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LeFtO & Simbad

The Worldwide Family series sees label head Gilles Peterson hand over compiling duties to trusted friends of the label. LeFtO and Simbad – two of our closest cohorts – launched the venture into orbit in 2011. Both gents are globetrotting DJs, respected selectors (with web-like worldwide connections) and the two are firm friends. What’s more, they have repped Brownswood from the beginning.

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The Worldwide Family series established in 2011 saw label head Gilles Peterson hand over compiling duties to trusted friends of the label in our perpetual pursuit of the perfect beat. And who better to launch this new venture into orbit than two of our closest cohorts: LeFtO and Simbad. Both gents are globetrotting DJs, respected selectors (with web-like worldwide connections) and the two are firm friends. What’s more, they have repped Brownswood from the beginning.

27 tracks deep, ‘Worldwide Family Vol.1′ was released on 3rd January 2011 and it set the bar sky high for future instalments. Reaching out to their respective global networks, LeFtO and Simbad each compiled a stellar selection of exclusive jams that sum up their individual and inimitable styles.

Taking control of CD1 is our Belgian homie, DJ / producer / promoter / broadcaster LeFtO. Yes, it’s an odd moniker, but check this… “LeFtO” is a nickname from his tagging days – “lève tôt” – which refers to his rep as an early riser. And boy does it ring true! LeFtO is consistently a couple of steps ahead of your average early adopter. He doesn’t wait for “the next shit” to land in his lap – he actively seeks it out. Just take a peek at his playlists for Belgium’s foremost national radio station Studio Brussels. However, don’t assume that he’s only working futuristic angles – no sir. Firmly rooted in jazz and hip-hop, he sharpened his diggin’ sensibility working at the now legendary Music Mania record store in his hometown Brussels. LeFtO is forever moving forwards, but he’s always got one ear in the past. Famed for his gloriously eclectic DJ sets, he skips effortlessly between dope hip hop, funk breaks, neck-snapping beats, future bass, classic reggae, bruk riddims and some of that wild bossa fire – all with an easy flick of the crossfader and a flurry of cuts. World renowned, LeFtO regularly blesses sound systems from Tokyo, Seoul and Singapore to New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The fact that he can be equally at ease rockin’ funk 45s at the Do-Over as he is flipping next level bass music at Low End Theory kinda says it all.

Heavy on soulful vocals and lagging hip-hop beats, LeFtO’s selection is a perfect peek into his musical mind. Heavyweights from the global beat movement – Exile, grooveman Spot, fLako and Hubert Daviz (aka Damage Is Done), Onra and TOKiMONSTA – rub up alongside fresh talent in the form of UpHigh Collective, I.N.T., Karlmarx and Dela. Brassroots contribute the certified Worldwide anthem ‘Good Life’ and Trilogy round up proceedings with a killer UKG-meets-acid-electro speaker bruiser.

Following up on CD2 is Simbad, a young French DJ/producer whose deep set knowledge and experience belies his years. Turning heads with his debut album ‘Supersonic Revelation’ in 2008, he touched on retro soul, house and hip-hop but still succeeded in twisting the minds of the techno and electronica communities worldwide. His DJ sets celebrate the same approach – carefully weaving those strands together into one warm, groove-ridden thread – just check his mixes for FACT and Brainfeeder. Practically nomadic, he is constantly travelling between London, Tokyo, New York and Puerto Rico to DJ and work with like-minded souls such as Ron Trent, Robert Owens, Gonzalez, Tony Allen, Bugz In The Attic and Talvin Singh. Then there are his studio collaborations alongside dance music legends Zed Bias, Atjazz, Phil Asher and Karizma and a fat back catalogue of remixes for such prestigious labels as Freerange, Defected, Raw Fusion and, of course, Brownswood.

Nodding to the UK’s flourishing leftfield beats movement, Simbad starts with a couple of warm, wonderfully off-kilter ditties courtesy of Airhead (famed for his collaborations with James Blake on Hemlock) and Illum Sphere (Hoya:Hoya / 3024). Later, Harrison Blakoldman throws up “bang-yer-head” arpeggios, Cooly G (Hyperdub) and Seiji both batter the Funky template into submission with successive twisted low end workouts, Kalbata (Soul Jazz) flexes his digi-dancehall muscles and KU BO mounts an all-guns-blazing, jungle-meets-juke assault on your speakers.

There’s so much amazing music here it’s kinda overwhelming. Take a minute, let it wash over you, absorb it, and I think you’ll agree it’s a fitting tribute to the breadth and depth of talent blossoming in our beloved Worldwide underground.

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  • Worldwide Family Volume 1