so much available for such a low price BlackPlastic can't help but recommend people pick this up.
Shapes 10:01 is out now on Tru Thoughts, available from Amazon.co.uk on CD for just £4.99 [affiliate link].