Going Good is a label that does things at its own pace. An unhurried release schedule, tracks left to marinate, things happen when they feel right. It operates staunchly outside of the fickle winds of fashion. Despite that, it's kind of easy to overlook how many artists Brian and Sal worked with at the start of their careers, both through the label and its distribution arm. Aquarian Foundation, Jayda G and The Mystic Jungle Tribe, to name a few.
Their 16th release comes from Detroit's Todd Modes. Going Good have previous with him, having released the stellar Cosmic Handshakes LP from Modes and Blair French back in 2018. Todd, too, is a man unafraid to plough his own furrow, so whilst record store racks are filled with IDM and breakbeat knock-offs, the 'Serpent EP' is quite the other thing. All too often, it feels like modern music has decided what it wants to be before it has decided what it wants to say. The music is the message rather than the medium. This record is somewhat retro-leaning, with the nearest and laziest comparison being the disco experimentation of Dinosaur L or the wildly creative first burst of UK 90s disco innovators. Still, it's also totally its own thing.
Eschewing the blocky rigidity of computer music, these 4 pieces of music feel more like jams. But there's not an ounce of fat here - no noodle, no self-indulgent posturing, nothing outstays its welcome. Each one wears its influences lightly and comfortably - the sound of someone who's lived and breathed the good stuff of music for decades. So the record touches on dub, jazz, house, and new-age stylings - it's rich, psychedelic, and profoundly groovy stuff.
'Serpent' is a deep drift through the bong smoke - loose percussion, subtle dubbing, slide guitar, and distant voices. There's a nod toward Go Bang, but this is less of a wild carnival and more a hypnotic trip for mind and body. 'Rain Ritual' takes down the tempo - ethereal beauty and the musicianship really shines. This is some blissed-out gear for real.
'Time Layers' cruises on funky discoid chug, propulsive bassline, and edgy chanting. One for the heads for sure. We close out with 'Shedding Skin,' a meditative, arpeggiated ride underscored by that ever-present percussive shuffle.
So there you have it, for my money, one of the finest pieces of new music this year has seen. Assured, classy stuff that's both immediately rewarding and warrants deeper listening. Mega-tip. Get it.
'Serpent EP' is out soon on Going Good Records