This week as we decided to invite Ashppe to record th weekly radio show, we thought it could actually be a good time to go through the impressive amount of mindblowing releases available at the iconic and legendary Hardwax store.
For anything dub related, this is your spot, but not only. Hardwax also has, besides a deadly sharp collection of Reggae and Dub (the best in town in my honest opinion), a huge collection of Techno of all sorts, a great selection of real deal, mostly american House Music, and the brightest and most inventive selection of Ambient.
I personally like to go there for a specific sound, ranging around Ambient / Experimental, Dub, missing classics from Axis, Rhythm and Sound, Maurizio, Reggae, Disco and House Music, but today thought about letting myself be inspired by the release of Ashppe's new project which we will talk about at the end of the review.
One thing to keep in mind : don't go there if you're short on your vinyl budget as you may find yourself having to chose between selling your soul to the devil, or leaving a record you may not find the next time you come over.
It is simple as anything I ever got from this shop never leaves my flight case for a year at least.
If there had to be one record store to have the most powerful identity expressed through their selection, it would be Hardwax.
Careful now : don't be a dick, and take a picture of yourself in the store. You're here to satiate your thirst for good music, not for a catwalk and certainly not to show off. But thankfully if that's your idea, you will generously be reminded of how to behave in a record store.
Enough talking, let's listen to what we found.
Delton Screechie - Suffering In The Ghetto (Papa Kojak, 2021 Reissue)
Originally released in 1982 on Moa Anbessa, how can that much of a masterpiece not be reissued, for the world to keep digging the warm dub grooves of this record ?
Let me confess something, father : my knowledge in terms of Dub is really not up to what it should be. This is the reason why every time I step into this store, I have the obligation to come home with one at least dub record in order to fill the urgent task to learn and sharpen and perfect, my knowledge about a musical culture that had such an immense impact on the music we had yesterday, the sounds we hear today, and what we will dance on tomorrow.
Written and Arranged by no one else but Floyd Anthony Perch, as known as Papa Kojak, Nigger Kojak, and a number of other aliases serving the creative urge of this genius of a man who's life was dedicated to one of the greatest contribution to the history of Music. A man who started from the only path of true music lovers, deejaying on old school soundsystems, to then shave his head to match his brand new character inspired by the one and only Lollipop funky Cop, starting a prolific carreer which he will use himself to produce guys like Delton Screechie.
Definitely a must have if not an educational record to buy, like every single one of the Dub and Reggae records you can find at Hardwax.
Jean Phi Dary / Jeff Mills aka The Paradox - Counter Active (Axis)
You may or may not have seen this youtube video of a show in Paris featuring Jeff Mills and the man himself Tony Allen.
If you did, then you probably remember Tony kinda clearing himself out of something saying Jeff Mills was a former Drummer. So not only at this very moment, you understood the reason why no one plays the 909 like Jeff Mills, but you were also not so surprised to witness these huge jazz influences invading the Axis latest releases.
You may not be surprised, but that does not take you away from holding your jaw when you hear this album. If Miles Davis was still alive, he would have definitely buried himself in his appartment and not got out of there until he could have done something like that. This entire album, is almost hard to play, as for being the product of such high level of intelligent emotional music. This could have only been released in one spot only, one spot that has been tirelessly releasing, promoting, playing, and praising a vision of music that cannot originate from this time and space.
And what if you knew that Jeff and Jean-Phi met while working on a project with Tony Allen? Would that all make sense? Would you start believing in destiny? Before you go on praying the sun and the moon that the same kinda thing happens to you, at least just press play and listen to the album for the sake of learning anything you can from this magic meeting, and eventually if you want to keep reading about it, The Ransome Note has a great interview for you to put your eyes on to.
Farron - Shinrin Yoku (Shawcuts)
"Mindfulness and meditation come naturally when you allow your senses to focus on the slight and subtle changes around you"
With such a literary pleasurable description provided on Youtube, comparable to fine art, the part-time writer that I am could not resist quoting a piece for you to want to jump on there and read the rest. Especially with the start of this album, which could represent a key to those of us who haven't been able to introduce themselves to the life saving practice of Mindfulness.
A true piece of magnificent modern music, taking roots on soil of dynamic power, expanding out of the stratosphere through the clouds to provide a complete presentation of what Techno should sound like nowadays. From ambient dreams to rhythm madness, stopping by liquid (if not vaporous) drum & bass, with just the right balance between distortion and crisp, attitude and brightness, to create a story without a single word to be said, for the mind to escape from any form of reality or maybe to anchor itself deeper into the present moment.
Dancing to this is inevitable with or without moving your physical body. An album clearly coming as a statement that will be played and remembered through the passing time as a milestone of the post pandemic era.
Taupe: Two Sides Of The Same Coin
And in order to keep going, we have let ourselves drift to another mind expanding Deep Techno record, at least for onee side of it.
Hailing from the ground or landing from space? Altum definitely feels like a message from the above being sent to the rave for the world to follow some sort of diving path. Guided by a futuristic sequence, supported by the sharpest of the sharp rhythm section, this is the one piece to flip a crowd.
Shimmer then comes to expose with a driving beat, the idea of stillness through another Deep Techno track that may feel like it is heavily inspired by spacious effects and stabs, the keys that opened the path to the greatest pieces of Electronic Music, those that stick to your mind like that chewing gum stuck to my coat last weekend in Loftus Hall.
Bside gives the whole thing the well deserved push. After the dream, comes the reality which is you and me and them dying to dance to exhale all that carbon dioxyde out of our lungs for us to feel alive. Joker steps in as a team, with a swinging bassline for leader and a solid rhythm to tap the feet, and Blackbox finishes the job with a rather heavier and more spacious piece
A release that is more then certainly dancefloor oriented, one that you may find yourself playing several times in the night.