Duke Dumont – Robert Talking (feat. Robert Owens)
The whole history of the journey from disco to house, told from a past master to a present master.
Douple Exposure – Everyman (Has To Carry His Own Weight)
“My favourite track ever” – Fiasco. “Not arguing with that one” – Hal Ritson.
Just-Ice (+ Mantronix) – Cold Gettin’ Dumb
Holy Crap the teenage Mantronix making grooves so fierce with his drums machines and samplers that James Brown would be jealous!
Street Life – The Crusaders
10 minutes of soul disco heaven. From the days when solos mattered!
Neneh Cherry – Buffalo Stance
Still sounding fresh 30 years later…
Zapp & Roger – More Bounce To The Ounce
Sorry can we just get the convertible out and go cruise…
The Sounds Of Blackness – Optimistic
Woke before woke was a thing. Music you can dance to that might also save your life.
Warren G – Regulate ft. Nate Dogg
Is this a guilty pleasure? I guess so. All I can say is stay late enough and I will definitely play this and no-one will complain!
The Time – Jerk Out
Note to self – spend some time learning to dance like Maurice Day…
Crazy P – Disc Odyssey
A great way to start any party. Starts with a mellow groove then slowly pushes the pressure!
The Tribe of Good
The Tribe of Good are the secret weapons behind your favourite chart hits. Imagine a present-day version of LA’s Wrecking Crew, if they hung out in Ronnie Scott’s, performed live with Dizzee Rascal and knew their way around a synthesiser.
These are the talented artists you’ve heard performing with, or on records by artists as diverse and influential as Stormzy, M.I.A., the xx, MNEK, and Kanye West. A sprawling supergroup that combines vintage soul and disco with modern production techniques, The Tribe of Good are steered by Grammy-nominated producer Hal Ritson (Chemical Brothers, Katy Perry, Duke Dumont, High Contrast).
With producers Michele Balduzzi (Phonat – OWSLA), Rich ‘Fiasco’ Adlam (Nas, Cee Lo, Taylor Swift) and Thomas Gandey (Southern Fried, Suara) in tow—alongside a cast of musicians from Basement Jaxx singer Vula Malinga and Jamiroquai guitarist Rob Harris, to Ritson’s long-time drummer Alex Reeves—the group are creating retro-futurist fireworks to light up the pop horizon.
Released via Ultra Records later this year, The Tribe of Good’s debut LP began life as “a party album” says Ritson, but as the world descended into chaos it took on new depth and meaning. The record was crafted during the initial stages of the Trump presidency, with Brexit and the #MeToo movement later sliding into view. The group’s ethos is one of unabashed positivity and brawny resistance – “feeding the light into society through music”, offers Ritson.
In the model of Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, “the music is going on in troubled times and the troubled times make their way into the music… Everything’s always affected by the world around you, so it started turning into something a bit more serious – it just didn’t seem like the time to be flippant,” says Ritson of the group’s philosophy.
First single ‘Turning It Up for The Sunshine’ introduced the band last year with a future-facing disco stomper (“It doesn’t matter if it rains all day / We’re turning it up for the sunshine.”) The Jacksons-esque ‘Broken Toys’, which showcases the prodigious talent of Eshan Gopal, “is just a silly love song”, but one guaranteed to cast a sunny spell. ‘Raise Your Head’—an uplifting string- laced jam—features lyrics intended to make the listener consider what’s going on in the world.
The group’s repertoire includes a sublime reimagining of David Bowie’s and Brian Eno’s 1977 classic, ‘Heroes’; topped with extra sprinkles of cosmic electronica. “The song’s message just seemed to resonate with what we were doing,” says Ritson. “Lyrics that had been written in a different time suddenly started to make sense in a different way in this time. It’s about resistance; you can be the hero. Don’t wait for someone else to be the hero; we can all be the heroes.”
Elsewhere, the era-spanning record boasts the kind of sonic variety you’d expect from such a range of talents coming together. Touches of ‘90s neo-soul and trip-hop beam from ‘Gotta Keep Moving On’, while ‘25 Miles from Vegas’, which features a verse from Black Legend rapper Spoonface, is shot through with AutoTune and a glitch-hop sheen. And with its ‘80s hair metal guitar histrionics-meets-the-Weeknd-style R&B, ‘Unbreakable’ will take your breath away.
These songs are the product of organic relationships rooted in years of musical collaboration. “There’s a spiritual core that’s one of strength through positivity rather than strength through aggression. Spiritual strength with a light and dark side,” says Ritson.
Ritson, a production aficionado with an arsenal of vintage gear, is the one guiding the group into the spotlight. From the environs of his south London studio, Ritson and his fellow band of producers recorded the album using 100% authentic vintage recording equipment.
“We’re tuning into every aspect of how something was done in the past whilst we record,” he explains. “We’ll pick an era and a year, a city and a studio and it’s to the nth level of geekiness – so the drummer will have their mic stand the exact amount of space away from the kit.”
The remaining of the production, mixing and mastering adheres to modern recording standards. The album was mixed by Wez Clarke—a Grammy-award winning mix engineer (Beyoncé, Jess Glynne, Clean Bandit, Craig David, Tinie Tempah)—resulting in a cutting-edge sound that looks to the future as well as the past.
“We recorded the drums live so that they sound like they did in 1972, for example, but then we’ve mixed the LP like it’s a modern electronic record,” concludes Ritson. “Musically, there’s a sense of progress where everyone’s moving to the future, but the imperfections of old recording processes just give the record that added spontaneity and integrity.”