The last time Swindle played in Leeds, he had just finished his latest album, and treated the crowd to an exclusive hearing of a couple of its sounds. On Tuesday night, he returned to Elijah & Skilliam’s weekly night Jamz to play the rest of the record. This was a special booking for the night’s curators, not only because Peace, Love & Music is possibly the most exciting experimental record to come from the UK this year, but it’s the first album to be released on their producer-based label Butterz.
As his band set up, Swindle took to the mic to politely introduce himself. “Hello my name is Swindle, and I’m going to play some music for you”, which is not only a mantra that he starts every show with, but one that perfectly explains his dynamic production techniques. Getting comfortable at his hub of production equipment, Swindle beckoned the crowd closer to the stage as if he was sitting them down for a story, and that’s exactly what the listening experience of the album is - the story of a producer’s global tour and the sounds he heard along the way.
The music began with the album’s intro Gotta Do, but it wasn’t long before the track list was scrapped as Joel Culpepper joined him on stage to perform Blackbird. Culpepper’s funky-yet-soulful vocals were pitch perfect and greatly complimented the thumping electro jazz. For the night, Swindle had employed a simple trio of drums, trumpet and sax, which was enough to compliment the producer as he masterfully glided between synths and samplers to take the admiring crowd on an intergalactic journey. The cosmic beats of Tokyo and the Filipino riffs of Malasimbo kept the room bouncing as the band’s joyful vibes transcended from the stage.
Throughout the night, Swindle didn’t just constrain himself to the limits of the album. Instead he made full use of the band and treated HiFi to his most popular flavour Long Live the Jazz and the famous snare of Do the Jazz, both bringing the room together as one.The second vocalist of the night was Flowdan. His distinctively dark flow on Global Dance is not only a fitting nod toward Swindle’s background in Grime, but the Roll Deep MC could drop a verse on the national anthem and get the crowd jumping like he did. Rarely giving the crowd a chance to breath, Swindle’s performance matched his hyperactive-yet-graceful production as he expertly flowed through otherwise opposing jazz rhythms, electro synths and dubstep breaks; from the soulful London 2 LA via the energetic bass-heavy Mad Ting, before acquiring a keytar to execute the riffs on Summer Fruits as he jammed with the Sax player.
The set finished with the critically acclaimed Elevator, which starts off as soft lounge jazz, working its way up 5 levels of tempo before breaking out into soulful drum and bass. Maintaining his signature smile, Swindle announced his fingers were bleeding, but that didn’t stop him from giving into the crowd’s demands for an encore. He beckoned Culpepper back on stage to restore some order and perform the album’s outro. Swindle’s music is beautifully one of a kind, and is the product of a man whose love for making music is in his bones. To see that process manifest on stage was almost as great a pleasure as the sound it created.
Words by Conor Crozier
Photos courtesy of Elliot Young
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