2020 saw Going Good Records further cement their relationships with France`s Nummer, and Detroit`s Rocksteady Disco crew, by securing releases from the former`s Emmanuel Corre – aka E-Talking – and the latter`s Todd Modes. Todd`s Serpent fuses the percussive Fourth World organics of his previous Cosmic Handshakes project with the jazz of Miles Davis` Dark Magus and Moodymann-esque dance-floor dynamics, while Emmanuel`s Techno Man`s Land is a sublime set of industrial-edged ambience / Drexycian electro. In a similar timeless techno vein the label also mined the archives of Sven – SVN – Riegers for the magical mechanical systems music of Mechine. Their reissue off-shoot, Midnight Drive, in turn dusted down BC`s pummeling, rattling, mid-90s big room rarity, Stronghold.
Earlier this year GGR`s Brian “Not Brian” Morrison gave me some brilliant book and film recommendations, and now I’ve asked him to look back on the music of 2020, and forward to 2021.
Could you please give me 5 to 10 pieces of music, released or reissued this year, that have helped you make it through 2020?
In no particular order, here is some of the music that made my front-room more interesting and assisted in some sort of sonic escapism from the dreaded l*ckd*wn. It seems that even though there were no clubs, bars, parties or festivals, etc., for people to physically attend, the usual wave of releases – new and new / old – showed no signs of wavering. Here’s a personal selection of music that I enjoyed. Drumroll please….
Skynet-313 – Presents: A Essential Tribute To Bill Evans The Future Of Modal Jazz.
A truly original and mysterious record. Sublime celestial techno – in the true school mode – celebrating one of Jazz’s towering giants. Records as good as this are few and far between these days.
M. Quake – Fall In Love With Yourself.
A young Eartha Kitt in candid conversation set to glistening, crystal ambience. A strange and engaging 7″ record that works both late nights and early mornings with ease. Watch out for that dub on Side B too.
The perfect synthesis of Bepe Loda / Typhoon style electronics sprinkled with kosmische, dub and industrial seasoning from the newly minted Whip+Lash imprint. Weighty. Oh, and their live show is unmissable too. Trust.
This whole record is killer but for me the highlight is Hassen Dub – a midtempo 9 minute long snaking psychedelic beast that would no doubt cause havoc in a club with a decent sound. A future classic indeed.
Ron Mathewson’s Mystery Machine – A Love Supreme.
The late Scottish Jazz bassist Ron Mathewson gives us a raw, epic and lysergic unheard rendering of John Coltrane’s evergreen standard. Ron sadly passed away at the start of this month, on December 3rd, due to COVID-19. RIP Ron.
Beautiful, majestic Scottish dub techno from 2 decades ago. A thing of mystery and immense warmth, reissued earlier in the year. A copy of this has always eluded me, and now I can own it and bask in it’s magical glow.
Hans-Joachim Roedelius – Tape Archive Essence 1973-1978.
Exactly what the title suggests. Listen to Skizze 3 „By This River“ and get lost in it’s sublimeness – tape hiss and all. An amazing collection from a truly visionary and unique artist.
Jon Collin & Demdike Stare – Sketches Of Everything.
Cavernous ambient and ancient machine essences meet beautifully played and manipulated solo guitar. An amazing collaboration from the wildly prolific and original Lancastrian DDS crew and the equally productive and exciting guitarist Jon Collin.
Muscut Records / VA – Test Pressing III.
The peerless Ukranian Muscut crew offer another selection from their extended family archives. Musique concrete, dub, ambient and post-exotica sounds abound across this brilliant LP of flawlessly curated leftfield sounds. Pure head music.
Andrew Weatherall – Pamela #1.
Four masterful tracks of that hi-tech slo-mo robo-funk from the sadly departed Lord Sabre. He was a major part of the musical glue that binds us all together and a huge cultural figure in all of our lives. A true original, never to be replaced. This whole E.P. is already a classic.
This will be hard to answer, but all being “well” what plans do you have for 2021?
Like any other year I suspect I will be entering into 2021 in a fairly mellow and unhurried fashion. In terms of DJing, I have no idea what`s going on or what to expect to be honest, we’ll have to take things as they come I suspect. This doesn’t bother me really. I represent myself and once some sense of ‘normalcy’ or stability is tangible I will start to look at that side of things and try to line up some parties… I might even put some on myself if I have the energy! Other than that, I will continue playing music, reading books and zines, watching documentaries about the Thames and riding my bicycle for my own personal wellbeing and enjoyment.
On the Going Good front, we actually have some very exciting things lined up that are in the works as we speak. I have just received some finished copies of the E-Talking Techno Man’s Land CD – which looks and sounds amazing and will be up on our Bandcamp very soon, also just before xmas I got my test pressings of the Todd Modes Serpent E.P. back – which also sounds spectacular – and will be out very soon on vinyl.
Beyond those 2 releases we have a debut LP from London outfit The Soft forthcoming – a beautiful, melodic downtempo, house and techno affair that has been a few years in the making. It’s a very special record indeed and we’re excited to be involved in that. We’re also looking at rounding out the year with another EP from our Tokyo connect Yoshinori Hayashi which is a dizzying collection of sample ridden leftfield post hip-hop (?) in Yoshi’s own idiosyncratic style.
There’s also some amazing stuff coming on Midnight Drive forthwith too, more news on that front to come in the new year.
Is there any way that I, we, others, can help and assist you in achieving these goals? Are you looking for partners for any forthcoming activities – in that sense of “if we stand together then we will survive”?
I guess the main way people can support these endeavours is to continue to check out the music, and if they like it for them to buy it and to support it, play it out, on mixes and on the radio, tell their mates, etc. I feel like we’re so spoiled these days with so much quality material coming out that if anyone takes a chance on something you’ve put together or released it really has a positive impact and means a hell of a lot, not only to us as a label, but to the artists too. We feel the support and the positivity directly and it keeps us moving and wanting to offer music we truly believe in. This is a really special situation, and one that simply doesn’t exist in the mainstream world of music. I’m still a fan – I still love discovering new artists and labels and exploring their catalogues and collecting all their releases, I still reach out to folks and tell them I’m into it and that I love what they’re doing. That’s never gonna change. Things are amazing with independent music these days – let’s all continue to bolster the underground and all of its efforts the way we have been for the last couple of years and we will continue to be treated to amazing music.
In regard to partners for forthcoming activities? There’s nobody in their right minds out there who would be mad enough to want to work with myself and Sal. We’re infernally slow at making decisions, releasing music, and the way we roll is fairly lackadaisical at best! The joys of being a DIY record label eh?
You can find Going Good and Midnight Drive`s considerable high high quality catalogue available for perusal and purchase over at Bandcamp.