Nujabes is my go to escapism music. His floating, uplifting beats interspersed with punchy guest lyrics take you away. He’s attributed with having had a big influence on the Tokyo hip-hop scene – he ran a couple of record shops and was a prolific producer and performer before his untimely death in 2010 – and his material sounds as good now as it did a decade ago. Modal Soul showcases the range of his production and collaboration, and is truly timeless stuff. Tanoshii.
Message from Harry: like what you hear? You can find Nujabes and tonnes more of my favourite rap on this playlist called, Favourite Rap.
Back to 2007, Simian Mobile Disco at their peak. Slow, punchy, original electronica. Bosh.
Want more SMD? Check more recent releases here, and here (with Bicep).
So this is obviously a post about Chase & Status. But stay with me. I’m talking ’08 Chase & Status. When they were playing at Neighbourhood and you have to try get in without ID and your mate was selling tickets to someone called Chasing Status because you were only 16 and didn’t really know what was going on and you probably weren’t going to be able to get in anyway because let’s face it, International Driving Licenses were a joke. But you do get in, and it is class. That’s the Chase & Status I’m talking about. And that Chase & Status is all over this album.
And let’s not forget we’ve got Kano, Plan B, Nneka and Jenna G on here. We’ve also got all-time classics like Take Me Away, and Hurt You. Put your drum n bass hat on and get jumping.
A beauty for you afro-funk heads. Danvers on editing duty, giving a bit of extra punch to Yaaba Funk’s Oman Foa. Really tasty.
A little fun fact for you: their name comes from an album called “Yaba Funk Roots”, the only album ever released outside of Africa by Captain Yaba, a musician from northern Ghana. Have a bit of that.
Shout to Ben Gomori for the release.
Jackson Almond describes himself as a Northerner. He releases his tracks on WotNot Music. The rest you’ll have to do yourself.
Anyway, Open Your Head is a tasty EP. Smooth house with some obvious afro influences. My two picks are Common (Dauwd-y fare with some crashing piano drops and tasty Romare-y samples) and Ee Ye.
Bonus track: for you, my loyal reader, you get another taste – on this number Frits Wentink meets Laurence Guy. Not a bad matching if you ask me
“I don’t think you realise how successful I am. I’m like a shipping tycoon, full of promise and cum.”
Lyrics that alternate between the disturbing and the surreal. A funky base line that forces you into a swagger. Baxter Dury is onto something here.
Shout to Winston and Alo for the tip.
What do you know, it’s my second ever sound-art post! This one also came onto my radar through Radiolab (one for you Podcast heads).
Right, so first up, this music is just an achingly beautiful ambient composition. To quote Pitchfork, “It’s the kind of music that makes you believe there is a Heaven, and that this is what it must sound like.” Wave upon wave of sound envelopes everything around you, dissolving space and time. Get the right soundsysem set-up and it is honestly stunning.
But there’s more. The story of these pieces is even more heart-breakingly beautiful than the music itself. In the 80s WB created a bunch of tape loops from processed snatches of music captured from an easy listening station. Fast forward to around 2000 and he is in the process of digitising his collection – but each time the tape plays it disintegrates a little more, with the decay of the tape making the music itself decay. Each tape begins with a simple repeated melody which melts away with each repetition. As the physical tape decays, so the sound decays.
So far so good right? But wait, there’s more. Shortly after he completed the work, he was playing it to some friends in his Brooklyn apartment, when 9/11 happened. At dusk he filmed the smouldering rubble of Manhattan, and set the music to it. It has become an iconic elegy. Pure devastation, and utter serenity.