Released 21st April 2019
Described by Tiger Mendoza’s Ian De Quadros as “A remix album. Of sorts”, New Ideas takes the collaborations forged across previous EPs – 2017’s “Old Ideas 1” and 2018’s “Old Ideas 2” – and explores a kind of reciprocal collaboration alongside two new tracks.
There are four versions of the originally grungy hip-hop “Maverick Souls” from “Old Ideas 2”; Asher Dust’s earnest vocals get a variety of interpretations, the most striking of which is the swift two-minute remix by Didcot’s hardcore punkers Worry, who cover it with a wall of frantic sampling and noise.
The remix by Carterton’s Dan Clear of “Missing You” – with vocals from Lucy Vee and rapper Half Decent – becomes an even more blissed-out stark juxtaposition of choppy rap and the ethereal, while “Jazzer” is transformed by REELS from what Nightshift originally described as a “hypnotic afro-hop babble” into a starker, more frantic house number, and by Breezewax into a slower and surprisingly even more hypnotic piece that gives the beautiful the acoustic guitar and orchestral backing of the original more prominence.
New track “Find You” has vocals from Kate Herridge from Reading’s Ocean Ruins; her shaky “Am I not enough?” refrain loops over heavy beats and reverbed synths – and eventually crunchy guitars – to create a mesmerising whole; the other new track, “Perish The Thought”, which will feature on Asher Dust’s upcoming final album, is an off-kilter hip-hop meld of seemingly detuned guitars and Asher’s trademark paradoxically menacing yet comforting vibrato voice.
The sheer variety of approaches explored justifies the rationale of giving a track of one genre to a musician from another and seeing what they come up with. The album is therefore well worth exploring, especially since the profits from the release will go to The Oxford Foodbank. Above all, however, New Ideas is a fresh testament to the cohesion of and bonhomie between the Oxford music scene at a time when such harmony and unity is sorely and sadly needed.