Various ‘Tru-Thoughts Fifteenth Anniversary’ (Tru-Thoughts) 2CD/Ltd. Vinyl Box set 4/5

tru-thoughts-fifteenthBrighton-based independent label Tru-Thoughts is enjoying fifteen years in the record business and to celebrate this event has brought out a double CD anthology of its more recent works. with the majority of items selected here being situated between 2009 and the present. Starting out as a dance-oriented label, the genesis of Tru-Thoughts, according to co-owners Paul Jonas and DJ Robert Luis was to create more dance music in a vein that the founders themselves personally liked, yet was not catered for by the industry at the time, and this has carving out of a new market niche has mushroomed out to incorporate elements of electronica, Latin, jazz and nu-soul. Of its roster of artists, by far the best known are Quantic and Alice Russell, with Nostalgia 77 gaining a serious reputation among the jazz fraternity for its consistently high and varied output under different guises. Needless to say the first two are well represented with three contributions apiece and Quantic and Alice Russell combine wonderfully on ‘Look around the corner’ while Nostalgia 77 provide the instrumentation to Russell’s deep vocals on the excellent ‘Seven nation army’ which is a definite highlight. Ideally, Nostalgia 77 are deserving of another compilation in their own right above and beyond the remixes one of a few years back. Back in a club direction, the likes of Bonobo and Quantic plus his Combo Bárbaro cook up a storm on ‘Undelivered letter’ while elsewhere lesser known names such as Belleruche and Saravah Soul supply some funkier flavours. Perhaps looking towards the future, Tru-Thoughts might want to think about cementing its credentials in the jazz and folk idioms with the Sleepwalking Society and Nostalgia 77 a different acoustic side to the label that with the right promotion would attract a whole new audience. On the present anthology the New Orleans group Hot 8 Brass Band and their ‘Steamin’ Blues’ makes for a lovely change and more groups of this calibre should be encouraged. Highly informative sleeve notes in the form of an interview between the two founders shed light on how the label has evolved. The alternative vinyl format is ideal for devotees of the LP and includes a book plus 2CD.

Tim Stenhouse