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Bicep

Isles

    Belfast-born, London-based duo Bicep (Matt McBriar and Andy Ferguson) will release their hotly anticipated second album, “Isles”, on 22 January 2021 on Ninja Tune.

    Two years in the making, “Isles” expands on the artful energy of their 2018 debut “Bicep”, while digging deeper into the sounds, experiences and emotions that have influenced their lives and work. They describe “Isles” as “a snapshot in time” of their work in this period, with the tracks designed to evolve in their different iterations from record to live show and beyond. “This is definitely the home listening version,” says Matt, “the live version will be much, much harder”.

    On the title, “We have strong mixed emotions, connected to growing up on an island” they say, “wanting to leave, wanting to return”. For two natives of Belfast, any talk of islands, communities and identities will also have other, more domestic connotations, and has always been an aspect of their lives they’d been reluctant to talk about. “It’s always been an unquantifiable topic for us” says Matt. “We’re not religious, but we're both from different religious backgrounds. There was always a lot of interest in us talking about those issues, but we always felt that one of the things we loved about dance music was that freedom it gave you to be released from talking about those things.”

    “You’d enter the club and it would be people from both sides of the tracks and they’d be hugging” says Andy, referring to massively influential Belfast club Shine, where both cut their musical teeth. “And the following week, they’d be with their mates rioting. It felt like the safest place but, on paper, it should have been the most dangerous”. Musically, too, they find echoes of those days in their work. “It was like being smacked in the head with a hammer” Matt says, of the tunes that defined that scene, and which find expression in “Isles’” most raw and energetic corners. “It was either very intense, in-your-face Italo tinged electro or really aggressive techno”.

    From those early days living and clubbing in Belfast, to their move to London over a decade ago, the breadth of music they’ve been exposed to during this time informs “Isles’” massive sonic palette. Both cite the joy of discovering Hindi vocals overheard from distant rooftops, snatches of Bulgarian choirs drifting from passing cars, hitting Shazam in a kebab house in the vain hopes of identifying a Turkish pop song.

    Lead single ‘Apricots’ encapsulates these disparate influences perfectly. Sampling traditional Malawian singers—recorded by ethnomusicologist Hugh Tracey in 1958 and released via the label Beating Heart, whose profits go towards supporting the ongoing music conservation work of the International Library of African Music—and a 1950’s performance by The Bulgarian State Radio & Television Female Vocal Choir, steeped in a shimmering bath of warm synths, its spare percussion and arresting vocals bring the big room chills of 90s rave, while still evoking something lost or forlorn. The accompanying video—also released today—is directed by Mark Jenkin, who recently took home a 2020 BAFTA for Outstanding Debut by a British Director for his 2019 film ‘Bait’.

    ‘Atlas’, the first track drawn from the record, was released to massive acclaim in March, making both the Radio 1 and Radio 6 playlists, its euphoric energy and bittersweet heft hit all the harder in uncertain times. It is, as Resident Advisor called it, “music that commiserates with you while you try to dance out your anxieties”.

    Bicep’s globe-trotting sound was forged as their own rapid ascent through the musical ranks began. After starting their legendary FeelMyBicep blog in 2008, its humble trove of Italo, house and disco deep cuts grew into a runaway success, regularly chalking up over 100,000 visitors a month. Once the blog had spawned a record label and club night, the duo were propelled on to the international stage via sought-after DJ sets that reflected the eclecticism of their online curations. Following success with productions for Throne of Blood and Aus Music, Bicep were signed to Ninja Tune in 2017, where they released their wildly acclaimed self-titled debut album the following year, attaining a Top 20 entry in the UK charts, and a cover feature in Mixmag to add to the magazine’s gong for “Album of the Year”. Tracks like ‘Opal’—and the subsequent Four Tet remix—as well as he record’s lead single ‘Glue’, with and its iconic Joe Wilson-directed video, became touchpoints for electronic music in 2017, with the latter named DJ Mag “Track of the Year”. The ‘Glue’ video, alongside Bicep’s RA Live performance were also recently included in the lauded ‘Electronic’ exhibition, first shown at the Philharmonie de Paris last year and currently at London’s Design Museum.

    The album was followed by a massively successful tour, which saw them raise the roof at Primavera, Coachella and Glastonbury before a triumphant three-night sold-out run of shows at Printworks in London. The pair sold out their two forthcoming Brixton Academy shows in a matter of minutes, and amassed a 10,000 person waiting list once tickets were all gone. Additional headline dates across the UK, EU and US are hoped for in 2021, including a headline slot at Field Day in London, as well as performances at Parklife, Roskilde, Creamfields, Primavera, MELT! And more.

    With the live music & touring industry in a state of flux, Bicep recently undertook a one-off ticketed livestream performance—one of the first of its kind for an electronic artist—broadcast across 5 different timezones, and watched by people in over 70 countries, with visuals by close BICEP LIVE visual collaborator Black Box Echo. Bicep will also launch their ‘FeelMyBicep Radio’ show on Apple Music in October, giving listeners an insight into the music that has shaped everything in the world of Bicep, with shows set to continue monthly throughout the coming year.

    Bicep are also ambassadors for Youth Music, a charity working to change the lives of young people through music and music production. Both take an active role in mentoring young people coming through YM programmes, reflecting their own eagerness to give back as musicians who themselves received industry support when they were coming up. 

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    3xDeluxe LP Info: 3 x 140g 12” neon orange transparent vinyl housed in purple paper inner sleeves.

    3xDeluxe LP includes MP3 Download Code.

    2xPicture Disc Info: 2 x 140g 12” picture disc vinyl housed in purple paper inner sleeves.

    2xPicture Disc includes MP3 Download Code.

    2xLP includes MP3 Download Code.

    As we all struggle to deal with the sorry state of Earthly affairs, Darren Cunningham answers the Batcall and returns with a brand new Actress LP on usual haunt Ninja Tune. The producer recently resurfaced with his self released mixtape '88', a sparse and stripped back set of low slung house crunch, electro madness and uncompromising techno coated in a thick patina of fuzz and feedback. 'Karma & Desire' then is a comparatively expansive and accessible affair, replete with vocal contributions from the likes of Sampha, Zsela, Aura T-09 and Christel Well.

    Billed as “a romantic tragedy set between the heavens and the underworld", the set serves us a string of retro-ist house and techno heaters, balancing a fragile beauty, in the form of soulful vocals or delicate keys, with the grit and growl of hissing drum machines and gnarly basslines. Naturally Darren avoids playing with a straight bat, twisting the traditional styles with the chopped and screwed sound design he excels at. If singles and stompers are your thing, look to "Angels Pharmacy", "Loveless" and the meditative closer "Walking Flames", but really this album works best when enjoyed in its entirety. 


    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Coloured LP Info: Indies 12” Silver foil metallic bag with black print. 12” 140g Crystal Clear vinyl. 12” sleeve with 5mm spine. Download card.

    Machinedrum

    A View Of You

      Machinedrum returns with his definitive new album “A View of U” featuring an incredible cast of collaborators including Freddie Gibbs, Sub Focus, Chrome Sparks, Father (Awful Records), Mono/Poly (Brainfeeder), Tigran Hamasyan, Tanerélle, Jesse Boykins III and Rochelle Jordan. Distilling his signature fusion of IDM, UK rave, jungle and bass culture blended with myriad US regional hip-hop and club music styles. it’s a potent and masterfully executed fusion, evoking a pace, warmth and groove synonymous with his modern classic “Vapor City” (2013).

      Recommended if you like… Squarepusher, Lone, Jamie xx, Flume

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Coloured LP Info: Marbled silver/white/black LP housed in a gatefold sleeve with rainbow foil detail. Includes poster insert.

      Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

      Marie Davidson & L'Œil Nu

      Renegade Breakdown

        Marie Davidson is back with a new album “Renegade Breakdown” on Ninja Tune. A new band, and a bold new sound under the banner of Marie Davidson & L'Œil Nu, it is a trio formed of old-time friends with shared roots in Montreal’s DIY scene: Marie, Pierre Guerineau (also in Essaie pas on DFA) and Asaël R. Robitaille. The record follows previous album “Working Class Woman” (2018) and is drawn to the idea of the eternal return, they deliver a forward-facing, innovative pop record that builds on the classic tenets of Marie’s music to create something that strikes out towards a broader audience. With dark humour and interpolated musical influences from Fleetwood Mac to Kraftwerk, Billie Holiday and Chet Baker. 

        If there’s a mood that encapsulates “Renegade Breakdown”, it’s the one found at 3AM after a long night, when it’s time to start putting on the classics.

        Romare

        Home

          Romare—real name Archie Fairhurst—returns with his new album “Home”, marking his 3rd on Ninja Tune and first full length album since 2016’s critically acclaimed “Love Songs: Part Two”. It follows the recently released ‘Gone / Danger’ 12”, his most direct dancefloor record to date, which Resident Advisor described as “An engrossing eight minutes of cinematic house music”.

          Romare’s music has always sat comfortably in both the dancefloor world and a more relaxed environment, “Home” being no exception. With euphoric, uplifting moments on ‘Sunshine’ and ‘Heaven’ through to more meditative and melancholy moments on ‘Deliverance’. “For me, the sweet point in music is when happy and sad come together” comments Fairhurst, “when they meet in the middle, that’s what I try to create”.

          The release of “Home” comes after a lifetime of being on the move for Fairhurst, he spent his childhood travelling constantly with his family as his parents moved around the world for work, before finally settling in the UK. This nomadic lifestyle would continue with his burgeoning career as a musician taking him off touring the world (playing over 150 shows in the last 2 years alone). Which brings us to “Home”, The new album marks a new chapter in Fairhust’s life with a move out of London to the countryside and starting a family, a move which has “given me peace and quiet” he comments. The new addition of his own home-built studio adds to this feeling of being content and settled, having worked from various bedroom studios in the past.

          Shifting from themes of love and romance on “Love Songs: Part Two”, “Home” explores spirituality, identity and belonging. “Identity and a sense of belonging is something I've been searching for more since becoming a father,” he explains, “growing up I was always around lots of people from different backgrounds, my own identity sometimes felt lost”. It see’s Fairhurst pull from the more unusual records in his collection for inspiration, delving into american gospel and traditional irish folk through to country, religious hymns and classical (with a special nod to composers Thomas Tallis and Vaugn Williams). “I always want to explore different sounds and genres from different countries and backgrounds” comments Fairhurst. During the past few years Fairhurst has moved away from purely sample based music, developing his use of instruments in his music and experimenting with different tools, both old and new. These tools include a vintage organ he found in a local charity shop, his dad's old 12-string guitar, re-assembling his childhood drum kit from the 90’s and a tape player which allowed him to start sampling from cassette tape.

          The album artwork, created by Fairhurst himself, uses a collage technique consisting of black and white cut-out images. “In this artwork each cut-out resembles an artist or group sampled in the album”, comments Fairhurst.

          Julianna Barwick

          Healing Is A Miracle

            Four years on from the release of her last, critically acclaimed LP, Julianna Barwick returns with “Healing Is A Miracle”.

            A distinctive meditation on sound, reverb and the voice, “Healing Is A Miracle” is a record built on improvisation and a close affinity to a couple of trusted items of gear, from which she spins engrossing, expansive universes. Additionally, Barwick draws on the input of three collaborators with whom she has nurtured deep friendships with over the years: Jónsi (Sigur Rós), Nosaj Thing and Mary Lattimore; who each gently nudge out at the edges of her organically-evolved sound.

            Recorded in the wake of a seismic shift in her life following a move from New York—where she had lived for 16 years—to Los Angeles where she is now based, the title of the record came to her after thinking about how the human body heals itself, of the miraculous processes we pay little attention to: “You cut your hand, it looks pretty bad, and two weeks later it looks like it never happened… That’s kind of amazing, you know?” It’s a sentiment that feels particularly apt for the moment. From there, she conceived of the record’s simple statement title, ran it past a couple of friends, and it was settled. Like with the record itself, and all of her work, it’s about following her gut, and seeing where it takes her.

            “Healing Is A Miracle” began life in spring of last year, when Barwick sat down with her vocal looping set-up and began sketching out some ideas for new solo material. “It had been so long since I had done that,” she recalls, “making something for myself, just for the love of it… it was emotional, because I was recording music that was just from the heart, that wasn't for an 'assignment' or project… it brought me to tears a little”.

            Part of the joy also came from a small but significant switch up to her recording process: the addition of some studio monitors—a birthday gift from Jónsi and Alex (Somers)—having previously recorded all of her music on headphones. “The first song I remember making with those was the first song on the album, Inspirit.” she explains, “When I added the bass I really felt it in my body, you know, in a way you just wouldn’t with headphones… it was kind of euphoric and fun. I got really excited about making the record in that moment, and I think that really had an impact on the sounds I ended up making.”

            Excitement too came from the chance to work with three dream collaborators. Her connection to Jónsi began via producer Alex Somers, when Barwick flew to Reykjavík to record some sessions with him for her 2013 record “Nepenthe”, a trip which would begin a long-standing affinity with Iceland and the people she connected with there. “I think he has the best voice in the world,” she says, “and hearing my voice with Jonsi's is one of the joys of my life.” Nosaj Thing—the highly respected electronic producer and stalwart of the LA scene who has worked with the likes of Kendric Lamar—had gotten in touch to express his affection for her 2011 album “The Magic Place”, and they’d since been trying to find a way to work together. Barwick and Lattimore had struck up a friendship over many years performing live together, and had moved to LA around the same time. Finding herself in the same city as all three for the first time, it felt natural to include them in her process, and added to the feeling of newness, support and friendship she had while producing the record.

            Beyond her records, Barwick’s impressive live shows have gained incredible praise over the years from the likes of The Guardian—who described her performance as “exquisite in its eloquence, reflection and compassion” in their 5* review—The New York Times, NPR, and more. She has also supported and performed with an amazing array of artists including Bon Iver, Grouper, Explosions in the Sky, Sigur Rós, Sharon Van Etten, Angel Olsen, Perfume Genius, Mas Ysa, and Nat Baldwin.

            Barwick has additionally been involved in some head-turning collaborations over the years. In 2015 she took part in The Flaming Lips’s Carnegie Hall show, performing music from their reimagining of “Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band”, alongside Phillip Glass, Debbie Harry, Laurie Anderson and Pattie Smith. That same year she was invited to play two shows with Yoko Ono, one at MoMA (“my favorite thing ever”) and one in Central Park. In 2012 she released a collaborative album with Helado Negro as OMBRE, and has also released a collaborative single with Rafael Anton Isarri, on the super-limited Thesis label, and most recently, the “Command Synthesis” EP, on RVNG Intl. sub-label Commend There, which employed AI to build five tracks that responded to the airborne environment outside a hotel room. In 2019 she teamed up with Doug Aitken on his nomadic art project, and created stunning performances in the Massachusett wilderness.

            STAFF COMMENTS

            says: 'Healing Is A Miracle' is an absolute triumph of majestic instrumentation, perfectly balanced atmospherics and tasteful collaboration. 'In Light' with Jónsi couldn't have been a more perfect fit, with both of their voices coalescing into one grand, sonic gesture. Stunner.

            The Cinematic Orchestra

            To Believe - Mary Lattimore, Kelly Moran, Fennesz & Lucinda Chua Remixes

              In celebration of 2019's critically acclaimed album, 'To Believe', The Cinematic Orchestra release “To Believe Remixes”, two 12” vinyl releases featuring select remixes. “To Believe Remixes” is a carefully curated collection of tracks - featuring remixes and re-works made by some of The Cinematic Orchestra's favourite producers and artists, "It's one of the greatest privileges of a musician to invite artists who have inspired you to re-imagine your work".

              Coming a year since 'To Believe' was released, the diverse selection of artists includes electronic producers Actress and Moiré, composer Kelly Moran, keyboardist Dorian Concept, cellist and vocalist Lucinda Chua, avant garde legend Fennesz and contemporary pianist James Heather to name a few, all providing their own personal take on “To Believe” album tracks. A posthumous Ras G remix of ‘Lessons’ also appears plus previously released remixes from Ghostly signed LA Harp innovator Mary Lattimore, legendary house producer Pepé Bradock and Anthony Naples. 

              Floating Points

              Bias (Mayfield Depot Mix) / Bias (Extended)

              Last year Sam Shepherd aka Floating Points released Crush. As is typical of his career so far, the album defies all expectations - solidifying his position as one of Britain's most respected electronic artists. Crush received widespread critical praise including a cover feature with DJ Magazine, 9/10 'Album of the Month' from both Mixmag and Future Music and 9/10 from Loud and Quiet as well as 8/10 from Crack, The Line of Best Fit, Uncut and more. Following the album release Shepherd went on to play a sold out show at Printworks debuting his innovative new live show to rave reviews, you can watch the full set back via RA here.

              Today Shepherd has shared two new versions of album highlight 'Bias', a track which was praised both for its "sense of air, as if you can sense the room it was recorded in" (DJ) as well as "a drop so nasty it could send your pulse out of kilter" (Mixmag).

              'Bias' began to morph and expand during Shepherd's live shows and today he presents a recorded version based on those exciting, in the moment improvisations. The Mayfield Depot mix stems from a performance at the end of 2019 as part of the Warehouse Project series. Named for the Manchester venue, the mix is based around a live recording from the night with crowd noise bleeding into Shepherd’s microphone, giving a palpable sense of energy in the room. The extended mix stretches out the album version of 'Bias', unfolding new layers and giving even greater depth to that satisfying build.

              Shepherd also recently shared a new mix 'Dialogue Between Dreamers Pt. One'. Made during lockdown with time to reflect on the records he returns to again and again for comfort, the mix traverses soul, jazz and country, with rarities alongside tunes from Steve Kuhn, Susan Pillsbury, Family Circle and more.

              Little Dragon

              New Me, Same Us

                Little Dragon—the pioneering Swedish four-piece fronted by enigmatic vocalist Yukimi Nagano, with multi-instrumentalists Håkan Wirenstarnd and Fredrik Wallin on keyboards and bass respectively and Erik Bodin on drums and percussion—return with their sixth studio album, “New Me, Same Us”.

                For a band who are proudly left-of-centre and fiercely protective of doing things on their own terms, they have achieved no shortage of mainstream recognition. Grammy nominated for 2014’s “Nabuma Rubberband”, Little Dragon have long been seen as one of the most sought-after groups to work with. Chalking up an enviable list of collaborators throughout the years, working with equally groundbreaking artists like BADBADNOTGOOD, Gorillaz, SBTRKT, Flying Lotus, Flume, Kaytranada, Big Boi (who was first put on to the band via fellow Outkast member André 3000), De La Soul, DJ Shadow, Tinashe, Mac Miller, Future, Raphael Saadiq, Faith Evans and more. Their hugely popular and highly regarded live performances have spawned a decade-spanning career which has seen them recently co-headline a show with Flying Lotus at Los Angeles’ Hollywood Bowl and perform at some of the world’s most revered festivals such as Coachella, Glastonbury, Bestival, Lollapalooza, Melt, Dour, Sonar and Tyler, The Creator’s ‘Camp Flog Gnaw’.

                Having played together since their school days in Gothenburg—where they’d meet up after class to jam and listen to records by artists like A Tribe Called Quest and Alice Coltrane —“New Me, Same Us” is the sound of a band going back to basics and falling back in love with their instruments: drums, bass, keyboards, harp, guitar and voice, to produce some of their most focussed and inarguably best music to date. “This album has been the most collaborative for us yet.” they explain, “which might sound weird considering we’ve been making music together for all these years, but we worked hard at being honest, finding the courage to let go of our egos and be pieces of something bigger.”

                Entirely self-produced and recorded at their long-term home-built studio in Gothenburg, “New Me, Same Us” represents another chapter in the continuing evolution of Little Dragon, finding new direction in their unique style of unhurried, off-kilter r’n’b, pop and electronics, they sound as rejuvenated and energised as ever. The record also finds them in a reflective mood, Yukimi’s distinctive vocals musing on transitions, longing, and saying goodbye. “We are all on our own personal journeys,” they say, “full of change, yet still we stand united with stories we believe in, that make us who we are.” Lead single ‘Hold On’ is a message about breaking away and moving on, ‘Rush’ is about yearning for a love now lost, ‘Another Lover’ is described as a daydream of heartache, “I can’t understand what I'm doing / don't understand where we going” Yukimi laments in the opening lines. The aptly named ‘Sadness’ speaks to “how you might think you know someone but then time shows you a new face” say the band. ‘Where You Belong’ is a lullaby of fear of loss and death. There is room for optimism too, though. ‘New Fiction’ seeks that space in which to create new narratives and forge your own path and ‘Are You Feeling Sad’ is a reminder to take a step back and not worry too much: “you gonna be alright / don’t worry don’t worry / things gonna turn out fine”. 

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                Coloured LP Info: Indies exclusive orange vinyl.

                Tycho

                Simulcast

                  Tycho are the double Grammy nominated, electronic music project led by Scott Hansen as primary composer, songwriter and producer. This release follows their fifth studio album ‘Weather’ and features highly anticipated, bespoke instrumental reworkings of ‘Weather’ album tracks, previously vocal-led by singer-songwriter Saint Sinner. Tycho have taken the essence of the originals and recorded new, alternative versions of those recordings, creating new material from those much-loved tracks, while stepping into their classic sound. This is an unmissable release for any Tycho fan.

                  For fans of Boards Of Canada, Bibio, Bonobo, Jon Hopkins, Mark Pritchard, Com Truise, Ulrich Schnauss.

                  STAFF COMMENTS

                  says: I've always been a big fan of Tycho, but I think this might be the best thing he's done since 2014's 'Awake' (has it really been that long?!), with the saturated, delayed guitar and shimmering synth echoes being highly reminiscent of his superb 'Dive' LP, whilst retaining the technical production and gorgeous swimming instrumentals he's become so loved for.

                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                  LP Info: 180g vinyl.

                  A phenomenal talent, Jordan Rakei is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter/producer with an incredible soul voice, preparing to release his new album “Wallflower” via Ninja Tune on 22nd September 2017. The record frames soul and jazz in a truly vibrant oeuvre simultaneously recalling his predecessors The Roots and peers The Internet, Nick Hakim and Hiatus Kaiyote.

                  Released digitally today, new single ‘Nerve’ is a sweetly swung groove founded on warm organ, bass and effortlessly understated guitar licks courtesy of Dave Okumu (The Invisible). “The song is about the concept of loving yourself wholly and truly before you offset that love onto others,” explains Jordan.

                  The New Zealand born, London-based artist is riding high with amazing support from BBC Radio 1’s Annie Mac and Huw Stephens; Mistajam, Toddla T and Jamz Supernova at BBC 1Xtra; plus a coveted playlist spot over at BBC Radio 6 Music in addition to incredible support from Mary Anne Hobbs, Lauren Laverne and Gilles Peterson. He has played Pitchfork Avant-Garde Block Party, Annie Mac Presents, supported Jamie Woon and NAO, and collaborated with Disclosure, Taku, FKJ, Tom Misch, Loyle Carner and Richard Spaven. In 2016 he also released an EP of dancefloor-focused tracks via Rhythm Section under the moniker Dan Kye.


                  Leon Vynehall

                  I, Cavallo

                    British musician and producer Leon Vynehall is part of a vanguard of artists expanding the ambition of electronic music. Highly respected for his musical output, he has established himself as a genuine artist, releasing bodies of work that are layered with musicality and craftsmanship. His debut 2018 album Nothing Is Still received exceptional reviews and was featured in various end of year lists. It was accompanied by a Novella which was co-written by Vynehall and two well-received short films directed by Young Replicant (The xx, Bonobo, Flying Lotus).

                    Purveyors of contemporary ambient and electronic inspired music, A Winged Victory for the Sullen make a bold return on new album “The Undivided Five”. The pair, made up of Dustin O’Halloran and Adam Wiltzie, have created iconic film scores and forward-thinking ambient groups, releasing a series of game-changing records for Erased Tapes and Kranky. On “The Undivided Five” they rekindle their unique partnership for only their second piece of original music outside of film, TV and stage commissions, creating an album that channels ritual, higher powers and unspoken creative energies. Their fifth release (following their debut album, two scores and an EP), they embraced the serendipitous role of the number five, inspired by artist Hilma af Klint and the recurrence of the perfect fifth chord.

                    This album sees them create bold new work built on their foundations in ambient and neoclassical. Since their 2011 self-titled debut, the duo have emerged as part of a much-lauded scene alongside peers like Max Richter, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Tim Hecker and Fennesz. Their 2014 album “Atomos” was the product of a commission to score a new performance by Royal Ballet choreographer Wayne McGregor, while 2016’s “Iris” was the score for director Jalil Lespert’s thriller, “In the Shadow of Iris”. They count the likes of Jon Hopkins among their fans, who included ‘Requiem For The Static King Part One’ on his 2015 Late Night Tales compilation. They composed the score for Invisible Cities, a specially-created performance to herald 2019’s Manchester International Festival, and have played some of the world’s most celebrated venues, including a sold out Boiler Room performance at London’s Barbican, and a 2015 BBC Proms show curated by Mary Anne Hobbs at the Royal Albert Hall.

                    They were first introduced by mutual friend Francesco Donadello in 2007, a close collaborator who’s gone on to mix all of the AWVFTS records. O’Halloran launched his reputation with two acclaimed solo piano albums, attracting the attention of director Sofia Coppola, who asked him to score her 2006 film Marie Antoinette, and he has since won an Emmy for his 2015 theme song for Jill Soloway’s Transparent series, and been nominated for an Oscar and Golden Globe for his 2017 score with Hauschka for Garth Davis’ Lion. Wiltzie, meanwhile, founder of iconic drone outfit Stars of the Lid, has scored Hollywood films including Kevin MacDonald’s “Whitney”, Jake Scott’s “American Woman” and collaborated with Jóhann Jóhannsson for 2014’s The Theory of Everything.

                    This album sees them pay greater heed to the small details in their sound than previously, something they say has been encouraged by the move to a new label. It’s been their first opportunity since their debut to create something that’s solely guided by their ideas, and it represented an opportunity to call back to that first outing while also building on the various ways in which they’ve grown. “We understand that times have changed,” they say. “We have evolved, but we also didn’t want to forget the beginning.”

                    They channel influences such as Debussy, nodded to in the opening track, whose big chords and complicated arrangements inform a lot of their approach – parts that sound simple but require great skill to execute. Likewise, the artist Hilma af Klint – one of the first abstract Western artists – informed their ideas about drawing on spiritual influences to shape their work. “It’s like an invisible hand guiding things,” they say.

                    The start of recording sessions for the album were marred by the death of one of their closest friends. Within weeks after the funeral O’Halloran found out that he would be expecting his first child, and it was soon after that a visit to see the art of af Klint brought home a profound realisation of life, death, the afterlife, and the spaces in between. She belonged to a group called "The Five", a circle of five women with a shared belief in the importance of trying to make contact with spirits, often by way of séances. This chimed with the duo’s unspoken approach to collaboration, and nudged them to return to their writing process centered around the harmonic perfect fifth; the five senses, the divine interval – The Undivided Five.

                    The album was also shaped by the breadth of locations in which it was created, helping to shape its nuanced sonics. In addition to O’Halloran and Wiltzie’s respective Berlin and Brussels studios, the record took shape across six different sites. They recorded orchestral samples in Budapest’s Magyar Rádió Studio 22, re-recorded album parts in Brussels’ Eglise Du Beguinage’s unique, reverb-heavy surrounds (where Wiltzie has performed with Stars of the Lid and, in 2018, organised a tribute concert for Jóhann Jóhannsson), experimented with overdubs in Ben Frost’s Reykjavik studio, and recorded grand piano parts in a remote woodland studio in northern Italy. The duo pay close attention to the micro-level of sound, and each of these places was chosen for the qualities which could enrich the finished product. And it’s in Francesco Donadello’s studio in Berlin, where all of the previous AWVFTS material has been mixed, that the album was run through the studio’s analog board, binding the record’s different parts together.

                    It was their connection to Jóhannsson which partly shaped the direction of their new album. They were asked to create a remix for him, which he heard before his death in 2018, where they unlocked a new process in terms of how they work. They recomposed the strings, using modular synthesis, old synths and string and piano arrangements, a method they applied to album opener ‘Our Lord Debussy’. “It’s about going into the DNA of music and taking different strands,” they say.

                    The album is their debut for Ninja Tune, and comes as change is underway for O’Halloran, moving from Berlin – hence the title of ‘Keep It Dark, Deutschland’ – after a decade in the German capital. He’s headed to Iceland, the country where the pair shot their latest press photos and which is an important locale for both of them. The wide-spanning connections which have shaped the record are testament to their deep roots as artists. This album’s powerful energy is driven by the deep-rooted bond between them.

                    STAFF COMMENTS

                    says: ‘The Undivided Five’ is the newest outing from the masters of ambient classical music, A Winged Victory For The Sullen. Their debut album hit us all pretty hard back in 2011, and has continued to be on the player pretty much constantly since then. Though they’ve released a soundtrack and another LP since, this is really only the second full album, and it is every bit the spiritual successor. Soaring, spine-tingling swells of string and synth coalesce together into a perfectly organic, yet otherworld rush of emotion and heft. Brittle, tentative passages are suddenly engorged with indescribable euphoric joy, evocative but fleeting, bringing to mind their debut, but with every bit rendered in unparalleled definition. ‘The Undivided Five’ deserves every attention you can give it, every precious moment you spend with it revealing more secrets and more colours you didn’t even know existed. An unrivalled beauty.

                    FORMAT INFORMATION

                    Ltd LP Info: 180 gram vinyl in a gatefold sleeve.

                    Jayda G

                    Significant Changes (Remixes)

                      A thumping remix from Honey Dijon, who takes on Jayda’s light-hearted ode to the dancefloor - ‘Stanley's Get Down (No Parking on the DF)’ - with Jayda’s tongue-in-cheek scorn “Hey you! I see you, with your phone, looking at Instagram” admonishing those people who stand motionless in the front row at her gigs: “This is the dancefloor baby, this is where you’re supposed to get down”. Talking about the remix, Dijon says "It was so much fun remixing an artist who has a clear understanding and respect for the foundation of dance music heritage and culture.”The EP is completed by Dâm-Funk’s “Re-Freak” of ‘Move To The Front’ and a remix from DJ Fett Burger of ‘Missy Knows What's Up’. 

                      We've come an awful long way since Floating Points' first utterances entered our stratosphere. That opening trio of twelves ("J&W Beat", "Love Me Like This" and "Vacuum Boogie") immediately caught the attention of us and our customers and we've been hooked on this cat throughout the last ten years.

                      Whereas the incredible "Elaenia" (2015) was a five-year process, "Crush" was made during an intense five-week period, inspired by the invigorating improvisation of his shows supporting The xx in 2017. He had just finished touring with his own live ensemble, culminating in a Coachella appearance, when he suddenly became a one-man band, just him and his trusty Buchla opening up for half an hour every night. He thought what he’d come out with would 'be really melodic and slow-building' to suit the mood of the headliners, but what he ended up playing was 'some of the most obtuse and aggressive music I've ever made, in front of 20,000 people every night,' he says. 'It was liberating.'

                      Fundamentally, this is still stylistically a Floating Points record. Classically informed pieces drift into focus without beats, only to dissolve into a mist of modular-generated textures. There's some speaker-tested mainroom techno moments, namely the lead single "LesAlpx" which concludes side A's meticulously programmed schedule with a moment of undiluted dancefloor energy. Fans of his jazz-flecked house will find tracks like "Last Bloom" and "Anasickmodular" a joy to behold; possessing that idiosyncratic shuffle and swing that instantly characterize an FP production. "Bias" opens side B with a unfathomably futuristic, attitude-ridden bass monster until Sam unexpectedly flips into his patented, cerebral jazz-house hybrid. Don't get me wrong though, he's not resting on his laurels in any way. His New Sounds bite and spit, as he seems to harness extraordinary levels of intricacy and power from his trusty Buchla synthesizer and his much lusted-after Arp Odyssey. More refined, more evolved, deeper, richer - but the same Floating Points - sound up your tree? It should be. 


                      STAFF COMMENTS

                      says: The Chetham's graduate has been a permanent fixture on our shelves for the last decade. 'Crush' embodies everything we love about him across a succinct and direct two sides. Drifting through a highly musical sanctum, we get expressions on modular and synth informed, and indeed elevated, by Sam's well documented and rich musical education.

                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                      Indies Exclusive LP Info: 140g black vinyl housed in a glossy sleeve with exclusive cover art, artwork printed inside and out, 4 page A4 booklet featuring a score of album track ‘Birth’.

                      Indies Exclusive LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                      LP Info: 140g black vinyl housed in a glossy sleeve with artwork printed inside and out, 4 page A4 booklet featuring a score of album track ‘Birth’.

                      LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                      CD Info: CD in digipak with fold-out booklet featuring a score of album track ‘Birth’.

                      Mr Scruff

                      Keep It Unreal - 20th Anniversary Green Vinyl Edition

                      Scruff's debut for Ninja Tune was quite literally, legendary. Bootlegged feverishly amongst my set through high school and college, the battered C90 tapes became somewhat of a status symbol for the musically inclined. If hip-hop culture seemed too overtly masculine and aggressive, then Scruff's quirky, jazzy, upbeat-downbeat grooves shunned aggression for playfulness; decorating the album with some hilarious spoken word facets and samples, giving birth to what would become Andy's unique sonic (and visual) world throughout his career.

                      A product of post-acid house Manchester, Mr Scruff is a legitimately celebrated one-off. A cheeky innovator who had more than paid his dues and served his time both as a musical apprentice, a performer, a DJ and a producer. Deliberate, thoughtful and patient; I remember seeing a young Andy spinning 45s at the Cellar Bar over in Blackburn back in about 2001 thinking 'this guy's destined for big things').

                      This album set his stall out wonderfully: in one moment delivering deep, downtempo dinner jazz while the next, he's chopping up breaks and scratches with all the finesse of Coldcut. There's a maverick spirit throughout which sticks two fingers up at music elitism, yet Scruff is so well musically educated that no-one could pick holes in his argument either! A breath of fresh air for people stifled by dance music's overly serious, alpha-male-dominated program, the wacko humour of "Spandex Man" and the nigh-on-ridiculous "Shanty Town" and "Fish" must have pissed off the beard strokers but it made us fall in love with him even more!

                      I like that Scruff's been named the Salvador Dali of beats and breaks, it kinda suits him. Every home needs this LP on its shelves and this 20th anniversary edition, on green vinyl is a superb addition to the catalogue. 


                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                      2xColoured LP Info: Translucent green vinyl housed in green paper inners.

                      Sampa The Great creates a sense of home on her debut album - “The Return”. A characterful record, its reference points range from classic hip-hop to ancient Southern African sounds. Built on four years of personal and musical soul-searching, it’s an assured statement, the product of meaningful musical connections and of Sampa having to redefine her self-identity away from the comforts of family and old friends.

                      Building on her formative works, “The Return” sees Sampa tackle bigger questions, exploring what it means to feel at home, to feel excluded, and to see someone as an outsider. It stems from the rift Sampa has experienced in the rise of her career, where she’s celebrated as part of a new generation of Australian musicians while at the same time still being seen as an other. The album artwork features Sampa alongside a Nyau dancer - traditional dancers and figures that are found in villages across parts of Africa. For Sampa, the dancer represents the fear of the unknown which is often projected by the West when it comes to African traditions. She also wanted to rediscover her ancestors’ spirituality: her mother’s side of the family are of the Bantu ethnicity from which the Nyau tradition originates.

                      The themes behind the album are addressed head on in title track ‘The Return’. At the close of the track, Whosane’s lyrics refer to “returning to the self of my self”. This, for Sampa, is what she’s been trying to do for the past six years: to find new ways of feeling at home and rediscover an emboldened idea of herself. "Home is described in a lot of ways and means a lot of different things to different people,” she says. “I had to redefine in my mind and in my spirit what home means.” The album is both a re-telling of that journey, and the realisation of her aim; the album walks us through that return to home, while the accomplished sound and lyricism underscores the steps she’s made as a person and artist.

                      Her African heritage is an important aspect of her exploration of home. On ‘OMG’, for instance, she talks about celebrating the cultures and traditions of Africa:

                      “Daddy adolescent said he’d get out from the streets
                      Give him kid a feed
                      Let em grow they feet
                      Fly em out of Africa
                      Give them kids a beat
                      Show them how the other half
                      How the world lives”

                      Explaining the meaning behind the lyrics, she says, “I personally feel that people on the continent have a duty to our family in the diaspora, to re-teach our culture, language, spirituality, ways and return our peeps to ourselves. To me ‘OMG’ sounds like the songs we heard in our childhood. It’s broadly about flexing your culture! Loving where you’re from and even being shocked at the realisation of not knowing how dope it is to be ‘who you are’.” The video was shot between South Africa and Botswana, where she was raised, and gave Sampa the chance to involve her parents in her world. “I got to do something that I’ve never done before,” she says. “Which is to have my parents in one of my music videos. This is the first time they have been involved in my music at this level and it was important for me to express accepting and flexing my culture with the two people who know me most!”

                      On album opener, ‘Mwana’, she employs the language of the Bemba tribe which her mother is a descendent of. “Mwana” means “child” in Bemba, and the song samples her mother and features her sister singing, making connections between her immediate family and their wider history. However, “The Return” is a reference to a physical journey, as well as a spiritual one; Sampa returned to Zambia and Botswana, where she was born and raised, respectively. There, she recorded the videos for both ‘Final Form’ - the triumphant single which sees her embrace the struggle of growing as an artist, and ‘OMG’. She is also set to release a short film titled ‘Homecoming’ about her experiences returning home to play her first shows on African soil. Across every aspect of “The Return”, from the music and the lyrics, to the visuals and the artwork, Sampa The Great returns to the foundations propping up her sense of self and in doing so makes a bold statement about who she is as an artist.


                      STAFF COMMENTS

                      says: Sampa The Great’s masterful ‘The Return’ is the musical culmination of four years of self discovery, a theme which runs throughout the entire album. Incorporating everything we love about hip-hop as well as a celebration of Southern African rhythm, this album is pure and dynamic. Featuring some badass artists like Whosane and Krown, this is the gift that just keeps on giving.

                      Bonobo

                      Linked

                      Bonobo returns with new single ‘Linked’. The dance floor-ready new release from the LA-based producer (aka Simon Green) is an atmospheric slow-builder, perfectly tuned for festivals this summer. It follows his compiling of the inaugural “fabric Presents” compilation, which featured a new song ‘Ibrik’ (picked as Annie Mac’s Hottest Record in the World on BBC Radio 1), and comes after the career-defining 2017 album Migration, which reached the UK Top 5, received two GRAMMY nominations and saw him headline festivals and sell out multiple global tours with an expanded live show.

                      It lands as he is in the midst of a string of high-profile DJ sets as part of his continuing ‘OUTLIER’ series, launched at iconic New York club Output, as well as playing and curating an array of nights and festivals on either side of the Atlantic.

                      He recently curated the Friday Printworks stage at Field Day, featuring the likes of Leon Vynehall, Actress and Kelly Lee Owens, as well as curating Day One at Nuits Sonores, and stages at Love Saves The Day and We Love Green festival, along with OUTLIER shows at De School, Amsterdam, Montreal and DJ dates in São Paulo and Santiago.

                      Looking ahead, he’s due to curate further OUTLIER shows at OFFSonar and Dour Festival and to DJ at Melt Festival before heading to North America for more festival dates and a string of headline OUTLIER shows in Montreal, Chicago, Denver, San Francisco and Brooklyn, featuring support from TOKiMONSTA, DJ Harvey, Derrick Carter and Mall Grab among others.

                      It’s the latest chapter in a DJ career that’s seen him play rapturously received sets at the likes of Sonar, fabric, and smartbar amongst many other places, while his two Boiler Room sets recorded in New York and London have exploded with millions of views each.

                      Soulful, intimate and expansive all at once, Jordan Rakei’s third album, "Origin", cuts straight to the point. The melodies are brighter, the sound is bigger and the vision behind it more finely-tuned. Switching up from the highly personal and intimate portrait he painted with 2017’s "Wallflower", which was a way of grappling with his experience of anxiety and introversion, "Origin" is overtly inspired by dystopian visions of our future - notably Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. 'I’m worried that we’re losing a sense of connection,' explains Jordan, with many of the album lyrics exploring technological growth, and how it affects our sense of humanity. For example, new single "Say Something" is 'about speaking up for what you believe in; a call to arms for future humans to stand up against the AI systems which govern a now-dystopian world. It follows recent single "Mind’s Eye", which envisions a future world where malfunctioning tech implanted in the human body has flooded the users mind with projections of chaos. He meditates daily, something he adopted partly in response to his issues with anxiety, and something which has shaped his worldview and informed his writing and production process.

                      On "Origin", Rakei has scaled up his ambitions, and is more confident in the way he goes about achieving them. Making tracks that speak more confidently, in brighter colours, and which deal with something bigger than himself. He channeled the classic songwriting and musicality of his heroes Stevie Wonder and Steely Dan, striving to surprise and delight with the form of his work, and always infusing it with the same effortless swing and human feel that he fell in love with listening to A Tribe Called Quest, Pete Rock and 9th Wonder.


                      STAFF COMMENTS

                      says: Rakei returns with his new sublime album, exploring themes of a technological and a dystopian future while producing the best jazz groves around topped with soulful vocals. Absolutely gorgeous stuff!

                      Jayda G releases her debut album “Significant Changes” via Ninja Tune, having risen steadily through the dance music underground thanks to her infectious energy, vitality, rhythm and boundless enthusiasm. Musically it’s a blend of vintage drum machine funk drawing heavily on Chicago’s house blueprint - a natural progression from a string of EPs both solo and alongside her friend and mentor DJ Fett Burger (Sex Tags Mania), often appearing on the Freakout Cult label the two ran jointly until 2018 and most recently her newly minted JMG Recordings imprint. Also renowned for her high-energy performances as a DJ, the past 12 months have seen her play London’s formidable Printworks venue alongside the likes of Marcellus Pittman, Moodymann and Omar-S, be invited by The Black Madonna to play at her Warehouse Project takeover, and Berlin’s iconic Panorama Bar, as well as festival appearances at Field Day, Kala, Melt!, AVA and the xx’s Night And Day to name a few.

                      'I’ve gone through some significant changes personally, in terms of growing up into the person that I am, my career just morphing to a place I never dreamed or imagined possible,' explains Jayda. 'It’s about me understanding myself as an artist, understanding who that person is, and who I want that person to be, and taking more responsibility for the platform that I’ve been given.' 


                      The Cinematic Orchestra are back with a definitive new album that explores a timeless question of vital importance in 2019 - what to believe? Founding member Jason Swinscoe and longtime partner Dominic Smith have enlisted album contributions from collaborators old and new: Moses Sumney, Roots Manuva, Heidi Vogel, Grey Reverend (vocalist on Bonobo’s 'First Fires’), Dorian Concept and Tawiah (Mark Ronson, Kindness). Miguel Atwood-Ferguson (Flying Lotus, Anderson Paak, Thundercat, Hiatus Kaiyote) features on strings and photographer and visual artist Brian “B+” Cross collaborated with Swinscoe and Smith on the album’s concept. The record was mixed by multiple Grammy winner Tom Elmhirst (David Bowie, Frank Ocean, Adele) in Jimi Hendrix’s legendary Electric Lady Studios. The album artwork comes courtesy of The Designers Republic™ (Aphex Twin).

                      In 2019 it is easy to see the band’s influence, jazz is all around us, London and LA have recently produced scenes more prolific than anyone expected; Kamasi Washington has been nominated for both Grammy and Brit Awards, Sons Of Kemet a Mercury Prize, BADBADNOTGOOD provide jazz soundtracks to high fashion shows and Kendrick Lamar has put the jazz palette at the top of the charts. When The Cinematic Orchestra released their critically acclaimed debut album “Motion” it helped pave the way for this moment, incorporating as it did an interpretation that had been lacking in the oeuvre and encouraging a new generation of musicians to break rules. “To Believe” doesn’t shy away from this ethos - its articulation of the band’s unique sonic language, encompassing not only jazz but the sort of transcendental orchestration combined with the elegant electronics of artists like Ólafur Arnalds and Floating Points, artists they have helped forge a path for, has never been more cohesive and compelling.

                      STAFF COMMENTS

                      says: This year is the 20th birthday of this prestigious band who, out of the fertile soils of UK jazz, hip-hop and electronica, have grown into a much-celebrated household name. What better crown to mark the end of their teens than ‘To Believe’. With another ambrosial list of vocal collaborations, its (notably) reduced number of tracks and a huge injection of neo-classical nuances, it aims its bow directly at the heart; a body of work that seems to exist and transmit out of a heavenly and divine realm. The band employ a beguiling tapestry of organic and electronic instruments, samples and improvisation throughout. There's a deliberate and considered higher consciousness to the entire album, like it's whispering into your ear late at night between the pillows. Sometimes like a snow-dusted fairytale with its highly cinematic string arrangements, at other's deeply introspective; it's the message that matters after everything else is removed, and on ‘I Believe’ we receive it with a fragile yet focussed intimacy.

                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                      2xDeluxe LP Info: Deluxe edition vinyl including 180g clear vinyl and 180g white vinyl housed in roughboard sleeve with black foil detail and glossy printed inners.

                      2xDeluxe LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                      2xLP Info: 180g black vinyl housed in roughboard sleeve with glossy printed inner sleeves.

                      2xLP includes MP3 Download Code.

                      The Cinematic Orchestra

                      A Caged Bird / Imitations Of Life

                        Ninja Tune bring us the first new material from The Cinematic Orchestra in three years via a limited vinyl release of the Roots Manuva collaboration "A Caged Bird / Imitations Of Life". Claps and tambourines bring us into the room, where the downbeat ensemble gently tease out a skeletal fusion of thoughtful piano, solid percussion and moody electronics, made whole with Roots Manuva's philosophical flow and urgent strings. It's clear by now though that TCO don't trade in the linear, and soon enough the track explodes into syncopated drums, twinkling electronics and a drifting chorus, tugging every heartstring at once. Available on a limited vinyl with an instrumental and acapella on the flip, this is a welcome return for the electronic legends.


                        Nabihah Iqbal

                        Weighing Of The Heart

                          The artist formerly known as synthwave sensation Throwing Shade steps out of the erm...shade and into the spotlight under her birth name Nabihah Iqbal. "Weighing Of The Heart" is a big statement in two ways: firstly because she’s taken her real name to stand proudly as a female British Asian artist making music and secondly, because she’s moved her music in a bolder, more expansive direction, with a greater focus on live instruments. Crunching percussion (think JAMC) lends the LP a lot of drive while spectral vocal fx and swirling guitars reference C86 indie and the psychedelic shimmer of shoegaze. 

                          Remixes of tracks off The Invisible's "Patience" long player, released last year. The package includes a who's who of new musical talent, with Peckham's Chaos In The CBD and FYI Chris rubbing shoulders with Millionhand's owner Tee Mango and northern trio Darkstar. Up first, "Love Me Again" gets taken into broken beat territory by Chaos In The CBD. Sounding authentic as ever, with the soulful vocal fitting perfectly with the syncopated, warm beats and jazzy Rhodes licks. "So Well" gets fractured, pitched and re-arranged by Warp's Darkstar, providing a suitably angelic hybrid of electro-pop, glitch and techno across a succinct five minutes of post-pop brilliance. Flip the disc and we return to Peckham as Chris and Chris deliver a funky yet dreamy take of "Love Me Again", allowing an unhurried arrangement room to develop slowly but deliberately, shunting the trickski, shadowy grooves of previous releases for a more bright-eyed, optimistic outlook. Having only a couple of remixes under their belt previous to this, it's great to see the lads bring summat new to the table - top one! Finally Tee Mango takes time out from running a leading fashion brand to conjure up a shimmering slice of deep house majesty, transforming "K Town Sunset" and Connan Mockasin's melancholic delivery into a radiant, sunrise burner that should see a wealth of emotions pour out of anyone lucky enough to hear it play.



                          For me, Actress exists in a sparsely populated world of pure muses. Throughout musical history you have people at the very forefront of a generation or culture. Artists who relate to a time and environment rather than appeal to specific genre constraints of an fleeting aspect of club culture. Artists who truly put 'art' before anything else - often challenging the norm and usually way ahead of what the general consensus then later terms as cool. I put Darren Cunningham in this class, alongside Bowie, Kate Bush, Prince, Jamal Moss, AFX, Burial and Madonna. A grand statement I know but as the esteemed producer reaches album number five his artistic focus and future vision is unrivalled. The simplest you could say about "AZD" is that it’s art - the unique creation of a unique mind. There will be few more distinctive, brilliant or visionary suites of music released in 2017. Shimmering through a holographic prism its opening trilogy of tracks shines with new industry and broken societies; mixing dissonance with rhythm unceremoniously. Side B twists and churns through a multitude of audio processes, the very fabric of time space audible as Actress switches our receptors onto maximum sensitivity; offering up two painfully current club cuts in the process ("X22RME" & "Runner"). As side C slide gracefully in with the neo-orchestration of "Falling Rizlas" Actress prepares us for the demonically epic "Dancing In The Smoke" which defies categorization entirely, spinning old school hip-hop vox through an audio spiralizer and swirling metallic washes. Side D opens with the alluring "There's An Angel In The Shower", fluttering electronics gentle serenading us through highly emotive micro-chords. Finally "Visa" sees the Actress depart us in spritely, mischievous form, playful arpeggios rambunctiously motoring away as Cunningham pours hot white noise and electromagnet shards over the recording medium. It's been another awe inspiring, and at time uneasy vision of the future and how it's gonna sound, but Actress welcomes in the new with a wry smile and comforting gaze.



                          FORMAT INFORMATION

                          2xColoured LP Info: Available to independent retailers as a deluxe 2LP edition pressed on clear vinyl and housed in a metallic silver bag outer sleeve.

                          Nathan Fake has grown from his beginnings as an undeniably skilled, but relatively inoffensive purveyor of twee IDM (see the cutesy electronic rhythms and circuit-bent melodies of 'Drowning In A Sea Of Love') into a powerhouse of challenging electronics and innovative melodic constructions.

                          The brash and stomping 'Feelings 1' could easily be stretched into a 6-minute long OPN track from his early catalog, but retains its impact and drive in part due to it's brevity, letting up after only a couple short minutes with a thematic segue into the thumping title track. Utilising his tried-and-tested technique of a filtered-out beginning into a revisitation of that theme, but injected with fiery percussion and swooning synthplay, Fake constructs a towering wall of chaotic arps and fizzling saturation, underpinned by distorted kick drums and dusty pads.

                          'HoursDaysMonthsSeasons' is much more along the lines of Border Community heavy-hitters Holden or Luke Abbott, pitching tweeting modulars and syncopated throbs against a droning foundation of fire and brimstone. As with all of Fake's more recent work, this is a deep and rewarding experience, but gives as much as you do, revealing it's complexities through patence and perserverance. 

                          Moving further along (we have convered the towering 'DEGREELESSNESS elsewhere), we move into ambient territory with 'SmallCityLights' which is a relaxing and much-needed respite (make use of it while you can) before the thudding dystopian sidechained duality of 'Radio Spiritworld'. Like a pack of robots fizzing and staggering towards a neon sun, we get chillwave guitars, industrial hammering and crackling electronic connections, coming together into a bracing mix of rampant retro-futurism and forward-thinking outsider 'tron.

                          Providence is as contrary and (I imagine) divisive as anything Fake has accomplished thus far, founded upon his considerable talent for writing a dancefloor stomper, but abstracted into the outer realms of melodicism and rhythm. A challenging, towering behemoth of an album, that will confound and amaze in equal measure. 

                          STAFF COMMENTS

                          says: Nathan Fake does OPN. Shimmering synths, soul-shaking drone and abstracted rhythms mashed together (amazingly) into a brittle and brutal amalgamation of conceptual genius and technical mastery. A++, Will listen again.

                          Letherette

                          Last Night On The Planet

                          Letherette return with their second album for Ninja Tune. Imbued with the duo’s signature warmth and distinctive swing, “Last Night On The Planet” is ten tracks deep and runs the gamut from hip-hop (featuring raps from Rejjie Snow and Stones Throw’s Pyramid Vritra), to straight-up four-to-the-floor house trax, uptempo ‘80s R&B-inspired dancefloor heaters, and deeper, introspective downtempo moments (blessed by Jed & Lucia of Ubiquity Records). With a wide range of RIYL artists including Lone, MCDE, Lapaluz and Flako, don't let the street ready rap of "Momma" lull you into thinking this is gonna be a straight up hip-hop LP. "Rich & Dan" displays Letherette's ear for a warbled, head twisting sound design. "Shanel" treads the electrofunk / boogie route that we've seen Letherette rock so well in the past while tracks ""Wootera" and "Bad Sign" display Letherette's love for a banging house beat. The speed in which Letherette changes style and direction through the album is striking if nothing else, not only displaying the varied production talents of this artist but also a lesson in how to structure an album in a dynamically pleasing fashion. Excellent stuff!

                          Travis Stewaert aka Machinedrum returns with possibly his career-defining album. Written during the early stages of this year, which saw Steward move to California and start exploring esoteric and new age sounds. This concept of sound as a healer, or as a way of expanding our mind is something he's trying to carry throughout the execution of the album. From opener "Lapis", Machinedrum immediately grabs our attention - slowly an arpeggio ascending to heaven which, apparently building towards the mother of all drops, instead fades up and off into the ether. "Morphonogene" swiftly carries the listener into some skitty, future-proof beats backed by what will become the albums ident - pitched angel vox set to a half-tempo swagger. "Angel Speak" continues the theme with euphoric stabs building and rising before a huge snare roll signifies the drop into bass heavy wobble - the post-everything production ethos coming through strong on this number while MeLo-X offers understated, classy assistance.
                          The music throughout is scintillating, stimulating and stylish; from the mind-candy riffs of "White Crown", the ecstatic d&b finale of "Do It 4 U" (featuring an absolute stand-out vox from singer-of-the-moment D∆WN). From the smile-inducing, melodic brilliance of "Colour Communicator" to the precision and build of "Dos Puertas" featuring Rihanna collaborator Kevin Hussein, one of those albums that displays perfectly what it sounds like to be alive RIGHT NOW, without a thought of looking backwards. There's a plethora of collaborations: the aforementioned MeLo-X; Jesse Boykins III offers a moment of astral r&b goodness on "Celestial Levels"; Rochelle Jordan provides the lift off as Machinedrum works the rhythm flips on "Tell U". There are also contributions from Ruckazoid, Roses Gabore and SK Simeon. It's a tour de force of future musica and we love it! Recommended. 


                          STAFF COMMENTS

                          says: Thoroughly invigorating listen from Machinedrum, exploring new styles and sounds with ease and finesse. Perfect for anyone wanting a glimpse into the futuristic progression / hybrid of bass and pop music

                          The Invisible

                          Patience

                          Listen to The Invisible’s new album, 'Patience', and what you will feel most strongly is the band’s sense of “joy and gratitude for being alive.” The experiences of Dave Okumu (guitar, vocals), Tom Herbert (bass & synthesizer) and Leo Taylor (drums) since the release of their last album, 'Rispah', both individually and collectively, mean that the group “have gained a deeper understanding of the value of life,” and a mission to communicate that to the listener. On 'Patience', they achieve these aims with a kind of effortless transcendence.

                          From the opening bars of the wonderful “So Well”, (featuring their friend and collaborator Jessie Ware), the feeling of joy pervades the record. Although the group have worked on this record with Anna Calvi, Rosie Lowe, Connan Mockasin and Sam Shepherd (Floating Points) as well as Ware, the sense of collective excitement and pleasure in music-making is what holds sway. It’s an album which hints towards the London soul of Ware, but combines it with the experimentation of the LA beat scene (where Dave Okumu went to write many of the songs) and the raw funk of D’Angelo.

                          Shortly before the release of Rispah (itself a heartfelt tribute to Okumu’s dead mother), Okumu was electrocuted while playing with the band onstage in Lagos, Nigeria. It’s possible that only the intervention of Herbert, who pulled his guitar off him, saved his life. This personal sense that the band have of deliverance has lead to Patience, not least their sense that they are “the luckiest men alive.”

                          Joyous without losing any of its intelligence or compositional rigour, the record takes its title from an unfashionable but profound idea - that, if we want to solve problems we have to be prepared to work and to wait rather than expecting instant results. It was an idea clarified when Dave found himself playing in Paris only a week after the gun attacks which ripped through the city on November 13th 2015. On his way home he read an interview with the Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield in which he talked about a realisation that could only have come to him in space: “What started seeping into me on...seeing all the ancient scars, was the incredible temporal patience of the world.”



                          FORMAT INFORMATION

                          Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                          Max Graef & Glenn Astro

                          The Yard Work Simulator

                            Max and Glenn are music lovers first and foremost - playing it, making it, digging for it, talking about it - music is their lifeblood. Less concerned with the world of online hype, you could describe their vibe as “old school”. Put them behind the turntables and they’ll smash out a proper 100% vinyl back-to-back set skipping between jazz, funk, hip-hop, soul and disco - the heart and the backbone of their sound - and have the whole room freaking out to Polish jazz-funk oddities.

                            Lock them in the studio together and it’s the swing that grabs you when one of their productions stumbles and nearly trips out of the speakers. The duo revel in the exploration of the space in between beats, and the resulting loose-knit, roly-poly grooves that they coax from the MPC nestle comfortably amidst the deep-dug vinyl treasures that populate their DJ sets.

                            Let’s be clear though, we’re not talking about simple reverence to the warmth and dynamics of classic records, and we’re definitely not talking about straight forward sampling (which is by far the easiest way to imbue vintage character into your productions). Max and Glenn’s approach to the making of 'The Yard Work Simulator' was atypical.

                            Taking in chunky but totally misshapen four-to-the-floor bangers 'Where The Fuck Are My Hard Boiled Eggs?!', 'Jumbo Frøsnapper' and previous single 'Magic Johnson' alongside the shuffling 7 minute breakbeat epic title track and digi-funk nuggets 'Money $ex Theme' and 'Flat Peter', the result is a 10-track trip through the pair’s deliciously warped psyche, channelled through a ton of hardware. A direct extension of the album’s irreverent sonic palette, the artwork is by friend and illustrator Rahel Su?ßkind.

                            Releasing their debut albums independently for the excellent Danish label Tartelet; and also Box Aus Holz; Brandt Brauer Frick's "The Gym"; Space Hardware and WotNot Music, and together for the first time on the inaugural Money $ex Records 12” in 2015, Max (real name Max) and Glenn (real name Konstantin) originally linked up as mutual fans via Soundcloud in 2012. Konstantin was living in Essen but whenever he visited Berlin they hung out and began making music together. They would meet at OYE Records (Prenzlauer Berg), one of Berlin’s finest independent record stores run by kindred spirit and local linchpin Delfonic (real name Markus). He not only established and runs the Box Aus Holz and TORBEN imprints but he also co-founded and runs the Money $ex label with Max and Glenn.

                            Drawing comparisons with South London’s scruffy beat crew 22a and label / club night Rhythm Section a similarly close-knit collectives fostering voracious vinyl appetites and a healthy attitude to eclecticism, the Money $ex gang are in full flow.

                            Sonically and ideologically off to the left of the pristine, highly-polished dance music underground, Max and Glenn have built their reputation on short-run vinyl-only 12”s, real grass roots independent record store excitement / support, turning dancefloors on their head week in week out, and pure word of mouth. It has been solely about the music from the beginning and with 'The Yard Work Simulator' the duo are set to spread their message even further.


                            Seven Davis Jr releases his debut album 'Universes' via Ninja Tune – his most honest and heartfelt musical statement to date. Recorded in LA, San Francisco, Amsterdam and London, it’s a unique exploration of his musical landscape, traversing tempos and flipping styles with typical panache but always embedded in the bedrock of soul and funk.

                            Born in Houston, Texas, before relocating to Northern California, Seven Davis Jr was raised on the classics - from Michael Jackson and Prince to Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin. He studied gospel and jazz singing, inspired by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Burt Bacharach. During his teenage years he discovered dance music, specifically house and jungle.

                            SDJR’s early Bandcamp output was more closely aligned to Los Angeles’ vibrant left-leaning electronic underground. Nurtured by the Hit+Run crew, he owes his first official release to Kutmah (who bagged "Thanks" for his ‘Worldwide Family Vol.2’ compilation on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood imprint in 2012). It was the only four-to-the-floor jam on an album curated by a DJ who is rarely drawn to that style and that fact alone is significant.

                            When he’s making straight ahead house music, the swing is reminiscent of classic Todd Edwards and the drums bump ‘n’ shuffle like Tuff Jam and Derrick Carter. And the vocals… well at times it’s like he’s channeling the spirit of George Clinton, offset with the sweet character of Peven Everett - the perfect balance of rough and smooth - it’s that undeniable funk that hooks in the hip-hop fans, the cats that don’t generally mess with “house” music. "Good Vibes" (feat. Julio Bashmore) nails this dynamic in a whirlwind 3 mins 18 secs that recalls Daft Punk at their boisterous best - proof that sometimes all you need is a chopped-up disco loop and a hook.

                            Elsewhere on "Universes" Seven brings a similar soulful energy that Moodymann or Theo Parrish purvey. "Sunday Morning" picks up where Seven’s "Wild Hearts" 12” left off, a mighty ditty with the cheeky mantra “I bet ya never had a love like this before?” sitting pretty upon bustling drums and bass punctuated with snatches of guitar. “It’s about having healthy confidence in yourself and what you can offer the world,” says Seven. There are more introspective moments on the record too – such as "Fighters" and "Afterlife" (feat. Kutmah) – that explore murkier downtempo depths.


                            FORMAT INFORMATION

                            2xLtd CD Info: Exclusive indies-only 2CD edition with an additional disc featuring bonus beats from Seven’s ‘Life In Deep Space’ poetry opus.

                            Since April 2013 Bonobo has travelled 180,000 miles and played live to over 2 million people at 175 shows in 30 countries as part of the epic career-defining tour around his latest album ‘The North Borders’. To document and celebrate this feat in all its glory, Ninja Tune present ‘The North Borders Tour: Live’. This special live release celebrates the tour ahead of the final ‘The North Borders’ show at Alexandra Palace, London in November 2014.

                            The album will be released as a deluxe CD and DVD set in deluxe packaging with a 72 page portrait sized hardback clothbound book in wibalin fine linen wrap with cyclus offset inner pages containing live photographs, Bonobo Instagram tour diary, anecdotes from Simon, the band and crew and a foreword by Gilles Peterson. The DVD contains 60 minutes of live footage taken at Pula Amphitheatre (a genuine Roman Amphitheatre and among the six largest surviving Roman arenas in the World) and The Roundhouse, interspersed with documentary footage and extras including photo gallery, extra videos and a time lapse video.

                            The live LP / CD includes newly mixed and mastered recordings from seminal Bonobo shows including Pula Amphitheatre (Croatia - Dimensions Festival 2013), The Roundhouse (London 2013) and live radio sessions at Maida Vale (London), KEXP and KCRW (US).

                            Evelyn Jane Mason and Jeremiah Klein met in Vancouver in 2011 and connected via a shared love of bass music, R&B and pop. Though their work is collaborative, Jeremiah leans towards production, with Evelyn providing startling vocals and frank lyrics. The results are enthrallingly hazy.

                            Popping up two years ago in February 2012 with a staggeringly brilliant 12" via Canadian creative collective and imprint King Deluxe, FACT compared Evy Jane's "frozen pop futurism" to the likes of Clams Casino and The Weeknd, whilst Pitchfork simply labelled it "stunning," giving it a Best New Track feature. Newly signed to Ninja Tune, Evy Jane's Closer EP neatly rounds up the duo’s sonic excursions since their explosive debut.

                            Inherently DIY, Evelyn and Jeremiah draw upon Vancouver's mystical aura to create a world that mirrors and magnifies it. From self-directed videos to hypnotic songwriting, Evy Jane is inspired by the hooks and melodies of R&B as much as the sub low shudder of the UK’s shifting bass music spectrum and the ebb and swell of tidal synth washes and grainy atmospherics.

                            Title track "Closer" draws the listener into its swirling electronic textures, catchy melodies and bass. The effect is to be caught helpless in its current, and the combination with the song’s lyrical plea for further closeness is heady. ‘Nothing So Great’ is a simply magical combination of synths rising gradually from heavy to urgent with commanding vocals describing the dark aftermath of sex. "Sosoft" is future R&B that charts the fear and wonder of romance via fathoms-deep bass and utterly beguiling vocals, dark veins spreading through lullaby softness. Final track "Worry Heart" ventures into dubbier territory, a recollected vision of failed reassurance seeing Evelyn’s vocals soar: "You are so damn fair. With your anchors gone, you are floating too free".

                            The beautiful 'Closer EP' vinyl format features artwork by the amazing Leif Podhajsky.


                            It’s a new Mr. Scruff album and you know what to expect, right? We widdle on about sexy potatoes and bouncy bacteria offering you a cup of tea, you have a little chuckle and actually make a brew, you stick on the album and… hold on. Because you see, quietly and without a lot of fuss (cos that’s not the way the Stockport Strepsil rolls) Mr. Scruff aka Andy Carthy has been evolving and developing his music.

                            So yeah, you can still count upon a shedload of gritty funk and stony soul (not sure where this metaphor’s going..?) but the new record displays a stripped back musicality, a depth that maybe hasn’t been there before. It’s been coming across his last few releases, but this is the most complete, sustained exploration of where his music is at right now. In Carthy’s own pithy words it’s “tougher, sparser, less samples, more bass. More vocals and collaborations and shorter tunes.”

                            If this record proves anything, it’s that there’s more, much more to the work of Andy Carthy than dancefloor grooves and funny cartoons.

                            Don’t worry though - it is still one sexy potato.


                            FORMAT INFORMATION

                            2xLP includes MP3 Download Code.

                            If there's one thing occasionally lacking in the current crop of electronic wonders, it's fun. Fun is what sets Letherette apart, what makes them more than just another act in electronica, and what makes their self-titled debut a classic album. Letherette is, dare we say it, a classic of 'dance' music generally.

                            The young duo from Wolverhampton have won hearts, minds and feet with four EPs, stunning remixes for Machinedrum and Bibio, and exuberant live shows. It's easy to see why they inspire such enthusiasm; they understand the cutting edge without feeling afraid to let themselves go, and their music is all the better for it. Letherette explores mood confidently, taking in introspective, melancholic moments as well as upbeat drive, and lending their debut extraordinary depth.

                            If you're someone that wants to enjoy music as much as you admire it, Letherette will put a big, day-long smile on your face.


                            'The North Borders’ is the eagerly anticipated fifth studio album from iconic Ninja Tune artist Bonobo, and features appearances from Erykah Badu, Grey Reverend, Szjerdene and Cornelia.

                            Three years on from his breakthrough album 'Black Sands', 'The North Borders’ has kept to a similar widescreen electro-acoustic soundscape, providing us with another selection of upbeat downbeat gems. Opener 'First Fires' has the melancholy and post-dubstep clicks and blips of a James Blake production, given extra similarity by Grey Reverend's vocal. Bonobo has been playing with 2-step rhythms for a while now (check 'Black Sands' favourite 'Eyesdown'), and now with the UK garage revival in full swing, cuts like 'Emkay' and 'Know You' sound right on point for 2013. House cuts like 'Don't Wait' and 'Antenna' lead the way to an alternative dancefloor, while 'Cirrus' features a similar intricacy to Kieran Hebden's polyrhythmic creations. Star guest Erykah Badu adds typically sublime vox to string-laden wonky-hop cut 'Heaven For The Sinner', while upcoming singer Szjerdene is equally ear-catching on future R&B essentials 'Towers' and 'Transits'. 'Jets' expands on the kind of crackling atmospherics of a Burial production, adding lush strings and organic percussion. 'Sapphire' has a rolling dubstep rhythm, but with plucked harps and vocal samples sewn into the mix. Bonobo leaves us wanting more with the beatdown downbeat album closer 'Pieces', featuring sweet vocals by Cornelia and uplifting strings and woodwind.


                            FORMAT INFORMATION

                            2xLP includes MP3 Download Code.

                            "Hexagonal crystals have a unique directionality," says Slugabed, "which must be aligned and oriented with Earth's spin axis for every crystal in the inner core." This idea led him to try a computational experiment. If all the crystals must point in the same direction, why not one big crystal?

                            Could an iron ball 1,500 miles across be a single crystal? Unheard of until now, the idea has prompted realisation that the temperature-pressure extremes of the inner core offer ideal conditions for crystal growth. Slugabed's high-pressure laboratories have conducted numerous experiments to test these theories.

                            The article "Time Team" is a concise documentation of these experiments.

                            Greg Feldwick is 23 years old and from Bath. He makes noises as Slugabed. His first releases were on Stuff, Ramp and then Planet Mu but now he is signed to the mothership, Ninja Tune. His music is suffused with a unique mix of humour, next level production, dancefloor smarts and melancholic emotion. “Time Team” is his debut album and we think it’s a belter. The album opens with “New Worlds", a heroic trudge across a vast space landscape, followed by the single “Sex”, a place of wildly suggestive synth squelch. He then takes us deeper, delving into the disembodied anime of “All This Time” and on to “Moonbeam Rider” which combines digital lyncanthropy with a kind of deep funk groove that ought to come with a warning label. Along with the nervous squeals of "Travel Sweets" and the widescreen spangling of “Unicorn Suplex” this is a record that evokes a very particular, very peculiar, but never less than beautiful worldview. An album highlight is “Mountains Come of The Sky”, which has a wonderful rolling rhythm and uplifting vocal, whilst the synth melody goes stratospheric at the mid-point. “Grandma Paints Nice,” distills yet more warmth and emotion from supposedly synthetic sounds, and “Climbing A Tree” sounds like the slow and wonderful death of a computer clinging on to its last, implanted false memory. Crowning the album, electro jam "Earth Claps" takes you on a field trip to the very core of the earth, melts you down and spits you out of a volcano. Lastly, the mood of dislocated melancholy is pushed almost to a nervous breakdown on the closing track “It’s When The Future Falls Plop On Your Head”.

                            Asked to explain “Time Team,” Feldwick responds that “it's to do with deep feelings about mostly inexpressible things.” It is indeed an album full of feeling and warmth and humor, a remarkable feat for a record composed mainly on synthesisers and drum machines. You will be hearing a lot more of Slugabed.

                            Something witty about crystals or whatever nonsense we were banging on about earlier.


                            In early 2011 Luke Vibert told Ninja Tune that he had just found some long-lost never heard before DATs dated 1995-1998 and titled "Back On Time".

                            In 1996 Blue Angel Recordings an offshoot of the legendary Rising High label released the "Drum & Bass For Papa" album by Plug AKA West Country king of kitschtronica Luke Vibert, whom at that time had only released under his Wagon Christ moniker. The album remains to this day one of the acclaimed records to emerge from the buoyant and hugely influential electronic scene of the south-west in the 90s. Alongside people like Aphex Twin and Tom Middleton, Vibert filled cassettes with new tunes, hijacked the pirates and revelled in all that was original, twisted and like nothing else before.

                            So a few years later and somewhat ahead of the curve, Vibert shook up D&B. Avant-jungle that wasn't made for the 'club', the album was an eccentric bolt from the blue, it shocked many of Vibert's contemporaries but went on to influence many, most notably Squarepusher.

                            Until now Plug has yielded just one album - possibly only a humble man like Luke Vibert would have a whole album of top-quality electronic tracks just sat around for over 15 years and not release them. The 10 tracks on offer here include the proto-garage vocal stylings of "Feeling So Special", the demented circus-organs of "No Reality", the hilariously titled "Come On My Skeleton", the old-skool rinse out of "Mind Bending", the skewed bollywoodisms of "A Quick Plug for A New Shot" and all with impeccably produced jungle credentials as the bed.

                            Sounding brand new as well as being a lost classic from a electronic icon, "Back On Time" is a release that anybody interested in the progression of dance music should be very curious to hear and enjoy.


                            Drew Lustman aka FaltyDL releases his debut EP with Ninja Tune and it’s an absolute cracker. Over its four tracks he shows the range and grasp of rhythm, atmosphere and melody which have made him one of the most exciting producers in electronic music right now.

                            Title track “Atlantis” is distinguished by a complex, swinging, relentlessly danceable beat, unfeasibly low bass hits and a melancholic tune which sits somewhere between Four Tet and classic rave. “Can’t Stop The Prophet” shows the DNA of Wagon Christ (an early influence) spliced with the sonics of post-dubstep and the restless energy of an ADHD toddler, ending with a first-love junglist wig-out. “My Light, My Love”, seemingly sampled and built out of the sonic spaces between notes and beats, is perhaps the deepest moment on an incredible EP, while “The Sale Ends” takes us once more back to the skipping feel of a fractured, interplanetary 2-step.

                            FaltyDL is one of the hottest names in electronic music right now and the Atlantis EP shows why. Immersed in the old New York and Chicago sound yet creating a more subtle and ultimately futuristic mash-up of influences, Lustman takes his influences and makes them fresh. The sometime sushi-chef and now New York resident has been turning heads since 2008, when Mike Paradinas signed his US-ified versions of UK garage to Planet Mu and released it on an unsuspecting world. Since then, Lustman has looked to expand and evolve his signature sound over two albums, an EP and three singles for the label. In addition, he has released an Afro-beat-inspired 12”, "Mean Streets Pt 1" with Loefah’s Swamp81 label, a single on Ramp backed with a remix from Jamie XX, plus remixes of his own for the likes of Mount Kimbie, The XX, Scuba, Photek, Anthony Shake Shakir and others.


                            With previous long players "Biscuits For Breakfast" and "Distance And Time" Fink has built up a reputation for quality understated singer-songwriting. New album "Sort Of Revolution" continues in the same style, forming a perfect trilogy of work. Although mostly acoustic, the album steers clear of folky trappings, opting instead for more of a downbeat style instead. It's an introspective, slightly brooding home-listening set.

                            "Ninja Tuna" sees the triumphant aquatic-themed return of the reigning yet uncrowned world champion of fish-related cheekiness. Yes, Mr Scruff is back with a long player that's packed with pure funky loveliness from start to finish. The set opens with b-boy hip hop cut "Test The Sound" before heading straight into current single "Music Takes Me Up" featuring Alice Russell ("Donkey Ride" and "Kalimba" also feature), while other special guests include Roots Manuva, Quantic and Andreya Triana. As ever with a Scruff long player we get a nice mix of wobbly bass, funky breaks, jazzy grooves and soulful touches - sometimes all in the same song!

                            FORMAT INFORMATION

                            CD Info: CD comes in deluxe embossed fold out recycled cardboard sleeve.

                            The Cinematic Orchestra

                            Live At Royal Albert Hall

                            On November 2nd 2007, Jason Swinscoe brought an enhanced line-up of the The Cinematic Orchestra, incorporating the 24 piece Heritage Orchestra, to the Royal Albert Hall and played a show to a sold-out crowd of more than 4000 people. With over 40 musicians onstage at times, Swinscoe and his colleagues used the show as a unique opportunity to open out his chamber pieces into intense, beautiful and exquisitely realised epics which left the huge audience baying for more. Featuring vocal contributions from Heidi Vogel, Lou Rhodes (formerly of Lamb) and Grey Reverend, plus the return of original member PC on turntables, an intense, beautiful night is captured here in all its glory. History as it's lived, human emotion, love and rapture. You can feel it in the hairs on the back of your neck.

                            Over the last decade, The Herbaliser's Jake Wherry and Ollie Teeba have established themselves as one of the most innovative and reliable production duos to come out of the UK hip hop scene. This has been achieved, in part, by the kind of constant self-improvement which makes "Take London" their best album yet. You can hear it on the instrumental tracks on the record – the tender, angry "Song For Mary", electro-funk influenced "Gadget Funk", wah-guitared space funk of "Kittynapper" or chase scene jazz of "Geddim'" - where attention to detail and love of sixties soundtracks and library music are all mixed up with a dose of geezer front and b-boy charisma. Of course, The Herbaliser have also always had an eye for a killer vocal guest. Jean Grae (formerly known as What What) has been a long-time collaborator and here she contributes to four tracks, including the storming posse cut "Generals", "Twice Around" and moving "If You Close Your Eyes". The UK end is held up by Nottingham's Cappo (who has released material through Son and Zebra Traffic) and the one and only Roots Manuva. Then, just to finish off – and perhaps remind people how broad the duo's tastes are - there's a scintillating tribute to Serge Gainsbourg, "Serge", with a monologue from Katerine.

                            The Herbaliser

                            Something Wicked This Way Comes

                            Combining live playing by the Easy Access Orchestra, studio trickery by Jake & Ollie with guest vocals from Dilated Peoples, MF Doom, Blade, Wildflower and Phi Life Cipher, this is a cinemtic hip hop tour de force!

                            The Cinematic Orchestra

                            Man With A Movie Camera

                            Originally written for a one off live performance to accompany Dziga Vertov's classic 1929 Russian silent film 'Man With A Movie Camera', some of these tracks ("Evolution", "All Things"), and their 70s free-jazz inspired style went on to become the backbone of the "Everyday" sessions. Finally J Swinscoe and Co have gone into the studio and recorded the tracks (live) for this proper soundtrack LP.

                            Dwight Trible & The Life Force Trio

                            Love Is The Answer

                            Over a remarkable career, this Los Angeles native has worked with everyone from Bobby Hutcherson and Charles Lloyd to Harry Belafonte. He is the vocalist with the Pharaoh Sanders Quartet and also the vocal director for the Horace Tapscott Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra, a Los Angeles institution with a history stretching back forty years and an active engagement in the city's Black community since the Watts Uprising. Enthused by the power of Trible's vision, Carlos Nino (one half of AmmonContact) started speaking to the new luminaries of the LA scene about collaborating with this elder statesman and before he knew it he had an album which combined sixties-inspired avant / spiritual jazz with the hottest beats the city had to offer. Sa-Ra Creative Partners, Madlib, Daedelus, members of Platinum Pied Pipers, Jay-Dee - wherever he went, Nino found only enthusiasm, and the project began to take shape. From "Equipoise", on which Sa-Ra revisit 80s synth funk and give it their signature loping twist, through "Freedom Dance" with its Stetsasonic-meets-Fela vibe, on into the sheer oddness of the Madlib-produced "Waves of Infinite Harmony", the more straight-up boombap of "The Tenth Jewel", and finally through a last third that probably peaks with the incantatory "Musician's Union" (by Ammoncontact) and the beautiful "Constellations" (which grew out of a piano loop contributed by Prefuse 73's Scott Herren to the Piano Overlord project), this is a record of pure sonic invention and all round goodness.

                            FORMAT INFORMATION

                            2xCD Info: CD includes the full album plus the instrumentals CD too.

                            Ninja Tune were introduced to the work of DJ Kentaro through his success at the 2002 DMC World finals where the Japanese turntablist won outright to become World Champion with a set of pure innovation using not just hip hop, but also reggae, drum & bass, house and electro, in the process achieving the highest score ever in a DMC Final. As such he seemed the perfect DJ to choose to produce a mix of the Ninja back catalogue for the Japanese market. A box full of vinyl and CDs was sent off to him and he began piecing together a selection from Jaga, Wagon Christ, DJ Food, Coldcut, Pest, Funki Porcini, Herbaliser and DJ Vadim to create a truly masterful mix. The CD came out in Japan in December 2004 and has since sold 15,000 copies in the territory. However, word of Kentaro's lightning skills spread way beyond Japan and it was decided it was time to share his talents with the world. To this end, a DVD was commissioned which showcases much of what is special about Kentaro. A mixture of live footage and animation (some of it 'visuscratched' by Kentaro himself), this selection of short films will appeal to the turntablist community but, as you'd expect, would also work well as audiovisual fodder for any party.

                            FORMAT INFORMATION

                            2xCD Info: CD comes with bonus DVD.

                            Solid Steel continues its purveyance of the art of the mixtape by asking Brighton's Bonobo to get working on those crossfaders like there's no tomorrow. Simon Green brings us the seventh in the series and it's time for the man to step and show us how he rocks it whilst out on DJ duties across the world. The mix kicks off with the custom built and exclusive "Solid Steel Intro" before flinging us into the sublime "Sandcastles" by Diesler on Tru Thoughts - the people that brought out the early Bonobo releases. The slept-on gem "Exploration" follows from Karminsky, heading into a slightly tinkered with version of "Pick Up" by the man himself, before staying at the business end of the M23 with south coast soldiers Flevans and Black Grass. By now the mood is well established – expertly chosen dusty breaks combined with funked up loops, syncopated horns and double bass cuts. The impossible to find and gorgeous "Hidden" by King Seven precedes a new track from Bonobo's forthcoming album. It's always great to have an exclusive but rarely do you get one of the jaw dropping beauty and quality of "Recurring". The mix wraps up with the beautifully mellow end section led out by Amon Tobin and completed by Savath & Savalas' godlike "Paths In Soft Focus" and Ninja's own Super Numeri, whose sixty year old harpist shows once again why he is the man!

                            In "Sound Mirrors" Coldcut have made the best album of their long and illustrious career. Their production has never sounded better, their ideas have never been more varied or more interesting, they've never had such a great cast of guests and then integrated them into their sound so well. Dancehall-hip hop cut "True Skool" features Roots Manuva adding vocal weight, while the electroclash-edged "Just For The Kick" has eerie words from legendary singer-songwriter Annette Peacock. "Walk A Mile In My Shoes" features the legendary Robert Owens on an epic, building, hands in the air tune, while "Mr Nichols" combines a beautifully subtle piece of music with a superb, deadpan piece of writing from Saul Williams. Former Ninja Andrew Broder, aka Fog, offers wonky, melancholy lyrics over a faltering kitchen sink orchestra backing on "Whistle And A Prayer" and so it carries on, with the likes of Mpho Skeef, Dom Spitzer and Black American poet Amiri Baraka guest spotting later on.

                            FORMAT INFORMATION

                            2xLP Info: LP comes in die-cut sleeve.

                            CD Info: CD comes in die-cut sleeve.

                            The Herbaliser

                            Remedies

                            The debut LP from Ollie and Jake. It's got less vocals than later LPs, and is more hip hop breaks, samples amd jazzy flavours.

                            The Cinematic Orchestra

                            Every Day

                            Mind blowing second LP (i'm not including the remixes set) from J Swinscoe and Co. They're joined on three tracks by vocalists Fontella Bass and Roots Manuva, the other four are lush sweeping fusions of 70s style cosmic jazz, dreamy downbeat and nu-jazz. Very special... definitely one of the LPs of 2002!

                            Mr Scruff

                            Keep It Unreal

                            Scruff's debut for Ninja Tune, and it's just one of those essential LPs for fans of quirky, jazzy upbeat downbeat grooves. Includes the massive trad-jazz-house anthem (and advert favourite) "Get A Move On", as well as "Honeydew", "Jus Jus" with Roots Manuva and the silly "Shanty Town" and "Fish".

                            A product of post-acid house Manchester, Mr Scruff is a complete one-off; a cheeky innovator. His debut album is a bold statement, distinctive and confident. "Keep It Unreal" oscillates wildly between opposing styles - one moment Scruff's in deep, down-tempo dinner jazz territory, the next he's in Coldcut mode, chopping out superb big beat breaks with naughty hooklines to get you pogoing. At one extreme is the wacko humour of Spandex Man, bolshi breakbeat and a hooky 1920s jazz loop that'll make you grin. And then there's the even more ridiculous "Shanty Town", with samples of a Jacknory story about a whale. At the other end of the scale, is Scruff's accomplished acid jazz - like the serene, trip-hoppy "Midnight Feast" or the smoothie cocktail number "Honeydew", with it's loungey female vocals. This man is out there, the Salvador Dali of beats and breaks.


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