This may well have slipped under the radar, and it’s good reason to get a bit excited. Chillosophy is the new chillout sub-label from Son Kite’s MPDQX/Digital Structures, and if you remember those staggering Chillosophy compilations from a few years back, you’ll probably know what to expect: cerebral, warming downtempo music that’s good for the head and the heart.
From the opening strains of Pan Electric’s Sweet As Rain, you know you’re in for a high-quality, crystalline experience. Ooze makes a welcome return – Seb Son Kite’s downtempo project – collaborating with Tishk on Random Wondrous Things. Best described as intelligent jazz-pop-hop, with vocals that sound like Martine off the early Tricky albums singing lyrics that actually contain meaning, all laid over a dubby pizzicato glitch.
Analogik’s Because is straight out of a Mediterranean beach bar, Fingertwister’s I Remember Jah is pure sparsey summer dub bliss, and Gaudi’s remix of Omnimotion’s Japan is metropolitan triphop for the manga generation.
There is a turkey on the menu: Dab Screen’s otherwise-good Keep Your Fire Burning ruined by the catty, scratchy vocals of Irina Mikhailova. I just cannot get on with this woman’s voice, and the tune’s position at track eight means forever having to get up and skip it; its effect on the album’s flow is considerable. I can’t quite put my finger on who she sounds like (Sophie Ellis-Bextor through a fuzzbox is close) but the sheer over-affectedness of the way she presents her – no doubt capable – voice, is an embarrassment.
Trotter gets things fully back on track with the dazzlingly good Kalesh: side-scrolling digidub with a great depth to the production. Kritikal Audio’s Krupp is bloody good once again, like a glitchier Bluetech and sounds that never sit still for more than a third of a second. Anders Ilar takes things further into the minimal vortex with the sublimely discordant Moments Are Too Short, and Icotec’s Relic is a shimmering example of exactly what good chillout music should be about.
With Dollboy’s Cicadas rounding off in a sparkly, can’t-believe-it’s-not-a-dream flavour, the whole package is a good one. Lose Irina and you have a perfect album; but even as things are the attention, the love, and the quality that’s behind this makes it as damn near essential as chillout releases come.