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SMILING C

Tunel Hacia Tí (Tunnel Toward You) is a collection of early compositions by Germán Bringas of Portales, Mexico City. This album features songs from his lost cassette ambient jazz opus, "Caminatas" (Hikes), it’s spiritual successor, "Exposción Al Vacio" (Vacuum Exposure), and unreleased works created between '91-'00. Every instrument heard on this release was played by Bringas, and recorded in a studio in the back of his home. Sixteen unheard works from the Mexican jazz synesthete. Bringas plays with a delicate balance between experiment & pastoral spaciousness, sounding like Coltrane scoring a Tarkovsky film.

Germán’s pieces are informed by his synesthetic experience. As he plays, he witnesses color coordinating with each note. His earliest experience of this cross-sensory ability came from playing his parents piano when he was young. Exploring the keys, a spectrum of color presented itself, and he began searching for colors he preferred. He discovered an enticing shade of blue, which unbeknownst to him at the time, was a jazz chord. In the following years, he attended school at the Conservatorio Nacional de Música and was classically trained in piano and composition. The Conservatorio was extremely demanding, and didn’t appreciate his innate talents to play by ear. He was fed up with the indoctrinating way they taught, which coincided with a lecture he attended by Carlos Casteñeda. Inspired by the teachings, he left school behind to start a group with his friends to practice meditative exercises loosely based off Casteñeda’s Tensegrity movements to expand the body and mind. His friends and he spent years going into the woods and training as quasi-disciples of the Castañedian path. In those times, Germán developed a new approach to music, letting go of the formality of his classical training, and rediscovering his childhood experience to play from feeling. Learning trumpet, saxophone, and native Mexican instruments all to his own design, he followed his synesthetic experience to guide his compositions. He was compelled to record the discoveries he was making, so he produced a string of cassettes, only enough to pass around to friends & local collectors.

In his earliest works, you can hear the influence of his time spent in the tranquility of the woods colliding with the frenzy of the city he grew up in. Combining inspiration he obtained from ECM Records virtuosos, Mexican Rock-in-opposition, visionary jazz artists, and otherworldly sci-fi films like Blade Runner and Stalker, his songs ebb and flow between serene synths and chaotic bursts of emotive horns. In addition to these compositions, he started an experimental music club in his house in Portales called Jazzorca. At Jazzorca, which is still running to this day, he would share his pensive movements with a small group of dedicated music lovers. Germán truly created a world of his own through these works, and his sound is singular when held up to Mexican music from the same era.

Currently, Germán makes drums out of propane tanks in his backyard, he produces experimental CDs under his own label, and plays live regularly at Jazzorca. You might catch him strolling through his neighborhood in Portales at sunset, soaking in the influence of the city sounds and their associated colors he witnesses.

TRACK LISTING

Libre
Exposicion Al Vacio
Painani Iii
Nuevas Visiones De Luz
Caminatas
Escarpadas
Bailarina
El Cielo
Tunel Hacia Ti
Blues For Lyle
Sim Y El Campo
Beyond Skin
Runner Blues
What Nobody Took Care

Kevin Mccormick & David Horridge

Light Patterns

In 1970, Kevin and David met whilst they were working in the Labour Exchange Office on Aytoun St, Manchester. Both played guitar and had been searching for other musicians who played atmospheric music. Kevin had been playing in small clubs in Manchester and David performed in a few local bands. One evening, they jammed together at Kevin’s family home, and quickly realized that their playing blended together to form the basis of the sound they had been looking for. In the late ‘70s, the music scene in Manchester was bursting with new bands and music.

However, Kevin and David had little in common with the local acts, being disciples of a more meditative approach. They followed a path of their own, reaching for an otherworldly sound that they heard from artists like John Martyn, David Crosby, Erik Satie, Terry Riley, Eberhard Weber, Alice Coltrane, and Ralph Towner. They experimented combining their acoustic guitars and David’s bass with various effects pedals and techniques to try and achieve a warm and expansive sound that rides the line between ambient, jazz, and psychedelic folk Music.

Towards 1981, they had written eleven songs and accompanied a few with Moog synthesizer laid down by Rob Baxter. All were recorded on cassette decks in their simple home studios. They named this collection of music “Light Patterns”, after a poem Kevin had written. With Light Patterns complete, they set out to find a label to represent their music. They started playing a few gigs in Manchester; Band On The Wall, the Gallery, and other venues, such as Rotters which local promoter Alan Wise had organized. They set up with small amps along with their effects and played as though they were back at home. As Kevin remarks, “It was unusual, to say the least, to play such venues in a low volume chilled out way. However, people listened, often in shocked curiosity, and some even asked for tapes.”

Peter Jenner, of Blackhill Enterprises, eventually picked up the album for his new label, “Sheet”. Peter had managed lots of experimental bands and solo artists, including Pink Floyd in their early Syd Barrett days. He always favored outsiders! The tapes were taken to Strawberry Recording Studios in Manchester, who were surprised when Kevin and David walked in with just a couple of home-produced cassette tapes. Fortunately, they liked them and agreed to master the album. It was then sent to Portland Recording Studios in London for final mastering to vinyl. George Peckham, aka “Porky”, did the pressing with a personal message in the deadwax; “Kaftans, Candles and be Cool Man”. The artwork for the album cover was done by the late Barney Bubbles, a truly visionary artist.

After the album’s release, the pair continued to play together regularly until David moved away from the city. Kevin still resides near Manchester in the rolling hills outside of the city. He continues to experiment with dreamy music in his loft, and we are set to share a selection of his ethereal archival and current compositions in the coming months. David lives a quiet life in a small coastal town in the South, he likes to sail and is an avid cricket fan. We’re excited to make Light Patterns accessible again for the first time in nearly 40 years, remastered from the original tapes. As the original press release said, “Put the album on, lie back and enter the land of no floors”.

TRACK LISTING

Glass Dreams
Last Chances
Coast Lines
Dance For Two Strangers
Jules Jen
Sandpatterns
Reflections
Quickdance
Highlife
Sunshowers
Special Places

Smiling C collaborate with Bahamian super talent, F.J. to compile a selection of six lost tunes from his catalogue, many of which make their first appearance on vinyl. Fritz Bootle, Jr. (F.J.) created a unique blend of reggae and r'n'b while living on the Grand Bahama island in the early 90's. Subtly inspired by the Compass Point Balearic locus of the nearby island of New Providence, and locally by a flourishing scene of soca, reggae, and disco, he developed this sound to fill a gap he saw in popular music.

He was fortunate to marry into a family that gave him unlimited access to work in the legendary studio on Freeport, G.B.I. Recordings, run by Frank Penn. Always more of a passion project, he would come up with these in the evenings after work, finding a way to blend all his different influences (Bob Marley, George Duke, Teddy Riley, Journey...). Fooling around with Cubase he navigated his way to this magical deep bass sound and new jack style drum programming. "That's The Way" is the retrospective collection of the best moments from his Bahamas chapter.


TRACK LISTING

Fools Love
Thats The Way
Bahama Unite
I Want Her
Chate
In My Heart

Shams Dinn

Shams Dinn

    For their first ever reissue, Smiling C connects with the Arabic rapper Shams Dinn to release a compilation his best songs, including the hit "Hedi Bled Noum". The compilation covers his entire career of with songs made between 1985-1990, most of which went unreleased at the time. One of the few Moroccan rappers to ever be recorded on vinyl back in the 80s, Shams Dinn was a pioneer of Arabic flow. Starting his career because he wanted to be a positive light for the Arabic immigrants living in France. He earned his status participating in freestyle competitions, and performing in small clubs around Europe. His career came to a turning point when he was asked by a major label to record a full LP. Unfortunately, the label decided they didn't want to promote Arabic music (largely because of the Gulf War) - and asked Shams to translate the Arabic to French. Shams Dinn wouldn't stand for that, and he was dropped from the label. The following years he worked at a school, teaching kids how to rap and express themselves through words. The reissue comes with newly imagined art, and an inner sleeve with interview and photos. 


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