Promoting pioneering music, independent artists & labels from around the globe
Record of the Week
Northampton based artist House of EL (aka Kieron McIntosh) releases his first single ‘Something Special’ in the lead up to his highly anticipated mixtape ‘Book of EL’ releasing January 2022.
Following on from the success of his earlier releases ‘Hard Times’ and ‘Elijah’, featuring Jay Prince and Laura Mvula and his 2020 EP ‘Lazarus’ which gained the attention of Colors, Clash Magazine, Complex, Lyrical Lemonade and Mixtape Madness, House of EL has teamed up with Karma Kid (1800 Shy Girl, Rimon, Rudimental) and jazz guitarist Thomas Seminar Ford (Poppy Ajudah, Chris Dave) as he raises the bar again on this latest release. ‘Something Special’ sees House of EL’s funkiest release to date, built around an infectious, disco-influenced bassline married with shimmering lo-fi synths and a punchy drum section, the release that is a breath of fresh air as we leave 2021 behind.
Originally a jazz trumpeter, House of EL furthered his musicality as he moved into producing and song-writing, quickly establishing his credibility working with artists such as Plan B, Paloma Faith and Chase and Status before emerging with his own original material. Aside from his own artist project, House of EL is an accomplished arranger and has lent his skill to many luminaries in the world of popular music over the years. Drawing influence from a wide spread of artists, including: Massive Attack, Gorillaz, Joy Division, Boosty Collins, Stevie Wonder as well as Miles Davis – House of EL is a versatile creative, who is breaking boundaries with his fusios of styles, truly an artist like no other.
Fred Everything and Trevor Walker have been friends since the mid 90s, sharing the decks countless times in various venues in Canada including at Mercury Lounge in Ottawa where they both held a residency, weekly for Trevor and bi-yearly for Fred. They became known for their 4 decks and 2 mixers sessions.
The friendship and mutual respect goes deep. Fred often cites Trevor as one his favorite DJs in the world. Known for his wide knowledge of music and his passion for playing seemlessly through various styles, always with mastery. They recently got together in the studio. First for a remix on Lazy Days (Coco “Cognac” Brown) and now for 2 EPs on Compost.
The first one is E.S.M. (Earth, Sun, Moon) inspired by classic Deep Dubby House sound from the late 90s, and featuring a remix by Fred’s close friend and collaborator Atjazz, who turned this one out with his unique magic touch. The second EP will be out in 2022, more on an Afro tip, featuring DaLata singer/collaborator Diabel Cissokho, with an additional remix from Art Of Tones.
The brand-new sentinel EP by Colonel Red, 'Armz Prevail', is a contrivance of sublime, terrestrial, musically charged melody, a conscious declaration drenched with the sound of wailing souls. Music, voice and essence permeate together as one from start to finish, shining with inspiring light through every song.
Colonel Red, an Artivist in his own right, advocates the belief that it is our divine right to live our lives with a free will, unperturbed by convention. In Redz' own words, "strive to be confident and unafraid, then you have a true direction for your life". Empirical experience breathes life into the Armz Prevail EP with reverence, fortitude and grace.
It boasts the Gilles Peterson Worldwide award-winning song ‘Believe In Me’, a mid-tempo spacious, smokey soul-funk song reminiscent of Sly & The Family Stone grinding away into the era of 2022. The sheer majestic vibesmosphere that emanates through this deep cutting record will leave you loitering around the reload button.
When all is said and done, just listen to Colonel Red sing. The power and sound of his sultry, ripping voice, will mesmerize you into poetic submission. "Within each song, a powerful message seeks to transmit".
Frente Bolivarista is excited to present the single Macelada by Tempura & Edgar Valente
The song is part of their upcoming album and electronic act "Bandua" set for January 2022.
On ''Macelada,'' Tempura & Edgar Valente rework a Portuguese classic, reimagining the well known traditional song as a psychedelic desert record, adding in elements inspired by the region’s landscape. The track features a deep and commanding bass line played by Tempura and eerie atmospheres created from reversed pianos and guitars flying in and out, all of which support the beautifully haunting voice of Edgar Valente, who adopts a gender interplay and sings the song from a woman's perspective, further engaging the musicians with the genderless character of Bandua, the deity chosen to give the name to the project and album.
Celebrating blind artists with original compositions & arrangements from London singer/songwriter is Soul Jazz and Latin singer, Katriona Taylor as she presents her fifth studio album - recorded during London’s 2020 year of lockdowns.
BLIND PASSION is the journey of an artist who loves to sing and share her positive passion for music. ‘Sunny Days’, ‘Fly Me To The Stars’ and ‘Things Have Changed’ on BLIND PASSION exude a whole lot of jazz soul. But Katriona does not stop here. BLIND PASSION also features songs penned or performed by international stars who have all followed their creative passions and achieved musical success despite the impediments of blindness or visual impairment.
As Katriona says,
“I am very proud to present my new album Blind Passion, my fifth album to date. For this exciting project I wanted to celebrate the songs of blind artists such as Stevie Wonder, José Feliciano, Diane Schuur and Ray Charles, some of the world’s finest musicians who have provided inspiration to millions. I have been predominantly blind all my life and felt it was time to honour these trailblazers. I loved working on the arrangements of their songs, adding my own take to them and also contributing my own original songs to the album.”
You can hear the joy Katriona found in new arrangements of hit songs such as her innovative Latin versions of ‘Master Blaster’ and ‘My Cherie Amour’ from US icon Stevie Wonder. Katriona was greatly inspired by Ray Charles’ 1994 cover of Leon Russell’s ‘A Song For You’, for which Ray was awarded a Grammy™ Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. Katriona also pays tribute to blind singer Diane Schuur with her version of ‘It don’t mean a thing’.
Katriona Taylor’s musical career is truly inspirational. In spite of being diagnosed at the age of 7 with Stargardt’s disease - an incurable & degenerative eye condition which destroys the macular - she managed to navigate mainstream education to achieve academic excellence, studied law and practiced as a London city solicitor. Yet with career success something was missing and that something was music! Katriona made a radical career change away from law to discover a talent for singing and songwriting. She gained a Masters in acting & singing at London’s Royal Central School of Speech & Drama, before being propelled onto the UK jazz scene - and the rest is history.
Katriona thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of reimagining truly great songs for BLIND PASSION. Top English pianist, composer and TV presenter Jools Holland OBE kindly contributed ‘As You See Me Now’ for BLIND PASSION. This song was written by Jools and recorded with the famous Puerto Rican blind singer/guitarist José Feliciano, which was the title track for their 2017 album. On hearing Katriona’s arrangement of it Jools had this to say: “So lovely to hear, thank you Katriona. Beautifully sung – I love it!”
Katriona also lays bear some of her more reflective songs on BLIND PASSION with the outstanding vocal and lyrical love song ‘Makes Me Wanna Stay’, one of the finest songs penned by Katriona on the album, complimented by ‘In The Name Of Love’ and ‘In This Place’ which show her more poignant side.
Katriona Taylor’s determination to overcome obstacles and turn the negative into positive is inspirational, qualities she perhaps learned from her father, who is former world tennis champion Roger Taylor. As Katriona says, “Losing one sense heightens others and this allows me to draw from my inner vision and trust my intuition when I am song writing. I have developed the ability to really hear and listen in my music. I savour the emotion of the lyrics and interpret them in my voice, making my songs shine.”
Blind Passion is terrific, with the arrangements giving a super completeness” Jeff Wayne, Composer of War Of The Worlds
Experience it for yourself from 08 October 2021 in time for World Sight Day 2021 which falls on the 14th.
Squire, aka Jaime Alguersuari, explores new ground with an eclectic set, touching on synth-soul, drum and bass, techno and new-age influences. With his debut album 'Stop', named because of when the world did just that, his signature vocal hooks with soulful synths emerge as melodic, deep or organic house and evolve naturally into full-on songs. The Barcelona DJ/producer has always been a pioneer, as the former youngest-ever Formula One racer, and a DJ since he was 15.
Forthcoming single Salvation features Pilar Icazuriaga, her voice, reminiscent of Kim Wilde’s icy warmth but with greater depth, slowly seduces over fast, hard-hitting percussion and insistent bass. ‘The idea came in early 2019 with a single beat. I wasn't really feeling it then but there were elements I liked, so later I wrote a few simple chords plus a fun bassline - I was listening to a lot of electro and synth pop, I wanted that 80s feel. I talked to Pilar, an amazing singer, about collaborating. I asked her for a few lines to fit the chords and bass and then she sent me a beautiful hook that I'm so much in love with!’
Reflected On You also features Pilar's beguiling harmonies, with a further Wilde-esque echo in the opening bass. There’s another taste of the 80s in instrumental Pink Marble, almost Numan-like synth chords zooming by us over rattling percussion. Title track Stop is serenely uplifting, melodic and innocent, sophisticated rhythms simplified by tinkling piano; a deceptively gentle pleasure, with ethereal vocal notes.
Driving percussion and emotionally-charged synths marry with sweet, high voices; Overdue feat. Brynja is a spellbinding combination of the Icelandic singer’s quiet joy and a lively, clapping beat with syncopated pulse. In Fall Into The Dream Feat. Rachel Bachman, a much more synthy electronic feel is cut through by Bachman’s snow-pure, almost sinister, vocals, like gothic plainsong in some pagan church. Holiday Feat. Parkes is faster, shifting gear to dark, pulsating synth chords. ‘I met Carlos at a friend’s, I literally had goosebumps when I heard him sing! I just had to record with him, and we finished Holiday together.’
Entirely produced at Squire’s home in Barcelona, Stop is released on Mobilee, a label who he’s firm favourites with and with who he has released some of his strongest work; Label head Ralf Kollmann encouraged him to experiment with grooves and beats. Other noteworthy labels like All Day I Dream, Selador and Einmusika have also supported Squire’s skilful, soulful sound.
Out on November 5th. The first single ‘Salvation’ feat. Pilar Icazuriaga is out now.
Trailblazing UK jazz renegade, saxophonist Sean Khan delivers his scintillating 2 track single from the new album ‘Supreme Love: a Journey Through Coltrane’ (released 19/11) on BBE Music.
“Who is John Coltrane for me?” asks Khan. “He is man, legend, myth, storyteller, sage and atmosphere. My road and journey has been a rocky one, and like most on this journey, I have carved a path full of mistakes and triumphs. However, throughout my life Coltrane’s music has been a constant.” Weaving together disparate strands of the UK music scene (jazz, dance, broken beat and electronic) together onto one record, Supreme Love is presented in three parts: autobiography, homage and encyclopaedia.
A pioneer of the Broken Beat movement early in the new millennium, working with Omar, Bugz in the Attic and 4hero among others, Khan enlisted the input of two old friends, Kaidi Tatham and Daz I Kue, who each contribute a future-minded yet reverential sense of originality to the album. Also featured on Supreme Love are two legends of UK jazz, Peter King and Jim Mullen, both of whom bring a rich and palpable sense of history to the project. Guitarist Jim Mullen has played with Brian Auger, toured with the Average White Band and recorded with Terry Callier over his long career. Mullen was also a regular fixture at Ronnie Scott’s, as was saxophonist Peter King, who actually performed at the club’s opening night, as well as working with two of Coltrane’s favourite drummers, Philly Joe Jones and Elvin Jones. Sadly Peter King’s contribution to ‘Supreme Love’ would be his last recording session, and he passed away in August 2020. Also featured among a talented and diverse group of performers on the album is Cinematic Orchestra front-woman Heidi Vogel, who adds her distinctive, soulful voice to Khan’s, and Coltrane’s, heartfelt lyrics.
“I have always been a strange prisoner to my ambition” says Sean “and most of my recordings bear testimony to this, with this record being the next part of that evolution. I made a conscious effort to represent all of Coltrane's main artistic periods from hard bop (with Miles Davis), to sheets of sound (Giant Steps, Moments Notice), spiritual jazz (Love Supreme) and finally his last, most experimental and cosmic period (Interstellar Space). I have never heard a record that attempts to reflect all of the great man’s epochs in this way and use the recording artist’s autobiography (my own) as a conduit to these ends, and so here I am, for better or for worse.”
Supreme Love: a Journey Through Coltrane is available on 3LP vinyl, CD and digital, November 19th, 2021.
Jazzy, sophisticated and elegant, D'Agua Negra's new track is an antidote to chaos and a pure delight for the senses
Take a deep breath. Dive in. What follows is strangeness, surprise, welcome, and pleasure, basically in that order. Explicitly inspired by the mystical river that runs through Manaus, D'Água Negra is about resilience, yes, but much more about movement and the transformative and absolutely necessary power of art.
Mixing the green of the jungle that floods (less and less) the eyes of the Amazonians, the dramatic red of the internal spaces of the Manaus theater, the gray of the industrial zone that surrounds the city, and the black, unavoidable, of the river waters, the group's chromatic palette is revealed. Escaping from obviousness, D'Água Negra is an Amazonian product, undoubtedly, but without any commitment to the regional cliché.
Composed by Clariana Brandão Arruda, Bruno Barrozo Belchior and Melka (the last to join the then duo), the trio, with completely different academic backgrounds, lawyer, psychologist, and pediatrician, respectively, found themselves tied to the same, pulsating theme: the rare manauara idiosyncrasy, or, to go further, the northeastern idiosyncrasy.
All born in the capital of Amazonas and similarly involved in cultural projects, particularly in the field of music, their paths crossed in early 2020, just before they were separated by the pandemic. Isolated, each one in his own private universe, they watched the images coming from their backyards, which were printed on the pages of newspapers all over the world. Open graves and more open graves, bodies in excess, lack of oxygen, death. Manaus was chaotic. Reminiscent of a Bosch painting, the horrifying scenes were the perfect illustration of the apocalypse.
Stuck to these images, alone, in her apartment, surrounded only by cats and plants, Melka began to compose Acopalices. "It was during moments of reflection, internalizing feelings and glimpsing possibilities that I closed my eyes and saw 3 suns. I never imagined that I would be part of this group, but I felt, at that moment, a desire to have more life because one sun alone was not being able, at that time, to supply all the needs," she says.
After the most critical moments of the pandemic, the artists got together again, and this time, already under the perspective of a trio, they started working together, the genesis of the band. Proposing a unique aesthetic, D'Água Negra presents a singular urban concept, like Manaus itself, stuck in the forest, but struggling to breathe, reinventing itself amidst symbols that refer to an exuberant past, which no longer serves, but persists, like the imposing theater, the city's postcard, not far from the riverside communities that bravely resist the advances of the chainsaw.
The result of these paradoxes gives rise to a diffuse, almost complex sonority that, during the pandemic, can deepen even more into an opaque, almost mystical essence that characterizes and completes the band's prolix nature. Acopalices translates this proposal well.
The first creation of the group with the new formation, Melka's lyrics ended up being absorbed by the other members, who brought to the track their own reading of the apocalypse. "In a moment of emptying of daily habits caused by isolation, Acopalices is an internal implosion that becomes art, where we can find a gap to shout our position to the world," explains Bruno
Full of personality and elegant, the track delivers the sensuality of the trio from the vocals, perfectly tuned, which accompany a sophisticated melody, alternating between neo soul and NU jazz, resulting in a purely sensory sound experience. All this contradicting and creating a perfect paradox with the title Acopalices.
Reference to a meme that went viral in Brazil during the pandemic, Acopalices is a corruption of the word apocalypse, revealing the comical face of the Brazilian even in the face of the tragedy caused by Covid-19.
"We all lost someone close to family to this virus and found ourselves, in many moments, without the strength to transform reality, powerless. On the other hand, we cannot afford the luxury of mourning because we must think about daily survival. Brazilians laugh at tragedy as an antidote to their pain. We need to move forward, always, our life depends on this movement," Melka contextualized.
Nothing could be more symbolic than the river Rio Negro to illustrate the importance of this flow. "D'Água Negra brings a fundamental geographical location for us, as a Manaura project, from the North, but, just like the river, whose waters evaporate and travel to the continents, we also embrace different artistic languages, references such as jazz, blues, soul, breakbeat, electronic music, in short, we are a musical laboratory open to everything, connecting us to the whole world," explained Bruno.