The 2015 semester is now in session and what better way to reignite than with an absolute banger of a release from one of our favourite South London crews. Yes the 22a imprint makes a welcome return to our turntable with a fourth outing, an EP entitled ‘Thoughts of You’ from label boss Tenderlonious. Since we last caught up with the South London multi-instrumentalist and vocalist behind 22a’s existence a little under a year ago, things have moved on at a rapid pace for him and his 22a bredren. A third split release featuring beats from Mo Colours and Reginald Omas Mamode IV appeared back in September of last year and quickly sold out (original copies of the vinyl are now fetching a tidy sum on Discogs), while two tracks from Tenderlonious were picked up by Sounds of the Universe for their ongoing Art+Sound 12″ series on Soul Jazz Records.
For his first release of 2015, Tenderlonious returns to his own label and drops four tracks of low slung, jazz inflected deep house sounds that clearly take inspiration from days gone by without ever resorting to pastiche – a trap which so many of today’s producers seem to fall into. Kicking things off on a loose limbed tip with the spatial ‘Something Special’, cosmic keys ride over chattering percussion for a pretty excellent opening shot. ‘Little D’ is a little darker in mood but no less essential with its nagging rhythms, while on the flip, ‘Thoughts Of You…’ continues the mid tempo four to floor attitude, pairing flourishes of jazz piano with a driving kick. This is most definitely Detroit Beatdown… Peckham style. Finally, the set closes out with possibly the strongest cut ‘Wow Wee (Not Seen U B4)’, which slowly drifts into view after a brief interlude, a minimal beat giving way to elongated and circular tones that produce the sort of mesmerising effect you would normally find exuding from the depths of downtown Chicago . Without doubt a solid four-tracker, you should get your hands on this limited release before you have to resort to finding a (more expensive) copy on the second hand market. It seems the 22a crew are here to stay and with each record, the music just keeps getting stronger.