By now, Geoff Kirkwood's Man Power alias should ring quite familiar to readers of XLR8R. Since debuting in 2014 on Jennifer Cardini's Correspondant imprint with the Kiloton EP, Kirkwood's music has dropped on some of the scene's premier imprints, including Hivern Discs, Throne of Blood, Optimo Trax, permanent Vacation, ESP Institute, and his own Me Me Me label, which has also been home to releases from Pale Blue, Last Waltz, DSC, and Forriner, among others. These releases presented a varied, idiosyncratic style that seemed to belong to disco, house, and techno all at once. It was a style that enamored the scene, leading to gigs throughout the world at hotspots like Panorama Bar Berlin, Fabric London, Glastonbury, Love International, Burning Man, Rex Club Paris, and DGTL Festival. Kirkwood's music has always resonated with the XLR8R staff, too; in 2015 he landed as one of our favorite new artists and his 2016 XLR8R podcast was one of the most colorful in recent years.
For our latest Hi-Five, we welcome back Kirkwood to XLR8R's pages to present five tracks by artists from Newcastle and the North East of England; although, these aren't necessarily his favorites, as he explains:
"It has to be said that I just picked five tracks almost at random, as there's way too much good music happening in the North East (mainly based around Newcastle) to pick any clear favourites.
People outside the region can be forgiven for not knowing how healthy the scene is, as the NE has a habit of not blowing its own trumpet, which is why I'm gonna blow it now."
Man Power will be performing alongside Charlotte de Witte, Honey Dijon, Sasha, Tiga, Lee Burridge, Amelie Lens, Mark Knight, Alan Fitzpatrick, and Patrice Baumel at CRSSD Festival, which takes place March 4-5 in San Diego. You can grab tickets to CRSSD here.
Edmondson "Flamingo Tripper" [Lissoms Records]
I'm in love with everything Sean (Edmondson) does. He's incredibly versatile and has an amazing feel for sound design and groove, as well as a natural ear for pathos. I also have his latest release coming up on Me Me Me, you can pre-order that here.
AWOL "74.585486, -94.736499" [AWOL]
AWOL is so secretive that I'll probably get in shit for pointing out he's from North Tyneside, but this record is amazing. Done with no promo, and almost zero online presence or social media, it still made it into the record boxes of some of the biggest Techno DJs in the world. It's a nice sign that quality music can still find its audience without the attendant bullshit being required.
mannmademusic "Kofi and Kream" [Shadeleaf Music]
Again, I love everything Ian Mann does. There's a real organic and soulful element to what he touches. He really deserves to be much much much more well known.
Lizards "Tanni" [Not An Animal Records]
RIP Lizards. Both James (Hadfield) and Foss (now of Forriner) have released on my label too. They're both old friends, and this was a perfect storm moment in their brief period of working together. I've played this record so many times since it came out, and it always resonates with whatever crowd are in front of me. It's incredibly emotive.
Mark Hand "Mess it Up"
Mark sounds like he's from Detroit. Everything he touches is sublime. He's another unassuming guy who doesn't ram his music down your throat, despite having releases on big hitters such as R&S records.