Now Again's comprehensive overview of Zambia's premier garage-, psych-, prog-, funk-, afro-rock ensemble WITCH, We Intend To Cause Havoc!, is now sold out in its 6LP box set form. So they're making the first four WITCH albums available in archival reissue form. As with their box set, the audio is nigh-perfect - restored and remastered from the original master tapes. WITCH's musical arc is contained to a five year span and, in retrospect, is a logical one. The band's third album, Lazy Bones!!, is the band's masterpiece - a dark, brooding psychedelic opus that makes equal use of wah-wah and fuzz guitars, that relies as heavily on the stomping feel of hard rock as it does the syncopation of funk.
Darkside is the collaborative duo of critically acclaimed electronic artist Nicolas Jaar and guitarist/composer Dave Harrington. Darkside summon a hybrid of electronic music, psychedelic rock, and dance floor techno with the sort of artistic depth and breadth for which the term "progressive" was coined. Darkside's first full-length album released on Nico's own Other People label in conjunction with Matador Records is called Psychic. Darkside's Psychic is a watershed moment for the duo, a quantum leap forward from their 3-song debut, 2011's Darkside EP.
Nicolas Jaar has graduated– at least from the trappings of any young electronic music producer (his graduation from Brown University is 18 months away). Four years after his debut on the Brooklyn label Wolf + Lamb, and the much lauded follow up ‘Time for Us’, whose glacial slow-jam take on house sent journalists scrambling for adjectives, the 20 year old New Yorker by way of Chile returns to Circus Company with Space is Only Noise, an uncompromising manifesto on traces of the past, love lost, and specters of the future. Having previously contributed to the catalog twice with his ‘Marks and Angels’ EP as well as the sublime ‘Your Waltz’ on the Snuggle and Slap compilation, we are delighted to present his first foray into the realm of the long player. Jaar has made it quite apparent over the course of his nascent catalog and increasingly sought after live sets that challenge is an intrinsic part of his creative discourse. Few are the producers of any age with the cohones to ride a sub-100-bpm tempo at peak time in the techno Mecca of Berlin, and fewer still are those who receive an ecstatic hands-in-the-air response for their precocious efforts. It is precisely this sense of risk which elevates Space is Only Noise beyond the realm of valiant first effort or crossover dance music oddity. Those looking to wade through the sea of Jaar’s potential influences will quickly find themselves in the deep waters of golden age Factory records, home spun digitalism of Mille Plateaux, Endtroducing era DJ Shadow and Eric Satie. Jaar gently coaxes his listener into the experience from the opening sounds of rolling waves on ‘être’, but quickly transitions into the sophisticated percussion and meandering melodies that characterise his sound. Jaar seeks, and often finds, beauty in melancholy on the first few tracks of the album. As the album begins to accelerate with ‘Too many kids finding rain in the dust’, Jaar confronts us with the often forgotten reality that our sadness is not mutually exclusive from the dance floor. Suddenly, on ‘Keep me there’, Jaar’s voice appears over the delicious, rumbling melody. “We’re in a really bad bed, right?” he remarks. “Mm– it’s not really a bed. It’s like a balloon” responds a sultry female voice as they both crumble away in laughter. Though your hips stir to the relentless bassline and the sexiness of the voices, your heart is jolted out of its luxurious malaise when horns erupts seconds later. “How can you talk about a landscape without showing the sky and the earth?” a voice asks, translating from the French on ‘être’. So Jaar concludes, revisiting the same track to end the album. Complete landscapes such as these are only realised in contrast- the indulgent against the reserved, the sky against the earth; lightness and darkness. Space is Only Noise is a tour de force with few modern equals, and a great sign of things to come from one of electronic music’s most exciting producers.
Released only eight weeks after Tupac Shakur died from gunshot wounds, Death Row released this posthumous album, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, under the name of Makaveli, a pseudonym derived from the Italian politician Niccolo Machiavelli, who faked his own death and reappeared seven days later to take revenge on his enemies. Naturally, the appearance of Don Killuminati so shortly after Tupac's death led many conspiracy theorists to surmise the rapper was still alive, but it was all part of a calculated marketing strategy by Death Row.
The College Dropout is the debut album by American hip hop artist Kanye West, released February 10, 2004, on Roc-A-Fella Records. It was recorded over a period of four years, beginning in 1999. The production of the album was often halted by the lack of confidence that producers had in West's rapping ability, eventually being convinced based on the success of his early musical ventures. Prior to the album's release, West had worked on rapper Jay-Z's The Blueprint (2001), which showcased his melodic and soulful style of hip hop production. The album's production was handled entirely by West, and features vocal contributions from Jay-Z, John Legend, Ervin "EP" Pope, Miri Ben-Ari, and Syleena Johnson and many other artists. Diverging from the then-dominant gangster persona in hip hop, West's lyrics on the album concern themes of family, religion, self-consciousness, materialism, and personal struggles. The album was promoted by singles including "Through the Wire" and "Jesus Walks", both of which received critical acclaim. "All Falls Down" and "Slow Jamz" both charted within the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, with the latter charting at number one. The album debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 441,000 copies during its first week. It was a massive commercial success, producing five singles that achieved chart success. Upon its release, The College Dropout received universal acclaim from music critics and earned West several accolades, including a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album at the 47th Grammy Awards. It is West's best-selling album in the United States, with domestic sales of 3.4 million copies and worldwide sales of over four million copies. It has been named by Time and Rolling Stone as one of the greatest albums of all time and is often listed amongst the greatest debut albums ever released by a hip hop artist.
What happens when an Austrian rap producer with a history of more than 20 years in the game, teams up with some of his favorite MC's from the US? First of all, great music. But wait a second, who's that guy? Flip is a veteran producer and rap enthusiast from Linz, Austria who got addicted to hip-hop and its culture in the early 80's when he first heard joints by The Fat Boys and Melle Mel on Austrian radio. A couple years later, heavily being influenced by the sound of Public Enemy, Eric B & Rakim and EPMD, Flip and a bunch of other rap-nerds founded the nationally critically acclaimed group Texta in 1993 and became the originators of the Austrian rap scene. Flip also has been organizing hip-hop shows in his hometown Linz since 1994 and started building connections to the US indie rap circuit since 2000. So as these connections grew, Flip began to record songs with the artists passing through and doing shows. Out of many tracks Flip recorded, he picked the best collabos for his "Reflections" album, with a line-up boasting artists from all corners of the US, like AG (of D.I.T.C.), Killah Priest of the Wu-Tang family, Elzhi, Guilty Simpson, Phat Kat, Edo. G, Kev Brown, LMNO, Tragic Allies and many more. Flip's signature sound is deeply rooted in the classic boom bap tradition with thick and hard-hitting drums and chopped samples, but also incorporates synth sounds, deep 808 low end and unconventional song layouts that move away from the old two bar loop formula. Flip is also a DJ and record digger, and handled most of the cuts on his album himself. And yes, he is also an MC, just in case you wondered. After putting out 7 classic albums with his legendary Austrian group Texta since 1993 and a solo album in 2010, plus crafting beats for various German, French, Swiss, US and Jamaican artists, Flip's music finally gets released for a wider audience and rap connoisseurs all around the globe. As the Akrobatik cut in the outro track proclaims: ""Dope beats, rhymes and cuts, so now what!"" - this is pure, uncut, and raw rap music that has its foundation in the past but also takes a perspective into the future.
"Little Tear Drops" features Purpose (of Tragic Allies), John Robinson, Kam Moye (aka Supastition) & DJ JS-1. Limited Copies with Individually "Star" Stamped Labels & Sleeves. Artwork & Labels designed by Joe Buck.
Of all of Madlib's YNQ offshoot's Sound Directions has been the one buzzing around the heads of the true Stones Throw fans for the longest, check Jukebox 7" STH4005 for proof. Probably the tuffest and the funkiest variation yet, Sound Directions features Madlib on beats and arrangements with his motley YNQ'er's on horns, guitar, live drums and keys. Roughly 50/50 original compositions to covers, of those check Marcos Valle's 'Wanda Vidal', Billy Brook's 'Fourty Days', Lesiman's 'Play Car', David Axelrod's 'A Divine Image' and Cliff Nobles 'The Horse', Then the mini J.J Johnson tribute 'One For J.J with 'Harlem Clavinet' from the Across 110th Street' soundtrack and finally Oliver Sain's 'On The Hill'. Bugged out for sure but also very tasty as is Jeff Jank's suggestive cover art.
Celebrate the 15th Anniversary of DMX's 2nd studio album 'Flesh Of My Flesh, Blood Of My Blood' with the blood splatter vinyl edition on 2LPs. This classic has been out of print on vinyl since 2003 and is being reactivated for it's 15 year Anniversary. DMX's 2nd studio album 'Flesh Of My Flesh, Blood Of My Blood' was released within 7 months of his debut record 'It's Dark And Hell Is Hot,' and reached number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart making DMX the second rapper to have two albums released in the same calendar year debut at number one (Tupac being the first). This classic has been certified 3X platinum by the RIAA and continues to be one of the most influential albums in hip-hop.
Legendary rapper John Robinson joined forces with dynamic beatmaker Chief to craft this aptly-titled intercontinental masterpiece, “We the Prolific”. After over a year of exchanges, team work and perfecting, the album is finally ready to come out on Feelin’ Music. The collaborative effort, born out of mutual appreciation both personal and musical, shows two universes collapsing into one substantial outcome, a solid album blending elements of traditional hip-hop with modern productions. Over the sinuous course of its thirteen diverse tracks, “We the Prolific” showcases the distinctive flow and lyrics of John Robinson perfectly complementing Chief’s twisted productions, an unlikely alliance pushing the boundaries of hip-hop while preserving its backbone. The album features guest appearances by both confirmed and upcoming artists such as Kyra Climbingbear, Skitslam, Cymarshall Law, ID 4 Windz, Tiffany Paige, Jocelyn Ellis, and more. “We the Prolific” truly is a refreshing hip-hop exploit by these two confirmed driving forces of the current hip-hop and beats scene.
Philadelphia’s best kept secret and musician/producer genius Swarvy delivers his new album “Scotch” on Feelin’ music. Swarvy links with bassist Jerry Thompson III and band mate Ryan McKenney to compose “SCOTCH,” his first official release of original, sample-free music. Channeling the grooves and moods of 70s jazz and funk, Swarvy shapes the raw instrumentation with modern production techniques to make an album that sounds distantly familiar, yet still new and unique at the same time. Features remixes by MNDSGN and Devonwho.
Beat wizard FlexFab makes his stunning debut on Feelin’ music with the mini-album “Manoir”. Packed with twisted rhythms, bewitched bass, dynamic soundscapes and odd-tronica melodies, “Manoir” is a cutting- edge and banging mini-album that breaks the boundaries of the beats genre.
Thelonious Martin is an acclaimed producer who is the go-to, preferred beatmaker for all of today's most relevant and important MCs from Action Bronson, Mac Miller, Chance The Rapper, Joey Bada$$, and more. Wunderkid marks his first solo, producer project that showcases his best work and some of his talented friends.
Hands is the epitome of a Fredfades & Ivan collaboration, relying on supremely minimalist production and heartfelt lyrics. It came together naturally on a late winter night in Oslo almost two years ago, and was released as part of an online Ivan Ave EP. According to Ivan this is the one song that listeners/fans most demanded be given a physical release. So with no further ado, we present you with this throwback gem on a 7". It also Includes the timeless instrumental on the flip. All tracks produced by Fredfades.
Aphex Twin makes his return on Warp with new album Syro. Richard D. James has been releasing music since the beginning of the ‘90s. His first full-length album, Selected Ambient Works 85-92, came out in 1992 through R&S Records. The first Aphex Twin release on Warp would be 1993’s On EP, which was followed by four studio albums for the label, as well as numerous other EPs. Syro will be the first new Aphex Twin album since 2001’s Drukqs.
In the beginning there was Outkast, the prolific Hip Hop duo hailing from Atlanta, who made music sound like Soul Food; fatty, funky, fresh. Then, in 2003, Big Boi and Andre 3000 released solo-albums under their shared moniker and named it 'Speakerboxxx / The Love Below'. Both albums display the playful experimentation of their two very distinct styles and yet it is still undoubtedly an Outkast album. Big Boi takes us into a darker, 808-fuelled world of true Hip Hop on Speakerboxxx, while Andre 3000's eccentricity is given free rein on The Love Below, with pit stops at crooner-Jazz, Soul and Funk.
The new 7-inch from Polyrhythmics dubbed “The Killion Sessions” captures a spirited one-off recording session at the legendary Killion Studios in Hollywood, CA with Sergio Rios (Orgone) behind the console. The resulting capture is a rugged two track banger of a single and the preview to Polyrhythmics upcoming full length release Octagon scheduled to drop in late spring 2015. "El Fuego", the A side, is a fiery composition and a true dance floor igniter with focused, driving rhythms and a striking solo by Scott Morning on trumpet. Mixed for heat by Sergio Rios. The B side, "The Mendo Mulcher" is the perfect coolness compliment to side A. A deep and heavy wah-wah groove with an uplifting and heady melody, the track was inspired by the relaxed and uplifting culture of the northern California coast and was mixed for maximum potency by Rios.
Prince designed "Purple Rain" as the project that would make him a superstar, and surprisingly, that is exactly what happened. Simultaneously more focused and ambitious than any of his previous records, "Purple Rain" finds Prince consolidating his funk and R&B roots while moving boldly into pop, rock, and heavy metal with nine superbly crafted songs. Although Prince's songwriting is at a peak, the presence of the Revolution pulls the music into sharper focus, giving it a tougher, more aggressive edge. Even with all of his new, but uncompromising, forays into pop Prince hasn't abandoned funk. Taken together, all of the stylistic experiments add up to a stunning statement of purpose that remains one of the most exciting rock & roll albums ever created.
The philosophers have been asking themselves the wrong question. It isn’t Does God play dice? we should be worrying about, but Does Wiley play snakes and ladders? The answer is, of course, yes. But like everything Wiley does, he doesn’t just play a bit of snakes and ladders, any more than he just raps a bit, or just has the odd minor disagreement, or posts the occasional amusing Tweet. When Wiley plays snakes and ladders he plays it on the cosmic scale, he plays it with his whole career, his whole life. On Snakes & Ladders, Wiley’s fourth album with Big Dada, Wiley reminds us exactly what the Bow-born Godfather of Grime is all about. Innovative, banging beats and fast, scattershot, brilliant rhyming, all held together by a personality that is as compelling, contradictory and charismatic as any in modern music. Snakes & Ladders is Wiley’s Magnum Opus; a blistering, blazing, rallying call for grime’s first renaissance. Lead single "On a Level" is already ruling the airwaves on daytime Radio One, and as JME puts it on “From The Outside”: “Wiley is a national treasure.” The sheer off-the-cuff brilliance of his vocal poise is something we should cherish.
Glaswegian producer Rustie brings his vibrant debut album ‘Glass Swords’ to us. With his immensely anticipated, two-years-in-the- making full length debut, Rustie ushers in an otherworldly landscape. Both epic and alien (as the artwork suggests), the rushing neon strains of bright melody and earthquake drums hit you after a brief intro of beguiling synths and guitar meditations. Building colossal tension and release throughout, from club favourite ‘Ultra Thizz’ to the soaring hooks and basement low end of ‘Death Mountain’ and ‘Cry Flames’, this record may well leave permanent marks on your stereo. A panorama of bass music, prog rock, R’n’B and classic rave, the album is out on CD and limited edition double gatefold vinyl.
Finally back on vinyl! Packaging includes original Braille sticker on gatefold front and Boards of Canada sticker inside the gatefold. Released in 1998, the debut LP from Mike and Marcus Sandison is nothing short of iconic: from the lulling Yamaha CS-70 synths of "Wildlife Analysis" to the gauzy stumble of "An Eagle In Your Mind" through to the the swirling electronics and public information samples of "One Very Important Thought," Boards of Canada displayed a way with mood and texture that no one else could match. It's immersive beats and grainy details remain completely magical.
Lee Bannon's debut album, Alternate/Endings, is a riotous act of imagination. The young, Sacramento raised and NYC resident producer is the sort of character almost overwhelmed by inspiration, finding his drive via film and field recordings as much as in music. This lends his own work a sense of excitement and urgency that's as thrilling as it is rare. Having produced white-hot NYC rapper Joey Bada$$ - a moment he describes as pivotal - Bannon has spent the last six months working on his debut LP. The experience was a new one on all levels. Previously he'd made his music very quickly, and fleshing out a body of work over a length of time was a grander endeavour. Those months paid off in spades, and Alternate/Endings delivers on all the promise this young prodigy has shored up. The first surprise is that Bannon has moved away from hip-hop, and into drum n' bass and jungle. Inspired by both his youth in Sacramento - where d'n'b was huge - and the backdrop of 2013's jungle renaissance, via albums by Machinedrum and Congo Natty, Bannon too, has reinvigorated the form. This is drum n' bass in its most contemporary permutation; a furnace-hot future-blast of immersive atmospherics, deep bass and funk-ridden drums. Bannon references the work of Paul Thomas Anderson, and in particular There Will Be Blood, as inspiration in the making of the album. It makes sense; the album is drenched in changing, but equally powerful, often menacing moods. Requiem for a Dream was another touchstone, which goes some way to framing Bannon's haunting, beautiful sense of melody. Leftfield shaman Juan from Mars Volta played bass parts that ended up forming the basis for every song on the record, whilst friend and collaborator Black Atlass sings on "Phoebe Crates" and plays Reznor-esque piano on lead single "216." The field recordings that Bannon makes compulsively are used throughout, adding texture and depth to the record as a whole. Alternate/Endings is perhaps misleadingly titled. This is just the start.
The soundtrack for director Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing is a window into the classics hip-hop/R&B scene circa 1989. Peppered with "new jack" era slabs of wax from the likes of Public Enemy (the iconic "Fight the Power"), summer party staples from E.U. ("Party Hearty") and Teddy Riley ("My Fantasy"), and deep slow jams from Perri and Al Jarreau, it's the perfect background for a hot night in the city, and like the film itself, it's both frivolous and foreboding.
A Southern hip hop album, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik features live instrumentation in its hip hop production and musical elements from funk and soul genres. Wanting to make a statement about urban life as an African American in the South, OutKast wrote and recorded the album as teenagers and addressed coming of age topics with the album's songs. They also incorporated repetitive hooks and Southern slang in their lyrics. The album peaked at number 20 on the Billboard 200, on which it charted for 26 weeks, and was eventually certified platinum in the United States. It was promoted with three singles, including "Player's Ball", which helped create buzz for the album. Upon its release, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik received positive reviews from music critics and helped distinguish Southern hip hop as a credible hip hop scene, amid East Coast and West Coast hip hop's market dominance. The album has since been viewed by writers as an important release in both hip hop and Atlanta's music scene.