1-2 Weeks
Ashley Road Sessions 88-94


Celebrating 30 years since their first release, foundation-laying forefathers Smith & Mighty release Ashley Road Sessions. This one-off double label partnership between Pinch's Tectonic and Peverelist's Punch Drunk is an endeavor in homage to their Bristol neighbors, whom they hold in high regard. Says Pinch: "Smith & Mighty are true pioneers in music whom I've found deeply inspirational on many levels. Tracks like 'Closer', 'U Dub', and 'Same' are some of my all-time favorites. To be putting out these unreleased gems is such an exciting project for both me and Tom. We both took a great deal of influence from Smith & Mighty, especially from Bass Is Maternal (1995), the album and era from which most of this compilation's source material originates." Smith & Mighty are integral to the story of Bristol music, but the duo are accountable not only as key proponents of that local sound, but also for propagating a wider array of urban and electronic music to this day. Despite being inextricably linked to the South West England sound, Ashley Road Sessions proffers an array of styles, the breadth and spectrum of which might surprise. Breakbeat, hardcore, Balearica and acid house all feature as prominently as do the dub, reggae, hip-hop beats and soul with which they're most commonly associated. "Smith & Mighty's lack of genre tribalism and melting pot approach certainly influenced how I make music", comments Peverelist. Especially timely in light of the recent breakbeat and jungle revival, this document feels both historical and relevant, with classic hip-hop samples, crisp breakbeats and Gat Décor bass of opener "Always Be There (Step Up)" sounding remarkably current. Airborne dub fx float around heavy beats on the sparse pulse of "Stalagnate", which wouldn't seem out of place on Bokeh Versions, sounding both vintage and current. "Morning Light" surely soundtracked the end of long rave nights, straddling funky hardcore breaks, emotive melody, sub bass and heartening Balearic optimism. The deft break chopping of "Film Score" shows they could do deep jungle as well, contrasting with "Higher Than Tempo", a cerebral slow IDM trance dance. "Dub Song" seamlessly blends hardcore, jungle and steppers with a smooth liquidity, whilst frenetic sixteenths, hard snares and purring bass drive the skeletal head-snapper "Through A Dark Cloud". Percussion and drum machines meet melodic chords on "Leaving Pt 1 & 2", which exemplifies the plaintive, melancholy British bass, later made famous by Massive Attack.