Roo's Record Round Up: 2020
It seems pretty crazy that a whole year has passed since the last 'Roo's Record Round Up', and what a year it turned out to be. It truly has been a year of ups and downs, and has only reminded us of the value of music even more.
Anyway, here we are again back with Roo's favourite albums, EP's and singles of the year, some familiar faces from our Bandcamp Friday roundups, whilst others are brand new entries on the list, with everything from deep, soulful grooves to electro funk, balearic, breaks, trance and more. This year it's mainly direct Bandcamp links, so go support where you can!
30. Aheloy! - Theory 002 [Club in Theory]
This one was included in my previous Bandcamp round up but definitely charts in my favourite releases of the year. Number 2 on Club In Theory comes from Poland's Aheloy! Following a great debut release from A.M.S & Dog World! this one is full of floaty atmospherics and squelching acid lines.
29. Turbojazz & Sean McCabe - Wanna Dance ft. Javonntte [Last Forever Records]
A grooving release from soulful house royalty Sean McCabe and Turbojazz with the wonderful Javonntte on vocals. I mean it's all in the name, it does just make you want to dance.
28. Eluize - Gone [Cragie Knowes]
Hailing from Berlin, Eluize is definitely one to watch with releases on the likes of Lost Palms and her own label Night Tide. Her 'Gone' LP saw her returning to Cragie Knowes for her second release with a sublime creation incorporating acidic touches, haunting vocals and electro influences.
27. Mr. Ho & Mogwaa - ‘義理’ EP [Klasse Wrecks]
A label that have dropped so many great releases throughout this year and which almost with our fail have landed in my round ups, whether that's in my Merch round up with the bible bound collection of obscure record label logos, or through their vinyl represses, they truly have made this year better. This one includes electro funk, crisp pads, rich bass grooves and grumbling acid as label co founder Mr. Ho links up virtually with South Korean producer Mogwaa.
26. Hazy House Vol 1 - Seb Wildblood [All My Thoughts]
This is what dreams are made of with label head Seb Wildblood conjuring up a floaty, hazy and shimmery universe.
25. Bobo - I Know EP [Mixing Mates]
Slipping in a Halcyon Wax premiere here (and more to come). I found it very difficult to choose just one Bobo release after the year he's had. The debut release on the Manchester based label Mixing Mates is perhaps his most diverse offering with everything from blissed out ambient to club ready techno.
24. Trip Advisor - SDS Max [Erbium Records]
SDS Max's 'Trip Adivsor' was one of the Halcyon reviews I put together this year, coming from Brum based label Erbium Records and pulls on influences from trance, rave and house. It's one of those EP's which makes you long for life before COVID, with both 'Midday in Brixton' and 'After's At Gav's' begging to be played on a big sound system.
23. RFX - Nu New Beat Vol. 1 [Fauve Records]
I'm not sure what is about Fauve Records but I've been utterly captivated by all the releases with their ability to transport you to landscapes across the world and indeed to those beyond it as well. This one is a nod to a universe with leather boots, illegal parties and Mad Max, if that has captured your attention you know where to find it (hint, below).
22. VA - Spheres of Sound [Shifting Spheres]
Our biggest achievement of the year as Shifting Spheres was launching the label side of things, a big shout to Mystique for playing such a huge role in this. This really was an ode to the undiscovered womxn and non binary talent that exists across the electronic spectrum and hopefully an inspiration to people of these groups who are looking to get involved in the industry. (DO IT!)
21. Wendel Sield - Entity EP
A creation which just oozes spirituality with shimmering keys atop delicate bongo patterns, alongside a remix from Trinidadian Deep.
20. Tenderlonious - Quarantena [22a]
An absolutely wonderful and uplifting collection of songs which indeed were a staple in my quarantine days, marked by Tenderlonious' gorgeous flute melodies.
19. Solar Suite - Field of View EP [Echocentric Records]
Lots of Australian artists on my round up, although this comes from the Helsinki based label Echocentric Records. We were delighted to premiere 'Sad Machine' from Solar Suite's debut on the label a few months back, which is a euphoric creation that is tinged with melancholy. The whole EP is excellent and draws on elements of electro, trance and breakbeat.
18. Midnight Tenderness - Digi Modes [Butter Sessions]
Another aussie producer, Midnight Tenderness is next up, and is truly is one of my favourite producers with his unique blends of funk, electro and dubby textures. As I said in my previous Bandcamp roundup I just cannot get enough of his silky and jazzy-alien infused synths.
17. B'Zircon (Roza Terenzi & Fantastic Man) - Lazulination EP w/ Perko Remix [Kalahari Oyster Cult]
Roza Terenzi AND Fantastic Man, what a treat. This one is technically yet to be released, however, I've sneaked it in the roundup because firstly, it's a great track packed with ravey stabs, a jacking beat and trance-y atmospherics and secondly because you can get one track from the EP already. You just know this one is going to go down well in a club setting.
16. Cody Currie & Joel Holmes - Metropolis [Toytonics]
This duo were in my last yearly roundup, and here they are back again still making great house music infused with the wonderful jazzy keys of Joel Holmes.
15. Gary Gritness - Rollin Zebra's [Casa Voyager]
Casa Voyager have been churning out so many amazing releases this year and this is up there with my favourites. Electro which is absolutely dripping in funk, what more can you ask for?
14. VA - Ordinary Dreams Vol 1 [Planet Trip Records]
This is just a beautiful collection of laid back, Balearic infused jams, to whisk us away from dismal England to beautiful shores with the sun beaming down.
13. Peaky Beats & Eliza Rose - Into The Night [Peaky Beats]
When I stumbled across this one on SoundCloud it was immediately in my bag, as I was captived by Peaky beats sparkling keys and Eliza Rose's divine vocals over a garage beat. An anthem that gave me a little insight into what this summer could have been, and what future summers (hopefully!) will be.
12. Manuel Darquart - The Adriatic EP [Infinite Pleasure]
I've managed to play every side of this record in recent mixes, radio shows and the odd gig, since I copped it earlier this year. It's pure Balearic paradise with grooving basslines, blissful pan flutes and the classic exotic call of the loon.
11. Jay Sound - Playlist to Paradise LP
Detroit's Jay Sound is definitely one to watch, and we have a very special mix and interview coming from him in 2021 which I am extremely excited to drop. 'Playlist to Paradise' took 3 years in the making, it's super deep, very detroit and calls on influences from New Age, 80s and Jazz fusion.
10. VA - One For the Shelter [Blaq Numbers]
I had the absolute pleasure of contributing towards Blaq Numbers second compilation release of the year when label head Matthias asked me to put together a description for the release. This release saw Blaq Numbers raising a glass to Takis Shelter - an amazing charity which focuses on caring for abandoned dogs and cats across Crete - and showcases everything from blissed out jazz, funked up house, rich balearic trips and a little sprinkle of joy inducing disco.
9. Byron the Aquarius - Ambrosia [Axis Records]
I included this one in one of my Bandcamp roundups when it was just a preview and predicted that it was going to be great, and boy was I right. It's an album I've had on repeat and is a mixture between straight jazz and soulful house, and was recorded under the supervision of Jeff Mills. Right up my street.
8. Space Ghost - Time To Dance [Tartlet Records]
This is another EP that I've been making sure to play at the few gigs I have manged to play this year. There's something just so incredibly uplifting and transformative about the release.
7. Jawn Rice & Fred Fades - Luv Neva Fades [Mutual Intentions]
Another brilliant release from the Norwegian label Mutual Intentions. This is what house is all about, soulful, deep, warm and a collaboration between lots of great artists, especially in the title track 'Luv Neva Fades' .
6. Reptant - Phasic Reflex [Kalahari Oyster Cult]
For those eagle eyed viewers, this is the second Kalahari Oyster Cult release on my list. (or for those that are not so, now you do know). This has been a staple in so many mixes this year (mine included). Squelchy acid meets electro soundscapes.
5. Detroit's Filthest - Premium Content [Casa Voyager]
Another producer who has absolutely killed it this year (and previous years at that), and who has featured in a lot of my mixes is Detroit's Filthest. This is my personal favourite from 2020, it's just soo rich and sultry, the rhodes are absolutely twinkling and it just works brilliantly over the crunchy electro beats.
4. Kamaal Williams - Wu Hen [Black Focus Records]
Kamaal Williams back doing what he does best, this truly is a sublime album.
3. Mr President Feat. Cindy Pooch - One Night [Favourite Recordings]
I recently saw Dave Lee commenting that no one makes any disco/funk nowadays. Mr. President aka Bruno Hovart proves this wrong and is in fact behind so many great projects which are pushing this sound including Uptown Funk Empire, who i listen to reguarly, Voilaaa and The Dynamics. A big shout to Naconda for showing me this EP, it truly is phenomenal and you can really feel the influences of the likes of Roy Ayers in the tracks.
2. The Colours That Rise - Grey Doubt (Rhythm Section International)
The No 2 spot this years comes from The Colours That Rise on Rhythm Section. I first saw the duo a few years back at the Jazz Cafe supporting Wolf Muller and have been following them closely ever since. I was super excited when they announced their debut album which was rightly up for DJ Mag's Album of the Year. A gorgeous combination of soul, jazz, funk and intergalactic goodies. A personal favourite is 'Deep Space', a simply delicious groove with alien atmospherics and crunchy claps. The track is ‘Inspired by the theory that there are black people living on Mars’, similar to the ideas of Parliament and Sun Ra, and you can definitely feel the influences of such groups in their music.
1. Nightwork EP - Ben Hauke Feat. Joe Armon-Jones (YAM Records)
And here it is, the no 1 spot for 2020 goes to Ben Hauke with his Nightwork EP on YAM Records. Back in my Bandcamp round up in July I stated it was my favourite EP of the year so far and it's remained that way ever since. Every time I listen to it, it excites me with its distinct London flavour and innovative mix between deep house and improvisational jazz. Plus Joe Armon Jone's divine keys are absolutely to die for.