Mark's Picks

Night Sea “Still” (Silent Season)

2020-05-21T20:50:25+00:00May 21st, 2020|

Night Sea is honoured to present their first LP to the Silent Season family. The album is the culmination of a two-year journey playing with the relationship between sound, repetition, and impermanence. The slowly evolving musical landscapes of Still are an invitation to slow down and explore the ever-changing facets of one’s experience.

This album is dedicated to Betty and Cassius for their inspiring resilience, and Glenda for her constant support.

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Various Artists “Spiritual Jazz 11: SteepleChase” (Jazzman)

2020-05-21T20:50:21+00:00May 21st, 2020|

Double LP version. Gatefold sleeve; features two vinyl-only tracks from Jackie McLean & The Cosmic Brotherhood and Michael Carvin; includes download card. Subtitled: Esoteric, modal and progressive jazz from the SteepleChase label, 1974-84. Founded in 1972, SteepleChase Records is one of the most significant and prolific European jazz record labels. With a catalog running to well over 200 titles, the Copenhagen-based imprint has recorded and released music from some of the greatest names in jazz, including Dexter Gordon, Andrew Hill, Jackie McLean, Horace Parlan, Chet Baker, and Stan Getz. Starting out by recording visiting Americans when they performed at the legendary Café Montmartre, founder Nils Winther was encouraged to start the label by none other than the great Jackie McLean, who was the first artist to release a record on the new imprint. From there, Steeplechase rapidly grew into one of the foremost labels to document European jazz with all its distinctive originality and style. With a particular emphasis on recording front rank American artists who had chosen the expatriate life in Europe, Steeplechase was first in line to document the sounds of the greats as they developed in exile. Features extensive liner notes including a history of the label as well as notes on each of the individual tracks. Photos from the recording sessions and cover art from each of the LPs from which Jazzman Records’ selection has been taken is also included. With in-demand tracks from the likes of Billy Gault, Johnny Dyani, and Khan Jamal, and the unearthing of deep cuts from greats like Jackie McLean and Mary Lou Williams, Jazzman Records’ Spiritual Jazz Vol. 11: Steeplechase pays tribute to one of Europe’s most important jazz labels and furthers our exploration into the infinite realms of spiritual jazz. Also features Sam Jones, Rene McLean, Jim McNeely, Michael Carvin, and Ken McIntyre.

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Medline “Solstice” (My Bags)

2020-05-21T20:50:14+00:00May 21st, 2020|

When we first heard Medline doing cover versions of tracks from the La Plante Sauvage OST, we were blown away. We said something cheeky like: -this thing needs to be on vinyl.- Well wish it and will it enough and it will happen. Solstice is here, and it s a record chock full of covers of legendary original soundtrack, library and jazz funk music. Many of these records are tough or impossible to find, and Medline s concept of interpreting these killer cuts and getting them all together on one record is a rare find itself. This is definitely a record that you can go back to again and again. High quality, brilliant interpretations of these songs, most of which were sampled many times before, is not just a digger s delight, but something that needs to be in a collection. Every track was performed by Medline. He translated the compositions his way, into his world, and the end product is something we will be talking about for years

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Derek Carr “Pursuit Part 1” (Pariter)

2020-05-21T20:50:13+00:00May 21st, 2020|

An absolute future classic album of the incredible Derek Carr on Sushitech’s sub label – Pariter.
A long journey of 15 tracks that starts with some deep and dubby chords, acidic grooves and ends up with lush string based ambients.
For the fans of Convextion, Schatrax and of course Derek himself! Huge release!

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Derek Carr “Pursuit Part 2 (Pariter)

2020-05-21T20:50:13+00:00May 21st, 2020|

An absolute future classic album of the incredible Derek Carr on Sushitech’s sub label – Pariter.
A long journey of 15 tracks that starts with some deep and dubby chords, acidic grooves and ends up with lush string based ambients.
For the fans of Convextion, Schatrax and of course Derek himself! Huge release!

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Earth Trax “LP1” (Shall Not Fade)

2020-05-21T20:50:08+00:00May 21st, 2020|

LP1 takes influence from cold wave, applying gloomy chords onto House and Breakbeat, whilst including textures that might draw reference to early IDM. Earth Trax blends dreamy vocals, pads and melodies with striking rhythms, squawking synthesizers and strong bass lines throughout. The LP was recorded as an extension of some of the artists moodier singles on Shall Not Fade sister imprint, Lost Palms. It explores a more experimental approach towards House music, whilst drawing influence from some of his more downtempo style releases as Bartosz Kruczyński. LP1 features the stunning photography of Kasia Zacharko & graphic design of Kaja Kukuła.

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Square Fauna “Meet The Fauna” (Firecracker)

2020-05-21T20:50:07+00:00May 21st, 2020|

From their native St. Petersburg, Square Fauna evoke a score for imaginary protoplasmic oceans, surreal, sepia-tinged space operas and Russian sci-fi folk tales; lush, green landscapes littered with the burned out husks of automobiles, military vehicles, and askew telephone poles no longer in use though marked by pools of water in which can be found the debris of modern society.

Primitive kosmische electronics and vintage spacescapes cascade around complex polyrhythmic percussion. Ethereal mists of gaseous reverb are scattered by windswept synths and white-noise striations.

‘Meet The Fauna’ is as much of a cheeky nod to The Residents and Coil (or even Haroumi Hosono and John Hassell) as it is to the likes of B12, Black Dog, Richard H Kirk.

A completely singular, modern sci-fi soundtrack for the discerning sofanaut.

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Exael & Arad Acid “Furi” (Motion Ward)

2020-05-21T20:50:01+00:00May 21st, 2020|

MW007, ‘Furi’, is a collection of tracks from two Berlin-based friends / artists Exael and Arad Acid. The material highlights the commonalities between their individual and collaborative works, moving from boundless and chaotic energy to soft kinetic radiance over the course of seven tracks.

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Pole “123” (Mute)

2020-05-14T23:35:55+00:00May 14th, 2020|

Stefan Betke aka Pole’s holy trilogy of frayed dub experiments resurfaces for a 20th anniversary reissue, taking us back to smokey nights at the turn of the century and some of the finest post basic-channel dub echoes ever released. Essential listening if you’re into anything from Rhythm & Sound to Vainqueuer, Jon Hassell to Jackie Mittoo.

As legend goes, Pole took his name from a malfunctioning Waldorf 4-Pole filter which produced hisses and pops which weren’t really controllable or predictable, much like a living organism. Betke realised the potential and came to alchemically morph and render them with judicious FX dubbing into a groundbreaking sort of minimalist electro-dub that sounds exceedingly good with a spliff and glass of booze. Working somewhere between the variants of abstract techno on Chain Reaction and Mille Plateaux’s cutting edge minimalist strains, Pole’s first trio of albums inarguably helped lay the foundations for dub techno as it’s come to be known and are held in the highest regard by practically everyone who owns them.

The Pole aesthetic is patently laid out in ‘1’, where his organic clicks ’n pops come out to play accompanied by lilting organ and jazzy bass channelling Jackie Mittoo via Jon Hassell and Rhythm & Sound into a uniquely, gauzy, gaseous state. But for us, his sound really comes into its own on ‘2’, where the opening melodica motif still sends electric shivers down the spine and opens out into the kind of sculpted, layered dub bass that spawned dubstep, and flows out into myriad, mesmerising permutations, but this time swapping out the hazy licks for a cavernous, brooding melancholy (that really matched this moody teenager’s psyche at the time) and reverberated through into the more humid, drizzly and funereal atmosphere conjured in the equally spellbinding spectral dub metaphysics of ‘3’.

So strong was the impact of these albums on the late ‘90s underground, they even generated a “pastiche” that was unwittingly issued (and subsequently deleted) by Fat Cat on their split series, but was purportedly made by V/Vm in a snidey but frankly hilarious prank, albeit one that demonstrates just how ubiquitous and influential Betke’s sound was at the time. More than that, it’s fair to say the 20 year cycle hasn’t rinsed out the appeal of this triptych one bit; it remains one of electronic music’s most enigmatic and strangely moving, tactile bodies of work.

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Wanderwelle “A State Of Decrepitude” (A Strangely Isolated Place)

2020-05-14T23:35:52+00:00May 14th, 2020|

Amsterdam-based duo Wanderwelle presents their fourth full-length album titled A State Of Decrepitude. Inspired by the many aspects of impermanence and facets of decay, the duo composed their most intrinsic and detailed production yet.

After two successful albums on Silent Season and a recent collaboration album with Bandhagens Musikforening on Semantica, Phil van Dulm & Alexander Bartels have applied their talents to create a mysterious soundtrack focussed on the countless faces of deterioration. Recorded in 2018, Wanderwelle’s first electroacoustic album is an anthological approach to a theme that is inseparable from our current global crises.

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Sam Wilkes “Live On The Green” (Leaving)

2020-05-07T20:41:27+00:00May 7th, 2020|

On November 15, 2018, Sam Wilkes filled the Highland Park Ebell Club with Astroturfto help deaden the acoustics of the large room, and to provide a shared space for the music and audience. Joining Him for the performance was Sam Gendel on alto saxophone, Jacob Mann on Roland Juno 106 and Korg Kronos, Christian Euman on drums, and Adam Ratner and Brian Green on electric guitars.

The set was engineered and recorded by Hans Bernhard, and mixed by Chris Sorem and Sam Wilkes.Set Design was done by James Watson and Sam Wilkes,advertisements for the show by Miles Witner, video artand installations by James Watson, tea and beverage by Thien-Anh Tu, floral arrangements by Peter Cameron,additional lighting by Angela Lin, soundboard providedby Joey Genetti, speakers and cabling provided by Stones Throw, Louis Cole, and Hans Bernhard, fruit from Cookbook (highland Park), AstroTurf provided by Pico Party Rentals, records selected by Bianca Lexis, and additional performances by Matthewdavid’s Mindflightand Jacob Mann. Two additional new studio recordings were made for this LP, the credits for which can be foundwithin the gatefold.

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Sam Wilkes “Wilkes” (Leaving)

2020-05-07T20:41:25+00:00May 7th, 2020|

Wilkes is the debut full-length release on Leaving Records by experimental / jazz bassist, instrumentalist, and producer Sam Wilkes. Sam Wilkes’ epic emotional debut is a work of genre fusion, made in collaboration with members of the Los Angeles musical community. Mentored by Patrice Rushen, Leon “Ndugu” Chancler; has worked with collaborators including Louis Cole, Sam Gendel, and even Chaka Khan. For fans of: John Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, Kamasi Washington, Nubya Garcia, Yussef Kamaal and Kiefer.

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Shabaka And The Ancestors ‎”We Are Sent Here By History” (Impulse!)

2020-05-07T20:40:32+00:00May 7th, 2020|

The project was formed in early 2016, leading to their debut album later that year Wisdom of Elders; a document of sessions combining Hutchings with a group of South African jazz musicians he’d long admired. His connection to the group was Mandla Mlangeni (bandleader of the Amandla Freedom Ensemble), whom he’d flown there to play with over the past few years.

We Are Sent Here by History is a meditation on the fact of our coming extinction as a species. It is a reflection from the ruins, from the burning. A questioning of the steps to be taken in preparation for our transition individually and societally if the end is to be seen as anything but a tragic defeat. For those lives lost and cultures dismantled by centuries of western expansionism, capitalist thought and white supremist structural hegemony the end days have long been heralded as present with this world experienced as an embodiment of a living purgatory.

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Various Artists “Oto No Wa – Selected Sounds of Japan (1988 – 2018)” (Music For Dreams)

2020-04-30T22:45:18+00:00April 30th, 2020|

For the fifth entry in our Collector`s Series we enlist the skills of Japan-based musical connoisseurs, Ken Hidaka, Max Essa, and Dr. Rob. Their compilation Oto No Wa sets out to map the evolution of chilled Japanese sounds across 3 decades, collecting 14 tracks, produced by a wide range of artists. From ambient pioneers to dance-floor veterans, to a 9-piece reggae band, Little Tempo, percussionist Kazuya Kotani, and organic, psychedelic collective, Olololop.

Beginning in the late 1980s, the era when “environmental music” became prevalent, there`s Yoshio Ojima`s cool computer-generated Sealed. The compilation also includes later work by his contemporaries Takashi Kokubo, and Yoshiaki Ochi. Theirs are compositions designed for art galleries and museum installations. “BGM” built from emerging technology, and / or counterpoint tapped out expertly on sticks and stones. The 90s give us the seminal electronics of Susumu Yokota, and the solar-flare strut of Scha Dara Parr – Japan’s answer to The Beastie Boys. Here, remixed by the legendary Major Force. Moving into the 21st century we have the post-house productions of Flower Records. Kentaro Takizawa`s oceanic Gradual Life, and Little Big Bee`s colourful coral reef-diving Scuba. Fellow traveller, Kaoru Inoue`s “Kyushu kosmische”. Representing the next decade are Flower Records’ current rising stars, Coastlines, who calmly combine classic fusion, library music, and gentle nova bossa nova rhythms. Alongside them are the sun-baked electro-acoustics of Karel Arbus & Eiji Takamatsu, plus Chillax` previously unreleased epic analog / modular jam.

All of these selections are the result of some serious “digging” but more importantly they represent physical connections made during Ken’s 20-plus-year career in the “Biz”, Max` decade of DJing all over Japan. Music made by folks interviewed by Rob at the websites, Test Pressing and Ban Ban Ton Ton. Friendships forged at Lone Star – the trio’s long-running party, which takes place every month at Bar Bonobo in Harajuku.

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Noah Howard “Live In Europe Vol.1” (Sconsolato)

2020-04-30T22:45:17+00:00April 30th, 2020|

“Live In Europe Vol.1” is the second Altsax production. These live recordings capture a series of the artist and his quartet’s performances throughout Europe in 1975. These gigs reflect Howard’s peculiar musical identity on the Free Jazz scene of that era. An uncanny and heavy atmosphere unifies the different compositions which are constructed with improvisations on disturbing repetitions.

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Nobuyuki Shimizu “Corner Top” (Bill Box)

2020-04-30T22:45:16+00:00April 30th, 2020|

Top musicians such as Yasuaki Shimizu, Pecker, Shuichi Murakami, Tetsuo Sakurai, Rei Ohara, Kenji Omura, Hirokuni Ozekata support a wide variety of songs from Jazz-Funk / Fusion to techno pop. One piece that is highly evaluated from overseas and is rare in the used market. In the cover of the super famous song “Konukaame” written by Ginji Ito and Tatsuro Yamashita, Mariya Takeuchi and EPO participated as back vocals. In addition, Latin Flavor’s Organ Fusion title song “Corner Top” and the cosmic funk “Silver Spot” with EPO vocals are exactly the Japanese sounds that are sought “now”.

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Duke Ellington “Money Jungle (Tone Poet Series)” (Blue Note)

2020-04-30T22:45:12+00:00April 30th, 2020|

On September 17, 1962, Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Max Roach gathered at Sound Makers studio in NYC and recorded Money Jungle, one of the most celebrated jazz trio albums of all time. Generational and stylistic differences between the three masters led to fearless music-making of the highest order. The album was originally released on United Artists and featured 7 of Ellington’s indelible compositions including “Caravan,” “Solitude,” and a stunning version of “Le Fleurs Africaines (African Flower).” By going back to the original analog stereo master the Tone Poet Edition presents this classic album with superior sound quality.

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Sam Gendel and Sam Wilkes “Music For Saxofone & Bass Guitar” (Leaving)

2020-04-16T20:20:00+00:00April 16th, 2020|

The debut full-length album from the Los Angeles duo Sam Gendel and Sam Wilkes. Gendel plays Alto Saxofone and electronics, while Wilkes plays Bass Guitar and electronics. Pitchfork Media says “The discombobulating lines are sonically wild but technically well-mannered and seem – to go in multiple directions without losing sight of each other.”

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Wendell Harrison “Dreams Of A Love Supreme” (Tidal Waves)

2020-04-16T20:19:56+00:00April 16th, 2020|

Wendell Harrison was born in Detroit in 1942 where he began formal jazz studies for piano, clarinet and tenor saxophone. At 14, while still in high school, Harrison started performing & recording professionally with artists such as Marvin Gaye, Grant Green, Sun Ra, Hank Crawford … and many others.

In 1971, Harrison began teaching music at Metro Arts (a multi-arts complex for youth) where he also connected with Marcus Belgrave, Harold McKinney and Phil Ranelin…soon after they formed the (now legendary) Afro-centric TRIBE record label and artist collective. TRIBE used the Metro Arts complex as a vehicle to convey a growing black political consciousness. Wendell Harrison also published the very popular TRIBE magazine, a publication dedicated to local and national social and political issues, as well as featuring artistic contributions such as poetry and visual pieces.

In 1978 Harrison and McKinney co-founded REBIRTH, a non-profit jazz performance and education organization, in which many notable jazz artists have participated. Around the same time Wendell Harrison also created the WENHA record label and publishing company, which released many of his (now classic) recordings as well as those of other artists, such as Phil Ranelin, Doug Hammond and Reggie Fields (The Real ShooBeeDoo).

In the early 1990s, Wendell Harrison was awarded the title of “Jazz Master” by Arts Midwest. This distinction led Harrison to collaborate with fellow honorees and gave him the chance to tour throughout the United States, Middle East and Africa. Even to this day Wendell Harrison’s recordings for the TRIBE, WENHA and REBIRTH labels have a large worldwide fanbase.

It is on WENHA that Harrison released the opus: DREAMS OF A LOVE SUPREME (1980), which we are presenting you today.

DREAMS OF A LOVE SUPREME is a monster album that features an all-star line-up that includes Phil Ranelin (Freddie Hubbard, Solomon Burke, Mulatu Astakte) on trombone, Harold McKinney (Tribe) on Keyboards and Roy Brooks (Yusef Lateef, Chet Baker, Mingus) on percussion. Although you can hear the 80ies creeping in with a smoother sound, more synths, and disco/R&B vocals… this remains a very spiritual (and soulful) jazz record. The record’s an irresistible blend of soul jazz combined with funky electric instrumentation…a groovy sound which is very much of its time, yet overtly timeless and as relevant today as it was back when it was initially released.

Tidal Waves Music now proudly presents the first ever vinyl reissue of ‘Dreams of A Love Supreme’ since its release in 1980. This official reissue is now available as a deluxe 180g BLACK vinyl edition (limited to 500 copies) and comes with an unreleased bonus track. This release is also available as a color vinyl version (limited to 100 copies 180g CLEAR vinyl exclusively available from LITA).

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Vladislav Delay “Multila” (Keplar)

2020-04-03T01:02:03+00:00April 3rd, 2020|

Multila was the third album by Finnish producer Sasu Ripatti under the moniker Vladislav Delay. It compiles the Huone and Ranta 12″ EPs Ripatti released on Basic Channel’s Chain Reaction label in 1999 and 2000. The album features six hauntingly murky dub ambient tracks and the impressive 22-minute techno odyssey “Huone”. 20 years after its original release as a full-length CD album (Chain Reaction), these timeless recordings of modern electronic music are now finally available for the first time as a double-vinyl edition. The label Keplar has been on a long hiatus and is now back with its KeplarRev series presenting vinyl re-issues of essential electronic albums from the ’90s and ’00s, as well as new recordings by momentous electronic and ambient artists. Drawings by Kaisa Kemikoski; Layout by Marco Ciceri. Remaster by Rashad Becker and vinyl cut by Kassian Troyer at Dubplates & Mastering. Includes download code.

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Jaman “Sweet Heritage” (Outernational Sounds)

2020-04-03T01:02:02+00:00April 3rd, 2020|

Available again for the first time since original release in 1974, Outernational Sounds presents one of the deepest custom press jazz recordings of all: Jaman’s spiritualized and funky Sweet Heritage. The history of jazz is often told as though it was principally a history of releases and recordings. On those terms, it’s easy to mistake a small recorded footprint for obscurity or silence. The true history of the jazz is the story of the music as it was played night after night in the clubs, bars, concert halls, and backrooms of cities and towns across America and the world. Only a tiny fraction of this living tradition ever makes it onto a recording. And even though 1974’s Sweet Heritage is James Edward Manuel’s only release, the pianist and educator better known as Jaman has undoubtedly lived it. Brought up in Buffalo, New York, Jaman studied classical piano before beginning formal jazz studies under greats including Earl Bostic and Horace Parlan. Quickly becoming a respected regular on the club scene in Buffalo, Jaman held down innumerable residencies and worked with top local musicians — one of his early trios included the renowned bassist John Heard and drummer Clarence Becton, both of whom were poached one night by a visiting Jon Hendricks; sometime Sun Ra Arkestra bassist, Juini Booth, and regular Ahmad Jamal sideman, Sabu Adeyola (also of Kamal & The Brothers), have graced his groups too. At famous night spots all over Buffalo’s East Side and on excursions to Manhattan’s storied jazz clubs, Jaman has shared the stage with some of the most illustrious names in jazz and blues: Big Joe Turner, Muddy Waters, Joe Henderson, Ruth Brown, Frank Morgan, Woody Shaw, Sonny Stitt, and many others. His eponymous group, Jaman, was formed in 1970; they toured the US and Canada steadily. He became one of Buffalo’s true jazz stalwarts, and so he remains. But despite a life lived deep within the music, Jaman only recorded a single LP, 1974’s Sweet Heritage. Pressed in tiny quantities by the Mark Records custom service, Sweet Heritage featured the regular Jaman group playing a mixture of covers and originals. The whole LP showcases an ensemble in complete control, and with the flying, spiritual sound of “Free Will” and the Latin-tinged “In The Fall of The Year” — both Jaman originals — the album has since become a legendary collector’s classic. 180 gram vinyl.

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Robbie Basho “Songs of the Great Mystery–The Lost Vanguard Sessions” (Real Gone)

2020-03-27T02:29:26+00:00March 27th, 2020|

Robbie Basho was one of the big three American acoustic guitar innovators, John Fahey and Leo Kottke being the other two. Basho was the least commercially successful of the three, but his influence and reputation has steadily grown since his untimely death in 1986 at the age of 45. And with good reason; for Basho’s deeply spiritual approach, intellectual rigor, and formal explorations (among his goals was the creation of a raga system for American music), present a deeply compelling, multi-faceted artist. Basho was actually a college friend of John Fahey, and his early recordings (like Kottke’s) were for Fahey’s Takoma label. Following Fahey ‘s move to Vanguard, Basho followed suit, and released Voice of the Eagle and Zarthus for the label in 1972 and 1974, respectively (his most commercially successful records were made for the Windham Hill label later in the decade). Flash forward to 2009: Vanguard contacted guitarist (and long-time Basho champion) Glenn Jones with the intriguing news that an unreleased Robbie Basho album session had recently been found, on a tape that, alas, lacked any real documentation. It was only 12 years later, when Jones, in the process of researching the liner notes for this release, discovered the truth: that not just the mysterious tape but both Voice of the Eagle and Zarthus were the result of one marathon session in 1971 or 1972 recorded in New York City by Vanguard staff engineer Jeffrey Zaraya. Songs of the Great Mystery—The Lost Vanguard Sessions, then, takes its place as the third of the triumvirat of albums Basho recorded for the label, and it is their equal in every way, exploring, in particular, some of the same Native American themes found on Voice of the Eagle. Some of the tunes showed up on later albums in much different forms; 1978’s Visions of the Country featured “A Day in the Life of Lemuria” (re-titled “Leaf in the Wind”) and “Night Way,” and “Laughing Thunder, Crawling Thunder” went through various permutations before appearing on 1981’s Rainbow Thunder as “Crashing Thunder.” But for Basho fans, the originals will probably steal the show, particularly “Song of the Great Mystery,” which, unlike some of the songs here that showcase Basho’s singing and piano-playing, brings to the fore his amazing six-string guitar technique and touch. Vanguard briefly put these sessions up digitally when they were located, but Real Gone Music’s release represents the first time they have come out in any physical form (and the alternate take of “A Day in the Life of Lemuria,” also discovered by Jones, has never been heard anywhere). Featuring track-by-track annotation, rare photos (including Basho’s own handwritten notes found in the tape box), and remastering by Mike Milchner of SonicVision, Songs of the Great Mystery—The Lost Vanguard Sessions is a timely release heralding the release of a new documentary and an upcoming Basho box set. Available on a double-LP set pressed in clear vinyl limited to 1000 copies at Gotta Groove Records and housed inside a gatefold jacket. A great American artist, finally getting his due!

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Matt Karmil “STS371” (Smalltown Supersound)

2020-03-27T02:29:24+00:00March 27th, 2020|

Made primarily while on the road, the nine-track LP spans techno, electro, deep house and ambient. It’s Karmil’s second full-length on Smalltown Supersound, following 2018’s Will.

Describing his production process, the UK artist says, “I tended to record a little here and there when I could grab some time with my gear, and then do most of the arranging and choices while I was traveling about—until the end when I went to mix in one of my favourite studios, Cologne’s incredible The Brewery.”

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