‘Tru Thoughts 2023’ – our annual compilation celebrating our eclectic and international roster

‘Tru Thoughts 2023’, the latest addition to our annual compilation series, comprising 24 tracks from this year, is curated by label head Robert Luis. ‘Tru Thoughts 2023’ showcases our eclectic and international roster, with selections spanning from Neo Soul, Alternative Pop, Jazz, and Contemporary Classical to Grime, Broken Beat, DnB, and Electronica.

Out everywhere now. Listen/Buy HERE

“Doing these compilations means I stop planning future releases on Tru Thoughts for a moment and reflect on our most recent releases. I love that we continue to release debut albums from new artists, who are starting their journey and getting great support, such as MELONYX, Steven Bamidele, and Slowe. We are also working with artists who have released music elsewhere and helping them continue their journey, such as Sandunes, Palm Skin Productions, and The Sindecut & Ijeoma, plus artists we have worked with for a while, like Moonchild and Hot 8 Brass Band. We continue to release a wide variety of genres, but I feel all the music connects one way or another. In an age where we are bombarded with music, this compilation is here to remind people to take the time to check out the creative artists we work with, as I’m sure you will discover something you are into, or re-listen to an artist or song you’re already a fan of.” Robert Luis

Our 2023 anthology includes refreshed versions of classic releases, with archival revisits of Grammy-nominated Moonchild and Grammy-winning Hot 8 Brass Band. On “Cure (Acoustic)”, LA-trio Moonchild deconstruct the highly acclaimed original to hypnotise with a piano rendition, inspired by their infamous Tiny Desk Performance. Meanwhile, Hot 8 Brass Band’s legendary cover of Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” received a revamp in line with The Bossman Tour, honouring the late Bennie Pete, beloved co-founder and sousaphone player. Alongside these re-works stand Hint’s “At The Dance (VIP Instrumental)”, a vocal-free version of one of his biggest dancefloor tracks, and Lightning Head’s 2023 remaster of the funky dancehall “Me & Me Princess”.

The compilation opens with two soulful selections from the debut albums of MELONYX, with sun-worshipping title track “Solar Power”, and Steven Bamidele, sharing the deeply personal “No One Said” from ‘Summing Up’. Moving seamlessly between genres, the soundscape shifts from these soul moments, with Slowe’s jazzy, psychedelia-tinged “Calibrate” to the funky groove of Aurora Dee Raynes’ “Something Sensible”. Bruk Rogers transport listeners to the dancefloor with his bleepy shuffler “Style” before listeners are taken to a downtempo, trip-hop commentary on division from Palm Skin Productions.

‘Tru Thoughts 2023’ brims with burgeoning talent releasing with Tru Thoughts for the first time this year. Sandunes, a composer, producer, and pianist from Mumbai, India, announced joining the label with her boundary-pushing electronica single “The Surge feat. Ramya Pothuri”. Amongst the roster’s newcomers are the pioneering British Hip-Hop crew The Sindecut (featuring founding member DJ Fingers) and New York-based Geordie, singer-songwriter Ijeoma, soundtracking the swagger of New York with the jazz-inspired “Lucky”. In celebration of these new signings, Robert Luis includes fan favourites from the latest Born74 & Onj, Nenor & Eyal Rob, Call Sender, and Running Loving Something releases.

As ever, this year has seen artists join forces with pioneering peers and fellow vanguards. WheelUP and Abacus, aka Harry Bryson from drum & bass duo Pola & Bryson, embarked on an electronic-orchestral odyssey with “Infinity”, Kuna Maze meshed broken beat and jazz with a feature from Midva, and Fybe:One and Liam Bailey soundtracked the blissful feeling of being young. Origin One’s “Dance Again feat. Charlie P” saw the renowned Essex-born reggae vocalist celebrating covid restrictions being lifted, against a backdrop of a 1980s dancehall riddim.

In the spirit of collaboration, ‘Tru Thoughts 2023’ boasts an assortment of remixes, exemplified by the supreme gospel-house remix of Luman Child’s “Grateful” from the legendary Ashley Beedle, under his North Street West alias. Following suit are the reworks of Anchorsong’s “Windmills” by leftfield ambient duo Salamanda, Sharky’s “Shark” with its dark club stamp from Donsurf, and the bass-frenzy flip of Ebi Soda’s “Soft Peng” by JD. REID.