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The Selador Showcase 11

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I’ve never been a big fan of VA (Various Artist) releases, they are often random in quality with one or two tracks holding the release together, and often the overspill from the label’s nearly released. If you see it as a test of the A&R of that label, which in turn spotlights the quality of the output you won’t go far wrong.

If that is the case then you have to tip your hat to Steve Parry & Dave Seaman for this VA release, seven tracks all of a great standard, in a range of styles but encapsulating the Selador sound perhaps even defining it a little more.

Steve Parry himself kicks us off with ‘Fenner’, a tribal-progressive crossover that is straight out the gate with a groove that sets the pace with a sizzling amount of energy before settling back into that tribal groove. There are subtle melodies, shuffley percussion, ethereal sounds and just the right amount of bass to keep the big toms in the right space in the mix. But then, oh the riffs and the vocal, not so over the top it spoils the track but definitely making it stand out. Just as you’re settled back into the groove another brilliant riff picks out another melody and whoosh we’re off again. Finally a bottom-heavy analogue picks you up by the scruff and gives you a good shake. What’s clever here, is there’s a lot going on but there’s still space in the mix. It’s pacey, it’s understated yet a stand-out track.

Magitman follows with ‘Mars’. It has the Selador sound but it’s on the more melodic end with some lovely melody, playing off the bassline. When the break kicks in this is one of those deeper melodic tracks that shifts gears and suddenly you’re moving the floor.

Personna & Bloch are a new discovery for me. Despite being not as immediate as some of the other tracks on the release ‘Endpoint’ is a blinder of a back-room groove, deep and throbbing and left-of-field. The vocal seems to transmit straight out of outer space and into your head, radiating weirdness and drawing you into a strange bleepy otherworld. The ambient noises are mangled and overclocked to the point of not being music. The track roars at you like an angry lion. This is sound design and I love it. 

Athea have been doing it for me lately too. ‘Rebel’ is loud and groovy but in a slightly brash way. There is a lot of power wrapped up in the track. It’s peak-time fodder, relentless and consistent, perhaps, not ground-breaking but as solid.

Smash TV, purveyors of the quirky groove turn in a bass-led, funky-ass, down-deep houser that wah-wahs its way through six minutes of interesting, ravine-deep bliss. You need the ear, or the heart for ‘Freaks’. You don’t listen to music like this, you feel it.

Mr.E is a pseudonym of a well known producer. Why the pseudonym is a mystery, ‘Lost‘ is an absolute cracker, full of ringing groove and wonderful melody. It’s all there, like Mr.E just dropped all inhibitions and doubled down. Soaring riffs, lush pads, simple not overdone, but it’s all about that groove. Huge.

Darksidevinyl & Balata finish up with ‘Boohe’, another tribal-melodic offering that has another brilliant groove, overlaid with all manner of ambients; riffs, chants and stuff that’ll lift the roof to let the steam out the club.

Great VA from Selador, and great because it’s curated, thoughtfully, great because it does actually showcase the label and great because the quality of the music is very high. Personna & Bloch, Mr.E and Steve Parry are the picks for me, but there isn’t a bad tune on the team. Selador have long moved from being one to watch to simply being a staple of quality. Long may it continue, it’s exactly what we need.

Score: 9/10

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