Last November, Cork DJ and producer Colm K released a downtempo EP. For 2017’s equivalent release on All City Records, the Heights EP offers a wider range of upbeat sounds informed by his love of love of soul, house and jazz along with dancefloor cuts.
The four tracker kicks off with grooved thump of ‘Seeing’, there’s the laid-back blunted beats of ‘Water’, the house spun ‘Affinity’ and the short jazz-inflected closer ‘Affinity’.
“I grew up in a place called Silverheights, Mayfield. Hence the name of the EP. The music on here represented musically where I came from and Cork’s fusion of Soul, Rare Groove, Hip Hop and House. Cover art is by Cork born artist Conor Harrington. Shots of a work in progress which resonated with me, and fitted perfectly with the music, and I’m very grateful to him for allowing me to use it!”
“How lucky is Cork to have that dude? Hip-hop MVP of the country for years now. Obviously he does so much sterling grunt work setting up gigs and keeping things ticking over like the underground trooper he is, but his artistry is so damn high-level. DJ-wise, on a modern hip-hop tip, there’s not many out there better, it’s a world class standard he’s at. And if you live in Cork he’s probably playing in a pub near you right now. Lucky bastards.” – Naive Ted, Evening Echo, February 2017
Cork is a city that has more than a few ‘lifers’, people that have often provided or embodied the bottom line for their favourite genres of music in the city and made sure the grounds were fertile for growth when the time was right. Justin O’Donnell, better known to you as DJ Jus’Me, has been one of those people for hip-hop in Cork over the years.
Honing his craft as a skratchologist in his own right before being part of globe-trotting funk outfit The Impressionists, JusMe then set about establishing The Hobo Convention, a regular DJ gig that doubled as a record stall around Cork City, oftentimes with stock coming from O’Donnell’s own extensive stash. In 2015, after a spate of successful hip-hop shows in the city following a long depression for the genre, he assembled and co-founded the Cuttin’ Heads Collective.
A multi-headed beast of promoters, DJs, rappers, beatsmiths and genre enthusiasts, the Collective has, for the last two years, provided a platform and a space to grow for hip-hop in the city, coinciding with a new generation of MCs and beatmakers, and working with venues to create new spaces for the genre in Cork. In that regard, it shares a kindred spirit with IndieCork festival, both operating on the basis of maintaining independent culture in the city, and the two groups made perfect tag-team partners for the Leeside premiere of The Truth About Irish Hip-Hop documentary last month.
In addition to providing a stage for the live premiere for Spekulativ Fiktion and Mankyy’s new EP (and help bag the pair this year’s IndieCork Music Award), O’Donnell dug into his collection and presented a feat of curation that’s seldom been attempted – a live history of Irish hip-hop on vinyl. Speaking on the topic in this Thursday’s Evening Echo, he says: “There are so few Irish hip-hop things that have made it on to vinyl. It was really all about presenting what’s there in a way that worked. There’s all the old All City stuff which obviously featured heavily. They really defined the sound of Irish Hip Hop in the early 2000s.”
Jus’Me’s The History of Irish Hip-Hop on Vinyl mix
Melodica Deathship – Hol Vaallhaalla Deviant & Naive Ted – Old To The New Messiah J and the Expert – For Some Disgusting Reason Colm K – I Gotcha Solar Bears – Dolls SertOne – Lego Dirk Thornton – Run Relevence – Mushee Peas Ghost and Jay – Straight & Direct Colm K – It Ain’t Hard To Tell Dirk Thornton – Cat Walk T-Woc – Como Vai Robo RíRá – 25 O’Clock In The Morning Creative Control – The Dose Hazo – Trippin’ Through My Mind Fish Go Deep & Stevie G – The Jazz O’Liffey Cousins – Stop Fantasizin’ Creative Control – Check The Vision Exile Eye – Forward On Scary Eire – That’s No Good To Me Troubled Soul – Ghost Writer Deviant & Naive Ted feat Sebi C – More War Scary Eire – Dole Q
The Cuttin’ Heads Collective celebrates its second anniversary this weekend with its now-traditional two-dayer festival. Day 1, at the Poor Relation, sees live appearances from Lakerama, Clerk 5 and more, Naive Ted on decks, and hosting duties fulfilled by Ray “Wingnut” Cuddihy and Shaool of This Side Up. 8pm kickoff, €12 in, free pints for the first 80 in the door. Day 2 sees the CHC residents take decks in the Vicarstown Bar from 4 to close, and is free in.
Colm K is a Cork DJ and producer who is among our best. He has a love of soul, house and jazz music, he’s a former RBMA attendee, a regular at Sunday Times parties in Cork and monthly radio shows on NTS. Here’s his latest release.
is known for his considered sets of soul and house music as well as his own electronic productions. A former RBMA attendee, Kenefick is working away on new music for next year and DJ-wise, you can find him at residencies at Sunday TImes and So What! in Gulpd Cafe, Cork. Here are his tunes of the year.
This one is a recent addition and what an addition it is. Big Crown released some nice music in 2016. The Lady Wray LP is well worth a listen. I’ve no idea who 79point5 are but one thing I do know is The Disco Dub on this 45 won’t leave my record bag anytime soon.
Steve Spacek – Follow Me
Shouts to Alex But for hooking me up with this one earlier in the year. I’ve fond memories of playing ‘Follow Me’ to a very reception audience in the forest at The Electric Picnic this year. A simple, excellently produced broken style groove is embellished with Spacek’s catchy hook. “Follow me… Follow me… Follow me…”.
Byron The Aquarius – Gone Today Here Tmrw
Spacey, soulful, instrumental House music. Some of its straight uptempo and some a little slower but all of it bumps. This one rarely left the bag this year.
Frank Ocean – Nikes
Frank’s sophomore effort lived up to all of the hype!! A much deeper release than Channel Orange, Blonde didn’t leave my earbuds for some time this Summer.
Njoroge Benson – Nyniukia
I’m enjoying the current resurgence in African boogie and soul music thats happening. Labels like Soundway and Voodoo Funk are consistently re-issuing great pieces (that are impossible to find in their original form) and Afro7 are new to the table. Nyniukia is amazing, it promises to lift any room. I’m looking forward to playing this at our next Sunday Times! party.
Music People – Always On
Deep, broken, soulful, house music on the excellent Mod Hut record label. A record that brings you in and doesn’t let go.
Bring Me Down – Alton Miller Featuring Maurissa Rose
This came as part of a CD that Sound Signature released as ‘Songs That Should’ve Been Out On Wax By Now – Part One’. The CD came with no artist names and I’ve just learned (thanks Discogs) that it’s Alton Miller on production. I’ve great memories of playing this at Body & Soul festival this year. Sunday Times closed out Earthship stage on the Sunday amidst a heavy downpour of rain. This was one of the tunes of the night.
Fruit – If You Feel It, say Yeah
Athens Of The North were on point again with this. I was initially disappointed to see this one getting the re-issue treatment. I have the original 45 on Cypress and cherished it. However, I think he got the original tapes and recut the record. I heard Theo Parrish rock this one recently and it sounded incredible! The outro where the piano comes in with the bass and drums is heavenly.
A Tribe Called Quest – We The People
Another one that came later in the year but well worth the wait. To be honest, it was exciting to be excited about a Tribe record again. Besides all the chat about it being more of a Q-Tip record, it being slightly over produced, and the absence of Ali from the recordings. We Got It From Here, is a solid album. It’s remained on heavy rotation since I first listened. RIP Phife.
Seven Davis Jr. – Future Society
Shouts to Sev for putting together a solid collection of new music. The iCed track, Forever, on here is incredible. Oh.. wait there’s a great track from a certain Cork man on here too 😉
Colm K is an stalwart of the Cork music scene as a DJ and producer. Having participated in RBMA in 2003, Colm’s reputation seems to have grown with each passing year. He is a Sunday Times resident, a festival regular, has remixed Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, released music on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood label, guested on Rinse FM and Boiler Room and featured on a recent Seven Davis Jnr compilation Future Society on R2 Records. Most recently, he’s been doing an NTS show.
Cork DJ Colm K is known for his considered sets of soul and house music as well as his own electronic productions. A former RBMA attendee, Kenefick is working away on new music for next year and DJ-wise, you can find him at residencies at Sunday TImes and So What! in Gulpd Cafe, Cork. Here are his tunes of the year.
Max Graef – ’No 5 The Gym’
Mac Graef has had a great year musically. His debut LP, Rivers Of The Red Planet, showcased the broad palette of sounds and influences that he uses in his music. However, this non album track appeared on 12″ only. No. 5 was huge for me this year. It has everything- chopped breakbeats to begin, nice jazzy stabs and then rests on a bumping house groove with a catchy vocal snippet.
Marvin Gaye – ‘Where Are We Going’
‘Where Are We Going’ is part of wonderful re-issue released in conjunction with Record Store day back in April. It is a previously unreleased version of the Donald Byrd track that Marvin Gaye recorded with the wonderful Mizell brothers. The EP consists of four tracks shared evenly amongst Marvin Gaye and Donald Byrd, but this is the pick of the bunch. A perfect mid tempo soul record.
TR One – ‘AfroDiscoBeatDown’
This track was given to me by the amazing Irish producers that are TR One. Not out yet officially, it definitely got lots of spins from me this summer. I played it on Rinse FM as part of a guest mix for Alexander Nut’s show [about 17 minutes in] and the feedback was instant, with lots of heads looking for details about it. A cheeky Tony Allen sample flipped into a hypnotic house paced groove coupled with some warm pads makes this a perfect summer record. Maybe it’ll see the light of day by Summer 2015.
Brief Encounter – ’Human/Total Satisfaction’
This is another re-issue that came late in the summer courtesy of the Sounds Of The Universe record store in London. I was after this for a very long time but never saw an original copy for under the €170 mark. Beautiful soul music that everyone needs to hear.
D’angelo - Black Messiah LP
Finally! The return of D’angelo. A different record from Voodoo, which is refreshing. The last thing we wanted was D’angelo’s third LP showcasing an attempt to top one of the best LPs of all time. As soon as I heard ‘Betray My Heart’ I was hooked. D’angelo with strings? Yes, please! Personal favourites to date include, Tutu, Betray My Heart, and Another Life. Unfortunately, we have to wait until February 2015 for the double LP.
Henry Wu – ‘Talk About It’
Over the last 12 months there’s been a great scene developing in South London.A bunch of like-minded artists, including Henry Wu, Jean Bassa, Mo Kolours, Reginald Omas Mamode IV, Al Dobson Jnr, and Tenderlonious have been producing some very interesting takes on soulful music spanning all tempos. One outlet for these releases is 22a, a record label set up and run by the same crew. The distribution is taken care of by Sounds Of The Universe so you don’t see these 12″s everywhere, but, if you do, be sure to check them out. The track I chose is from the label’s second release and this featured heavily throughout all my sets this year. Henry Wu has an EP coming shortly on Alex Nut’s Ho-Tep record label, which I’m really looking forward to checking as well.
Yellow Memories is an amazing debut from Fatima. This LP has lots of highlights for me, such as ‘Biggest Joke Of All’, ‘Circle’, ‘Do Better’, and ‘Talk’. Production wise, Fatima’s enlisted quite an all star cast: Floating Points, Scoop DeVille, Shafiq Husayn (Sa-Ra), Theo Parrish, and Flako. I heard a few of the singles early in the year but, for me, it was some of the album tracks themselves that made this one of the best of the year. The dreamy, dark ‘Talk’ springs to mind, as does the sparse but grooving ‘Biggest Joke Of All’. Taylor McFerrin’s Early Riser LP is worth mentioning when considering soul music from 2014. His debut on Brainfeeder included some killer tunes; ‘Florisa’ and ‘Already There’ were both in heavy rotation throughout the summer.
Jack J - ‘Something On My Mind’
I was lucky enough to get a tip about this one as soon as it dropped. Since then, it’s become quite the tune. xlr8r rated it first in its best of 2014 listing. I’m not so sure about it ranking that highly for me personally, but it’s quote the groover. The drum track sounds almost live, surrounded by warm chords progression and airy brass samples. Jack J’s other work with the Pender Street Steppers is also well worth checking out.
Renee Geyer Band – ‘Be There In The Morning’
Athens of the North is a great new imprint run by Euan Fryer for re-releasing modern soul and disco music. This year saw AOTN re-issue some of the most sought after 7″s from the Modern Soul and Disco era (saving me a fortune on buying originals). Bileo’s ‘You Can Win’, The Split Decision Band’s ‘Watching Out’ and Nohelani Cypriano’s ‘Lihue’ are just a few personal highlights that came courtesy of AOTN this year. Another notable re-issue came courtesy of Tom Noble when he released the super rare Mystic Pleasure ‘Back Door (Getting Down)’, which is a straight disco banger with an amazing arrangement and vibe throughout.
K15 – ‘Yellow’
I was late to this one but it proved to be one of the best house pieces I heard this year. It has a very interesting arrangement and the drums really hit hard. This is certainly the highlight of the EP. Other notable mentions on the house front include both EPs from the always consistent Floating Points, namely ‘King Bromeliad’ and Nectarines both of which were super inspirational. Another LP worth mentioning here is the wonderful debut from Leon Vynehall.
Airbound is an annual mini-festival that has found homes in Berlin and Croatia before settling for the last couple of years in London. This year’s edition will be the fifth and it’ll take place from Friday 18th April in London over two floors of The Dutch Master boat on the Thames before moving to land on Autumn Studios (home of some of the BLOC parties).
There’s a day of rest on the Saturday before the Sunday kicks up again will more music and brunch promised. Early bird tickets are £20 plus fees from Resident Advisor with £30 the max price for a ticket.
This year’s lineup?
TR One (Apartment Recs) Colm K (Bastard Jazz) Get Down Edits (Disco Deviance) Lasertom (Live) House of Disco Hugh Cooney Shocko (Live) Sunday Times! Djs Lil’Dave (Nightflight) Saoirse Hidden Agenda Djs Dave Macdonogh (Bixon) Way Back Here Djs This Greedy Pig Melodic DJs Rory Donohue (Lowerstate) Hugh Fowler Chewy (Mother) Pablo (Fatty Fatty Phonographics) Marc Ibanez & Davey Ahern Rubio KTMC (Swooner Rather Than Hater) Mac (Sub:East) Hackney Dinner Society & More TBA
Colm K is a producer out of Cork who has been at it a long time. He was in the Red Bull Music Academy way back in 2004 and since, he’s been crafting releases that cross the genres of funk, soul and jazz with a American West Coast vibe. The Corkman’s newest EP has four tracks of summer soul, jazz and electronic funk. ‘The Attic’ features light synths and a bumping rhythm and pays homage to Cloud 9’s house track ‘Do You Want Me’, ‘Space’ works that West Coast boogie while the middle tracks leave the biggest impression. ‘Nothing’ uses brass tones, bright guitar, vocal samples and synthesizer bleeps to conjur up the sunshine while ‘Good Friday’ is like a digitised version of a piano funk jam. Colm K’s The Love EP is out on 12″ and digital through Bastard Jazz. The artwork is by Choice Cuts/Practice & Theory‘s Donal Thorton.