Still – I

Vinyl (LP)
Pan [PAN80LP]

Jheeze. The always-on-point PAN presents the world with what might be one of their most on-point releases in absolutely ages. Picking clips for this was like trying to pick which of my children to kill, such is the overwhelming quality spread across every track on this utterly sublime LP.

The most obvious musical node to get an idea of what “I” is about would be the mutant dancehall riddims of Equiknoxx, but the comparison stops at that brief descriptor. Within this framework, Still – the musical moniker of Italian artist and musician Simone Trabucchi – constructs a musical language that draws from his desire to, in the words of the label “[unearth] the histories that connect his hometown of Vernasca to Ethiopia and Jamaica”. In order to better explore this, Trabucchi enlists the vocal abilities of six Italian-African MCs and vocalists, who lend their half of the album with a uniquely personal bent – even through the language barrier.

As mentioned above, the quality spread across every track of the LP is incredible. Opener Haile Selassie Is The Micro-Chip is something of a dark horse – it has some aesthetic suggestions of what’s to come but at its core is a beautiful, highly evocative organ-vocal duet that wouldn’t sound out of place on an ATFA or Sofrito record (save for some hi-tech electronics bubbling ever-so-quietly underneath).

Following is Bubbling Ambess (Afrikan Messiah Riddim). Like the rest of the LP, Bubbling Ambess presents a hyper-futuristic aesthetic that blends hi-tech musical electronics with the hard-stepping, low-slung grooves of dancehall. Combine this with some truly inspired vocal treatments and you have a sound that’s both familiar but uncannily other-worldly. The weirdness of all this is underscored by the fact that every track on here is a ridiculous banger, primed for dancefloor use as much as it is an album for obsessive, repeated home listens and you have what, for us, is a serious contender for album of the year.

Comes housed in a pantone-silver sleeve with printed inner sleeves, a fold-out poster and a download code.

Tracklist:
01. Haile Selassie Is The Micro-Chip
02. Bubbling Ambessa [Afrikan Messiah Riddim]
03. Nazenèt [Wasp Riddim]
04. Don’t Stop [Wondo Riddim]
05. Rough Rider
06. BANZINA [Banzina Riddim]
07. Gozpaal [Mustard Riddim]
08. Still Sound Boy Test {Interlude}
09. Mangrovia

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