Beautiful Presents: Beautiful, Vol. 1
There are essays — books even — to be written about how DJ Sherelle has in the early 2020s taken the directed energy of UK rave music, and placed it in the hands of Black, queer and otherwise marginalised artists and crowds, and in so doing shown how it still has huge power when shorn of aggro machismo. All of that is here in the first album from her BEAUTIFUL label and social project, but also beyond any worthiness or historical trainspotting, so is an hour of absolutely extraordinary music. You’ll hear hard trance, eerie ambience, AutoTune ballads, futurist footworking and deconstructed club, and of course the retro hardcore and jungle Sherelle is best known for spinning. You’ll hear names to conjure with like KG, Scratcha DVA, Loraine James, Roska, Mr Mitch, Tim Reaper — the list goes on and on. But this is compiled with a DJ’s ear, so it’s greater than the sum of the parts: it’s a consolidation of the past in the pursuit of a better future. It’s got the sense that, in the title of an old rave shout “THE FUTURE BELONGS TO US,” and it is redefining what that “us” means as it goes.