After a brief hiatus from all things vinyl last month, New Wax returns as we take a look at what June has tucked away in the crates. With lots of booming new music coming out of the Big Smoke, this month’s article is dominated by the sounds of London town. From the explorational jazz melodies of Binker & Moses to the wobbly waves of No Bad Days Records, come have a dig with us this June!
Various – YOUANDMUSIC Vol.1 (YAM Records)
(Released 21st June 2017)
Rye Wax, Rhythm Section, Bussey Building, YAM Records and so much more…Peckham, and rather specifically Rye Lane, is fast becoming the epicentre of London’s thriving presence on an international stage for music and arts. Bouncing off the city’s colourful heritage of grime, garage and drum & bass, the likes of Henry Wu, Moses Boyd and Yussef Kamaal have all absorbed the gritty sounds of South London’s musical climate, and in turn produced something wholly unique that not only pays homage to the past, but looks inextricably to the future. At the heart of this vibrant scene lies YAM Records. The Rye Lane-based shop may be small, but its influence is undoubtedly mighty. You need only listen to their monthly show on Balamii Radio to get a flavour for the influence their collection of second hand vinyl has had on their local scene…be assured that half the music sampled in the borough’s latest releases have come from YAM’s eclectically-minded record crates.
Now with their own label, the team behind YAM have set down a path of sharing some seriously potent dancefloor-ready records. With their debut release featuring New Zealand-born, Peckham-based duo, Chaos in the CBD, their first outing looked to be a tricky one to top with its soaring melodies and signature chugging drum loops. For their second offering, YAM have gone for a different approach entirely; encapsulating the music that represents their scene with a 5-track compilation featuring some of Peckham’s best up-and-comers.
Tribal vibes rip all the way through this record from Tom Esselle’s energetic, rhythmic offering to MSSS’s clinky marimba-infused jam. Sofatalk’s broken, and rather spacier and funkier track, provides the record with a wonderful transition as Leonidas and Z Lovecraft bring things home with two acid-focused cuts; the first of the two diving to the deepest depths before Z Lovecraft rounds off the EP with a decidedly more melodic and mellow offering – and without a doubt, the standout track on this rock solid release.
Binker & Moses – Journey to the Mountain of Forever [Gearbox Records]
(Released 1st June 2017)
Ever since Moses Boyd’s now infamous, self-released, Rye Lane Shuffle EP saw light back in 2016, the young South London-born jazz drummer has been in hot demand. Tipped by the likes of Gilles Peterson and Four Tet, Moses Boyd’s talent for composition is overcome only by his humility and eagerness to continue down a path of self-progression. Teaming up with the award-winning saxophonist, Binker Golding, the duo’s sophomore release, Journey to the Mountain of Forever, looks beyond their hometown, finding inspiration across continents and genres alike. A complete live recording, the mammoth LP features Binker & Moses performing unmixed and unmastered across an impressive 15 tracks, often spanning far beyond the 6-minute mark. Joined by an all-star including Brownswood’s Yussef Dayes, Ninja Tune’s Sarathy Korwar and avant-garde jazz legend, Evan Parker, the record takes listeners through Southern Asia with generous tabla rhythms and an array of subcontinental melodies. Alluring from start to finish, tracks often begin open and atmospheric with subtle melodies toying with a promise of things to come. By their conclusion, tracks such as ‘At the Feet of the Mountain of Forever’ and ‘The Departure,’ swell and soar into a rapture of sax, drums and percussion. With its live and free-flowing thought processes, this record deserves an enduring legacy. Most exciting is the starkly young age of these two incredibly skilled and terrifically vibrant musicians.
Tito Wun – Tito’s Edits [AVA Records]
(Released 10th July 2017)
Having already heavily featured on a handful of AVA’s most recognised releases, it was no-doubt time for Tito Wun’s full solo debut on Damiano von Erckert’s Cologne-based label. Known for their sample-heavy, dancefloor-ready grooves, AVA’s roster has included some serious heavy hitters including: Damiano himself, Motor City Drum Ensemble and even the legendary, Egyptian Lover. Producer of everything from hip hop to house, Tito Wun’s gleaming back-catalogue rubber stamps any future productions as a must-buy and this record is no exception…it took a while to come but this 12” is a certified stomper. Digging deep into the crates, Tito brings us six completely different sample-based cuts from six different genres. From the trippy yet melodic ‘1023 Sunset Boulevard,’ to the super soulful sounds of ‘5am,’ Tito has made broad use of his samples as they radiate through to create a real foot tapper of an EP. Loops upon loops, Tito keeps true to the signature AVA sound; creating something you simply cannot stop listening to.
Easy listening at home? (Tick)
Dancefloor killer? (Tick)
End of the party vibes? (Tick)
Nice one, Tito!
The Gardener – Views From My Shed EP [No Bad Days]
(Released 14th July 2017)
Samuel Johnson once said that when a person is tired of London, they’re tired of life itself. With seemingly endless musical micro-communities across the city, it’s hard not to agree with this ethos. Out of Peckham alone we have already found ourselves engrossed in the jazz explorations of Binker & Moses, the sample-heavy and forward-thinking house tracks of YAM Records and now, with a penchant for a melancholic melody, we have The Gardener. Marking the fifth release for South London-based label, No Bad Days, this four track EP comes courtesy of a relatively unknown and mysterious producer. Entitled, Views From My Shed, this record comes wrapped in fuzzy pads and warm melodies. With an aesthetic reminiscent of a childhood television soundtrack, “Waterclock” is the EP’s standout cut. Draped in quasi-nostalgia, the EP takes you back to simpler times, when cartoons and school holidays ran priority over phone bills and rent payments. The laid-back mood fits the vibe of the No Bad Days team to a tee, with themes of escapism and relaxation playing a strong role across the label’s short history. With samples taken from what we can assume is his back garden on the EP’s opener, ‘Lilac Moor,’ The Gardener must be commended for his dedication and commitment to producing such an intriguing and inimitable debut release.
Various – AH001 [Ad Hoc Records]
(Released 29th May 2017)
“Manchester has always been a very community-focused city when it comes to having a tight-knit music scene. With producers, DJs and artists all focused on making great, forward-thinking art, I thought it was time that this community had an electronic music label to represent it.” – Speaking to Melodic Distraction back in May, Ad Hoc label boss, David Burch shared with us the inspiration behind his recent decision to start his own record label.
With a four-track compilation marking Ad Hoc Records’ debut release; cuts from Cervo, Yadava, Chambers and RGB all encompass a worldly-sound with samples coming from the likes of Fela Kuti. With support coming from the likes of Stamp the Wax, Contours and Rhythm Section’s Hidden Spheres, expect to hear these tracks out and about over the coming months with the EP including set openers and 4am closers!
Yadava’s enticing ‘Kadampa 125’ kicks things off on this EP with a sultry bass-driven groove guiding listeners into the record before RGB steps things up with a more uptempo offering of jingles and choppy vocals. Cervo and Chambers both offer housier cuts to the record, with the latter making use of a huge Fela Kuti sample before Cervo rounds things off with a more laid-back yet still decisively punchy track.
Vels Trio – Yellow Ochre [Total Refreshment Records]
(Released 23rd June 2017)
Jazz record no.2 on our list, this debut EP from Brighton-based outfit, Vels Trio is a spectacular entrance to an already thriving UK jazz scene. Rapid drum work, dubby FX and even a guest appearance from Shabaka Hutchings, this record has everything a first release could ever want!
A dance between the funky and the dubby, this EP has unquestionably earned Vels Trio a spot at the table alongside the likes of Binker & Moses, Shabaka Hutchings and Yussef Kamaal as one of the jazz acts pushing the UK culture forward. Carving out their own, unique sound, Vels Trio have masterfully toyed with synths, dub FX and more to produce a record that on one hand provides an easy listening experience, and on the other, demands a level of open-mindedness from its listeners.
In a culture that has welcomed and prospered in the light of this experimental energy, tracks such as ‘Tenderness’ and ‘Godzilla’ are as good as any on the current UK jazz circuit. With support coming from Gilles Peterson and an upcoming Boiler Room appearance, things are looking to get very exciting, very soon, for this South Coast three piece.
Various – Brownswood Versions 10 [Brownswood Recordings]
(Released 5th May 2017)
Gilles Peterson’s legendary taste-making label hits the big “one zero” this year. Ten years in, Brownswood Recordings are celebrating with a string of special releases and parties across the country. Limited edition on wax, Brownswood Versions features ten covers that represent each year in the label’s existence. From 4-hero to Dayme Arocena, this record’s eclectic sound demonstrates just how far Gilles Peterson’s label has gone to champion music and artists from across the globe…and getting them to cover tracks that have inspired their sound…genius.
Between Emanative’s dancefloor-focused mix of Sun Ra’s ‘Love in Outer Space’ and Owiny Sigoma Band covering krautrock classic, ‘Vitamin C,’ this record travels the distance in showcasing the pure talent of the Brownswood family. The vinyl-only release even features dubstep legend, Mala, focusing his attention on a traditional Peruvian anthem…yum.
If you do nothing else today, we strongly recommend listening to the aforementioned mix of ‘Love in Outer Space’ by Emanative. Dubbed the “Celestial Love Mix”, you’d be forgiven for mistaking this title as a bit self-indulgent. Yet, across an entire 7-minutes, Emanative manages to enlighten listeners with an unmistakably Sun Ra-esque experience. Where many have fallen short, this track has managed to savour the quintessential Sun Ra aesthetic, all while injecting the late jazz explorer’s music with a serious danceable groove.
Idris Rahman, Leon Birchard, Tom Skinner – Wildflower EP [Not on Label]
(Re-released 6th September 2017 – Digital Now Available)
Whether it was exclusivity, humility or a lack of the ol’ cash monies that led this jazz trio to only press 80 copies of this record, the decision undoubtedly left them with one of the most in demand, yet ungettable, records around at the moment. Even with an added run of 300 copies, due for release in September but available for pre-order now, the record is still very much on its way to another sell out.
The trio of Idris Rahman (sax), Leon Brichard (bass) and Tom Skinner (drums) invite listeners down the rabbit hole of meditative, spiritual jazz. With its solid basslines and flute-driven grooves, this EP remains unpredictable throughout as it navigates its way through a number of moods and emotions. The inquisitive opener, ‘Flute Song,’ is a particular highlight, inviting its listener into the record with a tantalisingly floaty solo performed by Idris Rahman.
Heavy Sun Ra, Pharaoh Sanders and Alice Coltrane vibes shine through on tracks the likes of, ‘Where the Earth Meets the Sky.’ This re-press is unlikely to last until its 6th September release date, so pre-order on this one is essential before it is chewed up and spat out for ridiculous money by those pesky Discogs sharks.
|| Buy the Vinyl||
Gershovsky, Floating Points and Red Greg – Disco Baby [Melodies International]
(Released 28th July 2017)
Yes, we’re jumping the gun…this one is indeed out in July. However, with this record being one of the most sought after disco 7’s going, we advise pre-ordering your copy this very minute. ‘Disco Baby,’ has proven an illusive mistress over the past few years after first popping up in Floating Points’ now legendary, BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix. From Plastic People to Dekmantel, whenever this song is heard, dancefloors simply lose all control. A real hands in the air disco anthem, the identity of this record has remained almost entirely unknown until now.
The story behind this one is a real digger’s tale:
“A few years ago, Melodies family members Floating Points and DJ Red Greg got their hands on a couple of original 70’s obscurities. While these standout records shone brightly in their own right, the two DJs saw the potential to create their own edits behind the scenes…Of these new recordings, they cut only five copies for themselves and a few DJ friends of theirs.”
From what we can guess, of the five pressings, Floating Points, Red Greg, Hunee and Antal each have a copy…with the fifth going to an unknown source…Mafalda? Now, sharing the love with dancefloors across the world, Melodies International are pressing this scorcher of a tune onto a 7″. Original on side A and Melodies edit on side B.
Astrocat – Astrocat EP [Honey Glazed Records]
(Released 10th July 2017)
Thirst for electro-funk? Look no further. New to our attention, Astrocat brings 4 versatile tracks to Bristol-based, Honey Glazed Records, for their 6th release. In search of “warmth, soul and groove in any genre”, Honey Glazed have certainly hit the spot with their latest EP from Astrocat. A somewhat illusive artist, it is near impossible to find any information on the inter-web about the young? old? new? veteran? producer apart from his impeccable ear for synthesised funkiness.
Opening with two hip hop numbers, the first dripping with vocal synths, Astrocat showcases his mastery of down-tempo grooves. ‘Nightflare’ proves to be the favourite on this EP with its jagged and moody approach to synth-funk enclosing an old-school, classic slap-bass undertone. Previously premiered on Loose Lips, ‘Only’ fuels the B-side with energy, experimenting with erratic bass melodies while the final number closes this EP with ‘space-disco’ influences like that of Soul Clap’s legendary: ‘Synthesiser Girlfriend’…just wait for the sax solo! All in all, an extremely well-rounded introduction to this producer, contained within just one sleeve. A must buy.