2013 has seen record label NuNorthern Soul consolidates their inspiring entrance of last year with the runaway success of BJ Smith’s ‘Dedications to the Greats’ in January. A double header of covers of classic 90s Hip-Hop, it saw widespread love from Gilles Peterson, Rob Da Bank, Craig Charles, Ashley Beedle and many more.
Their next release sees them continuing the eclectic allure of their mission statement ‘(quality music suited to the art of relaxation’), by moving into a differing musical direction yet staying within the music with soul ethos, this time via Nordic chanteuse Ragz Nordset.
An acoustic favourite in the North West for a number of years (where’s she’s supported the likes of Wild Beasts, Noah and the Whale and Laura Marling), ‘Sleepdancing’ channels a new electronic direction for the singer, which owes much to the production of Mario Leal. Mario’s previous work involves Mumford and Sons, Digitalique and the Tea Street Band, and the manner in which he harnesses the electronics alongside a classical influence, bringing out the ethereal and enchanting qualities of Ragz’ voice.
The four track EP is designed specifically as a ‘story to be told’ via vinyl, with the double sided release segueing two tracks into each other to add to the individual quality of the songs. Side A starts off with the playful ‘You Started It All’, the rumbling sonics dovetailing with a gentle before the shuffling overtones of ‘More’ take over. Here the choral qualities of her voice come to the forefront to create a stirring paean to love, best encapsulated by the closing refrain that opines ‘We’ve all forgotten what the heart is for’.
The B-Side follows the same formula, with ‘New August’ backed by crunching percussion and haunting strings before melting outwards into the EP’s final song, ‘Sleepdancing’. The most evocative of the four tracks, it creates a rousing finale for the EP with its sweeping chords, finalising the narrative charm of the release. There’s remixes to come as well of both ‘You Started it All’ and ‘Sleepdancing’ to come later on in the spring, with label stalwart BJ Smith, Crazy P’s Ron Basejam and Capac all contributing mixes.