Slow Dance ’21 is the sixth edition of their compilation series, which those in the know look forward to every year, and with good reason. From experimental tunes to post/alt-rock, this record showcases the best of the current UK underground.
One can tell that Slow Dance is a label made of mostly artists in the truest sense, as these songs are successfully breaking the status quo, including Stanley Welch, who recorded his song ‘Croptor’ alone in his room. Alongside his music he also does a lot of experimental video art and installations, which mirror the cryptic mood of his songs.
Bristol’s Minor Conflict also feature on the compilation with their song ‘Office Block’, a mildly discomforting song featuring sirens and dryly delivered lyrics, mirroring the sometimes unsettling nature of city life.
In Tongues say they “focus on building sound-worlds and telling stories – some of which make sense, others which just make music”. Their song ‘Dressed Down’ is their first released recording, reminding me of an edgier version of Interpol and Mogwai. They are set to release more songs early this year.
Meanwhile, the band McCabe play with hip-hop production techniques and incorporate elements of various different genres in their song ‘Supermodel’. It’s no surprise that they cite soul legends such as Marvin Gaye and D’Angelo as main influences, alongside pop artists Kali Uchis and Frank Ocean.
London-based Binti Red, a self-described ‘celestial nymph’, features with her song ‘Dexter’, on which she sings alongside an acoustic guitar and adds soundeffects that give the whole song a spooky and almost disturbing quality.’
Ebyan Rezgui is a Tunisian-German flute player and producer based in London. In the song ‘Matar’, Ebyan blends dark electronic sounds with folky samples, rooted in the traditions of improvised music in the UK.
While these songs are all by different artists and span a wide spectrum of genres, they still manage to capture a certain mood. Having first listened to it while waiting for a train; it’s clear that’s what this collection of songs capture perfectly: waiting for something more, something that might never come.
Words: Clara Bullock
The full Slow Dance ’21 compilation is out now. Stream and purchase the album via Bandcamp.