Recommended: Astral Black – Frass FM 5

Astral Black returned earlier this year with the fifth instalment of their Frass FM compilation series. Curated by Jon Phonics, the label has built up a good reputation for quality releases over the years. With tracks from Impey, Lil Jabba and Polonis in previous Frass FM records, this fifth edition seeks to provide a snapshot of the club sounds thriving right now. Alongside already established beatmaking talent, Frass FM 5 presents production debuts from the likes of London’s Poison Zcora and Jossy Mitsu. Together, the songs demonstrate the imprint’s curatorial intent for versatility across British club music.

It’s not surprising to see several label friends and family included in the compilation, though the mellow opening tune “Tempi” comes from Rinse FM’s Izco. Xao also makes an appearance, having released two of his previous EPs on the label. On “Alfa Romeo”, he diverges from his previous work to channel grimey undertones and flaunt the diversity of his creative skillset. Shy One keeps the up-tempo vibes going on “Lads”, before Impey lands on scene with the darker “Dizzy 505”.

Listening to Maxwell Owin and Anurah’s “TOI 700 d” could be the perfect soundtrack to accompany you on lone walks late at night. There’s still the element of exciting percussion that Astral Black’s brand of club music is known for on Polonis’ track “Conscience”. The record closes with Telemachus’ “Why trees so big question mark”, which not only carries a sense of ease but could work perfectly as a club set finale. As the direction of club music twists and turns from year to year, Astral Black successfully present some of the more crucial and resonant sounds of the now on Frass FM 5.

Astral Black – Frass FM 5 is out now, available in digital and cassette formats with apparel merch to match. Buy it here.

Michelle Ulor