Shanti Celeste is a vibe. She’s got that magic lightness of touch even when things are getting Jacques Cousteau deep or panel beating heavy. This makes her the perfect candidate for the Sound of Love International 3, channelling the spirit of both those after-hours sessions and the more frivolous daytime boat parties. This is serious music for serious music heads but, after all, everyone is still on holiday. It’s linear and cohesive but plays with the emotions -carnivalesque fun, psychedelic flow-states, heads-down rhythm trax, playful skipping garage, and more abstract moments. Deep joy to deep space and back, often in the space of 3 or 4 well-selected records.
There’s a deep musical and personal connection to the festival - as she says of her first time playing at the Beach Bar, “there’s a heavy Bristol crew there and it all feels easy and nice. It was just good
vibes all round”. And she does make it sound easy too, which belies a DJ with some very serious skills and an ear for a killer tune that others might well overlook. And it’s this that makes the 3rd instalment of the Sound of Love International such a joy - a welcome panacea to all of us suffering from the Croatian blues this year.
To which end, we get a cheeky exclusive collaboration between Shanti and her sister-in-arms Saoirse in the shape of ‘Solid Mass’. Persian’s uniquely British paean to the post-rave Sunrise ‘Morning Sun’, cavernous dub runnings outta the Bokeh camp from Seekers International. These are the lift- off tunes, setting the mind-state for the journey ahead.
Things tighten up with cult underground hero Lucas Rodenbush under his E.B.E alias giving us the taught, grooving, dubby tech-house and Gideon Jackson’s ‘Taj Mahal’, crisp, spatial, mystical and criminally slept-on. We go deeper into the night with Perpetual’s Awakenings’, one of those records that is so much more than the sum of its parts. And who knew that Mark Seven was such a dab hand with the dank machine funk? Check 1998’s ‘Crank’ for the skinny. By the time Paco Pack’s rubberised ghetto house reimagining bounces into play it’s GAME OVER.
The final side leaves us with the soft landing - Cari Lekebusch ‘Output 2’ is both pacey and drifting and Pauline Anna Strom’s ‘In-Flight Suspension’ does what it says, whips away the drums and leaves us floating in space. Will we ever touch down?
To overuse a phrase, this compilation arrives in strange times but is a glorious reminder of what brought us all together and will again. The music and dancing under the stars. See you in 2021.