Search Results for:

BLACK FOCUS

Wu Hen is the sophomore album from Peckham visionary Kamaal Williams -- an invitation to elevate to a higher state. Cinematic strings from Miguel-Atwood Ferguson and virtuoso saxophone from Quinn Mason are textural additions that make for a deeper, multi-layered experience than previous releases.

Bringing groove back to the forefront, Wu Hen oscillates between celestial jazz, funk, rap and r&b reinforced with the rugged beat-heavy attitude of grime, jungle, house and garage – a self-styled fusion Kamaal describes as Wu Funk.

New players on this record include LA’s Greg Paul on drums (of Kalayst Collective), Rick Leon James on bass, Quinn Mason on saxophone alongside a vocal feature from Kaytranada collaborator Lauren Faith. Multi-talented renaissance musician Miguel Atwood-Ferguson (who has worked with Ray Charles, Flying Lotus, Dr. Dre, Mary J. Blige, and Seu Jorge) contributes signature strings, which add vivid colour and rich depth, evoking vintage David Axelrod.

Kamaal rose to prominence with the hugely acclaimed Yussef Kamaal alongside drummer Yussef Dayes and a catalogue of 12”s for imprints such as MCDE, Eglo, and Rhythm Section as Henry Wu that became essential DJ tools. In 2018 he launched Black Focus Records with the Kamaal Williams debut The Return, which charted in the UK and saw sold out shows and festival appearances across Europe, North America and Asia.

STAFF COMMENTS

says: Frankly exceptional stuff here from Kamaal Williams on his sophomore album, 'Wu Hen'. I'm gonna drop that F-bomb (fusion...) but don't get it twisted, Henry blends jazz, soul, funk and r&b with the bottom end and rugged beat of grime, jungle, house and garage to create a little thing he likes to call 'Wu Funk'.

Ratgrave

Rock

    Max Graef and Julius Conrad are Ratgrave. ‘Rock’ is their second album - ongoing transmissions of Electronic P- Fusion from Earth. It follows a stellar debut on Funkineven’s imprint Apron. The duo’s sound palette draws inspiration from 80s funk, soul, rock and electronic but through a contemporary lens from two versatile multiinstrumentalists.

    In their own words: “Rock is the essence of energy and vibration we felt in different styles of music, almost like a parallel component connecting all things we like. In the process of recording the new album we kept coming back to this essence no matter what style the original idea was. There was the raw and brutal energy of Jazz-Rock, a lot of video game influences that somehow adhered this essence just as well as quieter Pop and Psychedelic passages that we recorded. Among other things we absorbed a lot of heavy music during the time of the recording like Blue Cheer, Black Sabbath, Frank Zappa or Jimi Hendrix and realized while writing our own music how much impact they had even on quieter songs. This is why ‘Rock’ felt like the perfect title although the music ranges from P-Funk and Spiritual Jazz to various styles of Pop and beyond.” 

    Max Graef has previously collaborated with Glenn Astro on records for Ninja Tune and both artists have previously released on Tartelet.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    says: The perfect combo of funk/jazz/pop/electronic/balearic to transport you back to the 80s. These tracks would make legendary TV intros/title sequences, an ace mixture of all those genres and it works so well. Get your funk on!!

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Ltd LP Info: 180g vinyl LP in reverse board printed sleeve with 3mm spine and digital download card.

    The third album on Black Focus continues the South London tradition but this time in the form of one of the originators: a triple OG, Steve Spacek. Spacek recently released a solo record through Alexander Nut’s imprint Eglo, dBridge’s Exit Records as Blackpocket, following on from his work with Ninja Tune under the Beat Spacek moniker and collaboration with Mark Pritchard as Africa HiTech on Warp. He’s also made formative work with legendary artists J Dilla, Raphael Saddiq, Q Tip and Common and made early drum & bass tunes with his brother dBridge. It’s an incredible career resume and an honour to be releasing this new work.

    ‘Houses’ sees Spacek return to his Detroit influences, with house music at the heart of this record as its foundation but as with all Spacek’s releases, it transcends genre and focuses more on swing, melody and feeling. There are elements of soul, jazz and R&B interlaced within the DNA of his electronic music, alongside his signature falsetto vocals. The entire project was produced using iPhone and iPad apps, an approach Steve champions and feels liberated by using technology to join the past with the present.

    Describing the project his own words: “It’s been well overdue for me to be releasing some 4/4 House vibes! This music has been a big part of my musical journey from dot. Mainly from two angles. The first is, of course, the early rave scene in London and the UK in general, with all its early iterations. Techno from the D, acid, (happy) hardcore, what we use to call dub house (pre jungle), coming into Garage and Balearic to name a few. The other angle is the music production angle: I’ve always used the basic 4/4 template as a means of being able to learn a new piece of recording equipment. Whenever I get any new beat making hardware or software, I’d always make a house beat. I find it the easiest music to make and have always joked about how I can knock up a house beat in 10 minutes! Well now I have an LP’s worth to share! Taken a tad longer than 10min but hey ;) Enjoy.”

    Whether re-defining experimental fusion sounds with the hugley acclaimed Yussef Kamaal, or his catalogue of 12”s for imprints such as MCDE, Eglo, and Rhythm Section as Henry Wu, South London’s Kamaal Williams has been a key figure in his thriving international scene for the past few years. "The Return" is a natural evolution from the Yussef Kamaal project, mining the influence of visionary jazz but blended with all kinds of texture, sounds and signals from the over-saturated London streets.

    At times the keyboard work evokes the classic 70s fusion work of Lonnie Liston Smith or Roy Ayers, but underpinned by rhythms more reminiscent of blunted hip-hop and arrangements subliminally laced with the cut-ups of pirate radio. Progressive, funky, cosmic, exploratory and effortlessly musical, this is the sound of a musician honing their craft into thrilling new shapes.

    In the US the like of Kamasi Washington and Thundercat have made great strides in opening a whole new dialogue between jazz and hip-hop, drawing in a young, highly engaged new audience in the process. Kamaal Williams mine a similar seam on the other side of the Atlantic alongside other exciting London talents such as Ezra Collective, Ruby Rushton and Shabaka Hutchings.

    The Return is exactly that: a return and refinement to the sound Yussef Kamaal were progenitors of, and first set the scene for one of the most exciting musical movements London has had in years.

    Notable tracks for old and new listeners are ‘Slow', 'Situations', 'Medina', 'London Shuffle' which features Mansur Brown (of Mansur's Message) and for those die hard Yussef Kamaal fans - they should hear the interpolated roots of 'Strings of Light' in the title track 'The Return’. And that signature Wu Funk can be heard on Broken Theme, and High Roller.

    "The Return" will be the debut album released on Wu's new label Black Focus Records.


    STAFF COMMENTS

    says: Brilliantly funked-up jazz grooves, rolling bass licks and flickering percussion make this not only a fitting follow-up to Williams' collaboration LP from last year, but a significant progression. Simply stunning, and every bit the summer jazz stormer.


    Latest Pre-Sales

    179 NEW ITEMS

    Sunday classics dug from the collections of our team at home. Choice cuts by @BurialUK @ABBA @radiohead and… https://t.co/64JWX6eeQe
    Sun 24th - 12:48
    Looking great Jeff 🙌 Thanks for supporting and sharing 💖 If you want to be more like Jeff and use your daily exerc… https://t.co/VWZbHyAAAU
    Sat 23rd - 3:44
    Happy Friday everyone. We’re open for click and collect today 12 - 3. https://t.co/NacQ9uVsPI https://t.co/e764asupoS
    Fri 22nd - 9:16
    E-newsletter —
    Sign up
    Back to top