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  • Interview - Take

    Mar 18 2008, 12h38

    Based in Los Angeles, Take aka Thomas Wilson is a composer who continues to push the boundaries of instrumental Hip Hop music into new directions. He has long been at the center of an ever growing scene of talented musicians, producers and dj's in the Los Angeles area. As a co-founder of the legendary beat showcase night "Sketchbook", Take has been fortunate enough to share the stage with such artists as Prefuse 73, Mos Def, Daedelus, Caural, Nobody, Ammon Contact, Scienz of Life, Flying Lotus, Ta'Raach, edIT and more. In the last several years, he has composed and produced multiple 12 inches and remixes for labels such as Buttermilk, Poobah Records, Astro Lab, Eat Concrete and unleashed his debut full length player called "Earthtones & Concrete" last year. Currently he's an active member of the Dublab family and has just released his latest project, "The Dirty Decibels of Thomas 2000", a beat heavy, fat eight tracked EP, featuring refined, detailed artwork by Kutmah and an unbelievable remix by Dimlite. Eat Concrete Records is proud to announce that "The Dirty Decibels..." is preceding a full length album by Take coming out later this year (2008). Eat Concrete founder Pete Concrete spoke with Take just before his new EP hit the stores, providing some background info about his work and life as an artist.

    Pete: I was curious about your influences and your background, for instance; do you come from a musical family?
    Take: Well, I come from a very artistic family for sure. My dad is a writer in the film business, he's a film historian of epic proportions, you can ask him: "What day did Cary Grant eat a sandwich on the set of ...". My mom is a graphic artist, she worked for Columbia records for twenty years doing album covers and my stepmom is a painter ...
    I guess my background in music goes back to when I was twelve years old. I loved playing guitar, I played the bass a bit and when I was in highschool I was jamming in a few bands. After that I went to college and that's when I got into hiphop and electronic music. I met this guy who ended up becoming a friend of mine, he was a house dj. One day I went to a big houseparty outside where he was dj-ing. I was standing next to him and said: "man, that looks like a lot of fun, let me try it!". But he said: "No way, I'm not gonna let you try it, there's 400 people here, you've never fuckin' done this ...". We were both drunk and I insisted so he gave me a chance and let me try it. Then, the first record I put on, somehow I beatmatched it perfectly, I did a great mix and I felt the magic. Of course I thought I was really cool so I grabbed another record and instantly I trainwrecked and it all went to shit because I couldn't mix. But because the first record went well I was hooked on dj-ing from then on.
    Shortly after this I got a drummachine, started messing around and I would bring my guitar and bass and sample myself, making some funny recordings which I still have. And it kind of went from there. The first record I ever did was for a label called K-Records back in '97. It was under the name: 'Take one' and the album is called 'Emergency Breaks'. At that point I wanted to do instrumental music but the only way to sell an instrumental hiphop record was to call it a dj scratch record. I never really got into making beats for mc's, instead I was doing instrumental stuff.
    I was really influenced by DJ Spinna, and Dilla, back when he was Jaydee and he was doing all the production for 'A Tribe Called Quest'. I really liked De La Soul, they always had great beats that had a lot going on. Also, Pete Rock was a huge influence at that time. And all the Mo Wax and Ninja Tune stuff coming out at that time had a big influence on my sound.

    Pete: How did your education shape your work. You had a training in music engineering and composition, right?
    Take: You know, I wish I'd paid more attention at school because I'd be a lot better at both of those right now, but I was young, having fun, getting crazy. If I were to go back and do it now, I know I would get a lot more from it. But yes, I studied music composition, engineering and music production so I definitely think it had a positive influence on my music making and it thought me a lot. I don't consider myself to be a tech person at all, but I can get by okay.

    Pete: You mentioned that you're a perfectionist when it comes to your music. I was wondering how you feel about collaborating with people?
    Take: Yes, I am very much a perfectionist, I hate that about myself. I respect artists like Madlib a whole lot, who makes an album in a week and just knocks it out, I wish I could work like that.
    As far as collaboration, it's difficult. In this day and age we're all spread across the world so most of the time collaborations are through file sharing on the internet.

    Pete: So you don't have people who you work with 'in real time'?
    Take: No, I mean I would like to. Most of the time when you get together with someone 'in real time' to collaborate, this process takes so long, you need eight to ten hours just to vibe with someone and get the ideas out together and build something, it's a very slow process ...

    Pete: You've been producing as 'Take' for a while now and your music has evolved quite a lot. Are you focused on getting your music somewhere, technically or musically or do you use it more as an expression and let it evolve from there?
    Take: I think a little bit of both. I want to constantly be improving and getting better, I'm trying to reach a higher level with my music for myself, technically and spiritually or whatever. But I also want to have fun and sometimes being too technical and trying too hard to make some grand piece kills the fun in making music. So, I balance between the two. I want to do incredible, amazing, intricate stuff and outdo myself every time but at the same time I don't want to sit for months on one track pulling my hair out.

    Pete: When you start making a new song, how does it go about? Do you just start improvising or do the ideas take shape in your head first?
    Take: I think it goes both ways for me, I often get ideas when I'm walking. I could be listening to some r&b, jazz or folk even and some sort of pattern or song structure or melody sparks an idea in my head and I lock it away and say "I'm gonna try something like that but in my own way, with my own instruments and sounds and try to do a completely different take on that." Sometimes I just start with some drums, do a little drumbeat and then try to build some fun stuff around the drums. What I've been doing lately is going through all my sounds and my records and loading up some nice sounds on my keys and making folders of different sounds that I like and then going back to them and say: "Okay, maybe these sounds go together in one song and these go together in another song." So, I do it in all different ways, I try to switch it up to keep it fun and interesting because if you always do it the same way, it gets boring.

    Pete: How long do you work on your songs, in average?
    Take: Average, probably about three weeks or a month for a song, so ... (laughter) It is long man, it is long. You know, I think there are two different kinds of people in the composer world; those who can do ten songs in a night, and goddammit, I wish I was one of them, but I'm the kind of person that takes a long time, and you know what? There are positives and negatives to both.

    Pete: What's the difference in the workproces for your album and the 'Thomas 2000' EP?
    Take: Originally the Thomas 2000 stuff was meant to be a lot simpler, just straight beat songs, ten songs per side on an LP. But of course the perfectionist came out and wouldn't let me do that. So every time when I had like a one and a half minute cool beat with a little bit going on, I'd say: "I can't let this go like this, I have to build more!" So I ended up doing more and more, but it definitely still has more of a lighter feel. The energy isn't quite as melancholic as some of my other music but it's still freaking perfectionists work that went into it.

    Pete: Can you tell us how your studio looks like?
    Take: At the center of my studio is an Ensonic ASR-10, an old sampler from the eighties. Also, I have a Macintosh Pro Tower, two turntables, a mixer, some hard drives, a bunch of guitar pedals and different effects, I have a Fender Rhodes, a Yamaha CP30 Piano, a Korg Micro, a circuit bend Casio Keyboard, that's like a MT800 that's circuit bend, very cool. I have a Juno 106, a drumset in the room as well, some guitars and basses, lot's of records, I have a little hand tape-recorder where I can play cassettes in at different speeds and get crazy with that, and then a bunch of percussion instruments, shakers, tambourine, bells, that kind of stuff.
    I make my own drumsounds and then I sample them into the ASR-10. I start most of my sequencing in the ASR-10 and build the backbone of a track in there and then I dump that into the computer where I use Digital Performer, that's where I do most of the composing, editing, mixing and run some software instruments.

    Pete: Would you be willing to play live with several people? Maybe have your songs being played by a couple of friends who add bass guitar, live drums, do you have any thoughts about that?
    Take: Yeah, I would love to do that, I just don't see that as possible. First of all, guitars and bass, if you hear them in my songs, they're usually so processed and so layered and completely destroyed. Recreating that sound with a drummer, guitarist, keyboardist and a bass player on stage? The songs would sound nothing like it and I would hate more than anything to have some acid-jazz version of my music being played by some keyboardist and a drummer. It would just be really cheesy to me, man. I couldn't do it. It's definitely a struggle, I don't really know what to do about that.

    Pete: You also worked on film scores. How does that relate to your work as 'Take'? Is it a completely different approach?
    Take: I think it's a completely different approach unfortunately ... That's what I learned when I did my first one and I only did a few at this point. I actually do it because it's good exposure and sometimes it's good money but to tell you the truth, I don't enjoy it that much. It's like I can't be 'Take' when I'm doing film composing. It's a really different form of composition because you are basically creating music for someone else's vision and they have a very strong opinion of what the music should sound like.

    Pete: You said you started dj-ing when you were eighteen. You've been a record collector also I assume?
    Take: Yeah .

    Pete: A serious collector, like you have to have the newest stuff?
    Take: Actually, I more have to buy the old stuff, I don't care to much about the new stuff, because I don't mind having new music in a digital format. But old music, yeah, I'm a sucker for old records.

    Pete: What's your latest find?
    Take: 'Moon Gas' by Dick Hymen. Super psyched out trippy shit from the sixties. This is a cool record too, 'Niara', the artist is Doug Lucas.

    Pete: Can you tell us about what's it like to be an artist in LA at this moment? There seems to be coming a lot of creativeness out of LA, especially from such labels as Stones Throw, Plug Research, Dublab family, a.o. It's obviously a positive environment, right?
    Take: Yeah, I think right now is a really important time in music history for Los Angeles. There are a lot of labels popping up and a lot of people and promoters getting really creative and doing new ideas, mixing them with different mediums like art, fashion, food and whatever. All these things are coming together in a real cool way right now, you kind of get in the fast pace. Everyone's doing something and making moves towards their goal. So it rubs off on you, making you more productive. It's kind of a lifestyle.

    Pete: But you said that this scene is actually quite small, or at least the scene that you're thriving in, isn't it?
    Take: Yeah, the scene I thrive in is quite small. People may think that it's some gigantic scene but it's not. Now, the hiphop scene in Los Angeles is huge. But this scene of experimental, beat production stuff is much smaller, it's kind of an offshoot of the hiphop scene, an offshoot of the house scene, an offshoot of the indie rock scene. It has people from all those scenes within it but it's much smaller.

    I think it's a great thing that's happening right now in LA. More and more people are into music that isn't one-sided. And more people are starting to learn to appreciate different aspects of all different kinds of music. So I think in that sense the whole LA scene is going to continue to grow and continue to do great things as long as we reinvent ourselves and not get tied up in this so called LA sound or whatever that is.

    Pete: Can you tell us about the Sketchbook nights?
    Take: Yeah, Sketchbook was a night that actually Kutmah started. It was five, six years ago that we started this night and it became kind of the beginning for us, we created a scene around just beats. At that time we had trouble finding just beat records so often we just played the instrumentals of hiphop records that we liked. It started to get a lot of people interested and people would come, hang out and listen to beats and of course lot of times rappers would come through and say: "Yo, let me rap! Give me a mic, I wanna rap!!" (Laughter) And we we're like "Oh, it's cool, we don't want you to rap. No rappin', that's why we do this." It was called Sketchbook because we would put out notebooks on all the tables in the bar and give pens and coloring pens so everyone would just sit and draw while they listened to beats. At the end of the night we would collect all the notebooks and save them and then the next week use them again so after six weeks the notebooks would be all full with everyone's drawings.

    Pete: How did you become a Dublab labrat? Did you approach them or did you know them beforehand?
    Take: Actually, just from around the way, meeting Frosty, me dj-ing at Sketchbook. They would always hangout at Sketchbook and invited me to come down and do a set for their radio. That's how we became friends.

    Pete: One last question. Are there any other projects you're working on besides the Eat Concrete full length?
    Take: I'm doing a song right now for Dublab. It's a Japan only cd of the Echo Expansion project. It's got Dimlite, Languis, Flying Lotus, Gaslamp Killer, Prefuse 73, me and some other people. It's across the board, it's going to be a Dublab compilation so there will be some folky IDM, some ambient music, some hiphop, it's going to be a good compilation and I'm just doing one song for that.

    Pete: Okay, thanks for the interview!
    Take: Sure, you're welcome.

    Eat Concrete Records
    Eat Concrete is a truly independent music label from Amsterdam connected to the Dutch electronic music scene. It was founded by Pete Conrete in 2005 when the label's name was used for a radioshow, spreadin mixes and demos of likeminded artists and friends. The first releases were put out in 2006 which led to Eat Concrete growing out to be a musical platform and hub for upcomin' fresh talents from all around the world, producing open-minded and experimental beats and music. The record label aims to look beyond commercial goals and wants to give the freedom to its artists while reinventing itself progressively. So far EC has released dozens of brilliant tracks on vinyl including stuff from such beatmakers like Dimlite, Skymark or Daedelus and its latest release is a hot eight tracked solo EP coming from Thomas Wilson aka TAKE out of Los Angeles. The single is already available at www.rushhour.nl and for future projects, mixes and more go to www.eatconcrete.net

    by Pete Concrete for Beyondjazz.net
  • Interview - Brotherly

    Mai 20 2007, 18h12

    Beyondjazz has asked the much loved London duo, Brotherly about how sweet their life is a week before their album launch party on 2nd, May at Jazz Cafe and a few weeks before the release of their long awaited debut album "One Sweet Life".

    How much are you excited about playing at Jazz Cafe next week?
    Really looking forward to a big knees-up with all our mates and fans and can’t wait for people to hear the album. Love playing at the Jazz Cafe, great vibe, great sound, lots of good memories.

    Please tell us about Brotherly. When did you come up with the idea of the band?
    Brotherly (aka Robin Mullarkey and Anna Stubbs) came out of a previous band which really belonged to Anna in the late 90s. We were playing original soul influenced tunes but with D&B theme which obviously was becoming massive at the time. It was a live band with string quartet and we did a few lauded shows at UK venues before deciding to refine the concept as more of a team effort. The 1st tune we wrote was A Little Trouble (was featured on Hospital's Outpatients Vol. 3 compilation) and it was before we had really been exposed to any broken beat so I guess that's where we were naturally heading.

    How did you two - you and Anna - meet?
    We met at Leeds College of Music where we were studying jazz together. We used to play in various bands together varying from ECM modern jazz to more jazz-dance Airto kind of bands and we just found our soul-mates.

    I read you are coming from a musician family, who were your first musical discoveries?
    Rob: My mum's a folk singer and there was a lot of live music in the house. Also my dad is a bassist and step-dad is a drummer! They were very enthusiastic and supportive about my music and i had piano lessons from about 8 which i think is a good age to get stuck in. My 1st tape had Weather Report on one side and Joseph's Technicolour Dreamcoat on the other. It was bizarre when I bought Heavy Weather again a few years ago and found that i knew it well enough to play along.

    The first Brotherly single 'Put it Out' on Bitasweet Records was a great success in '05, how did you hook up with the Bugz kru?
    Rob: Seiji was DJing at a big Eska show at Koko and i passed him a cdr. He was really into it and passed it on to the others guys. Top geezer!

    Now Monumental Records is your new home, they have just released the second single and they will put out the album in May. It seems Monumental is a great label and fully dedicated to support true musicians and talents...
    Basically we have a great manager in Brett Leboff, and after spending a year trawling the earth for a decent deal, the label was borne out of necessity.

    Could you tell me more about the recording process of the new album? Who produces the music, lyrics etc?
    Rob: Generally I will develop some musical idea in Cubase with a little help from Anna and work on it til it has a vibe and a rough structure. I almost always begin with some interesting rhythmic or harmonic discovery and use it as a springboard. I usually mix as I write, as I like to know whether the arrangement is going to work once it’s finished. I usually stick down rough ideas on all instruments, ie beats, keys, bass, guitar, maybe some percussion, but i think that can cause it to become a bit stagnant so it always helps to get some great musicians in to replace parts with their distinctive sound, and contribute something of their own to the music. Once I have something I’m happy with, I hand it over to Anna and she will put down some top-line ideas and lyrics in Garageband and make some suggestions about form and flow. Then we’ll make a complete backing and add the final vocals.

    The extended Brotherly family is full of brilliant musicians like Eska, Ty, Earl Zinger, Tawiah and more out of London. Who else are featured on "One Sweet Life"?
    Finn Peters of Bansuri fame takes an awesome flute solo on System, and the amazing rhythm guitar on there is Jan Ozveren. Si Colam (Ty), Martyn Kaine (IG Culture, Bugz in the Attic, Reel People) and Femi Temowo (Soweto Kinch, Terri Walker) from the live band feature on there, as well as a few cameos from the likes of Dave Okumu (Jade Fox), Volker Strater (Robert Mitchell) and Ben Bryant (The Heritage Orchestra). Also Natalie Williams and Tawiah make an appearance on BVs

    As for the inspirational side, where does the fantastic eclectic sound of Brotherly come from?
    Rob: I think we are unusual in that we are not just jazz enthusiasts, but schooled and experienced jazz musicians that have become a a little unnerved with the lack of support for jazz in the uk, and are pursuing a more relevant and exciting outlet for our skills.
    Anna: before training as a jazz singer and pianist, i was really into the jazz dance scene (Snowboy, Gilles Peterson, Jazzcotech etc) and all the fabulous and varied styles that it supported. In one evening we would get Roy Ayers to latin fusion via 240bpm swing ... it was an environment of musical equal opportunities! Even though I love jazz harmony and songs, I’m not really an ECM kind of person, and I wanted our album to tie harmony and cutting edge beats together in a cohesive way.

    On the technical note, the arrangements are so tight and good, have you ever used any drumloops or samples?
    We’ve never used a drum loop of any kind in our tunes. It’s all played or programmed from scratch. I cant make mine sound as good as on sample cds but i cant imagine ever trying to pass off someone else’s beat as my own. We did have one tune that had to be dropped from the LP at the last minute due to a sample clearance issue though. We’ve learnt our lesson now.

    Rob - you also got involved with various projects like 2 Banks Of 4, Ty and Zero 7 with who you lately toured a lot, how did you enjoy it?
    I love working with all those bands and there is more planned for later this year. I’ve been really lucky, or maybe i have just engineered it so that i only work with great people and musicians.

    I know you are a great fan of Jazzanova and they influenced you a lot, do you ever plan to work with them?
    It’s a great idea. We should hook up at least. They have so many side projects that i dont really know who exactly Jazzanova are, but I think when they collaborate something special happens with a kind of super-producer vibe. As much as I love filthy Madlib beats, there’s a Donald Fagen in me that craves Jazzanova’s precision.

    The Brotherly live gigs have been amazing so far, so the gig next week is expected to be a biggie too. Who will be performing on the night actually?
    The line-up Wednesday will be Anna Stubbs, Rob Mullarkey, Earl Zinger, Eska (TBC), Natalie Williams, Tawiah, Si Colam, Femi Temowo and Martyn Kaine

    Huge line-up. Are you planning to go touring worldwide with the album?
    Absolutely.

    Finally, let me ask some personal family thing, what would you buy to your little kid Lucas, a guitar or an mpc or both?
    We’re not going to force music on him. There are loads of instruments around our flat that he is free to use so let’s just see what happens. He likes cars.

    Thanks for your answers and time then. See you at Jazz Cafe next week!


    Brotherly's album "One Sweet Life" is out on 14th, May at Monumental.
    The band will perform on 2nd of May at Jazz Cafe, London and on 31st May at Hi Fi Club, Leeds.

    Album preview:
    www.last.fm/music/Brotherly/One+Sweet+Life
    More info:
    www.myspace.com/Brotherly
    www.brotherly-music.com
    www.monumentalmanagement.co.uk

    by creaminal
    originally published on Beyondjazz
  • Interview - Somatik - From continent to continent ...

    Mai 15 2007, 18h56

    Interview - Somatik - From continent to continent ...

    Having once experienced living in smog-filled, population-dense London, SOMATIK, aka Brad Munn now resides in the somewhat more spacious and creativity-inducing West Wales. Such positive surroundings are clearly having a positive and productive effect on the multi-talented (producer/engineer/multi-instrumentalist) SOMATIK as of late…Having recently worked on the massive 4hero album, ‘Play With the Changes’ as well as producing the track ‘Avianticide’ for the Twisted Funk compilation, ‘Scattered Snares Volume 2’ not to mention NuWave Radio runnins, even more SOMATIK freshness is due to blow up right about now…

    TP: Hey Brad ... to give people an idea of your personal musical journey, what kind of music were you into as a youngster? What made you want to pursue a career in music; and once you did, what were your aims?
    Somatik: Blimey, what wasn’t I into?! I moved in intense phases but mostly backwards and forwards from hip-hop to rock. I liked pretty much everything through the late 70s, but I was really young then. I remember listening to Tony Blackburn - what a hero! He recently had a regular show on the big commercial station here in Wales playing soul, funk and disco! Bad boy. He used to draw some serious tunes on there, until the local radio police thought it was getting too soulful and had him replaced by some pop DJ. Anyway, then it was all about Beat Street and the Electro albums in the early 80’s. Some terrible breakdance skills, believe! I was living in this little town in the West Country, but we STILL had a B-boy crew! Got into rock, metal and thrash later on and that sort of merged into rap with the whole Run DMC, Beastie Boys, Anthrax crossover thing. I’ve always listened to a cross-section of stuff really.
    I didn’t think about music as a career till I was about seventeen. I’d been learning piano since the age of four, and always had a fascination with music, but it didn’t really occur to me that I might actually make a career out of it until my Mum pointed out that I should do music A-level! I was playing in about three different bands at the time whilst studying for grade-8 piano and grade-6 classical guitar and spending nuff time organising concerts for the school and recording crazy experiments with the music department’s 4-track. I didn’t really have a specific aim. I thought I’d follow the flow and see where it took me. I still do that now! It sounds cheesy, but I really just wanted to make music that reached people and opened their minds a little.

    TP: You started working with 4hero and the Dollis Hill kru in the mid-nineties and are still involved to this day. How did you initially hook up with the Reinforced kru back in the day and what’s kept your interest in the sounds that have come (and continue to come) outta there?
    Somatik: I was freelancing at a recording studio in the same building as Reinforced in about 1996 and that was around the time that 4hero got signed to Talkin Loud. Marc and Dego started hiring the studio I worked in to record all sorts of stuff, starting with Blackgold (what an introductory session!), and going on to the Page 1 stuff, remixes, Maximum Style... I really got a lot out of working with them, they were so forward thinking and pushing the technology – something I really related to! My classical training and knowledge of all kinds of music really started to become useful; there were a lot of classical musicians coming in the studio. I think Marc and Dego found having me there helpful, enabling them to achieve more complicated and pioneering stuff, and when they finished building their new studio I started doing sessions directly with them there, both as an engineer and musician. As far as my continuing interest goes, how could I NOT be continuously interested?! Both Marc Mac and Dego are constantly developing sounds and pushing boundaries. I love that, and feel that I have been a part of it in my own small way over the years.

    TP: Having worked so closely with 4hero, you’ve directly witnessed many changes within the sound/labels and projects they/you’ve been involved with. Why do you think the journey (from early R runnins to now) has taken the route it has? How much do you think developments within the music industry have had an influence on this route?
    Somatik: It’s been a fairly organic route really, more about the network of producers and musicians surrounding the R than anything in the industry as a whole; there’s always been a community spirit around the music coming outta the R - from jungle to the so-called ‘West London’ sound. There are elements of both collaboration and healthy competition within that community, and I think it’s that that shapes the journey above all. Technology plays a part of course, but overall it’s about the personalities. You can see producers influencing each other all the time, in a positive way, and lots of cross-pollination going on. I think NuWaveRadio has had a pretty big impact on the Dollis Hill journey since it started; it’s given us an outlet to play our stuff and that creates a sort of exhibition of our different sounds, something that drives us to keep developing and messing with people’s minds!

    TP: Yes, your World 2 World shows on NuWaveRadio certainly always seem to introduce listeners to tunes from around the world that they may not have heard otherwise – I imagine this is your aim here! Do you actively hunt for these particular tunes for the show or is this the kinda stuff that’s played round at Somatik HQ?
    Somatik: It’s all quite random really; I get sent or given stuff, I find things in charity shops, I have quite a lot of records that I’ve picked up over the years during my recording and gigging adventures... A constant quest to find more inspirational music! And yeah, you’re right; the intention is to open people’s ears just that little bit further. I like juxtaposing completely different styles – it all has some common thread in there really, and you can coax people from one genre to another if you can utilise that thread somehow.

    TP: Music-wise you seem to be involved in a vast range of styles – there’s the techy futuristik biznizz (Prismatik, Avianticide etc) for Twisted Funk, the more hip-hop orientated sounds of The Visioneers and also productions/remixes for some more global beatz. How did your interest in all of these different styles come about?
    Somatik: I obviously get inspired by a wide range of styles and sounds, and that shows up in the wide cross-section of stuff I’m involved in making. It gets frustrating though as there isn’t enough time to make all the different stuff I’m inspired to make! I have about twenty completely different albums in my head at any given time, and that sometimes gets so overwhelming that you end up not making one!

    TP: Can you tell me more about your Hidden project or is it still top secret?!
    Somatik: It’s VERY near completion. We’ve been taking our time to let the music develop organically, to really get a grip on what the project is really about, and also because Lita Joy (my co-writer and the vocalist) lives in London so our time together is restricted. However, the album should be finished by the summer. I’ve just set up the MySpace page for it: www.myspace.com/hidden7, so keep an eye on that for audio snippets and more information. Difficult to define what it sounds like – I put it in three categories on MySpace: electronica, psychedelic and pop- that kind of sums it up! Songs over beats, synths and organic instruments too. You’ll have to wait and see!

    TP: What other projects are in the pipeline for the forthcoming year - any plans for a solo Somatik album for example?
    Somatik: Funny you should ask that! I’m just putting the finishing touches on a Somatik LP at this very moment! It’s called “Learning the Colours”, and it’s been a long time coming! It’ll be hopefully ready within a couple of weeks (jumping Hidden in the queue) and I’m planning to release the CD myself on GoldHill Records, maybe by internet mail-order or download. Watch out on MySpace.com/somatik7 for more details; I’ll blatantly be trying to promote it all over the place, so sorry in advance for spamming people! I want people to finally hear something of what I’ve been up to. I’ve also been working on some tunes with Luke (Hopper) – sound ruff! Not sure what we’ll do with them yet, it’s early days. Once the Somatik LP and the Hidden LP come out, who knows…

    TP: Thanks, Brad. Anything else you’d like to say to people?
    Somatik: Yeah, big up Broadcite and enjoy the colours!

    Words by Tasha TP
    originally published on www.broadcite.com and www.beyondjazz.net
  • May 2007 Chart

    Mai 13 2007, 9h43

    Anthony Joseph & The Spasm Band - Leggo De Lion - Kindred Spirits
    Sleepwalker - Works - Village Again
    Moo - Apples&Pears EP - UpMyAlley
    Rednose Distrikt - Poes -Kindred Spirits
    Moodymann - Technology Stole My Vinyl - KDJ
    VA - Jazzanova & Dirk Rumpff present ... Broad Casting From OFFtrack Radio - Sonar Kollektiv
    Brotherly - One Sweet Life - Monumental
    Flying Lotus - Tea Leaf Dancers (feat. Andreya Triana) - Brownswood
    VA - Spiis / Soulfood EP - Bonzajj Recordings
    Sa-Ra - The Hollywood Recordings - Babygrande Records
  • Interview - Nostalgia 77

    Mai 13 2007, 9h39

    Born in ’77 Ben Lamdin has managed to build up quite a career over the years. From hip-hop over funk, but lately Ben Lamdin – be it under the ‘Nostalgia 77’ moniker or the live band ‘N77 Octet’ - finds himself more at ease at the jazz ends of the spectrum. And rather successful.

    Borderlands’ got quite some acclaim.
    Ben:
    Yeah, receiving Gilles Peterson’s ‘jazz album of the year’ was really nice. Of course, I still see problems in it. But bearing in mind that it was the first time we got all these people to work together collectively, I’m very pleased with the result. Impossible Equation was my favourite thing that came out of that recording session. It’s a bit more original, reflective. More like we believe the band should sound like.

    Last month we went back to record a sequel. To a different place in Wales. Last time we kind of set up our own studio for a week, this time we went in an established studio. Which belongs to Martin Levan, who’s quite an interesting character. Busy engineer in the UK in 60s and 70s. Intersting to meet him, and he’s got a lovely place. I’m listening to the rough mixes now and it sounds much more like it should. I think that’s just the result of everyone spending more time together and getting the same musical language established. ‘Borderlands’ was definitely a good starting point, but we’ve improved a lot in my opinion.

    Were all tracks written collectively? Will there again be a, say, daytime recording as ‘Borderlands’ and nighttime impro as ‘Impossible Equation’ this time?
    There were about four of us who did some writing like a week before. We got our scores pretty much finished, with certain flexible areas. Once we started rehearsing the tracks we adapt them along the way the first couple of days.
    There were some good improvisations, but I haven’t decided yet if they were quite right to release. But there’s definitely a full album that we rehearsed, but I’ll have to meditate a bit longer for the improvised stuff. (laughs)

    Ok, focus on the latest offering. Lizzy Parks! What took you so long?
    Doing all the work with the Octect in between the ‘Hope Suite’ and ‘Under The Sun’. I think I had some other stuff to learn. Working with a lot of live musicians certainly helped me in that respect. It was good to learn more about orchestrating, composing, recording. I like the way it payed off. A lot better songs and performances with Lizzy [Parks] and Beth [Rowley]. It did take a little while, but I hope it was worth the wait. I’m excited to see what people think of it. I think it’s the best work I’ve done really. Got some positive feedback already. Fingers crossed people will like what they hear.

    What is it that makes her sound so fitting to yours?
    It’s about writing the right tunes for the voice, if you think of the voice as an instrument you have to write the right part for it. I’ve looked around quite a while for the right singers. I obviously knew Lizzy from the ‘Hope Suite’, but they are both really flexible vocalists. I worked with Lizzy before, but because there was some time in between, I guess we understood each other better and so are the results.

    What about Beth Rowley?
    I met here through Riaan [Vosloo, bass] who did a gig with her at a little jazz festival. I took these two tracks to here and chat about it. She pretty much did the vocals straight away. Which is a bit of a shame, because I was hoping to do more songs. But I think she might have been signed to Universal already. Definitely worth keeping an eye on her. She’s got a lovely voice.

    I’m sure more than once people get confused with N77 or N77 Octet. How do you see it? Do you consider ‘Everything Under The Sun’ as a follow up of ‘The Garden’, the latest N77 album, or do you rather see it as a follow up the Octect outings?
    The group started because after studio recordings as Nostalgia 77 we wanted to do some shows. But then, having met everyone and getting on with everyone, we wanted to do some authentic recordings apart from touring. The main distinction is that the Octet is a collaborative project written with most of the musicians together, whereas recording as N77 I call the shots, if you want. It’s clear that both influence each other, so you have to see this album as a follow up of both projects. Meeting all these accomplished live players definitely inspired me. You can say ‘Under The Sun’ is a distillation of all experience throughout the years; a combination of ideas from ‘The Garden’ and musicianship from ‘Borderlands’, plus something like the ‘Hope Suite’ – where I for the first time tried to write songs.

    Most of the words are from your hand as well. The record sounds harmonious, as if most of it was written in the same period. Do you mind expanding a bit on inspiration for the lyrics?
    I wrote over about a year, but most of the recordings were done in quite a concentrated period. Like on previous records it takes a little while to work out what it is what you like. ‘Under The Sun’ record I decided early on pretty much exactly what it was I wanted to do. It settled off on the [harmonious] sound of the record, in stead of experimenting.
    Concerning the lyrics.. I don’t know whether there’s really one theme running through. In some way it’s about circularity, nature, … It’s quite hard for me to think about it like that. I’d like to think that people can take it like they want, that’s half the fun to find your own meaning (laughs).

    ‘Stop to make a change’ has got quite a catchy hook..
    I had the little vocal melody, the chromatic trigger, first. After we worked the rhythm out, we figured out the basic drums. And then got together with Lizzy. It had a kind of improvised feel. It was experimenting to find the right timing. Because to deliver that kind of lyrics and keep the swing in it is not an easy task. It was good fun doing that. It sounds a bit like Monk maybe … Then came the horns and vibes section. I’ve been experimenting over the years with different kind of combinations of how to arrange those and obviously learned a lot with the band. What is more, I’ve actually been lucky to meet this engineer whose been giving me some help with production and mixing the record.

    You’re referring to Mike Pelanconi?
    Indeed! I met him at a friend’s house and we hang out a couple of times and found out we got quite some things in common in terms of how we like our sounds. We both love the fairly old ways of recording. Obviously you can take that to extremes, but some of the old ones simply have got things that new ones don’t have. ProTools is a brilliant piece of equipment, but so is a tape machine. Mike is one of the old generation so the speak, it’s good to pick up a few pointers from him. I guess we all need a bit help sometimes.

    Compared with previous work ‘Everything under the sun’ might be considered more accessible. Is that part of the Jazz Jihad you preach on myspace?
    (laughs) Impossible Equation will probably be too much for some people, in contrast with ‘Borderlands’ – which I definitely consider as a jazz record as well. On here, I wanted to have the kind of atmosphere of those records, but still make sure anyone could directly log in to it. Hopefully the emotion will be stronger than just thinking ‘this is a jazz album, or this is a soul record’. Look at the really popular jazz records, like Miles’ tunes. They’re really simple like ‘So What’ or Coltrane’s ‘Naima’. Sometimes you haven’t got to pack all your ideas in one track. There’s some added value in there but there are limits. Sometimes it’s good to empty it out so that every remaining element has to be strong. The voice is strong. Bass part is strong, the drums are strong and the piano sounds good, then what else do you need?

    Percussion!
    (laughs) True. You need the percussion for that kind of ambience on this album. Some of it I did myself, and some of it has been done by Milo Fell [who’s previously has been involved with The Cinematic Orchestra a.o.].’

    You’ve previously done cover versions of Graham Collier[/artist], Sun Ra and others, where would you situate your main influences for ‘Under The Sun’?[/b]
    As always, influences are wide ranging, but ‘Wildflower’ for instance is a clear reference to Lorenz Alexandria. The fifties kind of jazz and what people call spiritual jazz dance. Artists like
    Alice Coltrane & John Coltrane, Mary Lou Williams. Obviously the vocal element is as well referring to people like Leon Thomas. I wanted to do something with all that. Not really simplify it, but distil it if you like. To make it concise. That’s where the modern influence comes in. The way it is produced is still hailing from d&b modern influence. Hopefully there’s a little bit of all in there.

    [b]Some words about upcoming projects? I heard Lost Harmony Project was scheduled on Impossible Ark?[/b]
    That’s something we talked about. But it remains tricky though. We don’t have time, nor money. But the idea is to work with Arabic/Eastern sound and singers. I’d like to pursue it, but first up will be RHYTHMAGIC ORCHESTRA. It’s some musicians of Nostalgia and other London players together with Cuban musicians. We spent one day in studio and will do a twelve from that containing three cover versions: Nina Simone’s ‘[track artist="Nina Simone"]African Mailman’, ‘Afrodisia’ which you might know through Kenny Dope and lastly, ‘Turutato’ from good old Machito. It’ll be in stores at the end of April.

    by Hans for Beyondjazz.net
    originally published on http://www.beyondjazz.net/viewtopic.php?t=13137
  • Beyondjazz Radioshow - 2007-03-13 - Beyond The Border

    Abr 1 2007, 13h31

  • Beyondjazz Radioshow - 2007-03-06 - Melting Pot

    Abr 1 2007, 13h23

    Playlist for the Beyondjazz Radioshow (http://www.beyondjazz.net/radio/) of March 6th, 2007

    Accoustic pieces morphing into moody moments, that's how we start things. Continuing with leftfoot hiphop and jazz, and fast-paced broken beats. To finish off, we have 30 minutes of the latest tech-house shizzle fo ya - this ought to be enough for the next few weeks, ya hear?

    Comments:
    http://www.beyondjazz.net/viewtopic.php?t=12783
    Podcast:
    http://www.beyondjazz.net/radio/2007/03/2007-03-06-melting-pot.html

    Piece of You - (Myspace)
    Sailing - Kindred Spirits
    Mothers and Daughters Now Mothers - Brownswood
    Solar, Lunar (Version) - none
    Decreasing Daylight - UNEXPECTED RECORDS
    I've known rivers (Pressure Drop Remix) - Antilles

    Manha - Melting Pot Music
    Activate - Rush Hour
    Picante - Unique Uncut
    Whatever U Want Ft. Little Brother - Bbe
    Helium - Ricky-Tick
    Sold out (feat. Giorgios Kontrafouris) - Ricky-Tick

    Something Old - Treble O
    Odyssey - Octave Lab
    Astrotur - Twisted Funk
    Russelology - Unique Uncut
    Spread - Kindred Spirits

    Lotus - Sonar Kollektiv
    Time & Space - Still Music
    No Holdin' Back (Enochson Audiobuff Tech-Soul Remix) - Raw Fusion
    Listen to the drum (Jazzanova Remix Dixon Edit) - Sonar Kollektiv
    Chord Song - Still Music
    Make A Buck - Unique Uncut
  • Beyondjazz Radioshow - 2007-02-27 - an Endless Dance

    Mar 5 2007, 20h21

    Playlist for the Beyondjazz Radioshow (http://www.beyondjazz.net/radio/) of February 27th 2007.

    A litle overdue, it's time for some brand new material by the likes of Rednose Distrikt, Mpho Skeef (Phuturistix on production), Karizma, Lanu, Dj Day, Domu, ... giving you a true sense of 'beyond jazz'. Plus a little demo action from Surra, commonly referred to as 'he who has a lot more good stuff up his sleeve'.

    Comments:
    http://www.beyondjazz.net/viewtopic.php?t=12754
    Podcast:
    http://www.beyondjazz.net/radio/2007/02/2007-02-27-endless-dance.html

    What Hearts Share - Genuine
    Endless Dance (Karizma Remix Vox) - Sonar Kollektiv
    Equality feat. Rich Medina - file
    Throwdown - Twisted Funk

    Till Tomorrow (ft. U-Gene) - Kindred Spirits
    untitled - demo
    Don't Sleep (Pt 1 & 2) - Tru Thoughts
    Blueprint - Twisted Funk
    The Kids Are Too Small - Faces
    The Anthem ft. Pete Philly - UNEXPECTED RECORDS

    Sugar (Joey Negro Dub) - Bbe
    Camparenda (Yosaku Re-Edit) - cdr
    Piensalo - Kindred Spirits
    Buddha - Kindred Spirits
    Can I Help You - Stones Throw

    Steve McQueen - Ricky-Tick
    A Place to Go - MpM
    Kioku Kouka - Das Modular
    Hoerenjong - Rush Hour
    Just Tell Me When - Philpot
    Something New - Treble O
  • Dalindèo Interview

    Mar 5 2007, 20h02

    Dalindèo has kept us happy since 2004 with their two acclaimed Ricky Tick releases, Poseidon and Go Ahead, Float. Those twelves have already cemented their presence in the record bags of those who know. Thus, the first full-length, Open Scenes, was welcomed with open arms by diggers and dancers alike. I asked Dalindèo main man Valtteri Pöyhönen to tell me about the album in more detail.

    Beyondjazz (Matti): So here we are, it’s been over two years since the first Dalindèo release, and now your debut full-length is finally here. Let’s begin with the clichéd sports journalists’ question: How do you feel right now?
    Dalindèo (Valtteri Pöyhönen): Feeling good, thanks for asking. I’m happy with the end result. Naturally, the album has been a long time coming already, and we had been recording stuff for quite some time now after the first releases. It’s nice that everybody else can finally hear it, too!

    How long was the actual recording process of the album?
    We started somewhere around March 2006 and added bits and pieces here and there. The big thing during the summer was getting the string arrangements done and I was actually a bit surprised myself that there were so many tracks with the string section on the album.

    I remember talking to you back in March as you were about to hit the studio. Back then, you still weren’t quite sure what the album’s going to sound like. How would you reflect on your feelings then and now regarding the overall vibe of Open Scenes?
    To be honest, all in all it turned out pretty much as I would’ve envisioned it back then. Like I said there were some details that took shape during the process, but essentially, the tracks are the same ones we had already been playing live before. Of course (the producer of the album) Tuomas Kallio added some nice touches here and there to make our sound more complete as well. What I really like about the album myself is how balanced it seems now after a few spins. Soundwise, it’s pretty basic Dalindèo without too many additional gimmicks. A good friend of mine, Georgios Kontrafouris (whom some of you might remember from African Rumble 12”) plays organ on one of the tracks, and there’s a bit of trombone somewhere, but that’s basically it when it comes to guest spots. Aside of the strings I mentioned, and Michiko on vocals, of course.

    How did you initially discover Michiko?
    I remember thinking quite some time ago that it would be good to have a vocalist on some of the tracks when we eventually would release a full-length album, and we ran into Michiko at this studio where she was painting a few years back. She studies art in Helsinki, and we were rehearsing in a another room on the same building. Well, she just came by to hang out and ended up on the mic. We really liked her vibe and kind of worked it on from there.

    That sure seems like a natural way of finding a vocalist.
    Yeah, that’s right. And I feel that many Finnish people sort of struggle with English lyrics, not to put anyone down specifically, of course, but speaking in general terms. I want to stress that there are plenty of good Finnish vocalists out there also singing in English, so don’t get me wrong there. I just like Michiko’s uniqueness as a person, plus her Japanese articulation too. Of course it’s always risky to bring up a new vocalist, but so far we’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with her.

    Next, I would like to ask you to take us through Open Scenes track by track.
    Sure.

    Empty Fruits
    The opener is one of my personal favourites. It’s a vocal track, a jazz waltz, if you will. I’m really happy about this one, and I think it opens the album quite fittingly.

    Leviathan
    This is a track that’s been a central part of our live sets for a long time already. The album version sounds good to me. There have been different versions of the track over the last couple of years, and we jokingly called the most recent one ‘Leviathan 2.0’, but this one we have here seems like the final one to me. A nice closure for its evolution, I think.

    Non-Stop Flight
    Coming up third, we have ‘Non-Stop Flight’, which has already been causing some stir in Japan. The people promoting the album there think that it could be a fitting track for radio play. I think it’s a crossbreed track of sorts, because if you really think about it, it has a Finnish band playing music influenced by Brasilian bossa nova, the singer is Japanese, singing in English, and on top of that you have your Bollywood strings stirring things up! (laughs) That’s just the age we live in, then, I guess. On the other hand I think it’s important to have respect for the originals, but at the same time it’s just a natural part of the present day that people are able to check out different things from all around the world. There are always footnotes here and there, but eventually it’s the end result that counts. As a composer, I am not interested in making pastiches of any kind. When different musical elements blend together, the result should always be something more than the sum of its parts.

    Poseidon
    Next, we have a track familiar to many from our first release. We decided to keep ‘Poseidon’ pretty much as it was, albeit it was remastered for the album.

    Samba Da-Li
    This is one of our earliest compositions. That’s also the reason why it’s one of the more “Brasilian” tunes on the album. It’s a version that stays true to the original live cut with some added spices, of course.

    Open
    ‘Open’ is basically just an intro for the next track. A short mood piece played by myself and (Dalindèo trumpetist) Jose Mäenpää.

    Tsunami
    Another track with Michiko. This one includes a short spoken word/rap sequence in Japanese, and actually Michiko, who wrote all the lyrics on the album, had full Japanese lyrics lined up for ‘Tsunami’. However, she decided to go with English ones here.

    Vedenneito
    Another track that really came to bloom on the album. Actually, the oldest one of all the compositions here. A part of our usual live set as well. The studio setting with an acoustic guitar really helped in recording this one. I’m really happy about the final version.

    Voodoo
    This is the same version that was the B-side of our second 12”, Go Ahead, Float. Again, the album cut has just been remastered.

    Sold Out
    A loose composition, really enjoyable, I think. Georgios Kontrafouris added some delicious organ in there. All in all, I see the latter part of the album as being more of a “live” section with tracks like ‘Voodoo’, ‘Sold Out’, and ‘Helium’. That’s certainly not far off from what we do on stage.

    Helium
    As I said, a live cut more or less. This track is another central building block in our live sets.

    Solifer-lento
    Ending the album, we have ‘Solifer-Lento’. A familiar track from the first 12”, although I feel that this updated version takes it on a whole another level. In my opinion, the album version captures the composition in its very essence in a really beautiful way. One thing I would like to highlight on this one is Jose’s lyrical playing, which occupies a central role here.

    In general, an important feature on this album was my new guitar, which I just recently acquired. It was a surprising add to the overall sound that I came up with this sort of tone, which was quite different stylistically when compared to the sound I used before. It was something I hadn’t planned ahead. It just happened as I bought this new guitar in June and started playing it. Well, it’s hard to explain, I’m sure you’ll notice the difference when you listen to the album.

    OK, that’s cool. There’s this one question regarding the album I just can’t avoid asking. Where’s ‘Go Ahead, Float’?
    I feel that it’s basically a club tune, a bit of dancefloor jazz, if you will, and I just couldn’t find a place for the track on the album. It’s added as a bonus track on the Japanese version, though. I have always though of it as a club track, and personally, it would not be one of my first choices to listen to at home. Of course there are other songs on the album with a somewhat similar club feel, but I felt that it didn’t fit the album as it is rather nicely balanced now as it is. It’s loads of fun to play live, so we’re not abandoning the track in any way.

    Have there already been any plans of future singles and/or remix projects?
    No, none as of yet. I’m just glad the album is finally coming out! (laughs)

    Well, one thing at a time, right? What about touring plans and such?
    The album comes out in Europe early 2007, so we’re definitely up for gigs abroad. Let’s hope that people pick the album up and book us. Dalindèo initially began to take shape a live band, so that’s what we are about and that’s certainly a high priority for us.

    How do you see the relationship between the recorded and live “versions” of Dalindèo?
    The energy we have live is really different, of course. So soundwise, it’s much more intense. Obviously there are also things on the album that are not going to be reproduced live. I don’t worry about it, because good compositions prevail both live and in the studio. It doesn’t have to be exactly the same. Those are two different levels, so we do solos and enjoy ourselves, trying to go with the flow. It’s not like we would go back and listen to the album and go “oh my gosh, how are we gonna do that!”. (laughs)

    More info:
    http://www.dalindeo.com
    http://www.myspace.com/dalindeo

    Check out Dalindèo performing a relaxed live version of ‘Leviathan’ at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8j2EOI54Cw. You might want to listen to our upcoming Beyondjazz.net radioshow tomorrow too, maybe you win some tickets to their live gig in De Kreun, Kortrijk (BE).

    By matti for Beyondjazz
    Originally published on Beyondjazz.net (http://www.beyondjazz.net/viewtopic.php?t=12762)
  • Beyondjazz Radioshow - 2007-02-06 - w/ Flying Lotus triplet

    Mar 4 2007, 10h29

    Playlist for the Beyondjazz Radioshow (http://www.beyondjazz.net/radio/) of February 6th 2007.

    This week we have another freestyle session with lots of freshness from a.o. the Stones Throw camp (Amnesty & the free download Chrome Children 2), the ManMadeScience lp on Philpot, the great La Melodia lp out on Handcuts Records and 3 exclusive cuts from Flying Lotus while you're awaiting a Beyondjazz interview with the beat kid.
    Greedy with the beats, sparse with blabla.


    Comments:
    http://www.beyondjazz.net/viewtopic.php?t=12562
    Podcast:
    http://www.beyondjazz.net/radio/2007/02/2007-02-06-flying-lotus-triplet.html

    Our Own Place (feat. Carina Anderson) - Raw Canvas
    Strings of Life - CDR
    The Call (Patchworks Remix) (featuring Jennifer Moore) - Further Out
    Can I Help You? - Stones Throw
    Heartbreak Hotel Edit - CDR

    Who You Running From? - Kindred Spirits
    Just Tell Me When - Philpot
    Vuoi Vuoi Me (Henrik Schwarz Remix) - Universal
    The Damn Thing - R2
    Something With Jazz (Karizma Remix) - CDR
    Spirit of Love (Phil Asher's Restless Soul Boogie Mix) - Especial

    Supersonic Revelation (Marathon Men Remix) (feat. Abdul) - Raw Fusion
    Mother Earth (feat. Aloe Blacq & Quantic) - Tru Thoughts
    Keep Running Away (Egon's Edit) - Stones Throw
    Lucy (feat. Bo Bo Lamb) - Operation Unknown
    The Choice You Make (feat. Gia Mellish) - Handcuts Records
    Hey! - Sound in Color
    Crushin' (Yeeeaah!) - Stones Throw
    Lost Love (feat. Rahel) - Fat City Recordings

    I Do (feat. Amalia) - CDR

    *** Flying Lotus Triplet
    Tea Leaf Dancers (feat. Andreya Triana) - CDR
    Added Efforts - CDR (= Flying Lotus & Ahu)
    Lightworks (Flying Lotus Remix) - CDR

    BZ Theme (Danny Breaks Remix) - Stones Throw
    Ale Zus - Nod Navigators
    Desire - Handcuts Records