Hero of the Hammond: An Interview with KPM’s Alan Hawkshaw

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.

Download A Re-Edit of a KPM Classic from Waiwan

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.

Record Store Day 2013 Exclusive: Rare Italian Library LP From Vuolo & Grande

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.

Musicians:
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

Hear a Heavy Library Funk Classic: John Cameron’s “Swamp Fever”

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).

Essential Music from the KPM Music Library on Music For Dancefloors Deluxe Edition

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’