Thursday, 1 December 2022

If you don't immediately recognise the name of Biggabush, usually, if you say, "Rockers Hi-Fi", there's a musical reflex response of, "Push-Push!"  Nearly 3 decades on from that international hit, he still keeps the multi-genre dance floor busy as BiggaBush, Lightning Head, Magic Drum Orchestra and in groups The Dandelion Set (as recently featured on Imaginary Radio) and The black Albumen (who also released an album this year).

It was not long after the release of the album Biggabush Free that I interviewed Glyn for another web site so it's about time that I caught up with the big guy (he’s 6’3” you know!), old 'Acid Fly' himself.

So years before such things as social media/photoshop, the original 'Biggabush Free' artwork on the CD looked a bit 'touched', like a 30's Berlin Jazz club, were they supposed to look like that? I had met Jeannette Muchar when I played at a friend’s birthday party in Paris and she was doing these beautiful retouches on photos, so I simply asked her to do her thing and this was the result.

Equally, at that time no one could possibly have imagined what a lock-down was or what we'd be doing in one.  You decided that a 16 track BiggaBush Freevisited was the way to go? (such a great title - released last year on Tru Thoughts) The reason was that Tru Thoughts were releasing my back catalogue and there were tracks on Free with contentious samples that had to be replaced.  Once I started the process of rebuilding some of the songs it just became apparent that I could revisit the whole album and try some new approaches both musical- and production-wise.  And that became the perfect lockdown project…

There's a reaction that this is what the original album should have sounded like? I wouldn’t necessarily agree with that actually; the original album was a product of its time and the gear I had in the early 00s.  The new version gave me an opportunity to rework some tracks, add live brass, different vocalists, better beats, to replace some tracks I felt didn’t belong on there any more.  The main difference was the old album was done on Cubase on a PC, the new on Ableton on a Mac.

There's some new tracks that weren't on the original release - are they new or of that time? 'Real & Regal' is a remake of my remix of 'Illegal' featuring Benjamin Zephaniah with Farda P on vocal duties.  'Black Swan Revival' was an old Rockers demo from the Overproof sessions that I tweaked up to completion.

In my old interview you were ''Acid Fly' which is such a great track and fits in with renewed enthusiasm for all things Acid House, is that going to be on the new 'remix' release? Not this time.  But I was really happy with the remade version. 

And you were going to tell us what "your role was in the release of Peak's 'Get Carter' on Afro Art Records (label founded by Ashley Beedle)" I may have played it to Paul Murphy back in the day... (Paul, just had a birthday mix and now having his own label, Jazz Room Records)

I think there's more to it than that but it's track 16 on Glyn's Spotify 'Bigga Bush Fave Reworks' playlist below. 

So you've been in Rocker's Hi-Fi, Lightning Head, MDO, the black Albumen (a modern  extravaganza of a project) and top DJ, What's next for Biggabush? At the moment I’m slowly getting my mojo back having had a LONG dry period.  Working on lots of ideas, no one single concept,  just getting inspiration from what my daughter (DJ re:ni - look out for 'Revenge Body' on Ilian Tape) is playing and writing and introducing me to, such as footwork.   Buying too many records as usual, getting ideas from 90s trip hop, MO Wax especially, 90s d&b, modular synthesis, playing the bass guitar [AND] I’d be delighted if the black Albumen were popular anywhere to be honest…

And talking of DJing, back in 2005, you were talking of trips to Japan, Germany, Portugal, do you miss this jet-set lifestyle?  I don’t actually miss the travelling which started to get on my wick after a while: EVERY flight seemed to be from Stansted Airport which is a right schlepp from where I live.  I’m also reducing my carbon footprint! 

By November, 2005, "there is no stopping him as the best tracks are released on 12", 'This River' (Drum Und Bass Version By BiggaBush) whilst in 2022, there's a new EP coming out next week, 'Black Swan Revival' (featuring Farda P and Jackie Walters - have we even mentioned how good her new vocals are on the classic 'This River'?) is coming out on the TruThoughts 'Best Of' 2022 compilation and then there's the 1BTN radio monthly show, Bigga’s Big Dig [first Friday on the month, next one tomorrow on 2.12.22]

Is this schedule just like BiggaBush of yore? (it is festive season thing), "I wouldn’t say I was on top of the game, I just keep going and trying different ideas!"  

Apart from being a fan for many years, these "different ideas" includes a massive EP, 'A Different Style' coming out next week [so stay tuned in to YATM for more information] that includes a very extended edit of 'This River' and he's going to be featured on Music Is My Sanctuary who will be hosting with a 'A Different Style' mix soon.

Many thanks to Glyn for his time, help and patience (once again) and due to the magic of the internet, our 2005 interview is available HERE.  Let's hope it won't be so long before the next one! 

Tuesday, 29 November 2022

Lots of fantastic remix projects about at the moment and here's one not to be overlooked.

Batov Records have organised four different versions of 'Hamsa' by experts in their own fields as they take on the original track that's Mulatu Astatke of Ethiopia with a West African psychedelic rock vibe.

No. 1 for us is absolutely brilliant. This is usually the case with anything to do with Jessica Lauren and Emanative - typically in the Sun Ra meets Ethio Jazz.  We have to declare an interest as I've DJ'd with Emanative (aka Nick Woodmansey) way before the release of his critically acclaimed albums for Brownswood Recordings, Jazzman Records and Futuristica Music.  And he's not shy when it comes to remixes, (most recently, the far too short 'San Francisco Dancefor RE:WARM) and like any good DJ/producer/drummer/show-off he's reworked 'Hamsa' playing the drums himself and getting bests mate keyboard whiz Jessica Lauren to do a Farfisa solo plus Vince Vella adding an Afro-Latin kick, on congas, udu drums and other assorted percussion. 

Stunning I think you'll agree. But wait! What's this Ayala's Rhythm Mix?  Sticking to the theme but a bit more jazzy horn whilst the Koichi Sakai remix is Ethio with trumpet and housey keys that grooves then gets a little dubby sometimes and a little spacey too!  And not to be outdown in the spacey dubby groove, Italian DJ/Producer Woxow gets deeper into all aspects with some added spoken word 'thoughts'

Batov Records (they of Sababa 5 - see our review HERE) are getting in the party mood with this one and I'm expecting more of the same quality next year too!

Artist: Sandman Project

Title: Hamsa Remixes EP

Release date: 2nd December, 2022

Label: Batov Records

Catalog Number: Digital

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As jazz becomes more and more influenced with electronic instrumentals, there is an industry search for a new catchy post nu-jazz named genre.

Well, whatever the boffin's come up with, WAAN can safely be in it as Dutch duo Bart Wirtz (sax) and Emiel van Rijthoven (keyboard/electronics) meet up on this new release on the ever future forward German label, Sonar Kollektiv. 

The single is the start of the build up to the release of an album called 'Echo Echo'.  Joinded by Kasper Kalf (double bass), Jimmi Hueting (drums), Oscar de Jong and Lucas Meijers (both percussion), 'KinK' sounds familiar as Bart weaves his sax with the others.

'Open' has more 'jazz' in it as the Jazzanova thirst for 'The Space In Between' continues, this track being the opener on the new compilation, 'Sonar Kollektiv presents Neujazz Vol. 2' (did you see what they did there?)

It's an area that harks back to Eddie Harris' electrified sax to ENO to WeJazz to fee jazz experimentalists that is overseen here by co-producer de Jong (half of Kraak & Smaak) for a dance "jazztronica" [Ed. not sure about that one].

Artist: WAAN

Title: KinK / Open EP

Release date: 6th December, 2022

Label : Sonar Kolletiv

Catalog Number : SK447D Digital / Bandcamp

Monday, 28 November 2022

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Those of you that wanted more after Tartelet Records released their 'six of the best' series will be estatic that we've now got 'Medusozoa Vol II' coming out.

For a label reknown for finding new talent, this compilation 20 tracks is packed with a mix of old and new material from Glenn Astro, Henry Wu & Tito Wun, Jitwam, , Max Graef & Wayne Snow, Space Ghost and Uffe, and unreleased material by Nelson of the East and new to the label ABUNAI and Armin Tamzarian.

Mostly a "collection of introspective, downtempo and ambient leaning tracks for quiet moments" it ranges from the Glenn  Astro/Ajnascent Thundercat feel of 'Homespun' (you'll want this on repeat) to the nu-Nyabinghi of Uffe's 'Sunrise, Coffee and Cigarettes' and the low-slung funk of Modula's 'Cala Olivera'.

Founded in Copenhagen in 2007, Tartelet Records is run by Emil Margetli Nyholm and Frederik Bille Brahe and they've clearly got an ear for the leftfield which is easily hip and dancefloor influenced.  

In fact, the more you listen to the diverse comp, each track becomes your new favourite; who could resist Nelson Of The East's 'Tribe 92' or the oldest track on the album, 'Andre The Giant vs. Bob Sapp' by Henry Wu & Tito Wun of the 2006 EP, '27 Karat Years'.

Medusozoa Vol I was a mere 13 tracks so these guys have upped their game over the year and I suspect we'll here much more of them in 2023.  

Artist: Various Artists

Title: Medusozoa Vol II 

Release date: 30th November, 2022

Label : Tartelet Records

Catalog Number : Ultra Limited 12" Sampler / Digital / Bandcamp

Friday, 25 November 2022

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This is absolute brilliant madness as the Baleraic beach is now an acid house vs. tai chi dancefloor.

Fans of Kiko Navarro will be aware of his 'Sounds Of My Breath' collaboration with Tai Gung/Qigong expert Nader Behravan (and Navaro fan) but the idea of Osunlade 'Yoruba Soul' remix has turned mantra of 'less is more' on its head(stand) pose.

There's seems to be a trend with acid at the moment with the new Hieroglyphic Being album 'There Is No Acid In This House (Soul Jazz Records) and, of course, our favourite 303 in you're disco with Daniel Wang's 'DSDN EP' (Paloma).  Any coinsidence, that Osunlade made his name at Soul-Jazz with his Yoruba Soul sound?

Nader is a perfect instructor but if you find his spoken word distracting there's an instrumental version.  Osunlade is not scared of it as he takes it fully on-board as he takes us on a smooth trans-euro 303-acid drop trip . 

Shame no Kiko Navarro Motor City Jazz Remix but perhaps it's in the pipeline.  Video's of Nader's breathing technique can be found on Kiko's web site for further enlightenment. 

P.S. Osunlade is also featured in the latest copy of FAITH, Winter 2022 vol. 3 #8

Artist: Kiko Navarro ft. Nader Behravan

Title: You Take Over (inc. Osunlade Remix)

Release Date : 25th November, 2022

Catalog Number : AFTNE052

Label : Afroterraneo

Format: 12" / Digital

1. You Take Over ft. Nader Behravan (8:31)

2. You Take Over ft. Nader Behravan (Osunlade Yoruba Soul Remix) (8:42)

3. You Take Over ft. Nader Behravan (Instrumental Version) (8:25) 

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Here's something from Honduran/Danish artist Julie Pavon that I was just going to say Tartelet Records meets Grace Jones (the comparison also extend's to Julie's presence on the catwalk) on the prison disco landing and we find that the music is co-produced by Julie and Uffe (Tartelet Records, Blueberry Records) whilst Julie Pavon writes her own lyrics.

This is party season sharp - but where's the instrumental version?

Artist: Julie Pavon

Title: Don't Call Me Out Again

Release date: 25th November, 2022

Label : Independent

Catalog Number : YouTube / Digital

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

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Is it Detroit?  Is It Berlin? No, it's Oxford! Well, it was a couple of Saturdays ago when Finest Wear and Colour & Sound had their launch party at Frevd for the new EP called. 'NIght Tales'.

This is Finest Wear's follow up to his EP of earlier this year, 'The Concrete Shuffle'.  You'll find 'Night Tales' is still urban deep house but not all of it is about the shadowy recessess of a railway arch club.

The 3 tracks are very different to Finest Wear's remix of 'Sky Be Blue' (also on Colour & Pitch - see reveiw HERE) but there's definitely a connection with a weaving synth glow.

At first, you might think 'Push Me' is main room with heavy beats and misty vocals but it's really bouncy and addictive. This is going to be the way to finish off 2022 in a big way.

Similarly, 'The Buzz Dub' has the deep house keys that you love but with this 'hornet trapped in a jam jar' buzz - is it annoying? Yes, do you forgive him? Yes you do as this turns heads on the dance floor and gets everyone going. 
And sitting somewhere between these two tracks is 'Ket Corner' that's got that buzz (not the same buzz as 'The Buzz Dub') and gets more atmospheric with classic tech-house post Kraftwerk infulences.

This is the London based producers sixth EP on Colour & Pitch since early 2020 so you'd be expecting more soon, time for a retrospective/remix album? You'd have to 'Push Me' for that!

Buy / stream link: Finest Wear - Night Tales EP

And here's Will Sumsuch's session for November with details of gigs in Newcastle and Manchester this weekend. 

Artist: Finest Wear 

Title: Night Tales EP

Release date: 25th November, 2022

Label : Colour and Pitch

Catalog Number : CAP082

Launch Party Frevd in Oxford Saturday (5th November 2022)

Monday, 21 November 2022

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Last year Linkwood released the LP ‘Mono' on  Athens Of The North so what do they do in 2022?  Yep, you've guessed it, the follow-up/companion release, ‘Stereo’.

And by odd co-incidence, Linkwood (aka Nick Moore) has got form working as a pair remembering Linkwood & Other Lands album 'Face The Facts' of a couple of years ago and the Linkwood & Foat album of the same name (all on Athens of the North).

He's taken 'Stereo' on a search to find deep house/techno islands on a lost synth pop 80s archipelago.

Some of the 12 tracks are very Detroit, some are reminisent of Tubeway Army and some are a bit of both (so you'll love to love, 'Love', 'Ping' and 'DipDab' that swoons like a space craft synth in a underpass) and you can't go far without a TransEuropeExpress ('Clusters' and 'Look-up') or a trip into space ('Flightpath').

The tracks on 'Mono' were sharp, punchy and generally shorter than 'Stereo' so whilst there's no extra extended "Ricardo Villalobos" length tracks, they do have space to breathe like the mournful 'Glow' and the post-ESG-tech-disco, 'We Had A Love'

If Linkwood is ever doing a live/DJ gig nearby, you'd be best advised to get your tickets early as 'Stereo' must sound even more incredible on a mega club sound system - definitely Funktion-One quality but in the meantime, give you ears a real treat with this new album. 

PS. I'd like to hear what Ricardo Villalobos could do with 'Look-Up', 'Love' or 'We Had A Love' as they would be even better as a longer versions; for that matter, where's Linkwood's extended 12" mix?


Artist: Linkwood

Title: Stereo

Release date: 25th November, 2022

Label : Athens Of The North

Catalog Number :  AOTNLP061

Format:  LP / Digital / Bandcamp

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Last year we were excited about the release of Monzanto Sound's debut on None More Records, 'Time Lapse' EP, asking, "Where has all the post-punk-funk gone?" And even then, the tracks themselves were also neo-soul-jazzy and much more.  

This year, the EP 'Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Tomorrow', takes on this theme further as on  'The Letter' we take their ESG leanings to more Kraut-rock Can and the Erykah Budu vocals are, at times, an Dagmar Krause operatic avant-garde with space synths too!  Just stunning stuff.

And that's not all as 'The Fool' is the vocal version to the dub that appeared on Mali-I’s debut album 'In Session'. There's no foolin' us they go all reggae/dub; I'd recommend vocal/dub 12" which would be so cool, so come on None More Records!

'Nuff Blues' is just as radio friendly as a neo-soul blues-jazz-funk grooves can be and the 4-tracker is completed with 'Eja' (being in part a tribute to ‘Yemọja’ the Yoruba goddess of the sea).

"Where has all the post-punk-funk gone?" Monzanto Sound are so much more and have passed the 'Gilles Peterson approved' test by a distance.

Artist: Monzanto Sound 

Title: Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Tomorrow

Release date: 25th November, 2022

Label: None More Records

Cat. No: -

Format: Digital

Friday, 18 November 2022

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You may recall that the title track to 'Song Of Island' appeared on the BBE J-Jazz compilation Volume 3: Deep Modern Jazz From Japan 1969 - 1983 and in a collection of such "heavy... bop", this track was the odd-80s recording, sounding like the 60/70s with a  "touch of the spiritual". 

Pianist, leader of the trio + 1, Yasuhiro Kohno has the love and feel of a Hancock/Corea/Tyner as he controls the thrust of 'Song of Island' for nearly 11 minutes with the '+1' of Masahiro Kanno on vibes doing his best Milt Jackson/Gary Burton that you'd never know 1. this was an all Japanese line-up and 2. Recorded live on August 28th and 29th 1985 at "Live House Again" - no overdubs/no re-takes/just 'live'. 

A one off track you might think? Not on this album! All five tracks are pretty lengthy which is really great news in this case. If you thought you'd already heard enough versions of 'Love For Sale' that you'd never need to hear another in your life, stick with this as it swings with attitude (as someone might have said) and I'll say it, best version of the standard I'm ever likely to hear. And the perfect follow-on to the softer 'Time For Peace' before we get into the other two original compositions, 'Mr Nilson' (a little avant-modal blues walk at 13 minutes) and the best in the set, jazzdance head and feet at the ready, 'Village Festival' (12 minutes). 

Originally a private pressing (so rare as!), it's re-issued with original/translated sleeve notes plus a new Tony Higgins interview as well. Fans are already saying 'Corker ain't it !!' and it must be up there for re-issue of the year. Thank you everyone involved in making this happen, from original label ASCAP to BBE and the J-Jazz conception dynamic duo of Mike Peden and Higgins; you'll never be able to see Yasuhiro Kohno +1 at their 1985 peak ever again so this is the next best thing and yet another essential in the J-Jazz series - go Yasuhiro GO! 

Artist: Yasuhiro Kohno + One

Title: Song of Island

Release date : 18th November, 2022

Label : BBE Music

Catalog Number : BBE665

Format: LP / CD / Digital