SHAPES:DIAMONDS - Compiled by Robert Luis Various Artists After 20 years of independently releasing music, the ‘Shapes’ LPs continue to encompass the best of the Brighton-based label’s wide-ranging and international roster. Featuring the finest of Tru Thoughts’ classic cuts, recent releases and inspired remixes, ‘Shapes: Diamonds’ is available on digital and double vinyl (with full 31 track download card). Tru Thoughts LP
The Seshen Dive / 4AM Dive / 4AM is the latest outing from San Francisco Bay Area-based sixpiece, The Seshen. The 7” outlines the steps the group has made since their critically acclaimed sophomore album in 2016, both as a band and as individuals. Side A opens with distorted four-to-the-floor chomper, Dive. Aggressive yet danceable, gritty but somehow unstoppable, Dive is inspired the profound need for change, catalysed through the somnambulant Larry Heard-esque bassline meshed to the warped tones of Lalin’s vocals. While in contrast on side B, 4AM untethers the listener by exploring a sense of spaciousness, flourishing the sparseness, distracting with moving snippets of delicate production. TRU THOUGHTS 7"
Rodney P The Next Chapter / Recognise Me “The Next Chapter” is both personal and cultural. It’s a reintroduction to the hugely influential legend while laying out the next chapter in his respected career. “Recognise Me (I’m An African)” see’s Rodney reconnect on a deeper level with his West-Indian heritage as a second-generation immigrant. Referencing Ghanaian politician and revolutionary Kwame Nkrumah, Rodney explores themes of identity and the ideology of pan-Africanism (the idea that the destiny of all people of African descent, depends on the fate of the continent of Africa). A pioneer who inspired a generation of hip-hop and grime MCs with his home-grown reggae-influenced flow, Rodney P set the scene ablaze back in the late ‘80s with the seminal group London Posse. Since then, he has had a rich and varied career as a radio and television personality, while musically collaborating with the likes of Bjork, Skinnyman, Omar, MJ Cole and countless others. Tru Thoughts 7"
Terror Danjah Invasion ‘Invasion’ is the sixth, highly-anticipated, album from grime veteran and production mastermind, Terror Danjah. One of the most well-respected producers and key players in the grime world, London-based Terror Danjah is known for his work with some of the highest calibre of MCs in the scene, such as Wiley, Dizzee Rascal and N.A.S.T.Y. Crew (which included Jammer, D Double E and Kano). An exceptional instrumental LP, ‘Invasion’ features Terror’s trademark heavy basslines, intricate programming and kinetic productions, with a sonic output that is brash, neon-bright and hyperactive. Lead single “Module” is a deep dancefloor-tested tune layered like a colossal sonic wall, featuring Terror Danjah’s idiosyncratic presence of a gremlin-meets-robotic crackle - a secret formula to the success of his sound. ‘Invasion’ also boasts collabs with producer, BBC 1Xtra DJ and close friend Sir Spyro on album opener “TBC” and fresh new talent, Nii-Teiko featuring on “Scene 1”. The use of Caribbean steel pan drums on “Wavy” creates euphoria-laden rhythms, “Snowfall” is an agro-distorted dub attack, while “After Dark” showcases Terror Danjah at his finest, ominous and hard-hitting with wobbly bass backdrops and chopped vocal clips scattered around the room eerily. TRU THOUGHTS 12"
Gawd Status Firmamentum ‘Firmamentum’ (out 30th August) is the debut album from Gawd Status aka King Kashmere and Joker Starr. Fronted by lead singles “Heavy Metal” and “The Alchemist ft. Fae Simon”, the LP showcases Gawd Status’ versatility and eclecticism as an unconventional producer/MC duo, delivering a killer and off-kilter record that lies in between the worlds of hip-hop, psychedelia and soul. Featuring on the record, fellow UK MCs Micall Parksun and Big Cakes (who has collaborated with the Godfather of grime Wiley) team up on politically-charged, Thabo Mbeki-inspired “I Am An African”. While Anyway Tha God, one half of the Jones Brothers with Joker Starr, flows hard over “Amplified Science”. “Messiah Hybrids” showcases the duo delivering what they do best, a conscious straight-up hip-hop banger. ‘Firmamentum' covers topics of madness, slavery, the rise of A.I., false Gods, the transmutation of matter, Joker Starr elaborates, “I will always talk about different modes of creation, God, Spiritual beliefs and theories. Firmamentum touches on a bunch of theories ranging from flat earth to aliens”. King Kashmere adds, “production-wise, the sort of psychedelic vibe is something it just grew into… it’s pretty interesting how art can grow and shape context over time”. TRU THOUGHTS LP
Bonobo Animal Magic Since first emerging at the tail end of the ‘90s, Simon Green aka Bonobo has become downtempo music’s most marketable star. Animal Magic (originally released in 2001) is still fresh with Green’s signature beats encouraging a state of relaxed bliss that begs to be basked in. This debut is a lovely little exercise in chill music, with Green blending breakbeats, pad sounds, jazzy live instrumentation and naked emotion to create a sound all his own. Downtempo electronic music often wanders into EZ-listening terrain, but Animal Magic has enough underlying feeling and intelligent arrangements to keep any listener’s interest. Green has a real flair for dynamics, the melodies are a blissful, magical aroma of vibrantly lit-up sounds which all seem to standout like receiving your favourite gift for Christmas. If that wasn’t enough, the drums are crisp clean and have no turn-off regarding sound quality. Those simple little drums and cymbals both function like hearing a flock of birds chirping in the morning; quiet and alluring. “Animal Magic is just about masterful in every way possible.” Tru Thoughts 12"
Kingdem The Kingdem EP KINGDEM – Rodney P, Ty & Blak Twang are a supergroup formed of UK hip-hop heavyweights and a trio who need little introducing. London Posse affiliate and all-round Godfather of British hip-hop, Rodney P links up one of UK Black music’s true innovators and popularisers, Ty, and the original South-London colloquial hip-hop geezer, Blak Twang, to deliver a four track EP that is future-sounding yet rooted in their artistic legacy to the UK hip-hip canon. The KingDem EP is produced by Blakzillia and Chidi Digital, with additional production credits by Nutty. TRU THOUGHTS 12"