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Guest Playlist: Benin City

With their debut album, Fires in the Park, due early next month on Audio Doughnuts, bass-heavy, ethno-clash troupe Benin City took us on an audio tour of the sounds that have inspired them while creating it. Here, the group’s frontman Joshua Idehen (who co-wrote the songs with multi-instrumentalist Tom Leaper) talks us through the cosmic soul, off-kilter electronica and mid-noughties grime that have been pivotal to Benin City’s ever-evolving, always enticing sonic world.

V V Brown – ‘Samson’

“A very recent obsession of mine. This is a massive change in sound from her and, like Jessie Ware‘s album last year, I believe that Dave Okumu has given this his magic touch too. Epic.”

Daedelus – ‘Stampede Me’

“Just one of those songs, just one of those songs that touch you where it reeeeeeeaally hurts.”

Jill Scott – ‘Gettin’ in the Way’ (Live)

“YouTube has so many great live music videos on it and this is one of my all time faves. Great tune, great band, great performance. Also, that first horn entry gets me EVERY time. Amazing.”

Scroobius Pip – ‘Letter of God to Man’

“It was a choice between this and ‘Thou Shalt Always Kill‘, but in my opinion this was always the one: The best. The moment I went ‘what’s this? I’m… Feeling something?!’ True story: listening to this on my bike, in the rain, at night, I got so caught up in the song that I raced past a red light and almost volunteered myself as concrete carpet, courtesy of oncoming traffic.”

Take 6 – ‘Star-Spangled Banner’

“I had an obsession with watching every single arrangement of the US anthem I could find a couple of years ago. They’re not afraid to pull out the big guns when it comes to live arrangements over there. These guys are a mind blowing vocal harmony group and are everything Boyz II Men wished they were (I bet)! Stunning.”

LV & Okmalumkoolkat – ‘Sebenza’

“Those dickheads did not get me on their second album, which was on Hyperdub, a label I WOULD HAVE LOVED TO HAVE BEEN ON, and then they made a sick album, without me, with this sick video. My wounds in a salt jacuzzi. Dicks.”

DivaGeek – ‘Money’ (Live)

“I had the massive pleasure of meting Vula at a gig last year. You’ll have heard her with Basement Jaxx, Sam Sparro and performing with the Robert Glasper Experiment at the LJF. She’s totally incredible as this video shows. Also, Ben on drums is killing it too (as are the rest of the band)! A group that aren’t afraid to make the music that they want to hear.”

Dizzee Rascal – ‘I Luv U’

“Still in my opinion the best grime video ever made. Also the rhyme at the end, vexed, was the inspiration of my first poem ever. It was not a good poem.”

Tuesday Born – ‘Wake’ (Live)

“I’ve been in to Tuesday Born since ‘Kwabena‘ last year and had the pleasure of meeting Gabe the other week. Again, I’m always drawn to live videos and there is something special about this version. He’s also done a beautiful remix of a bonus track for our album so watch out for that too!”

Flying Lotus – ‘Until the Quiet Comes’

“Are you dumb, bruv? Can you not see this? This video makes my spirit feel tumble-dried. Storyboard P is just an artist like, wow. Flying Lotus’ Cosmogramma was an important moment in music for me, like to have a popular artist making that kinda music? All is possible. This song isn’t on that album, but the video feels like an extension of that vision.”

- Alex Cull

Benin City’s ‘Fires in the Park’ is available from July 1 on Audio Doughnuts. Its lead single, ‘Faithless‘, is out now.



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