Fabulous tunes for discerning bunnies
If you're just busting your cherry on this blog, then here's the deal.
There's 50 bucks each month to spend on Bandcamp, an ethical music platform that shares the wealth accordingly and allows artists and labels to create their own store front.
Either myself or a guest writer ploughs through the huge pile of new releases or re-issues to bring you an affordable monthly selection.
Bespoke music chosen by diggers.
So let's begin...
I've always loved Jamaica. It's an island that has its own musical culture, unlike anything else I've witnessed. I'm drawn to it whenever I need a spiritual boost.
The music is infectious and seeps through every part of daily life - irresistible.
I remember one trip when I threw my wardrobe away and packed my suitcase with 40 kgs of vinyl. Arriving at Gatwick in shorts and flip flops is a quick way to wake up from the Caribbean dream.
Anyway, less of the digression, and moving onto my first choice.
Gavsborg is an experimental Jamaican producer that has really thrown the scene on its head. His modern take on music production is raw; inspired by trap, Detroit, traditional Jamaican rhythms and free jazz. What? Say that again.... totally nuts. Exactly.
I'm reminded of the Wally Badarou melodies and percussive excursions, but this stuff is fresher than a lobster on Treasure Beach. Avant garde would be a fitting description.
Simply divine, if you like something out of the ordinary.
I now fly back to 1977, one of the finest years for music in my humble opinion, and I was super happy to see this next choice get a digital release on Bandcamp.
This is rare groove afro-beat - breaking free from colonial influences and throwing caution to the wind.
Ebo Taylor has been bangin' out highlife and traditional Ghanian music for decades. There is a fantastic compilation on Strut, which showcases his finest work, but I do like listening to original albums. I feel you get more of an insight into the artist and where they're coming from. One should read a book from start to finish and not just the best chapters. Sure, there are dull bits and certain sections you don't affiliate with, but I think cherry picking is for the ADH section of society - for those that rush through museums to see the newly advertised displays, whilst missing out on the backbone of the exhibition.
I paid a small fortune for the original vinyl album several years ago, but it's now yours for under a fiver.
Toy Tonics is a fantastic, independent German label that has brought us a veritable smorgasbord of house and disco over the last nine years. With acts like Cody Currie, Felipe Gordon, The Phenomenal Hand Clap Band and (label boss) Kapote in their arsenal, they really are stalwarts of the current dance music scene.
Paul Older was brought to my attention by Samosa Records at the end of 2019 with their Italian Disco Machine release. I'm still hoping to get a track from him for my label, Act of Sedition, but until then I can only look from the sidelines and admire his work.
Italo Edits 2 is self-explanatory. No need to state the obvious, but I will.
Reworks of rare Italian disco nuggets from yesteryear - what's not to love?
I can remember being in Ibiza when 9/11 happened. I can remember being in London when Diana died and I can remember sitting at my desk at Kickin' Records when I heard Journeys By DJ - Coldcut. All of these moments made time stand still and re-booted my consciousness.
I have the upmost respect for Ninja Tunes and quite honestly, without the Solid Steel radio show throughout my youth, I doubt I would have pursued a DJ career.
I trust Matt Black & Jon Moore to pick quality music and push the boundaries of comfortable.
So I now move from disco dancing round the kitchen in my dressing gown to a more altogether club bangin' moment. Time for some heart stopping remixes.
Bronson is an Australian trio and their music sounds like a dystopian disaster move, but don't let that put you off. It's infectious and you'll be jumping up and down to these reworked tracks, with a new lease of adolescent-esque life.
Great to see Riton get involved, as I love Rinse & Repeat, still an iconic nuclear warhead on the dance floor five years later.
Buckle up, strap in and prepare for lift off. Totally out there.
Time for some deep stretching and meditation after that full throttle, sonic attack.
I now point you in the direction of Tom Bailey; otherwise known as International Observer.
Go back to the 80s and he was one half of The Thompson Twins, but don't let his pop success fool you. He's now making deep, dirty dub for underground revellers and bass bin worshippers.
His previous albums, Touched, Felt and Heard, as well as Free From The Dungeons of Dub can all be heard regularly in my VW camper as I trundle down the back roads of France, annoying the speed freaks that can't over take me. It's beautifully crafted music that helps drown out the incessant honking & beeping behind me.
Mr Bailey has two new albums on the excellent Dubmission label - Mink and Pangolin.
I prefer the latter, and at the rather quirky price of £3.33 it's a total steal.
DJ Oswald Cromheecke is also known as Boogie Belgique, and his album Volta from 2016 has been remastered and repressed, and is sounding altogether fabulous.
He combines vintage sounds and old samples with crisp new drums and percussive beats, that forms a very stylish type of trip hop. It's hardly surprising this album is getting a reissue and I sadly missed the 500 limited gold copies on vinyl - damn, blink and they're gone!
Put on those glad rags and spin your loved one round the garden at midnight - there is simply no better soundtrack for homespun tomfoolery.
As we lament the demise of Daft Punk, whose first two albums were abso-fuckin'-lutely ground breaking, there is a 2021 Record Store Day release that is quite extraordinary.
Back in 2013 the duo were asked to do the music for a YSL catwalk thing at Paris Fashion Week. Instead of providing the obvious filter house club music they were famous for, they did an edit of a blues track by Junior Kimbrough. (Those quirky bad boys.) The result is quite a good one.
We'll miss those crazy French guys in their space suits, but we can grasp a long lost souvenir that was previously reserved for bourgeois fashionistas.
Mange tout Rodney.
I've been buying Flamingo Pier stuff for a couple of years now. A percussive driven funk/disco band from New Zealand on the superb Soundway Records. I even went so far as to pick Indigo as track of the year for Stephen Richards' Disco Daze show.
I'm a fan; just need the T shirt.
Another piece from that excellent E.P. is Tripping Up which has recently been given a Marcel Vogel remix and is yours for a quid. Inexpensive way to discover upcoming talent.
I have this addiction to soundtracks. Not sure if it's the colourful atmosphere that draws me, or simply that Ennio Morricone, John Barry, Hans Zimmer and co. are pure geniuses that can not be ignored. Apocalypse Now, Blade Runner, La Planete Sauvage, any Bond or Tarantino score will regularly get a slot on my home turntable, so I was most curious about this next selection.
It is alleged that this album is the long lost master tapes remastered from Italian cult movie The Blackstone Affair from 1973. I have my doubts to its authenticity, but to be honest I couldn't care if it's a spoof or not. It sounds like the acid western it's advertised to be, and even if it's an elaborate plan to sell records, then so be it.
Is it the ultimate digger's holy grail? Does composer Sandro Munari even exist?
Pah, why lose sleep over it?
Strings, harpsichord, wah wah guitars and raw funky bass lines - I'm buying into this three card monté - hook, line and proverbial sinker.
Release date is April 9th; you get a three track taster to keep you chomping at the bit.
Record Kicks have either gone to enormous lengths to replicate the 70s or they have indeed landed a rare monster from Italian cinematic history.
You decide, while I sink some bourbon at the Wild West Bar.
So, there you go. This month's odyssey is over and I've spent exactly 50 bones after local taxes are added.
Next month will see guest writer Mark Broadbent discuss Bandcamp's "Name Your Price" option. A truly modern take on music shopping.
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