Best of BBE 2012
Looking in the rear view mirror at the last twelve months its hard to be objective we circumnavigated the globe to bring a dazzling array of musical styles, alluring artwork and wondrous music , a dear friend summed it up for us ‘Unimprovable’. Not possible to give a true reflection in this compact collection, but we hope it will give you a flavour and you’ll want to dig deeper and here is a short reminder of where we’ve been. Not shy of controversy the year began with a magnificent 5 Cd box set “Disco Demands” 45 climactic moments from a decade or more of releases by our ‘other’ Scottish master compiler Al Kent –just like the recently published headline grabbing magazine pictures of The Topless Princess the cover art model met with mixed reaction, musically though everyone fell in love with it. In the same month Kiwi born drummer Julien Dyne brought us his second album ‘Glimpse’ full of futuristically ambient, hip hop beats. Two beautiful soul singers from the late sixties told us their story in a BBE Mixcloud special : Hhtp://mixcloud.com/bbemusic/bbe-profiles-jean-wells-and-sandy-barber-special/ and their early recordings were released with much hand clapping from the soul connoisseurs as well as a younger generation of Winehouse devotees. Johnny D showed us the way living up to his statement ‘The mark of a great DJ is one who knows that hip-hop came from disco.’ with his lavish Disco Jamms collection featuring a mix put together on a couple of vintage 1210’s. And more from his Henry St label “Johnick” which Bill Brewster described … “Half the fun of listening to Johnick’s music expansively laid out on this pair of CDs is sample spotting. They’re all over the tracks, of course. Test out your disco chops and see how many you can get. And while you’re doing it, rejoice in the sound of Brooklyn: fresh house from the raw 1990s.” Perception Records a New York label from the early 70’s that had globally renowned artists Dizzy Gillespie and Astrud Gilberto releasing albums, was more than ripe for remembering and our lavish release …. With numerous bonuses in the digital version compiled by DJ Spinna and BBE all-stars with insightful sleeve notes from Dean Rudland is an absolute must have – check out the mix for free http://mixcloud.com/chrisreadsubstance/best-of-perception-today-records-bbe-release/ From the Home of U2 Dark Room Notes gave us a synth pop wonder, which got us reaching for our Depeche mode collection while staying on the mainland. Chris Read, not resting on his 15th Anniversary album laurel brought us a modern Latin Beat Suite. Heading to Northern Europe and chillier climes, Mathias Stubø’s hailing from Norway and at just 18 years; his self-titled album is a lovely collage of electro, tight punchy drums, whirling melodies and loose moments of free-falling jazz. Both of Stubø’s parents are jazz musicians and his early years listening to jazz and fusion records provide the muse for much that is offered here. Donning hep cat suits and jumping into gas guzzling automobiles we headed off to The Vintage Festival and celebrated with a Snowboy’s collection described by one blogger as the ultimate box of chocolates, with every one a sumptuous soft centre, and not a nougat in the box. Boddhi Satva from Central Africa gave us the gift of “Invocation” while over in Dollis Hill Marc Mac’s Hipology(.org) masterpiece blossomed. Before departing for The Philippines our ‘other’ Scottish compiler Mr Keb Darge and his beautiful wife Edith brought us another dose of unsung heroes from the past with the second in the Legendary Wild Rockers series. Berlins’ Bara Bröst’s gave us Kokolores hand crafted, meticulously arranged, percussive Deep- and Funkyhouse and from Colombia via Berlin Dean Bagar brought us Los Transatlanticos. Herbie Hancock said of DJ Vadim “His energy and passion that I witnessed when I saw DJ Vadim play at Coachella festival reminded me of when I first saw John Coltrane play”. Can’t say fairer than that and you’ll get the idea if you check out his brand new album “Don’t Be Scared”. Some of you may be old enough to remember Atlantic Starr, but before they were Newban. Imagine the brassy ensemble funk of early Kool & The Gang or Earth, Wind & Fire or spirit-centric labels like Black Jazz or Strata-East, with vocals reflecting the freedom of mind and spirit in both lyric and timbre. This is the land from which platinum-selling Atlantic Starr came and on this “Newban” package, remastered from the original tapes by John Morales, along with a fragile acetate that had four never heard before recordings. Been an amazing year, we had a radio show on StrongroomAlive and like so many good things, including 2012 it had to come to an end but we have the memories, and the music will help to shine a bright light on them.