Meerkuts’ Musical Musings – Summer 2013
Hi Music Lovers!
Where the eff did July and August go? It’s been a manic month over in Meerkuts HQ with more time spent away from home in the last month than any other year I can remember but all for wonderful reasons and spent with incredible people. It does mean my finger has been slightly off the pulse this summer so any recommendations of top quality music from the Summer of 2013 so far or due to be released let everyone know in the comments section below. Enough preambling, let’s spin the tunes!
1. Jackson & His Computer Band – Vista (Released on Warp Records 3rd July 2013)
The return of the ever inventive, deliciously enjoyable and musically magical, Jackson and his Computer Band, is truly a sign for rejoicing. The group is really the pseudonym of French electronic producer, Jackson Fourgeaud, who last released an album 8 years ago, 2005’s ‘Smash’ which was a triumph in catchy electro pop fused with experimental sounds and surrealist humour. Released by Warp Records who seem to always be able to sniff out genius gems of the electronic persuasion, the previous work of Jackson has been a favourite of mine for years and he was cemented as a legend in my eyes after seeing him smoulder behind the decks at the Brighton Dome for one of the best DJ sets I’ve seen in recent years. So it was with shaking digits I pressed play on this new track wondering whether it would live up to my man crush on Mr. Fourgeaud and his beautiful music, suffice to say I’m a very happy chappy as the track is a corker. A delicious electro groove which just makes you scream “F**K this is fun!”, the album ‘Glow’ is released in September and I for one can’t wait, Accueillir à Nouveau Jackson!
2. Ondatrópica – Tiene Sabor, Tiene Sazón (DJ iZem Remix) (Released on Soundway Records July 2013)
Ah Mr. Will Holland. I’ve been following this guy like a hawk ever since 2001 when I first heard ‘The 5th Exotic’ and through all that time he has consistently produced at least one great album every year for the last 12 years! Each new guise is expertly produced, arranged and full of passion whether it’s Quantic, The Quantic Soul Orchestra, The Limp Twins, The Combo Barbaro, Flowering Inferno, his many exquisite remixes or the new group Ondatropica. The Ondatropica Project is a way of promoting Colombian music through collaboration with British producers and styles in a similar vein to The Combo Barbaro and Buena Vista Social Club and like those other two has given us an album of sublime world music which is excellent on record and even better live. This track came about through a remix competition and has been a staple on my Ipod and in my sets all summer long. It perfectly captures what’s brilliant about rediscovering traditional world music, recording the passion and beauty of the music and then allowing it to be infused with contemporary innovations and sounds. If this track doesn’t get you moving your hips and itching to find more Colombian music then you’re probably a Conservative!
3. Shy FX – Soon Come ft. Liam Bailey (Released on DSB Music Ltd on 31st July 2013)
2013 has definitely been the year of comebacks. As Bob Boilen said, “It’s the year of the musical cicadas” meaning that many bands have been hibernating for years only to come out to mate and bring new music now. My Bloody Valentine, David Bowie, The Pixies, The Flaming Lips, Boards of Canada, Celine Dion, the list goes on but none of the new music from any of these excited me. Then I heard this delicious slice of revival reggae given a big fat contemporary kiss by a name I had thought was lost to Drum & Bass compilations, Shy FX. This track is a shining example of why reggae has exploded in 2013, we now have producers working in that field who have so much passion and drive to create powerful and beautiful Jamaican music which was sorely lacking for a while. Following on from Nightmares on Wax, Major Lazer, Snoop Lion and Riva Starr this tune takes a classic slice of reggae and lays it down smoothly in your earholes. If I had to pick an anthem of the summer, this wouldn’t be a bad choice.
4. Nightmares on Wax – Feeling Good (Single Released on Warp Records 23 August 2013)
Well following on from the last choice, here’s another musical Cicada who were a massive part of my life ten years ago and have now come back with stunning, on trend music bringing me joy over ten years on. In fact there’s something about Summer that breeds a wave of nostalgia in everyone; seasides, picnics, barbecues, reggae, holidays and music is no exception. This track, in the same way as the Shy FX tune, are beautifully produced, sound fresh and fit into the rise in popularity for Jamaican music but also they get that prickle of nostalgia creeping in as you remember listening to ‘Car Boot Soul‘ or ‘70s 80s’ in a car driving with the windows down. There were a few sneak tracks released in August before the album comes in September and although having a familiar N.O.W feel to them they also seem to have matured even further since ‘In A Space Outta Sound‘. Still drenched in reggae, dub influences but with more some Mr. Scruff sounding elements in there too, if you’re going to listen to this one turn the speakers up full and let yourself go!
5. Oddisee – Lonely Planet (Released by Mello Music Group on 21 August 2013)
In the 90’s it was Rick Rubin. In the 2000’s it was Dan The Automator. Danger Mouse came next and for the last year or so my absolute favourite producer has got to be Amir Mohamed el Khalifa, otherwise known as Oddisee. He’s released a torrent of incredible music over the last few years including remixes, reworks, instrumental soul and original hip hop. Not only is his production style completely unique with crunchy drums, delectable samples and an intuitive vision but he’s also a exceedingly good rapper too! This track due to be released on the album ‘The Beauty In All’ on October 1st is another instrumental offering and sounds like it will be equal to if not better than the sublime ‘Rock Creek Park’. As a writer this kind of beautiful, instrumental music which is so full of evocative imagery, stunning melodies and clear, crisp production is like coffee to me as it allows my brain to connect all the dots and go running off in search of new ones. So from me and anyone else out there who loves truly beautiful music, thank you for being so prolific Oddissee, roll on October 1st!
Right that’s it Mo Fo’s, I’ll see you in a month and remember it’s September so if you live anywhere near a major metropolitan area there will be more gigs than you can shake a MotorHead t-shirt at over the coming months so get out there and experience music face to face. Let me know who you’re seeing and how they were yeah?
PEACE, MK xx