Bristol’s Multiverse umbrella imprint continues to expand with State Of Joy, Guido’s own label which was launched earlier this year without much fanfare – surely a sign that quality drives it rather than the need to shout louder than anyone else. The second release on the label comes from Guido once more, delivering two cuts that act as almost polar opposites.
The title cut, “Flow”, features Jay Wilcox on vocals and is a sugary sweet, pop-inclined production, the latest in a long line of UK dance music productions that are equally comfortable on the mainstream radio airwaves as they are in a sweaty club. Production wise it puts Guido’s musical chops to the fore, notably in the string arrangements and the rhythm’s minutiae. The way he manages to combine this with a dancefloor minded mood and solid sub grounding is refreshing. You could say it’s a coming together of real and electronic soul. The temptation to refer to colourful this or that, or even a specific colour of the spectrum, is easy yet it was the furthest thing from my mind when I listened to “Flow”. It’s just a really great track, with strong production and an ear for pop friendly melodies, a perfect summer anthem that has landed just as London seems to have decided that summer will happen after all. The vocal version only reinforces the track’s pop appeal, despite complaints I’ve read elsewhere to the contrary, Wilcox’s vocal is exactly what’s needed for this instrumental. His quick fire, swinging delivery and tone have been stuck in my head for days now, and I can only hope that the track reaches wider audiences, as in this writer’s opinion it deserves just as much as other tracks I’ve recently heard and which are heralded as summer dance anthems in the making.
The flip, “Africa”, takes things in an entirely different direction. As hinted by the title, this is a production driven by a love of rhythms, and the emotional pull these can provide on the human body. An almost martial drum beat and Peter Piper-esque melody invite you forward for a dance that’s part eyes-down skanking and part “throw your hands in the air and jig about like a nutter.” As a counterpoint to “Flow”’s pop appeal it works a treat and once the synth lines come in you just lose yourself in the riddim and feel all the better for it.
Bristol continues to deliver the goods, and if the first two releases on State Of Joy are anything to go by, 2012 is going to be yet another good year for the city and its many talented producers. Now excuse me while I go dance in the sun.