South Londoner Swindle has been engrossed in music since childhood. Born to a musical father whose guitar playing features on this album’s ‘Outro’, and later immersing himself in Jungle and Garage, it’s no surprise that Swindle’s own productions straddle so many styles. Growing up absorbing Blues, Funk and Jazz, he melds them with the sub-heavy club tropes of Dubstep and Grime.
Swindle’s first LP for Butterz, following 2013’s ‘Long Live The Jazz’ on Deep Medi, ‘Peace, Love & Music’ channels his worldwide touring over the past two years into a captivating aural tapestry that doesn’t so much uphold UK Bass as sprout from its roots into seemingly endless directions. His global personal connections and musical experiences in places like Japan, South Africa and the Philippines create a coherent fusion of sounds that are refreshing in an age where sonic cross-pollination can often feel contrived.
Swindle’s musicianship has matured further since his last album, as evident on catchy lead single ‘London To LA’, a sun-drenched hybrid of slick P-Funk and raucous breaks. The brisk piano work and rattling percussion on jubilant number ‘Find You’ – featuring Cape Town singer Nonku Phiri – is a highlight, as is the dizzying call and response vocal/synth hooks of ‘Smoke Break’. But despite weaving so many motifs into his own form, nowhere does Swindle sound more potent than on homegrown cut ‘Mad Ting’, featuring JME. The dizzying horns – a regular feature on this record – open out into a growling bass line and frenetic spitting from the north London MC for the album’s most assertive guest appearance. From the gorgeous, floating strings on ‘Black Bird’ to the sleek bass on ‘Elevator’ featuring Bristol D&B heavyweight TC, it’s still Swindle’s commitment to an enticing melody that is his strongest facet.
Where many collaborative full-lengths feel like a cluster of cut and paste tracks recorded in disjointed times and places, ‘Peace Love & Music’ emerges as a concept album fully realised – no mean feat considering the inevitable disparity in sounds encountered with such a globetrotting project. Swindle somehow makes it all work.
‘Peace, Love & Music’ is out September 25 on Butterz. Pre-order it here.
Words: Hugo Laing