Search Results for:

STRUT

Various Artists

Various Artists Soul Love Now: The Black Fire Records Story 1975-1993

    Strut present the first ever compilation bringing together classics and rarities from the seminal spiritual jazz and conscious soul label Black Fire, covering 1975 to 1993.

    Formed by DJ and record producer Jimmy Gray in Richmond, Virginia, and following in the footsteps of other influential black-owned independent labels like Strata-East and Tribe, the foundation of Black Fire coincided with saxophonist James “Plunky” Branch returning to the city from New York to form Oneness Of Juju. The band’s ‘African Rhythms’ album in 1975 was the perfect fusion of jazz, deep African polyrhythms and empowering lyrics and bassist Muzi Branch, a trained artist, created the first of many Black Fire handillustrated sleeves for the label’s debut release.

    The album set the tone for a series of landmark releases on the label including Oneness Of Juju’s ‘Space Jungle Luv’ (1976) and debuts from soulman Wayne Davis (1976) and early go-go pioneers Experience Unlimited (1977). Gray continued to use his influence and strong A&R instincts to bring in more key artists – great jazz players like Byard Lancaster and Hamiet Bluiett, Ghanaian master percussionist Okyerema Asante and collectives including Southern Energy Ensemble and music / drama troupe Theatre West. Due to personal and cashflow issues, many releases had to be canned and only later surfaced on CD during the early ‘90s

    ‘Soul Love Now’ brings together some of the many highlights from the label onto one essential compilation. Opening with Theatre West’s powerful soul message ‘Children of Tomorrow’s Dreams’, the tracks include a Byard Lancaster recording with Tunde Kuboye’s Drummers Of Ibadan in Nigeria and Lon Moshe’s driving jazz dance classic ‘Doin’ The Carvin’ For Thabo’. Wayne Davis brings the explosive gospel rare groove ‘Look At The People’ while Plunky’s JuJu and Oneness Of Juju feature with three tracks spanning their career, including a storming previously unreleased version of the classic ‘African Rhythms’ recorded in DC in 1975.

    The release features extended sleeve notes features extended sleeve notes around the history of the label alongside interviews with featured musicians. The 2LP format includes a reprint of one of the three original Black Fire magazines published by Jimmy Gray which predated the launch of the label.

    Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids

    Shaman!

      Influential jazz collective Idris Ackamoor and The Pyramids return with an epic new opus, ‘Shaman!’, released on 7th August featuring a fresh line-up including original 1970s Pyramids member Dr. Margaux Simmons on flute Bobby Cobb on guitar, long-term associate Sandra Poindexter on violin, Ruben Ramos on bass, Gioele Pagliaccia on drums and Jack Yglesias on percussion. The band transitions from the political and social commentaries of 2018’s acclaimed ‘An Angel Fell’ into more introspective themes. “I wanted to use this album to touch on some of the issues that we all face as individuals in the inner space of our souls and our conscience,” explains Ackamoor. “The album unfolds over four Acts with personal musical statements about love and loss, mortality, the afterlife, family and salvation.”

      Evolving around Ackamoor’s intricate compositions, the album takes us effortlessly across moods and emotions through a series of expansive, extended pieces. Starting with ritual, soul-searching, and masculine vulnerability on the title track, the band explores timeless existence on ‘Eternity’ and mourns the sudden loss of loved ones in the prescient ‘When Will I See You Again?’, a track which gains new relevance amidst the current COVID-19 crisis. Ackamoor pays tribute to his mentor Cecil Taylor on the angular ‘Theme For Cecil’ and renders homage to the ancestors on ‘Salvation’ and ‘The Last Slave Ship’, recalling the last ship to bring slaves to the US from Africa, the Clotilda. The superb ‘Virgin’ is an anthem of forgiveness, new beginnings and self-healing.

      Oneness Of Juju

      African Rhythms 1970-1982

        Strut kick off a brand new deal with the seminal independent black jazz and soul label Black Fire in May with ‘African Rhythms 1970-1982’, a comprehensive 2CD / 3LP compilation of Oneness Of Juju, led by Plunky J. Branch.

        Tracing their career from the band’s earliest work in 1970 with South African exiled jazzman Ndikho Xaba in San Francisco, the compilation covers the band’s journey to New York’s loft jazz scene, forming Juju and releasing two landmark albums of hard-hitting percussive jazz on Strata-East. “I saw myself as a cultural warrior,” explains Plunky. “We studied about Africa and tried to infuse our music with an African spirit.” Moving back to his hometown of Richmond, Virginia during the mid-‘70s, Plunky drew in a superb new group of musicians and vocalists and created the band’s new incarnation, Oneness Of Juju, retaining the African influence but fusing his sound with funk and R’n’B on the classic ‘African Rhythms’ album. “We realised that, if we put a backbeat to the Afro-Cuban rhythms, people in Richmond and Washington D.C. could be drawn into it; it didn’t change anything about our message.” The change would lead to a series of enduring soul-jazz classics on Jimmy Gray’s Black Fire label, including ‘River Luv Rite’, ‘Plastic’ and ‘Don’t Give Up’ and their biggest crossover international hit, ‘Every Way But Loose’ in 1982, later famously remixed by Larry Levan. The band received renewed interest in their music during the mid-‘80s as Washington D.C.’s go-go innovators cited the band as a major influence and rare groove DJs revived their albums for London dancefloors.

        ‘African Rhythms 1970-1982’ reprises a compilation released on Strut in 2001 and is newly remastered by Frank Merritt at The Carvery. Both formats feature a 12” sized 4pp booklet featuring rare photos and a comprehensive interview with Plunky Branch within liner notes by Chris Menist.

        Greg Foat

        Symphonie Pacifique

          Foat has become a versatile mainstay in UK jazz through an acclaimed series of albums on Jazzman and Athens Of The North, moving from soul-jazz workouts to library music to cinematic, haunting compositions and pastoral acid folk. ‘Symphonie Pacifique’ goes expansive and widescreen, building a lush soundscape using choral textures, harp and tubular bells on the atmospheric ‘After The Storm’ alongside sensual groove-based tracks like the undulating ‘Anticipation’, the album title track and Groove Merchant-channelling ‘Nikinakinu’, all driven by Phil Achille on bass, Eric Young on congas and Moses Boyd’s crisp, flowing breakbeats. Other tracks include a moving tribute to KPM library legend Duncan Lamont on the reflective ‘Lament For Lamont’ and the languid, simmering ‘Island Life’.

          The album is a truly international collaboration, recorded analogue and produced by Greg Foat at London’s Fish Factory studios with strings recorded in Edinburgh and choir in Gothenburg. The album was mixed by Mattias Glava at Kungsten Studios in Gothenburg. Cover artwork is based on a painting by early 20th Century Algerian / Parisian artist Henry Valensi.

          Patrice Rushen

          Posh

            The landmark 1980 album, representing a period of consolidation for Patrice Rushen. Her studio reputation as a go-to pianist and arranger among other artists and musicians was well established and was growing exponentially. Although never originally planning a career as a solo artist, she had built this side of her work through three Prestige albums and two sophisticated soul and disco albums for Elektra, ‘Patrice’ and ‘Pizzazz’. “I was lucky to have a group of musicians that I knew well by the time of these recording sessions,” remembers Patrice. “I had my pick of really incredible players because of all of the studio work I was doing. I also played with Lee Ritenour, Harvey Mason and others almost on a weekly basis at The Baked Potato club in L.A.”

            Tracks include the singles ‘Don’t Blame Me’, ‘Look Up!’ and ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’. “’Never Gonna Give You Up’ came out of playing ideas at home. Bassist Freddie Washington was living with my family while he tried to get a foothold in L.A.’s music scene and that groove came out of those jams. With ‘The Dream’, I had been listening to Minnie Riperton’s ‘Come To My Garden’, one of my favourite albums. With Charles Stepney’s arrangements, I saw that he didn’t have to use large instrumentation to be orchestral in his approach. So, ‘The Dream’ was a homage to that kind of writing.”

            “After ‘Posh’, we had a much better idea from the performance side what was important in our music and that informed my next album, ‘Straight From The Heart’. We took a little break after ‘Posh’ was released, although I was still writing and working regularly on scores for film and TV. That had always been my main focus in my music.”


            Afro grooves, electronics and fierce energy. Afro futurist sensations Onipa unleash their debut album, combining Afro grooves, electronics and fierce energy for an effervescent celebration of cultural and musical encounters.

            Onipa means ‘human’ in Akan, the ancient language of the Ashanti people of Ghana. It’s a message of connection through collaboration: from Ghana to London, our ancestors to our children, Onipa brings energy, groove, electronics, Afro-futurism, dance and fire! Born out of deep collaboration between long-time friends K.O.G (Kweku of Ghana of KOG and the Zongo Brigade) and Tom Excell (MD, guitarist and writer of acclaimed jazz/ soul afrobeat pioneers Nubiyan Twist), the group features KOG on vocals, balafon and percussion, Tom Excell on guitar, percussion and electronics, Dwayne Kilvington (Wonky Logic) on synths and MPC and Finn Booth (Nubiyan Twist) on drums.

            The group have worked closely with Ghanaian star Wiyaala who features on three tracks, singing in the Sisaala language from the North of Ghana. The album also features collaborations with South African rapper Spoek Mathambo, Lesotho star Morena Leraba, Ghanaian percussion master Afla Sackey and Tanzanian sisters Pendo & Leah Zawose, each adding their own flavour to the project. “Through the musical prisms of London and Ghana our influences join together to create, a fundamental thread of traditional African rhythms, instrumentation and storytelling, interwoven with electronics, urban soundscapes and synth bass. We use technology, but it should never use us, our music is live and about deep human connection.” (Onipa)

            Strut and Art Yard present the first compilation bringing together the modern era recordings of Tribe, Detroit’s acclaimed independent jazz collective.Tribe began as a musical ensemble in 1971 co-founded by Saxophonist Wendell Harrison and trombonist Phil Ranelin that soon expanded into a broad amalgam including a live collective and independent record label. Ignored by the mainstream, many African American jazz artists in Detroit and across the US began creating their own small imprints and Tribe emerged alongside other cultural entities to express selfdetermination goals in the city: saxophonist Ernie Rodgers with his sessions at Rapa House; John and Leni Sinclair’s Artist Workshop; Bruce Millan’s Repertory Theater; the Hastings Jazz Experience and the Strata Corporation led by Kenny Cox. Harrison’s ideas of independence, self-determination and education were central to the Tribe ethos: “I might be possessed with a drive to get the knowledge out,” explained Harrison, “because I see this as sustaining the future of the jazz diaspora, the jazz tradition.” Tribe album releases like Harrison’s ‘An Evening With The Devil’ (1972) and Harrison and Ranelin’s ‘A Message From The Tribe’ (1973) became early ‘70s milestones in Detroit jazz.

            In 1977, Harrison teamed up with pianist/composer Harold McKinney to form Rebirth Inc., aided by Detroit cultural warrior John Sinclair, a continuation of the Tribe community ethos. Musically, it formed a link with radio station WDET and began an outreach program to teach children and to publish Harrison’s jazz instruction books. Harrison continue to record extensively as a leader with his own labels, WenHa and Tribe, documenting the collective through sessions led by Phil Ranelin, Harold McKinney, Pamela Wise and more.

            The ‘Hometown’ compilation places the spotlight on this later era of Tribe and Rebirth Inc., with rare and previously unreleased recordings from Harrison’s WenHa / Rebirth Studios and the SereNgeti Gallery And Cultural Center. Among many highlights, Harold McKinney and his “McKinfolk” family of musicians contribute the pulsing ‘Wide And Blue’ and dance celebration ‘Juba’; Phil Ranelin re-works his classic ‘He The One We All Knew’; Poet Mbiyu Chui (Williams Moore), pianist Pamela Wise and percussionist Djallo Djakate spark on the uncompromising ‘Ode To Black Mothers’ and the rallying cry of ‘Marcus Garvey’: “If we ever get together we will astound the world.” Harrison himself evokes the power and majesty of juju on ‘Conjure Man’.


            Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band

            Obiaa!

            ‘Obiaa!’, produced again by Kwame Yeboah and Ben Abarbanel-Wolff at Lovelite Studio’s analogue HQ in Berlin, is a deep and soulful journey into the heart of Ghana’s indigenous highlife music celebrating the timeless and iconic voice of Pat Thomas, the 72 year-old “Golden Voice of Africa”.

            After producing Ebo Taylor’s seminal albums ‘Love and Death’ and ‘Appia Kwa Bridge’ for Strut Records, in 2014 Ben Abarbanel-Wolff approached Kwame Yeboah, Ghana’s top contemporary instrumentalist and bandleader, to work on a new project: “We initially wanted to invite Pat back into the studio with Ebo Taylor and Tony Allen to recreate and expand on some of the vibes they had recorded together during a lost session in 1977,” Ben explains. Recorded in Accra, the result was the critically acclaimed self-titled debut album ‘Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band’ in 2015.

            Pat and the Kwashibu Area Band (named after Kwame’s neighbourhood in Accra) hit the road in October 2015. After a memorable performance at WOMEX in Budapest, they never looked back. The next two years took them around the world to play at major venues and festivals including Glastonbury, Roskilde, WOMAD, Sakifo, WOMADelaide, Sines and many more. “We could see there was something for everyone in our music. People of all ages, colours and trends were dancing together!’ explains Kwame, the mastermind behind the band’s unbelievable precision and killer live show.

            The new album is called ‘Obiaa!’ which means ‘Everybody!’. Tracks include the modern parables ‘Onfa Nkosi Hwee’ warning against arrogance and ‘Odo Ankasa’ about the value of real love and trust as well as a great new cover of Thomas’ Afro-disco favourite ‘Yamona’. “Playing highlife around the world taught us what we had to do to move our sound forward,” continues Ben. While simultaneously looking back towards the classic days of highlife and forward to a fresh revival of the guitar band sound, this album cements Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band’s position at the pinnacle of modern African music.


            The Souljazz Orchestra

            Chaos Theories

            Always known for their uncompromising social and political messages, the Canadian collective hit harder than ever on 9 new tracks, outing the hypocrisy of modern day politics, police brutality and the everyday struggle of the working man. Led by chief songwriter and arranger Pierre Chrètien, the band continue to evolve their sound, drawing on a broad palette from their trademark Latin, Afro and Caribbean styles to some of the UK’s political sounds of the early ‘80s, the era of The Clash, The Police, 2-Tone and frontline reggae. “We were basically messing around with the idea of creating our own brand of ‘Afro-punk’”, remembers Chrétien, “something with the aggressive, in-your-face energy of punk rock or free jazz, but still backed by the hypnotic, pulsating grooves of tropical music.”

            The album takes the listener from carefully targeted sonic missiles to more reflective thought-provoking moments. ‘Police The Police’ starts the offensive: “I wrote this after my neighbour was beaten to death by Ottawa police during an arrest,” explains Chrétien. “The authorities downplayed the incident and the officers were working the next day like nothing had happened.” ‘House Of Cards’ takes a thinly veiled swipe at the current US administration on an infectious disco groove: “lies within lies within lies… like so many Russian dolls”; ‘Boat Rockers’ challenges us all to look beyond accepted norms and ‘General Strike’ documents the frustrations of the working class as the pay gap gets increasingly wider; ‘Slumlord’ shines the spotlight on dodgy landlords while the brilliant closer ‘Well Runs Dry’ laments modern day living, with its confused pace and mundane obsessions, remembering simpler days gone by.


            FORMAT INFORMATION

            Coloured LP Info: Dark blue vinyl.

            Strut continues its essential compilation series of Indian Ocean sounds with ‘Alefa Madagascar’, the first compilation to document the unique culture of salegy, soukous and soul on the island during the ‘70s and ‘80s.

            Originating as far back as the 15th Century through folkloric ceremonial music and an a cappella chanting style called antsa, salegy emerged as a fast-tempoed local dance style based on 6/8 and 12/8 rhythms. By the ‘60s, radio was bringing in new sounds from the Congo, Mozambique, South Africa and Kenya and Jean Francois de Comarmond’s Discomad label championed a new generation of artists breaking the mould with their own new fusions of styles as electric instruments replaced the traditional. The strong call-and-response dialogues, rich vocal choruses and rolling triplet feel in the rhythm sections all boasted a unique Malagasy sensibility and singles started selling tens of thousands of copies, rivalling any foreign music at the time. Local pop was sometimes referred to as tapany maintso (half-green) a reference to the stickers on singles from the other key label in Madagascar, Kaïamba, many of them produced by Charles Maurin Poty whose work was crucial in shaping the emerging genre.

            ‘Alefa Madagascar’ showcases the rich variety of sounds during this heyday of Malagasy music: Roger Georges’ ‘Mama’ and Jean Kely et Basth’s ‘Andosy Mora’ bring the raw energy of salegy, influential band Los Matadores drop military drums and Hammond soul in the classic ‘Andeha Hanarato’; Mahaleo’s ‘Izahay Mpamita’ showcases the band’s powerful folk sound, a crucial voice emerging from the Rotaka farmer and student protests of 1972, while Terak’Anosy Group work around a stomping Congolese guitar groove. The era paved the way for many of the household names of Malagasy music today including Jaojoby, D’Gary and Lego. Mastered by The Carvery and featuring cover artwork by top illustrator Lewis Heriz, ‘Alefa Madagascar’ is released on 16th August 2019 and is compiled by Réunionese DJs La Basse Tropicale and Percy Yip Tong (Mauritius). Physical formats feature sleeve notes by influential producer Charles Maurin Poty and Banning Eyre of Afropop Worldwide.

            First ever compilation documenting the heyday of Malagasy music during the 1970s and 1980s. All tracks officially licensed in conjunction with the Discomad and Kaïamba labels. Includes sleeve notes by legendary producer Charles Maurin Poty and writer Banning Eyre. Latest instalment in Strut’s ongoing series documenting some of the best original music from the Indian Ocean region.

            STAFF COMMENTS

            Sil says: Heart warming and with plenty of exotic soul and funk to fill your cold nights ahead. These are rarities for us westerners and sound as fresh as when they were created. Recommended to those who like 'world music' - like me!

            Strut present a new repress of the influential first volume of ‘Disco Not Disco’ compiled by Joey Negro and Sean P as part of the label’s 20th Anniversary.

            ‘Disco Not Disco’ was a perfectly timed compilation back in 2000. Released when interest in the myths, history and playlists of original New York clubs like Paradise Garage and The Loft was at its peak, the album drew on the outer limits of leftfield disco championed by Levan and Mancuso, bringing together unlikely dancefloor anthems by rock acts like Yoko Ono and Ian Dury, obscurities from cottage labels like BC and Splash and selected oddities from the unique mind of avant-garde hero, Arthur Russell. It was essentially a celebration of the sonic melting pot in New York during the early ‘80s, an era when punk had burnt itself out and disco had become commercial and saccharine; in its place, the post-punk movement threw up brilliant oddities which tore up the accepted rulebook.

            Since its release, the compilation title has become a by-word for a whole genre of music and remains a landmark collection of its time. With original copies now changing hands for €100+, this new pressing is a welcome return for an essential celebration of disco’s difficult cousins. 


            Patrice Rushen

            Remind Me - The Classic Elektra Recordings 1976-1984

            Strut present the first definitive retrospective of an icon of 1970s and ‘80s soul, jazz and disco, Patrice Rushen, covering her peerless 6-year career with Elektra / Asylum from 1978 to 1984. Joining Elektra after three albums with jazz label Prestige, Patrice had shown prodigious talent at an early age and had first broken through after winning a competition to perform at the Monterrey Jazz Festival of 1972. By the time of the recordings on this collection, she had become a prolific and in-demand session musician and arranger on the West coast, appearing on over 80 recordings for other artists. She joined the Elektra / Asylum roster in 1978 as they launched a pop / jazz division alongside visionaries like Donald Byrd and Grover Washington, Jr. “The idea was to create music that was good for commercial radio / R&B,” Patrice explains. “We were all making sophisticated dance music, essentially.”

            Drawing on some of the leading musicians in L.A. like saxophonist Gerald Albright, drummer “Ndugu” Chancler and bassman Freddie Washington and keeping an open minded approach from her training in classical, jazz and soundtrack scores, Patrice’s music was a different, more intricate proposition to many of the soul artists of the time. “L.A. musicians were not so locked into tradition,” she continues. “None of us were accustomed to limitation and the record label left us to take our own direction.”

            Early classics like ‘Music Of The Earth’ and ‘Let’s Sing A Song Of Love’ were among Patrice’s first as a lead vocalist before her ‘Pizzazz’ album landed in 1979, featuring the unique disco of ‘Haven’t You Heard’ and one of her greatest ballads, ‘Settle For My Love’. “Although ballads make you feel more vulnerable as an artist because they are often personal, I think listeners relate to that sincerity,” she reflects. By now, Patrice’s records were supremely arranged and produced as her confidence as an all-round writer, producer, arranger and performer grew. Slick dancefloor anthem ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ and the ‘Posh’ album in 1980 led to her landmark album ‘Straight From The Heart’ two years later. Receiving little support from her label, Patrice and her production team personally funded a promo campaign for the first single from it, ‘Forget Me Nots’. It went on to peak at no. 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the album was later Grammy-nominated, while the track became a timeless anthem and popular sample, inspiring Will Smith’s theme for the film ‘Men In Black’ and George Michael’s ‘Fastlove’.

            Patrice’s final album for Elektra, ‘Now’ kept the bar high with sparse, synth-led songs including ‘Feel So Real’ and ‘To Each His Own’. It concluded a golden era creatively for Patrice which remains revered by soul and disco aficionados the world over. ‘Remind Me’ features all of Patrice Rushen’s chart singles, 12” versions and popular sample sources on one album for the first time.


            STAFF COMMENTS

            Patrick says: Strut have put together an essential collection of Patrice Rushen's finest moments on CD and a triple vinyl. Cool boogie, mellow soul, classy jazz-funk and killer disco, all topped with her gorgeous voice.

            Various Artists

            Disco Not Disco

              THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2019 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

              “Strut Records were there first, well before DFA recorded The Rapture’s Sub Pop debut. ‘Disco Not Disco’ preceded the punk funk revolution by two years.” - Resident Advisor For Record Store Day 2019, Strut present the first ever repress since 2000 of the influential first volume of ‘Disco Not Disco’ compiled by Joey Negro and Sean P as part of the label’s 20th Anniversary. ‘Disco Not Disco’ was a perfectly timed compilation back in 2000. Released when interest in the myths, history and playlists of original New York clubs like Paradise Garage and The Loft was at its peak, the album drew on the outer limits of leftfield disco championed by Levan and Mancuso, bringing together unlikely dancefloor anthems by rock acts like Yoko Ono and Ian Dury, obscurities from cottage labels like BC and Splash and selected oddities from the unique mind of avant-garde hero, Arthur Russell. It was essentially a celebration of the sonic melting pot in New York during the early ‘80s, an era when punk had burnt itself out and disco had become commercial and saccharine; in its place, the post-punk movement threw up brilliant oddities which tore up the accepted rulebook. Since its release, the compilation title has become a by-word for a whole genre of music and remains a landmark collection of its time. With original copies now changing hands for €100+, this new pressing is a welcome return for an essential celebration of disco’s difficult cousins. The album features full original artwork and Kris Needs’ sleeve notes and is remastered and cut by The Carvery. • First volume of the seminal compilation series repressed for the first time since 2000 for Record Store Day • Album title became known as a style of music in its own right, when rock bands and experimental NY artists aimed at the dancefloor • Major influence on the punk funk bands and labels of early 2000s including DFA • Album remastered by The Carvery and featuring full original artwork and sleeve notes by Kris Needs

              Now one of the leading lights in the UK’s new generation of soulful, genre-fluid artists, the Leeds-born and now London-based 12-piece collective Nubiyan Twist have created their finest recordings to date, effortlessly weaving together elements of jazz, soul, hip hop, African styles, Latin, dub, hip hop and electronics in a flow of thought-provoking and life-affirming music.

              Recorded at the band’s own self-built Henwood Studio in rural Oxfordshire, the album effortlessly moves through different voices from the band’s circle. The inimitable, timeless vocals of Nubiya Brandon lead the way on the album’s title track about breaking preconceptions and promoting equality, “Where you from? I’m from wherever I be.” Saxophonist Nick Richards vocals the killer first single from the album about inner turmoil and a search for the truth, ‘Tell It To Me Slowly’ while rising Ghanaian star K.O.G. appears on the Afro jams ‘Basa Basa’ and ‘They Talk’. Percussionist Pilo Adami (Nina Miranda / Afrosamba) voices the infectious bossa-jazz jam ‘Borders’. The band also draft in two African legends for guest duties with the original Afrobeat maestro Tony Allen on ‘Ghosts’ and Ethio jazz pioneer Mulatu Astatke contributing vibes on the sinuous ‘Addis To London’. “The depth of talent and ideas that every member of this group has brought to the table for this album is incredible,” says producer and orchestrator Tom Excell. “Conceptually, ‘Jungle Run’ is all about connecting different people and cultures whilst exploring the journey of individuals. This album is the pinnacle of everything we have done to date and to collaborate with the godfathers of Afrobeat and Ethio Jazz and celebrate their music in a modern context was very humbling.”


              Strut present an exclusive new reissue of a great (and now very rare) original album from the early career of Nigerian juju star Shina Peters, ‘Sewele’ from 1986.

              “‘Sewele’ represented a time of transition in my music career,” explains Peters. “I had branched out to start as a solo artist after spells with Ebenezer Obey, Prince Adekunle and Segun Adewale and I was trying to find my own voice and to play juju in a more progressive direction. This was an important time for me. Three years later, I had honed that sound into AfroJuju, and my ‘Ace: Afro Juju Series 1’ album broke me as an artist.

              On ‘Sewele’, Peters explores different themes on four extended juju workouts, showcasing his incredible guitar work and his sense of fun as the odd Bob Marley and Abba riff pops up in the grooves. The title track means ‘shower of blessings’: “it’s like a prayer for my fans throughout Nigeria and the diaspora.” The funky Afrobeat of ‘Yabis’ is about being proud to be African and not to follow American ways and ‘Agbe’ere De’ states proudly that Peters is coming again with something different: “I always wanted to get the message across to my fans that I was keeping things fresh and creating melodies and music that people would enjoy.” The final track, ‘Late Aboderin’, is a moving tribute to Peters’ mentor, the late Chief Aboderin: “He helped me in many ways including legal aid in a court case against a record label. He also bought a van to carry the band to concerts.


              Various Artists

              JD Twitch Presents Kreaturen Der Nacht - Free Fanzine Edition

              THE PICCADILLY RECORDS COMPILATION OF THE YEAR 2018.

              Strut present an exclusive new compilation curated by Optimo’s JD Twitch, ‘Kreaturen Der Nacht’, bringing together classics, rarities and oddities from Germany’s original post-punk and DIY scene.

              1979 to 1984 was an era of particular artistic upheaval in Germany as strong subculture scenes formed in many German cities. Emphasis was placed on expression rather than technical perfection, artistic impact rather than skill. DIY self-organisation prevailed with the establishment of small record labels and independently produced records and cassettes. Bands experimented across genres and consciously abandoned the English-speaking mainstream with German band names and lyrics. “Although we had a small underground scene, it was very vibrant,” explains Gudrun Gut of Malaria! “Bands like Die Haut, my first band Mania D., Malaria!... we organised gigs ourselves or friends would open a gallery and have bands playing. We hung around together in a handful of clubs like Risiko or Dschungel and went to gigs at SO36. West Germany had other regional scenes too: Düsseldorf and Köln around Der Plan and the Ata Tak label and there was the Hamburg side with Abwärts. Germany didn’t have a real music industry like the US or England back then."

              This new collection is a personal selection from JD Twitch, built over years of playing the tracks in club sets. “It is not designed to tell a definitive story of what was going on in Germany in this era,” he explains. “Rather, it is simply an arbitrary collection of records I adore from a specific era with a specific attitude that hopefully together sum up some of the musical undercurrents in Germany at that time.”

              The package features a host of rare and unseen photos from the period along with extensive interviews with artists including Beate Bartel (Mania D.), Christoph Dreher (Die Haut), Michael Hirsch (P1/E) and Thomas Voburka (Weltklang). All tracks are remastered by The Carvery with artwork by Optimo’s in-house design man Andrew Beltran.


              Oneness Of Juju

              African Rhythms (2018 Reissue)

              Strut present a brand-new edition of Oneness of Juju’s Afro-jazz classic ‘African Rhythms’, originally released on Black Fire in 1975 and first reissued on Strut in 2002.

              For bandleader James “Plunky” Branch, ‘African Rhythms’ marked a significant return to his home town of Richmond, Virginia after a politically charged five years based on the East and West coasts. His personal journey had taken him from activism at Columbia University to San Francisco where Zulu musician Ndikho Xaba used theatre to “resurrect” Afro-Americans with a new African identity. The first incarnation of Plunky’s band, Juju, drew attention to the struggle in South Africa under apartheid, layering heavy Afro rhythms under uncompromising avant garde jazz.

              Back in Richmond, Plunky tapped into the mid-Atlantic preference for Southern R&B and gospel: “Juju had always been blues-based and it was a natural progression to add R&B and dance rhythms. It didn’t change our message.” Produced by Jimmy Gray of Black Fire Records, the new sessions included the title track (“We wanted a song to dance to with a message – ‘you are dancing to African rhythms’”), the positive message of ‘Don’t Give Up’ and political commentary on ‘Liberation Dues’.

              Originally just a regional hit on the East coast and in Washington DC specifically, the album gradually spread, influencing the nascent DC go-go scene. The UK revived the album during the rare groove era of the late ‘80s and the title track has since become a soul-jazz favourite worldwide.

              Remastered from the original sessions and featuring rare photos and extensive liner notes, this new repress also features Part 1 and Part 2 of the original 45 version of ‘African Rhythms’ and the previously unheard ‘Afrobeat’, recently unearthed from the original tapes.


              STAFF COMMENTS

              Patrick says: Jeepers! Oneness of Juju's Afrocentric jazz-funk great "African Rhythms" gets a nicely remastered, repackaged reissue from the fine folks at Strut. Quality stuff...

              Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids

              An Angel Fell

              Strut presents the brand new album from cosmic jazz travelers The Pyramids, led by saxophonist Idris Ackamoor, "An Angel Fell". 'I wanted to use folklore, fantasy and drama as a warning bell,' explains Ackamoor. 'The songs explore global themes that are important to me and to us all: the rise of catastrophic climate change and our lack of concern for our planet, loss of innocence and separation... but positive themes too, the healing power of music, collective action and the simple beauty of nature.'

              Produced by Malcolm Catto of The Heliocentrics, the album was recorded during an intense week at Quatermass studios in London and is one of the deepest, richest works yet from a band reaching their highest creative peak since the early ’70s. Some of the many highlights include the poignant title track depicting a fallen angel in purgatory, outrage and grief on the powerful, hard hitting "Soliloquy For Michael Brown" and the lilting, beautiful album closer, "Sunset".

              The Pyramids originally came together in 1972 at Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio where teachers included renowned pianist, Cecil Taylor. After forming in Paris and embarking on a 'cultural odyssey' across Africa, the group recorded three independent albums, "Lalibela" (1973), "King Of Kings" (1974) and "Birth / Speed / Merging" (1976) and became renowned for their striking live shows, mixing percussive, spiritual and space-age jazz with performance theatre and dance. After migrating to San Francisco, they disbanded in 1977. 35 years later, the band reunited in 2012 following growing demand for their music from vinyl collectors. German label Disko B released the freeform album "Otherwordly" and in 2016, they released their first album for Strut, the acclaimed "We Be All Africans".


              Trevor Jackson (Playgroup / Underdog / Output Recordings) returns with the eagerly awaited second instalment of his 'Metal Dance' compilation series, following widespread critical acclaim in the wake of 'Volume 1'. Drawing from Jackson’s deep collection of original industrial, post-punk, EBM and new wave, the album is an inspired mix of sounds and styles, mining classics, dub versions, oddities and secret weapons inspired by his formative clubbing years at many of London's seminal nightlife haunts.

              Alongside more familiar names like Visage, Chris & Cosey, Front 242 and Ministry, the compilation includes unexpected outings by 80s artists Godley & Crème (with the obscure B-side "Babies") and an early incarnation of Sheffield’s ABC, Visa Versa, with "Riot Squad". As before, Jackson also places the spotlight onsome of the less heralded bands of the time and casts the net far and wide: Germany’s Plus Instruments, Spain’s Diseno Corbusier offshoot Esplendor Geometrico, Italy’s Neon and Yellow Magic Orchestra’s Haruomi Hosono out of Japan all feature. The selection even travels as far as Lebanon for the outrageous "Tanki Tanki" by Rene Bandaly Family, a truly one-off slice of intense political Arabic proto-techno (here re-edited by fellow Lebanese artist Rabih Beaini aka Morphosis). Rarities include tracks from pre-Liaisons Dangereuses / DAF group CHBB, Craig Leon & Arthur Brown, and Trevor's own re-edit of Rusty Egan’s "Twilight Zone," all receiving their first official release on CD.

              'Metal Dance 2' is another essential selection of anarchic machine music which remains hugely influential on today’s generation, informing the sound of groups and labels such as The Knife, Factory Floor, Gesaffelstein, COMEME, DFA and L.I.E.S.

              STAFF COMMENTS

              Patrick says: Mega selection of synthwave bangers, Industrial rumblers and skewed EDM cuts plucked from the archives by Trevor Jackson. If you're tuned into the likes of Bahnsteig 23, LIES and Macadam Mambo, you need to cop this disc.

              Rodion G.A.

              Misiunea Spatiala Delta (Delta Space Mission)

                THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2014 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

                Strut teams up once again with Rodion Rosça, Romania’s rejuvenated electronic music pioneer, to make available an intriguing lost film soundtrack for the first time anywhere. Inspired by early ’80s Star Wars mania‚ Victor Antonescu had first created ’Misuinea Spatiala Delta’ (’Delta Space Mission’) as a domestic animated TV series in 1983. Despite recording a 15-minute prototype score, Rodion’s music was tragically shelved at a late stage, remaining an unreleased oddity in his archive until now.

                - first ever release for Rodion G.A.’s prototype sci-fi soundtrack, commissioned but never used
                - Album mastered from original reel to reel tapes
                - Follow-up to 2013’s acclaimed Rodion G.A. compilation ‘The Lost Tapes’
                - Continues to position Rodion Rosça as an important player in Eastern European electronic music history

                FOR FANS OF: Can, Kraftwerk, krautrock, Goblin, Death Waltz Records, Silver Apples, Conrad Schnitzler, Brian Eno, Neu!, psych rock, Robert Rental.

                Strut's first collaboration with Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton’s DJ History celebrates Bob Blank’s time at Blank Tapes with an exclusive compilation, covering the many facets of the producer's work. They feature the very first track ever recorded at the studio, Milton Hamilton’s "Crystalized", anthems including Fonda Rae’s "Over Like A Fat Rat" and lesser known Blank classics from the vaults from Debby Blackwell and Mikki. The first ever album retrospective of one of New York’s most revered of all producers, Bob Blank, this album traces the history of his independent studio, Blank Tapes, one of the city’s most important creative dens during the vibrant arts scene of the mid-70s to mid-80s.

                Blank started out in New York in 1973 as a guitarist before producing one of the first 12" disco records in 1975 – Jimmy Sabater’s "To Be With You". He opened his own Blank Tape studios a year later. He quickly became an essential port of call for New York’s diverse artistic community, honing the freeform, anarchic visions of August Darnell, Cristina and Lydia Lunch for ZE Records and, with producers Patrick Adams and Greg Carmichael, helping to shape the sound of many disco classics. Musique, Inner Life, Instant Funk and Salsoul Orchestra all recorded classics at Blank Tapes. Arthur Russell also recorded much of his most celebrated disco-related output at the studios under pseudonyms Dinosaur L, Indian Ocean and Felix, as well as "Wax The Van" with Blank’s wife, Lola. Other regulars at Blank Tapes included Latin producer Tito Rodriguez, whose Charanga 76 and Eddie Palmieri recordings with Blank would receive Grammy nominations. Not only that, but jazz and blues heads like Sun Ra and James Blood Ulmer also passed through the Blank Tape mixing desk. An awesome compilation, and another essential from Strut.

                Strut deliver Grandmaster Flash's first high profile studio album in over 20 years! Recorded at Flash's own Adrenaline Lab studio in New York during 2007-2008, the over-riding theme of the album is the global language of hip hop. Throughout the album, Flash mixes up the flow and features some heavyweight guests and intriguing collaborations. Familiar faces appearing on the album include KRS One, Big Daddy Kane, Busta Rhymes, A Tribe Called Quest frontman Q-Tip and Snoop Dogg alongside mixtape hero Red Cafe and Lynn Carter. Flash sets up an all-female soundclash between MTV favourite Byata, Hedonis Da Amazon and electro queen Princess Superstar for a Miami bass-style party joint. He presents his son, J-Flo on his debut recording alongside Def Jam MC Lordikim Allah and Almighty Thor. Last but not least, Lost Boyz' Mr. Cheeks teams up with old skool heroes Grandmaster Caz of Cold Crush Brothers, and Tito of Fearless Four. An essential album for old and new school hip hop heads!

                Tracklisting
                1. Intro
                2. Shine All Day - Feat. Q-Tip, Kel Spencer & Jumz
                3. We Speak Hip Hop - Feat. Krs One, Afasi, Kase-O, Maccho & Abass
                4. Here Comes My DJ-Feat. DJ Kool & DJ Demo
                5. Bounce Back - Feat. Busta Rhymes
                6. Swagger - Feat. Red Cafe, Snoop Dogg & Lynda Carter
                7. What If-Feat. Krs-One
                8. Interlude
                9. Tribute To The Breakdancer - Feat. Supernat
                10. Grown & Sexy - Feat. Lordikim Allah
                11. When I Get There - Feat. Big Daddy Kane & Hedonis Da Amazon
                12. Interlude
                13. I Got Sumthin' To Say - Feat. Lord Ikim Allah, J-Flo & Almighty Thor
                14. Can I Take You Higher - Feat. Mr Cheeks, Grandmaster Caz & Tito
                15. Unpredictable - Feat. Syndee & Big Daddy Kane
                16. Those Chix - Feat. Byata, Princess Superstar & Hedonis Da Amazon
                17. Bronx Bombers - Feat. Lordikim Allah, Almighty Thor & Mann Child
                18. Zuka
                19. Oh Man - Feat. Syndee & Natacha Atlas
                20. Swagger - Feat. Red Cafe, Snoop Dogg & Lynda Carter (Grandmaster Flash Street Leak Remix)
                21. Shine All Day - Feat. Q-Tip, Kel Spencer & Jumz (Sloth Remix)

                Amp Fiddler & Sly & Robbie

                Inspiration Information

                Strut launch a new series, "Inspiration Information", which sees the label take a break from their usual (excellent) compilations, and come up with a series of studio-based works instead. The series brings together current artists and producers with their musical heroes for a mouth-watering one-off collaboration. With each album centred around an intensive five-day writing and recording session, the emphasis is on spontaneity, musicianship and an open A&R brief. The series kicks off with Detroit soul maverick Amp Fiddler in a head-to-head collision with reggae legends, Sly & Robbie. Arriving at Anchor Studios in Kingston, Jamaica, armed only with a handful of acoustic vocal ideas, Amp and the Riddim Twins recorded the album in just three days during June with overdubs laid down a week later in Detroit. The result is a confident, laid back set that brings a whole new twist to Amp's trademark vocal style: Sly builds innovative digital and live rhythms, Robbie underpins the tracks with solid bass foundations and original generation guests 'Sticky' Thompson (percussion) and Dalton Browne (guitar) add plenty of colour. Back in Detroit, Amp knitted together the finishing touches, adding extra keys and backing vocals. The tracks are never predictable, at times echoing Sly & Robbie's 80s days with Island Records at Compass Point studios, at others structured around more mood-based keyboard pads and new patterns re-inventing the established dancehall template.


                Latest Pre-Sales

                87 NEW ITEMS

                As you should have already heard the @RSDUK 20 releases have now been split for release across 3 #RSD20 drop days -… https://t.co/v8xmAjdMD7
                Mon 1st - 1:25
                Looking forward to this one guys. Pre-order here https://t.co/oFgaq7pOnI) @bluenoterecords https://t.co/B8TMWMvI9b
                Mon 1st - 9:06
                Looking ace Nick 👌 another great @dinkededition successfully delivered. Enjoy! https://t.co/TsG0dDLKEh https://t.co/hojjEz9OqF
                Sat 30th - 11:35
                E-newsletter —
                Sign up
                Back to top