Blue Dream ‘Trip To LA’ 180g Vinyl (Tangential Music) 4/5

‘Trip to LA’ is the new album release Andy Compton who partners with Irantzu Pujadas and Brad Kent to continue their work under the guise of Blue Dream.

As described via his Bandcamp page, the Bristol-based Andy Compton can lay claim to helming over 40 albums and nearly 150 EPs with projects boasting his indelible touch across a wide range of collaborations and guises.

Whether it be via the eclectic, digital funk of The Rurals, Compton’s pairing with the Dutch flautist and jazz musician, Han Litz, his work as part of the South African collective Sowetan Onesteps or one of the many releases under his own name – be it as Andy Compton or as simply COMPTON which is the moniker you’ll find his defining nu-jazz meets soulful house masterpiece ‘COMPTON’s Soul’ attributed to.

Blue Dream affords the producer and musician another in a seemingly endless series of opportunities to continue exploring the possibilities of music within the soulful house and future soul aesthetic. And for this Blue Dream excursion, Compton has found himself the perfect travel companions in musician Brad Kent and vocalist Irantzu Pujadas. With the trio’s debut album ‘California Dreaming’ having been released in late-2018, the group’s blend of nu-soul, R&B and chillout was nicely realised through their introductory project and now finds that groundwork developing into exciting new areas. Irantzu’s sublime vocal still finds itself perfectly at home over the accompanying lush soundscapes which were initially brought to life following a trip by the team to Kent’s studio to bask in his array of vintage analogue synth instruments.

It’s actually a set-up perhaps more akin to the array of funk and soul purists like Brooklyn’s Daptone and Dala Records or the UK’s ATA Records who shun digital and contemporary recording techniques in favour of those authentic-sounding recreations of a classic and bygone era. Much of what you hear from Blue Dream however you’d be forgiven for expecting it to be the result of state-of-the-art studio wizardry as opposed to the “dusty old drum machines”.

The Roy Ayers-esque sonics of ‘I Wanna Go Home’ delivers as one of the early album highlights as does the more scattered production of ‘You Want Me Back’. The dreamy ‘Blue Moon’ serves as another strong contribution to the album boasting the tiniest tease of a classic Terry Lewis & Jimmy Jam composition perhaps as a starting point.

Citing Compton’s approach to music-making as prolific seems almost limiting – there would have to be an entirely new term to surmise his staggering musical output and as I write this, there may be a further five completely different projects in the works but whatever Compton does have planned up his proverbial sleeve, there’s the hope that there’ll be another trip to LA at some point down the line.

Imran Mirza