2022 / A Few Favourites – By Secret Soul Society’s Cal Gibson

Super selections, and wonderful words, by Cal Gibson, of The Secret Soul Society and Scruffy Soul Recordings.

In many, many ways 2022 has not been a great year –  for reasons too starkly obvious and blindingly sad to go into. It is almost impossible to focus on joy and creativity and artistic endeavour when mass killings and political incompetence are taking place on a daily basis, but Rob and the Banbantonton crew have kindly offered this battered middle-aged soul a musical haven throughout a certifiable shitstorm of a year.

Can humans do better next year? We surely have to hope we can…

Without fail, however, I have really enjoyed reading – and discovering wonderful music – every article on the site this year – from Mike‘s Balearic reveries to Adam‘s incisive prose, The Insider‘s 4/4 low-downs and of course Rob’s inter-galactic musical knowledge and sharp-eyed insights: thanks and peace to one and all.

Here’s a few  cuts that didn’t get written about during the year but which have had plenty of spins over the months here in South Wales…I could have chosen a hundred but ten will have to do.

LUCAS / HEAVEN / EVERY CITY HAS A RHYTHM

A Bill Brewster tip-off on Bandcamp, in another universe this would be a chart-topping smash – a super-dope slice of pop-soul goodness, a low-slung dancefloor shimmy, a total ear-worm. Like my neighbour Charlie says: get some remixers on this and watch it take off. A proper chunk of funk.

LUCAS Every City Has a Rhythm

DEA BARANDANA / LICIK (TRIBUTE) / JIWA JIWA

In which a long-lost 1981 Indonesian vocoder cut gets reworked to great effect by Dea Barandana: shades of  the Neopolitan silky disco scene perhaps, served with a side order of Larry Heard. All kinds of aceness – a deep-lying dancefloor roller.

DEA BARANDANA

KARIN LIUNGMAN / MITT I UNIVERSUM / FREDERIKSBERG

A lovely reissue from the clever cats at Frederiksberg: Scandi-soul goes low-key pop, served with a side order of  melancholic moodiness a-go-go. Balearic as you like, I’d wager, and probably the album I’ve gone back to most over the year. Just lovely.

KARIN LIUNGMAN

DUDU TUCCI / SHAKEHANDS (PETER CROCE REMIX) / ROCKSTEADY DISCO

My favourite remix of the year landed early in January: Brazilian magic reversioned for the early hours, bump n’ hustle music par excellence. A cracking label all round, everything Rocksteady Disco whack out is worth checking, but you know that already, right?

DUDU TUCCI

JENNIFER SOUZA / NA PONTA DOS PES / 180G

Another beautiful album of sweetly constructed soul feels with a Brasileiro touch: not too much going on, but what there is, is perfectly judged. Clever as you like, but you’d never guess. Beleza! Again, an album that repays repeated spins – sweeter than honey and a veritable balm for the soul.

Jennifer Souza

MATTHEW HALSALL / A JAPANESE GARDEN IN ETHIOPA / GONDWANA

There’s been so much great music released on Gondwana this year – and every year) but sneaking in near the end of 2022 was a lovely EP from the label’s main man himself: poised, beautiful, soul-searching themes, and a gentleness that flows over you like a cooling breeze – nobody does it better. A corker of an E.P.

MATTHEW HALSALL : A JAPANESE GARDEN IN ETHIOPA

GLENN FALLOWS AND MARK TREFFEL / MOOGS OVER JUPITER / MR BONGO

From Brighton with love: another cool collection of stately atmospheriques from Glenn and Mark: music that takes its time, goes off for a wander round the park, comes back and whacks on a brew. Wistful, whimsical, wishing-you-were-here type vibes: everything they turn their hands to is spot on.

Moogs Over Jupiter

ISAAC BIRITURO & THE RAIL ABANDON / BAWA / WAH WAH 45S

Dom Servini’s label has long been a byword for immaculate curation, with the Small Small longplayer that dropped in the summer absolutely in key with the worldwide futurama-ramalama vibe that Dom pushes. Bawa is a dancefloor blitz, a quick-quick-slow reel around the Afro-fountain: incroyable!

Bawa

ALAN SHEARER / NOCTURNAL MARCH / FAVORITE

In which Gary Lineker’s chum dons his producer’s pants and lets rip with the Arps. Ah…imagine that. It’s actually a French library reissue from 1985, but it’s a whole heap of fun: Favorite have been strong again this year, with plenty of great stuff given the old Gallic shrug treatment. Shearer’s vibe is cool and deadly: machines making out and getting down and sounding, well, very 2022.

Nocturnal March

JULES BRENNAN / ARCHIPELAGO

Kyoto’s resident displaced Britfunkster had another great year, pumping out unclassifiable jazz/funk/beats business from his musical hideaway. Expect the unexpected always from the man with the fantastically fleet fingers: no musical stone remains unturned as east meets west and gets right on it matey. There’s more ideas in Archipelago than most longplayers manage: it’s a kind of magic, or summat….

Jules Brennan Archipelago

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