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Record of the Week
Canadian DJ and producer Simon Doty announces his debut album ‘Universal Language’ via the first single ‘Soulflow’ (feat. Ursula Rucker), out now. The full ten-track LP will be released on Anjunadeep on the 28th of April 2023.
‘Soulflow’ sees Simon collaborate with American spoken word artist Ursula Rucker, whose thought-provoking vocals can be heard on tracks with artists including Dusky, Marquis Hawkes and Josh Wink. Combining Ursula’s vocals with stabbing chords and a driving bassline, Simon perfectly epitomises his timeless house sound that has previously earned him support from Adam Beyer, Adriatique, Gorgon City and Hot Since 82, among others.
Crafted for the dancefloor, Simon’s debut album ‘Universal Language’ gives the audience a chance to listen to a range of musical styles that they can expect to hear Simon play during one of his DJ sets, ranging from house to deep house to melodic techno.
“We’re starting to lose the groove in underground dance music. This album is partly about showing people that club music can still be melodic and emotional.” - Simon Doty
The New York-born, Geneva-based DJ and producer’s third EP marks the LA label’s first solo artist release. Founded in 2020 as part of a partnership between !K7 and DUBLAB the label has sought to champion women and gender minority artists around the world through their compilation series, which so far comprises two volumes.
‘Maintaining’ takes in four brand new cuts from Olive T, alongside an additional vocal mix of ‘Take You Too’. Encompassing her love of classic US house music, the release is packed with deep grooves and basslines, breezy melodic pads and earworm vocal snippets. The EP’s opening track ‘We’ll Maintain’ is her first track to feature her own vocals. Over a bouncing house beat, she sings"I won't stop, you can't stop, we just gotta keep it moving”, in what she describes as her first attempt at making something resembling a pop track.
Describing her process, Olive T says it is her goal to “make music that has a voice/sound out in the world and to leave a legacy or mark. I want to be an open source of music production knowledge for people like me, young black, brown and underrepresented kids who want to make noise.”-Eoin Murray for DJMag
Recorded in a rural retreat on the outskirts of Sao Paulo, Brazil, there is a smoldering sense of yearning that pervades the set list, ten unapologetic love songs that fly between organic, Philly soul to warm, beat-laden neo-soul with Brazilian flavor. It maneuvers subtly between the different dynamics, and purposefully so, as it was ‘a vibe’ that Tagua Tagua AKA Felipe Puperi wanted to instill from start to finish, and does so channelling soul heroes past and present like Bill Withers, Sault & D’Angelo.
Felipe’s musical talents extend right through the record; his incredible vocal, electric guitar, piano, bass, keys and the occasional foray on the organ. Leo Mattos is the rhythmical backbone on drums and percussion and João Agusto Lopes adds additional guitar. There are various viola, violin and cello players making up the string section.
The album title and first single Tanto translates to Portuguese as ‘so much’, and Felipe sees the track and entirety of the album as “a feeling of falling in love for the sake of falling in love”.
“I found you, I found you. I felt so much alive.
I dived, I dived. My dream, illusion.
I needed to feel again. I saw sunshine”.
The track is a slice of horizontal soul music and possesses a sweet, almost drug induced fervor, simple on arrangements. Felipe sings in a melismatic tenor, at times tipping into falsetto, with subtle effects enriching his delivery.
Based in the city of São Paulo, Felipe previously fronted the group Wannabe Jalva and has an extensive musical resumé, having played at Lollapalooza Brazil, supported shows for Pearl Jam and Jack White, and created a name for himself as one of the most promising breakout acts in Brazil. Yet there was a break-out moment of self discovery, a re-connection with his language that led to a personal and musical revolution culminating in his debut solo album in 2020, Inteiro Metade.
“At that time I wanted to do something new, something that had my fingerprint. I was also starting to sing in Portuguese, so I was kind of re-discovering my references and myself as a composer.”
Whereas his previous longplayer had changing personalities from tropical psychedelic to funk and soul, Tanto only flirts outside of the mellow soul prism and whilst there are ebbs and flows, it delights in its sparse and sweet minimalism.
Pra Trás opens proceedings, and aptly, as Tagua Tagua moves from one album to the next, it’s about leaving things behind. There are strings and orchestrations, a killer guitar hook and Tagua Tagua’s seductive delivery. Colors is full throttle future-soul, squelchy synths pulsed by a lazy, yet insistent shuffler of a beat. Further dreamlike timbres are found in Barcelona, a journey of a song and Brisa, perhaps the body-mover of the collection, with silky synths and a chorus you’re sure to repeat.
All songs were written and recorded by Felipe himself, mixed by fellow Wannabe Jalva band member Tiago Abrahão, and mastered by Brian Lucey (The Black Keys, Chet Faker).
Released in 1972 as the follow-up to the previous year's classic CTI album with Stanley Turrentine, Now is Astrud Gilberto's tenth studio album and her only recording on Perception, and wow does she make the most of the musicians available to her on this recording.
Produced by Astrud herself and with all songs arranged by fellow Brazilian Eumar Deodato, the all-star line-up on Now includes Deodato on acoustic guitar, more Brazilian flavours from Airto Moreira on percussion, label vice-President and production genius Patrick Adams on Bass duties (along with Bob Cranshaw and Ron Carter), Dizzy Gillespie Quintet and Jazzberry Patch band member Mike Longo on keyboards and the mighty Billy Cobham on drums.
Singing in both English and Portuguese Astrud's distinctive voice and vocal style weaves across rhythms and grooves from Jazz, Bossa Nova, Funk, Latin and soul tracks written by herself, by Milton Nascimento, Eumir Deodato, Satiro De Melo, Stax/Volt legend David Jordan and Humberto Teixeira.
Available on digital download and 180 gram heavy vinyl (coming soon), Astrud Gilberto's Now is one of those must have LPs in anyone's collection.
The first Hyperdub release of the year. This is the lead track from an EP from a new artist called Santa Muerte.
He's a mexican producer who lives in Houston nowadays, the song here pretty much splits it's time between both places musically. The EP is called Eslabón EP.
Here's some context about him:
Panch Briones, who creates music as 'Santa Muerte' drops his debut EP on Hyperdub. Born in Mexico and raised in the Sierra, deep in the mountains in a society culturally split between the Spanish culture and indigenous Mexican culture, he now lives in Houston, Texas where his melodic take on dance music is inspired by the mythology and religion of Mexican culture crossed with the bass heavy sound of the city’s hip hop scene.
The lead track Coahuiltecan channels both bass driven tribal, polyrhythmic drums and murky screwed hip hop Houston Hip Hop
'Portrait of Jenny' is the 2nd of two Dizzy Gillespie albums released on Perception Records in 1970, following on from 'The Real Thing' earlier that year. Recorded in Rudy Van Gelder's legendary Englewood studio, Portrait of Jenny is very much an auteur album with Dizzy writing all four tracks as well as arranging and producing with his cousin Boo Frazier.
After the fusion of Jazz, funk and Be-bop in the previous album 'Portrait of Jenny' sees Gillespie return to his love of and experimentation with Afro-Cuban rhythms and the long form tracks that allow for solos and interplay between rhythm sections and the melodies.
Mike Longo returns on piano after his huge contribution on 'The Real Thing' and shines most notably on the classic 12 minute masterpiece 'Me 'n Them'. Longo is joined by the Gonzalez Brothers, Andrew and Jerry, on bass and congas respectively and arguably the GOAT of Cuban conganistadores, Carlos Valdes. Consider the fact that between them the Gonzalez Brothers and Valdes have been part of and/or worked with Harlem River Drive, Tito Puente, McCoy Tyner, The Salsoul Orchestra, Art Blakey and Quincy Jones it is easy to understand what an amazing combo session 'Portrait of Jenny' is.
Re-issued by BBE Music digitally and on 180 Gramme heavy vinyl as part of the Perception/Today Records series 'Portrait of Jenny' is Dizzy Gillespie at his most creative as auteur composer, arranger and producer whilst paradoxically at his most collaborative in a combo line-up of Afro-Latin Jazz superstars.
'Levitation' is the first glimpse into 'Geheimland', the secret land that gave name to the new album by Austrian producer, Urbs. Angelic choirs, broad screen instrumentation and psychedelic overtones will carry you gently towards the atmosphere. With discrete echoes of both Trip-hop and Pink Floyd, 'Levitation' is a peaceful ode to childlike perception and the perfect drug for your journey to the secret land.
After excursions into Hip Hop, Rap and film music, Austrian producer and musician Urbs has returned to the downtempo and Trip-hop styles that were the cornerstones of his most successful work, discovering his very own niche along the way. Using obscure samples as well as traditional instrumentation for his impressionistic instrumental pieces he takes us to „Geheimland“, the secret land of our imagination where things are not as they seem.
Born as Paul Nawrata in Lower Austria, Urbs is a veteran Electronic producer and musician living in Vienna. A music fanatic from a very young age, he started writing and photographing for various fanzines in his teenage years, interviewing numerous artists as diverse as Kurt Cobain, Nick Cave and the Wu Tang Clan. He soon felt attracted to the blossoming HipHop scene of Vienna, contributing to the radio program of legendary impressario Werner Geier aka Demon Flowers. Best described as the Austrian version of Tony Wilson, he took him under his wing and soon released his first steps in music production on his Uptight label.
In 1998 two EPs were released as Urbs & Chaoz, spawning a first success with „Closer To God“, which was not only a radio favourite, but was also used by famed director Ulrich Seidl in his early work „Models“ and remixed by none other than legendary Washington duo Thievery Corporation. Heavily influenced by Kenny Dope, Todd Terry and Armand Van Helden’s HipHop releases, the musical style of Urbs & Chaoz was dubbed Dope Beat in central Europe and can be seen as one of the precursors of Trip-hop. His next musical partner was Cutex with whom he released „Breaks Of Dawn“ and „Peace Talks!“, two LPs of timeless instrumental HipHop, both of which are seen as classics of the genre. „The Thing“, a veritable hit on Austrian radio, was used for various commercials and even selected as one of the „Best 100 Austrian Songs“ by FM4, the leading alternative radio station in the country. Until today that song has been streamed more than two million times.
His first solo album was released on G-Stone Recordings in 2005 and was co-produced by Peter Kruder (Kruder & Dorfmeister). On „Toujours Le Meme Film“, Urbs channelled his love for film music and French Chanson. He toured Europe with a six piece band and a complex visual concept and the album became a remarkable success. Songs from „Toujours Le Meme Film“ were used for US TV shows „Grey ́s Anatomy“ and „Nip:Tuck“ as well as numerous commercials; Gilles Peterson discovered the album and played „So Weit“ on his Worldwide radio shows. Urbs began producing other musicians like Austrian MC Skero, released further EPs of instrumental HipHop and numerous remixes for the likes of Tosca, Marsmobil and Daniel Haaksmann along with countless other Austrian artists. Together with award winning composer Karwan Marouf, he worked on film music for directors like Arash and Arman Riahi as well as Werner Boote, on commercials, documentaries and contract work for Red Bull Media. Since the early days of social media, Urbs has connected with MCs and singers from around the world and in 2017 finally released those collaborations on the (Rap) album simply titled „Urbs“, which included contributions by MCs like Wordsworth and R.A. The Rugged Man. The song „10000 Years Behind Me“ with its spectacular video starring Austrian actress Birgit Minichmayr was another success on the alternative radio in central Europe.
While in 2020 the world was in the grip of the pandemic, Urbs, who had just become a father felt inspired by the fantasy and perception of his son. He reconnected with his roots and produced „Geheimland“ in one go, trying to find the essence of his work and musical passion and creating his very own musical language along the way.
Amsterdam DJ/multi-instrumentalist Rose Ringed (support from Solomun, Blond:ish, Joris Voorn a.m.m) returns with three tracker ‘For Us’, out Nov 3rd.
The Dutch producer enlists both analogue and digital sounds, multiple synths and choral vocal notes, and diverse genres – melodic techno, house, euphoria, synthpop – in his quest to bring joy to blissed-out clubbers and listeners.
Won’t Let You Go: a strong, fast, staccato synth melody constantly hooking the listener yet varying, over a deep, deep humming bass, with a sort of double breakdown. Simultaneously danceable and listenable.
Fight For Love; dreamy synth chords behind fast, bounding bass and drums, build to the sustained breakdown with its choral notes and chiming arps like falling snow.
Nights Without; powerfully fast but darker, more urgent sound patterns, growling bassline, a plangent melody, and after the breakdown, bags of bass, jittery percussion, a sudden breathing space of silence, before the wild ride to the finish.
Spirit To All is the latest record by Polish bassist and composer Wojtek Mazolewski and his famed Quintet (WMQ). Mazolewski’s distinctive voice and vision are highly lauded and widely recognized for his contribution to the resurgence in Polish jazz and improv music on a global, crossover scale.
Leading his long-time quintet of Joanna Duda, Marek Pospieszalski, Oskar Török and Qba Janicki, Spirit To All is Mazolewski’s third Whirlwind Recordings release following Polka – Worldwide Deluxe Edition and When Angels Fall.
“Spirit To All was created as an answer to our spiritual needs,” explains Mazolewski, “during my preparations for recording I felt simultaneous connection between myself and everything around me. There was this urge within me to express my unity with the surroundings. The very same need was strongly felt by the band and the best way to express it was through the music.” From the start Mazolewski had clear intentions for the album: “Until 2020 we were touring the world and despite all the travel limitations that followed, we wanted to say: we are here, we are all in it together. This album is about spiritual needs, limitless and loving understanding, about compassionate development.”
The seven-piece record opens with title track ‘Spirit To All’. Inspired by spirituality, the melody contains both sad and joyous moments, mirroring the same juxtaposition of life. ‘Ghost Town’ is a sonic tale of a deserted place, focusing on the subtle consonance of the instruments. “It’s all about articulation, sonority and playing with sound,” explains Mazolewski.
‘The Power Of The People’ acts as a reminder of our strength and potential. This idea is manifested by cacophonous sections and robust melodies.
In contrast, ‘Slavic Spirits’ is a subtle atmospheric track. “‘Harmony’ is all we need to find best solutions for our future,” says Mazolewski and the track is a liberating realisation of that sentiment.
‘The Year Of Magical Thinking’ is a title borrowed from Joan Didion’s book about life’s suffering and how to use it to our gain. “This piece is about life’s journey - spiritual, internal and psychedelic at times,” reflects Mazolewski. ‘My Heart’ is gentle and “expresses our gratitude for life, closeness and love,” he says.
Speaking to the spirit in which the album was recorded, Mazolewski says: “I love the abstract arrhythmic sonic backgrounds of Sun Ra and Art Ensemble of Chicago, but there weren’t any other musicians available, so I decided that we would record all percussion instruments ourselves. In the recording room, some of us had instruments, some of us sang, but only a few of us were wearing headphones hearing the music. This meant the others had to intuitively find and feel the pulse. The experiment made the WMQ sound even richer and we had such great fun doing it.”
Having played together for over 10 years, WMQ share a deep and innate connection that’s palpable throughout their music. Spirit To All is a cathartic manifestation of Mazolewski’s inspiring intentions, “It made us come together again and reawaken the sense of adventure. We feel truly reborn as a band.”