The Review: Blu.Collective – Rising Above

8 February 2022

Rising Above/Beers At Samir’s

First up I have to say that I am personal friends with 3/4 of this band, but for me this makes it even more special as I am aware of the hard work, passion and love that has gone into each of these people’s careers and the effort they have put in to make this band a reality and to release 2 original band productions in the form of a physical release on 45.

First up let’s get some background on the blu.collective.

‘Rising Above’ is a soulful collaboration with raw, funky beats – imagine D’Angelo meeting J Dilla in a live jam, with vocals, rhodes keys & guitar layered over a tight bass & drum foundation.

Where “Rising Above” is sparse, instrumental b-side ‘Beers at Samirs’ lets the four multi-instrumentalists stretch out in gradually evolving, thick textures, while still holding down the funk.

Coming from varied backgrounds in beat-making, DJing, performance, live music & film soundtracks, the four members of blu.collective came together through a mutual love of organic, soulful music with a live feel.

Danilo Ray is the vocalist on ‘Rising Above”. He’s a Toronto-based musician & actor who’s contributed vocals to releases by LHA, Natalie Slade & others, and has several creative projects in the pipeline.

Guitarist Caratgold studied jazz in college, and started out playing guitar in funk and blues bands. Later, he
delved into hip hop and production, and has worked as an MC & DJ in Canberra and Sydney.

Bass player JuzzOne is a beatmaker, musician & dj in Sydney. As a dj he’s supported many artists in the black music scene like Roy Ayers, Omar, DJ Krush, and Oddisee.

On keyboards & beats, Sydney-based Simon Hunt is an award-winning musician, composer & filmmaker who’s worked across soundtracks, performance art & music ranging from classical/experimental to funk, with releases on Sub Rosa Records, JJJ compilations & Australian ARIA nominations for best independent release.

These are musicians deep in the game and this release is a beautiful combination of their talents and deep deep vinyl crates.

The Review

Side 1: Rising Above

For me this is just so refreshing, so needed and such a reflection of the history of much of the music that I listen to, collect, dj with, earn my living from and am continuously inspired by.

The inspirations for each of the musicians in this track are clear to see but they bring it together in such a beautiful and soulful way that makes it their very own.

I hear jazz, blues, neo-soul and beautiful harmonies that hark back to the motown period but with a contemporary bent, like Anderson Paak meets Fat Freddy’s Drop.

There is a real deep groove to this track.

The vocals are almost rapped and have something to say about the world we live in and how we can all rise above. In these crazy and unpredictable times to hear lyrics that are sung with such clarity and beauty is a breath of fresh air to my ears and soul.

In a sea of edits, reissues, mashups and auto tune pop, to hear something new, timeless and with a real soulful groove, made me realise how much this kind of music is needed now and how good is the video!

Do yourselves a favour, buy it and share it around, so that we can hear more from this wonderful group.

Side 2: Beers At Samir’s

I have actually had the pleasure of having beer’s at Samir’s and recording a live Dj session and it is still one of my most cherished memories and something I hope to do again one day!

So to hear this track and see it’s title brought a smile to my face and made me remember that great evening and some of the other evenings I’ve had with Samir/JuzzOne and if they were to have a sound, this would be it!

JuzzOne and I have talked about jazz, funk, soul and hip hop endlessly and played lots of those genres together and I even got to Dj at his wedding which was a real honour, so to hear this track and how these musicians are kind of stretching out with a funky jam to loosen up and get the party started is perfect.

This is funky, soulful, jazzy and you can dance to it and it’s got a hip hop feel, because hip hop is a melting pop of all the elements and genres we have talked about above and this track is a great summation of how hip hop has brought these genres to our ears and how the blu.collective have taken those inspirations to create their own music.



Pickup the 45 at the following places:

Sydney – Sounds Espresso & The Record Store
Melbourne – Northside Records 
Brisbane – Echo & Bounce
Adelaide  – Cold Krush & Streetlights


USA: Fat Beats

Mainland Europe: HHV

Slovakia: Doorz

Japan: Daraha Beats & Tower Records

Online: Merchbar HMV – Import CDs 

Order the digital copies directly from Blu.Collective’s Bandcamp page!

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