Drawing their listeners into urban environs that "sample golden-era soul, funk, jazz and dub", South London duo Blackmale Beats practice all that is good, timeless songwriting. Brand new single "Smile" is about to put a big one on your face.
"Smile" is steeped in class from the offset, with Hackney soloist MeaKoom's (former The Kemistry vocalist) sophisticated and silky vocals riding on a high with Shem Lawrence and Lukman Shoge's loungey padding and blurts of brass. Blippy synths, chugging beats, glowing choral woohs and a plush, cyclical bassline make for a fascinating blend of hip-hop, R&B, soul, and electronic music that is pure bliss to listen to.
Speaking about the track, Lawrence says: "I fell in love with the saxophone and trumpet at a very young age, and the first time I experienced a brass band was back in the early '90s when my mum took me to see her good friend (Fela Kuti) perform at Brixton Astoria (now O2 Academy Brixton).
"The brass instruments in "Smile" complement Meakoom's voice, they also take me back to those golden moments with my mum and Fela in Brixton."
Lawrence and Shoge are clearly passionate about what they do beyond producing music. In 2013 the Brixton/Stockwell-based pair put together Community Roots, a compilation album made with other south London musicians to encourage a respect for their neighbourhoods. More recently the twosome toured London classrooms to teach sampling techniques to pupils, which culminated in a session at Tate Britain.
"Smile" is released on 4 December. Stream below as Song Of The Day: