There’s an old saying that good things come in threes. Some fella called Confucius apparently can take a bit of credit for coining it. And you know what? Maybe he was onto something. So hold that thought, because the Sounds Familiar gang have decided to mark their tenth anniversary in the game with a triple drop of releases across the year.
Volume 1 (featuring the like of Dego and Kai Alce among others) arrived in April and with the year now past midway, Volume 2 has landed. It’s a pretty special set of tracks to mark the occasion. By the way, Volume 3 is lined up for Christmas, for those who want to start their Santa lists early. Each of the six pieces carries a different flavour and together they emphasise the differing elements that make up the label’s sound. There’s jazz, broken beat but also tracky, house intensity to explore.
One of the originators of that West London sound, Kaidi Tatham, opens things with the offbeat fusion of ‘Misguided Youts’. A super hooky piano line with soaring horn accompaniment shows off the Kat’s familiar virtuoso keyboard skills whilst never losing sight of the groove. Pure sunshine on wax. Carista’s ‘Love Me Right’ takes things in a harder, more minimalist direction. Squelching the equalisers on an acid-esque burner. There’s some bruk influence in there and a soul drenched vocal to balance the toughness. The aptly named ‘Summer Snow’ from Gigi Testa takes icy synths and but warms them up with uplifting house keys and blissed out bongos.
The B heads back to Ladbroke Grove - via Sao Paulo. Zopelar gives his update on the broken sound with ‘Arapuca’. A winding keyboard odyssey with a more laid back feel, cemented with chill horns to get lost in. ‘Wa Galaxy’ offers another side to the SF sound. More techno-inflected with a darker edge. Deep chords rumble overhead whilst intricate keys keep things celestial. As with all the music on this release, jazz is never far away and closer ‘Autumn’ from K15 makes for a satisfying end point. A solo piano piece, evoking the falling of leaves and the nights drawing in at Summer’s conclusion.
Sounds Familiar are two thirds towards proving Confucius right. By December, they’ll have completed that mission.