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Matthew Halsall

Salute To The Sun Live At Hallé St. Peter's

    Salute to the Sun: Live at Hallé St Peter's documents a very special concert recorded at the iconic Manchester venue during lockdown.

    Released in November 2020, Matthew's Halsall'sSalute to the Sunwas the trumpeter's first album since 2015'sInto Foreverand marked the debut of his new band. A hand-picked ensemble featuring some of Manchester's finest young musicians. The album drew it's energy from the band's weekly sessions and was inspired by Halsall's love of nature. Lush and spiritual it received universal praise, but Halsall and his band were frustrated that they were unable to share their beautiful new sound live with an audience.

    On November 25th 2020, Halsall took his band into the iconic Manchester venue,Hallé St Peter's,for a concert recording in aid of the charityMindand was streamed to a global audience in the thousands the concert was also recorded for posterity.

    "When we recorded Salute to the Sun, I wanted to create something playful but also quite earthy and organic that connected to the sounds in nature. It seemed to strike a chord with people and I was blown away by the response to the album. Our concert film, recorded at the height of last winter's lockdown was a special moment for us all and I feel that the concert recording captured something beautiful that we wanted to share".

    Salute to the Sun: Live at Hallé St Peter's featuresMatthew Halsall– trumpet,Matt Cliffe- flute & saxophone,Maddie Herbert– harp,Gavin Barras– bass,Liviu Gheorghe– piano,Alan Taylor– drums andJack McCarthy- percussion

    The recording has been mixed by Matthew Halsall andGeorge Atkinsat80 Hertzand is mastered byPeter BeckmannatTechnology Works. The vinyl was cut at Calyx in Berlin and the album is pressed at Optimal in Germany. It is presented in the form of a limited edition 2LP set with artwork by legendary designerIan AndersonofThe Designers Republic.

    Spread over three sides of the vinyl LP for maximum fidelity the fourth side of the LP (side D) features an etching ofDaniel Halsall's now iconic artwork for the album Salute to the Sun and copies are strictly limited with just 3000 available in total. The album will also be available for download and on streaming platforms.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Harmony With Nature (Live At Hallé St Peter's)
    2. Joyful Spirits Of The Universe (Live At Hallé St Peter's)
    3. Canopy & Stars (Live At Hallé St Peter's)
    4. Mindfulness Meditations (Live At Hallé St Peter's)
    5. Tropical Landscapes (Live At Hallé St Peter's)
    6. Salute To The Sun (Live At Hallé St Peter's)

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

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

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

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

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


    TRACK LISTING

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

    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

    Matthew Halsall & The Gondwana Orchestra

    Badder Weather / As I Walk (feat. Josephine Oniyama)

    Gondwana Records are delighted to announce '7" Series', our first ever 7" vinyl collection series. Featuring bespoke artwork from Gondwana Records designer Daniel Halsall, cut at Calyx in Berlin, and manufactured at Optimal, each 7" is limited to strictly 300 copies and housed in a reverse board printed sleeve with classic 'dinked' centre holes.

    To launch this collectable series, we are excited to share new and previously unreleased music from Mammal Hands and two catalogue favourites from Matthew Halsall. Over the next coming months, we will share series part 3 and 4 and beyond.

    Manchester based composer, arranger, producer, DJ and band-leader Matthew Halsall has carved out a niche for himself as one of the UK's brightest talents. His languid, soulful, beautiful music has won international acclaim and for his first ever 7" he revisits his 2015 masterpiece, Into Forever, selecting two classic cuts, featuring the great vocalist Josephine Oniyama to create an instant, timeless, classic.

    Side A Badder Weather is deep and soulful built around a groove that never quits.

    Side B As I Walk is a lush, soulful affair, featuring swelling strings and deep vocals.

    Manchester based composer, producer, trumpeter, DJ and founder of Gondwana Records, Matthew Halsall is one of UK's most creative talents. A gifted trumpeter with a beautiful, expressive tone, his music has explored his love of the transcendental spiritual and modal jazz of Alice Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders, as well as more contemporary dance music and electronica.


    TRACK LISTING

    1 Badder Weather (feat. Josephine Oniyama)
    2 As I Walk (feat. Josephine Oniyama)

    Mammal Hands

    Chaser / Prism

      Gondwana Records are delighted to announce '7" Series', our first ever 7" vinyl collection series. Featuring bespoke artwork from Gondwana Records designer Daniel Halsall, cut at Calyx in Berlin, and manufactured at Optimal, each 7" is limited to strictly 300 copies and housed in a reverse board printed sleeve with classic 'dinked' centre holes.

      To launch this collectable series, we are excited to share new and previously unreleased music from Mammal Hands and two catalogue favourites from Matthew Halsall. Over the next coming months, we will share series part 3 and 4 and beyond.

      Captivating, ethereal and majestic, Mammal Hands are driven by their unique line-up of drums, piano and saxophone. Their hypnotic music draws on a rich well of influences from Sufi trance and West African music to folk music, contemporary classical, spiritual jazz and electronica to produce something uniquely their own. Their 7" features two brand new, previously unreleased tunes.

      Side A Chaser is a punchy, hypnotic tune with an enchanted melody that'll take you on a magical journey. All in less than 4 minutes

      Side B Prism is a mysterious ear-worm, ethereal but catchy, it sounds like nothing else the band have ever recorded.

      TRACK LISTING

      1 Chaser
      2 Prism

      GoGo Penguin

      Garden Dog Barbecue / Hopopono

      Gondwana Records part series, 3 and 4 of the '7" Series', the first ever 7" vinyl collection series. Featuring bespoke artwork from Gondwana Records designer Daniel Halsall, cut at Calyx in Berlin, and manufactured at Optimal, each 7" is limited to strictly 300 copies and housed in a reverse board printed sleeve with classic 'dinked' centre holes.

      Taken from 2013's v2.0, the Manchester trio's Mercury Prize nominated breakthrough album, this double A-side banger represents GoGo Penguin at their unmistakable best. Both tracks are classics and still feature in the band's live sets to this day. Unmissable. Side A Garden Dog Barbecue features a stonking piano riff over a frenzied, relentless breakbeat. Side B Hopopono features the bands most blissed out groove.


      Writing music for film and theatre has always been a big part of Hania Rani's musical world. It is also a part of the creative process that can be tantalisingly out of reach for listeners, either the project doesn't come to fruition or the music simply isn't available away from the film or play. From early collaborations with friends, to last year's two scores for full length films (xAbo: Father Boniecki directed by Aleksandra Potoczek and I Never Cry directed by Piotr Domalewski') Rani has been involved in many such projects, each representing an important step in her artistic development and life as a composer and artist:

      "Composing for motion picture or theatre is for me a very different kind of work than writing for my own projects. Firstly, I need to collaborate with somebody else who sees the world through the lense of their own art and craft. That's why these kinds of encounters can be so exciting - they are a promise of creating something very new, as a result of creative work of so many people from all walks of life. Secondly, I feel that music in film is an invisible character, a missing emotion that creates a special atmosphere and sensation. It doesn't illustrate, it completes the work of art. I think it is an extremely sensitive matter that rejects banal associations and easy solutions. I feel like composing for film works like an exercise for my imagination."

      It is the nature of these collaborations though, that sometimes the composers own preferred compositions don't make the final cut. This is where Music for Film and Theatre comes in as it allows Rani to present a selection of her own personal favourite pieces composed for film and plays. Pieces that made it to the final cut and pieces that were rejected by the director or the producer. Bringing the music together as an album offers a chance for Rani to share her music with her listeners on her own terms and a chance for her fans to hear a different side of her art.

      "I put them in one place, as a collection of precious objects that were kept for years in a drawer. Some of them were composed a couple years ago, some are the result of recent research. I am very happy to finally be able to present them as a separate project."

      Rani is of course grateful to all of the directors who have entrusted her to create music for their projects, but she professes especially warm feelings for the pieces composed for her first 'real' theatre play, Pradziady, directed by Michał Zdunik. The title comes from 'Dziady' a term in Slavic folklore for the spirits of the ancestors and a collection of pre-Christian rites, rituals and customs that were dedicated to them. The essence of these rituals was the 'communion of the living with the dead', namely, the establishment of relationships with the souls of the ancestors. "I felt this story needed extremely dark and fragile music, and at the same time a sound that could express the mixture of the two worlds - the living and the dead. I decided to compose part of the soundtrack with a string quartet but including two cellos, viola and only one violin. We recorded in a little house, completely built from wood, mostly from Finnish pine. I always felt this space has a very special, warm and natural acoustics - especially when it is combined with string instruments. The track composed for this theatre play is called Ghosts but actually didn't finally make it to the performance, although I like it so much that I thought it would perfectly fit



      this compilation". Other highlights include the enchanting Soleil Pâle written for a collaboration with director Neels Castillon, and improvising dancers Alt Take, the beautiful melancholy of In Between (from the film score for xAbo: Father Boniecki) and the magical bliss of The Beach (from I Never Cry) and together they create a beautiful offering from an artist whose every note is worth hearing, but for whom the journey is just beginning:

      "I am very happy to see that many artists consider my music as the right soundtrack for their works, because film music was always a huge inspiration for any of my compositions. I find there a lot of life and real emotions, but also a feeling of freedom. Freedom from my own thinking patterns and prejudices. I also believe strongly in collaboration between people, I always feel this is the way to create something really new, based on a mixture of different ways of thinking, feeling, expressing."

      This then is Hania Rani, Music for Film and Theatre – enjoy!

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Barry says: The wonderful Hania Rani finally returns! This time we get the paddling piano of her earlier work, but this time there are more dramatic interludes, owing to focus on soundtrack pieces. It's interesting to see Rani's scope change and the pieces themselves to remain just as effective while branching into more widescreen cinematic intensity. A gorgeous and evocative LP.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Prayer (From XAbo: Father Boniecki)
      2. In Between (From XAbo: Father Boniecki)
      3. Journey (From XAbo: Father Boniecki)
      4. Trip To Ireland (From I Never Cry)
      5. The Beach (From I Never Cry)
      6. The Locker Room (From I Never Cry)
      7. At The Hospital (From I Never Cry)
      8. Waiting (From At Home)
      9. Wildfires (From Truth In Fire)
      10. Ghosts (From Pradziady)
      11. Soleil Pâle
      12. Nora (From Nora)

      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

      Mammal Hands

      Oni / Lantern

      Formed in Norwich in 2012, Mammal Hands, have forged their own path away from the musical mainstream and their unique sound grew out of long improvised rehearsals. Saxophonist Jordan Smart, pianist Nick Smart and drummer and percussionist Jesse Barrett all contribute equally to the writing process: one that favours the creation of a powerful group dynamic over individual solos.

      Their records are entrancing and beautiful affairs, drawing on their love of electronic, contemporary classical, world, folk and jazz music, Mammal Hands take in influences including Pharoah Sanders, Gétachèw Mekurya, Terry Riley, Steve Reich and Sirishkumar Manji.

      Recorded at the same sessions as last year's acclaimed long-player, Captured Spirits, Oni / Lantern is a perfectly formed, strictly limited 12" release that pairs the rhythmic punch of the incessant A-side banger, 'Oni' with a beautiful folk-tinged future-anthem in the wistful, engaging 'Lantern' and with just 500 for the world, copies pressed this one will fly!

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Oni
      2. Lantern

      "I feel like 'Home' is a second part of the same book, that the start was in 'Esja', a musical prelude to a real plot. I feel Home is a story with an ending, so the next book can tell a totally different one. I am constantly looking for new ways of expression. I am curious where 'Home' will lead me and my music". — Hania Rani

      Hania Rani is a pianist, composer and musician who, was born in Gdansk and splits her life between Warsaw, where she makes her home, and Berlin where she studied and often works. Her debut album 'Esja', a beguiling collection of solo piano pieces on Gondwana Records was released to international acclaim on April 5th 2019 including nominations in 5 categories in the Polish music industries very own Grammys, the Fryderyki, and winning the Discovery of the Year 2019 in the Empik chain's Bestseller Awards and the prestigious Sanki award for the most interesting new face of Polish music chosen by Polish journalists. Rani also composed the music for her first full length movie "I Never Cry" directed by Piotr Domalewski and for the play "Nora" directed by Michał Zdunik. Her song "Eden" was used as a soundtrack of a short movie by Małgorzata Szumowska for Miu Miu's movie cycle "Women's Tales"

      If the compositions on Esja were born out of a fascination with the piano as an instrument, then her follow-up, the expansive, cinematic, 'Home', finds Rani expanding her palate: adding vocals and subtle electronics to her music as well as being joined on some tracks by bassist Ziemowit Klimek and drummer Wojtek Warmijak. The album reunites her with recording engineers, Piotr Wieczorek and Ignacy Gruszecki (Monochrom Studio) and the tracks were again mixed again by Gijs van Klooster in his studio in Amsterdam and by Piotr Wieczorek in Warsaw ( Ombelico and Come Back Home). Home was mastered by Zino Mikorey in Berlin (known for his work on albums by artists such as Nils Frahm and Olafur Arnalds).

      For Rani, 'Home', is very much a continuation of the work she started on 'Esja', "the completion of the sentence" as she puts it. The album offers a metaphorical journey: the story of places that become our home sometimes by chance, sometimes by choice. It is the story of leaving a place that is familiar and the journey that follows it. Home opens with the fragment of the short story "Loneliness" by Bruno Schulz, which can be seen as a parable of a journey that does not necessarily mean going beyond the physical door but can signify going beyond the symbolic limits of our knowledge and imagination.

      "One can be lost but can find home in his inner part - which can mean many things - soul, imagination, mind, intuition, passion. I strongly believe that when being in uncertain times and living an unstable life we can still reach peace with ourselves and be able to find 'home' anywhere' This is what I would like to express with my music - one can travel the whole world but not see anything. It is not where we are going but how much we are able to see and hear things happening around us". — Hania Rani

      Home is also about the inevitability of change. We never find places exactly how we left them. Time flies and life with it. Just like art and music. Once you started the trip, you will never be back really to the place where you started with. It is a sentiment that is at the heart of Home, not just its themes, but at the heart of Rani's music too. Following the success of Esja it would have been easy for her to stick to the same solo piano formula, but while Rani expresses her surprise and gratitude for the success of Esja, "I wasn't sure how this album - based on Piano and silence - will be received by the audience. The reception was a big surprise to me" it has also given her the confidence to express more of herself as an artist. On Home Rani steps into more of a producer's role, adding strings, bass and drums where needed, exploring the sounds of synths and electronica, but also creating textured layered songs made from acoustic samples, mostly from piano recordings. "I try to explore new genres and discover new artists, I don't want to be stuck in things that I know, I want to learn about things that are still new to me". But perhaps most notable is her singing, Rani has a fragile, beautiful voice, both pure and expressive. Long a feature of her live shows she uses it as another instrument, adding extra layers of melody and emotion to her already deeply expressive music.

      "I consider voice as another instrument. Maybe if I wasn't so often alone on the stage, I would take another instrument to play the melody that I have in my mind. But while I am alone, singing allows me to have more possibilities at the same time. The human voice has a real magic, nothing carries emotions as easily and powerfully as the voice, and I think being able to bring this atmosphere on stage opens up new possibilities of expression for me". — Hania Rani


      Home also features Rani's new band, bassist Ziemowit Klimek and drummer Wojtek Warmijak who appear on some of the albums stand out tracks, the beguiling single 'Leaving', the title track 'Home', atmospheric 'Tennen' and the beautiful 'I'll Never Find Your Soul'. After working and touring alone Rani begin to feel stuck with her own ideas and thoughts, and sounds. It was a prolific period for her compositionally, writing the music on Home, but also a film score and music for the theatre, but she felt that someone else's vision might bring new ideas to things that she already knew. Shortly before she was about to record Home she attended a concert of the young Polish jazz trio, Immortal Onion, in Gdańsk, her hometown. She liked what she heard and sked the double bassist and a drummer if they wanted to meet and something clicked. They spent most of the next week improvising and jamming on her music. This gave a whole new insight for some of the songs and brought new ideas for arrangements. And having enjoyed working together on the album Rani is looking forward to touring with the boys.

      "Touring with band is a totally different thing, way more challenging technically, but it also brings a new energy and new sound possibilities. I am very curious how we will manage to bring the album to life. I would like to keep the show balanced - mixing the new textures of Home with the atmosphere of minimalistic songs from Esja." — Hania Rani

      For Rani, this sense of exploring is a key part of her art. But it isn't only the music, Rani is keenly interested in art and architecture (as anyone who follows her exquisitely curated Instagram feed will know) and how her music works in the wider world.

      "I try to keep my eyes and ears wide open. What I want to master in my art is how to build the right atmosphere on stage, in recordings. To do this you need to be aware of many aspects - not only music, but also the full range of gestures, acoustics, visual aspect. I want to learn how to bring particular atmosphere and bring people to a specific space. I observe how music works in different contexts, how the feeling of sound changes in different acoustics, space, light conditions. The same thing happens with artwork that I share. I feel like everything of what I am bringing to the the world and sharing with others has an impact of reception my music. If we are an inseparable part of the ecosystem, then the music should be considered similarly." — Hania Rani

      The album's distinctive cover artwork was designed by the architect Łukasz Pałczyński, who combined his sketches with the stills from the music video for the song Leaving shot by her regular collaborators Mateusz Miszczyński and Jakub Stoszek in Greece and together with Rani's music and vision it is this sense of collaboration that gives Home it's power as Rani starts to give full expression to her own unique vision and perhaps the most exciting thing is that it is just another step on her journey, one that we are all lucky to be a part of!

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Javi says: Rani adds ghostly vocals, subtle synths and a healthy dose of echo to her already-distinctive neo-classical soundscapes, creating something as haunting as it is heartbreaking.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Leaving
      2. Buka
      3. Nest
      4. Letter To Glass
      5. Home
      6. Zero Hour
      7. F Major
      8. Summer
      9. Rurka
      10. Tennen
      11. I'll Never Find Your Soul
      12. Ombelico
      13. Come Back Home 

      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

      Portico Quartet & Hania Rani

      Portico Quartet & Hania Rani

      Portico Quartet / Hania Rani brings the singular Polish pianist and composer, Hania Rani, and East-London based widescreen minimalists, Portico Quartet, together for a unique collaboration.

      Label mates, they met when Hania Rani performed at the Gondwana 10 event at the Roundhouse in October 2018, an event that Portico Quartet headlined and which marked Rani's UK debut ahead of the release of her breakthrough album, Esja.

      The idea was simple, each artist would select and then rework one of each other's tunes. The result is a beautiful collaborative work that feel less like a pair of straight forward remixes and more like a new recording that brings the two acts distinctive sound worlds to a new place.

      The first track is Hania Rani - Nest (Portico Quartet remix), which finds Portico Quartet reworking a track from Rani's most recent album Home. Portico Quartet saxophonist and keyboardist Jack Wyllie says:

      'We've been fans of Hania since her first album album Esja, so it was a pleasure to get to work with her. Our remix took fragments of her voice and piano, and from that we extrapolated and composed an almost entirely new piece of music. The result was (hopefully) that her sound world became another instrument in the band…'

      On the flip is Portico Quartet – With, Besides, Against (Hania Rani remix), which Rani recrafts with the addition of piano and her own unique vocals.

      "Imagine being asked to make a remix for one of your favourite bands? I felt excitement and… mild panic. The idea for this one little rework took me a couple of months! I chose the track With, Beside, Against, which is a beautiful peaceful and broad piece of music with an energetic movement in the middle part. I tried to add a vocal line to it, reminding me of one of Portico's tracks called "Steepless" from their album released back in 2011. The result turned out to be satisfying. I felt it worked really nicely, matching the music in a natural way"

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Nest (Portico Quartet Remix)
      2. With, Beside, Against (Hania Rani Remix)

      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

        Last Words / Fanfares (Alternate Versions)

        Gondwana Records are delighted to announce the 6th release of our '7" Series', our first ever 7" vinyl collection series. Featuring bespoke artwork from Gondwana Records designer Daniel Halsall, cut at Calyx in Berlin, and manufactured at Optimal. This one is limited to strictly 500 copies and housed in a reverse board printed sleeve with classic 'dinked' centre holes.

        Last Words and Fanfares were GoGo Penguin's breakthrough tracks, taken from their first album, Fanfares, they first introduced the band's trademark mix of jazz, dance and classical music influences to the world outside of Manchester. For this this very special release we feature two breathtaking alternate versions. Recorded in 2013 they feature the now classic line-up of GoGo Penguin with pianist Chris Illingworth, drummer Rob Turner and bassist Nick Blacka (replacing Grant Russsell) together with producer Joe Reiser - they are released here for the first and only time.

        TRACK LISTING

        1. Last Words (Alternate Version)
        2. Fanfares (Alternate Version)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        STAFF COMMENTS

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

        TRACK LISTING

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

        GoGo Penguin

        V2.0 - Signed Orange Vinyl Special Edition

          PICCADILLY EXCLUSIVE SIGNED COPIES.

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

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

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

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


          TRACK LISTING

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

          Portico Quartet

          We Welcome Tomorrow

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

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

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

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

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

            TRACK LISTING

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

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


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


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

            STAFF COMMENTS

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

            TRACK LISTING

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

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


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


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



            STAFF COMMENTS

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

            TRACK LISTING

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

            STAFF COMMENTS

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

            TRACK LISTING

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

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

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

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


            TRACK LISTING

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

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

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


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

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



            STAFF COMMENTS

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

            TRACK LISTING

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

            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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