- Jeremy Underground first gained attention through My Love Is Underground. His vinyl-only label, launched in 2010, helped revive a particular style of pneumatic, '90s-inspired house. He slowly gained a reputation as a major house nerd, a man with encyclopedic knowledge of Kerri Chandler B-sides and little-known American record labels. He also displayed a broader love of music. On his YouTube channel, he shared an array of obscure jazz, soul and disco from around the world. He also dropped fantastic home-listening mixes. In 2013, I saw him play at Plastic People, spinning an amazing set of mysterious rare grooves alongside Floating Points and Red Greg. I was left with the distinct impression that Jeremy was an excellent house DJ but perhaps an even better soul and funk DJ.
Beauty is Jeremy's first downtempo compilation. His credentials to curate such a release are matched by Claremont, whose Originals compilation series was one of the decade's best. Beauty is the second release from the Claremont sub-label Spacetalk, which is run by Psychemagik's Danny McLewin. The pair met after Jeremy's soul and funk set in Maceo's, a crew bar run by Block 9. Danny was impressed, a friendship was born and the decision to make the compilation was solidified there and then.
Beauty features some of the best records Jeremy has discovered so far. The music is often pleasingly difficult to categorise. There's Sonya Spence's "Let Love Flow On," a soul track that features Jamaican musicians who usually perform in ska and reggae bands. There's Starcrost's "Quicksand," which has a folksy, soul-jazz vibe, Leila Pinheiro's bossa nova-rooted disco and Christer Norden's funky library music. The pick of Beauty might be "Hardly Need To Say." This mind-blowing smoky soul cut would have been a huge hit had it been released on a big label, as opposed to a tiny company from Glassboro, New Jersey.
Reissue culture has arguably never been more vibrant. The likes of BBE, Music From Memory and Numero Group unearth a seemingly never-ending stash of vinyl gold. But in a crowded marketplace Beauty stands out. The laid-back vibe and sparkling musicianship on the album makes it a pleasure from start to finish. In my 2014 review of Jeremy's previous house compilation, My Love Is Underground, I said, "If you're at all interested in playing old-school house music on vinyl, then this is an essential purchase." By that logic, if you're into soul and jazz records, you need Beauty in your life.
01. Ron Rinaldi - Mexican Summer
02. Leila Pinheiro - Tudo Em Cima
03. Christer Norden - Lay Back
04. N C C U - Superstar
05. Shades Of Love - Do Your Own Dance
06. Sonya Spence - Let Love Flow On
07. Nu-Cleus - Needing A Woman
08. Al (Alonzo) Wilson - Love You Girl
09. Richardi Mac - Told You So
10. Maureen Bailey - Takin' My Time With You
11. Fein - Stonedage
12. June Evans - Hardly Need To Say
13. Starcrost - Quicksand
14. Creative Arts Ensemble - Unity