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RAINBOW POWER by The Peaceful Ones
This is the most timely piece of work I’ve heard in awhile. Clearly inspired by the events that have transpired this summer, Rainbow Power is an ode to the good and the bad that can happen when we all unite under common causes, shared beliefs or, most importantly, an understanding that we are all made of the same stuff and exist under the same sun.
It is also a testament to this latest wave of UK Jazz that is in full bloom. This really is a golden age for UK Jazz and hip-hop if you ask me and Pete Beardsworth has been solidly representing Nottingham in this scene for a while now. Here he’s joined by the simmering accompaniment of Tom Smith (synth) and Tom Towle (drums) in a semi-dilapidated loft, surrounded by plywood in which they were able to recreate a sound which is sparse and airy, perhaps reminiscent of the 1972 track that they are covering.
In fact, I’d say that the vocals in particular really have a particularly retro feel to them. Maybe it’s the space, maybe it’s Pete’s voice or maybe it’s just because they’re covering a Timmy Thomas track which was relevant in the civil rights era which is clearly having a well-needed comeback. I’m even getting some Beatles-esque vibes from them. “The world was getting out of hand in terms of relations between races,” said Timmy back then.
Well, these relations might have improved by 2020 but not enough.
Every single spoken line in this track is weighty. The lyrics couldn’t be more simple and that’s what is needed to get a poignant message across. America needs Rainbow Power and that’s not just an LGBT or NHS slogan. It’s a human slogan.
Lord knows America needs that rainbow right now but the same goes for all people. Every single human on earth is a direct descendent of the same light force that creates the beautiful illusion that we are all uniquely different individuals
We all have our own wonderfully unique dreams, anxieties, ambitions and traditions. All different and yet all same-same. If it were not for our differences, this life might not be worth living and, yet, if we were not all the same we probably could not coexist in the long term. This life is worth living and we can coexist, we must believe this if we stand a chance.
Anyway, I send my Sunday thanks and salutations to the Peaceful Ones. You are bringing us what the world needs – socially significant artistic creations that speak to the soul, not to the skin.
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WALKING DOWN ALFRETON ROAD by Guohan
Now, I know Alfreton Road very well, having lived there and thereabouts for more than a year and I can tell you right now, you won’t find a lot of lo-fi lounge music being played on its streets. Chances are, you’re more likely to hear some bashment, some reggae or some Afrobeats if you’re towards the bottom of Alfreton road and some pop, drum n’ bass or house music if you’re walking towards the top.
Shared between the students and the Jamaican-Middle Eastern-African community, this street is positively bubbling with blended, foreign flavours and spices that you never thought would go well together. I’m not going to lie, it can get pretty crazy down there. It’s easy for someone to get intimidated by Alfreton Road’s loudness and unpredictability.
One moment the sun is shining, kids are playing on its side streets and the community is loving life on the pavement and whereas, the next moment, house parties are spilling out on the street – along with their ingested beverages – muggings and fights spark up unexpectedly.
Sometimes, you just have to put your headphones in and take a chance if you want to make it down to Kaya Food Centre for some baklava and some skins or up to Caspian for a cheap and momentarily-satisfying kebab. This is the moment that I feel and imagine when I listen to Guohan’s new track. That smooth, deep and comforting lo-fi feeling that you get when you put your noise-cancelling headphones on (careful with those if you’re round here at night).
It’s that feeling of stepping out onto the street while, simultaneously, entering your very own world that is captured so well on Walking Down Alfreton Road. Headphones on and the street becomes a catwalk. This track captures the elegance and the vibe of a sophisticated lounge bar and injects it with a sort of syncopated unpredictability that only a jazz connoisseur can know and implement.
Lounge is a genre which has been associated with exclusivity, with high-end luxury and is often thought of negatively as elevator muzak but I couldn’t disagree any more with this. It’s one of my favourite genres and this, for me, is Street Lounge. You don’t have to be sipping on a martini served to you by a part-time model to enjoy the finer things in life.
Guohan is bringing that class and fusing it with some of that Radford sass.
I miss Alfreton Road.
Reviews by Liam MacGregor-Hastie