When it comes to the career of legendary session musician Alan Hawkshaw, it's best to let him do the talking. He's been involved with more amazing projects than we can count, and practically everything he's had a hand in has become prized by collectors of heavy funk. We were lucky enough to sit down with Hawkshaw recently to discuss his incredible career in music, spanning his earliest groups, the KPM period, his involvement in the breakdance classic "The Champ" by The Mohawks, the transition to the disco era, and the embracing of his music by modern DJs and producers.
Our collection of essential library music on the KPM label, Music For Dancefloors, is available now.
There's something about the act of collaboration that can bring out the best in musicians. That's the philosophy behind our Inspiration Information series, and after some explosive results with artists like Mulatu Astatke & The Heliocentrics and Tony Allen & Jimi Tenor, we're thrilled to have another killer pairing for a new entry in the series.
Cornell Campbell is practically an elder statesman in the field of reggae music, having released classic recordings spanning decades and a number of stylistic shifts. Campbell worked with some of the most legendary producers and labels, from “Coxsone” Dodd at Studio One to ‘70s and ‘80s classics with Joe Gibbs, Bunny “Striker” Lee, King Tubby and Winston “Niney” Observer. His crooning vocals have been compared to Curtis Mayfield and Sam Cooke, but as he himself would say, his style is all his own.
Brixton's Soothsayers, lead by saxophonist Idris Rahman and trumpeter Robin Hopcraft, have built a reputation as one of the hottest live bands on London's competitive scene. The outfit has backed up artists including Mulatu Astatke, Jerry Dammers’ Spatial AKA Arkestra and Hugh Masekela, and formed the nucleus of the band that backed the London leg of the ‘Fela!’ musical during 2011.
Together, Campbell and Soothsayers have created an album steeped in Reggae tradition, while incorporating elements of jazz, dub, and afrobeat. The songs offer a showcase for the talents of both artists, while not sounding completely like either of their individual recordings. In other words, a one of a kind collaboration.
Listen to their first song together, "I'll Never Leave You," below.
It's well known that the music libraries of the 60's and 70's have become serious sample fodder for hip-hop and electronic producers. But the music has also become a staple on adventurous dance floors a la carte, or in some cases after subtle tweaks from a gifted editor. That's exactly what Manchester producer Waiwan has done with his expert take on the Keith Mansfield classic "Crash Course." We've posted a download to our Soundcloud page, and the original version is available on Music For Dancefloors: The KPM Music Library, which is out now.
We've already shared the incredible story behind the creation of Rodion G.A.'s recordings, and their discovery nearly 30 years after their initial creation. Of course, the story only means so much if the music itself doesn't transport the listener to a place they've never been before. With that in mind, we've posted a standout track from our collection of previously unreleased material to our Soundcloud for free download. We're pretty sure you've never heard anything quite like it.
The Lost Tapes, which collects material recorded in Romania in the early 80s that has never had an official release, will be available on May 28th on CD, Vinyl, and digital download.
Record Store Day is almost upon us again, and as we have the previous two years, we've come up with something really special to add to the festivities.
Following up on our retrospective of the legendary UK music library KPM, we've put together a limited, vinyl reissue of one of our favorite Italian library LPs (the originals of which, it should go without saying, are very tough to come by). The 1979 concept gem Desert is composed and arranged by Antonio Vuolo and Elio Grande, originally was released on small Italian label, Cardium.
The instrumentation features early electronics to set a cosmic tone, and the album regularly recalls early Tangerine Dream. Stand-out tracks include the haunting slo-mo breakbeat "Leaving," mellow electroscape "Transvesuvian" and the solid jazz fusion jam "Take Flight."
As a Record Store Day exclusive, we're reissuing the full album, mastered from the original reels for the first time since its original issue, and with artwork restored from the original lithographs.
Record Store Day 2013 falls on April 20th. For more information and participating stores, visit http://www.recordstoreday.com.
ANTONIO VUOLO: Mini Moog, Fender Rhodes, Piano Steinway, Clavinet, Vibraphone, Hammond B3
RINO DIAFERIO: Fender Stratocaster, Martin, Ramirez, Fender Precision Bass
ELIO GRANDE: Jazz Fender Bass, Guild Ramirez
GEGE’ MUNARI: Percussion
A1. TAKE FLIGHT 5.00
A2. DROPS IN THE WIND 4.22
A3. LEAVING 4.23
A4. SOFT MELODY 2.03
B1. DESERT 4.50
B2. BLOW BUBBLES 3.31
B3. TRANSVESUVIAN 3.42
B4. CREATION 2.26
B5. THE END 1.28
Why do we love library music so much? Take a listen to John Cameron's "Swamp Fever" for an idea. Air-tight musicianship, out-front back-beat, sparse arrangement, crisp recording, effortlessly funky. It's as if it were made with the beat lovers of the future in-mind.
"Swamp Fever" is featured on our Music For Dancefloors collection, and originally appears on one of the heaviest and most sought after of all KPM LPs, Afro Rock, recorded at Morgan Studios by John Cameron and Alan Parker in London in 1973. As well as being a library music veteran (with over a dozen different LPs recorded for KPM and Bruton Music since the '70s), Cameron is a bona fide film composer whose credits include Kes from 1969 and 1973’s A Touch Of Class (starring Glenda Jackson and George Segal) for which he received an Academy Award nomination.
Music For Dancefloors: The KPM Music Library (Deluxe version) is released on April 2nd on 2xCD (original studio recordings and live concert), 2xLP featuring the original studio recordings and 2xCD insert of the full CD content, and digital (original studio recordings and live concert).
Early on in Strut's existence, we created the Music for Dancefloors series in order to mine the fertile territory of production library music for under appreciated (and often extremely hard to find) gems. Originally recorded as a source of go-to material for use in film, television and radio, library music wasn’t intended to be enjoyed in a home listening context, and often wasn’t available for commercial release at all. However, due to the quality of the musicianship and the stripped-down arrangements, music from the best libraries has become extremely sought-after by DJs and producers.
The UK's KPM library (especially its green "1000 series" of the 60s and 70s) is easily one of the most legendary sources of library funk. KPM music has been sampled by the likes of Jay-Z, DOOM, Madlib and Guilty Simpson, Dangermouse, Action Bronson, and even turns up in the opening of Quentin Tarantino’s film Kill Bill (via the Grindhouse promo spot which uses Kieth Mansfield’s “Funky Fanfare”).
Out of print for years, our Music For Dancefloors release collects some of the best of KPM's catalog, with an ear not just for loops and breaks, but quality compositions and performances that stand the test of time. We've included key cuts like Alan Parker’s ”That’s What Friends Are For” featuring Blue Mink’s Madeline Bell on vocals, Alan Hawkshaw’s “Senior Thump” (a precursor to his work as The Mohawks), and Keith Mansfield’s “Crash Course,” each one a classic in its own right.
This new edition features an exclusive bonus disc, which makes available for the first time the debut gig by the KPM All-Stars, bringing together many of KPM’s greatest composers for a unique night at London’s Jazz Cafe on 27th April 2000.
Music For Dancefloors: The KPM Music Library (Deluxe version) is released on April 2nd in three formats: 2CD (original studio recordings and live concert), 2LP featuring the original studio recordings and 2CD insert of the full CD content, and digital (original studio recordings and live concert). The album features the original sleeve notes by Charles Waring (Mojo magazine) alongside extra photos and memorabilia.
CD 1 – KPM LIBRARY CLASSICS
1. That’s What Friends Are For - Composed by Alan Parker. Vocals by Madeline Bell
2. Unlimited Love - Composed by Alan Parker
3. Funky Express - Composed by Duncan Lamont
4. Assault Course - Composed by Johnny Pearson
5. Samba Street - Composed by Barry Morgan and Ray Cooper
6. Second Cut - Composed by James Clarke
7. Swamp Fever - Composed by John Cameron
8. Reggae Train - Composed by William Farley and Dennis Bovell
9. Incidental Backcloth No. 9 - Composed by Keith Mansfield
10. Cross Talk - Composed by Francis Coppieters
11. In Advance - Composed by P. Xanten. Performed by Pierre Lavin Pop Band
12. Senior Thump - Composed by Alan Hawkshaw
13. Expo In Tokyo - Composed by Alan Moorhouse
14. Nascimbene - Interlude: Witchdoctor
15. Jungle Baby - Composed by H. Ehrlinger. Performed by Juan Erlando & His Latin Band
16. Morning 1 / Morning 2 - Composed by Klaus Weiss
17. Freeway To Rio - Composed by Les Baxter
18. Brazil Express - Composed by G. Callert. Performed by Juan Erlando & His Latin Band
19. Piano In Transit - Composed by Francis Coppieters
20. Crash Course - Composed by Keith Mansfield
CD 2 - KPM ALL-STARS LIVE AT JAZZ CAFÉ, LONDON. 27th April 2000
1. Keith Mansfield with KPM All Stars – Soul Thing
2. Alan Hawkshaw & Keith Mansfield with KPM All Stars – Theme from ‘Dave Allen At Large’
3. Alan Hawkshaw & Keith Mansfield with KPM All Stars – Beat Boutique
4. KPM All Stars – Swamp Fever
5. KPM All Stars – Unlimited Love
6. KPM All Stars feat. Emma Kershaw – That’s What Friends Are For
7. James Clarke with Steve Grey and KPM All Stars – Second Cut
8. Duncan Lamont with KPM All Stars – Funky Express
9. Alan Hawkshaw with KPM All Stars – Girl In A Sportscar
10. Alan Hawkshaw with KPM All Stars – Senior Thump
11. Alan Hawkshaw with KPM All Stars - Landscape
12. Alan Hawkshaw with Kirsty Hawkshaw and KPM All Stars – The Champ
13. Keith Mansfield with KPM All Stars – Crash Course
14. Keith Mansfield with KPM All Stars – UK Sports Theme Medley: Theme from ‘The Big Match’ / Theme from BBC Wimbledon Tennis / Theme from BBC Athletics / Theme from ‘Grandstand’
By 1986, Laswell's work for Celluloid became increasingly sparse as he was pulled onto major projects for Yoko Ono, Mick Jagger, PiL and more. The label, meanwhile, continued its eclectic path with recordings by jazz legend Eric Dolphy, John McLaughlin and the Welcome To Dreamland compilation of out-there Japanese pop overseen by regular Laswell cohort, Fred Frith. African music also continued to feature heavily in the label’s later output through world pop stars like Kassav and Toure Kunda.
Change The Beat is released in conjunction with Jean Karakos and Celluloid Records. Formats include 2CD, 2LP and digital. All physical formats feature rare photos from the Celluloid Records archive and extended interviews with label owner Jean Karakos, Bill Laswell, Afrika Bambaataa, John Lydon, Rusty Egan (Time Zone) and more. The digital version of the album features five extra tracks not featured on the physical formats.
1. SHOCKABILLY – DAY TRIPPER 3.43
1. NINI RAVIOLETTE – SUIS-JE NORMALE 6.34
On 18th December, we return to the best little boat in London for the funkiest of festive parties. The maestro Ashley Beedle returns to the capital for an exclusive set mixing up rare and classic soul and boogie, Frankie Francis brings the unique Sofrito sound drawing from all manner of archive Latin American, Caribbean and Afro styles and Duncan Brooker spins a selection of fine soulful rarities of all shapes and sizes. We'll have some home made mulled wine on the go all night too. Hope to see you there!
The fifth Beyond The Clouds party celebrates "Only 4 U: The Sound of Cajmere & Cajual Records" hosting Cajmere´s dj set at Corsica Studios in London.
The man behind the most unique and enduring records in house history will be supported by Eglo's FunkinEven and Joe Hart for a Saturday night of funk, dance, acid, electro, garage and anything else that's good!
Join the event on Facebook and get here more Info & Ticket
The story of the Fangnawa Experience collaboration is one best told by the artists themselves, and that's exactly what we've done in this video feature on the project. The guys in Fanga and Maâlem Abdallah Guinéa & his musicians don't speak the same language, but they were able to connect via their dedication to music. Watching them perform together is a real treat, as is the closer look at the instruments (the qraqab and the gimbri) used by the Gnawa players. Fangnawa Experience experience is out November 13th.
The dance floor has always served, at least in part, as an ideal location for a potential romantic conquest. On the classic yet somewhat overlook track "Chit Chat," Cajmere goes slightly meta, showcasing his pick-up skills over classic house beat which likely provided the background to a number of real life conversations along the same lines. The Chicago producer (born Curtis Jones) recalls, "Chit Chat always makes me think of Tony Humphries because he showed that song so much love. It’s really because of him that the song became as popular as it did.” The track, along with two discs full of equally essential productions from the Cajual Records catalog, appears on Only 4 U: The Sound Of Cajmere And Cajual Records 1992 - 2012, out October 30th.
We can't say enough good things about Souljazz Orchestra's new album Solidarity, which happens to be out this week. It feels like they've taken all of the things that we love about them (airtight musicianship, raw analog recording, diverse global influences) and created a perfect synthesis for us to play over and over. We can't wait to see them live when they hit the road this fall, but until then we have this awesome new video which captures their blistering live show with the glory of analog video tape. We're all about this.
We've been collecting, enjoying, and releasing African music of many varieties for more than a decade at Strut, but this Fall will be the first time we've had the pleasure of releasing a project that touches on Gnawa, the sacred music of Morocco and North Africa. The album functions both as an introduction to this rich style, as well as an indication of some of the parallels between Gnawa music and West African Highlife and Afrobeat. Whether you're completely new to Moroccan Gnawa music or not, the Fangnawa Experience project offers a fresh take on African music and cultural exchange. The album will be released November 13th, and we'll be sharing music here soon.
A term referring both to a North African ethnic group, as well as a ritual musical style and ceremony performed by maâlem (master musicians), traditionally on the qraqab (heavy iron castanets) and the gimbri (three-string lute).
A cross-cultural musical fusion undertaken by French collective Fanga and Moroccan master musician Maâlem Abdallah Guinéa.
A meeting of complementary personalities and cross-cultural energy, Fanga began to take shape in 1998, as hip-hop producer Serge Amiano returned to France from a trip to Africa with a selection of West African vinyl from the 60s and 70s. The nascent band, including Burkina Fasso-born rapper Korbo on vocals, worked with Tony Allen on his album Black Voices in 2000, and began releasing its own recordings in 2001. Acclaimed by tastemakers like Gilles Peterson, Wax Poetics, and Rich Medina, the band has built a global following based on a dynamite live show, socially conscious lyrics, and an ever-evolving interpretation of classic Afrobeat and Highlife sounds.
Maâlem Abdallah Guinéa
Descended from a renowned family of artists (his father, Boubker Guinéa, is considered as one of Morocco’s greatest of all maâlems) Abdellah Guinéa began playing the gimbri at age 12, and became a full maâlem and master musician at age 16. Along with his band, Nasse Ejadba, he quickly developed his own musical style, somewhere between traditional and modern Gnawa, which he calls “Fusion Trance.” As well as gimbri, Guinéa plays guitar, banjo and mandolin and has continued the progression of his music by introducing Western sounds into the mix, effortlessly building a cultural bridge between different musical styles.
Ottawa's Souljazz Orchestra does not mess around. One look at the band's rigorous tour schedule makes it clear that this is a group of musicians on a mission. The super-group's dedication shines through the music as well of course, a distillation of a variety of Latin & African styles with a solid vocabulary of funk, soul and jazz. Check out the new track "Cartão Postal" which fuses Brazilian samba with Angolan semba, with lyrics (in Portuguese, of course) contrasting the generic "post-card" conception of the Tropics with the reality of poverty that pervades many of these idealized areas. The band's new album Solidarity will be out September 18th. For further information on these tour dates, visit the band's site.
Sep 22 - Ottawa, ON - Babylon
Oct 10 - Paris, France - La Bellevilloise
Oct 11 - Pau, France - Showcase Time
Oct 12 - Marseille, France - Cabaret Aléatoire
Oct 13 - Lille, France - Bal à Fives
Oct 14 - Chalon-sur-Saône, France - La Péniche
Oct 17 - Lyon, France - La Marquise
Oct 19 - Bordeaux, France - BT59
Oct 20 - Montpellier, France - Le Jam
Oct 22 - Antwerp, Belgium - Trix
Oct 23 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - MC Theatre
Oct 24 - Vienna, Austria - Fledermaus
Oct 25 - Bratislava, Slovakia - Bratislava Jazz Days
Oct 26 - Prague, Czech Republic - Agharta
Oct 27 - České Budějovice, Czech Republic - South Bohemia Jazzfest
Oct 28 - Dornbirn, Austria - Conrad Sohm
Oct 31 - Cologne, Germany - Stadtgarden
Nov 01 - Athens, Greece - Gazarte
Nov 02 - Athens, Greece - Gazarte
Nov 04 - London, UK - Jazz Cafe
Nov 09 - Toronto, ON - Wrongbar
Nov 10 - Kingston, ON - The Mansion
Nov 15 - Québec, QC - Le Cercle
Nov 16 - Montréal, QC - Le Belmont
Nov 17 - Gatineau, QC - Petit Chicago
Nov 28 - Burlington, VT - Higher Ground *
Nov 29 - Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall *
Nov 30 - New York, NY - Webster Hall *
Dec 01 - Washington, DC - Jammin Java
Dec 02 - Philadelphia, PA - World Cafe Live *
Dec 04 - Buffalo, NY - Nietzsche's *
Dec 05 - Detroit, MI - The Crofoot *
Dec 06 - Columbus, OH - Woodlands Tavern *
Dec 07 - Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle *
Dec 08 - Minneapolis, MN - Triple Rock
* w/ Zongo Junction
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