Alan Hawkshaw

Various Artists “Breath Of Danger (Themes)” (Be With)

2020-01-09T21:48:47+00:00January 9th, 2020|

Reissue of Breath Of Danger (Themes), originally released in 1974. They say: “A selection of suspense underscores and drama blackcloths which vary in intensity and cover a wide range of suspense and drama situations”. Be With Records say: A breaky, funky library great masquerading as a horror score. Oh, and the cover art is amazing. Breath Of Danger was originally released in 1974, and rounded up a killer ensemble cast of library legends including Alan Hawkshaw, Brian Bennett, Alan Parker, David Lindup, Kenny Salmon, Barry Morgan, and Ray Cooper. Lindup’s opener “Cold Sweat” sounds like hip-hop-friendly mode Axelrod and, indeed, was brilliantly sampled by Kool Keith for his Dr. Dooom project. Alan Hawkshaw and Brian Bennett’s “The Manipulator” sounds like it arrived straight out of the same sessions as their legendary Synthesizer & Percussion LP from the same year. Over on the B-side Alan Parker’s “Psychosis” is a moving and beautifully restrained funk-guitar/cello/harp workout. Stunning. Kenny Salmon’s “Flying Squad” is a sleazy, flute-enhanced gem and the album closes with “Voodoo”, a seventy-second riot of sound and color from the dynamic drumming-percussion duo of Barry Morgan and Ray Cooper. Sonically, there’s a widescreen vitality in all these tracks thanks to the driving rhythms, vibrant horn sections and blazing guitar work. It renders Breath Of Danger — 45 years old — truly ageless. The Themes series is known for having particularly striking sleeves, which was unusual for library records at the time, and Breath Of Danger’s scraps of comic-book crazy make for one of the most eye-catching. As with all of Be With Records’ other Themes reissues, the audio for Breath Of Danger comes from the original analog tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Simon Francis. Sleeve reproduction duties by Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity. 180 gram vinyl.

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Various Artists “All American Powerhouse (Themes)” (Be With)

2020-01-09T21:46:30+00:00January 9th, 2020|

Reissue of The All American Powerhouse (Themes), originally released in 1976. They say: “Driving brass and sax ensemble over funky rhythm section, playing tracks of various feel and style”. Be With Records say: From the Lincoln Continental that memorably adorns the cover to the tranquil funk contained within, this glowing ode to the grooving force of 70s American soul music is ice cool all over. With brilliant contributions from the Three Key Alans (Hawkshaw, Parker, Tew) as well as Mike Moran, Les Hurdle, and Keith Roberts, this is driving music for only the vibeiest cats. Originally released in 1976, The All American Powerhouse is one of the very best of the Themes library releases. It’s killer. A feast of dramatic jazz, horizontal, melodic funk, and bouncing sunshine-y West-Coast feels throughout, there also lurks an intense injection of the Blaxploitation sound. Understandable, given the subject matter and year it was released. Highlights include Alan Parker’s confident, horn-heavy wah-wah-fueled album-opener “Sweeny Todd”, Hawkshaw’s graceful “Getaway” glide and dramatic, breathless “Speed Run”, Mike Moran’s loose, organ-driven propulsive B-Boy classic “The Pick-Up” and Keith Roberts’s percussive tour de force “Overide” that closes out the LP. Yet, perhaps the most significant track here is Les Hurdle’s long-adored “Soul Train”. A grooving, bass-heavy library classic, it’s all swirling strings, stabbing horns, heavy open drums and melodic funk-rock guitars. Add in the funky clavinet, and the combination works beautifully. As with all of Be With Records’ other Themes reissues, the audio for The All American Powerhouse comes from the original analog tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Simon Francis. Sleeve reproduction duties over by Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity. 180 gram vinyl.

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Alan Parker & Alan Hawkshaw “Black Pearl” (de Wolfe)

2019-06-07T03:01:17+00:00June 7th, 2019|

Originally released in 1973, Black Pearl’s overall sound is the epitome of cool, orchestral funk / dramatic styles of the 1970s (e.g. “Next Stop LA”, “Collect”, “Oh! Militia”, “Choctaw”, “Black Pearl”, and “Blue Shadow”). Also featured are several more romantic, laid-back, emotive pieces such as “Miraculous Dream”, “Tryst”, “Sunny Monday”, “Melody and Lace”, “Monochrome”, “No Return”. Not to mention a couple of surprise solo honky-tonk piano jaunts – “The Vamp” and “Night of the Garter”.

An eclectic mix that is sure to pique anyone’s interest. The album was produced by Alan Parker and Alan Hawkshaw, who is perhaps best-known for composing “The Champ”, which has been widely sampled and emulated by hip hop artists.

“Library records are a collection of little one-minute pieces for soundtracks recorded by session musicians for movies, TV, student films, whatever. I don’t actually know the story behind when, why, or where they were made but…there were a bunch of different labels that made them [and still probably do], and I was on the hunt for any recorded between 1969 and 1976. They all have random song titles like “Bouncy Strut” with descriptions like “hard-driving beat with percussion.” So imagine how much funky shit is on them. For me, De Wolfe Music was the best.”

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Alan Hawkshaw “The Road Forward” (Be With)

2019-05-24T20:05:08+00:00May 24th, 2019|

Be With have raided the KPM archives to re-issue another of our favourites from the KPM 1000 series.

They say: A comprehensive collection of descriptive contemporary scores.

We say: Just look at the track titles of The Road Forward and swoon: Strangelands, A Man Alone, Sheer Elegance, Mystique Voyage, Cruising. Don’t you just want to hear those? The maestro Alan Hawkshaw really spoils us on this, one of the most sought after KPM greensleeves.

This collection from 1977 is a brilliantly varied blend of silky smooth synths, funk-fuelled clavichord grooves and soft focus space beats. Essential.

As with all of our KPM re-issues, the audio for The Road Forward comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.

And don’t worry! Those KPM stickers aren’t stuck directly on the sleeves!

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Alan Hawkshaw/Keith Mansfield “Beat Incidental” (Be With)

2019-05-24T20:05:08+00:00May 24th, 2019|

Be With have raided the KPM archives to re-issue another of our favourites from the KPM 1000 series.

They Say: Underscore moods and links—contemporary beat music idiom.

We say: Includes some of the most sublime, sub-ten second, tracks you’re ever likely to hear, alongside more traditionally-lengthed library funk heat. The dream team of Alan Hawkshaw and Keith Mansfield are here at the helm of one of the most legendary of the legendary KPM albums, originally released in 1969.

Beat Incidental is psychedelic pop-soul that hits hard thanks to fuzz guitars, growling flutes, deep hammond grooves and drum breaks galore: it’s basically “drama jazz”.

As with all of our KPM re-issues, the audio for Beat Incidental comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.

And don’t worry! Those KPM stickers aren’t stuck directly on the sleeves!

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Keith Mansfield, Alan Hawkshaw & David Snell “Big Business” (Be With)

2018-11-09T15:49:10+00:00November 9th, 2018|

The two sides of 1973’s Big Business / Wind of Change are mainly the work of the great Keith Mansfield but there’s a killer cameo each from Alan Hawkshaw and David Snell to help deliver “a thematic suite, diverse in mood, applicable to dramatic and environmental situations”. A Be With favourite and truly one for the heads.

The Big Business of side A is all the work of Keith Mansfield. It’s heavy on the suspense and features the vital “Hot Property”, an insistent groove so good that Madlib sampled it to lace the ace “Long Awaited” by Lootpack with Dilated Peoples.

“Sleeping Giant 1” is a more fleshed out version of the equally-dazzling “Fatal Error”, evoking the orchestral magic of David Axelrod. Indeed, it conjures images of Diamond D falling over himself in the early-to-mid 90s to loop its intoxicatingly eerie soundscape. Complete with guitar fills that recall Paris, Texas-era Ry Cooder, you need this record for this piece alone.

The horn-and-flute-led “Tycoon” is a head-nodder and “Power Complex” has some fantastic percussion. Other highlights include the breezy glide of “Whistle Stop Tour” and its sister groove “Clean Air.”

Over on Side B is the more expansive Wind Of Change, which includes the David Snell and the Alan Hawkshaw contributions. But these ain’t no filler. Snell’s shuffling “International Flight” sounds like a smooth Dorothy Ashby track tossed from the heavens. Hawkshaw’s “Road And Rail” is about as luxurious and strung-out as the great man gets and it might just be the highlight of this whole set.

Not to be outdone, if Mansfield’s “Balance Of Power” doesn’t make you feel like king of the world then you must be playing it wrong. Oh, and did we mention “World In Action”?!

As with all ten re-issues, the audio for Big Business / Wind of Change comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.

Brian Bennett & Alan Hawkshaw “Synthesis” (Be With)

2018-11-09T15:49:10+00:00November 9th, 2018|

The “vivid contemporary sounds for a fresh visual image” make up the now canonized Synthesis from Alan Hawkshaw and Brian Bennett. These two greats go deeper than usual on this collection, and the end result is a synth concept record of sorts. Released in 1974, it’s an essential companion piece to their Synthesizer and Percussion LP, released on Themes International Music in the same year.

Like most of our favourite library records, Synthesis has that gloriously funky, “weird electronic music” vibe without ever being inaccessible. With the awesome ARPOdyssey at the fore, Hawkshaw and Bennett have created a blissed-out soundscape that, whilst laid back in all the right places, somehow remains heavy on the funk. It’s a sort of throbbing, proto-G Funk sound and you can find it on many of these low-lit basement workouts.

Take the ice-cool “Alto Glide”. It’s a sunset-funk highlight with an electro-flute refrain that conjures those dreamier Dre / DJ Quick instrumentals from ’91 to ’92. Stereolab, Koushik (again) and all those Ghost Box artists were clearly listening very closely in the years since. The equally relaxed “Mermaid” glides effortlessly with soft, shimmering piano, understated percussion and kaleidoscopic synths. It’s a really beautiful piece.

With these two soft-focus closing tracks allowing the LP to float away over the horizon, the preceding ten tracks have a more insistent, neck-snapping rhythm section to back the synth overload. Highlights include the head-nod funk of “Getting It Together” and the synth break in “The Executive”, which informed classic video game soundtracks.

For once Be With really is stuck for words to describe just how good this record is. Best just to listen.

As with all ten re-issues, the audio for Synthesis comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.

Brian Bennett & Alan Hawkshaw “Synthesizer & Percussion” (Be With)

2018-11-09T15:47:19+00:00November 9th, 2018|

Released in the same year as Synthesis over on KPM, 1974’s Synthesizer and Percussion is its essential companion piece. “This record features the many distinctive sounds of the ARP Synthesizer plus percussion in various moods and tempos” is the even more underwhelming than usual library record sales pitch for Alan Hawkshaw and Brian Bennett’s second collection of what is basically minimal G-funk, with overtones of primitive acid house. This is ridiculously good.

This is one of Hawkshaw and Bennett’s wilder joints and aeons ahead of its time. Bennett’s tough drums provide the underpinnings for the prominent bass, keys and bubbling synths high up in the mix, alongside Hawkshaw’s deranged clavinet-funk-rock. There are heavenly break loops galore.

Opener “Mon Amour” is ultra-smooth funk, all inter-weaving melodic lines whilst the seminal “Oddball” is an incredible hard electro strut with a knocking break. “Mile High Swinger” is a tranquil Spaghetti Western whistling theme over double tempo rhythmic movement and the pulsating “Auto Pilot” has a percussive groove elevated by electric piano and synthesizer. Check “Driving Force”, “Home Run” and “Pacesetter” for electroid prog-funk dripped in acid squelch.

All five final tracks are beatless synth workouts, because they can.

As with all ten re-issues, the audio for Synthesizer and Percussion comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.

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Brian Bennett & Alan Hawkshaw “Full Circle” (Be With)

2018-11-09T15:47:19+00:00November 9th, 2018|

Alan Hawkshaw (piano/Hammond) and Shadow’s drummer Brian Bennett are responsible for some of the slickest, funkiest and most sought-after library records ever made in the UK, particularly ones recorded on the legendary KPM label. Their work has now become the go-to place for sampling in music today. Artists such as Dilla, Nas, and the xx, right through to the billion selling Kanye & Drake have taken Hawkshaw’s and Bennett’s immaculate beat-driven soundscapes for their own usage.

Their new album, in full, iconic KPM cover is a return to the laidback jazz-funk that helped Alan and Brian demonstrate their library chops. The album is classic Hawkshaw/Bennett. It swings, it grooves, moves and thrills with a flair these two have perfected over years.

Standout tracks such as “Hole In One”, “In The Clouds”, “Interchange”, “Oasis”, “On The Nile” and “Corcovado” are no mere excursions in nostalgia, for they carry lots of deft studio work that many a producer would give their right arm for. Hawkshaw’s arrangements allow the drums, guitar, bass, strings, Hammond, flute and brass to swirl elegantly around the 12 original tracks; a masterclass in recording.

Cut by Pete Norman, housed in a beautifully designed Richard Robinson sleeve and pressed at 180g by Record Industry in Holland, this release has been afforded the care and attention it rightly deserves.

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