Bristol’s house label for only rough-edged, local produce — homegrown and organic, if you will — readies two cool and casual house cuts from a newly-arrived artist on the city’s jostling production scene. Samuel‘s simple identity fits well with the rest of the no-frills label’s roster, this new release following the debut records by Shanti Celeste and Jay L, not to mention the recent release by the anonymous Lily on affiliate label Idle Hands. We get two straight-to-the-chase rhythms here, with more attention to general vibe than formality and pernickety details. This is the case especially on “Groove Therapy”, a track that doesn’t seem to attempt anything more than a familiar and functional pulse and flow, in a relaxed, bumping blend of floaty pads, percussion sheen and serene synth scales. For all its nicely worked details and well-crafted sense of unified motion in its parts, it’s quite standard, albeit with a UK feel in its strong sub bass that underpins the kick drums.
Stream: Samuel – Groove Therapy (BRSTL)
Allowing barely 16 bars for a intro, the heavily-weighted house beat on “Numberuma” is suddenly joined, unexpectedly, by a freshly-scented jumble of plucked strings and lo-fi, granular bass. It transports you instantly somewhere more tropical; the instrumentation sounds handmade and indigenous to West Africa or South America. It’s a fresh approach, like a traditional deep-house track buzzing with a zesty squeeze of Shangaan Electro melody; the blend of modern Western club music and distant world music timbres has some recent parallels in the form of the Honest Jon-released Shangaan Electro remixes and some of MMM’s material. We do wish that it would have pushed this strangeness all the way though; the emergence of clichéed deep-house pads, mars the rusty chug that the tune began with. Overall, this record is the work of a producer still finding their feet, in which case they’re doing a great job of it, with traces of real originality already present.
Stream: Samuel – Numberuma (BRSTL)
Words by Gwyn Thomas de Chroustchoff.