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http://www.bonobomusic.com/

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http://www.bonobomusic.com/

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Simon Green, AKA Bonobo, is an artist very much at the peak of his powers. His 2013 album ‘The North Borders’ was the high watermark of his career to date: a masterful record, marrying Green's inimitable melodic genius to cutting edge electronics, bass and drums. 

An artist that constantly pushes himself outside of his musical comfort zone, Bonobo’s ranging personal tastes and regularly expanding range of synthesizers and instruments continue to take his productions to new levels. This outlook has earned him a reputation as one of the most pioneering figures in electronic music, in both his solo DJ sets and 12-piece live band shows. 

All this comes as the result of over ten years hard work, and five albums that have honed Green's skills. A born musician, Green - like many artists - expresses himself most articulately via his music. The result is that his work is always keenly felt, and always feels imperative. There are no wasted moments, and myriad great ones. 

It's tempting to relate Green's yearning, emotive aesthetic to his upbringing in rural Hampshire. His move to Brighton is also an influence; his skill at drum programming perhaps harking back to his days DJing and producing in the small, musically fertile town. Under the initial guidance of Tru Thoughts' Rob Luis and at nights such as Phonic:hoop, Bonobo found an early education in music. 

His first album - 2000's 'Animal Magic' - was released via Tru Thoughts before being picked up by Ninja Tune. It announced him as a serious talent; able to bring a true musician's edge to electronic music, with all the freedom that skill allowed. His subsequent albums for Ninja, Dial M for Monkey and Days to Come, developed his sensibility, won him fans across the globe, and saw him develop his live show into a mesmeric re-working of his records. 

He also worked hard as a DJ, a part of Green's arsenal that perhaps truly came into its own at the same time as 2010’s Black Sands. 2012 saw him take the uptempo, club re-edits of Black Sands from a seminal Boiler Room performance in London to dance floors across the world, and unveil a new light show that further enhanced the impact of these stunning songs. A remix album was released featuring reworkings by fans and peers such as Machinedrum, Floating Points, Mark Pitchard, Lapalux and Falty DL. 

Later the same year, he finally settled down in his New York studio to write his fifth album. The North Borders was another long stride forward - both a natural evolution and a continuation of the electronic palette of Black Sands. Thematic, resonant, addictive and perfectly formed, it's a thrillingly coherent statement piece. With vocal features from no less than Erykah Badu, as well as Grey Reverend (Cinematic Orchestra) and Cornelia (Portico Quartet) it's another finely balanced body of work, leaving room for the beautiful, rich productions themselves to breathe and shine. 

Bonobo has a long history of unearthing new talent (Andreya Triana, Bajka) and The North Borders saw him do so once again. The startling vocals of new collaborator Szjerdene are sprinkled across the album, and Green has yet again found the perfect voice to express where he's at. 

Since the album’s release, Green has gone on to play over 175 shows across three continents and 30 countries, wowing audiences of almost 2 million people with the hypnotic, extended live versions of his songs. He performed sold out shows at The Sydney Opera House and Brixton Academy, and his very own, day long festival at London’s Roundhouse. 2014 saw him and his band play the iconic Coachella festival, Sonar, Glastonbury and many more.  This period of extensive touring came to a breathtaking close with his largest show to date at London’s Alexandra Palace in November. In celebration, Ninja Tune released ‘The North Borders Tour. - Live’ in October. A deluxe release including a live album, hardback book and a DVD of seminal live performances from a truly memorable tour.

It’s a full schedule and then some, but one that’s constantly rewarding for his fans, and perhaps proves that Bonobo is not only one of the world’s hardest working artists in electronic music, but also one of its best.

[links] =>

Bonobo website

Facebook
Twitter
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Instagram

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Simon Green, AKA Bonobo, is an artist very much at the peak of his powers. His 2013 album ‘The North Borders’ was the high watermark of his career to date: a masterful record, marrying Green's inimitable melodic genius to cutting edge electronics, bass and drums. 

An artist that constantly pushes himself outside of his musical comfort zone, Bonobo’s ranging personal tastes and regularly expanding range of synthesizers and instruments continue to take his productions to new levels. This outlook has earned him a reputation as one of the most pioneering figures in electronic music, in both his solo DJ sets and 12-piece live band shows. 

All this comes as the result of over ten years hard work, and five albums that have honed Green's skills. A born musician, Green - like many artists - expresses himself most articulately via his music. The result is that his work is always keenly felt, and always feels imperative. There are no wasted moments, and myriad great ones. 

It's tempting to relate Green's yearning, emotive aesthetic to his upbringing in rural Hampshire. His move to Brighton is also an influence; his skill at drum programming perhaps harking back to his days DJing and producing in the small, musically fertile town. Under the initial guidance of Tru Thoughts' Rob Luis and at nights such as Phonic:hoop, Bonobo found an early education in music. 

His first album - 2000's 'Animal Magic' - was released via Tru Thoughts before being picked up by Ninja Tune. It announced him as a serious talent; able to bring a true musician's edge to electronic music, with all the freedom that skill allowed. His subsequent albums for Ninja, Dial M for Monkey and Days to Come, developed his sensibility, won him fans across the globe, and saw him develop his live show into a mesmeric re-working of his records. 

He also worked hard as a DJ, a part of Green's arsenal that perhaps truly came into its own at the same time as 2010’s Black Sands. 2012 saw him take the uptempo, club re-edits of Black Sands from a seminal Boiler Room performance in London to dance floors across the world, and unveil a new light show that further enhanced the impact of these stunning songs. A remix album was released featuring reworkings by fans and peers such as Machinedrum, Floating Points, Mark Pitchard, Lapalux and Falty DL. 

Later the same year, he finally settled down in his New York studio to write his fifth album. The North Borders was another long stride forward - both a natural evolution and a continuation of the electronic palette of Black Sands. Thematic, resonant, addictive and perfectly formed, it's a thrillingly coherent statement piece. With vocal features from no less than Erykah Badu, as well as Grey Reverend (Cinematic Orchestra) and Cornelia (Portico Quartet) it's another finely balanced body of work, leaving room for the beautiful, rich productions themselves to breathe and shine. 

Bonobo has a long history of unearthing new talent (Andreya Triana, Bajka) and The North Borders saw him do so once again. The startling vocals of new collaborator Szjerdene are sprinkled across the album, and Green has yet again found the perfect voice to express where he's at. 

Since the album’s release, Green has gone on to play over 175 shows across three continents and 30 countries, wowing audiences of almost 2 million people with the hypnotic, extended live versions of his songs. He performed sold out shows at The Sydney Opera House and Brixton Academy, and his very own, day long festival at London’s Roundhouse. 2014 saw him and his band play the iconic Coachella festival, Sonar, Glastonbury and many more.  This period of extensive touring came to a breathtaking close with his largest show to date at London’s Alexandra Palace in November. In celebration, Ninja Tune released ‘The North Borders Tour. - Live’ in October. A deluxe release including a live album, hardback book and a DVD of seminal live performances from a truly memorable tour.

It’s a full schedule and then some, but one that’s constantly rewarding for his fans, and perhaps proves that Bonobo is not only one of the world’s hardest working artists in electronic music, but also one of its best.

[links_clean] =>

Bonobo website

Facebook
Twitter
Soundcloud
Instagram

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The Heavy are the music industry’s worst kept secret. They make blazing, urgent, infectious rock-soul with a strong dose of hip-hop. You’ve heard their songs in a lot of different places, and it’s likely that you loved them.

Forming in the fertile swamps of England’s West Country in the mid-naughties, around the axis of Dan Taylor (guitarist and songwriter) and Kelvin Swaby (vocalist and songwriter,) the Heavy immediately astounded. Jaw dropping, freshly minted riffs, swinging hip-hop drums, funk-ridden bass and Swaby’s startling, Mayfield-esque vocals meant early singles ‘That Kind of Man’ and ‘Colleen’ blew minds and won hearts. The debut album they were taken from – ‘Great Vengeance and Furious Fire’ – became an instant connoisseurs’ classic.

It was their sophomore album, though, that saw them blasting into homes across the globe. ‘The House that Dirt Built’ was everything a second album should be: a deeper, richer progression from the band’s early work. It also yielded the mighty ‘How You Like Me Now?’ The single was licensed for a major commercial in the 3rd Quarter of the Superbowl (the biggest ad slot in the world) and quite simply went stratospheric.

A heady mix of impassioned, incandescent vocal, gargantuan riff and boom-bap drums, it also happened to conjure up a triumph-in-adversity sentiment that struck a chord across the globe. The song went on to become the first for which David Letterman ever requested an encore, when The Heavy played the “Late Show,” and appeared everywhere from “Entourage,” Academy Award-nominated film The Fighter, and Mark Wahlberg’s hit comedy ‘Ted.’

“It became such a big tune, that people asked, ‘How are you going to top that?’.” Swaby says.

The answer was 2012’s ‘The Glorious Dead,’ the band’s third album. Searching for inspiration, The Heavy – which in addition to Taylor and Swaby includes Spencer Page (bass) and Chris Ellul (drums) – travelled from their Bath, England hometown to Columbus, Georgia. There, they hooked up with local gospel singers and musicians for some Southern Gothic sublimity.

The final magic ingredient in the mix was Gabriel “Bosco Mann” Roth of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, who added string and horn parts to four songs.

Even deeper, a touch darker, and with shades of Southern Gothic infesting the swampy rock n’ soul of previous records, the album was another giant step forward, Frankensteining swampy voodoo and b-movie zombies with garage rock and Gospel-soaked soul.

Lead single ‘What Makes a Good Man?’ showed that The Heavy were able to write brilliant singles time after time, with synchs snowing in once again, and American radio coming on board. The band toured the world exhaustively, wowing audiences with their transcendental live performances.

“It was over the top, in a good way,” adds Heavy frontman Kelvin Swaby. “We went pretty cinematic, setting out to score a film that hasn’t been written.”

“It’s good to have a bit of light and shade,” Taylor adds.

Since then, The Heavy has gone on to achieve storming success in Japan, playing Fuji Rock, chalking up a #1 alternative album on iTunes Japan, scoring a major Pepsi synch and playing Japan’s biggest breakfast TV show, ‘Sukkiri.’

Their music was used in the stunning Guiness Sapeurs ad, they played Glastonbury, sold out Shepherd’s Bush Empire and re-recorded How You Like Me Now? with none other than 50 Cent, to launch ESPN’s coverage of the NFL Draft Week.

To top it all, How You Like Me Now? reached Gold status in the United States – a stunning achievement for an English, independent artist. How to top all that, you might ask? Well, there’s a new album on the way, and The Heavy just happen to have a habit of exceeding themselves…

[links] =>

www.theheavy.co.uk

Facebook
Twitter
Soundcloud

[image_upload_id] => 16903 [label_id] => 5 [twitter_username] => theheavy [instagram_id] => 217232350 [instagram_username] => theheavy [link] => [listed] => 1 [sortname] => Heavy [created] => 2010-07-17 22:15:59 [modified] => 2015-01-09 12:48:28 [slug] => the-heavy [fuga_id] => [description_clean] =>

The Heavy are the music industry’s worst kept secret. They make blazing, urgent, infectious rock-soul with a strong dose of hip-hop. You’ve heard their songs in a lot of different places, and it’s likely that you loved them.

Forming in the fertile swamps of England’s West Country in the mid-naughties, around the axis of Dan Taylor (guitarist and songwriter) and Kelvin Swaby (vocalist and songwriter,) the Heavy immediately astounded. Jaw dropping, freshly minted riffs, swinging hip-hop drums, funk-ridden bass and Swaby’s startling, Mayfield-esque vocals meant early singles ‘That Kind of Man’ and ‘Colleen’ blew minds and won hearts. The debut album they were taken from – ‘Great Vengeance and Furious Fire’ – became an instant connoisseurs’ classic.

It was their sophomore album, though, that saw them blasting into homes across the globe. ‘The House that Dirt Built’ was everything a second album should be: a deeper, richer progression from the band’s early work. It also yielded the mighty ‘How You Like Me Now?’ The single was licensed for a major commercial in the 3rd Quarter of the Superbowl (the biggest ad slot in the world) and quite simply went stratospheric.

A heady mix of impassioned, incandescent vocal, gargantuan riff and boom-bap drums, it also happened to conjure up a triumph-in-adversity sentiment that struck a chord across the globe. The song went on to become the first for which David Letterman ever requested an encore, when The Heavy played the “Late Show,” and appeared everywhere from “Entourage,” Academy Award-nominated film The Fighter, and Mark Wahlberg’s hit comedy ‘Ted.’

“It became such a big tune, that people asked, ‘How are you going to top that?’.” Swaby says.

The answer was 2012’s ‘The Glorious Dead,’ the band’s third album. Searching for inspiration, The Heavy – which in addition to Taylor and Swaby includes Spencer Page (bass) and Chris Ellul (drums) – travelled from their Bath, England hometown to Columbus, Georgia. There, they hooked up with local gospel singers and musicians for some Southern Gothic sublimity.

The final magic ingredient in the mix was Gabriel “Bosco Mann” Roth of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, who added string and horn parts to four songs.

Even deeper, a touch darker, and with shades of Southern Gothic infesting the swampy rock n’ soul of previous records, the album was another giant step forward, Frankensteining swampy voodoo and b-movie zombies with garage rock and Gospel-soaked soul.

Lead single ‘What Makes a Good Man?’ showed that The Heavy were able to write brilliant singles time after time, with synchs snowing in once again, and American radio coming on board. The band toured the world exhaustively, wowing audiences with their transcendental live performances.

“It was over the top, in a good way,” adds Heavy frontman Kelvin Swaby. “We went pretty cinematic, setting out to score a film that hasn’t been written.”

“It’s good to have a bit of light and shade,” Taylor adds.

Since then, The Heavy has gone on to achieve storming success in Japan, playing Fuji Rock, chalking up a #1 alternative album on iTunes Japan, scoring a major Pepsi synch and playing Japan’s biggest breakfast TV show, ‘Sukkiri.’

Their music was used in the stunning Guiness Sapeurs ad, they played Glastonbury, sold out Shepherd’s Bush Empire and re-recorded How You Like Me Now? with none other than 50 Cent, to launch ESPN’s coverage of the NFL Draft Week.

To top it all, How You Like Me Now? reached Gold status in the United States – a stunning achievement for an English, independent artist. How to top all that, you might ask? Well, there’s a new album on the way, and The Heavy just happen to have a habit of exceeding themselves…

[links_clean] =>

www.theheavy.co.uk

Facebook
Twitter
Soundcloud

[counter_player] => [counter_biog] => “What the hell were we thinking?,” exclaims Dan Taylor, guitarist for U.K. indie soul-rock titans The Heavy, of the band’s audacious album, The Glorious Dead. “We wanted to make a bold statement – it’s not shy, but a beast unto itself." "It’s over the top, but in a good way," adds charismatic Heavy frontman Kelvin Swaby. "With this record, we went pretty cinematic: we basically set out to score a film that hasn’t been written." Indeed, The Glorious Dead proves singular: Frankensteining everything from swampy voodoo and b-movie zombies with garage-rock guitars and Gospel-soaked soul, it becomes a whole other creature feature unlike anything else you’ll hear this year. The Glorious Dead isn’t just The Heavy’s third full-length: it’s also the group’s most ambitious effort, traveling sonically from the group’s South England home to America’s deep South, and beyond. It’s also building off momentum from The Heavy’s greatest success, the international smash single “How You Like Me Now?,” off the band’s acclaimed previous album, 2009’s The House That Dirt Built. An infectious anthem of hard-rocking maximum R&B, “How You Like Me Now?” exploded upon release: it became the first song David Letterman’s ever requested an encore for when The Heavy played it on his “Late Show,” and has appeared everywhere from “Entourage” episodes, Academy Award-nominated film The Fighter, and the trailer for the new Mark Wahlberg comedy Ted. “How You Like Me Now?” continues to enthrall: on the recent climax of the 2012 season of NBC’s hit show “The Voice,” Adam Levine’s team contestant Tony Lucca performed the song to massive acclaim. “That was surreal,” says Taylor. “It’s taken on legs of its own. I can’t complain, but I wouldn’t want to be known for one song – it’s not our peak.” “It’s such a big tune, people ask, ‘How are you going to top that?’,” Swaby adds. “But we’re not going to lie down and play dead.” As such, The Glorious Dead rockets out of the grave with supernatural force. Alternately haunting and relentless, album opener “Can’t Play Dead” thunders as if Jack White remixed “Ghost Town” by The Specials. It’s followed by “Curse Me Good,” which provides a jarring contrast with its sweet whistled hook, George Harrison-meets-T.Rex acoustic strum, and a heartbreaking soul vocal from Swaby. “It’s good to have a bit of light and shade amid the onslaught of heavy guitars,” Taylor explains. “I find we’re always trying to recreate the diversity of, say, The White Album, but with beats.” Likewise, “Big Bad Wolf” combines primal howling à la Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, funkdafied breakbeats, and eerie electronics that recall Luniz’ stoned rap classic “I Got 5 On It.” “Think vintage, but keep it contemporary – that’s our approach,” Swaby explains. “It’s integral to make everything sound like samples from our record collection, but with a modern edge. We’re not afraid to use technology, and everything needs to have that tight, heavyweight bottom end.” Epitomizing this all-inclusive strategy is The Glorious Dead’s centerpiece breakthrough track, “What Makes A Good Man?” Defiant yet uplifting, “What Makes A Good Man?” contrasts Swaby’s gritty soul searching with girl-group call-and-response vocals and soaring, epic strings. Its creation provided the spark that would prove crucial to the album’s inception. Looking to soak up some Southern Gothic inspiration, The Heavy traveled far from their hometown near Bath, England all the way to Columbus, Georgia on the advice of their U.S. tour-bus driver, Sam Phillips. There, Phillips hooked the group up with a number of church-trained singers and players: they would take Swaby and Taylor’s song ideas to another realm, like singer/keyboardist Lloyd Buchanan’s intense contribution to “…Good Man?” “We had the beat and the chorus for ‘Good Man,’ and when Lloyd started jamming on the B-3 and singing on it, I was like, ‘This is going to be insane,’” Swaby says. “The Gospel singers started doing the chorus they already knew they song – they made it sound like the Supremes or Ronettes. It was an incredible feeling: after that, we were on our merry way.” Taking the material to yet another level was the contribution of Gabriel “Bosco Mann” Roth, Daptone Records co-founder and bandleader of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, with whom The Heavy had toured extensively. Roth ended up scoring innovative string and horn parts to four of The Glorious Dead’s ten songs. “It doesn’t sound like what Gabriel does with the Dap-Kings,” Taylor says. “He got into the mindset to do something different.” “He’s such a talented entity,” Swaby continues. “I couldn’t believe what was coming out of the speakers. It was so fitting, with this vintage sound, and amazing beauty. It reminded me of these black-and-white films I used to watch as a kid.” Film loomed as large an influence on The Glorious Dead as music. As key inspirations, Taylor cites the tweaked Americana of Jim Jarmusch’s Down By Law and the voodoo vibes of the James Bond classic Live and Let Die alongside ‘60s Mod rave-ups and the atmospheric Brit multiculturalism of Fun Boy Three and The Specials; Swaby, meanwhile, explored low-budget horror flicks alongside the controlled screaming of garage-rockers The Sonics, Tom Waits’ elastic growl, and soul giants Al Green and Otis Redding. Starting in January 2011, Taylor, Swaby, and bandmates Spencer Page (bass) and Chris Ellul (drums) began combining these ingredients into their own idiosyncratic blend – a process launched by The Heavy building their own studio and choosing to produce The Glorious Dead themselves. To mix the results, the band first worked with longtime associate Jim Abbiss (Adele, Arctic Monkeys) at Peter Gabriel’s famed Real World complex, then finished up with Paul Corkett (The Cure, Nick Cave, Björk). “Self-producing was all about being self-sufficient in realizing the vision we had,” Taylor says. “Your third record is judged as to whether you’re there to stay, or slide off the face of the earth. We want to stick around, so we took our balls out and went for it.” “I love what we’ve done,” adds Swaby. “We got our deadpan heartbreak down. This record suggests how we continue to walk among the dead – now just in a few more places, and with more of a swagger.” The Glorious Dead spawned the mighty lead single 'What Makes a Good Man?' a funk-ridden, soul-wrenching study of a deep spiritual question. What Makes A Good Man? has been featured in trailers for HBO, Lawless, Borderlands 2 and Elementary, and the band gave TV performances on The Late Show with David Letterman, Last Call With Carson Daly and The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson. Since the dawn of 'The Glorious Dead,' The Heavy have done anything other than rest on their laurels. 2013 has seen them reprise their smash hit 'How You Like Me Now?' for ESPN's Draft Week. The song was reworked to feature a guest verse from none other than 50 Cent, who happily enveloped himself in The Heavy's swamp-funk, and even performed in a brand new video. Since then, the song has gone on to reach Gold status in the USA, a stunning success from a British band on a label as independent as they are. The Heavy came back to the US to perform at Spike TV's Guys Choice Awards as the house band in June 2013. Touring in 2013 has so far been a SOLD OUT UK Tour, an EU Tour in May, plus USA and Canadian dates in June and August, with another EU/UK Tour booked for the end of the year. Festival highlights this summer include Ottawa Jazz Festival, Rock-A-Field in Luxembourg, Hove in Norway, T In The Park in Scotland, Glastonbury and WOMAD in England, Osheaga in Montreal, Outside Lands in San Francisco and Afropunk in New York. To date, this true original of a band have sold 750,000 singles and over 150,000 albums. Long live The Heavy. 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Restless as a DJ and adventurous in his productions, Illum Sphere (real name Ryan Hunn) is both a key player in the Manchester music scene and a unique presence on the global stage. Deliberately oblique in his approach, he’s had a vital impact on electronic music, and it’s about to get bigger.

Hoya:Hoya, the club night he founded in 2008 along with Jonny Dub, has steadily expanded its reputation in and outside Manchester: they now boast Eclair Fifi, Jon K, Lone, and Krystal Klear as resident DJs, as well as mic skills from Chunky, Fox and visuals by EMN.

That’s a hotbed of talent from which radio stations, festivals and record labels outside Manchester draw. Hoya:Hoya  also brings names like Four Tet, Dabrye, Ikonika and Kuedo to the city, helping to build its reputation as a nightclub singular in style, and simply as one of the best parties in the country. It’s well known that you can’t fully predict what music you’ll get on a Hoya:Hoya night, let alone from one of Illum Sphere’s own DJ sets. He’ll skip effortlessly between hip-hop, psych, techno, boogie and myriad more styles, before you even know what’s happened.

It’s partly through this reach that Illum Sphere has attracted international attention. He’s played parties everywhere from Low End Theory in LA to Sydney, Australia. XL Recordings asked him to remix Radiohead, who then invited Illum to appear on the seminal King of Limbs remixed edition of Boiler Room, alongside Caribou, Jamie XX and Lone, as well as to DJ at the afterparty of Radiohead’s 02 concert.

Besides releases on Manchester’s own Fat City, he’s released music on a plethora of electronic music’s best imprints: Martyn’s label 3024, Pinch’s Tectonic and Young Turks.

Now, he’s found a permanent home in Ninja Tune. As with his boundary skipping DJ sets, Illum Sphere’s releases are marked not by a regulated approach beginning with tempo or genre, but a free-spirited attitude that encompasses a range of genres. With his series of EPs for Fat City, Illum Sphere started out in sci-fi atmospherics and loosely slung beats, before quickly venturing into more exotic grooves. "Titan" (on 3024) achieved a new, bleepy dancefloor leverage while "Dreamstealin" (on Tectonic) is a trip, awash with warped and droned strings, far out rhythms and a soothing boogie comedown.

His Young Turks EP saw Illum Sphere stepping out with a new 4/4 fearlessness. Both tracks are dancefloor to the max: while "h808er" effortlessly sweeps you up into storming  Drexciyan techno and then lifts unexpectedly into breezy psychedelia. "Birthday" is full on bump, coupled with Illum Sphere’s distinct musical humour.

Just as his DJing style fuses the explorative and the unexpected, so do his productions, and with the talent to match his idiosyncratic style, he is now achieving a newfound confidence and artistic distinction.

Photo by Louis Reynolds

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[image_upload_id] => 19057 [label_id] => 1 [twitter_username] => illumsphere [instagram_id] => 45336171 [instagram_username] => illumsphere [link] => [listed] => 1 [sortname] => Illum Sphere [created] => 2012-11-07 11:51:50 [modified] => 2014-02-14 15:01:04 [slug] => illum-sphere [fuga_id] => [description_clean] =>

Restless as a DJ and adventurous in his productions, Illum Sphere (real name Ryan Hunn) is both a key player in the Manchester music scene and a unique presence on the global stage. Deliberately oblique in his approach, he’s had a vital impact on electronic music, and it’s about to get bigger.

Hoya:Hoya, the club night he founded in 2008 along with Jonny Dub, has steadily expanded its reputation in and outside Manchester: they now boast Eclair Fifi, Jon K, Lone, and Krystal Klear as resident DJs, as well as mic skills from Chunky, Fox and visuals by EMN.

That’s a hotbed of talent from which radio stations, festivals and record labels outside Manchester draw. Hoya:Hoya  also brings names like Four Tet, Dabrye, Ikonika and Kuedo to the city, helping to build its reputation as a nightclub singular in style, and simply as one of the best parties in the country. It’s well known that you can’t fully predict what music you’ll get on a Hoya:Hoya night, let alone from one of Illum Sphere’s own DJ sets. He’ll skip effortlessly between hip-hop, psych, techno, boogie and myriad more styles, before you even know what’s happened.

It’s partly through this reach that Illum Sphere has attracted international attention. He’s played parties everywhere from Low End Theory in LA to Sydney, Australia. XL Recordings asked him to remix Radiohead, who then invited Illum to appear on the seminal King of Limbs remixed edition of Boiler Room, alongside Caribou, Jamie XX and Lone, as well as to DJ at the afterparty of Radiohead’s 02 concert.

Besides releases on Manchester’s own Fat City, he’s released music on a plethora of electronic music’s best imprints: Martyn’s label 3024, Pinch’s Tectonic and Young Turks.

Now, he’s found a permanent home in Ninja Tune. As with his boundary skipping DJ sets, Illum Sphere’s releases are marked not by a regulated approach beginning with tempo or genre, but a free-spirited attitude that encompasses a range of genres. With his series of EPs for Fat City, Illum Sphere started out in sci-fi atmospherics and loosely slung beats, before quickly venturing into more exotic grooves. "Titan" (on 3024) achieved a new, bleepy dancefloor leverage while "Dreamstealin" (on Tectonic) is a trip, awash with warped and droned strings, far out rhythms and a soothing boogie comedown.

His Young Turks EP saw Illum Sphere stepping out with a new 4/4 fearlessness. Both tracks are dancefloor to the max: while "h808er" effortlessly sweeps you up into storming  Drexciyan techno and then lifts unexpectedly into breezy psychedelia. "Birthday" is full on bump, coupled with Illum Sphere’s distinct musical humour.

Just as his DJing style fuses the explorative and the unexpected, so do his productions, and with the talent to match his idiosyncratic style, he is now achieving a newfound confidence and artistic distinction.

Photo by Louis Reynolds

[links_clean] =>

Hoya:Hoya

Facebook
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[counter_player] => [counter_biog] => [tracking] => [conversions] => [hide_preorder] => 0 [hide_tracks] => 0 [hide_buy] => 0 ) [1] => Array ( [id] => 172 [name] => Letherette [description] =>

The story of the most fun new force in electronic music goes a long way to explaining just why their music is so good. Letherette are two childhood friends with a current of empathy between them so strong that they seem more like brothers than anything else. Their serious intent is always expressed endearingly; they never take themselves too seriously, but they do want their music to be seriously good.

Richard Roberts and Andy Harber were both born during a deep snowstorm one December - at the time the worst since 1960 - that prevented the ambulances that came to get their mothers from reaching their houses. They grew up thirty minutes away from each other in Wolverhampton, and met at the age of 11 when they were sent to the same secondary school. Andy threatened to beat Rich up if he didn't invite him to join a football game, and they took things from there. It's perhaps helpful to know that whilst Andy was the same height then as now, Rich used to look entirely physically different. He went so suddenly from blonde to dark haired that his father claimed he was swapped in his teens.

The pair quickly became firm friends, their (now friendlier) football games lasting long into the night, and remaining their main pastime until they discovered girls, cigarettes and, most importantly, music. Both had strong musical experiences early in their lives. Andy had two older sisters and was 'made' to sing along with them and his mother in the car. They'd harmonise along to The Carpenters on their annual journeys to Wales. He also loved guitar music: Jimi, The Beatles, Moody Blues and T Rex. His first purchase was an MC Hammer tape, and his eventual love was the electronic music of Orbital and Aphex Twin and the avant-garde work of pioneers like Stockhausen.

Rich had a profound early experience when he heard "Reach Out and I'll Be There" by The Four Tops. To this day, whenever he hears it he remembers how excited he was at the capabilities of this thing called music. His dad has a massive soul collection, and he devoured it happily in his youth. Later, he taught himself guitar by freezing videos and copying chord shapes. He used to go to Andy's in order to make use of his friend's more expensive gear.

They began making music together, initially just hitting record and improvising for hours and hours, making experimental music. 'We'd just smoke joints and indulge ourselves,' they say. It seems it was a fertile starting point for their career. 'Wolverhampton is perfect,' says Rich, 'because there is nothing to do. It was recently voted the 3rd or 4th worst city in the world, with some shanty town in Brazil the next worst.' Easy then, he says, to get into creativity. 'We couldn't live in London,' they laugh. 'There'd be much too much to do.'

They did make the most of what little music there was in their hometown though, soaking up the commercial house music at Wolverhampton's two main clubs, The Canal and Light Bar. Andy worked in the latter as a glass collector at 16, and the pair clubbed at both together. You can hear the influence of these days in their own exuberant, unrestrained music, which moves the feet as much as the mind. Despite their regional upbringings, they are firmly part of a generation of artists taking electronic music to a new level, making the artform richer.

Actually, they went to a sort of anti-Brit school for young electronic talent; Actress was two years above them, Alex Nut in the same year. The latter introduced them to Bibio - still a great friend and contemporary - and like him and Lee Gamble, they attended courses at Sonic Arts college. This mixture of musical pedigree and regional boredom was a strong tonic for the young duo. Myspace was a real tool for them, and they met Kwes, Machinedrum, Jimmy Edgar and Brownswood records via the social networking site. They remixed Machinerum and Bibio in 2009, and were then invited to submit a track for the ‘Brownswood Electric’ comp in 2010. They played their first, ‘awful’ gig with a crashed Ableton at the comp’s launch, in front of Gilles Peterson himself.

A mix for Andrew Meza’s BTS radio was a huge turning point, as were the two EPs Alex Nut released on his Hotep label. For a while after that they felt slightly stuck, they say; they were talented beatmakers with potential, but needed inspiration to move on. That inspiration appeared in the form of manager Greg Eden (Mark Pritchard, Clark) who told them he’d take them on if they took a step up. They put their heads down, worked hard, and won him over within only a few months.

And the work they made to do so became part of the demos that saw Ninja Tune eagerly pick them up in 2012. Ninja ‘saw the light,’ they say, and helped them to do the same. Now, they are full time musicians whose stunning debut album is winning applause from all sides. People fall in love quickly with Letherette, whose playful, ‘70s referencing, sexy stylings and joyful music are infectious.

They want, says Rich, ‘to be in a position where they make great albums playing to great people.’ 'We always want to be in touch with what's good,' Andy adds, 'and to make music we're proud of and never go stale. If that ever happened, in my ears, we’d call it a day.’ May that never come then, because it would make the musical landscape a significantly poorer place.

[links] =>

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[image_upload_id] => 17276 [label_id] => 1 [twitter_username] => letherette [instagram_id] => 231188637 [instagram_username] => letherette [link] => [listed] => 1 [sortname] => Letherette [created] => 2012-09-18 12:59:50 [modified] => 2013-05-03 14:52:39 [slug] => letherette [fuga_id] => [description_clean] =>

The story of the most fun new force in electronic music goes a long way to explaining just why their music is so good. Letherette are two childhood friends with a current of empathy between them so strong that they seem more like brothers than anything else. Their serious intent is always expressed endearingly; they never take themselves too seriously, but they do want their music to be seriously good.

Richard Roberts and Andy Harber were both born during a deep snowstorm one December - at the time the worst since 1960 - that prevented the ambulances that came to get their mothers from reaching their houses. They grew up thirty minutes away from each other in Wolverhampton, and met at the age of 11 when they were sent to the same secondary school. Andy threatened to beat Rich up if he didn't invite him to join a football game, and they took things from there. It's perhaps helpful to know that whilst Andy was the same height then as now, Rich used to look entirely physically different. He went so suddenly from blonde to dark haired that his father claimed he was swapped in his teens.

The pair quickly became firm friends, their (now friendlier) football games lasting long into the night, and remaining their main pastime until they discovered girls, cigarettes and, most importantly, music. Both had strong musical experiences early in their lives. Andy had two older sisters and was 'made' to sing along with them and his mother in the car. They'd harmonise along to The Carpenters on their annual journeys to Wales. He also loved guitar music: Jimi, The Beatles, Moody Blues and T Rex. His first purchase was an MC Hammer tape, and his eventual love was the electronic music of Orbital and Aphex Twin and the avant-garde work of pioneers like Stockhausen.

Rich had a profound early experience when he heard "Reach Out and I'll Be There" by The Four Tops. To this day, whenever he hears it he remembers how excited he was at the capabilities of this thing called music. His dad has a massive soul collection, and he devoured it happily in his youth. Later, he taught himself guitar by freezing videos and copying chord shapes. He used to go to Andy's in order to make use of his friend's more expensive gear.

They began making music together, initially just hitting record and improvising for hours and hours, making experimental music. 'We'd just smoke joints and indulge ourselves,' they say. It seems it was a fertile starting point for their career. 'Wolverhampton is perfect,' says Rich, 'because there is nothing to do. It was recently voted the 3rd or 4th worst city in the world, with some shanty town in Brazil the next worst.' Easy then, he says, to get into creativity. 'We couldn't live in London,' they laugh. 'There'd be much too much to do.'

They did make the most of what little music there was in their hometown though, soaking up the commercial house music at Wolverhampton's two main clubs, The Canal and Light Bar. Andy worked in the latter as a glass collector at 16, and the pair clubbed at both together. You can hear the influence of these days in their own exuberant, unrestrained music, which moves the feet as much as the mind. Despite their regional upbringings, they are firmly part of a generation of artists taking electronic music to a new level, making the artform richer.

Actually, they went to a sort of anti-Brit school for young electronic talent; Actress was two years above them, Alex Nut in the same year. The latter introduced them to Bibio - still a great friend and contemporary - and like him and Lee Gamble, they attended courses at Sonic Arts college. This mixture of musical pedigree and regional boredom was a strong tonic for the young duo. Myspace was a real tool for them, and they met Kwes, Machinedrum, Jimmy Edgar and Brownswood records via the social networking site. They remixed Machinerum and Bibio in 2009, and were then invited to submit a track for the ‘Brownswood Electric’ comp in 2010. They played their first, ‘awful’ gig with a crashed Ableton at the comp’s launch, in front of Gilles Peterson himself.

A mix for Andrew Meza’s BTS radio was a huge turning point, as were the two EPs Alex Nut released on his Hotep label. For a while after that they felt slightly stuck, they say; they were talented beatmakers with potential, but needed inspiration to move on. That inspiration appeared in the form of manager Greg Eden (Mark Pritchard, Clark) who told them he’d take them on if they took a step up. They put their heads down, worked hard, and won him over within only a few months.

And the work they made to do so became part of the demos that saw Ninja Tune eagerly pick them up in 2012. Ninja ‘saw the light,’ they say, and helped them to do the same. Now, they are full time musicians whose stunning debut album is winning applause from all sides. People fall in love quickly with Letherette, whose playful, ‘70s referencing, sexy stylings and joyful music are infectious.

They want, says Rich, ‘to be in a position where they make great albums playing to great people.’ 'We always want to be in touch with what's good,' Andy adds, 'and to make music we're proud of and never go stale. If that ever happened, in my ears, we’d call it a day.’ May that never come then, because it would make the musical landscape a significantly poorer place.

[links_clean] =>

Facebook
Twitter
Soundcloud

[counter_player] => [counter_biog] => [tracking] => [conversions] => [hide_preorder] => 0 [hide_tracks] => 0 [hide_buy] => 0 ) [2] => Array ( [id] => 164 [name] => Lapalux [description] =>

In a world in which upstart DIY talent is flooding the gates of electronic music, a few recent voices have been so strong as to be startling. Lapalux - aka 25-year-old Stuart Howard - is certainly one such. As singular as a brilliant artist always should be, his instinctive understanding of the atmospheric power of texture grips the ear immediately on listening. Nostalchic is his debut album, mission statement, and the climax of many years of studying his craft. 

The amalgam of words that make the title is aptly, and perhaps knowingly chosen. The album evokes nostalgia without ever sounding nostalgic, and Howard may have had his tongue in his chic when he added the second half of the title. The album is his most focused document to date, adding his beloved R&B and soul into elements of house and hip hop, all with the trademark Lapalux finish; infectious, lopsided swing and achingly deep texture.

“Like the R&B of another time and place, transmitted from an unknown planet in a distant galaxy into the mind of a wildly creative sound designer.” – XLR8R 

“Fans of the Kimbies, James Blake’s ‘CMYK’, Four Tet, Bibio, FlyLo, Matthewdavid, Onra, Debruit and all those guys – meet your new favourite producer.“ – Boomkat 

“Lapalux is probably one of the finest producers out there at the moment” – Oli Marlow, Sonic Router 

“The Barry White of electronica.” – Errol Anderson, The Independent

[links] =>

www.lapalux.com

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[image_upload_id] => 20515 [label_id] => 7 [twitter_username] => lapalux [instagram_id] => 326469740 [instagram_username] => lapaluxmusic [link] => [listed] => 0 [sortname] => Lapalux [created] => 2012-01-17 15:28:40 [modified] => 2015-01-28 15:13:13 [slug] => lapalux [fuga_id] => [description_clean] =>

In a world in which upstart DIY talent is flooding the gates of electronic music, a few recent voices have been so strong as to be startling. Lapalux - aka 25-year-old Stuart Howard - is certainly one such. As singular as a brilliant artist always should be, his instinctive understanding of the atmospheric power of texture grips the ear immediately on listening. Nostalchic is his debut album, mission statement, and the climax of many years of studying his craft. 

The amalgam of words that make the title is aptly, and perhaps knowingly chosen. The album evokes nostalgia without ever sounding nostalgic, and Howard may have had his tongue in his chic when he added the second half of the title. The album is his most focused document to date, adding his beloved R&B and soul into elements of house and hip hop, all with the trademark Lapalux finish; infectious, lopsided swing and achingly deep texture.

“Like the R&B of another time and place, transmitted from an unknown planet in a distant galaxy into the mind of a wildly creative sound designer.” – XLR8R 

“Fans of the Kimbies, James Blake’s ‘CMYK’, Four Tet, Bibio, FlyLo, Matthewdavid, Onra, Debruit and all those guys – meet your new favourite producer.“ – Boomkat 

“Lapalux is probably one of the finest producers out there at the moment” – Oli Marlow, Sonic Router 

“The Barry White of electronica.” – Errol Anderson, The Independent

[links_clean] =>

www.lapalux.com

Facebook
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[counter_player] => [counter_biog] => [tracking] => [conversions] => [hide_preorder] => 0 [hide_tracks] => 0 [hide_buy] => 0 ) [3] => Array ( [id] => 152 [name] => Martyn [description] =>

Three years after his last album – Ghost PeopleMartyn joins the Ninja Tune family to present his third long player. Universally respected for his ever-evolving, but inimitable sound, the Dutch-born, Washington DC-based producer brings an entirely new sonic direction with The Air Between Words. This is an exploration of the essence of all of Martyn’s music: a rugged four-to-the-floor groove, intelligently sculpted and artfully composed.

Where Great Lengths - his 2009 debut - was a body of work that explored Martyn’s uncategorizable versatility, and 2011’s Ghost People (via Brainfeeder) was a focused effort on writing an album with a specific sound, The Air Between Words came from a different realm altogether. Martyn had no parameters, and in fact no plan at all. He fell into a back-to-basics mentality where simple experimentation with purely analogue sounds and equipment inadvertently turned to melodic sketches, and without warning the album revealed itself.

“Every album signifies a period in your life, and finishing one shows you something about yourself,” says Martyn about the experience. “Without the music being introspective, this is my most natural sounding album.”

The Air Between Words opens coyly with the panoramic sonics of "Forgiveness Step 1" - a beatless but nonetheless authoritative statement of intent - before pitching headlong into pure dancefloor territory. Lean, raw, powerful productions predominate - gloriously brash, occasionally beautiful, but always vigorously hypnotic, sensitively swung and utterly irresistible.

Martyn joins forces with Kieran Hebden aka Four Tet for "Glassbeadgames", a powerhouse of a track that finds the perfect amalgamation of both producers’ fortés. Heavy kicks, UKG-esque percussion and swirling subs dictate the groove, whilst the melodic progressions are simultaneously melancholic and anthemic, and further enhanced by a Hebden trademark thumb piano motif.

Another collaboration - "Love of Pleasure" - finds Martyn partnering with his good friend copeland (formerly known as Inga Copeland, or one half of art pop duo Hype Williams). Her fragile vocal cuts through distorted piano riffs and swathes of broken synths, a fitting centerpiece for the album before it returns to its essence via "Forgiveness Step 2", "Like That" and "Two Leads and a Computer", which distinctly draw from a 90s Warp heritage (Sweet Exorcist, LFO and Autechre) but bizarrely sound like they’ve been beamed from the future. After the Afro-tinged elegance of "Lullaby", the final piece word belongs to "Fashion Skater": a dark, earthy, almost Zen-like exercise in house music in its purest form.

Stylistically and sonically, Martyn stands apart from his counterparts. His music incorporates vintage references but is steadfastly forward-facing at the same time. He’s always done that. His sound is heritage and future - and that character has elevated him alongside fellow electronic heavyweights such as Four Tet, Kode9, dBridge and Mark Pritchard.

[links] =>

Website
Facebook
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Soundcloud

[image_upload_id] => 19301 [label_id] => 1 [twitter_username] => MARTYN3024 [instagram_id] => [instagram_username] => [link] => [listed] => 1 [sortname] => Martyn [created] => 2011-06-29 15:37:25 [modified] => 2014-04-11 14:50:12 [slug] => martyn [fuga_id] => [description_clean] =>

Three years after his last album – Ghost PeopleMartyn joins the Ninja Tune family to present his third long player. Universally respected for his ever-evolving, but inimitable sound, the Dutch-born, Washington DC-based producer brings an entirely new sonic direction with The Air Between Words. This is an exploration of the essence of all of Martyn’s music: a rugged four-to-the-floor groove, intelligently sculpted and artfully composed.

Where Great Lengths - his 2009 debut - was a body of work that explored Martyn’s uncategorizable versatility, and 2011’s Ghost People (via Brainfeeder) was a focused effort on writing an album with a specific sound, The Air Between Words came from a different realm altogether. Martyn had no parameters, and in fact no plan at all. He fell into a back-to-basics mentality where simple experimentation with purely analogue sounds and equipment inadvertently turned to melodic sketches, and without warning the album revealed itself.

“Every album signifies a period in your life, and finishing one shows you something about yourself,” says Martyn about the experience. “Without the music being introspective, this is my most natural sounding album.”

The Air Between Words opens coyly with the panoramic sonics of "Forgiveness Step 1" - a beatless but nonetheless authoritative statement of intent - before pitching headlong into pure dancefloor territory. Lean, raw, powerful productions predominate - gloriously brash, occasionally beautiful, but always vigorously hypnotic, sensitively swung and utterly irresistible.

Martyn joins forces with Kieran Hebden aka Four Tet for "Glassbeadgames", a powerhouse of a track that finds the perfect amalgamation of both producers’ fortés. Heavy kicks, UKG-esque percussion and swirling subs dictate the groove, whilst the melodic progressions are simultaneously melancholic and anthemic, and further enhanced by a Hebden trademark thumb piano motif.

Another collaboration - "Love of Pleasure" - finds Martyn partnering with his good friend copeland (formerly known as Inga Copeland, or one half of art pop duo Hype Williams). Her fragile vocal cuts through distorted piano riffs and swathes of broken synths, a fitting centerpiece for the album before it returns to its essence via "Forgiveness Step 2", "Like That" and "Two Leads and a Computer", which distinctly draw from a 90s Warp heritage (Sweet Exorcist, LFO and Autechre) but bizarrely sound like they’ve been beamed from the future. After the Afro-tinged elegance of "Lullaby", the final piece word belongs to "Fashion Skater": a dark, earthy, almost Zen-like exercise in house music in its purest form.

Stylistically and sonically, Martyn stands apart from his counterparts. His music incorporates vintage references but is steadfastly forward-facing at the same time. He’s always done that. His sound is heritage and future - and that character has elevated him alongside fellow electronic heavyweights such as Four Tet, Kode9, dBridge and Mark Pritchard.

[links_clean] =>

Website
Facebook
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For those who think they know Jaga Jazzist, the story of this Norwegian supergroup and Starfire - its fifth full-length studio album, hot on the heels of the acclaimed 20th anniversary vinyl box, '94-'14 - begins with a pop quiz:

Jaga Jazzist is:

(a) A jazz band;
(b) A rock band;
(c) A progressive rock band;
(d) A hip hop group;
(e) A rap group;
(f) A reggae group;
(g) A polka band;
(h) A comedy band;
(i) An electronica group;
(j) A classical ensemble;
(k) A choral ensemble;
(l) All of the above;
(m) None of the above.

The answer is, indeed, both (l) and (m) because across two decades Jaga has been all of these things but, at the end of the day, is really none of them. A point made all the more clear with Starfire - which, in some ways, returns to earlier roots while, at he same time, introducing new elements and, as ever, moving forward...always moving forward.

If Jaga has any rules, there's really just one: every album must sound like nothing that preceded it. With Starfire, the group that has confounded categorization from inception has delivered yet another album unlike any they've ever done before. Yet, at the end of the day - despite touchstones ranging from Gil Evans to Radiohead, My Bloody Valentine to Tortoise, Oslo 13 to Motorpsycho and Fela Kuti to Steve Reich - Starfire still sounds absolutely like nobody but Jaga Jazzist.

The youngest of three siblings that began Jaga in 1994 in the small town of Tønsburg when he was just 14, Lars Horntveth gradually emerged as Jaga's primary compositional voice. Lars, brother Martin and sister Line all demonstrated a strong-willed distaste for orthodoxy - an early reason why Jaga sounds unlike any other band on any scene.

All bandleaders, producers, engineers and/or busy session musicians, Jaga's members have always been at the heart of Norway's disproportionately large and vibrant music scene. All the more remarkable, then, that five of its current eight members remain from its early days, with Even Ormestad and Andreas Mjøs still here alongside the Horntveth siblings.

Jaga's out-of-print 1996 debut, Grete Stitz, did extremely well for an indie release, grabbing the ears and eyes of musicians, producers and venue owners at the heart of Norway's music scene. "We got attention because Jaga was such a bizarre group and Grete Stitz was a very strange album," says Lars. "We started playing more shows in Oslo, mostly in small clubs; then we signed to the Debut label and recorded the Magazine EP, releasing it in 1998."

While the 28-minute, four-track Magazine was no less eclectic than Grete Stitz, it was where Jaga's voice began to emerge more fully, with Lars' writing facilitating its textural breadth, long-form cinematic complexities, intrinsic lyricism and rampant multi-instrumentalism.

While yet to release an album that's anything less than superb, many still feel that 2001's A Livingroom Hush and Jaga's 2002 Ninja Tune debut, The Stix, are the group's best...though Starfire may well change that. What is certain is that Jørgen Træen's arrival as Jaga's producer created a monumental paradigm shift: the final piece of Jaga's puzzle, and a constant challenge to Jaga's modus operandi. If Magazine represented what it was on the road to becoming, A Livingroom Hush was when Jaga Jazzist arrived.

"Jørgen changed the whole band," says Lars. "He thought about music from a different perspective," Martin interjects. "Jørgen was so good for us because he could be really forceful about pushing the music in a totally different direction." "He took different parts of what we had recorded, flipped them them around and changed them," Lars continues, "changing the chorus, changing the verse - basically just working inside the computer, remixing. Jørgen is a rare combination of someone mostly into really far out stuff while also understanding when a song is the single. We'll remove this bar or move that one around, and suddenly a song becomes super catchy. I've great respect for pop craftsmanship and think it's also possible with instrumental music.”

"Livingroom Hush also changed the way we played," Lars concludes. "We started focusing much more on details and dynamics, and how to make the music sound the way it did on the album."

Another key event for Jaga - already garnering a word-of-mouth reputation for exhilarating live performances - was signing with Ninja Tune. "Ninja helped get us out to the whole world," says Martin. "We played Japan...went to places we’d never been, with tons of people coming to the shows because they'd heard the name or about the band. Our records had already been in their shops and available online for years; it was really helpful."

After two successful albums (A Livingroom Hush selling 15,000 copies in Norway alone), when it came time to record 2005's What We Must, Træen suggested the group try a different pro-ducer. After an unsuccessful first attempt in Germany, the group returned home to work with Kåre Chr. Vestrheim, one of Norway's biggest producers.

"Working with Kåre was great," Lars says, "but I missed working with someone from a different musical place. Kåre and I shared so many of the same influences, and I needed resistance; I needed someone that didn't see all the theory. I never want to make challenging music for the sake of it and Jørgen is always good quality control, asking 'Why do you have this? Why do you want to do that?' This is music, and I need people to get in there and fuck with it."

After releasing and touring What We Must, Jaga Jazzist ended up taking an unexpected hiatus, By the time the group returned, full force, in 2009, only six of its members remained - including Erik Johannessen, who joined the group after What We Must was recorded, touring heavily be-fore Jaga's temporary break.

It was also during this break that Øystein Moen joined the band, recording One-Armed Bandit - Jaga's most overtly progressive rock album, brimming with "the best songs Lars has ever written for Jaga," asserts Mjøs - alongside fellow Puma bandmate (and short-lived Jaga guitarist) Stian Westerhus. Westerhus played only a handful of gigs after recording the album, and by the time it was released in 2010, Marcus Forsgren was Jaga's new guitarist - the beginning of Jaga's most stable lineup, continuing to this day, barring trumpeter Mathias Eick's 2014 departure after over 15 years with Jaga.

Træen, unfortunately, took ill during One-Armed Bandit's recording sessions, so Tortoise's John McEntire was recruited for the mix. Universally praised, One-Armed Bandit won Norway's Spel-lemannprisen (Grammy) and captured a significant number of new fans. Live, the material took on a life of its own, as heard on 2013's Live with Britten Sinfonia.

Constantly pushing himself to avoid the onset of predictability common in bands achieving Jaga's longevity, Lars' epic, cinematic approach to writing has remained paradoxically accessible... singable, even. Still, despite having a primary composer, Jaga's fundamental philosophy is that everyone in the band contributes to the music's final shape. This has never been clearer than with Starfire, as Lars - relocating to Los Angeles for a time (where the bulk of the record was written) - adopted an entirely different recording approach. Rather than inviting the entire band to play together, he became Jaga's musical ringleader, bringing other members in, one or two at a time, to contribute... and not just instrumentally.

With Starfire, Jaga Jazzist ups its ante, returning to a more electronic sound while flipping Lars' characteristically vertical musical stacks into horizontal sequences. "Starfire is neither an improvised album," Lars explains, "nor was it notated in scores. Composed and recorded over two years and slowly finding its shape in the studio, the music is as intricate and composed as our other albums, but it's a 100% studio record. We didn't rehearse once during this period. The idea was to think about the songs as both original songs and remixes."

The result? Some of the group's longest tracks ever, filled with the strangest, most otherworldly sounds you're likely to hear this - or any other - year. As Jaga prepares to take Starfire on the road, fans had better buckle up. This is a Jaga Jazzist you've never heard before...and transferring Starfire to the stage will undoubtedly become one of this year's most uniquely thrilling concert experiences.

Marcus Forsgren – Guitars + effects
Even Ormestad – Bass + keyboards
Andreas Mjøs – Vibraphone, guitars, drums + electronics
Line Horntveth – Tuba + percussion
Martin Horntveth – Drums + drum-machines
Lars Horntveth – Tenor sax, bass-clarinet, guitars + keyboards
Øystein Moen – Keyboards
Erik Johannessen - Trombone + percussion.

[links] =>

www.jagajazzist.com

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Twitter
Soundcloud

[image_upload_id] => 3994 [label_id] => 1 [twitter_username] => jagajazzist [instagram_id] => 344621722 [instagram_username] => jagajazzistofficial [link] => [listed] => 1 [sortname] => Jaga Jazzist [created] => 2010-07-17 22:15:58 [modified] => 2015-04-27 11:09:26 [slug] => jaga-jazzist [fuga_id] => [description_clean] =>

For those who think they know Jaga Jazzist, the story of this Norwegian supergroup and Starfire - its fifth full-length studio album, hot on the heels of the acclaimed 20th anniversary vinyl box, '94-'14 - begins with a pop quiz:

Jaga Jazzist is:

(a) A jazz band;
(b) A rock band;
(c) A progressive rock band;
(d) A hip hop group;
(e) A rap group;
(f) A reggae group;
(g) A polka band;
(h) A comedy band;
(i) An electronica group;
(j) A classical ensemble;
(k) A choral ensemble;
(l) All of the above;
(m) None of the above.

The answer is, indeed, both (l) and (m) because across two decades Jaga has been all of these things but, at the end of the day, is really none of them. A point made all the more clear with Starfire - which, in some ways, returns to earlier roots while, at he same time, introducing new elements and, as ever, moving forward...always moving forward.

If Jaga has any rules, there's really just one: every album must sound like nothing that preceded it. With Starfire, the group that has confounded categorization from inception has delivered yet another album unlike any they've ever done before. Yet, at the end of the day - despite touchstones ranging from Gil Evans to Radiohead, My Bloody Valentine to Tortoise, Oslo 13 to Motorpsycho and Fela Kuti to Steve Reich - Starfire still sounds absolutely like nobody but Jaga Jazzist.

The youngest of three siblings that began Jaga in 1994 in the small town of Tønsburg when he was just 14, Lars Horntveth gradually emerged as Jaga's primary compositional voice. Lars, brother Martin and sister Line all demonstrated a strong-willed distaste for orthodoxy - an early reason why Jaga sounds unlike any other band on any scene.

All bandleaders, producers, engineers and/or busy session musicians, Jaga's members have always been at the heart of Norway's disproportionately large and vibrant music scene. All the more remarkable, then, that five of its current eight members remain from its early days, with Even Ormestad and Andreas Mjøs still here alongside the Horntveth siblings.

Jaga's out-of-print 1996 debut, Grete Stitz, did extremely well for an indie release, grabbing the ears and eyes of musicians, producers and venue owners at the heart of Norway's music scene. "We got attention because Jaga was such a bizarre group and Grete Stitz was a very strange album," says Lars. "We started playing more shows in Oslo, mostly in small clubs; then we signed to the Debut label and recorded the Magazine EP, releasing it in 1998."

While the 28-minute, four-track Magazine was no less eclectic than Grete Stitz, it was where Jaga's voice began to emerge more fully, with Lars' writing facilitating its textural breadth, long-form cinematic complexities, intrinsic lyricism and rampant multi-instrumentalism.

While yet to release an album that's anything less than superb, many still feel that 2001's A Livingroom Hush and Jaga's 2002 Ninja Tune debut, The Stix, are the group's best...though Starfire may well change that. What is certain is that Jørgen Træen's arrival as Jaga's producer created a monumental paradigm shift: the final piece of Jaga's puzzle, and a constant challenge to Jaga's modus operandi. If Magazine represented what it was on the road to becoming, A Livingroom Hush was when Jaga Jazzist arrived.

"Jørgen changed the whole band," says Lars. "He thought about music from a different perspective," Martin interjects. "Jørgen was so good for us because he could be really forceful about pushing the music in a totally different direction." "He took different parts of what we had recorded, flipped them them around and changed them," Lars continues, "changing the chorus, changing the verse - basically just working inside the computer, remixing. Jørgen is a rare combination of someone mostly into really far out stuff while also understanding when a song is the single. We'll remove this bar or move that one around, and suddenly a song becomes super catchy. I've great respect for pop craftsmanship and think it's also possible with instrumental music.”

"Livingroom Hush also changed the way we played," Lars concludes. "We started focusing much more on details and dynamics, and how to make the music sound the way it did on the album."

Another key event for Jaga - already garnering a word-of-mouth reputation for exhilarating live performances - was signing with Ninja Tune. "Ninja helped get us out to the whole world," says Martin. "We played Japan...went to places we’d never been, with tons of people coming to the shows because they'd heard the name or about the band. Our records had already been in their shops and available online for years; it was really helpful."

After two successful albums (A Livingroom Hush selling 15,000 copies in Norway alone), when it came time to record 2005's What We Must, Træen suggested the group try a different pro-ducer. After an unsuccessful first attempt in Germany, the group returned home to work with Kåre Chr. Vestrheim, one of Norway's biggest producers.

"Working with Kåre was great," Lars says, "but I missed working with someone from a different musical place. Kåre and I shared so many of the same influences, and I needed resistance; I needed someone that didn't see all the theory. I never want to make challenging music for the sake of it and Jørgen is always good quality control, asking 'Why do you have this? Why do you want to do that?' This is music, and I need people to get in there and fuck with it."

After releasing and touring What We Must, Jaga Jazzist ended up taking an unexpected hiatus, By the time the group returned, full force, in 2009, only six of its members remained - including Erik Johannessen, who joined the group after What We Must was recorded, touring heavily be-fore Jaga's temporary break.

It was also during this break that Øystein Moen joined the band, recording One-Armed Bandit - Jaga's most overtly progressive rock album, brimming with "the best songs Lars has ever written for Jaga," asserts Mjøs - alongside fellow Puma bandmate (and short-lived Jaga guitarist) Stian Westerhus. Westerhus played only a handful of gigs after recording the album, and by the time it was released in 2010, Marcus Forsgren was Jaga's new guitarist - the beginning of Jaga's most stable lineup, continuing to this day, barring trumpeter Mathias Eick's 2014 departure after over 15 years with Jaga.

Træen, unfortunately, took ill during One-Armed Bandit's recording sessions, so Tortoise's John McEntire was recruited for the mix. Universally praised, One-Armed Bandit won Norway's Spel-lemannprisen (Grammy) and captured a significant number of new fans. Live, the material took on a life of its own, as heard on 2013's Live with Britten Sinfonia.

Constantly pushing himself to avoid the onset of predictability common in bands achieving Jaga's longevity, Lars' epic, cinematic approach to writing has remained paradoxically accessible... singable, even. Still, despite having a primary composer, Jaga's fundamental philosophy is that everyone in the band contributes to the music's final shape. This has never been clearer than with Starfire, as Lars - relocating to Los Angeles for a time (where the bulk of the record was written) - adopted an entirely different recording approach. Rather than inviting the entire band to play together, he became Jaga's musical ringleader, bringing other members in, one or two at a time, to contribute... and not just instrumentally.

With Starfire, Jaga Jazzist ups its ante, returning to a more electronic sound while flipping Lars' characteristically vertical musical stacks into horizontal sequences. "Starfire is neither an improvised album," Lars explains, "nor was it notated in scores. Composed and recorded over two years and slowly finding its shape in the studio, the music is as intricate and composed as our other albums, but it's a 100% studio record. We didn't rehearse once during this period. The idea was to think about the songs as both original songs and remixes."

The result? Some of the group's longest tracks ever, filled with the strangest, most otherworldly sounds you're likely to hear this - or any other - year. As Jaga prepares to take Starfire on the road, fans had better buckle up. This is a Jaga Jazzist you've never heard before...and transferring Starfire to the stage will undoubtedly become one of this year's most uniquely thrilling concert experiences.

Marcus Forsgren – Guitars + effects
Even Ormestad – Bass + keyboards
Andreas Mjøs – Vibraphone, guitars, drums + electronics
Line Horntveth – Tuba + percussion
Martin Horntveth – Drums + drum-machines
Lars Horntveth – Tenor sax, bass-clarinet, guitars + keyboards
Øystein Moen – Keyboards
Erik Johannessen - Trombone + percussion.

[links_clean] =>

www.jagajazzist.com

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Twitter
Soundcloud

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