Dancehall missiles with a twist
Gavin “Gavsborg” Blair is a producer from Kingston who for the past 10 years has been changing the lightbulb on Jamaican dancehall. With an avant-garde sleight of hand, Blair has blended commerciality with experimentalism, churning out productions for dancehall juggernauts like Aidonia (their song ‘Flying Dagger’ was controversially banned by the Jamaican government) as well as his own Equiknoxx Music collective.
This year he’s started releasing solo work and has incorporated the avant-garde energy that Blair believes is ingrained in dancehall’s DNA. Released in May, his ‘Kevin From Ivory Coast’ EP, all dreamy loops with floaty abstract vocal stanzas, was the product of a lockdown back-and-forth with vocalist and fellow Equiknoxx member Shanique Marie. Then came July’s ‘Quality Time Sound System’, a very different affair that blends slow house and jazzy samples, mashing remnants of Larry Heard and Nu-Grooviness to generate a couple of lo-fi summer anthems.
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His sound is reminiscent of Bristol’s Young Echo collective, and occasionally touches the more playful side of Actress’ discography. Interestingly, Gavsborg calls Manchester a home from home, and after running with local stalwarts Jon K and Samrai, the trail eventually led to Mancunian ambianceurs Demdike Stare, who put out two Equiknoxx albums on their DDS label. Gavsborg was due to play London’s Waterworks this August, but you know the score by now. Not to worry, going by the past few months, Gavsborg seems content working from home for now.
‘Quality Time Sound System’ is out now on Equiknoxx Music