Blue-in-Green:RADIO

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

'Music 4 Alternative Souls' [2xCD Extended Edition] by DJ Simon S



'Music 4 Alternative Souls', the 2018 album release from DJ Simon S, finds itself the subject of Futuristica Music's year-long celebrations and revisiting of classic records from the labels hallowed walls with the release of the album on 2-disc hardcopy for the first time.


The name *Simon S* is synonymous with so many varying music-making facets - as the founder of Futuristica Music, as a revered producer and remixer, world class DJ, and as an artist releasing music under a variety of guises and an artist with an incredible catalogue as a contributor to various musical collectives.  Dating all the way back to those early days as one-third of the low-fi, hip-hop inspired, Break Reform, Simon has consistently relished the opportunity through subsequent collectives to tap into different aspects of his own musical inspirations - Alexis Davis (alongside rapper Replife and producers Mecca:83 and Spinnerty) showcased a prevalent hip-hop aesthetic throughout their releases while Sun Circle - Simon's union with vocalist and Futuristica's First Lady Deborah Jordan - found itself comfortably at home within more nu-soul inspired soundscapes.


And outside of those collectives, Simon's pertinent alter ego of Jazz Chronicles - over the course of three full-length releases - has successfully sought to intertwine his affections for hip-hop-styled production with jazz samples in line with the golden era greats like DJ Premier, Q-Tip and Pete Rock.  The jazz-meets-hip-hop aesthetic would then embrace the next step in its evolving explorations through the Peter Franks Group which saw Simon embrace more live instrumentation into the compositions, again, providing a further avenue for his musical adventures.


Perhaps the most notable point about 'Music 4 Alternative Souls', however, is the fact that after having made music for well-over twenty years, this album serves as the first full-length project bearing the name *Simon S* officially as a solo artist in his own right.  Initially released in 2018, 'Music 4 Alternative Souls' is a glaring culmination of everything that came before it - an eclectic and joyous mish-mash of styles and genres brought to life through a thrilling guest list of Futuristica label mates and long-term affiliates all gracing productions that genuinely rank among Simon's best ever work.


The mesmeric 'Beautiful' kicks the project off in exquisite fashion featuring vocals from Electric Conversation's Oz who lends his vocal talents to a further two tracks on the album; the phenomenal 'Lately' with a great vocal from Nicola Kramer is a certified show-stealer and one of those aforementioned flawless productions that the album boasts so much of, and then of course we have the official introduction to the immeasurable talents of Georgie Sweet.  With Sweet's own 'Misunderstood' album still two years away at this time, her contributions to the tracks 'Half Human' (which would ultimately find a home on 'Misunderstood' as well) and 'Sunshine Through The Trees' certainly whet appetites for the gems that everyone had realised to expect from this fantastic artist.


What Bandcamp - and this reissue - have thankfully done is to present the album in its original iteration alongside all of the remixes that were unveiled in support of the project at the time.  Re-imaginings from Futuristica stalwarts including K15, Mecca:83 and aCatCalledFritz provide exciting new dimensions to the originals of 'For You', 'Beautiful' and 'Looking' respectively.  Once again though, it's 'Lately' that stands tall amongst the pack, this time, thanks to Marc Rapson's luxurious transformation of the hip-hop-heavy number into a nu-soul treasure.


While, to date, 'Music 4 Alternative Souls' remains the one-and-only album release attributed to Simon S, 'What Goes Around' featuring LaNote - a fantastic track housed on the 'Futuristica 15' compilation - teases that a further release could be on the way which we'll await with high expectations.  But from whatever name he chooses to unveil new releases by, music from Simon S, Jazz Chronicles or Peter Franks is always lovingly presented and striving to explore new ideas and concepts from a tirelessly prolific and brilliant vision.


Over the course of Futuristica's fifteen year celebrations this year, we've been fortunate enough to revisit their past projects like 'Messages' by Rise and 'Dark vs Light' by Marc Rapson.  With Futuristica Music continually finding its way to new listeners, 'Music 4 Alternative Souls' really can't be an album from the label's catalogue that passes you by so make the most of this rare opportunity to secure a hardcopy of this classic release.

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