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Sunda Arc

Tides

    Sunda Arc are brothers Nick Smart and Jordan Smart. Best known as key members of folk and jazz influenced minimalists Mammal Hands, their Sunda Arc project takes inspiration from the likes of Jon Hopkins, Rival Consoles, Moderat and Nils Frahm as well as their own music world. Their debut EP 'Flicker' was released in December 2018 and now the duo are set to release their debut LP, 'Tides' on 7th February 2020.

    Named for a volcanic arc in the Indian Ocean, created by the process of massive tectonic plates colliding, Sunda Arc strives to mingle electronic and acoustic sounds until they become almost indistinguishable from each other. It's a process where they draw the acoustic properties and quirks out of electronic sounds and find the electronic potential in acoustic sounds.

    "Finding the ghost in the machine or blending the human elements of playing live is something we are always trying to explore in our work. Experimentation is a large part of our process and we tend to combine carefully composed material with chaotic ideas to find the balance between the two" — Sunda Arc

    'Tides', their debut album, takes its name from the idea of unseen forces that can affect our lives in myriad ways, being pushed and pulled and at the whim of powerful forces outside of our control as well as offering a nod to things such as the tides on our planet, tectonic plate movements and weather systems. There are often chaotic elements in these systems that function in a way that produce a type of controlled randomness on a large scale.This is something they try to reflect in their music by adopting some of the ways these systems work into musical sequences, and using ideas such as chaos theory to control musical parameters.

    "Tides is a reference to themes we were thinking a lot about during the making of this album. These include the similarities between macro and micro systems, or the circulatory and nervous systems in the body. Things that produce a type of controlled randomness on a large scale". — Sunda Arc


    'Hymn', the first single from the album, uses Nick's voice sampled and played back through a keyboard to create a human yet electronic feel. It mixes soft vocals with heavier electronic elements to create a danceable yet human sound world. 'Dawn', is best described as uplifting-techno, its use of repeated phrases building in intensity and variations to put you into a hypnotic state whilst also being industrial and danceable. 'Daemon' is one of the tracks that really resonates live. Drawing on the sound of UK dubstep it's intense but fun and the bass clarinet blends with synths at the end to create a sound almost like a vocal. 'Secret Window' brings forward another side of the band, focusing around a lo-fi recording of felted piano and bass clarinet. These are blended with granularised and processed versions of themselves which emerge like ghosts of the instruments throughout the track. 'Cluster' is another key track. It utilises a small group of notes looped in an unusual way to create a sense of cascading patterns over a solid danceable drum groove. It emphasises soprano sax blended into the sound world half-way through to lift into the final section.



    STAFF COMMENTS

    Millie says: Balancing electronic and ambient jazz, Sunda Arc have mastered the art of this combination in this stunning album Tides. Keep it coming please!

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Another Life
    2. Cluster
    3. Dawn
    4. Hymn
    5. Secret Window
    6. Everything At Once
    7. Thessaloniki
    8. Daemon
    9. Collapse
    10. Vespers 

    Sunda Arc

    Night Lands

      Sunda Arc are brothers Nick Smart and Jordan Smart, best known as two-thirds of jazz-influenced minimalists Mammal Hands, and on the 18thNovember, they are set to release their sophomore album 'Night Lands' via Gondwana Records, home to such artists as GoGo Penguin, Portico Quartet, Hania Rani and Forgiveness.

      Releasing their debut EP 'Flicker' in 2018, Sunda Arc have performed live at AB Brussels, Blue Dot Festival, The Roundhouse, Jazz Café, Reworks Festival, the Royal Albert Hall and Albert Hall, Manchester with GoGo Penguin. Their debut album 'Tides', released in 2020, received high praise from numerous tastemaker media including DJ magazine who described their music as "sounding like John Hopkins' long-lost sibling".

      Sunda Arc channels Nick and Jordan's love of electronic and dance music, without losing any of their deep musicality. Drawing on techno, electronica, neo-classical and post-rock influences, Sunda Arc compose and perform using both electronic and acoustic instruments, including analogue synthesisers, home-made software patches, piano, saxophones and bass clarinet – all finessed and channelled through their own unique creative strategies. Integrating electronic elements and experimentation with the expressiveness and energy of acoustic instruments and live performance, Sunda Arc's music is expansive and compelling. "We wanted 'Night Lands' to be an exciting listen, deliberately keeping some elements under control and having other elements of the tracks feeling like they were on the edge of tipping over into being pretty chaotic. There was also the idea of generally keeping the drums and bass pretty heavy sounding when they kick in, imaging how they would sound over a big system and then holding back and focusing on melody and texture when they weren't needed."

      From the warm, melodic textures of 'Distant Siren' and 'Beacons' to the ethereal rumblings of 'Endless Fields' and 'Night Lands', Sunda Arc immerse and engulf the listener, expanding simple melodies into bold rhythmic patterns, allowing the acoustic sounds to submerge with the electronic for maximum emotional and dramatic effect. A common theme for 'Night Lands', the duo's enthusiasm to incorporate digital and analogue sounds seamlessly and blur the line between the two, results in a sound world that has both the warmth of analogue sounds and the cold, crispness of digital. "We wanted to manipulate acoustic instruments to make them sound more like samples or older recordings at points, like with the Turkish Ney flute on 'Neon Forest' that we pitch shifted and saturated to sound more like we'd sampled an old 70s recording."

      Elsewhere, 'Static Waves' and 'Forgotten Dream' use familiar and foreign sounds with an emphasis on tone and atmosphere to create a soundscape that feels like home and alien at the same time. ""We were trying to make sure the ambient moments felt really alive on this record, like a living, breathing sound world, trying to avoid things sounding too placid. We wanted them to feel just as engaging as the tracks with heavy beats so were always looking at ways to inject as much life and character into them as we could, often recording things to tape and using real tape delays to add a bit of character and fuzzy warmth to things and combining that with more cold, clinical elements."

      At times, Sunda Arc create a harsh, brutal world allowing the sound to manipulate the listener's emotional response to each track. "We were talking about dystopian themes a fair bit when we were writing the tunes and I think being in London during the lockdown definitely had an impact on our mindset at the time. The two radio samples on 'Neon Forest' and 'Static Waves' are both just random stations we found on fm radio and recorded some short sections but I both were talking about Covid related stuff. We definitely didn't feel like making a celebratory or joyful record at that point, it was much more of an introspective and moody set of tracks we were focusing on and I guess the feeling of missing being able to go out or see friends and family played a part in this."

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Distant Siren
      2. Phantom's Gift
      3. Beacons
      4. Endless Fields
      5. Night Lands
      6. Static Waves
      7. Neon Forest
      8. Forgotten Dream
      9. Mirai
      10. Ritual
      11. Endless Skies

      Svaneborg Kardyb

      Over Tage

      Svaneborg Kardyb are Nikolaj Svaneborg - Wurlitzer, Juno, piano and Jonas Kardyb - drums, percussion a multi award winning duo from Denmark, where they won two "grammys" at the Danish Music Awards Jazz 2019: New artist of the year and Composer of the year. 
Drawing on Danish folk music and Scandinavian jazz influences, including Nils Frahm, Esbjörn Svennson and Jan Johansson's landmark recording Jazz På Svenska, their music is an exquisite and joyful melding of beautiful melodies, delicate minimalism, catchy grooves, subtle electronica vibes, Nordic atmospheres and organic interplay, all underwritten by the sheer joy of playing together. "We started in the earliest of mornings over the blackest of coffee, sometimes even without talking, just music.

      Immediately we felt a connection between our personal style of playing and the compositions emerged like out of nowhere. The vibe from these early sessions is still the backbone of our little band".

      Svaneborg Kardyb hail from Aalborg, in Jutland, in the north of Denmark where they first met in 2013 and discussed the possibility of creating a duo over late night talks. Six years went by as they both explored other projects before they eventually realised the idea of making music together. Like their new label mates, Vega Trails, Svaneborg Kardyb are a duo, a format that gives them a lot of space to occupy - or leave blank. "We enjoy the simplicity and focus it gives to the interplay. We come from very different musical backgrounds; Nikolaj from Scandinavian jazz, and Jonas from Roots, blues and folk, so the music is a sum of our personal contributions and doesn't thrive to be anything else than that. It's quite unique for us to have this shared musical tongue and friendship".

      Their music is intentionally simple at first glance, but evolves and unfolds through listening over time, with plenty of room for exploration, reflection and improvisation. Their aim is to create music that is as honest and intimate as possible "with melodies and rhythms so strong that we are left as only the messengers". And their fast-developing music chemistry allowed them to give little thought to what their musical influences were. Giving their music a captivating charm. "We explored whatever sounds and musical structures our duality gave birth to and through long jam-sessions we found small seeds of ideas that turned into tunes. Danish traditional songs, community singing and hymns are a big inspiration too. Both the tonal language, the lyrical melodies and the way generations can gather around the music, is something that is close to our hearts".

      Over Tage (over roofs) is their third album, following Knob (2019) and Haven (2020) and marks their debut for Gondwana Records a label noted for working with artists such as Mammal Hands, Portico Quartet and GoGo Penguin whose music, like that of Svaneborg Kardyb delights in exploring the fertile spaces between genres. For the duo it is their most serious and thoughtful record to date. "It may be our strongest and most honest record so far. Doubts and uncertainty were kind of the foundation for the sounds of the album but there is also hope and lots of uplifting moments and we're very pleased with how it came out." And it is that mixture of elevation and thoughtfulness, honesty and intimacy that makes the music of Svaneborg Kardyb so special and Over Tage such a joy to listen to. The world awaits.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Op
      2. Fragt
      3. Orbit
      4. Farvel
      5. Island
      6. Orkaner
      7. Blik
      8. Everything Possible
      9. Ubemærket
      10. Over Tage

      Saxophonist, flautist Chip Wickham takes us to Cloud 10 with his most soulful and lyrical album to date

      Chip Wickham is a jazz musician and producer who divides his time between Spain, UK and the Middle-East and who has made a name for himself with a series of beautifully crafted solo albums that draw equally on the hard swinging spiritual jazz of Roland Kirk, Yusef Lateef and Sahih Shihab, alongside the music of British jazz legends such as Tubby Hayes and Harold McNair and the more contemporary sounds of Jazzanova, Kyoto Jazz Massive and Robert Glasper.

      Originally from Brighton, Chip studied in Manchester and became involved in the 00's UK jazz, soul. trip-hop and funk scenes, working with the likes of The Pharcyde, The New Mastersounds and Nightmares On Wax as well as playing with Matthew Halsall's Gondwana Orchestra. And his relationship with Gondwana Records goes right back to the very beginning as he played on Halsall's 2008 debut Sending My Love.

      Cloud 10 is his debut album for Gondwana Records (following a 12" of Lonnie Liston Smith covers in May) and it is a wonderful, timeless, lyrical, slice of hard-hitting, soulful, spiritual jazz and modal hard-bop with a distinctly UK flavour - driven by Chip's deftly funky flute work and hard-hitting tenor. Underpinned by Chip's restless energy and driven by his desire to connect with the listener on a deeper level.

      "My albums are my legacy. Each one is a statement to the world of music and my contribution to its growth, its energy and ultimately its history."

      Cloud 10 features pianist Phil Wilkinson, vibes player Ton Risco, bassist Sneaky and drummer Jon Scott (all veterans of previous albums) together with harpist Amanda Whiting and percussionist Jack McCarthy whom Chip met touring in the Gondwana Orchestra, and rising star Irish trumpeter Eoin Grace who also doubles on flugel horn. The album was recorded at the legendary all analogue Estudios Brazil in Madrid, with the band spending a week at Chip's house in the mountains just outside the city, eating and drinking together, listening to music till the small hours and recording all day. It was a magical time and the positivity seeped into the recording.

      "It was a beautiful week of pure music and joy, I think you can hear it in the recording and that's the inspiration for the title: Cloud 10 is a place of a great happiness, way out beyond Cloud 9!"

      And it is that purity, energy and joy, that makes Cloud 10 such a life-affirming recording and makes Chip the perfect addition to the Gondwana Records family. Lean in, you'll be on Cloud 10 too!



      STAFF COMMENTS

      Millie says: Beautifully ambient jazz which encapsulates pure emotion and is a perfect fit that just slots into the Gondwana library. Cloud 10 is very moving, peaceful and brimming with optimism (which we could all use a little bit of about now). Perfect weekend listening.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Cloud 10
      2. Stratospheric
      3. Lower East Side
      4. Winter
      5. Tubby Chaser
      6. Dark Eyes
      7. The Hit
      8. Before I Go

      When Matthew Halsall released Salute to the Sun in November 2020, his first new album in five years, he shared the first fruits from an especially fertile period of writing and recording, which also gave birth to the music released here as The Temple Within.

      The recording sessions featured Halsall's then brand new band of hand-picked local musicians, brought together through weekly rehearsals and a monthly residency at Yes in Manchester, they forged an immersive, communal sound, drawing on spiritual jazz, the heritage of British jazz and progressive world music and electronica influences. Inspired by these monthly sessions, together, they created a body of music that is rooted in Northern England but draws on global inspirations. For Halsall the music on The Temple Within perfectly captures the spirit of those sessions.

      "I felt really excited by the connection that we were building, both together as a band, but also with the local community. People of all ages and types come to our monthly sessions and the energy of being able to write and rehearse and then perform new music each month is really uplifting. And this music is a perfect case in point. To me it really feels like a perfect pocket of music, a perfect moment. We thought about expanding it to an album, but in the end if just feels right as it is, and we wanted to share that energy of that moment with our wider community, not just people at our shows, but our fans and listeners around the world."

      The title track, and first single 'The Temple Within' is a darker, heavier tune than anything on Salute to the Sun and has become a firm part of the band's live shows. The enigmatic title is taken from a quote by Alice Coltrane and expands on the idea that your spiritual space is within yourself and not the bricks and mortar of a church or monastery or Ashram. The hard-grooving Earth Fire features beautiful flute work from Matt Cliffe and inspired drums from Alan Taylor, and offers a emotional response to the horrendous bush fires that ravaged Australia. The Eleventh Hour is another dark-toned "banger" with a late-night vibe and with its incessant groove and fiery solos is another track to have found a regular place in the band's sets. Finally, A Japanese Garden in Ethiopia takes it unique flavour from both musical cultures and is one of Halsall's most beautiful wistful compositions.

      The Temple Within features Matthew Halsall trumpet and electronics, Matt Cliffe flute & saxophone, Maddie Herbert harp, Liviu Gheorghe piano, Gavin Barras, bass, Alan Taylor drums and Jack McCarthy percussion. The Temple Within is produced by Matthew Halsall and Daniel Halsall, recorded by Matthew Halsall, mixed by Greg Freeman, mastered by Peter Beckmann of Technology Works and vinyl cut by Norman Nitzsche at Calyx. The distinctive artwork is by Ian Anderson of The Designers Republic,

      Join us on this beautiful journey to The Temple Within, the latest chapter in Halsall's ongoing musical voyage of discovery.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Matt says: Our favourite Mancunian jazz man returns! We might be biased but there's no-one can really touch him at the moment can they?! Four tracks showing the vast breadth of his (and band members) musical prowess and diversity. Unmissable!

      TRACK LISTING

      1. The Temple Within
      2. Earth Fire
      3. The Eleventh Hour
      4. A Japanese Garden In Ethiopia

      Bassist and composer Milo Fitzpatrick (Portico Quartet) launches new collaborative project with saxophonist Jordan Smart (Mammal Hands)

      Vega Trails is a new project from double-bassist and composer Milo Fitzpatrick, a founder member of Portico Quartet, who has also performed with the likes of Nick Mulvey and Jono McCleary and features saxophonist Jordan Smart (Mammal Hands, Sunda Arc) in a richly powerful duo bringing together two powerfully charismatic musicians. The project which takes its name from Carl Sagan's science fiction novel 'Contact' (a book about signals of new life detected from the Vega system) andwas born out of a desire to bring the elements of bass and melody to the foreground in their rawest form and Fitzpatrick explains that he deliberatelychose the stripped back approach.

      "There is so much in just one musician's sound; the emotional, the intellectual, the vulnerability and power of their character. But often these delicate nuances can be submerged in the quest for a group sound. In Vega Trails I wanted to grant the musicians space to breathe and be heard and for the listener to witness the intimacy and depth of a conversation between two voices, bass and melody. I was also interested in how the limitations would guide both the composition and performance and to push us both to places close to the limits of what we could play, and it is in this place where I believe the character of a musician blossoms and comes forward".

      Tremors in the Static was composed during Lockdown as Fitzpatrick immersed himself in music that had space and sparseness such as Swedish fiddle music and Indian Classical music. Jan Johansson's legendary 'Jazz på Svenska' (jazz versions of Swedish folk songs) was another influence, as was a collection of ancient lullabies by Spanish soprano singer Montserrat Figueras. Through exploring the harmonic and textural possibilities on the bass, Fitzpatrick would cycle riffs and motifs whilst singing melodies, and he began to create the music debuted here. However, it was only after listening to Charlie Haden's album of duets, 'Closeness', that the project would come into focus as a duo, and Fitzpatrick immediately knew that the second musician had to be Jordan Smart.

      "I saw Jordan play at two Gondwana Records events – in Berlin and Tokyo. Both times I was mesmerised by the intensity and conviction of his playing. His commitment to the cause of transcending himself and the listener made a lasting impression on me. When I began writing this record, I knew I needed a strong player who had equal conviction in their playing as me, but also someone who understood the importance of melody"

      It was an inspired idea as Smart brought an openness and positivity which allowed the music to be both experimental and bold. Smart's ability to play tenor and soprano saxophone with equal command, as well as bass clarinet and Ney flute, allowed them to open up the pallet of sound and pull the melodies into varying emotional landscapes.The final piece of the puzzle was the performance space. Fitzpatrick knew that he wanted the two players to react off of a third element. The music was written for an ambient space which interacted with the notes: decaying and disintegrating them into silence. They found the perfect space in a church in Fitzpatrick's local neighbourhood of Stamford Hill.

      "The recording space is the canvas on which the sound interacts and flows, it is the frame in which notes can live, breathe and die and is as important as the other elements. A resonant recording space, like a church, allows this stripped back sound to resonate, echo and linger, enough to create images and landscapes in which stories can play out".

      This then is Vega Trails, a project that brings together two open-mined and communicative musicians for the first time, to tell beautiful winding stories together and to create something soulful and new.Something bigger than both of them and something that leaves us all richer for hearing it. Enjoy!

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Love Your Grace
      2. Train To Kyoto
      3. Spiral Slow
      4. Thoughts Shifting
      5. Closer
      6. New Planet
      7. Red Moon Rising
      8. Epic Dream
      9. Tremors In The Static

      Gondwana Records announces Horizons the debut album from Jasmine Myra, produced by Matthew Halsall, it's an elevating debut record of understated beauty


      Jasmine Myra is a Leeds-based saxophonist, composer and band leader Her original instrumental music has a euphoric and uplifting sound, influenced by artists as diverse as Kenny Wheeler, Bonobo and Olafur Arnalds and like Mammal Hands and Hania Rani her music has a special, emotive quality that draws the listener into her world. Matthew Halsall first heard Myra's music in 2019 shortly before the pandemic hit, signing her to Gondwana Records and producing her beautiful debut album, Horizons.

      "I was immediately drawn to Jasmine's music. I could hear jazz, electronica in her music but with a deep, honest, emotional quality. I was really impressed with her skills as a composer and bandleader, that she is open and intelligent enough to bring all those influences together, to make something fresh and original. We were also delighted to work with a young artist from the North of England. London is often seen as the place to be, but cities like Manchester and Leeds are full of creative musicians too, and that sense of local community is at the heart of our values as a label."

      Myra came-up through the bustling, creative Leeds music scene and her music draws on the sense of community that permeates life in the city and which is notable for a strong DIY ethos in its musical community. She attended Leeds Conservatoire and played with the Leeds based Abstract Orchestra, a jazz big-band, led by tutor Rob Mitchell that explores the synergy between jazz and hip-hop found in the recordings of Madlib, MF Doom of J Dilla. Indeed, Myra cites MF Doom and Soweto Kinch as early influences on her own music. It was in her last year at the conservatoire that Myra started to consider leading her own group and started to really think about what her own music might sound like and her first band featured guitarist Ben Haskins and drummer George Hall who both feature on Horizons and her band draws heavily on the Leeds community featuring rising stars such as pianist Jasper Green and harpist Alice Roberts.

      Myra also mentions local legend, Dave Walker, who owns an instrument repair shop called 'All Brass and Woodwind' which is right next to the music college. She worked there while studying and he introduced her to a lot of local musicians. Walker also has his own line of saxophones (played by Shabaka Hutchins, Pete Wareham and Nubya Garcia), and gifted Myra the saxophone she plays on Horizons. It was Walker who encouraged Myra to apply for Jazz North Introduces, a scheme that supports emerging jazz artists in the North of England and Myra credits her winning a place, in 2018,with helping her grow in confidence.

      " It gave me the opportunity to start gigging outside of Leeds, which I was very keen to do. I was quite surprised by people's reaction to the project and the support I was being shown, which helped me gain a lot of confidence. It became clear to me very quickly that being a solo artist was what I wanted to do and it was also apparent to me that mine was one of the only female-led instrumental bands on the Leeds scene, which encouraged me even more, as I wanted my project to inspire younger female musicians".

      Horizons was produced by Matthew Halsall and mixed by Portico Quartet collaborator Greg Freeman, and much of the music was written during lockdown. It was a hard time for a lot of people, and initially Myra struggled mentally, deprived of shows and the connections of making music with her band and friends, but she also realised what she wanted as an artist and the result is heard on Horizons.

      "I realised that my aim was to start writing music that made people feel happy and uplifted. Writing is one of my biggest passions, but I also love performing. Playing live and seeing the audience connect with my music and have a positive experience brings me so much joy".

      This sense of elevation is at the heart of Horizons, together with the feeling of a journey, of reaching new ground. Prologue and Horizons were originally composed as one piece as they encapsulate Myra's own personal development as she worked on the album - taking the listener on a journey, especially Prologue; and then Horizons is that moment of release when you've reached the end goal. 1000 Miles takes inspiration from the music of Shabaka and the Ancestors. Whereas Words Left Unspoken was written after Myra's grandmother unexpectedly passed away in June, and due to Covid restrictions she was unable to visit her before she passed and say how much she loved her. Morningtide is a nod to Kenny Wheeler, particularly the track Opening from Sweet Time Suite on Music for Large and Small Ensembles but Myra also puts her own spin on it as she also does with Promise, another track influenced by Wheeler. Awakening has a calm and euphoric quality and represents that sense of problems lifting, or of reaching the other side, and New Beginnings finishes the album with a positive vibe and a sense of moving forward from darkness

      This then is Horizons. A soulful, emotional and up-lifting debut from a major new voice. A snapshot of a young artist at the beginning of her journey - drawing on jazz and electronica influences to create something fresh and new. But also a celebration of her home town Leeds, and a record built on a sense of support and community before looking out to wider Horizons.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Prologue
      2. Horizons
      3. 1000 Miles
      4. Words Left Unspoken
      5. Morningtide
      6. Awakening
      7. The Promise
      8. New Beginnings

      On June 3rd Gondwana Records present 'Next Time Could Be Your Last Time' – the debut album by Forgiveness, AKA Jack Wyllie, JQ and Richard Pike. Described as "not really jazz, not really new age, not really ambient or electronica", instead they welcome you into a synaesthesia-inducing technicolour fantasy, full of wondrous emotive beauty.

      This genesis began with the sharing of music, burgeoning friendships, and the mutually-inspirational benefit of the collective power of a group dynamic, with each spurring the next on to heighten their already expansive skills.

      Intertwining the acoustic, electric and digital, utilising instruments and tools from across the decades, their synthesized Shangri La is a place where craftsmanship meets musicianship, even including sections notated on sheet music. The mood whilst recording, however, was one of loose freedom and enjoyment, with parts displaying a light-hearted playfulness. A world where shiny electronics meet flute and sax motifs, subverting them into something new.

      Jack Wyllie is best known for his work with Portico Quartet, Paradise Cinema and Szun Waves as well as collaborations with artists such as Luke Abbott, Adrian Corker and Charles Hayward. Whilst JQ has released on Boxed and Lo Recordings, with his music also remixed by Loraine James, Sun Araw and Foodman. Richard Pike has had multiple records on Warp as a member of PVT, collaborated with Modeselektor and Ital Tek, recorded under his alter-ego Deep Learning, and founded the tape label Salmon Universe, all whilst composing scores for TV drama.

      Wide-ranging influences on the LP include 70s era ECM and Miles Davis, Spencer Clark/Star Searchers, Ansel Adams, Steve Reich, H Takahashi, Don Slepian, The Blue Nile, Talk Talk's 'Spirit Of Eden', Michael Gordon's 'Rushes for 8 Bassoons', Sir Simon Rattle's documentary 'Leaving Home', Horoshi Yoshimura, Ulla Strauss and Disasterpeace, plus new developments in vaporwave and software experimental.

      Hitting the centre at the ven diagram of these interests, the record converges the trio's individual sound worlds into something singular. Primarily purveying a sense of endorphin-flushed tranquillity, they build synthetic, bucolic, lysergic landscapes, which although imbued with processed plasticity also contain multi-stranded depths of textural field.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Mushroom Umbrella
      2. Rainbird
      3. Dying In Eden
      4. Next Time Could Be Your Last Time
      5. Orangeade Sky
      6. Chameleon
      7. Glasswing
      8. Mountain Top
      9. Lost Fawn
      10. Transparent
      11. Ocean Floor

      Phi-Psonics

      The Cradle (Deluxe Edition)

      Phi-Psonics is a meditative, immersive instrumental group from Los Angeles, led by bassist Seth Ford-Young and featuring Sylvain Carton on woodwinds, Mitchell Yoshida on electric piano, and Josh Collazo on drums. Their deeply soulfulmusic draws on jazz and classical influences together with Ford-Young's own musical experiences, relationships, and his introduction to spirituality, yoga and philosophy at a young age, to create something uniquely its own. Phi-Psonics' name and ultimate aim is to find 'Phi' – the golden mean – in art, nature and self. Ford-Young explains:

      "It's a bit of a cliché, but music saved my life many times and instilled in me a belief in the great power of healing through art. It is my hope and intention that this music provides healing to someone somewhere."

      Originally from Washington DC area, Ford-Young moved to California in the early 90s and fell in love with the deep sounds of the upright bass and the music of Charles Mingus, John and Alice Coltrane, and Duke Ellington along with Bach, Chopin, Pärt, and Satie. He immersed himself deeply in music and keen to learn combinedintense personal study with collaborations, tours, and recordings with artists such as Tom Waits, Beats Antique, and John Vanderslice. In 2010 he moved from the San-Francisco Bay area to the Los Angeles hills and continued his explorations. But great music is rarely just about music and Ford-Young's meditative, soulful music draws on more than just the twin wellsprings of jazz and classical music:

      "My mother was a yoga teacher from the early 70's until recently and taught me yoga and meditation at an early age, my stepfather is an Aikido instructor and student of the teachings of Gurdjieff. Those were all early areas of study that I came back to many times throughout my life. Phi-Psonics has been a project that unapologetically synthesizes some of these ideas into our music".

      It's this mixture of influences, musical and extramusical, that gives the music of Phi-Psonics it's immersive quality and quiet power. Revealingly the music that would becomeThe Cradle, wasn't written specifically for an album, originally Ford-Young was just writing down what was coming through. As time went by and the album began to take shape, the world situation seemed to be getting darker and his compositions aim to offer hope as a response to the negative influences that abound today. Remarkably for such a beautiful sounding record, it was recorded at the composer's home, rather than in a studio, but the relaxed nature of this process gives the music an airy lightness that propels the music to some magical spaces.

      Originally self-released on vinyl in a limited run just as the world went into lockdown, The Cradle reached Matthew Halsall (founder of Gondwana Records) when he aws looking for music for his Worldwide FM show and he was blown away, hearing a kindred spirit at work. Halsall explains:

      "Phi-Psonics make beautiful, humble and honest music, it's not showy, but it has a deep vibe that will elevate your mind and soul if you let it. When we heard The Cradle we reached out and are really super delighted to welcome Seth and his band to our label". Whereas for Ford Young: "Connecting with Matthew and the Gondwana records family has been a light in the darkness of the last years - to have my music make connections even as we are more isolated."

      Ford-Young is currently putting the finishing touches to the second Phi-Psonics record, but aware that only a select few had heard The Cradle, let alone had the chance to buy a copy, and entranced by its deceptive simplicity and elevating energy, Halsall suggested that Gondwana present the album as a remastered 'deluxe edition' with an extended running time featuring extra tracks and new artwork from Daniel Halsall.

      The Cradle starts with First Step, perfectly setting the tone for the whole album, it is a beautiful, soulful slice of musical calm gently propelled by Ford-Young's resonant bass and elevated by sublime flute and Wurlitzer electric piano solos. The seductive title track The Cradle was written way back in 2011 during a time of great personal change that led the composer to a feeling of newness and nurture. The magical, winsome Desert Ride is inspired by many rides through the grandly cinematic Mojave Desert. You can experience how incredibly full of life it's harsh landscape is if you slow down to its tempo. The gentle, sublime Mama is a tribute to mothers of all kinds, beautiful and heroic. Drum Talk was largely improvised, Ford-Young and the band agreed on a topic and recorded their conversation. Choosing their notes based on how Josh's drums were tuned. Like Glass is named for the special properties of Glass. Like some music, glass is delicate, yet has structure. The first of the two bonus tracks Still Dancing was written during the early days of 2020 in response to the challenges we all were facing then. It's a reminder that the figurative dance continues and that real dancing is essential. And the second, The Searcher, also written as a response to 2020, is a gently hypnotic song about the introspection and growth that can spring from a difficult situation.

      This then is The Cradle, a quiet self-contained masterpiece, life-affirming and elevating in equal measure and the first offering from a wonderful new voice in spiritual jazz and the latest members of the global Gondwana Records family.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Millie says: Gondwana label new-comer Phi-Psonics fit right in with the instrumental, ambient Jazz scene. It’s gentle and soulful collection of works that draws you in to feel meditative and calm. A shining beacon of light and calm in these increasingly worrying times, an evening spent listening to this is all that’s needed.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. First Step
      2. The Cradle
      3. Desert Ride
      4. Mama
      5. Drum Talk
      6. Like Glass
      7. Still Dancing
      8. The Searcher

      Released in November 2021, Monument was acclaimed as one of Portico Quartet's most accessible, direct records to date. Carefully crafted as an ode to better times, it pulsed with the energy of dance music and was one of the most melodic and carefully structured records the band have ever released. Next Stop is the brilliant follow-up, a pulsing powerful four-tracker that also features a wistful, elegiac side and perhaps provides a coda to Monument.
      Captured Time is a melodious and atmospheric tune that erupts out of layered synthesisers and strings. It's contrast between melodic simplicity and textural density is what lets it push through to an elated, ecstatic conclusion as the band draw you into an emotional journey as only they can.

      Next Stop is Portico Quartet at full power. Arguably the most rhythmically dense tune they have ever made. It's hypnotic groove driven by am off-kilter 7/8 drum and bass groove that ducks and dives with relentless intensity.

      Youth is a deceptively simple tune, nostalgic in tone, It's a paen to childhood and simpler days, with Wyllie's wistful sax melody perfectly offset by the low-slung slow-mo hip-hop beat of Bellamy drums. But is the beautiful strings that really turn this tune into something special.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Millie says: Beautiful neo-classical record, Portico Quartet's never disappoints and yet again they've blown us away with their stunning, mindful ambient Jazz. An absolute must.

      Hania Rani

      Live From Studio S2

        At the beginning of February 2021, I was invited by the Berlinale Film Festival to record a live set as a part of the EFM sessions which became the motivation to document this live performance.

        I thought that bringing back my piano and equipment to the hall where I first recorded my live session videos for my debut album 'Esja' would be a nice idea and the right cinematic choice. This time, I wanted to use not only an upright piano, but also a grand piano and some other keyboards including a Prophet 08 synthesizer and a Roland stage piano.

        Studio S2 is one of the recording studios inside the Polish Radio building in Warsaw and used primarily for recording classical and film music. The hall is fully covered with light wood, which reminds me of other Radio Studios all around the world – like Funkhaus in Berlin. It felt very special to be in the hall again where we recorded the music video for "Glass", one of my most liked videos. There is a kind of intimacy when playing the little piano in this huge and also very high venue.

        I decided to rearrange some of my favourite songs, which I have been performing live for years. The set starts with 'Hawaii Oslo', which is built on a piano loop, followed by 'Glass' with a new intro and outro and closing with 'Leaving' and 'Buka' – this time accompanied with new layers which change the mood and rhythmic pattern of both songs.

        The session was filmed by my long-time collaborators – Mateusz Miszczyński, recorded by Agata Dankowska, mixed by Piotr Wieczorek and mastered by Zino Mikorey in Berlin. Recorded live on February 4th, 2021 in Studio S2 of the Polish Radio in Warsaw.

        TRACK LISTING

        1. Hawaii Oslo
        2. Glass
        3. Leaving
        4. Buka

        Portico Quartet announce Monument, the electronic driven follow-up to their acclaimed ambient-minimalist suite Terrain, presenting the band at their most direct

        It's rare that a band releases two albums within six months of each other, rarer too that while both are so different, they are both as epochal in terms of the band's output as Terrain and Monument are to Portico Quartet. The irony is that Monument, a stripped-back, intentionally direct album, was the album that the band set out to write in May 2020, before the dream like long-form Terrain came into focus. Briefly they were two halves of the same record, but the band ended up developing these two distinct bodies of work concurrently. And although they were written side-by-side and recorded at the same sessions, they are records best understood as distinct from each other, each with opposing ideas and forms.

        Monument is one of Portico Quartet's most accessible, direct records to date. If Terrain addressed the darker side of how Duncan Bellamy and Jack Wyllie made sense of the pandemic, then Monument resonates as an ode to better times. If not quite a dance record, it nonetheless pulses with an energy, radiance and a scalpel sharp focus. Jack Wyllie explains: "It's possibly our most direct album to date. It's melodic, structured and there's an economy to it that is very efficient. There's not much searching or wastage within the music itself, it is all finalised ideas, precisely sculpted and presented as a polished artefact."

        Bellamy expands "Monument sits somewhere between our albums Portico Quartet and Art in the Age of Automation. It has perhaps a more overtly electronic edge to its sound – there are more synthesisers and electronic elements than we have used before and the music is often streamlined and rhythmic".

        After the ethereal, stage-setting of Opening, the album kicks into overdrive with Impressions, a short energetic track that pairs a club influenced groove with hang drum and close, delicate saxophone. It's the balance between these elements that push and pull the track through a selection of melodic and rhythmic re-configurations, contrasting human touch with a machine-like focus. Ultraviolet is a kaleidoscopic, krautrock inspired track with a haunting introduction and an insistent pulse. The wistful Ever Present builds from a simple piano refrain; a nostalgic melody line floats over the top as drums and bass groove insistently underneath, before reaching a euphoric peak. The title track Monument builds around a looping vocal sample, drums and an enigmatic melody, the ending giving way to a gauzy, weaving synth line. The power here is in its economy and luminosity. AOE flips back and forth, like a dial that's been switched. Mining the tension between a pastoral inflected cello and saxophone melody, with an abrupt shift to jilted live drums, wailing delayed saxophone and a flickering synth line. Warm Data comes straight from the same Portico Quartet tradition as older tracks like Current History and Laker-Boo. It's a marriage of instrumental minimalism with drum machines and synths. Finally, the album closes with On The Light, a track that transmits a sense of suspense and freedom, driven by the twitching drums of Bellamy and evocative sax of Wyllie. It offers the perfect bitter-sweet and evocative ending to Portico Quartet's latest Monument.


        STAFF COMMENTS

        Millie says: Now this is a treat, Portico Quartet’s second release in one year providing a mellow outro to the year. There’s something about this time of year which is hibernate-inducing and this is the soundtrack to the cold Winter months. Beautiful electronic Jazz, all Gondwana fan can rejoice – it’s finally here!

        TRACK LISTING

        1. Opening
        2. Impressions
        3. Ultraviolet
        4. Ever Present
        5. Gateway
        6. Monument
        7. A.O.E
        8. Warm Data
        9. Portal
        10. On The Light

        Portico Quartet announce Terrain, a three-part suite drawing on American minimalism and ambient music alongside their own rich heritage as they explore new musical vistas

        When Duncan Bellamy and Jack Wyllie – the driving force behind Portico Quartet got together in their East London studio in May 2020 and started work on the music that would become their new album, the world, or most of it, was in the midst of the first lockdown. The unique impact of the events of 2020 became the backdrop to their time composing and recording; causing them to take stock, re-think, and plot a new musical path.

        Indian novelist Arundhati Roy expressed the sense of grief and rupture from the pandemic as "a portal, a gateway between one world and the next", and as they created the music that would become Terrain they were drawn towards longer, slowly unfolding pieces, which are perhaps the most artistically free and also the most beautiful they have ever made.


        These are compositions more in the lineage of Line and Shed Song (Isla/2009), Rubidium (Portico Quartet/2012) and Immediately Visible (Memory Streams/2019). Wyllie expands: "We've always had this side of the band in some form. The core of it is having a repeated pattern, around which other parts move in and out, and start to form a narrative. We used to do longer improvisations not dissimilar to this around the time of our second record Isla. On Terrain we've really dug into it and explored that form. I suppose there are obvious influences such as American minimalism, but I was particularly inspired by the work of Japanese composer Midori Takada. Her approach, particularly on 'Through the Looking Glass', where she moves through different worlds incorporating elements of minimalism with non-Western instruments and melodies were at the front of my mind when writing this music".

        Terrain I, II & III are all subtly different, but a short rhythmic motif that repeats is the starting point in all three movements. There is a sense of a shared journey to all these pieces, they move through different worlds, with a sense of horizontal movement that lends the music real momentum. Terrain I was the first piece they worked on and it started with a hang drum pattern, improvised by Bellamy, who added cymbals and synthesiser. From there on it grew, Wyllie adding saxophone, another synthesiser section, strings. For Bellamy "It felt more like filmmaking than music making, a bricolage of conflicting, shifting signs, subtle tension and multiple narratives. Andrei Tarkovsky's 'Mirror' and British artist John Akomfrah's incredible 'Handsworth Songs' were pivotal points of reference for me." Wyllie expands the point. "There is a sense of conversation between us both, in that someone presents a musical idea, the other person responds to it with something else, which would then be responded to again... until it feels finished. These responses are often consonant with each other but there is also a dissonance to some of this work. The music slowly evolves through these shared conversations."

        It is this sense of dialogue, both between the composers, and between tranquillity and a subtly unsettling melancholy, that makes Terrain such a powerful statement. One that speaks to both our interior and exterior worlds, to our own personal landscape, to our Terrain.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Barry says: I've always been a fan of Portico Quartet but 'Terrain' leans even further into the improvisational, free-form jazz vibes of their previous work. The three parts on offer here display a keen sense of space and momentum while forging a gorgeous, plaintive undercurrent of ambient sensibilities. It's intoxicating and invigorating. A wonderful listen.

        TRACK LISTING

        1. Terrain: I
        2. Terrain: II
        3. Terrain: III

        Truly, the luscious, soulful new album from Manchester singer-songwriter Caoilfhionn Rose (pronounced Keelin) moves through a tapestry of curious musical inflections; nods towards folk, jazz, ambient, electronica and even a subtle influence of psychedelia, it never stands still to take a breath, despite its ethereal and delicate core. Out April 9th on Gondwana Records (Mammal Hands, Portico Quartet, Matthew Halsall, Hania Rani), in Truly, the young singer-songwriter has accomplished a body of work that is both sonically and lyrically wise beyond her years.

        Co-produced by Kier Stewart of The Durutti Column following Rose's collaborative endeavours with them on their album Chronicle LX:XL, the musician's song writing draws from a diverse palette of influences, including Building Instrument, Rachel Sermanni, Alabaster dePlume and Broadcast. Rose also professes to a love for beautiful, stripped back, piano based music, such as Dustin O'Halloran and label mate Hania Rani.

        Truly came to exist due to a deep-routed need to create – even though its conception was interrupted as Caoilfhionn Rose recovered in hospital from an illness, she found strength within writing music. "In Spring 2019 I took part in a gig swap with my good friend and fellow musician Kristian Harting who is from Denmark. We played several gigs in the UK but unfortunately the Denmark part of the tour was cut short as I was taken ill. I was hospitalised for several weeks and have taken the last year out to recover" says Rose. "I gradually returned to finishing my second album" she continues. "Coming back to creating after being unwell was challenging but also therapeutic. This record marks a difficult time of my life and writing it helped get me through that. I am really grateful to have music as an outlet." It may be this tremendously challenging period that has abetted its characterising qualities.

        Rose's beautifully restrained vocal is all at once soothing yet mesmerising. She demands and holds attention through her evident talent yet hypnotises the listener into a trance with her experimental tendencies. "After being unwell, getting back to recording helped me recover my voice after not singing for so long. Finishing bits of songs, writing lyrics and recording vocals helped me get back on my feet and get better."

        Lead single from the album – 'Flourish' – is an intoxicating song that meditates on being present in the moment, allowing peace to come to you. "The song 'Flourish' is about looking forwards with hope and possibility, 'let it flow away, let it turn around and flourish'. It's about finding peace and feeling wonder again" says Rose about the track. "'Flourish' hints at the ideas of what could be, how things can unfold if you let go 'and just be here'."

        A message of hope is instilled throughout the record, echoed again in 'Fireflies', a song inspired by a campsite in France, which became filled with fireflies at night. "To me 'Fireflies' has a nostalgic and comforting feel. It's about feeling hopeful about the future 'though there may be dark clouds the sun will always come'. There are references to older lyrics I have written. The line 'free from all the chaos' is a nod to a song I collaborated on with The Durutti Column. The song is about acknowledging the past and moving on as 'time is always healing'."

        A recurring theme of reflection and being grounded in the present, acknowledging the past and looking forwards with courage is one that envelopes 'Truly', and is something that is echoed in its beautiful swelling flourishes and its tranquillity – resonating with atmosphere, the album all at once sounds so large and yet so subdued. "The line on Every Waking Minute; 'we forget what lies behind the eyes' is about remembering that everyone has their own things going on and challenges to face but we should 'feel every waking minute', become aware of what's unfolding around us outside of our own stories. It's a self-reflective song really, reminding myself that 'life can take you bysurprise', there are going to be ups and downs along the way"

        Elsewhere on the album, Rose explores the connection between nature and life on single To Me. "I love going on long walks and the healing power of nature is a recurring theme in a lot of my lyrics. I have a very optimistic outlook and I find solace in the small things like being outdoors."

        Caoilfhionn's debut Awaken, co-produced with label mate Matthew Halsall, saw the singer, songwriter and producer tie together remnants of Manchester's musical past with its evolving present. Prior to this, the artist collaborated with one of her biggest musical influences, Vini Reilly of The Durutti Column. The musician worked with the Manchester band on four songs on their album Chronicle LX:XL. "I've learnt a lot from collaborating with musicians like Vini Reilly, Matthew Halsall and my bandmates" says Rose. "This is reflected in my current style and approach to making music. I no longer just write as a therapeutic or reflective process; I can write more abstractly and outwardly."

        Kier Stewart of The Durutti Column co-produced her latest offering, Truly, following his band's collaborations with Rose. "I befriended Kier after we worked together. Collaborating with The Durutti Column was my first experience of recording music with other people in a studio." Together, the pair have created something expansive yet fragile – and altogether unique. "He's brought so much to this project" she says. "I feel Keir has brought out the best in the songs, adding really intricate and subtle details and effects. It was inspiring getting to work with Keir and I've learnt a lot from his approach of just experimenting and seeing what works."

        TRACK LISTING

        1. Flourish
        2. To Me
        3. Tubercular Skies
        4. Fireflies
        5. Every Waking Minute
        6. Point In Time
        7. Readiness Is All
        8. Paths
        9. Truly
        10. Hold Your Own
        11. All That Light

        Mammal Hands are a trio of like-minded musicians: Nick Smart piano, Jesse Barrett drums and tabla, and Jordan Smart saxophones. Floa is their second album for Gondwana Records and in the 18 months since their debut, Animalia, they have carved out a growing following both here and abroad for their hypnotic fusion of jazz, folk and electronica: winning fans from Bonobo and Gilles Peterson to Jamie Cullum. Landmark live performances have included shows at King's Place in London and the RNCM in Manchester, as well as a barn-storming debut at the Montreal Jazz Festival. Drawing on a rich well of influences from Sufi and shamanic African trance music, Irish and Eastern European folk music, to Steve Reich and Philip Glass and more contemporary electronica influences, their music is built around deceptively simple sounding ideas that are lent power through the use of repetition and rhythmic loops. They have been compared to both Portico Quartet and GoGo Penguin for the way in which they navigate the choppy waters between contemporary dance music and jazz.

        Floa (an old Norse word that means to deluge or to flow) is the sound of a more confident, experienced band: one that has grown together naturally through touring and gigging and through mammoth writing and rehearsal sessions where all three bring rhythmic, improvisational and melodic ideas to the table. Floa was recorded at Gondwana's home from home, 80 Hertz Studios in Manchester, reuniting the band with producer Matthew Halsall and features some of the Gondwana Orchestra strings who played on Halsall's acclaimed album Into Forever. Together they have crafted a wonderful sounding record, the richness of which perfectly illuminates the band's music. Artwork is from Gondwana's in-house design maestro Daniel Halsall whose artwork of symbols created from older symbols perfectly illustrates the creative ideas that drive the band's music.

        The release is supported by an extensive UK tour including dates in Norwich, Bristol, Brighton, Manchester and beyond. The band support Matthew Halsall at St John's Hackney on May 26th and have their own head-line show at the Jazz Café, Camden on 31st May.

        Confirmed airplay from Jamie Cullum BBC Radio 2, Gilles Peterson 6 Music, Radio 3 Late Junction, BBC Scotland Jazz House, Jazz FM, John Kennedy X and full servicing to all specialist and online radio stations. Reviews from The Guardian, Mojo, Record Collector, Jazzwise, Nos Magazine, Nowthen and local press. Online support from AllAboutJazz, Quietus, Access All Areas, Bebop Spoken Here and beyond.

        TRACK LISTING

        1. Quiet Fire
        2. Hillum
        3. Hourglass
        4. Think Anything
        5. In The Treetops
        6. The Eyes That Saw The Mountain
        7. Kudu
        8. The Falling Dream
        9. Shift

        Paradise Cinema

        Paradise Cinema

          On October 9ththe multi-instrumentalist Jack Wyllie (Portico Quartet/Szun Waves) presents his new project Paradise Cinema. It was recorded in Dakar, Senegal in collaboration with mbalax percussionists Khadim Mbaye (saba drums) and Tons Sambe (tama drums).

          The impressionistic and dream-like quality of 'Paradise Cinema' is a stunningly effective realisation of Wyllie's experience, in ahypnagogic state of aural consciousness:

          "I had a lot of nights in Dakar, when the music around the city would go on until 6am. I could hear this from my bed at night and it all blended together, in what felt like an early version of the record."

          Atmospherically 'Paradise Cinema' is vaporous and enigmatic, but also percussive; existing in a paradoxical sound-space that's amorphous,yet still purposeful, serene, but propulsive and aesthetically sharp.

          Khadim Mbaye and Tons Sambe, provide the rhythmic backbone of the record. There are traditional elements of mbalax rhythm, but it is often deconstructed or played at tempos outside of the tradition, so while it hints at a location it occupies a space outside of any specific region.

          'Paradise Cinema' is also informed by notions of hauntology – a philosophical concept originating in the work of French philosopher Jacques Derrida– on possible futures that were never realised andhow directions taken in the past can haunt the present.

          On the album's title Wyllie comments, "there are a handful of old cinemas in Dakar – these big modernist buildings dotted around the city built around independence. They're old and derelict now, but feel to me like monuments to that period, when the city was flooded with utopian ideas about its potential futures."

          As such it sits closely to 4thworld music – situated in an imagined culture and time that never came to pass. And while it contains rhythmic references to Senegal it combines these elements with ambient and minimalist music to produce a sound that sits outside of any tradition.

          Setting the tone for the long-player's themes is the optimism-driven, balmy beauty of 'Possible Futures', where rich-toned drums throb and levitate in a stratospheric ether.

          Like a time-lapse video of plants in bloom, 'It Will Be Summer Soon' is the sound of anticipation and growth. Rhythmically it flickers and flutters, evoking rainfall, or the blurred wings of a bird in in flight.

          Casamance moves through field recordings drifting in and out of focus, beats pitched-down low and unfurling saxophone, whilst the ambient 'Utopia' was made mainly with processed saxophone and suggests a longing for a perfect world.

          Galloping percussion juxtaposes with a wistful mood on 'Liberté' – a title that referencesa derelict modernist cinema in Dakar of the same name– a hauntological landmark, made more poignant by the its name being part of the French national motto.

          Tying into the cover artwork, Jack explains, "the 'Digital Palm is a telecommunications mast disguised as a palm tree in central Dakar. As a modern piece of technology that on first glance looks natural, it mirrors the combination of modern and acoustic elements."

          Perhaps eliciting a time that never came, or maybe still in hope of it yet to come, 'Eternal Spring' concludes the LP's otherworldly beauty with hypnotic drums powering a subtly-building, sparkling and powerful crescendo.

          Jack Wyllie is a musician, composer, electronic producer who draws on influences of jazz, ambient, and the trance-inducing repetition of minimalism.

          Wyllie performs and records in Portico Quartet, Szun Waves (withLuke Abbott and Laurence Pike)and Xoros. He has also collaborated with Charles Hayward, Adrian Corker and Chris Sharkey and released on Ninja Tune, Babel, Leaf, Real World and Gondwana.

          Khadim Mbaye and Toms Sambe play in various mbalax groups in Dakar. Khadim has also toured internationally with Cheikh Lo.

          TRACK LISTING

          1. Possible Futures
          2. It Will Be Summer Soon
          3. Casamance
          4. Utopia
          5. Liberté
          6. Digital Palm
          7. Paradise Cinema
          8. Eternal Spring

          Consisting of saxophonist Jordan Smart, pianist Nick Smart and drummer and tabla player Jesse Barrett, the trio have forged a growing reputation for their hypnotic fusion of jazz and electronica and have recieved glowing recommendations from the likes of The Guardian and Gilles Peterson. Drawing on their love of electronic, contemporary classical, world, folk and jazz music, Mammal Hands take in influences including Pharoah Sanders,Gétachèw Mekurya, Terry Riley, Steve Reich and Sirishkumar Manji.

          Forming in Norwich in 2012, brothers Nick and Jordan along with Jesse, developed their distinctive and polished sound with their meteoric live shows and release of three critically acclaimed albums: 'Animalia' (2014), 'Floa' (2016) and 'Shadow Work (2017). Landmark live performances have included shows at The Roundhouse London, the main stage at Field Day Festival, La Cigale Paris, Montreal Jazz Festival, Hamburg Elb Jazz, Athens Technopolis and Unit Tokyo.

          Teaming up once again with trusted producer George Atkins (Wiley, The Courteeners) at 80 Hertz Studios in Manchester, 'Captured Spirits' explores themes including existence and displacement. "The name has multiple readings but was first inspired by something Jordan was reading about past experiences of ancestors being caught and coded into our DNA and having an effect on who you are today. This ties in with themes that we have touched on before relative to identity and the collective unconscious ('Shadow Work'). It also toys with the idea of feeling contained/trapped and the need to break out of something and also the idea of people being spirits that are "captured" in a body", says Nick.

          Opening with the melodic rhythmic patterns of 'Ithaca', the tempo picks up with the mesmerising 'Chaser', as heavy percussion and Nick's frenetic keys draw the listener deep into Mammal Hand's distinctive soundsphere. North Indian influences dictate the meditative 'Versus Shapes' with Jesse's transcendental tabla playing taking centre stage while the dark and moody 'Spiral Stair' relies on a multitude of colliding and intersecting shapes and sounds.

          All three members of the band contribute equally to the writing process: one that favours the creation of a powerful group dynamic over individual solos. "I think with this record, there was a strong and renewed sense of collective enjoyment and appreciation for the process and each other's contributions. After a long period of touring and a slow build up to the actual recording sessions we were able to mull over ideas for long periods, build on lessons from the past and pull our playing connection to an even deeper place. Realising each other's visions for the whole and clearly understanding how they intersect", says Jesse.

          That vision is also realised by longtime collaborator and artist Daniel Halsall who designed the artwork for 'Captured Spirits'. His strong instinctive feel for the band's visual world is a key component to understanding the music. "Our work with Dan over such a long period of time now has become integral to the bands aesthetic and he always seems to grasp the themes and ideas that we send for each album and distills them into something striking and engaging that really complements the music. This is really important with instrumental music, as we need to be able to convey our ideas without being too literal or definitive and give the listeners space for imagination and to take their own journey when they listen to the music and look at the artwork", says Jordan.

          Elsewhere across 'Captured Spirits', 'Riddle' and 'Rhizome' are rich in texture and heavy on groove and both compositions showcase a complex, emotional range and demonstrate three like-minded musicians with a dazzling understanding of jazz, electronica and cinematic rhythms. "Music has the capacity to fill so many spaces in our lives, as I think fundamentally it is a more direct form of communication than even language. In this way it can be refuge, it can be social, it can be revelatory, it can be memory, it can be what we need at a given point in time", says Jordan.

          The high intensity of the trio's live shows is recreated with the spiritual jazz-influenced 'Into Sparks' as Jordan's sax exhibits an unrestrained energy and freedom but it's left to 'Little One' to bring down the curtain on arguably their most accomplished album to date, a soothing, breezy gift to Jesse's new daughter.

          Gondwana Records is an independent record label founded by Matthew Halsall in 2008. The label has gone on to release music by, Allysha Joy, GoGo Penguin, Hania Rani, Matthew Halsall, Phil France, Portico Quartet and Sunda Arc.

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Barry says: You ALWAYS know what you're getting with a Gondwana release, not in style obviously but in sheer quality, there is no doubting they are one of the best around. This time sees Mammal Hands in full filmic soundtrack territory, beautifully produced and soaringly gorgeous. It's Olafur Arnalds for people who like Jazz, or Jazz for people who are wildly stoned. Stunning.

          TRACK LISTING

          1 Ithaca
          2 Chaser
          3 Late Bloomer 
          4 Versus Shapes 
          5 Spiral Stair
          6 Floating World
          7 Riddle
          8 Rhizome
          9 Shoreless 
          10 Into Sparks
          11 Little One 

          GoGo Penguin

          V2.0 - Signed Orange Vinyl Special Edition

            PICCADILLY EXCLUSIVE SIGNED COPIES.

            Originally released in March 2014, v2.0, was GoGo Penguin's breakthrough album and the first to feature the rebooted line-up with new bassist Nick Blacka, pianist Chris Illingworth and drummer Rob Turner. It was named a Mercury Prize album of the year 2014 alongside albums from Damon Albarn, Young Fathers and Jungle. The extended version was first released on 2xLP for RSD 18 on clear vinyl.

            This version features the same extended tracklist on translucent orange vinyl.

            Newly remastered for vinyl (by the original engineer)
            2xLP deluxe gatefold edition.
            A percentage of sales on this edition will be donated to NHS Charities Together.

            v2.0 includes the hit singles, Hopopono, Garden Dog Barbecue and Kamaloka as well as the remarkable One Percent and live favourite To Drown in You. Included here for the first time is theincessant 'Break' featuring a killer groove that offers a notdto the one and only Squarepusher, 'Wash', a haunting slice of the band at their most ambient and the wonderful 'In Amber', the first track that the new line-up wrote completely together.


            TRACK LISTING

            1. Murmuration 
            2. Garden Dog Barbecue 
            3. Kamaloka
            4. Fort 
            5. One Percent 
            6. Home
            7. The Letter 
            8. To Drown In You
            9. Shock And Awe
            10. Hopopono
            11. Break 
            12. In Amber
            13. Wash

            Portico Quartet

            We Welcome Tomorrow

              Portico Quartet announce We Welcome Tomorrow a strictly limited edition three-track vinyl EP.

              The EP follows on from Memory Streams, their fifth studio album and second for Gondwana Records which was released in October 2019. Sonically it explores a similar world to the full-length album, but where Memory Streams focused on a punchier live sound, WWT explores modern classical and ambient textures.

              We Welcome Tomorrow features, the duo Fran and Flora (Francesca Ter-Berg cello & Flora Curzon) on strings, but also builds looped saxophones, drums and synths parts into a rich tapestry of sound. Odd time signatures underpin a surprisingly emotional build that resolves in richly layered strings.

              Mirage explores a different side of the band's writing. Moving away from their usual instrumentation and enlisting the beautiful string playing of 'Fran and flora' . It draws influence from the emotional, spiritual minimalism of composers such as Arvo Part and John Adams.

              Winding Snake again takes influence from American minimalism but places it against strong, modern drum rhythms and organs. And its energy and instrumentation propel the music into trademark Portico Quartet territory.

              TRACK LISTING

              1. We Welcome Tomorrow
              2. Mirage
              3. Winding Snake

              Matthew Halsall (born September 11, 1983, in Manchester, England) is a Worldwide Award winning and MOBO nominated trumpeter, composer, producer and DJ. Since 2008, Matthew has released seven critically acclaimed studio recordings and has been a key figure in the rise of a new jazz sound in the UK. In addition to his own releases Halsall has collaborated with many DJs and producers, most notably DJ Shadow and Mr. Scruff, and in 2013 Matthew's music was selected by Bonobo for his Late Night Tales compilation. Halsall is also the founder of Gondwana Records, a genre bending independent record label featuring a wealth defining albums by the likes of Portico Quartet, GoGo Penguin, Hania Rani and Mammal Hands. His own rich music draws on the spiritual-jazz of Alice Coltrane and Phaorah Sanders, contemporary electronica and dance music alongside his travels in Japan, the traditional art and music of which, has left a lasting impression on his compositions.


              Sending My Love (2008) and Colour Yes (2009) were his first releases and document Halsall's first great bands featuring the likes of flautist Chip Wickham, saxophonist Nat Birchall, harpist Rachael Gladwin, bassist Gavin Barras and drummer Gaz Hughes. Joyful, life-enhancing albums, drawing on UK jazz and spiritual jazz influences but with a decidedly modern bounce, they introduced Halsall's music to the world gathering support from the likes of Gilles Peterson and Jamie Cullum, Mojo, Straight No Chaser and beyond. But Halsall was never completely happy with how the records were presented and as part of Gondwana Records 10th anniversary decided to revisit the recordings, meticulously remixing and remastering them for vinyl and commissioning new artwork from Ian Anderson, one of his favourite designers. These then are the definitive editions of the records. Sending My Love comes complete with the beautiful bonus track This Time, while Colour Yes features the equally striking It's What We Do and Ai.


              "I am very proud of these early recordings. They represent the starting point of my musical journey in Manchester and showcase some of the cities finest musicians such as: Nat Birchall, Chip Wickham, Rachael Gladwin, Adam Fairhall, Gavin Barras and Gaz Hughes. They are also the very first recordings my brother and I decided to release on our record label (Gondwana Records). Listening back they sound full of energy and joy and really reflect how I was feeling at that precise moment. But as much as I loved the music, I was never 100 percent happy with the sound of the mixes and mastering. So I decided to go back to the original tapes to remix and remaster them and present them the way I'd always wanted, and along the way we unearthed a couple extra unreleased tracks, which we decided to include as bonus material. Myself and my brother also decided to bring in Ian Anderson of The Designers Republic to re-imagine the artwork and we are super blown away by the results!" Matthew Halsall, Oct 2019

              STAFF COMMENTS

              Millie says: A further look into Matthew Halsall’s previous releases, Colour Yes from 2009 (Ten years ago!!!) is a mixture of soft piano keys and swaying brass. More uncovered gems please Gondwana Records, this is truly beautiful.

              TRACK LISTING

              1. Colour Yes
              2. Together
              3. I've Found Joy
              4. Mudita
              5. I've Been Here Before
              6. Me And You
              7. It's What We Do (Bonus Track)
              8. Ai (Bonus Track) 

              Matthew Halsall (born September 11, 1983, in Manchester, England) is a Worldwide Award winning and MOBO nominated trumpeter, composer, producer and DJ. Since 2008, Matthew has released seven critically acclaimed studio recordings and has been a key figure in the rise of a new jazz sound in the UK. In addition to his own releases Halsall has collaborated with many DJs and producers, most notably DJ Shadow and Mr. Scruff, and in 2013 Matthew's music was selected by Bonobo for his Late Night Tales compilation. Halsall is also the founder of Gondwana Records, a genre bending independent record label featuring a wealth defining albums by the likes of Portico Quartet, GoGo Penguin, Hania Rani and Mammal Hands. His own rich music draws on the spiritual-jazz of Alice Coltrane and Phaorah Sanders, contemporary electronica and dance music alongside his travels in Japan, the traditional art and music of which, has left a lasting impression on his compositions.


              Sending My Love (2008) and Colour Yes (2009) were his first releases and document Halsall's first great bands featuring the likes of flautist Chip Wickham, saxophonist Nat Birchall, harpist Rachael Gladwin, bassist Gavin Barras and drummer Gaz Hughes. Joyful, life-enhancing albums, drawing on UK jazz and spiritual jazz influences but with a decidedly modern bounce, they introduced Halsall's music to the world gathering support from the likes of Gilles Peterson and Jamie Cullum, Mojo, Straight No Chaser and beyond. But Halsall was never completely happy with how the records were presented and as part of Gondwana Records 10th anniversary decided to revisit the recordings, meticulously remixing and remastering them for vinyl and commissioning new artwork from Ian Anderson, one of his favourite designers. These then are the definitive editions of the records. Sending My Love comes complete with the beautiful bonus track This Time, while Colour Yes features the equally striking It's What We Do and Ai.


              "I am very proud of these early recordings. They represent the starting point of my musical journey in Manchester and showcase some of the cities finest musicians such as: Nat Birchall, Chip Wickham, Rachael Gladwin, Adam Fairhall, Gavin Barras and Gaz Hughes. They are also the very first recordings my brother and I decided to release on our record label (Gondwana Records). Listening back they sound full of energy and joy and really reflect how I was feeling at that precise moment. But as much as I loved the music, I was never 100 percent happy with the sound of the mixes and mastering. So I decided to go back to the original tapes to remix and remaster them and present them the way I'd always wanted, and along the way we unearthed a couple extra unreleased tracks, which we decided to include as bonus material. Myself and my brother also decided to bring in Ian Anderson of The Designers Republic to re-imagine the artwork and we are super blown away by the results!" Matthew Halsall, Oct 2019



              STAFF COMMENTS

              Millie says: The first of Mathew Halsall’s original releases ‘Sending My Love’ is a journey back in time to Halsall’s first beginnings with flourishing jazz notes. With the bonus track ‘This Time’ it’s a remastered treasure!

              TRACK LISTING

              1. On The Other Side Of The World
              2. Reflections
              3. Freedom Song
              4. Sending My Love
              5. Sachi
              6. This Time (Bonus Track) 

              Portico Quartet return with Memory Streams, their fifth studio album and one that continues the journey that first started with 2008's Mercury nominated debut "Knee Deep in the North Sea". It's a creative path that has seen the band embrace new technology and explore ambient and electronic influences alongside minimalism, jazz and beyond. It is a process that has encouraged change. Each album has seen the band expand its palate or explore new trajectories. From the gentle charm of their breakthrough's inimitable mix of jazz, world and minimalist influences, to the tight-knit brilliance of "Isla", the electronic infused eponymous Portico Quartet to 2016's return "Art in the Age of Automation" (the band's most electronic statement to date) they have never been a band to look backwards. Each record has been its own world, its own statement and offered its own meaning. It's the mark of a band that has always both stood apart from any scene and been prepared to challenge its self and find new things to say and to push the limits of what they could do.

              It is an approach that has encouraged the band to plough their own furrow. Drummer Duncan Bellamy notes that "For better or worse I think we have always been quite an isolated band. Perhaps that comes from never feeling like we really belonged to or fit in to a scene when we first started making music" While for saxophonist Jack Wyllie " I feel more connected to other musicians these days and those relationships influence the sound we have in some way. But I wouldn't say we feel a part of scene, it still feels quite out on its own, which is cool, because it helps the music feel unique"?

              The band's new album, "Memory Streams" is part of the same continuum and yet, as the name hints, there is a sense here of a remembering, shards of past influences, hints of ideas re-forged. For Wyllie, Memory Streams "feels in some ways about the identity of the band, about the records we've made before, and the memory of them" whereas for Bellamy it suggests "a torrent of imagery, accessing and reliving archived memories, perhaps not even your own".

              Sonically, the album embraces the classic Portico Quartet sound pallet of drums, saxophone, bass and Hang- Drums, but nonetheless the sound has modulated, become more modern, whilst still channelling the beauty and mystery which has always marked the very best of Portico Quartet's music. It's the sound of a band at ease with its self who after a dozen years of recording and playing together are able to simultaneously explore and embrace their own identity.

              "Memory Streams" also marks a return to a more predominantly band orientated sound than "AITAOA" and its partner release, the mini-album "Untitled". Bellamy says "we wanted to create something that had texture, fibre and space to it. Something that felt vivid, real and alive". During recording the band re-amped a lot of the sounds on the record, a process which lends a sense of depth and spaciousness to the sound. Wyllie adds, "We tried to reduce the pallet to what really identified the band and also as a way to help us write - it's not easy if you have unlimited possibilities. But it was also was an interesting challenge as it was about writing something new, that felt like a development, whilst also drawing on the past".

              "Memory Streams" opens with "With, Beside, Against" which has an expansive, quietly unfolding quality that makes it the perfect album opener and was also one of the first tracks they wrote for the album. "Signals" is a creeping, mysterious track that captures the spirit of the record. Its hypnotic, rolling quality builds throughout with shades of a classic Portico Quartet tune but with a 'tougher' edge. The outstanding "Gradient" is a more produced piece. Mixing lo-fi and beautifully recorded acoustic parts together it grows from a simple, repeated Hang-Drum motif, outwards into a searching hypnotic crescendo. "Ways of Seeing" is a synthesis of minimalism and more dancefloor-oriented rhythms. A lone pulse from the drum machine cuts through a haze of chiming, swirling Hang-Drums and pads built from shards of looped saxophone. "Memory Palace" is a distant echo of the motif from "Gradient", and is a bare, slow piano piece shrouded in a mist of saxophone noise. The punchy "Offset" is all about motion and tension and Bellamy's drums pound in response. "Dissident Gardens" is an intricate, hypnotic track in 3 parts. Almost prog like in rhythm but has a strong minimalist element to it with Farfisa organs as the repetitive top lines. "Double Helix" begins with string swells, it stops and jolts as if someone is switching TV channels before locking into a deep groove. The beautifully sparse, emotional heft of "Immediately Visible" sits in a powerful lineage of Portico Quartet tracks such as "Line", "Rubidium" and "Beyond Dialogue". It was largely improvised in the studio and offers the perfect ending point for the album with its sense of journey and deep well of feeling. An album that locates their music in an age where we have unfettered access to a vast and ever expanding archive of imagery and ideas, Memory Streams both embraces and builds on Portico Quartet's own unique music and legacy and locates their music firmly in the present.

              STAFF COMMENTS

              Millie says: ‘Memory Streams’ is a sublime neo-classical, and prominently jazz album. “With, Beside, Against” begins the album in minimalist style creating an earnest tone of reflection. As soon as the rest of ensemble joins in, the music becomes joyous, blossoming into percussion driven highs of emotion reminiscent of their earlier work. The album centres on capturing the memories of their past, Portico Quartet wanted to create something “vivid, real and alive” and I think they’ve just done that with this timeless album. I might be the only one here but when track as beautiful as “Immediately Visible” makes your heart ache a bit, that’s when you know the song is going to stay with you for some time. Similar artists on the Portico’s wavelength are GoGo Penguin, Nils Frahm and Penguin Café. If you are a fan of them, then this is the perfect album for you to end 2019 on a calming and gentle note.

              TRACK LISTING

              1. With, Beside, Against
              2. Signals In The Dusk
              3. Gradient
              4. Ways Of Seeing
              5. Memory Palace
              6. Offset
              7. Dissident Gardens
              8. Double Helix
              9. Immediately Visible

              The recordings on Oneness date from Jan, March and September 2008 and were born from a period of experimentation as Halsall first began to explore the music that would provide the inspiration for his spiritual jazz recordings Fletcher Moss Park and When the World Was One. They also offer an intriguing snapshot into the birth of Halsall's Gondwana Orchestra and feature many musicians who would go on to become a key part of Halsall's musical journey, such as harpist Rachel Gladwin, bassist Gavin Barras and saxophonist Nat Birchall. The recordings sat in the Gondwana Records vaults for over a decade before Halsall felt it was the right time to share them. Asked about the recordings Halsall says:

              "I've always treasured these recordings and loved how vulnerable, open and free they are, but I just felt they were too subtle and sensitive to release early on in my career, so I held them back until now. I also feel now is the right time to release these before I begin a fresh journey with a new bunch of musicians."

              Remarkably, the beautiful compositions heard here were all built around a simple tanpura drone sound. An instrument Halsall heard on Alice Coltrane's 'Journey In Satchidananda' album and then at a later date in a concert featuring Arun Ghosh on clarinet and John Ellis on piano. "I loved the way this instrument created a sort of meditative atmospheric pulse for the musicians to work over and it had this beautiful feeling of togetherness, so after the gig I went out and bought a Raagini Shruti box featuring the tanpura drone and began to practice my trumpet over it and wrote lots of loose themes and melodies".

              The sessions that make up Oneness capture Halsall in the process of building a new band, reaching out to various musicians he'd discovered and admired on the Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds music scene. "I really liked this idea of bringing lots of musicians together from different backgrounds and was fascinated with how they would all react to each other and the tanpura drone box seemed to bring everyone together really well, it was kind of like a nice meditative icebreaker exercise for everyone to loosen up, before we got stuck into the more composed tunes I'd created, some of which ended up on the Sending My Love and Colour Yes albums".

              The album's title, Oneness, speaks to both Halsall's conviction that the planet should be shared equally with all of its inhabitants. That no human being or other inhabitant deserves to exist more than the other and that we can achieve far more together than against each other. And also importantly to what Halsall was aiming for musically:

              "I really believe in Oneness and I've always loved the term 'greater than the sum of its parts'. I could make music on my own and live a fairly isolated antisocial life, but there's something far more rewarding about creating things with others. And for me these sessions document the coming together of lots of different musicians in a wonderfully organic soulful way to make egoless music".

              It's a belief that continues to underpin Matthew's music making and a message that the word sorely needs right now as we feel more divided and separated than ever. This then is Oneness, a decade in the making and well worth the wait. Enjoy!

              AIRPLAY from Mart Ann Hobbs, Gilles Peterson, Unclassified radio 3, Late Junction etc

              STAFF COMMENTS

              Millie says: Matthew Halsall’s recordings from 2008 have made it to the surface in this stunningly delicate record, Oneness. From the beginning of his journey, this precious jazz which has been stored for over a decade is a beautiful and pure edition to Halsall’s releases.

              TRACK LISTING

              1. Life
              2. Oneness
              3. Stan's Harp
              4. Loving Kindness
              5. Distant Land
              6. Stories From India
              7. The Traveller

              Hania Rani is a pianist, composer and musician who splits her life between Warsaw, where she makes her home, and Berlin where she studied and often works. She has written for strings, piano, voice and electronics and has collaborated with the likes of Christian Löffler, Dobrawa Czocher and Hior Chronik, and released an album with her Polish group tęskno last year. She has performed at some of the most prestigious venues in Europe - from the National Philharmony in Warsaw, to Funkhaus in Berlin, to The Roundhouse in London (where she made her debut at the Gondwana 10thanniversary festival last October) and at festivals such as Open'er, Scope Festival and Eurosonic. Her compositions for solo piano were born out of a fascination with the piano as an instrument, and her desire to interpret its sound and harmonic possibilities in their entirety and in her own way. "I think I am the same as an artist and as a person. Music is my way of communication and I see the art, the music as a whole thing, with no borders, divisions, or even genres."

              Esja is her debut solo album and for Rani it is her first, real, personal statement as an artist. "No hiding behind the "collaborations" or "projects" anymore. For the very first time, finally - just me, as I am".

              Recorded at Rani's apartment in Warsaw (the piano room has a beautiful reverb and the space has become part art studio and part sound laboratory for Rani) and at her friend Bergur Þórisson'sstudio in Reykjavik, Esja is a series of beautiful melodic vignettes. Sensual, sensitive, rhythmic, atmospheric, free but harmonious, beguiling and hypnotic, collectively they project a sense of unlimited space and time.


              TRACK LISTING

              1. Eden
              2. Sun
              3. Hawaii Oslo
              4. Pour Trois
              5. Biesy
              6. Luka
              7. Glass
              8. Today It Came
              9. Esja
              10. Now, Run 

              Singer, pianist, writer, poet and creative being, Allysha Joy, is a key member of Melbourne collective, 30/70. Their growing success over the last two years has led her to further challenge her expression in a project of her own, pushing boundaries as a female keys player, poet, singer and producer. Whether performing solo on Fender Rhodes or accompanied by her band, Allysha's steady groove, husky vocal tone and unique style of writing emanates her own personal truth and illuminates a powerful feminine energy learning to be peaceful, giving and considerate of others.

              Allysha grew up listening to jazz, soul, hip hop and RnB. Her sound is dynamic and raw, real and complex. "As a performer I look to people that present their genuine self on stage, reaching for something beyond the present moment, beyond themselves, being a vessel for something greater. I always try to take the audience on a journey".And as a song-writer Allysha draws from her own experiences and the empathy she feels for the world and its inhabitants. "I write as a way to process the emotion that consumes me in day to day life, otherwise I'd explode".


              For Allysha, Acadie : Raw signifies a moment in time: "from beginning to completion of creating this music, it has been a chance to express a deeper, more personal side of self and to take full control of the vision and the music. This record has allowed me to dive deeply into my creative expression and is just the beginning". The album features members of 30/70, the collective born from the creative music scene in Melbourne: "I play both solo or with my 30/70 family, Henry Hicks, Ziggy Zeitgeist, Josh Kelly and Danika Smith. I feel super blessed to have met this crew, we've been playing together now for four years and for me this record is just another extension of the 30/70 collective, constantly unravelling and branching out".

              It is the heartfelt mix of love and power, of desire and wonder, anger and faith and hope for change that underpins Acadie : Raw and marks Allysha Joy out as a future star telling her tales and spreading her wings to bring the joys of life to us all.



              STAFF COMMENTS

              Millie says: Brand new from the Gondwana label is Allysha Joy's Acadie: Raw, the album has a bold powerful presence and her style is refreshingly original, different to anything else out there right now. Her vocals are beautifully husky and you can feel the emotion weaved throughout the album. This is up there with the best jazz record of this year.

              TRACK LISTING

              1 FNFL
              2 Selfish
              3 Honesty
              4 Know Your Power
              5 Desire
              6 Akala
              7 Doom
              8 Eagle
              9 Swallow Me
              10 Enate

              Originally from West Yorkshire, but now resident in Manchester, composer, bassist and producer Phil France is probably best known as a key collaborator alongside Jason Swinscoe in the Cinematic Orchestra, where he co-wrote, arranged and produced on classic albums including Everyday, Man With The Movie Camera, Ma Fleur and also the triple award winning soundtrack for The Crimson Wing nature documentary. In 2013 France released his debut solo album, The Swimmer (GOND016), an emotive, epic record influenced by the great second wave of film composers including John Carpenter and Vangelis, as well as minimalist composers such as Steve Reich and Philip Glass

              Five years later, France presents the follow up, the enigmatically titled, Circle, which again represents a very personal journey for the artist. For France the album is an extension of work he began on The Swimmer. A process he has described as: " blocks of sound containing intricate minimal arpeggiated patterns and electronic textures that develop and shift in subtle, original and melodic ways. The trancelike quality, mood and electronic character of title track Circle led France to think of the circular patterns which eventually became a potent concept for the album. "Ideas and fashions repeat themselves in cycles. Events are said to travel 'full circle' and this is important to me because it represents my own recent personal and musical journey after 15 years touring as bassist and composer with The Cinematic Orchestra. I consider circles to be a strong symbol of unity, strength and inclusiveness and ultimately I've aspired to make something beautiful with those values at its heart".

              The album opens with the title track, Circle, built on a minimal looped pattern with melodic embellishment and shifting additional harmonic textures. Bells was developed from the arpeggiator and offers a nod to the melodicism and atmosphere of French electronic music. The Jackal features an idea originally developed for The Crimson Wing score but which finally bears fruit here. Cathedrals features an improvised intro, Philip Glass inspired organ and vocal textures inspired by the work of Colin Stetson. Finally, the album ends with a reprise of Circle this time featuring layered pianos. But it isn't the conclusion of the journey, for France: "The Circle is infinite - During the process of making this record, I have been constantly reminded that nothing ever stays the same and that all is in constant flux. The challenge for me is always to respond positively, be aware of and seize the opportunity for progression constant change provides" And it is that sense of movement and flow, but also calm and beauty that permeates Circle and make it such a worthy successor to The Swimmer.

              STAFF COMMENTS

              Barry says: Beautifully ethereal electronic pulses, rippling arpeggios and skittering machinated percussion are woven through organic drums and reverbed Balearic basslines. Stunningly emotive but with enough momentum to find a home in the front room or in the crepuscular haze on a sandy beach. Stunning.

              TRACK LISTING

              1. Circle
              2. Bells
              3. River
              4. Prophet
              5. Mr Jackal
              6. The First Thing That You Say
              7. Cathedrals
              8. The Breaks
              9. Circle (Reprise) 


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