There’s no doubting that the music industry and specifically, the live entertainment sector, are going through an extraordinarily difficult and frustrating time right now. Even writing this article, I find myself depressed about the dystopian future artists and fans are facing. However, Manchester-based radio station and arts organization Reform Radio, is showing us that great art and creativity can still come in times of great hardship.
Rhythm Lab Records (Reform Radio's Sister Label) created the new project Co-Lab Theory in a truly unique way. They matched at random, six teams of artists and visual creators from the local community with little or no brief, other than to create an exciting, audio-visual experience. The artists had help from local creative mentors, and the whole project was supported by Jägermeister and Arts Council England.
A different sort of project to delve into, there’s deliberately a lack of cohesion and a collection of different styles. The project starts with a sultry, soulful RnB jam in the form of Indigo and Lovescene’s "Uneasy." The project soon delves into Manchester’s rich heritage of electronic music with "Flatcap" and "Business" and "Culture" providing the upbeat, dance-ready gems. "Nobody’s Listening" by IORA and Architects of Rosslyn, is an epic, powerful piece of leftfield electronica that drives in different directions with an intense and powerful production. A favorite from the project is inevitably, the Mr Scruff production featuring Superlative "Read All About It." A percussive, nuanced UK grime gem with plenty of electronic elements.
The project showcases the next generation of Manchester musicians and provides some much needed positivity in a moment where there doesn’t seem to be much to go around.
Listen to the full album on Bandcamp HERE.