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Vinyl picks: Brownswood Recordings

This week sees the release of the excellent Brownswood Electr*c Volume 2 compilation, a 14 track aural feast released on Gilles Peterson’s imprint that explores the more obscure corners of the beat-driven universe. This second collection – curated by Peterson’s right hand man Alex Stephenson (pictured above test driving left hand man status) –  follows a similar format to the first instalment, digging up tracks from a willfully eclectic range of little-known producers. As you can imagine, highlights are plentiful, from the off-kilter liquid D&B of Frederic Robinson and Synkro & Indigo’s deep future dubstep to the dewy-eyed wonk of DJ Dials and Starkey-ish Aeed. To celebrate the compilation’s release we called up Gilles and Alex to discuss their favourite records of the moment.

Alex’s Picks:

1. Samiyam – Sam Baker’s Album (Brainfeeder)

“L.A. has been poppin’ for a long while when it comes to “beats”. From Dublab and Sound In Color through to Alpha Pup, Stones Throw and, of course, Brainfeeder. Samiyam makes awesome computer game funk, with a profound West Coast lean. Like Shakira, the jams on here get bumpy in all the right places.”

2. Synkro – Look At Yourself (Mindset)

“Synkro has been bubbling under the radar for a good while now and he’s built up an impressive discography for quality labels such as Pushing Red, Smokin Sessions, Critical and dBridge’s Exit Records. These three tracks on sometime production partner Indigo’s Mindset imprint admirably sum up his vibe right now: sparse, spacious drums interwoven with airy pads and chopped ‘n’ screwed dub vocals. I never get bored of this sound.”

3. Letherette – Letherette EP 2 (Ho Tep)

“I first discovered Letherette via their remix of ‘Late Night Operation’ for Machinedrum and promptly hit them up on behalf of Gilles to bag some music for his radio shows. They obliged with a zip bursting with rough diamonds, including the anthemic “Blad” which ended up on the first Brownswood Electric album. Micro-chopped and multi-layered soulful hip-hop is their game – and their game is tiiiight, as evidenced by the mighty “Shoe Be Do”. However, they also turn their hand to vintage Sneak/Van Helden-esque French Touch house via “No Point”. Slammin’.”

4. Com Truise – Galactic Melt (Ghostly International)

“I’m a sucker for pretty arpeggios, epic chord progressions and vintage synths, which led me to immediately fall in love with Com Truise as soon as the first satisfyingly punchy kick thwacked me round the face. Imagine Nosaj Thing, Eliot Lipp and B Bravo collaborating on a new score for Beverly Hills Cop… hmmm… and you’ll be halfway to comprehending how heavy this LP is.”

5. Eprom – Pipe Dream EP (Rwina)

“Eprom is a gent, but his music is plain naaasty (and yes, the three “a’s” are entirely necessary here). Crushing drums, suffocating synths and preposterously twisted and obese bassweight are his trademarks. Always freaky, never cliched, his productions are a staple in my DJ sets.”

Gilles’ Picks:

1. Gang Colours – In Your Gut Like A Knife (Brownswood)

“For me, one of the most interesting producers to emerge from the crowded fringes of the dubstep movement. The four tracks here sum up his sound pretty neatly; cinematic soundscapes and pretty melodies, but a bit twisted and tinged with R&B. He just delivered his album, what can I say other than watch out for this guy.”

2. Sbtrkt – Sbtrkt (Young Turks)

“It’s been a long time coming, but Sbtrkt finally delivers the album that he’s been hinting at for the past couple of years. His productions (often alongside Sampha) and remixes have been staples in my radio playlists and DJ sets – “Look At Stars”, “Living Like I Do” and “Ready Set Loop” especially, and “Wildfire” featuring Yukimi from Little Dragon is a huge track!”

3. United Vibrations – Galaxies Not Ghettos (12 Tone)

“Love these guys and their cosmic Afro-meets-ska-meets-funk vibes. All four are awesome musicians (they’ve backed Aloe Blacc when he’s touring Europe) but together they’re explosive.”

4. Orchestre Poly Rythmo – Rythmo de Cotonou: The 1st Album (Analog Africa)

“Raucous, rattling percussion, jangling guitar riffs and raw bassline grooves. There’s nothing else to say, apart from Analog Africa deliver yet again!”

5. Mr Beatnick – Synthetes (Don’t Be Afraid)

“N16 in the house!! Beautiful EP headed up by this disarmingly pretty four-on-the-floor jam built around beautiful strings and a loose-fitting bassline. Metro Area vibes and analogue synths abound. Nuff said.”

There’s some choice Brownswood merch over at Juno Records – check it out here.