Let’s hear it for Trevor Jackson. The Playgroup head honcho reportedly approached Universal Music earlier this year about putting together a compilation of some of Island Records’ more obscure cuts, to mark the legendary Jamaican label’s 60th birthday.
The label might have turned his request down, but that didn’t stop the musician, designer and visual effects artist from pressing ahead anyway, putting together an incredible four-and-a-half hour mix of Island’s under-appreciated classics.
Featuring tracks from Grace Jones, Marianne Faithful, Gwen Guthrie, Malcolm McLaren, The Members, 4 Be 2, Robert Palmer, Warp 9 and a myriad of others, there’s enough here to keep you dancing until tea time. At which point you return back to the start, obviously.
As Jackson put it himself in a tweet, “The legacy of the label, its recordings, artists, producers, engineers, studios & artwork around this period is of massive cultural importance, it’s impact monumental. The fact it’s not being explored & promoted in an impactful & creative way by the label now is a lost opportunity.”
UPDATE: Not long after the mix was first uploaded, however, UMG, which operates the Island Records back catalogue, took umbrage with Jackson’s mix, and ordered its deletion from SoundCloud… a decision that took may audiophiles by surprise, if not disgust. Why would an iconic label prefer to keep some of its deepest, most fascinating cuts locked away in a vault?
UMG just took the mix off of Soundcloud?! Lets get this straight, tracks they own, but they don't know about, aren't interested in, won't release, yet don't want anyone to hear them?. Didn't make it downloadable out of respect, but hey…the idiocy of Major labels. pic.twitter.com/WMOQ2dneXa— Trevor Jackson (@trevorjofficial) August 5, 2019
Legendary selector Greg Wilson leapt to Jackson’s defence, writing on his blog, “It’s such a shame that when a specialist like Trevor Jackson helps expose these hidden corners, especially with such a culturally important label, that he isn’t encouraged to bring his expertise to bear in helping monetise this music, which currently has little value, apart from in the second-hand vinyl market, which only benefits record dealers and not the artists whose work this originally was.”
Thankfully, however, with the help of Mixcloud and the support of online radio station NTS.live, the mix has once again returned to the net, to be enjoyed by all those that didn’t get the chance the first time.
Here’s (hopefully) to the Island Records compilation to follow. Now turn up that bass… 🙂