The idea behind Brownswood 10 is simple. Made up of 21 tracks, it contains one from each of the 21 artists to release on Brownswood Recordings.
Winding back to the beginning, it’s a reminder of the peculiar time in which Brownswood Recordings emerged. In 2006, record sales continued to plummet to new, dispiriting lows, while the veterans of the music industry grappled to comprehend the new, depressing reality facing them. It was a time which, in a strange way, was perfectly primed for independent record labels. With such little money to be made, it was a moment primed for only the most dedicated. That is, only those driven by sincere passion, ill-thought-out optimism — and, frankly, a plain disregard for economic reality — would have chosen to start a record label.
For Gilles Peterson, it followed his departure from iconic label Talkin’ Loud, a subsidiary of major label Mercury, which championed artists ranging from Roni Size and 4hero to Omar. By 2006, however, Gilles felt increasingly stifled. As purse strings tightened in the major label world, he sought an outlet where he could freely support the varied, divergent musical currents which continued to pique his interest.
Starting with little fanfare, the label grew slowly. The first signings were as eclectic as you’d expect: Ben Westbeech’s bass-weighted soul music, Soil & “Pimp” Sessions’ third album of (in their words) “death jazz”, followed by the sombre meditations of Elan Mehler’s jazz quartet. Since then, the label’s sonic trajectory has remained just as tough to pin down. Kickstarting the incredible career of jazz vocalist José James, it’s seen Mercury-nominated Ghostpoet’s debut and Mala’s re-configuring of dubstep within Cuban sound system culture. Above all else, it’s become a platform for artists to find their feet or do something different.
“It started as a wish to return to the recorded world by releasing piano records, and anything that took my fancy,” Peterson recalls. “Since then, it’s become an ongoing passion and continued addiction. From my early days setting up and running labels like Hardback, BGP, Acid Jazz and Talkin’ Loud, Brownswood has become the most fulfilling story.”
Shabaka And The Ancestors - Joyous
The Heritage Orchestra - Ballad for Strings
Swindle - Summer Fruits
Sonzeira - Nós precisamos de você feat. Moses Boyd
Yussef Kamaal - Lowrider
Zara McFarlane - More Than Mine
José James - Code
Ghostpoet - Survive It
Half Seas Over - Evensong
Troumaca - Layou
Anushka - Never Can Decide
Ben Westbeech - So Good Today (Yoruba Soul Remix)
Mala - Calle F
Danay Suárez - Guajira
Daymé Arocena - Mambo Na' Mà
Gilles Peterson’s Havana Cultura Band - Orisa feat. Dreiser & Sexto Sentido
Diggs Duke - He Wants To Live Like You
LV feat. Tigran Hamasyan - Hammers And Roses
William Adamson - Poacher
Gang Colours feat. Lulu James - Why Didn’t You Call?
Owiny Sigoma Band - Harpoon Land