2021 a year in music

Not quite as wtf as 2020 but still an unusual one, then again aren’t they all, or should be! That’s proper living right?

Events did happen. Gigs did happen. Social life did happen. I even made it to a few. Homobloc, Green Man, Repurcussion, Chip Wickham and Joe Culpepper all highlights. The DJ thing didn’t really happen for various reasons (read ‘cos Covid basically) but there was some light at the end of the tunnel. I did a couple of turns at the lovely Morgan’s Vinyl Night at Feed which has led to a hook up with Alain who runs Vinyl Night Radio…and did a show for Mark at Loose FM which went out over Christmas.

Records-wise, there were plenty of Discogs purchases but here I’m concentrating on the new stuff. Things that came out in 2021, admittedly some are old tracks (well quite a lot!) but still 2021 releases. Looking down the lost there is a big leaning on a few labels in particular, Talking Drums on the edit front, Rhythm Section for the dance and Wonderful Sounds for…well, just wonderful sounds. And the send it to you every month. Perfect for the lazy digger!

I’ve put together an extended blended (splendid!) mix for a bit of Xmas food coma/New year party starting soundtrack business. Link below. For anyone who’s paying attention, this is a beefed up version of my show on Loose.fm without the chat for those who prefer my voice to be not heard!

As I started but failed to keep momentum on from earlier in the year there’s some pics and blurb on the various tracks for that full A/V experience. Thanks for tuning in, more to come in ‘22. …that’s a promise and as ever enjoy!

Sean La Broody – Thank you for everything feat. Oliver Paterson

Lovely Aussie jazz downtempo vibes on this one, played to death and great intro music.

Hardy Kutuk – Freudshaft

A top notch comp. from Growing Bin of various bits and pieces with a pastoral vibe throughout. Basso knows.

Ruf Dug – Future Zone

Ruffy still doing it, NTS show, productions, nights, rebuilding sound systems from BBC knock off equipment. Plus a Reddish resident. Local hero.

John Lyle – Life is a Breeze

First one from Wonderful Sounds a reissue of an obscure private press release I’d never have hear without them doing the heavy lifting diggingwise. Lovely insert too.

Emma Jean Thackray – Sun

Album of the year (see other post for my picks elsewhere) just hangs together as a single piece of work as albums should. Jazzy stompers, mellow ballads all with great playing and vocals, arrangements and swing. Sky’s the limit really for EJ.

Emanative Feat. Liz Elensky – Love and Light

Thanks again to Ross Allen for this one, again channeling some Black UK dance music history, shades of Rae & Christian, Soul II Soul but with a modern twist. Close second to Yellow.

Ndia – Celebration

Shouts 2021 came out late in the year and was a bit more ‘heavy’ than last years but no worse for it. As label showcases go this is a great window. Bradley Zero really has it going on.

Bokeni Dyer – Ke Nato

I maybe stretching the 2021 only rules, this was on the cusp, but as with everything else on Brownswood it was never dull, African inflected some real deep cuts with more dance friendly cuts. One to lose yourself in on a lazy Sunday.

Gabriels – Love and Hate in a Different Time

So they were on Jo Wiley last week, probably means I can’t like them any more (joke!). But seriously what a tune, came from nowhere really, perfectly formed modern soul with nods to the greats. Single of the year no question. Live next year too all being well.

Muchos Plus – Nassau’s Disco (Long Version)

So many versions of this, so many. But this is a cracker, straight up party music isn’t it and all the better for it. On the ever reliable Kalita, still uncovering the lost gems.

Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath – MRA

Another nugget for the lazy digger. Times gone by these would be holy grails that folks like me would never get near, but thanks indeed to Kieran Hebden for sharing the love and in a wonderful package too. Pure jazz fire.

Fire Water – Twilight

Z Records have just kind of always been there, this is number 9 and the series shows no sign of slipping quality-wise. Don’t know the selecter don’t know the tunes, but now I do.

Justin Unabomber – CUT#1

A late in the year drop from half of the Unabombers (who had a bit of a year too) just a set of straight up tunes that would have blitzed it at the Chair. And still might. Sprechen have been busy all year and more to come in ’22.

Moton – Can’t Get You Down

Faith made a bit of a comeback with the mag this year and the extended family have been very busy too. More Moton releases and inaugural Faith drop (see below) showing they are still at the front of dance music culture. Looking back to see the future.

DC La Rue – Cathedrals (Greg Wilson Edit)

Versions coming out of your ears, the Jamie 3:26 was a trip but given Greg rocked the Star and Garter at Repurcussion I’ll stick his version in here. Same as per, looped to death (in a good way) for maximum tension. Still one of the best editors out there.

Plastic Bamboo – Kamboja

Speaking of labels having a moment this year, have to give some respect to the Talking Drums gang. Patch really put out some super 12s this year, unique visual image, unheard tunes all bangers.

Sylvester – Mighty Real (Soulwax Mix)

The original is peerless just a classic anthem. But then add in the Soulwax twist and it just flies somewhere else. 10 minutes of disco heaven.

Cecilia Noah – Yuku Mon Ukelele

Dimitri from Paris shared a few of his gems on this triple set from Favourite Records. And very kind of him it was too. Merci beaucoup!

Neil Diablo – High Emotion

Another local hero, Neil Diablo has been putting out dancefloor killers for years and the combo with TD was always going to hit.

Talking Drums – Under the Sky

So I maybe overegging the Talking Drums but in for a penny….seriously every release is worthc checking.

Guy One – So La Mala

More Ross tips with this one. Sneaky 7 of African heaven. New? Old? Not sure to be honest, but it sounds great.

Kaoma – Dance Togo Mago

Second dip of the needle for Dim’s Balearic Francais comps. So many to choose from but this one just builds then flies.

El Turo Nero – Las Penas

More reissue business from Phil Cooper’s Nu Northern Soul label. Probably something Harvey would play. Enough said.

P-rallel – Been Living (feat. Lord Apex)

Another borderline 2021 release, but a real sleeper, crossing styles, dub, d’n’b, house, hip hop, garage in the UK tradition.

Toulouse Low Trax – Rising Into Water

Themes for Great Cities are just quality, you can just trust. So many great tracks across tempos and sub-sub genres.

Jason Hogans – Do This Player

Sound Signature made a bit of a comeback in ’21 reissuing a few old Theo 12s but with some new artists too. The usual deep, repetitive, soulful groove but never dull.

Adam Pelts – Clusterfunk

Take 2 from Shouts 2021, again tricky to pick but this electro infused number with poetic back vocals just seemed to fit.

Paula Tape – Eclipse

Sorry, I just love Rhythm Section! Great artwork, top notch dance music with a twist. Again a late entry for 2021, but this is well worth checking.

Code Red – In Your Dreams

Il Bosco and the Red Laser chaps kept the momentum in ’21 with more selection from the Manctallo underground. Keeping the flame alive and taking it forward.

Emanuelle – Italove

Triple vinyl, exhaustive comp of some of the vast range of artists and styles the Dewaele bros have signed to DeeWee. Never dull always intriguing and pushing the boundaries.

Nicola Cruz – Supra

Also played to death and featured on a few mixes this year. Tropical dance dub with a tribal drive.

Parkwerks – Hope Dub

Mr 7 keeps going on. Inspiring the name of this blog (well stolen really) and still doing his thing on the regular. Hope Dub seemed appropriate. We all need it, and he gave it.

Brother Lee – Acid House

And finally….Wonderful Sounds rounded off the year with this lovely 7 of folk acid.

So there we go. Fairly exhaustive journey down some of the year’s new vinyl. Tricky keeping the faith with prices being what they are but we try! Happy new year and see you in ’22.

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