Thursday, January 10, 2013

The January Sound: Jakarta Records

Jakarta Records hails from Cologne. They spread from afrojazz to hip hop - they hit a lot in between. They have a classy homepage, designed like an old-time newspaper, with videos, links, downloads, blogs (check it out). All this places them solidly in the arc of French and German labels with eclectic artist bases that have popped up in the last decade.
But there's more to the story than that. Notice that they host only a few artists at one time. Among them are names we know - Blitz the Ambassador, Akua Naru - breakthrough African hip-hop with acclaim enough to attest to the success of Jakarta Records. That is to say, Jakarta Records has an unbelievable quality to their production and an unparalleled grasp of instrumentation on the part of their signees. I speak not in hyperbole. Check out their Soundcloud - every single song merits a searching out and a download.
It's not my place to speak of what makes good soul, and good disco. But my understanding is this: it does not anticipate itself, but rather allows a listener to wander in a soundscape of the instrumentation, not desperate for a chorus to keep the groove going. It shares that with jazz. And so I must say, this is a visionary label, and they have captured the January Sound on the Electric Mississippi. Enjoy the reggae-disco grooves of Lord Echo's "Thinking of You" and Fabulous and Arabia's "Up to My Neck in Shit." Dope realness on the river - there's something at work here.