The folks at Warm / Re: Warm – Ali Tillett and Micky Browne – have a real find here. Small’s album, Don’t Leave Me In The Rain, is a super strong reissue, a joyful gem, which was originally released in Johannesburg, in 1991. I’ll be honest and say that, personally, a lot of the electronic music produced in 1990s South Africa is little too sweet for me, but nothing on this record is saccharine. Plus it seems significantly more polished, and a lot less pop, than other stuff I’ve heard.
The 8 tracks all feature irresistible bass-lines and uplifting piano, and are split, roughly 50:50, into mid and uptempo movers. Of the former, Happy Song is a standout. With choral vocals exuding a gospel positivity to rival Sounds Of Blackness, it’s sure to become an end-of-the-night anthem in several circles.
The largely synthetic instrumentation, in some places, lends pieces, such as the title cut, a hint of burger highlife, or a zouk-y, edge. There are euphoric blasts of bionic brass on Without You, and Keep On Trying swaps the arms-in-the-air keys for jazzy / blues-y guitar. The soulful Melody Of Love recalls early Blaze, while Make My Life comes on like classic DJ International – something by Peter Black, or Joe Smooth. A mix of both chant, and song, it’s a massive dance-floor moment, that seriously deserves to crossover (someone please send Pete Tong a text).
Small’s Don’t Leave Me In The Rain is out now, on Re:Warm.