In 1977, in the midst of a period of political turmoil and social unrest that went down in Italian history as “years of lead”, screenwriter and director Massimo Pirri made a film no one else had the courage to make: Italia: ultimo atto? (Could It Happen Here?). Here, Pirri explores the controversial (and, in the 70s, very current) topic of left-wing armed struggle. He does so through a storyline that is almost prophetic: in the film, a mysterious ultra-leftwing armed group plans and executes the killing of the Ministry of the Interior; in 1978 Christian Democrat leader and former premier Aldo Moro was kidnapped and killed by the Marxist-Leninist Red Brigades). The violence of Pirri’s storyline is fully captured by the score composed by Lallo Gori, who uses obscure synths, analog keyboards, and dry-sounding acoustic drums to create an extremely tense and frenzied soundscape of electronic textures. The result is an album that combines dark, haunting jazz-funk with ambient atmospheres and suspenseful electronic sounds, and which ends up sounding like an instrumental proto-hip hop record where Moog synths take the lead together with drums. At the time, this must have seemed like a low-budget, ramshackle soundtrack – essentially, a B-movie soundtrack. Indeed, the extensive use of electronic sounds was meant to compensate for the lack of acoustic instruments, such as the bass or (alas!) brass, which were replaced by keyboards and MiniMoog synths. Today, however, Lallo Gori’s odd and minimalistic style of arranging makes this score sound unexpected, avant-garde, and innovative. In short, modern and contemporary. Previously unreleased in any format, all tracks have been remastered from the original master tapes.
Planet E Communications releases ‘Electric Worlds’ LP by Francisco Mora-Catlett, marking Francisco’s first electronic album in celebration of 30 Years of Planet E. Francisco Mora-Catlett’s career spans decades, genres and astral realms, perpetually defined by the quest for survival and being free. The Mexican-American percussionist, composer, and producer makes his solo debut on Carl Craig’s renowned Planet E Communications with his first electronic music album, ‘Electric Worlds’. Whether pushing the limits of free jazz with the Sun Ra Arkestra in the 70’s, studying at Berklee College of Music and touring with Max Roach in the 80’s, or playing in Carl Craig’s “The Innerzone Orchestra” in the 90’s, Francisco’s passion has always been for the capacity that the music created by black and brown people has to free the human spirit.
Beautiful album on the Motorcity Wine Recordings label dropping some genuine Motor City Funk. Step into the hazy musical minds of Glenn Echo and Daniel Meinecke on Partly Cloudy, their debut full-length on MotorCity Wine Recordings. Mr. Echo, repping the Sol Power family out of Washington, DC, reached back to his 90s downtempo, acid jazz, and golden era beat-making roots to create 11 psychedelic, breakbeat-and-space-echo-infused tracks that serve as the perfect dreamy backdrop for Mr. Meinecke’s commanding and virtuosic New Orleans gospel funk. Hot tip for those into Amp Fidler, Mark De Clive Lowe, KDJ etc.
Sun Ra’s disciple and multiface artist Jamal Moss is back to Modern Obscure Music after his debut on the label with the “The Anticipatory Organization” under The Sun God alias back in 2018. J. Moss more known as Hieroglyphic Being is back to the Barcelona based record label with a new aka, Our Souls Are In The Hands Of The Translator. The new EP is composed by two 18 minutes long freejazz-psychedelic improvisations. A trip to the dark holes of the space eternity.
Following a definitive first volume jam-packed with forward-thinking musical talent working in the South African creative improvised music idiom, New Horizons returns with a fresh iteration of young artists who continue in the same tradition and tone. The compilation showcases recent recordings from 14 more leading lights in South Africa’s contemporary jazz scene: pianists Thembelihle Dunjana, Afrika Mkhize, Sibusiso ‘Mash’ Mashiloane, Blake Hellaby and Siphephelo Ndlovu’s The SN Project; saxophonists Sisonke Xonti, Muhammad Dawjee and Linda Sikhakhane; singer Spha Mdlalose; drummers Ayanda Sikade, Leagan Starchild and Tefo Mahola; and trumpeters Ndabo Zulu and Marcus Wyatt accompanied respectively by Umgidi Ensemble and The ZAR Jazz Orchestra. Together they form part of a vibrant, connected community charting new sonic territory that speaks to today’s troubled times while building on the country’s unique and proud jazz history.
Four Flies presents the first Italian 7-inch release of “Non si deve profanare il sonno dei morti” (also known as “The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue” and “Let Sleeping Corpses Lie”), the soundtrack that gave Giuliano Sorgini eternal and worldwide fame as an occult composer \ occult-oriented composer, one who, being perfectly at ease with a certain type of Italian horror cult films, has gradually come to represent the essence, the quintessence of Italian scary music, horror soundtracks.
Strut return to the rich archives of Black Fire Records for the ”Drum Message” album by Ghanaian master percussionist Okyerema Asante from 1977. Featuring members of Oneness Of Juju and Brian Jackson on piano.
The Override Switch combines the talent of two Detroit natives: Jeff Mills and Rafael Leafar. The latter is a multi-instrumentalist with a strong affiliation to jazz music. Through Mike Banks, he was introduced to Jeff Mills, where the idea for “The Override Switch” began to manifest. “The Override Switch” gives control back to the musicians. Unrestrained and unshackled by the semiotics placed by conventional dance music, it looks to a frontier beyond what is conditioned by genre. By infusing the mercurial elements of jazz, it gives electronic instruments the avenue that it always had the potential to travel down; as an unrestrictive genre, exploring the boundless possibilities in which it is capable. It looks to innovation and transcends what has come before; it is a switch in a practical sense, overlooking its past before switching to the future. The album is a homage to artists like John Coltrane, J Dilla, Kraftwerk and those who inspire experimentation with what can be evoked through music.
7 piece instrumental soul group from Melbourne, Australia featuring members from Karate Boogaloo, Surprise Chef and Saskwatch. Produced by Henry Jenkins, the recording mind behind Surprise Chef and Karate Boogaloo, Waiting Room moves deftly through moments of fuzzed-out psychedelia, dusty deep soul backbeat and incendiary minor key funk.
Getatchew Mekurya is probably the most revered veteran of Ethiopian saxophone. A real giant, both physically and musically. Not only is he at the very top level of Ethiopian saxophonists, but he is the ‘inventor’ of an extremely distinctive musical ‘style.’
Alèmayèhu Eshèté is no less than one of the great voices of the heyday of modern Ethiopian music, the swinging sixties which, in this country, went on until the fall of the Emperor Haile Sellassie 1 in 1974. On a par with Tlahoun Gèssèssè, Bzunèsh Bèqèlè or Mahmoud Ahmed, Alèmayèhu is a star at the top level of the constellation that once lit up the wild nights in the capital.
Amateur Dramatics is Awkward Corners AKA Chris Menist’s second LP in the space of a year. In 2020 – a time when the global pandemic gave artists more time and space to think about their music – Chris took his collaborations and compositions to a different level. Having already collaborated remotely with Sarathy Korwar, as well as Kitty Whitelaw through Karthik from Flamingods’ Isolate/Create/Collaborate community, Chris turned his thoughts towards a new project. Amateur Dramatics is influenced by the events of early 2021 and alludes to the general atmosphere of political life in the UK right now where we are chivvied along by people who seem woefully unqualified to be commanding authority. Musically, the LP builds on foundations of the meditative, devotional electronic aspects of previous LP Dislocation Songs but this time frames it more in a jazz context with significant collaborations with Collocutor and Maisha’s Tamar Osborn on four tracks.Vocals (from Kitty Whitelaw) feature on an Awkward Corners track for the first time, as well as double bass provided by David Leahy.The result is a thoughtful and deep listening 40 minute listening experience.
Psycho Banda is the eighth release of Rue du Nord, a Lausanne-based ensemble active since the year 2000. Navigating between psychedelic rock, progressive free fanfare and trippy, repetitive electronic music, the piece extends over 30 minutes, focusing on the ensemble’s obsessive riffs and collective energy.
Strut presents the first full international release for another lost classic from the Black Fire Records archives, ‘Southern Energy’, the only album recorded by R’n’B and jazz collective Southern Energy Ensemble in 1977.
Research Records indicate their inclination for cosmic instrumentation and kraut pervaded polyrhythms once again with an introduction to newcomer Glass Beams. Recorded at the beginning of 2020, Mirage is the first release from the artist, issuing four compositions that lend from a profusion of sounds and influences.
Strut present the definitive edition of Sun Ra’s classic ‘Lanquidity’ album from 1978 with brand new 4LP box set and 2CD editions, featuring the widely distributed version of the album alongside alternative mixes by Bob Blank originally released in limited quantities for a 1978 Arkestra gig at Georgia Tech. Recorded overnight at Bob Bank’s Blank Tapes on 17th July 1978 after the Arkestra had appeared on Saturday Night Live, the album is unique in the Ra catalogue. “Most critics felt that it was more of a fusion-inspired record,” explains Michael Ray. “As the name suggests, the album is liquid and languid.” Bob Blank continues, “Musically, it was very ad hoc and freeform. There were horn charts but most tracks came out of improvised jams. Sun Ra just did his thing.” Comprising five effortlessly fluid pieces, the album eases in with Lanquidity. Danny Ray Thompson remembers, “This was one of Sun Ra’s on-the-spot compositions. It is almost like an Ancient Egyptian Stargazing Ceremony, mapping out the stars and the planets.” Where Pathways Meet is “Sun Ra’s funky version of an Egyptian march. Pharaoh is sending his troops off to fight and this is his pep-talk!” continues Thompson. “The music seems to take different pathways but still converges.” The loping groove of That’s How I Feel, features the reflective trumpet lines of Eddie Gale with solos by John Gilmore and Marshall Allen: “Marshall comes in with that snake charming oboe.” Says Thompson. The funky Twin Stars Of Thence weaves around Richard Williams celebrated elastic bassline while the haunting closer, There Are Other Worlds (They Have Not Told You Of), is pure “space music.” The poet Mama Nzinga described it as ‘The essence of light. Spirit takes a ride inside the deep dark space of just being.”
Axis Records presents the latest release from the heterogeneous Raffaele Attanasio. The multifaceted Italian has delivered an eclectic sound over the years, from devious techno to melodious rhythmic beats. Attanasio delivers a jazz-tinged, angular, progressive and championing album by coalescing influential factors: a musician father, a multifarious palate in music, and prowess as a multi-instrumentalist. “Nuovo Futuro” is creating a new future by travelling to the past. Digging into the Zeitgeist of Naples post-second world war, Attanasio extrapolates the sound to present day, combining modern flair with an enriched sound. The influence of American blues and jazz is felt in his hometown, celebrating the lore of Neapolitan musicians through the track ‘Parlesia’. The history comes to life through these compositions, influenced by 70s spaghetti films and rich Italian exuberance. Ardour, lust and avidity ensnare the listener in ‘Indagini Sospette’. This album is a journey through the streets where he grew up, but also, encapsulates a wandering mind, meandering into the harmonious Mediterranean under the watchful eye of Mount Vesuvius. ‘Equilibrio Dinamico’ is a snapshot of the working mind of Attanasio, balancing the impromptu of jazz with a gentle caress of his honed craft. Melodies are soft, smooth, progressive and fulminating the constraints of contemporary music. It emanates a renaissance for a sound that Axis is espousing in their releases.
Wildflower, the project comprising Idris Rahman, Leon Brichard and Tom Skinner, continues its journey with the third release Better Times, setting ahead with a deep, relentless and unique sound, constantly evolving and effortlessly hitting the aim. The beauty of Blue, Yellow, Green and Red, recorded in London in 2019, lies in the openness to form and structure these tunes, whilst a sense of groove and melodic development is maintained throughout. The confidence and versatility of the musicians is key, and so is the interaction between them, characterising a natural flow of unfolding musical ideas and embracing a New York musically care-free ethic, without having to wear their combined influences on their sleeves. Each song has a colour reference suggestive of mood tone and internal balance, enabling the audience to concur that Wildflower is not just a band, it is as ever an experience and one that allows its listeners to emerge and engage in a time where a perfect fusion of global sounds and jazz exists as a remedy, one you can feel and enjoy the benefits from everyday. Better Times by Wildflower is the debut release on Tropic of Love Music.
First Word Records presents a brand new album from Kaidi Tatham. On ‘An Insight To All Minds’, Kaidi says it’s ”not about a destination, but a process. It’s about how you drive, not where you’re going. Nothing in this world can torment you as much as your own thoughts… We are all going through it. We can all feel what the next person is feeling, believe it or not. It’s learning how to tap into it”. The album is comprised of an assortment of Kaidi’s unique flavours – uptempo jazz-funk bruk, laced with rhodes, flutes, live bass and delicious percussion. Using that blueprint he moves effortlessly through latin and samba, half-step, deep afro house and a sprinkle of curveballs, all presented in Kaidi’s inimitable way.