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PEACEFROG

Jose Gonzalez

In Our Nature

    When José González became a household name across the world with the help of 250,000 coloured bouncing balls and a Sony Bravia television commercial featuring his spare and moving version of The Knife's song, "Heartbeats", it was the second time fame came calling and caused a truly remarkable phenomenon. While studying biochemistry at the university of Gothenburg, José's debut album "Veneer" was released in his Swedish homeland in 2003. It made him a national star. Featuring "Heartbeats" and ten other resonant, acoustic songs, "Veneer" turned José, a Gothenburg (via Argentina) native, into a Top Ten recording artist. This, his second album continues where "Veneer" left off. Another stunning collection of captivating songs.

    Stasis

    Circuit Funk

      Growing up as a teenager in East London, break-dancing and writing graffiti with B12’s Mike Golding, Steve Pickton’s AKA Stais musical education moved along a familiar path, from hip-hop to Electro and onto Techno. Schooling himself in music theory and purchasing a sampler Pickton set about making his own music. Releasing on a whose who of seminal UK electronic labels including A.R.T., Likemind, Otherworld and B12 under various pseudonyms Pickton’s UK take on lush Detroit melodies fused techno, funk, hip-hop, dub, blues and jazz into a dense concoction all of his own making. Re-issued for the first time since its initial release in 1993 Circuit Funk Pickton’s debut release on Peacefrog is packed full of lush Detroit melodics and future funk that still sounds unique and fresh today.

      Parekh & Singh

      Science City

        Science City is the second LP from dream pop duo Parekh & Singh. If their debut Ocean conjured a lush landscape populated by magical creatures, Science City sees our sharpsuited star-gazers materialising in another dimension - a retro-future world of doctors and scientists, quantum mechanics and plans to unlock the secrets of the “Universosphere”. Parekh’s divine vocals once again backed by vintage synths and Singh’s expertly effervescent percussion. Opener Sunbeam depicts an ‘AI being’ blinking in the sun whilst contemplating its own obsolescence. Down at the Sky is an Escher-like search for truth and Hello is described curiously as “creamy music for advanced nighttime driving on deserted streets”. The ennuidrenched Summer Skin opens a hazy portal to the bucolic, where we find our singer alone with an acoustic guitar, pondering the “momentariness of life”. Be Something’s squelchy synths and xylophone runs channel a rainy day Steely Dan. While Evening Sun soars over circuit board landscapes, with 8-bit laser gun FX pulsing by, Monkey depicts a video game set in a luminous forest biosphere. Following Surgeon’s dissection of the dark heart of the infosphere, the prog-pop splendour of 100 Shadows journeys below “our troubled surface world” to a secret kingdom of synthesisers. For all the talk of “particle physics” and “aerodynamics”, it’s love that sustains life in the dreamlike Fwd Slash. The limpid beauty of soul-pop gem Crystalline brings Science City to a suitably sublime conclusion.

        Charlene Soraia

        Where's My Tribe

          One voice. One guitar. Ten killer songs. Recorded by the artist alone in her South London flat - with no edits, no autotune and mostly in one take - Where’s My Tribe is an album of raw and simple beauty. With song titles such as Beautiful People, Tragic Youth and Now You Are With Her, Where’s My Tribe lays bear the loneliness that lurks at the empty heart of our super-connected world, chasing friends and dragons - real and illusory - down the virtual rabbit hole. Recorded in one take at 3am, Temptation channels the exquisite torture of an illicit affair resisted, but only just. With Tragic Youth, ghosts of the past are exorcised and consigned to history - eased on their way by a voice that glides like quicksilver over an intricate tapestry of guitar rhythms. While Beautiful People reads like an outsider’s protest to the selfie generation, Far Beyond the High Street portrays a house “split into four separate homes” and Now You Are With Her is a song of heartache and longing to compete with the very best. As demonstrated by her accidental worldwide hit Wherever You Will Go, Charlene Soraia is possessed of a voice that can melt hearts. Where’s My Tribe serves as a powerful reminder that she is also a guitarist of virtuosic skill and songwriter of rare talent. Universal yet intensely personal, this is a record of our time and forever that will resonate with the lonely soul inside us all. For the visuals Charlene Soraia collaborated with The Rest, the award-winning Northampton based filmmaking duo renowned for their naturalistic takes on British youth culture (Kojey Radical, Slowthai).

          The resulting 12-minute short Tribe - and the music videos cut from it for Where’s My Tribe, Tragic Youth and Now You Are With Her - respond to themes that weave through the music with a delicately nuanced portrayal of a group of friends gathering for a weekend of gaming, drink and shrooms - familiar and ultimately anti- climactic diversions from the unsettling anxieties that lurk just below the surface. A pervasive sense of isolation is nailed by one friend’s amused call-out to his mates variously texting or playing virtual football, faces lit by the glow of their smartphones; “So, who wants a chat? ... what’s happening in the living room??” Individual stories are subtly suggested in this understated portrayal of late teenage life, caught between adolescence and adulthood, hesitating between staying put and cutting loose. As Soraia’s vocal to Tragic Youth (live performance) suggests, “soon you will be called"..

          Growing up in Atlanta, Chris Brann discovered house and electronic music by the somewhat longwinded way of getting sent tapes from Europe. He began assembling a home studio but it wasn't until 1994 that he began his music career in earnest and formed Wamdue Kids with DJs Deep C, and Udoh.

          In 1995 they released the classic "Higher" on the Acacia label, which led to the Wamdue Kids signing to Peacefrog and the release of their seminal debut album "These Branching Moments". Following the success of this the next year Chris released his first solo album "Deep Fall", reflecting a different direction to that of his productions with Wamdue.

          "Deep Fall", originally released in 1997, is a delicious collection of deep tech-house. Stand outs are the aptly named title track with beautiful synth washes and a single mournful modulated violin at its centre; and the emotional "Journey To The Centre" which is nothing short of epic.


          Fromtheoldtothenew was originally released in 1996 and is the second full length on Peacefrog from Steve ‘Stasis’ Pickton. Growing up as a teenager in East London, break-dancing and writing graffiti with B12’s Mike Golding, Steve Pickton’s musical education moved along a familiar path, from hip-hop to electro and onto techno. Schooling himself in music theory and purchasing a sampler, Pickton set about making his own music.

          Releasing on a whose who of seminal UK electronic labels including A.R.T., Likemind, Otherworld and B12 under various pseudinums Pickton’s UK take on lush Detroit melodies fused techno, funk, hip-hop, dub, blues and jazz into a dense concoction all of his own making.

          "Fromtheoldtothenew" saw Pickton slip off his earlier techno shackles and head for uncharted electrconic waters.

          The echo chamber dramatics of Gun and wayward lurch of "Ale House Blues" were a long way from Detroit, while few tracks have demonstrated the sheer breadth of electronica more dramatically than "Utopia Planetia". All in all it's more jazz, less tech without losing its hard hitting impact. 

          Gemini

          On The North Star With Gemini

          As one of Chicago’s most mysterious and revered characters, the story of Gemini, aka Spencer Kincy has become something of a myth in recent years – blazing a trail throughout the 90’s, prolifically releasing over 200 tracks from 1994 to 1999, Spencer’s music had shades innovation and soul few of his peers could match. Then, suddenly, at the peak of his career, he disappeared from view. Gemini’s unique combination of Chicago groove, Detroit strings and spacey effects have rightly ensured ‘On The North Star’ as a sought after classic of the era. The EP was the second of Gemini’s two 12” for Peacefrog which was closely followed by his Peacefrog long-player ‘In And Out Of Fog And Lights’ (re-press coming soon). Lush transcending deep house for the conersiour.

          Recorded in 1998 and becoming one of the most monumental and inspiring moments in deep house. It's often cited that only 30 people attended the Sex Pistols infamous Free Trade Hall gig but everyone who did started a band. Well, I reckon only 100 people bought “First Floor” first time round but everyone of them got an MPC and started making music! Incredibly, almost 20 years old it's still my favourite Theo Parrish record and was surely the catalyst to hoards of millennials digging deep into the crates of 2nd hand disco, soul and jazz records, turning their back on the beige and mass produced funky house that dominated the era. Part 2 includes the creeping, downbeat funk of "Electric Alleycat", one of the most synonymous sounds I associate with Theo (much the same way "I Can't Kick This Feeling" typifies the KDJ style). The James Brown sampling, leftfield anthem - "JB's Edit", sounding fresher than ever as we witness one of Theo's infamous DJ tools in all its unadulterated glory. The flanging squelch of "Dark Patterns" is up next, displaying Theo's early love of playful yet re-wired drum patterns, flipping much of what's expected of conventional dance music on its head. "Heal Yourself And Move" shows a producer totally confident in his approach as he deploys a nothing short of epic bleep-melody, completely unhurried as it builds in emotion and vigor, met with the spiritual vocal that slowly rises from the mix. Finally "Sky Walking" concludes with a basement house anthem, it's soft kicks and rounded bass sounds providing the inspiration for a thousand backrooms up and down the land; the soulful vox, clever Rhodes licks and jazz-inspired grooves pretty much epitomizing the sound of deep house for the next five years. 

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Matt says: Much needed repress of one of Theo's finest moments. A holy grail for me and my crew; part 2's got that killer JB DJ tool ("JB's Edit") and the creeping downbeat funk of "Electric Alleycat".

          Recorded in 1998 and becoming one of the most monumental and inspiring moments in deep house. It's often cited that only 30 people attended the Sex Pistols infamous Free Trade Hall gig but everyone who did started a band. Well, I reckon only 100 people bought “First Floor” first time round but everyone of them got an MPC and started making music! Incredibly, almost 20 years old it's still my favourite Theo Parrish record and was surely the catalyst to hoards of millennials digging deep into the crates of 2nd hand disco, soul and jazz records, turning their back on the beige and mass produced funky house that dominated the era. Part 1 opens with the blunted downbeat house roll of "First Floor Metaphor". Those pitched down kicks, gruff bass rumble and smoky jazz licks an early indication of TP's fearless experimentation. "Only The Beginning" sees discord and rhythm make serendipitous bedfellows as stuttered synth samples are met with rampant percussion lines and chopped vocal snips. "Sweet Sticky" is indeed the inspirational track Garth Be named his label after, such is the reverence this record carries amongst the 28 - 40 years olds of this country. Finally, "Paradise Architechts" and "Love Is War For Miles" display Theo's deft craft at building subtly intense epics, sprawling effortlessly over extended duration and delving deep and personally into every sample source used. The record plays like a full tutorial on how to get the most out of a few dusty old records and an MPC and threw two fingers up at the super expensive, highly polished studio music that was also produced at the time. Detroit always took creativity back to the bedrooms and run-down rehearsal spaces of the world, showing us how to make good with what we have and that the real musical power lies within. Essential.

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Matt says: Much needed repress of one of Theo's finest moments. I must confess, out of my price range for some time (I was only 13 years old when it first came out), it became somewhat of a holy grail amongst me and one Ste Spandex. Good things come to those who wait! :)

          They say moving house can be one of life's most stressful tasks. If one person knows about that its Manchester-based musical craftsman Marc Rigelsford, or as he’s become better known, Magic Arm. More used to wiring up microphones and keyboards than picking out wallpaper patterns, no one, least of all him, would have expected some innocent house-hunting to give life to a brand new album.

          “I didn't think about recording at home until the new house began to empty as people moved out,” he reveals. “But I was slowly introduced to the perfect studio... houses have windows, studios don't. There’s something inspiring about being able to see a car or a bird.”

          Following 2009’s debut album Make Lists Do Something, Images Rolling is a further exploration of the musical playground that is Magic Arm’s world. Somewhere between ‘This Way Up’ cardboard boxes and the stairwell in which the new record’s violin and trumpet sounds were recorded, a studio gradually took shape. Boasting an array of cables, switches, and instruments donated by friends and family such as a piano, guitar, bass, synths, keyboards, glockenspiel, various types of organ, and drums, Rigelsford’s new sound workshop offered the perfect balance between vocational artistic freedom and a chaotic living space; “Tripping over your instruments on your way to the kitchen is a constant reminder that there is something else that you should be doing,” he confesses.

          Always one to find new avenues of exploring what’s readily presented in front of him simply by ‘giving it a whirl’ rather than exercising any form of technical training, Rigelsford is a true DIY pop maverick. From the colourful television theme music of Ski Sunday to that of the detective shows he grew up with, plus a penchant for big soundtracks like those of The Godfather, A fistful of Dollars, and Michael Galasso’s In the Mood for Love, his naturally inquisitive sense of sonic adventure has always been provoked by all that surrounds him.

          Musing on a bout of melancholic nostalgia ('Images Rolling' refers to reflecting the past and the way that you can scroll through memories “like a television on the blink”, he says), this record is the sound of one man exploring not only where he’s been but also commenting upon the present; editing, re-editing, then editing again, an album itself. “. “It's an album inspired by the process of writing an album”

          Moving away from the more electronic sound of his debut LP, Images Rolling has taken on the natural reverbs of the vast part-derelict three-storey house, coming over as an altogether warmer and more comforting entity. Take infectious opener Put Your Collar Up; classical sounds are thrown off centre by detuned pianos and woozy synths that move with hip hop bounce. Elsewhere Warning Sign recalls the ambience of Mercury Rev’s weirdly magical off-kilter daydreams whilst Lanes’ sweeping strings and the merry-go-round waltz of Great Life give light to Rigelsford’s new method of exploration in writing songs on a piano rather than a guitar for the very first time.

          “After finishing the first album I bought a piano with the intention of learning it and it being a key part of the new album. I spent a few months learning Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata as an entry point.”

          From entry point to its end Images Rolling is a restless, fearlessly ambitious, yet understated and articulate piece of work. No-one could ever accuse Rigelsford of making music that fits into any pigeon-shaped holes, but with this record he’s certainly found a musical home.

          FORMAT INFORMATION

          LP Info: Was £15.99.


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