A Sentimental Journey To The Prohibition Era In The Rhythm Of Swing Hop… Review Of The Compilation “The Speakeasy”

Okay, today I’m going to take you on a fantastic journey back in time, where the sounds of the piano will swing you and put you in a nostalgic mood, and the beautiful melodies coming from the saxophone will warm your heart.

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine a smoky cocktail bar in New Orleans during the Prohibition era. People are talking about important issues, enjoying the music and celebrating every moment spent there. Now slowly open your eyes and think to yourself, what would it be like nowadays if Prohibition was still going on? In my opinion, “The Speakeasy” compilation, released by The Jazz Hop Café on 20th of November 2023, perfectly captures the atmosphere of contemporary hip-hop sounds, combined with timeless swing influences. I present you with a review of this compilation and hope you enjoy these great tracks as much as I do!

Singles From Swing Hop Artists We Know And Like

ProleteR and his new single “Folklore”… Can you imagine a better musical start to a Swing Hop compilation? 😉 With each newly released track, this outstanding French music producer confirms to us that he is a brilliant, creative and talented Swing Hop artist and can conjure up real musical gems. Listen closely to ‘Folklore’ and you are sure to hear influences from ragtime, a musical genre that originated at the turn of the 20th century. This piece is incredibly enjoyable to listen to, and it takes me back for a moment to the era of old silent movies, which I love, by the way. Thank you, ProleteR, for bringing so much sunshine and joy into my life with your music!
I also can’t go past LVDS, who is undoubtedly one of the best Swing Hop producers. When I first listened to his album ‘Golden Days’, I felt that every subsequent single he released would be even better. I wasn’t wrong – his ‘Dusty Days’ is quintessentially calm, laid-back, chill and a little bit mysterious, preserved in an atmosphere of autumn/winter melancholy. This track is wonderfully in tune with the surrounding aura and, as it starts to get darker outside the window, I find myself gazing out over the landscape with a bit of nostalgia while listening to ‘Dusty Days’.

The Great Comeback Of Electro Swing Producers – To The Tune Of Swing Hop!

It’s kind of funny, because in the article where I recommended the best Electro Swing songs to dance to (you can read it HERE), I mentioned how much I was looking forward to Dimaa‘s return and to his new songs. The surprise came sooner than I expected, as the compilation album ‘The Speakeasy’ was released just on the day of this article’s release, and the single ‘Café’ only reinforced my belief that it was worth waiting so long for a new track. Dimaa, who usually created tracks with an Electro Swing vibe, this time produced a fantastic Swing Hop track. Nostalgic, full of melancholy and at the same time filled to the brim with strong beats and fantastically broken with melodies of stringed instruments… Dimaa in his track ‘Café’ invites us to a real musical feast, and I take great pleasure in absorbing every sound and tasting it like an aromatic coffee.
Varrick Frost, as usual, provided us with a whole host of catchy, memorable melodies, thanks to his track ‘Harley’, which he produced in collaboration with Mr Stonecool. The sound of the saxophone totally electrified and enchanted me, making it a pleasure to loop this track. Varrick Frost, apart from this composition, has only released one single this year, ‘Rapture Night’, which is also great. But I’m hoping for many more of these releases in the new year!

The Biggest Swing Hop Musical Surprise – Maxgonz And Aphrow!

I will always believe that music is full of many wonderful surprises, and if anyone thinks that music is incapable of repeatedly positively surprising them, they are hugely mistaken. In my last article in the Electro Swing News series, I told you about how much I liked the track ‘Swing Déco’ (Electro Swing News 15 you can read HERE). Well, that’s an understatement, because I loop this composition on Spotify almost constantly and can’t stop listening to it! It’s gorgeous, reminds me a bit of ProleteR’s early work (when I listen to this single, I have exactly the same feeling as when I first heard “April Showers”) and makes me totally fly away. I’ll be watching Maxgonz’s future endeavours with curiosity, and I hope this isn’t his one-off Swing Hop adventure. Give me more new releases, please! 😊
Aphrow’s music will also stay with me for longer. I really enjoyed his track “L’Homme au Chapeau”, but I was most impressed by his solo compositions, especially “Lion Dance.” from 2020. If you wonder what beauty would look like in musical form, listen to this excellent piece with influences of oriental rhythms, and then you will see this beauty with the eyes of your imagination. 😊
As “The Speakeasy” compilation features a whole host of tracks produced by artists whose work I haven’t had the opportunity to explore before, let me tell you a little about these great compositions and their authors…

Swing Hop Artists I Didn’t Know Before

I can’t describe what a wonderful feeling it is for me to discover music. Every time I have the opportunity to listen to something new, I am overwhelmed with total excitement. Listening to ‘The Speakeasy’ compilation, I discovered some really great tracks that will stay with me for a long time.
The serene aura and flowing piano melodies captivated me in ‘Bugsy’s Basement’. Lvnt brilliantly combined typical swing sounds with a pleasing hip-hop beat and that brilliant piano. If I found myself in a cocktail-bar that was located in the basement, I’d definitely be happy to drop a coin in the jukebox to listen to ‘Bugsy’s Basement’ one more time! The piano also captivated me on yet another track – Flero – ‘Cool Cats’. And as I listen to this compilation for the umpteenth time, I come to the conclusion that this music is fantastically calming to me.
‘Honky Tonk Circus’… This track encouraged me to listen to more tracks from Greenfinch. My gut didn’t let me down and I ended up with some great French hip-hop. And another discovery of mine – Years From Now. An amazingly rhythmic track called ‘Swing Bounce’, in which the melancholic sound of brass comes to the fore. Something wonderful!

Summary – Swing Hop At Its Best

Well, I could write endlessly about this compilation, because it delighted and captivated me. The perfect selection of artists, the perfectly arranged tracklist, the creative approach to the Swing Hop theme… I am very satisfied!
All in all, “The Speakeasy” compilation, released by The Jazz Hop Café, is a total treat that is consumed in its entirety while savouring every little bite in the form of excellent tracks. I wish you a wonderful Swing Hop experience listening to all of these 15 tracks, and if you would like to purchase a vinyl record of ‘The Speakeasy’, you can do so here: https://fanlink.to/1933.

Written & reviewed by LadyDot. Date: 2023-12-18

Bio – LadyDot

Anna (LadyDot) was born in ’94, but always felt she came from the Golden Twenties. “Polka” in Polish means “girl from Poland”, so she’s “Polka in polka dots”. She loves vintage style and spontaneous travels around Europe. But her greatest love (apart from her husband) is of course music, especially Electro Swing, Funk, Swing Hop and French Electronic Music.

Anna works at a Polish music label, where she coordinates the physical production of CDs and vinyl records. Music is therefore not only her passion, but also her job!

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