!K7 started as a music video production company in 1985, working with independent artists including Nick Cave, Mudhoney & Einstürzende Neubauten. In 1993 and after several successful albums released under the ‘X-Mix’ brand, the pioneering ‘DJ-Kicks’ mix album series was launched. Over twenty years later, ‘DJ-Kicks’ remains one of the most respected and prestigious DJ mix compilation series worldwide and has featured releases by many of the leading players in original, classic and contemporary electronic music including Carl Craig, Apparat, Kruder & Dorfmeister, Maya Jane Coles and John Talabot. DJ-Kicks reached it’s 50th edition in 2015 celebrating this landmark with a stunning mix from DJ Koze gaining critical acclaim across the globe.
!K7 began releasing artist albums in 1996, and has since been responsible for an array of progressive projects from across the electronic music spectrum. Key acts over the years have included Tosca, Boozoo Bajou, Bomb The Bass and benchmark albums from Matthew Herbert. Recent signings to the label include Berlin’s Brandt Brauer Frick and their classical ‘Ensemble’ side project, Florida’s Hundred Waters, award-winning Danish band When Saints Go Machine and AKASE, the electronic project from Harry ‘Midland’ Agius with vocalist Robbie Redway.
In 2001 !K7 broadened its musical range with the incorporation of leading specialist labels Strut, Gold Dust, Rapster and Ever. With each label focusing on its own niche within the independent musical landscape, the !K7 Label Group has released new music from artists as varied as Pete Rock, Roy Ayers, Mulatu Astatke, Grandmaster Flash, Kid Creole and Lee Hazlewood. In 2013, leading electronic label AUS Recordings joined the !K7 family to help the label develop long term artist projects of the next generation of exciting electronic artists and producers and enjoyed great success with the debut album from leading UK electronic producer Huxley. Strut Records continues to go from strength to strength and picked up the prestigious ‘Best Label’ accolade at Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Awards in 2015.
The early 2000s also saw !K7 introduce the Artist and Label services division to provide a global infrastructure and platform to esteemed independent labels and artists around the world. !K7 currently partners with acclaimed labels including BBE, Crosstown Rebels, Luaka Bop, R&S, Rush Hour, Hypercolour, Glitterbeat, Sonar Kollektiv and more as well as artists such as Tricky, Fat Freddy’s Drop, The Pop Group and Mykki Blanco.
In 2011, !K7 created a management division which currently looks after the interests of Tricky, Mykki Blanco and Brandt Brauer Frick. .
!K7 has offices in Berlin, London and New York.
!K7 management services are available both for artists signed to the label and those who release music elsewhere. Drawing on 30 years of music industry experience and knowledge of the global music market, !K7 offers credible and informed guidance to artists. Current clients are Brandt Brauer Frick, Bwana, DJ Tennis, Luca d’Alberto, Mykki Blanco, Alan Abrahams aka Portable and Tricky.
The management team allows !K7 to offer management clients an added amount of attention on a daily level, and the company’s international structure, with offices in New York, London & Berlin, affords a deep understanding of global markets and enables !K7 to provide artist clients with a global infrastructure and support on an international level.
!K7 represents a wide catalog of material for synch and third party licensing, including select partner label releases. In some cases, 1-stop clearances are available.
For all synch licensing inquiries, please contact email@example.com. Most songs clearable within 48 hours.
For all other third party licensing inquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Current placements include licenses for F&F, HBO, Yamaha, CBS, USA Network, and more.
Further we can clear compilations on your behalf. If you are interested in this service, please contact email@example.com.
The !K7 Label Group is looking for an experienced label manager to join it’s Berlin team. Founded in Berlin in 1985, !K7 is a multi-faceted music services and label group with offices in London, New York and Berlin, and partners across the globe. We are looking for a highly organised and motivated individual to manage all aspects of our release campaigns whilst driving artist and label development.
The successful candidate will have:
• a proven track-record of managing multi-release, global campaigns under tight deadlines and to budget
• the ability to work effectively within a multi-faceted International team, with outstanding communication and organisational skills
• a comprehensive knowledge of the digital and physical retail landscape and sharp insight into future developments within it
• an excellent understanding of the marketing drivers needed to create successful worldwide campaigns across a range of musical genres
Please send your CV and covering letter to firstname.lastname@example.org
The internship includes tasks in the following areas
• product setup of digital and physical products (metadata, audio, artwork)
• processing distributors orders, backorder report, communication with distributors
• intermediate between warehouse, plant and distributors
• booking manufacturing orders
• stock control
• warehouse management
• sales imports
• handling shipments / arranging pickups
• creating sales reports for internal use
• invoicing / proformas
• promo mail outs
Start date: August 2016
Duration: 6 months, full time, as part of your studies only
The internship includes tasks in the following areas
• licensing of !K7 repertoire for external compilations
• negotiating of terms and conditions
• dealing with contracts
• content management
• processing of royalty statements
• registration of !K7 repertoire with collecting societies
Start date: July 2016
Duration: 6 months, full time, as part of your studies only
All internships are paid.
Please send your CV and covering letter to email@example.com
Hello, if you have music which you think might fit !K7, please contact us via the form. Also please tell us something about yourself, how we can contact you and why you think your music is special. Please acknowlegde that we can’t reply to everyone. We will get it touch if we think we should work together. Thank you! !K7
!K7 Records GmbH
Berlin head office:
p: +49 (0) 30 469 05 05 – 0
f: +49 (0) 30 469 05 05 – 19
!K7 New York:
55 Washington Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
p: +1 718 722 99 35 – 12
f: +1 718 722 99 39
Unit 10 The Laundry
2-18 Warburton Road
E8 3FN, London
p: +44 208 985 0122
The world’s introduction to Idris Ackamoor’s music came via three otherworldly recordings as The Pyramids, self-released in the 1970s on the band’s on Pyramid Recordings label. Though the original vinyl presses are quite rare, the strength of the music endured, leaving Ackamoor with an international following. Following the release of the Pyramids’ new album We Be All Africans, DJ duo We Are The Horsemen have rounded up some of their favorite nuggets from throughout Ackamoor’s career for a retrospective mix, as well as a brief interview on Mass Appeal.
Stream the mix below for a look back on a career of pushing the boundaries of consciousness through jazz improvisation. We Be All Africans is available now.
THE PYRAMIDS – MEMORY RITUAL
THE COLLECTIVE – THE SHEPHERDS TUNE
THE PYRAMIDS – QUEEN OF THE SPIRITS
IDRIS ACKAMOOR ENSEMBLE – CUBANA
THE PYRAMIDS – JAMAICAN CARNIVAL
THE PYRAMIDS – BIRTH/SPEED/MERGING SUITE PART 2: BIRTH/SPEED/MERGING
THE PYRAMIDS – NEBULOSITY
THE PYRAMIDS – NSORAMA (THE STARS)
THE RIVER GANGES
THE PYRAMIDS – INDIGO (PART 1)
IDRIS ACKAMOOR QUARTET – SPIRITUAL REBIRTH
THE PYRAMIDS- YA A YA A
THE PYRAMIDS – BLACK MAN AND WOMAN OF THE NILE
THE PYRAMIDS – LAND OF ETERNAL SONG SUITE (PART 3)
THE PYRAMIDS – REINCARNATION
THE PYRAMIDS – BIRTH/SPEED/MERGING SUITE PART 3: REAFFIRMATION
Anticipation has been steadily building for Jackmaster’s DJ-Kicks, and for good reason. Quite simply, everything the man touches is quality. On DJ-Kicks, his legendary knack for selection extends to the exclusive music he sourced for the mix. We recently shared an exclusive track from Denis Sulta, and this week i-D lets loose with a huge track from Tessela. Laced with skittering, jungle-influenced percussion and a murderous bassline, “Up” is one of the highlights of the mix, and an indication of just how seriously both of these musicians take their craft.
Jackmaster’s DJ-Kicks is available 8th July on CD, 2LP (w. CD insert) & digital formats. Pre-orders are available now.
Listening to Anthony Joseph speak about his relationship to his Caribbean heritage on his new album is enough to make us want to pack our bags and spend some time on the islands. While that’s unfortunately not an option as much as we’d like, watching the music video for Joseph’s “Slinger” is the next best thing to being there in person. Filmed on location in Trinidad, the video tells the story of a man connecting with his roots, while paying tribute to one of Trinidad’s most legendary musicians, Mighty Sparrow.
Joseph’s new album (his sixth, and first on Strut) Caribbean Rhythms is out this week in partnership with Heavenly Sweetness on CD, LP & digital formats.
Jackmaster’s DJ-Kicks solidifies the reputation of one of the most in-demand DJs working today. In his work words, “the mix is influenced heavily by how I used to DJ at the first party I ever promoted, named Seismic, and another named Monox which was a straight up techno night where I was a resident from the age of 17. And although it wasn’t my plan, it turned into a kind of tribute to the cities that really formulated me as a DJ: Detroit, Chicago and Glasgow. There are a couple of wee secret weapons on there that are stolen from the guys at Rubadub, and obviously tracks Q1.1 by Basic Channel and the M-Plant bits I picked up from them too. The rest is stuff I found myself or on mates labels or produced by friends.” Denis Sulta’s “MSNJ” belongs to the latter category, and is one of three exclusive tracks from the mix. Stream the track in full below.
Jackmaster’s DJ-Kicks is available 8th July 2016 on CD, 2LP (w. CD insert) & digital formats. Pre-orders are available now. All physical orders from !K7’s stores include a Jackmaster T-Shirt.
Jackmaster is one of the most in-demand DJs working today. From humble beginnings behind the counter of legendary record store Rub-A-Dub in Glasgow, Scotland, his has been a grassroots movement to dominate the bills of some of the best electronic music events across Europe and America.The Numbers club night he co-founded a decade ago has grown into a revered label with releases from Jessie Ware, SBTRKT, Rustie, Hudson Mohawke and Jamie xx. Jack has also hosted a series of shows for the globally renowned BBC Radio 1 allowing his charming personality and instinct for judging an audience to unite, a formula that continues to elevate his status as a world class DJ.
Jackmaster‘s DJ-Kicks is an honest journey, showcasing a serious passion for the obscure boundaries of house and techno. “For me it was important to do something honest and something that sets the record straight in a way,” he says. “Some people think I’m a dubstep DJ, some people think I just bang out classics, but neither of those are true. I try not to be too purposely idiosyncratic when selecting music. It’s kind of contrived. I want to educate people but never compromise my vision. I just want to play good music and tell my own story.”
The mix features exclusive tracks from Tessela, Alcatraz Harry and Denis Sulta.
‘Caribbean Roots’ represents an uncompromising return to his roots for Joseph, who has always remained true to a powerful, deep-seated sense of his own Caribbean identity. Starting out as a joint project with the outstanding percussionist Roger Raspail (Cesaria Evora, Papa Wemba), the album swiftly grew into a major work incorporating the rhythms, sounds and vibes that rock the Caribbean from San Fernando, Kingston and Les Abymes to Port-au-Prince and Havana. Backed by a band made up of a blend of musicians with Caribbean origins or connections, the album attempts to unite the different islands into a single entity without diluting any individual strand. “The idea, heard so often,” says Joseph, “is that the Caribbean is a fragmented region, socially, politically, historically. In my view, it’s a unified space, with more relations than disparities. The album is asking Caribbean people to consider that their roots are in the Caribbean, that their generations run deep and that now, we can claim it as ancestral space.”
Joseph weaves an uncompromising direction through the album tracks, spinning his unique lyrical blend of afro-futurism and surrealism. He explores his native Trinidad and takes, in his own words, “a journey into the dark heart of the island”. He chronicles tales and parables: “songs tell of runaway slaves; badjohns or rude boys that we find much in black culture – our heroes, our soldiers”. There’s a muscular tribute to calypso great Mighty Sparrow and incisive reflections on colonialism: “As a Caribbean ex-pat living in Europe, I break out of the quotidian to realize that these grand architectures around me were built by those who colonized and enslaved me. I guess the album is about celebrating roots, but roots that lie within us.”
Heavyweight guests on the album include saxophonists Shabaka Hutchings (The Comet Is Coming) and Jason Yarde (Jazz Jamaica All Stars), trumpeter Yvon Guillard (Magma), bassist Mike Clinton (Salif Keita), trombonist Pierre Chabrèle (Creole Jazz Orchestra), Patrick Marie-Magdelene (Manu Dibango), celebrated Trinidad calypso icon David Rudder and Andy Narrell, master of the steel pans.
‘Caribbean Roots’ is released on Heavenly Sweetness / Strut on CD, LP and digital on June 24th. Pre-orders are available now. Album track “Mano A Mano” is streaming below.
On the occasion of the first-ever retrospective of Tanzanian Afro-Rock band Sunburst, longtime Strut associate and compiler of the Nigeria 70 series Duncan Brooker presents a selection of some of Sunburst’s peers and contemporaries via this incredible mix of rare East African 45s. Duncan’s incredible mix premieres today on Stereogum.
Ave Africa: The Complete Recordings 1973-1976 is released 24th June on Strut. For a limited time, orders from the Strut web store & Bandcamp have the option to include a limited edition cassette featuring unreleased Sunburst demos recorded in Lusaka in 1976. 100 copies only! Pre-orders are available now.
1. SUNBURST – SIMBA ANGURUMA
2. NDARA MOYO – THAT’S THE WAY
3. SALOMON NGOUA – SHE’S GOT A SNAKE
4. NGOZI FAMILY – SUKUMA SEMEJI
5. SUNBURST – BANCHIKICHA
6. AFRO 70 – PEMBENYI MOTO
7. VIJANA JAZZ BAND – DIBWEWZE ZOGOLO JANGU
8. TABORA JAZZ BAND – HASIRA HASARA
9. SUNBURST – VIJANA
10. THE AFRO-KIDS – SHOREZA INYANGE
11. THE SAFARI TRIPPERS – MWANA MPOTEVU
12. MAQUIS DU ZAIRE – KASONGO
13. CASSIM COMBO – CHAKACHA
14. THE MIGHTY CAVALIERS – DUNIA INA MAMBO
The project was spawned after Boima happened upon an online video of one of Sorie’s original tracks. “Sorie Kondi is a blind musician with a will to thrive like no person I have met before,” explains Boima. “My work with him began with a YouTube link. I spotted the video for his track ‘Without Money No Family’ and was struck by his beautiful vocals and socially-conscious lyrics. These incredible melodies he was playing on his namesake thumb piano (the kondi) sealed the deal: I immediately decided to remix it.”
The resulting bootleg remix started appearing in DJ playlists and led to coverage by The Fader magazine. As a result, Sorie’s manager in Freetown reached out to Boima and, after a successful Kickstarter campaign, Sorie travelled to America for the first time for a five date tour. During the trip he and Boima worked on new recordings which form the nucleus of the debut Kondi Band album ‘Belle Wahalah.’
“This project forges a direct link between techno born in the black cities of the American Mid-West, where I grew up, and roots African music,” Boima continues. “Sorie Kondi may be playing an acoustic folk instrument from Sierra Leone, but he thinks about music as if he were a techno producer. The dance-friendly pulse of his cajon drum, the spiraling melody lines from the thumb piano and his incredible vocals hold it all together.” It’s acoustic dance music that creates a sound as full and dynamic as any club track and, through Boima’s intricate production, the album subtly and skillfully integrates contemporary electronic sounds, keeping the simplicity and space in Sorie’s music.
The first EP from the project is built around Sorie’s personal and uncompromising lyrics on ‘Belle Wahalah’, a song that uses belly pain as a metaphor for poverty, hunger and lack of financial opportunity. Mixes come from South London-based producer Hagan and the “father of Ancestral Soul”, Boddhi Satva. The release also features another simmering Kondi band original, ‘Yeanoh (Powe Handa Blingabe)’ which translates as ‘what’s up / what’s occurring’?
The ‘Belle Wahalah’ EP is out today on digital formats. A vinyl 12″ is due 27th May. A full-length album is in the works for September 2016. Hear the EP title track ‘Belle Wahalah’ below.
Last year, with his critically acclaimed track “Surrender” (which Pitchfork dubbed a ‘Best New Track’) appearing in re-edited form as a centerpiece for DJ Koze’s DJ-Kicks mix, !K7 announced that Portable (a/k/a Alan Abrahams) would be the latest artist to sign to the label. Though he’s recorded five albums, released singles & EPs on some of dance music’s most respected labels, and maintained a successful label of his own, Portable remains a bit of an enigma. On his forthcoming project, we’re given the opportunity to get to know the producer on a deeper level.
South African born and a celebrated live act, Portable emerged more than fifteen years ago with a sound that marries real electronic soul with deep moods and abstract grooves. He has released his minimal wares on cult labels like Perlon and Live At Robert Johnson, as well as his own Süd Electronic label. Always experimenting with rhythm and imbuing his music with a wide world of influences, his latest work is his most personal and cohesive to date.
With a full-length on the way later this year, Portable has offered the soothing and emotional vocal track ‘As For Me’ as a free download. Best experienced on headphones, the track is a window into Portable’s headspace, and an indication of great things to come.
Strut is extremely proud to present a definitive collection of recordings from one of Tanzania’s most revered but short-lived bands of the 1970s, Sunburst. Covering their entire output from 1973 to 1976, this first retrospective features music from their 45 RPM singles “Moto Moto” and “TFC,” as well as their sole album, Ave Africa, and an unreleased radio session recorded in Tanzania in 1973.
Sunburst was formed in 1970 by Zairean guitarist Hembi Flory Kongo who recruited resident drummer Johnny “Rocks” Fernandes, bass player Bashir Idi Farhan and organist / vocalist Kassim Magati. They were soon joined by Zambian-born lead singer James Mpungo.
Having developing their sound via covers-heavy live performances and a string of early singles, Sunburst’s sole LP came out at a time when Zambia was enjoying a stream of releases by bands that would now be considered icons of Zamrock such as Witch, Ngozi Family, Musi-O-Tunya and The Blackfoot. The sleeve text described the Sunburst sound as “a fusion of the traditional sounds of Africa with Western Rock, spiced with a piece of the Caribbean” but the intricacies of the Kitoto Sound that Sunburst had crafted for years peaked on this recording. Band members born in six different countries were tapping into a multitude of influences, styles, languages and stories. “We try to compose songs that have a bearing to the situation we live in,” James Mpungo recounted at the time. “Our songs are songs that support freedom struggles, songs that encourage peasants and workers to work harder, songs in praise of our leaders. We also sing a lot of songs criticizing our people for allowing themselves to be too westernized and throwing away their traditional values. And above all, we preach love and happiness!”
Ave Africa: The Complete Recordings 1973-1976 comes out 24th June on 2xCD, 2xLP (w. CD included) & digital formats. Pre-orders are available now.
Limited Demos Cassette With Strut Web Store Orders
A very limited quantity of pre-orders via the Strut Store and Bandcamp will include a cassette copy of of unreleased Sunburst demos recorded in Lusaka in 1976. 100 copies only! Pre-orders for this special bundle are available now.
Some years before the essential DâM-FunK tome Toeachizown dropped, Dam introduced the concept of ‘Modern Funk’ to the growing masses trying to classify his prowess for wax and multilayered synth-style productions. “Believer,” Dam’s exclusive new track for his DJ-Kicks mix, is a perfect embodiment of the concept: sheets of synth lines fall all around a locking drum program that starts off innocently enough but ends you in a half-hypnotic state. An extensive instrumental composition that on it’s own could only be classified as signature Modern-Funk. Stream the track below.
DâM-Funk’s DJ-Kicks is released May 27th on CD, 2LP (red vinyl) and digital formats (pre-order here). An limited edition 10″ vinyl featuring two tracks from the mix is available exclusively on the !K7 store and Bandcamp.
West Coast jazz mavericks, The Pyramids, led by their inspirational bandleader, Idris Ackamoor, return with a new album on Strut. Recorded in Max Weissenfeldt’s analogue Philophon studio in Berlin, ‘We Be All Africans’ is a sparkling set of Afro- jazz-funk fusions, from the infectious chants of the title track to the reflective “Epiphany” and the yearning, mournful future single, “Silent Days” featuring the brilliant vocals of Bajka. Hear the album’s title track below.
“We Be All Africans” is released 27th May 2016 on Strut Records on LP, CD & digital formats. Pre-orders are available now.
The Pyramids have been hand-picked by Floating Points to open the West Coast leg of their live tour. Dates below:
April 27th – Santa Ana, CA: Constellation Room
April 28th – Santa Cruz, CA: The Catalyst Club
April 29th – San Francisco, CA: Mezzanine
May 1st – Portland, OR: Doug Fir Lounge
May 3rd – Seattle, WA: Neumos
May 4th – Vancouver, BC: Celebrities Nightclub
DâM-FunK is the kind of guy who seems like he’d make great company: laid-back, affable, personable. But to truly get the guy, to really understand him, is to know a deep love of music like no other. Dam’s contribution to the DJ-Kicks series gives you an opportunity to do just that. It’s a snapshot view into the mind of the pioneer of Modern-Funk music… DJ-Kicks invites you to get to know the man behind the shades.
Dam makes a lifetime of digging and absorbing music that feels as laid-back as the Santa Ana breeze. Years ago, he coined the term ‘Modern Funk’ to give context to his music. The elements of the synth-heavy and multi-layered style are gloriously displayed on DJ-Kicks. “Modern-Funk is a combination of all the sounds on the mix,” he explains. “Funk, Boogie, Electro, House, Modern-Soul, Ambient tones… a push and pull of nostalgia and progressiveness…”
At a satisfying 19 songs, DâM-FunK’s DJ-Kicks lets grooves breathe. This is a mix to happily get lost within; a document in vibe. Unexpected contemporary joints mingle with lost gems from unlikely places. The exclusive DâM-FunK production “Believer” makes its debut on DJ-Kicks, an extensive instrumental composition that on it’s own could only be classified as signature Modern-Funk. The mix also includes Dam’s excellent collaboration with Nite Jewel, as ‘Nite-Funk,’ on “Can U Read Me?”
DâM-FunK’s DJ-Kicks is released on May 27th, on CD, 2LP (w. CD included) and digital formats. Pre-orders are available now.
A strictly limited 10″ vinyl single containing two of the rarest tracks from the mix, will be available exclusively via !K7’s online store and Bandcamp.
A1. Index – Starlight (The Break)
B1. Verticle Lines – Theme From Beach Boy
All physical orders from the !K7 store and bandcamp will include a custom DJ-Kicks tote bag.
Thanks to some patient detective work by Art Yard Records, an intimate trio performance by Sun Ra in Rome in 1977, ‘In Some Far Place’, is receiving its first release for this year’s Record Store Day on April 16th. Recorded from the sound desk and transferred from original reels, the album features Ra, drummer Luqman Ali and occasional Arkestra vocalist Thomas Thaddeus in fine form, exploring Ra staples and revisiting some of the traditional jazz pieces from Ra’s early Chicago days. Tracks include the reflective ‘Trying To Put The Blame On Me,’ ‘Spontaneous Simplicity’ and the first Ra version of ‘I Cover The Waterfront’ to ever be officially released. New sleeve notes come courtesy of the Arkestra’s Knoel Scott with cover design by Lewis Heriz.
Record Store Day 2016 takes place internationally on 16th April 2016. For details on participating stores, visit http://www.recordstoreday.com/
Directly following the announcement of a forthcoming new album We Be All Africans for Strut, West Coast spiritual jazz legends Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids have been hand-picked to support Floating Points on the West Coast leg of their live tour. We can’t imagine a better pairing, and fans of mind-expanding jazz are in for a true treat.
See below for all Floating Points dates featuring Idris Ackamoor and The Pyramids. We Be All Africans will be released May 27th on CD, LP (w. CD included), digital and streaming formats. Pre-orders are available now.
Floating Points US Tour feat. Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids
April 27th – Santa Ana, CA: Constellation Room
April 28th – Santa Cruz, CA: The Catalyst Club
April 29th – San Francisco, CA: Mezzanine
May 1st – Portland, OR: Doug Fir Lounge
May 3rd – Seattle, WA: Neumos
May 4th – Vancouver, BC: Celebrities Nightclub
Seth Troxler and Tom Trago’s DJ-Kicks exclusive track (as ‘T&T Music Factory’) has gotten the remix treatment from Norse producer and Full Pupp owner Prins Thomas and Maxi Mill. ‘De Natte Cel’ was originally aired within luminary Troxler’s contribution to the DJ Kicks series from October 2015.
Prins Thomas blows some warm Balearic air into the package as his reworking churns and gathers tension throughout. Rush Hour affiliate Maxi Mill then completes the record and propels the original forward with popping percussion and a sharp, purposeful bass line that caps off another fine addition to the DJ Kicks catalogue and a fitting homage to a bona fide institution of Dutch dance music.
The ‘De Natte Cel’ remix single is available on 12″ and digital formats on 29th April 2016. Pre-orders are available now.
A1 > Original Mix
B1 > Prins Thomas Disko Miks
Digital ONLY > Maxi Mill Remix
The intoxicating sounds on Roger Bong’s Aloha Got Soul collection create a vivid mental picture of Hawaii in the 1970s, conjuring images of pristine waves, big hair, and life at an unhurried pace. It’s a place we want to be so badly that we cobbled together some vintage footage of the island, set to the lovely “Kona Winds” which appears on the album. Go get your board, we’ll go out and grab a tube.
Aloha Got Soul is out now on CD, 2LP (w. CD included) and digital formats.
Strut are proud to present the brand new studio album from West Coast jazz mavericks, The Pyramids, led by their inspirational bandleader, Idris Ackamoor.
Alto saxophonist Ackamoor first met Margo Simmons (flute) and Kimathi Asante (electric bass) whilst students together at Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio where one of their teachers was renowned pianist, Cecil Taylor. After founding the band in Paris in 1972, performing in Holland and embarking on a “cultural odyssey” across Africa, the group recorded three independent albums (Lalibela in 1973, King Of Kings in 1974 and Birth / Speed / Merging in 1976) and became renowned for their striking live shows, mixing percussive, spiritual and space-age jazz with performance, theatre, and dance. After migrating to San Francisco to perform on the Bay Area arts scene, they disbanded in 1977 after a
final show at the UC Berkeley Jazz Festival.
Almost 30 years later, The Pyramids reunited unexpectedly following growing demand for their music from vinyl collectors and jazz fans and embarked on the first of many European tours featuring original members, as well as a fresh line-up including renowned percussionist Kenneth Nash. In 2012 the group signed to German label Disko B who released a new album, the freeform Otherworldly and all three albums from their rare back catalogue. Idris was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by DJ Gilles Peterson at his Worldwide Awards and The Pyramids were back, gaining a whole new legion of fans.
For their new album, We Be All Africans, the group traveled to Berlin to hunker down in Max Weissenfeldt’s analogue Philophon studio. The result is a sparkling set of Afro- jazz-funk fusions, from the infectious chants of the title track to the reflective “Epiphany” and the yearning, mournful future single, “Silent Days” featuring the brilliant vocals of Bajka. Weissenfeldt released the first fruits from the sessions, ‘Rhapsody In Berlin’ as a limited 45 during 2015 and the album features the full unedited version.
We Be All Africans will be released May 27th on CD, 2xLP, digital and streaming and features superb illustrated artwork by Lewis Heriz. The album will be promoted in conjunction with Idris Ackamoor with a full touring programme via Planet Rock booking agency from Summer 2016. Pre-orders for We Be All Africans are available now.
‘We Be All Africans’ is a message of survival. A message of renewal. A message that we are all brothers and sisters. We are all one family, the human family and we need one another in order to survive on this planet that we all share.
– Idris Ackamoor
Ghanaian vocalist Pat Thomas and his all-star Kwashibu Area Band are setting out on an absolutely massive tour this summer. Performing material from last year’s self-titled album as well as highlights from throughout Thomas’ long career, this string of shows are an amazing opportunity to catch a living master of African highlife in the flesh. A highlight at last year’s Womex festival, the band will be taking their phenomenal live show across Europe from May.
The album Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band is out now on CD, 2LP (w. CD included) & digital formats.
Massive weekend in Hawaii! Marking the launch of new Strut compilation of Hawaiian soul / AOR rarities, ‘Aloha Got Soul’ and two years of the ‘Soul Time In Hawaii’ parties, DJ Roger Bong teams up with Red Light Radio for a major series of events in Honolulu this weekend. Red Bull Hawaii host an artist forum tonight (24th), tomorrow it’s the launch for the compilation at James After Beach Club and on 26th, it’s the big Soul Time In Hawaii night at Bevy with Mike Lundy and band live + DJs Psychemagick and the full Soul Time crew. And if you
can’t make it in person, it’s all featured on Red Light Radio: redlightradio.net
Aloha Got Soul is out now on CD, 2LP (w. CD insert) and digital formats.
Roger Bong’s ‘Aloha Got Soul’ blog, label and brand has been a driving force behind the newfound recognition for Hawaii’s incredible sun-drenched funk, disco, soul, and rock of the 1970s and 80s. Roger’s efforts to unearth and present underheard sounds from the islands have resulted in some incredible music receiving national attention for the first time.
With his expertly-curated Aloha Got Soul collection out this Friday, Roger has assembled a short DJ mix to give a taste of some of the sounds you’ve been missing out on. It’s not quite a ticket to Hawaii in the 1970’s, but it’s the next best thing.
Aloha Got Soul is available 18th March on CD, 2xLP (w. CD included) and digital formats.
Frankie Francis and Hugo Mendes of Sofrito are connoisseurs of vintage tropical dance sounds. The Mauritian séga genre explored on our Soul Sok Sega is a perfect match for their dusty, sun-drenched aesthetic, so we were thrilled when Francis, who also runs the vinyl dubplate and mastering facility The Carvery, offered to create a custom edit of one of our favorite tracks from the collection. His floor-friendly cut of Claudio’s “Bonom Chinois” is available for free download via our Bandcamp. Soul Sok Sega is available now on 2LP, CD & digital formats.
Outside of a small set of savvy listeners and Mauritian locals, traditional sega music (sometimes called “the blues of the Indian Ocean”) is a relatively new discovery. Our Soul Sok Sega collection provides an overview of one of the peak creative eras for the music in the 1970s. For further context, producer Percy Yip Tong and musician Menwar have graciously run through a brief history of the music as well as the instruments and rhythms that make up the foundation of the style. Menwar also performs an exclusive acoustic version of his ’70s rarity ‘Sega Lenoir’ recorded as Les Stardust.
Soul Sok Sega is available now on CD, 2xLP, & digital formats.
When we announced back in January that Detroit legend Moodymann would be mixing the first DJ-Kicks of 2016, we made an extremely limited quantity of lithograph prints of the album’s amazing cover art by Stefan Moerth to go along with pre-orders of the album. The prints went FAST, selling out completely in less than 48 hours. But. We have just a few prints left over, and to celebrate the release on Friday., we’re offering a chance to win both a limited print, and a 3LP copy of DJ-Kicks on vinyl.
To enter, simply email ‘firstname.lastname@example.org‘ by Friday 19th February. The winner will be notified by email on Monday 22nd February.
The print is a lithograph sized 254 x 305mm and printed on heavy-duty 300GSM conservation paper, strictly limited to 200 pieces. DJ-Kicks is released Friday 19th February on 3xLP, CD, & digital formats. Pre-orders are available now.
Funkier than most yacht-rock, and beachier than most funk, “Kona Winds” is three and a half perfect minutes of aural relaxation. The track originally appeared on the “Homegrown” compilation series in 1978, showcasing local Hawaiian artists. Today, the track fits comfortably in Balearic DJ sets and left-field funk mixes.
“I was out in Venice with DJ Harvey,” says Mark Barrott, “and “Kona Winds” came on the radio whilst we were sat by the beach having breakfast, looking at the early-morning surfers. I actually rang US directory assistance for the first and last time in my life to get the number of the station to get a track ID. I NEVER get bored of the spoken intro; last summer I was a little worse for wear in the middle of a DJ set by Es Vedra and I just looped the spoken intro and left it running for 30 mins… it sounded fine to me.”
“Kona Winds” appears on Aloha Got Soul, a new compilation assembled by Roger Bong, documenting the vibrant soul, AOR, jazz funk and disco scene across Hawaii in 1979-1985. Aloha Got Soul is released 18th February on CD, 2xLP & digital formats. Pre-orders are available now.
With DJ Koze’s epic mix taking the #1 slot on year-end lists from Resident Advisor, Mixmag and DJ Mag, 2015 may look like a tough year to top for the DJ-Kicks series. We’ve got a few aces up our sleeves though… Like the fact that the outspoken and enigmatic Detroit legend Moodymann is mixing the first DJ-Kicks of 2016!
Born Kenny Dixon Jr., Moodymann is a one-of-a-kind electronic music icon, hailing from, and wholly synonymous with the Motor City. DJ-Kicks will be Dixon’s first ever official multi-artist DJ mix. Across 75 minutes and 30 tracks, Moodymann creates a libidinous, blues-drenched mood that takes in heart-breaking soul, gorgeous hip-hop and love-fuelled house. In addition to cuts from his own creative circle, the mix features 11 exclusive Moodymann edits.
Moodymann’s DJ-Kicks is released 19th February on CD, 3xLP (w. CD included) and digital formats. Pre-orders are available now. Pre-orders via the !K7 online store and bandcamp are discounted by 10% in advance of the release date.
Limited Edition Lithograph Print
A very special limited edition lithograph print of the gorgeous Moodymann cover art by Stefan Moerth will be available exclusively on the !K7 online store and on Bandcamp. Strictly limited to 200 pieces, these are sized 254 x 305mm and printed on heavy-duty 300GSM conservation paper. Once these are gone, they’re gone, so pre-orders are strongly suggested.
Claudio Veeraragoo is one of the biggest stars of séga music of the 60s and 70s. His stroke of genius was to marry séga rhythms with qawwali and Bollywood styles. He scored his debut hit, ‘Nou Manz Nou Larak’, in 1966, playing the accordion, and broke through as a major star with his cassette release, ‘Bhaï Aboo’ which exploded across the island upon its release. His songs were subsequently covered by French star Maxime Leforestier and Bollywood singer Shaan. Claudio has since brought séga to the four corners of the globe and, of all of the ‘70s artists, has remained one of Mauritius’ biggest live draws. Today, his son Michael, a drummer and producer, manages his father’s activities via their own production house, Kabana Music.
“Bonom Chinois” is a gem from the Soul Sok Sega compilation, whic documents the heyday of séga music in Mauritius between 1973 and 1979. The album is compiled by La Reunion-based DJs La Basse Tropicale with extensive sleeve notes by Mauritian cultural authority, Percy Yip Tong. Soul Sok Sega is released 22nd January 2016.
We’re fully in the holiday spirit here at Strut, and what better way to celebrate the season than a blistering Afro-Funk take on a classic Christmas carol? The Souljazz Orchestra has given us just that with their wonderful version of “We Three Kings.”
The track is available exclusively for free download via the !K7 Collective Holiday Gift, along with material from some of our favorite independent labels like Luaka Bop, Piranha, Mister Saturday Night, R&S, and many others.
Share the love, and have a great holiday!
This February, an inspired collection of funk, disco, jazz and AOR recorded in Hawai’i shines a whole new light on the islands’ music culture. Aloha Got Soul encompasses a vibrant and varied era of recordings made during the 1970s and early 1980s, many of which never received attention on the mainland, despite brilliantly talented musicians, regular gigs and full album releases. Thanks largely to collector and DJ Roger Bong of Aloha Got Soul, a new interest in this fertile era of Hawaiian music has steadily grown in recent years, culminating in this new compilation of overlooked gems.
The influence of Western music in Hawai’i dates back as far as the ragtime era with the creation of hapa haole music (“half Hawaiian, half Caucasian”), but from the early 1960s with the island’s new American statehood status and the influx of rock’n’roll, a proliferation of new bands, night clubs and influential radio DJs like Tom Moffatt ushered in a boom in hybrid sounds. By the late ‘70s, the influence of bands like Earth Wind & Fire and Tower of Power had sparked a rich, close-knit soul scene on the islands led by jazz-funk innovators Seawind (CTI Records). Artists like Aura, Nohelani Cypriano and Mike Lundy shone brightly but relatively briefly through to the mid’-80s.
Hear a track below from Aura (pictured on the album cover), a family band consisting of eight siblings and featuring two female singers and an incredibly tight horn section.
Aloha Got Soul, out February 19th 2016, is compiled and annotated by Roger Bong and features rare photos and original artwork. Pre-orders are available now. All orders from Strut’s online store and bandcamp page will be discounted 10% in advance of the release date.
Séga is the traditional music of Mauritius (a small island off the coast of Madagascar) and is known as the “blues” of the Indian Ocean. The music was born during the 17th to 19th centuries by African slaves seeking relief from harsh conditions in sugar cane fields and on colonial land by dancing to improvised music incorporating rhythms from their homelands in West Africa, Mozambique, Zanzibar or Madagascar. From these diverse African influences sprang a new, insular dance and music, the séga.
Though initially looked down upon, by the mid-1960s séga music had become a symbol of national pride and identity for Mauritius. With the advent of electric instruments, the influx of funk, soul and jazz from the West and the growth of LPs, séga went commercial. Dancefloors started grooving to a more soulful, funky séga beat and séga artists popped up all over the island with a new generation of charismatic singers becoming national stars. Séga, sung in Créole, now united all the communities of the island. Mauritians from the European, African, Indian and Chinese communities, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, all danced and enjoyed séga.
Following excursions into rare tropical and island sounds with the Sofrito series, and the Haiti Direct and Calypsoul 70 albums, we’re proud to present a collection exploring the incredible séga sounds that emerged from Mauritius during the 1970s, Soul Sok Séga, compiled by DJ duo La Basse Tropicale (Natty Hô and Konsöle), based in the neighbouring island of La Reunion.
Soul Sok Sega (out 22nd of January 2016) features extensive sleeve notes from long time Mauritian cultural champion, Percy Yip Tong, including new artist interviews, photos and original vinyl artwork. All formats (1CD / 2LP / digital) are unmixed, made up completely of tracks that have never been re-issued internationally. An accompanying European tour featuring Ti L’Afrique, Jean Claude and Claudio with an all-star band of original musicians is planned for Autumn 2016.
Pre-orders are available now, and a preview track (“Sega Lenoir,” by Les Stardust) is streaming below.
In the second of two video interviews produced alongside his Sun Ra collection To Those Of Earth… And Other Worlds, Gilles Peterson gives the backstory to four of his favorite Sun Ra recordings. The legendary BBC6 presenter recounts how John Peel gifted him an original Saturn pressing of the track “Dreaming” on 7″, how Lanquidity never left his crate in the Mo’ Wax era, and other stories about the role specific Sun Ra recordings have played in his life and career. From a man who has had his finger on the pulse of jazz’s evolving trajectory throughout his life, it’s a fascinating viewing experience.
Part one of the interview series can been seen here.
Label Love is a compilation series on Bandcamp that offers free music from quality independent labels. We’re honored to take part in the 7th edition in the series where you can download tracks from our Sun Ra and Pat Thomas and Kwashibu Area Band releases, as well as some great jams from Tru Thoughts, Soundway, !K7, Finders Keepers, Five Easy Pieces, World Circuit, Erased Tapes and ZZK.
Enjoy some quality music, and support indie labels! Download Label Love Vol. 7 here.
Listening to Gilles Peterson talk about music, it’s easy to see how he’s become a trusted source for introducing challenging music to an open-minded audience. Peterson’s knowledge, enthusiasm and wonder are easily apparent, making him the dynamic presenter that he is on his long-running BBC6 program.
We caught recently up with the life-long jazz connoisseur to hear about his initial exposure to the music and spectacle of Sun Ra, his blossoming appreciation for Ra’s art, and the tradition of insisting that his label’s new signees experience a Sun Ra concert in person.
To Those Of Earth… And Other Worlds, loving curated by Gilles Peterson, is out October 13th on 2CD, 2LP (+ CD insert), and digital formats. Pre-orders are available from fine digital retailers, and the Strut store.
The exclusive Actress track “Bird Matrix,” from the UK producer’s 2015 DJ-Kicks mix, has been remixed for the latest in the DJ-Kicks remix series. The single includes both a “Club” and “Dub” remix from West Coast stalwart Kid606. Simbiosi, signed to Actress’ own Werk Discs label, also provides a take on the track. Filling out the release is the full album mix of another DJ-Kicks exclusive track, “Pear,” from Werk Discs affiliate GNESIS. Actress’ DJ-Kicks EP will be released on October 30th 2015.
Named in tribute to famed Amsterdam club Trouw, “De Natte Cel” is an exclusive collaboration between Seth Troxler and Tom Trago, taken from the former’s forthcoming DJ-Kicks mix. The title is derived from Dutch slang for a trip to the restroom, and refers to the club’s basement shower room which became the setting for some legendary dance music parties.
Troxler will in fact be launching his DJ-Kicks in Amsterdam with an all-night party at Closure on the date of the mix’s release, October 16th. DJ-Kicks is available for pre-order via digital retailers, bandcamp, and the !K7 Store.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: The Souljazz Orchestra is simply one of the hardest working, must see live bands in the business. With their incendiary new album Resistance out now, the Ottawa-based sextet lead by Pierre Chrétien is taking to the road for an absolutely epic series of dates that sees them taking their very own fusion of roots music, jazz and funk from their native Canada to Europe and back again, making converts as they go. Dress light, as these shows will be HOT!
Full Tour Dates
Sep 12 – Port Hope, CA – All-Canadian Jazzfest
Sep 26 – Ottawa, CA – Babylon Nightclub
Oct 03 – Lausanne, CH – Holy Groove Festival
Oct 04 – London, UK – Jazz Cafe
Oct 05 – Zurich, CH – Moods
Oct 08 – Beauvais, FR – L’Ouvre-Boîte
Oct 09 – Sannois, FR – EMB
Oct 10 – Rennes, FR – Ubu
Oct 11 – Laval, FR – 6PAR4
Oct 13 – Paris, FR – New Morning
Oct 14 – Massy, FR – Paul B
Oct 15 – Lyon, FR – Marché Gare
Oct 16 – Montpellier, FR – Rockstore
Oct 17 – Chalon-sur-Saône, FR – La Péniche
Oct 19 – Bristol, UK – The Lantern
Oct 20 – Liverpool, UK – The Kazimier
Oct 22 – Milan, IT – Biko Club
Oct 23 – Barcelona, SP – Say It Loud
Oct 24 – Madrid, SP – Sala Clamores
Oct 25 – Berlin, DE – Yaam
Oct 27 – Bochum, DE – Bahnhof Langendreer
Oct 29 – Cologne, DE – Club Bahnhof Ehrenfeld
Oct 30 – Pfarrkirchen, DE – Club Bogaloo
Oct 31 – Offenbach, DE – Hafen 2
Nov 03 – Vienna, AT – Andino
Nov 04 – Prague, CZ – AghaRTA
Nov 05 – Athens, GR – GazARTE
Nov 07 – Marseille, FR – Cabaret Aléatoire
Nov 14 – Gatineau, QC – Le Petit Chicago
Nov 20 – Hamilton, CA – This Ain’t Hollywood
Nov 21 – Toronto, CA – Lee’s Palace
Nov 27 – Québec, CA – Le Cercle
Nov 28 – Montréal, CA – La Sala Rossa
Following up on last year’s collection In The Orbit Of Ra we’re diving headfirst back into the vast universe of Sun Ra with a a newly curated set from the Ra’s immense 125 LP back catalog, compiled by Gilles Peterson. The BBC 6Music / Worldwide DJ is a long-time champion of Ra’s music and the UK’s leading tastemaker for jazz-based sounds. It serves as perhaps the best introduction yet to the music of Sun Ra for a whole new generation of converts.
For the CD version, Peterson picks personal favourites, classics and unreleased tracks and weaves them into a flowing piece across 2CDs, showcasing the incredible variety of Ra’s work. The 2LP version features full-length versions of selected tracks from the mix (and also includes the full CD mixed version), while the digital version features a full unmixed selection with Peterson’s mix available within the album bundle. Sleeve notes on physical formats come from Gilles Peterson with a full Ra career biography by author Robert L. Campbell. The album also features previously unseen photos from the archives of Val Wilmer alongside full musician line-ups and session details.
To Those Of Earth… And Other Worlds is available for pre-order now on the Strut Store. Also available is a limited-time bundle featuring all three Sun Ra releases on Strut (In The Orbit Of Ra, Planets Of Life Or Death, and To Those Of Earth…), on either CD or vinyl.
1. SUN RA AND HIS MYTH-SCIENCE ARKESTRA – CALLING PLANET EARTH
2. SUN RA – SUN SONG
3. THE COSMIC RAYS WITH SUN RA AND THE ARKESTRA – DREAMING
4. SUN RA AND HIS ARKESTRA – INDIA
5. SUN RA AND HIS MYTH-SCIENCE ARKESTRA – SPACE LONELINESS
6. SUN RA AND HIS INTERGALACTIC INFINITY ARKESTRA – LOVE IN OUTER SPACE (Vocal)
7. SUN RA AND HIS MYTH-SCIENCE ARKESTRA – ADVENTURE-EQUATION
8. SUN RA AND HIS MYTH-SCIENCE ARKESTRA – SPONTANEOUS SIMPLICITY (Stereo version)*
9. SUN RA AND HIS MYTH-SCIENCE ARKESTRA – BRAZILIAN SUN
10. SUN RA QUARTET FEATURING JOHN GILMORE – WHEN THERE IS NO SUN
11. SUN RA AND HIS ASTRO INFINITY ARKESTRA – MY BROTHER THE WIND
12. SUN RA AND HIS ARKESTRA – MYSTERY, MR. RA*
13. SUN RA AND HIS MYTH-SCIENCE ARKESTRA – BLACK SKY AND BLUE MOON
14. SUN RA AND HIS MYTH-SCIENCE ARKESTRA – WATUSA
15. THE SUN RA ARKESTRA – THE WORLD OF AFRICA
16. SUN RA AND HIS SOLAR ARKESTRA – CLUSTER OF GALAXIES
17. SUN RA AND HIS ARKESTRA – STRANGE WORLDS (Live In France)**
18. SUN RA AND HIS BLUE UNIVERSE ARKESTRA – BLACKMAN
1. SUN RA AND HIS MYTH-SCIENCE ARKESTRA – TWILIGHT
2. SUN RA AND HIS INTERGALACTIC MYTH SCIENCE SOLAR ARKESTRA – SLEEPING BEAUTY
3. SUN RA – MOOG SOLO (Live In France)**
4. SUN RA AND HIS ARKESTRA – THEY PLAN TO LEAVE
5. SUN RA AND HIS SOLAR ARKESTRA – REFLECTS MOTION (Part 1)
6. SUN RA AND HIS ARKESTRA – CHILDREN OF THE SUN
7. SUN RA AND HIS MYTH-SCIENCE ARKESTRA – WE TRAVEL THE SPACEWAYS
8. SUN RA AND HIS ARKESTRA – ASTRO BLACK (Live In Zurich)**
9. SUN RA AND HIS MYTHIC SCIENCE ARKESTRA – SOMEBODY ELSE’S IDEA (Live In Paris)
10. SUN RA AND HIS ARKESTRA – I ROAM THE COSMOS
11. SUN RA AND HIS SOLAR ARKESTRA – ON JUPITER
12. SUN RA – THERE ARE OTHER WORLDS (THEY HAVE NOT TOLD YOU OF)
13. SUN RA AND HIS INTERGALACTIC INFINITY ARKESTRA – THE ALL OF EVERYTHING
14. SUN RA – ENLIGHTENMENT
15. SUN RA AND HIS ARKESTRA – MAKE ANOTHER MISTAKE
16. SUN RA AND HIS ARKESTRA – SPACE IS THE PLACE (Live In France)**
* Previously unreleased on CD
** Previously unreleased
A1 SUN RA AND HIS INTERGALACTIC INFINITY ARKESTRA – LOVE IN OUTER SPACE (Vocal) 3.50
A2 SUN RA AND HIS SOLAR ARKESTRA – ON JUPITER 4.02
A3 SUN RA AND HIS MYTH-SCIENCE ARKESTRA – SPONTANEOUS SIMPLICITY (Stereo version)* 3.01
A4 THE COSMIC RAYS WITH SUN RA AND THE ARKESTRA – DREAMING 2.46
A5 SUN RA AND HIS MYTH-SCIENCE ARKESTRA – BLACK SKY AND BLUE MOON 3.02
B1 SUN RA – ENLIGHTENMENT 2.57
B2 THE SUN RA ARKESTRA – THE WORLD OF AFRICA 3.00
B3 SUN RA AND HIS ARKESTRA – THEY PLAN TO LEAVE 6.08
B4 SUN RA AND HIS ARKESTRA – CHILDREN OF THE SUN 4.28
C1 SUN RA AND HIS BLUE UNIVERSE ARKESTRA – BLACKMAN 7.44
C2 SUN RA AND HIS ARKESTRA – INDIA 4.50
C3 SUN RA AND HIS ARKESTRA – MYSTERY, MR. RA 3.07
C4 SUN RA AND HIS INTERGALACTIC INFINITY ARKESTRA – THE ALL OF EVERYTHING 4.23
D1 SUN RA QUARTET FEATURING JOHN GILMORE – WHEN THERE IS NO SUN 4.35
D2 SUN RA AND HIS INTERGALACTIC MYTH SCIENCE SOLAR ARKESTRA – SLEEPING BEAUTY 11.51
D3 SUN RA AND HIS MYTH-SCIENCE ARKESTRA – WE TRAVEL THE SPACEWAYS 3.27
The self titled debut album from legendary Ghanaian vocalist Pat Thomas and his newly formed Kwashibu Area band was one of the soundtracks to our summer. Firmly rooted in the tradition of classic West African musicianship, the album showcases Thomas’ incredible voice and reinvigorates our love of Highlife. This Autumn, Thomas and company are hitting the road together, performing tracks from the album as well as classics from throughout Pat Thomas’ career. Don’t miss an opportunity to see one of the foremost living practioners of Highlife music, live in the flesh.
01.10.15 – Norwich, UK: Norwich Arts Centre
02.10.15 – London, UK: Richmix
03.10.15 – Cornwall, UK: Mount Pleasant Eco Park
04.10.15 – Whitstable, UK: Duke of Cumberland
07.10.15 – Brussels, BE: AB Club
08.10.15 – Paris, FR: New Morning
09.10.05 CH – Zurich, CH: Stall 6
10.10.15 – Lyon, FR: Le Sucre
15.10.15 – Rotterdam, NL: Lantaren Venster
16.10.15 – Groningen, NL: De Oosterport
17.10.15 – Utrecht, NL: Rasa
18.10.15 – Amsterdam, NL: Paradiso
20.10.15 – Berlin, DE: Bi Nuu
21.10.15 – Warsaw, PL: Pardon To Tu
22.10.15 – Vienna, AT: Fluc
24.10.15 – Budapest, HU: Womex
29.10.15 – Rome, IT: Afropolitan
30.10.15 – Bologna, IT: Locomotiv
31.10.15 – Milan, IT: Biko Club
Veteran Nigerian saxophonist and pioneer of Afro soul and Afrobeat, Orlando Julius, embarks on his first set of US dates in over a decade this Autumn. Expect to hear tracks from his acclaimed new studio album with The Heliocentrics, Jaiyede Afro, alongside a host of classics from his incredible 50-year career including “Alo Mi Alo,” “James Brown Ride On,” “Jagua Nana” and “Ijo Soul,” the track which allegedly influenced James Brown’s “I Got You (I Feel Good).” It’s a one-off chance to catch one of Africa’s all-time great musicians, live and direct.
(Photo by Mariagrazia Giove)
September 18th: Chicago, IL / Mayne Stage ‘World Music Festival Chicago’
September 19th: Chicago, IL / Mayne Stage ‘World Music Festival Chicago’
September 24th: Philadelphia, PA / venue tba
September 25th: New York, NY / Le Poisson Rouge
September 26th: Albuquerque, NM / National Hispanic Cultural Center
Lima’s Kanaku Y El Tigre write beautiful music that is significantly enhanced by their ability to create unique sounds using just about anything they have available. In the new video for “Quema Quema Quema,” the band peels back the layers of the title track of their new album, employing esoteric toy synthesizers, found percussion and a haunting slide guitar to assemble a killer piece of music. Watching the way these elements interact only enhances our appreciation for a killer band.
We’re just over a week away from the release of the new Souljazz Orchestra LP Resistance, and the crew has another great music video to share. Shot on the streets of Montreal during Carnival, the video for “Courage” premiered today on Wax Poetics, and features the band diving head-on into a funky compas style.
Canada’s powerhouse Afro / Latin / Tropical collective, The Souljazz Orchestra, surface with a hard-hitting new album Resistance for Autumn 2015. In keeping with the band’s previous work, the Orchestra keeps powerful lyrics at the heart of their music, delivering some biting social commentaries alongside messages of hope.
Having already shared the video for “Shock And Awe,” here’s another reason to get excited for the forthcoming album. “Bull’s Eye” was directly inspired by the Occupy movement,” says bandleader and multi-instrumentalist Pierre Chrétien. “The bull in the song refers to the Charging Bull on Wall Street, the iconic symbol of unbridled capitalism. The lyrics tell the rest of the story.” The heavy afro funk workout is available for free download, and is streaming below.
Despite being one of the most colorful and outspoken personalities in the dance music community, Seth Troxler is dead serious when it comes to music. The Michigan native has spent a lifetime curating an impeccable taste in a wide variety of sounds, and with events like his recent Acid Future party in London, has been an important champion of an authentic clubbing experience.
Troxler and company have put together something special for the release of his DJ-Kicks mix: an all-night party during the annual ADE festival in Amsterdam, featuring an epic eight hour set from the man himself. Tickets are available now via Resident Advisor.
2015 has been a huge year for DJ-Kicks, marking both 20 years of the series as well as our 50th release. But far from slowing down, we’re already looking ahead to another incredible mix from one of our favorite artists.
Over the past decade, Seth Troxler has become a visionary and authentic voice in dance music, his jovial personality cutting through the noise and continually playing by his own rules. Growing up between Detroit and Chicago, his musical education carries enviable credentials, with his stepdad a local radio personality who championed the early sounds of house music.
True to Troxler’s character, the mix has a whimsical nature and a thoughtful and timeless narrative, bearing a tenacious episode for the DJ-Kicks series that gives a true insight into the man behind the well-preened moustache and cowboy antics. “It might seem obvious but to be a successful DJ, you have to be really into music,” Troxler points out. “Collecting music is my life. This is a proper DJ mix – a house mix. It’s good music that works to listen to at any time.”
“For my DJ Kicks mix I wanted to do something that was honest,” he goes on. “I went out in the morning, micro-dosed myself and did all these errands around town. Then I came home at night and did the mix one take. I wanted to curate something for people to easily listen to, that was nice, and funny and got you in the mood to do your homework, or drive that hour long trip when you need to go somewhere. I see this mix as a gay man named Rodney. Or a big black woman named Birtha.”
Seth Troxler’s DJ-Kicks will be available October 16th on CD / LP / digital. Pre-orders are available now via the !K7 store.
01. Niki Nakazawa – Would It Be
02. Herbert – Suddenly (Phil Parnell’s Pianissimo Play Through)
03. DJ Koze – Bodenweich
04. Cobblestone Jazz – Northern Lights
05. Wolfgang Haffner – Melodia Del Viento (Ricardo Villalobos & Max Loderbauer Meloopdia Remix)
06. T&T Music Factory – De Natte Cal (DJ-Kicks)
07. Hauke Freer – XK
08. Butch – Dope
09. Session Victim – Stick Together
10. Club Artists United – Sweet Chariot (Kerri “Kaoz 6:23″ Chandler Dramatic Dub)
11. Jasper Street Company – Reach (Basement Sessions Main Vocal Mix)
12. K-Alexi Shelby – Sex-N-R-001
13. Mood II Swing feat. John Ciafone – Ohh
14. Derrick L. Carter – Dreaming Again
15. Byron Stingily – Why Can’t You Be Real (Danny’s 12″ Mix)
16. Vanessa McMillian – Stay With Me
17. Sun Ra And His Intergalactic Research Arkestra – Enlightenment
Berlin-based Henrik Schwarz is a master of incorporating the organic sounds of jazz, afrobeat and soul into his heady house sets. His latest master stroke is a deep take on a classic Ghanaian track from Ebo Taylor and Pat Thomas (the original of which appears on our Taylor retrospective Life Stories). Schwarz’s version draws out the horns and backing vocals, delaying the catharsis of Taylor’s distinctive croon for maximum dance floor delight.
“Ene Nyame” is available now on digital retail services. A vinyl 12″, featuring an unreleased dub mix, will be released 18th September.
The Souljazz Orchestra continue to evolve their sound and scope, while at the same time retaining their original line-up, going back to the band’s formation in 2002. As you can imagine, this makes for some incredibly tight playing. The band’s practially psychic connection is on full display in the music video for “Shock And Awe,” shot on a freeway overpass in the band’s home city of Ottawa.
“That whole day was crazy,” explains bandleader Pierre Chrétien. “Cars were honking the whole time, crowds gathered. Someone even called the cops on us, thinking we were kids throwing rocks off the bridge. A cop showed up with a reporter from the Ottawa Citizen newspaper. The officer was cool and the reporter took shots of us – we ended up on page 2 of the paper the next day. They called it “Not A Rock Group” because we weren’t throwing rocks…”
“Shock And Awe” is the first single from the upcoming album Resistance, out September 4th on Strut. The track is available on streaming services, and as a free download with pre-orders of the album: http://lnk.to/SJO_ShockAndAwe
50 DJ-Kicks releases. Two decades. We’ll admit that we’re quite proud of what we’ve built with DJ-Kicks. And we’re celebrating all year long. We’ve teamed up with Millionhands in London for a run of high quality DJ-Kicks T’s and sweats, tastefully featuring the #DJKicks50 logo, and made out of the finest material available.
The shirts are made from Fair Wear Certified Organic cotton, with bespoke label and neck print detailing, are designed & screen-printed in London, and ship globally. These are shirts that bear the mark of quality, and you can be confident that their look and feel will last.
The run is strictly limited to 100 pieces, so head to Millionhands.net and pick one up today.
Nearly two decades ago in 1996, DJ-Kicks released a series of trading cards featuring photos and stats from some of the world’s top dance music DJs, including Richie Hawtin, Carl Craig, Laurent Garnier & others. Fans recently got a peek at the vintage cards when photos of the series spread online earlier this year.
With the 50th volume in the DJ-Kicks series released in the form of an incredible mix from DJ Koze, we’ve updated the series with a new generation of talent, including Koze, Nina Kraviz, Actress, Carl Craig, Four Tet, Will Saul, Maceo Plex, Maya Jane Coles, John Talabot and others.
Featuring stats compiled with help from Resident Advisor and Beatport, the new series of cards is available exclusively as a gift with purchases over £20 from !K7 Records’ online store: https://k7.greedbag.com/
In a recent review, Resident Advisor described DJ Koze’s music as “psychedelic, funny and highly functional.” The new music video for the DJ-Kicks exclusive track “I Haven’t Been Everywhere But It’s On My List” fits that description to a T. The Katharina Duve and Timo Schierhorn-directed clip came about when Koze and company were “on our way to shoot some ancient hippie caves somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean,” when according to Koze they “incidentally met a lovely bloke cruising the beaches on his Omamobil. He showed us the ways of his island and the key to happiness. And then he sold us a lottery ticket.”
We’re heading back to the melting pot of Peru’s capital Lima as we join forces with the excellent Tiger’s Milk label for a new compilation, Peru Boom! Guided by the roots of chicha and Peruvian cumbia and inspired by Western dubstep, techno, grime and rave, a whole new generation of producers have created their own fresh new tropical bass fusions which have taken over the city and have united communities.
“When we started parties four years ago,” explains Rafael Pereira of Dengue Dengue Dengue, “we’d get people from all over Lima: the white guy, the back guy, the poor guy, the rich guy. Now there are many parties and everyone goes to their own place in different neighbourhoods.” Peru Boom! gives the wider world the first chance to sample this unique scene with tracks from DJ Chakruna, Deltatron, Tribilin Sound and Dengue Dengue Dengue.
The album is available now via Tigers Milk / Strut Records on CD, LP, & digital formats. Stream Rolovo’s “Outropical” below.
“We approached this album with a fresh ear,” explains bandleader Pierre Chrétien. “We were keen to build on the band’s sound and message, bringing in some of the French Caribbean and Francophone West African influences that we’ve loved since our youth, so the new album brings in French language tracks and elements of coupé-décalé, zouk and cadence to the overall mix.”
The Souljazz Orchestra remain one of the most solid units in their scene, retaining their original line-up since they were first formed back in 2002. On Resistance, they showcase their continuing versatility with saxman Ray Murray, percussionist Marielle Rivard, drummer Philippe Lafrenière and keyboardist Pierre Chrétien all taking on lead vocal duties on different tracks.
Resistance is released on 8th September on CD, LP & digital formats, and the band embark on a major new international tour, hitting up Europe during September and October 2015, followed by a Canadian run in November 2015.
It’s not every day that you get to observe a master at work, but that’s exactly the feeling we get watching Pat Thomas rehearse with his all-star Kwashibu Area Band at their studio in Accra. The nimble playing of each musician adds its piece to an intricate puzzle, providing the perfect bed for Thomas’ expressive vocals.
With their self-titled debut album available now, Thomas and Kwashibu Area Band will be hitting the road this fall. Confirmed dates below.
02.10.15 London, UK: Richmix
07.10.15 Brussels, Belgium: AB Club
08.10.15 Paris, France: New Morning
09.10.05 Zurich, Switzerland: Stall 6
10.10.15 Lyon, France: Le Sucre
17.10.15 Utrecht, Holland: Rasa
18.10.15 Amsterdam, Holland: Paradiso
20.10.15 Berlin, Germany: Lido
22.10.15 – 24.10.15 Budapest, Hungary: Womex showcase
We’ve been fans of Bandcamp for years now. It’s a great place to discover new music and to directly support artists. When the service announced that they would be adding label profiles, we knew we wanted to get on board. Starting this week, every Strut release will be available digitally at https://strut.bandcamp.com/. Stop in, take a look around, and give us a follow for updates on new releases and special promotions.
As a special welcome gift, we’re offering a free download of the summery Highlife anthem “Me Ho Asem” from Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band, out this week. Head to the release page for your free track. You can also hear an interview with Strut’s own Quinton Scott on Bandcamp Weekly podcast.
Vinyl & CDs will still be available directly via the Strut Store.
“Best thing I’ve put on the stereo in some time” – Marco Werman
The self-titled album from Ghanaian legend Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band is something of a reunion, re-uniting Thomas with past collaborators that include Ebo Taylor and Tony Allen. Brimming with authentic West African highlife and afro funk, the album highlight “Me Ho Asem” is streaming below.
From the album’s liner notes:
An “Africo” crossover style typical of early 1970s Accra in the style of Osibisa and Alhaji K Frimpong. It’s one of the most funky tracks on the album and features some superb harmonic and melodic touches. Thomas’s lyrics are defiant: “This is my life, my turn. You can talk about all my problems and dance in my misery. But it’s not going to be like that forever. You can talk all you want but things will always get better for me.”
The track features a yearning trumpet solo from another Ghanaian legend, Osei Tutu. Osei was a member of Hedzolleh Sounds and also played alongside Ebo and Pat in the Sweet Beans.
One of the distinct characteristics of DJ Koze’s magnum DJ-Kicks mix is his proclivity for subtly tweaking the tracks he’s selected. Nearly half of the songs on the mix appear in a custom edited or blended form, usually assembled after having asked the original artist for the track’s component stems. In the case of the Portable track “Surrender,” which appears toward the end of the mix, Koze blended his thoughtful, contemplative edit incorporating elements of the original, instrumental and acappella versions of the track.
“I always try to use something that is individual or different,” says DJ Koze in a recent interview with Sloth. “What is the gain of doing something similar to what has gone before?”
Koze’s willingness to take risks is one of his most distinct characteristics, and is clearly evident in the exclusive production he’s created for his landmark DJ-Kicks. Eschewing the evocative dance music for which he and his Pampa label are known, Koze returns to his hip-hop roots with a breezy production that calls to mind left field hip-hop producers J Dilla and Madlib. The mood is gentle, laid back, and extremely open.
Koze’s DJ-Kicks marks the 50th entry in the DJ-Kicks series, and comes out June 16th on a white double vinyl pressing, CD, digital download, and streaming services. Pre-orders are available now via iTunes, Amazon and the !K7 store.
Kanaku Y El Tigre are experts at using the recording studio as an instrument. Their records are densely layered, to the point that discerning the players or instruments responsible for specific sounds can become a pleasant challenge. This live video, recorded at Kanaku Studios in Lima pulls back the curtain on some of the mystery. Performing with precision, the band delivers a flawless rendition of the song ‘Pulpos’ from the upcoming album Quema Quema Quema.
Actress’ expansive and unconventional DJ-Kicks mix is out this week, to widespread acclaim. Drowned In Sound calls it “a gentle reminder that as both DJ and producer Actress is as good as it gets,” and XLR8R enthuses: “The cuts play off each other masterfully, their strengths enhancing each other, leading to a more-than-satisfying conclusion to a worthy addition to the DJ-Kicks catalog.”
To celebrate the album’s release, we’re sharing an exclusive track from the mix, courtesy of unknown producer Gnesis. Asked for a few words about the track, the artist replied with the words below.
Nairobi bankers deuce hard
Rose black vine ratios and the corporate druid
Scorpion chord drone blunts
The DJ-Kicks series was born in Berlin in 1995, the first officially licensed DJ mix series available commercially. Over the past 20 years, the series has maintained a steady finger on the pulse of electronic music, earning a reputation as an essential barometer for what’s happening right now in the world of dance music. To celebrate the 50th entry in the series, we’ve brought the series back to Germany with a very special mix from the iconoclastic DJ Koze.
Characteristically refusing to hew to any particular genre or style, Koze’s mix nonetheless creates a uniform color, incorporating underground hip-hop, melodic techno, indie pop, and vintage songwriting for a selection of tracks that is at once nostalgic and futuristic, melancholy and joyful.
In order to incorporate a variety of styles, Koze created a number of custom edits and blends for the set. He also takes a novel approach to the concept of a “mix,” often eschewing long overlays in favor of serendipitous juxtapositions. “During the day I don’t have the requirement of hearing anything mixed in strict time,” he says. “Instead I focus on harmoniousness. The idea is more to create the appearance of a radio show, in the vein of John Peel for example. There is a giant cosmos of music running through my filter.”
DJ-Kicks also includes a new DJ Koze original, in the form of the dilla-esque “I Have Not Been Everywhere But It’s On My List.” With its fragile soul samples, pinched, anxious-expressive vocal snippets, and sweet guitar riffs, the track sets a luxurious tone for the mix. The mood is gentle, laid back, extremely open and willingly to take risks.
DJ Koze’s DJ-Kicks will be released June 15th 2015 on !K7 Records. Pre-orders are available now.
In celebration of Record Store Day 2015, Strut and Art Yard join forces once more for the first release anywhere of a live Sun Ra performance from Amiens, France in 1973, Planets Of Life Or Death. Recorded direct from the soundboard and mastered from first generation reel to reel, the title is exclusively available for Record Store Day 2015.
Sun Ra and his Arkestra had just completed a residency at the legendary Gibus in Paris in October before traveling to Amiens for a visceral Sunday afternoon concert. “Sun Ra’s use of the Arkestra as his instrument in an onslaught of sound, colour and movement stimulated and even shocked the senses and the shakras of audience participants onto a higher plane of spirit consciousness,” explains the Arkestra’s Knoel Scott.
On Side 1, the session kicks off with the theatrical overture, ‘Enlightenment’ as Sun Ra and vocalist June Tyson invite the audience to “be of our space world.” Ra then moves into a rare instrumental version of ‘Love In Outer Space,’ transforming the perennial Arkestra classic into a raw, ritualistic experience.
Side 2 of the album opens with the glistening ‘Lights On A Satellite’ led by the spiritual tenor sax of John Gilmore. Closing track, the epic, chaotic, anxious ‘Discipline 27-II / What Planet Is This’ features Sun Ra and June Tyson take a thinly veiled psychedelic swipe at life on earth: “If this is a planet of life, why do people die here?”
Planets Of Life Or Death follows 2014’s landmark compilation presented by Marshall Allen, In the Orbit Of Ra. The release features rare photos from Sun Ra’s 1973 European tour by photographer Jan Persson with sleeve notes by Knoel Scott.
“Bird Matrix” was made just after Actress finished writing his most recent album Ghettoville. “My studio was going through a transition, so I was testing all the equipment, and that was one of the first tunes that came out of those experiments,” he explains. It’s a fittingly exploratory tune for a mix that balances traditional functionality with dance music’s cutting edge.
“Bird Matrix”appears exclusively on Actress’ DJ-Kicks mix, out May 5th on !K7.
Kanaku Y El Tigre’s new single “Si Te Mueres Mañana” is a life-affirming anthem with the message “If you die tomorrow, make sure you you’ve done everything you ever wanted.” After watching the song’s gorgeously-shot video (which premiered today on The Wall Street Journal), we might have to add skateboarding through the hills of Lima, Peru to the list of things to do before we die.
“Si Te Mueres Mañana” appears on Kanaku Y El Tigre’s forthcoming album Quema Quema Quema, which is the first internationally-released project from the Peruvian duo of Nico Saba and Bruno Bellatin. With a relaxed sound that bridges folk, indie rock, psychedelic music and electronics, the album is a perfect soundtrack to the spring. If you missed it, you can download the advance teaser track “Bubucelas” for free.
John Talabot’s swooning and balmy contribution to the DJ-Kicks series originally saw the light of day in November 2013 – an offering Derek Miller of RA deemed “quite possibly the commercial mix of the year.”
Now, in Spring 2015 Talabot curates an assemblage of mighty remixers including Melchoir Productions Ltd, Oskar Offermann and Mistakes Are Ok for a set of incredible remixes for the DJ-Kicks exclusive track “Without You.” True to Talabot’s canon it’s a deeply moving meld of lucent builds and gently mournful melodies that are completely impossible to resist.
Coming in June, we are proud to announce the brand new studio album by one of Ghana’s all-time great vocalists, “The Golden Voice Of Africa”, Pat Thomas, in conjunction with the Kwashibu Area Band led by multi-instumentalist Kwame Yeboah (Cat Stevens, Patrice) and saxophonist Ben Abarbanel-Wolff (Ebo Taylor, Poets of Rhythm).
A regular collaborator with Ebo Taylor, Thomas was mainstay of the ‘70s and ‘80s Ghanaian highlife, afrobeat and afro-pop scenes, hitting big with the Ghana Cocoa Board-sponsored Sweet Beans band. Thomas’ new album marks over 50 years making music and reunites him with old friends: Ebo Taylor provides horn arrangements, Tony Allen contributes drums to several tracks, Osei Tutu (Hedzolleh Sounds) plays a memorable trumpet solo and prolific 1970s bassist Ralph Karikari (The Noble Kings) also features. Younger generation stars appearing include bassist Emmanuel Ofori, percussionist “Sunday” Owusu and Pat Thomas’ daughter Nanaaya, an acclaimed vocalist in her own right.
Pat Thomas and Kwashibu Area Band is released June 16th 2015 on CD, LP and digital formats featuring hand-drawn artwork by Lewis Heriz and full sleeve notes. The campaign will feature remixes released in conjunction with Absolut Vodka. Pre-order now on iTunes, and watch a video on the studio sessions below.
The band’s forthcoming album Quema Quema Quema (meaning ‘Burn Burn Burn’ in Spanish) is the product of two years honing the Kanaku sound at the band’s Lima studio HQ and the result is a record which is feverish in intensity and which screams with joy and cries for help in the same breath. The album is a testament to their new found approach with its euphoric, unapologetically feel-good hooks littered with electronic jitters, ghostly delays, serene Hawaiian slide guitars and a chorus of other-wordly vocal harmonies.
Take a look at a video for the track “Bubucelas,” featuring the album’s incredible hand-painted cover art, below. You can also download “Bubucelas” for free.
Quema Quema Quema is out May 19th on Strut / Tiger’s Milk. Pre-orders are available now on iTunes.
British techno-related visionary Actress joins the DJ-Kicks series this May with a singular hour-long set, following his acclaimed fourth full-length effort, Ghettoville, a recent re-release of his debut LP Hazyville, and a limited-edition black label project Xoul on his own Werkdiscs label.
For Actress (aka Darren Cunningham), the process of selecting tracks was fraught with meaning on a number of levels. “When I’m selecting music I’m not always thinking about the music alone,” Cunningham explains. “I’m thinking about the names of the artists, tracks, and labels, and what they mean to me. I often base my tracklisting purely on how well the track titles work together in a poetic sense.”
“I’ve tried to keep space between tracks, allowing them to speak,” he continues. “I tried not to force BPM shifts and to let the programming remain choppy and quick.”
Of course, the DJ-Kicks wouldn’t be complete without an exclusive production from the author himself. “Bird Matrix,” a track he made just after he finished writing Ghettoville. “My studio was going through a transition, so I was testing all the equipment, and that was one of the first tunes that came out of those experiments,” he explains. It’s a fittingly exploratory tune for a mix that balances traditional functionality with dance music’s cutting edge.
01 Breaker 1 2 – 2
02 Lorenzo Senni – Elegant, and Never Tiring
03 Reel by Real – Look At Me
04 Autechre – Pen Expers
05 Chameleon – Thought 2
06 Beneath – Stress 1
07 Simbiosi – Impari
08 Zennor – Tin
09 John Beltran – Anticipation
10 Moon B – Those Moments
11 STL – Psychelicious
12 Snakepiss – Toil
13 Shit and Shine – Pearl Drop
14 Chez n Trent – Windy City Club
15 Mark Fell – Section 1-7
16 GNESIS – Pear
17 Shxcxchcxsh – LDWGWTT
18 Hank Jackson – Track 3
19 Actress – Bird Matrix (DJ-Kicks)
20 Gherkin Jerks – Red Planet
This spring sees the reintroduction of the DJ-Kicks 12” series and with it, the tradition of releasing original DJ-Kicks material along side a selection of remixes hand-picked by the compiling artist.
Kicking off the new series is John Talabot, who’s swooning and balmy contribution to the mix series originally saw the light of day in November 2013 – an offering Derek Miller of RA deemed ‘quite possibly the commercial mix of the year’’. Now in January 2015, Talabot curates an assemblage of mighty remixers including Melchoir Productions Ltd, Oskar Offermann and Mistakes Are Ok in the long-awaited presentation of the 9th on tracklist – ‘Without You’.
Oskar Offermann, who’s mix streams below via Boiler Room Debuts, is an artist who has maintained a grip on tightly packed drum structures whilst dialing the sort of swirling melodies that lend him perfectly to a remix of Talabot’s work. His take on the original is propelled by sharp, frazzled hats and puffing 909 drums that sit in front of a soft melodic bed.
The full 12″ is out March 23rd on 12″ and digital formats. Pre-orders are available now via iTunes.
As they make their way across Europe, it’s a full-on party when Orlando Julius hits the stage with The Heliocentrics. Recorded live in Brussels, this performance of “Aseni” shows the stage ablaze with synchronized dance moves and razor sharp musicianship. Make sure to catch this show when they come through your city!
European Tour Dates
11th: Ljubjana SLO / Kino Siska
12th: Rome IT / Teatro Quirinetta
13th: Bologna IT / Locomotiv Club
14th: Turin IT / Scuola Holden (General Store)
15th: Milan IT / Biko Club
19th: Arhus DEN / Atlas
20th: Copenhagen DEN / Global
21st: Stockholm SWE / Fasching
Our second foray into the incredible catalog of Chicago’s Dance Mania Records focuses specifically on the hyper-sexualized “Ghetto House” strain of dance music pioneered by the label. The ‘Ghetto Madness’ collection features striking cover art from artist James Wilson, meshing perfectly with the raw quality of the music. We sat down recently with James to talk about his initial exposure to house music, his artistic influences, and the ways in which he creates such incredible artwork.
Strut: You illustrated a piece on DJ Funk for Crack Magazine earlier this year. Before that, and being approached to work on art for Dance Mania: Ghetto Madness, was Chicago House or Ghetto House music that you were already listening to? Do you have a history of listening to dance music?
James Wilson: Before the DJ Funk piece and this Dance Mania project I had no idea what Ghetto House music was. I started listening to dance music as an adolescent, stuff like the Chemical Brothers and the Prodigy. It was pretty much all down to Wipeout 2097 on the Playstation that informed me of that style of music, other stuff like Orbital and Underworld. I started playing guitar and listening to heavy music after and lost touch with dance music for a few years but I listen to house music quite regularly now.
Both the cover and insert poster for Ghetto Madness are explicitly sexual, which is consistent with the lyrics of many of the records. Were there other ways in which the musical content influenced the way in you approached the artwork?
Ghetto House to me is very raw and stripped back so I wanted the artwork to reflect that. I was happy with how my DJ Funk piece had turned out previously and wanted to keep a similar feel. The Dance Mania artwork had to look even bolder which was why I decided to keep it black and white with strong thick outlines and hand scrawled text.
What are your tools for the cover illustration and poster? Are you working primarily with pen and paper?
I sketched out the artwork in pencil and then completed the ink work with my trusty tablet. I tend to work this way for most projects now as sketching by hand gives me a little more expression and the digital element allows more room to edit.
Comic books, musicians, and action movies seem to be common themes and subject matter in your work, and all tend to feature larger than life personalities and portrayals. Do you find art most interesting when it is an exaggeration?
I see so much amazing artwork every day, mainly through Instagram and Behance and it’s all in varying styles and media. I think the work I appreciate and find most interesting is art that has been produced with passion. I like artists that have a recognisable style and that also translates something about the artist, it adds that element of intrigue.
The poster insert for Ghetto Madness features several of the artists’ faces as tattoos. Do you have tattoos, and if so, do you design / illustrate them yourself?
I don’t have any tattoos although I’d like to have a go at designing some. I follow a few tattoo artists through social media so that was probably an influence. Mainly I wanted the girl to look like a badass and thought it could be an interesting way of involving the DJ’s on the poster.
Dance Mania: Ghetto Madness is out on CD, 2LP, digital download, and streaming services.
BBC 6Music DJ Gilles Peterson celebrated the global music underground with a feast of great music on Saturday at his annual Worldwide Awards in London. Strut picked up the coveted ‘Label Of The Year’ award and our artists weighed in too with Sun Ra Arkestra bandleader Marshall Allen given a Lifetime Achievement Award and The Heliocentrics’ ace drummer Malcolm Catto winning the John Peel Award.
A massive thanks to Gilles and the team at Brownswood from us, to the many great artists and compilers we’ve been lucky enough to work with and to all of you for buying the albums and supporting the label. Bit of pressure now to keep up the quality in 2015!
This March, we return to the rich archives of South African music to spotlight the fertile era of the late ’70s and early ’80s with a new volume in the Next Stop Soweto series. Tightly controlled by oppressive Apartheid laws, South Africa’s music scene in the 70s and 80s nevertheless progressed into myriad new directions, embracing funk, soul, rock and disco.
Next Stop Soweto Vol. 4 is compiled by Duncan Brooker. It will be released March 23 2015 on CD, 2LP and digital formats with physical formats featuring sleeve notes by author Francis Gooding along with rare photos and sleeve artwork.
Stream the energetic Afro rock track “Unga Pfula A Chi Pfalo” from Kabasa, which kicks off the new volume, below.
Chicago’s Dance Mania Records set the standard for the lightning fast, hyper funky, sexualized strain of dance music known as Ghetto House in the 1990s. See DJ Deeon’s 1996 track “The Freaks” for an example of just how effective this combination can be for making a timeless dance floor weapon. If this one doesn’t get you out of your seat, you might need your pulse checked.
Our return to the Dance Mania vaults, Ghetto Madness is out January 26th on CD, 2LP, digital download, and streaming services.
Bringing the authentic sounds of Chicago warehouse parties to the EU, Dance Mania artists Parris Mitchell & Tyree are hitting the road this winter, with stops in Edinburgh, London, Bordeaux & Dublin. You can bet it’s going to be hot!
Dance Mania: Ghetto Madness is out 26 Jan on CD, LP and digital download.
Here at Strut, we’ve been captivated with African music of many varieties ever since we first dipped our toes into the vast waters of music from the continent. Our initial forays into releasing curated collections of music from Africa focused on West African Afrobeat and Afro-Funk, and in the following years broadened our scope to touch on Ethio Jazz, North African Gnawa, South African township jive, and countless other varieties and hybrids.
To kick off 2015, we’ve compiled selections from our many African releases for a special digital release. Afro-Beats is over two hours of music, and we kept the price below that of an average album release. Dig in, and enjoy!
1. Ebo Taylor : Ayesama (taken from Appia Kwa Bridge)
2. Jabula : Jabula Happiness (taken from Spirit Of Malombo)
3. Mulatu Astatke : Green Africa (taken from Mulatu Steps Ahead)
4. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo : Koumi Dede (taken from Cotonou Club)
5. Orlando Julius with The Heliocentrics : Aseni (taken from Jaiyede Afro)
6. Jingo : Fever (taken from Afro-Rock Vol. 1)
7. Mulatu Astatke / The Heliocentrics : Phantom Of The Panther (taken from Inspiration Information)
8. Fanga & Maalem Abdallah Guinea : Kelen (taken from Fangnawa Experience)
9. The Souljazz Orchestra : One Life To Live (taken from Inner Fire)
10. Cornell Campbell Meets Soothsayers : We Want to Be Free (taken from Nothing Can Stop Us)
11. Jimi Tenor, Tony Allen : Against The Wall (taken from Inspiration Information)
12. Julian Bahula’s Jazz Afrika : Woza Cindi (taken from Spirit Of Malombo)
13. Orlando Julius with The Heliocentrics : Jaiyede Afro (taken from Jaiyede Afro)
14. The Souljazz Orchestra : As The Crow Flies (taken from Inner Fire)
15. Fanga & Maalem Abdallah Guinea : Kononi (taken from Fangnawa Experience)
16. Orlando Julius & His Modern Aces : Efoye So (taken from Super Afro Soul)
17. Ebo Taylor : Abonsam (taken from Appia Kwa Bridge)
18. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo : Holonon (taken from Cotonou Club)
19. Mercury Dance Band : Envy No Good (taken from Afro-Rock Vol. 1)
20. Malombo Jazz Makers : Hleziphi (taken from Spirit Of Malombo)
21. Mulatu Astatke / The Heliocentrics : Esketa Dance (taken from Inspiration Information)
22. Mulatu Astatke : I Faram Gami I Faram (taken from Mulatu Steps Ahead)
23. Jimi Tenor, Tony Allen : Cella’s Walk (taken from Inspiration Information)
24. Ebo Taylor : Nga Nga (taken from Love And Death)
To mark the end of the year, we thought it would be worth asking Strut’s Quinton Scott to pull out a few of the albums that have been on repeat at the label HQ during 2014. Hope you enjoy this round-up of archive African gems, soul stompers, DIY electronics and more.
Big thanks to everyone who has supported the label this year and wishing everyone a really happy and peaceful Christmas.
10 COMPILATIONS / REISSUES
V/A – Haiti Direct (Strut)
Hugo Mendez collects together stunning set of compass and twoubadou rarities.
Nana Love – Disco Documentary: Full of Funk (BBE)
Essential oddball West African disco set.
Well curated deluxe version of classic album with massive previously unreleased cover of ‘Me! I Disconnect From You.’
‘70s Malian legends celebrated in a superb Stern’s deluxe package.
Early Jam & Lewis slick soul genius from Brainstorm, SOS Band and more.
Superb previously unreleased ambient pieces from US artist Kerry Leimer.
Juan Atkins and Richard Davis with their seminal ‘human life meets technology’ opus from ‘83.
V/A – Suburban Base Records: The History Of Hardcore, Jungle, Drum & Bass 1991-1997 (New State)
Always a favourite rave label during the original days. Brilliant, raw, DIY dancefloor bombs and long overdue comp.
Fantastic collection of gems soundtracking Elaine Constantine’s film. Great for connoisseurs and newcomers alike.
Dark and strange DIY electronics from ‘80s West Germany.
10 New Albums
The master Terje flexes his production guns with a great mix of disco, exotica and soul on his full length debut.
Meridian Brothers – Salvadora Robot (Soundway)
Surreal soundscapes from Colombia. Future music genius.
Brilliantly bleak and blown out electro / drone soundscapes.
Primal and bonkers album mixing Caribbean and Brazilian rhythms with properly wigged out psychedelics.
Expertly crafted lush synth-meets-falsetto set.
Completely obsessed with Frahm’s music and ‘Spaces’ is minimal, spiritual majesty from start to finish.
Futuristic Afro sketches touching on electro, juke and hip hop.
Kept going back to this album in 2014. Quality atmospheric soundtracky house-scapes. Fantastic production.
Massive honour to work with the Afro-soul legend this year. New album found him on top form, revisiting compositions from his youth.
Forward thinking beats and hard-knock raps. Madlib still untouchable.
Nina Kraviz is one of the busiest DJs in the world, and her frenetic pace shows no sign of slowing in 2015. With her sublime DJ-Kicks mix dropping January 26th, she’s taking to the road for a series of DJ dates. If you haven’t caught a set from her before, you’re in for a treat.
In the meantime, stream a new track from Nina’s DJ-Kicks. “IMPRV” also appears on the debut release from her new label трип (pronounced ‘trip’), an EP called “The Deviant Octapus.” DJ-Kicks is currently available for pre-order.
Nina Kraviz DJ-Kicks Tour Dates
24 December ’14 Thesaloniki, Greece: NON Aesthetics
25 December ’14 Athens, Greece: Blend
26 December ’14 Ancona, Italy: Harmonized
27 December ’14 Basel, Switzerland: Nordstern
31 December ’14 Palermo, Italy: Unlocked at MOB
01 January ’15 London, United Kingdom: Oval Space
01 January ’15 Amsterdam, Netherlands: Awakenings
05 January ’15 Bergamo, Italy: Bolgia
30 January ’15 La Rochelle, France: La Sirene
31 January ’15 Eindhoven, Netherlands: Awakenings
31 January ’15 Liege, Belgium: Les Transardentes Festival
01 February ’15 Paris, France: Rex Club
06 February ’15 Offenbach am Main, Germany: Robert Johnson
07 February ’15 Avignon, France: Kolorz Festival
13 February ’15 Rekyavik, Iceland: Sonar
14 February ’15 Stockholm, Sweden: Sonar
21 February ’15 Montpeiller, France: Zenith
22 February ’15 Lyon, France: Le Sucre
06 March ’15 Nijmagen, Netherlands: Doornrosje
07 March ’15 Grenoble, France: Le Belle Electric
14 March ’15 Foligno, Italy: Serendipity
18 March ’15 Madrid, Spain: Fabrik
20 March ’15 Rotterdam, Netherlands: Toffler
21 March ’15 Brussels, Belgium: Fuse
Gilles Peterson is a man of distinguishing tastes, and has been an enormous supporter of our music. This year at his annual Worldwide Awards he will be honoring Marshall Allen, the current leader of the Sun Ra Arkestra and compiler of our collection In The Orbit of Ra. The ceremony will also feature a special performance from Orlando Julius with The Heliocentrics, as well as a host of other fine performers. If you’re in London in January, don’t miss it! Advance tickets available here.
Will Saul’s incredible DJ-Kicks mix has been nominated for Best Compilation in DJ Mag’s Best of British 2014 poll. If you love the mix as much as we do, we can use your help to make sure Will ends up with the title! Vote below and spread the word! Voting ends December 8th.
The musicians and promoters behind the ‘African Sounds’ concert at Alexandra Palace, London in July 1983, tell the story of the first music event to raise awareness of Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment and the struggle against Apartheid in South Africa. Featured interviews include Julian Bahula, concert promoter and founding member of the bands Malombo and Jabula, his wife Liza and Jerry Dammers of The Specials. Inspired by seeing Jabula’s ‘Mandela’ performed live at the concert, Dammers went on to write the massive Special AKA hit, ‘Free Nelson Mandela’ and set up Artists Against Apartheid in the UK.
While the concerts did much to raise awareness for Mandela and the politics of apartheid in South Africa, years later the architects of the event series ponder the fuzzy overlap of politics and entertainment, and wonder whether it would have been possible to more actively engage with the African ex-pat musicians,
Julian Bahula’s work in various musical projects is collected on the album ‘Spirit of Malombo,’ out now on Strut, and available at your favorite local record shop, as well as iTunes, Amazon, and the Strut Store.
This January, we’re returning to the archives of seminal Chicago house label Dance Mania for Dance Mania: Ghetto Madness. This new installment places the spotlight on the raw, stripped back, hyper BPMs of ghetto house and the rise of the movement’s fresh generation of stars during the mid-‘90s including DJ Deeon, DJ Funk, Jammin’ Gerald and DJ Milton.
The album traces the evolution of Chicago’s sound during the era as mixtapes circulated through local shops and DJs developed their own underground following, playing local parties in the projects. As DJ Deeon remembers, “it bridged the gap. It made it OK for guys in the ghetto to like house again and it brought the women onto the dancefloor too.”
Dance Mania: Ghetto Madness will be released in 1CD unmixed, 2LP and digital formats. Physical formats are fully illustrated by James Wilson featuring caricatures of the featured artists and hand-drawn artwork. CD will include a fold-out poster featuring an exclusive James Wilson ghetto illustration. Pre-orders are available via iTunes and the Strut Store.
Check out the full tracklist, and stream Paul Johnson’s “Give Me Ecstasy” below.
1. JAMMIN’ GERALD – PUMP THAT SHIT UP
2. DJ DEEON – THE FREAKS
3. DJ DEEON – 1112
4. STEVE POINDEXTER – COMPUTER MADNESS
5. DARIEN – HIT IT
6. DJ RUSH – THE REACTOR
7. WAX MASTER MAURICE – BOUNCE THAT BODY
8. TYREE – NUTHIN’ WRONG
9. JAMMIN GERALD – PUMP ON THE FLOOR
10. PAUL JOHNSON – GIVE ME ECSTASY
11. PARRIS MITCHELL – GHETTO BOOTY
12. DJ MILTON – HOUSE-O-MATICS
13. DJ FUNK – COMPUTER SEX
14. DJ FUNK – BITCHES
15. HOUZ’ MON – THE GROOVE
Nina Kraviz is an uncompromising artist who can claim as much influence on the current sound of dance music as anyone working in the genre. We’re extremely pleased to announce that Nina will be mixing the first DJ-Kicks of 2015.
Known for the stripped down, Chicago and Detroit influence sound of her production on singles such as “Pain In My Ass” and “Ghetto Kraviz,” Nina Kraviz has proved to be a driving force in a movement within dance music that prizes raw authenticity and a spontaneous production aesthetic. While that spirit is very much visible on DJ-Kicks, the mix also shows another side of Kraviz’s musical identity. “People probably know me for my Dance Mania-inspired, stripped down jacking groove style of DJing,” she says, “but the idea behind this particular mix was to create more of a trippy underwater vibe. A mysterious, sonic journey, inspired by the times I used to listen to late night radio growing up and imagine that all the sounds brought to me via the radio waves came directly from space.”
Almost half of the 29 tracks are exclusives from Kraviz’s трип label, including three of her own: ‘Mystery’, ‘IMPRV, ’and ‘Prozimokompleme’. They have a raw, minimalistic stripped down feel that’s clearly inspired by her Chicago and Detroit roots, sharing the same first take vibe.
DJ-Kicks is out January 26th on !K7, and is available now for pre-order via iTunes.
1. Egotrip – Dreamworld (Acapella)
2. Nina Kraviz – Mystery (DJ-Kicks)
3. Area – Broken Glass Everywhere
4. Prototype 909 – Atma
5. Goldie – Truth
6. Bjarki – Revolution
7. Nina Kraviz – IMPRV
8. Bjarki – Polygon Pink Toast
9. Population One – Bonus Beat
Flatner / Ingram Project – Da Comin’ (Jay Denham RMX) Acapella
Parrish Smith – 1.0 / 8.0 Afrika Genocide Acapella
10. Breaker 1 2 – In The Distance
11. Steve Stoll – Pop Song
12. Bradley Strider – Untitled
13. Stanislav Tolkachev – I Will Not Pee In The Pool
14. Armando – Pleasure Dome
15. Nina Kraviz – Prozimokompleme
16. Baby Ford – 24 HR
17. Fred P – Higher Mentalism (edit)
18. Exos – Nuclear Red Guard
19. Steve Stoll – Corona
20. Freak Electrique – Parsec
21. Population One – Out Of Control (Vocal Mix)
22. Exos & Octal – Grow
23. Porn Sword Tobacco & SVN – Complaints A
24. Plaid – Oi
25. DJ Bone – The Vibe
26. Adam Beyer pres Conceiled Project – Pattern 1
27. Polygon Window – Quino-Phec
28. Nikita Zabelin feat. dBridge – So Lonely
29. Rizhome – Corridor
24/10/2014 – Rome, Italy: GOA
25/10/2014 – Tilburg, Netherlands:Kindergarten
31/10/2014 – Verona, Italy: Alter Ego
31/10/2014 – Milan, Italy: Magazinni
01/11/2014 – Coventry, United Kingdom: Outbreak Festival
01/11/2014 – London, United Kingdom: Awakenings
01/11/2014 – Manchester, United Kingdom: The Warehouse Project
02/11/2014 – Berlin, Germany: Berghain
07/11/2014 – New York, NY: Resolute
08/11/2014 – Miami, FL: Story
12/12/2014 – Taipei, Taiwan: Korner
14/11/2014 – Pescara, Italy: Zu Bar
15/11/2014 – Turin, Italy: Chalet
16/11/2014 – Paris, France: Concrete
29/11/2014 – Perth, Australia: Stereosonic
30/11/2014 – Sydney, Australia: Stereosonic
07/12/2014 – Melbourne, Australia: Stereosonic
13/12/2014 – Sentosa, Singapore: Zoukout Festival
12/24/2014 – Thesaloniki, Greece: Reworks
12/25/2014 – Athens, Greece: Blend
12/26/2014 – Ancona, Italy: Harmonized
12/31/2014 – Palermo, Italy: Unlocked at MOB
01/01/2015 – Amsterdam, Netherlands: Awakenings
01/01/2015 – London, United Kingdom: Oval Space
2/13/2015 – Rekyavik, Iceland: Sonar
2/14/2015 – Stockholm, Sweden: Sonar
“In case it’s not clear: Jaiyede Afro is a tremendous album.” –PopMatters
With this year’s collaborative album Jaiyede Afro hailed as one of the freshest takes on Afrobeat music in recent memory, Nigerian Afrobeat originator Orlando Julius and London’s psychedelic jazz ensemble The Heliocentrics are launching a massive European tour together. Who knows when this group of musicians will find themselves on stage together again? We suggest you don’t miss it.
Like Fela Kuti and other eminent international figures of African music, South Africa’s Julian Bahula created a unique synthesis of western popular music and the traditional music of his home country, spreading his culture to an international audience as well as creating awareness for political issues affecting his homeland. In contrast to Kuti however, Bahula’s primary musical vehicle is jazz, and his story remains largely untold. Our Spirit of Malombo collection sheds light on a visionary musician, a prolific creator, and a tireless advocate for equality in South Africa.
In the early 60s, Bahula introduced indigenous malombo drums alongside guitar and flute to create a strong new cultural jazz fusion. Through various line-ups and name changes, Bahula had established himself by the end of the decade as the leader of South Africa’s foremost afro-centric jazz groups.
As the pressure of apartheid started to bear down, Julian Bahula escaped to political exile in the UK, where he formed a new afro super-group, Jabula, through which malombo music was transformed into a vehicle that could take a powerful political message from South Africa to audiences in Europe and across the world. The band worked closely and selflessly with the exiled ANC, the Anti-Apartheid Movement and other anti-apartheid organisations to help spread political awareness.
In ’83, Bahula and his wife Liza set up the first concert in the UK to raise awareness for Nelson Mandela, ‘African Sounds’, an event that helped to kick-start the international pressure that would lead to Mandela’s release in 1990. The Specials’ Jerry Dammers was there and was inspired by Jabula’s track ‘Mandela’ to write the huge hit for The Special AKA, ‘Nelson Mandela’.
Spirit Of Malombo documents Bahula’s incredible musical journey from 1966 to 1984 for the first time. Package includes rare photos, poster artwork and memorabilia with extensive sleeve notes from author Francis Gooding. The cover features a still from leading South African photographer, Ernest Cole. The album is available on iTunes, Amazon, and the Strut Store.
As the release of the Spirit Of Malombo release approaches (it’s not next week!) we have another track for you to hear, via Wax Poetics. ‘Abbey’s Body’ appeared on the 1966 Malompo Jazz LP. After the departure of Tabane, Cindi had taken on compositional duties for the group and all the tracks on Malompo Jazz were penned by the flautist.
Legendary Detroit house producer Mike Huckaby has already established his skill for editing classic Sun Ra material. With our compilation In The Orbit Of Ra out now, Huckaby has generously offered a new edit of one of the songs included on the collection. Here is take on “The Lady With The Golden Stockings” below.
Huckaby’s thoughts on his work with Sun Ra’s music:
As a Sun Ra fan, it has been a pleasure to be able to do an edit of Sun Ra material. Sometimes its more of a restoration project, than it is an opportunity to do an edit. In any case, the goal is always to preserve the original integrity, and direction of the song, while somehow making it appealing to an new and emerging fan base of listeners from the traditional school, and emerging electronic market. Sun Ra’s fan base, and listeners might be changing and expanding, but you can always expect the end result of my work to highly respect the integrity of the original version. My version emphasizes the flute and percussive parts in this song.
Long-time members of the Sun Ra Arkestra Marshall Allen, Danny Ray Thompson, Michael Ray and Knoel Scott reflect on the life and influence of Sun Ra in a rare new interview with Art Yard’s Peter Dennett. Includes footage of the fabled Sun Ra house in Germantown, Philadelphia.
In a behind-the-scenes look into the recording studio, The Heliocentrics and Orlando Julius talk about their collaborative album Jaiyede Afro. Malcolm Catto, the drummer and leader of The Heliocentrics mentions his desire to bring a psychedelic edge to the sessions, in the manner of some of his favorite African recordings by groups like the Psychedelic Aliens and others. Orlando Julius also gives the background on a few of his songs.
The Jaiyede Afro album is out September 8th, and can be ordered now on iTunes, with the track “Buje Buje” available instantly. CDs and limited 180 gram LPs are also available for pre-order from the Strut store.
Here’s another taste of the upcoming Orlando Julius & Heliocentrics collaborative album, and what a monster it is! Hailing from Nigeria and London respectively, Julius and the Heliocentrics (lead by drummer Malcolm Catto) have a unique perspective on American soul music. Their take on a James Brown cut from the Popcorn album keeps the playing tight enough for the Godfather of Soul, while adding a new feel all their own.
The Jaiyede Afro album is out September 8th, and can be pre-ordered now on iTunes, with the track “Buje Buje” available instantly. CDs and limited 180 gram LPs are also available for pre-order from the Strut store.
Jake Ferguson of The Heliocentrics on “In The Middle:”
“We’ve all been big fans of James Brown since we’ve been involved in music and have played ‘In The Middle’ regularly on our live tours. It felt like a natural fit for the Orlando project, particularly as we have added an Afro swing to the track. We first played the track with Orlando at a London gig last year and he got into it in the studio straight away – his sax solo here was the very first take. James Brown and his band loved Orlando when they saw him play in Ibadan back in the ‘60s and the two of them met up and talked at J.B.’s hotel. So, for lots of reasons, this felt like a natural one to include.”
Sun Ra is one of the most respected, and perhaps most misunderstood creative minds in jazz music. To commemorate what would have been Ra’s 100th birthday, we’ve teamed up with Art Yard for a very special release. In The Orbit Of Ra is a new collection curated by the longest serving member of the Arkestra and current bandleader, Marshall Allen. Bringing together Sun Ra highights from over 25 years of music, the album is the first internationally released compilation to provide an introduction to the music of Sun Ra, curated personally by the Arkestra and mastered from the original tapes.
Hear the pristine masters for one of our favorite Sun Ra tracks, “Plutonian Nights,” below, and an instant download of the track is available with pre-orders of the full album. Out September 22nd, In The Orbit Of Ra will be available on 2CD, 2LP and digital formats. Physical formats feature full interview with Marshall Allen along with rare and previously unpublished photos by Val Wilmer.
Nigerian saxophone legend Orlando Julius’ collaboration with UK psychedelic jazz outfit The Heliocentrics is one of the most satisfying and progressive Afrobeat projects to come along in a while. The full album is due September 8th, but you can hear the lead track “Buje Buje” below.
The Jaiyede Afro album can be pre-ordered now on iTunes, with the track “Buje Buje” available instantly.
Orlando Julius on “Buje Buje:”
“My parents used to tell us stories, folk tales and there were a lot of different stories involving tortoises – they often made tortoises sound like human beings. There was one about a tortoise who had a farm and I always thought, ‘how could a tortoise have a farm?!’ This tortoise is working on his farm and a pretty lady is passing by. So, he cuts his foot with his cutlass and pretends that he is injured so that he can get her attention. The lady comes over and tries to help him and he says, ‘I can’t work with this cut. Could I climb on your back to go to get help?’ She agrees, he climbs on her back and she starts to walk. He says, ‘I’m too far up, could you push me further down your back?’ Finally, the lady realises that he is up to no good, she is very unhappy and tells him to find his own way. Once she has left, the tortoise continues to play this trick on other women.
“I made the story into a song and brought human nature into it – good people and bad people. The song teaches us not to copy something that is bad, fake or deceptive.”
This fall, we’re extremely proud to announce the first ever internationally released new studio album by one of the all-time legends of Nigerian music, Orlando Julius, backed by the incredibly versatile London outfit The Heliocentrics.
On Jaiyede Afro, Julius takes us back to his roots, revisiting several compositions from his early years which have never previously been recorded. The album was recorded at the Heliocentrics’ fully analogue studio in North London. Like their their memorable collaborations with Mulatu Astatke and Lloyd Miller, the band takes Orlando’s sound into new, progressive directions, retaining the raw grit of his early work and adding psychedelic touches and adventurous new arrangements.
Jaiyede Afro is released September 9th on CD, 2xLP and digital formats. The physical formats feature new photos from the recording sessions by Alexis Maryon and track by track interview with Orlando Julius and The Heliocentrics. The release will be supported by a full European touring schedule.
Our vinyl-only re-issue of Julius’ classic album Super Afro Soul is available now in the Strut Store. Stream “Efoye So” below.
We are please to announce that Reggae legend Cornell Campbell returns to the UK for an exclusive London date with Soothsayers on 12th July at The Forge in Camden.
Fantastic gig if you haven’t yet caught them live!
For full information and tickets for the show, head on over to The Forge website.
Horse Meat Disco’s weekly residency at The Eagle is a London Sunday institution; a place for revelers to stave of the work week for a few more hours of dancing and debauchery. The party is a truly unique and affirming experience, and one of the reasons we connected with the crew for a series of compilations of top-notch disco treats. If a trip to London isn’t in your near future, this video takes you inside the club. Shot over Easter Weekend, it captures much of what we love about Horse Meat Disco.
Just in time for summer sexiness, we have a limited batch of DJ-Kicks tote bags to sport around town. To get your hands on one, pick up Will Saul’s fantastic new DJ-Kicks from the !K7 web store or select indie record shops, and it’s yours for free, just cause we love you.
We’re as excited as can be that The Souljazz Orchestra are heading back out on the road this summer. Following on from their acclaimed album ‘Inner Fire’ released earlier this year and their sell out tour, this summer’s dates look sure to be a must see.
For full info on the tour, head on over to the Souljazz Orchestra website.
Jun 12 – Toronto, ON – Luminato Festival
Jun 20 – Ottawa, ON – Glow Fair
Jun 27 – Innkreis, AU – Woodstock der Blasmusik
Jun 29 – Mechelen, BE – Ottertrotter Festival
Jul 05 – Ljubljana, SI – Ljubljana Jazz Festival
Jul 11 – Birmingham, UK – Mostly Jazz Festival
Jul 12 – Dublin, IE – The Sugar Club
Jul 17 – Pori, FI – Pori Jazz Festival
Jul 19 – Paris, FR – New Morning
Jul 20 – Gent, BE – Polé Polé Festival
Aug 09 – Lévis, QC – Festival Jazz Etcetera
Aug 15 – Salmon Arm, BC – Roots & Blues Festival
The album ‘Inner Fire’ is available now.
With two weeks to go before his DJ-Kicks mix hits stores, Will Saul has let loose with an EP featuring exclusive music produced for his mix. Having put in time as a top-notch A&R and label head helping to break some of the most vital artists in UK house and bass music, it’s no surprise that there are some head-turning names contributing music here.
Tracks here from Bicep, Jabru featuring Joel Culpepper, and Leon Vynehall, have all built a steady buzz online, and can be expected to be heard on forward-thinking dance floors all summer long. Add to that a key slice of expert funk from Marquis Hawkes, and you have an essential collection of tunes.
Bicep – “Nova”
Jabru feat. Joel Culpepper – “Church”
Marquis Hawkes – “Life Struggle”
Leon Vynehall – “Time”
“If they had a Mercury prize in the US, this would be on the shortlist.”
“…they’re the kind of discovery it’s easy to get excited about.”
We’re extremely excited to announce that Hundred Waters, the latest artists to sign to Skrillex’s OWSLA label, will be releasing their new album The Moon Rang Like A Bell on !K7 in Europe and the UK. This is some of the most beautiful and honest music we’ve heard this year so far, and we’re proud to be involved with the project. The early buzz has been quite strong, with Pitchfork declaring the leaked song “Down From The Rafters” Best New Track, and calling the album one of the most anticipated of 2014.<
The Moon Rang Like A Bell will be released May 26th. Pre-order at http://smarturl.it/hundredwaters and get three tracks right away.
Will Saul is a bit of an electronic music renaissance man: DJ, producer, A&R, and label head of the respected Aus Music and Simple Records labels. He’s also coming off of a big year in 2013: not only did he release his debut album under the alter ego Close, an avant guard dance-pop project that called upon high profile collaborators like Scuba and Appleblim, but so too did he make his debut in the live arena at clubs like London’s influential Fabric. With all of this under his belt, we knew a DJ-Kicks mix would be a banger, but Saul makes it clear that he’s aiming for something even more special.
“I wanted the mix to represent how I DJ in the sense that the majority of my sets are made up mainly of my own, or my label’s, unreleased or forthcoming music. Hopefully this gives me something unique as DJ, not just as I play tracks that no one else has, but also because they are artists and tracks that I love enough to want to sign, so they really represent what I love about electronic music.
“With this in mind, I approached all my nearest and dearest for some tailor made exclusive tracks. The result is hopefully a mix that rekindles the thing I loved about listening to mixes 20 years ago – that unknown aspect where each new track is a surprise. In a time when all music/track IDs and myriad mixes are accessible at the click of a button, I hope this makes for something a little more interesting.”
For an idea of the excitement possible with this approach, take a listen to an exclusive new Bicep track from the mix, below. Will Saul’s DJ-Kicks mix will be released on June 16th on !K7. Full tracklist below the soundcloud player.
Pre-order DJ-Kicks on iTunes and receive this track immediately.
CD Track List:
01. Will Saul & Komon – Bendy
02. Animal Hands – Beacon Island
03. Komon & Appleblim – The Visionary State
04. Joe Gray – Tozai
05. Cottam – Healing Process
06. Youandewan – Ego
07. Jabru – Church feat. Joel Culpepper
08. Lrusse – Presence
09. Walton – Birds
10. Leon Vynehall – Time
11. Will Saul & Komon – Two For One (DJ-Kicks)
12. Sei A – Reserve
13. Axel Boman – Dubbel (dub) / CLOSE feat. Tikiman – Born In A Rolling Barrel
14. Sei A – JTR
15. October – KR-100 Dub
16. David Clement – Follow Me Home (Lee Jones Remix)
17. Marquis Hawkes – Life Struggle
18. Bicep – Nova
19. Will Saul – Pedal Power
20. Legowelt – Etherial Techno Music Will Never Die
21. George FitzGerald – Wanting Needing
22. Gerry Read – Baseball
23. Escape – Flinch
24. Second Storey – Oxygene
LP Track List:
A1. Axel Boman – Dubbel (dub)
A2. Animal Hands – Beacon Island
A3. Joe Gray – Tozai
B1. Cottam – Healing Process
B2. Lrusse – Presence
B3. Walton – Birds
C1. Will Saul & Komon – Two For One (DJ-Kicks)
C2. October – KR-100 Dub
C3. David Clement – Follow Me Home (Lee Jones Remix)
D1. Legowelt – Etherial Techno Music Will Never Die
D2. Gerry Read – Baseball
D3. Second Storey – Oxygene
American soul, Nigerian-style Afrobeat, and of course jazz make up the foundations of The Souljazz Orchstra’s sound, but as prodigiously skilled musicians and prolific listeners, the Orchestra regularly incorporates other sonic reference points into their compositions. On “Kingdom Come,” one of the many highlights from their new album Inner Fire, there’s a distinct flavor of Ethio Jazz, as popularized by Mulatu Astatke. But the music, as typified by up an front raw recording style, a razor sharp rhythm section, and the prominent baritone saxophone work, is immediately recognizable as a Souljazz creation.
Watch the new video for “Kingdom Come,” comprised of public domain images of Egyptian art, below. Inner Fire is available in record stores now, as well as on iTunes, Amazon and the Strut Store (where, as always, LP orders will be shipped on limited 180 G vinyl while supplies last).
The music of Nigeria’s reclusive synth funk innovator William Onyeabor has reached a new level of exposure via Luaka Bop’s excellent Who Is William Onyeabor? compilation last year, yet many hard facts about Onyeabor’s biography remain elusive. In their new documentary “Fantastic Man,” Noisey speaks with musicians and champions of Onyeabor’s music, including our own Quinton Scott and Duncan Brooker who included the sublime “Better Change Your Mind” on the first Nigeria 70 compilation, about their appreciation for his music, and the search for the facts about his life.