Rebecca Vasmant - With Love, From Glasgow (Rebecca's Records, 2021)
Updated: Jul 16
DJ and producer Rebecca Vasmant announces her new label with a tour de force of a Jazz record that aims to highlight the vibrancy of the Glasgow scene, and this is achieved in more ways than you could ever imagine.
Joining the dots between styles, sounds and threads is often reserved to those who read between the lines, with the application of a non-linear approach to understanding the rich traditions of recorded music and its cultures, scenes and movements. All over the world and throughout history, so much significance has occurred within places and contexts that have fed into the overarching development of music, where flows from one place to the next have resulted in some incredible records coming to light. Music remains a shared consciousness, a intangible essence that freely floats from place to place with a broad aim of inspiring and delighting in equal measure, and as it finds a new space it grows and expands to feed into the ground upon which we stand. Cities remain hot beds of creativity, where the people and environments that persist around us - not to mention the cultural spaces in which like minded folk come together - remain as constant sources of inspiration, and the flows which come into these spaces only serve as fuel to keep the ball rolling onwards and upwards. Certain places become renowned for their contributions to music, where generation upon generation has given up something of true significance to everyone who chances upon it, with these places ever linked to the sound or genre which they birthed or helped to shape significantly. Even before the coming of the digital age, many cities developed not just one scene but several, with plenty of nights aimed at providing dancers with a host of options both in the club or on radio to cater for ever changing and expanding tastes. This ever diversifying plethora of tastes has led to several places across the globe becoming renowned for their musical DNAs, with people coming to associate certain cities with a vibe that keeps on giving, both in relation to records and the sounds that inspire those records. As these scenes prosper and gain a foothold across boundaries and borders, we see certain individuals rise alongside the scene, champions of the sound so to speak who become inherently associated with the feelings being conveyed, be it as a DJ or producer or someone responsible for curating it all together. We become more clued in as a result, our ears and minds becoming tuned in as a result of the collectivised frequencies, keeping our minds to the ground as wave upon wave of deliciousness continues to float our way. Its a buoyant feeling that helps to maintain our connections to a place, be it on our doorstep or thousands of miles away, as the scene remains fuelled up by a mixture of progressiveness, musical dexterity, and above all else, a daringness to do more and be more. Throughout the past few years, individuals have released records that bring together the best that city has to offer in regards to a certain scene - perhaps a 'Sound of' record, or a compilation that documents a particular club or a particular movement in the past, and these guides so to speak offer a fascinating insight into how places have developed musically and perhaps help to shed some light on its contemporary musical qualities. There is another category of these kinds of records, and that is one that focuses on the new blood, the current lifeforce that helps to propel things forward and look to define just what makes the contemporary generation so special, and these are more often than not the litmus test for the city's musical qualities. In pretty much all cases mind, they contain quality across the board, and serve as reminders that certain scenes in certain places are very much alive and well, or indeed introduce us to a scene that we didn't know much about, but should have always picked up on.
In many ways, DJ and producer Rebecca Vasmant has been been celebrating music of all kinds for some time now, and remains one of Glasgow's premium selectors who has always understood the importance of sharing, collaborating and the scene in general. Vasmant is a perennial DJ's DJ, with a deep affection for Jazz that runs through almost all that she does, alongside being able to apply herself towards many other forms of music, something which is evident in her superb Dance orientated sets that contain a deft blend of emotion and purpose. It's her wide reaching tastes that optimise her identity as a DJ, where diverging sounds find themselves meeting up at confluences of sound within experiences that could last a lifetime, such is her control over the flow and momentum of her sets. A go to on Worldwide FM for these reasons, Vasmant has always been keen to involve the artists whom she highlights on her shows, with some wonderfully warm interviews taking place that just showcase how she looks to connect the music we hear to the people behind it all. You get the best of both worlds with Vasmant, one the one hand you have a diverse and tantalisingly bold DJ who merges so many worlds together, and on the other you have someone who goes the extra mile in providing a platform for the music makers, who rather than confined to a tag or a brief mention are put on the pedestal to help us connect with the music even further. Glasgow has always been a city with music on its mind, and has always bought in new genres and styles and allowed these flows to become very much a part of the city's audial identity, with Vasmant only carrying on with this rich tradition in her own incredibly infectious way. Be sure to check out her radio mixes over on her soundcloud, with some of our favourites including the Worldwide FM shows with JD Twitch/Melting Pot/Tommy Smith and Soma Records/Nimbus Sextet/Nightwave, the amazing 'British Jazz' mix on My Analog Journal, her Soho Radio mix, and the groovy excellence that abounds from her 2019 Worldwide festival set. Vasmant has also shown her chops as a music maker and remixer also, with a collection of wicked tracks coming our way over the years that again just seem to epitomises everything that she is about, from her own work to doing edits for others, it all reads like a glorious meander through her diverse tastes and influences. The vibe moves from her great love of Jazz through to more Housey numbers, with all the tracks given a sense of flair and complexity that only comes with the passion and the knowledge of how treads all work alongside each other, as each cut she provides to us standing out for its depth and intrigue. Some tracks to check out include the ultra low frequency but utterly beguiling 'Glasgow Jazz Experiment', the rough and ready excellence of the 'Pressure Cooker' edit, the expertly swinging feels of the aptly named 'Jazzgow' cut, the wonderful notions and cuts on the 'Teen Town' track, the beautiful hums and glows of the 'Scrimshire' track, which featured fellow Jazz illuminary Emma-Jean Thackray, and finally, her incredible edit of the track 'Anansi', which was featured on the self titled Dundundun record. In all, her works span a creative realm that bridges gaps so effortlessly between the cornerstones of her passions, where Jazz mingles amongst Latin, House and many more with a breezy excellence that sings to the soul with its deep meaning, and no matter where you look there always feels like there's space to grow and unturn more stones. Vasmant has surely curated one of the most intriguing contemporary sounds going, be it through her stellar radio and DJ duties or via her compelling collection of compositions and remixes, you always expect brilliance and get delivered it each and every time, but perhaps not in the ways you expect but mostly in the ways that you have come to adore. If you haven't had a chance to check out any of her differing expressions, then why not take a little trip back through time and check some of them out - you won't be disappointed.
And now we arrive at her latest effort, 'With Love, From Glasgow', which represents both her most ambitious project to date - and perhaps her most heartfelt and musically reflective piece of her career. The record, which lands via her newly formed Rebecca's Records imprint, looks to highlight the burgeoning Jazz scene in Glasgow, and features some of the city's most prominent and forward thinking musicians, which includes Paix, Harry Weir, Nadya Albertsson and Emile Boyd, all of which fall within Vasmant's field of view to provide a series of cuts that feel like Glasgow is embedded in their DNA. From the off we are greeted with fleeting tones and richly visceral textures, as looping notions shift form and presence in the blink of an eye, as colours and flourishes take over our immediate vision with a ever growing intensity, never for one moment leaving us behind but merely propping us up above on a crest, our hearts and minds sliding along on an ever growing swell that keeps the momentum going on very strong indeed. You feel alive throughout, the soul fed and the heart nourishes in the best way possible, as images of Glasgow start to formulate in your head, such is the manner in which the music feels woven into the fabric of this wonderful city - and, on that note, lets dive right into this little gem of a record...
Up first comes 'Start of Time', and this one begins with the layers of horns to get us going. The weaving begins here, as all manner of singular notes and blemishes arrive then blend into one another, doing a first loop before cutting out and emerging into the next one, which heralds the arrival of gorgeous keys, harps and violins, as the swell continues to rise then rise some more as time passes by. The way in which the sax floats alongside the vocals is simply dazzling, with our heart pulled in all manner of directions as we seek out all the forms of expressionism that come our way, and the wonderful thing about this track is that it just keeps on growing and growing. The track kind of plateaus to provide the vocals with a bit more breathing room, as we continue to dip and dive through the membranes and layered synergies that float all around, never for one moment failing to inspire and mesmerise. As openers go, you don't get much stronger than that, top draw stuff. 'Timing's End' comes next, and this one begins with the looping key line to get us going. The keys help to set the foundation expertly, their balanced energy helping to establish the groove as all manner of twinkles and sprinkles align themselves with the pulse, as light tonal applications soothe their way into the mix, the brass and horns in particular displaying so very well indeed. The track doesn't need to climax just yet, as this simmering energy remains content to move onwards and upwards with a tantalising sense of progression, with little lines of inquiry fluidly drifting in and out of time and space, as continual swells reach out to greet us from deep within the pools. The scope of the track is indefinitely expansive, with the original key line acting as an anchor of sorts that provides the basis for all to revolve around, and that's the special quality that remains embedded deep within this track - the perpetual sense of momentum, the ever cascading series of tones that unravel and peak with the quietest intensity. Gorgeous stuff. 'Freefall' comes next, and the soft breeze comes out the door once again. The vocal work of Nadya Albertsson comes to meet the chordal expressions, her voice rising higher and higher as it guides the horns to reach up to the sky, with plenty of textured percussive feels going on underneath to really set a very compelling scene indeed. The track once again seems to float and groove through the motions with a confident elegance, as the softest of transitions create these fleeting moments of direct connection amongst a sea of gentle embraces, and as we flow from one phase to the next we never feel lost or alone, merely floating atop a spatial plain of simmering brilliance. Albertsson's voice is exceptionally placed on this, her presence acting as a tool for which everything else flocks to and falls away from from, and we can't get enough of it. Wonderful stuff.
Up next comes 'Jewels of Thought', and this one begins with the light percussive shuffle to get us going. They aren't alone for long as the piano line comes into view, its shifting nature providing a sense of dynamism that helps to support the flourishes of sax and vocals that come into view, and like that the drums kick it up a notch as we flow right into the main progression. The picture that begins to emerge seems to build upon the loose energies of the previous cuts, with plenty of intermingling of melodic elements going on that fly up high above the piano and drums, creating this sense of moving onwards and upwards. The sax solo that emerges through the haze is glorious, its feel and speed cutting against the grain but in the most positive of ways, an addition of abrasive and expressive playing amongst the smoothness, with the trumpet following on afterwards to provide a sense of contrast into the mix. The track then takes a dip in energy to provide some space to the melodic structures, but the drums return soon after to take us away once more, as we continue to float on the highest of clouds. Top notch stuff. 'Autumn Leaves' arrives next, and this one begins in similarly textured territories. The electronic arpeggios move and groove through the misty chimes, as light chords and bass emerge from underneath alongside the tonally perfect vocal delivery of Emile Boyd, which seems to encourage the other instruments to kick it up a notch in relation to shifting through the ranges. The track remains at a simmering level, but before long Boyd stretches the scope out as the trumpet aligns itself with her momentums, as the frequencies begin to rise up to meet the challenge, and like that we end on some gorgeous key flurries. Mesmerising. Up next comes 'Morning (Mourning)', and this one starts off with some airy yet reflective keys to get us going. The background textures help to provide a sense of scale, as light melodic lines swerve in and out of view with a mesmerising quality, never for one moment standing still but merely growing and expanding, with further percussive lines emerging to following the piano. The kicks arrive soon after to provide a sense of pulse and foundation, as the vocals come flying into the mix to create focus and forwardness, and its just so beautifully conjured up. We continue to slip and slide through the layers, always looking out for the next element that will wow us with its persistent embrace, and we are never disappointed. Sublimity defined, this one.
Up next comes 'Pride of Winter', and this one begins with the light textures and the rhodes like keys to get us going. The trumpet signals to us in the distance, as we sweep through differing plains with the keys with flourishes of horns and cymbals making their way into the mix, as the vocals and trumpet make their presence very much known. The track saunters along in a transfixing manner, with plenty of time taken to incorporate all that surrounds the music and inject it into the next phase, as we ebb and flow through the passages with an infectious energy. The track takes a dip in energy to regroup, before returning to the fold as the keys and vocals come into their final passage, as we are left to ponder and glaze lovingly out the window. Up next comes 'Internal Dispute', which features Paix, and this one gets the tempo up on its feet once more. The bass line and scattered beat help to set the foundations as light looping chordal lines come into the mix from the back, as the vocals find their place within the mid section of the track, as the sax occupies a short but sweet space within the overall structure. The cut moves along with a persistent feel, its feel and tone a joy to behold as we remain transfixed within the layers, looking up to the narrative that unravels above and getting lost deep within the rhythmic underbelly, with all kinds of emotions coming into view from all sides. This one will get stuck in your head, for sure. 'Universal Code' comes next, and this one starts with aquatic rumblings before moving into a full melodic outline. The horns and brass do much to create this wall of sound, with the vocals gently emerging during all the moments to help create this warm passage of sound that is hard to not fall in love with, as light percussive elements help to underpin the momentum. The vocals stand out above the rest with their gentle expressions, as the whole composition merges and fluxes into a singular feeling, a tonal outline that contains so much to point at and investigate, and its just one more memory for which we can take away from this special record. Up next comes 'Revolution', which features Paix once again, and this one begins with the drone like feels to get us going. The textures are a mixture of the sporadic and the full, with a core thread consisting of long drawn out bass notes mixed with little flourishes from the sax and strings, as light percussive elements move in and around the pulse with an almost menace like quality, with the simmering feels never quite going away. The energy on this one flows quite nicely indeed into the final track on the album, 'Idealists (Outro)', which kinda encapsulates the concepts which we have come to adore on this record. Filled with the kind of shining melodic feels from the previous, we are greeted to one final thread, one final narrative that we can take away from this experience, and it is an experience that will live long in the memory.
There's a lot to be said about musicians who intermingle their passions with composing and furthering their sound, and when that process is achieved with some of the finest talents their city has to offer, then the results are always going to be very special indeed. Many people know and love Rebecca Vasmant for her DJ mixes, her radio shows, and her undying passion for music, and alongside all of these her creative application when it comes to making music. Within her productions it feels like she is condensing all she knows and adores into every bar, and on this record we see that emotion and investment expand from the singular to the expanded universe, and with it a sense of her scope as a musician. Utilising the finest Jazz talents in Glasgow, Vasmant has created here an odyssey of tone, texture and progression, where the layering of instruments serves as emotional references for us to pick up on, where feeling and rhythm share equal importance within the momentum, with the resulting series of soundscapes simply a delight to all the senses. You feel the meaning behind each movement, you sense the wide variety of ideas on display, and above all else you feel the passion and love that was poured into every corner of this project, and for us here at EG, we will never forget it. With Love, From Glasgow indeed.
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