Sam Redmore: Universal Vibrations

We’re back in the 80s with this; it’s very much of the era when Madonna was big, and so we get walking basslines, Latin percussion, funk, soul and people blowing whistles, the music simply for dancing and not categorising.

If you’re a fan of soul / disco from back then, this is for you. It’s comforting that this kind of music can still be made by someone who is cool today.
Universal Vibrations is the debut album of original material by Sam Redmore, famed (so the PR says) for remixes and edits.

It’s hard to pin Redmore down; the basic sound is soulful, funky dance music with a Latin influence but the album covers a variety of genres and styles, although all skirt round being dancefloor bangers. It’s almost an album of separate tracks that happen to be released together but it does just about have cohesiveness as an album.

Just Can’t Wait is the opening track, the kind of tune we might have played at university before going out, all slick bassline and strings and just after the Jellybean album had finished playing.

One More Time is more of the same though more aggressive and more Latin; the video would feature topless, muscular men, although the rapid rapping makes this a modern song. Nagu is into Gibson Brothers territory (Cuba), and despite the Niles Rogers-style guitar you would not be surprised by someone shouting Que Sera Mi Vida. The mood changes with On The One, a breakbeat meets Spanish disco and lyrics about the unifying nature of music (hence “on the one”, a pun on being on the first beat and all of one blood, we assume). Alegre is in Spanish and has a proper fiesta sound, with some Cuban son maybe in there too.

The mood changes with Party, acid jazz with smoky brass, while Music Is goes back to the unifying nature of a good tune, with an addictive spoken word lyric from Auden Allen, who appears to be a “creative practitioner with a sole purpose of contributing to the protection, evolution and growth of young people,” according to his entry on the Birmingham Rep website. Mr Allen (as he styles himself) is a producer contributing “his eccentric style to many genres including grime, hip hop and soulful hybrids”. He sounds an interesting dude, but we digress.

Music Is, in fact, the standout track, in part due to the interesting sounds but largely due to Mr Allen’s gentle but powerful words. “When music plays, there is no barriers to communication,” he tells us.

Oddly, the instrumental Tears is also good, an odd repetitive track with that quirky festival-pleasing sound that indie band The Bees had, overlain with strings and exotica.

The closer is a slowed down cover of Sylvester’s You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real), which presumably puts Redmore’s musical heart in 1978.

Despite the feeling that this is a collection of tracks for people to remix it stands together as an album and it is, overall, optimistic and uplifting, something we need today. If the country is really going back to the 70s, can it just be this bit, please?

Buy here

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