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Sun Ra

Of Abstract Dreams

    Strut and Art Yard present another exclusive from the vast catalogue of cosmic jazz pioneer Sun Ra: a previously unreleased radio session most likely recorded at the WXPN FM radio studios in Philadelphia, 1974-5.

    This newly discovered session features a new version of Ra’s earlier ‘Island In The Sun’, a romping, raucous rendition of ‘Unmask The Batman’ and the first studio recording of ‘I’ll Wait For You’ There is no bass player on the sessions and Ra’s left hand beats out a rhythmic bass pattern on the piano. All tracks are remastered directly from the original tapes. The album package features a newly commissioned painting by legendary Bristol urban artist Guy Denning and new sleeve notes by Paul Griffiths.

    Recently discovered in the Sun Ra archive, the recording forms part of a series of sessions that Ra and the Arkestra recorded for WXPN-FM between 1974 and 1980. The ‘Antique Blacks’ album was recorded there in ’74. Based on the campus of The University of Pennsylvania, WXPN’s station manager Jules Epstein and music director Russ Woessner were instrumental in the exposure and recording of The Arkestra in their broadcast production studios. Geno Barnhart, founder of The Empty Foxhole concert collective, Jules and Russ broadcast an on-going series of jazz concerts covering a wide spectrum. The Arkestra performed at The Foxhole in Philly many times from 1974.

    Personnel:
    Sun Ra: Piano
    John Gilmore: Tenor Saxophone
    Marshall Allen: Flute, Alto Saxophone
    Danny Ray Thompson: Baritone Saxophone, Percussion
    Atakatune: Oboe, Congas
    Eddie Thomas: Drums
    Elo Omoe: Bass Clarinet, Hand Claps
    Akh Tal Ebah: Trumpet, Vocal
    James Jacson: Congas, Vocal

    First ever release of radio sessions recorded in Philadelphia around 1974-5

    Features newly commissioned artwork by Guy Denning, pioneering artist from Bristol’s urban art scene + new sleeve notes by Paul Griffiths

    Remastered by Technology Works from the original master tapes

    Official release in conjunction with Sun Ra LLC

    Seun Kuti & Egypt 80

    Black Times

      Strut presents the new album from the modern day leader of Afrobeat, Seun Kuti. The youngest son of Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti is as incensed by injustice as his father ever was and, with his mighty new album Black Times including a feature from Carlos Santana, he honours the revolutionaries who have gone before and rallies the torch-bearers to come.

      Black Times is the fourth album by Seun & Egypt 80, the extraordinary dance orchestra created by Fela as a conduit for the common people. Inherited by the 14-year-old Seun in 1997, the younger Kuti has been building to this, his most accomplished and honest album yet. “Black Times is a true reflection of my political and social beliefs,” says Seun, 34. “It is an album for anybody who believes in change and understands the duty we have to rise up and come together. The elites always try to divide the poor people of the world. The same oppression felt by workers in Flint, Michigan is felt by workers in Lagos and Johannesburg.”

      Here, then, are tracks designed to spark conversation and realign priorities. The elegant ‘African Dreams’ insists that commercial success counts for little. Pay no heed to examples set by “accepted” African-American celebrities, says Kuti, and marvel instead at the philosophies of great thinkers like the late Pan-Africanist Doctor Amos Wilson. “The message,” Kuti sings, “is free.” ‘Black Times’, featuring Carlos Santana, gives us truth. Lyrics such as “Understand your history / rise to be free” shine a forensics-style black light on that which is otherwise hidden. ‘Bad Man Lighter’ is a horn-heavy track calling out duplicity and defending the right to smoke the good weed; the politically charged ‘Corporate Public Control Department (C.P.C.D)’ is a roiling protest anthem directed at Muhammadu Bahari’s Nigerian government and indeed, at deceitful politicians the world over. Co-written with veteran Egypt 80 saxophonist Abedimeji ‘Showboy’ Fagbemi, the frenetic, fingerpointing ‘Kuku Kee Me’ borrows from a Nigerian saying (“When someone is always on your case, you’re like ‘Save yourself the stress and kuku kill me now’”) while ‘Theory Of Goat And Yam’ ridicules a homily invented by former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, who justified corruption by likening politicians to goats tempted by yams: “By taking money meant for a hospital or to build roads, they are actually costing human lives.” ‘Last Revolutionary’ is a paean to authentic leaders past, present and future, name-checking homegrown African revolutionaries and freedom fighters like Kwame Nkrumah and Thomas Sankara. “I say the names of these men who died for us without any promise of resurrection,” says Seun Kuti. “Maybe people will Google them, then set out on a journey whose destination is unknown.”

      Various Artists

      Sofrito - Tropical Discotheque

        Strut present the debut compilation by one of the UK’s leading Afro, Caribbean and Latin music party collectives, Sofrito. Comprising DJs Hugo Mendez and Frankie Francis alongside The Mighty Crime Minister, Sofrito has consistently combined the serious vinyl hunter’s ear for amazing records with a stylish, accessible approach, rocking dancefloors worldwide since their inception in 2007.

        From their legendary Tropical Warehouse parties in East London to the clubs and bars of Brooklyn, from beach parties in Greece to festivals and clubs across Europe including WOMAD and the Big Chill, Sofrito has now become a worldwide proposition. The club has also attracted a string of A-list guests for live performances including Manu Dibango, Poets Of Rhythm, Souljazz Orchestra and Quantic. The club’s graphics by artist Lewis Heriz have become an important a part of its identity, with each event accompanied by unique hand-drawn poster art, each now a collector’s piece in its own right. And, running alongside their events, their Sofrito Specials 12” imprint has made available exclusive edits of impossible-to-find rarities. Their ‘African Soul Power’ edit was picked by Gilles Peterson as one of his re-works of 2008.

        For their debut compilation, Sofrito get the party started with 15 dynamite tropical grooves old and new ranging from cumbia, Congolese guitar, calypso and highlife. Highlights include an exclusive cumbia by Quantic, "Cumbia Mochilla", a new edit of a rare Victor Uwaifo disco cut and firing Carnival jams from old-timers Roaring Lion and Mighty Shadow.

        ‘Aloha Got Soul’ encompasses a vibrant era of contemporary music made in Hawai’i during the 1970s to the mid-1980s as jazz, rock, funk, disco and R&B co-existed alongside Hawaiian folk music. Hawai’i’s identity had undergone huge change: statehood into America in ‘59 and the Vietnam War were the backdrop as Hawai’i’s youth found inspiration in a new wave of international music led initially by The Beatles and Stones and, later, by US R&B bands like Earth Wind & Fire and Tower Of Power. Garage bands flourished during the ‘60s and, by the ‘70s, live music was at its peak.

        For the ‘70s generation of artists, some came through the talent contest ‘Home Grown’ and its accompanying compilation LP. Singer Nohelani Cypriano won it with her instant radio hit, ‘Lihue’. Other winning songs, like Marvin Franklin’s soul surfer jam ‘Kona Winds’, burned more slowly but have endured with DJs today. Many records also packed a powerful message. In 1978, Hawaiian was made the official state language and a huge movement arose to revive hula and traditional music. Steve & Teresa’s ‘Kaho’olawe Song’ longs for an island long gone: the US military had used Kaho’olawe as a bombing range since Pearl Harbor. Nohelani Cypriano sang about the once sleepy town of Kailua, now a popular tourist destination: “Kailua needs no high-rise with her blue skies, not for our eyes. Can you realize?” Leading Hawaiian artists like Aura, Mike Lundy and keyboardist Kirk Thompson’s Lemuria took time in high quality facilities like Broad Recording Studio to make albums. Others grabbed studio time when they could: Tender Leaf’s Murray Compoc worked for the city bus by day and recorded an album during night sessions. Other albums were spontaneous. In 1983, Steve Maii & Teresa Bright recorded an acoustic set in just 3 hours after being invited to a studio following a gig.

        For the artists of the ‘70s, the climate for music changed rapidly during the mid- ‘80s as DJ culture grew and live venues shut down. Hawai’i’s R&B era shone brightly and relatively briefly but, despite brilliant musicians, regular gigs and LP releases, most of the music barely made it to the mainland. Thanks largely to Aloha Got Soul’s Roger Bong, a new interest in this fertile era of Hawaiian music has grown, culminating in this new compilation of overlooked gems. ‘Aloha Got Soul’ is compiled and annotated by Bong and features rare photos and original artwork.


        STAFF COMMENTS

        Barry says: A smooth and funky combination of traditional Hawaiian music and groovy beachgazing soul. Sunny weather head-nodders abound.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        2xLP Info: Repress!

        Vinyl comes with CD version of the album enclosed.

        CD Info: - First ever compilation documenting Hawai’i’s varied R&B, AOR, jazz and disco scene
        - Rare tracks, mostly never reissued since their original release in Hawai’i
        - sleeve notes by Aloha Got Soul’s Roger Bong featuring exclusive artist interviews, rare photos and original LP artwork


        Orchestre Les Mangelepa

        Last Band Standing

        Nationale, based in Lubumbashi in the Eastern Congo. During the ‘60s and ‘70s, Congolese Rumba had become the dominant musical force across Africa ad Nairobi became a magnet since PolyGram, EMI and other international companies had studios and pressing plants in the city. In 1973, Baba Gaston’s band recorded in Kenya and relocated there permanently in 1975. Evany (Kabila Kabanze) and Bwamy Malumona were the bandleaders and held a residency at the Aquarius Club in Ngara but within Baba Nationale there was unhappiness about how Baba Gaston was treating them. A breakaway faction recorded 'Mbungu' and 'Kijana' under the name Les Mangelepa as a side project and a split became inevitable. Led by the Evany and Bwamy, the majority of the members of Orchestre Baba Nationale soon quit and formed Orchestre Les Mangelepa.

        Developing a regular residency in Nairobi’s Uhuru Park at the Park Inn, Mangelepa began to draw huge crowds. Their early recordings helped them to establish their authority, released on contemporary labels like Jojo and Tobina. Alongside a spectacular horn section they were known for their tight vocals and bittersweet, poetic lyrics and, during the late ‘70s, Mangelepa’s stage shows were an unsurpassed breath-taking circus. They held a wide appeal across a spectrum of Kenyans; Congolese (Lingala) music was hugely popular and Mangelepa’s Swahili lyrics used the genre and brought Kenyans together across ethnic divisions. The popular music of Kenya at that time included Benga from the shores of Lake Victoria and Chakacha from the coast; Les Mangelepa became skilful and adept songwriters, harnessing the energy from these other music styles.

        The band’s fame spread across East Africa, scoring household hits in Kenya with songs like 'Maindusa' and 'Embakasi'. In the late ‘70s, under George Opiyo’s management, they embarked on lengthy tours of Uganda and Malawi and returned to their long-running Nairobi residency at Garden Square. In 1982 they headed to Zimbabwe via Tanzania and Zambia and, after breaking into two factions, made several acclaimed albums including 'Safari Ya Mangelepa' and 'Madina' for PolyGram.

        Their popularity began to wane during the mid-‘80s until, in the early 2000s, Tom Kazungu took over their management and began to help breathe new life into the band, recording 'Mangelepa Millennium'. They took up new residencies at Tents Club on Mombasa Road and Simmers, right in the centre of Nairobi. In 2016, Les Mangelepa finally made it out of Africa, touring Europe including the Afrika Festival in Hertme, Netherlands. This new album, recorded by No Nation’s Guy Morley, encapsulates some of their best-loved material, re-recorded and brought up to date using the current personnel of their Nairobi Vibro residency. They represent a wonderful era of African music and justifiably warrant the title ‘Last Band Standing’.

        - First ever new international studio album by legendary African rumba big band
        - Band features several original members
        - Album includes covers of huge East Afrcan hits ‘Maindusa’ and ‘Kanemo’
        - Physical format includes definitive band biography and interviews

        Mulatu Astatke

        Mulatu Of Ethiopia

        Strut present the first official reissue of a landmark album in the field of African music, Mulatu Astatke’s ‘Mulatu Of Ethiopia’ from 1972. Recorded in New York, the album arrived at a time when Astatke had begun to master the delicate fusion of styles needed to create Ethio jazz. “I left the UK for America and studied at Berklee College in Boston. I learnt the technical aspects of jazz and gained a beautiful understanding of many different types of music. That’s where I got my tools. Berklee really shook me up.”

        Journeying regularly to the Big Apple to play and watch live shows at the Cheetah, the Palladium and the Village Gate, Astatke met producer Gil Snapper on the circuit. “Gil was a nice and very interesting guy. He produced music and worked with all kinds of musicians.” The meeting would lead to a series of albums on Snapper’s Worthy label. The first, ‘Afro Latin Soul’, documented Astatke’s new-found directions. “Mulatu has created a new sound,” enthused Snapper on the album jacket. “He has taken the ancient five-tone scales of Asia and Africa and woven them into something unique and exciting; a mixture of three cultures, Ethiopian, Puerto Rican and American.”

        A second volume of ‘Afro Latin Soul’ followed before Astatke began to hone his sound further, infusing funk and cultural influences into the mix. Returning to a downtown Manhattan studio with Snapper and working with some of the city’s top young jazz and latin session players, ‘Mulatu Of Ethiopia’ began to take shape. “We rehearsed for 3-4 weeks,” remembers Astatke. “it took them a while to get the right feeling in the music.”

        The resultant album represented the first fully formed document of Astatke’s trademark Ethio jazz sound. It features ‘Kulunmanqueleshi’, ‘Dewel’, and ‘Kasalefku-Hulu’, tracks that Mulatu would return to regularly on singles and in live shows, the Ethio-Latin workout ‘Chifara’ and the self-titled groover ‘Mulatu’ (“I wanted to make a track for... myself!”).

        This definitive reissue of the album comes in a limited edition 3LP 6-panel gatefold set featuring the stereo album master, a pre-mix mono master and a selection of out-takes from the sessions, giving the listener rare access to the DNA of the studio process. Also available are standard 1CD and 1LP formats.

        All formats feature a new interview with Mulatu Astatke and rare photos.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Martin says: If ever there was an example of the positive consequences of an open mind and the potential within cross-cultural pollenization, Mulatu Astake is it. Born in Western Ethiopia, he settled in Wales, then London, before moving on again to Boston (U.S.). He worked with musicians schooled in Latin tradition while in New York; it was absorbing these influences that led him to approach his own traditions in a new way, and "Ethio-jazz", with it's western instrumentation, funk and Latin spice and evocative Ethiopian scales and structure was born. Genius might be an overused word, but I don't have another.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        3xDeluxe LP Info: Limited repress!

        Various Artists

        Nigeria 70 - The Definitive Story Of 1970s Funky Lagos

          Strut repress one of the all-time classic compilations of Afro-funk and Afrobeat for 2016, the first volume of the mighty Nigeria 70 series. Originally released in 2001, the album followed the death of Fela Kuti and a renewed interest in original Afrobeat among younger club-goers. Put together over a three-week trip to Lagos, it documented for the first time the explosive era when domestic bands fused traditional highlife and juju with funk, soul, rock and Disco.

          Alongside two cuts by Fela Kuti, Nigeria 70 shone the spotlight on the incredible musicianship of artists like Segun Bucknor, Joni Haastrup and his Monomono band, Orlando Julius, saxophonist Peter King, “Guitar Boy” Victor Uwaifo, Lijadu Sisters and quirky keyboard wizard William Onyeabor among many others. Spread over 3LPs, the original edition also included a one-hour audio documentary featuring exclusive interviews with many original musicians and industry figures from the ‘70s scene, narrated by Wunmi.

          As well as being a valuable document of an under-rated era, Nigeria 70 was one of the first crossover albums to dig deep into the African music archives and effectively market the music to a new online audience hungry for rare grooves and unique dancefloor sounds. Since Nigeria 70, this market has widened hugely with labels like Soundway, Analog Africa and Hot Casa all working tirelessly to document rare African beats. This new pressing of the Nigeria 70 3LP set is limited to 500 copies and features the full CD version and CD audio documentary as a bonus within the package. Full artwork is also featured including John Armstrong’s extensive sleeve note history alongside rare photos.

          - Limited new 15th Anniversary repress of classic Afro-funk and Afrobeat collection, 500 copies only
          - Definitive format: 3LP set including 2CD version and 1CD audio documentary as bonus
          - one of the most influential of all recent African music collections which helped spawn a new market for African rare grooves
          - album fully remastered for this reissue

          ‘Afro Rock Vol. 1’ is one of the most important compilations of heavy original ‘70s Afro funk and soul to be released in recent years. Originally surfacing on Duncan Brooker’s indie Kona label in early 2001, the album single-handedly kick-started the thirst among jazz, funk and soul fans and ‘diggers’ to rediscover lost music from Africa made during the ‘60s and ‘70s from a time when many countries were gaining independence and celebrating a Pan-African identity within their music. The album was one of the first to reach a far different audience to the traditional ‘world music’ market and spawned many further projects and labels in its wake. A year later, the ‘Nigeria 70’ compilation surfaced on Strut and labels like Soundway and Analog Africa would continue to unearth amazing lost gems from the Motherland.
          The album is testament to the determined work of Brooker following several research trips, especially to East Africa – Kenya and Zaire. It brought to light East Africa’s finest funk band, Air Fiesta Matata, led by the recently deceased Steele Beautttah, ‘The Nigerian James Brown’ Geraldo Pino from Port Harcourt in Nigeria, and the storming Afro jam ‘Yuda’ by Dackin Dackino, a previously unreleased gem from Zaire discovered on a discarded reel. The album has remained influential since its release with tracks appearing on other Afro compilations and on TV and the big screen – Jingo’s ‘Fever’ featured in Kevin McDonald’s 2006 hit film, ‘Last King Of Scotland’.
          Out of print since 2015, the album is being reissued on Strut in its original form with the extra dynamite unreleased psychedelic cut by Kenya’s Ishmael Jingo, ‘Keep On Holding On’ taken from the original master tape. The package features the original sleeve notes by Duncan Brooker along with new additional notes providing further background to the album and tracks.

          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.

          Canada’s fastest moving and hardest working collective are back with one of their finest albums to date, a brand new journey into tropical, soul and jazz styles on their scorching new release, ‘Under Burning Skies’.

          Turbulent times call for strong voices and The Souljazz Orchestra’s new set packs a suitably heavy lyrical punch, with wry observations and an urge for progressive change. Musically, the band continue to push the limits, dusting off ‘80s vintage synthesizers and early drum machines for the first time, bringing lo fi disco, boogie and electro touches to their trademark horn arrangements and earthy analogue sound. The fruits are a-plenty and the group sound at their confident and versatile best from start to finish.

          Opener ‘Dog Eat Dog’ powers in with Mabinuori Idowu and Philippe Lafrenière lambasting the powerful and the corrupt over an infectious Afro-disco groove; ‘Lufunki’ takes the group right back to their B-Boy roots, bringing the Afro vibes to Beat Street and ‘Is Yeelyel’ delivers a killer rework of an obscure original by Somalian super-group Dur-Dur Band.

          The band go on exploring their passion for French Caribbean styles on the beautiful, lilting ‘Oublier Pour Un Jour’ and ‘Tambour À Deux Peaux’ and they take time for reflection on the potent instrumental title track and poignant closer ‘Aduna Jarul Naawo’, featuring the vocals of Élage Mbaye.

          The Souljazz Orchestra continue to be an unstoppable force. Nominated for a Canadian Juno award for the third time in 2016, the band regularly tear up venues worldwide through their punishing touring schedule – they have played to audiences in over two dozen countries across the globe and have shared bills along the way with heavyweights as varied as Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, and Femi Kuti. Not many bands out there have been going for 15 years with their original line-up still intact while still sounding as fresh as this. As saxophonist Ray Murray says, “Souljazz is more than just a band for us, it’s a way of life.”


          STAFF COMMENTS

          Barry says: Brimming with influence from all over the globe, this soulful mix of jazz, Afrobeat and disco hits hard, but with a sensibilty rarely seen in dancefloor groovers. Defly balanced grooves meet head-first with swimming vocals and silken rhythms.

          FORMAT INFORMATION

          Coloured LP Info: The LP is pressed on bright yellow vinyl.

          Various Artists

          Ote Maloya - The Birth Of Electric Maloya In La Réunion 1975-1986

          Strut present a brand new compilation documenting the groundbreaking maloya scene on Réunion Island from the mid-‘70s, as Western instrumentation joined traditional Malagasy, African and Indian acoustic instruments to spark a whole era of new fusions and creativity. Compiled by Réunionese DJ duo La Basse Tropicale, ‘Oté Maloya’ follows up last year’s acclaimed ‘Soul Sok Séga’ release on Strut.

          Traditional maloya, originally called “séga”, described the songs, music and dances of slaves on the sugar plantations of Réunion Island in the 17th Century – maloya ceremonies paid tribute to ancestors and mediated between the living and the dead. The music and culture began to be more widely accepted by Réunionese society from the 1930s as folklorist Georges Fourcade began to play maloya songs. By the ‘50s, maloya tracks were appearing on 78rpm releases and, in the ‘60s, it was used as a form of cultural protest music.

          In the mid-‘70s, a new generation began exploring new directions in the music, using Créole language; many were self-taught and learned their craft in 1960s dance band “orchestres”. André Chan-Kam-Shu’s Studio Royal in the south of the island became the main hub for experimentation and collaboration. Most notably, the band Caméléon honed their sound here – with maloya legends Alain Peters and vocalist Hervé Imare involved, Caméléon became the leading collective on the scene, using poetic lyrics and creating their own potent fusion of maloya, jazz and psychedelia.

          ‘Oté Maloya’ tells the story of this fertile period in Réunion Island music for the first time and features the full spectrum of maloya styles. From Caméléon’s genius to the teenage Michou’s classic ‘Maloya Ton Tisane’, Daniel Sandié’s breakbeat sleeper ‘Défoule 3e Age’ and more traditional styles from Maxime Lahope and Pierrot Vidot, this is an essential trip through a lost era of Indian Ocean blues and soul.

          ‘Oté Maloya’ is released with an extensive booklet on CD and LP featuring a history of maloya by Nathalie Valentine Legros of 7 Lames Lamer. All tracks are fully remastered by The Carvery.

          Shina Williams & His African Percussionists

          Agb'oju L'ogun

          Strut come through with a brand new 12” reissue of Shina Williams’ monster Nigerian disco anthem ‘Agboju Logun’, pairing the rare original album version (released on Phonodisk Nigeria) with the more sparse 12” remix which surfaced later internationally on Earthworks.
          Keen to show the rest of the world that the mother continent was moving at the cutting edge, Shina Williams brough together a crack team of Nigeria's studio talent for his 1979 LP "African Dances". At the heart of the LP was "Agbojou Logun", an eleven minute Afro-disco masterpiece propelled into the highest dancefloor heavens by the pyschedelic tumble of talking drums, hypnotic bass and arguably the finest synth part ever recorded. Slow-rolling, the cut struts through astral territories towards an imagined afro-cosmic future, hot horns and slick guitar licks popping off all over the shop as the chanted vocals lead the ceremony. Seriously, if you don't know this record, it's time you became acquainted - this is fiyah! Enjoying limited success upon its release in Nigeria, "African Dances" nevertheless gained some international attention when Earthworks’ Jumbo Van Renan licensed two tracks from it for an international 12” single release in 1984, remixing "Agboju Logun" in a more stripped back mix for dancefloors. Now both mixes return to the record bags in remastered form and with original artwork intact. 

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Patrick says: The greatest Afro-disco record ever made. Cosmic synths, slick grooves and a slow-rolling rhythmic sway pretty much guarantee dance floor epiphanies. In limited quantities so don't sleep!

          Those fine folk at Strut gift us with an inspired new Afro-electronic project, the Kondi Band, a collaboration between Sierra Leonean kondi (thumb piano) player Sorie Kondi and US producer / DJ Chief Boima, who himself has Sierra Leonean roots.
          The project was spawned after Boima happened upon an online video of one of Sorie’s original tracks. “Sorie Kondi is a blind musician with a will to thrive like no person I have met before,” explains Boima. “My work with him began with a youtube link. I spotted the video for his track ‘Without Money No Family’ and was struck by his beautiful vocals and socially-conscious lyrics. These incredible melodies he was playing on his namesake thumb piano (the kondi) sealed the deal: I immediately decided to remix it.” The resulting bootleg remix started appearing in DJ playlists and led to coverage by The Fader magazine. As a result, Sorie’s manager in Freetown reached out to Boima and, after a successful Kickstarter campaign, Sorie travelled to America for the first time for a five date tour. During the trip he and Boima worked on new recordings which would form the nucleus of the debut Kondi Band album ‘Belle Wahalla’.

          “This album forges a direct link between techno born in the black cities of the American Mid-West, where I grew up, and roots African music,” Boima continues. “Sorie Kondi may be playing an acoustic folk instrument from Sierra Leone, but he thinks about music as if he were a techno producer with the dance-friendly pulse of his cajon drum, the spiraling melody lines from the thumb piano and his incredible vocals.” Through Boima’s intricate production, the album subtly and skillfully integrates contemporary electronic sounds, keeping the simplicity and space in Sorie’s music.

          Sorie’s lyrics are personal, immediate, and often uncompromising. ‘Girl Service’, warns against the dangers of child prostitution. ‘Belle Wahalla’, is a song that uses belly pain as a metaphor for poverty, hunger, and lack of financial opportunity. ‘Thank You Mama’ is an ode to his mother for loving him even though he was born unsighted, and the anthem ‘Without Money, No Family’ is about how even family can be a privilege.

          Following his recent studio album "Love And Death", Ghanaian highlife guitar legend Ebo Taylor teams up again with Strut for a long overdue definitive compilation of his seminal 1970s recordings, "Life Stories". During Ghana’s highlife explosion during the 1950s and 60s following wartime highlife pioneers like ET Mensah, Ebo Taylor made his name as a prolific composer, arranger and frontman leading two of Ghana’s greatest big bands - Stargazers and Broadway Dance Band. Moving to London to study music in 1962 alongside West African luminaries like Fela Kuti and Peter King, Taylor formed the Black Star Highlife Band and began incorporating jazz elements into traditional highlife forms. Returning to Ghana, Taylor became an in-house arranger and producer for Dick Essilfie-Bondzie’s Essiebons label, working with other major Ghanaian stars like CK Mann and Pat Thomas. Through the 1970s, he then recorded a number of solo projects, exploring unique fusions and borrowing elements from regional Ghanaian folk music, Afro-beat, jazz, soul and funk. This compilation revisits this heyday of Taylor’s work, focusing on his solo albums and some of his lesser known side projects including the dynamite Apagya Show Band and short-lived Taylor-led combos Assase Ase, Super Sounds Namba and The Pelikans. The selection also touches on his writing and production work for CK Mann and a collaboration recording with fellow member of early 70s nightclub band Blue Monks, Pat Thomas.


          FORMAT INFORMATION

          2xLP Info: Long out of print repress of Ebo Taylor’s 2012 album on Strut.

          Sun Ra

          Singles - The Definitive 45s Collection - Volume 2: 1962-1991

          Following 2016’s definitive collection of singles released by Sun Ra from across his illustrious career, Strut present the second volume of the vinyl edition on 3LP format which focus on Ra’s later 1962-1991 period. Released sporadically during the three decades and primarily on the Saturn label, the 45s offer one-off missives from Ra’s prolific cosmic journey, tracing the development of his forward-thinking 'Space-Bop' and his unique take on jazz and blues traditions which remains unlike anything else from the period. As with the first volume vinyl editions, the collection is hugely varied, ranging from Ra’s spoken word recitations and some of his R&B recordings to alternative versions of Arkestra staples like "Love In Outer Space", "Enlightenment" and "Rocket No. 9". The singles are also unpredictable vehicles for Ra’s music, combining different tracks from different sessions and occasionally making available music which was recorded many years beforehand. On the volume 2 vinyl editions, we find tracks that have only ever been seen via a small handful of copies including "Love In Outer Space" b/w "Mayan Temple" and "The Blue One" b/w "Orbitration In Blue"; some were planned and pencilled but allegedly never made it to vinyl and some appeared as limited one-off magazine singles including Ra’s very last single release, the reflective "I Am The Instrument". Sleeve note writers Chris Trent and Paul Griffiths brilliantly illustrate the role of the single within Ra’s career and break down each release with detailed track by track notes. Working with Sun Ra LLC and Sun Ra archivist Michael D. Anderson, Strut has also assembled the best possible master sources for each track.

          "Singles Vol. 2" features fully remastered tracks, rare photos, original 45 artwork, Chris Trent sleeve notes and detailed track by track and session notes by Paul Griffiths.

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Matt says: Sun Ra used to fall asleep mid-sentence, with his eyes open no less, only to wake up hours later and carry on exactly where he'd left off. This second set of Sun Ra singles packs all the esoteric cosmic power that anecdote suggests - take the trip!

          FORMAT INFORMATION

          7" Box Set Info: Very limited edition 10 x 7" box set.

          Sun Ra

          Discipline 27-11

            THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2017 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

            Strut and Art Yard present a special release for Record Store Day 2017, the first ever official reissue of Sun Ra’s revered Discipline 27-II LP from 1972.

            The recordings for the album took place on the 19 and 20 October 1972 at Streeterville Studios, Chicago, with the largest Arkestra line-up Sun Ra had yet taken into a studio session. The date was produced by Impulse! and Riverside veteran Ed Michel and, for the first time, the Arkestra was recorded in quadraphonic sound.

            Of the two releases eventually prepared from the session, Space Is The Place initially stole the limelight, becoming one of the Arkestra’s most celebrated records. Discipline 27-II, by contrast, would remain a somewhat mysterious occult twin. Although it was one of the few Saturn releases to feature a full colour cover, the album featured slight differences to the master, cover and labels on a series of different pressings.

            The album opens with ‘Pan-Afro’, a chugging, skittering post-bop excursion in 6/4, featuring a solo by John Gilmore followed by the dirge-like ‘Discipline 8’ and the smoky, avant-blues classic ‘Neptune’, blessed by a scrawling Marshall Allen solo. Perhaps the album’s main event is a stately performance of ‘Discipline 27-II’, launching the listener into the deep poetics of the astro-black mythos. Echoed closely by June Tyson, and then by the rest of the Space Ethnic Voices, Ra moves from an explanation of his mission and a reproach to the people of Earth, before offering incantations to the angel realm. ‘We got some news for you,’ he advises wryly: ‘the world ended three thousand years ago.’ We are all stranded on ‘the other side of the end of time’, in a world that already ended three millennia back, at the end of the Egyptian New Kingdom. It’s after the end of the world!

            This first official reissue of Discipline 27-II was prepared in conjunction with Art Yard and Sun Ra LLC. The album is restored from the original master tapes and features complete original artwork and new sleeve notes by Francis Gooding.

            - First ever official reissue of classic Sun Ra album

            - Officially licensed from Sun Ra LLC and restored from original tapes

            - includes the full 25 min. title track

            - new package features all original artwork and new sleeve note by Francis Gooding

            Following his acclaimed collaboration on Strut with The Heliocentrics, the father of Ethio jazz returns with his brand new studio album, "Mulatu Steps Ahead". This is the first full new album by Mulatu Astatke himself since the 1980s and takes his Ethio jazz sound in new directions, exploring fresh fusions of Western jazz and traditional Ethiopian instrumentation, furthering the pioneering sound Mulatu developed during the 1960s and 70s, showcased on the recent Strut compilation "New York, Addis, London". The result is a rich new album, perfect for all fans of world music, jazz and the outstanding selling "Ethiopiques series". It features an A-list line-up of musicians including Byron Wallen, Jack Yglesias, James Arben and Danny Keane from The Heliocentrics, members of Either/Orchestra in Boston and leading players from Addis Ababa.

            STAFF COMMENTS

            Patrick says: Mulatu Astatke's back! The Ethio jazz forefather returns with his first new material since 1980, working with an all star cast to bring his trademark sound bang up to date.

            FORMAT INFORMATION

            2xLP Info: Repress of out of print Mulatu’s album from 2010 on Strut.

            Sun Ra

            Singles - The Definitive 45s Collection - Vol. 1 1952-1961

            Strut present the definitive collection of singles released by Sun Ra across his illustrious career, spanning 1952 to 1991. Released prolifically during the 1950s and more sporadically thereafter, primarily on the Saturn label, the 45s offer one-off meteorites from Ra’s prolific cosmic journey, tracing the development of his forward-thinking “Space-Bop” and his unique take on jazz and blues traditions. The collection is hugely varied, ranging from Ra’s spoken word recitations and his early work with Chicago vocal groups to the different phases of his Arkestra, small group and duet recordings. The singles are also unpredictable vehicles for Ra’s music, combining different tracks from different sessions and occasionally making available music which was recorded many years beforehand.

            As with his LPs, most 45s were only pressed in small runs and have since become extremely rare and sought after. Only a small handful of copies of ‘Love In Outer Space’ b/w ‘Mayan Temple’ and ‘The Blue One’ b/w ‘Orbitration In Blue’ have ever been seen; some have only been discovered in physical form in recent years; some were planned and pencilled but allegedly never made it to vinyl (including ‘Saturn’ and ‘Velvet’ from the Jazz In Silhouette LP) and some appeared as limited one-off magazine singles and posthumous releases, including ‘Hell #1’ aka ‘Out There A Minute’.

            All formats feature fully remastered tracks, rare photos, original 45 artwork, Francis Gooding’s extensive sleeve notes, an interview with Saturn Records founder Alton Abraham by John Corbett and detailed track by track and session notes by Paul Griffiths.

            The set is the most comprehensive collection of Ra’s singles to date. Sleeve note writers Francis Gooding and Paul Griffiths brilliantly illustrate the role of the single within Ra’s career and break down each release with detailed track by track notes. Working with Sun Ra LLC and Sun Ra archivist Michael D. Anderson, Strut has also assembled the best possible master sources for each track.


            STAFF COMMENTS

            Patrick says: Free jazz innovator, Afrofuturist pioneer and possible (probable?) alien Sun Ra transmitted a lot of cosmic wisdom before his eventual return to the mothership. Harnessing an unorthodox compositional style and complex personal mythology, he cultivated a devoted army of followers, fans and acolytes, while forever changing the course of jazz and experimental music. This lavish compendium collects together ten years of Sun Ra singles in one specially remastered package, complete with in depth liner notes, unpublished interviews and original artwork. A triumph of detail and devotion, Strut’s ‘Singles’ is a spaceflight to Saturn away from perfection.

            FORMAT INFORMATION

            7" Box Set Info: 10 x 45 box set in flip top box with 32 page bound booklet - extremely limited!


            Sun Ra

            In Some Far Place: Roma '77

              THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2016 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

              1977 was a transitional time for jazz enigma and self-proclaimed member of an “angel race“, Sun Ra. During the Summer of 1976, he had stormed Montreux and toured West Africa with one of the greatest of his full-sized Arkestras before embarking on occasional solo concerts for the first time, emphasising his prowess at the piano. Although he had always played the blues within Arkestra sets, he now summoned up the rolling tradition of blues piano, recalling Otis Spann, Avery Parrish, stride and ricky-tick styles.

              He made two solo albums for Paul Bley’s Improvising Artists label (’Solo Piano’ and ’St. Louis Blues’) before travelling to Rome. For the concert, featured here, Ra brought in drummer Luqman Ali, who had been part of the Arkestra during the band’s early Chicago years, and vocalist Thomas Thaddeus aka Eddie Thomas. Thomas was a percussionist, dancer and “incense dude“ with the Arkestra throughout the late ‚70s period. He would appear again on Ra’s ’Lanquidity’ album for Philly Jazz in ’79.

              During this intimate concert, Ra takes us through piano and synthesizer renditions of Arkestra staples like ’Love In Outer Space’, ’Space Is The Place’ and ’Calling Planet Earth’ but also explores a selection of jazz standards. Among them, we hear the first ever released Ra version of the 1930s staple ’I Cover The Waterfront’ alongside a dissonant version of ’Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child’ and ’St. Louis Blues’. Ra’s ties to Italy would continue the following year as he recorded three acclaimed albums for Horo Records, run by filmmaker turned label owner, Aldo Sinesio.

              Following 2014’s Marshall Allen compilation, ’In the Orbit Of Ra’ and 2015’s Gilles Peterson-curated ’To Those Of Earth... And Other Worlds’, Strut and Art Yard join forces once more for the first release anywhere of ’In Some Far Place: Roma ’77’. Recorded direct from the sound board and mastered from first generation reel to reel tapes, this is one of the very few trio albums by Sun Ra ever to be released and is exclusively available for Record Store Day 2015. The release features rare photos from recently deceased photographer H.L. Lindenmaier with sleeve notes by the Sun Ra Arkestra’s Knoel Scott.

              - first issue of anywhere of this 1977 recording from Rome.
              - continuation of Strut and Art Yard’s Sun Ra release programme following successful compilations by Marshall Allen (2014) and Gilles Peterson (2015).
              - official reissue mastered from first generation reel to reel tapes.
              - LP features photos by H.L. Lindenmaier, sleeve notes by the Arkestra’s Knoel Scott and new cover design featuring work by Lewis Heriz.


              Following up on 2014’s collection 'In The Orbit Of Ra' Strut dive headfirst back into the vast universe of Sun Ra with a newly curated set from the Ra’s immense 125 LP back catalogue, compiled by Gilles Peterson. The BBC 6Music / Worldwide DJ is a long-time champion of Ra’s music and the UK’s leading tastemaker for jazz-based sounds. It serves as perhaps the best introduction yet to the music of Sun Ra for a whole new generation of converts.

              For the CD version, Peterson picks personal favourites, classics and unreleased tracks and weaves them into a flowing piece across 2CDs, showcasing the incredible variety of Ra’s work. The 2LP edition features full-length versions of selected tracks from the mix (and also includes the full CD mixed version). Sleeve notes on physical formats come from Gilles Peterson with a full Ra career biography by author Robert L. Campbell. The album also features previously unseen photos from the archives of Val Wilmer alongside full musician line-ups and session details.

              Kanaku Y El Tigre

              Quema Quema Quema

              'The only people for me are the mad ones, mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved and desirous of everything' - Jack Kerouac, 'On The Road' (1957). If 'On The Road' lead characters Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty were modern day beatniks, they would find spirited company in Kanaku y El Tigre, a Peruvian collective who release their sophomore album (and first internationally), 'Quema, Quema, Quema', on Strut / Tiger's Milk.

              Back in 2010, their debut album 'Caracoles' brought Kanaku's creative duo Nico Saba and Bruno Bellatin considerable success in Peru with a set of quirky songs inspired by American folk. Five years on, 'Quema Quema Quema' has a whole different atmosphere - euphoric, unapologetically feel-good hooks littered with electronic jitters, ghostly delays, serene Hawaiian slide guitars and a chorus of other-wordly vocal harmonies.

              Featuring 10 songs including two sung in English, 'Quema Quema Quema' is led by the tortured, Impassioned vocals of lead singer Nico Saba and the musical relationship between he and Bruno is key. 'With the new album, we have focused consistently on the melody and the song despite a multiinstrumental approach,' explains Bruno. 'We have always shared this process of dreaming up ideas - we both bring light and darkness into the room and use each other as creative mirrors.'

              'Quema Quema Quema' features some illustrious guest vocalists adding to the Kanaku palette: Almodovar actress Leonor Watling (star of 'Talk To Her'), Peruvian singer-songwriter Pamela Rodriguez and Cecimonster frontman Sergio Saba.

              Their strong musical partnership stems from the '90s, when, in their early teens, they were kicking the dust together in a punk band in downtown Lima. Now in their late 20s and both now bilingual having lived for periods in the UK and the States, their sound owes much to western music forms. Despite being very different characters with near opposite tastes in music, as life-long friends, they see the fruits of their creative partnership as a mutual appreciation living life charged, intense and always ready to 'Burn, Burn, Burn'. The lyrics of lead single, 'Si Te Mueres Manana' encapsulate the Kanaku philosophy: 'if you die tomorrow, make sure you you've done everything you ever wanted'.

              To complement the fluid production and sonic oddities peppering 'Quema Quema Quema', Argentinian graphic artist and cartoonist Ricardo Liniers brings his unique childlike surrealism to the album artwork.


              Sun Ra

              Planets Of Life Or Death: Amiens '72

                THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2015 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

                Following 2014’s landmark compilation presented by Marshall Allen, ’In the Orbit Of Ra’, Strut and Art Yard join forces for the first release anywhere of Sun Ra's ’Planets Of Life Or Death’. Within their 1973 European tour, Ra and his Arkestra had completed a residency at the Gibus in Paris before travelling North to Amiens to play a visceral, intense Sunday afternoon concert. Tracks include the theatrical ’Enlightenment’ as vocalist June Tyson invites the audience to “be of our space world“ and a rare instrumental version of ’Love In Outer Space’, transforming the Arkestra classic into a percussive, ritualistic workout. John Gilmore's sax features on the glistening ’Lights On A Satellite’ and the album closes with the epic, chaotic ’Discipline 27-II / What Planet Is This’: “If this is a planet of life, why do people die here?"

                Recorded direct from the sound board and mastered from first generation reel to reel tape, this title is exclusively available for Record Store Day 2015. The release features rare photos from Sun Ra’s 1973 European tour by photographer Jan Persson with sleeve notes by the Arkestra's Knoel Scott.


                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, in conjunction with Ambassadors Reception and Future Nuggets, presents the first ever retrospective of fabled band Rodion G.A., one of Romania's best kept musical secrets of the last 30 years.

                  As a band, Rodion G.A. were a unique phenomenon in their homeland at the time, operating in their own universe during a prolific period of recording from 1978 to 1984 at a time of significant political repression under the Ceausescu regime. Bandleader, Rodion Ladislau Rosca, was an enigma. As half-Hungarian, half-Romanian, he lived near the border in Cluj, a city with a healthy music culture which had spawned important prog rock bands incuding Cromatic, Experimental Quintet and Semnal M. Despite the political conditions, a music scene existed in Romania, mainly within a network of festivals around the country and in seaside towns at restaurants and clubs.

                  From the start, Rodion was concerned with his own style of composition and set himself apart from the predominant rock sounds that dominated Romanian music during the late 60s. Technically and in his compositions, he was obsessed with every detail. His first sessions were recorded during 1969-1972 - simple, sparse and haunting pieces using reel to reel recorders, based around vocals, guitars and improvised drums. In 1975-6, Rosca formed Rodion G.A., the G.A. comprising band members Gicu Frca. and Adrian Cpraru. Rosca had amassed equipment and became a DIY tech wizard, improvising his own techniques of composing using reel to reels. Surrounded by three or four Tesla tape machines, he would record beats and guitar on one channel of the tape, then stop and add other instruments on the other a raw means of multi-tracking. He would use the other machines to add effects and delays on both instruments and vocals. Other tools in his armoury included an East German Vermona drum machine, a toy Casio VL Tone and a small Russian organ to which he added phaser, flanger and delay pedals. From the start, the band’s sound was incomparable to other contemporaries - dense electronic sounds, raw programmed rhythms, intricate arrangements, prog and classical touches.

                  The band’s recorded output in Romania at the time was sparse. There was only one label operating, the State-owned Electrecord, and they recorded two tracks by Rodion G.A. for a compilation, ‘Romanian Rock Vol. 6.’ In 1981, the tracks were picked up by radio and Rodion even hit the top of the Romanian charts for several weeks. Beyond this, no other releases surfaced and yet the band recorded prolifically during the early 80s. Other records nearly materialised the band scored the soundtrack to an animated movie, Delta Space Mission in the mid-80s but the tracks were refused by the film company who then employed prolific Romanian electronic / pop producer Adrian Enescu for the job. The band’s only other documented performance during their career was a show on Romanian television celebrating New Years Eve in 1980. Rodion G.A. eventually split in 1987 following a gig at Mangalia Festival and Rodion then walked away from music following the death of his mother.

                  Fast forward to 2012 when the myth of Rodion G.A. came to the attention of excellent Romanian production and DJ crew, Future Nuggets, a collective as dedicated to unearthing Romania's musical past as they are forging new sounds steeped in the country's traditions. As well as this album, a partnership with Steve Kotey of Ambassadors Reception has led to a compilation of their own studio work including their acclaimed psych-jazz album as Steua da Mare.


                  STAFF COMMENTS

                  Sara says: Strut unearth lost vintage electronic music from Eastern Europe - for fans of Umberto and Silver Apples or anyone with an interest in the exotic and bizarre... Incredible!

                  Fanga & Maalem Abdullah Guinea

                  Fangnawa Experience

                  Strut announce a groundbreaking project for 2012, a unique fusion of Afro-beat and Moroccan Gnawa music from respected French Afro collective Fanga and leading Moroccan maâlem (Gnawa master), Abdallah Guinéa with his band Nasse Ejadba.

                  Curated by the excellent, forward-thinking Détours du Monde festival in Montpelier, France during 2011 in association with Nueva Onda, the collaboration re-interprets Fanga classics, cherry-picking tracks from their 15- year career. “Our objective from the sessions was not so much to create an entirely new flow but more to bring the real Gnawa sound and trance feeling to some of our songs - we wanted to make the songs work so neither group’s sound was compromised. For us, it was also a human and cultural meeting. We represent two continents but also two ways of thinking and two completely different styles of life.”

                  The two styles prove to be naturally compatible throughout. Leading out front on the tracks, Burkina Fasso-born Fanga bandleader Korbo and Guinéa share lead vocal duties. Guinéa builds his trademark ‘Fusion Trance’ through spiritual evocations, rolling, hypnotic rhythms and gimbri melodies while, by turn, Korbo serves up food for reflection, touching on the right to be different and promoting harmony between man and nature whilst denouncing the social injustices that result from an economic system out of control and designed to benefit the few.

                  Rich, thought-provoking and effortlessly funky, ‘Fangnawa Experience’ is an ambitious piece of work and another significant chapter in the open-minded and cross-cultural climate for modern world music.


                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                  CD Info: CD includes two bonus track 'Dounya' and 'Wouarri'.

                  CD includes MP3 Download Code.

                  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.

                  Isaac Hayes / Brainstorm

                  I Can't Turn Around / Journey To The Light

                  The Beedle boy gets to re-edit some choice disco gems for Strut. Isaac Hayes' anthem, "I Can't Turn Around" was famously covered by Farley Jackmaster Funk and "Journey To The Light" is an ace slice of jazz funk / disco. Both tracks on 12" for the first time ever!


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