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On 20th November, Brownswood Recordings release the 4th edition of the Future Bubblers compilation. An expansion of Gilles Peterson’s network and supported by Arts Council England, the talent discovery and artist development scheme focuses on developing unsigned talent and building audiences for new left-field music. With support from PRS Foundation as Talent Development Partners, the professional recording, manufacturing and physical release of Future Bubblers 4.0 is made possible. Unlike any other initiatives within music, the compilation acts as a springboard for the musician’s careers with the cooperative model providing direct revenue to the artists by a share of the profits resulting in a sustainable income to work from. Previous Future Bubblers include artists such as Yazmin Lacey, Skinny Pelembe, MC Snowy and Kayla Painter to name a few. The 8 track compilation is a musically diverse collection of tracks, fusing genres that span across Electronic, Alt-R&B, Alt-Hip-Hop, Spoken word, Neo-Soul, Jazz and beyond. Opening with Forest Law - who recently released his debut EP on Brownswood Recordings - ‘Slow One’ combines his effortless vocals with a kaleidoscopic of groove-driven instrumentation. Singer/songwriter Quko demonstrates sonic elegance on his emotive track ‘My Darling Spaceship’ whilst HMD’s ‘If I’ reminds us that we’re only given one shot at life. Up next, Kiddus offers up a bouncy, late-night vibe on ‘Slow’ and An Alien Called Harmony switches things up with Nadeem Din-Gabisi and Metta Shiba proving their formidable connection on ‘N.H.H’. Manchester MC KinKai pours his old soul onto the page on ‘Scatty Brain Dump’ followed by Iman Houssein’s distorted vocals and delicate keys on ‘Slow Things Down’. Rounding the compilation off perfectly is Lazy H’s epic ‘When The Horn Comes In’ which perfectly combines elements of electronic and live. Spanning just over 30 minutes, Future Bubblers 4.0 is an extremely impressive assemblage of talent who have all delivered top-shelf tunes. Released both digitally and on vinyl, the compilation embodies the spirit of the musicians as well as the team behind Future Bubblers.

BBC 6Music play - Premiere for Lazy H as Near Future track on BBC 6Music, Mary Anne Hobbs. Comes in at 1:09:56
BBC 6Music play on Gilles Peterson’s show, for Iman Houssein 'Slow Things Down’, comes in at 1:19:27
Think Outside with Lefto show simulcast on Worldwide FM & Kiosk, played Iman Houssein 'Slow Things Down’, listen back link available here.

“A pleasing round-up of names to watch"
DJ Mag’s reviewed the project, attached a screen shot
Other magazines and publications have also supported such as COLORS Blog, Vinyl Factory, Guap, Mixmag & More. 



STR4TA

Aspects

    Gilles Peterson has partnered with Jean-Paul “Bluey” Maunick to reinvigorate the loose, protean energy of the early-80s Brit-funk scene. STR4TA sees them mine new musical possibilities outof that shared formative era. On “Aspects”, they revisit that important period and the spirit that guided it: self-taught, DIY vitality, and a raucous energy built on live performance. Bringing a fresh slant to a sound first developed by groups like Atmosfear, Hi-Tension, Light of the World and Freeez – with Maunick, it should be noted, also a member of the latter two bands – it’s the first material that Maunick and Peterson have released together in over a decade.

    It’s an idea that had been in the works for a while, but which was encouraged by a surprising catalyst: the award acceptance speech by Tyler, the Creator at the 2020 Brit Awards, where he shouted out the influence of “British funk from the 80s”. It was an acknowledgement of the particular sound that Maunick and his peers had honed, where their US influences were reoriented through their own circumstances. “Like everybody else who plays music, we tried to emulate our heroes,” Maunick says. “But we didn’t have the tools, we hadn’t studied music: were all playing by ear, and we were coming off bits and pieces that we liked off certain records.” This record is guided by the same ethos. An array of musical touchpoints have fed into the album’s direct, no-frills entries: each track’s parts are cut back to the bare bone. In writing and recording the album, the pair of them would work together to strike upon the point of departure – more naive, less considered – that had produced that killer Brit-funk sound. Peterson would dig out records that showed particular flashes or moods as jumping off points, and Maunick would then work with collaborators to build new directions out of those prompts or suggestions.

    It’s the latest chapter in a story that started with Peterson interviewing Maunick in his parents’ garden shed, the first interview that the former had ever conducted. Later, they would reconnect to put out a string of celebrated Incognito albums on Peterson’s pioneering, now-defunct Talkin’ Loud imprint. Now, linking up once more, they unpick an under-appreciated flashpoint in a vital musical lineage, one which each of them has been instrumental in shaping.

    Various Artists

    Indaba Is

      Fabled as the city where dreams come to thrive or die, Johannesburg is forever pumping out the life-giving force of criss-crossing sonic tributaries. As this collection of specially recorded new music shows, every generation must discover for itself what perfecting the alchemy of that expression entails. Indaba Is - produced and managed by pianist Thandi Ntuli and The Brother Moves On bandleader Siyabonga Mthembu, tackles that inquiry with refreshing insight.

      The act of gathering to record in a time of isolation becomes one of anchoring and care, creating an energy field and capturing a living culture of making music. It is one in which bands exist to birth musical concepts as opposed to being static monoliths. Mostly recorded at Dyertribe Studio in Centurion, outside of Johannesburg, Indaba Is propels a collective of South African bands into the precipice of a new frontier. Jazz becomes a departure point as opposed to a tether.

      “The magic was in the choosing of artists who kind of straddle different genres, different ideas and sounds,” says Ntuli. “We put together musicians who are not in that kind of straight-ahead place, even though some may have been in the jazz tradition or jazz-influenced styles of music.” The collection features eight tracks, attributed to Bokani Dyer, Lwanda Gogwana, The Brother Moves On, Thandi Ntuli, The Wretched, Sibusile Xaba and Iphupho likaBiko. Think of the names as thresholds through which ideas cross into the populace as opposed to being signifiers of strict ownership. For one, there is no mistaking the almost spectral presence of both Ntuli and Mthembu in and around the music. “Between me and Thandi, we pick up on the producer duties for four of the tracks,” says Mthembu. “Some of the bands came with already preconceived ideas of what they wanted to do and needed just facilitation on getting it done.” Overall, the pair also provided enabling briefs which harnessed the collective energy of scenes often seen as operating centrifugally to Johannesburg’s all-consuming pull, or a little further down in its tiers of visibility. There are several examples where this approach yields astounding results.

      Indigenous knowledge is perhaps at the root of it, and a reverence for its treasures is instant, but there is an overall sense that Indaba Is asks us to consider the heavy lifting that remains.

      Johannesburg, a city without a landmark water source, built on excavating the energy of its living dead, has never sounded so world-weary, and yet so ready to emerge out of the hold. With its unity of purpose, Indaba Is represents the crucible, untenable to the touch yet warm to the soul.

      There’s something universal in the appeal of an escape – of finding somewhere to relax and explore your ideas. It’s a feeling which connects together the different parts of Maisha’s debut album. A deep record which provides grist for serious spiritual rumination, the music prompts internal reflection as much as it reflects the surrounds which shaped it. Each of its tracks provokes a feeling of intense revery which is timeless, on the one hand, but realised through a confluence of sounds and circumstances which are undeniably of the present.

      The six-piece group, led by bandleader Jake Long, bring a fresh slant to the weighty spiritual jazz tradition. Their 2016 debut EP was released through Jazz Re:freshed (whose weekly shows and record label are an institution for forward-thinking jazz), and were part of We Out Here, Brownswood’s early 2018 record which documented London’s genre-bending, jazz-influenced underground. They’ve been featured on Boiler Room, supported the Sun Ra Arkestra, and played at Church of Sound, a live series that’s quickly become a staple of the emergent scene.

      The album’s title alludes to a small, secluded park which bandleader Jake Long would often retreat to, whose peaceful surrounds were the setting for regular moments of reflection. It’s also a reference to London. Or to be more specific, the side of London which has helped nurture him and his peers: rehearsal rooms, friend’s houses and intimate venues. Its band members, Amané Suganami, Twm Dylan, Tim Doyle, Yahael Camara-Onono, Shirley Tetteh and Nubya Garcia, the latter of whom played a part in shaping the early sound of the band, are musicians who’ve come through the same circles as Long.

      It was recorded across three days in mid-2018. The songs have grown out of their live sets over the past year or two, where each of them would take shape in rehearsals to then be tweaked as they worked out different approaches to them in their performances. It’s an organic kind of refinement, and one that’s audible in the music: songs unfold slowly, each of their parts given time to breathe, building up to crescendos which are patiently earnt.

      It’s possible to trace a personal geography of music, place and memory just through the album’s track titles. On ‘Osiris’, the track’s beguiling melodies are framed in terms of Egyptian mythology, imagery prompted by old books that Long found in his grandparents’ house; ‘Azure’ hints at the blues forms winding their way through the track’s textured wandering; ‘Eaglehurst Place’, where a tense, rhythmic groove drives the track forward, is reference to a house share with musical peers like Joe Armon-Jones, Femi Koleoso and Rosie Turton.

      Spiritual jazz is a tradition that’s leaden with its own traditions, histories and stories. Maisha carve out out their own style through that weight of expectation: they take stock of that history, channelling the greats like Pharoah Sanders, while filtering their own influences – which range from jazz to Afrobeat – through every part of their musical process. It’s a sound which rests on trance-inducing rhythms, instinctive musical interchange and repeated, deeply enriching melodic refrains. It’s a combination which has made for their own singular sound.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      says: 'There Is A Place' pits airy ambient instrumental flourishes with more upbebat ruminations, rich with a free-flowing improvisation style and propulsive loungy spirit.

      Maisha

      Open The Gates

        THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2020 RELEASE AVAILABLE ONLINE ONLY AS PART OF THE SEPTEMBER 26TH DROP DAY AT 6PM.
        LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.


        London seven-piece Maisha return with new single ëOpen The Gatesí, a 16-minute epic that draws deep rhythmic and musical tangents out of a simple melody and bassline. It comes backed with a beautiful live recording of ëOsirisí (taken from 2018 album ìThere Is A Placeî), where the band amp up the originalís energy even higher, the trackís lyrical refrain pushed to maximum effect. Released on Brownswood Recordings, the record is manufactured in partnership with The Vinyl Factory, who will be pressing it on 100% recycled vinyl.

        Bass-heavy dub and contemporary club culture are the foundations for Joe Armon-Jones’ phenomenal second album. “Turn to Clear View” builds on the celebrated keys player’s singular vision, exhibiting a sound with flourishes of R&B, hip-hop and p-funk, and featuring regular bandmates Oscar Jerome, Moses Boyd and Nubya Garcia. He builds on his close-knit core personnel with guest spots from artists he’s long admired, including Georgia Anne Muldrow (Brainfeeder, Stones Throw), Obongjayar (XL) and Jehst.

        From character-fuelled raps to Afrobeat-influenced jams, Armon-Jones channels the diversity of the ascendant scene that surrounds him. Co-produced with longtime collaborator Maxwell Owin, the record has a carefully plotted feel that reflects their meticulous approach. The duo carefully perfected every touch, with Armon-Jones ever-present throughout the mixing and mastering processes.

        Between his highly acclaimed solo career and his work with the influential Ezra Collective, Armon-Jones is building on a rush of acclaim – winning Session of the Year at Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Awards and being nominated for UK Act of the Year at the Jazz FM Awards. His electric, open-ended live shows have brought him to Glastonbury, SXSW, Boiler Room and a sold-out headline show at London’s Village Underground.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        says: Joe Armon-Jones’ outstanding second album ‘Turn To Clear View’ is every bit as good as you’d expect, mellow R&B vibes, rich Jazz and Afrobeat rhythms woven into this incredible album. Armon-Jones is joined by the legendary names Nubya Garcia, Jehst & Georgia Anne Muldrow, all together leading the rise and creating platforms for talented jazz artists.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        LP Info: Reissue of the brilliant 2019 album in non-gatefold sleeve, on black vinyl.

        Zara McFarlane

        Songs Of An Unknown Tongue

          Brownswood are delighted to present Zara McFarlane’s, Songs of an Unknown Tongue a masterful work that underlines her continuous growth as an artist. Zara’s fourth studio album pushes the boundaries of jazz adjacent music via an exploration into the folk and spiritual traditions of her ancestral motherland, Jamaica. The album is a rumination on the piecing together of black heritage, where painful and proud histories are uncovered and connected to the present.

          Partnering with cult South London based producers Kwake Bass and Wu-lu, Zara has created a futuristic sound palate, electronically recreating the pulsing, hypnotic rhythms Kumina and Nyabinghi – and the music played at African rooted rituals like the emancipation celebration Bruckins Party, and the lively death rites of Dinki Minki and Gerreh. These richly patterned electronic rhythms are balanced throughout by McFarlane’s distinctive, clear vocal tones, and vivid song writing.

          Zara’s critically acclaimed third studio album ‘Arise’ met with universal critical praise, and was supported by an impressive live tour performing at festivals such as Love Supreme, Field Day and SXSW. Zara is the winner of multiple awards including a Mobo, 2 Jazz FM Vocalist of the Year Award (2018 & 2015), an Urban Music Award, and Session of the Year at Worldwide Awards. Drawing respect from a wide range of artists, Zara has collaborated with Gregory Porter, Shabaka Hutchings, Moses Boyd and Louie Vega.

          These new sonic explorations signal an exciting direction of travel for this innovative founding member of the UK’s vibrant homegrown jazz scene.

          STAFF COMMENTS

          says: Zara McFarlane’s striking album ‘Songs of an Unknown Tongue’ is a reflective, hypnotic release filled with rich tones of roots-reggae, futuristic soul and rapid jazz tempos. The standout track for me is “Future Echoes” beaming with vibrancy and paired alongside a deep bassline, its soaring highs accentuate her stunning vocals and lyrical song-writing prowess. This genre-fusing album is a work of art, accentuating her personal growth and reflective aura through captivating storytelling.
          McFarlane’s rich and vivid vocals project a soothing, cathartic atmosphere, as though being awoken from a deep slumber – it feels warm and personal. Her vocal range is what takes your breath away, from steep impactful high-notes then fluctuating to deep, profoundly rich soft presence. It’s clear to see why Zara McFarlane has been highly regarded on the Brownswood label as one to watch, well here she is.

          Various Artists

          Gilles Peterson Presents: MV4

            Gilles Peterson presents a time capsule of musical magic. Taken from a day of live sessions in London’s legendary Maida Vale Studios - studio MV4 to be exact, it was originally intended just for Peterson’s BBC radio show broadcast on 20th October 2018. Struck by what a special moment the sessions captured, Peterson has decided to mark the results with a release proper on his Brownswood imprint. It features a diverse, all-star cast of some of the acts celebrated by Peterson in recent years, in a series of freewheeling and off-the-cuff recordings, several of the tracks backed by the group of Brownswood signee, Joe Armon-Jones. Featuring Dylan Jones, James Mollison, Mutale Chashi, and Marijus Aleksa as well as guest turns from Fatima, Asheber, Nubya Garcia, Hak Baker, and Oscar Jerome, plus a double track special from Bristol based collective, Ishmael Ensemble.

            Forest Law

            Forest Law EP

              Rio meets Romford on Forest Law’s EP, the Essex-raised, London-based artist’s debut on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood label. He was first discovered through Future Bubblers, Peterson’s programme for new and unsigned artists, and this release is an assured introduction to the singer and multi-instrumentalist’s tight, groove-driven sound. The EP features Esa Williams (Soundway, Rush Hour) on the berimbau on ‘Keep an Eye Out’, his mentor through Future Bubblers and bandmate in Esa’s Afro-Synth Band. A bright, Brazilian-tinted sensibility runs through every track which Forest Law creates. From Hornchurch, Essex, and now based in London, he makes warm, eclectic compositions in his garden shed. He takes groove as his driving force, building outwards in kaleidoscopic directions.


              "On I Think I'm Good", the second full-length from Seattle-raised, Brooklyn-based drummer and composer, Kassa Overall, the fast-rising musician masterfully dissolves the barriers between hip hop and jazz music. Taking cues from Karriem Riggins, Madlib and Flying Lotus, Overall matches jazz improvisation with beatmaker ingenuity. He’s ambitious as much as he is accomplished, dicing with serious subject matter as he leaps between the record’s soulful, kaleidoscope trip of ideas. The record features a cadre of New York’s brightest up and comers, including Joel Ross and Morgan Guerin, as well as some of its big hitters, such as Brandee Younger and Theo Croker. It even features an especially recorded cameo from legendary activist and author Dr. Angela Davis.

              It’s an album that speaks to the contemporary state of America. Overall wrestles with the abhorrent American prison system, the ebbs and flows of romantic relationships, and his experiences of grappling with mental health and hospitalisation. I Think I'm Good conveys a singular feeling of intimacy, a byproduct of Overall’s indie hustle and uncanny at-home and on-the-fly production methods. It’s the perfect vehicle for Overall’s delicate meditations, weighing up emotions of despair, but never drowning out the feeling of a fragile but vital hope.


              STAFF COMMENTS

              says: A rich jazzy foundation for soulful vocals and nigh-spoken word, given the space to breathe and slowly groove around rolling basslines and modern percussive elements. Enchanting, uplifting and dreamy.

              A heavy new compilation from Brownswood shines a light on the independent underground in Melbourne, where a close-knit collection of artists have taken cues from soul, jazz and club culture to carve out a fresh Melbournian sound. Featuring nine different groups, many of them sharing members and studios, the record surveys the musical contours of this bubbling scene, nodding to house, broken beat, samba, p-funk and soul.

              Recorded over a week at The Grove, a fabled house-cum-studio in the North Melbourne suburb of Coburg, it’s home to the record’s engineer, Nick Herrera, and two members of Hiatus Kaiyote, the city’s breakout gangster-soul dons with whom many of the record’s personnel have collaborated. Silentjay was musical director, the Rhythm Section-affiliated multi-instrumentalist and producer (who’s played with Joey Bada$$ and Flying Lotus) marshalling together the album’s different players, many of them part of influential collectives 30/70 and Mandarin Dreams.

              Nurtured in the city’s collaborative, close-knit confines, the scene has been bubbling up under the radar of Australian music institutions, in the garages and makeshift studios of Melbourne’s suburban sprawl. Sunny Side Up is a colourful portrait of the scene’s potential, exploring the story behind this flourishing period and shining light on some of its most compelling figures.

              STAFF COMMENTS

              says: Brownswood shifts its focus to creative collectives from Melbourne in Sunny Side Up, filled to the brim with Afro-beat, jazzy goodness and samba. From Allysha Joy to SilentJay, this compilation provides the relaxing chilled tones which make you want to sail away on an idyllic coastline.

              A Sun-dazzled California folk is diced with the murkier corners of the UK dance lineage by the Doncaster raised, multi-talented wonder. Dub echo, hip-hop lyricism and heavy guitar fuzz are boiled down into a heady, characteristic musical brew.

              On “Dreaming Is Dead Now”, multi-talented wonder Skinny Pelembe meditates on grief, heartache, stunted aspirations and fresh possibilities in post-recession Britain. For his debut album, the Johannesburg-born, Doncaster-raised artist weaves together a patchwork of personal and musical touchstones; memories and observations are dreamily laced together, sun-dazzled California folk diced with the murkier corners of the UK dance lineage.

              Tipping a hat to West London broken beat as much as My Bloody Valentine, the album was co-produced by Malcolm Catto (of The Heliocentrics, who’s previously worked with Yussef Kamaal, DJ Shadow, and Madlib), who helped to distil down its bounty of ingredients into the record’s distinctive flavour. Tough, tight-programmed rhythms are washed over with fuzzy overtures, and the title track is the product of a studio session with a foundational drum & bass duo (credited under the covert alias of The Bleeding Edge). It’s the rare kind of record where the messy, in-between musical spaces are given a light to shine.

              First discovered through the Gilles Peterson- and Brownswoodfounded Future Bubblers programme, Skinny has since made it onto Peterson’s iconic Brownswood Bubblers compilation series, performed and collaborated with fellow Future Bubbler Yazmin Lacey, and been tipped by the likes of Ghostpoet and James Lavelle. Praise has also come from The Observer, The Quietus and Huck, with previous singles “Spit / Swallow” and “I Just Wanna Be Your Prisoner” bumped up onto heavy rotation on BBC 6 Music’s A-List. He’s also been in demand for live sessions with The Vinyl Factory and Worldwide FM, and supported Nightmares on Wax and Maribou State.


              STAFF COMMENTS

              says: Dreamy, hazy vocals from Skinny Pelembe on this new Brownswood release hits all the right spots. A mixture of jazz coated broken beats and lethargic slowed-down samples, ‘Dreaming Is Dead Now’ is the album to be on right now!

              Bridging distinct but closely connected music scenes can open new possibilities. On ‘No More Normal’, Swindle confidently grasps the different sides to the UK music scene. Boasting roots in the boundary-pushing world of Grime & Dubstep, this album marks the next step in the London-raised producer’s expanded vision for his music. It fuses different disciplines together in new and electrifying ways. He connects a group of peers sharing creative common ground, one that centres around the fertile space between UK Jazz, Grime and Hip Hop. The results span from lush, strings-laden soul to voicebox-heavy p-funk – often in the course of one song. “It’s a class photo of 2018,” he says. “I need everyone in this picture.” It incorporates an all-star cast of MC’s in Kojey Radical, Ghetts, D Double E and P Money, to instrumentalists Yussef Dayes, Nubya Garcia, Riot Jazz, and singers such as Etta Bond, Eva Lazarus, Daley and Kiko Bun.

              The album was built over a three year period. The opening track “‘What We Do’ became the track that set the scene for each studio session, a way of Swindle explaining what he was setting out to achieve. Featuring an (on paper) unusual combination of R&B singer Daley, Grime legends P Money & D Double E, and an opening speech from Bristol-based spoken word artist, Rider Shafique - “It describes the narrative of the record overall and helped set the agenda for what followed - I made a lot of tracks that were really good that at the end of the day didn’t fit this project”. The resulting work has a pervading sense of triumph against the odds, and a celebration of togetherness at this moment of fragmentation that manages to feel both optimistic and nostalgic. A record that could have only been made in today’s multicultural Britain. “No More Normal is the idea of us doing our thing, our way, with no rules or limitations. It is jazz influenced as much as it is grime influenced. It’s London influenced as much as it is LA influenced. I can work with D Double E and Nubya Garcia, these records are my imagination brought to life in musical form”.



              STAFF COMMENTS

              says: High energy Hip Hop at its finest, Swindle’s album No More Normal varies from Jazz to Hip Hop, Grime to R&B and just a bit of everything in-between. My personal favourites are ‘Knowledge’ and ‘Grateful’, articulate lyrics and boss beats create this confident and collaborative album.

              Toshio Matsuura Group

              Loveplaydance - 8 Scenes From The Floor

              On ‘LOVEPLAYDANCE’, legendary Tokyo DJ and producer Toshio Matsuura charts a new direction. Casting musical cornerstones in a fresh light, the Toshio Matsuura Group features Tom Skinner (drummer for Sons of Kemet and Owiny Sigoma Band amongst others) as its musical director, as well as some of the UK’s most exciting jazz-influenced musicians. Drawing on years of surveying and curating different corners of music, Matsuura deftly combines this talented pool of players into one singular, wide-ranging album.

              A co-founder of Japan’s United Future Organisation (aka U.F.O.), this new record sees Matsuura reconnect with longstanding friend and collaborator Gilles Peterson. Releasing the album via Brownswood Recordings in the UK, it’s a continuation of a relationship which started as a bridge between London’s then-blossoming jazz scene and Tokyo’s new musical vanguard of the early ‘90s. This album continues that two-way dialogue between Japan and the UK.

              The project is focused on covers, putting classic or influential tracks in a new context, spanning a cross-section of Matsuura’s taste. On ‘Black Gold of the Sun’, Cuban vocalist Daymé Arocena fronts a new take on the Rotary Connection classic, along with a band – guided by Tom Skinner – that features her prodigious Havana-based players. Elsewhere, Byron Morris and Unity’s ‘Kitty Bey’, a Dingwalls classic, is knocked into a tight, high energy new shape (by a band that includes Yussef Dayes, Yazz Ahmed and Nubya Garcia.)

              The scope of the music reflects the breadth of Matsuura’s interests. It ranges from Bugges Wesseltoft’s Detroit-influenced, dancefloor-minded jazz, stretched out into a more meditative contemplation, to Flying Lotus’ LA-rooted, Brainfeeder beatmaking, translated from laptop-to-live, given a new, equally idiosyncratic lease of life. Elsewhere, Carl Craig’s iconic ‘At Les’ is taken in a looser direction, the overtones of euphoria cast in a different hue.

              They’re touchpoints which hint at interests in the different, diffuse corners of electronic music, and how they connect to jazz and improvisation. Coming to this project from the perspective of a DJ, producer and curator, it’s an album that shows his grasp of the bigger picture. This album shows him finding the threads which connect those different scenes together, exploring a to-and-fro – between live, played instruments, and the possibilities found in laptops and samplers – which has long been a backdrop to music aimed at dancefloors.

              STAFF COMMENTS

              says: Brownswood yet again producing the best jazz around, the twist of classic jazz presented in a contemporary way is fab! A favourite of mine has to be the Flying Lotus cover Do The Astral Plane!

              A primer on London’s bright-burning young jazz scene, this new compilation brings together a collection of some of its sharpest talents. A set of nine newly-recorded tracks, We Out Here captures a moment where genre markers matter less than raw, focused energy. Looking at the album’s running order, it could easily serve as a name-checking exercise for some of London’s most-tipped and hardworking bands of the past couple of years. Recorded across three long, fruitful days in a North West London studio, the crossover between each of the groups speaks to the close-knit circles which make up the scene.

              Surveying the way that London’s jazz-influenced music had spread outside of its usual spaces in recent years, this album bottles up some of the vital ideas emanating from that burgeoning movement. Giving a platform to a scene where mutual cooperation and a DIY spirit are second-nature, it’s a window into the wide-eyed future of London’s musical underground.

              Ubiquitous, much-lauded saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings is the project’s musical director. His own recent projects span from South Africa-connected, spiritually-minded jazz players Shabaka and the Ancestors to Sons of Kemet, who match diasporically-connected compositions with viscerally-direct live shows. His entry on the album, ‘Black Skin, Black Masks’, is typically difficult-to-define: with an off-kilter, shifting rhythmic backbone, repeated phrases – mirrored between clarinet and bass clarinet – shape the track with an alluring hue. His input ties together a deft, genre-agnostic sensibility that’s shared through all the players on the record.

              Theon Cross – who’s also part of Sons of Kemet with Hutchings – starts his track, ‘Brockley’, with the solo, distinctive low rumble of his tuba. Winding and mesmeric, it sees tuba and sax lines winding together in rhythmic and melodic parallels. Ezra Collective – whose drummer and bandleader Femi Koleoso has toured with Pharaohe Monch – run a tight, Afrobeat-tipped rhythm on ‘Pure Shade’, with the final third changing gear into a melodic, momentous closing stretch.

              Joe Armon-Jones, whose ludicrous chops on the piano have seen him touring with the likes of Ata Kak, showcases earworm-like, insistent motifs on ‘Go See’, balanced with a playful, improvisatory approach with room for ad-libbing and solos a-plenty. Taking a softer tact than many of the other entries, Kokoroko – whose guitarist Oscar Jerome has been making waves with his solo material – spin a lyrical, steady-paced meditation on ‘Abusey Junction’, matching chanted vocals with gently-played guitar.

              Nodding to spiritual jazz influences, Maisha’s ‘Inside The Acorn’ is a wandering, explorative rumination, balancing delicate washes of piano and percussion with sharp interplay between flute and bass clarinet. In contrast, Nubya Garcia’s ‘Once’ is taut and carefully-poised, her tenor sax guiding a carefully-built energy to an explosive conclusion. And finally, Triforce’s ‘Walls’ is a performance in two parts: starting with Mansur Brown’s languorous, lyrical guitar, the second half switches up to a low-slung, g-funk-tipped groove.

              STAFF COMMENTS

              says: The trusty Brownswood label at the rescue again to point out all the new music you should be listening too, We Out Here is a collection of London’s blooming and ever-growing young musicians Jazz scene. This captures the vibe and hub around upcoming Jazz, elements of traditional raw Jazz elements matched with swooning percussion. The contemporary style reaches back into its essential past and is shone in a new era of up and coming artists.

              The borders between London’s musical tribes have always been porous. For Yussef Kamaal, the sound of the capital – with its hum of jungle, grime and broken beat – has shaped a selftaught, UKtipped approach to playing jazz. In the states, the genre’s longrunning to-and-fro with hip hop – from Robert Glasper to Kamasi Washington – has reimagined it within US culture. On Black Focus, Yussef Kamaal frame jazz inside the basssaturated, pirate radio broadcasts of London.

              Taking inspiration from the anything-goes spirit of ‘70s jazzfunk, on albums by Herbie Hancock or the Mahavishnu Orchestra, it’s a loose template with plenty of room to experiment. The pair, made up of Yussef Dayes and Kamaal Williams (aka Henry Wu), have had little in the way of formal training. Instead, their musical tastes – and approach to playing – are indebted to Thelonious Monk’s piano as much as the drum programming of Kaidi Tatham.

              “It's all about the drums and the keys,” Williams says. “Not to take anything from anyone else, but that's where it all originates from: the chords, the rhythm of the chords and the drums.” Born out of a oneoff live session to perform Williams’ solo material for Boiler Room, it soon became a project in its own right. Coming together as Yussef Kamaal, they played a series of live shows where little more than a chord progression would be planned before taking to the
              stage.

              Bringing that unspoken understanding to the recording sessions (engineered by Malcolm Catto of The Heliocentrics), the unplanned, telepathically spawned grooves retain the raw energy of their live shows. “It's not so much about complete arrangement, it's more about flow,” Dayes says. “A lot of the tracks are just made spontaneously – Henry will be playing two chords, I'll fill in the groove and we'll just leave the arrangement naturally.” Both hail from South East London, crossing paths in 2007 as teenagers playing their first pub gigs around Peckham and Camberwell. Dayes drums for cosmicallyinclined, afrobeat outfit United Vibrations, while Williams – on top of drumming and playing keys in different incarnations over the years – has made waves with his solo, synthdraped house 12"s for muchfêted labels like 22a and Rhythm Section.

              Moving in the same circles but never playing together previously, rhythm underpins an innate musical understanding. As Williams explains, “The way we approach it is all about the energy and the feeling. We just get in there and we feel it out.” Drawing influence from all corners of London’s shapeshifting musical makeup, the sound of Black Focus is distilled – or focused – down to the core interlock between drums and keys.


              STAFF COMMENTS

              says: The purists might argue that this isn't strictly jazz, I'm happy to argue back. It might use elements of broken beat and house on its journey but jazz is the final destination.

              Anushka

              Distorted Air EP

                THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2014 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

                Brighton-based duo Max Wheeler (producer) and Victoria Port (singer/songwriter) are a classic British concoction of jazz-inflected heady dance floor thrills. While Victoria’s melodies bring the sweetness, the tracks have the low-end weight to please DJ mavens like Karizma and Brackles on Rinse and Moxie and Annie Mac on Radio 1.

                The results could be described as a UK Funky Lorde. The ‘Distorted Air’ EP forthcoming on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings, is full of Victoria’s songwriting on fractious romance, ever the well-spring of transcendent pop with sweet female attitude. There’s relationship breakdown on ‘Broken Circuit’ or the claustrophobia of ‘World In A Room’. All of which brings to mind 1998 Talkin’ Loud signing MJ Cole and his bedroom produced classic ‘Sincere’ which traded on a similar brew of jazz, musicality, connection with the living dance floor and the pull and push of love.


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