Welcome to our latest playlist, this time from industry stalwart Rob Hunt of REL Acoustics. So yes bass figures prominently in many tracks, albeit not always in obvious ways (a good subwoofer extends the soundstage as well as providing more bass).
If there’s a theme to the playlist it’s ‘open your ears’. Listen to music you don’t know, even to music you think you won’t like. Because in amongst it there will be some pearls. As Rob has found. As I repeatedly find; I didn’t know these tracks for example but am delving deeper into some of them. And the playlist is definitely edgy in places, not your typical Sunday morning fayre. I’m loving it, what do you think? Find it on Spotify here, Tidal here and a slightly curtailed version on Qobuz here.
1. “Insomnia 2021 Epic Edit” by Maceo Plex / Faithless (a single)
Included partly in tribute to Maxi Jazz, lead singer of Faithless, who recently left us. But mainly because the track has been used over the years in many REL demos yet still has that fresh feelgood bounce factor. Your gran may disagree.
2. “Dead In The Water” by Noel Gallacher’s High Flying Birds from Back The Way We Came
This caused Rob to rethink his apathy towards Oasis (I did the same with Pearl Jam after Rob Hay’s playlist). The track was captured live at the end of a radio set and is well recorded. In Rob’s words, there’s also an honesty to it.
3. “One Day At A Time” by Funkagenda (a single)
Dance music isn’t Rob’s natural habitat, he’s more a rock man. Given to him by a dealer, this track explores what a REL can do though. And it makes a for a great in-car track.
4. “Rolling 7s” by Dirty Honey from the Dirty Honey EP (not the 2021 LP)
‘A great gungey dirty horrible old-school recording‘ that everyone should listen to once in a while. ‘Nuff said!
5. “Kamara” from the Gobi Desert Collective (a single)
Suggested to Rob by Audio T in Swansea. More a demo track than central to his tastes, this isn’t Rob’s normal cup of tea. It gets his attention in a roundabout sort of way though (methinks he may be on the fence a bit!) Atmospheric electronica, a mix of chilled dance and ambient, these ears rather took to it.
6. “Simmer (Gareth Emery Remix)” by Gareth Emery (a single)
Another track ‘given’ to Rob by an industry person, this time REL’s European sales director. Anthemic dance, it’s best played loud on a big system (with a good subwoofer of course!). How well does your system do?
7. “Waiting For Flowers” by Nick Tudor from You’re No Elvis (EP)
Sometimes it’s personal. Rob met Nick on holiday, within 5 minues they were best mates. Perhaps no surprise as the theme of ‘good bloke’ does seem to crop up regularly on Nick’s Facebook page. A Yorkshireman from Bridlington, his influences are more from the other side of the Pennines; Manc rock (Oasis etc) is never far from the surface. If you explore one track on the playlist make it this one says Rob.
8. “Mattavolution” by Rodrigo Y Gabriela from the album of the same name
“Shimmer” may sound best on a big system, “Mattavolution” sounds good on anything. Although the track will also show what a good subwoofer can and can’t do. The duo’s dynamic flameco roots certainly come through loud and clear. The album won a Grammy in 2020, there’s also a live version that was released late in the same year.
9. “Light My Fire” by Friend ‘N’ Fellow from Covered
Originally by The Doors, this track will be familiar to many (my Roon system lists 117 versions). Friend ‘N’ Fellow make it their own with a quirky reading that seems to get under your skin. One for listening to in the garden, glass of wine in hand, according to Rob. Your place or mine?
10. “New Age Blues” by Cam Cole from I See
‘Just a no-brainer‘ was Rob’s summary of busking supremo Cam Cole. Think Seasick Steve and you’re getting there. To really appreciate Cole you need to watch him performing (YouTube is your friend – 6.7 million views). He may be a bit of a one-trick pony but what a trick. Essential viewing.