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MAMMAL HANDS

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

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

    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

    Captivating, ethereal and majestic, Mammal Hands (saxophonist Jordan Smart, pianist Nick Smart and drummer and percussionist Jesse Barrett) has carved out a refreshingly original sound from a disparate array of influences: drawing on spiritual jazz, north Indian, folk and classical music to create something inimitably their own. Hailing from Norwich, one of Britain's most isolated and most easterly cities, they have forged their own path away from the musical mainstream and their unique sound grew out of long improvised rehearsals. All three members contibute 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, while their hypnotic live shows have seen them hailed as one of the most exciting bands in Europe as they push their unique line-up to the outer limits of its possibilities.

    Shadow Work is their third album and the first they have self-produced. Recorded at 80 Hertz Studios, Gondwana Records home from home in Manchester, it is the result of 18 months of intensive touring and mammoth writing sessions. The energy from their exhilarating live performances has fed into the writing process and yet there is a quiet reflective side to this album, giving it an expanded emotional range that draws the listener deep into Mammal Hand's sound world. One that builds on the sound of their previous recordings, Animalia and the beautiful Floa, but is wider than ever, with the use of prepared piano strings, more prominent effects and field recordings all adding to the band's most ambitious and accomplished album to date. The striking artwork is by Daniel Halsall and reflects the organic, natural influences underpinning the band's music alongside a darker, modern minimalism.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Millie says: Shadow Work providing all the ambient jazz vibes you could possibly need, fans of Gogo Penguin (off the same label) will really like this.

    TRACK LISTING

    Black Sails
    Wringer
    Boreal Forest
    Solitary Bee
    Three Good Things
    Living Frost
    Near Far
    Straight Up Raining
    Transfixed
    Being Here

    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 


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