I might be five years behind the times, but I don’t care.
Drew while leaning Across The Kitchen Table has consistently talked up Hifi Sean to me for a number of years. Robert and Hugh, my sidekicks at the Simply Thrilled nights have done likewise. I’ve always liked what I was hearing but never enough to make me go out and buy things….the digital copies I had of some songs were satisfying enough.
But one day last year, Hifi Sean put out a wee note on social media that he was selling off ten vinyl copies of his 2016 album, Ft., for £10 plus P&P. Having been tipped off by the Simply Thrilled team, I jumped in and grabbed the bargain. A double album with 13 tracks….there was bound to be something of interest beyond the one utterly brilliant track that I already knew well.
It arrived a couple of weeks later, and to my surprise and delight, there was a free 7″ single also included. I put the record on the turntable, and hooked up the gizmos for making mp3s with the idea of having it transfer quickly to the iPod. As it turned out, I had a few other things to be getting on with that day, and so I was in and out of the room and not giving the album too much attention. As such, it was on a walk a couple of days later that I gave it a proper listen.
Here’s a few words lifted from elsewhere, written back in 2017:-
Hifi Sean is a DJ, Producer and Songwriter, currently known for his album ‘Ft.’, which he describes as ‘electronic, psychedelic soul’. Released in 2016, the album boasts collaborations with an extraordinarily diverse range of artists including some of the most significant underground musical icons of the past 40 years.
‘Ft.’s stellar collection of artists includes:- Yoko Ono, avant garde musician, conceptual art icon and one of the most controversial female artists of all time; Bootsy Collins widely regarded as one of the finest Funk/RnB bass players in the world; Dave Ball co-founder of Soft Cell, the UK’s notorious synth pioneers with the uniquely sleazy electric soul, Fred Schneider from the manic, bizarre and highly innovative US new-wave group B-52’s and Alan Vega, vocalist of the seminal proto-punk New York duo Suicide.
‘Ft’ has attracted significant critical praise and broke the top 20 album chart; tracks released from the album have also proved immensely popular. The animated video for his Yoko Ono Collaboration ‘In Love with Life’ received a share from YouTube themselves to their 66 million subscribers. His current single “Testify” feat. Crystal Water reached #2 in the Shazam chart, #3 in the iTunes Dance chart and spent 3 months in the top 30 singles; it was further hyped at the start of the year by Black Madonna in her Radio 1 Essential Selection of acts to watch in 2017 for Pete Tong.
Hifi Sean is probably better known to most folk who visit this blog as Sean Dickson, frontman of The Soup Dragons, one of the finest bands to come out of Bellshill. And as much as I’ve loads of time for everything he did with that band back in the day, none of it really comes close to the magnificence of the tunes on Ft.
I never imagined that Yoko Ono would ever feature on this blog……….
I’ve, of course, rectified things since by giving it plenty of spins on the turntable to the extent that I’m probably annoying the neighbours and close to getting an ASBO. The vinyl is now sold out, but there’s a handful of CD copies going for the bargain price of £5. Very highly recommended. Just click right here.
Incidentally, Hifi Sean has just come up with something truly special for 2021. And thanks to a heads-up from the above-mentioned Robert, I’ve managed to obtain a vinyl copy of the single:-
In this instance, Hifi Sean gets his hands on a that had the vocal of the soul diva Loleatta Holloway singing the Style Council classic ‘Shout to the Top’ which was recorded and released by Fire Island (English house music duo, Pete Heller and Terry Farley) in 1998.
Seemingly there were no musical parts on the tape which landed in Sean’s hands, only the vocal, so he went about rewriting the arrangement and the record label is right to claim he brings this beauty into the present day with three versions that include a soulful string laden soul groover, a late-night gospel house jam and a swooning orchestral reprise. Closing the EP, the reprise includes the last repeated line we all want to hear, and we all want to believe right now.
“It’s going to be alright”