Ata

The Sorcerers “In Search Of The Lost City Of The Monkey God” (ATA)

2020-03-13T20:34:15+00:00February 20th, 2020|

ATA Records are proud to announce the follow up to the critically acclaimed debut album from The Sorcerers. Conceived as a soundtrack to an imagined lost European exploitation film, ‘In Search of The Lost City of The Monkey God’ covers a wide range of influences: Ethiopiques Ethio-Jazz rubs up against European library music of the 60s and 70s. The Sorcerers seamlessly blend these disparate elements into one cohesive sound.

Based in ATA Records’ home of Leeds, The Sorcerers form the backbone of the ATA Records house band including drummer Joost Hendrickx (Kefaya, Shatner’s Bassoon, Abstract Orchestra) and ATA label heads Neil Innes (Bass & Guitar) and Pete Williams (Woodwinds & Percussion). Bass clarinets, flutes, and esoteric percussion that sit alongside bass, guitar and drums are essential to The Sorcerers sound providing cinematic textures on top of a solid rhythmic foundation.

The Sorcerers began working on the new album during the winter of 2018 and it was during the writing sessions for this album that the concept for the LP began to take shape. The name for the album was taken from the title of a National Geographic article read by Bassist Neil Innes and was used as the starting point for the entire concept. The library music scene of the 60s and 70s has always been an intrinsic part of the sound of ATA Records and so it made perfect sense to envisage the album as a soundtrack, given the cinematic quality of The Sorcerers music.
Each track was written with a particular scene in mind and the music was then shaped in the studio to best reflect the essence of that scene. Drums, Bass and Percussion provide the solid foundation onto which Flutes, Bass Clarinets, Xylophones and Vibraphones add the atmospheric and melodic counterpoint, deftly weaving between one another to conjure up images of the unforgiving environment of the dense jungle, unknown eyes watching the protagonists of the imagined film as they make their way towards their ultimate goal, their pursuit by unseen assailants, the arcane mysticism of undiscovered cargo cultists and
the ancient ruins of long passed civilisations.
The original debut album rapidly sold out on release and became a highly sought-after LP, commanding prices of up to £85 on the second-hand market. Receiving praise from the likes of Mulatu Astatke, Gilles Peterson, Stuart Maconie & Jazzman Gerald, it has become a cornerstone of ATA Records roster and an intrinsic element of the ATA Records sound.

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The Lewis Express “The Lewis Express” (ATA)

2019-08-23T02:46:50+00:00August 23rd, 2019|

Released on Leeds Jazz & Soul label ATA Records, the debut LP from The Lewis Express takes the rich legacy of the soul-jazz outfits of the 1960s as the initial blueprint of their sound. Taking inspiration from the likes of Ramsey Lewis, Young-Holt, Eddie Cano, Ray Bryant and Cannonball Adderley, they present a collection of tracks that range from introspective spy film themes to burning Brazilian jazz.

Primarily based in Leeds, The Lewis Express is comprised of many of the musicians that have graced previous ATA releases: George Cooper, Piano (Abstract Orchestra) Neil Innes, Bass (The Sorcerers, The Magnificent Tape Band, Tony Burkill), Sam Hobbs, Drums (Dread Supreme, Tony Burkill, Matthew Bourne) and Pete Williams, Percussion (The Sorcerers, The Magnificent Tape Band, Tony Burkill). Recorded over an intense two-day session by the band of the same name, “The Lewis Express” is a nod to the classic soul jazz recordings of The Young Holt Trio / Young Holt Unlimited and Ramsey Lewis, from who this group take their name. But, delivered with a distinctly European feel. As with many of the classic Ramsey Lewis cuts this album was recorded live, capturing the rich inter-relationship between the players and leaving in some of that chunky room noise, lending the album a sound that’s as thick as a steak and raw as a carrot.
Kicking off the album is Love Can Turn A Man, a slow burner introducing you to the piano of George Cooper as he works over a rock solid backbeat from drummer Sam Hobbs. The addition of a rising brass line conjures up memories of love lost, or indeed love never found.

If Love Can Turn A Man shows the band in their most introspective of moods then Cancao De Momento sees them at the other end of the spectrum, the swinging end. This is a Latin-tinged stormer with a driving piano line and one of the toughest rhythm section workouts on the whole album. Add to this Pete Williams’ punctuating percussion and you are looking at a track squarely aimed at the dance floor. Brother Move On is probably the most recognizable as being in the soul jazz vein, with nods to such classics as Ramsey Lewis ‘The ‘In’ Crowd and Soulful Strut by Young Holt Unlimited, particularly the latter. Moving into Hawkshaw Philly (their nod to session music legend and leader of The Mohawks, Alan Hawkshaw) the band create what sounds like a rare library cut and something diggers would give their back teeth for. Pinned to the floor by Neil Innes’ heavy work on the double bass and Chris Dawkins’ guitar there is some fantastic slow stabbing piano. The overall feel is something funky but slightly sinister. ATA Records has a solid history of putting out releases with a cinematic feel and Theme From The Watcher is a nod to this, conjuring up the sort of imagery that coincides with the black and white spy thrillers of the 1960s. Last Man In The Chain Gang has a very strong Ramsey Lewis feel and offers some of the most powerful piano playing of the whole album. The final track, Straight Seven Strut, is the only vocal track of the album. The staccato swing and French words lend it some of the qualities of 60s yé-yé music but with a far jazzier backbone, spiced with percussive handclaps.

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The Magnificent Tape Band “The Subtle Art of Distraction” (ATA)

2019-08-23T02:46:49+00:00August 23rd, 2019|

The Magnificent Tape Band are the alter egos of ATA Records founders Neil Innes & Pete Williams, who were the creative driving force behind the debut album by The Sorcerers, for which they wrote and produced all the tracks as well as contributing bass and guitar performances. Sheffield born, Rachel Modest developed her unique vocal ability within the churches and gospel choirs of her local community. Now based in Leeds she has developed a powerful and soulful vocal style that takes inspiration from artists such as Madeleine Bell, Dee Dee Warwick, Dusty Springfield and at times delivers a performance that resembles the falsetto of The Delfonics William Hart.

Taking inspiration from the more abstract end of the soul spectrum that has been a richly tapped vein for hip-hop producers, The Magnificent tape band aim to create an evocative tapestry of sound that pulls together psychedelic soul with British library music to create a distinctly dramatic sounding record. Recorded on original ’60s equipment, using vintage instruments ,”The Subtle Art Of Distraction” immediately brings to mind the more experimental psychedelic soul records of the late 60s/early seventies by incorporating driving clavinet, loping drums and swirling organ and Mellotron alongside Rachel Modest’s ethereal vocals.

Recorded in a disused garage on the outskirts of Leeds, “The Subtle Art Of Distraction” uses an array of vintage equipment to create a dark musical landscape that underpins Rachel Modests powerful vocal delivery. Opener “Let The Church Say” begins with a simple organ riff that unfolds menacingly, while Rachel sings of her experience growing up in a deeply religious community before funereal New Orleans horns build it to it’s dramatic conclusion. Organ, Clavinet and Bass Clarinet provide the ominous riff for “Danger “before giving way to the acoustic guitars, sublime backing vocals and mellotron flutes of the Bowie and Gainsbourg inspired “When I Saw Your Face”. Clavinet and Organ reappear alongside fuzz guitar in “Requiem” propelled by insistent plectrum bass and drums that provides some Delfonics-esque drama to the end of side A.

“Heading Towards Catastrophe” presents an array of eerie percussion, harp and organ that provides an atmospheric backdrop for the portentous rhythmic groove as Rachels vocals warn of the pitfalls of political apathy. Mellotron strings and Joost Hendrickx’s laconic drum groove take centre stage in “Not That Kind Of Woman” as Rachels vocals gradually build and develop towards the songs climax. In “Black Tiger” Rachel explores the concept of a spiritual guide that appears in the form of a Black Tiger while 12-string guitar, backbeat guitar and Lalo Schiffrin-esque horns drive the song to it’s conclusion. The album closes with “Pantomime”, a laidback soul-infused piece remenicient of Allen toussaint or Dr John that.

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Abstract Orchestra “Madvillain Vol. 1” (ATA)

2019-08-16T03:43:15+00:00August 16th, 2019|

Coming off the back of their successful album of J Dilla interpretations (and a single with Dilla’s younger brother, Illa J), this time Abstract Orchestra focuses on MF DOOM and Madlib’s collaborative work as Madvillan. Led by Saxophonist Rob Mitchell, the UK group explores jazz, TV soundtracks and film scores, combined with classic big band writing and a focus on improvisation. A jazz album as much as it is a hip-hop album, Madvillain, Vol. 1 is explores the reciprocal territory between the genres. Taking the template of their debut LP “Dilla”, they apply the same approach here, sampling the likes of Sun Ra, Bill Evans, Freddie Hubbard, George Duke, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Quincy Jones and Stevie Wonder, resulting in a jazz oriented feel and ethos which in turn lends perfectly to the deconstruction and re-imagining of Abstract Orchestra. As with their debut, all the tracks were recorded live in the studio with very few overdubs. The band itself is based on the classic jazz big band instrumentation of saxes, trumpets and trombones and features the cream of the north of England’s jazz scene who collectively have played with Jamiroquai, Corinne Bailey Rae, Mark Ronson, Martha Reeves, John Legend & the Roots, Roots Manuva and Amy Winehouse.

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Abstract Orchestra “Madvillain Vol. 2” (Ata)

2019-06-07T03:00:40+00:00June 7th, 2019|

Led by Saxophonist Rob Mitchell, Abstract Orchestra have been a consistent presence on the u.k. music scene, touring constantly in the promotion of their debut LP “Dilla” and follow up 45 “New Day feat. Illa J”, steadily building a loyal and supportive fanbase. Inspired by the legendary live performances of The Roots with Jay-Z and the 40 piece orchestral arrangements by Miguel-Atwood Ferguson of the work of J Dilla, classic arranging techniques underpin modern loop-based structures, breathing new life into familiar material.

The band itself is based on the classic jazz big band instrumentation of saxes, trumpets, and trombones and features the cream of the north of England’s jazz scene, who collectively have played with Jamiroquai, Corinne Bailey Rae, Mark Ronson, Martha Reeves, John Legend & the Roots, Roots Manuva and Amy Winehouse.

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