Two Bristol favourites join forces.
Shanti Celeste & Hodge – Soba Dance
How has it taken Shanti Celeste and Hodge, two artists from the same crop of Bristol-affiliated high-achievers, so long to get in the studio together? Musical differences might have played a part. Since debuting in 2013, Celeste has mostly stuck to house, while Hodge, real name Jake Martin, has hovered between techno and UK bass like a true Bristolian millennial. Martin’s music is much darker and heavier, but as the excellent Soba Dance shows, fresh musical worlds often rise from unlikely collaborations.
Despite their contrasting sounds, Celeste and Martin share a knack for crafting nifty drums and strange earworms, both of which flourish across the EP. The title track thunders out the blocks, perhaps a little too boisterously, only to quickly dip into a beatless tangle of hand percussion, whistles and sub-aquatic synths. It’s hard to call this a melody exactly, but it’s gripping, the kind of moment that’ll jolt any dance floor. A proper melody, simple yet celestial, appears later, adding depth of feeling. “Alula” is a throb of shuffling drums, rippling synths and snaking hand percussion, except this time the kicks hit at a perfect volume. The best bit, though, is the rude and stringy bassline. “Pips” is different: breezier, less intense and slightly less good. The mood is nice and airy—Celeste’s breathy vocals are a classy addition—but a little plodding compared to the busy swagger of the previous two. Even so, there’s plenty to love.