I’ve been adding to my music collection over the past few weeks, discovering some new joys and unearthing hidden treasures.
Maps are a ‘band’ from Northampton, UK….well actually they’re just one bloke, but when playing live, he gets his friends in to recreate the tunes on his album. If you were going to categorize their music, it could be described as “shoegaze electro” or…something else. Their oeuvre is a dense wall of sound which is extremely melodic. Their songs are both optimistic and bleak at the same time and I only happened to discover them for myself by hearing them by chance on BBC 6 Music (the only station IMHO). Stand-out tracks are ‘You Don’t Know Her Name’ and ‘To The Sky’.
Soul Jazz Records are a UK-based label specialising in rare dub/reggae/funk albums and new electronica. They have licensed virtually the entire Trojan back-catalogue for re-release on CD (and, now, online) and have unearthed some real gems from Jamaica. In addition to this, they take a great interest in early 80s punk-funk and electro; and this is the category my next purchase falls into. “New York Noise” is a series of compilations which charts the rise of the New York dance music underground in the late-70s/early 80s. We are talking post-punk and post-disco era New York here: dark and sometimes surreal grooves with plenty of weird tape loops and distortion. Despite this, the tracks are all still danceable and fairly accessible. The artists on the album ‘New York Noise 3‘ were contemporaries of Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambataa, Arthur Baker, New Order, etc; and they had been influenced by artists as varied as Cabaret Voltaire, Can, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and The New York Dolls….interesting stuff.
Also on Soul Jazz, their album “Microsolutions No1” is a collection of fairly recent minimal electro and techno by a variety of artists, including Kid 606 and Daedelus. Nice stuff…..
Non of these releases are particularly new…but they are new to me. Worth checking out.