Various artists Touching Bass presents: Soon Come Touching Bass
Beginning as an interview and mix series in 2013, south London’s Touching Bass has grown into a club night, NTS radio show and influential record label. Headed up by Errol Anderson and Alex Rita, the collective is built around forward-thinking talent working across diverse styles including jazz, funk, broken beat and more – a fluid approach that’s evidenced on this 22-track compilation album.
The collection enlists collaborators from across the globe including multi-instrumentalist and former Crack Magazine cover star KeiyaA, Hiatus Kaiyote drummer Clever Austin and south London’s neo-soul vocalist Ego Ella May. Yet despite this wide-ranging cast of musicians, Soon Come is strikingly cohesive – favouring atmospheric guitars, sprightly snares and open-ended jazz – and is intuitively divided into “day” (all introspective lyrics and thoughtful grooves) and “night” (heady, dancefloor-ready rhythms).
The album’s A-side opens with 10.4 ROG and Brother Portrait’s The Lighthouse, a rumination on the struggle to remain soft in a harsh world. Elsewhere, themes of loss and longing abound: from the romantic wistfulness of Ego Ella May’s Miss U and Lori’s RoyalPine to the existential weariness of Nayiem’s Dandelions.
The B-side, however, strikes a more decisive note and bursts open with Cowrie’s Define My Freedom, its spoken-word narrative encouraging self-determination and perseverance, while the tempo picks up with the frenetic brass of Blvck Spvde and DJ Harrison’s Save a Lil Seat and the propulsive piano loops of Leaux’s Wabi Sabi. These night-time picks are tight, purpose-driven and energetic – an indication of the energy and forward-facing drive that still powers Touching Bass after almost a decade in music.