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Singles of the Week
Going against the advice of all the musicians involved, who thought he was mad and set to lose all his money, John decided to go full DIY, hire out a high end studio in the West End to record ‘Keep In Touch’ and release it as a private press, birthing his now famed Pink Rhythm label. Featuring Bluey on guitar, Peter Maas on bass, Paul Morgan on drums, Jason Wright on keyboards, and John Rocca on percussion, Keep In Touch was a surprise underground hit selling over 5000 copies and reaching #49 in the UK, leading Freeez into a record deal with Pye / Calibre.
Still giddy from the experience of having produced and pressed his first record at the age of just 19, John set out to do it all again with ‘Stay’ and ‘Hot Footing’, enlisting Bluey & co once again. This time Rocca attempted to take things to the next level by adding vocals into the mix. Though this new arrangement initially backfired and cost John the deal with Pye / Calibre who weren’t feeling the slight change of vibe, original copies of the Stay 12” have become one of the most in demand from the brit funk canon.
These foundational DIY 12” singles paved the way for Freeez to become a household name in the history of British funk who went on to record hits like ‘Southern Freeze’ and ‘IOU’ as well as underground cult classics like ‘Melodies of Love’ and ‘India’ as Pink Rhythm, John Rocca’s later formation of Freeez named after his imprint.
Far Out will be releasing a very limited run of exclusive Pink Rhythm T-shirts, alongside the two 12”s, both redesigned in the style of the original private presses.
The incomparable Jhelisa has returned to Dorado Records, the independent label that, almost 3 decades ago, offered her complete creative freedom to release two globally acclaimed albums that cemented her as a seminal artist of the time. They begin their renewed partnership with the first release, 7 Keys V.1 & V.2, an adventurous concept album, based on ancient eastern music, balanced with contemporary sounds, where all 7 keys of the musical scale and sonic frequencies align with each of the chakras. This cosmic collection of music is released on 8th October and features tensions and dissonances as much for connection, reflection and spiritual balance, as for lovers of ambient beats and electronica.
The first single to be taken from the album is Solar Plexus E 320Hz, a soul-opening opus of radiating frequencies, released on 10th September. Resonating at a frequency of 320 Hz, the same as that of the body’s solar plexus chakra, the result is a soundscape that is drenched in Jhelisa’s subtle and exquisite vocal power, dissolving into a warm gong bath of sound.
“To explain the Key of E, the Solar Plexus, 320 Hz” says Jhelisa, ““I want listeners to take a moment, to notice how the children get calmer, notice how your whole bio system reacts. No lyrics, no concepts to consider, no coolness to uphold. From these harmonique designs you can just be and let your own expression form within it. I started with one note, in the key of E, building it, throwing paint until a sonic picture was formed...The meaning will find you...InJoy!”
Celebrated as much as an enigmatic, musical maverick, as an outrageously gifted vocalist and songwriter, Jhelisa Anderson was the name to know in the 1990’s. Her thrillingly daring music – a mix of trip-hop, jazz, avant-garde, gospel and soul - was underpinned by a glorious, deeply seductive voice, remarkable in its intensity and spiritual force.
Yet despite high profile stints with The Shamen, Bjork, Massive Attack and Soul Family Sensation, it was Dorado Records, a small independent label based in London’s Soho that Jhelisa made her creative home in the 90s. The Mississippi-born singer based herself in London, and with complete creative freedom released her first two albums - 1994’s Galactica Rush and 1997’s Language Electric. Hugely acclaimed as bold and ground-breaking, media attention poured in; from The Guardian, NME and Echoes, to Arena, GQ and Spin plus countless other tastemakers. Jhelisa’s exalted anthem ‘Friendly Pressure’ is as revered today as it was 27 years ago, spawning multiple remixes from the cognoscenti of producers, continuing to be remixed and sampled to this day.
New-age ideology has peppered much of Jhelisa’s musical output, so a concept album based on her research into the use of sacred drone tones in ancient Eastern music comes as no surprise. Now, in the run up to the label’s 30-year anniversary, Dorado reunites with Jhelisa to present 7 Keys V.1 & V.2, a milestone in Jhelisa’s creative journey, with brand new recordings to follow.
7 Keys V.1I was soft-released in 2018 and is now re-issued by Dorado. It is a deeply resonant body of work based around sustained long notes. On 7 Keys V.2 Jhelisa creates single notes by layering multiple recordings of her voice alongside sub-harmonics that weave around grounding heartbeat drums and circular, meditative sounds. Her extraordinary vocal ability makes these explorations especially powerful.
Each of the tracks on the album is based on one of the 7 Chakras (a complex and ancient energy system originating in India referring to 7 energy points in the body) and its unique pitch. Each track takes place within a key on the musical scale, at a specific frequency, translated into measurements of electromagnetic vibrations, or hertz.
7 Keys sits in a lineage of black women making ground-breaking, psychedelic music for meditation, from Alice Coltrane, Pauline Oliveras and Erykah Badu. It is designed to connect, expand, retune and balance our emotions and thoughts. It’s a record with a broad audience, from spiritual listeners familiar with meditation or yoga technologies who’ll immediately recognise the music’s deep harmonic intention, as well as fans of ambient electronica sounds and Jhelisa followers who await her newest musical offering. 7 Keys is universal music for everyone, with Jhelisa’s unadorned voice at the heart of the sonic journey.
Cody Currie and Eliza Rose team up on Dan Shake’s label. Four timeless tracks each with their own mood, Cody’s hard hitting rhythms and rich chords are elevated by Eliza’s seductive vocal hooks. Dan Shake rounds' off the package with a broken beat remix of title track ‘Flame’.
Cody Currie comes through with another EP that exhibits his deftness in working with Eliza Rose’s signature vocals. The pair immediately turned heads earlier this year with their debut collaborative single ‘Moves’, which came out on Toy Tonics, and received high praise from Rolling Stone, 6 Music, Worldwide FM, and Radio 1. Dan Shake was another head instantly hooked in by ‘Moves’, and having admired Cody and Eliza respectively as individual artists for a long time, he knew it was time to sign them on Shake.
“You instantly know a Cody release when you hear it and I just love his jazzy, laid back style” explains Dan. Introduced to Eliza’s music a while back, Dan “instantly fell in love with her voice. I knew I somehow needed to get them both involved with Shake, and I’m hyped to have a collaboration early on in what seems to be set to be a long standing collaborative journey between them”
Eliza’s jazz infused tones embody the signature sound that multi-instrumentalist and producer Cody has crafted for himself on labels like Razor n Tape, Classic Music Company, and Toy Tonics. He’s a next generation producer connecting the dots between jazz, soul, house, garage and broken beats.
DJ/Producer, vocalist and Rinse FM radio host Eliza Rose has been writing and singing since the age of 15. Paying homage is something at the forefront of Eliza’s artistry, which is apparent in her monthly Vinyl Factory Live series, and the lyrics to title track ‘Flame’ are a nod to Gwen McCrea’s ‘Keep The Fire Burning’.
Four tracks each with their own mood, ‘Flame’ is one for the clubs, you’ll hear Cody’s vocal complement Eliza’s on ‘Another Love’ which also has a stripped back Midnight Dub version, and Dan rounds off the package with a broken beat remix. A genre you don’t hear much of from Dan, but a scene he was highly influenced by in the mid 2000’s living in North London.
Citizens Of Vice return with an EP full of summer vibes. The EP in question is a 'Lanowa' Remix's EP featuring reworks of tracks from his first three EP’s.
Notts based Lanowa released his first EP with the label last summer and has followed with two additional EP’s that have gained the support of a multitude of fine tastemakers & DJ's inc Horse Meat Disco, ALFOS, Bill Brewster and Midfield General. Toronto’s ‘The Patchouli Brothers’ kick things off with their take on “Red Days’ which has already been played on Sean Johnston’s recent ALFOS Emergency Broadcast.
Simon Mills of Bent puts on his Somethin’ Sanctified hat for his interpretation of Clubber Lang.
Ourra gets to grips with Mojito and brings in Gary Barnacle who has played brass with everyone from the Clash to Level 42 to join him and add his magic touch.
Finally the mysterious George & Lynne remix Coloured Squares from Lanowa’s debut EP of the same name.
Lanowa - The Remixes is released on Oct 1st via Citizens Of Vice.
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.
The ubiquitous Dre: as at home as a DJ as he is a performer at numerous venues over the years. Indeed, taking early musical journeys via Drum & Bass then later, producing full-on Minneapolis Funk jams. In the summer of 2021, he arrives with an all-new, ten-track long-player.
Over the course of this excursion, Dre exemplifies what beautiful art can result from an unprecedented, global lockdown. 'On the Down' reflects on this very time: accompanied by resonant Rhodes piano, Dre's snappy drum syncopations, horn stabs and his subtle vocal delivery, feeling like it could have been the flipside to Prince's 1996 'Jam of the Year'. Dre heads into early '80s Jazz-Funk territory on 'The Crusade' contrasted with 'End of Summer Blue as distanced, reverbed vocals and an encompassing atmosphere, echoing the mood of Marvin's 'Save the Children' . 'Fallen 4 Your Love' is pure, undulating harmony and melody in a late'70s soul mold: perhaps the personal highlight for this listener.Personal choice aside, this is an outstanding collection of modern soul-music with nods to Jazz and Funk along the way but most of all, it is the quality of the songs that takes 'Drecountry' to another plateau. Let's hope it gets the attention it deserves.
Following the singles ‘Thinking’ feat Joel Culpepper and ‘Once I Got Away From You Then Everything Worked Out’ feat Murkage Dave both of which gained amazing support across UK radio (2 x Radio 1 Records of the Week inc support from some of the UK’s finest DJ tastemakers; Annie Mac, Clara Amfo, Jamz Supernova, Huw Stephens, Toddla T, Trevor Nelson, Jo Whiley, Phil Taggart, Nick Grimshaw, Don Letts)…the former Arctic Monkey bass player/producer returns with yet another impressive collaboration with UK MC Piers James.
Piers' recent ep ‘A Dying Breed Part II” gained attention from DJ Target, Annie Mac, BBC Introducing, Charlie Sloth on Apple 1 and The Kiss Hip Hop show, as well as press coverage from i-D, Notion, Dummy, Noctis, Wordplay, Mixtape Madness, Haste and Hypebeast naming him as their Next Gen Artist of 2021 . This is a song about enjoying life in the now with the loved ones you surround yourself with as nothing lasts forever..Once again Goldteeth shows that he is becoming not only one of Sheffield's but the UKs rising new producers working with some of the best emerging vocal talents from the UK music scene.
For years it was believed that José Mauro was dead. Rumours on blogs and comment sections circulated that the mysterious Brazilian genius had either been killed in a road accident, or been ‘disappeared’ by Brazil’s military junta in the 1970s. But following Far Out’s 2016 reissue of José Mauro’s debut album Obnoxius, the label heard word that José Mauro is in fact alive and well, living a quiet life on the outskirts of Rio.
After years of trying to track him down (with many twists and turns along the way), Far Out Recordings is overjoyed to finally present, with the blessing of the man himself, the long-awaited release of José Mauro’s forgotten masterpiece A Viagem Das Horas, featuring three previously unreleased and unheard tracks from the original studio sessions.
Recorded in 1970 at Odeon studios in Rio de Janeiro: the same time and place as all the music he ever recorded, José Mauro’s A Viagem Das Horas wasn’t released until six years later, when label owner and producer Roberto Quartin licensed the tracks to fellow Brazilian label Tapecar, who curiously released the album with several tracks already released on Obnoxius. Finally, over half a century on, A Viagem Das Horas will be released with three never before heard tracks, “Rua Dois”, “Moenda'' and “Variação Sobre Um Antigo Tema”, as Mauro and Quartin had originally intended. Out now.
Three songs taken from Chip Wickham’s spiritual jazz album Blue to Red get reshaped by Photay, Medlar, and Chip Wickham himself. The result is a lush ep, every bit as good as the combination of a wonderful original track and an uber-talented remixer could be.
Photay has deconstructed the peaceful Blue to Red to turn it into a bomb—a storming dance track that keeps the spiritual vibe intact. The extra beatless version soothes your ear while creating a certain sense of anticipation.
The original version of Interstellar blends fusion jazz with the sound of West London’s seminal broken beat scene. Medlar has plucked the track apart, then rebuilt it by adding some extra perc and synth sounds to the bass-driven beats. The result is some deep and heavy and funky business.
And finally, Chip recovered a take of a wonderful astral slow jam The Cosmos that didn’t make it onto the album, one with no drums, and cooked up a roomy cosmic dub, full-on Space Echo.