The early days of the iconic Bristol Sound are captured in a new album including an exclusive re-release of the very first track from Massive Attack and tracks from Smith & Mighty, Purple Penguin and more.
The curated tracks are also linked in that all were originally released with bespoke original covers from legendary Bristol street artists, including Banksy and Will Barras, tying its release to Vanguard’s current exhibition Bristol Street Art: The Evolution of a Global Movement at M Shed, Bristol, running until October.
Compiled by DJ Boca 45 (Scott Hendy), Vanguard brings together the seminal tracks that defined the rebellious era which saw the birth of the Bristol Sound for the first time. Featured tracks include an exclusive re-release of Any Love – the first ever track by Massive Attack released on Massive Attack Records in 1988, Smith & Mighty’s breakout hit Walk On, Purple Penguin’s downtempo classic Memphis and other trip hop classics.
The LP celebrates the globally recognised Bristol Sound whose experimental breakbeat rhythms and influence still dominate the scene today. Along with classic tracks from the ‘90’s into the ‘00’s and beyond, the album uncovers lesser known cuts by some of Bristol’s pioneering musicians such as One Cut and West Country hip hop’s finest Aspects.
The explosion of the Bristol Sound coincided with the boom in UK street art which led to fruitful collaborations between artists and musicians. Finding inspiration in each other’s work, street artists frequently designed rave posters, logos and cover art while DJs provided the beats to accompany street artists’ clandestine painting.
Vanguard The Album pays homage to these relationships with a beautifully put together gatefold LP featuring iconic cover art designed by some of the biggest names in street art such as Inkie, Dicy, Will Barras and Nick Walker. These early works capture the boisterous energy of the era and confirm Bristol’s status as an extraordinary cultural melting pot.
The double vinyl record also features extensive sleeve notes written by Bristolian writer and curator Jamie Hombre as he reflects on these groundbreaking cover art collaborations.
Hombre notes, “… Bristol is a city that breathes in and breathes out culture. Few can question the ways in which it has had, and continues to have, influence on those living elsewhere. But the large majority of art, and music, was and still is, “made in the West”… Bristol’s street art may well derive from the city’s historic association to cut and paste sampling and hip hop (as informed by West Indian carnival sound system culture) but time makes evident that those settling in the city can assert real influence too, and are enabled to do so by the cultural interplay and open atmosphere that is Bristol, resulting first in ripples, then full scale waves of industrialising and innovative output. From one vanguard to the next.”
Along with the 15 classic Bristol Sound tracks, the digital edition also includes a 30 minute continuous mix by Boca 45 made exclusively for the Vanguard exhibition using different versions of the tracks and more.
The Vanguard Album will be limited to 1250 physical copies on vinyl.
The album is available to purchase on vinyl and CD through Bandcamp, independent record shops from 27 August, Vanguard’s website and various worldwide multimedia online platforms.
250 vinyl with an exclusive paint splatter design are available through Bandcamp with another 500 pink vinyl available through the Vanguard website and selected retailers.
The Vanguard Album on vinyl + digital download retails at £25.