Andy Compton – Bristol Boogie

November 1, 2015 in Albums

Andy Compton Bristol Boogie Peng RecordsIn which Andy Compton of Rurals/Peng fame takes time out from the Afro-house and straight-up soul he’s been pursuing of late, and delivers a full-length tribute to 80s boogie.

And it works… and it doesn’t. Musically Andy’s nailed the sound, all right: squelchy analogue synths and syndrums abound! And there are tracks that bring those early 80s memories flooding back – the Katie Leone-vocalled Soldier, for instance. Shut your eyes and it’s only too easy to imagine her singing this on a 1982 TOTP, dressed no doubt in a pink nylon twinset and matching feather fascinator! The electro tinges to I Wanna Be Free, similarly, will bring a smile to the faces of those in whose misspent youths Kangol hats and Adidas tracksuits featured heavily.

Elsewhere, though, old habits die hard, and we’re more in that territory where neo-soul and soulful house collide – you could have told me the Ladybird-vocalled Give A Little, for instance, was a mid-00s Om release and I’d have believed you. And Brokeback Soul, while undoubtedly one of the album’s highlights, is surely better classified as jazz-funk/fusion than boogie, albeit if Andy wants to hit me around the head shouting “you hair-splitting, nit-picking git!” for saying that next time I see him, he’ll be quite within his rights.

If it’s out-and-out retro boogie thrills AND NOTHING ELSE you’re after, then, you may not find this quite as satisfying as you hoped. But if you’re happy just with an hour of quality soul-infused non-house bizniss, step right this way.

Out: This week

About: This comes of course on Andy’s own Peng Records, who you can find here, here and here.

Andy Compton – Acid Andy

July 21, 2015 in Albums

Andy Compton Acid Andy PengMust admit this new long-player from my old friend Mr Compton wasn’t quite what I was expecting. But then it was meant to be not quite what I was expecting; I was expecting it not to be what I was expecting. What I wasn’t expecting was that it would turn out to be not what I was expecting in a way that I wasn’t expecting.*

See, when Andy said he was doing an album called Acid Andy, and when the press release that came with it declared “this isn’t the kind of music you’d normally expect from Andy Compton”, and when the first track’s called That Acid Track, I – linear-minded fool that I am – was expecting an acid house album. Which would indeed be not quite what we were expecting from a producer known for his deep and soulful house work with The Rurals, and latterly for Afro-infused house and straight-up soul.

But this isn’t an acid house album. Okay, the spirit of ’87 is strong in the aforesaid That Acid Track, but that’s it. The rest of it’s essentially a deep, soulful house album; it’s just deep, soulful house that isn’t afraid to use the trusty old 303 as an instrument. So across 16 tracks credited variously to The Rurals, Andy Compton and L.A.M.P, you get several tracks on that ‘deep house with poetry on top’ tip, you get DIY/Drop-like deep dancefloor bounce (see Bad Ass Music), you get west coast-y vibes (Springstep), you get ultra-chilled Harley & Muscle-ish cuts like Spacetime, you get druggy, late-night drifters like Keep It Going, you get Afro-vibes-in-space jams like Spaceworld; all with just a little acid squelch thrown in. You don’t get much of an urge to dig out your old dungarees and bandanas, though; you hardly feel the need to shout ‘acieeeeeeeeeed!’ at all.

Don’t get me wrong, though: it’s a good album. It’s just not quite what I was expecting.

Out: Last week (but last week was stupid busy, sorry bout dat. And besides, it’s only four days old even so!)

About: This comes – of course – on Andy’s own long-running Peng imprint, who live here, here and here.

*Ever read Knots by RD Laing? Consider this paragraph a tribute, in house music review form.

Andy Compton – Smoking Soul

May 26, 2015 in Singles

Andy Compton Smoking Soul PengThis one actually came out a couple of weeks ago but I’d misfiled it and figured, as we’re playing catch-up anyway, I’d tell you about it now.

Compared to his uber-soulful recent output, Smoking Soul is definitely something of a curveball from the Rurals main man, being a heavily electronic affair based around ear-piercing synths and a jive-talkin’ male vocal sample (“you can have your cotton king, if that’s your mole, but I get my high from smokin’ soul”, or something like that anyway), with a chipmunk’d female chorus that only adds to the track’s leftfield/indie-dance vibe. The accompanying Dub utilises a different synth line and a, er, dubby bassline, while bonus cut Earth’s Mother has an almost acid jazz kinda feel… but the title cut’s the one here.

Out: Now

About: This comes of course on Andy’s own Peng Records, who you can find here, here and here.

Andy Compton – African King

February 17, 2015 in Singles

Andy Compton African King PengAlthough we only met face-to-face for the first time a couple of years ago, I’ve known Andy Compton via email and phone calls and such for well over a decade, right back to the days of the early Rurals albums. And we’ve got a lot in common: we’re of roughly similar age, we’re both non-meat eaters, we both live in Bristol (now). We’re both blonde and devilishly good-looking (ahem). But one thing we differ on is that whole deep, soulful Afro-house thing. Andy digs it, I don’t so much.

So when this landed I was a bit apprehensive, given the title and the cover art… but I needn’t have been. For while African King has a lilting kalimba riff by way of a top-line, the solid, driving beats and throbbing bassline that underpin it are straight-up deep/tech house pure and simple, with nary an overly intricate burst of hand percussion in sight. There are chanted vox, yes, but they’re kept to a minimum and for the truly ethnophobic there’s even a No Kalimba Remix. The real treat here though, to these ears, is bonus cut Spacetime, a driftin’ late-night deep house gem that owes a million times more to Chi-town than it does to Cape Town.

Any embarrassing “having to tell a mate you’re not really feeling his record”-type situations are therefore well and truly avoided. Phew!

Out: This week

About: This comes on Andy’s own long-running Peng imprint, who you can find here, here and here.