Jamie xx – Gosh

This track isn’t exactly new, but this video is (well at least to the non fee paying public). It’s been floating around on iTunes for a while but hit YouTube a week or so ago.

It’s another fine piece of work from Romain Gavras (think Kanye West & Jay-z – No Church In The Wild / M.I.A. – Bad Girls).

The story goes that this was originally meant to be a jungle banger, but Jamie decided to slow it down a touch to get a different sonic effect. We’re fans at DV towers. Watch and enjoy.

Worldwide Awards 2012 @ Koko, London

Ever since hearing Hold On by SBTRKT last year, I was determined to see Messrs Sampha and SBTRKT perform live. The self-titled lp released on Young Turks marries garage and broken beat influences to create what Pitchfork strangely term ‘post dub-step’. The album includes huge vocal performances and flows seamlessly from start to finish. Unfortunately, 2011 was a year of fails vis-à-vis catching the live show. Glastonbury: couldn’t reach the tent in time. Brixton: SBTRKT were replaced by Big Pink as support to Friendly Fires. First headline London gig in 2012: sold out.

Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Awards 2012 presented the perfect opportunity to see them live. Winners of the Worldwide award for best long player with the self-titled debut, SBTRKT’s performance at London’s Koko was just one of many highlights on a memorable night.

Take the Pyramids, whose 1970s ‘jazz cabaret’ was considered too future until they recently reformed. Their set was brought to life by charismatic front man Idris Ackermoor who switched to tap shoes part way through the show and won the Lifetime Achievement Award. Hudson Mohawke, Lefto and, fast becoming my favourite Brighton via LA dj, Kutmah, served up juicy disc jockey sets before Michael Kiwanuka enchanted the sell-out crowd with a beautiful vocal performance.

Kiwanuka, the BBC’s pick for Sound of 2012, has been criticised already for lacking originality. My view is that people hanker for wholesome music, particularly when delivered by gifted vocalists. Kiwanuka delivers on both counts, epitomised by Tell me a Tale and Home Again.

The award for best label went to Brainfeeder, Flying Lotus’ all-star roster which includes the likes of Daedelus, recent joiner Lapalux and Thundercat. The latter was in London to collect the award and play live alongside fellow label mate – and ridiculously gifted pianist – Austin Peralta. This set had everything Fly Lo’s at the Roundhouse didn’t – not least live music. From the lush, California sun-infused Is it Love? to the ethereal For love (I Come Your Friend), the poncho-wearing bassist glided effortlessly through his set. If you missed The Golden Age of Apocalypse last August (or were in two minds like me), give it a go.

Jamie XX followed, playing a bashment retake of Drake’s Take Care. This track started out as Jamie XX’s remix of Gil Scott-Heron‘s I’ll Take Care of You. Heron’s death last year ended a genre-defining career in music; his far-reaching influence was celebrated at the Worldwide awards.

Then the main event: SBTRKT live. The masked duo combined drums, keys, vocals and sequencer to full effect, pounding the heavyweight Koko soundsystem. Little Dragon‘s Yukimi Nagano joined for Wildfire but it was Sampha’s soaring vocal throughout the set that did most for the soul.

And so it was that I heard SBTRKT play Hold On live. What is it the people at Guinness say?

Drake – Take Care

Have you had sex four times this week? Do you aspire to spank 50 Gs taking your boys away for the May bank holiday? Me neither. So, as a middle England-er with an interest in accounting, why do I like this record? Perhaps it appeals to the rebelliousness of a Surrey upbringing and the need to express myself by doing things I shouldn’t be doing in my mate’s shed.

Given that the rebelliousness of youth is long past and my mate’s shed now contains a lawn mower, I was confused – as you might be.

And then I figured it out. It’s the same reason I love Kanye West (the lyrical equivalent of that moron who corners you in a bar on a Friday night after work). The beats this guy raps over are so good that you’re missing a soul if you don’t feel them.

Drake - Take Care

The tracks on this record appeal to every part of modern electronica that I love. In short, they’re deep, expressive and truly unique in their use of samples. Let’s take track 4, “Crew Love” as a case in point. The intro is so reminiscent of Burial that I’m minded to grab my shovel but then we get taken to another level with an achingly laid back drum loop – think Dre without having to consume an entire album of it.

Another stand-out is track 8, “We’ll be fine”. The intro is summer garden party pretty – including tea and cakes – and then it drops into a sick bass line that’ll destroy your stereo and make you go straight out and buy that sub you’ve had your eye on so you can do it all over again.

So far we’ve looked at the beats and mocked the lyrics, which isn’t a fair representation of the vocals. Take a look at “Make Me Proud” feat. Nicki Minaj as a case in point. I love the willingness to big up new artists on hip-hop albums. Why don’t indie/rock artists do it more often? This woman spits utterly confusing lyrics but her timing, sound and aggression make me love 50 second of this song so much that I want to loop it over and over.

The same is true of the André 3000 cameo on “The Real Her”. It’s a crying shame that the the most amazing vocal performances come from the special guests, but it shouldn’t stop you enjoying this record.

So what should you do? In short: Buy this album. Treat Drake‘s vocals as a melody. Love the special guests. It deserves a listen. Put it on repeat.