Brothers Ben and Louis Helliker-Hales form Chaos in the CBD. Originally from New Zealand they had been based in Peckham of south-east London inspiring their 2015 EP release on Rhythm Section International. Midnight in Peckham is a record that is contemplative and moving. House music heavily influenced by jazz, this has become one of my most beloved albums in my little collection.
On A1 “Trust is Key” is a romantic slow-driver. It opens up with a solid kick drum and the sound of a chattering crowd. The bassline brings a very mellow groove. Gentle and steady piano riffs begin to pace the track and the cymbal patterns that follow along are crisp and have such a delightful energy. “We trust each other” the vocals reverberate. Near the end of the track there’s a bit of echoing chirps that bring a real atmospheric layer to it all that I just love.
“Observe” starts out with melodic synthesized strings, jazzy hi-hats and some piano that make this one perfect for having a chat with a friend or maybe while you’re cooking dinner. The piano starts to make the track jump and when it cuts out the strings resurface. Both of the sounds tag each other perfectly throughout and then in the background a voice starts panning – humming and howling a little tune. Throw this one on if you want to take a moment to space out.
Flipping the record over to the B-side you’ll find “Midnight in Peckham” – the title track and by far my favorite on this record. When the trumpet comes in I get chills. That drum kick always seems to go right along with the pace of my own heart and there’s something quite comforting in that. No matter where I am or what I’m doing I will always let this song play out. It’s just beautiful, in the truest sense of the word. With such fluid elements but a steady kick this is the perfect track to ease down some high energy and would be a great closer. The horn on this one is credited to Isaac Aesili, a musician from New Zealand, who absolutely deserves recognition. He takes the wonderful structure of the tune and brings such bright introspective movement into it.
For B2 “Luxury Motivation” opens with vocals of a man speaking about a stirring, higher life of cars and money. The piano lick in this one is jazzy and stays steady throughout for the most part. When the hi-hat comes in, oh my. With a deep and subtle bassline and tight cymbals, this one I would say is the most loopy on the record and can get a nice little dance going. In addition to some really great percussion, this track is my second favorite.
This entire record is meditative, soothing and just downright gorgeous. Chaos in the CBD brought elements and samples into their production that make this EP one that you will always want to listen to from beginning to the very delectable end. If you like what you hear, there are plenty of copies available on Discogs.
Alicia Greco is the founder and editor of Sequencer in Buffalo. She’s a dedicated speaker freaker and loves sifting through crates. She’s often found enjoying the sounds of a spinning record through a sound system on the dance floor or the music shrine in her bedroom.