Many quick-hitting observers like to refer to Kaidi Tatham as "the UK's Herbie Hancock." That's not false, just a bit incomplete. Too vague mang. Tatham is a 30-plus year veteran of underground London music, from West London broken beat and deep house to jungle, future boogie and hip-hop. His discography remains connected to every new, reimagined black genre that pops up in the UK. That he's worked with Dego (Dennis McFarlane), Bugz In The Attic, The Herbaliser, Slum Village, Mulatu Astatke, Soul II Soul and Leroy Burgess over the course of his extensive career shows how far his influence reaches.
Tatham's current project stems from a chance DJ set in Belfast, with British Ghanaian soul artist Andrew Ashong. With Tatham jamming along on synths and flute, this session became the crux of their new collaborative six-track EP, Sankofa Season, on the newly formed Kitto Records. "Sankofa" translates to "Go back and get it" in the Twi language of Ghana. This record gets us back to that sticky soul we been missing during lockdown.
"Low Ceilings" is a joyful lament shot through half-time drum patterns. Ashrong chants: "Whatever happened to boom-bap / we're bringing it back / groove so sweet with the hand-clap / move those feet with the toe-tap." On "Learning Lessons" we move to a dubby 3 AM house vibe, with half-time snare hits and a mesmerizing 4/4 head-nod. The record moves deftly, powered by Tatham's drum programming, steered by his Fender Rhodes accompaniment. There is so much feel-good, mature soul going on, you could just crawl up in it and sway all night.
Ashong, who last released a solo project in 2014 after debuting on Theo Parrish's Sound Signature label in 2012, fits superbly with the variety of sounds popping off here. No matter if Tatham is doing his syncopated thing, with quick piano jazz attack, or flexing with those Afrobeat micro-rhythms. Sankofa Season feeds us a mini-meal during our global lockdown. It's a stop-gap, stimulus package a shelter from the storm, letting us know more of the good good is on the way. So get this comfort food for now.
TracklistA1 Low Ceilings
A2 Washed In You
A3 Eye Mo K
B1 Sankofa Song
B2 Learning Lessens
B3 To Your Heart