★webstar Soho feature

Sounds of the Universe

7 Broadwick Street W1

Sounds of the Universe is a great name for a record store, and combined with the look of the place, conjures up a promise of mystery and musical intrigue. The store is situated in the old Bricklayers Arms pub which is still decorated with original tiles, and retains a rare non-gentrified look of a real London building. Rooted in the long history of Soho, this building has seen London life as it was during the sixties, and it hosted the beginnings of the musical journey that became The Rolling Stones who rehearsed in rooms upstairs. Stepping over the threshold continues this musical connection and takes you into a retro-universe that appears to be made mostly of vinyl.

Original music from the fifties onwards is on offer as second-hand vinyl and on CD, featuring many non-mainstream titles from genres such as jazz, soul, reggae, electronic, punk and dance. There is also a wider world theme with releases from Brazil, Africa, Asia and South America which neatly reflects the surrounding culture of Soho.

New and re-releases are also available on vinyl, and there are some more unusual sections offering film soundtracks, spoken word, and compilations along with a section for classical music.

Soul Jazz Records

Some of the best selections of music are available as compilations and limited releases through the associated independent label Soul Jazz Records. The label's founder, Stuart Baker, can be heard on Soho Radio (London) as he presents the regular Soul Jazz Records Live Mixtape Radio Show. The show's playlists are a good guide to the type of music available from the record store.

SOTU Website

The website and online store incorporate a large selection from both the store, and the label, to provide a comprehensive listing of available titles. An audio player top-of-site plays short samples of tracks from some of the albums, which makes it easier to identify music you may not be so familiar with.

Space Exploration

Musicians, DJs, and collectors know this store well, but you don't need to be a music expert to visit. The music is less mainstream, and there may be titles that are uncommon, but taking the time to have a browse around can evoke interest as you travel through the music and different cultures.

You can sample a few releases on the website before you visit to get some idea, or talk to the staff in the shop who can recommend and guide you about popular genres and artists.

If you take a spin around the Sounds of the Universe for a while, it's inevitable that you'll find something from another musical planet, and come out with records that are a bit more unique. It's an absorbing experience.

Matt Sheen ★webstar MMXXI


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To check availability, tap any album to go directly to the official Sounds of the Universe online store, or visit the Sounds of the Universe shop on Broadwick Street in Soho.

You cannot buy these releases from this website. Purchases, shipping, delivery and terms and conditions are associated with the Sounds of the Universe website and online store. ★webstar is not associated with Sounds of the Universe, does not receive sales commission, or is responsible for any transactions. This is an independent non-commercial feature with external links.

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Video Playlist Curated by: ★

Video Shared by: Roy Orbison | Tartelet Records | state51 | Funk, Inc.(YouTube Topic) | Gilles Peterson | Milton Nascimento | Various Artists (YouTube Topic) | Individuo80 | Antonio Lucente | Mayan Canals | Awkmusik | Azhar | Kraftwerk | The Rolling Stones |

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This playlist is intended as an introduction to the artists and labels. May feature some tracks that are not from the albums selected. Copyright of all album art is held by the artist or recording label, and is reproduced here under fair use. This project aims to support independent record stores, labels, and artists by curating links, embedded media, and in-house features as a reference.

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