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Kamasi Washington

Heaven & Earth

    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.

    Heaven & Earth, over two and a half hours of music, will be 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

    What's this? New XX material?! Well, kind-of, but, kind of not. A-Side sees Jamie XX remixing "On Hold" into a loopy tech-house rumbler that's equally nostalgic and forward-focused. The flip sees Four Tet smashing out "A Violent Noise" remix which is thick with thunder storm static and crushingly epic melodies. Jamie XX and Four Tet together on one twelve inch can only mean one thing - you better get your skates on!

    Contributions by Batu, Bambounou and Parris as Sampha's acclaimed album "Process" sees some remix treatment. "Plastic 100C" gets transformed into a bleepy and techy number; somewhere in between Joy O and Sleep Archive with its stripped back, forward focused minimalist groove combined with intricate, heavily manipulated vox that flutter and collapse in a typically Sunklo style. "Incomplete Kisses" is remixed by Bambounou into a Reichian exercise in repetition and expanded with clever percussion lines and and vocal snips. Finally, Parris remixes "Blood On Me" into a bass-ladled redux which tips its hat to James Blake but plummets even further into a blackened, smoldering alien wasteland. Top stuff from all involved, recommended.

    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

      Sil 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.

      FKA twigs re-issues her debut release, ‘EP1’. Originally released in December 2012, the incredibly rare EP was previously only available as a (long sold out) limited edition vinyl release, accompanied by a video for each song created by FKA twigs and Grace Ladoja.

      ‘EP1’ was the start of FKA twigs’ incredible journey as a musician and performer. Since its release the London-based singer, songwriter, producer, director and dancer has produced a series of highly-acclaimed works, including the follow up ‘EP2’, her Mercury Prize-nominated debut album ‘LP1’, the five song ‘M3LL155X’ EP and accompanying film and the recently-premiered ‘Soundtrack 7’ and ‘Baltimore Dance Project’ films. In addition, FKA twigs has directed, soundtracked and starred in campaigns for the likes of Google Glass and Calvin Klein.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Millie says: Genre defying, music icon FKA Twigs brings us this hypnotic new EP, her fixating vocals are so refreshingly distinct and enchantingly hymn-like. Underneath her stunning vocals are constructed industrial synth beats. Vivid and captivating, it's definitely a prominent favourite of mine.

      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.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Patrick says: Delayed by three busy years spent writing and producing for the entirety of America's R&B A-list, Sampha finally finds time to release his debut LP, "Process". Meditating on the loss of his mother to cancer, the London musician packs this ten track set with emotional expression, existential exploration and heartbreaking synth-soul melodies - well worth the wait.

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Vinyl comes with CD version of the album enclosed.

      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

      Andy 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

      Coloured LP Info: 10 tracks on limited-edition Indies only clear vinyl, in a debossed mirri board sleeve with a download.

      Vinyl comes with CD version of the album enclosed.

      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.

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Vinyl comes with CD version of the album enclosed.

      Various Artists

      Continuum (Jamie XX / Four Tet / Koreless / John Talabot)

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

        Limited to 750 copies.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Ltd 7" Info: 7" & DVD

        "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.


        FKA Twigs

        EP2

          Over the last year, London-based artist Twigs has produced a series of strikingly original pieces of music, each of which featured an equally striking visual accompaniment. The four tracks were compiled on 2012’s self-released debut, ‘EP1’.

          Now, following a name alteration to FKA twigs, she unveils the brand new ‘EP2’, which is released on the Young Turks label, available on 12” vinyl in a nice picture sleeve.

          “So, so amazing ethereal dubstep pop from Gloucestershire... The UK’s best example to date of ethereal, twisted R&B.” - The Guardian

          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

          Ryan 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.

          At nine songs and 21 minutes in total length, "You Drive Me To Plastic" is neither an EP nor an album, nor a beat-tape, nor a mixtape, and yet manages to touch on all of these notions at once. If these are supposed to be 'beats' they are devoid of the played-out signifiers - no looped breaks, no wobbly basslines, no squiggly 8-bit chirps - but the language of composition is entirely rooted in the hip-hop tradition. What is remarkable about this record is the ease with which Bullion draws disparate elements together, fusing them into a harmonious ensemble. Exotic percussion, jangling guitar lines and library grooves are married with hard-edged 80s retro-funk, plodding new wave synthesisers and krautrock drones, and though these all make for unlikely bedfellows, here they tessellate perfectly as if made to match.

          Overall, this is a mature and sophisticated record that will delight crate diggers of all ages, especially those searching for something with one foot in the past and one foot in the sound of tomorrow. A work of beguiling beauty, and an endearingly quirky listen, "You Drive Me To Plastic" is arguably his finest and most original work to date. If he can find it in himself to deliver a full length of this quality, then the future is golden.


          The best track on their album? Discuss......

          STAFF COMMENTS

          David says: If by some chance you've spent the last six months living on another planet and you don't know about The XX, this, the fourth single to be taken from their self-titled debut album is as perfect a three minutes as anyone could ask. Dark, brooding pop music at its spine tingling best.

          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

          Darryl 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".

          Ltd CD Info: Comes with die-cut slip case.

          Kid Harpoon is a singer songwriter, but not in the wishy-washy twee kind of way. Although at times the songs are delicate acoustic affairs, he also has the ability to raise the tempo too, but it's his songwriting that really sets him apart - dark, articulate and truly captivating. This excellent new set of songs called "The Second EP" opens with the brisk, quick-sharp strumming of "Riverside" it finds Kid Harpoon at his most frenetic yet, ending off with a pummelling outro as razor-tinged guitar collides alongside pounding drums. As was evidenced on "The First EP", there are a trio of songs here, "Fathers And Sons", "Suicide Grandad?" and "In The Dark" – all part produced by Kid Harpoon himself - that show him as an introspective songsmith whose lyrics bristle with imagery and regret. The EP closes with the delicate folk tinged "Lay Of The Land".


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