I’ve written about Ashley Beedle before on Test Pressing and the new ‘Message In The Music’ compilation gives us reason to go again. Beedle has always moved across the genres and often sat well ahead of most others in the field. There were New York smashing X-Press 2 records played for half an hour at a time at The Sound Factory made alongside Rocky & Diesel, his Ballistic Brothers days having fun across the jazz hip-hop playing fields and the disco days of Black Science Orchestra. Then lets not forget working with Harvey on early Weekend releases as well as a ton of other collaborations. Basically, he’s never been happy being stuck in one box.
For me Beedle seems very at home in the disco world purely because “disco”, similarly to the eclectic Balearic world, has become such a wide genre scene. This compilation was four years in the making – they (Ashley and the guys at the label) started work in 2009. Not sure what we were doing in 2009, probably much the same as now, but the time is perfect for this album.
It starts with some sleazy rock business by Burlesque, then Paul Carrack turns up in Ace mode and then we are off into the classic-sounding dance floor disco of Cade Belle and Ruth Copeland’s epic cover of The Stones ‘Gimme Shelter’. After this comes an edit of The Fall’s ‘Touch Sensitive’ which I can hear soundtracking an advert any day now.
Favourite track on the first CD is Cymande’s ‘For Baby Ooh’ which is all congas and funky drawn out business with almost tribal vocals. It has been on loop all week. CD two has tracks from Brainstorm, Holland Dozier, Gene Chandler and my favourite on this set, The Heaven N’ Hell Orchestra with ‘Whatcha Gonna Do’.
If you’ve got Greg Wilson knocking on the commercial door on the right hand side of the disco scene Ashley can plant his feet firmly in the middle and please everyone from the heads to those on the floor whilst also managing to make the music sound perfect for the home. Looping and chopping, little reverbs here and there to just lift little passages and the know-how from years of experience out and about working, producing and DJing has allowed Beedle to hit all corners quite happily.
Half of the tracks here have never been on CD and they 100% haven’t been in these re-edited Beedle versions. If musically this is anywhere near your thing then this compilation will be one of the most value for money records you’re going to buy all year. It’s just great to hear Ashley spread his wings and work across the disco genres: experience earned and learned. Fine work.
The heavy disco sound of ‘Message In The Music / The Ashley Beedle Re-Edits’ is out on 10th February as a three disc set (2 CD and DVD) on Harmless Records.