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 – 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.

Vibration Lab – Vibration Creations Vol 1 EP

April 1, 2011 in Singles

Vibration Lab Vibration Creations Vol 1This literally just came in this morning, but I’m gonna let it jump the queue a bit cos it’s really very good indeed.

Vibration Lab is a new project from two stalwarts of the southwest’s deep house scene, with connections to the Peng label and Bristol’s long-running Fruity Antics night, but this EP sees them heading off in a completely different direction, inspired by a mutual love of classic reggae and dub. It’s not even as simple as that though, because they’re billing the Vibration Lab sound as ‘future reggae dubstep’. And indeed, that probably IS the best way to describe this EP. Think the most dub-wise, reggae-infused dubstep you’ve heard to date, then reggae it up a bit more, and you’re somewhere in the right ballpark. It’s just dubsteppy enough to not be straight-up dub, yet reggae-fied enough to appeal to even the most ardent dubstep-a-phobe.

Being a big fan of classic reggae myself for some 30 years now, I’m loving it loving it loving it, especially Dub Pon The Street, which reworks Black Uhuru’s Heathen to devastating 21st century effect.

Crucial, in every sense of the word.

Out: This week

About: I think I just explained most of what I know. I guess I should also tell you that this is on their own Vibration Lab label, though. Here’s their Soundcloud page.

The Rurals feat Jaidene Veda – Into Life

February 25, 2011 in Singles

The Rurals Into LifeIt’s true that I’ve not been feeling the soulful stuff so much in recent times, and it’s true that some of The Rurals’ output of late has drifted too far down that noodly/muso/oh-so-earnest kinda route for me. But ‘Into Life’ is great, a sensuous, late-night drifter with a dreamy female vocal from Ms Veda.

Mix-wise there are six in total, though to be honest they don’t vary huge amounts. Jason B Lush’s rub beefs up the kicks just slightly, and hence would probably the favourite for floor play, while Glenn Underground’s pass will be the pic for those who DO like it ever so soulful and noodlesome. But It’s still a package that’s well worth checking. If you love classic Jersey garage à la Hayden Andre or Kriss Koleman, or indeed vintage west coast from Migs, Jay-J & Chris Lum etc, then you’ll love this.

Out: This week

About: This comes of course on Peng, Andy ‘Rurals’ Compton’s own diehard deep house label based, somewhat improbably, in Devon. Visit them online here.