Last year, Beirut-born Yasmine Hamdan released her album Al Jamilat. The singer-songwriter and actress is now based in Paris, but first made her name as one half of electro-pop duo Soap Kills, a cult trip-hop group in Lebanon. Since then, she’s become a flag bearer for modern Arabic music. Al Jamilat is Arabic for The Beautiful Ones. Remarkably progressive to these western ears.
Seven years after Massive Attack’s Blue Lines introduced what would become to be known as trip-hop, they released another ground-breaking affair, Mezzanine. Last month, I featured Felt’s collaboration with Elizabeth Fraser. This was 13 years after ‘Primitive Painters’ and Massive Attack had the wherewithal to collaborate with Fraser, a worthy successor to their previous muses Tracey Thorn and Shara Nelson. The dubby treatment of the album’s ‘Teardrop’ would reach a wide audience via the Hugh Laurie series House.
Aka DJ Shadow, Josh Davis burst onto the scene in 1996 with his debut album Endtroducing… The album’s cover featured two gents rifling through vinyl, because that is exactly what he liked to do. Instrumental hip hop was the purpose and the samples were collected from rare grooves far and wide. ‘Building Steam With A Grain Of Salt’ samples Lexia, H.P. Riot, Jeremy Storch, Frankie Seay and the Soul Riders. Who? Exactly.