Meerkuts’ Musical Musings – May 2013
What’s up my Timbre Teasers & Energico Enthusiasts?
It’s been an exceptionally wonderful year so far and we’ve had so many awesome tunes in the last 5 months already, I really do believe we’re in a fresh new season for music and it’s just going to keep getting better. If you haven’t already check out my piece at The Urban Times about the ‘Future of Music‘. Otherwise, you know the drill these are five little tasty musical treats from the month of May, I hope you enjoy and if you like what you hear check out the last 5 months Musical Musings here.
1. Madlib – The Mad March (Rock Konducta) (Released on 22 May 2013 by Madlib Invasion label)
The king of beats is back and boy is this a stonker! I’ve been a big fan of Madlib and the whole Stones Throw crew for over a decade now and they never fail to suprise you with innovative ideas, slick samples and delicious beats. Choosing to mine the back catalogues of jazz and pyscedelia rather than funk like a lot of other hip hop producers means that all the output from this label and it’s brilliant array of musicians always sounds fresh. I heard this track out of the blue on my Soundcloud stream and literally jumped out of my chair because it’s what I’ve been looking for for so long, electro swing without the need for poorly produced 4/4 house beats behind it. Instead we get expertly produced Madlib drums and a driving pounding almost rockabilly rythmn that just makes you want to dance whatever time of day it is, this is definitely going to be a staple in my sets for the foreseeable future!
2. Ghostpoet – Meltdown (Released 3rd May 2013 by Play It Again Sam Records)
Ghostpoet is a purveyor of subtle poetry blended with achingly beautiful minimalist electronica and occasional delicate female choruses. This is the follow up to the stunning debut album ‘Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam’ which took the electronic and hip hop scenes by storm a few years ago which I’m still listening to and loving today. This second album isn’t that dissimilar from his debut but why should it be when it still sounds original and fresh second time around? I can see Ghostpoet in the future branching out and working with slightly different aesthetics and I’m sure he’ll be successful because his words are honest and expressive without overpowering the song as some MC’s are prone. This single has evolved from the previous album’s tracks like ‘Survive It‘ by adding more nuanced production and incorporating soaring strings at the end which sound very much like Bonobo’s handiwork. It’s a sublime track and guest vocalist Woodpecker Wooliams brings just the right amount of fragility to counter Ghostpoet, I’d recommend the album wholeheartedly as well as this brilliant remix by Squarepusher. Who knows maybe we’ll see more Warp collaborations somewhere in the future?
3. Owiny Sigoma Band – Nyiduonge Drums (Released April/May 2013 on Brownswood Recordings)
OK so this track was actually released online in April this year but the 12″ wasn’t in the shops until May so I’m allowed it! What more can be said about this track? I have one word; Infectious! That groove just builds and builds and builds until out of nowhere this wonderfully dirty bassline just pummels you into dancing harder and harder as the song just ensnares everyone around you so you’re all bouncing along! I heard the track before I saw the video but I think instinctively I was already doing the dance they’re showing the crowd and once I’d seen it I definitely couldn’t stop, how much fun does that gig look? Signed to Giles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings they started out making Nairobi/African music in 2011 and then followed it up with this album of Owiny techno which is all about soundsystems, dancefloor’s and getting people moving. This year they’re supporting Atoms for Peace on tour and I hope they continue to keep us grooving for a long time to come, oh let’s play it again one more time before we move onto number 4!
4. The Hot 8 Brass Band – Hot 8 Shit (Released 20 May 2013 on Tru Thoughts records)
Hot 8 are back with a new album already only months after their ‘Life & Times of…’ album back in 2012 on the Tru Thoughts label and on first listen it’s another scorcher. I’ve loved Hot 8 since first hearing ‘Sexual Healing’ in Audio, Brighton way back in ’05 at a Rob Luis gig and after seeing them live and seeing them in their element on the brilliant TV show ‘Treme’ I’ve only grown to love them even more. Hot 8 exemplify the second lining brass bands of New Orleans providing party numbers, classic jams and raw emotion through their instruments as well as being kings of rocking a crowd and giving us their own takes on classic pop tracks. As much as I love ‘Sexual Healing’ and ‘Ghost Town’ and most other brass band covers, I’m pleased to say this new Hot 8 album ‘Tombstone’ doesn’t feature any and I think this as testament to their talent it’s a wise choice. As much as the covers have gained them worldwide acclaim and media coverage it’s always been their musicianship and camaraderie that have shone through and I’m pleased to see the band and the Tru Thoughts crew recognising this. This track is classic Hot 8 shit and so is aptly named and the entire album is definitely going to soundtrack my Summer if we ever get one!
5. Mungo’s Hi Fi – Gimme Gimme ft. Kenny Knots (Released 16th May 2013 on Scotch Bonnet Records)
Please do not listen to this through your computer or phone make sure it’s hooked up to a proper stereo or better yet a soundsystem, you’ve got to feel that bassline! Well this brand new reggae gem done crept out of nowhere all the way from Scotland no less from a soundsystem production team in Glasgow and featuring Kenny Knots who’s been toasting his way through the scene for more than 30 years. The album’s called ‘Brand New Bangarang’ and it’s chock full of delectable dancehall, booming basslines and wonderfully catchy tunes. It’s being put out on Mungo’s own ‘Scotch Bonnet’ label which is worth checking out for other treats and has somehow slipped beneath the radar despite being a genius blend of classic soundsystem culture mixed with an ear for what’s hot in the Jamaican and UK reggae scenes at the moment. This track in particular is so head-noddingly bouncy with that deep, rumbling bassline permeating every orifice and Kenny Knots’ fun and quirky patter lifting the whole affair even higher. Cannot wait to hear this bad boy out at a club or festival as long as the system can take it, GIMME GIMME GIMME!
Well that’s another month all wrapped up, hope you enjoy all the tracks and please let me know your picks of this month or the year so far in the comments below! Next month we’ve got a little shake up of the formula so make sure to keep your eyes peeled for June’s musings very soon,
PEACE, MK xx