Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Audio Texture Radio Show - May 27, 2011

Sad news this week with the passing of Gil Scott Heron, a true musical legend and one of the most insightful political and social commentators of his generation, at least he went out on a high note after a couple of decades of ups and downs with his last album, RIP. Arthur Verocai kept the vintage vocals flowing, Brazilian style, with a dramatically arranged slice of soul jazz. Hawa then graced us with some brand new retro vibes from her great debut album coming very soon on Favourite recordings, excellent. I then dropped some tropical vibes courtesy of pysch-inclined latin funksters, Octote Soul Sounds from their new album, Taurus. Batida, all the way from Angola then mashed up the dance with a crazy riddim and some great soulful African vocals.

Gang Gang Dance are always worth checking and the future Balearic classic, 'Romance Layers' is, in my humble, the best cut from their new album. Gagarin then got all electronic, extra terrestrial and experimental with 'Dunnock' but it could have been any of a few cuts from his great new self titled album. DOK then re-invented G Funk with an East London grime twist with the aptly titled 'West Coast', which sounded fat on a big system when I heard Kode 9 drop it on the weekend.

Loose 4/4 vibes took over the second half of the show kicking off with the tripped out, uplifting hazy house sound of Benjamin Jackson before I gave you a taste of the forthcoming Crewdson album - Gravity and his trademark complex, yet melodic threaded, blend of electronica. The album definitely has hidden depths and is getting better with every listen, always a good sign. Brownswood new boy Gang Colours then let loose with some post garage dreaminess from his outstanding, soon to be releaed, EP. Patrick Zigon then dubbed up the dance with a great slice of twisted bass throbbing quirkiness which led nicely into the deep, sprawling, hypnotic bass heavy sounds of Deadbeat and a taster of the world of dub that awaits on his forthcoming new album, Drawn and Quartered.

Gil Scott Heron - Winter In America (Arista)
Arthur Verocai - Velho Parente (Luv n Haight)
Hawa - So Wrong (Favourite promo)
Ocote Soul Sounds - Tumba Del Payaso (ESL)
Batida - La Vai Maria feat Ize Teixeira (Akwaaba)
Finn Peters - Purple (Mantella promo)
Gang Gang Dance - Romance Layers (Warp)
Gagarin - Dunnock (Geo)
DOK - West Coast feat Terror Danjah (Hyperdub promo)
Benjamin Jackson - Tareco Drive (The Analogue Quadrant)
Crewdson - Starting Out On The Wrong Foot (Slowfoot promo)
Gang Colours - Dance Around The Subject (Brownswood promo)
Patrick Zigon - Momento Magico feat Caramelo Criminal (Danza Macabra promo)
Deadbeat - Fouth Quarter (Blkrtz promo)

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Gang Colours - Is Your Gut Like A Knife (Brownswood)

Artist ALERT!! Now new music comes our way all the time and more than established artists producing good music we get even more excited by new producers and groups who come and slap us around the ears with fresh new sounds and promise, Gang Colours is most definitely one of those.

Completely off our radar until yesterday, Gilles Peterson's label, Brownswood  (who were originally tipped off about this boy by Ghostpoet chatting about one of his Myspace friends) kindly just his us with the Gang Colours debut EP which will be dropping on June 6th and we were immediately hooked by the spacious beats, hazy vibes, melodic joys and most of all the fresh sounds this boy is using. This boy is a beat producing wolf not a sheep.

So enough of the words for your eyes, turn up your stereo and get you ears around the EP's slowest, dreamiest cut 'In Your Gut Like A Knife' and put June 6th in your diary:

In Your Gut Like a Knife by Gang Colours

Here's the soundcloud EP teaser:
Gang Colours // In Your Gut Like A Knife // EP Teaser by Brownswood

You can also cut a free download of Gang Colours great 2-step remix of the unreleased Lucky Paul, 'Slowground' EP on the great new Somethinksounds label, just follow this link to the Xlr8 website

Gang Colours Soundcloud (new EP is better!)
Gang Colours Myspace
Brownswood Records Website

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Banda Black Rio - Super Nova Samba Funk (Far Out)

We almost spat our tea all over the computer screen when we got the notification this morning of a new Banda Black Rio album. Having just revovered we then almost choked on our toast and marmite when we read they had also dragged Seu Jorge, Marcio Local, Elza Soares and Caetano Veloso amongst others into the studio as well. They've even enlisted Flame Killer and GOD PT3 from the Mobb Deep crew on 'Back to the Project' to share their ghetto drug and violence tales, all too familiar in the favelas, to keep the cross cultural vibes right up to date.

Now that wouldn't be much good if the music didn't sound good and from the track snippets below it look like the album is going to be one of the soundtracks to our summer. There is uptempo vocal jazz fusion on 'Louis Lane' feat Seu Jorge, one of our favourite modern samba soulsters, Marcio Local doing the business on the broken, building soul killer 'Quem Vem Lá', the fresh Brazilian boogie of 'Som De Preto' and the classic sounding string laden mellow vibes of 'Aos Pes do Redentor' featuring Caetano Veloso.

So with no further ado check out what it sounds like:

Banda Black Rio - Super Nova Samba Funk by Far Out Recordings

Here's a classic slice of Banda Black Rio doing it live back in the day followed by a bit more info about the group and the project from the press release:

Formed in Rio De Janeiro, 1976, Banda Black Rio pioneered the soul-funk movement in Brazil led by renowned saxophonist Oberdan Magalhaes. As global stars of the politically charged Black Rio movement, emerging almost a decade earlier from the Soul Brasileiro genre, BBR brought together Rio’s black funk scene to rally against repression, a conservative record industry and white middle class press to mobilise disenchanted black Brazilian youth against the military dictatorship that mirrored the struggles in North America. Banda Black Rio released a string of unforgettable recordings in the late-1970s from 1977 debut album, Maria Fumaça, on Warner Music to 1978’s Gafieira Universal on RCA Recordings that is considered one of the all-time great Brazilian jazz-funk records. The third album, SaciPererê, was also released in 1978 by which point the band had made a lasting impact both in Brazil and abroad. Following the death of original band leader Oberdan Magalhães in 1984 the band stopped recording and performing. Far Out’s Joe Davis helped the rare-groove scene rediscover BBR in the early 90s supplying the top DJs such as Gilles Peterson and Norman Jay with the imported vinyl before celebrated artists such as Mos Def and Incognito recorded their songs to further resurrect the legendary band’s name. With a renaissance in Brazil's black music culture led by a new generation of soul, funk and hip hop artists BBR finally arrived back with a brand new formation for comeback album Rebirth in 2000, before launching their most ambitious project to date with 2011’s Super Nova Samba Funk – the group’s sixth studio album produced and led by William Magalhães.

The philosophy on Super Nova Samba Funk remains the same: celebrating the musicality of black Brazil through strong lyrical representation and its unique combination of jazz, funk, soul, samba and gafieira. Title track opener Super Nova Samba Funk and Samba Nova are two instrumental tracks that showcase Rio’s finest players who together form BBR. Isabela combines elegant brass, jazz and gafieira swing that counts the special input of Elza Soares – the legendary scatting samba singer – and Cesar Carmargo Mariano – the famed pianist and arranger, father of Maria Rita, and husband to Elis Regina. Irerê is built around a beautiful melody sung to Africa by Gilberto Gil – bossa nova MPB and tropilcalia revolutionary. Nossa Jornada, Final Feliz and Aos Pés do Redentor, featuring Tropicalia and bossa pioneer Caetano Veloso, confirm Afro-Brazilian roots exist in bossa nova and samba.

Seu Jorge – world famous Brazilian musician, singer, songwriter and actor famed for his roles in City of God and Life Aquatic whose latest music project with Almaz signed to Stones Throw Records – distinctive samba vocals fire the infectious Brazilian soul-pop of Louis Lane; Marcio Local – a major new Brazilian star signed to David Byrne’s Luaka Bop imprint – combines samba and soul on the swinging “carioca” melody Quem Vem lá. Rap and R&B brings respected artists such as Dom Pixote and Mano Brown as well as notorious Queens, New York, rappers from the million-selling Mobb Deep crew Flame Killer – extensively featured with Mobb Deep – and God Pt3 – leading member in Blaq Mobb & Infamous Mobb – on US East Coast hip-hop collaboration track Back to the Project.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Audio Texture Radio Show - May 20, 2011

I eased you into this weeks show with a track from the new Fourcolor (aka Keichi Sugimoto) album, As Pleat a great new addition to the ever dependable 12K recordings before I dropped the title track from my album of the week the forthcoming Dakota Suite 'The Hearts Of Empty' which is simply wonderful. Africa Hitech then gave us an uptempo deep spiritual tribal vibe with the excellent 'Light The Way' one of the highlights of the new tracks from this rather inconsistent project.

It was a great excuse though to hit you with an organic African section ably started by Bombino, a rising star in the whole desert blues genre before some classic Congolese vibes with an East African twist carried on the vibe, good old Franco. Idrissa Diop & Cheickh Tidiane Tall then shifted the focus on to the golden age of Senegalese music before German funksters, Karl Hector & The Malcouns showed that scuzzy, pysched out Ethiopian vibes are a wonderful thing - check their new EP on Now Again, deadly.

Now Miles Bonny has been dubbed the missing link between D'Angelo and Willy Nelson, perhaps rather optimistically by his PR crew, but their is no denying he's no lightweight and his new album is a great modern soul work and rock solid start to finish. Saturn Never Sleeps, the Sun-Ra inspired project of King Britt and Rucyl Mills, is a wonderful thing and last week they gave away an interstellar slice of future soul called 'Tory', wow. Dego then kept the fresh soul vibes rolling with a track he gave away last week featuring Bembe Segue and David Okumo. Doesn't anyone sell music any more? 

Jack and Juke then treated us to their great Sugar Hill Gang cover version '9th Wonder' which funnily was also a giveaway last week, along with 15 other nice tunes, as part of the label's 7th birthday celebrations before Floating Points came in and stole the show with a great meandering slice of future boogie which paved the way for Jin Choi to end the show on a lovely deep quirky scat vocal house vibe, I just wished I could have played all of it.

Fourcolor - Bleach Black (12K promo)
Dakota Suite - The Hearts Of Empty (Karaoke Kalk promo)
Africa Hitech - Light The Way (Warp)
Bombino - Tar Hani (Cumbancha)
Franco & Le Tout Puissant OK Jazz - Ku Kisantu Kikwenda Ko (Sterns)
Idrissa Diop & Cheikh Tidiane Tall - Caridad (Teranga Beat)
Karl Hector & The Malcouns - M'Hammath (Now Again)
Miles Bonny - What's Life Like (MPM promo)
Saturn Never Sleeps - Tory (Free download)
Dego - Sunchine ft Bembe Segue & Dave Okumu (Free Download)
Jack & Juke - 9th Wonder (First Word free download)
Floating Points - Marilyn (Eglo Promo)
Jin Choi - Half Baked, Vinyl Edit (Serialism promo)

Monday, 23 May 2011

Popol Vuh Revisited & Remixed, 1970-1999 (SPV)

Popol Vuh is a corpus of mytho-historical narratives of the post classic Quické kingdom in Guatemala's western highlands. The title translates as "Book of the People" (what would we do without Wikipedia). More importantly Popol Vuh were also a pioneering German kraut rock band who split up after the death of the band's founder, Florian Fricke, 10 years ago.

The band were way ahead of their time and their first album Affenstunde, released in 1970 and using the, then new, sounds of the Moog synthesizer coupled with ethnic percussion, was one of the earliest ambient albums and also an early example of global fusion. Later piano led musical explorations of religious themes are also deemed pioneering recordings in the 'New Age' genre, but please don't hold that against them. Werner Herzog employed the band to soundtrack several of his films including Nosferatu, Aguirre and Cobra Verde with Fricke even making a screen appearance in The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser.

To mark the 10th anniversary of Florian Fricke's passing SPV are releasing a 2CD compilation featuring one disc highlighting their ambient and electronica side plus selected soundtrack work from some of Werner Herzog's classic films and a second CD of remixes by a really well selected bunch of contemporary bands and producers including Stereolab, Moritz von Oswald, Peter Kruder and Mike Vainio amongst others.

Now there is no getting away from the fact that a lot of the original cuts sound a bit dated but it must never be forgotten how mind blowing and inspirational to a generation of musicians those tracks actually were. Apart from ambient trainspotters most people are going to cite Brian Eno as ambient's main pioneer but he didn't start going all musically horizontal until five years after these boys.

So CD1 is an interesting historical musical document but the remixes drag these seminal tracks into the new millenium and are destined to inform a new generation about Popol Vuh. Look out for emotive building deep house from Peter Kruder, bass heavy hypnotic grooves from the Orb's Thomas Fellmann, our personal favourite an epic sprawling prog rock inspired mix from Alex Barck, a deep house dubscape from Mortiz von Oswald, an eight bit beat adventure from Mouse On Mars and a lighter more playful rework from Stereolab amongst other worthy reworkings from the likes of Mike Vainio, Haswell & Hecker and A Critical Mass amongst others. The double CD with remixes will be hitting the shops in June.

If you want a taster of some of the bands original works then head over to their soundcloud page

Here's a little video taster of some of the remixes using grainy old Super-8 footage of the band in their heyday:

Popol Vuh Myspace
SPV website

Friday, 20 May 2011

First Word Is 7 (First Word Records free download)

So First Word is 7 years old which in these tough times for music and small independent labels in particular is a ripe old age and to celebrate they have put together a nice little compilation from their catalogue which is up for FREE download for seven days from now.

If you don't know this nice UK based label have been putting out some quality Hip Hop, Soul, Funk, Jazz and Beats since 2003 including artists like The Haggis Horns, Kidkanevil, Eliphino, Lotek, The Simonsound and the Ariya Astrobeat Arkestra, just in case you didn't think they were serious.

Kidkanevil kicks things off with a couple of leftfield beat adventures before Homecut supplies some conscious hip hop and one of our favourite new generation beatmakers, Elephino, drops some classy jazzy instrumental hip hop vibes. Red then goes on a bass bin destroying sci-fi mission before Ariya Astrobeat Arkestra send out some classy Afrobeat vibrations.

Lotek gets forceful but fair on a righteous riddim, paving the way nicely for Herma Puma to deliver his distinctive vocals over some fresh beats before ASM gets all hyperactive over some classic drums. Simonsound then goes vaguely mental in the electro-sonic lab before Souleance return us to the soulful sounds of planet earth and The Haggis Horns hop on a plane to Mama Africa for a tasty slice of jazzy Afrobeat. Jack & Juke then provide a funky as hell cover of Sugar Hill Gang's '8th Wonder' with a electro twist before 6is Toys go back to the soul and funk source with their 'Do Your Thing' swinger.

Honestly this compilation is something you wouldn't mind paying for it's that's good so a BIG thank you to First Word. Many Happy returns and here's to another seven years of quality music. Cheers.

First Word Records Website

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Dego - Sunshine ft Bembe Segue & David Okumu/Eyelids Heavy (2000 Black free download)

Dego has a music history longer than most from rave to drum and bass, nu-jazz, broken beat and nu-soul this boy has been around and although I'm sure he is despairing at his diminishing returns from record sales he is still putting out the quality tunes and in a fit of generousity, this time for free (if you count exchanging your email address as free)

First up on the downlaod is 'Eyelids Heavy' a stripped back UK house mutation. A simple but funky bassline and unobtrusive but persuasive keys keep the broken beats rolling from a sparse intro through to it's jazzy and abrupt finish. The real gem here though is a great slice of nu-soul. If you liked the Saturn Never Sleeps tune we posted earlier this week then you'll love 'Sunshine'. West London vocal stalwart Bembe Segue provides the sweet sexy vocals whilst my favourite UK guitarist, Dave Okumu, long time jazz trooper but best known for his indie fusion project The Invisible,  noodles along in the background over some classic nu-soul beats. It's all about mixing up the styles but holding down the quality.

2000 Black Website

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Vezelay - Lyre EP (Planet Mu)

Right, enough gangster 9mm bullet headphone shizzle let's get into some dreamy French produced pop music and when we say pop we don't mean the Take That reunion. Vezelay is 30 year old Matthieu Le Berre from Clermont-Ferrand in France and this new Planet Mu EP is his debut release. All we can say is it was worth the wait.

Vezelay inhabits a dream land where pop structures provide a loose framework for delicate, thoughtful vocals, THC sedated MPC operators throw in slo-mo beats so you don't lose all track of reality and lazy and hazy is the order of the day.

Now this is one of those EPs that didn't grab us straight away but after repeated listens it slowly but surely sucked us into it's hypnogocic depths and musical delights. The only problem is we've got a load of work to do and after listening to this it feels like Sunday morning. The release date is June 20th but have a little early listen to the opening track below and see what you think.

Vezelay Bandcamp Page
Planet Mu Website

Munitio Bullet Headphones

We've got to admit to being the most gangster of companies, but we're loving these 9mm Titanium bad boy headphones from Munitio.

Nice idea, brilliantly executed and ideal for bumping the latest Pusha T joints as you're pimpin your ride.

Munitio Website

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Saturn Never Sleeps - Troy (Free download)

Download the new Saturn Never Sleeps (King Britt) single below for the price of your email..

After the whole nu-jazz scene died a death and downsized to even smaller club back rooms King Britt went even further underground as well but never stopped putting out great music. Anyway a new album is due out in the summer called Yesterday's Machine and 'Troy' is the first single from it featuring Buddy Sativa on keys - we're excited already.

Here's a bit more info about the whole Saturn Never Sleeps project:

Saturn Never Sleeps came about when music producer King Britt and singer/artist Rucyl collaborated in 2009 for two improvisational performances specifically dedicated to the music and sound of fellow Philadelphian Sun-Ra. Carrying on in the tradition of Sun Ra’s vision of process as art, they decided to continue their project, which led to a year of amazing opportunities, performing at Moogfest (USA), Stadtmusik Festival (Basel, Switzerland), Art Basel (Miami), Micro-cosmos (Tokyo) and residencies in Philadelphia/NYC.

The duo have been inspired by the works of classic electronic innovators like Herbie Hancock, Raymond Scott, Delia Derbyshire, the present day forward-thinking electronic scene as well as experimental composers, dub and rocksteady. These inspirations have transpired in a solid stage show combining laptop/electronics with heart melting vocals and improvised electronic instrumentation, heavy bass vibrations and sonic ambience.The live two person show consists of King Britt on samples, beats, and textures with Rucyl layering vocals and added electronics. Often both performers vary their live rigs with home-brew music applications and experimental noise makers. Their sound resonates with fans of artists like Massive Attack, Little Dragon, Sun Ra and Philip Glass. Recently opening for TV on the Radio and Sun Ra Arkestra, music collectors and young audiences alike are taking notice of their unique approach to songs.

Their debut album, Yesterday’s Machine, combines an experimental create-in-the-moment vibe with inspirational lyrics and vocal sonics that range from Sade tones to Flora Purim’s ethereal layers. The result is well-crafted, intelligent, genre-pushing, electronic soul rooted in the duo’s collective years of experience and musical expanse. To be released in July 2011 on their label, SNS.

Saturn Never Sleeps blog
Saturn Never Sleeps Website

Monday, 16 May 2011

Hollie Cook - Hollie Cook (Mr. Bongo)

So let's get the hype out of the way first, Hollie is the daughter of Paul Cook, who if you are 50, you might remember as the drummer from the sex pistols. So growing up she was surrounded by music and musicians which could explain the career choice and the fact she ditched performing arts school to go on tour with Ari Up and the reformed Slits. Can't blame her really.

The next steps on her career were collaborations with Ian Brown, Jamie T and most importantly Prince Fatty where the seeds of this album were sown. Now Hollie is a fan of classic reggae singers like Janet Kay and Phyllis Dillon as well as classic 60's girl groups and with Prince Fatty she has produced a fresh sounding reggae hybrid which at first we found a bit unsettling but soon learnt to love, Hollie calls it 'Tropical Pop'. Her voice has a sweet innocence to it and coupled with some authentic roots reggae riddims it's a lethal combination. We're telling you this album could be everywhere over the summer, and if it is, the warmer months will sound a whole lot better for it.

If that wasn't enough you also get the likes of Omar, Dennis bovell, George Dicker (Pioneers), Style Scott and Horseman all involved for good measure. Now 'Milk and Honey' might not need an introduction as it got widespread radio play from the Prince Fatty album and featured on Grey's Anatomy but this album is far from a one trick pony. We are also loving 'Cry(Disco Mix)' which juxtaposes Hollies sweet vocals with some gruffer ruffer male vocals, her immense version of the Shangri-Las' 'Walkin In The Sand' and the affarirs of the heart winner 'That Very Night', though the album is full of crackers start to finish.
Here's a couple of little tasters for you:

Walking In The Sand by Hollie Cook

Milk & Honey by Hollie Cook

Hollie Cook Website
Hollie Cook Soundcloud
Prince Fatty Website
Mr. Bongo Website

Audio Texture Radio Show - May 13, 2011

Happy Days, Red Snapper have got a new album, always something to celebrate in my book and this one doesn't disappoint and with quite a few mellower tracks on as the opening 'You Read My Cards Wrong' track testifies. Caural has a 'new' project with long term collaborator Jason Hunt which was originally conceived in 1995 and is now finally seeing the light of day, swapping the beats for a rockier edge - check it. Somethinksounds, the label of the Somethinkblue crew, aren't releasing much but what they are is quality, as the new Lucky Paul EP testifies - look out for the wicked Elephino remix as well. Electric Cowbell have realized not everyone has got a record player and are about to put out a CD and digital compilation of it's collectible 45's showcasing the varied sound of the big apple.

Zackey Force Funk is usually more at home robbing banks with baseball bats but has found the time to come out with an EP of grimy electro funk on fledgling label Machino Muerte, nasty shit as the 'Pistolgrip' track testifies. I like him. Letherette then showed that, after the Young Montana? album, the west midlands is the next hottest beat making center of the universe, I like their fresh take on vintage music. Now Mo Kolours has been getting a lot of love and rightly so and his debut EP is now in the shops, go buy, it's as fresh as anything out there as the 'Dead Of Night' taster shows. Also out about now is the LV album and it's a great fusion of dubstep's ruder roots and the new more sophisticated post dubstep sounds.

The Jono McCleery hype machine is gearing up and rightly so. The album is out end of year but Counter are starting to tease with some new bits and choice remixes including a killer Seiji remix, easily the most interesting thing he's done in years. Holly Cook then brightened up proceedings with 'Milk and Honey' from her reggae meets soul and pop, debut album, set to soundtrack many a BBQ it could be massive, she's the daughter of Paul Cook from the Sex Pistols don't you know. Now Birdy is a 14 year old being swept up by the hype machine and making Bon Ivor fans hate her in equal measure and some cheecky remixes arrived this week. I dropped the Lunice remix but the Jack Sparrow twist is growing on me, seek them out.

Mayer Hawthorne has just released a free download of 6 cover versions, 'Work It Out' being my favourite, check my Mayer blog post for more info. Americana is a new comp coming from BBE focussing on the murky world of AOR (look it up) and it's fusions with the world of black American music from days gone by - smooth, sexy, grooving and your mum will like it as well. SoulParlor is putting out an album on Tokyo Dawn soon and it's full of progressive beats, soul jazz flavours and a hip hop/spoken word twist not to mention some nice remixes, look out for it. As promised I finally dropped the Erodiscotique cut from Dimitri from Paris and DJ Rocca which led nicely into a new Moodyman remix of Billie Holiday from a generally pretty poor set of new Verve remixes before finishing off with some great techno bassline business from Breach and T. Williams.

Red Snapper - Your Read My Cards Wrong (V2 Benelux promo)
Boy King Islands - Lights In My Sky (Eat Concrete promo)
Lucky Paul - Thought We Were Alone (Somethinksounds promo)
Superhuman Happiness - Human Happiness (Electric Cowbell promo)
Zackey Force Funk - Pistolgrip (Machino Muerte promo)
Letherette - Shoe Be Do (Ho_Tep promo)
Mo Kolours - Dead Of Night (One Handed Music)
LV ft Joshua Idehen - Murkish Delights (Keysound promo)
Jono McCleery - Garden, Seiji remix (Counter Records promo)
DZA - Twat (Project Moon Circle/Jus Like Music promo)
Hollie Cook - Milk and Honey (Mr Bongo promo)
Birdy - Skinny Love, Lunice remix (White)
Mayer Hawthorne - Work To Do (free download)
Midnight Flyer - I Just Want To Love You (BBE promo)
SoulParlor - Real feat Colonel Red, Opolopo rmx (Tokyo Dawn promo)
Erodiscotique - Downtown (Gomma)
Billie Holiday - That Ol Devil Called Love, Moodyman rmx (Verve promo)
Breach - Fatherless, T. Williams remix (PTN promo)

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Americana - Rock Your Soul, Blue Eyed Soul & Sounds from the Land of the Free (BBE Records)

BBE Records are one of the kings of the compilation world, especially when it comes to classic black music. Killer disco, soul, funk, house, reggae, latin jazz, hip hop comps abound, not to mention an increasing amount of solo artist albums so you've always got to sit up and take notice when a new release is on the horizon.

For their new Americana comp they have recruited a couple of deep collectors from the UK, Zafar Chowdhry and Mark Taylor. Not household names unless you're a vinyl collecting loon but two guys serious about their music and who happened to be trawling the crates around the same time for blue eyed soul, that hazy meeting of classic soul, jazz, funk and disco with soft rock, country and pop.

Now this compilation is not going to appeal to the youth music market but to anyone with open ears it's an absolute gem. A bit like a lot of Bossa the comp walks a fine line between impecable playing and the world of musical cheese and you never seems to be far away from a schmaltzy string arrangement but the inherent soul keeps it well anchored on the right side of the fence even though your mum would probably like it. I've been sitting here in the studio all Sunday morning with the album on repeat and it's been the perfect soundtrack to my day.

It's also been a real eye opener having pretty much ignored the genre and having never heard the bulk of the artists on the album, but the next time I'm flipping through the racks I'll pay a bit more attention to those albums with dodgy covers by the likes of the James Walsh Gypsy Band, Evans Pyramid and Babadu.

Here's a couple of little tasters for you:

Here's what Zafar has to say about the compilation:

We have known each other since the late 80's and as is the case in many friendships, music of course was the main catalyst. We had lost touch due to family life etc, but again the lure of music brought us together again. We have both shared exactly the same musical tastes throughout, and Mark contacted me about a record I had sold to Gilles Peterson, asking if I had another copy. The conversation eventually turned to records and what we were chasing , and again in perfect symmetry both of us were going back to the sounds of our youth, A.O.R. (Adult Orientated Rock). Absurd abbreviation for such a great genre, but basically to us it was soft rock with elements of soul, jazz, funk, folk & disco. Which exactly what this compilation has. 

After many conversations over the phone on what both of us had collected in this genre I suggested we do a comp. I had spoken with Peter years before about doing a comp for BBE and never got round to it, but this seemed the perfect project to launch with BBE. So myself & Mark both dug out 8 tracks each and instantly realised we had an absolute classic compilation in the making. The mad thing about the programming of this comp is that there is none. Mark gave me 8 tracks in no particular order & I just added my 8 tracks to the end of his. The flow is seamless and they sound great after one another, and the point is when you have beautiful music it doesn't matter which order you put it in. As well as mainland USA material, we've also included five tracks that originate from Hawaiian artists that fit nicely into this genre of music. We are both working on sourcing material for the Americana 2.

Here's some of the press release:

If you were inclined to put a location as the source of our Americana compilation – although the music here largely originates from other parts of the great union – it would be California. With its vast open-plan landscape and one season (summer) per year, it typifies the expansive style of songwriting that is contained in this compilation that stands in stark contrast to the claustrophobic (yet no less alluring) musical approach of Europeans. There’s arguably something in the climate that dictates much of our musical terrain, whether it be the sweaty loose-hipped funk of New Orleans or the frenetic and frosty four-on-the-top of Detroit’s Motown. American songs are born out of an optimism that is probably piped in the water (as well as flouride, the British have cynicism added to the drinking supply).
This cadre of – mainly – white musicians, although clearly influenced by some African-American music, were the first generation not! to be fixated solely by the music of black America. This was a flowering of something more general, less clearly defined, as hazy as an Los Angelean daybreak. What is notable about the music is that it’s neither black nor white, but contains elements of both, and though its influences undoubtedly derive from R&B (in the old meaning of the word), there are country, jazz, funk, rock and disco tinges to many of the songs.

The songs are no less good, the production no less shimmering than any Lenny Waronker job. We’d wager you’ve not heard of many of the artists here and that’s ultimately the purpose: to shine a light on the darker corners of American pop culture. And they don’t get much more radio-friendly than this shining collection here.

BBE Records website
Zafar Chwodhry website (dust off your credit card)
La Homage Soundcloud (Mark Taylor & Koh re-edits - lovely stuff!)
Happy Jazz Radio Show Myspace (Mark Taylor & Adrian Leach)

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Mayer Hawthorne - Impressions (Free Download)

So Mayer Hawthorne has sprung from nowhere in the last couple of years to become one of modern soul musics more interesting acts largely on the back of his single 'Maybe So, Maybe No' and a hectic touring schedule. Well now the nice man has just released a nice little EP of cover versions for FREE DOWNLOAD. Now a cover version is a personal thing so we'll hand you over to Mayer to tell you a bit more.

1. Work To Do
This one features my live band, The County: Quentin Joseph on drums, Topher Mohr on guitar, Quincy McCrary on piano, and Joe Abrams on bass. It was recorded live in a radio station studio somewhere during our Winter 2010 US tour. The tapes recently surfaced, but nobody can remember exactly where we were. The song is originally by The Isley Brothers, and that’s the only version I was familiar with until we started playing it in our live shows and people would come up to us and say “hey, loved your cover of Average White Band!”.

2. Don’t Turn The Lights On
My favorite track from Chromeo’s latest LP. On the surface it’s an electro-funk, dance floor filler, but underneath is a brilliant love ballad with lyrics that reminded me of something from Tyrone Davis. Dave1 (of Chromeo) told me the song is about a guy who falls in love with a ghost, so I wanted my version to have an eerie, ghostly feel to it. Quincy McCrary played the creepy piano solo at the end.

3. You’ve Got The Makings Of A Lover
Textbook Northern Soul from a little known Dallas, Texas group called The Festivals. I was digging for records in NY with my homey DJ Kurse, and the shopkeeper played the 45 in the store. Both of us immediately ran up to the counter and said “yo! what is THAT?!”. The original version was recorded in the late 60s, and the mix isn’t very good. I wanted a version that I could bump. Quentin Joseph played the drums and we recorded them at Sam Beaubien’s studio in Detroit. That’s Sam playing the trumpet as well.

4. Fantasy Girl
This song was written and composed by an amazing man from Pasadena named Steve Salazar. He was born with a heart condition and passed away at the young age of 27. Before he died he recorded one incredible album of demos in the mid-70s with a band called Shorty’s Portion. Peanut Butter Wolf found a copy of the album and I loved it so much that he gave it to me (thanks Wolf!). The vinyl had a handwritten note tucked in the sleeve that was addressed to anyone who could help the band with management, a record deal, radio airplay, etc. I’d estimate there were less than 300 copies pressed. That’s my Dad playing pedal steel guitar and Topher Mohr shredding the guitar solo on my version.

5. Little Person
Jon Brion is not from this planet. He penned this song for the soundtrack to Charlie Kaufman’s film “Synecdoche, NY”. I didn’t get the film at all, but I really got the soundtrack. The original has only female vocal and piano, but I always heard a larger arrangement. Hubert Alexander played some of the piano and I did everything else.

6. Mr. Blue Sky
This one also features my band, The County, and was recorded live, in one take, in a tiny makeshift tent, at a festival in Dour, Belgium.

Just for your interest here is the original version of 'Maybe So, Maybe No' by the long forgotten New Holidays:

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Raphael Saadiq - Stone Rollin' (Colombia)

A new Raphael Saadiq album is always something to celebrate, he is constantly interesting and holding down the quality and the new album Stone Rollin' is no exception.

This time he has gone back in time and paid tribute to all his musical heroes with a 'real' R&B album, not the modern lightweight pop manifestation of the term. Just to prove he is the real deal he also plays the bass, mellotron, keys, guitar, percussion and even drums on most of the tracks, now that's talent.

He nods his head towards Chuck Berry, Stevie Wonder, Little Walter and Sly Stone but gives all the tracks some Saadiq 'sabor' and throws in a few special guest as well - Larry Dunn (Earth Wind and Fire), Robert Randolph (The Family Band) and displaying his eclecticness even Yukimi Nagano from Little Dragon.

Here's a little video taster of what to come

Raphael Saadiq EPK from Columbia Records on Vimeo.

You can also head over to the Colombia records website and grab the album's title track for the price of your email address.

Raphael Saadiq Website

Audio Texture Radio Show - May 5, 2011

Ethiopia is the launch pad for this weeks show kicking off with a track from the new Dub Colossus offering which has gone more Ethiopian and less dub and is certainly none the worse for that. Geneva boys, Imperial Tiger Orchestra, then continue the Eritraen vibes with an authentic, albeit by a bunch of Swiss lads, take on the country's music. Mother Africa then provided a funkier reworked Afro groove from the excellent Owiny Sigoma Band whose album has just dropped and which I highly recommend. Boxcutter then kept the funk but with an interstellar twist with the excellent 'Zabriskie Disco' from his new album. Cosmic house courtesy of the San Soda remix of Sebastien San's 'Great Cities' then kept the galatic vibes flowing and I for one will be playing this cut for a long time.

Now I played you a bit of Falty DL a while back as an introduction to his latest album but I was listening back to it the other day and couldn't believe the deeper than deep 'Voyager' track had escaped me, I guess it's the dangers of trying to listen to too much music too quickly. Mathias Stubo then "future discoed" up the dance with the title track from his forthcoming album on BBE, '1979'. Now the 80's are influencing a lot of producers at the moment and the lastest is young Scottish producer Beaumont who has made what sounds like a modern version of the original Miami Vice TV soundtrack and I'm particularly liking the 'Tokyo' track. Look out for the EP coming soon on Kinnego Records out of Ireland.

Moa Pillar is one of the new breed of Russian beatmakers and his 'Flying Low' track is an intense yet evocative slice of great beat making. I've just been sent a whole host of other Russian beats so expect to hear more of what's happening up north soon. I then changed to a more sedate and contemplative tack kicking off with a new Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto tune from their latest collaborative album - beautiful stuff which led nicely into the guitar led soundtrack meanderings of Barcelona boy Microfeel. Seargent Garcia then provided a heavy percussion workout from his new album on Cumbancha before Ghostpoet crept into the house with a killer, dBridge remixed hip hop cut. It's great to hear an MC with a really distinctive sound and flow especially when the production is sick as well. I then dropped Young Montana's warped view of the hip hop world featuring the vocal dexterity of Stainless Steele before Bibio provided a new Balearic wind down to the show, lovely.

Dub Colossus - Yezema Meseret (Real World)
Imperial Tiger Orchestra - Anchi Bale Game (Mental Groove)
Owiny Sigoma Band - Nabed Nade Ei Piny Ka, Rework (Brownswood)
Boxcutter - Zabriskie Disco (Planet Mu)
Sebastien San - Great Cities, San Soda's downtempo mix (We Play House)
Falty DL - Voyager (Planet Mu)
Mathias Stubo - 1979 (BBE promo)
Beaumont - Tokyo (Kinnego promo)
Moa Pillar - Flying Low (Gimme 5)
Ryuichi Sakamoto & Alva Moto - Pionier IOO (Raster Norton promo)
Microfeel - Guitar & Your Silence feat Arbol
Sergent Garcia - En El Domino (Cumbancha)
Ghostpoet - Survive It, dBridge Limbo rmx (Brownswood promo)
Young Montana - Suchbeats feat Stainless Steele (Alpha Pup)
Bibio - Light Seep (Warp)

Monday, 9 May 2011

Prommer And Barck - Alex & The Grizzly (Derwin)

To call this album a house music album would do it a bit of a disservice as it wouldn't adequately allude to the sheer craft, musicality and creativity these 11 tracks contain and let's face it, the amount of good house music albums over the years is pretty minimal, whereas this is an enthralling, structured listen start to finish.

Prommer and Barck have always been involved in projects where good old live music has been married with studio trickery as their Drum Lesson and Jazzanova musical escapades will testify so as well as the boys singing the musician credits also include Dollkraut, Kim Sanders, James Teej, Eva Milner, Sascha Gottschalk and Uwe Karpa, To be honest the names didn't initially ring any bells but they certainly deliver the goods.

The whole album will be performed live as well which can only be a smart move in these days of diminishing revenues from record sales and they've also set up their own record label, Derwin, to release the album and it's ensuing remixes although Best Work, Permanent Vacation and Gigoloa have already given us single tasters of the album.

So it's always good to have a listen rather than be swayed by the opinions of others so check this little taster, 'Sleeping Beauty' a lovely soulful, life affirming, string laden, builder of a track:

Latest tracks by Derwin Recordings

As for the rest of the album, musicality and variety is where it's at. From the dreamy soulful opener 'Pictures Of The Sea' which floats you gently into the album to the deep brooding Detroit multi tempo soul of'Lovin', which you might have heard on our radio show a couple of weeks back. You get the warm summer sounds of 'Everything', the classic old school vibes of 'Gladys Knight' and 'The Barking Grizzle' not to mention the slo-mo folk sounds of 'Faces From The Past'. There really is something here for everyone but we recommend starting at the start, finishing at the finish and going along for the 80 minute ride, it really is time well spent.

Prommer And Barck Website

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

"What's your name, where you from, what you on?"

Now this track isn't really our cup of tea to be honest, though it's by no means bad but it's the video that really grabbed us! For all of you too young to have gone to any raves in the UK between '88-'92 then this is essential archive footage of some amazing times and vibes. We just wonder why those people are pulling all those funny faces :)

Young Montana - Limerence (Alpha Pup)

Young Montana is an old head on young shoulders. Tipped as one of the next bright young things by Mary Anne Hobbs in 2010 at 20 years of age already he is producing beats as cultured as anyone around. Not only is he putting in more flavours than Ferran Adria the soul and funk always shines through the density and complex programming, something a lot of his contemporaries struggle to do, often losing themselves in a swamp of fashionable plug-ins, dense compression and overly spasmodic beats.

A largely instrumental album he does manage to slip in a killer hip hop track with Stainless Steele flowing effortlessly over some crunchy, crackly yet melodic beats. Apart from that vocal duty is performed by small slices of cut up, heavily manipulated vocals lovingly splattered over the other ten cuts. There are no real duffers on the album and the album flows pleasingly from folk hop, via future electro boogie and neo classical tropical mutant hybrids to peak time twisted club bangers, largely at a hip hop tempo.

All in all this is a stunning debut album that is never formulaic or predictable, packed full of musical twists and turns and one that deserves repeated listens. We might even have a future classic on our hands and definitely one of the beat albums of the year.

Young Montana Soundcloud
Alpha Pup Records Website
Purchase album at Boomkat

Monday, 2 May 2011

Audio Texture Radio Show - April 29, 2011

So it's the all new Audio Texture radio show. Well, all new in name, having previously been called the Global SoulJah & BBE Records Radio Show for the last 3 years. The show is still an hour long and exactly the same musical idea, an hour long 'mixtape' made up of a few of my favourite tunes and new releases that have been sent my way. Got to say a BIG BIG thank you to BBE for letting me collaborate with them over 150+ shows, it's been an honour to be associated with such a great label..

Kicking off this week with a beautiful, sparse new vocal winner from Fatima & Floating Points before ducking into a track from a dusty old C90 New York mixtape discovered by All City record store co-founder - Splyce, who are The Midnight Eez? Tokimonsta then provided the 2011 New York vibes with a track from her forthcoming EP on Brainfeeder, dreamy late night listening meandered nicely into a track from the pleasantly melodic new Amon Tobin album which has been digitally released early due to some nice person deciding to leak the album.

1000 Names then provided some incredibly soporific  beats before I dropped one of the deeper and darker Submotion Orchestra cuts from their forthcoming album. Live bass music never sounded so good. Machine Drum then provided some crazy psychedelic pop juke fusion to liven up proceedings which paved the way nicely for Japanese melodic beat smith Serph and a track from his about to be released new LP. JSBL then got a bit grimey and funky with a track called 'Project Mayham Sandwich' from the fresh What A Fine Mess We Made compilation from those nice Austrian chaps Affine records. Balding long haired French jazz fusionists Cortex then kept the funk flowing before Australian Afrobeat bad boys The Liberators graced the airwaves with a nice jazzy cut from their new album due on Record Kicks very soon.

I had to drop another taster from the Prommer and Barck album coming very soon on Derwin records. It really is an album with depth and variety, every track is a killer and it is that rare thing a really cohesive and timeless house music album and trust me those are few and far between. Milyoo then rudely cut in with some deep cosmic beats with more drum hits than John Bonham on speed and some lovely vibes. The show then finished with, due to time constraints, a loop of the new Erodiscotique track 'Downtown' which is a nice little collaboration between Dimitri from Paris and DJ Rocca on Gomma. I will play the track in it's entirety next week.

Fatima and Floating Points - Innervision (Eglo promo)
The Midnight Eez - Day Break (All City)
Tokimonsta - Darkest (Dim) feat. Gavin Turek (Brainfeeder promo)
Amon Tobin - Lost and Found (Ninja Tune)
1000 Names - 50 Elephants Mix 2 (Personal Records)
Submotion Orchestra - Back Chat (Exceptional Promo)
Machine Drum - Sacred Frequency (Planet Mu promo)
Serph - Film (Noble promo)
JSBL - Project Mayhem Sandwich (Affine)
Cortex - Huit Octobre 1971 (Tradvibe)
The Liberators - Monkey Face (Record Kicks promo)
Prommer and Barck - Pictures Of The Sea, Love Theme (Derwin promo)
Milyoo - Phonix (Saigon promo)
Erodiscotique - Downtown (Gomma)

Paul White - The Strange Dreams Of Paul White ( OHM - Free download)

Paul White album cover
So the last ever physical copy of Paul White's debut album, The Strange Dreams Of Paul White has finally sold out and if you didn't buy it you missed out on a well packaged treat as the accompanying photo ably demonstrates, respect to Wahab Tailors of Whitechapel!. OK so it doesn't really slot too well into your CD racks and will probably need dry cleaning once in a while but it's great to see an artist and label thinking outside the (plastic CD) box.

If that wasn't enough then there is also some damn fine music in that cute little exterior. Paul White has been making his own blend of widely influenced, instrumental and pleasingly musical beats for a while and as the label has decided to offer up this album for free download we suggest you head over to his bandcamp page and grab it double quick.  We're checking it again and it's getting us all juiced up about his forthcoming Rapping With Paul White album release. Don't forget his other little delights as well like the pysch rock MPC meeting of worlds Paul White & The Purple Brain.

Paul White - The strange Dreams Of Paul White (OHM) - Free Download
Paul White Website
One Hand Music Website