Fred P & SMBD – Mantras for the Travelling Souls (Vol. 1)

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It seems fitting for Fred P to be the first release on Simbad’s new label Modern Dialect. They are both producers of classic house beats in their own right and have come together in Mantras for the Travelling Souls (Vol. 1) to create a record that embodies house and its deeper ideologies. Stringing together threads left open by the likes of Theo Parrish and Moodymann, the pair interweave their influences with blueprints for the future, transforming an old medium so that it speaks to a new audience.

By combining elements from different genres and cloaking them in the guise of house music, Fred P and Simbad have revamped house for a new generation of party-goers. For example, the opening of “Hybrid” feels like it’s echoing around an empty brick warehouse, and the slightly sharper synths towards the end have a soft touch of industrial techno to them. When they combine this with drum breaks and a brass sample that smacks of 808 State’s “Pacific State”, house once again becomes a genre with a vehicle for change, embodying the very ethical pillars that held the genre up from the beginning.

Another thing that sticks out about this record is its use of samples that embody the visionary and instructive promise of the title. Throughout the opening minute of “Pulling Strings”, two nameless voices converse metaphysically about a range of indiscernible topics. They float in and out of focus, woven into a larger tapestry of drum breaks and high string-like synths. The latter half of the track is entirely instrumental, and acts as a pause, allowing you to digest the fuller sense of what has been said, letting you fit it into your life. On “Mantralude #2”, the use of older interviews and news snippets seem just as relevant now as they were then; the cosmic sonic backdrop makes it feel as though these words are echoing through time and space to reach us in the present day.

At first listen, this might sound like just another house record. But listen carefully, and this record isn’t just a crowd-pleaser, and isn’t just made to fill a dance floor. It is a record with a purpose, and if we listen close enough, we might just be able to fulfil it.