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Kassem Mosse - purveyor of fierce, radically strange and thoroughly uncompromising frequencies and rhythms, always looking into new directions to take electronic music. On this outing, out of his current home at Honest Jon's, we get lush drum machine nocturnes, gnarly electronica and glorious flowerings of zoned-out dubspace. Whether prepared solo, or jointly with his partner in crime, Mix Mup; a Kassem Mosse recording is less of a stand-alone creation than the next thrilling installment of an unstoppable groove. True to form, "Disclosure" dazzlingly extends some of the most mystical, dancefloor-rooted music of the last decade. From dusty, dream-state techno on Workshop and Mikrodisko, to frazzled beatdowns on Trilogy Tapes and Nonplus. Pedigree techno and house are the lifeblood of "Disclosure", yet with something newly microscopic about them. Its mesmerizing juggle of pointillist percussion, melting-wax chords and fleshy bump’n’grind suggests biological processes at work, as if Mosse has zoomed right into the cellular metabolism ticking away at the core of the music. These textures are woven into some of KM’s richest and most emotionally complex material so far, constantly enlivened by forays into jazz, dub and beyond. Check the farty-bottom, broken-down, steel-pan minimalism of "Collapsing Dual Core", just the job for cruising around Detroit in a car at night; and "Phoenicia Wireless"' dastardly, intricate combination of glowering John Carpenter synths, heavy static and junked consoles on remote, as if the beats are fighting a wave of dirt, soot and fossilization. The frantic, interstellar tarantella of "Galaxy Series 7"; the wonky bump-and-hustle and heavy-lidded drama of "Purple Graphene", to close, are all signposts on Mosse's natural journey through sound.
Expertly pieced-together and paced, "Disclosure" brilliantly registers all the self-contained coherence and artistic authority of an album proper, yet shadowed throughout by the open-ended and questing spirit so vital to Mosse’s music. Its intimate enactments of non-closure, and its sense that anything could happen at any moment; its thematic play between excess and incompleteness, babble and tongue-tied stutter, grooving and entropy, wobble and the pause-button leave the listener both fully invigorated yet gagging for more. 

A stunning survey of the 1970s heyday of this great Japanese singer and countercultural icon. Deep-indigo, dead-of-night enka, folk and blues, inhaling Billie Holiday and Nina Simone down to the bone. A traditional waltz abuts Nico-style incantation; defamiliarised versions of Oscar Brown Jr and Bessie Smith collide with big-band experiments alongside Shuji Terayama; a sitar-led psychedelic wig-out runs into a killer excursion in modal, spiritual jazz. Existentialism and noir, mystery and allure, hurt and hauteur. With excellent notes by Alan Cummings and the fabulous photographs of Hitoshi Jin Tamura. Hotly recommended.

Moritz Von Oswald Trio

Sounding Lines

Tony Allen, drums; Max Loderbauer, synthesizers; Moritz von Oswald, percussion sequencing, synthesizers, additional electronics.
Mixed by Ricardo Villalobos.
Artwork by Marc Brandenburg.

The Moritz Von Oswald Trio opens a new chapter. There's a new configuration to the project, with Tony Allen joining original members Moritz von Oswald and Max Loderbauer. Allen, the legendary drummer who's amassed a formidable catalogue both as a solo artist and as part of Fela Kuti's band, has taken over percussion duties from Vladislav Delay.

Together, von Oswald, Loderbauer and Allen form something close to a dream team, two masters of the electronic sphere meeting an afro-beat pioneer. Allen had already established a rapport with the group before they entered the studio to record 'Sounding Lines' - he's been touring with Von Oswald and Loderbauer for more than a year, playing live shows around the world.

There has been an evolution on each new Moritz Von Oswald Trio record, and Sounding Lines is no different. The album, which was mixed by Ricardo Villalobos, maintains the project's trajectory - a fearless exploration of dub techno, classical music and jazz - but the prevailing mood feels looser and more organic than ever before. Allen's imperious percussive work sits tantalisingly in the mix. His drums meet the electronics of von Oswald and Loderbauer in a way that renders the project in new, vivid colours.

There are 4/4 tracks, beatless interludes and complex jazz structures, with propulsive recordings ("3") coexisting alongside more languid moments ("1"). Sometimes Allen provides flourishes of drums (notably on "4") while at other times spectral synths come to the fore (as on "5"). Von Oswald, a masterful composer and arranger with a deep understanding of space, paints the crevices of each composition on 'Sounding Lines' with rich detail. Individually, Von Oswald, Loderbauer and Allen are formidable and hugely influential musicians. As a trio, they've conjured something remarkable.

Ravishingly beautiful, achingly precious songs and instrumentals, ranging from two performances by the Royal Court Orchestra in 1906 - with futuristic, overlapping trumpets and exquisite clarinet improvisation - through to a hauntingly soulful Hāfez setting by Moluk Zarrābi of Kāshān, from 1933.

There are eight selections from more than three hundred recordings made in 1909 above the Gramophone Company offices in City Road, London EC1, by the Persian Concert Party. Unrest at home had compelled the group to travel in order to record, paying its way with shows in Baku, Constantinople, Vienna and Paris. Its music is a striking, experimental combination of European and Iranian elements, impressionistic and exotic, with chimes, castanets and rattles. There is an arrangement of traditional Persian music for pipe-organ; and rueful, imploring, besotted love-songs. ‘I am crazy with envy of the dress asleep in your arms and the oils rubbed into your skin.’

A setting of Rāheb’s poetry by Moluk Zarrābi is drawn from 136 titles recorded at 1925 sessions in Tehran, when Iranian women were for the first time concertedly accepted as serious professional musicians, without the connotation of prostitution. Such was the social stigma borne by musicians, especially female, several of our singers hid their identities behind partial or assumed names. ‘Parvāneh’, for example, ‘Butterfly’ - represented by her interpretations of Sa‘di and Hāfez, with self-accompaniment on setar, a three-stringed lute (‘seh’, three; ‘tar’, string), Iranian ancestor of the Indian sitar: ‘I am the slave of love…’ And Helen, with some boozy Hāfez wisdom: ‘Keep your cards close to your chest. Kiss nothing except the lips of your beloved and the rim of a cup of wine. Let no one judge you.’

Moluk Zarrābi - together with Qamar-ol-Moluk Vaziri - featured on more than half the 1925 recordings. On her return to the studio the following year, she was accompanied on tar by Mortezā Ney-Dāvud, amongst the country’s most acclaimed musicians and composers of all time, from the Jewish community of Tehran. (It sounds like another stupendously gifted Iranian Jewish musician - Yahyā Zarpamjeh - accompanying Akhtar.) Alongside one of these duets, two of Ney-Dāvud’s solo recordings from the same sessions are instrumental highlights of this epic set, besides a series of staggering improvisations by Abd-ol-Hoseyn Shahnāzi, sublime ney and kamancheh playing by Mehdi Navā’i and the Armenian Hayk, and an anonymous tar solo from the South Caucasus, captured in Tiflis in 1912, red-raw and rocking.

The two CDs are sumptuously presented in a hard-back gatefold sleeve, with a 26-page booklet containing full notes and marvellous photos, on fine-art papers, stitched not stapled. The four 180g LPs are presented in two gatefold sleeves inside a heavy card slipcase, with a 12”-square, 20-page, saddle-stitched booklet on art paper. The music was restored from 78s at Abbey Road studio in London.


2xCD Info: two CDs are sumptuously presented in a hardback gatefold sleeve, with a 26 page booklet containing full notes and marvellous photos, on fine art papers,
stitched not stapled.


New Recordings From East Coast Province, Kenya

Field recordings of the Mijikenda tribes, made in different spots in and around Mukunguni village, coastal Kenya, throughout September 2011: mostly healing music (especially for mental problems), but also love-songs, and spiritual contributions to weddings and burials; mostly in the Sengenya style which evolved in the early twentieth century, adding pace, new Tsikitsi rhythms and extra drums to the traditional Dumbwi forms of the Duruma tribe.

Besides the Sengenya drums - bumbumbu, dahdahe, chapuro, vumi, ngoma - there are lungo and dena (metal rings), kayamba (raft rattle), njunga (bells), ukaya (metal tray), bamba (metal guiro) and bottle-tops. Our album opener is solo dena, played to sound like a bat and heal the village sick, with the ear for frequency and timbre of a stringent minimalist. There are the piercing, reeded nzumari oboe and bung'o horn, sounding like fierce free-jazz improvisation; and two gently stunning marimba solos, with complex, overlaid melodies and rhythms, played in polyphonic accents, almost like talking drums.

Most of the recordings here are songs, with strong tunes, robustly delivered, different solo voices leading the group - to heal; to chase away Pepo Mlume, the devil who poisons the imagination; to get you on your feet, dancing; to celebrate dowry payments and weddings; to bring the Mijikenda cultural inheritance to life. Matatizo - 'Worries' - was recorded spontaneously at a bus-stop, waiting for a ride: it's a Swahili love-song, with a plaintive female vocal performed to the accompaniment of five or so people rubbing their palms together in tight rhythmic patterns. 'The lord conferred this love on us, my sister. Is it human, or from the angels? Flowing out of binoculars... or computers? I can't figure it out, but my heart aches so badly.'

The vinyl set is two ten-inch records, plus the CD, in a gatefold sleeve. Besides photos, both formats contain the musicians' own introductory notes, snatches of translation, and brief track-by-track commentary.


2x10" LP Info: Was £14.99.

Vinyl comes with CD version of the album enclosed.

Rocket Juice & The Moon

Rocket Juice & The Moon

High up in the skies, amongst the clouds, Rocket Juice & The Moon was born. Literally. It happened back in 2008, when Damon Albarn, Flea and Tony Allen convened on the same Lagos flight, to play and exchange musical ideas in that city as part of the Africa Express collective. Relishing a shared enthusiasm for one another’s work, and bonding immediately, there and then the triumvirate laid down the blueprint for Rocket Juice.

Still, more than a year passed before conditions were set for three weeks together at Albarn’s West London studio, recording and refining two-dozen startlingly out and deeply funky instrumental grooves. The next stage was to invite onboard some extremely talented friends, with further sessions in Dallas, New York, Chicago and Paris… Erykah Badu, no less, queen of contemporary soul. Three companions from Africa Express: Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara, whose debut album has topped World Music charts since its release last Autumn; her multi-talented compatriot Cheick Tidiane Seck, whose prodigious keyboardism has lit up releases by artists ranging from Youssou N’Dour to Hank Jones; the young, Ghanaian rapper M.anifest, quizzically existential, switching seamlessly between Twi and English. And the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, long-time stalwarts in the Honest Jon’s set-up. Finally, the tracks were dispatched for mixing to Berlin, to be meticulously honed, polished and envenomed by Mark Ernestus, one half of the legendary Basic Channel and Rhythm & Sound partnerships.


says: The first offering from Damon Albarn, Tony Allen and Red Hot Chilli Peppers' man Flea's new project. Erykah Badu, Fatoumata Diawara, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble all guest, while Rhythm & Sound's Mark Ernestus did the final mix-down.

DJ Rashad And Spinn / RP Boo

Meet Tshetsha Boys / Meets Shangaan Electro

Honest Jon's Shangaan mash-ups keep flowing, this time rubbing the energised South African electro dancefloor grooves up against the equally hyper footwork sound from Chicago, USA. This 12" offers two absolutely lethal, footwork reworks from these three originators - body-rocking, invigorating and startling, hybrid without compromise. DJ Rashad And Spinn's A-side is route-one dancefloor murder, honed and nasty, vintage Chicago sounds reborn and gone clear across the border; on the flip RP Boo serves up a fiercely dazzling juke vocal collage, bare and hard as nails.

Compiled by Mark Ainley and Mark Ernestus (Basic Channel etc) "Shangaan Electro" delivers a selection of the breakneck Shangaan dance output of the Nozinja studio in Soweto, recorded between 2006 and 2009. Shangaan music is fast - we're talking 180bpm+ here - coming across like high life-meets-soca-meets-baile-funk-happy hardcore! When you hear those marimba beats, that live guitar and those toms, you know it’s Shangaan. The sound grew out of the Shangaan disco movement, a music that dominated in the 1980s with artists like Penny Penny and Peter Teanet and has slowly got faster and faster until we have Shangaan electro. There’s something distinctive in this Shangaan perspective: they are one of the more rural and traditional groups in the wealthiest African nation, yet ‘tradition’ to them can also be living, electronic and nuanced. If you enjoy the global beats of Africa Hitech or Poirier, or the simplicity and speed of baile funk from Brazil's favelas, then this is sure to be of interest.

Darren Cunningham’s eagerly‐awaited new album is an adventurous, ultra-modern, thoroughly British affair, rummaging about in the inner lives of house and techno, and brilliantly elaborating the accomplishments of his debut, "Hazyville". Determinedly off-the-map and resistant to pigeonholing, Cunningham is an enigmatic and playful figure, citing Francis Bacon and Monet as inspirations alongside Theo Parrish, Anthony 'Shake' Shakir, Daft Punk, ‘binary codes and numeral systems’, and The Avengers (!) He's a hard man to pin down - somehow a key player in the post-dubstep diaspora and yet not there at all - but everything comes across in his shape-shifting, richly textured music. For "Splazsh" the fog has lifted, the sounds are less submerged than on "Hazyville", but still sticky and close - a signature combination of exuberance and introversion, luminescence and puzzlement. Worlds of disturbance and melancholy revolve giddyingly inside the insidious funk of tracks like "Get Ohn" and "Lost". A range of musical influences is redrawn, from speed garage ("Always Human") to grime ("Wrong Potion"), with none crowned king. There is a reflectiveness - the ambient drift of "Futureproofing", the Radiophonic judder of "Supreme Cunnilingus" - in amongst the industrial, synth-wave flavours of "Casanova", and the stirring, stately "Maze". In love with the mysteries of groove and repetition, "Splazsh" is both a culmination and a new beginning for Actress, a substantial and eccentric work from a brave and coolly individual artist.

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble

This album is the result of a chance encounter between Honest Jon's and HBE in 2005: November, a cold market day in Portobello Road, but instead of being treated to the panman in the Santa hat playing Christmas carols, there were strains of Ellington and the swagger of brassy funk cutting through the morning fog. Stationed on the corner of Talbot Road eight horn players and a drummer are rocking Ladbroke Grove. That's eight brothers from the south side of Chicago, who are all the sons of legendary jazzman and Sun Ra Arkestra member Philip Cohran. You couldn't make it up! After distributing the band's early 10"s, and getting them to remake a Tony Allen track, Honest Jon's now deliver a full length debut from the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. The set was recorded on the back of the Africa Express trip to Lagos in October 2008, during a three-day stop-over in London, with the drummer's stool shared by Malcolm Catto from the The Heliocentrics, Sola Akingbola from Jamiroquai, and the one and only Tony Allen. The result is a raw, live-sounding jazz sound. HBE are a street-marching brass band in the New Orleans tradition; jazz to dance to, with a funk sensibility honed by hip hop. Essential.

Startlingly remastered at Abbey Road, this set features two of Moondog's key albums, and acts as a kind of summation of his work throughout the 1950s, when he was homeless and performing on the streets of New York. This is Moondog at his most direct, original, fresh, playful and unpretentious, featuring the Honking Geese, Tony Schwartz's brilliant outdoors recordings (particularly improved in Honest Jon's new version), with interventions from a ship's foghorn, a tapdancer and a cocker spaniel, and signature rhythms for trimba, oo, tuji, yukh, and ostrich feathers. Andy Warhol's mother got it straight, on the original Prestige cover of "The Story Of Moondog"; 'Moondog is a poet who versifies in sound, a diarist overcome by love, curiosity and amusement by everything that reaches his ears, all of which he transposes into a symphony of himself. It may be the roar from the streets; it may be the casual chatter in a room or, best of all, it will be that secret music that seeps through imagination and memory. These experiences, so dull to the dull but so alive to him, he orchestrates into a record of those enchanting conversations everyone can hold with himself would he only listen for a bemused moment. They make up the script of that unique tragi-comedy, the story of anyone's life. Pricking up our ears would be so easy, yet it is seldom done. But when Moondog compels us to do it, we are entranced and delivered willingly into new worlds of meaning.'

Elmore Judd, he always comes up with something a bit different doesn't he? Previously a purveyor of seriously off-kilter, wonky electroid soul, he now changes tack and heads into unknown territory. This EP features six brand new Judd exclusives, going deeper and more diverse still, brimming with musicality and good humour. This is vintage Judd: dazed and dubwise New York art-funk meets lo-fi disco and wonky skank in amongst the sozzled mongrels of Malian folk, rembetica and Gypsy jazz. Just perfect for the weird shit section then!

Lal Waterson (1943 – 1998) was a songwriter and a folk singer. Her recording career began in 1965 with family group The Watersons and she continued to work with her family in various formations. She was steeped in folk music, and was a highly skilled harmonising singer, coming up with new vocal arrangements for many traditional songs. This record was put together by Charlotte Greig and John Williams over three years. They asked the musicians who played at their Cardiff club night, and the Green Man Festival, to record some of Waterson's songs, with the idea of making a tribute album that would reflect how far her influence had spread. There's a broad range of genre and geography represented here, from US folk legend Michael Hurley to Scots troubadour James Yorkston, and from Louisiana's Victoria Williams to Glasgow's Alasdair Roberts. The EP also includes interpretations and Richard Youngs.


Ltd 12" Info: Strictly limited pressing. comes in hand screen-printed sleeve. One per person!

Abdel Hadi Halo & The El Gusto Orchestra Of Algiers

Abdel Hadi Halo & The El Gusto Orchestra Of Algiers

Chaabi has its roots in the Andalusian music of Moorish Spain, spreading to North Africa with exiled Jewish and Moorish communities; but it really took off in the music schools, parties and bars of occupied, post-WWII Algiers, where its Andalusian, Middle Eastern and North African lineage infused with the Mediterranean soundtrack of that era — chanson, jazz, snatches of tango and a little boogie-woogie. "Abdel Hadi Halo And The El Gusto Orchestra Of Algiers" was recorded on the tilting fifth floor of the Conservatoire d'Algiers, in a room overlooking the sea on one side, and the Casbah on the other: the orchestra was recorded 'live' in full flight — all together, in continuous takes. For our recording, the Orchestra included four singers — joined in chorus by the voices of the entire orchestra — and five-man banjo, percussion and violin sections. The scale and organization are thrilling; the music is swirling and improvisatory, surging from the haunted to the bluesy, the devotional to the knees-up.

Who is Elmore Judd? Listening to "Insect Funk" should give you a pretty good idea. The first thing you'll notice is that he's got an amazing record collection, as the album references an array of artists and styles; from between-the-sheets soul and P-funk to art-school disco and rock avant-gardism, UK hip hop and African roots music, horror soundtracks and jazz. The second thing you'll hear is that he takes all these influences and makes a twisted new sound totally his own.


LP Info: Limited vinyl pressing in spot-gloss printed sleeve. 1000 copies only.

Las Malas Amistades - 'the bad friends' - formed in 1994 when several arts students in Bogota, Colombia, began meeting up to play music together (though none of them were musicians). From the start their method has been to make up songs there at the session, sometimes whilst their four-track is already running, moving straight on when something is caught on the tape. The music is fresh, spontaneous, intimate, spare. It's lovely, heartfelt, a bit wrong, full of poppy wit and beauty. There are six members of the band at present. They use a hulking charity-shop synth and a Casiotone, electronic drums, an acoustic guitar and a cuatro, various small percussion gadgets. Sometimes songs are acoustic, sometimes electronic, usually both. This album was recorded in March 2006, but keep an eye out for "La Musica De Las Malas Amistades", a collection of songs from the first five or six years of the band, which Honest Jon's have in the pipeline.


3x7" Info: 3x7" box set comes in deluxe fold-out sleeve with great original artwork by the group.

After backing Britain's first black ballet company, Les Ballets Negres, in 1946, Ambrose Adekoya Campbell and fellow Nigerian (via Manchester) musicians Ade Bashorun and Brewster Hughes, set themselves up as the West African Rhythm Brothers. They were joined by Barbadian Harry Beckett and Harry Roachford and fellow Nigerians Adam Fiberesima. Around 1952 the group became residents at the Abalabi bar in Soho. Acclaimed by Fela Kuti's generation - by Fela himself - as the founder of modern Nigerian music, Campbell's recordings (in various incarnations) are collected on volume 3 of this ace Honest Jon's series culled from the Melodisc 78s he cut in London over ten years from 1949.


Not Clean / Crackers

Ex Sugarcube and general Icelandic experimentalist Einar Orn Benediktsson teams up with The Fall's enigmatic frontman Mark E Smith for "Not Clean", a crunching electro-clashing Cod Wars (ask yer mum) related battle of the seas taken from Einar's upcoming LP "In Cod We Trust". On the flip has the equally crazed and lo-fi "Crackers" and a 'codapella'.


7" Info: 400 copies only! All with hand printed sleeves!

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