[Single Review]: Christian Gregory – Count On You

Christian Gregory 3“Won’t be long until we make it through.”

When success and good fortune come your way there are generally two routes people go down: cash in, or give something back. After his debut record in 2012 broke the top ten in seven countries, went certified gold in two and garnered a Mercury Prize nomination, you might have expected Michael Kiwanuka to either have rested on his laurels or sped on with album No. 2. Instead, Kiwanuka has elected to build something lasting and set up a label called Movement Records. While Kiwanuka will act as the label’s A&R man, scouting and representing new artists, the day-to-day label running and recording sessions will operate out of North London where the Movement Records team have set up a studio kitted out with a treasure trove of vintage instruments and bespoke analogue recording equipment gathered over ten years. With an emphasis on a soul-rooted sound and traditional recording techniques, as well as capturing artists live on tape in one take, Kiwanuka explains the Movement Records philosophy: “Music from the heart goes straight to the heart. Music that can move you is good music and that’s what Movement Records are focused on doing”. Their recent flagship release Count On You comes from multi-instrumentalist songwriter (and Movement Records head of operations and co-founder), Christian Gregory.

Co-written with Michael Kiwanuka, Count On You is a good time record that rolls along on a bass and percussion groove that harks back to Bill Withers’s Still Bill era. This offers a solid platform for Christian Gregory’s slinky guitarwork and hollering expression of camaraderie. His voice lies somewhere between Al Green’s high tenderness and Teddy Pendergrass’s husky confidence, taking off into flights during the revelrous choruses and psyched-out bridge. He also has a few tricks up his sleeve with departures into fuzz and wah-wah laden guitar interludes and psychedelic tinges of brass during the outro. “I love when records have details that you only notice after you’ve heard it over and over again,” Gregory reveals. “On Count On You, we recorded the core parts of the track in one take to catch a live vibe. Then I got in the studio and experimented with unusual recording techniques to add different details and textures to the track”. If Movement Records’s remit is to produce soulful tunes with an old-school production ethic then Count On You starts things as they mean to go on. It doesn’t just rock, it rolls too.

With offices on both sides of the Atlantic and as-yet unannounced live showcases and releases scheduled throughout 2014, Movement Records look set to stake their claim during 2014. And while Michael Kiwanuka himself is still signed to Polydor/Communion, it will be interesting to see if he releases his material through Movement Records in the future and what collaborations this will lead to. More importantly, with creative artists playing essential roles in the running of the company, what talent will be attracted to the label in future and will it create a collaborative atmosphere conducive to creativity, like Communion who first picked up on Kiwanuka and released his first two EPs? I certainly think Movement Records has the potential to do so.

Originally published on Hercules Moments


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