As the leaves fell and the nights drew in, I chose to fall forward by blowing all my hard-earned on a lovely mixed bag of dub, ambient, soul, house and electro records. Now, if I could just find some puppy-free time to actually listen to them…
One wee thought before we dig in: I’m finding that I’m buying from Bandcamp more and more now that many (most?) of the records I want seem to appear there first. That’s great for the artists (they get most of the profit minus Bandcamp’s cut) so it’s a positive thing, but what about physical record shops? This got me thinking: now that we have Bookshop supporting independent, bricks and mortar book shops by spreading profits among them, could a similar online enterprise maybe exist for record shops?
OK, enough pontificating – here’s the music.
Nat Birchall meets Al Breadwinner - Upright Living #
Real nice roots reggae and dub instrumentals from sunny Manchester. Mr Birchall is, by all accounts, an amazing musician, and in Al Breadwinner on drums and Vin Gordon on trumpet he’s assembled a stellar band. When I first heard this I thought it was some vintage Augustus Pablo so it was funny to find out that it was in fact made in 2020 in Stockport.
Favourite track(s): African Village Dance / Village Dub.
Om Unit meets Seekers International – Secret Location #
As a big fan of Om Unit’s ouput around 2011 and Seekers’ 2017 RunComeTest EP I was pretty excited to hear about this collab… and it doesn’t disappoint. 7 dollops of deep, digi-dub bass, grainy atmospheres and dancehall samples, on a lovely pressing which sounds amazing.
Favourite Track: Nu Killa
Linkwood & Other Lands – Face the Facts #
Lovely gatefold double-vinyl LP that sees two of Auld Reekie’s finest join forces on the excellent Athens of the North label. Breezy laid-back jams with smooth keys lead into rougher, Theo Parrish -esque joints then spacey textures, making for a really well-rounded listen.
Favourite Track: Shapes
Satoshi & Makoto - CZ-5000 Sounds & Sequences Vol. II #
Beautiful ambient textures and downtempo electronics with that typically quirky Japanese flavour. If you like Ryuichi Sakamoto or Apogee & Perigee, you’ll love this.
Favourite track: Correndor.
Various - Buena Onda Balearic Beats #
Lovely four-tracker of slow and atmospheric late-night grooves from Italy and elsewhere, first heard on Denise’s radio show.
Favourite track: Lucas Croon – Japon.
STR4TA - Aspects #
A nice surprise from Gilles Peterson’s label, this is a brand new, authentic jazz-funk / disco hybrid with immaculate live playing and production, and drum fills that tip a hat to Atmosfear’s 1979 staple Dancing in Outer Space.
Favourite track: Aspects
Midnight Tenderness - Digi Modes #
Another beauty from Melbourne-based Ryan Hunter whose previous releases – whether under this alias for the Refresco EP, or as Turner Street Sound for 2018’s amazing Bunsens – have been much appreciated ‘round these parts. This one, on lovely transparent golden 7″, offers a speedy, skanking and soulful update to the traditional dub techno blueprint.
Sansibar - Targeted Individuals #
No-messin’, pacey, but cinematic electro which sounds like it’s from Detroit but is actually from the hand of one Sunny Seppa of Helsinki. Nothing ground-breaking on display here but what it does, it does really well. If you dig ERP or classic Dopplereffekt you’ll love this.
Favourite track: Technology
Art Crime - Distanced #
Limited edition moody drone/ambient 7″ from Russia, with accompanying drone movie.
Favourite track: Blocks
Jon Hassell - Seeing Through Sound (Pentimento Volume Two) #
Fairly amazing leftfield ambient sounds, and even moreso given that the producer is 83 (yes, 83) years old. This is a real trip and deserves the kind of attention which I’ve not generally been able to give it just yet, but the first track alone is worth the admission. The vinyl also sounds amazing. Stunning!
Favourite track: Fearless
Rance Allen Group - Reason To Survive #
Shout out to Gav who played this wonderful 1977 Mizell Brothers production (amongst other great music) on his Other Lands radio show, as an ode to Mr Allen who recently passed away. Perhaps embarassingly I didn’t know of his music until hearing this, but after grabbing this lovely 2018 reissue on Expansions with its soaring strings and stirring vocals, I’m definitely a convert.
Favourite track: Name
Deenamic - Out Of My Mind #
Another cracker heard on Gav’s show, this is new from Italian label Neroli who’ve always ploughed a nice furrow in soulful electronic sounds. This one features a tasty combination of house, broken beat and downtempo flavours.
Favourite track: Sambu
Tasha Larae & Jihad Muhammad - Till You Get There #
Proper New Jersey style garage from Baltimore’s DJ Spen (ably assisted on remix duties by Bristol’s Sean McCabe) that I could imagine raising the roof at Shelter in NYC or even closer to home at Glasgow’s Melting Pot. It just has that magic formula of slamming beats, gospel chords and a soaring, life-affirming vocal which will never fail to push my buttons. One that if you hear at the right time will make your night, and which makes me long for clubs to reopen.
Favourite track: Till You Get There (DJ Spen and Sean McCabe remix)
Das Ding - Your Content Will Arrive Shortly #
My first encounter with Das Ding was his track H.S.T.A. on the excellent 2012 Stones Throw comp The Minimal Wave Tapes Volume Two. That comp was focused on tracks from the eighties so it’s cool to see that Mr Ding is still releasing music today. These four tracks are electro-based and retain that eighties character with New Beat and EBM influences, but updated with 2020 sounds and production.
Favourite track: Category Collapse (Heap Remix)
Sad City - images-nov-20 #
Two long, atmospheric ambient tracks, self-released (digital-only) by Gary Caruth who I believe resides in Edinburgh (or Glasow; I’m not quite sure). I remember really enjoying his release You Will Soon Find That Life Is Wonderful in 2013. Anyway – these are very nice, so much so that I listened to them as I feel asleep the other night and I can report that it was quite pleasant!
Favourite track: image1
Ando Laj - Dog Insight #
A quirky long-player from a Toronto-based artist who is new to me but seems to have been around since at least 2014. This veers from the grungy ‘n’ glitchy to the ethereal and beautiful and if I’m honest, quality-wise it’s a bit of a mixed bag. However in its best moments, it calls to mind classic IDM from FUSE, The Aphex Twin and The Black Dog… which is never a bad thing.
Favourite track: Yukon
Linton Kwesi Johnson - Bass Culture / LKJ In Dub #
Killer reggae reissue: beaut packaging, lovely red and green vinyl, and sounds tremendous.
Favourite track: Inglan is a Bitch
Sedgwick - Rhythm And Isolation #
Big up Jamie who brought this one to my attention via a great episode of his Saturday Manatee show. There’s a lot of electro around at the moment, and perhaps also a few opportunistic producers and labels jumping on the bandwagon, but this is a good one.
Favourite track: Exit