The !K7 label group is home to some of the most diverse and internationally acclaimed artists worldwide. It is currently running four independent labels that cross every musical spectrum; !K7 (electronic/ avant-garde pop), Strut (funk/soul/disco), Gold Dust (hip hop), Ever (Folk, Pop, Rock) and Rapster (urban) and operates within a global network of office and distribution units.
!K7 was founded in 1985 in Berlin by Horst Weidenmueller. The earliest incarnation of the company focused on video production, working with leading independent artists including Nick Cave, Mudhoney and Einstürzende Neubauten. Video collaborations with pioneers of the emerging early ’90s electronic music scene spawned the first commercially marketed DJ mix album series, ‘X-Mix’, which included contributions from luminaries such as Richie Hawtin, Laurent Garnier and more. !K7 then launched the seminal ‘DJ-Kicks’ mix album brand in 1993. More than 18 years later and nearly 40 albums strong, it remains one of the most respected and prestigious DJ mix compilation series worldwide and has featured mixes by many of the leading players in contemporary electronic music including Carl Craig, Apparat, Daddy G, Kruder & Dorfmeister, Kode9, Wolf & Lamb and John Talabot.
!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 have included Tosca, Boozoo Bajou, Bomb The Bass and Herbert. Recent signings include Brandt Brauer Frick, When Saints Go Machine and New Look.
From 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. The company also introduced distribution services to its portfolio during this period. Current label partners using !K7’s Label services include BBE, Crosstown Rebels, Acid Jazz, Luaka Bop and Lo! Recordings.
In 2011, !K7 opened a management department which currently looks after the interests of Brandt Brauer Frick and Tricky.
In 2014 Will Saul’s Label AUS / Simple joined !K7.
Since 2003, !K7 have been partnering with like-minded independent labels and artists to help them develop and grow by providing experience, expertise, knowledge and market intelligence in the global music landscape. These strategic partnerships offer artists and labels a wide range of established and forward thinking services and resources such as the strategy, planning, development and execution of global campaigns plus label management, marketing, PR, manufacturing and distribution through it’s office bases in London, New York and Berlin and expansive worldwide digital and physical partners.
!K7 management services are available both for artists signed to the label and those who release music elsewhere. Drawing on 27 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, Mykki Blanco 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 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.
Current placements include licenses for F&F, HBO, Yamaha, CBS, USA Network, and more.
We are looking for an intern for our Department Distribution and Logistics.
The Internship in Distribution includes tasks in the following areas:
• Product Setup of digital and physical products (Metadata, Audio, Artwork)
• processing distributors’ orders
• Orders and all according tasks like backordereport, communication, processing orders…
• stock control
• intermediate between warehouse, plant and distributors
• sales imports
• invoicing and proformas
• handling shipments / arranging pickups
• promo mail-outs
• creating Sales reports for internal use
• booking manufacturing orders
Start Date September 2015, preferably 6 months.
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
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.
We are happy to announce that the new Tosca album arrived in our office and we started the pre-order in our webshop now!
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.