Sleazy Peek: Sameed - Someone Like Me (Ele Records)

Ele Records follows up its inaugural release - a proper tour de force by Cottam up there with his seminal early records that sold out in a blink -  with Ha Noi Nights, a four-track sampler celebrating 'the distinct tapestry of street culture pulsating through the capital', according to the sales notes. Vietnam may be breathtakingly beautiful and home to some of the most delicious (street)food known to mankind, but a hotbed for sample-heavy basement house? I got in touch with the guys behind the label, who were kind enough to let us premiere one of the tracks off the new record - Sameed's 'Someone Like Me', our pick of the bunch. They also shed some light on how the label came about, what direction they have in mind for the imprint and offered some words on the significance of that majestic beast, the elephant. 

Hit play and read on below

The label started as a brainchild in rainy Manchester. The owners had been travelling extensively and living in South East Asia for a few years when, inspired by the art, culture and lifestyle of the Vietnamese, they decided to set up a label and built the aesthetic of the label around the art, landscape and nature of Viet Nam in partnership with native artists.  Vietnamese designer Mannik was commissioned to create the limited artwork for Cottam's release, and one can clearly see the iconic Vietnamese landscape merging with ancient Champa blocks, in homage to Ha Noi’s cultural and artistic legacy. 

Quite the departure from your average 'I had all this stuff lying around so why the heck not', this compelling concept and narrative, in which the elephant seems to play a central part (Ele is short for Elephant and the animal features prominently on the label's artwork). 

I asked them what inspired them to name the label after the Elephas Maximus. 'Elephants have been domesticated in Asia and used for a multitude of purposes, from Persian wars to Vietnamese farming, and we felt the elephant projected a number of our characteristics – patient, compassionate, caring, playful, friendly, respectful, familial, curious and loyal'. 

For a new label, the follow-up to a big debut release can a real mountain to climb, but Ele pulls it off with great panache, lining up some serious talent for a delightfully diverse outing. Opening track Ru$h (not sure who's behind this tune) is a classy shuffler that brings Atjazz' mid-90s productions to mind. Rhythm Section's Contours comes correct with 'Night Shift', a smooth, organic groover with Callum Connell on sax duties. The flipside caters for the needs of the heads and is where things really get going. Newcomer Replete lays down an arresting groove with Bini on vocal duties and it's a real beaut, perfect for the summer season. It's the kind of stuff Charles Webster put out on Miso a few years ago.  Finally, Sameed drops some delectable loopy Motor City vibes built around irresistible rhodes lines.  Sameed's been on point lately with big releases on Local Talk and Gamm and this basement workout will further cement his reputation as one to watch.

This diversity is something the label strives for. 'Musically, we follow a simple linear – sample based, dusty grooves inspired by the rich soundscapes of early hip hop and house productions. Our artists resonate with that sonic soundscape, from Cottam’s edits to Contours live jams, and 2017 will see more varied and diverse productions from our artists'.

A patient, compassionate, caring, playful, friendly, respectful, familial, curious and label to cherish then. The elephant never forgets.

Get it here