The holy Soundsystem collate yet another mind bending, time warping compilation that is sure to inspire with every deep listen.
Some labels delve into time for a fleeting moment. Some for a split second. A few dabble in the sounds and harness the energy. And some create their core ideals around the developments and collective spirit of past musical triumphs. Where the label heads and affiliated artists concern themselves with the riches that lie within, not just to appreciate but to curate and boldly further, to comprehend the feelings behind it and to birth something that embodies the real inner meaning of their outlook and their passions. Its these kind of labels who spend a great deal with the crafting of atmospheres, using parameters that they pan out in their minds as a guide to creating experiences for listeners and dance floors alike. Like small guidebooks in a sea of new and old music, they find the missing links that existed perhaps due to geographical limitations or a lack of coverage for old releases, by joining together tracks that reside alone as brilliant but act together as a kind of whimsical journey through various scenes and timelines. The threads that are created by singular releases or compilations look at the importance of expressing various flavours within tunes, celebrating the innovators and their talents, whilst also helping to feed into a ideology that all labels should wear proudly on their sleeves. The labels who really take the time to understand their foundations, whilst also pushing new music out, helps to build the bridges between the inspired and the inspiration, where we see the fruits of labours and tastes come full circle via the reissuing of selected treasures or forgotten masterpieces. To see both sides of the coin reinforces our love for these labels, nurturing our connection to their passions, and building new bridges and doors for us all to continue our own personal explorations into the wonders of the past.
The Isle of Jura label always delivers on these kinds of ideals. The Adelaide based label has since 2016 served up the kinds of records that always providing those cross references, those missing gaps within our own musical knowledge and interests that become more whole from each release they serve up. Each record always weaves around this fundamental aspect, the music within always intrinsically deep and beautifully presented, and even whilst spanning a wide range of genres and contexts, the music always feeds back into the wider sound and vibe the label has brilliantly curated over the years. This kind of vibe only springs up from digging through crates far and wide, milking the very last drops of collections from across the globe. This approach always serves up the kind of records that deserve their time in the sun, tunes that speak on so many levels, perhaps not appreciated in their own time. Some selected highlights from a discography unlike no other include their 2016 debut, Escape from New York's 'Fire in My Heart'; the excellent 'It's Never Too Late' single by Chayell, from the same year; the awesome 'Anambra' EP by Ozo, from 2017; the timeless classic that is Brian Bennett's 'Voyage (A Journey Into Discoid Funk)', easily one of the best reissues of 2017; the beautiful Balearic gem 'Mister Wong' by Bella Vista from 2019; and the weird and endlessly wonderful 'Strange Ways / Inside Jungle' by Zann. Each record serves up a alternative feeling that is associated with the genre it resides in, a new style that evokes new feelings and understandings within us, creating a fresh perspective on a particular genre or scene that really craves for us to dive just a little bit deeper. As if serving up excellent reissues wasn't enough, the sub label Temples of Jura puts out new tracks that share the same mindset as its parent label. EPs like Jura Soundsystem's 'Monster Skies' from 2018, and Filmico's 'In the Senses' LP from the same year, just confirm how much this label has achieved in its sonic sensibilities, the delightful worlds that are crafted from knowledge, passion, and a wide expansive view of intoxicating rhythms and charming keys.
And now we turn to their latest offering, the second compilation in the 'Transmission' series. Number 1, released in 2018, was a winding journey through the realms of blissed out 80s proto disco, off the wall dub excursions and ambient paradises, confirming that Jura really do mine that other side of the coin when it comes to curating new moods. Its the kind of music that has so much weight to it, adding enormously to the current scene, in its depth and complexities but also in its skin deep musical atheistic. All of it adds up into a compilation experience that felt head and shoulders above the rest, so the expectation and hype for the follow up was through the roof. As always, the label does not disappoint, with another epic tale to tell through this sublime collection of tunes, perhaps looking more to the stars then ever before. So lets take a dip.
Up first is Carl Craig with his track 'C Beams Glitter', a track never before released on wax. Its soft, cosmic expanse opens itself up to us immediately, the arpeggio key line twinkling within a deep void of pads and haze. The backing synths are deep and driving, moving through the motions in true techno fashion, rumbling in the distance. To the sides sit the more consistent sounds of higher ends, creating the boundaries to the sound, whilst the key sequence cuts through the middle, never faltering, always guiding. Sublime shit. Next comes Bochum Welt with their track 'Greenwich (Mix 2)', and we move into the proto realms. The drum track begins proceedings, as the bass key line resides just on top, striking true, with the structure neatly flowing between the dub and through into the melodic density. The keys on top are a wonderful addition, moving from up high before moving through the lines to exist just below the pounding bass. Its soft in tone, but heavy in its delivery, the drumming patterns that persist throughout weave and flow around the ever evolving melodic structures on top. Up next comes John Rocca, of Freeez fame, with his tune 'The River Must Flow (Zulu Dub)', and we keep the fire burning with this one. The tempo is high from the off, the bass line chugs along to the rhythm, the two acting in perfect harmony with each other. As the track hits its stride, the bass flows away for a minute, giving over some room for the little key line to add a bit of spark to proceedings. The track then moves back into its initial incarnation, with all manner of dubby feels moving in and around the beat. The track continues to have these continual mini evolutions, where the feel is constantly added to then simplified, the density becomes thicker then recedes. A proper fluid tune that still sounds so fresh to this day. Daniele Patucchi comes next with his track 'People Come In', and the beat at the beginning signals of exciting things to come. The textured beat grooves right into our hearts and minds, and when the bass line kicks in we really give ourselves over to it all. Then, the light pads that lightly drop themselves into place create that emotive connection, beautifully floating on top of the groovy as hell beats beneath. The track just simply loops itself, content in its own achievement in giving up an experience that creates so much beauty and majesty. Simply glorious. Hit Man follows up with their track 'Future Times', and the vibe slows down just a little bit for this one. The beat feels like it is moving slowly through water, creating a wonderful dynamic and range, and when the bass and synths come in, its just such a crazy expression of all the things that dub infused dance music is capable of. Theres' the light twinkle of keys that shine through the haze, there's the pads that permeate on occasion, there's a structure here that is so hypnotic and inviting its impossible to not take it by the hand and give in to it all. The repeating line 'Everything will be better in Future Times' gives the whole track this rich narrative, that feeds into the music, then back into the lyrics, swelling in order to get the message across. Fuck yeah.
Next comes the Jura Soundsystem edit of Sapho's track 'Le Train De Paris', and oh boy is it a stomper. The groove is sparse and suitably 80s in feel, so when that big old bass line comes into view, the vibe is locked in right away. The bass chugs away effortlessly, with the top layers consisting of a series of little light touches that for a moment fill up the track, the beating heart given company for a minute. The manner of its structure allows for this kind of spatial exploration, where the depth is emphasised by the wide scale of the sound. That bass though, it could move mountains. One for the floor, for sure. David Arch is up next, with his track 'Afro Culture'. The tune begins off suitably melodic, the two sequences of keys working well together to give over a rich and full harmony. This is soon joined by the beautifully full drumming pattern, that adds enormously to the complexities on top. The chords that then join in are on another level, for a brief minute really taking us away, creating these amazing little book marks in the track. The spaces between these full melodic pieces give the track so much, the positive vibrations will last a life time. At 3 minutes long, its a flash in the pan, but you would be hard pressed to find a track that gives over so much in such a short period of time. Zann is next with their track 'After Work'. The group, who had been subject of a fantastic reissue last year on the label, are known for their technically out there and leftfield approach to composition, where subtle meets obvious in regards to tonal shifts and environment building. This cut is no different, showcasing a enriching melodic side with the guitar work full and jangly, softly moving between the lines. Its the movements from a more loose feel and into the rhythmic verses that create a very strong atmosphere indeed, the broken guitar feel counteracting brilliantly with the deep chords and flute lines. Its a breather from all the progressive beats we have become used to by now, a moment where we take it all in as the most beautiful sun set you ever saw descends into night. Maori composer Hirini Melbourne comes next with the track 'Waiata Ki Te Ra', and the outdoor vibes continue on with this one. The fast paced guitar moves into view over the sounds of running water, but its all about Melbourne's tonally vast voice. He chimes along to the guitar with such precision, his voice ringing so true, acting like a pure instrument on top of the wonderful guitar work. The track creates a density that seems impossible with just a voice and a guitar, but Melbourne pulls it off with such style and substance. Brilliant. To end this all, we have Jeff Bridges talking over music composed by Keefus Ciancia. For an album that doesn't do vocals until the final two cuts, its a fitting ending to a record that spoke volumes anyway, even without dialogue. The series upon series of varying scenarios and scenes all speak about vitality, life and movement, joy and emotion. Its what you can feel from these cuts, a feeling that makes you wanna dance or just sit and appreciate it. This final monologue, one that speaks of positivity and believing in yourself, is just a stunning concept. It simply makes this unique compilation just that bit more unique.
If you desire a journey through time, where the journey has been selected with the utmost care, where you wish passion to lead you down a grapevine, where you come back with more than you could have ever imagined, then this is simply the compilation for you. Jura were always going to deliver, and with this they truly deliver the most stunning collection of tracks, mined deeply from their visions and passions and outlooks. It feels as if you were finding the tracks yourself, the level of engagement with the tunes and the story you go through, is something that will remain for a long long time. Unbelievable.
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