Sounds of the Universe

Oh yes, UK funky is well and truly back in 2011 as these two massive cuts show. Ok, that’s not strictly true as they were both released in 2010. Also, if we’re going to get technical they’re probably not even UK funky; you’ll see from the comments  on the Duffstep track that some of the youtubers are having a right old ding-dong over whether it’s future garage, or post-dubstep, or UK bass, or Josh Ackland’s spunky back-pack.  The obsession with sub-genre has always bedeviled electronic music more than any other.  It’s something to do with the anonymity of the artist; without a face, style or personality for fans to attach themselves to (in the way they do with bands) they identify themselves in terms of the musical style, which leads to a very fractured market and some very odd names. I’m sure I recall flicking through a copy of Mixmag about 10 years ago and discovering a genre called “is this tech-house?”, replete with question mark, but I may have dreamed it because it’s hard to believe that even a dance music journalist would come up with something so stupid.

I prefer Roots Manuva’s take on it – “Genre. What genre? There is only two kinds of music. Corporate thraffing make a quick buck music and music to feed hungry souls” and there’s no better embodiment of this distinction than Sounds of the Universe, a record shop  in Soho owned by the Soul Jazz label, who deal only in the latter category. There are few better feelings than walking into a record shop and picking out a couple of 12″s on the basis of what’s written on the sticker, only to whack em on the deck and find you’ve got a couple of stone-cold classics banging at your eardrums. This is one of those rare record shops where the staff know their music inside out but manage to convey it without a condescending sneer or withering glare. Hell, they’ll even let you listen to a record without making you feel like you’ve just asked if you can sodomize their mother. The descriptions are spot-on and, free from the usual hyperbole, will normally tell you if it’s the kind of record you’re looking for or not. Furthermore, on the counter they have the best collection of reggae 7″s  you’ll see this side of the Caribbean Sea.

Back to the matter in hand, it was these two gems that were purchased today. Needless to say some of the magic is lost in the vinyl-to- digital translation but hopefully not enough to deflect from the irresistible bass-driven funk madness of both tracks. And try not to worry about genre 😉 In the words of youtube user 11Fl0oW11, “maybe we shouldn’t classify music, we should just feel it”. true dat.

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