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Ocean Moon is a solo project from Jon Tye of Seahawks. A long time explorer of the sounds of spaciousness, having released the ambient classic LP iO in 1994 as MLO, Crystal Harmonics is a document of Jon’s latest discoveries. An ambient/new age/modern classical library suite for KPM, this is inter-dimensional music for mind, body and spirit.

Island Visions, the recent collection of music from Seahawks for KPM, touched on the deeper, more spatial side of music and led to Jon exploring this territory in greater depth, again for KPM, under his Ocean Moon alter ego. This time he brought along some of today’s most visionary musicians: Jon Brooks (The Advisory Circle / Ghostbox) for his intuitive melodic mastery, Seaming To (Graham Massey’s Toolshed) for her extraordinary vocal talents, Steve Moore (Zombi) for his sophisticated and inventive rhythmic sensibility and Richard Norris (The Grid) for his sensitive and deeply resonant ambience. The initial recordings were made at The Centre Of Sound in Cornwall, with the collaborators various contributions coming from London, Derbyshire and the US.

The supremely serene electronic flute and bells of “Crystal Drift” ease us into our journey and we take our next steps with “Rainbow Ripples” as it gently folds space with arpeggiated synth swells and delicate machine beats. Light vocal tones, bells and breath FX on “And Breathe” keep us going, accompanied by synth drones and billows of electric piano.

We travel through the synth-space-surf haze of “Lost Oceans”, with soft bass and warm ambience, to reach the “New Infinity” of revolving melody, spacious pads and light electronic beats. The celestial tone floats of “White Mirror” close out the first side.

Temple bells ring out to running water flowing together with deep resonant vocal tones as the second side opens with “Peace Bells”. “Revolving and Evolving” follows, a tranquil electronic meadow of lush pastoral synth tones where we rest for a while for “Mountain Dreaming”, a light rhythmic dance of zither and birdsong.

The undulating “Forest Motion” ripples with synth arpeggios, dreamy Solina strings and percussive modular electronics before allowing the crackling ambience and Cantonese whispers of “Sleep Golden” to wash over us. Finally we find ourselves on “The Long Path”, its warm temple ambience of drones and chants guiding us home.

Crystal Harmonics is inspired by four particular albums from KPM’s catalogue. There’s The Electronic Light Orchestra by Adrian Wagner from 1975 and then Temple Of The Stars, Breath Of Life and finally Keith Mansfield’s Circles, these last three coming from KPM’s mid-1980s run of modern classical/New Age gems. For Jon, “making library music can be very liberating. I really enjoyed the additional focus it brought to the music working on different facets of composition with each collaborator”.

But Crystal Harmonics is no mere exercise in vulger pastiche. As the past, present and future sound of paradise, this fresh exploration of mid-90s ambient and original New Age sounds exists outside of our linear experience of time.

The cover started as a collage Jon made a couple of years ago, a different expression of the same impulses that guided the music. As a nod to the records that provided seeds of inspiration, the collage was framed by KPM’s house style of the 1980s for the finished sleeve by Richard Robinson.

Mastered for vinyl by Be With’s sonic shaman Simon Francis, cut by the legendary Pete Norman and pressed in the Netherlands by Record Industry, Ocean Moon’s Crystal Harmonics is the tranquil balm for these turbulent times.


STAFF COMMENTS

says: Ex Piccadilly staff Rob Butler's labour of love continues in earnest signing up this fully original work of art by Seahawks main man, John Tye. Calm and unhurried, strikingly emotive and serene.

A dramatic, string-drenched epic, James Ralph Bailey’s Just Me ’N’ You has been a sought-after soul masterpiece for decades. A lush suite of beautiful songs, it was conceived as a concept album; a sophisticated paean to love. Originally released by MAM Records in 1974, Just Me ’N’ You is a breathtaking jazzy soul album. It’s similar in style to Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On - particularly the performances, orchestrations and chord progressions - but dealing with a different universal subject matter.

If What’s Going On was about romance instead of politics, it would sound like this. Fans of Marvin, Leon Ware, Donny Hathaway, Leroy Hutson and Willie Hutch will love this record. Not as well known - this is definitely an underrated gem - the work of James Ralph Bailey is no less mind-blowing. It’s got to be one of the best soul albums of all time. The original productions were made on a basic home tape machine and enhanced with strings, rhythmic overdubs and a variety of other instrumentation. These are beautiful arrangements of strings and jazzy horns.

Rhythm guitars and bouncy bass serve as the groove foundation, congas provide a Latin feel whilst the vibraphone and harmonica add colour. And then of course there’s JR’s voice. His style recalls Hathaway, with a delivery akin to Marvin at the time. As he scats and sings, accompanying himself in sweet harmonies, there is still a rawness of pain and longing in his voice, the rawness familiar to all deep soul. As an album, Just Me ’N’ You is no mere collection of songs. The tender, smooth tunes flow perfectly together into a fluid, single artistic statement. This is one where it’s hard to pick out any standouts. You may have heard the soaring title track before, maybe on Gilles Peterson’s Digs America compilation. The opening track “After Hours” sounds as fresh now as it ever was and segues beautifully into the majestic “Heaven On Earth”.

Recorded by Hathaway the previous year, Bailey’s original of “Love Love Love” is incredible and arguably the definitive version. The powerful, dreamy, sax-and-harmony-laced “All Strung Out Over You” has echoes of the Chi-Lites, it’s that good. Goosebumps. And we could go on. Mastered by Simon Francis, cut by Pete Norman and pressed at Record Industry, this Be With edition of Just Me ’N’ You sounds every bit as brilliant as it should. A joyous celebration of love, this album is perfect in every way. If you don’t already own a copy then now is the time.

Caiphus Semenya

Listen To The Wind

Caiphus Semenya, AKA Mr Letta Mbulu, is a South African legend, and Listen To The Wind, his iconic debut album, is simply a superb modern-soul/boogie album. It’s also incredibly rare, especially in good condition, so Be With is delighted to present this reissue. Now a revered composer, musician, and arranger, Caiphus left apartheid South Africa in the 60s for selfimposed exile in Southern California together with his wife, Letta Mbulu. Settling in Los Angeles he started working with the likes of Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba and other exiled and semi-exiled South african artists, as well as, of course, his wife Letta.

Caiphus also found himself working with and composing for a broad range of jazz and pop artists, including Lou Rawls, Nina Simone and Cannonball Adderley. His facility with both jazz and African forms served him well. His LA stay was also the beginning of an ongoing collaboration with Quincy Jones, the fruits of which can be tasted in Caiphus’s African compositions for the scores to Roots and Spielberg’s adaptation of The Color Purple. Given his decades of work behind the scenes, it’s no surprise that it took until 1982 for Caiphus to get around to putting out the first album of his own. But all that experience shows.

Listen To The Wind is a deeply impressive synthesis of early 80s US production and instrumentation together with his traditional South African musical roots. It’s stylistically diverse but the ingredients are never diluted. There are elements of boogie, soul, funk and jazz, all shot through with pan-African flavour, and moving effortlessly from uptempo floor fillers to more meditative, slower soulful tracks. Produced by Caiphus himself, he makes full use of a stellar line up of session musicians including Nathan East, Michael Stanton, Sonny Burke and Paulinho DaCosta.

And of course, there are Letta’s show-stopping vocals. To our ears, Listen To The Wind is just one big party, and lord knows we need that more than ever right now. Opener “Angelina” is one of Caiphus’s most beloved tracks at Be With HQ. It’s a breezy, feel-good SA boogie-funk classic. Harmonic and horn heavy, it sounds as fresh today as it would’ve done in the early 80s. If this one doesn’t make you move, you may need your pulse taking. The drum breakdown alone, a little over halfway through, is sensational. It’s followed by the gentle reggae lilt of “Play With Fire”. A real melodic slo-mo delight, carried by the tropical vibes and, above all else, by the extraordinary performance of Caiphus himself and his backing singers. Closing out side one, the spectacular “Umoya” is driven by triumphant horns and slick bass. With its protoGraceland vibes, we reckon Paul Simon must’ve been listening. Hard. Caiphus trades verses with the unmistakable tones of Letta, and it sounds divine.

Yes, it’s as good as anything on Letta’s canonical In The Music… The Village Never Ends. A wide-eyed wonder, made for unity and togetherness, it’s all infectious, smiling faces for nearly nine minutes. But never mind nine, we could party to this for ninety minutes and “Umoya” would leave us re-energised for ninety more. Elegantly firing up side two is perhaps the album’s best known track. “Without You” is a heavenly slice of modern soul, an end-of-nighter to end them all. Smooth strutting, disco-fied funk with that unmistakably South African sound, it’s just sublime, with those lyrics that keep coming back to smiling faces and community, “without You the sun won’t shine”. Big with the likes of Rush Hour’s Antal, this is aural perfection. “Ziph’inkomo” is a soul-soothing, swooning epic. Gently building throughout, its final few minutes are genuinely stirring as the backing vocals and instrumentation swell. Jaw-dropping.

The irresistible groove of frantic, percussive workout “Gumba Boogie” closes out what must surely be one of the greatest artistic statements of the 1980s. If his friend Quincy wasn’t feverishly taking notes for Thriller, then you could’ve fooled us. With Simon Francis handling the mastering of this Be With edition, you know it sounds as fantastic as ever. The cover art, as breezy as the music, has been faithfully restored. All that’s missing is you.

Fuzzy Duck

Fuzzy Duck- Vinyl Reissue

    A memorable name with an outstanding cover, Fuzzy Duck is a classic slice of underground London art rock and melodic psychedelia. Originally released on MAM in 1971, it’s truly a musical force of infectious riffs and fiery solos, sharp tempo changes, a tight rhythm section and heavy, Hammond-drenched grooves. With echoes of Spencer Davis Group, early Grand Funk and Vanilla Fudge, it comes on like a heavier Soft Machine or Caravan. No wonder Fuzzy Duck’s cult appeal has endured.

    The album features Mick Hawksworth (Five Day Week Straw People, Andromeda) on bass, acoustic 12-string, electric cello and some of the vocal duties, and also Roy “Daze” Sharland (Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Spice) on organ and electric piano. Accompanying those two were Paul Francis on drums and percussion, and Grahame White on guitars and the rest of the vocals.

    Originally released in an edition of 500, Fuzzy Duck became legendary all over the world through a holy trinity of scarcity, personnel and its sheer brilliance.

    The album kicks off with a heavy, bass-fuelled, Hammond rocker titled “Time Will Be Your Doctor”. This is pure hard-edged blues rock, brilliantly played. Its drum break intro was sampled by DJ Premier for Gang Starr’s “Mostly Tha Voice” on 1994’s legendary Hard To Earn. And we can hear its personality all over Harvey and Thomas Bullock’s Map Of Africa.

    Rollicking highlight “Mrs. Prout” follows. At nearly 7 minutes long, it incorporates more psych-leaning guitar and drawn-out keyboards à la Ray Manzarek with the band effortlessly switching from jazzy rhythm section to a progressive one. That magnificent instrumental jam that starts half-way and continues through to the end is a true wonder.

    “Just Look Around You” is propulsive folk-rock with a soaring, proto power-pop chorus, backed by frenetic organ and heavy bass high in the rich, intoxicating mix. Back comes the heavy, strung-out psych to both close out side one with “Afternoon Out” and kick off side two with “More Than I Am”. Both tracks are improvisational winners that stylistically nod to the late sixties and “More Than I Am”’s guitar hook, catchy organ and memorable chorus would’ve surely made it a great single.

    “Country Boy” quenches the thirst for rhythm and melody, only the lyrics and vibe are wonderfully creepy. The sudden cut of the groove and the drop into a more sinister tempo will make you stumble, before the band pick up speed and toss you back again into the opening jam, this time with a badass organ to ride you home. The final, fully fleshed out track is the majestic “In Our Time”, which oscillates between endless organ-driven boogie and heavenly, genuinely moving vocals. Just stunning.

    Infamous instrumental cut “A Word from Big D” rounds out the album. Yes, that’s the band jamming with duck quack sound effects accompanying the music. “Ducking vocals” as the sleeve says. You know, just in case the whole “duck” theme had passed you by. It’s an appropriate closer for what sounds like an album that must have been *a lot* of fun to record. It’s definitely fun to listen to.

    Mastered by Be With’s chief sound duck Simon Francis and cut with glee by the veteran Pete Norman, this reissue of Fuzzy Duck’s one-and-only LP sounds as mighty as it should. That unforgettable sleeve artwork has been carefully restored and the records pressed by the wonderful Record Industry in the Netherlands. Essential.


    FORMAT INFORMATION

    LP Info: 2020 re-issue, 140g vinyl, remastered from the original analogue tapes.

    Linda "Babe" Majika

    Don't Treat Me So Bad - Vinyl Reissue

      Linda "Babe" Majika’s insanely brilliant "Don’t Treat Me So Bad" is a tight six tracks of blistering electro-flavoured bubblegum and synth-drizzled solar-powered machine-funk. It has become increasingly hard to find, with copies currently moving for over £200. But this is definitely a case of eye-watering price equalling heart-thumping quality.

      Once of the Hot Soul Singers, "Don’t Treat Me So Bad" was Linda’s debut LP as a solo artist. It was produced by Ace Mbuyisa of boogie-funk maestros Freeway and was originally released on Umkhonto Records in South Africa in 1988.

      The enormous “Let’s Make A Deal” is probably the best known track here, and it’s definitely the best one if you ask us. Linda’s vocals drip with attitude over warm, breezy synths and an urgent, edgy electro beat to create a timeless club-ready bomb that sounds as fresh as ever. But the rest of the album is far from filler.

      Opening track “Kunzima (Tabalaza Mjita)” instantly brings the sunshine vibes, strutting out the gate with that unmistakable South African steppers groove. It’s a deceptively simple song, with multiple instrumental elements arriving and taking leave with admirable restraint.

      “It’s Our Home” is a powerful showcase for Linda’s vocals, enhanced by some life-affirming call and response backing vocals throughout. In fact they’re a joyous presence on the whole album. The insistent pipes and swirling, bubbling synths of title track “Don’t Treat Me So Bad” follow. A spacious proto-piano house banger that closes out the first side in phenomenal fashion.

      Arriving as track two on the second side, “Unga B’Omthemba Umuntu” has the unenviable task of following the huge “Let’s Make A Deal”. It does the job with class, bringing the tempo down to a mid-paced tropical bounce with lilting harmonies and welcome traces of hi-life guitar. Wonderful stuff. “Playboy” is is another unbeatable head-nod groover rounds out the set wonderfully. That bassline high in the mix is to die for, and the chorus will make any dancefloor smile.

      As ever, Simon Francis on mastering duties elevates this release, adding heft and elegance in all the right places with his customary deft touch. The memorable cover art, in which Linda appears straight out of the 1950s with her polka dot skirt and butter-wouldn't-melt pose, has been faithfully restored. But don’t let the innocent styling fool you - Don’t Treat Me So Bad is the work of one badass woman who can hold her own, and then some.


      FORMAT INFORMATION

      LP Info: 2020 re-issue, 140g vinyl, remastered from the original tapes.

      TLC

      Creep / Waterfalls (2020 Reissue)

        TLC’s “Creep” and “Waterfalls” are both stone cold killers from the golden age of American R&B. Here they are again, back to back on a jukebox 7", just as they appeared back in 1996. Name a more iconic duo.

        As far as Be With is concerned, the mid-90s remains a high point for this supreme musical expression, and these two tunes from T-Boz, Left-Eye and Chilli sit pretty much at the summit. A pair of canonical guaranteed party starters if ever we heard them.

        The achingly cool funk of “Creep” was the lead single from TLC’s second album CrazySexyCool. Released in 1994 it was the R&B trio’s first worldwide smash, and hit number one on Billboard’s Hot 100. This is a sophisticated head-nod gem. A breezy horn refrain, speaker smashing beats and the Slick Rick samples blend sumptuously with the defiant lyrics to create an eternal sun-drenched classic.

        Written from inside the head of a woman who’s cheating on her shitbag boyfriend just to feel wanted, Dallas Austin penned the lyrics for “Creep” after talking with lead singer, T-Boz. “Unfortunately, that was one of my true stories,” T-Boz said in 2015. “You’re with a guy and he’s not showing you attention, so another guy comes along and you’re like, ‘Hey, if you were where you were supposed to be, he couldn’t be showing me attention right now!’”

        On the flip, “Waterfalls”, also off CrazySexyCool, was no mere follow-up single. This was TLC’s version of alternative music, a song with a strong message: “the idea that pursuing anything that’s self-destructive, that’s chasing a waterfall”. To the three of them, this meant “unprotected sex, being promiscuous, and hanging out in the wrong crowd”. The message hits home hard, now as much as ever, and it’s probably why “Waterfalls” remains their biggest track. But the mighty Organized Noize also deserve some credit. They produced “Waterfalls” after working with Outkast and Goodie Mob and brought along that same in-the-pocket funk, that soulful sound that was their signature.

        It’s maybe easy to forget now, 25 years on, but the track was regarded as groundbreaking when it was released in 1995. Musically, the future-retro sound appealed to deep heads across the board, turning TLC into the mainstream R&B group it was hip for the indie cognoscenti to reference, and those bracing lyrics moved them beyond “just a fun girl group”. From then on, TLC were seen as the real deal.

        Remastered for this vinyl reissue (that turntable crackle is pure, authentic 90s sampling), we’re delighted to present this essential double-sider as a dinked 7" perfect for every record bag.


        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Ltd 7" Info: 2020 re-issue, dinked jukebox 7".

        Breakwater

        No Limit / Do It Till The Fluid Gets Hot

          Be With presents hen’s teeth extended cuts of two glorious Breakwater classics - “No Limit” and “Do It Till The Fluid Gets Hot”. These super-rare Arista promo-only 12" versions from 1978 have never been commercially available until now. Originals have regularly sold for upwards of £400 in the past 10–20 years so you know how vital this is.

          Breakwater’s futuristic boogie-funk glider “No Limit” is six and a half minutes of slickness on wax. It’s almost AOR. Like an infinite masterpiece, the chilled opening chords of the intro could go on forever - and they almost do - but when they give way to the power-funk groove, the track just slaps. It sounds so fresh today, over 40 years on, thanks to the smooth, smooth mixing of Jimmy Simpson. In no uncertain terms this is a monster, written by the great Grey and Hanks. That bassline, those keys, the horn section… all the ingredients are there. Ahead of its time by a good 3 or 4 years, some regard “No Limit” as the first 80s groove ever recorded in funk/soul history. A neat trick, given its year of production.

          On the flip, the six minute version of “Do It Till The Fluid Gets Hot” is an original Philly party jam. A showcase for Breakwater’s phenomenal intensity, this sounds like Parliament’s “Flashlight” on steroids. Acidic synths bleep and warp, blending with triumphant horns, in-the-pocket drums and bumping bass to conjure a truly deep funk groove. Laying deep in the cut, the salacious vocal delivery only adds to the brilliant sleaze.

          Breakwater had a sonic aesthetic beamed in from the future and these two tracks are just more proof of that. Remastered and cut loud for devastating dance floor dynamite, this vinyl reissue arrives just in time for all those (perhaps imagined) BBQ Boogie Throwdowns. This is a true modern soul double-sider, essential in every way.


          FORMAT INFORMATION

          Ltd 12" Info: 140g vinyl, extended versions, cut at 45rpm.

          Billy Paul

          Let The Dollar Circulate / East

            Billy Paul’s “Let The Dollar Circulate” and “East” have never appeared on a legit 12" before. They do now.

            “Let The Dollar Circulate” is inextricably linked to one of J Dilla’s greatest ever deep productions, whilst the massive “East” has long been a big Harvey tune. Both make full use of the incredible MFSB, the regular group of crack musicians that acted as the house band for the Philadelphia International Sound label at Sigma Sound Studios.

            Causing glorious damage to discerning dance floors until this very day, Billy Paul's “Let The Dollar Circulate” was first released in 1975 on the album When Love Is New. It has the upbeat, dramatic proto-disco sound of classic Philadelphia soul. Taut, urgent verses of evergreen lyrics that preach the evils of capitalism and environmental destruction, to a thumping, menacing bassline. A gospel-infused chorus releases the tension in an explosion of strings and horns. Dynamite.

            A richly textured and enduring soul hit, “Let The Dollar Circulate” received a second wind when it was sampled by Dilla for Spacek’s 2005 underground gem “Dollar”.

            “East” is a fascinating, genre-blending track; a magical, widescreen soul-jazz masterpiece. Mystical and powerful, it’s a pulsating mini-epic with a potent spiritual dimension. “East” was written by Philly bassist and baritone Tyrone-William Brown and appears on 1971’s Going East LP. Lenny Pakula’s atmospheric arrangements are complex but deeply funky, perfectly suited to Paul’s fervent vocals. Gamble and Huff’s production is a brilliant demonstration of their balancing Paul's jazz roots with the funky soul of the day, and seeking to innovate and push musical boundaries.

            A first-person rumination on slavery, Paul’s thoughtful, deeply moving spoken word introduction unravels as the track reveals its secrets. Against the jazzy backdrop Paul’s delivery is heartfelt, welling up with emotion. Strings cascade and winds howl while the bass prowls along the arrangement. Stunning.

            Remastered to stunning effect, Be With is delighted to present this vital double-sider from the man ?uestlove called “one of the criminally unmentioned proprietors of socially conscious post-revolution ’60s civil rights music”.


            FORMAT INFORMATION

            Ltd 12" Info: 140g vinyl, first time on a 12", cut at 45rpm.

            Maston

            Tulips - 2020 Reissue

              Frank Maston’s Tulips is a sample-ready film score to the best 70s movie never made. Originally a super-limited self-release on his Phonoscope label in late 2017, Tulips has already become incredibly sought-after. Be With were introduced to Maston by mutual friends Aquarium Drunkard and it didn’t take long before we decided this modern classic deserved a reissue.

              Inspired by the deep-grooving soundtracks of Italian cinema - think Morricone, Umiliani and Alessandroni - Maston conceived the entire Tulips project as a continuation of these revered works. Frank designed the artwork and made two 16mm films to accompany the music: “It wasn’t just the LP… it was kind of a whole vibe I was trying to create. Not really trying to emulate the things that influenced me but more trying to make something that could sit alongside those records on a shelf. I’m still very proud of the project.”

              There’s a distinct library music feel too, with wiry organ, spacey keyboards and loping 60s guitar hinting at KPM and DeWolfe. Like the best library music, Tulips creates a cinematic universe through sound alone, evoking moving images in the listener’s technicolour imagination. It turns out that was accidentally on purpose: “I was discovering a lot of library music for the first time… listening to a composer’s entire catalog or finding all this obscure stuff. I wasn’t entirely conscious of the influence until I started making this music and realized I was channeling the vibe. That’s when I began focusing more on weaving melodic themes throughout the record to make it function more like a soundtrack”.

              Tulips was recorded between 2015 and 2017 in a small studio in a village called Zwaag in Holland, during downtime from Frank’s touring duties with Jacco Gardner’s band. “Tulips” comes from the title of the very first demo he made in Holland, it was the first thing that came to mind. Makes sense.

              Recording in Europe with some very European influences in mind, Frank wanted to eschew any American influences. But we can still feel the studio wizardry of the likes of Brian Wilson and Harry Nilsson in there somewhere. A psychedelic bedroom-pop song-cycle, full of hypnotic hooks and dusty drums, Tulips manages to sound charmingly homemade yet wholly widescreen.

              Dreamy opener “Swans” is an exquisite soul instrumental and recalls the soft-psych of Koushik, which Be With loves of course. Tropicalia influences abound in the cool and breezy “New Danger” and the KPM-references are loud and proud on the lush organ pop of “Old Habits”. Fast-paced “Chase Theme No. 1” manages to be both tense and laid back, decorated by acid-drenched spaghetti Western guitars. The glorious Gainsbourg-esque melancholia of “Infinite Bliss” is all gauzy flutes and happy-sad vocalizing and the title is almost perfect: it’s bliss, no question; *if only* it went on forever. Side A closes with “Evening”, a subtle bossa nova beat thing. Gorgeous.

              Side B opens with the heat-shimmer guitars of “Rain Dance”, evoking an unreleased Byrds or Buffalo Springfield backing track. Yes, it’s that good. “Sure Thing” is music to accompany an elevator ride you never want to end, but in a good way! The ornate “Garçon Manqué” is as beautiful as the instrumentals on Pet Sounds (think “Let’s Go Away For A While”) and the wistful “Turning In” starts like a stroll in the park before Maston introduces a scorched-Earth guitar solo that would startle if it wasn’t so pitch-perfect. “Chase Theme No. 2” is a briefer, more keening counterpart to what we hear on side A. The head-nod bass-drums-keys funk of “Hues” rounds out this staggeringly assured set; still opening each phrase with a plaintive strum, but using vibrato and heavy reverb to accent the electric organ melody. Sublime.

              All these top drawer musical references might sound like just more of the usual release notes hyperbole, but there’s a reason that this still-young LP already changes hands for big money. It really is that good. Of course that first pressing didn’t hang around for long and Frank’s regularly been asked about a re-press pretty much ever since.

              Re-issuing Tulips on Be With made sense to Frank “because the record would fit in so well with the catalogue”. Having already delved into the archives of KPM and Themes, and beginning to do the same with Coloursound and Selected Sounds, the collaboration “just makes sense and seems inevitable”. We agree.

              Frank wasn’t sure a record of instrumentals with obscure soundtrack references would be an easy sell when it was originally released, and was surprised when Tulips turned out to be exactly what some people wanted to hear. We reckon its timeless beauty ensures that it’ll *always* have an audience.

              The record was originally cut to be played at 45rpm, a technical quirk that grants the home listener the opportunity to go deeper, for longer. Played at 33rpm, the more languid unfurling of the tracks proves just as wonderful a trip. As a psilocybin-soaked case study from Aquarium Drunkard back in January of 2019 describes, some of the songs sound as if they were intended to be heard that way. The slower speed allowing the listener to step inside and perhaps even “crack the code” of the music’s meaning.

              This Be With reissue has been mastered for vinyl by Simon Francis and has alternative burnt orange artwork from Maston himself. Hypnagogic it may be, but please don’t sleep.


              FORMAT INFORMATION

              Ltd LP Info: 2020 re-issue, 140g vinyl. Can be played at 33rpm or 45rpm.

              Coastlines

              Coastlines

                Coastlines is the self-titled long player from the new Japanese production unit of DJ and producer Masanori Ikeda and solo artist, session musician and Cro-Magnon keyboard player Takumi Kaneko. Masanori and Takumi have been part of the Japanese dance music scene for years and Coastlines was born out of their working together on soundtracks for video projects. The pair wanted to make laid-back listening music for now, laying Takumi’s playful keys over Masanori’s widescreen balearic jazz-fusion to conjure beautiful and breathtaking “coastlines”. A couple of two-track 7"s put out in late 2018 and early 2019 on Japanese house music label Flower Records soon sold out. Those four tracks were expanded to a full album of music, “a joyous, relaxing, summery soundtrack for everyone’s after hours wind down” that was released just in time for summer. It soundtracked many a Be With BBQ in 2019.

                The album opens in the horizontal with the sophisticated, cocktails-by-the-pool groove of “Sunset Reflection”. A lush, beatless wonder. Their re-imagining of Ralph MacDonald’s “East Dry River” removes all the original’s bells and whistles (quite literally) and re-gears it with a subtle balearic chug. The result is a percussive gem. “Coastline” is a beach-jazz noodle. “Drifting Ice” is as chilled and glacial as its title would suggest, yet Masanori’s head-nod slo-mo house beats throb not far below the surface. “My Fire” is another soft killer, all swelling, swirling organ over muted kicks and snares. An elegant boom-bap. A pair of insistent tunes of the deeply balearic variety raise the tempo, but not by too much of course. On “Woods And My Guitar” a half-heard vocal refrain breathes life into the synthetic xylophone and guitar. Deft piano-work turns “Half Moon Shadow” into lounge-house for the sophisticated beach bum. A classy duo.

                The self-assured re-work of Azymuth’s “Last Summer In Rio” is arguably the album’s centrepiece. Ten minutes of casually propulsive slapped bass, steel pans and slick 80s soul beats. Cue the steel drum interlude of “Maracas Bay” before album closer “Down Town” transitions us one with a shuffling, string-hinted hit of ethereal, euphoric piano bliss. Gentle disco for the new decade. As former Test Pressing scribe Dr. Rob observed on his ever-reliable Ban Ban Ton Ton blog, the Coastlines fusion is very much in conversation with their 80s counterparts, both at home and along the coastlines of different continents. So among the nods to revered Japanese artists like Hiroshi Sato, Sakamoto and Casiopea, there are also hints of Marcos Valle and Mtume, of the aforementioned Azymuth. “The production though is very much now, not then. Not retro, just proper”. We couldn’t put it better ourselves.

                Coastlines was originally a CD release only available in Japan, with HMV putting out a super-limited vinyl version a few months later for Japanese Record Store Day. But this music is just too good, so when Be With was asked via Ken Hidaka to take care of a vinyl version for the rest of the world it wasn’t a tough decision.


                FORMAT INFORMATION

                2xLtd LP Info: Limited to 500 copies.

                Seahawks

                Island Visions

                  Jon Tye and Pete Fowler have been making music as Seahawks for a decade now. Given the sounds they’ve been exploring over those ten years it was a cosmic inevitability that they would be asked to contribute to the catalogue of the legendary library label KPM. They replied with Island Visions, an exploration of sound for vision where they construct “audio micro-worlds to explore and inhabit”. A way to transport the listener away from the everyday without the bother of getting on an aeroplane. Mind travel is space travel after all, and much better for the environment.

                  Mostly recorded at The Centre Of Sound in Cornwall, with additional recording at Studio 34 in London, Jon and Pete’s travelling companions on this particular trip were boogie wunderkind Sven Atterton on fretless bass and keys, Nick Mackrory on percussion and the Seahawks live team of Dan Hillman and Alik Peters-Deacon. From the grooves of Brian Bennett to the moog vibrations of Mike Vickers, the lush textures of Les Baxter to the experimental sounds of Delia Deryshire and David Vorhaus, this new music channels sounds and moods from across the KPM universe.

                  The spacious “Hot Sand Shuffle” opens the record with some of Seahawks’ familiar “deck-shoegaze”. The slinky digi-dub of “Sky Blue Sky” follows, gently encouraging us to lay back and relax. “Mystic Beach” is a refreshing ocean spray of a synthetic groove that clears the head, priming a pathway to receive “Crystal Forest”, a new age house groove of birds and flutes. Dense, deep and dreamlike, “Distant Shore” is ambient rainforest house with a 90s vibe, its dense foliage clearing to let us bask in the shimmer and shine of “River Run”. Hang drum, electric gamelan, flute and loon close side A.

                  Side B bounces into being with “Catch A Wave”, an upbeat beach groover of synthetic guitar, effervescent synth and snappy drums. Equatorial bubbler “Paradise Bird Bath” soon glides in with marimba, crisp beats and fat synth bass. Fender rhodes, space echo and fretless bass make “Smooth Runnings” a laid-back poolside groove. “Spirits Have Flown” conjures a hazy vibe with marimba, sax, synth funk bass and chilled beats before “Rolling Deep” serves up a light cocktail of sultry rhythms, refreshing textures, cooling sax and fretless bass. Almost-title track “Island Blues” brings the horizontal poolside feels with melodic chimes, oboe and more fretless bass for maximum vibrations. The marina drone of modular electronics, celestial trumpet and jungle ambience pay the album’s final respects to the cosmos on “Sun Salute”.

                  Like many KPM suites, this is a record of two distinct sides. The sunrise of side A brings a deep meditation, a journey within to renew the jaded self. Side B refreshes with cocktails by the pool and a chance to groove away the evening at some sunset beach party before dancing under the stars in the house of dreams. Pete’s front cover for the LP is part map, part postcard: “the record has five different sections and I wanted to reference those in the worlds they created, musically and physically. From beach campfire, to poolside hanging and nighttime dancing. A kind of portal to those places and the pictures they inspired in my mind. All places we’d like to be in this turbulent year”. The track descriptions on the back help guide the way.

                  2020 marks 10 years since Ocean Trippin’, the first Seahawks release, and Island Visions is the perfect distillation of the sounds, sights, textures and moods that Jon and Pete have been exploring over the last decade. Sunrise to sunset condensed to two sides of an LP. The normal rules of space and time don’t apply here. This is the first time Be With has worked with Seahawks, but individually Jon and Pete have been members of the extended Be With family since forever (Pete did those posters for our Ned Doheny tour and we worked with Jon on the vinyl version of Hatchback’s Colors Of The Sun). Of course we were going to put this out on vinyl. Mastered by balearic engineer of choice (and Be With’s regular audio co-pilot) Simon Francis, cut by the legendary Pete Norman and pressed in the Netherlands by Record Industry, the sonic frequencies of these Island Visions have been precision tuned and encoded for optimum travelling conditions. Take the trip.


                  The first Be With foray into the archives of revered German library institution Selected Sound is one of our favourites on the label - the super in-demand "Japan" from Victor Cavini, originally released in 1983.

                  Rare and sought-after for many years now, this is one of those cult library LPs that never turn up. With Daibutsu the giant Buddha of Kamakura’s presence gracing the hefty front cover, this is a record bursting with dope samples for adventurous producers: it’s koto-funk madness!

                  Victor Cavini was the library music pseudonym of prolific German composer and musician Gerhard Trede. He was known for exploring instruments and styles from around the world (he played over 50 different instruments himself) and Japan is
                  his collection of 14 musical sketches painted with traditional Japanese wind and string instruments. These are the sounds of traditional Japanese folk music re-interpreted through Western ears, with the occassional contemporary twist. Contemporary for 1983, of course.

                  These “Pictures of Japan” are hypnotic, sometimes frantic, but always beautiful. The first twelve tracks offer airy explorations of koto and flute, with other strings and percussion being added and then given their own space. Indeed “Pictures of Japan XII” is just drums.

                  And then “Pictures of Japan XIII” seems to come out of nowhere. But the subtle sleaze of its full band sound still doesn’t quite prepare you for the towering climax of “Pictures of Japan XIV”.

                  This is Japan’s undoubted standout piece, completely and wonderfully at odds with the rest of the album. It’s the reason this has become such a must-have record. It keeps the traditional Japanese instruments but combines them with shuffling funk breaks, electric bass high in the mix and a Godzilla-sized psychedelic fuzz guitar sound that might actually be a traditional reed flute pushed to its limits. Whatever it is, it sounds awesome.
                  Recalling both Rino de Filippi’s "Oriente Oggi" and Giancarlo Barigozzi’s "Oriente", the track’s a real head-nod groove for b-boys and b-girls alike that sounds straight out of a late 70s Yakuza film. Indeed, if you were told The RZA or Onra had cooked this up in the lab this century, you’d be convinced. It’s crazy that this dates from 1983.

                  The audio for Japan has been sensitively remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis to keep all the character of the original recordings. Richard Robinson has handled the careful restoration of the original Selected Sound sleeve. Essential.


                  Various Artists

                  Breath Of Danger (Themes)

                  "Breath Of Danger" was originally released in 1974, and rounded up a killer ensemble cast of library legends including Alan Hawkshaw, Brian Bennett, Alan Parker, David Lindup, Kenny Salmon, Barry Morgan and Ray Cooper.

                  They Say: “A selection of suspense underscores and drama blackcloths which vary in intensity and cover a wide range of suspense and drama situations”.

                  We say: A breaky, funky library great masquerading as a horror score. Oh, and the cover art is amazing.

                  Lindup’s opener “Cold Sweat” sounds like hip-hop-friendly mode Axelrod and, indeed, was brilliantly sampled by Kool Keith for his Dr. Dooom project. Alan Hawkshaw and Brian Bennett’s “The Manipulator” sounds like it arrived straight out of the same sessions as their legendary Synthesizer & Percussion LP from the same year.

                  Over on the B-side Alan Parker’s “Psychosis” is a moving and beautifully restrained funk-guitar/cello/harp workout. Stunning. Kenny Salmon’s “Flying Squad” is a sleazy, flute-enhanced gem and the album closes with “Voodoo”, a seventy second riot of sound and colour from the dynamic drumming-percussion duo of Barry Morgan and Ray Cooper.

                  Sonically, there’s a widescreen vitality in all these tracks thanks to the driving rhythms, vibrant horn sections and blazing guitar work. It renders Breath Of Danger - 45 years old - truly ageless. The Themes series is known for having particularly striking sleeves, which was unusual for library records at the time, and Breath Of Danger’s scraps of comic-book crazy make for one of the most eye-catching.

                  As with all of our other Themes re-issues, the audio for Breath Of Danger comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.


                  Tommy Guerrero

                  A Little Bit Of Somethin' - 2019 Repress

                  The cult skater from San Francisco is globally renowned as one of the original members of the legendary 'Bones Brigade' team. And as an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, his laid-back soul is beloved by all who’ve basked in its blissful glow. There’s something elemental about this music that really stirs the soul. Strikingly beautiful and instantly addictive, it’s a kind of funk-fuelled, melody-driven, groove-based magic. There's a serenity and heart in the playing that radiates warmth and splendour, as if crafted for endless sunsets. His albums that surfaced on Mo Wax at the turn of the century have been treasured since their release and it’s two of his most vital LPs that we're honoured to reintroduce.

                  "A Little Bit Of Somethin" is a quietly majestic gem. Brimming with Guerrero’s horizontal 'loose grooves', these brief but innovative instrumentals demonstrate a rich variety and, as such, comprise an LP that is aptly titled. An enchanting start-to-finish listen, it was instantly regarded as essential upon release via Mo Wax in 2000. It has aged remarkably well.

                  Throughout this inspired collection, simplicity is key. In deploying it, Guerrero presents a beautifully crafted melodic soundscape. The distinctive, mellifluous approach of his guitar style, blending Brazilian, Cuban, Mexican, soul and jazz motifs, is at once startlingly new and tantalisingly familiar. Set against unrushed percussion, the music releases a crystal clear stream of healing frequencies to create a fragile, hypnotic atmosphere.

                  Each track clocks in at around three minutes and, with a lack of studio polish or commitment to traditional song structure, it’s a wonder how this enigmatic record demands your attention. However, through its gentle dynamism and impressive playing, it does just that. Whilst resolutely low-key, this lo-fi aesthetic feels genuinely organic and remarkably personal; its powerful intimacy truly connects. It’s what makes this album so beloved of those lucky enough to be already familiar with it. From Margaret Kilgallen's truly iconic cover artwork to the music contained within, it's all brilliantly effortless.

                  Guerrero’s musical ideas are consistently compelling throughout, making it impossible to select highlights. The album’s laconic drift touches upon jazz-fusion workouts and slow-mo hip-hop drums, Tortoise-style experimental post-rock and cinematic sound textures. It’s at once hazy, light and bouncy yet sombre and bluesy. The Latin soul of El Chicano blends with the breezy jazz of Grant Green. By employing guitars and drum machines to create a stripped down rhythmic tapestry of spellbinding, addictive songs, there are even traces of The Durutti Column. A little bit of country, a little bit of rock & roll. "A Little Bit Of Somethin’", indeed.


                  Alex Chilton

                  It Isn't Always That Easy

                    "We adore Big Star and Alex Chilton more than words can express. Being able to present two of Alex’s staggeringly beautiful demos on vinyl for the first time (on a cute picture sleeve 7", no less) is an absolute honour for us at Be With.

                    “It Isn’t Always That Easy” and “If You Would Marry Me” both sound like templates for some of Alex’s best-known Big Star numbers. These demos come from the transitional recording sessions he made with Terry Manning at the Ardent studio in 1969, but were missing from the vinyl version of the wonderful Free Again compilation that was released in 2012.

                    Caught between the end of the Box Tops and the birth of Big Star Alex’s song-craft was already remarkable - as these demos prove - and this release represents a fascinating, exploratory period in the career of one of pop’s most enigmatic talents.

                    “It Isn’t Always That Easy” is the real knockout. A tender, acoustic ballad that, stylistically, could have appeared Big Star’s “#1 Record”. Yes, it really is that good. A deeply affecting, ruminative lament that explores the ravages of Alex’s short career to date, it is also one of the sweetest and most delicate melodies he ever wrote. A song this stunning shouldn’t just be kept for the Big Star completists.

                    Over on the flip, “If You Would Marry Me” finds Alex in earnestly romantic mode. It’s just him and a piano, albeit one that is played in a poppy, uplifting fashion to complement the optimistic mood: “I could make you feel so glad inside and so alive” he confidently declares. It’s quite the gem. It really should be mandatory for this to be played at every wedding.

                    Unfortunately there seem to be no photographs of Alex from around the time he was making these recordings. But luckily we were put in touch with Pat Rainer who was photographing the Memphis music scene that Alex was still part of a few years later.

                    Happy to be described as “a friend with a camera who was hanging around”, Pat’s candid pictures of Alex included one of him asleep on the floor of the Ardent studio. Even though the photograph was taken 9 years after the demos were recorded, we think this intimate portrait makes a fitting cover for these equally intimate songs."


                    Yes! Tommy Guerrero’s much-loved 4th LP – the smooth West Coast classic From The Soil To The Soul - gets its first ever vinyl release. As the follow up to his revered Soul Food Taqueria, this album was originally released by Quannum Records 2006 but only on CD. Working with Tommy directly, the LP has been fully remastered, cut on to heavyweight wax, and comes with artwork freshly reworked by the man himself.

                    From The Soil To The Soul represents a continuation of Tommy’s blissful guitar-soul whilst demonstrating increasingly complex chops and a slightly darker side to his distinctive sound. His spare, effortless funk is blended here with elements of Americana, heavy psych, lo-fi fuzz and intoxicating Latin rhythms. Combined with his typically breezy, laid-back San Franciscan style, it’s a vibe from start to finish.

                    Recorded primarily in his home studio, Tommy wrote, arranged and played nearly all the instruments, including bass, guitar, keyboards, percussion and kalimba. Renowned street artist Barry McGee, aka Twist, designed the cover art which Tommy has now recast in a deep, deep red for the vinyl version.

                    As ever with Tommy, the highlights are many and memorable. From twinkling, sun-drenched opener “Hello Again” to the penultimate, punk-rocking track “Let Me In Let Me Out” (featuring the melodic yet fearsome rapping of Lyrics Born), the variety across the LP is relentless, but satisfying, and without once losing focus.

                    We’re treated to the gorgeous hip-hop blues of “The Under Dog”, Meters-style Hammond B-3 jams like “War No More” and “No Guns More Glory” and Balearic bangers like Bing Ji Ling’s star-turn on the sleazy “Don’t Fake It.”

                    Curumin’s soulful guest vocal elevates the already-great Brazilian lounge feels of “Salve” to hitherto unscaled heights and the heavy, driving basslines - funky and warm on “Badder Than Bullets”, sombre and intense in “Tomorrow’s Goodbye” and “Molotov Telegram” – never fail to move both body and soul.

                    But our favourite track is the beautiful breezy pop of “Just Ain’t Me”. A bittersweet, skipping ballad which boasts an incredibly rare instance of Tommy singing. “What you want from me, I can never give” he repeats throughout, lending the already-melancholic atmosphere greater poignancy. It would’ve been number 1 across the planet in a parallel universe.


                    STAFF COMMENTS

                    says: First time on vinyl for Tommy's seminal fourth album and Be With's third release of the week. Remastered and reworked with the help of the man himself. Unmissable.

                    FORMAT INFORMATION

                    Ltd LP Info: Remastered, 180g vinyl, first time on vinyl!

                    Be With are back on the tail of brilliance with an ace reissue of a total disco destroyer, oft overlooked because it's more or less impossible to find.
                    In 1980, Randy Muller’s Skyy dropped the monumental “Here’s To You”, comfortably one of the greatest dance singles of all time. Released on Salsoul, “Here’s To You” is now exceptionally hard to find in its original form. On this special Be With double-header, we present the sought-after 12" mix and back it up with the strutting “You Got Me Up”, which has never been on a 12" before. Naturally, both are cut loud and bumping for devastating dance floor power.
                    A sure-fire classic of the NYC club scene and a true block party rocker, “Here’s To You” beautifully combines sweeping synth-strings, loose cymbal hits and swaggering lyrics delivered with enviable style. But the real hero is *that* bassline. Oh, wait, no, actually, it’s *that* synth refrain halfway through. Harnessing the Oberheim Matrix 12 to emulate a horn section has provided goosebumps on discerning dance floors ever since.
                    As Muller expressed in his 2007 Red Bull Music Academy lecture, “It’s a very special record, it’s positive and has that spontaneous, life-giving spirit in the groove. Everything locks, just pure chemistry.”
                    If that wasn’t enough, over on the B-side is “You Got Me Up”, a real hidden gem from Skyy’s Skyway LP. Also released in 1980, the track is a wonderful showcase of the group’s airtight rhythm section and Muller’s uncanny ear for a groove and a melody.


                    “Larry Jon Wilson? He can break your heart with a voice like a cannonball.” - Kris Kristofferson.

                    Larry Jon Wilson came to the party late. When he arrived in Nashville, country soul pioneer Tony Joe White had already made six albums. Townes Van Zandt had made seven, Mickey Newbury eight. Kristofferson, the accepted High Priest of the New Nashville, had made five. Larry Jon, by the time he arrived, had spent ten years in corporate America.

                    He did not start playing guitar until the age of 30, but five years later he released his debut, New Beginnings (1975) and followed it just a year later with Let Me Sing My Song To You, both on Monument Records. A revelation among the hipsters and critics of Nashville, the LPs ensured Larry Jon was immediately embraced as part of the mid-70s “outlaw country movement” that eschewed slick production in favour of a raw, gritty approach. When a film crew came to document this burgeoning sound, they made straight for Larry Jon's door. The legendary Heartworn Highways (1981) featured his mesmerising performance of “Ohoopee River Bottomland”.

                    He was a singer and writer of intensely private, painfully moving tales of southern life. With his deep, papa-bear voice, funky southern groove, and richly evocative narratives of rural Georgia, Larry Jon was a unique stylist but his gutsy, greasy sound did not translate into sales. Too funky for the country crowd, too heartfelt for pop radio, he fell between the cracks. We hope the long-overdue reissue of his first two albums will go some way to rectifying this. Indeed, both New Beginnings and Let Me Sing My Song to You - so similar they play like two halves of a double album – showcase his unique mix of country, folk, soul and swampy blues.

                    New Beginnings failed to propel Larry Jon to even the relatively modest cult acclaim enjoyed by his likeminded contemporaries. And some of the frustration this conjured can be heard on 1976′s Let Me Sing My Song To You. Both the title track and the self-deprecating “Drowning in the Mainstream” speak of Wilson’s hope to inch at least a few steps towards the big time without making too many compromises. Any album containing the likes of the heartfelt, deeply beautiful tribute of “Ballad of Handy Mackey” and the superlative country-gothic funk opus ‘Sheldon Churchyard’ – the lead track from the lauded Country Got Soul compilation - must rank as essential listening.

                    The audio for Let Me Sing My Song To You comes from the original analogue tape transfers and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the striking cover art and we were honoured when Larry’s close friend Jeb Loy Nichols kindly agreed to contribute wonderfully unique liner notes, presented beautifully on the printed inner sleeve opposite a gorgeous black and white shot of Larry, mid-performance.


                    FORMAT INFORMATION

                    Ltd LP Info: 180gram 2018 reissue – remastered from original tape transfers, carefully reproduced original art, strictly limited to 500 copies worldwide – no repress.

                    The Moments

                    On Top

                      The Moments’ On Top is a perfect example of symphonic soul. Amongst true heads, this is considered the most valuable of all their albums; an original copy of this LP, if you can find one, starts at around $75. Alongside contemporaneous acts from the early 70s - The Chi-lites, The Stylistics, The Delfonics, The Futures, Blue Magic and The Main Ingredient - The Moments exuded all that was compelling about deep, harmony-drenched, string-laden soul.

                      The standout here is undoubtedly "To You with Love", a floating, tender ballad sung by Harry Ray that features the group’s patented handclap-tambourine combo, sweetly repetitive strings, serene guitar and gentle piano. It was famously sampled by J Dilla for “Last Donut Of The Night” - the gut-wrenching finale to his seminal Donuts. Concentrating solely on its sampled history would do The Moments a huge disservice, but its crucial appearance at the climax of Donuts directed fresh generations of pre-disposed soul fans to the absolute canon. Judged entirely on its merit, it’s one of the most heart-breaking songs of any decade and worth the price of admission alone. It’s the sweetest, most goose-bump inducing 3 minutes of aural bliss you’re ever likely to be exposed to.

                      If that wasn’t enough, On Top spawned two minor R&B hits: "All I Have" and "Lucky Me", each featuring Billy Brown's ice-melting falsetto. Opener “All I Have” is a sumptuous introduction to the album. With melancholic, understated guitar licks, twinkling keys and heartbeat drums, it’s a gem. The triumphant “Lucky Me” is simply gorgeous; all gentle chimes, swirling strings and, again, scarcely believable falsetto soaring atop proud horns.

                      Also included are two singles that are different from anything the group had ever done; "I Can't Help It" and "That's How It Feels." The former features thundering kicks and crashing cymbals underneath floating flutes, progressively stabbing strings and horns. The yearning vocals embody an almost Temptations-like delivery at times. "That's How It Feels” is a two-parter wherein Brown's voice bestrides a bed of rhythms on a tune more aptly defined as a love suite than a song. Dripping in breakbeats, piano and strings, Brown describes the devastation of losing the one you love before the track brilliantly switches up with a sweeping string-led chorus and heavenly harmonies.

                      The only genuine uptempo number, where anomalous happiness reigns, is "Sweeter As The Days Go By," led by Brown in his natural, gospel-inspired tenor. A charming but sorrow-filled "I Lost One Bird In The Hand" is an impressive, slow lamenter crooned by Ray, with horns and strings dominating the lushly arranged backdrop. Appropriately, we end on that down-lifting note that we've all come for: "Candy Shack."

                      The audio for On Top comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the memorable cover art, handling the reproduction duties with the utmost attention to detail.


                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                      Ltd LP Info: 180 gram 2018 reissue – remastered from original tape transfers, carefully reproduced original art, strictly limited to 500 copies worldwide – no repress.

                      Alan Parker And Madeline Bell

                      The Voice Of Soul LP (Themes Reissues)

                      2018 Reissue – Remastered From Original Tapes, Carefully Reproduced Original Art.

                      Veteran library musician Alan Parker recorded with session vocalist Madeline Bell for his Themes International Music label and the result was 1976’s The Voice of Soul.

                      The sensational uptempo dancer “That’s What Friends Are For” is probably the most well known track on the record, and is a big hit on the rare groove scene, but it is by no means an anomaly. The Voice of Soul is essentially a perfect, sophisticated soul album with heaps of swagger and sass from beginning to end. Its once generic-sounding title is now deservedly definitive.

                      And the whole LP oozes sex. It oozes sex so much that it could have soundtracked a period porn film. Indeed, parts of it did. “Love Is All” and “You’ve Got What It Takes” both featured on the infamously banned Pretty Peaches from the same year.

                      As is usual with library records, The Voice of Soul was hard to get even when it was first released. It’s next to impossible now. So here’s your opportunity to own what is in our opinion one of the finest rare soul LPs of the late 70s, and a superb example of Madeline Bell’s superlative vocal talents.

                      But that’s not the whole story. As well as pitching the record as “a varied selection of modern female vocal features which are equally suitable for background or radio programme usage”, the original release notes go on to explain that “the corresponding backing tracks are issued on TIM 1022 The Sound of Soul. Therefore it is possible to edit from vocal to instrumental version and vica versa where commentary or scene changes occur.”

                      So yes, all of the backing tracks from The Voice of Soul were released as The Sound of Soul, and we couldn’t re-issue one without re-issuing the other.

                      As with all ten re-issues, the audio for The Voice of Soul comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.


                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                      Ltd LP Info: 180 gram vinyl edition.

                      Alan Hawkshaw And Brian Bennett

                      Full Circle LP

                        Their NEW album, in full, iconic KPM cover is a return to the laidback jazz-funk that helped Alan and Brian demonstrate their library chops. The album is classic Hawkshaw/Bennett. It swings, it grooves, moves and thrills with a flair these two have perfected over years.

                        Alan Hawkshaw (piano/Hammond) and Shadow’s drummer Brian Bennett are responsible for some of the slickest, funkiest and most sought-after library records ever made in the UK, particularly ones recorded on the legendary KPM label. Their work has now become the go-to place for sampling in music today. Artists such as Dilla, Nas, and the xx, right through to the billion selling Kanye & Drake have taken Hawkshaw’s and Bennett’s immaculate beat-driven soundscapes for their own usage.

                        Their new album, in full, iconic KPM cover is a return to the laidback jazz-funk that helped Alan and Brian demonstrate their library chops. The album is classic Hawkshaw/Bennett. It swings, it grooves, moves and thrills with a flair these two have perfected over years.

                        Standout tracks such as "Hole In One", "In The Clouds", "Interchange", "Oasis", "On The Nile" and "Corcovado" are no mere excursions in nostalgia, for they carry lots of deft studio work that many a producer would give their right arm for. Hawkshaw’s arrangements allow the drums, guitar, bass, strings, Hammond, flute and brass to swirl elegantly around the 12 original tracks; a masterclass in recording.

                        Cut by Pete Norman, housed in a beautifully designed Richard Robinson sleeve and pressed at 180g by Record Industry in Holland, this release has been afforded the care and attention it rightly deserves. Essential.


                        STAFF COMMENTS

                        says: The kings of the KPM library scene, groove barons Alan Hawkshaw and Brian Bennett hit the studio together for the first time in years and treat us to an eagerly anticipated LP of new material. As you'd expect from this pair of heroes, it's a far out and funky affair. KPM x BeWith for the win!!!

                        FORMAT INFORMATION

                        Ltd LP Info: 180 gram vinyl edition.

                        2018 Reissue – Remastered From Original Tapes, Carefully Reproduced Original Art.

                        James Clarke’s Mystery Movie was released in 1974 as “modern, small group compositions in various moods. Ideally suited to the new Americanised style of T.V. and cinema film where music is used to create the mood and carry the action”. So this collection covers a lot of bases, but it does so brilliantly and has absolutely no right to be such a fantastic listen from start to finish. Mystery Movie is best known for the slick drum breaks underpinning the top-notch jazz-funk chase theme “Car Patrol”, the fuzz riffing and ARP soloing of “The Heavies” and the slow-mo strut of “Mystery Moll”. “Study In Fear” and “Empty Streets” are horror soundtrack fodder of the finest sort. However, it’s the understated, plaintive pieces that we find the most rewarding. Ambient feels and strung-out fried-folk treats, full of cyclical naïve melodies. Music that evokes the ‘downlifting’ Ronnie Lane and Ron Wood instrumentals from their great Mahoney’s Last Stand LP, as well as the beautiful soundtrack work of Jack Nitzsche and Ry Cooder. You might also recognise “Waiting Game” from being sampled by melodic downbeat masters Express Rising. Check “Relaxed Theme”, “Quiet Girl”, “Routine Procedure” and “Quietness Sustained” for a melodic, melancholic set, with the last three performed on just acoustic guitar and harp. Gorgeous work. As with all ten re-issues, the audio for Mystery Movie comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.


                        FORMAT INFORMATION

                        Ltd LP Info: 180 gram vinyl edition.

                        2018 Reissue – Remastered From Original Tapes, Carefully Reproduced Original Art.

                        When Alan Parker recorded the killer library soul-funk LP The Voice of Soul with session vocalist Madeline Bell in 1976, some bright spark at Themes decided to also release all of the backing tracks as a separate, and equally innocuously title LP called The Sound of Soul. Thank goodness for bright sparks.

                        Released as a collection of “unobtrusive musical backings in various rhythmic styles”, the LP’s original description dryly explains “these tracks have been issued without melody and are therefore particularly suitable for use behind commentary. Female vocal versions of these tracks are issued on TIM 1021 The Voice Of Soul and it is possible to edit from vocal version to instrumental version or vica versa where commentary or scene changes occur”.

                        Madeline Bell was backed by The Rhythm Section, who were for all intents and purposes the Themes International Music house band. So what we end up with here is entire album of instrumental work-outs by a band comprised of the formidable talents of Alan Hawkshaw on keyboards, Alan Parker on guitars, Barry Morgan on drums, Les Hurdle on bass guitar and Frank Ricotti on percussion.

                        Without Bell’s vocals these backing tracks are given all the room they need to breathe. Each one more than stands up on its own.

                        The Sound of Soul is a real diggers’ delight and, unsurprisingly, a must-have counterpart to The Voice of Soul.

                        As with all ten re-issues, the audio for The Sound of Soul comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.


                        FORMAT INFORMATION

                        Ltd LP Info: 180 gram vinyl edition.

                        Keith Mansfield / Alan Hawkshaw / David Snell

                        Big Business / Wind Of Change LP (THE KPM Reissues)

                        2018 Reissue – Remastered From Original Tapes, Carefully Reproduced Original Art.

                        The two sides of 1973’s Big Business / Wind of Change are mainly the work of the great Keith Mansfield but there’s a killer cameo each from Alan Hawkshaw and David Snell to help deliver “a thematic suite, diverse in mood, applicable to dramatic and environmental situations”. A Be With favourite and truly one for the heads.

                        The Big Business of side A is all the work of Keith Mansfield. It’s heavy on the suspense and features the vital “Hot Property”, an insistent groove so good that Madlib sampled it to lace the ace “Long Awaited” by Lootpack with Dilated Peoples.

                        “Sleeping Giant 1” is a more fleshed out version of the equally-dazzling “Fatal Error”, evoking the orchestral magic of David Axelrod. Indeed, it conjures images of Diamond D falling over himself in the early-to-mid 90s to loop its intoxicatingly eerie soundscape. Complete with guitar fills that recall Paris, Texas-era Ry Cooder, you need this record for this piece alone.

                        The horn-and-flute-led "Tycoon" is a head-nodder and "Power Complex" has some fantastic percussion. Other highlights include the breezy glide of “Whistle Stop Tour” and its sister groove “Clean Air.”

                        Over on Side B is the more expansive Wind Of Change, which includes the David Snell and the Alan Hawkshaw contributions. But these ain’t no filler. Snell’s shuffling “International Flight” sounds like a smooth Dorothy Ashby track tossed from the heavens. Hawkshaw’s “Road And Rail” is about as luxurious and strung-out as the great man gets and it might just be the highlight of this whole set.

                        Not to be outdone, if Mansfield’s “Balance Of Power” doesn’t make you feel like king of the world then you must be playing it wrong. Oh, and did we mention “World In Action”?!

                        As with all ten re-issues, the audio for Big Business / Wind of Change comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.


                        FORMAT INFORMATION

                        Ltd LP Info: 180 gram vinyl edition.

                        Francis Coppieters

                        Piano Viberations LP (THE KPM Reissues)

                        2018 Reissue – Remastered From Original Tapes, Carefully Reproduced Original Art.

                        Piano Viberations’ “small group jazz featuring piano and vibes with rhythm” makes for a gorgeous Francis Coppieters showcase, surely one of Belgium’s best-kept musical secrets. Released in 1975, and arguably the most low-key of the KPM and Themes records we’re re-issuing, this is easily our current favourite.

                        “The Open Highway” is the appropriately-named opener, and immediately demonstrates Coppieters’ dexterous interplay between piano and vibes in assured, joyous fashion. The shuffling bossa of “Sales Notes” is a jaw-dropper, well-mined by samplers with impeccable taste. The mellow head-nod drum-break that is “Funky Chimes” brilliantly demonstrates Coppieters’ quiet majestic side with its slow-motion funk rhythm with beautifully reflective notes throughout.

                        The upbeat and joyful “Cross Talk” closes out side A. Vibes and piano are definitely at the heart of the arrangement here. The quick cut movement of “Piano In Transit” is another gem, driven principally by piano but those vibes along for more than just the ride. On a more gentle, elegiac note, “To Shearing With Love” is a warm, slow, romantic piece in the style of George Shearing. It’s plaintive and sublime.

                        Piano Viberations is one of those rare library records the original description of which makes as much sense now as it did when it was first released. Piano and vibes with rhythm indeed.
                        As with all ten re-issues, the audio for Piano Viberations comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.


                        FORMAT INFORMATION

                        Ltd LP Info: 180 gram vinyl edition.

                        Nick Ingman

                        Distinctive Themes / Race To Achievement LP (THE KPM Reissues)

                        2018 Reissue – Remastered From Original Tapes, Carefully Reproduced Original Art.

                        Released in 1976, Distinctive Themes / Race To Achievement is legendary arranger Nick Ingman exploring the two distinct ideas of “impressive themes varying in style from ‘Basie to Elgar’” and “a study in the pressure and rewards of achievement”.

                        Distinctive Themes is a veritable indulgence of variously-tempoed, full orchestra, big band workouts, from relaxed swing to more propulsive themes. The progressively building “Expanding Markets” is a true highlight, with its rolling pianos, contemplative electric guitar solos and moody horns over skipping beats. The dramatic “Against The Odds” is another stand-out.

                        Race To Achievement is all rugged funk with stabbing chords and strutting horns and it’s probably our favourite side. Of course we have to acknowledge the fantastic “Tense Preparation”, sampled by Prince Paul and Dan The Automator for Handsome Boy Modeling School’s seminal “Magnetizing” with Del Tha Funky Homosapien. But the whole side’s range from tense underscores to fast and punchy chase themes makes this is a gem of the KPM catalogue.

                        As with all ten re-issues, the audio for Distinctive Themes / Race To Achievement comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.


                        FORMAT INFORMATION

                        Ltd LP Info: 180 gram vinyl edition.

                        2018 Reissue – Remastered From Original Tapes, Carefully Reproduced Original Art.

                        Hot Wax is an assured KPM masterclass from a dream team line-up of Brian Bennett, Alan Hawkshaw and John Fiddy. Here we’re treated to what happens when all three decide to explore “the latest trends in production music”. The latest as of 1976, of course.

                        John Fiddy’s numbers are sumptuous, string-led and light. Floaty soft-psych underpinned by a solid groove, particularly on “Taste For Living” and "Fresh Start". If you're into Koushik and those early Manitoba/Caribou records - and you should be - you’ll appreciate these.

                        For us, the Bennett and Bennett/Hawkshaw stuff is on another level. “Capitol City” oscillates between driving funk and downbeat sentiment. “Name Of The Game” is tough, smokin’ funk, famously sampled in 2007 by Madlib for Percee P’s “Who With Me”. “Bop On The Rocks” knocks hard and “Full Throttle” features a guitar solo with some of the nastiest, about-to-explode fuzz you’re ever likely to hear.

                        As with all ten re-issues, the audio for Hot Wax comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.


                        FORMAT INFORMATION

                        Ltd LP Info: 180 gram vinyl edition.


                        A certified UK boogie bomb, originally released in 1982, and coming hot on the heels of the Be With Records Pink Rhythm reissue campaign. Original copies are incredibly hard to come by so grab a copy of this officially licensed, fully remastered, reissue before the 500 copies (for the world) find their forever homes.

                        Side On were a one-off UK soul dream team, consisting of Peter Maas (Freeez/Pink Rhythm bassist), Everton McCalla (Freeez/Light Of The World/Potion) and the legendary Rick Clarke (Potion). 

                        Originally released on Beggars Banquet, it's a huge, feel good, Brit Funk classic and a massive record with everybody's favourite boogie aficionado, Dam-Funk.

                        Unmissable.

                        STAFF COMMENTS

                        says: Hoowee it's getting hot in here, did someone put the heating on? No? Then it must be the fire that is Side On's 'Magic'playing in the shop. The ace, Beggars, Brit Funk classic, lovingly restored just for you, you lucky LUCKY people.

                        Michael Wycoff

                        Looking Up To You / Diamond Real (Tee Scott Instrumental Mix)

                        Two seminal 12" mixes of a pair of Michael Wycoff heavy hitters from 1982. One a two-step favourite and one a Loft classic, these sought-after versions have never been paired on the same record.

                        Side A features the smooth-gliding anthem "Looking Up To You". The unmistakable snap of that sighing intro is unlike anything else. As such, it's no surprise that Leon Ware, celebrated master of the unexpected chord, has his fingerprints all over the track. Co-written with Zane Grey, "Looking Up To You" stands among the very best of Leon's staggering bank of compositions, both solo and with Michael Jackson, Minnie Riperton and Marvin Gaye. It's such an influential track, serving as the sample foundation of a massive top five R&B hit for Zhane in 1993, but it has never been bettered upon. Original 12" copies – if you can find them – go for over £50 today, making this side worth the price of admission alone.

                        If that wasn't enough, it's arguable that the B-Side wins again. A staple of David Mancuso's New York Loft parties, the Tee Scott mix of uplifting boogie gem "Diamond Real" is on another level entirely. A DJ legend of infamous clubs Better Days and Zanzibar and a trailblazing innovator, Tee Scott mastered the art of the reconstructive club mix.

                        For maximum destruction of discerning dancers, Be With have opted for his heavenly dub. 7 minutes of devastatingly slick dance floor dynamite, at once polished and dilapidated, its ecstatic charm is universal.

                        Devout lovers of modern soul have long worshipped the rapturous, sophisticated funk of Michael Wycoff. In combining that richly elegant voice, redolent of Donny Hathaway, with the production of keyboardist and arranger Webster Lewis, it's no surprise that both of these tracks became vital club classics of the early 80s R&B scene. Clear, full-bodied and bright – the 12" versions of these tracks are notoriously punchier than those featured on Wycoff's LP, and feature boomin' low end and neck-snapping drums. Buy on sight.



                        STAFF COMMENTS

                        says: MASSIVE Be With 12" here pairing Michael Wycoff's biggest hit, the hair raising disco/club soul/jazz funk gem'Looking Up To You', with a rare Tee Scott instrumental mix of Loft classic "Diamond Real". Pressed to perfection, this is must have tackle for the collector and DJ alike.

                        FORMAT INFORMATION

                        12" Info: One copy available

                        Letta Mbulu

                        In The Music... The Village Never Ends

                          Originally released in South Africa in 1983, 'In The Music... The Village Never Ends' is one of those holy grail African records that barely needs any introduction. Featuring the enormous 'Nomalizo', it's a record that aficionados around the world have been waiting many years to get hold of. Now, Be With Records proudly presents the hugely anticipated vinyl reissue of this bonafied classic.

                          This release is officially licensed and has been lovingly mastered for vinyl by Simon Francis (Claremont 56 mastering engineer) It has been pressed on audiophile 180gram vinyl for the first time and features the original, rarely seen artwork.

                          South African singer Letta Mbulu possesses one of the most beautiful voices the world has ever known. Her immaculate voice emits a sweetness that radiates from deep within, brimming with a joy of life and inspiring a spirit of hope and happiness. On this album, her voice soars over a strident musical force that veers between disco, soul and pop music of the most incredible kind. The gleaming guitars recall disco's finest hours while the thump of the beats anticipate 80s British soul.

                          News of this limited reissue has already been causing a significant stir amongst those in the know so do not sleep on this - you have been warned!

                          Korallreven

                          Here In Iowa Remix EP - Inc. Peaking Lights Remix

                          In autumn 2015, Swedish dream-pop duo Korallreven bid us all farewell by releasing the "round-the-world-in-a-day" sounding final single Here In Iowa, alongside memorable shows in New York City and Scandinavia. Now, they return for one last time with a disco dub dream remix of said song by the mighty Peaking Lights. This forms part of a 12" EP released by Be With Records. The record - limited to just 500 copies - will see its worldwide release for Record Store Day on 16th April 2016.

                          The 12" will also, for the first time on vinyl, include Korallreven's breathtaking cover of Guns & Roses' 'November Rain' from 2014 as well as Shine On, the duo's rework of their own 2010 single Honey Mine, featuring Taken By Trees' Victoria Bergsman.

                          From the guys:

                          "Hard to say if Here In Iowa was an end or a start of something new. You'll see! Whether or not, we hold it as one of our highest heights and, after this beautiful season, we truly deeply madly felt that it was worth some extra limelight. And hey! Thanks for the remix, Peaking Lights! It's so wonderful! Life surely is."



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