An intergenerational meeting of minds, Galaxy is the first collaborative EP from Meanjin (Brisbane) musicians Sam Poggioli aka Sampology and Charlie Hill. Equal parts brain dance and body music, Galaxy’s seven tracks represent a vivid intermingling of 70s jazz-funk, fusion, machine-funk, Latin house and broken beat, accented by flourishes of minimalist composition. Considered as a whole, it evokes the possibility and potential of a space-age future where technology and nature exist in simpatico.
One of the most in-demand young jazz drummers in the Meanjin (Brisbane) music scene, Charlie started producing electronic music on his laptop three years ago. It was a vibe shift that hit him after several months spent immersing himself in Europe’s jazz and electronica scenes on the eve of the global coronavirus pandemic. After returning home, he approached Sam about recording some music together.
Sam, a well-travelled Australian DJ, producer and Worldwide FM radio host, was cautious about starting a new side project. However, when he heard his demos, he realised Charlie was blending rhythmic fundamentals he’d learned while completing a music degree with a beautifully wide-eyed approach to jazz-tinged electronica.
“Charlie is only at the start of his journey,” Sam says. “He’s done his ten thousand hours as a drummer, but I can hear this naivety in his production, but in the best way possible. There’s so much freedom in his music.”
With Charlie on drums and Sam on MPC, they set about recording the songs on Galaxy, along the way discovering Sam’s mother taught Charlie visual art as a child. They also learned that Charlie’s mother plays with Sam’s father in the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, synchronicities which made their collaboration feel like it was meant to be.
As part of the Galaxy sessions, Sam and Charlie collaborated with fellow Australian vocalists Tiana Khasi and Merinda Dias-Jayasinha. On ‘Constant Call’, Tiana threads neo-soul/modern soul melodies through a backdrop that sounds like Burial on a future jazz tip. ‘Merinda’, on the other hand, sees Merinda laying a repeated Steve Riech-style vocal refrain over a man/machine instrumental accented by stargazed synths.
At the same time as they were creating Galaxy, Charlie was also busy recording his debut solo EP Yore, which is due for release later in the year through Middle Name Records.
Established in 2018, Middle Name Records encompasses Sam’s recording studio and bespoke record label. Initially founded to release his own Sampology material and recordings from Middle Name Dance Band, the jazzy house/broken beat side-project he shares with Sam Stosuur and Megan Christensen, Sam now sees the label as a way to document memorable moments within the music scenes that surround him.
“As I see it, part of my value in running a label is having engineering, producing and mixing skills. People can come in here and do development and recording days rather than having to deal with commercial pressures that don’t serve the spirit of the project,” Sam says. “It’s also just how I want to spend my time.”
Galaxy by Sampology and Charlie Hill is due for release through Middle Name Records on May 5 2023 in digital and vinyl formats.