Artist: Close Counters
Title: SOULACOASTA II
Cat. #: CC017
Release Date: 15th February 2023
Australian-based duo Close Counters is back with the second volume of their SOULACOASTA series and it is another vibrant ride through all forms of soul music.
The roots of this project lay in a trip around the UK & Europe in 2022. In that time, the beatmakers Finn Rees and Allan McConnell visited as many record stores as they could in London, Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam and dug up plenty of golden-era disco, boogie and rare groove sounds which they then went on to sample. Their own tastes and styles were added into the mix with a hint of hip-hop and a touch of 70s nostalgia and the first album proved a huge success.
The pair self-release their own music and have had tracks included on the FIFA 23 soundtrack as well as turning out plenty of fresh remixes and laying down electric and eclectic live shows. This new album features some drums and percussion by Lucky Pereira, and bass guitar by Matthew Hayes. Accompanying the record is a beautifully crafted music video for ‘ONLY ONE’ shot on 16mm film on location in Naarm, Melbourne, directed by Allan McConnell of the band, and videographer Nathan Guy. It was inspired by the surrealist dance sequences in ‘I’m Thinking Of Ending Things’ by Charlie Kaufman and Spencer by Pablo Larraín.
Says Allan of the album, “SOULACOASTA II is a colourful sonic journey over 60 minutes in length that’s full of energy for vibrant club floors, but equally ready for a headphone journey or long car ride. It’s a 14-track expedition through soul, house and broken beat and beyond, with the bass and beats driving the vehicle as the synths, keyboards and samples decorate the view. This record was an opportunity to get deeper into dance music and dive into some more niche sounds and samples that we’ve collected from trawling through movies, archives, digging through the crates across Australia, UK and Europe, weaving new inspiration and textures into our music.”
Opener ‘GET DOWN!’ opens in an infectious and funky fashion with lively drum work and big synth energy. ‘SECOND STEP’ rides on catchy broken beats that are laden with vocal samples, cosmic chords and neat guitar riffs, ‘FLASHBACK’ is an electrifying and boogie-tinged workout and ‘ONLY ONE FT. IZY’ is a masterclass in loading up samples into something coherent and compelling.
Elsewhere there are deeper moments of funk like ‘NO GREATER LOVE’ with its romantic chords, and scuffed-up house cuts like ‘HOLY SOUND’. ‘SNAP TO IT!’ is a brilliantly off-grid concoction with astral synth work and a taught, pinging bassline, ‘PURSUIT’ is a skittish broken beat that makes you shake every bone in your body loose and ‘COSMIC EVOLUTION’ is just that with its fat bass, star-gazing synth work and inescapable sense of energy before the tender ‘Written In the Stars’ lowers the energy and sends you home with a warm glow.
‘SOULACOASTA II’ is just the sort of feel-good and life-affirming tonic you need to kick-start your 2023.
1. GET DOWN!
2. SECOND STEP
4. ONLY ONE FT. IZY
5. TAKE A CHANCE
6. NO GREATER LOVE
7. HOLY SOUND
8. THE DON
9. SNAP TO IT!
10. BREAK FROM IT!
12. CRASH AND BURN
13. COSMIC EVOLUTION
14. WRITTEN IN THE STARS