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The first full album from Toronto’s Tre Mission, “Stigmata” achieves something remarkable. He takes a genre which we think we know and which, in all honesty, he should have no right interfering with. Then he re-shapes it into something entirely new. Coming over as the missing link between Wiley and Outkast, Mission elaborates the connections (via his own roots in the Caribbean) between UK grime and North American rap and makes the whole thing sound as natural, as soulful, as hard and heavy as you like.

From the woozy atmospherics of the title track onward, you know you’re in for something special. Tre hits the beat with his precise, complex flow, managing to express the kind of fragility which distinguishes the very best grime MCs. Wiley - Tre’s earliest supporter and champion in the UK - features on “Real Grind,” while Canadian hip hop legend Saukrates joins him on “Get Doe,” the pair serving to signal the range of his work. Mission trades verses with JME on “Rally,” something like a sequel to “If You Don’t Know.” “On Road” combines an old skool twostep feel with uneasy, bleary tension for one of the stand-outs of the record. “In The Hallway” is epic, widescreen bounce with the added bonus of a verse from Skepta. “Jack Pot” is sparse, harsh, bass-heavy grime, Tre's flow matched by Merky Ace. Another stand-out is “Boy In The Corner,” a story rhyme that also acts as a tribute to Dizzee Rascal and a genre classic. When you allow for the fact that Tre also produced most of “Stigmata,” you know you’re dealing with a serious proposition.

Farai’s debut album (a collaborative project between London based vocalist Farai and artist, musician & producer TONE) documents a process of recovery. For the eponymous vocalist of the project, Farai, music has always been personal. Born in Zimbabwe and raised in London, her lyrics are coloured by the different cities she’s lived in, and how that series of different homes has shaped her perspective. ‘Rebirth’ weaves together South East London landmarks, the bare-bones ethos of post-punk, and the experience of being part of the African diaspora. The record is the biggest stepping stone yet in a journey which Farai started in 2012. She hit a period of feeling burnt out, and started attending weekly music therapy classes, where she started writing poetry and music for the first time. It charted a new direction, one that’s brought her to the exciting point where she now stands.

The album follows their debut EP, ‘Kisswell’, released through NON Worldwide in 2017, the label-cum-collective co-founded by Chino Amobi, Angel-Ho and Nkisi. It attracted support from Dazed, CRACK, The Fader and Pitchfork, the latter praising their “rethinking of post-punk and new wave.” Additional support has come from Annie Mac on Radio 1 and a variety of shows on NTS. They’ve performed on Boiler Room and at the Tate, the latter as part of a special one-off connected to their 2017 Soul of a Nation exhibition.

Farai’s partner in creating both ‘Kisswell’ and ‘Rebirth’ has been TONE, a producer she’s worked with from the early on. They’ve carved out an alternative vision of pop together, distinctive and many-sided at once, poised between punk directness and flourishes of soulful warmth. TONE’s heritage is Afro-Guyanese and Welsh, and their shared pan-African heritage was one of the things which drew them together. He spent part of his childhood in Germany before moving to the UK when he was nine. He visited the Caribbean growing up, where he was introduced to his grandmother’s roots as a performer, hearing soca, dancehall and dub.

The album’s opener sets the tone with a short news snippet, situating the album in London: the pair’s common ground and the city where the album was born. ‘Punk Champagne’ nods to a homemade cocktail TONE mentioned to Farai, made of buckfast and prosecco, and is characteristically stripped back, composed of simply drums, vocals and synths. On ‘This Is England’, they adopt a looser structure still, an ominous synth line framing Farai’s reflections on work and hardship in contemporary Britain.

Farai was born in Zimbabwe’s capital city, Harare, where she lived until she was 12. (Her name means “joy” in Shona, the most widely spoken of Zimbabwe’s 16 official languages.) She grew up listening to TLC, Mase and Notorious B.I.G., and at one time aspired to enter into Zimbabwe’s version of The X Factor. Her mother moved to the UK to work as a nurse, and when political unrest struck Zimbabwe around 2002, Farai followed, moving to live with her in Bermondsey. At school she studied art, including a three year stint at a college in Kentish Town, where one of her teachers had worked for John Galliano. She moved to Manchester to study fashion at university, but dropped out, finding the course overly business-focused. Instead, she moved to China for a year, and when she returned to London, became immersed in fashion and art circles, spending a lot of her time at socialite-heavy parties.

After a couple of years, this lifestyle caught up with her and she hit a wall. Feeling exhausted and with her mental health in a bad state, she started attending music therapy classes, where she began writing lyrics and ideas. She took a new direction: she moved to Lewisham, in South East London, and started promoting music shows. She became a regular at the Shop Floor Sessions, a series of open jam nights in Elephant & Castle, started in a shop that had been squatted, and which grew into a collective of like-minded musicians.

It was those sessions that led to her connection with TONE, who discovered a video Farai had posted of one of her appearances there. He got in touch, and they met in Gillett Square, in Dalston, where TONE found Farai dressed in a fur coat and sunglasses, playing a game of giant chess with the locals. They quickly struck up a creative dynamic, where Farai would read a poem, and TONE would work out hip-hop drum chops to accompany it. The first track they recorded, that same day five years ago, was ‘Love Disease,’ where police sirens can be heard outside TONE’s house. “I set the mic up and a guitar,” TONE recalls, “and we did it first go with the windows open.”

It was a shared learning experience: for Farai, learning how to adapt her spoken word poems into verse-and-chorus structures, and for TONE, learning how to arrange her poetry into song structures from a new vantage point. Later on, TONE having learnt his production skills from years of playing in bands, session playing for numerous artists and working on his own productions eventually took the raw sessions which were recorded with just guitar and drum loops and re-recorded all the drum parts for ‘Rebirth’ with Marc Pell from Micachu & The Shapes, who is currently Mount Kimbie's live drummer and performs under the alias Suitman Jungle. He also applied his love of electronic instruments into the recordings with his collection of 80s and early 90s analogue synthesisers in a studio he shares with Mica Levi aka Micachu. Much of the album was made with a sense of urgency, like ‘National Gangsters’, which was recorded in TONE's DIY studio, with neighbours in close vicinity, where they were conscious of the noise. They finished it after the second take, receiving angry complaints right afterwards. The track has a raw feel, where Farai reflects on heroin in London’s streets, and drums crash into tinny arpeggios, undergirded by a bloated synth bassline. It’s in the spirit of the album as a whole; for Farai, it’s about the act of musical expression as much as it’s about the music itself.

WEN (aka Owen Darby) releases his new album ‘EPHEM:ERA’ with Big Dada, following 2017’s ‘CARVE + GAZE’ EP. His first full length since his 2014 debut ‘Signals’ (Keysound), Darby describes the new record as “electronic studies - a sequence mapped out across the fringes of experimental club music.” The album is a further step outward, rendering the changing currents of UK-born ‘weightless’ iterations of grime across 12 tracks. For fans of Mumdance, Call Super, Pearson Sound, Actress.


Millie says: Electronic house beats laced with distorted synths makes this album sound out of this world. Silhouette is my personal favourite as the electronic plucks and violin-esque style adds a delicate touch while remaining the specific style element of experimental club music.

New York Jazz ensemble Onyx Collective release their debut album ‘Lower East Suite Part Three’ via Big Dada. It has been included in The Guardian’s Ones To Watch For 2018, the new album follows two acclaimed EPs released on Big Dada in 2017. Isaiah Barr, leader of Onyx Collective, has frequently collaborated with other New York musicians such as Dev Hynes (Blood Orange), Nick Hakim, Julian Soto and Wiki (Ratking). Onyx Collective were also featured in Gilles Peterson’s Best Of 2017 list at Number 16. They will be supporting Kamasi Washington on his UK tour this May including London’s Roundhouse. For fans of Nick Hakim, Ezra Collective, Yussef Kamaal, BadBadNotGood, Shabaka Hutchings, Moses Boyd. Isaiah accompanied Ibeyi for their debut performance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in March. He also features on David Byrne’s 2018 album ‘American Utopia’.


Millie says: Big loud jazz, this hits the spot for any keen jazz-listener. With the list of names associated with supporting Onyx Collective like Dev Hynes, Giles Peterson and Kamasi Washingston you know you’re in save hands.

Onyx Collective

Fruit Stand / Snake Charmer

    Onyx Collective - the NYC based jazz ensemble lead by Isaiah Barr and Austin White - release their single ‘Fruit Stand’ / ‘Snake Charmer’ on 7” via Big Dada.

    ‘Fruit Stand’ and ‘Snake Charmer’ are taken from their 2017 EPs ‘Lower East Suite 1’ and ‘2’ and are the only Onyx Collective tracks to be physically released since their debut album ‘Second Ave Rundown’ via Supreme.

    The band were featured in Gilles Peterson’s Best Of 2017 list at number 16 as well as in The Guardian’s Ones To Watch For 2018.

    For fans of Nick Hakim, Ezra Collective, Yussef Kamaal, BadBadNotGood, Shabaka Hutchings, Moses Boyd. 

    7” vinyl with hand-stamped inner label housed in a clear plastic bag with a die cut full colour sticker sheet.


    Reflection Of Youth

      Reflection Of Youth - which was recorded in a studio on a working dairy farm deep in the wilds of West Wales as well as in the producer’s home studio in Cork, Ireland - is an album of visceral beauty and blistering honesty. It is a brave, candid and uncompromising record about finding purpose from confusion and strength in your weaknesses. It’s about learning how to work through your problems and take charge of your own life, instead of relying on others to do it for you. Its ten songs were largely composed in the small hours of the night and are arguably best experienced in that context, when soul-searching and introspection come naturally.

      For Anna Lena, the album is a document of a tumultuous chapter in her life. It’s very much about living through your twenties, which in Norwegian society are “the years when you’re supposed to figure everything out.”

      On Reflection Of Youth, EERA’s sound has already evolved into something rawer, rockier and noticeably angrier. "It was a really odd experience to listen back to the record and realise what I'd made," says Anna Lena. "I was surprised by how different, how much more powerful it felt from the EP. Those songs sounded like I was quietly knocking on the door, trying to get in, whereas the album feels like I'm stepping through it." If Anna Lena set out to achieve anything, she says, “it was to make an incredibly honest record that would give people a real sense of who I am. I think it’s important to be vulnerable, to not be afraid of showing emotion and be open about it with the people around you. We all face problems in our lives, so why not meet them head-on?”


      Coloured LP Info: Indies exclusive red vinyl.

      Visionist AKA Louis Carnell returns with his second album, ‘Value’, a precise body of work which builds across its 10 tracks on his conceptual, thematic process, finding assertion in the values of self-discipline and self-education through meticulous composition. The sounds are crushingly epic, with pneumatic bursts of white noise mixed with torn apart beat reduction and angelic, reverb-drenched vocals meeting a modern symphony of strings, synths and glistening keys - all working to elevate the album into the heavens. 

      The album features collaborative artwork from influential artist Peter De Potter (Kanye West ‘The Life Of Pablo’).


      Coloured LP Info: 180g gold vinyl with digital download code and exclusive 10 image zine by Peter De Potter.

      ZOMBY, one of the UK’s most enigmatic electronic producers, underscores his already illustrious succession of releases with his latest EP “GASP!" ZOMBY’s ability to effortlessly shift aesthetics across his career has firmly stationed him as a producer that can’t be boxed, and “GASP!" sees him altering his often jungle-driven sound yet again, furthering him as a sonic chameleon among an ever-increasing landscape of musical similitude.  In his signature spirit of cryptic variety, “GASP!" explores another tectonic revision in ZOMBY’s style. A shift forward indeed, the compact, 3-track EP is a relentless, hardware-driven behemoth of beats and breaks that fit somewhere between a chugging steel factory and a darkened dancefloor.


      12" includes MP3 Download Code.

      The first Hype Williams recordings since "Hippos In Tanks" and therefore surrounded with unfathomable levels of hype and excitement. Both Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland have enjoyed untold levels of career success since their emboldened entry to the record world and rightfully so; no one epitomizes the now and yet-to-come more than this pair of audio mavericks. With twenty tracks decorating the new album, from emotional sonic missives to spiraling downbeat epics back through fractured and skewed pop lullabies and occasionally bursts of mesmerizing hypnagogia, it's at once erratic & haywire, chaotically broken and yet heavily opiated, like the whole album is some ode to a lost junkie film set in a Charlie Brooker-predicted dystopia. It's excellent!


      Patrick says: Offering emotional sonic missives and spiralling downbeat epics back, fractured and skewed pop lullabies and occasional bursts of mesmerizing hypnagogia, this is an excellent and unclassifiable listen.


      CD Info: Clear plastic cartridge case outer.
      Paper insert for the CD Silver onbody.

      Kutmah (pronounced koot/mah) releases his long overdue debut album “The Revenge Of Black Belly Button!” (or TROBBB!) via Big Dada. The record features an incredible cast of guests - Gonjasufi, Jonwayne, Natureboy Flako, Ta’Raach, Jeremiah Jae, Zeroh, Zackey Force Funk, N8NOFACE, Sach, Akello G Light and DJ Chris P Cuts - spanning experimental meditative, Zennist loops; crackly oddball beats and abstract raps; as far as outright punk/noise and even folk/blues. At its heart it’s an incredibly sentimental record, heavily referential to his past but also future-facing, and not just in its sonics. 'I wanted to make a record for loners. You know some records have that ‘Hey! I'm at a festival!’ sound? Well I wanted to do the opposite of that,' he laughs.
      The album was recorded in Berlin in Winter. Being in a foreign country around the holidays when one is supposed to be with family… that emotion of isolation weighed heavy on Justin: “For three weeks during this time I didn't speak to a single person… I had no internet and no phone.” Accordingly, half of the record fits this season and these emotions. In Spring the sun came out and the flowers were blooming: “I started to cheer up a bit and so did the beats,” says Justin. “I like that there are polar opposite vibes on the record. Hopefully I'll hear from some punk kid that they only like Part One, or from some hip-hop head that they only like Part Two… or some beat head saying they only like the instrumentals,” he laughs. Close friend Dario Rojo Guerra (aka Natureboy Flako) played a key role in piecing the album together with Justin, acting as engineer and occasionally producer, in addition to providing a set of trusted ears. “Flako is the real MVP of the album,” affirms Justin. “I couldn't imagine what the record would have sounded like without his input.” The album was mastered by Kelly Hibbert (AlmaChrome) who counts J Dilla’s “Ruff Draft” and Madlib’s "WLIB AM: King Of The Wigflip” in his discography - two massively influential and inspirational records in Kutmah’s musical DNA.

      Young Fathers

      Tape One / Tape Two

      Big Dada reissue the critically acclaimed debut and sophomore albums by Young Fathers, ‘Tape One’ and ‘Tape Two’. Both albums have been remastered for this reissue and are presented together as double CD, double LP and double cassette packages. "Tape One" and "Tape Two" are compellingly unique - the band make the sort of uncompromisingly leftfield, forward thinking hip hop that has nothing to do with artiness and everything to do with brilliance, all with grain silo production and genuine pop hooks.
      "Tape One" was recorded within a week. It was first released in November 2011 as a limited edition cassette with individually spray-painted sleeves. "Tape Two" was recorded almost immediately afterwards, in January 2012. Eventually LA based label Anticon picked up both albums and gave them a limited release in the USA.  In 2014, "Tape Two" won the prestigious SAY Award (Scottish Album Of The Year) which brought a cash prize of £20,000.
      If you like Massive Attack, Shabazz Palaces and Kate Tempest, or forward thinking hip hop brilliance in general, then this one's for you. 


      Patrick says: Essential reissue of Young Father's first two albums for those of us (myself included) who were sleeping at the time. Gritty production, innovative lyricism and plenty of hooks make this a must have for any respectable hip hopper.


      2xLP includes MP3 Download Code.

      Irish-born South-London vocalist Samuel returns to Big Dada with the new EP 'Luv Cry' - four tracks of R&B tinged electronica, produced by Kwes (Warp) and with additional production by Ozkharp (Hyperdub) and Lockah (Donky Pitch).

      Coming from a tough upbringing in Ireland, raised in gypsy camps and children’s homes, and living homeless for periods, he found relief in the music programs on offer at the homes, finally earning a scholarship at Goldsmiths University in London. After moving to London he went on to collaborate extensively with Ozkharp on his 2014 EP Falling Star, receiving support from the likes of Pitchfork, Dazed, Dummy, Pigeons & Planes & DJ Mag. His recent single 'These Days' (produced by Kwes) premiered on The Fader and has had over 300k streams to date.

      Roots Manuva

      Switching Sides


        Roots Manuva celebrates Record Store Day with yet another cutting-edge vinyl packed with the kind of combination of “bass and verb” which has made him one of the UK’s most essential musical artists.

        All 5 tracks are produced by Switch under his new production banner With You.

        With You are Switch and Daouda Leonard (assisted by Stabber on this outing), with a little help from their friends Crookers, Toddla T and Coldcut, and were written, recorded and produced at his studio in Los Angeles during the ‘Bleeds’ sessions.

        Limited to 500 copies.

        “Dub was the soundtrack to my youth,” remembers Mikail Tafari aka Rebel MC aka Congo Natty. “Going to a hall and hearing my favourite dub tunes through some double 18inch speakers was my addiction. Sometimes I would not move from those speakers for hours. The bass would vibrate through my whole body.”

        Considering the centrality of reggae in the very DNA of jungle music and considering the role of Jah Rastafari in Congo Natty’s life, it’s appropriate that his already-classic 2013 album 'Jungle Revolution' should now have been re-tooled by this UK legend and his associates to reflect an even broader swathe of that great heritage.

        Congo Natty has drawn on dub-soldiers new and old, UK-based and beyond, for this project. Digidub legends Dubkasm and the one and only Adrian Sherwood rub shoulders with Glasgow’s Mungos HiFi and Hungary’s DJ Madd, with the likes of Conscious Sounds, Vibronics and Jinx in Dub all bringing their own unique flavours. Meanwhile bass music stalwarts like King Yoof and Sukh Knight sit alongside a new generation of dubstronauts, Hylu & Jago taking their place with the scions of UK dub royalty, Joe Ariwa (Mad Professor’s son) and Young Warrior (Jah Shaka’s son!).

        Drawing on over 30 years of British bass music, 'Jungle Revolution in Dub' is a unique take on the dub album, somewhere between traditional dub, versioning and remixing, a kind of echo chamber of styles and sounds. They all share one thing in common, though, and you won’t be surprised to hear that’s bottom end. Let’s hope your subwoofers can handle it.


        LP includes MP3 Download Code.

        Not only one of Britain’s greatest musical artists, but one of the greatest lyricists full stop, Roots Manuva is back with a dazzling new album, 'Bleeds'. Past collaborations with everyone from Gorillaz to the Maccabees to Leftfield to Coldcut to the Cinematic Orchestra, Rodney Smith’s influence can be heard right across the musical landscape. Now, with his sixth studio album, he has made his most concise and focussed record to date, his most emotionally affecting and powerful release since his breakthrough, 'Run Come Save Me'.

        Drawing upon production assistance from young British producer, Fred, together with musical heavyweights Four Tet, Adrian Sherwood and Switch’s new production team, With You, the title of the record is, in the man’s own words, an “egocentric jest of daring to do things in the tradition of Jesus: I’m ready to bleed for the artform.” It is, of course, also a reference to the way in which genres, in the sonic world of Roots Manuva, have a tendency to bleed into one another, so that hip hop, reggae, techno, funk, neo-classical, all blend together to create “liquid soul, the blood, the bleeds that paint infinite sacred wonders in our dreams and unfold in our day-to-day.”

        One of the true pioneers and originals of British music, any album from Roots Manuva is an event. When it’s as good as 'Bleeds' it’s one of the musical events of the year. Both genre-defying and deeply rooted in what he describes as “the culture of Bass and Verb,” the record innovates and consolidates in equal measure. Rodney Smith describes himself as “a British Black musical Mark Rothko” and 'Bleeds' is another masterpiece from this abstract wordsmith.


        Indies Exclusive LP Info: Limited indies only coloured vinyl.

        Indies Exclusive LP includes MP3 Download Code.

        LP Info: Standard black vinyl LP.

        LP includes MP3 Download Code.

        Marrying stories about modern life both rubbish and wondrous to bold, chiming, futuristic pop, ‘Salt’ is a stunning record. Roseau’s talent for writing, her purposeful experiments and her mastery of several instruments as well as electronic production techniques, add up to a powerful arsenal.

        Written and recorded in the space and quiet of the Essex countryside, ‘Salt’ contains music both elemental and intimate. Its sonics were inspired by a chance exploration of a giant abandoned warehouse beside a walk Roseau loves. Finding herself in a vast space with only an old car tire, an extinguished bonfire and some bottles and sticks, she screamed, threw bottles, sang, stomped, hit the tire with the sticks, and made as many sounds as possible - then she came back, day after day, to record them.

        These sounds form the backbone of ‘Salt’’s bewitching sonics, colouring the album with a powerful atmosphere, and providing the perfect backdrop for Roseau’s unique voice and lyrics. The album’s songs contain powerful themes; about the devastation of first heartbreak, the aftermath and numbness; about belonging, or not; and about self-confidence and its absence.

        Roseau’s love of stories goes back to the song-tales her grandfather sang her when she was a child. Salt is full of stories, whether about broken hearts and yearning ("Salt",) troubled nights out ("New Glass",) or the wired compulsion of a road trip ("Florida",) Roseau enhances the natural beauty of her voice with her experimental harmonies and pitch shifts, adding texture to an album that’s casually littered with infectious hooks.

        After starting work on the album at her parents’ house, she brought in Doganion, her friend and former Tape Club labelmate, for a fresh set of ears. The pair set about writing and recording in Red Bull’s studios, and Roseau soon roped in Jacob Welsh from The Hics and Mark Rainbow from Laurel Collective to help. After the bulk of the writing and recording was complete, she returned to her family home to tailor and tweak, putting the final touches to her astonishing debut.

        ‘Salt’ is British music from the leftfield at its best: experimental but welcoming, deep but utterly addictive.

        Two and a half years on from the sad and untimely passing of Ewan Robertson aka Offshore, his label Big Dada can announce the release of a last album from the Aberdonian musician and designer. The tracks for the new record, 'Offshore' were all more or less completed before his death in 2012. His family, his partner and the label have pieced the album together as close to his original intentions as they could manage, to create a suite of music which in its openness, beauty, humour and joyfulness, both hints at what Ewan could have gone on to achieve, and celebrates what a unique and lovely human being and musician he was.

        In addition, artists including Ikonika, Amon Tobin, Blue Daisy, Slugabed, Mamiko Moto, Lockah and Enchanté have all contributed remixes and expect videos and photographs from long time collaborators.

        All profits from the record are to go to the Marfan Trust at his family's choosing, it was the condition that affected Ewan.

        The sadness felt by those who knew and loved Ewan is still very real, but this record is a chance to celebrate what a unique and talented individual he was.

        Roots Manuva

        Facety 2:11 / Like A Drum - Four Tet / Machinedrum Mixes

        Rodney Smith is arguably the greatest rapper ever to emerge from British shores and after two years locked in the studio brewing up brand new music, he returns now with 'Facety 2:11', a stunning single produced by fellow UK maverick Four Tet, aka Keiran Hebden. 'Facety' is patois slang for someone being rude - a barefaced cheek referenced by the insistent, cockney rhyming lyrical snip - ‘boat race’ - that makes up the chorus. Hebden builds a rhythm track that bumps and rolls like batucada-meets-footwork, providing neck-snap beats for Smith's easy-on-the-ear flow to mesh with. A dancefloor slayer!

        Another of electronic music’s most exciting voices, NYC producer Machinedrum, provides the beat for the B-Side, 'Like a Drum'. Ditching his usual drum & bass style, Machinedrum provides a laid-back, almost downbeat, backing track - jazz-tinted and cinematic, with added electronica bass boom bap...

        The 12" also includes instrumental versions of both mixes, making this a must for Four Tet and Machinedrum heads as well as Roots Manuva fans. 

        In Smith's inimitable words, the single is "a wee spring warmer in voodoo coptic dialect shape shifting: the remit the same as ever in awakening one’s inner, modern-day Sun Ra, ODB and Kate Bush on an overdrive of doing because we can't help ourselves…"

        Young Fathers

        White Men Are Black Men Too

        When everything is post-post-post-post something older and better where do the exceptions go? When the sci-fi 20’s ‘Urban’ might as well be the atomic 50’s ‘Race’, when R&B has no blues and hiphop is a boom bip with a shorty, a hoe, it’s off to the street corner we go… where does a group like Young Fathers, who ‘pick'n'mix from the popular music sweety shop and fly no flags and swear allegiance to no country’ (© - 100 interviews with the group in 2014) - where do they go?

        They have to go to the place where Beck makes a sandwich with The Beach Boys and Captain Beefheart, where Faust and The Fall tango. In Rock and Pop you are allowed to pretty much be yourself. If you are a blue and green eyed boy from Brixton with the sallowest of white skin you can become the epitome of crystalised soul, itself. It swings both ways. So… Young Fathers are breaking out of the ghetto. Fuck these constrictive selling boxes.

        For the purposes of this mission, this album, this 'White Men Are Black Men Too', is rock and pop. And hip hop, too No, you don’t box in the R&B Hits 2003 generation that easily. This sticker is only for the business. The listeners can decide for themselves.

        The sounds are closer on this album, closer to your ears. It sounds as if you are in the room during the recording, possibly experiencing a little existential trauma, but not enough that you don’t notice an earworm hook when you hear one. These hooks, they stay with you. ‘Is that what they mean by pop’? you ask yourself. Could be, Madonna, could be. There are less words than before. Why, for fuck’s sake? Where is the hip hop? It slides in, like a reverse version, a negative, of the hip hop blueprint of eight verses and a sweet, female wail of a hook (while comedy rapper number 6 mutters ‘uh huh, uh huh’, you know, keeping it real). But YFs lob raps into songs that morph into sung verses then back into the tune, with no respect, none! for the law.

        These are grown men, battle fit and in their prime. There are no celebrations of dole queue theatre, no fake politics - there’s no need. YFs are right there in the middle of the question: what is your ID? Why claim to speak for a dispossessed white or black class or group or generation? When you can only ever speak for yourself.

        When they chant ‘nigger nigger nigger’ the group are singing their enemy’s song (and you can all sing along) - it’s not a war cry, it’s the off switch, the left hand turn in the ignition, the pop-hiss of deflation. No more war, motherfucker. The tension is sexual, tuneful, it’s only fun about to kick off.

        Big Dada drop something special and spacial in the form of this 12" meeting of two musical minds at the forefront of British electronic music. Wolverhampton's finest, the Uk's great techno experimentor Actress takes on Eski kingpin and grime founding father Wiley, transforming the vital and vibrant "From The Outside" into a deep and dark slice of scuzzy cinematic ambience. Spooky and space age, this is groundbreaking tackle packed with gloomy synth washes and grinding distortion. All that remains of the original are the occasional snippets of Wiley's vocal, either played straight or totally screwed, and the mournful strings which made up the original's intro. Not for the faint of heart or the urban grime crew, this is next level music. 


        12" Info: One Sided, Hand Stamped 12".

        Kate Tempest

        Everybody Down

        There’s a strong, vibrant formal tradition in hip hop: the story rhyme.

        Rather than the bragging and boasting of many raps, in a story rhyme the MC presents a narrative - a street update of Ovid or Homer if you want to get hifalutin about it. Traced back by some to “The Message” by Melle Mel, few would dispute that it reached some sort of a peak with Slick Rick’s first album, and was carried forward by the likes of Biggie and Eminem. It also had a profound influence on rap in the UK, with artists like Roots Manuva using the form to represent themselves and their city in a myriad of new ways.

        Kate Tempest is best known as a poet, perhaps a performance poet or a spoken word artist. She has a novel coming out next year with Bloomsbury. But ask Kate what she is and she’s more likely to say she’s a rapper who writes. That’s her first love. Listen to her voice, her cadences, the accent, and you’ll hear more of Skinnyman than Seamus Heaney, a veteran of Deal Real’s legendary Friday night rap battles but also someone at home doing a book reading at Foyles.

        Kate Tempest understands the story rhyme, loves it. Which is why Everybody Down is something like a “novel rhyme” – twelve ‘chapters’ telling one long, complex story, a unique, one-off project, almost unique in the history of the form.

        Dan Carey aka Mr Dan is one of the UK’s best known and most highly-rated producers. He’s worked with or remixed Bat For Lashes, Toy, MIA, Chairlift and Hot Chip (and just about everyone in between). When the two met, Carey invited Tempest to come through to his South London studio to muck about on a track or two. In a burst of intense creativity, they put down the whole twelve track album in a fortnight having spent almost a year developing the characters and story.

        The result is a revelation. Tempest takes the tropes of the hip hop story - drugs, money, gangsters - and brings them to life in a whole new way, a London way, but also a completely personal way, where she inhabits the different characters and shows the boredom and fear in their lives rather than some faked glamour, shows more than anything their need for love.

        Carey, meanwhile, sculpts soundscapes that pay tribute to the roots of hip hop while melding into the themes Tempest addresses, tough and gritty but intensely musical, the sound of a wet winter’s night out in London. He even got US singer-songwriter Willy Mason to contribute a chorus! In the end we get an audio story Dickens might have tried to write, one which is, in Tempest’s words, quite simply about “loving more.”

        This is known: Young Fathers are three young men from Edinburgh and Liberia and Nigeria, all at the same time. Their journey has taken them through various incarnations and styles but they are still only in their mid 20s. And... and this is important: they’ve chosen to kill the past - their own past, even - to make their own future.

        The what-what, the feeling: Following on from the acclaimed EPs 'TAPE ONE' and 'TAPE TWO', their debut album 'DEAD' comes as an intimate epic, thirty six minutes of…. what? What? You can call it hip hop or rap, but Alloysious, G and Kayus sing more than they chat. There's the suburbs and the cities of Grey Britain in there, but also Africa. There’s an obsession with the surface texture of sound, the psychedelicist’s love of noise.

        Equally, the deep, warm, maternal reassurance of bass. But the band also craft hook after hook, instant kid-melodies, piling them up on great reefs of backing vocals. Above all, what they insist on is that their music has to mean something, emotionally. If this is a wake, it’s a celebratory one, full of heart.

        Their album is released by renowned West Coast indie Anticon in their first ever collaboration with the UK’s own Big Dada. The first single from 'DEAD', 'LOW', has already been played on daytime Radio 1 by Fearne Cotton, where it belongs (of course).


        LP includes MP3 Download Code.

        El-P (Company Flow / Def Jux co-founder) and Killer Mike (Grind Time Official) release their collaborative and acclaimed ‘Run The Jewels’ album via Big Dada.

        The record features new, previously unreleased material, available in Europe for the first time on CD and as a deluxe vinyl edition complete with a new track featuring DJ Q-Bert (Invisibl Skratch Piklz), remixes by Dave Sitek (TV On The Radio) and Blue Sky Black Death, as well as remix instrumentals.

        Big Dada: “We're incredibly excited to be releasing Run The Jewels. El-P was one of the early inspirations behind Big Dada, and is one of the all-time great driving forces of forward-thinking rap music. His partnership with one of the most intelligent, fluent and ferocious MCs out there, Killer Mike, is hugely exciting and we think 'Run The Jewels' is the rap record of 2014 and then some."


        2xLP Info: Limited SINGLE green splattered vinyl pressing includes bonus 12" single.

        Two years since winning the 2009 Mercury Music Prize for her debut album, “Speech Therapy,” and having ridden a rollercoaster through life since then, Speech Debelle is ready to drop her second collection of music.

        Entitled “Freedom of Speech”, the album sees Speech turning from introspection to stand up, face and engage with the world around her, spitting confident themes of revolution and love. Still brutally honest, yet a more mature and exciting record with lyrics to match, the new sound was shaped in collaboration with Kwes, a young South London producer who already boasts production for DELS, a record contract with Warp and a recent trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo as part of Damon Albarn’s DRC project for Oxfam.

        A first taste of the album came in the aftermath of this summer’s riots, when Speech reacted immediately, leaking the track “Blaze Up A Fire,” (also featuring Roots Manuva and Realism), a track about political revolution written months before. From political to musical revolution, Speech describes the track as being "all about virtual instrumentation and an ode to Kwes the producer. For the writing stage of the album he would take out his laptop and midi-USB keyboard and that would be it. We’d start working and I couldn’t believe what we could do with so little equipment.”

        Over a catchy, bumping, jostling piece of music which pays tribute to the essence of hip hop without feeling the need to sound too much like it, Speech lays out clever, witty lyrics about the high-tech, low-gloss DIY attitude which has relevance far beyond just creating music. Optimistic, sly, funny and an undeniable head-nodder, it’s a long way from “Speech Therapy,” while showcasing just one aspect of her remarkable new album.

        Extracted live in single takes in a fertility clinic in Geneva's renowned sperm banking district, "MFPS" sees Doctor Livez once again making beautiful music with jazz-glitch Europeans and matinee idols Pierre Audetat and Christophe Calpini, plus special guest emissions from the remarkable Joy Frempong and DJ Tendraw. Drawn from a DNA pool so confused and mysterious that it's best not to look for antecedents, this is the sound of William Blake wanking over a jazz mag while old-skool Dadaists form a guard of honour and fire great fountains of vanilla flavoured milkshake into the sky. Now there's a great video idea...

        Following on from his critically-acclamed debut "Breaking Kayfabe", Cadence Weapon aka Rollie Pemberton returns with the epic "Afterparty Babies". Dedicated to 'all the accidents out there', the set is mixes hip hop with an electroclash edge. Funny, heartfelt, fiendishly clever, testosterone-pumped, sensitive, a pure aderenalin rush, "Afterparty Babies" is the real thing - a unique, genuinely original hip hop record. One to check for fans of Spank Rock, TTC etc.

        King Geedorah

        Take Me To Your Leader

        King Geedorah is an alias of ex KMD man MF DOOM, who's mined a rich seam of cold war era B-movie synth sounds, heart wrenching soul strings and funk breaks for this excellent LP. He's also brought in a long list of leftfield MCs to guest here; Biolante, Gigan, Jet-Jaguar, Trunks, Rodan, Nassan Chop etc.

        "Ten" finds Clouddead building on all of the elements that defined their debut: razor-sharp vocal interplay, quirky found-sound samples, ambient drone dreamscapes, lyrics that walk the line between observational and confessional, and a fair share of Nosdam's growl-slow drums. But this album is more than an improvement on a blueprint – it's also a leap forward. Sonically, the record has more depth, and the interplay between Why? and Doseone's voices has become even less 'rap' driven. Individually, Doseone, Why? And Odd Nosdam are as prolific and fearless as anyone in today's new music scene, but together as Clouddead they are able to create music that captures all of the promise of their individual talents in a stunning, unequalled sound. You won't hear many records like "Ten" this decade - let alone this year!

        Various Artists

        Well Deep - 10 Years Of Big Dada: Retrospective Mix By Deejay A La Fu

        Anyone who knows the ten year history of Big Dada knows the name of Deejay A La Fu. Aberdonian Kenny Atkins was born in Scotland, spend his teen years in California and then returned to London around the time that Big Dada was setting up. In the decade that followed, no DJ has been more involved with the label. He was a resident at the short-lived and much missed GOSH! nights at Plastic People. He has DJed for Mike Ladd's Infesticons/Majesticons project, New Flesh, Roots Manuva, Juice Aleem and just about any and everyone else involved in the label. So when he heard of the label's 10th anniversary celebrations Kenny put together a lovingly-crafted, utterly blazing two hour mix of the the label's output, running in chronological order from 1997's "Misanthropic" right up to the present day. Originally envisaged as a radio special, the mix was so good (and so long!) that Big Dada decided to give it a full, limited release. It really is ridiculously good, a must-have for any fan of the label.


        2xCD Info: Limited edition, all individually numbered. 1000 copies only.

        Originally out in 2004 and taken from Diplo's debut LP "Florida", the dancefloor was alight with these four tracks riding his own electroid 'Diplo' rhythm. Old hand Sandra Melody and current star Vybz Cartel drop some MC stylings on "Newsflash" and "Baby", Pantera Os Danhadinhos takes things south of the border with the wicked Brazilian baile funk version "Percao", and there's also an instrumental. Still being played by grime kings, dancehall queens, glitch heads and electro-bods everywhere.


        Ltd 12" Info: 500 copies only. Packaged in deluxe, primary coloured card inner sleeve with 'vinyl protector' PVC outer, screenprinted in "Well Deep" artwork.

        Ninja Tune's hip hop offshoot label Big Dada celebrate (nearly) ten years of dropping great tunes by bringing us this 32 track overview double CD compilation. Always prepared to release boundary-pushing music the label has put out some of the best UK hip hop around (Roots Manuva, New Flesh, Ty) and brought in winners from across the Pond / Channel (TTC, King Geedorah, cLOUDDEAD). They've delivered baile funk before we even knew the name (Diplo back in 2004), dipped a toe into grime (Wiley) and hit us with some Bmore flavours (Spank Rock).

        After the critical and commercial success of 2003's "Upwards", TY returns with "Closer", his strongest, most-focussed, most rewarding work to date. Lauded by everyone from Lily Allen to Robert Wyatt, Ty is an artist who likes to take giant steps with every record he makes. With "Closer" he has reached a career pinnacle, a record packed with sharp hooks, killer basslines and clever wordplay, a humorous, funky and thoughtful stroll through the mind of the man himself and the life he leads. The album features guest spots from hip hop luminaries such as Speech, De La Soul, Rich Medina, Maceo and Bahamadia, plus the likes of Eska, Vula and Wunmi. Seriously good - the best UK hip hop around!!

        Released as a sister package to 2005's "Awfully Deep", "Alternately Deep" (can you see what they've done there?) includes exclusive and unreleased tracks, rare remixes, B-sides and cuts only previously available as downloads. It features contributions from the cream of the UK scene, including vocals by Hazel Sims and Banana Klan member Ricky Ranking, plus remixes by Plan B, Steve Dub, Colossus and Jammer.

        With featured guests like Bembe Segue, Tony Allen (Fela's drummer), Breis and Shortman, Ty's second LP is as much about broken beats, afro-funk and soul as it is about hip hop. Includes the single "Groovement" / "Ha Ha". Gilles is such a big fan that he played eight tracks off this LP over five 'Worldwide' shows! Brilliant.


        CD Info: Number 1 LP in Gilles' 2003 chart!


        Fear Of A Black Tangent

        Busdriver was the breakthrough highlight of the recent 'Treacherous Four Fantastic Breakout Tour' (with Beans, Mike Ladd and Rob Sonic). His standing at the forefront of a new wave of MCs is reflected by production on this LP from, amongst others, Dangermouse and Daedelus. With a speed-fuelled vocal delivery and avant hip hop beat building, this album could easily be on Anticon!

        Diplo sets the dancehall alight here, with four tracks riding his own electroid 'Diplo' rhythm. Old hand Sandra Meolody and current star Vybz Cartel drop some MC stylings on "Newsflash" and "Baby", Pantera Os Danhadinhos takes things south of the border with the wicked Brazilian electro version "Percao", and there's also an instrumental. This truly international dancefloor killer is taken from Diplo's astonishing debut LP "Florida". Currently being played by grime kings, dancehall queens, glitch heads and electro-bods everywhere.

        The new DJ Shadow? The new RJD2? A future yet to come as a baile funk and Bmore star? Or just a guy from Florida mixing deep, beautiful instrumental hip hop with a little of that southern flavour? Already renowned from coast to coast (USA) as a DJ (due to the national success of the "Hollertronix" mixtapes), Diplo's production skills have in the past got him gigs making beats for both David Banner and Bigg Jus (Company Flow). The strength of this production means that this largely instrumental album is also blessed by vocals from Vybz Cartel, Martina Topley-Bird (her management obviously changed their minds and let this track go on the full LP after all!) and PEACE (the Freestyle Fellowship).

        Busdriver is an ultra-intelligent, totally innovative and super-technical all-round phenomenal MC from LA. Originally conceived as a soundtrack to a film he never made, Busdriver hooked up with super-producer Daddy Kev (formerly main man at Celestial Recordings and general production giant) and D-Styles (Invizbl Skratch Piklz and Beat Junkies), and invited us to take a closer look at the "Cosmic Cleavage". Coming on like a cross between Kool Keith's Doctor Octagon and a TV continuity announcer, Bus Driver's flow spills over some crazed free-jazz and weird out beats.



        These tracks were originally releases as six 10" singles in the US. They're a Bay Area trio specializing in very VERY leftfield, deep and tripped-out hip hop (in fact you could easily expect to hear the music on some post rock LP). Assisted by other leftfield hip hop heads Mr Dibbs, Sole, Illogic, etc - this is wierd and wonderful stuff! De La Soul AND Boards Of Canada are big fans!!

        Excellent debut LP from this respected UK lyricist / producer. Very cool and mellow in a Jurassic 5 style, but with full UK flava.

        Roots Manuva

        Run Come Save Me

        Fantastic second album from one of the UK's finest exponent of the hip hop arts. Its deep, its fat, its soulful, with reggae and blues influences. Includes the monster single "Witness" - this album really raises the stakes for UK hip hop, its going to be interesting to see if anybody will be able to top it (unlikely for a long time!!).

        The Majesticons

        Beauty Party

        Awesome new concept project LP from Mike Ladd. He's a bit hit and miss sometimes, but this is definitely one of his hits. The LP is a real rollercoaster ride of styles, taking in fat ragga-hip hop jams, party joints, mellow hip hop-soul and even booty bass. It manages to be thoughtful / leftfield and totally dancefloor-aimed and booty shaking at the same time. Check it out!

        Various Artists

        Extra Yard

        Big Dada (Ninja Tune's hip hop offshoot) round up some UK hip hop talent for this wicked compilation. As well as tracks by Infinite Lives, Lotek HiFi, Part 2 & LSK, there's new exclusive material from Roots Manuva, Ty, Gamma and New Flesh.


        CD Info: CD is DJ mixed by 1Xtra's DJ Excalibah.

        Roots Manuva

        Dub Come Save Me

        Normally 'out takes' LPs are to be avoided at all costs, but this one's different because it's amazing how the five tracks on sides one and two DIDN'T make it onto "Run Come Save Me" - I bet they worked long into the night arguing about whether they could squeeze them on or not! Then on sides three and four there's five dub versions of tracks from "Run Come...", including the awesome 'Walworth Road Rockers' mix of "Witness". Rodney Smith is obviously a very good dub remixer too! All in all, this is a wicked set of tunes that will tide us over until his new LP comes out.


        Ceci N'est Pas Un Disque

        Using only the freshest beats, breaks, samples and coolest rhymes (hey, they could be rapping about anything 'cos it's all in french!), this Parisian posse create a brilliant LP of B-boy abstraction and straight up funky dancefloor bombs.



          Juice Aleem, Blackitude and Lord Redeem. Three MCs, three styles. UK hip hop on Big Dada. Underground.

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