Just Like Music Review: Invisible Superstars

One would presume that this name was in direct reference to the fact that this compilation is made up of tracks created by amazing artists that many people will simply never have heard of before. Minus Controller 7 (of recent “Get Ready For The Young Folks” 7″ fame) I honestly had never heard of anyone featured on this release before.

The Secret Life Of Sound presents Invisible Superstars Volume 001. The Secret Life Of Sound is a record label owned by Rob Seeman and he enlisted the help of Controller 7 to create a sort of beat tape/sonic experiment featuring a host of their favourite electronic beat producers, all to be released; digitally, on 1000 pieces of limited vinyl and also 300 pieces of extremely limited GOLD vinyl. They wanted to create a unique record that could give the listener an insight into a world of diverse analog samples generated through non-traditional means of music composition and instrumentation. I have the said sought after gold vinyl, and I can tell you right now that it is something special indeed.

As soon as I heard the opening bar of Miles Tilman’s Chicken Salad Beats I knew this LP was gonna be good. Really gritty bass driven electronic beats - proper head nod stuff, whilst not being too overwhelming or overbearing. Like an up-to-date continuation of some of the early Coldcut material. Exquisite production and layering, this one would go down just as well in the car as the club. Next up is Thoughtless by Scott Matelic, no word of a lie, my favourite track right now, just incredible. So understated, yet so pure. Check it for yourself…

The third track is a guitar driven heavy beat track by Controller 7, flexing that musical muscle and opening further the wide array of sounds Controller 7 can produce. Following that is a cinematic Wu-Tang’esque piece by Tenshun that breaks down into a real moody piece indeed. Many purists will want to seek out further Tenshun work after hearing this one!

Heretic brings us a more downtempo, yet trippy track. Enriched with details but light enough to just chill to. Keeping it relatively chilled, but switching the tempo up, Meatsock presents an almost drum ‘n’ bass tune with big props to Boards Of Canada and other such contemporaries. Mormon Freegan then flips the whole thing on its head and gives it some mash-up styles, somewhere between sci-fi soundtrack and gameshow in a steady beat style. Romoxy then brings everything back into line with a beautifully paced hip-hop beat laced with ethereal keys and brass. Just lie back and immerse yourself in this one.

The last quarter of the LP is a little more off the beaten track and commences with Buddy Peace’s Slow Gang Funeral - an eclectic blend of jazz-hop beats, vocal samples and electronic bleeps. It has a great rhythm to it and in ways reminds me of some of the more courageous Skalpel efforts. Following on is PNS with Storm, a downtempo head nodder for the head nodders. Often it can be the most simple sounding tracks that are the hardest to perfect - to create something so open can take great levels of detail and technique, well this PNS track hits the nail on the head, music for musicians or productions for producers?!

Skoweyajeed provides the penultimate track, an out there soundscape that Four Tet would be proud of. The final track is by Thomas Dimuzio and if nothing else just goes to show what can be achieved with sound. Thomas is a “sound designer” and will sample anything to create a desired sound. It’s hard to label exactly what he does, but it is bloody interesting.

I have to doff my cap to The Secret Life Of Sound, as with this release they have really gone out of their way to share with us such incredible talents that seem to have been overlooked previously. It has been good to see Controller 7 records being raved about of late and perhaps now some of the other artists on Invisible Superstars Volume 1 will also achieve some further recognition, they definitely deserve it. If you can, definitely try and cop a copy of that gold vinyl… if you still can!