Hey hey. After a February-sized break I’m coming back to you with one from the 2011 vaults. Dust it off. Top album.
You might not recognise the artist, but I guarantee you’ll know the song. It’s smooth, dreamy, early thousands electro coming at you from what turned out to be FC Kahuna’s only album. Shame really.
Merry Christmas gang.
Okay so this one is a bit leftfield but stay with me. You know how punk music took over the UK in the late 70s? Well why not Christmas music too?
I found this while rooting through my dad’s 45s (7 inch) vinyl collection. Some gems in there (mixed in with a lot of… peculiarities).
A short story. I was at a 90s themed birthday party the other day. A private room in a South London pub. Big outfits, big tunes, retro snacks, you know the score. David Beckham was having a boogie with Lara Croft and Baby Spice*. Everyone was getting a nice buzz on. I was having a very nice time, enjoying myself.
Then, Olive. Wow.
It’s hard to put the reaction I had into words, but the nostalgia and beauty got to me. It’s a stunner, plain and simple.
*For the record, I came as Raoul from the film adaptation of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
They just don’t make albums like this anymore. Throwing it back to 2001 with Groove Armada’s seminal third album, Goodbye Country (Hello Nightclub). Andy Cato and Tom Findlay shot to stardom with their previous album Vertigo; that release was certified Platinum in the UK and is a huge lounge record – think Inside my Mind (Blue Skies). Then, just one year later, as the title of the album suggests, they left the lounge behind to craft some bigger beats. This move was not a simple one, since ‘Chill Out’ was at the crest of a wave in 2001 (a movement that they had a hand in creating). The move also alienated some of their fans, but you have to say that history has proven them right on this one.
There is so much to love about this album. First up, Suntoucher. Six and a half minutes of the highly talented Jeru the Damaja channeled into a new world of groovy electronica. “Focus like a samurai, stronger than a Mai Tai”. Massive rhymes. You can read more of my thoughts on Jeru and this track here.
Suntoucher is followed by Superstylin’ which still hits different. The BBC wrote at the time that its bass line was “big enough to bowl over a bungalow.” You’ll understand when you listen to it.
And then we have My Friend. Try and listen to the opening two seconds and not get carried away.
Finally, a new find for me is Fogma. Groove Armada pick up a sample from the (now heavily overplayed) Bam Bam by Sister Nancy and take it into pretty brutal Chemical Brothers electro club territory.
All in all, the album is a classic. Not much more needs to be said.
Paul Johnson, the producer of the absolute #1 top-level banger Get Get Down, has passed away aged 50. He was a big part of the Chicago house and dance scene, and a lot bigger than that one track (although, as I mentioned, it is an absolute #1 top-level banger.
RIP, and get vaccinated people.
This is just an absolute beaut of a track from 2009. Four Tet at his haunting best.
The energy for the track is brought by the drums; really raw and tribal. And then halfway through the vocal sample comes in with the mystical aura of a Buddhist chant. It lasts for 9 minutes, but it could be double the length and I’d be happy. Only Four Tet eh?
Bonus tracks: Four Tet has a stunning knack for picking a sample. The two vocal samples in this are straight-up pop classics by none other than Brandy and Cassie.
A short story: the year is 2014 and I am dancing to an unnamed DJ in a clearing in the woods at Secret Garden Party. This track comes on, and my little mind is completely blown by the bassline. So much so that I for a brief moment I consider a career as a DJ. Anyway, here we are 7 years on and that loop that comes in at 2:18 still packs just as much heat.
Is there ever a bad time to kick back and listen to some jazz-infused drum & bass? It’s smooth, atmospheric, and massively influential.
P.S. fair to say that Pitchfork aren’t a fan of this album or Bukem. In fact, they rate it a spicy 3.9 out of 10. Quite an amusing read.
Whipping you back to 2010 for Jai Paul’s edit of Emiliana Torrini’s Jungle Drum. He takes the original and blesses it with his warm electronic goodness.
I have written about Jai Paul before, so let’s focus on Emiliana. She is a Icelandic singer-songwriter who specialises on wistful folk. If you are a fan of Bjork or Laura Marling then she is definitely worth checking out. You can pick up the same melancholic fisherman’s wife thread running through their work. Me & Armini is my pick, and is the third of her six albums.