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MATTHEW HALSALL

Matthew Halsall

Salute To The Sun

    Composer, trumpeter, producer, DJ and founder of Gondwana Records, Matthew Halsall has always worn many hats. But at the heart of everything that he does Halsall is first and foremost an artist and a musician. A trumpeter whose unflashy, soulful playing radiates a thoughtful beauty and a composer and band-leader who has created his own rich sound world. A sound that draws on the heritage of British jazz, the spiritual jazz of Alice Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders, as well as world music and electronica influences, and even modern art and architecture, to create something uniquely his own. A music that is rooted in Northern England but draws on global inspirations.

    Salute to the Sun is his first album as a leader since Into Forever (2015) and marks the debut of his new band. A hand-picked ensemble featuring some of Manchester’s finest young musicians: Matt Cliffe flute & saxophone, Maddie Herbert harp, Liviu Gheorghe piano, Alan Taylor drums and Jack McCarthy percussion as well as long-time Halsall collaborator, bassist, Gavin Barras who has been at the heart of Halsall’s bands for over a decade. For Matthew it was important to have a band based locally and able, pre-Covid, to meet and play each week, and who also performed a sold-out monthly basement session at Yes in Manchester. The album draws energy from these sessions and inspiration from themes and ideas that have inspired Halsall through the years (on albums such as Oneness, Fletcher Moss Park and When the World Was One) ideas of ecology, the environment and harmony with nature.

    “I feel Salute to the Sun is a positive earthy album. I wanted to create something playful but also quite primitive, earthy and organic that connected to the sounds in nature. I was listening to lush ambient field recordings of tropical environments such as jungles and rainforests and found myself drawn to percussive atmospheric sounds which replicated what I was hearing (bells / shakers / chimes / rain sticks) and I started to experiment with more wooden percussive instruments such as kalimba and marimba”.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    says: Halsall's newest mindblowing feat of chilled nu-jazz groove takes the lysergic, heady lounge aesthetic we know and love and injects it with a shot of tropical flavour. Both warmingly familiar and boundary-breakingly progressive.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    2xColoured LP Info: Limited edition double clear vinyl. *Faulty pressing, getting re-manufactured*

    2xColoured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

    2xLP Info: Double black vinyl.

    2xLP includes MP3 Download Code.

    Dwight Trible

    What The World Needs Now Is Love / Tryin' Times (feat. Matthew Halsall)

    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 300 copies and housed in a reverse board printed sleeve with classic 'dinked' centre holes.

    The release also comes with a limited edition postcard

    Dwight Trible and Matthew Halsall first met by chance at a festival in South Africa. Dwight sat in with Matt's band for an impromtu jam and a friendship was born. The result was Dwight's 2017 recording for Gondwana Records, Inspirations, produced by and featuring Matthew Halsall and members of the Gondwana Orchestra. With the LP long sold -out we've decided to shine a light on the first two tracks from the album. Together they make a glorious, deep, soulful 7" with a timeless message. On Side A we have, Dwight's impassioned take on Bacharach and David's classic What The World Needs Now is Love and on the flip we have a low-slung take on Donny Hathaway and Leroy Hutson's Tryin' Times. Both feel even more relevant now than they did when written. Just 300 copies and no re-press on this one - so don't msis out.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Ltd 7" Info: Limited to 300 copies, comes with a limited edition postcard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    STAFF COMMENTS

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

    Matthew Halsall & The Gondwana Orchestra

    When The World Was One

    Over the course of four albums, Manchester based trumpeter, composer, arranger and band-leader Matthew Halsall has carved out a niche for himself on the UK music scene as one of its brightest talents. His languid, soulful music has won friends from Jamie Cullum and Gilles Peterson to Jazz FM and Mojo as well as an ever-growing international following. His label Gondwana Records is home to GoGo Penguin and his own albums have found Halsall exploring the modal jazz of John and Alice Coltrane, paying tribute to the hard bop of the late '50s and early '60s or most recently on 'Fletcher Moss Park' drawing on Eastern influences in his most personal statement yet. His latest album 'When The World Was One' is something of a companion piece to 'Fletcher Moss Park' (much of the music was written at the same time) but draws more explicitly on Halsall's love of spiritual jazz and Eastern music as well as his own studies in meditation and travels in Japan. Beautifully recorded at Hasall's favourite studio, 80 Hertz in Manchester, and engineered by Brendan Williams and George Atkins it features the recording debut of Halsall's large ensemble, The Gondwana Orchestra, which utilises the exotic flavours of harp, koto and bansuri flute and Eastern scales to create a global palate for Halsall's life-affirming sounds.

    The Gondwana Orchestra features long time collaborators Nat Birchall, saxophone, Gavin Barras, bass and Rachael Gladwin, harp as well as Taz Modi on piano. Modi who also plays with Halsall in their more electronic trio shares his passion for spiritual jazz and plays the music with real feeling while the role of the harp here is to bring a touch of 'magical reality' a floating dreaminess that is a vital part of Halsall's elegiac and beautiful music. The drummer Luke Flowers is perhaps best known as part of Cinematic Orchestra, and Halsall describes him as 'one of the best drummers in the world' and hails him for 'playing the music exactly as I heard it in my head', Keiko Kitamura is a Japanese Koto player who is becoming an increasingly important part of the Gondwana Orchestra, her role is similar to Gladwin's in that the koto helps free up the music while also bringing a real sound of the East. Finally, flautist Lisa Mallett brings a love of Indian music to the orchestra, much travelled on the continent she brings all of her knowledge and experience to play offering a unique texture to Halsall's dreamy melodies.


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