I think I once heard Volcov described as “the DJ’s DJ’s DJ”. It’s a pretty silly concept and an even sillier epithet, but anyone who’s witnessed the eclectic erudition of his selections will understand why he’s a favourite over at Rush Hour and can often be found sitting casually on lineups alongside weighty names like Sadar Bahar, Ron Trent and, more recently, Soichi Terada.
Producing as Volcov and Isoul8 for almost twenty years now, while running Archive and its sub-label Neroli since 1998, he’s moved from DnB through broken beat, covered the spectrum of house and disco, even collaborated on a dancehall 12” with Archive regular, Domu. This diversity is reflected in his DJ sets which, though wide-ranging, retain a ubiquitous futuristic jazziness and coherent personality, with a focus on vocals and melody, and the same applies to this new compilation on BBE.
Beginning with Are & Be’s ‘The Sound of the Memory of Many People’ – a polyphonic collage of sung and spoken flashes of poetry, accompanied by a down-tempo soul jam that breaks off temporarily into an atonal nod to Sun Ra – the tempo picks up for the rest of the compilation. Covering the Brazilian inflections of Chez Damier’s remix of The Urban Cru, and Volcov’s own edit of Manfredo Fest’s ‘Arigo’ – the original of which has two of the most bizarre tributes I’ve seen in a Youtube comments section – through the electro boogie of TGB and the blisteringly relentless disco bassline of Shuya Okino and Navasha Daya’s ‘Still In Love’.
Given Volcov’s alignment with the West London broken beat scene, it’s both welcome and unsurprising to see Shokazulu’s hard to find ‘Part 4’ and Bembé Segué’s ‘Sun On My Back’, from the long-awaited debut album that never saw a proper release. From The Archive is a model of a perfect compilation bringing together an eclectic but coherent collection of under-appreciated obscurities and sought after rarities.
From The Archive: Compiled by Volcov is out 4th March on BBE – pre-order from Juno.
From more on Volcov and Neroli at STW:
Premiere: O’Donel Levy – ‘Sophisticated Disco (Volcov Edit)‘
Premiere: Lars Barthuhn – ‘Golden Age’
“Jazz is living for the improvised”: tracing the comeback of Lars Bartkuhn