Boomkat Product Review:
Numero come with one of the most needed archival editions we’ve heard in a minute, compiling precious gear from London’s V4 Visions, a short-lived label that harnessed a uniquely pivotal melting pot of early 90’s UK music, existing at the confluence of American and Jamaican sounds that formed uniquely British hybrids; from Sound System Soul to Bleep-And-Bass, Ragga-Techno, Jungle, Trip Hop, and 2step Garage and which in turn birthed collectives such as Camden’s Soul II Soul, Bristol’s Wild Bunch / Massive Attack and then onto London’s Shut Up and Dance crew. Influenced equally by Jamaican Lovers Rock and American Street Beats, the 1990-1994 era documented here was about the hedonistic life; suave clothes, romance and good times, producing some of the most unique - and largely forgotten - music of the early 90's.
Numero's V4 set explores the label’s key artists; Ashaye, Endangered Species, Julie Stapleton and Rohan Delano, for an important showcase of how their soulful styles fed into one another. The influence of then contemporary Chicago sounds is strongly felt, and woven with foundational Afro-Caribbean sound system inspirations in a way that's unique to the UK during those pivotal years and which continue to resonate in influence and style decades later.
Paralleling scenes in the UK’s other Black music hotspots such as Manchester, Birmingham, West Yorkshire and Bristol, V4’s sound was readied for all night “blues” parties and sweltering club basements, toggling the levels between hip-winding new jack swing beats, updated echoes of lovers rock and early jungle, with standout producers like Trevor Ashaye acting as mutual sinew and soul between each style. While it’s all certain to grab the hearts of certain weekender types from that era, the vibes properly endure for our time thanks to overproof levels of soul that leave no dance wanting for more.
To play percies, we direct you to Ashaye’s beauties, ranging rom the balmy lovers Jungle of ‘Dreaming (Jungle Mix)’ and its original downstroke, to the Wild Bunch-esque new jack swang of ‘What’s This World Coming To’ and the rolling garage house of ‘Nowhere To Run (Instrumental South Side Mix)’, then to a killer slice of proto-jungle by Jungle Biznizz, and a quietly unmissable, beat-less R&B nugg in ‘All The Way (Guitar Mix)’ by Julie Stapleton & Ashaye, or the purring deep house of Julie’s ‘Where’s Your Love Gone’ (later covered by Kylie no less) which is like a street soul inversion of 'Can u Feel It' - all heartbreak and glamour.
Ooof, kills us a bit this one.