So with nothing else for it than to batten down the hatches, I reached for some immersive ambience, restorative reggae and mood-enhancing electronics to help weather the storm.
As it turns out, records really are good for the soul and the forecast now looks much brighter.
So without further ado, let’s dig into last month’s haul.
Shida Shahabi – Shifts (LP) #
Amidst the rocky parts, February also provided a couple of nice moments. On a visit to Edinburgh’s Timberyard (Clair’s birthday present – thanks pals!) we were treated not only to amazing food but also this memorable musical accompaniment; the perfect antidote to the arctic conditions outside. Swedish-Iranian pianist Shida’s melodies are hauntingly beautiful in their own right but interestingly she also overlays sounds from the inner mechanics of the piano. Modern classical isn’t normally my bag, but I love this (and the cover art, too).
Current Favourite Track: Futo
Bibio – Ribbons (LP) #
Okay, I’m late with this one – it was released in April ‘19 – but who cares. Ribbons has been a Spotify staple of my morning commute for some time; its pastoral vibes setting the perfect laid-back mood before a day writing code. Eventually I had to own a physical copy. The vibe is pretty folky and in places you can imagine being at a live jam session in your favourite traditional pub. Stephen Wilkinson is a fantastic musician with a lovely voice but if all this is sounding too nice then rest assured that, being on Warp Records, it’s served with a generous side-helping of analogue synths and quirky electronics to steer things left of centre.
Current Favourite Track: Curls
Al Charles – Outstanding #
Who knew there was a reggae version of The Gap Band’s early eighties classic, Outstanding? Not me, anyway. This has been lovingly reissued by Edinburgh’s Athens of the North and features a great squelchy bassline, shimmering synths, dub FX and that killer, hooky vocal. And now I’ll hand over to Discogs legend midnightrunner whose review puts it much better than I ever could:
Quite simply, "outstanding" reggae funk fusion! My mam's toyboy, Gavin, likes to play this one after I have gone to bed, when he smokes his special pipe full of jazzy cabbage.
Current Favourite Track: Outstanding
Logic1000 – Logic1000 #
Sydney–born, Melbourne–based producer Samantha Poulter aka Logic1000 is a new name on me. Her sound is a spacey, percussive blend of hip-hop, Bass, Dancehall and House, with all sorts of other interesting samples and influences thrown into the pot. Lots of great stuff on here.
Current Favourite Track: Na feat. DJ Plead
Perko – The City Rings #
I loved Glaswegian Perko’s first release, NV Auto; its blend of dubbed out synth chords, deep sub-bass and tough broken-electro beats really hitting the spot. His latest release, also on Numbers, ploughs a similar furrow. It spans 8 tracks including moments when he ratchets up the BPMs into Drum ‘n’ Bass territory and others offering respite in the form of delicate ambient interludes.
Current Favourite Track: Stutter
Khruangbin – Hasta El Cielo (LP) #
This is the dub remix version of the Texas band’s second LP, Con Todo El Mondo. Released in 2019, I don’t know why I didn’t pick it up sooner given that I love Khruangbin and I love dub, except perhaps that records ain’t cheap and I wasn’t sure a remix LP constituted an essential purchase. However, after a few months of blissful headphone listening I realised the error of my ways. The band’s sound lends itself perfectly to this treatment and the addition of two mixes by legendary engineer Scientist seals the deal. Also – check this band live if you ever get the chance. I did a couple of years back and they were amazing.
Current Favourite Track: Four of Five
Lo Kindre – Chlorophytum #
This has been on my wants list for an age but every time I tried to get a copy last year, I couldn’t find one. I’m not sure if the original release was maybe delayed? Fortunately on a recent visit to Rubadub (all too infrequent these days which I mean to rectify) the guys hooked me up. This is on the slow, low and out-there electronic tip with little Kraftwerkian influences in amongst the haze of dub. Apparently it’s also from the south side of Glasgow so if I ever see this dude in the Allison Arms I should jolly well like to buy him a pint. Lovely sleeve art too.
Current Favourite Track: I Don’t Really