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.
In the late 70's and early 80's in Communist Romania, Rodion Ladislau Roșca and his band Rodion G.A. created a hybrid of electronic music, psychedelics, and progressive rock that, decades later, has revealed itself to be remarkably ahead of its time. After years of obscurity, and only a handful of singles ever released officially, Rodion's music is finally getting the recognition it deserves. This is the story of the music, conducted as an interview with Ion Dumitrescu of Bucharest's Future Nuggets crew. Rodion speaks from his home in Romania about way he created his music, the creative climate in Communist Romania, and the sad fact that he feels that even the renewed interest in his work is coming too late to make a difference in his life.
The Lost Tapes, the first ever commercially released album of Rodion G.A.'s music, is due May 28th on Strut Records in association with Future Nuggets and Ambassador’s Reception.
Here's the second half of our video documentary on Celluloid Records. Bill Laswell and Grandmixer DXT, part of Celluloid's production brain trust, speak on some of their production work together outside of the label, including Herbie Hancock's groundbreaking song "Rockit," and PiL's Album with Ginger Baker. Label founder Jean Karakos also speaks about signing Fela Kuti to Celluloid. Hearing info on these projects and more from the mouths of their creators is one of the reasons we love what we do! Change The Beat: The Celluloid Records Story is out now on double CD, double LP (w/ CD insert) and digital download.
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.
One of the most rewarding parts of working on This Ain't Chicago was the ability to learn about the golden age of the UK underground party and acid house scene from the people who were a part of it. By virtue of the word of mouth nature of the scene, the inside story hasn't been widely shared in same manner as, say, accounts of the early days of hip-hop in New York. As a supplement to the music on the compilation (and the excellent liner notes by Dave Swindells), we sat down with some of the major players, including Lesley Lawrence of Bang The Party, P-Mac (producer for May), Kiss FM DJ Colin Faver, and of course Richard Sen, to speak about the parties, drum machines, labels, and drugs that inspired the music. These guys are a wealth of knowledge and talent, and it was an honor to listen to their stories.
This Ain't Chicago is available now:
iTunes • Amazon • Boomkat
Ebo Taylor is a stand up guy, and his new album Appia Kwa Bridge (recorded once again with Afrobeat Academy & esteemed guests Tony Allen, Oghene Kologbo and conga maestro Addo Nettey a.k.a. Pax Nicholas) is perhaps his most personal to date. We caught up with him in Berlin (where the album was recorded in the famed Lovelite Studios) for an interview in which he discusses the inspiration behind the music, and demonstrates the highlife guitar style, which he employs with such grace.
With his two-disc collection of alternative dance music (which he claims could be called "Trevor's Teenage Years") coming soon, the man behind Output Recordings, Playgroup, and too many excellent record sleeve designs to count sits down to tell us a little bit more about the aforementioned teenaged years. His discussion of exposure to London club life as a fourteen-year-old make us nostalgic for one of the golden eras of nightlife. The music on Metal Dance just makes the the feeling hit that much harder...
As we celebrate the anniversary of one of our favorite, and certainly one of the most influential sound systems, it's nice to be able to take a look back at the development of Norman Jay's Good Times, and his shaping of popular tastes. Through conversations with Norman himself, and those close to him, we get to see some of the many things that made (and make) Good Times so special. Hats off to Norman, and to the parties which have brought so many people together.
Encyclopedias of disco knowledge that they are, it's always educational to hear the Horse Meat Disco guys hold court on the subject of music history. One such topic on which they have a lot to say is the after-hours disco sub-genre known as Sleaze, made popular at seminal NYC night clubs like The Saint. In fact, the entire second disc of the London collective's latest mix album functions as a Sleaze survey. Not familiar? See what the guys have to say in an interview with the mighty djhistory.com (encyclopedias in their own right). Both discs of HMD III are likely to soundtrack more than a few parties this summer.
One of London's most respected warehouse party series, DJ Hugo Mendez and his Sofrito crew have built a name for themselves as top quality purveyors of Tropical sounds of all sorts. While putting together their debut compilation for Strut, we sat down with Hugo as well as artist / designer Lewis Heriz to hear the story of how Sofrito came about, how it grew, and how it's amazing poster artwork has developed. Sofrito: Tropical Discotheque will be out in January 2011 on Strut.
This one is really cool. At the beginning of the year, Afrobeat Academy played a series of shows with Ebo Taylor in his home country of Ghana. Traveling with the group, Tom Bass shot some fantastic footage of the country, the performances, and of Ebo behind the scenes. The pieces with Ebo looking through old memorabilia and records is especially interesting. Hard to imagine traveling with a true legend of African music in his own country! This might be the next best thing.
Ebo Taylor could almost certainly fill a book talking about his musical history. A close friend of Fela Kuti's and fellow originator melding African music with sounds coming out of the West, Taylor has collaborated and performed with a connoisseur's dream list of African musicians, and is responsible for more than his fair share of classics. On the eve of his first internationally distributed solo album, we had a brief chat with the Ghanaian legend about his musical career and some of his favorite collaborators. Look for more video footage coming soon, and make sure to catch Love And Death, recorded with Berlin's Afrobeat Academy, this October.
Danny Krivit is pretty much an un-ending well of knowledge, so any time we're able to pick his brain for a little bit it's a happy occasion! Leading up to his second collection of soulful re-works aimed at the dance floor, the master editor and record collector gave us a run-down of his history in the cutting room, some of his favorite edits, and his general philosophy of how an edit works best. Edits By Mr. K Vol. 2 will be out in September on Strut. If you're in NYC, come party with us Sunday the 12th for 718 Sessions at Santos Party House to celebrate the album's release!
Mulatu Astatke is a busy man. We've always known this, but after speaking with him recently, we realized that he has even more on the horizon than we were aware of. He recently spoke with our own Quinton Scott about his upcoming film soundtrack, opera (!), and education center. Kind of makes us feel like a bunch of slackers... Head to Okayafrica to read the full interview.
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