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BIG DADA

King Geedorah (MF DOOM)

Take Me To Your Leader

    King Geedorah aka MF DOOM is perhaps the most legendary and revered living figure in underground hip hop today. On the conceptual classic ‘Take Me To Your Leader’ he takes the form of a giant three-headed lizard from outer space to give you “Geedorah’s alien perspective on humans.” 13 tracks all produced, written, recorded, arranged, mixed and mastered by the Metal Fingered Villain himself, MF DOOM. A generation of musicians have grown up in awe of DOOM - he’s influenced and worked with Flying Lotus, Earl Sweatshirt, Madlib, Clams Casino, Danger Mouse, RZA, Ghostface Killah, De La Soul and more. Originally released in 2003 - a year before Madvillain ‘Madvillainy’, the collaborative opus with Madlib (Stones Throw / Jaylib / Quasimoto) - ‘Take Me To Your Leader’ was a critical success. Alongside the classic ‘Operation: Doomsday (Fondle ‘Em)’, ‘Take Me To Your Leader’ is a criminally rare full length studio production project from MF DOOM - off-centre beats that owe much to his love of jazz, fantastically skilled, charismatic MCing and ideas galore. Features a variety of vocal guests (some under alias) including MF DOOM, Kurious, MF GRIMM (as Jet Jaguar) and other members of NYC’s Monsta Island Czars. For fans of MF DOOM, Madvillain, Earl Sweatshirt, Run The Jewels, J Dilla, Ghostface Killah.

    TRACK LISTING

    Fazers
    Fastlane Ft Biolante
    Krazy World Ft Gigan
    The Final Hour Ft MF DOOM
    Monster Zero
    Next Levels Ft Lil’ Sci, ID 4 Winds & Stahhr
    No Snakes Alive Ft JetJaguar & Rodan
    Anti-Matter Ft MF DOOM & Mr Fantastik
    Take Me To Your Leader
    Lockjaw Ft Trunks
    I Wonder Ft Hassan Chop
    One Smart Nigger
    The Fine Print

    PVA are a new genre-melding 3-piece from London’s Brixton Windmill / Speedy Wunderground scene consisting of Josh Baxter, Ella Harris and Louis Satchell. They are the exciting new signing to the Big Dada roster with new EP ‘Toner’.

    With influences across the musical spectrum, their music traverses a fistful of genres, throughout rapturous live sets. Incorporating techno landscaped Balearic euphoria and industrial miasma within the same songs, the band’s unique energy combines with blocky synths, deadpan vocals and motorik drum loops to earmark the group as one of the capital’s foremost new bands.

    The EP is produced by Speedy Wunderground’s Dan Carey (Kate Tempest, Squid, Black Midi).

    The EP also features remixes from Mura Masa, an early fan of the trio, Lynks and Daniel Fox of Girl Band. Remixes by INK (of Squid) and DJ Dairy to follow in 2021.

    PVA initially formed in the aftermath of a house party in 2018 and have since earned a fearsome reputation as one of the capital’s premier live outfits, garnering hardcore support before even setting foot inside a studio.

    The band have headlined The Windmill in Brixton with regular shows at The Five Bells and the Bunker in Deptford, defining PVA as a big part of the local music community in their early career. Support slots have included Franc Moody, A Certain Ratio, HMLTD, The Orielles, Dry Cleaning, Black Midi and Squid. They have played an enormous string of festivals in the UK and Europe, including Great Escape, Wide Awake, Visions, Valkhof, End Of The Road, Bluedot, Midi, Visions, Noroeste, Sur Le Lac, Into The Great Wide Open, Fuzz Club, Manchester Psych Fest and Sonic City Festival.

    For fans of Black Midi, Squid, Working Men's Club, Black Country, New Road, LCD Soundsystem. 


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Matt says: Swarve, urgent electro-indie-dance here from a group who certainly seem to know their onions. It's been a while since anyone gave The Juan Maclean and LCD a run for their money, but I believe these could well do it!

    TRACK LISTING

    Talks
    Sleek Form
    Exhaust / Surroundings
    Talks (Mura Masa Remix)
    Talks (Lynks Remix)
    Exhaust / Surroundings (Girl Band / Daniel Fox Remix)

    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.



    TRACK LISTING

    LP
    A1. Cray Cray
    A2. Lizzy
    A3. Punk Champagne (feat. TONE)
    A4. Social Butterflies
    A5. Talula
    A6. This Is England
    A7. National Gangsters
    B1. Love Disease
    B2. Secret Gardens
    B3. Space Is A Place (feat. Chris Calderwood)
    B4. Radiant Child

    CD
    1. Cray Cray
    2. Lizzy
    3. Punk Champagne (feat. TONE)
    4. Social Butterflies
    5. Talula
    6. This Is England
    7. National Gangsters
    8. Love Disease
    9. Secret Gardens
    10. Space Is A Place (feat. Chris Calderwood)
    11. Radiant Child

    WEN

    EPHEM:ERA

      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.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      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.

      TRACK LISTING

      Silhouette
      Glisten
      Time II Think
      Rain
      Blips
      Void
      Curve_Relay
      Grit
      Off-Kilter
      Sun Thru Blinds
      Schoene
      Diverse

      Onyx Collective

      Lower East Suite Part Three

        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’.


        STAFF COMMENTS

        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.

        TRACK LISTING

        ONYX Court
        Don't Get Caught Under The Manhattan Bridge
        Battle Of The Bowery
        There Goes The Neighborhood
        2AM At Veselka
        Delancey Dilemma
        Rumble In Chatham Square
        Eviction Notice
        Magic Gallery
        FDR Drive

        Eera

        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?”

          TRACK LISTING

          Living
          Beast
          Christine
          I Wanna Dance
          Survived
          10 000 Voices
          Watching You
          Trust
          Wise Man
          Reflection Of Youth

          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’).

          TRACK LISTING

          Self-
          New Obsession
          Homme
          Value
          Your Approval
          No Idols
          Made In Hope
          High Life
          Exi(s)t
          Invanity

          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.

          TRACK LISTING

          A1. GASP!
          A2. ZKITTLEZ
          B1. ZPRITE

          Kutmah

          TROBBB!

            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. 

              STAFF COMMENTS

              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.

              TRACK LISTING

              Tape One
              Deadline
              Sister
              Rumbling
              Romance
              Fortunes
              Remains
              Rrramanda
              Dar-Eh Da Da Du

              Tape Two
              I Heard
              Come To Life
              Only Child
              Queen Is Dead
              Bones
              Freefalling
              Mr. Martyr
              Way Down In The Hole
              Ebony Sky

              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.

              TRACK LISTING

              Killr
              Aleesha
              Winnerz
              Wildfire

              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.

              TRACK LISTING

              J Bouncey
              Make It Up
              Barden’s Burden
              Church Rhythm
              Flickbook
              NY In A Minute
              Torry Tash
              Olympian
              Step Forward
              Ruin
              Swing
              Start
              Painting
              Turn That Down Upside Frown
              Off Peak

              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.



              TRACK LISTING

              Still Running
              Shame
              Feasting
              27
              Rain Or Shine
              Sirens
              Old Rock N Roll
              Nest
              Liberated
              John Doe
              Dare Me
              Get Started

              A1. Still Running
              A2. Shame
              A3. Feasting
              A4. 27
              A5. Rain Or Shine
              A6. Sirens

              B1. Old Rock N Roll
              B2. Nest
              B3. Liberated
              B4. John Doe
              B5. Dare Me
              B6. Get Started

              Taylor McFerrin

              Early Riser

                Brooklyn-based producer, composer, pianist, DJ and live musician Taylor McFerrin drops his first full length LP, 'Early Riser', on Flying Lotus's Brainfeeder record label. Taylor's musical style is equally influenced by the legends of 60s / 70s soul, the kings of the modern beat generation, golden era hip hop, free form jazz and electronic music. By playing all of the instruments on his productions, while also relying heavily on sampling and chopping up his live takes, he has found a sound that seamlessly bridges myriad musical worlds and draws the listener into a constantly shifting audio soundscape.

                From the opening build of “Postpartum” onwards, you know you’re in for something pretty special with “Early Riser”. It’s a smouldering, woozy and intensely beautiful record. Tracks like “Degrees of Light” and “Stepps” establish a sun-up mood in their opening few bars and then develop it, the organic live feel perfectly balanced by the the snap of their programming. If McFerrin’s own voice on a track like “Florasia” adds a genuine neo-soul emotion, his guests are sensational. From Nai Palm of Melbourne's Hiatus Kaiyote on “The Antidote”, through Emily King on “Decisions” (“one of the best singers alive in my opinion” - McFerrin) and on to labelmate RYAT’s collaboration on “A Place In My Heart”, each adds a different mood and lift to the music they’re involved with. Taylor’s father, the legendary Bobby McFerrin, teams up with Brazilian master Cesar Mariano on “Invisible / Visible” for one of the jazziest moments on the record. Robert Glasper, Thundercat and Marcus Gilmore also provide their substantial jazz chops to “Already There”. But the key to the whole record is the balance which McFerrin keeps throughout - between his guest's individuality and his own vision, between the styles of music he loves, between a feeling of intense, sunlit joy and a deep aching sadness, which, it could be argued, is a definition of soul.

                Taylor's ability to create and evolve musically by drawing inspiration from all corners of his life translates into a music of exceptional honesty and emotional directness, deep sophistication and effortless style.

                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.”


                  TRACK LISTING

                  Marshall Law
                  The Truth *
                  Lonely Daze
                  Chicken
                  The Beigeness
                  Theme From Becky
                  Stink
                  The Heist
                  To The Victor The Spoils
                  Circles *
                  A Hammer
                  Happy End
                  * = CD Only Track

                  DELS

                  GOB

                    Kieren Dickins aka DELS is a new type of rapper (which is another way of saying that he’s more than just a rapper). Applying the kind of attention to detail, micro-management and macro-vision which Jay-Z used to build a business empire, DELS makes art. Popular art mind you, but art all the same, an album of emotional peaks, musical innovation and surreal, brilliant lyrics, held together by such a unique, such a strong vision that it sounds almost silly to suggest it’s just a debut. Already causing a stir with the tasters Shapeshift and Trumpalump (and the videos he masterminded for them), everything is now ready to show how these pieces fit into the bigger picture…

                    Various Artists

                    Diplo - Decent Work For Decent Pay

                      Diplo arrived on the scene with his acclaimed DJ Shadowesque album "Florida" in 2004, but has since become more well known for a series of remixes pinning his colours to the mast of baile funk, Bmore and dancehall styles. "Decent Work For Decent Pay" brings together some of these reworks (MIA, Hot Chip, Bloc Party, Kano, CSS and Spank Rock, amongst others), plus features a previously unreleased, exclusive Diplo song as well. Jumped-up, cut-up, breaks-heavy electroid slammers for the dancefloor!

                      Roots Manuva

                      Alternately Deep

                        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.

                        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.


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