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Digging Deep: Bastien Keb

Digging Deep: Bastien Keb
Avneet Takhar

Following the fabulous offering by Rich Medina in the last Digging Deep, we continue in our quest to explore the minds and roots of some of the scene’s most compelling musicians. Hailing from the exotic environs of Royal Leamington Spa, electronic neo-soul multi-instrumentalist Bastien Keb is something of a catch. Primarily a guitarist, but fluent with brass, drums and woodwind, his debut album entitled Drinking In The Shadows Of Zizou is a silky collection of ambient soul, shaken and stirred with jazzy grooves and hip hop undertones.

Effortlessly combining sax, synth, guitar and violin throughout, the outcome is magically psychedelic, best exhibited on tracks like Deer and Hum; dreamy, easy on the ears, and oozing cool yet with subtle, eerie inklings.

Bastien is the next in a string of prodigious and unique musicians tipped by London label One-Handed Music, which has been steadily garnering a solid reputation through releases from poster boy of this new wave of electronica, Mo Kolours, and the prolific Lewisham-born beats producer Paul White. As such, Bastien’s in esteemed company, yet Drinking In The Shadows… adds a new layer to the burgeoning OHM foundation.

We’re tipping him for the equally heady heights his label cohorts have reached and with that in mind, we asked him to give us a snapshot into his influences, drawing for some of the most obscure records from the depths of his collection. It’s perhaps no wonder they turned out to be a warm combination of great old timers. From Penny and The Quarters to Afrofunk from Solomon Ilori, this one’s super fly.

Solomon Ilori and his Afro Drum Ensemble – African High Life, 1963
Think it’s his only solo record. Dunno much about it, it’s on Blue Note full of amazing percussion.

Various – Eccentric Soul (The prix label), 2007
Bought it for Penny and The Quarters’ ‘You and Me’. They were a soul group from the 60’s, they did some demos for Stax but never got anything released. Great work from the Prix label putting unreleased shit out. Otherwise this song would be gone forever.
Other gems on it too, Joe Cole-You’re my everything.

Dr John The Night Tripper- Gris Gris, 1968
Incredible record, every tunes a gem, i’d heard his name quite a bit but never hear him. After hearing this he became a huge inspiration and i started writing music like it. Still love it now! So raw and wild. It was recorded using left over recording time on a different project, so it’s even pieced together madly. Wildly mixed too.

Various – Spiritual Jazz – Esoteric, Modal And Deep Jazz from the underground 1968-77, 2008
Worth it for the 501 Penitentiary Jazz Ensemble’s ‘Psych City’ but Morris Wilson/Beau Bailey Quintet/Bobby Jackson ‘Paul’s Ark’ and mad percussion and double bass bowing on Ronnie Boykins ‘The Will Come, is now’ are belters too.

The Sun Ra Arkestra – Angels and Demons at Play, 1967
My first Sun Ra record and now still my favourite.

Washington Phillips – What are they doing in Heaven today?, 2007
He’s from the 1920’s. I became fascinated by him after reading about him playing gospel on a toy piano, what more d’you want?

Bastien Keb – Drinking In The Shadows of Zizou is available for free download on his Bandcamp, but pay what you feel.