With a modernist blend of jazz, hip-hop and electronica, Blue Lab Beats’ debut album ‘Xover’ emerged as an underground favourite. ‘Xover’ topped the UK jazz chart and reached the Top 10 on equivalent charts in a further 26 countries.
Now the duo follow ‘Xover’ by sharing the video to their new single ‘Hi There’. It’s the first taste of the ‘Vibe Central’ EP which follows on 28th June via AllPoints / Blue Adventure. It comes on the back of their recent nomination for The Digital Award at the Jazz FM Awards.
Already with support from Huw Stephens at Radio 1, Phil Taggart, Goldirocks and Hyperboogie – ‘Hi There’ demonstrates the huge progress that the duo – producer NK–OK and multi-instrumentalist Mr DM – have made in recent months. With throbbing bass, inventive production flourishes and tranquil grooves, it conveys the atmosphere of heading out of the city during a scorching summer road trip. It’s already emerging as a fan favourite as a regular closer at their live shows.
The video takes inspiration from the 1973 Jungle Boogie ‘Soul Train Line Dance’.
‘Hi There is a mixture of the old and the new – Nu Disco! We wanted a video idea that was relatable to the music which is really danceable and uplifting. As usual with all our videos we had a mixture of friends, family and professionals involved which made the day very relaxed and hilarious at times!’ – Blue Lab Beats
Elsewhere, the new EP captures the essence of what made ‘Xover’ so memorable while also pushing the Blue Lab Beats sonic into new territory. Their passion for melding analogue and digital sounds reaches new heights, and they’re also freshly inspired by their global adventures, from Rabat to Milan to Texas and back home in London.
EP is now available to pre-order here
‘None Of That’ is a case in point with a jazzy twist on West Coast hip-hop, as NK–OK delivers punchy grooves while Mr DM excels at no-less than six instruments. The synth-orientated ‘Old Times’ also takes a West Coast influence, this time filtered through the smooth vibes of Jeff Lorber and Pete Rock’s classic crossover style. The acclaimed trumpeter Theo Croker brings his unconventional musical alchemy to ‘Vibe Tribe’, while Jodie Abacus contributes vocals and co-wrote the uptempo, pop-tinged closer ‘Lipstick’.
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NK-OK and Mr DM first met as teenagers at Tomorrow’s Warrior – a jazz-focused community initiative whose hub at the Royal Festival Hall has nurtured many of the artists on the burgeoning London scene. They released their debut EP ‘Blue Skies’ just two years later before dropping ‘Xover’ early in 2018 as the two releases picked up radio support from the likes of Gilles Peterson, Toddla T and Huw Stephens. Still only aged 20 (NK-OK) and 25 (Mr DM) – a big moment in their career came when their life-affirming Jazz FM live session went viral with over 500,000 views.
Blue Lab Beats’ reputation also exploded beyond their own scene as they were invited to remix tracks from pop heavyweights Dua Lipa and Rag ‘N’ Bone Man. Having previously performed at Glastonbury, WOMAD, Love Supreme and supported Kiefer, Thundercat, Roy Ayers and Mulatu Astatke, Blue Lab Beats’ epic 2019 continues with the following live shows:
19th – Cambridge, University Ball
12th – Copenhagen, Jazz Festival
27th – Beckenham Park, Naked City Festival
17th – Cambridge, We Out Here Festival
25th – Germany, El Barrio Festival
16th – Margate, Jazz ReFreshed
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