This brilliant new M. Quake 12” has me all misty-eyed for Low Company, the much-missed record shop operated by Blackest Ever Black’s Kiran Sande and friends. Opening in 2017, Low Company was a vital local spot for outer reaches music wedged amusingly between the many yoga studios, professional dog walkers and vegan food markets of Hackney Downs Studios before a self-described ‘shopocalypse’ saw them shutter in 2020.

Beyond the regular floods, comfy vintage seating for non-interested partners and regular in-store parties featuring Regis, Wah Wah Winos, Moopie, golden pudelers among others, a key facet of Low Company’s Red Stripe-sodden charm was their always on-point, wryly-penned but passionate about music mailouts. This was how I discovered the first M. Quake 7”, a ‘screwed concrète rework’ of Eartha Kitt called ‘Fall in Love with Yourself’ that slipped out back on Valentine’s Day, 2020 (love lockdown?) and swiftly found its way into my and many others affections.

M. Quake is the work of Tarquin Manek, a Melbourne/Naarm musician and one of those head-scratchingly prolific artists who has put out all manner of scruffy, abstracted DIY electronics across a number of projects and pseudonyms. Many of them for the aforementioned Blackest Ever Black. He even closed out Low Company’s associated, now-folded record label last year with the brilliant Static Cleaner Lost Reward album. Go check that if you missed it. Huge TP favourite*

*TP as in moi not Test Pressing….

Four years on and 'Annie U R A Bird', this second M Quake Valentine’s Day missive has arrived and it finds Manek tackling Annie Lennox’s ‘Little Bird,’ co-opting Jonine Standish of HTRK for vocal duties on a fully zonked refix-come-homage. Far removed from the early ‘90s pop standard original, we’re deep in the dub dreamer zone here,Manek really working the mixing desk over a heavy, crunching 90 BPM beat for nine blissful minutes. Laptop speakers really don’t do the bass justice. It’s the presence of Jonine’s vocals - and how they are used - that make this a truly special cut tho. Anyone familiar with HTRK records or Jonine’s solo work doesn’t need me telling them how dreamy her vocals are ("Chinatown Style” anyone?) but the way they get deployed here as both heavily phased lead and backing coos and ahhs that weave in and around the mix? So good mate. Track of the year contender!

Complementing this, a B-side instrumental extends the groove out by a few minutes and lets the grumbling bass run free. To be honest, this version doesn’t do a great deal beyond happily riding out the vibe, though the edges do feel like they’re slowly melting away as the track progresses. Will be loads of fun to mess around with the vocal and instrumental versions

M Quake's 'Annie U R A Bird' is out now on Purely Physical Teeny Tapes. Head HERE to the Bandcamp.