Sound Bites


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.

Stream a few clips of the EP below and then go grab the 12″ either via the 22a Bandcamp or Soho’s finest Sounds of the Universe. We guarantee you won’t be disappointed. Well unless you are this girl

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With the World Cup finally over, so finishes our month long hiatus from the Internet (well, predominantly this blog), but that’s not to say there’s not a little more Brazilian sunshine to enjoy before we get plugged in again and the clouds descend (although we expect the mood in Rio is still pretty overcast). When thoughts turn to sunnier climes, it’s always nice to pack a tropical tune or two, and whether it be South American or otherwise, it seems the French production duo Souleance share the same view as they’ve turned in a new four track EP of beat-orientated Brazilian edits for the First Word Records fam.

Since pairing up back in 2009 for the supremely well-received boom-bap mission that was the ‘Le Monde’ EP, DJ Soulist and Fulgeance have already released an album and several EPs for the London-based record imprint and here they pull together another quartet of beats that are this time heavily indebted to Bahia and beyond. Released last week on digital, the little collection packs a serious kick when it comes to all things Samba and things start promisingly with ‘Segrados do Samba’, a heavily filtered Samba rhythm giving way to snapping drums, percussion,  a nimble electric piano line and a choice vocal refrain that gives the tune a boisterous bounce. Elsewhere there’s ‘Vem Jogar’, a suitably smooth journey that comes some way to giving us an idea of what would happen if Maga Bo got hold of the Azymuth master tapes, while ‘Novo Mundo’ is another choice cut, underpinned by a funky breakbeat and a curious vocal hook. Finally, for the digital heads there’s ‘Dum Dum’ which so happens to be our preferred rhythm and one sure to cause a little damage on the dancefloor.

Preview all four tracks below via the wonders of Bandcamp and look out for a 7″ to drop later this month.

Mike Davis - Baniza EP

Hot on the heels of their recent EP from a seemingly revitalised Domu, fledgling UK label Sector 12/12 returned to the fray last week with a brand new release from Berlin-based producer Mike Davis.

The digital imprint Sector 12/12 first appeared on our radar a few months ago following a low key launch at the beginning of the year. In that time, label head Mr Shift has already delivered two free Bandcamp releases to pique listeners’ interest, following up an initial EP of deep ambient electronica from the producer Infest with the well-received (and somewhat out of the blue) comeback release from Domu. Both shed some light on the agenda of the new label, a love for pushing twisted electronic sounds overground clearly proving to be a pivotal force that initially brought Sector 12/12 into being. This fact is further confounded by the release of this third EP, written and produced by Mike Davis, a quality four-tracker that features conflicting takes on forward-thinking techno.

Davis is a new name to us, although we’ve been reliably informed that he’s been making electronic records since 2011. Of Canadian heritage but currently based in the musical hotbed of Berlin, he’s a prolific producer (so much so that when asked to submit a demo, he sent through 22 tracks) and by the sounds presented on this EP, a well-versed one at that. Here he flexes his production chops in various ways, pulling together diverse strands of the techno genre and showcasing them in a more than cohesive manner. The productions unmistakably share a common bond with the rawer elements of 90s house and 303 acid culture, yet each of the tracks explores the territory in a different way.

The title track ‘Baniza’ opens things up and heads straight for the jugular with a deep and gnarly sound propelled forward by the simplest of kicks and a relentless bassline that provides perfect fodder to fuel those 6am shuffles on the dancefloor. ‘Toasted Acid’ begins in a similar vein before breaking out into a more refined and driving slice of futuristic funk, while the 303 (as the name suggests) is heavily worked in the background. It’s a mixdown which is more than capable of blowing the doors off any night at Berghain, yet has enough going on to stand out from some of the more soulless productions of its contemporaries. The second half of the EP is slightly more ‘soulful’ kicking of with ‘Synaptic’ which layers syncopated synth stabs on top of a driving hypnotic groove. For us though, it’s perhaps the final track ‘Pedestrian Sound’ which takes the prize, a warm old school style jam with skippy drums and sweeping synths that create an evocative hybrid of deep house and soul-infused techno. Overall, it’s an inviting glimpse into the world of Davis and another solid collection of sounds presented by Sector 12/12.. We can’t wait to hear what’s in store for #4!

Check out samples of the all four tracks below and if some take your fancy, make sure you support by picking them up via the label’s Bandcamp page.

Ten50 Records

In the past, the first day of May was marked as a day of rebirth so today seems a more than fitting time for former broken beat protagonists Mark Force, Kaidi Tatham and Matt Lord to launch a brand new label, TEN50 Records into the fore. At one point all three played an active role in the pioneering West London collective Bugz in the Attic, until the group ultimately went on hiatus half a decade ago. Since then, each member has gone on to forge their own individual music careers, Mr Tatham perhaps being the most active up until now. Today’s announcement promises lots more productions from the trio’s production alias Blakai as well as solo tracks from each of the respective artists.

Back in the day, the broken beat scene was a thriving community of producers that seemingly collaborated and released music under various monikers at will. The legendary weekly Sunday CO-OP club sessions, started at the now defunct Velvet Rooms and later established at the London institution Plastic People, were often the testing ground for many a track made in the studio the previous week, and often the sheer amount of music that was cut to dub plate meant that many of the tunes you heard in DJ sets never officially saw the light of day . The new label TEN50 Records appears to have been created as a conduit to bring some of these unreleased projects back to life and following the apparent resurrection of the man like Domu to today’s underground scene, it’s creation certainly heralds another step in the right direction for these fresh-thinking artists to bring us some brand new heat.

As with the launch of any new imprint in these times, TEN50 Records has to hit the ground running in this digital age and as such they are offering up their first release, an electronic reissue of the classic Blakai track ‘Afrospace’, to download for free in exchange for a Facebook Like on the label’s new page. A staple in many DJ sets at the time, the Bembe Segue vocal-led cut caused havoc in many a dance and now given a fresh housier update alongside the original Blakai rub and Thy Lord remix it’s primed and ready to kick off a new era.


The first unreleased music to exit from the label’s schedule also drops today and it’s the long-awaited 12-track debut from former Basement Jaxx vocalist Blu James (remember ‘Red Alert’?). A superb slice of future soul, broken beat and boogie masterminded by Daz-I -Kue and featuring further production credits from Blakai, Dego (2000Black), Simbad (Raw Fusion, Defected) and QB Smith (Warm Days), it’s more than worthy of a cursory listen. Check out clips of three of the tracks below then head on over to the TEN50 website to grab the full project. Trust us, you’re unlikely to be disappointed.


Low Leaf

Ever since Californian native Low Leaf dropped a King Britt assisted beat for free last month, we’ve been keeping a cursory eye on the Fresh Selects Bandcamp page with a view to copping the producer’s next release. Well it seems that time is nearly here and with ‘AKASHAALAY’, her new album edging ever closer to its release date, the multi-instrumentalist with a penchant for piano, harp, guitar and beats has recently premiered not one, but two tracks off the forthcoming project. Both are pretty dope in our book, channeling as they do that leftfield electronic sound that continues to bubble in the Los Angeles underground but with heavier doses of organic goodness mixed in for good measure. ‘Rise Up’ is no doubt a call to arms tasked with awakening the world’s weary with a spiritual tone, while ‘Set Me Free’ carries more than a passing ressemblace to the heady work of Sonny Blount and June Tyson updated for the 21st century. Both are seemingly essential and only serve to get us more curious about what other delights might lie in wait on the full ten-tracker when it’s officially released on Tuesday 29th April.

You can pre-order the album now and have it delivered on its release, while kicking back with both the aforementioned tracks in the meantime. Coming in both digital and cassette flavours, it certainly sounds like this may well be something to get excited about. Take a listen yourself below.