When Dan Wilcox isn’t writing country, blues and folk music on his guitar whilst crooning beneath the Raglan moon, he’s performing, producing, recording and DJ’ing as dub / reggae / rap / rock / electro / dance alter-ego Sweep. Here are five albums he’s loving right now…
A little backstory on me first: I used to work with Simon Sweetman at a record store, he taught me how to hate. That place closed down shortly after I began working there. I’m still trying to get a reference from him but I’m also pretty unsure what he’d write in it, he’s not averse to slaying the odd muso here and there.
I had a great summer this year, it was filled with lots of really heaving parties and I got to hang out with some mildly-famous people. This winter I am spending ridiculous amounts of time in the studio recording vocals for my new album and recording mixes. Most of my tunes are built for a hot and heaving dance-floor but its freezing cold outside and I’m forgetting what socialising feels like.
Get to know me before you judge me by checking out my flash-as links before you read about my Five Albums I’m Loving Right Now;
1 – Jamie xx, In Colour: As I have always been an avid lover of electronic dance music, I’ve witnessed many scenes that explode into the limelight and vanish like meteorites, each leaving a trail of gems behind them. Jamie xx seems to have collected a few of these gems over time and compiled a wonderful montage of brilliant samples. As an album it journeys smoothly through elements of UK garage, house, jungle and subdued trance whilst also referencing more classic aspects of disco, Latin percussion and old soul – With the exception of I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times) featuring Jamaican vocalist Popcaan… This tune works really well in the nightclubs and stands alone strongly as a poppy-sounding single with its hugely catchy melodies and big clean R’n’B groove but it seems very out-of-sorts amongst the others.Still, this album remains on high-rotation and stands out from the vast proliferation of hyper-emasculated electronic music.
2 – Pacific Heights, The Stillness: I was introduced to the man behind Pacific Heights Devin Abrams (pioneer of Aotearoa electro-soul, breakbeat and DnB) at The Big Day Out shortly before the nation-wide tour of his former band’s debut offering D.N.A. …When I asked what his band sounded like, I couldn’t quite get a mental image of how it would sound from his description, ironically, the band’s name actually inferred this predicament as they were named Shapeshifter. Fast-forward 16 years and Devin has succinctly described the sound of his new album with its title The Stillness. Sparse, open aural textures introduce each song and although the entire album floods with heady emotional intensity, there is a permeating sense of stillness throughout. Far from the big-top world of past releases such as Gravity, The Stillness is stripped bare of excess and is a masterful exploration of brevity.
Twelve stars out of five with special mention going out to Louis Baker for his contribution on Buried By The Burden and for not having stolen any of my girlfriends yet.
3 – V/A: Late Night Tales compiled and mixed by Bonobo: During my ongoing twenty-something year love-affair with seminal UK record label Ninja Tune, I was introduced to the sounds of a producer named Bonobo at some point. His songs have always had a very worldly quality yet have always embraced contemporary urban culture. Though certainly no Deep Forest for digital-age dummies, his essential radio shows on NTS clearly prove that his scope peers far wider than current Western trends. This compilation of Late Night Tales expresses his eclectic array of influences, check the continuous mix for a fine display of mastery in the realm of seamless DJ’ing.
4 – Delaney Davidson & Marlon Williams, Sad But True: The Secret History of Country Music Songwriting Vol I, II and III: In a world where sensationalist music television icons proudly flaunt lavish and over-the-top luxuries, where pop stars bathe in oceans of their own egotistical vanity and big-city record label executives snort mountains of cocaine off ex-celebrity corpses for breakfast, it’s refreshing to know that deep down the dark bottom of the world, there’s still a couple of genuine Southern country musicians with broken hearts and enough old-charm sentiment to make you wanna neck a bottle of moonshine and cry like a real man.
5 – Neil Young, On The Beach: It’s kinda sad, Neil Young became perceived as the over-eccentric dopehead dodgy uncle-type character but in a world where a cheeseball-coloured, squirrel-carcass-hatted dimwit is ACTUALLY considered to become the President of ‘Murica, he’s kinda turning out to be more like a political Stephen Hawking (except without the auto-tune and the sweet ride). I like to play this album and imagine my long hair blowing in the warm sweet summer wind of the psychedelic seventies.
Disclaimer: I don’t have any hair, pollution is everywhere, it’s winter, the seventies kids ruined it all for us and I want a refund for this crappy planet. Must listen to Ambulance Blues; one of my favourite songs to cover at acoustic gigs.
…With abundant joy and overflowing highest vibrations of thankfulness, love and light from Dan Wilcox / Sweep.