101 songs that prove 2017 wasn’t entirely awful after all

Don’t worry, there’s no Lil Pump/Big Shaq/Katy Perry/Chris & Kem/Ed Sheeran here.

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2017 has been quite a year. To celebrate three things – its musical goodness, me finally getting things in order on these pages, and a year of better playlisting that’s allowed me to bring all the best bits together without it taking approximately a million years – here’s a collection of 101 of the best songs it’s spawned. There’ll be many more words, playlists, and things appearing here over the coming months, especially if I can figure out how to make Spotify embeds look as nice on WordPress as they can elsewhere, so do say hello if there’s anything you think I’ve missed.

Continue reading “101 songs that prove 2017 wasn’t entirely awful after all”

Album review: Mura Masa – Mura Masa

Uniting the sides with an electronic sheen, the Guernsey-born producer strikes an improbable balance between high-octane party nous and heartwrenching displays of soul.

Originally published in The Edge

Two years on from his impeccable breakout Someday Somewhere EP, much has changed for young Alex Crossan. Although his studio is still a speakerless laptop in his bedroom, his CV boasts a reputation as one of the most versatile electronic artists around, a healthy festival pedigree that’s seen him quietly shimmer through performances at Coachella and Glastonbury (and even his local Wild Life), a pair of self-hosted shows on Beats 1 that have acted as a showcase for his Anchor Point imprint, and an enviable phonebook that reaches from A$AP Rocky to Damon Albarn.

On Mura Masa, his first major label full-length, so prominent are these pals that the names of the 10 who feature adorn its cover alongside an image of Crossan at a 30° tilt whilst looking rather glum. Such an image isn’t necessarily most illustrative of what’s inside: 45 minutes of gleeful hedonism on the theme of love brought to life with his crisp, harp-soaked glue. Its production is dense and effervescent right from opener ‘Messy Love’ – one of only two truly solo ventures alongside the minute-long acoustic prairie interlude ‘give me The ground’ – which establishes the impulsive and passionate tone lyrically (“Take me, break me / Use me for your messy love,” he yearns through a liberal slathering of Auto-Tune) and atmospherically. Continue reading “Album review: Mura Masa – Mura Masa”

Festival review: Wild Life 2017

Three years in, Disclosure and Rudimental’s south coast weekender continues to show just how much music organisers can cram into a minute airfield, even if it does start to feel like three festivals in one.

Originally published in The Edge

Boarding a train to Shoreham-by-Sea whilst running on about two hours of sleep and with only two-thirds of a malt loaf for company, it’s fair to say that the only tangible spurs of any modicum of festival spirit within me on the way to Wild Life were the bizarrely resplendent south coast weather and the promise of the musical goodness to be found within its fenced-off portion of Brighton City Airport. Eventually, mid-afternoon merriment did make itself known – many a Corona-grasping young person joined the service to the point that I assumed the beer bottles were the festival’s answer to wristbands, and within five minutes of walking from the station the more wild side of the crowd had made itself known by urinating into four separate bushes – but where the festival spearheaded by Disclosure and Rudimental flourishes is certainly in its performance offerings, fitting four substantial stages into a very compact layout. Continue reading “Festival review: Wild Life 2017”