In this regular feature, Selections, we invite DJs, producers and label heads to dig into their digital crates and share the contents of their Bandcamp collections. This week, Errol, DJ and founder of South London party, label and NTS show, Touching Bass, flags up 11 releases that encapsulate the genre-defiance and Black creativity he champions: from spiritual jazz and soulful grooves to UK funky and beyond
Clubs around the world are shut, and opportunities to find new music out in the wild have been ripped from under our feet as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. While hearing new music played out by your favourite DJs will have to be put on hold due to these unprecedented circumstances, it’s never been easier, or more important, to support the artists and labels putting out EPs, albums and compilations in the midst of all the madness.
With tour cancellations and festival postponements leaving many members of the international electronic music community out of pocket, Bandcamp has become an even more vital platform for supporting the music you love, with 80% of all sales from the online music store going directly to artists and labels. In March, the platform announced it would be waiving its revenue share for all sales for one day, and on Friday 20th, took no cut from purchases made. In total, $4.3 million was spent on music over the course of 24 hours, all going straight to the creators. Throughout lockdown, Bandcamp continued to waive their fees on the first Friday of every month up to July, as well as on 19th June (Juneteenth), when the platform donated 100% of its profits to the NAACP Legal Defence Fund. Last month, it was announced that a fee-free "Bandcamp Friday" would take place on the first Friday of each month for the rest of 2020.
In this series, Selections, we’re inviting DJs, producers and label heads to dig into their digital crates and share the contents of their Bandcamp collections. In lieu of opportunities to discover new records on the dancefloor, Selections – along with radio shows and mixes – will give you the chance to nab sounds from the crates of tastemakers, and support the artists behind them while you’re at it. Win-win, right?
This week, Errol, DJ and founder of South London party, label and NTS show, Touching Bass, flags up 11 releases that encapsulate the genre-defiance and Black creativity he champions: from spiritual jazz and soulful grooves to UK funky and beyond.
Errol launched Touching Bass in 2015, and has since run it alongside Alex Rita, gradually turning it into one of London’s most respected grassroots platforms and parties, all while resolutely honouring their Afro-Carribean heritage. They describe Touching Bass as being centred on “the real-life human and spiritual ability of music to bring people together”, and from their earliest parties in a Brixton-based Senegalese restaurant to their bi-monthly radio shows and events in Australia and Kingston, Jamaica, they have booked the likes of Theo Parrish, Josey Rebelle and TB regular, Shy One.
Launching as a label in 2017, Touching Bass has become a crucial hub for leftfield, Black music, “with little genre restrictions and plenty of soul”. “Bun genre, just good music,” Errol says. While the label’s releases to date have emphasised futuristic soul, abstract hip-hop and experimental jazz from the likes of Clever Austin, Lex Amor and Project Karnak, its goal for 2021 is to introduce more dancefloor-focussed sounds into the equation, “in keeping with the energy of our monthly club night”. First though, Touching Bass will be releasing a new EP from London neo-soul artist Demae. ‘Life Works Out… Usually’ lands on 4th September, and is a distinctly London collection of gritty, evocative soul and languid grooves with lyrics exploring Black joy, self-empowerment and personal discovery.
Next year will also see Touching Bass reviving their Speaking In Sound series, an intimate, alcohol-free discussion and concert series at Strand 180/The Store X. Previous Speaking In Sounds events have featured Nubya Garcia and Andrew Ashong.
In the meantime, dig in to Errol’s impeccable Selections below.
"I can imagine the Touching Bass dancefloor losing their minds to this broken beat/two-step skippiness from K15 and Earl Jeffers. Plus, K15 is a true GOAT of UK music and always deserves more love."
"A friend introduced me to Admas — this incredible group of Ethiopian expats in Washington, D.C. — who made this record back in 1984. The story behind the record is special and really solidifies it as a true artefact of the diasporic experience. Stylistically, they cast their net far and wide, pulling from roots reggae, pop, samba, go-go and more with this beautiful, electronic sheen that ties it all together."
“So proud of this lady. I remember being sat with her at my yard a few years back and her casually mentioning that she was starting to make her own music. Well, here it is in all its warm, bubblegum-sounding glory. Once again proving that South London is an epicentre of creativity.”
"Keeping things local with this gem from two of the homies. Maxwell is well-known in our circles as a wizard when it comes to production and DJing. Phoebs has been one of the best with a mic for a long time, one half of junglists Nanci & Phoebe and affiliated with the likes of Congo Natty and TB's Hither Green Studios homebase (shouts to The Room and Dem 1nz). Out via Max and Anja Ngozi's new label, Sibin."
"Sam Interface (co-founder of More Time Records, formerly known as SNØW) takes us on a proper joyride of London-spawned genres past and present with this riddim. The growling bass is a nod to UK drill, while the polyrhythms pay homage to UK Funky, jungle, soca and much more. Carnival-inspired badness for anyone who, like me, was craving some bass and rum punch last weekend."
“2000Black are the blueprint for me and a lot of my contemporaries. They strike into the emotional essence of dance music and this jungle tempo, soulful groove is no different. It'd work perfectly out of some liquid D&B to take the journey of a set elsewhere.”
"Over the past few years, I've travelled to both Australia and Aotearoa (aka New Zealand), forming some particularly strong musical links with the former. There's definitely something in the air over in Aotearoa too and this spiritual jazz-influenced niceness comes from Noa Records, whose label MO is to celebrate the works of native people. I've been really enjoying the way that the instruments and voices ghost in and out of the track, creating this mystical otherworldliness that reminds me of the debut Clever Austin record we put out last year."
Rolling, bleepy goodness from the OG on Kai Alce's ever-solid NDATL label."
"Being born and bred in Bow, grime will always be one of my first musical loves. Geeneus — the founder of Rinse FM — released a batch of old school sublow riddims under his Wizzbit alias and this one in particular transported me back to old Packard Bells, the FL Studio demo and cramped youth club MC clashes."
"Kareem Ali's music is so rich in Blackness and stylistically diverse. I was put onto his stuff via Stefan Ringer when he played at Touching Bass last year and he's been on real hot form recently, releasing stuff like this blissful four-to-the-floor gem at an alarming rate."
"Not necessarily a recent find, but this record is a true gift to 2020 and has been on steady repeat at TBHQ since we first heard it on release day in March. Self-produced, meaningful music that is rightfully receiving a lot of love"