Rhythm Section brings Darkhouse Family’s first live set to The Jazz Cafe

Rhythm Section have been bringing their esteemed residency North of the river for over three years, with their Camden line-ups often focusing on a more instrumental approach than their revered Canavan’s club night is celebrated for. The Peckham label brought Auntie Flo, Darkhouse Family and newcomers, Sunken to their Camden residency on Thursday night.

Rhythm Section honcho Bradley Zero, dipped into his extensive back catalogue during the intermission, before introducing recent South London discovery, Sunken. Female fronted neo-soul that sounds both South London and Melbourne in equal parts open the evening, Poppy Billingham strikes a chord with husky, delicate vocals over a more minimalist jazz-approach. Indie coming-of-age narrative layered over intricate string arrangements and fluffy falsettos make space for a melancholic delivery as the trio cover  ‘Over The Days’, as well as tease upcoming releases.

Darkhouse Family aka Earl Jeffers and Don Leisure, who each produce under their respective monikers share a stage with a Cardiff-strong live band, Andy Brown of Afrocluster on bass, Tom Rees on drums and Scott Hillen on Keys . The Cardiff producers are known for their genre-defying strains of Drum and Bass, House and Hip Hop; with their most recent release a take on Guilty Simpson’s ‘Pull’ on Dbridge’s revered Exit Records. The live interpretation of First Word release, ‘The Offering’ features siren synths and hip-hop dynamics seamlessly nestling themselves above the instrumental foundation that initially birthed the album. A visual and aural exhibition of both the mechanical and the instrumental not only reaffirms the capacity of their work, but allows for it to be interpreted beyond the environments it has been exposed to until now. Darkhouse Family’s output is consistently ingrained with the necessity of being heard in a live setting; and as they dipped between new and old, familiar sounds became first listens as they wound through their first live set.

Auntie Flo, accompanied by his band brought his most recent work, ‘Radio Highlife’ in a new direction, the Peterson-tipped producer seemed as if he were collaborating with his live band and allowed you to hear the narrative behind the album; soaked in sounds of his worldwide travels, and the simplicity and guidance that comes by discovering new places. The Glasgow born producer exhibits past and present influences as playful synth tangents and syncopated rhythms bring a clubnight feel to the evening. Male vocals covering ‘Nobody Said It Would Be Easy’ change the atmosphere in the venue, and though his presence takes centre stage, he continues to pull the live band toward his direction. The all-encompassing live interpretation of his latest work exposed different angles on his production, almost as if Radio Highlife was the template to be pushed, stretched and played with in a celebration of world music; a sound both experimental by default, and something that label head Gilles Peterson has been championing for years.

Words by @rhimarilou.

Photo credit: James Morgan-Rees.