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Takuya Kuroda

Midnight Crisp / Fly Moon Die Soon

Takuya Kuroda is a highly respected trumpeter and arranger born in Kobe, Japan and based in New York City. 'Midnight Crisp' is Takuya's seventh studio album, entirely self-produced and following 2020's highly acclaimed 'Fly Moon Die Soon', also released on UK label First Word (winner of the Worldwide Award's Label of the Year in 2019). Consisting of six new tracks, this once again sees Takuya displaying his unique hybrid sound, blending soulful jazz, funk, post-bop, fusion and hip hop.

After following the footsteps of his trombonist brother playing in big bands, he relocated to New York to study jazz & contemporary music at The New School in Union Square; a course he graduated from in the mid-noughties. It was here that Takuya met vocalist José James, with whom he worked on the 'Blackmagic' and 'No Beginning No End' projects.

Following graduation, Takuya established himself further in the NYC jazz scene, performing with the likes of Akoya Afrobeat and in recent years with DJ Premier's BADDER band. Premier said "The BADDER Band project was put together by my manager, and an agent I've known since the beginning of my Gang Starr career. He said, 'What if you put a band together that revolved around a trumpet player from Japan named Takuya Kuroda? He's got a hip-hop perspective and respect in the jazz field…"

Takuya Kuroda is already incredibly prolific, releasing six albums in the past decade and fortifying a solid reputation in the global jazz scene. 2011 saw the release of Takuya's independently-produced debut album, 'Edge', followed by 'Bitter and High' the following year and 'Six Aces' on P-Vine in 2013. Takuya was signed to the legendary Blue Note Records in 2014 for his album 'Rising Son', as well as appearing on their 2019 cover versions project, 'Blue Note Voyage'. He released his 5th album 'Zigzagger' on Concord in 2016, which also featured Antibalas on a reimagining of the Donald Byrd classic 'Think Twice'.

His last album was the afore-mentioned 'Fly Moon Die Soon' on First Word, which appears on the second disc here on CD for the very first time, and received plays and support from the likes of Pitchfork, Earmilk, Bandcamp Weekly, Worldwide FM, All About Jazz, Apple Music, Tidal, Stereogum, Treble, Brooklyn Vegan, FIP (France), Tony Minvielle, Jazz FM, Huey Morgan (BBC 6 Music), BBC Radio 3, Novena Carmel, KCRW and tons more DJs, tastemakers, selectors, radio stations, bloggers & magazines.

TRACK LISTING

1. Midnight Crisp
2. Time Coil
3. It's Okay
4. Dead End Dance
5. Old Picture
6. Choy Soda
7. Fade (feat. Corey King)
8. ABC
9. CHANGE (feat. Corey King)
10. Do No Why
11. Fly Moon Die Soon
12. Moody
13. Sweet Sticky Things
14. Tell Me A Bedtime Story
15. TKBK

This is Kaidi's 4th solo album under his own name, following on from 'An Insight To All Minds' (2021), 'It's A World Before You' (2018), and 'In Search Of Hope' (re-pressed in 2020), all released on First Word, along with several EPs from 2017 onwards.

To bring you up to speed, Kaidi Tatham is a legendary multi-instrumentalist born in the Midlands and based in Belfast. Once dubbed "the UK's Herbie Hancock" by Benji B, he's a virtuoso on the keys and a true innovator in sound production as one of the original creators of the Broken Beat sound. Over the years his musical prowess has blessed numerous projects, recently with the likes of DJ Jazzy Jeff, Andrew Ashong and with longtime accomplice, Dego. This in addition to session and remix work for artists such as Mulatu Astatke, Slum Village, Marcos Valle, Amy Winehouse, Soul II Soul, Nubya Garcia, Rosie Frater-Taylor and Leroy Burgess, along with First Word label mates Eric Lau, Children of Zeus, Allysha Joy and Darkhouse Family. Kaidi is also a revered DJ known for rocking parties globally, whilst his solo catalogue spans tons of EPs and releases for labels such as Dego's 2000 Black, Alex Nut's Eglo Records and Theo Parrish's Sound Signature.

This new album 'Don't Rush The Process' opens with an intro of sweet strings on 'Mystery Solved', ahead of lead title track, which is on a mid-tempo boom bap vibe, before switching to a more uptempo boogie vein, with the assistance of The Easy Access Orchestra, who also appear on 'We Chillin' Out', which is on a similar boogie tip. 'All I Need' is some gospel flavoured hip hop, whilst 'Knocknee Donkey' steps things up in a jazz-funk fashion. The second half of the album takes on a very Brazilian flavoured stance, with a set of delicious latin flavoured grooves on 'Any Flavour', 'Runnin' Tru', 'What A Dream' and 'Sooretama', the latter featuring the additional prowess of pianist Robert Mitchell. There's a touch more of the hip hop beats thrown in via 'Funky Fool' and the album closes out in inimitable Kaidi style with a short message: 'Mind Yourself'.

A hugely prolific artist, here he adds to an already impressive catalogue, a body of work that falls within the cracks of jazz and dance music, exemplifying modern British black brilliance; uncompromising, innovative, groundbreaking, intricately sophisticated and deeply funky. His fanbase expands on every release and it's no surprise that that fanbase includes a diverse set of peers such as Madlib ("ahead of his time"), Gilles Peterson ("a key part of an entire movement"), K15 ("a limitless source of inspiration") and Kyle Hall.

STAFF COMMENTS

Millie says: The musician's musician and broken beat pioneer Kaidi Tatham graces us with a lavish selection of boom-bap, semi-instrumental hip-hop and pure broken beat funk. It's an amazing collection from this much-lauded innovator.

TRACK LISTING

1. Mystery Solved
2. Don't Rush The Process (feat. The Easy Access Orchestra)
3. Just Not Right Rudi
4. All I Need
5. We Chillin' Out (feat. The Easy Access Orchestra)
6. Knocknee Donkey
7. Any Flavour
8. Funky Fool
9. Sooretama (feat. Robert Mitchell)
10. Runnin' Tru
11. What A Dream
12. Mind Yourself

Delivered unfiltered, straight from the soul, ´Torn : Tonic' pulls us into a 10 track journey that weaves through the multiplicity of letting go, standing tall, and creating space all at once. The album's expansive and vivid exploration of healing examines the power that comes with accepting the complexity of change. Allysha walks listeners through the remedy she finds in sound and emerges empowered to share this healing with others. Deeply moving and lyrically compelling, 'Torn : Tonic' hosts a stellar line-up of artists, creating a world of collective power, growth, and hope.

Allysha Joy is an integral member of the vibrant Melbourne soul & jazz scene, well known for both her solo work and as lead vocalist for 30/70. A uniquely-talented soul, her husky voice, and formidable Fender Rhodes prowess have garnered attentive audiences around the world.

Her 2018 debut album 'Acadie : Raw' was named 'Best Soul Album' at the Music Victoria Awards, featured in Bandcamp's 'Top Soul Albums' of the year and received a nomination for 'Best Jazz Album' at the Worldwide Awards. An incredibly prolific artist, Allysha has released on labels; Rhythm Section, Gondwana, Future Classic, Total Refreshment Centre and now another drop for First Word, after her acclaimed 2020 EP, 'Light It Again'.

Allysha's production on 'Torn : Tonic' effortlessly arches across a sonic palette, comprised of shuffling broken grooves and exquisite celestial melodies. There are healthy swathes of skippy neo-soul boom bap sensibilities, entwined with stark swing-laden electronic percussion, Detroit-esque sun-saturated synths, and Antipodean bruk backbeats. And whilst this project was produced entirely by Joy herself, she is far from alone, inviting in an array of female and non-binary artists to bless assorted tracks with their own unique gifts. Ego Ella May, BINA, Rara Zulu, Belle Bangard and Dancing Water all appear, expanding upon the formulaic roles of featured artists to share the creative space as equal collaborators.

'Torn : Tonic' exudes vibes, from the opening whiplash snare of 'Peace, to the rolling jazz-bruk of lead single 'Let It!', to the sweet soulful sonics of 'Still Dreaming', to the closing triumphant shout of "All Joy!!" on 'G.N.D.', this is a 40-minute opus that will definitely require repeat listening.

Allysha's poetic introspection reveals the album's intention to demand space, purpose, and pleasure. Her words are deliberate and direct to the alarm bells and messages her artistic vision carries. Fluid, cross-genre, and spirited with generational stories embodied, 'Torn : Tonic' sits at the intersection of a feminist manifesto of Joy's momentous leap as an artist, and her exploration of what it means to be human in today's capitalist-driven world.

In Allysha's words, 'Torn : Tonic' is exactly as the name describes. "It is looking directly into the shadow of pain and overcoming it with joy. No love songs! Just social, political, emotional anthems for change! It is the first record I have produced entirely on my own and it feels like that perseverance that I have consistently had to conjure up is embedded in this music, overcoming my own conditioning in a society and industry that constantly tells me I can't, so I must!"

TRACK LISTING

1. Peace (feat. Rara Zulu)
2. Calling You (feat. Ego Ella May)
3. YK X YE (feat. BINA)
4. Let It!
5. Quit, Trying So Hard
6. Still Dreaming (feat. Rara Zulu)
7. Remedy
8. Healers (feat. Dancing Water)
9. Fatima (feat. Belle Bangard)
10. G.N.D.

Werkha hails from Manchester and has been releasing music for a decade, collaborating and remixing artists such as Quantic, Bryony Jarman-Pinto, Marcos Valles and Andrew Ashong. Werkha and his live band have been lighting up dancefloors in recent months at venues such as Low Four Studio in Manchester and The Jazz Cafe in London, with festival appearances locked for the Summer at the likes of We Out Here and Moovin. In past years, he has toured extensively with artists like Bonobo, Chet Faker and Mr Scruff.

In 2020, Werkha released 'The Rigour' on First Word, and dropped 'Beat Tapestry' in late 2021 on a limited cassette. 'All Werk Is Play' marks Werkha's first full-length solo project since his debut album 'Colours Of A Red Brick Raft' on Tru Thoughts in 2015, and sees this multi-talented musician produce a delightfully vibrant body of werk.

This album is predominantly a set of uptempo compositions from Werkha (real name Tom Leah), fusing analogue jazz-funk vibes with modern dance music sensibilities. Nestling somewhere between broken beat and breakbeat, Werkha has been nurturing his own unique sonics for some time; incorporating live horns & wind instruments with bass, double-bass, harp and guitar, along with a selection of sweet squelchy synths and deliciously delectable drum programming.

We've had several single releases from this project so far, namely 'Eterno Retorno' (with Portuguese singer Moreiya),'In Saint-Gilles' (with Brussels DJ & producer, Le Motel), 'Move Different' (with Mancunian singer & musician Ellen Beth Abdi), 'Beauty & The Bloc' and 'Battered Mars Bar'. As well as the afore-mentioned collaborations, this album also features bars from legendary MCR MC Chunky (Swamp81 / Levelz) on 'May Day', soulful vocals from Kemani Anderson (Secret Night Gang) on 'Count Yer Pace' and some heavyweight accompaniment from the likes of bassists Nick Blacka (GoGo Penguin) and Tom Driessler (Adele, Tom Misch, Jordan Rakei) amongst others.

'All Werk Is Play' was an opportunity for Werkha to produce a full body of work in the conceptual formation of an album, as opposed to a set of singles strung together. From 'The Rigour' EP to the subsequent releases, this album completes a circle in his current creative curve, from a design perspective and sonically. Werkha has been steadily pushing his own self-production and musicality, embracing mistakes, and challenging himself both creatively and mentally. As a self-edutaining piece, the depth, nuances and examples of work as play are numerous, and whilst each track was thematically inspired by different topics, the fun element of "play" was always forefront in his mind, to ultimately create something powerful, yet positive.

In Werkha's words "this record is dedicated to mixing things up, to walking down that street for once because your feet took you that way, to deciding not to take the bus today, to moments of improv, to breaking with convenience, to challenging structure, to play."

STAFF COMMENTS

Millie says: Manchester local Werkha treating us to this 14 track album of chilled jazzy goodness. This is going straight to the front of my bag to play records out and it'll have a instant residence there rent free. It makes for the best easy listening, don't sleep on this one as you'll be kicking yourselves later.

TRACK LISTING

1. All Werk Is Play
2. Move Different
3. You Kraft
4. Eterno Retorno (feat. Moreiya)
5. Battered Mars Bar
6. Downtools & Boost
7. In Saint-Gilles (feat. Le Motel)
8. May Day (feat. Chunky)
9. On The Rhythm Of It
10. Microwerk
11. Beauty & The Bloc
12. Pick Up Football
13. Count Yer Pace (feat. Kemani Anderson)
14. Dérive

Don Leisure

Shaboo Strikes Back

    Five years have passed since the first 'Shaboo' album was released. A collection of beats and pieces that documented the road trip of Don's youth - hip hop music interspersed with Asian radio station jingles of old, dedicated to Bollywood actor, Nasser 'Shaboo' Bharwani - Don Leisure's late uncle.

    This album was heralded as "the best album of its kind since J Dilla's 'Donuts'" and deemed "unmissable" by the folks at Piccadilly Records. It also had strong support from BBC 6 Music's Tom Ravenscroft ("very, very good this indeed"), Huey Morgan ("my beat of the week"), Worldwide FM's Lefto ("defo down with this"), Rob Da Bank ("this is wicked") and the likes of Mathieu Schreyer (KCRW, LA), Alex Ruder (KEXP, Seattle), Kid Fonque (5FM, South Africa), Om Unit, Jon1st, Mr Thing, Rob Luis (Tru Thoughts), Dom Servini (Wah Wah 45s), Tim Parker (NTS) and tons more from across the globe.

    Don Leisure is a DJ and producer based in Cardiff, Wales, sometimes known as one half of Darkhouse Family, along with Earl Jeffers. He's been a prolific beat-maker for many years, releasing under a variety of monikers for labels such as Metalheadz, International Anthem, Fat City, Izwid, Earnest Endeavours and Group BraCil. His most recent release was a remix for Gruff Rhys, which was released on Rough Trade.

    In 2020 he was nominated for the Welsh Music Prize for his 'Steel Zakusi' project, and has dropped several releases for First Word, including the acclaimed 2019 'Halal Cool J' album and various Darkhouse Family projects, including collabs with artists as diverse as Charlotte Church, Om'Mas Keith and Children of Zeus's Tyler Daley, additionally to remixes from DJ Spinna and label-mate, Kaidi Tatham. As a DJ he has provided mixes for BBC 6 Music, NTS, Rinse FM, Solid Steel and Boxout FM in India, as well as performing at The Jazz Cafe, Fabric and on Boiler Room.

    'Shaboo Strikes Back' is a much-awaited sequel to the 2017 smash, and again features a modest 25 tracks. Psychedelic fuzzy samples and phat beats aplenty, Don Leisure once again takes us on a far-out trip across soundscapes. A real tapestry of flavours, from jazz to reggae, and from the soulful to the spiritual, this time round he's invited a few special guests to join him on his travels - most notably Welsh legend Gruff Rhys provides the vocals on 'Neon Drizzle (Hotel Shaboo)', whilst acclaimed multi-instrumentalist Angel Bat Dawid and Jazzman-signed harpist Amanda Whiting lend their talents to 'All Praises Due'. There is even a special cameo appearance from his young daughter, (aka Shaboo's great-niece!), Naima, on 'Naima's Dream'.

    Once again, this is a journey into sound.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Egg Yolk Bun
    2. In The City
    3. Beyond A Shadow
    4. Regency
    5. Shaboo Strikes Back
    6. Big Trouble
    7. Amiga 3000
    8. The Balcony (feat. David Newington)
    9. Love Theme
    10. Shaboo's Hideout
    11. Clearing Skies
    12. Chase Theme
    13. El Mono Was Here
    14. Naima's Dream
    15. Beware
    16. Samosa Swiss
    17. Muscle Head
    18. Sugar Cane Juice
    19. Holistic Healan
    20. King Of Alperton
    21. Almost Lost It
    22. All Praises Due (feat. Angel Bat Dawid & Amanda Whiting)
    23. GTO Nights
    24. Neon Drizzle (Hotel Shaboo) [feat. Gruff Rhys]
    25. End Credits

    Following on from his EP 'The Rigour' from early 2020, the Mancunian musician dropped a little taste of his new material late last year in the form of single 'Battered Mars Bar' and limited cassette 'Beat Tapestry'. Now we have a double aa-side single featuring two cuts from his forthcoming album 'All Werk Is Play'.

    'Eterno Retorno' features the glorious Portuguese vocals of Moreiya, gliding across Werkha's uniquely skippy bruk vibes, with squelchy bass stabs and delicate guitar strums in tow.

    'In Saint-Gilles' keeps the tempo up, cleverly switching between a 4/4 and a half-time rhythm. This one bringing more European vibes with the talents of DJ/Producer Le Motel from Belgium also behind the boards.

    Both tracks have already been shown support from the likes of AtJazz & DJ Paulette.

    Werkha hails from Manchester and has been releasing music for a decade, collaborating and remixing artists such as Quantic, Bryony Jarman-Pinto, Marcos Valles and Andrew Ashong, and touring with Bonobo, Chet Faker and Mr Scruff.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Eterno Retorno (feat. Moreiya)
    2. In Saint-Gilles (feat. Le Motel)

    Parisian multi-instrumentalist Will Galland has been with First Word since late 2014, providing several releases for us over the years, from his acclaimed debut album 'The First Day' to his last EP release, the organic opus 'Human Being - The Short Story Of The Reed'. Collaborations have included Makaya McCraven, Oddisee, Miles Bonny and First Word crew such as Eric Lau, Bastien Keb and Sarah Williams White, who he teamed up with on his classic remix of the track 'Hum' and most recently on the track 'One By One' which appeared on the compilation EP 'A Family Affair' at the start of 2021.

    For his latest project, 'Movements' sits firmly in the realms of broken beat, after being heavily inspired at First Word's infamous 14th birthday party at Total Refreshment Centre, where he played alongside label-mates such as Kaidi Tatham and Children of Zeus. This delectable six-track EP encompasses a series of deeply percussive grooves and squelchy synths. This is a predominantly instrumental affair, though does feature the supremely soulful vocals of Oliver Night on the track 'Change Must Come', following on from Oliver's work with the CoOp Presents crew amongst others.

    Quiet Dawn says "after the birth of my son, I took the time to get back to making new music.

    And when I started to work on new tracks, I wanted to compose something without concept, unlike my previous records, just because time is precious and I wanted to find pleasure again when I composeand not be fixed to a concept, or a story.



    These new tracks are instinctive; made with my main instruments, rhodes & piano, synths, percussions, vocals, bass and guitars. They are naturally oriented towards my big musical crush, BRUK, along with different rhythms, vibes and grooves. For me, it's definitely a record for the dancers. For this reason, the new EP is called 'Movements'. Aside from the dancer's element, the title relates to everything that is happening in the world at the moment, working on this record over the pandemic. Affecting people in all countries, friendship, mutual aid, solidarity and movements in many instances are very important to me, my family and my musical family, First Word.'



    The influences on this particular EP come largely from the West London music scene; DKD, Bugz, Neon Phusion, 2000Black, Domu, IG Culture, Jazztronik, MdCL, the First Word fam and many many more artists. There are also heavy vibes inspired by 70's jazz, funk, disco, latin & african music."

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Millie says: First World Records are the label that just keep on giving, this is my new jam of broken beat jazz from Quiet Dawn has the best energy heading into the weekend.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Yellow
    2. Change Must Come (feat. Oliver Night)
    3. Breathe
    4. Swirl
    5. We Can Do Everything
    6. Coming Up

    First Word Records is very pleased to present a brand new full-length album from Sarah Williams White! Emanating from the "hilly fields of Lewisham" in South London, Sarah Williams White is a singer songwriter, multi instrumentalist and producer. Her sound is a unique blend of psych-soul, folktronica and experimental synth-pop.

    Sarah released her acclaimed debut album 'Of The New World' on First Word in 2015, which was written, produced and performed by Sarah from her home studio, with the assistance of drummer, engineer & husband, Timmy Rickard. Her projects have seen support from the likes of Lauren Laverne, Tom Ravenscroft, Nemone & Chris Hawkins (BBC 6 Music), Jamie Cullum (BBC Radio 2), FIP Radio, Clash & The Guardian, to name a few, and she's toured the UK with Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip and Golden Rules (Lex). There have been additional collaborations with label-mate Quiet Dawn (on the 2021 compilation / EP 'A Family Affair') and with her brother, Paul White - a revered producer in his own right, with credits including Danny Brown and Sudan Archives.

    Following a hiatus, Sarah now brings us her sophomore album, 'Unfathomable'. A project that offers up escapism from the mundane, enticing us to connect with our natural planet in this prevalent time, via the eyes of a new mother.

    In her words, Sarah states that the album is "about escape. It's about deflating the ego by looking up to the endlessness of outer space, connecting with the greatness of mother nature, and loving how unfathomable the universe and life itself is".

    11-tracks in all, including the recent singles 'Nebula', 'Green' and 'Monsters', this opus sees Sarah's buttery lathing of vocals merged with cutting beats and atypical pop sensibilities across the project, again entirely self-produced from home, defining her as one of the UK's most irresistible DIY psych-soul talents.

    With a voice reminiscent of Peggy Lee, tapestried harmony akin to Hiatus Kaiyote, beats fit for Little Dragon, and experimental production evocative of Kate Bush, Sarah Williams White's signature genre-defying sound invites us into a world uniquely hers.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Nebula
    2. Oh!
    3. Monsters
    4. Spectrum Of Light
    5. Those Ones
    6. Green
    7. Greetings
    8. How I Need You
    9. 364
    10. Unfathomable
    11. Exit Lyra

    First Word Records is extremely proud to welcome back Children of Zeus with their sophomore album, 'Balance'.

    Following the release of their debut album 'Travel Light' in 2018 (which featured in numerous 'Album of the Year' lists), Tyler Daley and Konny Kon spent the next two years extensively touring the UK, Europe, Australia and South Africa.

    With shows on ice over the last 12 months, Children of Zeus took the time to mature their sound; 'Balance' is 50 minutes of future-classic British soul music encompassing hip hop, neo-soul, gospel and r&b. Konny's laidback flow once again merges with Tyler's unmistakable buttery vocals across a set of bass-heavy backdrops and smoothed-out keys, taking the blueprint from their debut and evolving it into a deeper, more-refined sound.

    As with previous material, the album is largely produced by the duo themselves, though we also see the return of Grammy-winner Beat Butcha, whose previous production credits include Jay Z, Beyonce, Nipsey Hussle, & Griselda (one of Butcha's productions graces first single 'No Love Song'). Title track 'Balance' comes from upcoming producer & Soulection regular, cay caleb and also features the only vocal feature on the album, from rising UK soul talents Akemi Fox and Georgie Sweet.

    The Children of Zeus journey began with a mutual love of 90s Manchester pirate radio; consuming hip hop and beats, r&b and street soul, lovers rock and dancehall, garage and bass music. Then followed decades of performing, creating and collaborating in different guises. Over the past few years, the hip hop soul duo have garnered props far and wide; from Jazzie B to Jazzy Jeff. They've done performances for the likes of Soulection and BBC, in addition to hosting their monthly NTS Radio show and collaborating with artists like Black Milk and Goldie.

    From travelling light, to travelling nowhere, it's been a time where we've all had to reflect on the lives we lead. This album is about equilibrium; walking the thin line of life and striving to keep your footing firm at all times, ever pushing forward. Balancing the rough with the smooth and the work with the play.

    The Children of Zeus sound is now fully grown. It's time to bring 'Balance' into the universe. This is unashamedly big people music to be played out of big speakers. The definitive sound of UK street soul in 2021. The story continues..

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Millie says: Super smooth soulful grooves and pristine production isn't beyond what we've come to expect from the great Children Of Zeus, but 'Balance' sees them refining their already lauded sound to a whole new level. Languid grooves and woozy beats perfectly coalesce into a wonderfully satisfying and genre-defining whole.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Sunrise
    2. No Love Song
    3. I Know
    4. Be Someone
    5. I Need You
    6. Nice & Sweet
    7. Balance (feat. Akemi Fox & Georgie Sweet)
    8. Cali Dreams
    9. 42Long
    10. The Most Humblest Of All Time, Ever
    11. What I'm Seeing
    12. Love Again
    13: Sunset

    We started First Word Records in late 2003. The core team is based in London, but our roster is comprised of artists from all over the globe. As we look ahead to our 20th anniversary, and hit our 200th release, this EP is a collaborative effort from some of our current artists.

    As a label, we've often championed musicians that create sounds that fall within the cracks of more defined-genres. Our aim has always been to highlight unique talent where we find it, and ultimately find things we deem worthy of inclusion in the great mixtape of life! Quite often the links may not seem apparent, but we feel blessed to have been able to slowly build a family of artists that not only have great respect for each other, but will quite often collaborate together without any prompts from us. This collection of music is a series of examples of that. 'A Family Affair'.

    For this vinyl EP, there is a heavy dancefloor vibe, with four tracks that nestle within the realms of broken beat.

    Following her debut EP 'Light It Again' for us in late 2020, Allysha Joy's track 'Better' is re-visited by the don Kaidi Tatham, who reworks the track in his own inimitable way; starting on a half-tempo neo-soul vein, before switching to his trademark fusion of bruk, boogie and jazz mid-way.

    After a lengthy absence we're delighted to welcome back Quiet Dawn and Sarah Williams White, with a collaborative piece between the two entitled 'One By One'. You can expect longer projects from them both later in the year, but here's a little vibe to wet your whistle. This, the 'Bruk It' version doing exactly what it says on the tin.

    On the flipside, we have a delicious rub of Takuya Kuroda's 'Fade' featuring the vocals of Corey King and taken from Takuya's highly-acclaimed LP 'Fly Moon Die Soon'. The remix work on this one courtesy of a killer combo in their own rights, KEARL aka Earl Jeffers (Darkhouse Family) and K15 (Profusion).

    Speaking of K15, this EP closes out with his interpretation of Teotima's 'But I Can't' originally from their 2019 album 'Weightless'. Taking elements of the original vocal from Ellie Rose Rusbridge, K15 transforms this one into a dreamy boogie-tinged groove - previously supported by Mary Anne Hobbs and the like.

    Two of these tracks have never been available on vinyl before, whilst the other two are brand new tracks being released for the first time on any format.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Allysha Joy - Better (Kaidi Tatham Remix)
    2. Quiet Dawn & Sarah Williams White - One By One (Bruk It Version)
    3. Takuya Kuroda - Fade (KEARL Remix)
    4. Teotima - But I Can't (K15 Remix)

    Yazmin Lacey emerged onto the new jazz scene with her beautiful sound, her new release When the Sun Dips 90 Degrees is on First Word Records.The EP follows on from her two recent singles, '90 Degrees' and 'Something My Heart Trusts', both of which are included here, along with three previously unreleased tracks, 'Heaven', 'Body Needs Healing' and 'Burn & Rise'. This set illustrates again Yazmin's candid songwriting delivered in her uniquely laidback soulful style, whilst a glorious fusion of neo-soul and jazz performed by Pete Beardsworth and her trusty band rides throughout. Initially a Brownswood 'Future Bubbler' graduate, Yazmin self-released her debut EP, 'Black Moon', last year. This lead to a Maida Vale session late 2017 with Jordan Rakei, Moses Boyd, Oscar Jerome and now label-mates, Children of Zeus. She kicked off the year with a performance at the Worldwide Awards with Skinny Pelembe, and has recently done shows with artists such as Ezra Collective, Tall Black Guy and Fatima. Yazmin has a UK tour scheduled for later in the year, as well as several festival appearances across Europe locked in. There's a lot more to come from this Notts-based Londoner yet. In Yazmin's words: "'90 Degrees' is about that time of the day / night when there's a shift in pace and energy. When you decide to lock off from the 'outside' world and create your own atmosphere, take some time to give thanks for what's breathing love into your life and smoke off the fuckeries. Everyone needs a little routine for self preservation."


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Millie says: Beautifully warm vocals layered on top of relaxed neo-soul vibes and jazz elements has created this perfect sound that I’ve fallen in love with.

    TRACK LISTING

    1.  90 Degrees
    2.  Something My Heart Trusts
    3.  Burn & Rise
    4.  Heaven
    5.  Body Needs Healing 

    It's been a long road leading to this album for Tyler Daley and Konny Kon.

    They first embarked on their expedition into the music game two decades back - Tyler entered the scene as a songwriter, producer and vocalist, originally under the moniker Hoodman, whilst Konny began MCing, DJing and beat-making for hip hop crews The Microdisiacs and Broke'n'£nglish, along with DRS & Strategy.

    To date, Children of Zeus have released three sell-out singles on First Word ('Still Standing', 'I Can't Wait' and 'Slow Down') and a compilation EP comprised of tracks made by the duo over the last decade entitled 'The Story So Far…'.

    Children of Zeus are finally at the stage where they are releasing their debut album proper; the over-riding ethos of which is about keeping their eyes on the road ahead, whilst shedding the baggage they've accumulated over the years - 'Travel Light'.

    Features mainly come from Manny family; [ K S R ], LayFullStop, Metrodome (Levelz) and former Broke 'n' £nglish spar DRS. Guest production comes in the form of Switzerland's Sebb Bash, Nottingham's Juga-Naut, and London's Beat Butcha, and there's your favourite DJ's favourite DJ,

    Mr Thing, slicing up the turntables on two tracks too. There's a few extra special ingredients on this album, along with their trademark sub-heavy, rhodes-laden hip hop soul hybrid. Reggae music has always been an integral piece of the CoZ sound-system ethic, so we see Tyler putting on his lover's rock hat for 'Hard Work', and they invite soul queen Terri Walker to join them on the fierce 'Sling Shot Riddim', while the album closes with the epic K15-produced jazz-bruk opus, 'Vibrations', on which Konny breaks it down quite simply: "high frequency means that you travel light, so get lifted yo, we'll live gifted".

    Long as the journey has been, the time for looking back is over. This is about the present and future of Children of Zeus. A shining light in Manchester's now-school, and rightly heralded by many as the best new act to emerge in British soul music in the past decade. Aside from the above features, this project is written, performed and produced entirely by Tyler and Konny. Since the crew first took flight, the end destination has never changed, the aim remains the same - to create timeless music, in their own unique style, without compromise, irrespective of industry and life distractions. The moral being this - travel light.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Matt says: Are Children Of Zeus the most important thing to happen to Northwest hip-hop for the last ten years? Sorry, inabit everyone else! A homecoming triumph for these superstars...

    TRACK LISTING

    LP Tracklist:

    1 The Story So Far...
    2 All On You (feat. [ K S R ] & DRS)
    3 360°
    4 Slow Down
    5 Hoodman2Manhood
    6 Kintsugi
    7 The Heart Beat
    8 Fear Of A Flat Planet (feat. LayFullStop)
    9 Hard Work
    10 Sling Shot Riddim (feat. Terri Walker)
    11 Respect Mine
    12 Daddy's Car
    13 Vibrations (Divine Signature)

    CD Tracklist:

    1 The Story So Far...
    2 All On You (feat. [ K S R ] & DRS)
    3 360°
    4 Slow Down
    5 Hoodman2Manhood
    6 Kintsugi
    7 The Heart Beat
    8 Fear Of A Flat Planet (feat. LayFullStop)
    9 Hard Work
    10 Sling Shot Riddim (feat. Terri Walker)
    11 Respect Mine
    12 Daddy's Car
    13 Vibrations (Divine Signature)
    14 Still Standing
    15 Smoke With Me
    16 Crown
    17 Don't Say A Word
    18 I Can't Wait
    19 No Strings Attached
    20 No Sunshine Tomorrow
    21 Push On
    22 Elevate
    23 Happiness
    24 Rock You Internally
    25 I Want You



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