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

Global Hopping...

Kleztory - Momentum

After twenty years, this Montreal-based quintet have a chance to reflect on some of the music they have performed during their time while also introducing us to a few of the new. That wonderful, uplifting genre of Klezmer is the focus; here, drawing on the euphoria of songs like 'Andy's Ride' and finale, the standard 'Die Goldene Chasene' yet contrasted with the introspective (and personal favourite) 'Soulmate' and all-absorbing, hypnotic 'Moldavian Hora'. The collection offers so much to the discerning music lover: a door to a world you will not regret entering.

'Momentum' showcases the diversity, experience and virtuosic playing of leader Airat Ichmouratov on his surfeit of woodwind instruments, Elvira Misbakhova on violin/viola, Dany Nicolas' guitar, the accordian of Melanie Bergeron and bass player Mark Peetsma plus a gaggle of supporting guest musicians. Out at the end of October on the Chandos label and not to be missed.

Canadian Klezmer virtuosos celebrate 20 years...

Co-Lab Theory - Various Artists

Co-Lab Theory is the latest project from Manchester-based, award-winning online radio station and arts organisation, Reform Radio, which saw eight upcoming artists paired with eight different music industry mentors and eight varied visual artists, with each trio creating an exciting, original audio-visual work - made possible by support from Jägermeister and Arts Council England.

Industry mentors involved with the project include the pioneering production duo Swing Ting, internationally renowned creative Mr Scruff and spoken word artist Malik Al Nasir, mentee of the late Gil Scott Heron. The project has provided a fantastic opportunity for young, upcoming music and design talent to learn from experienced music industry professionals as well as reap the rewards of being associated with such renowned creatives, profile-wise.

With the project now complete, the full release has been licensed to the talent development platform and record label Rhythm Lab Records (sister organisation of Reform Radio) for commercial release between August and October. Over the next two months, four tracks have been selected to be spotlighted prior to the release of the full project on October 1st, 2020.

Various - Island Sounds from Japan 2009-2016

Offering a unique window into modern Japanese music, Time Capsule’s latest release presents a group of artists who refuse to be bound by genre – mixing jazz, dance, reggae, psych, afrobeat, and indigenous styles into distinctly tropical fusions

The last few years have seen an upsurge in popularity for Japanese music. From the deep grooves of 70s Japanese jazz and the funk-filled effervescence of 80’s city pop, to the zen-like ambient soundscapes of the same decade’s environmental music what unites these diverse forms is the similarity in approach of the musicians who created them. Since the first influx of pop music onto it’s shores, Japanese musicians have sought to study and master each form before creating new iterations.

The music on this compilation features a range of modern Japanese musicians who have each sought to expand genre boundaries by fusing different styles. Hailing from different musical backgrounds they are united by a common goal to deliver a distinctly tropical strain of sound, or what Time Capsule label boss and compiler Kay Suzuki refers to as Island Music. ‘Although this collection concentrates mainly on recent bands it doesn’t try to reflect what is currently popular. Instead, each artist has used a mixture of craftsmanship and their own personal experiences to experiment with styles and reshape them into new and unique forms. I feel strongly that they deserve more exposure around the world’ he says.

Speak No Evil are a perfect example of this cross-pollination of musical forms. Led by musician Akira Tatsumi, a veteran of Osaka’s verdant ska and calypso scenes, the band was formed from a regular jam session between the city’s reggae and jazz musicians to see what they might be able to create with combined forces. Their version of the same-titled classic by legendary saxophonist Wayne Shorter transports the jazz classic into new pastures, as the band takes Shorter’s sweet refrain on a reggae trip, the track finds a natural meeting point between the two genres, adding snappy riddims to jazz’s innate sense of swing.

Backpacking in India shaped the sounds of Aquatuki. Led by guitar players Taaki and Chen, they layer the trance music they discovered in Goa into psychedelic instrumental jams. The dream-like Wakanoura adds elements of surf and Hawaiian music to the mix with Taaki’s slide guitar evoking beach-side tropical sunsets, while a blues-like melancholia adds another element to a bittersweet track that refuses to be pigeonholed. Another artist whose music was shaped by travels to the subcontinent was maverick musician Altz whose exposure to Goan psychedelia produced radically different results. Orympia Rocks, with it’s melding of punk funk basslines, echoed disco beats and southern-rock indebted slide guitar is a brilliant example of his trademark groove-heavy twisted disco sound.

Keiichi Tanaka’s story is one of the great ‘what-ifs’ of modern Japanese music. Schooled as a master-percussionist in Africa, he followed up a stint leading the renowned Japanese afrobeat band KINGDOM☆AFROCKS with a hugely ambitious first solo album before his life was cut tragically short after a fatal car accident. Pairing musicians from myriad musical backgrounds he created a radical new series of sounds. Written after watching news footage of the bombing in Syria alongside fellow musician OKI, City Of Aleppo captures a wonderfully natural melding of African and Asian styles, with Tanaka’s African-inspired rhythms combining beautifully with OKI’s tonkori – a stringed instrument belonging to the indigenous Ainu people of northern Japan. Taken from the same album, the final track on this compilation presents OKI’s City Of Dub remix of the track, with echoed sound effects adding another pinch of spice to this melting pot of styles.

Offering both a window into the country’s verdant underground music scene and a taste of a rarely profiled strain of tropical music, it’s a compilation that offers further evidence of Japan’s tradition of musical craftsmanship and musical innovation.

Tropical Jazz

Demuir - Legend (EP)

Master of House Music and beyond, Demuir offers us a three-track stormer named 'Legend' on the Sola Nauts imprint.

The title cut starts us off and brings with it a swelling House cut developed with reverberating synths, a song that would perfectly soundtrack any sunset. Second up is How Do I Ask, which presents a much darker vibe with a mind-bending rhythm and pulsating drums built with the early hours in mind. Rounding off the release in a suitably wonky manner that it’s name suggests, is Shroom Trippin’, a heavy acid-tinged track with a pulsating beat made for a dark and moody peak-time warehouse.

Demuir’s eclectic house sound exudes funky, sexy and soulful beats that are consistently recognized and sought by fellow artists and dance music fans around the world. Hailing from Toronto, Canada, Demuir first fell in love with house music after hearing Derrick May’s “Strings of Life”, and by seeing May, DJ Sneak, and Mark Farina at Industry, the legendary Toronto nightclub. With remixes for Elrow and A-Trak’s label Fools Gold, a highly successful EP on Hot Creations and additional EP’s on Desolat, Origins and Heist, Demuir made sure to spread his music globally. 

Danika Smith - Sweet Mellow D

​Another artist arriving out of the rich Melbourne scene, Danika Smith performs a raw, timeless style of contemporary folk music with undertones of jazz & soul. Produced by Grammy nominated Nick Herrera (Hiatus Kaiyote) this is a fine example of her in-depth songwriting ability.

Danika has performed and recorded with 30/70 & their vocalist Allysha Joy. She is known for her tender topics, honey stick melodies and charismatic satire. But something's shifting. It's 2020, where women in music are being recognized and supported, so she feels it's time to get experimental. Folk is heaven, no doubt, but curiosity, desire and the inner groove has unavoidably begun Danika Smith's metamorphosis. As a young teenager Danika garnered attention with her first recording via a Triple J Unearthed competition, which saw her being shortlisted as one of the 6 finalists out of 700+ submissions. Since this first attempt at recording music, Danika concentrated on side projects and has progressively become a staple of the Melbourne music scene. Touring nationally several times with her side-project and band TomGirl, solo, and with 30/70. Performing as a BV on large festival stages including Folk Rhythm & Life, Womadelaide, Melbourne International Jazz Festival, Party in the Paddock, NYE on the Hill, Happy Wanderer, Strawberry Fields and more. During the last 6 years since moving to Melbourne, Danika has progressively built a cohesive body of work and is ready to share it with the world. This first single marks her solo debut album due later this year.  On that very release, she explains: 

‘This album I have in my heart, is a cathartic journey of complex emotions as a young woman navigating mental health, sexual trauma and the journey of self-empowerment. My music has been my therapy and I want other people out there who experience the universal themes I explore, to have the whole cake and eat it too’.

MF Robots - Happy Song

Following up last year’s label debut, a fiery cover version of the Chairmen Of The Board classic ‘Finders Keepers’, ‘Happy Song’ offers up a scintillating first taste of album ‘Break The Wall, due for release in Spring 2021. And what an introduction it is: uplifting and timeless soul/funk, showcasing Dawn Joseph’s effortless yet powerful lead vocal and Jan Kincaid’s unmistakable, vibrant rhythm section to perfection. Jazz-tinged Rhodes chords, ultra-tight horns and a funky clavinet riff on the outro complete this highly polished arrangement, underpinning a melody that can only be described as an earworm.

Collaborating for the first time while recording and performing with one of the UK’s most commercially successful Acid Jazz bands The Brand New Heavies in 2013, founder / drummer Jan Kincaid and vocalist Dawn Joseph discovered immediate musical chemistry and began writing songs together right away. They soon left the band to concentrate on their own work, starting MF Robots (Music For Robots) and releasing an eponymous debut in 2018. The album was so well received that the duo soon morphed into a band as they found themselves in-demand at venues and festivals all over Europe.

Forthcoming long player ‘Break The Wall’ represents a new benchmark for Jan and Dawn, reflecting the MF Robots project coalescing and maturing while fine-tuning their material, both on the road and in the studio. Watch out, also, for Dego and Kenny 'Dope' Gonzalez remixes.

Jake the Rapper - Lullaby No 2 EP

Bronx-born Jake The Rapper has become something of a Berlin legend, following his long exile in the German club capital. His residency at the notorious Bar 25 will live on in memory, but his musical innovation continues.

Here, he joins Ouïe Circle, the label of Bar 25 cohorts Nico Stojan and Acid Pauli established as an outlet for like-minded producers. This four track EP provides four different takes on Lullaby No.2. The radio version is a funky, mid tempo house cut, featuring Jake’s unmistakable vocals.

Perfectly in keeping with the aesthetic of Ouïe, the track features guitars, keys, and a seductive low key groove. The full version stretches out over almost 7 minutes, primed for the club.

The remix by Freudenthal (Nein Records, also one half of Berlin-based new wave duo Pardon Moi) is a more synth heavy take, somehow referencing the best of 80s pop alongside the more psychedelic end of the club spectrum. It’s also presented here in a radio ver- sion - Jake’s mastery of pop sensibilities making it an obvious move for radio play.

Jonny Reebok - Aphrodite Dub/Ghost Town Riddim

Following his stand out remix of ALTA’s ‘Figured Out’, flipping the track into a smooth DnB cut, Jonny Reebok makes a welcomed return to Soothsayer. This time at the forefront of the release with an original Dub inspired AA side.

Since its 2016 inception, Soothsayer has fast become a dynamic tastemaker label, adding fuel to the fire of burgeoning artists such as KUČKA, Willaris. K, Dro Carey, and ALTA, plus a remix catalogue from the likes of Mall Grab, Ross From Friends, and Ruf Dug.

Enter Jonny Reebok, whose 2019 Drum n Bass remix of ALTA’s ‘Figured Out’ turned heads at Soothsayer enough to snap him up for two more dubbed out cuts.
Born in the UK and raised in Australia by a musical father who played in bands and opened his young ears up to The Specials, The Clash, and The Cure, Jonny picked up a guitar from a young age. In his teens he started producing hip-hop style beats for his friends who rapped, eventually progressing to electronic music. Keeping his UK roots intact he found himself gravitating towards Garage, and 90s Jungle and Drum n Bass.

With an inquisitive mind leading him to dig deep into the musical heritage laid before him, Jonny recently found himself captivated by the foundations of Dub Reggae.

Jonny Reebok - “I found myself watching a documentary on how Dub formed the structure of electronic music, and how remixes are done. It led me down a rabbit hole of researching and listening to this music’s evolution. I fed this back into the studio and it changed everything for me. Previously I had been sample based, whereas now rhythm and bass are at the forefront. Aphrodite Dub & Ghost Town Riddim are homage to this. ”

Jonny’s debut 2018 releases ‘Tyrone’ and ‘You Don’t Know Flavours Bwoy’ may be on a housier tip, but he has a nature to experiment with genres that currently move him, and Soothsayer provides the perfect playground to realise his full potential. Jonny Reebok is just getting started.

The 7 Day Weekend - The 7 Day Weekend

It's a good time for fine melodic, cinematic Funk at the moment - not least with the recent Melbourne outfit, Surprise Chef just about to gift us 'Daylight Savings' at the same time as this beauty. 

From the USA comes the self-titled debut album from a band with an incredible pedigree: The 7 Day Weekend are acclaimed multi-instrumentalist and producer Alan Evans (co-founder and drummer of soul-funk legends Soulive), and in-demand keyboard player Kris Yunker (Alan Evans Trio / Jen Dunkin & The Business).

Mention the name Alan Evans to a room full of music lovers, and you will get a consensus-nod at one of the most celebrated and tenacious drummers in the jazz, funk & soul scene. A producer, recording engineer, guitarist, percussionist, vocalist and writer, Evans’ repertoire of skills has been perfected through two decades of dedication. As co-founder, writer and drummer of Soulive for 20 years, Alan Evans co-wrote, co-produced, recorded, and mixed the majority of the band’s work. He still tours the world with Soulive and has shared the stage with legends including The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Dave Matthews, John Scofield: the list (and beat) goes on!

The 7 Day Weekend is born from and influenced by the sounds and compositions of 60s and 70s film scores. Evans & Yunker combine their songwriting and production aesthetic to create what they describe as “electrorganic music”. Blending evocative ambient soundscapes with impeccable funk & hip hop-influenced grooves, the duo have put together a luscious collection of instrumentals for their self-titled debut.

From boogie, to jazz-funk, to sultry cinematic sounds, “The 7 Day Weekend” is an album that draws equally from the sonic landscapes of Galt McDermot as it does from those of J-Dilla. Sitting somewhere between concept album and imaginary film score, this full-length eschews the music industry’s current focus on singles, rather it seamlessly flows from the first track to the last, conjuring laid back summer grooves and transporting the listener to the weekend no matter what day of the week it is.

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