To spy on his social media profiles (don’t judge, you do it too), you’d think Andy Compton’s life is blooming canals, prosaic hills, holidays in the Devonshire countryside. Maybe it is, but behind closed doors he’s taken the time you and I spend faffing off on meaningless shit and crafted a production factory that trumps the output of any 10 other men.
“Prolific” is often tossed about. It’s not really hard to “prolifically” produce a bunch of bullshit. I recently heard from a guy whose 15 labels have released somewhere around 500 EPs on Beatport and if you’ve come across one by chance I bet you’ve never heard a second. It’s loops and samples and the whole thing could probably be done by Elon Musk’s calculator if there was any fortune or glory in making generic dance music on an industrial scale. There’s not, so it isn’t. In 2016, there’s no respectability to quantity without quality.
That’s what bugs me about Andy. This is soulful house, funk, beautiful music – and I feel like I can never digest it as fast as he makes it. It’s easy to become fatuous about it. It was once said that a pope observed Leonardo da Vinci carving a frame for his next painting before he finished the portrait he had been commissioned for. “This man will never amount to anything,” His Holiness offered, and in his own time he was right.
You put the needle on Use the 3rd Eye, his new collaboration with Han Litz, and you expect to hear something a bit hollow, a bit tired in arrangement – the telltale signs of someone cutting corners to get product out of the door as quickly as possible. Instead: an explosion of lushness, sounds like colors trapped in a soap bubble explode off the surface. There are no corners cut here – in fact, it sounds like someone going broke to pay for a production that singles and albums on Traxsource can’t possibly pay for. Whatever trade secrets he’s learned since The Rurals debut 20 years ago, Use the 3rd Eye is on par with the gorgeous, full-throated, full-bottomed albums of the 1970s that Andy clearly so adores. Is Brian Jackson in his closet? Arthur Baker? It would explain many things.
I don’t know where all of this leads, for Andy has produced an archive that by published material alone is staggering. Bookmark him, enjoy the adventure and try to hold on for the ride.
Support! This was originally published in 5 Magazine Issue 137 featuring Demuir, Igor Jadranin, Apollo Music Group with DJ Heather, Lil’Mark and Dan X, a DJ’s guide to music streaming and more. Support Real House Music and become a member of 5 Magazine for First & Full access to everything House Music for just $1 an issue!