Finland’s finest – and quite possibly only – techno crooner Tenor is backRead more
New album Grotto sets for May 6 release
“I feel as if it’s a continuation of the cave / grotto / troglodyte theme. Full immersion (under water in this case), weight / balance / sound / perspective is slower and easier to process. It was somehow always an underwater song.” says Wilma Archer from the duo.
“Clean Me Clean’ is a continuation/reflection of my love life/situation since the track ‘The Hill’ from our first album Burd. It’s me retrospectively analysing my decisions and choices from that time period after moving on,” adds Vritra.
Grotto is the work of two musicians separated by an ocean but undoubtedly operating on a shared wavelength. One is Will Archer, a Newcastle-born but London-based multi-instrumentalist and composer who today records as Wilma Archer, but who you might also know for his writing and production for artists like Celeste, Nilufer Yanya and Jessie Ware. The other is Hal Donell Williams Jr, aka Vritra – a Los Angeles-based rapper whose tales of graft and grind are often couched in spiritual or cosmic terms. “That’s where my thoughts go at times,” he explains. “Hope, self-belief, self-worth, self-understanding – they are all forms of light, and when they glow bright your mood adjusts accordingly. That mood can attract or repel – same as the stars, same as the planets and their moons.”
Grotto twins Hal’s cosmic visions with equally expansive music. Tracks like ‘One Under’ and ‘Every Evening’ bloom with strings, brass and woodwind, but there’s a spaciousness to the orchestration that brings to mind a figure like Jean-Claude Vannier, the French composer whose music for Serge Gainsbourg brought dramatic strokes, the sense of emotional light and shade. “I wanted to give Hal as much room as he needed vocally, forgoing any kind of vocal hook – instead dedicating a larger portion of the song to instrumental storytelling,” explains Will.
In parallel to Grotto, Will was completing work on his debut solo album A Western Circular, a long-term project that saw the light of day on Domino imprint Weird World last March. Featuring guest spots from the late MF DOOM, Future Islands’ Samuel T Herring, .
After Covid cancellation, festival moves to Trent ParkRead more
Calix – real name Chantal Passamonte – was a close member of Warp’s inner familyRead more
Duo share promo for Leer’s mix of ‘Archbishop Beardmouth at the ChemOlympics’ exclusively hereRead more
It’s action stations this summer for the former Slit and Orb collaborator turned lovers rock singerRead more
The hipster’s favourite – linked to Brixton’s legendary Windmill venue – is backRead more
The London producer unveils impressionist black and white promoRead more
After ‘Lady of the House’ the book comes the eventRead more
The celebrated DJ and radio presenter shares her current hot 10
Celebrated in some elements of the music press as a leading light of a generation of music ‘selectrors’ – rather than ‘producers’ – Moxie is known as much for her residencies on radio – BBC Radio1 and leading online underground station NTS – as for her deep and funky performances behind the decks in person.
As part of Juno Daily’s International Women’s Day celebrations, we asked the London based star to choose her current top 10 plays from the Juno catalogue. To our delight, she said yes….
House heavyweights Boo Williams, Terrence Parker and the late Paul Johnson all on the tracklist
Berlin-based producer and DJ Cinthie has announced that she will be delivering the latest instalment of the DJ-Kicks compilation series for !K7 Records, out on April 1, 2022.
Aside from DJing and production, Cinthie is known for heading up numerous record labels, as well as running the dance music record store, Elevate Berlin. Beginning her career behind the desk of the record shop Saarbrücken near Frankfurt, and as a resident DJ at several Berlin clubs, she has slowly established herself as one of the key figures in Berlin’s house scene. She has released her own music on 803 Crystal Grooves, Aus, Shall Not Fade, and Key Vinyl.
The new DJ-Kicks compilation aims to represent Cinthie’s love for and knowledge of house music, while offering a nuanced representation of the diversity in sound the genre brings, with both international artists and friends featured.
Cinthie said that “DJ-Kicks is a milestone in every artist’s career. When putting my tracklist together, I wanted to make sure to shine a light on my old heroes as well as the new kids in the game.” In her own words, she is “highlighting my absolute fav producers at the moment, most of (whom) I call friends and are working really hard and are very loved and well known, especially in our circle of the music scene. I hope the listeners will enjoy their music as much as I do… From deep to Detroit, from banging to smooth, from jazzy to stomping, from disco to Chicago, from dubby to big room.”
Artists included on the new 24-track compilation include Cinthie’s pioneers and heroes: Boo Williams, Amir Alexander, Terrence Parker, and the late Paul Johnson. Her more close friends and affiliates include women artists such as Amy Dabbs, Logic1000, Lis Sarocca and Anna Wall.
Cinthie’s DJ-Kicks will be released in vinyl and digital formats on April 1st. Pre-order the album here:
Billie Eilish, Kendrick Lamar, Yves Tumor, Nightmares On Wax and hundreds more also on bill
Glastonbury announces its lineup for 2022: Billie Eilish, Kendrick Lamar, Yves Tumor, Nightmares On Wax
Glastonbury Festival has announced its main lineup for 2022.
Featured on the the lineup are Billie Eilish, Paul McCartney, Kendrick Lamar, Diana Ross, Black Midi, Bicep, Angelique Kidjo, Beabadoobee, Charli XCX, Yves Tumor, Cate Le Bon, Big Thief, Clairo, Four Tet, Fontaines D.C., Little Simz and Nightmares On Wax.
Following two cancellations in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will now take place in its usual mid-year juncture (22nd-26th June 2022) at Worthy Farm, Somerset. The locations / stages delegated to each performing artist have yet to be announced.
Additionally, it has been revealed that Glastonbury’s funds this year will be partially used to fund charities including Oxfam, WaterAid, Greenpeace and the Red Cross Ukraine Appeal.
For more information, visit: https://www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk
Our writers pluck the singles they love from the week’s releases
SINGLE OF THE WEEK
Hospital Records mainstay Logistics makes a welcome return to release action after a two-year break, more than making up for his absence with six expressive tracks on the ‘Love Letters’ EP. Matt ‘Logistics’ Gresham emerged way back in the late ’90s as part of a troupe of talented D&B creators based in the unlikely but thoroughly nurturing surroundings of sunny Cambridge, England. Alongside elder brother Nu Tone and the Commix duo, the collective maintained a self-sustaining scene in the university city, propelled and strengthened by their regular Spoonfed nights – as well as the raucous and long-serving Warning events that helped fuel the Cambridge drum & bass fire. Decades later, each of the key players is still thriving in the field, and Logistics continues to light up the ever-compelling Hospital Records roster with his well-formed releases. Exhibiting his trademark melodic flair and harmonic density throughout, ‘Love Letters’ finds Gresham in sparkling form.
The tender harmonies and poignant vocals of the title track ensure it’s just as likely to inspire deep meditation as to trigger rhythmic impulses, with floating melodies gliding across rolling drums over a seductive arrangement. The vigorous tempo and anthemic strings vocal stabs of ‘Vega’ present an obvious standout, powering over drum rolls and infectious organ riffs. Next, the gentle 2 step of ‘Continuation’ flips the script, blurring stylistic boundaries as evocative piano keys combine with honeyed vocals and held-down bass. Zoe Phillips enters the fray with a stirring vocal performance on the crossover contender ‘Secret Satellite’, before Frank H Carter III grasps the baton to belt out his baritone on the no-less radio-friendly ‘Nightingale’. Finally, EP closer ‘Pleasure’ returns to floor-focused realms, with cosmic synths slaloming over propulsive drums as speak and spell vocals echo across the horizon. Varied, compelling, and immaculately produced throughout, ‘Love Letters’ will leave fans hoping they don’t have to wait another two years to hear more from this gifted creator.
If you ever thought Young Echo’s Manonmars and Bogues were confined to slow-mo raps over laconic beats from the likes of O$VMV$M, think again. Breaking away from their usual Bristolian enclave to drop a release on Brighton label Dno, this is still a Young Echo release in all but name. The production comes from core crew members Neek, one half of O$VMV$M, and Ishan Sound, who usually opts for a springy strain of steppas and soundsystem gear. The beats still have a certain woozy, tape-crunched surrealism, but they’re also more forthright, quite possibly at the behest of the MCs.
Across his two outstanding solo albums Manonmars has shaped himself as the ultimate in stoner rap, extolling the virtues of the reefer amidst imaginative flows delivered with a slow, slurry swagger. But on the A side of this release he first takes on a beat from Neek and Ishan which brings out a fiercely kinetic dimension to his style. ‘Cool Runnings’ steps in hard with a crisp, trap-licked riddim sprinkled with 64-bit game tones which echo Mars’ chat about split-screens. But it’s his delivery which snaps your head off, leaning in hard and firing off his words in double-time without stumbling. ‘Nuke The Threat’ with an Ishan production might be a touch murkier with Mars run through effects which emphasise his drawl, but atop the crisp snap of the beat it still feels like a fresh approach.
Bogues joins in on the B side, as he and Mars both get the pitch-warped treatment for a particularly druggy end result. Bogues’ stance on ‘Skinhead Chick’ cuts through as the perfect foil to Mars’ heavy-lidded verse, opting for a style which sounds like rap after the most ruthless elocution lessons. In the context of this pointedly weirdo production, it feels like another arch swerve, but this plummy style actually lands throughout the strength of Bogues’ timing and the sharp cut of the lyrics. That leaves the crew to finalise their claim to the crown with ‘Burning Papers’, perhaps the illest of the cuts on the record capturing something of a more classic hip hop approach, albeit with a freaked-out nightmare beat to roll on.
Just outside the usual labels they lurk around, there is indeed something fresh about the approach from all parties on this record, but the non-conformist spirit is no less than you expect, and the unrelenting skill is a given.
Although his sound has plenty which aligns it with the broader minimal house scene, Tom Ellis operates in his own field. Since the early days of the Trimsound label he ran with Leif, Ellis has exuded an irrepressible sense of groove, nurturing an inherent sound shaped by smoky, augmented chords and shuffling, jazz-informed drums, but never sounding uninspired. His is a subtle approach, wonderfully rendered on relatively recent albums like From The Cabin Above The Clouds and The Colour Red, where live percussion and rhythmic synthesis intertwine in understated ways, and mellifluous notes and keys wrap themselves around dusty samples and vocal snatches without demonstrating any distance between them.
It’s been a little quiet on the release front for Ellis recently, with his last solo EP being A Sense Of Something Else on Swedish label Lyssna Records, but he inaugurates new Chilean label Birds with three tracks which beautifully sum up just what makes his sophisticated approach to house music so unerringly satisfying. ‘Das’ takes the lead with the most conventionally minimal offering of the record – a steadfast, hat-rich construction carrying a plethora of smudged impressions shaping out a heavy-lidded, early morning mood crying out for those moments of journeying inwards on the dancefloor.
‘Almost Mythical’, while still adhering to a 4/4 beat, has a wholly different flavour which places the melodic content front and centre. That content comes in the form of swirling washes of chords and an addictive, rubbery lead line that sounds like it could be coming from a Moog. It moves with the flex of a human hand, and taps into that sweet, soulful spot you’d readily associate with the best broken beat – a vibe helped no end by the detached beauty of the unnamed female vocals. ‘Emblems’ strikes a tone somewhere in between these two tracks, locking into a simmering groove but keeping space for some of that lounge-minded musicality that spills out of Ellis’ music.
Sealing the package with another cult outlier from the wider minimal scene, we’re also treated to a remix of ‘Emblem’ by French producer Pit Spector, who brings a distinct personality to the track with a busier mix but plenty of the original beating away in the centre. It’s a fitting follow up to Ellis’ own adventures into less travelled corners of the house music spectrum, where invention and sincere expression take precedence over perceived scene formulae.
Dreams are the brain’s attempts to codify our waking lives into memory, resulting in cryptic but nonsensical midnight ‘stories’. With that in mind, we’ve no doubts about this one: brace yourself for a dream-themed masterclass in Brazilian ambience, maximized to the tape-hued brim. For it, Sao Paolo artist Felinto is enlisted by Bokeh Versions, manifesting an ‘immersive sound experience’ created with multi-instrumentalists Eddu Ferreira (Cosmogun) and M. Takara.
The gradually unfurling nature of ‘Nao Tem Volta’ draws inspiration from dreams, and “the generative nature of the unconscious”. Generativity is a concept that, when applied to music, results in fractal sonic patterns. A limited set of rules, in other words, govern seemingly limitless variations on a motif, never stopping. With that in mind, this album’s proceeds serve funds for Guarani indigenous people, a subset of whom have been suffering systematic attacks by the Brazilian police state. The culmination of these influences results in a myriad album that asks: “when will we return to waking life?”.
The half-hour project opens with a low bass drone. It’s the kind of sonic background radiation that might represent universal consciousness, canopying all lived experience, while at the same time sounding like the near-silence every human hears before drifting off to sleep. Glitching, disembodied alto voices of souls rise out from the thicket, trembling and wailing in the night. As dreams segway into each other, so do each of the four tracks, seamlessly; track two emerges as a synth ostinato that lasts for a good while, while radio static and earthy interference rattles and sizzles about the stereo field, and great pads flap and splash across the horizon. We can’t help but remind ourselves of the sound design heard in the recent film Memoria, which explores similar themes of indigenous displacement and terrestriality, filtered through a dreamy lens.
An uncertain sax improv section opens into the album’s meatiest part. Strange rattles, ghostly human wails, and Moogy wave-twists all reverberate out, making us feel like we’ve just unwelcomely trespassed on a forbidden ghosts’ procession or ‘fox wedding’. A final ease-up of the bass, and sole focus on vocals, implies that our dreamers have been set free.
Magic Source are back on Favourite Music with some of their most infectious work to date, packing the sunblock, beach towels and neatly fitting swimwear for a sun-soaked jaunt around the Cote d’Azur. The virtuoso pairing of Björn Wagner and Tim Grunwald work together on a variety of projects – notably the Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band – accumulating innumerable performance credits on all-manner of alluring releases. With each of their releases recorded under the Magic Source moniker having arrived on Favourite, it appears they’ve found a happy home on the funk-flecked French imprint. As the EP title suggests, their latest offering is rich with chic seafront imagery, and the music is every bit as warm and inviting as glistening sapphire waves gently lapping golden shores.
The title track softly unfolds over sensual percussion and Afro-inspired guitar plucks, elevating into life with the arrival of stirring horn, shimmering pads and a limber synth solo. Appearing in both extended and radio-friendly mixes, it’s sure to be heard echoing across sophisticated beach clubs and balmy dancefloors over the soon-to-arrive summer months, constructed, as it is, to ignite Balearic bliss. Featuring alongside it is a rather lovely interpretation of a much-loved and often-sampled post-disco gem, ‘Genius Of Love’. The Tom Tom club original is a stone-cold classic, thanks in no small part to Steven Stanley’s ludicrously catchy synth riff and Tina Weymouth’s masterful bass strokes. Here, Magic Source dispense with the Nursery Rhyme vocal, opting to interpret the lead melodies via a floating flute solo. You need some serious musical chops to do justice to such a beloved composition, and by respectfully morphing the track into lazy poolside territory, the duo do a magnificent job, completing a sublime EP in the process.
Cryptic dub techno is all the rage at the minute, and New York’s Confused House imprint might just be clocking onto its current hype, having been stalwarts of that game since 2013 but not having put anything out since for 5 years. Now, in 2022, they return to fore with a 3-tracker from Coded Forms, a new duo comprised of label boss Jason Letkiewicz and newcomer producer M. Khokhlov.
Hard to put your finger on, this EP reveals less at first than it could in terms of how evidently top-notch the production is, proving this pair aren’t concerned with overexertion and flagrant showing off for the sake of it. Lead track ‘Red Liminal’ is a synthy foray through delayed channely dub, downtempo yet hissing in its stab refractions, which recall the peaker moments heard in Moritz Von Oswald’s music. This one’s a meditation on a riff, though, teasing no drums or development beyond a call and response pattern.
Many more ideas are fleshed out on the subsequent tracks, however, proving there’s more to the pair’s palette than teasy laser-shots. ‘Lower Your Pulse’ brings things even further downtempo, operating in a slow ¾ time. Futuristic breathalizer synths, and metallic ricochets, writhe around in a dry-ice chamber, cocooned by a cage of coldwave beats. Dubbiness prevails, while the real star of the show is ‘Scatter Point’, a crossrhythmic dramatism of dubious bass gyrations and and madhouse pops and whirs. In the producers’ own words, the track is “going, going, gone”, like an endless game of dub whack-a-mole.
London-based Jamie Paton returns to Swedish label Hoga Nord with his first release since 2019, serving a pair of heads-down heaters on this most hypnotic of 7’s. Known for his Cage & Avery collaborations with Nigel Hoyle, DJ, producer (and graphic designer) Paton has released a slow but sure stream of titles on roundly agreeable labels – with Emotional (Especial), Multi Culti, and Bahnsteig 23 among those to have championed his solo work. Always ready to embrace the more wonky-eyed realms of electronic music, Paton journeys deep into wiggy realms on the title track, ‘Parabolas’. Meandering through a disorienting haze, the hypnotic chug patiently unfolds through paranoid shadows and moonlit synth staccatos, as dissonant swells and glitches swirl through the sultry air.
Just as atmospheric and ever so slightly more robust, B-side track ‘Fleshed Out’ continues the narcotic theme, with its thick kick drum solidifying the groove as hooky stabs undulate over dubbed-out synth claps and sinewy pads. With barely a melody in sight on either track, the release revels in its abstract leanings. Deep, grubby, and dark like the moon, this nocturnally charmed work from Paton is eyes-closed material, built for esoteric backrooms and half-lit introspection.
At this point in time it’s hard to dispute the idea DJ Sports’ modern take on jungle is some of the freshest out there. The Danish powerhouse otherwise known as Milan Zaks has created a mythos around his prolific, many-sided output which in some ways echoes DJ Sotofett and the Sex Tags universe. They’re stylistically very different, but there’s a similar blend of deep-rooted dance music tradition and stylish verve, which means they rarely miss.
Landing on Fresh 86, this new four-tracker perfectly sums up Sports’ superlative approach. It’s jungle through and through, with everything a breakbeat devotee could wish for in terms of deft edits, heavyweight bass and so fort. But it’s the textural and compositional ideas which set Sports apart, not least on stunning lead track ‘Rebel Head’ For a start the breaks are beautifully chopped, but equally the wobbly delights of the lead synth line makes for a unique emotional slant to the track, at once nostalgic, futuristic, odd but ultimately cute. ‘Smoking & Drinking’ is a rougher cut with a denser knit to the drums, tipping towards the Paradox school of extravagant programming, but also teasing a little drill n’ bass intensity and equally knowing how to pull it back for more reflective passages. Quite simply, the tracks dance in your ears with a carbonated zest, like the soundsystem equivalent of a fresh hit from a Soda Stream.
Of course hip-hop culture is stuffed to the brim with overlooked legends who didn’t get the shine of their peers, but to this reviewer’s ears none are more deserving of an all-time greatest title than Organized Konfusion. Prince Po and Pharoahe Monch started out as Simply II Positive MCs before switching their name and signing to Hollywood Basic to release their seminal, self-titled, self-produced album in 1991. Their follow-up, Stress: The Extinction Agenda was even better, but the group never quite broke through like some of their peers and Po and Monch went on to solo careers.
Prior to their debut album though, Monch and Po recorded a demo which has been faithfully captured and documented by German hip hop reissue devotees Smoke On. ‘Prisoners Of War’ features in a rawer form prior to the version on the debut album, coming on heavier on the bass but with the same incisive flows, and ‘Audience Pleasers’ still bounces with infectious, upbeat energy. But of course it’s the unreleased bits which hold the most interest, and they all more than stand up to the group’s legacy.
‘Mind Over Matter’ is a rich patchwork of funk licks with a snappy tempo, and ‘International Arrival’ keeps the vibe punchy and raw, balancing OK’s party-starting nous with their acerbic lyricism. If you always wished for more from one of East Coast hip-hop’s all-time greats, then you’re in for a treat with this welcome reissue.
This week’s reviewers: Oli Warwick, Patrizio Cavaliere, Jude Iago James.
Superstars of world music set to reissue two albums with unheard bonus tracks
Tinariwen are a multi-generational, Grammy-winning band who count among their fans some of the biggest names in Western music. They’ve appeared at Coachella, Glastonbury, WOMAD, Denmark’s Roskilde and Japan’s Fuji Rock; performed live on The Colbert Report and Later With Jools Holland; and played at the FIFA World Cup Kick-off Concert in South Africa in 2010 and count Thom Yorke and Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers as fans. Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant even travelled to Festival au Désert in Mali to witness Tinariwen playing on home turf. “I felt this was the music I’d been looking for all my life,” he said.
To celebrate the reissue of two Tinariwen albums via Wedge Records on March 25 – The Radio Tisdas Sessions and Amassakoul – the band have kindly let Juno Daily exclusively share the visualiser video to the previously unreleased ‘Ham Tingaghin Ane Yallah’., which features as a bonus track on The Radio Tisdas Sessions.
You can trace their journey back to the late 1970s, where the group’s founding father Ibrahim Ag Alhabib – the son of a Tuareg rebel who had witnessed his father’s execution at the hands of the Malian government – built his own guitar using a tin can, a stick and a bicycle brake wire and taught himself to play. Drifting through towns and refugee camps in search of work, he met fellow Tuareg musicians, and around campfires they would write songs which they would play at parties or social gatherings. People called them Kel Tinariwen, which translates from their native Tamashek to “People of the Deserts” or “The Desert Boys”.
It is through music, not conflict, that Tinariwen chose to bring their message to the world. Following a decade in which their music was exchanged by hand on dubbed cassettes, in 2001 came their first commercially released album –The Radio Tisdas Sessions – with this reissue marking its 20th anniversary. The Radio Tisdas Sessions was recorded in Kidal at a local Tamashek-language radio station, which wasn’t the easiest job, as the studio was powered by solar panels, and the electricity kept cutting out – although the mixing, at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios in Bath, went somewhat more smoothly.
The album features songs from Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, Kedou Ag Ossad, Foy Foy and Mohamed Ag Itlal aka ‘Japonais’, who passed away on February 14th 2021. Tinariwen’s fame was spreading – and following the album’s release they embarked on their first international tour.
Amassakoul, released in 2004 and recorded at Studio Bogolan in Bamako, was made by a band in which four of the six players were newcomers and represented a shift to a more produced, intricate sound.
Pre-order your copies of The Radio Tisdas Sessions and Amassakoul on vinyl or CD here, along with a host of other releases by the band.
We celebrate the life of the premier drum & bass MC with five not-to-be-missed anthems
Skibadee, unarguably the most distinctive MC voice in the drum & bass game, passed at the painfully young age of 47 at the weekend.
Although primarily known in the live field, the Juno system has a staggering 108 releases that feature his vocals in one shape or another, from rave mix tapes to Top 40 recordings.
To pay tribute to the man and his gigantic legacy, we bring you just five of his most memorable moments captured for posterity right here…
You’ll know this tune if a) you were anywhere near a drum and bass event around the turn of the millennium or b) you ever caught an episode of Ali G’s show, which used it as its theme tune. A massive, massive underground hit, but it only hit the Top 40 once Skibadee got involved.
The follow up to the huge hit ‘Shake UR Body’, this similarly Latin-infused banger proved the genre genre could be hard hitting and hit the charts all at the same time, complete with feminist lyrics that were well ahead of the game.
This one’s all about the energy, as Bristol duo Distorted Minds dish up the brutal wobble of bass and smashing breaks and Skibadee puts the no less frenetic vocal cherry on top.
Mercury Award winner Roni Size shows economic but highly effective use of Skibadee’s vocals on one of his more driving, minimal productions, peppering the sparse grooves with just enough MC power to keep things rolling and interesting all at the same time/
Rare non-d&b appearance here, with New Zealnder turned Peckham resident Freq Nasty offering his churning, momentum-filled mixture of fresh breakbeats and gnalry b-lines. Skiba switches roles and speed so deftly and naturally it can be hard to remember he didn’t always do this.