Record Label: Slice-of-Spice
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Mark James (AKA The 45 King) is a world renowned DJ/ Producer pioneer in Hip Hop music. His breakbeat classic “The 900 Number” has been a staple among DJs since its release in 1987 (notably featured as the song to “The Ed Lover Dance” on MTV’s Yo MTV Raps). Throughout the last 30 years, 45 King has managed to stay relevant, producing hits for some of Hip Hop’s biggest names including Jay-Z & Eminem, with production for their hit songs “It’s A Hard Knock Life” & “Stan”, respectively. With a prolific output and catalog of beats, he has set out to release a series of limited edition 45s with brand new and never before heard music. The Third Album is third in a series of unique, “mini 45 RPM albums” featuring 45 King’s signature sound; breaks chopped and looped to perfection.
The first official release from multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, and producer Adrian Younge was Black Dynamite, the meticulously crafted sonic accompaniment to the 2009 Michael Jai White comedy. Now, for the first time ever, Mr. Younge presents the instrumentals from Black Dynamite on his on Linear Labs imprint. Inspired by the great blaxploitation soundtracks of the 1970s, Younge commands the Rhodes electric piano, Hammond organ, Hohner Clavinet, harpsichord, synthesizer, vibraphone, guitar, bass, flute, sax, cello, and drums to craft a singular vision of the era. Since its release, the film has grown into a formidable franchise including a comic book and animated television series on Cartoon Network. Now five years later, the score is being reissued with the full set of instrumentals and four additional tracks including a rare version of “Jimmy’s Dead” by Tommy Davidson. A certifiable cult classic, the film centers around ex-CIA agent Black Dynamite’s fight to avenge his brother’s murder while cleaning up the streets of the deadly Anaconda malt liquor. Having been involved with the film from its inception, Younge’s score is intimately woven into the film’s narrative. As editor, Younge worked closely with director Scott Sanders to ensure the authenticity of the film’s pace and musical accompaniment. The final result is a clever homage that sounds more like an unearthed gem from the ‘70s—complete with MPC-ready Wu-Tang samples—rather than a modern creation. This authentic sound is one that Younge has been cultivating for years. His ability to replicate the nuanced stylistic effects of a bygone era are the result of utilizing exclusively vintage analog recording equipment and techniques, and long hours studying the sounds of heroes like Ennio Morricone and Curtis Mayfield. Laboring away in his Los Angeles based Linear Labs studio, Younge played every instrument on the record, teaching himself anything he didn’t already know. Through a dogged work ethic and determination, Younge has painstakingly constructed a modern vintage sound that harkens to the past with its sights on the future. Black Dynamite is a must-have for any fan of the blaxploitation era and dark soul music, a modern-day classic whose legendary status will only grow stronger over time.
Afro Latin Vintage Orchestra’s (ALVO) new album Pulsion delves deeper into spiritual jazz, library and film music. The result is a heavier, more progressive and darker sound albeit with their signature funk and groove remaining intact as the foundation. As a collective with a rotating cast of members and ranging in size depending on the project, the core musicians on this record are the same as their previous effort “Last Odyssey” with the addition of a string quartet. Their designated ring leader Masta Conga remains the driving force behind the group, and cites library music by Vladimir Cosma, Michel Colombier, and Francois de Roubaix along with French progressive acts Magma and Zao as the main influence for the album especially in terms of the groove. Their spirituality is derived from the east with works by Yuji Imamura, Hozan Yamamoto, Masabumi Kikuchi and Hino Terumusa lending the more esoteric flourishes to the complexity of Pulsion’s sound. Contemporary classical music by Pierre Boulez rounds out the list of inspiration listed by Masta Conga in terms of constructing song structure and composition. Describing the album in his own words: “On this fourth album, we tried a new approach by including various inspirations such as library music, spiritual and electric jazz funk, abstract hip-hop, with a touch of European groove and contemporary music. Always willing to create new and original rhythmic forms, we hope that it will satisfy you!! - Masta Conga