The Soil Scientists

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Recently (well, er, uhm 3 months ago, which is actually not too long calculated in Scritti time) a rather nice cover of Scritti Politti’s Oh Patti surfaced on YouTube, done by a band called “The Soil Scientists”. We got into contact with Al, who basically is “The Soil Scientists” on his own and asked him about his fascination with Scritti Politti.

Why the fascination with Scritti Politti ? Good question! Well, I first started listening to their early stuff when I was quite young, perhaps around 13 or 14 years old (I’m now 24). Around then I was very much into he early ‘Brit funk’ records from that era, such as Shakatak, Level 42 etc. What struck me straight away about Scritti was the uniqueness of their sound, and how completely different their approach to song writing was to most of the other Brit funk records at that time. Wheras bands such as Level 42 seemed to take much of their influence from the very esoteric 70’s jazz funk scene (Weather Report, Miles Davis and such), tunes like ‘Wood Beez’ were very influenced by American r&b, break-beat and early hip hop records. In essence, I admired them for experimenting with the type of music that no other English artist of the time was willing to dabble with. I love most of their stuff, but for that reason those records that are most special to me are the mid 80’s ones.

As for The soil scientists, the ‘band’ as such at the moment is really just me – all of the songs on youtube were overdubbed on a digital 8 track, with me playing all the instruments. The album as such isn’t quite finished; I’ve just started a Phd in Southampton, so could be a rather long time (red : we are pretty much used to that phenomenon) The ‘Soil Scientists’ comes from the name of a jazz group I was in in sixth form. We used to do an instrumental cover of ‘oh patti’ that I arranged, so I thought I’d re-record it under the same band name for old time’s sake!

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