From their place at the bottom of the world, outside of the traditional jazz and soul centres, Australia’s groove-led musicians have struggled for recognition on the world stage. But all of that is changing as increasingly the country’s vital community of close-knit, broadly adventurous players command the attention of international audiences.
Bouncing off the selections of independent radio DJs and esoteric record store collections, these musicians jump across African diaspora music traditions – from funk to house music, hip-hop to Ethio-jazz – before pollinating those rhythms with a uniquely Australian flavour.
This magpie-like curiosity forges new sounds and forms – all of which can be found on Seven Wonders, a new compilation by Plug Seven Records and Wondercore Island.
Seven Wonders is testament to Wondercore’s relentless support of Australia’s forward-thinking beat makers and neo-soul bands; and to Plug Seven’s commitment to the magic of analogue music, as seen at its Melbourne record store and nearby studio.
It’s in this laneway studio filled with recording equipment dating back to the 1940s where the bulk of Seven Wonders was recorded to tape by Plug Seven founder Ari Roze. Recorded largely over two weeks, the majority of the tracks on Seven Wonders were captured in one take, bottling the raw energy and virtuosity of Melbourne’s most accomplished, established and emerging players. There’s an antipodean take on P-Funk from Laneous, characteristically enigmatic vocals from soul singer Allysha Joy and a free-flowing instrumental from Sampa the Great collaborator Dave Rodriguez, aka GODTET. Several tracks include production and background instrumentation from Hiatus Kaiyote’s rhythm section Perrin Moss and Paul Bender.