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Perrate - Tres Golopes

Record of the Week

Tomás Fernández Soto, formerly Tomás de Perrate—, the characteristic of radical flamenco artists takes on its most profound meaning. Not only are they radical because of their extreme artistic projects but also because of the fact that they either get to the roots, in which they are well versed, or literally are the roots. You know what José Bergamín once stated, "Seeking the roots is the underground way the aerial being takes to beat about the bush". Bergamín does not minimise here the "underground" effort, but he rather highlights the importance of escaping, getting lost in the fields of the meaning and the signifier.

Tres golpes is PERRATE's radical bet on the present of his surname. PERRATE conveys the original meaning of 'pure', which is not something that has to do with blood, tradition or lineage. 'Pure' has to do with form. It is always redundant to talk about hybridisation in flamenco music. The Triana soleá and seguiriyas cabales are hybrids themselves, and yet they have their own defining form. Even something without a specific form can be pure.

Tres golpes has that: three glances at the cante, tradition and form, three knocks with the knuckles on the wooden table. The original song "Tres golpes" is a street fandango by Los gaiteros de San Jacinto, a Colombian traditional folkloric group inspired by the African music brought by slaves and freedmen to the Pacific South America. To PERRATE, it also means a proclamation as, in a way, it arranges the variety of artistic approaches that this work contains.

On the one hand, Tres golpes includes cantes in their own familiar form. Rather than flamenco singing in the house, they originate at the house door, which is where they used to take place raw, unadorned. On the other hand, there is a singular approach to styles that may have been part of the origins of flamenco but disappeared with the time, for some reason. I am talking about the chacona, the jácara or the folía that Tomás does not sing with the attitude of an historicist, but imagining what would have happened with these palos if they had gone through the two centuries of metamorphosis —some call it "degeneration"— that forged flamenco. Finally, in a similar way, tonás, romances, seguiriyas and seguidillas are given a new sound, a tactile sound that can be touched, felt, weighed.

Of course, this is why Raül Refree was chosen to conduct the production. He is the one who has best materialised the radical sound of the latest flamenco. Here, with PERRATE, he has gone even further. His expertise faces now raw singing, a voice that slit opens like the old grooves of a vinyl record. Stylus voice, rather than laser voice. Analogue voice. And digital too, provided that digital has to do with the fingers. Three fingers signalling three beats that cue the music.

PERRATE likes that hypothesis about his preceding Loreto —second last name of Manuel Soto, his grandfather, the legendary 'Manuel Torre'—, the idea that such Loreto name may well have developed from Leyton, a slave surname, which would vindicate his "black" origin. There it is, consequently, his black sound, which expands its meaning now not just because of the Black Africa but also because of the dark leather, the dark underground, the electric cellar where the sounds of the 21st century were born. Yes, because of that blackness too.

"Tres Golpes is flamenco that breaks free of the genre’s constraints to create a groundbreaking album of avant European music-making"
Folk Radio UK

“The future of flamenco is here as the classic Spanish sound gets a dissonant makeover” Songlines

Various - We Are the Children of the Sun - BBE Music

Selected by British DJ and vinyl hunter Paul Hillery, new BBE Music compilation 'We Are The Children Of The Sun' showcases a shimmering collection of rare folk funk and AOR with a distinctly Balearic feel.

Former tour DJ for Polyphonic Spree and the man behind YouTube channel and mix series ‘Folk Funk & Trippy Troubadours’, Paul Hillery’s lovingly handpicked musical assembly takes in strummed soft rock, blissful beach beats, the soft fizz of electronica, all carried to your ears by a gentle summer breeze. The music on 'We Are The Children Of The Sun' ranges from hazy, long-forgotten early 70s tapes, right through to digital compositions recorded during lockdown in 2020.

“Tune in” says Paul, “and ruminate while consciousness is awoken with transmissions dropping out from the fringes of psyche tranquillity, holding hands with folk-funk that runs deep and hazy, as the bejewelled turquoise waters lap gently at the ocean’s shore.”

Strata Records - The Sound of Detroit - Reimagined By Jazzanova

In association with DJ Amir and 180 Proof Records, BBE Music proudly presents ‘Strata Records - The Sound of Detroit - Reimagined by Jazzanova’, a brand new celebration of the iconic imprint.

How does the Berlin-based production collective Jazzanova find itself reimagining songs from the iconic, Detroit record label Strata? “I couldn’t think of a more perfect band to do this work,” DJ Amir says about Jazzanova, a combination of DJs, record collectors and musicians, “because they brought passion and love to the project, because they know the music and love the music. And on top of that, they know how to play.” This unlikely, yet ideal pairing is the result of years of work and passion from Amir Abdullah, the crate-digging, DJ and label- head for 180-Proof Records which in 2011 began reissuing the groundbreaking Strata Records back catalog and unreleased gems from the vaults. On Strata Records - The Sound of Detroit - Reimagined by Jazzanova, DJ Amir and Jazzanova breathe new life into eleven hand-picked tracks from the Strata catalog for fans of the label’s historic recordings and new ears alike.

Strata Records rose from the ashes of Detroit’s tumultuous 1960s decline. Motor City famously burned in 1967 and then again in 1968, leading to mass exodus of those who could afford to relocate out of the city. "The people of Detroit don't call it the riot,” Barbara Cox, the widow of label-founder Kenny Cox says, “they call it the insurrection." From the ashes of the insurrection, Kenny Cox founded Strata as a community organization that initially ran food drives and jazz programs.

Not unlike the original Strata collective, Jazzanova is a creative musical community in a constant state of evolution. Founded in 1995 in Berlin, the original five members came together as a collaboration between DJs and producers to create future-focused dance music inspired by their shared love for "funk, jazz, disco, Latin... all kinds of things - but mostly old records," founding member Stefan Leisering explains. Never content to stand still, in 2009 Jazzanova also started to play live with their own band, reinterpreting classic sounds and creating new songs, all leading to this latest collaboration with DJ Amir. It only makes sense in today’s bizarre music landscape that the better-known Berlin-based Jazzanova is celebrating the legacy of an obscure jazz label from Detroit. For Leisering, there’s no contradiction, “because we aren’t just musicians and remixers, we are also record collectors, and I love rare records, and I love listening to stuff that isn’t even available, because it’s obscure and lost.”

Their versatility and breadth of knowledge is also what makes Jazzanova the perfect partner to reintroduce Strata to a contemporary audience who may not have ever heard the original records. “I would say there’s definitely a ‘Strata sound,’” Leiseiring says, pointing to the use of a Mellotron (which was gifted to the label by John Lennon & Yoko Ono) that graces many of the label’s releases, adding ambient string and flute arrangements. “But at the same time,” Leisering continues, “musically it has a small output, but it also has a wide range . . . some records have an avant-garde, modern-jazz twist, others have Latin jazz, or even a soul vibe.” To remix a single song by a single artist is one thing, but to capture the diversity of styles and vibes across a family of creative musicians is another, requiring versatility, sensitivity and superb chops. “In the past we were working more like producers,” Leisering says, but with help from unofficial bandleader Stefan Ulrich, they’re now “recording layer by layer with the live band. It’s a new experience and we can also let our experience of making remixes enter that process.”

This is no covers album, as Jazzanova’s take on Lyman Woodard Organization’s musical manifesto ‘Creative Musicians’ makes clear from its Afrobeat inspired horn arrangements, drum track and syncopated tempo. The vocalist for these sessions is Sean Haefeli, who originally hails from Indianapolis, and brings a relaxed urgency to his contributions, sounding like a young Gil Scott-Heron.

On the Malauwi tune, ‘Root in 7/4 Plus’, Jazzanova stretches out for ten minutes, transforming the original into a deep, dense meditation. The rhythm section extends the original’s outro vamp with pulsing horns and Haefeli’s urgent vocals, making the listener feel the mantra: “the blues are all around me.”

“I really tried to combine my knowledge of club music and electronic music with a soundtracky and funky vibe,” Leisering says about their reimaginations. For ‘Saturday Night Special’, Jazzanova’s take on The Lyman Woodard Organization’s lo-fi jazz funk classic sounds more like it’s soundtracking the excited strut into the club on a Saturday night, than the original’s moody, afterhours vibe. “When I was working on it I approached it like I was doing a remix,” Leisering explains. “I started at my computer, thinking about a rhythmic structure, bassline and everything, then I gave this to the band, to develop organically”.

Opening with a circular guitar pattern and electric keyboards before a polyrhythmic groove lays the rhythmic foundation, Sphere’s ‘Inside Ourselves’ is transformed into a searching jazz gem. On this beautiful interpretation, Jazzanova finds a sweet spot melding elements of African highlife, Latin jazz and spiritual jazz for this reimagination of the original.

The album’s closing track ‘Loser’ is a “seventies street blues with a soul-jazz vibe to it,” Leisering explains, “and we thought we could give it a nice modern twist.” Sam Sanders’ original is a melancholy jazz dirge, an unlikely inclusion for this album, but, “Stefan [Ulrich] and I were considering the song because we thought it offered a lot of space to make the song happen in the studio” Leisering insists. The reverb-drenched opening guitar chords combined with Haefeli’s off-center vocals create a woozy vibe, somewhere between gloomy and dreamy.

Re-emerging, reimagined in Berlin fifty years later, DJ Amir and Jazzanova translate the diverse sounds and styles of the Strata Records legacy into a soulful and cohesive musical statement that honors the label’s community of creative musicians.

Various - Kenny Dope Brazil 45s - Mr Bongo Records

The long-running relationship between Masters At Work and Mr Bongo has been a fruitful affair. Beginning in the 90s, it has included releases such as their seminal 'Brazilian Beat' 12" featuring Liliana, their magnificent rework of Atmosphere’s ‘Dancing In Outer Space’, and their recent hit Surprise Chef remixes 12". The influences of Brazilian music is evident in their DJ sets and productions, take the poly-rhythms of the 'Nervous Track’ as a prime example. We couldn't think of anyone more fitting to curate the third volume in our "Brazil 45 Boxset Curated by" series than one half of the MAW duo, the mighty Kenny Dope.

For his volume of the series, Kenny selected 10 knockout tracks from the golden era of Brazilian music. As you would expect from such a legend, he surpassed the brief of simply compiling the tracks, as he re-edited and remixed a number of his favourites especially for this boxset. Amongst these exclusives is a blazing, heavy psych-funk remix of Antonio Carlos & Jocafi's 'Quem Vem Lá’, and a hip-hop breakbeat bounce woven into Luli Lucinha E O Bando's folky-MPB beauty 'Flor Lilás’. Di Melo and Miguel De Deus are also given the Dopeman remix and edit treatment.

Kenny's selections pull out some forgotten classics and recently overlooked gems, many of which were once top of the want-lists for collectors in the 90s. These include Milton Banana Trio and the irresistible version of 'Berimbao' by Jayme Marques. Along with the Brazilian funk and jazzy-bossa dancefloor-oriented tracks, Kenny has also chosen the leftfield, deeper, trippy psychedelic folk sounds of Papete.

As with previous volumes, the selections are very personal and represent the individual sound and taste of the selector digging from the rich tapestry of Brazilian music. Its unique palate and stamp are exactly what you would expect from a Master At Work.

John Crawford and Robin Simon - Theres Only You

When Ultravox met Berlin! Music legends John Crawford & Robin Simon join forces on an all-new super project and album 'Arclight'. Their debut is their synth-heavy single There's Only You.

Abundantly atmospheric and emotive, the single takes the synth heavy spirit the pair pioneered and updates it with all the talent of the music titans' juggernaut careers. Otherworldly electronic keys and a ringing guitar weave together with deep bass and infectious drumming creating a rich sound bed for Crawford's stylish vocals.

There's Only You's accompanying lyric video provides a slick visual component to the band's debut. The video cuts between images of a shrouded figure searching in a cave for something unknown by lamplight, and abstract images propelling the viewer forward.

John Crawford is best known as the founder, principal songwriter, and creative heart of the 80s powerhouse Berlin that releases classics such as "The Metro" and "Take My Breath Away" from the major motion picture "Top Gun". "Take My Breath Away" won the 1986 Academy Award for Best Original Song and charted worldwide.

Robin Simon, former lead guitarist for Ultravox and Visage, known for his pioneering guitar techniques that brought you some of most creative and distinctive guitar sounds of the 80s. Robin popularised the use of Chorus, Flanger, fuzz, wah-wah, delay, and compression pedals for a guitar sound that came to define the decade.

The meeting of the legends happened by chance while Robin was in LA. The pair instantly clicked and within a week recorded 5 demos. 6 months on, they booked a studio and completed their debut album with John Bryan and Sare Havlicek. The upcoming JCRS album is a clash of 80s songwriting, with ethereal synths and moody futuristic space echo guitar textures sure to entrance fans of music classic and new alike!

Various - Jazz à Vienne, Past & Future.jpg

Not every day do you celebrate a 40th birthday. That’s why Jazz at Vienne is marking the four-decade – emerald – anniversary of France’s signature jazz and blues event not once, but twice. After a truncated 2021 edition, the festival’s storied history, dating back to 1981, is being celebrated with a full concert schedule this year, alongside a compilation album, Past & Future. The album - an amalgam of stories, emotion and resonant echoes – captures the festival’s essence. Listen in closely, then once again. 

To celebrate this anniversary the festival is associated with Heavenly Sweetness to celebrate Jazz.

This compilation, Past & Future captures something of the festival’s history, while connecting with the current scene’s leading lights, and so propelling you into the future.

Each of the seven groups collected here were recorded at Isère, at Grenoble. Three With many of the covers included here as evocative as the original compositions. Brothers and sisters, Abraham Reunion, for instance, return to the Roberta Flack classic, “Trying Time” while the quintet, Ishkero turn up the heat on “Oliloki Valley” by Herbie Hancock. Roy Hargrove’s spirit animates two titles: Emile Londonien captures the groove of the RH Factor cut “Strength” while the Leon Phal Quintet
return to “Soulful” as if evoking a dream in the final moments of a show.
For Franck Descollonges, founder of the label, Heavenly Sweetness, this release has a particular importance. “This project really touches my heart as Jazz at Vienne was one of my first jazz shows.
This compilation is in two parts, the first one looking back to a prestigious PAST and the other one looking to FUTURE. 

Out on May 27th on digital and June 17th on CD & 2LP Gatefold.

Oded Tzur - Isabela

On his follow-up to 'Here Be Dragons', New York-based saxophonist Oded Tzur and his collaborators apply their subtle dialect in a more intense space, exploring the nuances and colours of the saxophonist’s self-fashioned raga in a suite-like sequence of quiet meditations and powerful exclamations. 

 

Oded has carved out a particularly idiosyncratic approach to composing on his musical path, blending raga and jazz in a way where the saxophonist is neither borrowing nor imitating musical idioms from elsewhere, but rather applying a comprehensive music-philosophical concept on a universal level. Once again joining Oded on his musical journey are pianist Nitai Hershkovits, bassist Petros Klampanis and drummer Johnathan Blake, who infuse the leader’s inventions with effortless musicianship and vivid imagination.

The saxophonist’s note-bending, microtonal technique, inspired by Indian classical instruments and touching the barely audible, is again at the heart of his voice and the melodies that protrude on Isabela. 

Chip Wickham - Astral Traveling

Gondwana Records welcome saxophonist and flautist Chip Wickham to the family. An original member of the Gondwana Orchestra, Chip played on Matthew Halsall's debut album 'Sending My Love' and has regularly played with the Orchestra while also leading his own excellent band.

 

For his release, Chip chose three deep cuts associated with the legendary pianist Lonnie-Liston Smith, subtly updated to create a beautiful 21st Century take on the Spiritual jazz of the early 70s. Sais' from the maestro's iconic Cosmic Funk album is a breezy, beautiful tune that's incessant groove is lifted into the outer reaches by gorgeous horn arrangements and some of the lushed flute playing anywhere. Astral Travelling is driven by glistening harp, contemporary drums and features one of Chip's most beautiful arrangements.

 

Peaceful One features a low-slung sultry groove, sublime horn arrangements and some of Chip's finest tenor playing to date, creating a perfect slice of mid-tempo jazz perfection.

Nao Yoshioka - Tokyo 2020

Take a break and let yourself get carried away by some sweet neo soul.

Japanese singer Nao Yoshioka drops her new single "Tokyo 2020" inspired by her life in Tokyo during the pandemic. Nao’s exotic soulful vocal work shines through with beautiful strings, creating a midtempo tune that combines the nostalgic atmosphere of the 70’s with a modern R&B sound. That bridge too. Mmmm.