• VF Mix 154: Joe Zawinul by People Plus

    By | November 8, 2018

    The game-changing Miles Davis collaborator and Weather report founder.

    Austrian keyboardist and composer Joe Zawinul began his career collaborating with legendary musicians like Miles Davis and Art Blakey, before forming pioneering fusion group Weather Report. To take on the work of this innovative musician are People Plus, aka CZ Wang and Joli B, on the heels of their new EP Olympus Mons released via Anthony Naples’ Incienso:

    “”For me music is not notes, not chords, for me music is atmosphere, and what you bring to it is your own life.” Kicking off our mix are these words of Joe Zawinul, and we agree with him. Music is so innate within the human spirit that it evokes feeling without demanding comprehension. This mix focuses on the ’70s and ’80s, when Joe started phreaking synthesisers and samplers, and really started pushing the soundscape of jazz.

    Truth be told, often his improvisation can get a bit out of control for our taste. When he gets it just right, it’s a striking equilibrium of a groove you can feel and an insane level of sophistication. We’ve done our best to compile those moments into this mix.

    In assembling this collection, we offer a brief trip, through the lens of People Plus, into Zawinul’s sonic environment. We had to include Miles Davis, whose catalogue contained so many Zawinul compositions, as well a rare Respuesta Alternativa new wave cover of ‘Birdland’, which was only released on cassette in ’87 in Spain. Other tracks are more well known (‘River People’), some are underground classics (‘Harvest’), and some are often overlooked (‘Badia’, ‘Double Image’). For various reasons Zawinul doesn’t get as much credit as his colleagues, even those in Weather Report. This mix was an opportunity for us to pull together the recordings from his disparate catalogue that inspired us most, and to briefly trace his influence.”

    Check out the track list below.


    Tracklist

    1. Weather Report – Milky Way
    2. Weather Report – Adios
    3. Weather Report – Scarlet Woman
    4. Weather Report – The Orphan
    5. Weather Report – Badia (Tale Spinnin’)
    6. Weather Report – Indiscretions
    7. Weather Report – River People
    8. Weather Report – Herandnu
    9. Weather Report – Tears
    10. Joe Zawinul – The Great Empire
    11. Weather Report – Domino Theory
    12. Joe Zawinul – The Harvest (Love Dancing edit)
    13. Joe Zawinul – Waiting For The Rain (Radio edit)
    14. Respuesta Alternativa – Birdland
    15. Weather Report – Elegant People
    16. Weather Report – Young & Fine
    17. A Tribe Called Quest – Butter
    18. Miles Davis – Gemini / Double Image
    19. Cannonball Adderley – Country Preacher
    20. Joe Zawinul – His Last Journey

    People Plus’ Olympus Mons is out now on Incienso.

  • VF Mix 152: Hugh Masekela by Esa

    By | October 4, 2018

    A tribute to the father of South African jazz.

    Legendary trumpeter Hugh Masekela first came to fame in 1959 as a member of the Jazz Epistles, the first African jazz collective to record a full length studio album.

    During the course of his prolific 60 year career, he released 49 studio albums including seminal track ‘Afro Beat Blues’ and 1984 Techno Bush LP, collaborated with artists including Paul Simon, Letta Mbulu, and Herb Albert, alongside active social outreach music initiatives. Masekela is also well-known for his anti-Apartheid song ‘Soweto Blues’, recorded in the wake of the 1976 Soweto riots and sung with then wife Miriam Makeba.

    To take on the music of Masekela is South African producer Esa, as he becomes the new resident DJ at Phonox on Saturday nights.

    Listen to the mix, find out why Esa chose Masekela and check out the track list below:

    “This is very special mix featuring a selection of my favourite tracks by bra Hugh from the 1960s through the 1980s. (It was really hard to select them as I love all of his music.) The mix is a journey of young Hugh leaving South Africa in the 1960s to the UK in exile, to study at Guildhall School of Music for a few months to later connect and marry Mariam Makeba in New York.

    Travelling to America to further his knowledge at Manhattan School of music seemed like the natural decision as bra Hugh was heavily inspired by artists including Mile Davis and Duke Ellington and collaborated with Herb Alpert, Letta Mbulu, and Paul Simon amongst others. Here I pay tribute to one of South Africa’s true icons, a legend with many stories to tell, whose music will live on forever, rest in peace bra Hugh.”

    Tracklist:

    1. Hugh Masekela – Jungle Jim
    2. Hugh Masekela – Kaa Ye Oya
    3. Hugh Masekela – You Keep Me Hanging On (Interpretation)
    4. Hugh Masekela – Mahlalela
    5. Hugh Masekela – Moonza
    6. Hugh Masekela – Witch Doctor (Feat. Baranta & Miatta Fahinbulleh)
    7. Hugh Masekela – Ahvuomo
    8. Hugh Masekela – Night In Tunisia
    9. Hugh Masekela – Don’t Go Lose It Baby (Dub Mix)
    10. Esa – Bra Hugh
    11. Hugh Masekela – Don’t Go Lose It Baby (Esa VIP Edit)


    Catch Esa at Phonox every Saturday starting from 6th October.

  • VF Mix 151: Roni Size & Reprazent by Ishmael Ensemble

    By | September 6, 2018

    The sounds of a drum and bass legend.

    Bristol-born producer and DJ Roni Size first came into the mainstream’s waiting consciousness as the founder of drum and bass crew Reprazent, in 1997 with the album New Forms. A Mercury Prize soon followed, which not only saw their music reaching wider audiences, but also lead to collaborations across genres with artists including Method Man, Zach La Rocha and Jocelyn Brown.

    To take on the world of the drum and bass pioneer is Ishmael Ensemble founder, and fellow Bristolian, Pete Cunningham. Listen to the mix, and find out why Cunningham selected Roni Size below.

    “I grew up 12 miles south of Bristol. Like most country bumpkins, I cut my teeth DJing at free parties and listening to drum and bass cassettes, passed down by the handful of senior junglists in the village. By the time I was 14, my parents’ attic had become a bit of a youth club, filled to the brim with sofas and speakers. My older brother had persuaded me to combine our Christmas presents one year to get a pair of decks, which further solidified our house as the go-to place for the areas budding DJs and MCs.

    “One night, some of the older guys left a stack of their jungle, and hardcore records at ours. So I stuck my nose in. Among them were tunes by the Reprazent gang: Roni Size, DJ Die, Krust & DJ Suv as well as their debut album New Forms. I remember being blown away by the complexity and originality of the music, far more nuanced than the tear-out drum and bass I’d been playing and buying up until that point. This handful of records became a gateway into a whole world of electronic music I’d previously been stubborn & naive towards.

    “I soon went about digging into the archives and lapping up as much of the history as I could. This mix is a snapshot of that particularly fertile period in Bristol’s music history, spearheaded by a group of artists that cultivated and nurtured a sound that inspired myself and many others to move to the city.”

    Ishmael Ensemble’s Severn Songs 2 is out 26th October.

    Tracklist

    1. Roni Size & Reprazent – Share The Fall
    2. Roni Size & Reprazent – Brown Paper Bag
    3. DJ Die – Stoned Groove
    4. Roni Size – Fashion
    5. DJ Krust – Memories
    6. Roni Size & Dj Die – All The Crews Big Up
    7. Roni Size & Reprazent – Heroes
    8. Roni Size & DJ Die – Music Box
    9. Roni Size – It’s A Jazz Thing
    10. Roni Size & Reprazent – Matter Of Fact
    11. Roni Size – The Calling (Goldie Remix)
    12. Goldie – Inner City Life (Roni Size & Dj Krust Remix)

  • VF Mix 150: Jon Hassell by Michal Turtle

    By | August 30, 2018

    “Discovering Possible Musics and Dream Theory in Malaya changed everything for me.”

    Unlike Fourth World pioneer and one of ambient music’s heavyweights Jon Hassell, Michal Turtle may require some introduction. Familiar to fans of Dutch reissue label Music From Memory, who released a collection of his ’80s works on a 2017 compilation Phantoms of Dreamland, Michal Turtle grew up in South London, where, at the age of 22, he set up a four track studio in parents’ home and began recording.

    The resulting synthesiser experiments and improvised analogue jams would become Music From The Living Room, the overlooked 1983 album that would lend several tracks to Phantoms of Dreamland. Continuing to work in music, whether as a jazz musician or writing musicals for horses, Turtle has returned 35 years on, with a new suite entitled Middle of the Road Less Travelled.

    To mark the release, Turtle turned to one of his main inspirations, Jon Hassell. You can listen to the mix and read a short interview with Turtle below.


    How has Jon Hassell influenced your work?

    Discovering Possible Musics and then Dream Theory in Malaya when I was in my early 20s changed everything for me. I was working with some guys (Tim who co-wrote ‘Are You Psychic?’ was one of them, and Lucianne – Phantoms of Dreamland was another) and we were always discovering and exchanging interesting music, as well as making our own. I had already started working with the 4-track machine, noodling around with synths and whatever I could lay my hands on, when this new world of possibilities suddenly appeared.

    Who else have you looked to for inspiration over the years?

    The music I was involved with at this time (we were collectively known as The Duplicates) was already treading its tentative footsteps along this road, and getting to know these two albums, and others from around this time pushed us all to new places of discovery. Other artists whose work influenced us were Holger Czukay (Movies and On the Way to the Peak of Normal) Brian Eno, of course, also around this time, David Byrne’s non-Talking Heads stuff, Robert Fripp, as well as countless obscure one-off projects. Soon after this early period, samplers became available, and this again changed the way we all made music.

    What continues to attract you to using analogue hardware as opposed to digital systems?

    When I started doing all of this, analogue was the only possibility. A 4-track was the only realistic option for a poor student type. There were no loops, and no samples. Any voices you heard were just recorded on tape, and anything that might have sounded like a sample was either played in real time, spun off tape, recorded on tiny 2 1/2 second cassette loops, or treated with a pitch shifting echo machine.

    Over the years, elements in my collection of synths have come and gone, and much of my set-up today is virtual. I still use an old Alpha Juno 2 and a Wasp synth on new music I make, as well as lots of live percussion, and as always, “whatever I can get my hands on”. With percussion tracks, I tend to play complete tracks rather than loop a couple of bars. Synth bass lines are also played from beginning to end (when we did ‘Are You Psychic?’ this was the only possibility) I tend to use a drum loop when starting on a track, which will get dropped in the final version.

    How do you feel your music has progressed since that which was collected on Phantoms Of Dreamland?

    After doing the original record in 1983, which was basically ignored at the time, I went more “commercial” playing with bands, and eventually touring Europe, which is the reason I ended up living in Switzerland. Here I have been working as a producer, and musician, playing quite a lot of jazz and even country music.

    I created a pop band in the mid 2000s, which released three CDs and two online albums. I also wrote the score for a musical with horses and I have produced almost 30 albums for various artists.

    Mix Tracklist:

    1. Jon Hassell – live track
    2. Jon Hassell – Ba-Benzele
    3. Holger Czukay – On the Way to the Peak of Normal
    4. Jon Hassell – Empire iii
    5. Jon Hassell – Toucan Ocean
    6. Holger Czukay – Ode to Perfume
    7. Jon Hassell – Gift of Fire
    8. Blurt – Tube Plane
    9. Jon Hassell – Charm
    10. Jon Hassell – Paris 1
    11. Holger Czukay – Persian Love

  • VF Mix 149: Discomagic by Free Love

    By | August 23, 2018

    An introduction to one of the largest italo disco labels.

    Founded by Severo Lombardoni in 1982, Discomagic was responsible for thousands of recordings released under hundreds of sub-labels that defined the genre’s irreverently kitsch sheen, from the early ’80s until the mid-’90s.

    Formerly known as Happy Meals (whose 2014 album Ápero on Night School made our top 100 records of the year), kosmische musik-indebted Glasgow duo Suzanne Roden and Lewis Cook have returned as Free Love, with the seductive Euro disco-influenced single ‘Pushing Too Hard’.

    To mark their return, Roden and Cook have braved the vast discography of the italo behemoth Discomagic for VF Mix 149, finding kinship in the label’s shape-shifting polynyms and glitterbeat nightcrawlers.

    Listen to the mix and read their introduction below.


    “One of my friends introduced me to the Discomagic back catalogue a while ago and, while I was already familiar with a lot of the tracks, it blew my mind that so many of these records were connected by this golden thread – literally hundreds of sub-labels and artistic pseudonyms spanning decades starting in the early days of Italo-disco taking it right through to ’90s trance and Eurobeat. There have been a lot great releases over the years the years, but I think the golden era of the label has to be the ’80s, when some of the best Italo records were associated with the label in one way or another. I love how elusive and productive the artists involved with this music seem to be – often dropping one record under one name and then never coming back to it, only to release another under a different name very quickly after it.

    “The volume of music is astounding so we tried our best to pick out some our favourites and avoiding some of the immediately obvious choices (Mr. Flagio – ‘Take A Chance’) but gave in a couple of times (Ryan Paris – ‘Dolce Vita’)! Playing these tracks out on dance floors and feeling the NRG of a room escalate and bubble has been a massive influence on us. Although often sadly considered disposable, these productions stand tall, masterful and quite pleasingly oddball on a big sound system.”

    Tracklist:

    Faber DJ – For Your Love
    Savage – Don’t Cry Tonight
    P Lion – Happy Children
    Miko Mission – How Old Are You
    Miko Mission – Why Why (Space Version)
    Bo Boy – Why Why Is Me
    Dharma – Plastic Doll
    Jerry Moon – Over and Over
    Helen – Witch
    City O – The Rose OF Tokyo
    Ryan Paris – Dolce Vita
    Marx & Spencer – Stay
    Stoop – I’m Hungry
    City Centre – Profondo Rosso

  • VF Mix 145: R. D. Burman by Rejoicer

    By | July 26, 2018

    Stones Throw’s latest recruit gets into the music of the influential Bollywood composer and director.

    Inspired by a series of lucid dreams, Rejoicer aka Yuvi Havkin’s debut album Energy Dreams twists melodic, spaced-out psychedelia around jazz roots.

    “I wanted to create an atmosphere of freedom; of walking in unfamiliar territories while still feeling at home and at ease,” he describes, hinting at the cinematic quality of his music. “There’s a huge musical world in my head that I hadn’t expressed or explained, and I decided to try tap into that world of sounds.”

    Therefore, we were delighted when he put forward Bollywood legend, composer and director R. D. Burman for this mix, tripping out on a selection of atmospheric soundtracks and future samples.

    Working between the ’60s and the ’90s in the Hindi music industry, Burman scored over 331 films, collaborating with the likes of Asha Bhosle, with whom he was married, and was widely celebrated for revolutionising the Bollywood soundtrack form by introducing electronic, rock and disco elements with more traditional Bengali folk music.

    Over to Yuvi for a few words and the tracklist.


    “In 2004, I was 19 and travelled to India with my girlfriend. We had a very psychedelic and emotional few months there. It was definitely life changing.

    “A few weeks later I was strolling in Tel Aviv, where I found dozens of Bollywood soundtracks on vinyl and bought them all from the local store. The name R. D. Burman was on all the best ones – super melodic, groovy and with mind-blowing orchestration. I sampled these records for my very early hip-hop beats under the Guadalooop moniker and still find mad samples on records I’ve know for 15 years.

    “I guess I’ve bought every Burman record I’ve seen since, and touring in last few years in India (with Buttering Trio) I’ve found more beautiful and fun albums.”

    Tracklist:

    1. Intro
    2. Kisi Ke Vaade Pe Kyon Etabar Hamne Kiya
    3. Meri Nazar Hai Tujhpe
    4. Koi Mar Jaye
    5. Kuchh Log
    6. Wah Re Naujawan Aajkal Ke
    7. Pal Do Pal
    8. Dukh Sukh Ki
    9. Hamen Tumse Pyar Kitna pt.2
    10. Nachan Nahin
    11. Ae Aasman Bata
    12. Kholina
    13. Rejoicer – Burman Love
    14. Hamen Tumse Pyar Kitna pt. 1
    15. Buttering Trio – Star Shroom (Oh No Remix)
    16. Guru Vanda
    17. Guadaloop – Difficult Cut
    18. Koi Koi

  • VF Mix 144: Siouxsie and the Banshees by Veronica Vasicka

    By | July 19, 2018

    Spellbound sounds.

    Originally founded by Siouxsie Sioux and Steven Severin in London, Siouxsie and the Banshees released 11 albums and 30 singles during the course of their 20 year career.

    Led by Sioux’s haunting vocals and Severin’s futuristic bass stylings, the group pioneered punk music, while also traversing into electronic realms. As such they’ve influenced artists ranging from Joy Division and PJ Harvey to Radiohead and LCD Soundsystem along the way.

    Ahead of her performance at Dekmantel Festival this year, we tapped NYC’s Veronica Vasicka to take on their prolific canon. Whether via her website and label Minimal Wave, as a founding member of East Village Radio, or through her DJ sets, Vasicka has spent over a decade sharing obscure and forgotten gems from across the cold wave, post-punk, industrial and synth-pop spectrum.

    Listen to the mix, find out why Vasicka chose Siouxsie and the Banshees, and check out the track list below:

    “As a young girl growing up in New York City, Siouxsie Sioux meant more to me than just music. She had the outsider mentality that I identified with, yet was still unmistakably feminine in a male-dominated scene. She not only held her own within this scene, her creative power and smouldering beauty translated perfectly into her music, which was rich, dark, multi-layered and exotic.

    With her main partners in crime, Budgie and Steve Severin, the Banshees created a musical landscape that to this day remains unrivalled. This mix is dedicated to my friend and inspiration Echo Danon.”

    Tracklist

    1. Something Blue – ‘The Passenger (Loco-Motion Mix)’ 12″
    2. Overground – The Scream  LP
    3. Clockface – Kaleidoscope LP
    4. Christine – Kaleidoscope LP
    5. Tattoo – Dear Prudence 7″
    6. Mittageisen – The Scream LP
    7. Peek-A-Boo – ‘Peek-A-Boo’ 7″
    8. Congo Conga – ‘Arabian Knights’ 7″
    9. Israel – ‘Israel’ 7″
    10. Pulled To Bits (Live At Royal Albert Hall) – Nocturne LP
    11. Red Light – Kaleidoscope LP
    12. Switch – The Scream LP
    13. Spellbound – Juju LP
    14. Monitor – Juju LP
    15. Sin In My Heart – Juju LP
    16. The Passenger – Through The Looking Glass LP
    17. Arabian Nights – ‘Arabian Knights’ 7″
    18. Swimming Horses – ‘Swimming Horses’ 7″
    19. Night Shift – Juju LP
    20. Happy House – Kaleidoscope LP
    21. Cities In Dust – ‘Cities in Dust’ 7″
    22. Slowdive – A Kiss In The Dreamhouse LP
    23. Painted Bird – A Kiss In The Dreamhouse LP
    24. Nicotine Stain – The Scream LP
    25. Hong Kong Garden – ‘Hong Kong Garden’ 7″
    26. Dear Prudence – ‘Dear Prudence’ 7″
    27. Red Over White – ‘Israel’ 7″
    28. Overground – ‘The Thorn’ 12″
    29. Voices – ‘The Thorn’ 12″
    30. Kiss Them For Me – Superstition LP


    Veronica Vasicka plays Dekmantel Festival 2018 on Sunday 5th August, at the UFO Stage with Regis.

  • VF Mix 143: Colin Stetson by Resina

    By | July 12, 2018

    An introduction to the indomitable avant-garde saxophonist, Arcade Fire collaborator and Aphex Twin enthusiast.

    Polish cellist Resina and saxophonist Colin Stetson may play radically different instruments, but in their approach to layering sound, constructing sonic cathedrals with repetition and drone, is a kindred spirit.

    On her sophomore recording Traces, released by Fat Cat’s 130701 imprint this month, Resina pushes beyond the fragile movements of her self-titled debut to expose the harsher, more elemental registers of the cello, just as Stetson explores the full spectrum of the saxophone, from breathy overtones to its most guttural vibrations.

    To mark her release, and with Stetson’s soundtrack to Hereditary (following last year’s brilliant All This I Do For Glory) out now, Resina has summoned 45 minutes of Stetson’s work for a high-decibel mix that you can listen to below.


    “A few years ago, when I was seriously wondering if there was any sense to make an album dedicated to a solo, acoustic instrument in the 2000s, out of the blue I ran into Colin Stetson’s second solo album, New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges.

    “I didn’t know that Colin was playing with Arcade Fire, and recording with Tom Waits, and I wasn’t even a fan of the saxophone, to be honest. That album was just a total surprise, which left me speechless, and in no doubt that it was worthwhile to try and work on finding my own unique, personal musical language.”

    Tracklist:

    1. In Mirrors – New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light (Constellation)
    2. Mothers & Daughters – Hereditary OST (Milan)
    3. To See More Light New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light (Constellation)
    4. Our Heartbreak Perfect – New History Warfare, Volume 1 (Aagoo)
    5. At God’s Doorstep – Outlaws and Angels OST (Innovative Leisure)
    6. Reborn – Hereditary OST (Milan)
    7. Groundswell – New History Warfare, Volume 1 (Aagoo)
    8. Tiger Tiger Crane – New History Warfare, Volume 1 (Aagoo)
    9. Things You Can Do – Retrun To Cookie Mountain (with TV on the Radio) (Interscope)
    10. Never Were The Way She Was – Never Were The Way She Was (with Sarah Neufeld) (Constellation)
    11. The Rain Like Curses (Adult Swim Singles)
    12. And Still They Move – Never Were The Way She Was (with Sarah Neufeld) (Constellation)
    13. Joanie – Hereditary OST (Milan)
    14. As A Bird Or Branch – New History Warfare, Volume 1 (Aagoo)

  • VF Mix 142: Guru by Grant

    By | July 5, 2018

    Down the backstreets with the producer and MC who changed the sound of hip-hop forever.

    Keith Edward Elam, better known as Guru, first came to fame as a one-half of pioneering duo Gang Starr. During their international ascent, Guru also launched his game-changing collaborative project Jazzmatazz, which fused jazz with hip-hop like never before.

    Paying tribute to the hip-hop heavyweight is Marseille-based producer and Lobster Theremin associate Grant, who released his latest, white-label EP Grant004 earlier this year.

    Listen to the mix, find out why Grant chose Guru and check out the track list below:

    “Guru, via all of his different projects and aliases – solo under his own name, for his Jazzmatazz series or under his superstar duo Gang Starr with DJ Premiere – is one of my favourite artists of all time.

    His singular voice, tone and flow are unmatched in the hip-hop world, and went on to inspire so many other artists across the scene, and music in general.

    He left such a massive footprint in the mid-nineties for quality, to this day this music still stands the test of time, and he is sorely missed. RIP Keith Edward Elam.”

    Tracklist

    1. Guru & MC Solaar – Le Bien Le Mal
    2. Gang Starr – Just To Get A Rep
    3. Guru – Trust Me (CJ Radio Edit)
    4. Gang Starr – Skills
    5. Guru – Jazzmatazz – Down The Backstreets
    6. Donald Byrd / Guru – Loungin’ (Smash Instrumetal)
    7. Gang Starr – Gusto
    8. Guru – Respect The Architect (Buckwild Remix)
    9. Gang Starr – You Know My Steez
    10. Guru – Whos There feat. Les Nubians
    11. Gang Starr – Gotta Get Over (Taking Loot)
    12. Gang Starr – Step in the Arena
    13. Gang Starr – Code Of The Streets
    14. Gang Starr – Royalty(Best Quality)
    15. Gang Starr – No More Mr. Nice Guy
    16. Gang Starr – Mass Appeal


    Grant004 is out now.

  • VF Mix 141: ECM by Arp

    By | June 28, 2018

    Art jazz, cosmic new age, ambient and minimalism from a catalogue of over 1,500 records.

    American producer and multi-instrumentalist Alexis Georgopoulos aka Arp’s new album Zebra is deceptively simple. A sumptuous tapestry of Fourth World, Japanese ambience, new age exotica and wiggy cosmic riffs, viewed through jazz-tinted glasses, it’s no surprise that the esoteric ECM label is a reference point.

    With over 1,500 releases to choose from, putting together a 2-hour introduction to the influential imprint is no mean feat. Spanning an incredible breadth of music, from British jazz adventurers Azimuth, to Fourth World pioneer Jon Hassel and avant-garde trumpet player Don Cherry, you can listen to the mix and read Georgopoulos’ introduction below.


    “Digging for records, it’s almost impossible to not come across ECM LPs. In a sea of beard-rock and disco glitter, you can’t not notice when an ECM sleeve thumbs into view. There’s an air of … stillness about them. They have the whiff of new age but the aesthetic is distinctly European — a single photograph, floating in a large frame, minimal text, like if Windham Hill was designed by Peter Saville. Without fail, the atmosphere is moody, distant, dreamlike. ECM impresario Manfred Eicher likes to convey the idea you’re holding something ‘significant’ in your hands.

    I was in awe of the artwork long before I was able to wrap my head around the music’s scope. I mean, they’ve released over 1,500 records! The first records I heard were from the NEW SERIES branch, their avant-garde classical umbrella — Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians, Meredith Monk, and Arvo Pärt’s Fratres. Pretty transformative stuff. It’s hard to just go on playing barre chords on your guitar after you hear that stuff.

    Though those are some of the most iconic ECM records, in a way, they’re kind of peripheral to the label’s overarching aesthetic, which is a very specific kind of high-brow, improvised European “art jazz”. A kind that is incredibly well-recorded and – for better or worse – often appeals to a 60-year old man with an incredible hi-fi system. Don’t let that deter you though! When it works, the vibe — hushed, soundtrack-esque, meditative, academic, drawing on folk/world music, cosmic new age, ambient, minimalism — can be incredible. When it doesn’t, the pristine recording and the dated sax/guitar solos can be cloyingly smooth. But, you know, digging for diamonds in the rough is part of the fun, right?

    Making a definitive ECM mix is next to impossible, and decidedly subjective. Even with this two-hour mix, there are so many incredible tracks I had to leave off. I tried to steer clear of the label’s most iconic tracks — though I couldn’t resist including John Abercrombie’s ‘Timeless’ and the Metheny track. For the most part though, I focused ’70s and ’80s stuff, and it being summer — what I think of as ‘the balearic stuff’. A lot of MFM’s Outro Tempo reminds me of ECM’s Brazilian records — Egberto Gismonti and Naná Vasconcelos, in particular — so maybe people who liked that will connect with this. I like ECM best when the tracks have a strangeness to them. When it’s best, the music, like the cover art, situates the listener as though they’re comfortably alone in a great, big world, a world so incredibly rich and vast and complex, it’s staggering. In a good way.”

    Tracklist:

    Egberto Gismonti & Naná Vasconcelos – Dança Das Cabeças (1977)
    Azimuth – Azimuth (1977)
    Bennie Maupin – Ensenada (1974)
    Jon Hassell – Miracle Steps (1986)
    Barre Phillips – Mountainscape 5 (1976)
    Egberto Gismonti & Naná Vasconcelos – Fogueira (1985)
    Eberhard Weber – T. On A White Horse (1976)
    Jack DeJohnette – Picture 1 (1977)
    John Abercrombie, Jan Hammer & Jack DeJohnette – Timeless (1975)
    Don Cherry & Collin Walcott – Grazing Dreams (1977)
    Naná Vasconcelos – Ondas (Na Óhlos De Petronila) (1980)
    Tom van der Geld – Small Mountain (1986)
    Eberhard Weber – The Colors of Chloe (1974)
    Miroslav Vitous, Terje Rypdal & Jack DeJohnette – Maya (1981)
    Ralph Towner & John Abercrombie – Fables (1976)
    Codona (Collin Walcott, Don Cherry & Nana Vasconcelos) – Lullaby (1983)
    Pat Metheny – Sueno con Mexico (1979)

  • VF Mix 140: Good Looking Records by Tenderlonious

    By | June 14, 2018

    A personal journey into LTJ Bukem’s drum and bass label, from the man they rejected in 2001.

    Back when he was at school in the ’90s, Ed Cawthorne used to scribble ‘LTJ Bukem’ and ‘Blame’ all over his homework. Drawn to the jazzy breaks and sci-fi jungle sound of Good Looking Records, he sent Bukem his first demo recording in 2001, only to be let down gently. “The material you sent in unfortunately wasn’t quite right for Good Looking,” read the note, “Unfortunately, no one can tell you how to make drum and bass, or any other music for that matter, it’s just a matter of practice, practice, practice!”

    As he described to us vividly in an interview last year, Tenderlonious has never relied too heavily on fortune. And while his Good Looking aspirations were never realised, the advice wasn’t wasted. A producer and jazz musician, who is practically self-taught on the saxophone and flute, Tenderlonious is on the verge of releasing The Shakedown, his debut album proper, recorded in 8 hours at Abbey Road with the family of roots vagabonds otherwise known as the 22archestra he’s gathered around the label.

    As influenced by Good Looking and Bukem as he is by Yusef Lateef, Tenderlonious has revisited his early obsession for this personal mix. Listen in and check out the infamous letter below.


    “This selection of records showcases my early influences and the kind of sound I was feeling in the late ’90s/early ’00s. Good Looking Records helped open my eyes to music; it was my first point of reference when I starting making my own tunes. Producers like LTJ Bukem, Blame, Peshay and PHD were a big influence, as was my early mentor Equinox (s/o Scientific Wax!)

    “The letter below was a response from Good Looking Records after I sent out my first demo tape in 2001 – it serves as a constant reminder to keep pushing and never give up!”

    Tracklist:

    1. Peshay – Vocal Tune
    2. Blame – Revival
    3. Phluff – Trailin’
    4. Chameleon – Links
    5. LTJ Bukem & Peshay – 19.5 (Reprise)
    6. Blame – 360 Click (featuring MC Conrad & DRS)
    7. Seba & Lotek – Universal Music
    8. LTJ Bukem – Sunrain
    9. K-Scope – Outer Mind
    10. PHD – Cyber Genetics
    11. Hierogliphix – Destiny

    Tenderlonious ft. The 22archestra’s The Shakedown is out on 15th June via 22a. He plays Oslo in Haclney on 22nd June. Get your tickets here.

  • VF Mix 139: Polish house by Naphta

    By | June 7, 2018

    An insight into Poland’s disco-infused house scene.

    Producer Naphta has been on our radars for a while now. His LP 7th Expedition was a wild-card in our mid-year rundown back in 2016, and so we were delighted to hear that his latest effort Naphta & The Shamans was due on Astigmatic Records.

    Fusing jazz, psychedelic and North African influences, it’s a record that takes so many left turns it’s hard to know quite where you end up. Much of this eclecticism though is due to Poland’s diverse house music scene, which Naphta has chosen to focus his new mix on.

    Listen in and read Naphta’s intro to the mix below.


    “Polish house music has a lot to offer, whether in specific, disco-infused grooves, its melancholic melodies, or interesting samples from the history of Polish music. My mix is comprised of tracks going back to 2012. Some of the producers from the tracklist changed their names and styles, some moved to other ventures, and the same goes for labels – Transatlantyk went on hiatus, S1 Warsaw, Razzmatazz and KOH-I-NOOR shut down. When I look back, I see a lot of potential and creativity in this music and it’s a shame that this wasn’t exposed to the public as much as it should have been.”

    Tracklist:

    Mutual Attraction – New Horizon (Get The Balance Right!)
    SLG – Varsovia Marimba (STEP)
    Das Komplex – Kaczeńce (Father And Son Records & Tapes)
    La Rambla Perversion (Cuthead/Eltron John) – Cup Of Wine (KOH-I-NOOR)
    Ptaki – Lotnik (People Must Jam)
    The Phantom – Sopot (Transatlantyk)
    Zeppy Zep – Przester (Razzmatazz)
    Jazxing – K.S Gruv (Transatlantyk)
    Old Spice – Pieniądze (The Very Polish Cut Outs)
    Naphta – Claws (Transatlantyk)
    Selvy – Catamaran (Transatlantyk)
    Universo/Kixnare – Amazones (Transatlantyk)
    Astro Buhloone – Forever (Astropical Tapes)
    Matat Professionals – Tippie Eree (S1 Warsaw)
    Lutto Lento – Wild Wishes (FTD Records)
    Chino – Estate (Recognition)
    Eltron John – Bomby (S1 Warsaw)

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