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.
Reissue of Visual Impact, originally released at 1976. They say: “Descriptive scores for scenes of visual impact”. Be With Records say: Arguably the single greatest album in KPM history. An ensemble piece of staggeringly heavy works from none other than Brian Bennett, John Scott, Steve Gray, Jim Lawless, and Johnny Pearson. Visual Impact includes the insanely ace “Nuplex” by Brian Bennett, a nagging, sweeping, punchy funk piece that exists in a world of its own. If you don’t know, get to know — the record’s worth getting for this track alone. The same goes for the beautifully paced, string-drenched, horn-fed LP opener “Canaveral Scape”, courtesy of John Scott. Truly sublime. Other highlights on the A-side include Bennett’s easy, bass-heavy jazz groover “Sequence Of Events” and the spare, building, undercover funk of Steve Gray’s aptly-named “Low Profile”. The B-side is straight-up fantastic. The percussive, vibey exotica of Jim Lawless’s “Keeping Pace” is followed by five tracks of slick, weighty funk breaks from Johnny Pearson. Check the pure groove of “Jaguar” with its head-nod drum break intro, the creeping piano-strings combo and… er… giant neck-snapping breaks of “Giant’s Causeway”, the speaker-smashing progressive bass groove of “Fugitive”, the tense “Rock Climb” and the sheer heft of “Heavy Load”. Library largeness. If that isn’t enough, John Scott’s incessant “Flight Of The Phoenix” ends the session, brilliantly pilfered by M.O.P. for their much-loved “We Run New York”. Originally released in 1976 but wonderfully timeless, Visual Impact is a rare example of a library record that’s genuinely great listen from start to finish. As with all of Be With Records’ KPM reissues, the audio for Visual Impact comes from the original analog tape 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.
Reissue of The Hunter (Drama Suite) / Adventure Story, originally released in 1975. They say: “Composite themes and incidental cues for dramatic application”. Be With Records say: Well, it’s definitely dramatic. No wonder this LP was mined by a multitude of ’70s and ’80s crime shows. Much like Beat Incidental, this true gem includes a raft of enjoyable sub-ten second incidental cues alongside satisfyingly stretched out, hard-knocking sleuth-funk. The Hunter (Drama Suite) / Adventure Story is a real library-head’s library album. You’ll be treated to some of the best works of no less than five different heavyweights of the genre: drummer Brian Bennett, guitarist Clive Hicks (of The Gentle Rain), saxophonist Duncan Lamont, rock bassist Dave Richmond, and keyboard session giant Steve Gray. Something of a dream line-up, they each contributed stellar efforts to create one of the most sought-after of the legendary KPM albums. Both sides of this LP are dripping with insidious grooves and dramatic spy-score themes, bursting with heavy guitars, swirling flutes, creeping piano-funk, and drum breaks galore. Originally released in 1975, it’s clear that these library heroes were heavily influenced by the tough funk and street soul sonics emerging from the cutting-edge Blaxploitation soundtracks. Dave Richmond’s taut swagger and wah-wah guitar licks of “Nightwatch”, Steve Gray’s sleazy horn and clav-funk on the A-side opener “Theme For A Hunter” and Brian Bennett’s rolling strut of “The Investigator” are just three of the highlights here. That last one being sampled by Jeff Jank under his Captain Funkaho guise on “My 2600” for Stones Throw back in 1999. As with all of Be With Records’ KPM re-issues, the audio for The Hunter (Drama Suite) / Adventure Story comes from the original analog tapes and has been remastered by Simon Francis. Sleeve reproduction duties by Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity. 180 gram vinyl.
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.
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.
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.