Ah, Brownswood. One of the most stable names in this here modern era of music. By now you’re certainly familiar with the label, whether through the likes of Gilles Peterson or otherwise. We’ve seen a fair share of artists come and go from its roster over the years, and yet the quality of music produced by this label simply never wanes. And while Brownswood has mostly come to be known as the open genre/world label through its numerous jazz, funk, and nu-soul releases, no description of Brownswood is complete without mention of its collection of electronic music. Which brings us to this – the highly anticipated Brownswood Electr*c 2.
Carrying with the Brownswood tradition, the artists that appear here have been gathered from around the globe, with an equally diverse sound to match. Some names are newcomers, while others have more of a certain footprint in the world of electronic music (Funk Ethics, AEED). It’s a true scattershot representation of the genre’s finest, yet the album is brought together with ultimate cohesiveness and care for a tremendous resulting sound.
Yet somehow, it’s actually quite fitting that this album is a compilation in every sense of the word (a compilation of artists, musical tastes, geographies, etc…), because electronic music is itself a sort of compilation, drawing from pre-existing genres and songs. And that’s evident here. Anenon’s “Shifts” lulls the listener into a hypnotic trance, only to be followed by the irresistibly danceable “Automatic” from DJG. Then there’s DJ Dials’ “Pillowforts”, which sends the listener on a ethereal ride into outer space on the waves of some sweet synths and chopped vocals. The true highlight here is Frederic Robinson’s “Mood Swings”, with an ambient opening that unfolds into somewhat of a Middle Eastern-inspired glitch-hop joint that latches onto the listener’s eardrums, begging for the repeat button.
Ultimately, Brownswood Electr*c 2 impresses because it showcases not only the intelligence of electronic music, but also its entertainment factor. If it wasn’t clear before, this record is an outrageously good time. And the variety of sounds and influences in each track means that there’s almost certainly something here for everyone.