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Kessoncoda

Outerstate

    Gondwana’s newest stars are West London’s Kessoncoda, aka drummer Tom Sunney and keyboardist Fil Sowa. Standing firm between acoustic tradition and electronica, they are founded on a unique blend of melodic ostinato-laced piano and unwavering drums. Drawing on their array of musical interests, Fil and Tom take influence from rock, electronica, ambient, breakbeat and soundtracks for film and artists such as Squarepusher, Radiohead and Clark all hot-housed in their unique studio set-up, a shed at the bottom of Tom’s garden.

    Like former and present Gondwana Records label mates such as GoGo Penguin and Portico Quartet there’s something strongly cinematic about Kessoncoda’s music, like a narrative arc which unfolds through different themes and moods, with an ebb-and-flow of intensity, as breath-taking swells of melody burst into being, eventually to resolve in a wondrous climax.

    There’s also a deliberate undercurrent of post Covid unease which is encapsulated in the title Outerstate. “this feeling of being within a group of friends, and you're chatting, and you’re physically there but mentally you're not at all – you're somewhere else, a really weird state of being.” The murmured lyrics on Talk To Me I’m Sleeping are Tom’s poem about this dislocation, and it’s voiced by their friend/photographer Siân O’Connor. Elsewhere, there’s a fabulous moment on Dreambend, when further collaborators pop up – Gondwana label-mate saxophonist Jasmine Myra, violinist Krystyna Pęzínska and on cello Fil’s music teacher from school, Andreas Manoras. Outerstate is also subtly textured with synths and tech-noize, reflecting their interest in electronica (think Warp Records, Erased Tapes) – “the warm, warbly side of synths right through to the really shrill Squarepusher sound.”

    It’s the perfect union of complementary personalities that gives Kessoncoda their unique drive, of headlong sticksman Tom with his extraordinary offbeat pummel, together with thoughtful keysman Fil, with his ostinato melodiousness. The title Outerstate also reflects their location on the metropolitan outskirts of West London, and equally their existence at a distinct remove from any scene, as they dreamt up their soundworld in hermetic isolation. Now, though, they’re ready to go public and something tells us that Outerstate is just the beginning of something. From Tom’s shed to the world, Kessoncoda are ready to go global! 

    TRACK LISTING

    A1. The Sum Of All The Parts
    A2. Greyscale
    A3. KTO
    A4. Hammers
    A5. Talk To Me I'm Sleeping
    B1. Spaceliminal
    B2. Dreambend
    B3. X Is Closer To A
    B4. Reverie
    B5. Amaya 

    Caoilfhionn Rose

    Constellation

      With her third Gondwana album, ‘Constellation’, Manchester’s Caoilfhionn Rose has come of age as an artist, digging deep to find experimental new ways of expressing her wonder at nature’s beauty, her love of music in all its diversity, and her belief in the restorative powers that both afford in the troubled post-COVID world. Vigorous, searching and ever-curious, Caoilfhionn (say ‘Keelin’) has found a voice at once ancient and modern, intrepidly exploring contemporary technology to transform traditional songcraft for the mid 2020’s.

      The ten tracks on ‘Constellation’ feel rooted in a knowledge of folk, jazz and all the twentieth century’s classic tunesmiths, and yet they seem to create a magical, otherworldly space of her own imagining, blending Caoilfhionn’s core piano with synths, and pitting a live rhythm section and saxophone embellishments against ambient samples and future-facing production techniques.

      Confident, exploratory and often jaw-droppingly sublime, this incredible album properly announces Caoilfhionn Rose’s arrival as a fresh creative force for 2024.

      Caoilfhionn has always pursued music with a fierce commitment. When a period of illness in her late teens caused a delay in starting a Music degree at Newcastle University she used the time constructively. She took a diploma in Music Production and Audio Engineering at Manchester MIDI School (Now School of Electronic Music), which leant heavily towards electronic music, imbuing her with a progressive outlook towards sound manipulation. Later studying music at university in Newcastle, she’d make sound experiments and field recordings, posting tracks online under the alias Audrey Daydreamer, and eventually an EP, under her own name. That was how I got involved with Gondwana,” she explains, “because Matthew [Halsall, label boss] heard the EP, and he came to see me play at a café called The Art of Tea, and asked if I’d like to record for Gondwana.”

      ‘Constellation’ features contributions from Halsall’s rhythm section, drummer Alan Taylor and bassist Gavin Barras, as well as Jordan Smart from Mammal Hands, whose supple sax exquisitely colours the fringes of most of its songs. Also guesting: John Ellis, former member of The Cinematic Orchestra, beatifically tinkling the ivories at the end of ‘Fall Into Place’, and producer Aaron Wood via a raft of ambient samples adding textured loveliness throughout ‘Rainfall’.

      “I love being open to collaboration,” Rose enthuses, “and the record’s a collage, knitting together all these influences, sounds and players, and just really going for it with the experimentation in the production.”

      Constellation’ sees her broaden the range of her singing, from the pure natural expression of her earlier records, to using it more as an instrument, sometimes more as abstract sound than as conventional verbal delivery. “It’s all playful and experimental,” she summarizes, “seeing what we could come up with that’s imaginative.” And she has learnt to use “her artistic license just to let the words be as they are”, to write in a momentary, impressionistic, almost painterly way. One example was how the word ‘constellation’ just fell into her head – “like, out of the cosmos” – while recording that song, so in it went. It also seemed emblematic of many aspects of the album – the theme of connectedness, her little cluster of Gondwana family musicians, and a pervasive feel of stargazing awe in the music. It obviously made a fitting album title, too.

      And so, Caoilfhionn Rose’s collage of differing influences and inspirations, players and processes, cohered into a miraculous and quietly powerful body of work, which stands as a testament to artistic adventure, to both improvisation and hard work, to trusting our connection to nature, other people and music itself. As such, ‘Constellation’ surely deserves to put her on a much bigger stage by the year’s end.


      STAFF COMMENTS

      Barry says: Constellation is a work of perfectly paced, beautifully organic ambient jazz and soaring ethereal vocals, absolutely rocketing Caoilfhionn rose to the top of my year end list thus far. It's the perfect album for playing in the hazy summer heat, or by the fire with a book. Stunning.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Constellation
      2. Wandering Mind
      3. Momentary
      4. Josephine
      5. Rainfall
      6. Simple
      7. Fall Into Place
      8. Into Sky
      9. Drifting Dust
      10. A Light In The Middle

      Jasmine Myra

      Rising

        Elevating, uplifting and beautifully arranged. Jasmine Myra's sophomore album 'Rising' builds on the success of her breakthrough album 'Horizons' to deliver a major statement from one of UK Jazz's rising stars. Produced by Matthew Halsall and mixed by Greg Freeman (Hania Rani, Matthew Halsall, Portico Quartet), 'Rising' delivers a confident and vibrant follow up that joins the musical dots between Myra’s influences Kenny Wheeler, Bonobo and Shabaka Hutchings while delivering something unique, beautiful and profound.

        'Rising' is also the sound of a composer and performer growing in stature and adding extra layers of confidence and poise to both her playing and composing. Aided and abetted by Matthew Halsall who once again lends his production skills, Rising is fuller, richer and deeper as Myra develops her uniquely uplifting sound.

        Much like my first album, 'Rising' is a reflection of a period of my life. It is a continuation from 'Horizons', which was all about my experience during lockdown, and entailed overcoming my struggles with mental health. Following on from that experience, I set out to continue building my self-confidence. This album has an uplifting and spiritual sound, drawing influence from artists such as Makaya McCraven, Bonobo and Shabaka Hutchings.

        'Rising' features the same core of musicians as Myra’s debut album 'Horizons' (Gondwana records GOND052): guitarist Ben Haskins, drummer George Hall pianist Jasper Green, harpist Alice Roberts (who both also perform with Matthew Halsall) and bassist Sam Quintana who collectively bring a deft understating of the subtle textures of Myra’s music and perform with a collective empathy and drive that really pushes the music on a radiant journey. And a string quartet add gently elevating textures to 'Still Waters', 'Knowingness', 'From Embers' and 'How Tall The Mountains'.


        TRACK LISTING

        1. Rising
        2. Still Waters
        3. Knowingness
        4. Glimmers
        5. From Embers
        6. How Tall The Mountains

        Hania Rani announces "On Giacometti" a tender meditation on the life and art of Alberto Giacometti and family.

        "On Giacometti" is a collection of beautiful recordings inspired by the renowned artist and family and features some of Rani's most profoundly delicate compositions to date. Invited by film director Susanna Fanzun, to score her forthcoming documentary on the legendary artist Alberto Giacometti, Hania Rani took herself to the Swiss mountains to compose in blissful isolation. As Rani explains eloquently below the compositions are based on improvised melodies, simple harmonies and structures and inspired by the silence of the mountains as Rani returns to her main instrument, the piano. The results are beguilingly reminiscent of her beloved debut album Esja, but with subtle extra layers of synthesiser, and on two tracks cello from friend and long-running collaborator Dobrawa Czocher.


        STAFF COMMENTS

        Barry says: I'm a big fan of ambient and modern classical music, and Hania Rani is one of my more recent artist discoveries, and one of my absolute favourites. Tender prepared paino pieces a-la Frahm, echoic room sounds and shimmering reverb. Soft strong sweeps and pad-like swells offset the more frantic piano pieces with panaceas of calm. Stunning.

        TRACK LISTING

        1. Allegra
        2. Spring
        3. Stampa
        4. Struggle
        5. Morning
        6. In Between
        7. Knots
        8. Dreamy
        9. Storm
        10. Time
        11. Mountains
        12. Annette
        13. Alberto

        Svaneborg Kardyb

        At Home (An NPR Tiny Desk Concert)

          Svaneborg Kardyb are Nikolaj Svaneborg – Wurlitzer, Juno, piano and Jonas Kardyb – drums, percussion a multi award winning duo from Denmark, with a fast-rising international reputation and with an NPR Tiny Desk concert – number one on many artist’s wish lists - in the bag before even the release of their Gondwana Records debut album Over Tage last November.

          Their beautiful, exquisite compositions draw on Danish folk music and Scandinavian jazz influences, resulting in a joyful melding of beautiful melodies, delicate minimalism, catchy grooves, subtle electronica vibes, Nordic atmospheres and organic interplay. All of this and more shines through on their NPR session, first broadcast in May 2022 on YouTube. But of course, not everyone watches YouTube and so here, emastered for vinyl and download, is a strictly limited to 1500 vinyl, four tracker - At Home (An NPR Tiny Desk Concert) featuring bespoke artwork from Gondwana Records’ Daniel Halsall.

          Here is what Kara Frame had to say for NPR, “Svaneborg Kardyb's Tiny Desk (home) concert was recorded in the countryside of Djursland, Denmark. "You have to drive for a while on a gravel road, and then you come to a lovely old house surrounded by hills and a stream on one side and a very flat landscape on the other, where you can see 10 miles away," the band wrote to us, describing the location of the shoot. It's this place that inspired Svaneborg Kardyb's second album, Haven (or "garden" in English). "Haven celebrates places we like to be," the duo said.

          The Danish jazz duo is composed of Nikolaj Svaneborg on the Wurlitzer, synthesizer and piano, and Jonas Kardyb on drums and percussion. Their instrumentation set-up is untraditional, with the drums and keys facing each other, a position that they play in on stage just as they do in Kardyb's kitchen and living room here. They open up their set with the title track from Haven, which begins with a quiet melody over an effervescent loop. The sound mimics the shimmy of leaves in the breeze.”

          TRACK LISTING

          A1. Haven
          A2. Et Lite Øyeblikk Bare
          B1. Orbit
          B2. Terrassedør

          Ancient Infinity Orchestra

          River Of Light

            Ancient Infinity Orchestra is a 14-member jazz ensemble led by double-bassist and composer Ozzy Moysey, based in the bustling creative city of Leeds in the North of England – home to one of the most innovative and community-based jazz scenes in the UK. Saxophonist Matt Cliffe who also performs with Matthew Halsall is a key member and the rotating line-up which includes drums, two bassists, keyboards, harp, violin, cello, two tenors, alto, oboe, flute and percussion.

            Rivers of Light’ drinks deep from the well of spiritual jazz and is especially inspired by the soulful sounds of Pharoah Sanders, Alice and John Coltrane but also channels a certain Northern sensibility that can be heard in the music of Matthew Halsall or Alabaster de Plume. Melodic, warm and honest this is music that is happy to wear its heart on its sleeve.

            This is also communal music made by friends, which offers a deep celebration of togetherness and of music-making. It’s confidently deep music, moving and meditative, and Ozzy draws on philosophy and nature as well as musical inspirations to foster a focus on giving and sharing beautiful things with one another and with the listener.

            ‘Rivers of Light’ was recorded over three days and the ensemble were joined by a choir of over a dozen friends from Brighton, UK adding a further joyous layer to the beautiful music. But this was more than just a recording, the musicians made food for each other, hung out together and exalted in the moment. Ozzy explains:

            “It was a joyous three days of recording together with the Leeds based band of 14, combined with a similar sized choir of friends from Brighton joining us. Seeing them meet for the first time and witnessing their incredible dedication and passion for music together, was so fun to be a part of. Members of the choir cooked for over 30 people each day, descending, each morning, on mass, to the studio and melting together in the heat of the height of summer. Between tracks, the band jammed in the corridors, sat in the sun and laughed a lot. The atmosphere of all these people meeting in the heat of summer, eating, laughing and creating something together - really shines through”. 


            TRACK LISTING

            A1. Greeting
            A2. Rejoicing
            A3. Niyama
            B1. Michael & Zelah
            B2. Equanimity
            C1. Spring Break On Trappist-1
            C2. Arc Of The Sun
            C3. Love Song
            D1. River Of Light
            D2. Pharoah Sings

            Chip Wickham

            Love & Life

              “Life is nothing without love. Love is the force that drives our journey in life. Life is love and love is life.”

              UK jazz master Chip Wickham follows last year’s brilliant soulful long-player Cloud 10 with a deftly crafted, reflective EP of beautiful spiritual jazz sounds influenced by the soulful sounds of Yusef Lateef. Chip’s music has always drawn from a broad world of influences from hip-hop to Roland Kirk and from classic funk to the classic ‘60s Brit-Jazz sound of Tubby Hayes. But Love & Life finds him foregrounding his wonderful flute playing and producing a perfect fourtracker of reflective, peaceful jazz that elevates and inspires as well as a trademark slice of boppish soul jazz – the jaunty Space Walk.

              Elsewhere lead single Love & Life is a joyous jazz waltz with an uplifting, bouncing groove and Slow Down Look Around is introspective and intimate, featuring Chip’s signature flute with a beautiful solo from UK trumpeter Malcolm Strachan. Chip explains that the track presents “a big lesson for us to learn as the world changes around us with such speed. The technology changes but our human needs remain the same: peace, tranquillity and time to think.”


              STAFF COMMENTS

              Barry says: I'm not historically a big Jazz fan, but one of the labels that changed my ideas of what a Jazz record was, was Gondwana. It turns out that while I wasn't super keen on 'mad jazz' (Free) it turns out that I was really quite into 'Chill Jazz' (spiritual), and Chip Wickham's warmly evocative, beautifully paced 'Love & Life' epitomises everything I discovered I like in a jazz record.

              TRACK LISTING

              1. Space Walk
              2. Love & Life
              3. Seven Worlds
              4. Slow Down Look Around

              Phi-Psonics

              Octava

                Gondwana Records are proud to announce Octava the sublimely beautiful second album from immersive LA deep-jazz masters Phi-Psonics

                “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” — Matthew Halsall

                Phi-Psonics is a meditative, deeply soulful immersive jazz 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 soulful music 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, along the way they create something uniquely their own, beautiful landscapes for your thoughts to roam within.

                Octava is their second album and like the Cradle before it’s emotional, introspective, and unusual approach to spiritual jazz offers us a beautiful space for uplifting contemplation and wields a quiet power to create a spiritually inspiring world of timeless, warm melodies and instrumental exploration for the deep listener. 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 combined intense 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 and although Phi-Psonics music has been described as spiritual jazz, or deep immersive listening music but this is music for fans of Radiohead and The Invisible as well as fans of Alice Coltrane and Pharaoh Sanders.

                The album opens with Invocation as we embark on our journey. The repeated melody at the end feels ancient but also contains an energy that is driving forward. An Offering is a humble but beautiful tune full of texture and colour. We Walk in the Gardens of Our Ancestors shows clear eyed reverence for those who came before us as we walk through their gardens. Green Dreams is a tender, gentle love song to Seth’s wife.Where We've Been Is a group improvisation centered around the drums. Lunar Reflections is a romantic ode to nature that draws inspiration from where Seth lives a green oasis within the sprawling cityscapes of LA. Becoming draws on memories of the dark days of 2020 but this was a period that was also full of beauty and light and this song elevates and uplifts us. Finally New You offers hope of change.

                TRACK LISTING

                A1. Invocation
                A2. An Offering
                A3. We Walk In The Gardens Of Our Ancestors
                A4. Green Dreams
                B1. Where We've Been
                B2. Lunar Reflections
                B3. Becoming
                B4. New You

                Hanakiv is a young composer and musician from Estonia (now based in London) who creates meditative piano-based ambient music with elements from classical and electronic music. 'Goodbyes' is her debut recording and draws on influences as diverse as Tim Hecker, Björk "Vespertine", Kara-Lis Coverdale, Arvo Pärt, Erkki-Sven Tüür and Aphex Twin as well as her own cultural heritage. Music has an important part in Estonian culture, especially choir music and its traditions, but Hanakiv also draws on her love of nature – the beautiful Estonian seaside and forests - and on her time in Iceland. However, it was moving to London that gave her the freedom to make her own music: "London gave me the freedom and courage to really be who I am (as a person and musically)" and her heritage and her new home both offer inspiration to Goodbyes, as Hanakiv moves between these two opposite places, a bustling metropolis and a small country full of nature, drawing inspiration from both as she sculpts her own voice.

                Hanakiv had an unconventional music education – she started studying music at a school for handbells when she was nine and was part of a handbell ensemble for eight years. Starting on piano at the same time she went on to study composition at high school, and later at the Estonian Academy of Music. Eventually switching to electroacoustic composition, she studied in Reykjavik, and did internships in Malmö, and again Reykjavik before moving to London. She grew up in a musical family and her grandmother was a piano teacher and choir conductor.

                "I would always ask her to take me to her choir rehearsals. I remember sitting under the grand piano, listening to the choir and just being mesmerised by the sounds. She also teaches in a local music school in the south of Estonia with about ten pianos, and I'd spend a lot of time there as well. I believe this was the starting point for me to get to where I am now. The last two pieces on the album (Home II and Home I) are composed in this same music school, so it feels like a full circle.

                An early influence was Regina Spektor "the first artist who made me really want to play piano" alongside dream pop and Sigur Rós' as well as Estonian contemporary composers such as Erkki-Sven Tüür and Arvo Pärt. Later her studies took her to Reykjavík: "There is this amazing record shop called 12 Tónar in Reykjavik where you can drink espressos and listen to all their vinyls. I spent quite a lot of time there. There is something about Icelandic music that really excited me (the mixture of contemporary electronic sounds with melancholy, emotionality). This is when I started getting more into electronic music, and experimenting outside of classical music". Following a year long break from studying and inspired by making an electroacoustic soundtrack for a friend's abstract video, she was inspired to complete a masters in electroacoustic composition, diving fully into the worlds of sound recording and mixing and focusing on surround sound and how to position and move sounds in space, eventually doing an internship with composer Kent Olofson in Malmö, who works with multi-speaker systems for theatre productions. "I learnt a lot from him and he introduced me to some of my favourite plugins I've used a lot on this album as well."

                Hanakiv moved to London just as the pandemic hit and found herself trapped, in a big new city, without any network or family and so just concentrated on making music. "I stayed in my room with my basic equipment - keyboard, Korg minilogue, SM 58 and Rode nt1-a microphones, laptop and speakers. I was reading about mixing, and trying out different things and listening to a lot of music to get the sense of the mixes and production and finishing a commission piece for 5.1 multi speaker system at that time so I set up four speakers for quadrophonic surround sound in my room!". She also found her way back to piano - my instrument – and started practicing again, playing the pieces she used to play, but also just improvising, and this was the beginning of what would become her debut album, 'Goodbyes'.

                "I started appreciating everything about music again (even melody!), and everything just came together naturally, and I arrived to a point where I finally found my voice, and I had something that I wanted to say and share. I composed "Meditation I" first and started with "Goodbye", and all the other pieces are derived from that. Without "Meditation I" there wouldn't be this album. If you listen closely, "Meditation I" starts where "Goodbye" ends; "Meditation II" is born from "Meditation I".

                But it was meeting Fi Roberts, a sound engineer based at the legendary Strongrom Studios in Shoreditch, London in December 2020 that really brought the album into focus. The pair bonded over an interest in prepared piano and a similar approach to production ideas (a balance of not overdoing it, and letting the songs speak for themselves, but being open to explore) and Fi became a friend but also a confidant and eventually co-producer

                "Fi has a big impact on this record but I don't know how to really explain that properly. Of course, this album is sonically stunning thanks to her amazing mixes and recording skills, but she also believed in this music so much and it created something very special - that's difficult to measure with words. She just works with heart, and I really appreciate that"

                This then is 'Goodbyes', the first offering from a major new voice, who offers us a meditative work full of space and tranquillity but also life and friendship and meaning. And we are very proud to welcome her to the Gondwana family.

                TRACK LISTING

                1. Goodbye
                2. Meditation III
                3. And It Felt So Nice
                4. Lies
                5. No Words Left
                6. Meditation II
                7. Home II
                8. Home I

                Portico Quartet Ensemble

                Terrain (Extended) - Live In Studio One: An Abbey Road 90th Session

                  Gondwana Records and Portico Quartet announce a strictly limited edition collectors-item. Featuring an expanded version of their long-form composition Terrain and re-arranged for the Portico Quartet Ensemble and recorded live in Studio One.

                  Terrain (Extended) features an expanded version of the composition re-arranged for the Portico Quartet Ensemble – a subtle re-configuration of the band that features a string quartet - and which allowed for the composition's deeper textures and resonances to be fully explored, along the way expanding the dialogue between tranquillity and a subtly unsettling melancholy, that makes Terrain such a beautiful, powerful piece.

                  9th November 2021 was a very special session. The band (who had first recorded at Abbey Road for their second album Isla back in 2009), brought long-term collaborator, recording and mix engineer, Greg Freeman over from Berlin to work with Abbey Road's Chris Bolster and the resulting concert film Terrain (Extended) - Live in Studio One An Abbey Road 90th Session received it's world premiere broadcast on the Gondwana Youtube channel on Thursday 20th October. Now Gondwana Records is super proud to announce the ultimate collector's edition of this special recording. Limited to just 1500 individually numbered and stamped LPs and 1000 CDs.

                  Recorded live at Abbey Road Studio One. Mixed in Berlin by the band's longterm collaborator Greg Freeman. Audio mastered by John Davis at Metropolis Studios. Vinyl cut by John Davis at Metropolis Studios

                  STAFF COMMENTS

                  Barry says: Portico Quartet perfectly accentuate their exploration into American minimalism from last year, with the tasteful addition of a string quartet. Through the addition of strings, it's helped Terrain move more toward the buoyant levity of their earlier work while retaining the arrhythmic drift of the original release. A wonderful reworking and a lovely looking release too.

                  TRACK LISTING

                  1. Terrain I (Extended) - Live In Studio One: An Abbey Road 90th Session [Live]
                  2. Terrain II (Extended) - Live In Studio One: An Abbey Road 90th Session [Live]
                  3 .Terrain III (Extended) - Live In Studio One: An Abbey Road 90th Session [Live]

                  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

                  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 

                    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

                    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

                    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

                    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 

                    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

                    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

                      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

                        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 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

                        Matthew Halsall

                        Oneness

                          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

                          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

                          Portico Quartet

                          Untitled (AITAOA #2)

                            Portico Quartet has always been an impossible band to pin down. Sending out echoes of jazz, electronica, ambient music and minimalism, the group have created their own singular sound.And while their new music mixes dense layers and textures with electronic and acoustic instruments the sound remains uniquely, recognisably their own.

                            In 2017 they released their fourth studio album in a decade, Art in the Age of Automation, on Gondwana Records. Released to a chorus of acclaim, the album marked a triumphant return for the Quartet after a brief hiatus as the three-piece, Portico, and marked a welcome return to the stage for the foursome with sold-out shows across Europe including the Roundhouse, London earlier this year.

                            Untitled (AITAOA #2) was largely recorded at the same sessions as Art in the Age of Automation at Fish Factory Studios in London and Portico Quartet's own studio in East London. Like it's predecessor, the album was mixed at Voxton in Berlin. It is intended as a companion piece to last year's AITAOA. But works equally as well as a stand-alone album and explores similar areas of enigmatic, widescreen minimalism alongside the more hard-hitting sounds that have become a notable part of their live shows. There is no lessening of quality here, album opener, Double Space, Index, View From A Satellite and Berlin were all originally slated for AITAOA, before being held back as the band's vision of that album came into sharper focus. The insistent groove of Unrest and cinematic beauty of Celestial Wife were enhanced with further recording sessions till the band felt they were complete. The artwork is by Duncan Bellamy for Veil Projects.

                            TRACK LISTING

                            1 Double Space
                            2 Index
                            3 Unrest
                            4 In Where We Meet
                            5 View From A Satellite
                            6 Celestial Wife
                            7 Reflected In Neon
                            8 Dust
                            9 Berlin


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