alastair marriott / DjSquirrel
One of the finest UK productions out there at the moment. Combining all the elements necessary for a future urban classic LP. I feel privileged finding this! Bless Swindle for bringing us this masterpiece..
Bridging distinct but closely connected music scenes can open new possibilities. On ‘No More Normal’, Swindle confidently grasps the different sides to the UK music scene. Boasting roots in the boundary-pushing world of Grime & Dubstep, this album marks the next step in the London-raised producer’s expanded vision for his music. It fuses different disciplines together in new and electrifying ways. He connects a group of peers sharing creative common ground, one that centres around the fertile space between UK Jazz, Grime and Hip Hop. The results span from lush, strings-laden soul to voicebox-heavy p-funk – often in the course of one song. “It’s a class photo of 2018,” he says. “I need everyone in this picture.” It incorporates an all-star cast of MC’s in Kojey Radical, Ghetts, D Double E and P Money, to instrumentalists Yussef Dayes, Nubya Garcia, Riot Jazz, and singers such as Etta Bond, Eva Lazarus, Daley and Kiko Bun.
The album was built over a three year period. The opening track “‘What We Do’ became the track that set the scene for each studio session, a way of Swindle explaining what he was setting out to achieve. Featuring an (on paper) unusual combination of R&B singer Daley, Grime legends P Money & D Double E, and an opening speech from Bristol-based spoken word artist, Rider Shafique - “It describes the narrative of the record overall and helped set the agenda for what followed - I made a lot of tracks that were really good that at the end of the day didn’t fit this project”. The resulting work has a pervading sense of triumph against the odds, and a celebration of togetherness at this moment of fragmentation that manages to feel both optimistic and nostalgic. A record that could have only been made in today’s multicultural Britain. “No More Normal is the idea of us doing our thing, our way, with no rules or limitations. It is jazz influenced as much as it is grime influenced. It’s London influenced as much as it is LA influenced. I can work with D Double E and Nubya Garcia, these records are my imagination brought to life in musical form”.
“No More Normal” follows a spate of projects where Swindle’s taken on the role of producer for other artists. That’s included Kojey Radical, for his single ‘Water’; Joel Culpepper, whose ‘Woman’ live session for Colors has clocked up 4M Youtube streams and counting, D Double E with three tracks on his debut album ‘Jackum’ and Mahalia’s EP ‘Seasons’. It follows years of graft spent staking roots in the underground, from early output on Butterz, to the Trilogy of Funk triple EP released last year. The debut singles "Reach The Stars" & "Coming Home" saw support from all the heavy hitters - Target, Jamz Supernova, Annie Mac, Julie Adenuga, and Gilles Peterson.
An appreciation of jazz and funk has coursed through Swindle’s music since the very start. ‘No More Normal’ continues that love affair. Growing up in south London, he built his first studio in his bedroom when he was 14. Excluded from school for having “way too much energy” his early steps into music were aided by his blues guitarist father, who gave him lessons on the guitar and whose record collection – made up of soul and jazz touchstones - provided vital inspiration for his debut LP "Long Live The Jazz", released on Mala’s Deep Medi label in 2013. The follow up in 2015, “Peace, Love & Music”, was created in studio sessions all over the world, and, accompanied by an explosive live show, was further testament to the ambition and scope of this singular artist.