Promoting pioneering music, independent artists & labels from around the globe

shutterstock_465459974_edited.jpg

Global Hopping...

Alhaji Waziri Oshomah -World Spirituality Classics Vol. 3

Record of the Week

The Muslim Highlife of Alhaji Waziri Oshomah is the third volume of their widely celebrated World Spirituality Classics series. Originally initiated to offer some form of positivity, The Muslim Highlife of Alhaji Waziri Oshomah follows the acclaimed World Spiritualty Classics releases of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitanada’s ecstatic music and private press gospel soul compilation The Time For Peace Is Now, both of which were awarded Best New Reissue by Pitchfork. The atmosphere of The Muslim Highlife of Alhaji Waziri Oshomah is one of enjoyment, excitement and pleasure, because to see Waziri perform, is to be addressed, body and soul. Today, they present its last pre-release single ,“Okhume Ukhaduame", which is a song that celebrates acknowledging one’s own success in life, even if there are those out there who want you to fail. With his wife on backup vocals, Waziri goes toe to toe with a muted, shuddering trumpet as he defends his achievements: “My enemies will never succeed in their plot to bring me down,” he sings, “whether in the morning, day or night, because I wish nobody evil in my life.”

A devout Muslim and a pillar in his local community, Alhaji Waziri Oshomah makes a unique form of dance music that’s fused with local folk styles, pan-Nigeran highlife and Western pop, creating a singular sound that epitomises Afenmailand’s ethos of togetherness. His lyrics are reflective and philosophical—they draw on Judeo-Christian and traditional imagery to speak of piety and reverence, conveying Islamic values such as humility and modesty in a way that everybody, no matter their belief or religion, can understand.
 

Born into a Muslim Afenmai/Etsako family in southern Nigeria, Waziri was entranced not only by the highlife sound emanating from Lagos, but by Etsako groups, who favoured driving guitar lines over the flamboyant horn sections of the capital. When his parents disowned him for fear he had strayed too far from his faith, Waziri responded by infusing his music with the teachings of Islam. In 1970, against a backdrop of the Nigerian Civil War, Waziri cut loose and started his own band, pouring Western-influenced instrumentation, electronic flourishes, and soul phrasing into the deep well of the region’s indigenous folk styles. Without transport, the band would regularly walk miles to gigs carrying what equipment they had on their heads. 

First recorded between the mid-’70s and mid-’80s, The Muslim Highlife of Alhaji Waziri Oshomah spans the years when Waziri first completed the hajj. Despite drawing comparisons with the electronic sounds of William Onyeabor, the visceral afrobeat of Fela Kuti, and Ebo Taylor’s Ghanian guitar-led highlife, Waziri’s is a world unto itself. It is a world where musical expression and Islamic culture moves hand-in-hand. Soul music in the truest sense of the word.

J Dilla B.B.E. - Big Booty Express - Remixes

Taken from Dilla's 2001 BBE Music debut solo album Welcome 2 Detroit, 'Big Booty Express' gets the remix treatment from German duo Âme, Parisian Pépé Bradock and London's Coda Deep.

Alongside the OG version these new productions add up to a six track exploration of Dilla's tribute to Detroit's melding of the Motor City's Black music heritage with Kraftwerk's experimental Euroelectro.

Contributing two mixes to the EP, Parisian producer Pépé Bradock AKA Julien Auger first forays into music were after learning guitar as a 14 year old and playing with various Jazz- Funk bands. At this time he also started DJing with Hip-Hop bands and turning his hand to producing their tracks.

As the 90s progressed he also discovered Techno and House music. His musical influences range from Jazz to Dub Reggae and he has remixed for Blaze, Cassius and Alex Gopher among others.

Also providing a remix of Big Booty Express is the German production duo of Frank Wiedemann and Kristian Beyer who work together under the name of Âme. After first meeting in Kristian's record shop in their home town of Karlsruhe and bonding over a shared love of Chicago House and Detroit Techno the pair started working together and producing records for Sonar Kollektiv in 2003.

The final two remixes on the Big Booty Express EP and only included on the digital package come from the Londoner Coda Deep. Influenced by avant-garde Electronica, Nu Wave and African Tribal sounds, he is a DJ and producer playing deep and melodic Tech and Techno and will also be known to music fans for his 2019 BBE release 'The Running of the Bulls'.

This EP of remixes sits very well alongside the catalogue of J Dilla releases on BBE Music and adds to the rich heritage of innovative beat making and music production that we can associate with Dilla and those he worked with.

Hollie Cook - Move My Way

Hollie's 4th single from her 5th album featuring a Black Science Orchestra Remix which take Holllie's sound in a new direction with a soulful electronic jazz fused remix. UK tropical pop/reggae star matures into the queen of modern-day “lovers rock”—the lush girly harmony reggae style beloved in Britain since the 1970s. Evolution rings from the bittersweet to the tender yet assertive, Hollie’s voice caresses evocative lyrics through the arrangement’s tumbling changes.
Hollie dares to invite listeners into her true personality through these alluring songs, which she co-produced with her General Roots band members Ben Mckone and Luke Allwood, and executive producer Youth.
“Particularly with the songwriting, I was trying to really push myself and be open, to not be restricted in any way. I have always been a fan of theatrical pop music and wanted to experiment more with the song form. Now I don’t shy away from it when I want to be dramatic,” she declares.


The record itself is a product of great drama: the pandemic. After eight years of touring together, General Roots—keyboards man Luke Allwood, drummer Ben Mckone, guitarist Joe Price, and bassist James Mckone—have truly become Hollie’s band. They all spent quarantine together, honing songs they had started writing pre-COVID. “I used to definitely lean on my producers (Prince Fatty and Youth), but my vision was always to write and produce with my band,” she explains. “We are a circle of trust.”


Full of emotion, leaning into healing and understanding, Hollie’s lyrics  speak directly to our pain and confusion and steer us towards resolution.  Hollie is also a wise woman—literally the “Full Moon Baby” she summons so seductively. The album also features a collaboration with Jamaican singer Jah9. These are love incantations that would be wrong to resist. “It’s about finding a space where you can reach for moments of light, love, and self-care,” she explains.


Touring as a teenager with punk legends The Slits encouraged the fierceness within her sweetness. Hollie’s mentor was Ari Up, the band’s lead singer and a lifelong friend of Cook’s parents (Sex Pistols drummer Paul and her singer mother Jeni). “My father always said I would be a singer. But I discovered lovers rock on my own. I heard it on pirate radio and at friends’, and I was bewildered, enchanted,” she recalls. “The Slits are the reason I have pursued this career. I was surrounded by powerful women at a young age, and when my time came, I was never fazed by male dominance. They were my wall of courage.”
From those feisty roots, Hollie has only grown. Her soulful directness on Happy Houris relatable and authentic. “I can’t get away from it,” she says. “Making this music that I love, I do turn deep inside myself. It makes me explore a lot of human truths and feelings that we should not shy away from, and it feels like a release to turn them into songs.”

Marxist Love Disco Ensemble - M L D E

Sounding simultaneously from the past, the present, and the future, the debut album 'MLDE' by Marxist Love Disco Ensemble seeks to eradicate both the trite from disco and the sobriety from political music. Half poetic, half tongue-in-cheek, this stunning compact eight-track album is influenced by Eastern European and Mediterranean 70s disco records. In the words of band member Paolo, ''it was written in response to hearing 'I Love America' by Patrick Juvet. The song prompted the question: why does disco, a genre originally created by oppressed minorities, eventually become synonymous with Western capitalist excess?" MLDE seeks to break this connection.

Merging disco, post-disco 80s pop, and boogie into the fold, 'MLDE' was recorded using only analogue instruments, giving it warmth and space. Recorded on cassette, ½ inch tape, this gives moments of lo-fi abstraction between the beats of an aggressive, tight drum kit. Instruments used for this recording range from saxophone, trumpet, harpsichord, guitar, and rare analogue synthesisers. The bass sound is shaped by early 80s boogie records, whilst the influence of artists such as Hamlet Minassian can be heard in some of MLDE's more driving-disco outings.

The format and message of pop and disco are commonly viewed just to entertain and move bodies around a dancefloor; however, lyrically, the subjects range from dialectical and historical materialism, class struggle, Marxist theory and praxis, as well as the concept of Marxist disco music. Adding the icing to the cake, mastering don Joker aka Liam McLean dusted the album with his magic, giving the songs space where the room is needed, as well as the kick and punch demanded by the modern dancefloor. 

Duke Boara - 11am - 11pm

A second taster feeds anticipation for multi-instrumentalist and world music proponent Duke Boara’s forthcoming double LP project ‘11AM/11PM Tapes’. A double release ‘Jungle (11AM)’ paired with ‘Beware of the Mad Man (11PM)’, is out August 31st on LG105.

Boara aka James Toomey, only 23 but already with 5m+ streams to his name, has produced 26 tracks for his ambitious ‘mixtape’, playing piano, guitar, and drums himself throughout across a rich blend of lo-fi, breakbeat, melodic, summery house… Cool alternative electronic imprint LG105 is the perfect home for Boara, along with Mall Grab, Effy, Beka, Lawrence Hart, bad tuner and Model Man.

‘Jungle (11AM)’: pulsing synth melodies and gradual strings usher in a Spanish-style fingerpick acoustic guitar tune, quick and light as jungle rain. Intriguing and entrancing.
‘Beware of the Mad Man (11PM)’ ups the pace with rattling busy bongos, thudding beat, and an all-in percussion fest to get feet moving and fingers drumming. Booming bass strings sing a complex riff as remote choral voices add sweetness. Packed with jittery energy.

‘I included a good selection from the last 5 years of my work. I think my sound has definitely changed quite a lot so I wanted a wide variety on the tapes’ Boara says. It seems to work to have one tape being darker and more clubby, and the other more for daytime listening.’

The full double mixtape drops on October 7th with focus track ‘Evergreen’ plus a massive 14 additional exclusive cuts.

Cavendish Music - The Library Archives

Crate digging DJs Mr Thing and Chris Read return to BBE Music with a second volume of their compilation series ‘The Library Archive’, presenting more Funk, Jazz, Beats and Soundtracks from the archives of Cavendish Music.

Founded back in 1937 and originally known as Boosey & Hawkes Recorded Music Library, Cavendish Music is the largest independent Library Music publisher in the UK and also represents a host of music catalogues across the globe. The influence of Library Music on British pop culture cannot be overstated, especially during the 1970s when companies KPM, De Wolfe and of course Boosey & Hawkes provided the soundtracks to iconic TV shows such as The Sweeney and The Professionals, as well as a host of feature films.

The discs produced by Boosey & Hawkes for TV and radio production have, over the intervening years, gained a cult following among collectors and have found themselves sampled by successive generations of beatmakers. Renowned scratch DJ Mr Thing and WhoSampled’s Chris Read, both lifetime beat fanatics, first entered the Cavendish vaults in 2014, presenting their first compilation of rare Library Music cuts in 2017 on BBE Music. Both knew that Cavendish Music’s vast low-ceilinged London basement still held a host of hidden treasure just waiting to be rediscovered, so the pair returned in 2020, emerging with ‘The Library Archive 2 - More Funk, Jazz, Beats and Soundtracks from the Archives of Cavendish Music’.

“This new collection leans toward the less obvious titles, not only the funky sides and tracks ripe for sampling but also some of the jazzier corners of the catalogue” says Chris Read. “As with Volume 1, this is more than merely a collection for sample heads - it's a compilation of great funk, jazz, soundtracks and experimental themes to be enjoyed by DJs, producers and fans of good music alike.”

Matthew Halsall - The Temple Within

When Matthew Halsall released Salute to the Sun in November 2020, his first new album in five years, he shared the first fruits from an especially fertile period of writing and recording, which also gave birth to the music released here as 'The Temple Within'. 

 

The recording sessions featured Halsall’s then brand new band of hand-picked local musicians, brought together through weekly rehearsals and a monthly residency at Yes in Manchester, they forged an immersive, communal sound, drawing on spiritual jazz, the heritage of British jazz and progressive world music and electronica influences. Inspired by these monthly sessions, together, they created a body of music that is rooted in Northern England but draws on global inspirations. For Halsall the music on The Temple Within perfectly captures the spirit of those sessions.

 

Floating Points - Problems

Sam Shepherd aka Floating Points has today shared a new single, 'Problems' which is out now via Ninja Tune.


This year Floating Points has shared two new tracks, 'Vocoder' and 'Grammar'. The tracks mark another about-turn in a career defined by them and follow up the release of Promises, last year’s celebrated album composed by Shepherd and recorded alongside Pharoah Sanders & the London Symphony Orchestra. Promises topped end of year lists everywhere including #1 spots from The Guardian (Contemporary), Mojo, The Vinyl Factory, TIME Magazine, The New York Times (Jazz) and more. 'Vocoder' and 'Grammar' were met with widespread praise including a Best New Track from Pitchfork and a glowing review from Resident Advisor describing Shepherd as "one of electronic music's undisputed MVPs". Remaining worlds away from Promises, 'Problems' takes a different approach from this years' previous singles showcasing a thrilling and expertly realised side to Floating Points that sounds like nothing he’s ever done before.

Following a summer of electrifying festival sets at Glastonbury, Coachella and Field Day, this Autumn/Winter Shepherd will take things back indoors. With an upcoming show on an incredible bill from The Warehouse Project, today he announces a marathon open-to-close set at London’s brand new 25,000 square-foot club HERE on New Year’s Day 2023.
Ongoing collaborators Hamill Industries continue their work with Floating Points in the video for 'Problems'. Building on the ideas of movement and the intricate interactions of electrical pulses introduced in the visuals for 'Vocoder' and 'Grammar', 'Problems' steps things up a notch. Using a technique called Vector Rescanning, they transform video into sound and turn it into a vector image, all in real-time. They filmed the dancers, Hannah Ekholm and Jal Joshua, and transformed their movements into sounds, which they were able to tangle and morph with different sonic elements of Floating Points’ music. From the resulting sound, a final image was projected into a custom-modified Vectrex system, an 80’s video game console that projects vector images onto a screen.

"'Problems' is meant to agitate every single room that its ecstatic sound waves reach", Hamill Industries say, "we wanted to celebrate it with movement and dance and reshape it through sound, by using techniques that allow the sonification of images. We have used lasers that spin and move with the music, making visible their sinuous shapes. It was important that this video shaped the electrical feeling you get when being on a dancefloor, the urge of dancing when sound waves reach your ears."

Sumo (feat. Soffie) - Xari

Sumo, the self-professed is “sound nerd” from southern Germany with an eclectic musical taste ranging from traditional Japanese influences to his main love, UK Garage. He returns to Sonar Kollektiv after a three-year hiatus.

 

Having unleashed his debut 'Hokori' EP on the label back in 2019 - a raw, bass-rumbling, dance floor facing affair - the Stuttgart based producer is back with a more mature, melancholic take on his signature sound with the sonorous offerings of the Trakul EP, due to be released this autumn.

 

The second single from the EP is the warm and comforting Xari. Once again featuring the reassuring vocals of local rising star Soffie, harmonising beautifully alongside the pitched-down voice of Sumo himself, it’s an unashamedly heart-warming and sooting piece that delivers a much needed message of positivity, compassion and empathy. The song’s echoing refrain poses one of the main questions we should all ask if we want to be a more loving, understanding and peaceful society...

 

“When I feel for you. How it feels for you. Is there something I can’t understand?”

 

Xari opens with tender piano, making way for stripped down, retro sounding drum machines and only the hint of a bassline. It’s quite the contrast from Sumo’s more restless earlier work, but once again illustrates his versatility and consciousness. This musical maverick and sonic chameleon has always been able to adapt to the world around him, whether as a straight up musician, club DJ, radio and podcast host, decorated student, sound designer or more serious composer.

 

Today he works for one of the world’s most renowned sound branding studios where he composes music for various projects, including the Berlin Global exhibition at Humboldt-Forum Berlin, Björk exhibition at MoMa in New York, the Smart trade fair presentations in Paris, Geneva and Frankfurt, and the Bread & Butter exhibition for Mercedes-Benz in Berlin. Sophistication and austerity are nothing new for this diverse beat-maker and sensitive musical soul.

 

The Trakul EP – out October 7th.