In the years I lived in Bristol, Idle Hands opened up in Stokes Croft, stepping in to the void left behind by Rooted Records. Idle Hands is a great store, and if you’re around, you should definitely drop in. The label is in many ways a reflection of the physical store; it releases music by names from further afield, such as Toronto’s Kevin McPhee alongside music made more locally by the likes of Kowton, Kahn and Andy Mac.
Idle Hands has been a home for the harsh, machine driven sounds of Rhythmic Theory as well as the more summery sounds of Outboxx. The label’s newest offering, made by Shanti Celeste who also works in the store, perhaps is most akin to Outboxx’s laid back groove, but it speaks as a testament to her talent that despite being surrounded by records all day, she’s managed to forge a style that is recognisably “hers.”
Days Like This/On My Own builds on her debut release on Idle Hands affiliate, BRSTL. BRSTL005 was 2 cuts of straightforward, honest house music built around vocal samples. It was a solid release, but if there’s one criticism to be leveled at it, maybe it was played a little bit too safe. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s still a good release. IDLE023 picks up where BRSTL005 left off, but adds a bit more panache: the groove is more defined, there’s a clearer feeling behind each of the tracks and the production is more tight.
The A side, Days Like This, develops around one of Shanti’s vocals and is backed by some piano chords. The beat is fleshed out and a big bass comes in. It’s a perfectly balanced track with each of the elements suitably matched to one another. It’s the chords that really make it for me, they form a really infectious hook, with each phrase signed off with a nice, punchy snare.
On the B side is On My Own. Coming in at 9 minutes long, it’s a bit more of builder than Days Like This. Also built around Shanti’s own vocals, this track is however, a bit more restrained and a bit more spacious. It’s got a great laid back vibe to it and as layers of synths are added to the mix and the beat grows more sparse, it’s the B side that works on the mind, in contrast to the A side’s more danceable rhythms.
If this release is anything to go by, it looks like Shanti Celeste is finding her groove and working out how to complement her vocals to the full. A great Idle Hands release, we’re excited to hear what she’ll put out next.