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TIME CAPSULE

Il Guardiano Del Faro

Oasis

    Time Capsule is a new reissue label that unites the record collectors and DJs of the brilliant corners and Beauty & The Beat communities in London. For each release, Kay Suzuki works alongside one co-curator to reinstate and repackage the music they hold dear into perfectly restored historic artifacts.

    For the first release, brilliant corners regular and Meda Fury signing Ryota OPP curates the reissue of Il Guardiano Del Faro’s 1978 album Oasis.

    Born 1940 in Milan, Federico Monti Arduini was a child prodigy who studied piano and was already performing at concerts from the age of eight. He composed pop songs for other artists which sold millions of copies, but his own solo success came after he encountered synthesizers in the early 70s.

    Viewed as a precursor of New Age sound art, Arduini was one of the first producers in Italy to use the Moog synthesizer and a meeting with Bob Moog in New York only added to this obsession.
    He was also an early adopter of the tradition among electronic producers to use a moniker to disguise his identity. Il Guardiano Del
    Faro (translated as “the guardian of lighthouse”) is a nod to the small Italian fishing town Porto Santo Stefano, where Arduini
    created his studio in the mid-70s.

    He produced a number of albums from this seaside idyl of electronic instruments and tape recorders, but Oasis stands out from the pack. Released in 1978, it became a cult classic for its experimental sounds and emotional expressions. Spiritual synth sounds cover the album in a dreamy haze, oscillating between ambient and psychedelic. Sparing deployment of the Roland rhythm box gives dance floor favourites ‘Disco Divina’ and ‘Oasis’ touches of space disco and even teases proto-house elements like the great Sun Palace.

    “The passionate and dramatic sound of Il Guardiano Del Faro made me fantasise about so many romantic aspects of Italian culture. Oasis is sonically more interesting than his other albums and these exotic, eccentric rhythms sound quite familiar to the modern music fans.” Ryota OPP


    Ben Tankard

    All Keyed Up EP

      This collection of ground-breaking instrumentals captures a moment of musical alchemy. Stylistic edges become blurred with by-turns into jazz, gospel, soul, funk and dance. A new genre – gospel jazz – was created in their wake.

      The son of a minister father and a missionary mother, Tankard grew up playing drums in his local church. Numerous offers of scholarships to music college came his way but his height and youthful speed determined the choice of a scholarship in basketball. Turning pro, he was drafted with NBA team Portland Trailblazers before a knee injury cut his career short and led to a period of homelessness: “I could not pay my rent so for a short time I was living in my car and sleeping on friend’s sofas.”

      A church visit proved life-changing: “I heard of a revival service that was going on. I was nearly starving with no job or income so I went only for the free meal. Afterwards the preacher called me up and told me to sit down to the keyboard. I was hesitant but after all I did not have anything to lose. When my hands touched the keys I began to play like George Duke! No lessons - just instant awareness. That is where ‘gospel jazz’ was born. Since it was jazzy in nature, yet inspired in the church, I decided to call it ‘gospel jazz’.”

      Tankard got a job at a local music store where he spent the next few years honing his craft before he began recording his own music. “I programmed all the instruments myself on a keyboard so I called it All Keyed Up.”

      Curator Pol Valls found the record while digging and was struck by it’s genre-defying creativity: “the track which stood out the most for me was Eden Celebration which has the feel of early dance music. I also loved Melodic Heaven and the title track All Keyed Up. That track was really short though so we decided to make a remix of it.

      If Eden Celebration, with its highly rhythmic cross-breed of jazz fusion and electro shows Tankard at his most creative, then All Keyed Up - a stellar exercise in funk-laced jazz fusion replete with Don Blackman-esque piano runs - demonstrates his prowess on the keys. On Melodic Heaven lo-fi synths and boogie-fied bass synths combine with his elegant and soulful piano. The remix of the title track expands the short-but-sweet piano-based vignette into a Balearic anthem replete with extra drums, synths and guitar.

      Released in 1989, Tankard’s All Keyed Up album kick-started a hugely successful recording career. Nowadays he’s also known as a motivational speaker, author, trained pilot (famously flying to shows in his own planes) and as the star of his own reality TV show. This collection chronicles the magic that happened at the beginning of his career, it’s inspired melding of styles sounding as fresh today as when they were first put to tape on his home studio.


      STAFF COMMENTS

      says: You're looking at a masterclass in acceptable fusion right here folks. Maximal DX7 vibrations power the New Age dance mode of "Eden Celebration", a firm friend to Hardcastle's "Rainforest", while the smooth "Melodic Heaven" and "All Keyed Up" are jazz jams for the Balearic crowd. Toppest of notches.

      Gigi

      Illuminated Audio

        Ejigayehu Shibabaw was born in 1974 in Chagni, northwestern Ethiopia and by pursuing a career as a singer, went against her father’s strict, traditional gender roles. As Gigi, she embraced the same musical freedom she had strived for in her personal life, incorporating the Ethiopian church, funk, hip-hop, West and South African music into her work. She first settled in Nairobi, then Addis Ababa, where she quickly established herself as one of the city’s leading singers. A move to San Francisco in 1998 led to a long and fruitful creative partnership with bassist and producer Bill Laswell.

        Around the same time, Chris Blackwell had stepped away from Island Records to start the art house film company and label Palm Pictures. He took an interest in Gigi and together with Laswell, pulled together an all-star cast of musicians for her self-titled US debut album, including Herbie Hancock, Pharoah Sanders and Wayne Shorter. It won international critical acclaim, not just for its musicianship but for making Gigi a “defining voice for the Ethiopian expatriate community”, as journalist Tyran Grillo praises in his Time Capsule liner notes. From the nation-defining 1896 victory over Italian invaders to the quiet revolutionaries who wear simple shemma garments, Grillo believes the themes in Gigi make it “a shower of sunlight on her homeland for those ignorant of its struggles.”

        After its success, Blackwell encouraged them to go back into the studio to rethink the album and Illuminated Audio was born. “Anyone can make a voice sound worldly”, Grillo remarks, “but rare are those who can make one sound inner-worldly.” Gigi was clear with Laswell to give her vocals a minor role “because it’s already been done.” Instead her Amharic verse is fleeting, exhaling through the textures like ghostly fragments, soaring yet muted. Yet the album is still titled under her name, an assertion by Laswell of her central role in the album’s creation. Not only was it a fully endorsed project by Gigi, but she would be present throughout its development, giving feedback on half-finished ideas as Laswell played them back in the Orange Music studio in New Jersey. “It works perfectly”, she reflected after the album’s release. “We wanted to capture the whole spirit of each track, and Bill’s remixes create a different music
        language that really puts you in a pleasant place”.

        This new vocabulary takes its lead from a technical approach that Laswell had been perfecting during a furtive creative period at the turn of the millennium. Much like his ambient interpretations of Miles Davis (Panthalassa, 1998), Bob Marley (Dreams of Freedom, 1997), and Carlos Santana (Divine Light, 2001), Laswell approached Illuminated Audio by returning to the original multi track masters. Gigi wasn’t just reworked, but recomposed into an expansive lattice of instruments, submerged in a watery ambience of dub and trance undercurrents.

        Sonically, this new language that Gigi refers to, is manifested by the original album’s more understated parts being pushed to the fore. Explaining his contrasting methods, Laswell saw Gigi as being “put together in a way that fits”. Contrastingly, in Illuminated Audio “a lot of things that I featured in the remix weren’t as audible in the original.” Instrumentation laying near-dormant, deep in the mix are brought to the fore: the acid rock guitar and Wayne Shorter’s saxophone on ‘Tew Ante Sew’, Graham Haynes’ flugelhorn on Nafekeñ, Laswell’s bass on ‘Kahn’, the melodica in Mengedegna or the floating synths and talking drums in ‘Gud Fella’.

        Brought to his attention by mentor DJ Nori, Hidaka describes Illuminated Audio as a “masterful sonic exploration into ethereal ambience and dub” and made sure this reissue also contained a full remaster to give much better dynamics and density in the overall sound. To the dub album non-believers this might seem like a prolific producer imposing himself on another artist’s work, with eternally developing rearrangements that never quite get to its destination. But that’s missing its true power and triumph. As Grillo asserts, this is “more than the reissue of a remix of her masterstroke”. Illuminated Audio refers to the illuminated manuscripts that comprise the major part of Ethiopian art and its new compositions stand in proud solitude as a rare body of reworks that both informs and enhances their
        originals.



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