Addis 1988 is the document of a moment in time when mulatu astatke was not yet the global ethiojazz superstar he is today, but a change was gonna come for him, and for the whole world. in ethiopia, the derg had started to tumble and fall; europe saw the wall between east and West gain more and more holes until it came down; Southern Africa witnessed Apartheid taking its final lap before Nelson Mandela was finally set free. With Ofra Haza's Yeminite Songs and Mory Kanté's 'Yéké Yéké' high on the international charts, music of the wider world finally entered the house of Western pop, giving high hopes and deep inspirations for many musicians who were previously excluded.
Los Angeles based label Cold Busted readies the second volume of a ten part series. This series covers the best Funk and Jazz inspired tracks found only on Cold Busted. Each release is hand-picked with many of the songs available on CD for the first time including cuts by Akshin Alizadeh, Mister T, Singularis, and Bloody Tadi. If you haven’t heard of Cold Busted then this is the compilation series you should start with.
Limited to 300 copies. Alpha Pup Records announces the release of MAST’s second full length album Love and War_. Love and War_ is a highly conceptual and deeply personal new work based on jazz trained multi-instrumentalist MAST aka Tim Conley’s eventful love life over the last 2 years. Set up as a three Act Play structure (traditionally the Setup, the Confrontation and the Resolution) Love and War_ is 17 intense and unique compositions each flowing into the next with recurring musical themes or “characters.” Conley tells the story of (Act 1) finding love and the beauty and naivety that comes with exploring something new; (Act 2) losing that love due to her substance abuse, deception and Conley coping in unhealthy ways; (Act 3) learning to let go, heal and ultimately find a much deeper lasting love. The tone Conley sets is sometimes sarcastic, other times vulnerable and intimate, yet always musically intense and profoundly visual. Sonically, Love and War_ is mostly instrumental compositions consisting of rousing electronic elements perfectly intertwined with live guitar, keyboards, bass and drums. It’s performed and produced by Conley, along with some of the world’s leading Instrumentalists and vocalists. Keyboardist / producer Taylor McFerrin appears hot off the release of his latest on Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder label. Both LA transplants, Conley and McFerrin have been friends and musical acquaintances for over 10 years since their time in NYC and Philly during the early 2000s. Composing and creating Love and War_ was an efficacious way for Conley to heal and grow but he was very reluctant to share such a personal story so transparently. Through this vulnerability, he hopes that whatever anyone else’s Love and War_ story happens to be, to learn their own life lessons, find the humor in it and always trust in the most optimistic outcome.
The Jazz Jousters collective was formed in June 2012 by Millennium Jazz Music’s founding manager Gadget, who challenged the group to sample certain Jazz tracks while paying tribute to a different Jazz great in each session and releasing the submissions via the MJM label. This resulted in a new album consistently being released digitally every two weeks for the first two seasons, and then monthly in their third season in 2015. At this point all involved agreed that it was time to honor the listeners cries and attempt to put out some physical material in season four, The first of which was the 25 track compilation‘The Vault-Best of The Jazz Jousters ’double 12” managed by MJM & HHV.de to celebrate the past three years of tribute albums. Season four was a ten part cassette series called ‘Locations’ which focused on Jazz from various countries such as, Japan, Brazil, Italy, Germany, France, Nigeria, Poland, Canada, Cuba and concluding with England.All volumes sold out and often had to be restocked.The success of the Locations series enabled MJM to press the Jousters first official 12” vinyl album entitled ‘Endurance’, released in May 2016. After a well deserved break to focus on individual projects, the Jazz Jousters collective have returned for their fifth season to do another Locations series, but this time on vinyl. Locations: USA is the first of that series, and the saga continues!
Pias present a reissue of Black Earth by the German doom jazz cult band, Bohren & der Club of Gore, originally released in 2002. Black Earth is a masterpiece and the perfect soundtrack for an imaginary movie experiencing the nights in a dangerous city. For fans of SunnO, OM, Max Richter, Fennesz. "The substance we are seeking here lies beyond the bare bones of fact, the when and the where (founded in 1988, Mülheim an der Ruhr) or personnel and instruments. Mysteries may very well lurk here or there along the way. What keeps the final two founder members going after all this time? Do Morten Gass and Robin Rodenberg have skeletons locked in their closets? How dearly we would we love to know the answer to that one, alas the most beautiful puzzles tend to remain unsolved. Including their debut Gore Motel (1994), Bohren & der Club of Gore have amassed an impressive eight long players... Strange as it may seem, there is a uniform consistency to their reception. Whatever the band does, critiques are unfailingly positive, yet repetitious. Consider the arrival of Christoph Clöser in 1997, by way of illustration. When he joined the group, his saxophone replaced the departing Reiner Henseleit's guitar as one of the defining instruments in the band. This was arguably the sharpest break in their sound to this day and a significant marker in terms of the band's reverence for Dutch instrumentalists Gore (the clue is in the name), whose repetitive riffs paved the way for how the guitar would be deployed in a post-everything future... Similarly conspicuous by their absence in the Bohren chronicles are the numerous instruments which they added to the mix. The introduction of choirs at least had a clear visual impact. Since Thorsten Benning left at the end of 2015, the band has continued as a trio, sharing shifts on the drums. A decrease in personnel was conversely accompanied by quantum leaps forward in the group's musical development - or more precisely, minor adjustments triggered major effects. The music of Bohren & der Club of Gore opens up remarkable rooms of association, from a warm burrow to a pristine secret lodge, from a dusky woodland tavern to a smoky quayside dive... These sinister crackling songs are invitations to secrete oneself in darkness." -Lars Brinkman.
Pias present a reissue of the 2005 album from Germany's doom jazz cult band Bohren & der Club of Gore, Geisterfaust. Geisterfaust, featuring the slowest band on earth in an even more reduced and slow motion style, is back in full glory, with 58 minutes of playtime over five astonishing tracks. "Geisterfaust" might be translated as "the fist of a ghost" and the individual tracks are "trigger finger", "ring finger", "middle finger", "thumb" and "little finger". The group, who are much loved by musicians like Mike Patton (of Faith No More and who releases their albums on the Ipecac label) or Stephen O'Malley (SunnO), deliver outstanding music. For fans of SunnO, OM, Max Richter, Fennesz and David Lynch/Angelo Badalamenti. This is instrumental music of the highest caliber.
3 is the third album by the French covers band Nouvelle Vague, initially released 16 June 2009. As with their previous release, the album consists entirely of cover versions, mostly of post-punk and new wave songs from the 1970s and 1980s. Four of the tracks are performed as duets, featuring the song's original vocalist performing alongside one of Nouvelle Vague's female singers. Repress comes in 180gr white vinyl and includes MP3 download of the album.
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Bande à Part is Nouvelle Vague's second album, initially released in 2006. Like their eponymous first album, it is a collection of bossa nova cover versions of 1980s new wave tracks. The music video for "Dance with Me" references the famous dance sequence from Jean-Luc Godard's film Bande à part (1964). Repress comes in 180gr pink vinyl and includes MP3 download of the album.
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Mark de Clive-Lowe delivers an outstanding 4 track EP recorded live at Los Angeles’ Blue Whale jazz club. The EP finds MdCL revisiting the grand piano, putting his first instrument front and center with his technological world of keyboards and electronics. It’s his signature amalgamation of acoustic sound sparring with new technology, joined by a world-class crew: Josh Johnson (Miguel Atwood-Ferguson / Wayne Shorter) on sax and flute, Brandon Eugene Owens (Robert Glasper/Terrace Martin) on bass and Gene Coye (Thundercat/Flying Lotus) on drums. The instrumental EP opens with an original composition, ‘Evergreen’. Solo piano sets the mood as the composition evolves into a head-nodding, beat-driven journey of improvisational conversation. As the music progresses, we hear MdCL programming beats and electronics live and on the spot – manipulating and sampling his own piano, keyboards and Johnson’s sax – creating a musical palimpsest inspired by hip hop’s sampling aesthetic. Only here, the samples are all organic - performed, captured and manipulated completely on the fly. The following tracks pay homage to three of MdCL’s heroes – Yusef Lateef firstly on the loping ‘L+H’ – inspired by Yusef’s ‘Love + Humor’ with Owens and Coye underpinning the groove while MdCL and Johnson play and become live samples themselves. Sun Ra gets honored the EP’s centerpiece – an 11 minute exploration of his composition ‘The Golden Lady’ – once again, MdCL’s piano is the central focus here, leading the way through a mystically evocative soundscape that reimagines the great master. Johnson switches to flute here bringing his playfulness and musical guile to the mix with the piece culminating in an intoxicating blend of beats, live samples and acoustic band. We close out with an interlude of Ahmad Jamal’s ‘Swahililand’ – most famously sampled for De La Soul’s ‘Stakes is High’ by iconic producer J Dilla. It’s a real treat to hear MdCL and band in full-flight live show mode with none of the safety nets of studio production. Live at the Blue Whale hints at what’s more to come from a truly individual musician.
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Bing & Ruth have announced their third studio album No Home of the Mind. Continuing with the deft minimalism that has marked them out in critical circles in recent years, the New York ensemble’s new record will be released on February 17th, 2017. Established in 2006, Bing & Ruth is an ever-evolving collective steered by composer David Moore. A pianist from Kansas and graduate of New York’s school of Jazz and Contemporary Music at the New School, Moore’s work follows in the great tradition of fellow alumni John Cage and Steve Reich, albeit looking past the more studied repetition of the style’s forerunners toward a meditative form built on feeling. With Moore at its nucleus, Bing & Ruth’s line-up has transmuted from the eleven-strong line-up that created debut album City Lake (“A stunning, humble record built on traditions we all understand, yet, somehow feels dizzyingly new.” – The Quietus) to a cast of seven for 2014’s Tomorrow Was The Golden Age (“One of the finest leftfield releases of the year.” – Pitchfork). With No Home of the Mind, the ensemble has been streamlined to a five-person unit, exploring the piano’s percussive qualities alongside running woodwinds, warbling tape delays and splattered upright bass lines that stare out with a wide-eyed transcendence, taking so-called “classical” music to new limits.
Two Time Grammy winning producer Terrace Martin (Snoop, Kendrick Lamar, Herbie Hancock) started his own label - Sounds Of Crenshaw - under the Ropeadope umbrella with the release of Velvet Portraits. The core band is Terrace Martin, Curly Martin, Robert 'Sput' Searight (Snarky Puppy), and Brandon Eugene Owens. Guests include vocalists Rose Gold, Tone Treasure, Uncle Chucc & The Emotions, and Lalah Hathaway. Featured guests are Kamasi Washington, Robert Glasper, Thundercat, and Tiffany Gouche. Velvet Portraits is nominated for Best R & B album in the 59th Grammy awards, set to air on February 12, 2017.
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
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