Search Results for:


Mad Professor

Ariwa Sounds: The Early Sessions

    Mad Professor, also known as Neil Fraser to his friends is renowned worldwide for his groundbreaking dub recordings, captivating live sets showcasing the creativity of dub sound engineers, and his collaborations with both reggae and non-reggae artists alike such as Lee Scratch Perry, Jah Shaka, Sade, The Orb, Massive Attack, Grace Jones and many more. Above all, he is celebrated for his prolific output in the genres of Dub, Lovers Rock, Reggae and more through his own Ariwa label and south London recording studio boasting an impressive catalog of over 300 releases, among other notable achievements. 

    A few years back, we stumbled upon this outstanding Lovers Rock and Dub album which had a very unique raw sound and felt like a whole experience when listened to from start to finish. Alternate versions of the same tracks with different performers in varying styles, tape rewinds, it had us all wonder why it hadn’t gained wider recognition amongst Mad Professor's other releases. 

    When we finally had the pleasure of meeting Neil at his recording studio, he revealed that this album was one of his earliest works. It was born out of a birthday gift from his wife—a four-track recorder that inspired him to venture into music-making after years of repairing and building electronics and audio equipment. When we asked him if he would be making music if not for that gift, he confessed that it was highly unlikely (!) 

    Mad Professor further explained that this album, originally released in 1984, is a compilation of tracks recorded between 1979 and 1981, representing the nascent stages of his recording and production career, when the idea of establishing a studio and the Ariwa label were just beginning to take shape. He set up all his gear, including his first homemade four-track mixing desk, in the front room of his house in South London. With no prior studio experience, he positioned microphones where he thought they should fit and invited local musicians to collaborate. Errol Sly, Ranking Ann, Sergeant Pepper, Deborah Glasgow, Victor Cross, Sister Audrey, his backing band the Sane Inmates and a host of other talented local artists, some of whom would go on to become stalwarts in their respective genres, all contributed to this album, capturing the raw essence of Mad Professor and Ariwa's early sound. 


    Matt says: Second-wave dub legend Mad Professor drops a raw lovers / dub project that harks back to the original sound of Ariwa. The bass weight alone is astonishing, but the songs crafted here are also killer and timeless. A future classic!


    1. Errol Sly - Love In Your Heart
    2. Ranking Ann - Moonlight Lover
    3. Sergeant Pepper - It's You
    4. Deborah Glasgow - My Thing 04:03
    5. Victor Cross - Make Up
    6. Sergeant Pepper - Special Brew
    7. Rock A Way & Sister Audrey - It's A Shame
    8. Mad Professor & Sane Inmates - Sitting Room Dub 

    Cinnamon Soulettes

    I'll Show You How

      "Our next release, “I’ll Show You How” by the Cinnamon Soulettes is by far one of the most beautiful love songs we’ve ever heard. Close to no information is available about it other than it was published and released in the 1970s as a private press through the late legendary Seattle producer Kearney Barton. Unfortunately, most information the estate had was lost in a flood and none of the collectors and music historians from the PNW area we contacted, nor the University of Washington State who inherited a large part of Barton’s tape collection knew anything about the band or its mysterious songwriter “L. Leavy”. We are still searching for the band, anyone who knows anything, give us a shout! Mrs./Mr.Leavy,where are you..?"


      I’ll Show You How
      Wishing On A Wishing Well

      Digital Justice / Dorothy Ashby / Frantz Tuernal

      Melodies Record Club #003: Hunee Selects

        Following Ben UFO and Four Tet’s selections last year, Hunee helms volume three which includes three tracks this time including music from Digital Justice, Dorothy Ashby and Frantz Tuernal.

        In his own words: “These three distinct pieces of music tap into different layers of my memory. One being part of the imagination, the other two rooted in the memories of a special morning in the woods of Houghton (and other times and places). On one side we have a beatless ecstatic piece of electronic music by Digital Justice called Theme From ‘It’s All Gone Pearshaped’. Originally released in 1994 on Rob Gretton’s (ex-manager of Joy Division and New Order) label Robs Records, Pearshaped is a 13 minute live jam from two friends messing around in a loft studio full of synths, inadvertently creating magic that can “take many shapes and forms in the hands of a DJ and the movement of a dance floor, whilst its harmonic counterpoint shines through the wildest mixes and combinations”

        On the flip, we have Dorothy Ashby’s spiritual piece featuring Koto and spoken word “For Some We Loved” from her classic album “The Rubáiyát Of Dorothy Ashby” originally released in 1970 on Cadet and Frantz Tuernal’s “Koultans” originally released in 1986 by l’AMEP (Association Martiniquaise d’Enseignement Populaire) which was also a school in Martinique. “After dancing to a set from Cedric Woo at an intimate, after-closing dance party at Brilliant Corners called “Freedom Suite” which completely re-calibrated my sense of experiencing and dancing to music, I went home and immediately searched through my collection for music to listen to and potentially play with these new found sensitivities - the very physical experience of music, the pulling force pushing one into the transcendence of time and space. Dorothy Ashby’s “For Some We Loved” immediately took me back to that feeling and opened up in front of me an otherworldly-world through it’s free flowing polyrhythms and sparkling Koto playing. I have yet to play my own “Freedom Suite” night, but I hope when that moment comes, I can give back what I have received back then, and “For Some We Loved” is a first step in trying just that. I have been shown Frantz Tuernal’s privately pressed 12“containing “Koultans” by my trusted music friend Nicolas Skliris from Paris a few years ago. An unlikely piece of music (a Zouk song with flamenco-inspired guitar playing) from Martinique that was both a highlight back at Giant Steps when I played the song 3 times in a row in the early morning, and a few weeks later in the woods of Houghton where a few thousand dancers were deeply moved to its melody, when the sun came up in the morning and started descending upon the lake behind the DJ booth, bathing the smiles upon the dancers faces with its reflection.”


        Matt says: Hunee curates the third volume of the Floating Points-endorsed, Melodies Record Club. I'd heard of Dorothy Ashby, but the other two are new to me - championing the label's ethos of uncovering some overlooked and rare moments of musical brilliance from across the world. It's another winner make no mistake!


        A1. Digital Justice–Theme From “It’s All Gone Pearshaped”
        B1. Dorothy Ashby–For Some We Loved
        B2. Frantz Tuernal-Koultans 

        Tata Vega / Al Johnson

        I’ve Got My Second Wind

          Lead singer Al Johnson and Tom Fauntleroy, two US soul & R&B greats who founded their first band at University in Washington D.C. originally wrote and released the song on Johnson’s first solo independent album “Peaceful” in 1978. They’d later go on to rerecord the track for Johnson’s follow up album on major label CBS “Back For More” which introduced the song to a wider audience and is the version featured here on this 12”

          Tata Vega, American singer from New York would go on to cover the track that same year. Starting her career in the 60s featuring in musicals and performing with various groups, she got signed to Motown by Berry Gordy on the spot who was in the audience at a concert one of Vega’s groups was performing at. Tata Vega’s version of “I’ve Got My Second Wind”, in duet with soul singer George Curtis Cameron was originally released on her fourth solo album on Motown, “Givin’ All My Love”. Reissued and now available on loud 12” for the first time!


          A1. Tata Vega – I’ve Got My Second Sind
          B1. Al Johnson – I’ve Got My Second Wind

          Laurie Spiegel / Olof Dreijer

          Melodies Record Club #002: Ben UFO Selects

          The second instalment of Melodies Record Club 12"s is curated by none other than all round uber-DJ Ben UFO so you'd best sit up and pay attention.
          The Hessle don drops a little science on our ass here with two total staples from his DJ sets, neither were originally produced with a club setting in mind, which is why they’ve never been available in this format before.
          On one side, we have “Drums” from Laurie Spiegel’s 1980 experimental electronics album “The Expanding Universe”, a collection of tracks produced between 1974 and 1976 using a computer playing the actual sounds by controlling analog synthesis equipment under control of the GROOVE hybrid system developed by Max Matthews and F.R. Moore at Bell Labs. Drums is a percussive seven minute computer generated workout inspired by Laurie’s interest in African and Indian musics, and which brings to mind the most far out kosmiche music of the period to modern day techno. A connection Ben has tried to make explicit by including it in his first BBC essential mix back in 2013.
          On the flip we have a track by Olof Dreijer from the Swedish band the Knife who’s work you might also be familiar with under the moniker Oni Ayhun. Back in 2009 his artist friend Adnan Yildiz curated an exhibition called “THERE IS NO AUDIENCE” in Montethermoso, dedicated to public imagination. Adnan commissioned a single piece from Olof called “Echoes from Mamori”, that played on loop during the exhibition and was subsequently released only on CD. A contemporary piece more clearly indebted to house music, Olof built the track around arpeggios generated using sounds of frogs he recorded in the Amazon and birds around Berlin, fed into a sampler.


          Patrick says: In case you're still missing the memo, Ben UFO is pretty much as good as DJs get, so the opportunity for two of his secret weapons on one 12" is especially tasty. On the A-side we get hypnotic, tribal electronics from Laurie Spiegel - think alternative kosmische for the club, while the flip sees Olof Dreijer (of The Knife / Oni Ayhun fame) turn out a masterpiece of techno-tropical, Afro-electronix joy.


          A1. Laurie Spiegel - Drums
          B1. Olof Dreijer - Echoes From Mamori

          Jackie McLean & Michael Carvin + Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood Of Breath

          Melodies Record Club 001: Four Tet Selects

          “Melodies Record Club”, a string of DJ and artist curated mini compilations in loud 12” format. The first instalment was put together by Four Tet, selecting two big peak-time Jazz tracks he used to spin regularly at Plastic People.

          On one side, we’ve got all time jazz greats Jackie McLean and Michael Carvin’s De I Comahlee Ah, taken from their seminal album Antiquity recorded in Denmark back in 1975. A year and a half ago, we visited Steeplechase, the original label in the outskirts of Copenhagen. They informed us that at the time, the track was cut short as it didn’t fit on the full LP. They were kind enough to provide us with the tape of the full original recording, allowing us to release for the first time the full extended version capturing twelve and a half minutes of studio magic. Speaking with Michael back in November, he told us that every song on that album was recorded without any overdubs. They had taken their shoes off and organised the studio in such a way that they could move from instrument to instrument during the take (!!)

          On the flip, we have Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath – MRA. Back in 70s London, the Brotherhood had brought together musicians who had sought refuge from South Africa’s apartheid regime and the best of a new generation of British jazz musicians. Music journalist Richard Williams, who had originally reviewed the band in the 1970s tell us: “They made music that appealed in equal measure to the head, the heart and the feet, taking the jazz legacy of Duke Ellington and Charles Mingus and adding to it the fantastic dance rhythms and gorgeous harmonies of the townships and untethered collective improvisations of the new free music”.

          Four Tet’s instalment is out early May in 12” format and digitally (stream & download), first press comes with a folded A2 insert with words from and about the artists. Graphic design by Studio ChoqueLeGoff, illustration and animation by Nevil Bernard and for the audiophiles out there, remastered and cut at half speed by Matt Colton at Metropolis Studios!

          The second instalment curated by Ben UFO is scheduled shortly, which will be followed over time by a string of releases including selections from Hunee, Mafalda, Floating Points, Anya & Julia from Javybz, Daphni, Josey Rebelle, Charlie Bones, Gilles Peterson… and more, stay tuned!


          Millie says: Time to get your Jazz on, Four Tet Selects these absolute gems for the first instalment and it doesn't disappoint! Bring on the rest I say... more jazz, more jazz!


          A1. Jackie McLean & Michael Carvin – De I Comahlee Ah (extended)
          B1. Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood Of Breath - MRA



            Originally from Portsmouth in the UK, Synchrojack is a London based production duo formed by Dean Slydell and Greg Wheeler in the mid 90s. Both deeply into records and production gear, they connected through figuring out how to set up a shared studio in Dean’s parents’ home and starting to produce electronic music in their late teens.

            They were completely taken over by the sounds of Detroit and Chicago that were getting imported at the time. Starting out trying to emulate those sounds they loved, tracks by Model 500, Glenn Underground, Lil Louis, Steve Poindexter and Mike Dunn among many others, what came of Dean and Greg’s sessions wasn’t a carbon copy but their own distinctive sound.

            They began releasing on Russ Gabriel’s mythical UK label Ferox records in 1995 and would go on to release a string of releases throughout the 90s, using the moniker Downlink as well. Melodies International now presents two tracks by Synchrojack, one from each of their two first EPs released on Ferox, both in 1995.

            Above anything, what’s clear listening to Synchrojack is their deep love, knowledge and appreciation for music and their talent as producers, channeling their many influences into their own sound. "Daylight" is a bouncy, stripped back drum heavy banger that just steams ahead with percussive synth patterns and a hypnotic deep bassline while "900th Lifetime" brings a dramatic sci-fi vibe reminiscent of some of the best out of Detroit.

            STAFF COMMENTS

            Matt says: Wowweeee! Where's Sam pulling these from?! The Floating Point-headed label turns its attention to classic, but rare as hen's teeth house music; queue massive applause and adoration from moi. Winner.

            TRACK LISTING

            A: Daylight
            B: 900th Lifetime 

            Shahid Wheeler

            Just One Dance Before You Go

              Melodies International brings forward its latest disco 12” reissue single and another You’re a Melody peak time classic: Shahid Wheeler – Just One Dance Before You Go. The song was written and recorded by producer James Hartnett – having studied music theory and composition back in high school and recognised back then for producing a charted northern soul spin in the UK titled “Hipit” in 1976 with his studio band “Hosanna”, it’s in 1978 that Hartnett produced and self released the scarcer and more compelling “Just One Dance Before You Go” which he refers to as his masterpiece. With a fairly stripped back line up for a disco tune including a rhythm section, hammond organ, horns and vocals, Hartnett manages to do so much through seemingly simple but clever arrangements and thumping, contagious energy. Hartnett had also invited friend and singer Leroy Shahid Wheeler to perform lead vocals, who’s signature high pitched falsetto lifts the whole operation above ground – a true feel good party anthem! 

              TRACK LISTING

              A1. Just One Dance Before You Go (Vocal)
              B1. Just One Dance Before You Go (Instr.)

              Latest Pre-Sales

              189 NEW ITEMS

              E-newsletter —
              Sign up
              Back to top