It’s remarkable to think about what LA based label Soulection has achieved since starting up at the beginning of 2011. Having released over 25 projects from artists across the world, the label also boasts a weekly radio show that has seen a number of guests including the likes of DāM-FunK, Melo-X and Freddie Joachim.
Founded by radio host Joe Kay, visual director and artist Guillaume Bonte (aka 96) and motion designer/videographer Andre Power, the label’s first release came in the form of Soulection Compilation, a 25-track project showcasing just expansive and talented the Soulection family is. 26 releases and two years later, the label has just dropped Time In Between, the second compilation, which shows off the exponential growth the label has seen in such time, all the while keeping the project more cohesive than its predecessor.
The album kicks off strongly with “Supacomputer Love” a reworked ode to Zapp & Roger’s 1985 hit and one of the best tracks on the album, courtesy of Atlanta beatmaker Supachip. The song transforms the original into a (more) synth-heavy anthem, becoming almost unrecognisable if not for Roger Troutman’s unforgettable lyrics and ad-libs.
A number of Soulection’s biggest artists show up on the release, with their tracks showing off just why they’re on the tip of everyone’s tongues these days. Ta-ku slows things down for a second with “Handful,” which starts out chilled but eventually dirties up with a gritty chiptune-esque bass. Throughout the track the percussion leads, reminding listeners of just how wide-spread the Perth producer’s talents are.
Sango’s effort, “On My Mind All The Time”, continues the trap-experiments the Seattle producer has been messing with as of late, and his knack for combining smooth vocal samples with engaging synths ensures the track never gets old.
Rather unsurprisingly, given Soulection’s musical foresight, some of the albums biggest highlights come from those yet to drop projects on the label. Sweater Beats turns up the heat with “Magic,” an easy-going jam that embodies the enchantment of either love or lust depending on your mindset, with the male and female sample going back and forth like a guy trying to make moves on a girl that just caught his eye.
Manchester producer Sivey steals the show with “Cause and Effect,” a melodic, synth-heavy tune that chop up and stretches a vocal sample to full effect. Bearing elements of UK garage, electronic, street-bass and a number of genres the song transcends them all, resulting in quite possibly the best track of the year so far. Currently at work on an EP with frequent collaborator Evil Needle [you may have heard Ginuwine singing over one of their collaborations recently], it’s clear Sivey has big things in store this year.
Moving away from synth-led production, the project shifts into percussion mode, with Bosstone supplying “Static,” a heavy trap beat with twisted melodies appearing throughout. Holygrailers continues, opting for a moody and somewhat ghastly track in the form of “Black.” Vincent Paolo, Co.Fee and Sam A La Bamalot’s contributions are all smooth atmospheric tunes to get lost in, as is the title track, a groovy spaced-out number produced by Glenn Astro and IMYRMIND.
Evil Needle closes the album with “Summertime,” a tribute just like the project’s first track, this time inspired by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince’s ode to sunshine, BBQ’s and girls dressing less. This isn’t the first time Evil Needle has adapted a track to his style, and much like “One for Kennedy” he’s done it once again with ease, as the smooth production carries the LA sunshine with it. The G-Funk synth only helps carry the laidback feel of the track even more, which ends the album on just as high a note as which it began.
As you can probably tell the album is very focused. While the first compilation does a brilliant job of showcasing the Soulection roster, at 26 tracks it feels a little directionless at points. Over the 15 tracks that make up Time In Between the album changes course a few times in terms of genre but remains pointed in the same direction throughout – that is, to the future.
Joe Kay’s ear for beats is finely tuned, and regardless of your musical preferences Time In Between comes with something for everyone, and then some, so do yourself a favour and cop the sound of tomorrow, today.