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Kamasi Washington

Becoming

    Kamasi Washington composed and produced the original score for Becoming, the four time Emmy-nominated film that provided an intimate glimpse into the life of Michelle Obama. Produced by Netflix Originals, Becoming documented a moment of profound change for the former First Lady, not only for her personally but for the country she and her husband served over eight impactful years in the White House. Washington, who joined the project in its embryonic stages, provides the powerful musical backdrop.

    Ethan P. Flynn

    B-Sides & Rarities - Vol. 1

      B-Sides & Rarities Volume 1 is an expanded version of his debut compilation and career retrospective. Originally released via Bandcamp, this project is an evolving body of work featuring a collection of songs recorded between 2015 and 2018. Showcasing a deft songwriting flair and touching on musical inspirations that run the gamut from Sparklehorse to Madlib, Julia Holter to Danny Brown and Tom Waits, the collection first appeared in 2019. The record’s next chapter saw Tokyo’s renowned Big Love Records pressing the album to vinyl at the start of 2020, exclaiming “A genius appears! The first hero of the 2020s!” Now expanded to include four new songs –“Everybody’s Dying To Meet You”, “Are You Doing This To Hurt Me”, “What You Do To Me” and “When I Taste The Pavement”.

      Titled Magdalene, the album is the follow up to FKA twigs’ critically acclaimed Brit Award and Mercury Prize nominated debut LP1.

      Created in a period where her confidence was knocked following heartbreak and laparoscopic surgery, Magdalene is the sound of twigs reconfiguring, emotionally and physically. As she sings on ‘Mary Magdalene’, the Magdalene album track that opened her highly-praised, sold-out live shows earlier in the year, “A woman’s time / A woman’s work / A woman’s time to embrace / She must put herself first”.

      Magdalene is produced by FKA twigs and, as with LP1, the recording process has been directed by her at every stage. It was recorded between London, New York and Los Angeles over the last three years and features major contributions from Nicolas Jaar alongside a host of other collaborators. Magdalene sees FKA twigs creating a whole new artistic universe and it is, without doubt, her most masterful, innovative work to date.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      says: From gothic choral passages to pulsing, deep bass and skittering percussives, 'Magdalene' covers a wide range of smoothly accomplished stylistic changes as well as a viceral and effective range of emotional dynamics. It's a confident and varied selection, and in FKA's classic style, brilliantly done.

      The long-awaited follow up to Washington’s debut "The Epic", "Heaven & Earth" is comprised of two halves, which find Washington confronting quotidian realities with cosmic themes. A further investigation of Washington’s world building ideas, the new album explores his reckoning with current global chaos and his vision for the future.

      Washington convened his band, The Next Step, as well as members of the long running collective The West Coast Get Down at Henson Studios in Los Angeles to record the 16 tracks on Heaven & Earth. The music was composed, written and arranged by Washington, with new arrangements of jazz and bebop legend Freddie Hubbard’s “Hubtones” and iconic kung fu film theme “Fists of Fury,” as well as one song by bandmate Ryan Porter. Thundercat, Terrace Martin, Ronald Bruner, Jr., Cameron Graves, Brandon Coleman, Miles Mosley, Patrice Quinn, Tony Austin and many more contribute to the album.

      Clocking in at two and a half colossal hours of music, "Heaven & Earth" is available on double deluxe CD and a four piece vinyl housed in bespoke double gatefold sleeve

      “The world that my mind lives in, lives in my mind.” This idea inspired me to make this album Heaven & Earth. The reality we experience is a mere creation of our consciousness, but our consciousness creates this reality based on those very same experiences. We are simultaneously the creators of our personal universe and creations of our personal universe. The Earth side of this album represents the world as I see it outwardly, the world that I am a part of. The Heaven side of this album represents the world as I see it inwardly, the world that is a part of me. Who I am and the choices I make lie somewhere in between.”
      Kamasi Washington

      STAFF COMMENTS

      says: The man responsible for turning a younger generation of music lovers onto the passion and power of jazz returns with the bombastic brilliance of his sophomore LP. Seriously spiritual and surprisingly groovy, "Heaven & Earth" incorporates Marvin-esque soul, Old Testament intensity and soaring, searing solos into a breathtaking vision of jazz's next incarnation.

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      4xLP Info: Four LP set housed in bespoke double gatefold sleeve.

      2xCD Info: Double deluxe CD.

      Kamasi Washington

      Harmony Of Difference

        Harmony of Difference premiered as part of the Whitney Museum of American Art 2017 Biennial alongside a film by A.G. Rojas and also featuring artwork by Kamasi Washington’s sister, Amani Washington. The new music is an original six part suite that explores the philosophical possibilities of the musical technique known as “counterpoint,” which Washington defines as “the art of balancing similarity and difference to create harmony between separate melodies.” Beyond the artistic impulse to expand the possibilities within counterpoint, Washington wanted to create something that opened people’s minds to the gift of diversity.

        Each of the first five movements is its own unique composition. “Truth,” the sixth movement, fuses all five compositions into one simultaneous performance. Echoing this fusion, Amani created five paintings focused on raw shapes and colors, each inspired by one of the first five movements of the suite. Amani then combined these paintings to create a sixth: an abstract depiction of a human face.

        The film, directed by A.G. Rojas, brings the metaphoric ideas found in both the music and paintings to life. While still quite abstract, it focuses on the harmony found in people from South Central and East Los Angeles and shows the beauty in their differences.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        says: If you enjoyed "The Epic", then you’re in for a treat with this EP. Washington's music is in touch with the social issues that surround our world. Watch the video for 'Truth' and you will have a taster of the message. His multilayered approach and execution of jazz and his sometimes cinematic optic hint to even greater things yet to come.

        Since bursting out of the UK's soulful electronic underground alongside SBTRKT and James Blake back in 2010, Sampha's worked at his craft with a quiet and assured confidence. Though he's steadily released a string of precise and poignant singles over the past few years, the London artist has managed to fly just under the radar, revelling in the creative freedom this lack of attention affords. Still just twenty seven years old, he has lent his vocal, production and songwriting talents to a range of standout releases, from UK contemporaries such as FKA twigs, Jessie Ware and SBTRKT to world-renowned superstars like Drake, Kanye West and, most recently this year, on Frank Ocean’s "Endless" and Solange’s "A Seat At The Table" albums. Now it’s time for Sampha to tell his own story and "Process", produced by Sampha himself and Rodaidh McDonald, is set to be his defining musical statement. To paraphrase the previously mentioned Yeezy, Sampha's kept all the best shit for himself here, topping those critically acclaimed songwriting credits with a set of experimental soul and futurist R&B which explores grief with sincerity and sensitivity. Overwhelmed by the loss of his mother to cancer, the London musician poured his heart into the piano, raising his game to treat us to ten existential, poetic and occasional cryptic studies of the human condition. In turns fragile, tense and terse, but always alive with pure melodic beauty, "Process" is a stunning debut from a future superstar.

        I See You marks a new era for the London trio of Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Sim and Jamie Smith, both sonically and in terms of process. For while xx and Coexist were both made in relative isolation in London, I See You was recorded between March 2014 and August 2016 in New York, Marfa TX, Reykjavik, Los Angeles and London, and is characterised by a more outward-looking, open and expansive approach. Produced by Jamie Smith and Rodaidh McDonald, I See You is The xx at their boldest yet, performing with more clarity and ambition than ever before.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        says: After two perfect, and pretty similar albums of clipped, late-night minimalism, The XX ring the changes, tinkering with their template with a record showing some of the dynamism and richness of Jamie's smash-hit solo album of 2 years ago. It still has all their hallmarks intact, just warped and deepened to beautiful effect. Brilliant.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Deluxe LP Info: Silver mirri board debossed box containing the album on 180g heavyweight vinyl, with an extra 12” including 3 bonus tracks, album CD, enhanced CD featuring a live video of bonus track ‘Brave For You (Marfa Demo)’ and 3 exclusive prints by Alasdair McLellan.

        CD Info: CD comes in a debossed mirri board sleeve.

        Jamie xx releases his debut album 'In Colour' on Young Turks. The 11 track LP includes previous releases ‘Girl’ and ‘Sleep Sound’ as well as forthcoming single ‘Loud Places’, which features vocals from Romy Madley Croft.

        The release of 'In Colour' comes on the back of an incredible six year creative period for Jamie xx, which has seen him alternate effortlessly between his role as founding member and producer of the xx, and creator of more electronic and club orientated music as Jamie xx. A string of acclaimed productions in recent years including debut solo single ‘Far Nearer’, remixes for the likes of Adele, Radiohead and Florence & The Machine, production work for Drake and Alicia Keys plus 'We’re New Here' - Jamie’s reworking of Gil Scott-Heron’s final studio album - hinted at what was to come. With 'In Colour' - a bold, celebratory, emotional record that features collaborations with The xx band mates Romy Madley Croft (‘Seesaw’ and ‘Loud Places’) and Oliver Sim (‘Stranger In A Room’), Young Thug and Popcaan (‘Good Times’) and Four Tet (‘Seesaw’) - Jamie delivers his definitive artistic statement.

        "LP1" arrived on the shop counter off the back of a wave of anticipation, hype and uproarious reviews. As the release date grew closer, the number of customers whispering her name over the counter grew and grew, her reputation buoyed by a spectacular sell out show at the Dancehouse recently, which even garnered the admiration of well known Mancunian curmudgeon Randy Marsh! Well, it's here, and god damn it, the hipsters were right! Wonderfully experimental, defiantly accidental and expertly produced RnB majesty that's destined for a Mercury Music Prize.

        Undeniably contemporary, this long player sees Tahliah Barnett reinterpret Prince's slow jams through the skewed gaze of someone living in an Odd Future, swapping the hardware warmth for nuanced software glitch. The ten tracks on show offer a variety of mood and feeling, ranging from the intimate to the euphoric and the melancholic to the anthemic. "Lights On" is gonna soundtrack every student date in the coming academic year, while the eerie choral timbre of "Closer" is this decade's answer to Shakespeare's Sister, in a very good way. Well executed and conceptually bold, this perfect example of post-everything pop music looks set to be a future classic.


        Various Artists

        Young Turks 2013/2

        Young Turks announce "YT2013" a series of very limited edition vinyl releases to celebrate the label's artists of 2013.

        To showcase the exciting releases Young Turks have had throughout 2013, the label are set to release a series of uniquely artworked limited edition 12"s. Each vinyl will feature two tracks by artists affiliated with the label in 2013.

        The second of these will be the release of a rare track by The xx split with a track from Sampha’s ‘Dual’ EP. 200 copies only, UK only release.

        The xx - 'Reconsider'. First vinyl release for “Reconsider”, Japanese Bonus track of 'Coexist'.

        Sampha - 'Without'. 'Without' is taken from Sampha debut EP ‘Dual’, released on July 29th 2013 on Young Turks.


        The long awaited second album from The XX.

        Three years on from their Mercury Prize winning debut, Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Sim and Jamie Smith are back with a new album, ‘Coexist’, and a new perspective.

        Where ‘XX’ lent in close to whisper in your ear, ‘Coexist’ gazes warmly in your eyes. Much has happened to lead to this point: most pertinently, they’ve grown up.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        says: Even more dazzling than their last! The vocals are intimate & soulful while subtle club rhythms chug along nicely to give it all just the right amount of impact.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Vinyl comes with CD version of the album enclosed.

        Listening to “XX” is an uncomfortable, obtrusive experience, akin to eavesdropping on two lovers while they whisper and caress. So intimate are the songs contained within that at the very least, you feel you should turn away your face to hide your shame. In fact, it’s impossible to talk about The XX without talking about sex. Like so many bed sheets strewn across the floor, Romy and Oliver’s duets are littered with sexual anxiety, claustrophobia and desire and their take on romance is a particularly urban one, more council high rise and public transport than the Crystal and Gucci version favoured by the R&B they love so much. “XX” is a debut album that’s old beyond its tender years but such is its fragility, it’s only when the final note of “Stars”, the albums closing track has dissolved that we can breathe again, relieved that we’ve made it to the end, safe and in each other’s arms.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        says: An intimate listen, and one that makes it perfect for the winter months. Sparse to the point to the point of fragility their debut album is moody, menacing and downright brilliant.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        LP Info: Includes bonus track "Hot Like Fire".


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