Taken Away – Moodymann

Moodymann has two modes: lusty and haunting. His new album Taken Away retains some of his signature erotic funk, but ache come to the fore.

At the start of 2019 Moodymann (Kenny Dixon Jr.) was involved in a pretty terrifying incident with the police – a reality that people of colour face in America on a shockingly frequent basis. Famously enigmatic, he does his talking through his sampling, and his message comes across loud and clear, especially in the title track. It’s house music, it’s foot-stomping, but it is filled with pain and anger.

My take on some more upbeat Moodymann here and here, or you can read an excellent review of the album on Pitchfork here. Shout out to Ben Gomori’s Turned On for the tip.

Your Hero is Not Dead – Westerman

*GUEST POST*

The middle of a pandemic might not seem the best time to release a debut album, but Westerman’s Your Hero Is Not Dead feels like exactly the music we need right now. It’s full of uplifting, mesmerisingly beautiful songs that combine challenging and unusual textures with just the right amount of dopamine-inducing choruses to satisfy our simple animal brains. It’s an album that will leave you nodding in trance-like stupor one minute, curled up on the floor in the foetal position covered in snotty tears the next. Blue Comanche and Confirmation offer up sublimely accessible pop refrains, but the album is one that really deserves a full 40-minute sit-down listen. It’s raw and unflinchingly honest but fundamentally optimistic about the world; the best new music of 2020.

Written by Tom Edkins

Drop – Mistabishi

Okay, so quite the controversial character is Mistabishi. If you cast yourself back to 2009 you’ll see one of the most exciting drum & bass producers on the scene. James Pullen has left his job in the city, and been signed by Hospital – the biggest label going – and released his first album, the critically acclaimed Drop.

Fast forward another 10 years and he has disgraced himself by fucking off just about everyone possible. Firstly the music-heads, by playing a pre-recorded mix at a gig and trying to pass it off (badly) as mixing live. Secondly (and repeatedly) anyone who isn’t a full-blown racist by claiming that ‘real’ Londoners are white – and blaming rising crime levels on immigrants and ethnic minorities. He then apologised for causing offence in about the least convincing way possible (and partially blaming some residual PTSD…). All in all, the guy is not a good egg.

So, if you want to enjoy this album you have to go through a real case of separating the art from the artist. If you are able to do that (and you want to) then Drop is a real gem. It mixes heavy and light, ecstasy and fear, all with a sharp dark sense of humour.

Drop contains three of my all-time favourite drum & bass tracks: No Matter What, a euphoric belter; The Light’s Really Bad, a cinematic roller full of hope and longing; and Falling in Love, another big’un with the emotional vocals of Danman.

There’s a lot to get your teeth into. Printer Jam will certainly not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you have to admit that the guy has talent. Greed is a rolling dark monster with some hard right wing free-market philosophy thrown in to boot.

If you are listening for the first time, or the first time in a decade, let me know what you think.

Modern Soul (Disclosure Remix) – James Blake

I’ve got a corker of an unreleased number from Disclosure for you right here. I wouldn’t have believed you if you’d told me that a James Blake / Disclosure combo would work. But it brings James’ haunting vocals together with this blissed out electronic energy and jeez. Just trust me, it works.

Sadly it looks like this track will never see the light of day in a full release so you’ll have to make do with a youtube rip.

This clip is from a full set by Disclosure, as a part of Boiler Room’s Streaming From Isolation series.

Superego – Harvey Sutherland

Harvey Sutherland makes music like a man who lives in perma-Summer. It must be the Aussie in him. Anyway, a couple of months ago he foretold our weather by releasing a typically upbeat funky single, Superego. It’ll tick a lot of boxes.

Bonus track: Superego is nice, but nothing on his classics. Know this one?

Bonus playlist: if you like your tracks house-y and and your instruments piano-y then I have the perfect playlist for you. Bloody hell I want to go out.

Voyage

I think we could all do with a bit of playful house in our lives right now couldn’t we. It’s Voyage Records first compilation from 2015 and I would describe it as spot-hitting.

My pick is Kackwursthouse by CTEPEO ’57 aka Max Graef and Muff Deep. But then again, I also love Gravy, so what you gonna do?