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Nala Sinephro - Endlessness (LP+Obi)Nala Sinephro - Endlessness (LP+Obi)
Nala Sinephro - Endlessness (LP+Obi)Warp

Endlessness is a deep dive into the cycle of existence. The 45-minute album delicately spans 10 tracks with a continuous arpeggio playing throughout, creating an expansive, mesmerising celebration of life cycles and rebirth. Following Sinephro’s critically acclaimed 2021 debut album Space 1.8, Endlessness further elevates her as a transcendent and multi-dimensional composer, beautifully morphing jazz, orchestral, and electronic music.

The album was composed, produced, arranged, and engineered by Sinephro. Performing on the album are Sheila Maurice-Grey, Morgan Simpson, James Mollison, Lyle Barton, Nubya Garcia, Natcyet Wakili, and Dwayne Kilvington, joined by Orchestrate’s 21 string players.

Zia Mohiuddin Dagar & Zia Fariduddin Dagar - Raag Malkauns - Ragini Miyan Ki Todi (Bombay 1968) (3LP)
Zia Mohiuddin Dagar & Zia Fariduddin Dagar - Raag Malkauns - Ragini Miyan Ki Todi (Bombay 1968) (3LP)Black Sweat Records
These recordings were made in Bombay in 1968 by Bengt Berger (Bitter Funeral Beer Band) during a stay with Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar, who was primarily responsible for the revival of the Rudra Veena as a solo concert instrument. His home in the suburb of Chembur was at the time the magical haunt of a plethora of fantastic musicians, including Ritwik Sanyal and K. Sridhar, who took part in the session. In perfect and stern Duphrad vocal style, these two Raga lead us to different atmospheres and perceptions : Malkauns is the contemplative state of the evening, of the abandonment of the senses before the breaking of the silence in the night; Miyan Ki Todi is the first breath of the morning, the gentle awakening of the limbs before a puja. The two Dagar brothers, Mohiuddin on the Rudra and Fariduddin on the chant, complement each other, become ocean and fire, stillness and storm, in an intimate and tight dialogue of exploration and expressive subtlety, in which the purity of an Indian summer becomes the highest symbol of beauty and freedom of spirit. Originally released on CD by Country & Eastern.

Friction - Friction (LP)
Friction - Friction (LP)P-Vine

First limited edition
*With obi

A historic masterpiece that is indispensable when talking about the history of Japanese rock/punk! Friction's first album, "Friction," the first release from PASS Records, is being reissued on LP for the first time in a long time!

Friction was formed in 1978 by Reck (b/vo) who had just returned from New York, and released their memorable first album in 1980!
This is the only full studio album by the three-member lineup of Reck, Tsunematsu Masatoshi, and Chico Hige, and a masterpiece that shines brightly in the history of Japanese punk! The sound that connects the era of New York that gave birth to post-punk and no wave with Tokyo will send shivers down your spine, and as the title suggests, it's a miracle album that will never fade, with a creaking sound that can be heard from every corner of the album. Reck's thick bass and stoic vocals without a trace of sweetness, Tsunematsu's cool and solid guitar, and Chico Hige's precise and destructive drums surge forward in a trinity. From Reck's heavy bass roar at the beginning of the opening number "A-Gas" to Tsunematsu's saw-like guitar towards the end of the closing number "Out", everything is beautiful. It was co-produced by Ryuichi Sakamoto, who was a huge success with YMO at the time, and the band.

K. Yoshimatsu - Fossil Cocoon: The Music of K. Yoshimatsu (LP)K. Yoshimatsu - Fossil Cocoon: The Music of K. Yoshimatsu (LP)
K. Yoshimatsu - Fossil Cocoon: The Music of K. Yoshimatsu (LP)Phantom Limb
Cult Japanese outsider composer K. Yoshimatsu’s key 1980’s works are collected and reissued for the first time on new career retrospective Fossil Cocoon, binding ambient, abstract punk, music concréte and purist songwriting into a single unified artform. Over a furiously prolific period from 1980 to 1985, K. [Koshiro] Yoshimatsu composed, recorded and released some forty albums in the span of a few years. These records primarily appeared under his own name, some required aliases, and others saw him compose, arrange, and produce for friends and peers in his creative circle. All of them, however, surfaced on Japan’s cult and inimitably fertile DD. Records, an astonishingly exhaustive catalogue once described as “the most amazing DIY effort ever undertaken to document an alternative music scene”. Led by close Yoshimatsu associate T. [Tadashi] Kamada, DD. Records released exactly 222 cassettes of brazenly, addictively weird Japanese outsider music over a period of five years, each with typewritten liner notes and enigmatically constructed Xerox artwork of found materials. The cassettes remain the stuff of collectors’ dreams, fetching astronomic prices on the rare occasions they surface in record stores or private sales. However, a keen archivist, Koshiro Yoshimatsu’s master recordings remained in his possession (a not unreasonable outcome given that his work was all self-recorded in his home) and meticulously filed, ready for rediscovery. Conversely, label boss Tadashi Kamada is no longer in the public eye, and not even known to have any personal online presence. He is, writes one observer, “unlikely even aware of his cult following”. Only extensive retroactive cataloguing (ardently fuelled by the cratedigging detective work of German collector Jörg Optiz) can offer any remaining memorial to his extraordinary achievements with DD. Records. Koshiro Yoshimatsu was born in 1960 in Yamaguchi City in the Chugoku region of southern Japan. In 1978, then a student of Yamaguchi University and already deeply engaged in the local arts scene, Yoshimatsu was introduced to the Japanese communications magazine PUMP by his classmate and future bandmate F. [Fumie] Yasumura. In the classified ads he chanced upon the creative work and curatorial interests of the aforementioned Tadashi Kamada, at the time a medical student in a nearby town. From their correspondence bloomed an intensely symbiotic new friendship, initially trading homespun cassettes by mail and eventually co-forming a cassette-sharing postal society named The Recycle Circle. The Recycle Circle also included the idiosyncratic saxophonist T. [Takafumi] Isotani, a member of the university’s Light Music Club, with whom Yoshimatsu (now singing, and playing guitar, bass guitar, and synthesisers, as well as programming drum machines) went on to form the unique experimental band Juma. With fluctuating line-ups, Juma managed to compose, record, and release six albums (all via DD. Records) in a single year - 1981 - before disbanding. Yoshimatsu then graduated from Yamaguchi University and relocated to Hiroshima to pursue his passion for filmmaking, all the while continuing to release his own solo music on Kamada’s now-burgeoning label. Yoshimatsu’s first solo record was the mysteriously titled pʌls, released in 1981 while still a member of Juma, and receiving the distinction of being the third entry to DD. Records’ cassette catalogue numbers. It was not until the seventeenth that we see Yoshimatsu credited again as a solo artist, this time with the strange and delicate collage album Mirror Inside. Over the breadth of Yoshimatsu’s work - solo, ensemble, and in composition for labelmates - we see a remarkable generosity of musical talent. Some records (such as those produced for Fumie Yasamura, represented here in “Violet” and “Escape”) are formed of hazy, gliding 4-track pop songs coursing with hallucinogenic electricity. Others, such as 1982’s Poplar (and its namesake track on this collection), combine bucolic nylon-string guitar rambles, vibrantly coloured with sequenced MIDI arpeggiation and the dulcet bloops of early computer programming. Deeper still, “Pastel Nostalgia”, from the 1983 album of the same name, marries childlike piano with a wailing siren tone and dripping tap percussion. It is significantly creepier, more acerbic and disembodying than the ambient or New Age music of the era, despite a similarity in raw materials. Elsewhere, Yoshimatsu floats between ambient, rock guitar, new wave, industrial, musique concréte, abstract punk, vocal music, instrumental music and pure songwriting, all bound into a single, unified experience by his distinctive compositional voice. Compiling Fossil Cocoon was a task. Not only to pare down Yoshimatsu’s substantial catalogue into a neat collection, but also to compress these enormous abilities into single moments. Koshiro himself was an invaluable lighthouse throughout the curation process, guiding us through the depths and annals of his recording career, now forty years hence, shining light onto forgotten music rescued from home-recorded tapes. The result may be an expressly varied album, but it is held magically together by Yoshimatsu’s profoundly singular creative alchemy. Koshiro continues to reside in Hiroshima, and continues to work in film. James Vella Phantom Limb February 2024, Brighton, UK

Roberto Laneri - Magister Perotinus Meets The Jedi Masters (LP)
Roberto Laneri - Magister Perotinus Meets The Jedi Masters (LP)Black Sweat Records
Roberto Laneri (Prima Materia) further radicalizes his formal research path in the field of harmonic singing, with a highly rigorous compositional practice of scores and rhythmic placement of overtones. At the dawn of Western counterpoint and the birth of polyphony, he imagines as in a dream the famous Magister Perotinus (XII century) in ecstatic contact with higher entities (Jedi Masters) who would introduce him to those secrets of the vocal art, further developed in later centuries. Among the mysteries of subtle acoustic phenomena such as resonance, phasing and interference, the criterion of harmonic convergence (i.e. the convergence of different fundamentals on common overtones) emerges as a powerful compositional tool. The strength of this music lies in the vibrational power of sound, in an expanded archetypal liturgy, where lights and shadows of ancient Gothic cathedrals infinitely amplify the imaginative transformation of the real, as in the vesica piscis-shaped crevice of Noura Tafeche's sensational cover.

Arthur Russell - In The Light Of The Miracle - Remixes (12")
Arthur Russell - In The Light Of The Miracle - Remixes (12")Be With Records
FINALLY! The very first commercial release of two legendary remixes of Arthur Russell's "In The Light Of The Miracle". Both are widely regarded as transcendent masterpieces and very much befitting of the title “holy grails”. These long-beloved mixes are the types you'd wish would last for eternity. With almost 30 minutes of music here, we very nearly get our desires granted. At last, these jaw-dropping mixes are widely available to every Arthur fan in the world. This is musical perfection. The deep Loft classic "In The Light Of The Miracle" remained unreleased during Arthur's lifetime, finally discovered when Phillip Glass included the original version on Another Thought on Point Music in 1993. As Steve Knutson told us, when Another Thought was being put together, the plan was to release a companion album of remixes that was overseen by Steve D'Aquisto but the project only got as far as these two remixes of "In The Light Of The Miracle". Some dodgy scans of some centre label designs suggest that Point Music might’ve been planning to release these on a 12" but it didn’t happen. The story goes that Gilles Peterson heard the remixes on a visit to the Point Music offices and wanted to release them on Talkin’ Loud. We’re not sure how many white label copies made it out into the wild, but again, these remixes didn’t make it to a proper release. These remixes both extend and undeniably enhance the original, elevating it to new heights. The 13 minute remix on the A-side is by Danny Krivit & Tony Smith with editing duties performed by Tony Morgan. As ever with Arthur, the music is almost impossible to describe: is it Disco? Garage House? Avant Garde? None of these tags do full justice to its sheer majesty. You best just listen. Stretching out the original with some unbelievably great percussive elements, until we're in a deeply spiritual, otherworldly realm, it's just too beautiful for words. As many have claimed, it's the prototype for EVERYTHING. The "Ponytail Club Mix (Part 1 & 2)", produced by Tony Morgan in the mid-90s, is in a more up-tempo style, with vocals higher in the mix, the BPM upped to 120 and the addition of a housey 4/4 kick drum. A 14 minute epic, you could say this is a more straight ahead "club-friendly" mix (but can things ever be that straightforward with Arthur?!) It also has some really interesting vocal parts not used in the other versions, including some vocals from guest poet Allen Ginsberg. These remixes are part of the same original project that also produced the Another Thought album so it seems only right that they have a sleeve that matches. Thanks again to Janette Beckman for letting us use another of her photos of Arthur and the rest of the design follows what Margery Greenspan, Tina Lauffer and Michael Klotz did for Another Thought back in 1994. Simon Francis remastered the original audio for both tracks and Cicely Balston's precise cut for Alchemy at AIR Studios ensures this 12" well and truly slaps. The immaculate Record Industry pressing will ensure this incredibly sought-after treasure finds a home in many more collections, this and every year.

GAS (3LP+DL)Kompakt
Kompakt is proud to announce, finally, a reissue of the first, self-titled GAS album. Originally released on electronica imprint Mille Plateaux back in 1996, it’s been unavailable in its original form ever since – the version of GAS included in 2008’s Nah Und Fern box featured several different tracks. Here, however, GAS is restored in all its glory, the debut full-length from Wolfgang Voigt’s most enigmatic, quixotic project. There had, of course, been signs of what was to come. Back in 1995, Voigt essayed the first GAS release, a slender, yet remarkable four-track EP, Modern. Its centre label featured a reduced symbol – an overhead or lamp light, switched on, its glow radiating outwards in four bold black lines – a perfect representation of the tight, stylised ambient electronic pop contained on that 12”. A few curious compilation tracks were floating around, too, for Mille Plateaux’s Modulation & Transformation and Electric Ladyland series. If you were attentive enough, you could tell something was up. But nothing quite prepared us for the languorous, effervescing loops and regular-like-clockwork beats that Voigt folded together on GAS. Its six long tracks, all untitled, neither begin nor end but hazily fade into earshot, vibrate majestically in your cochlea for fifteen-or-so minutes – some a bit shorter, some longer – and then meander away, reading the mise-en-scène for the next example of Voigt’s drift and dream logic to unfold. The material is referential in the most distant way, and you can sense only the most evanescent of ghostly presences, haunting these six compositions. GAS feels, also, like a more pliable hint at what’s to come, as the GAS concept really solidified on its successor, 1997’s Zauberberg, and reach its apotheosis on Königsforst and Pop. Those three albums share a very similar palette – blurred, hazy samples, often of classical music, stacked and cross-thatched across a muted 4/4 thud. GAS, then, is an outlier of sorts: it’s more expansive in its remit, lighter in its mood, perhaps more fleet of foot. This, of course, is part of its charm. In clearing space for Voigt, by preparing the terrain, GAS sits both at the edge of the forest, and at the verge of an expansive, wide-eyed future; one where GAS would become truly eternal.
Roots Manuva - Brand New Second Hand (25th Anniversary Edition) (Smoky Vinyl 2LP)Roots Manuva - Brand New Second Hand (25th Anniversary Edition) (Smoky Vinyl 2LP)
Roots Manuva - Brand New Second Hand (25th Anniversary Edition) (Smoky Vinyl 2LP)Big Dada
UK hip-hop artist Roots Manuva's two classic albums Roots Manuva's two classic albums are reissued by Big Dada to commemorate the 25th anniversary of their release.
Roots Manuva - Run Come Save Me (Red Vinyl 2LP)Roots Manuva - Run Come Save Me (Red Vinyl 2LP)
Roots Manuva - Run Come Save Me (Red Vinyl 2LP)Big Dada
UK hip-hop artist Roots Manuva's two classic albums Roots Manuva's two classic albums are reissued by Big Dada to commemorate the 25th anniversary of their release.
Chico Mello / Helinho Brandão (LP)
Chico Mello / Helinho Brandão (LP)Black Truffle
Black Truffle is thrilled to announce a reissue of Chico Mello and Helinho Brandão’s self-titled release from 1984, the first return to vinyl of this classic of Brazilian experimental music with its original cover art and complete track listing. An under-recognised figure whose work inhabits a singular terrain where radical new music techniques and music theatre meet musica popular brasileira, Mello has lived and worked in Berlin since the late 1980s. A student of Dieter Schnebel, Mello played in the 90s iteration of Arnold Dreyblatt’s Orchestra of Excited Strings alongside compatriot Silvia Ocougne, with whom he produced a radical and hilarious deconstruction of MPB classics on Musica Brasileira De(s)composta (an early and rather atypical release on Edition Wandelweiser). On this release, his only recording predating his move to Europe, Mello works with the alto saxophonist Helinho Brandão, who appears to be otherwise unknown outside Brazil. The record’s six tracks range from solo saxophone improvisation to densely layered ensemble works bridging minimalism, acoustic sound art and a plaintive melodic sensibility that calls up Edu Lobo or Milton Nascimento. Beginning with a dramatic, dissonant wind and string surge from which emerge ominously pounding piano chords, opener ‘Água’ slowly builds in intensity, a halo of clustered vocal harmonies gradually closing in on Brandão’s squealing sax until the piece opens up to reveal a gorgeous passage of melodic singing. The piano accompaniment reduces to tolling bass notes as the voice begins a repeated incantation, suggesting a ritualistic atmosphere reminiscent of parts of Xenakis’ setting of Oresteia. Dissonant, sawing tremolos on the strings climb to a crescendo before disappearing into the sounds of water being poured and splashed into metal vessels, presented not as a field recording but as a percussive element performed by the ensemble. A child’s voice then appears, singing to piano accompaniment the same melody heard earlier in the piece. After a brief solo alto improvisation from Brandão, working with the guttural pops and fleeting melodic gestures of Braxton or Roscoe Mitchell, the remainder of the first side is dedicated to the leisurely unfolding of ‘Baiando’ over the course of twelve minutes. A trio for Brandão on soprano saxophone, Mello on a very period-appropriate phased nylon string guitar and Edu Dequech on bongos, the performance eases its way hypnotically through subtle variations on a set of rhythmic and melodic patterns, almost derailed at points by Brandão’s wild forays into extended technique but held together by Mello’s droning guitar notes. The second side opens with another multi-part epic for a larger ensemble, ‘Matraca’, which makes use of strings, electric guitars and a wide range of South American percussion instruments. Rasping violin harmonics hover as drum hits, repeated guitar notes and triangle accompany a slowly descending bass glissando. A sudden change in direction introduces a thrumming, incessantly repeated bowed bass tone, beginning a series of episodes of minimalist phasing and pattern variation, the combinations of electric guitars and orchestral instruments giving the ensemble an ad hoc charm like the early Penguin Café Orchestra but with more percussive drive. Eventually the piece is overrun by a cacophony of the titular matracas (a kind of ratchet/cog rattle). Following a lyrical trio improvisation by Mello, Brandão and Gerson Kornin on bass, the final ‘Danca’ focuses entirely on Mello’s layered acoustic guitars and vocals, using this restricted palette to build up a haunting piece of almost orchestral density, reminiscent of the 70s work of Egberto Gismonti in how it thickens a folkish ambience with harmonic sophistication. Arriving in a starkly beautiful gatefold sleeve and sounding better than ever in its new remaster, one might call the stunning music contained on Chico Mello/Helinho Brandão ahead of its time. But what (other than some of Mello’s own work) produced in the years since its initial release has really touched the organic fusion of minimalism, free improvisation, radical instrumental technique and popular song achieved here? Forty years after its first release, Chico Mello/Helinho Brandão remains music of the future.
Lukas De Clerck - The Telescopic Aulos of Atlas (LP)Lukas De Clerck - The Telescopic Aulos of Atlas (LP)
Lukas De Clerck - The Telescopic Aulos of Atlas (LP)Ideologic Organ
LUKAS DE CLERCK brings us the ancient greek instrument, the aulos, of which his new interpretation of long form expression is coaxed forth on this tremendous recording. Lukas de Clerck explores a niche of archaeological research in music; the aulos is a historical Greek instrument that Lukas analyzed and reinterpreted by a luthier in modern times—navigating this impression as an artwork or living sculptural object, as there is an absence of historical partitions or written information about how to recreate technique on the instrument. Lukas de Clerck has interpreted information from the rare archaeological resources and visual art of the classical Greek period to recreate both playing technique and possible sound timbres with the instrument. With his contemporary approach to drone, post-minimalist music, and contemporary folk, we find a deeply satisfying and compelling, even playful set of songs, timbral exercises and compositions. “The morphology of the aulos is defined by its reeds... The tubular memory inside the fibre of the plant will ensure it closes and opens naturally like the mouth that will blow breath inside... The reeds are the core, the sound source—the naked instrument.... They behave like two oscillators, bending high-pitched notes into beatings. The pipes are a context, a channel for the sound. They create a narrative.” An important document of new music meets contemporary archaemusicological research via Stephen O’Malley of SUNN O)))’s label Ideologic Organ. :::: THE TELESCOPIC AULOS OF ATLAS The telescopic aulos is speculative: might it have existed? It takes on features from the historical aulos, a double-reed instrument of which we know how it looked but little about what music was played on it or how it would have really sounded. It's an instrument without the limitations of canon or manual, providing creative freedom and awakening curiosity. The new instrument featured on this album is ancient and futuristic at once. The aulos has no tone holes; instead, each of the two tubes consists of three parts that can slide into each other. In this sense, the metal pipes bear a certain resemblance to the principle of a trombone. However, since both hands are already in use to hold both tubes, the sliding has to be done by way of gravity and the help of a "phorbeia", a leather mask which helps keep the reeds in place. The aulos's material is metal (instead of wood), which gives it a certain electronic allure and intensity, as well as a variety of sonic possibilities and textures. It produces overtones efficiently and allows them to play with their microtonality. The aulos Lukas plays on this recording was developed at Brasserie Atlas, a temporary occupation of a former brewery in the heart of Brussels where Lukas lives. It is quite a poetic coincidence that the birthplace of the instrument is named after the Greek titan condemned to carry the sky, while this instrument needs to be turned skywards to lower its pitch with the help of gravity. At Brasserie Atlas, Lukas has found collaborators who have shared in the process of building this new instrument: the collective Noir Métal has constructed the tubes, in this way becoming instrument builders; the phorbeia has been manufactured by Jot Fau; a former water reservoir in the vast cellar of the building carried the instruments' resonance for its first sounds. The place has left an imprint on this new instrument. With all of the telescopic aulos' layers, its sonic, musical and extra-musical components are still unfolding their potential as a medium for discovery and research, next to being an instrument of great musical potential. The music on The Telescopic Aulos of Atlas reflects this spirit. In several miniature pieces, it presents an encyclopaedia of musical possibilities that the instrument offers while keeping an intense and corporeal sonic specificity. The short pieces are studies that reflect on the sonic possibilities of this instrument that are yet to be explored. It meanders, searches and interacts with itself and the space. It needs to answer common expectations of old instruments being harmonious or pleasing. It transports a kind of experimental archaeology that, by formulating hypotheses in the present, allows us to reflect on what might have been in the past and simultaneously questions concepts of beauty, harmony or virtuosity. However, in the end, this instrument might have never existed before. –Julia Eckhardt

Timothy Archambault - Onimikìg (LP)Timothy Archambault - Onimikìg (LP)
Timothy Archambault - Onimikìg (LP)Ideologic Organ
Onimikìg [Algonquin]: (n. an.)- thunder Timothy Archambault’s unaccompanied flute pieces for this album have been inspired by Indigenous brontomancy (divination by thunder). Each piece highlights a different extended flute technique metaphorically related to types of thunder sounds: claps, peals, rolls, rumbles, inversions, and CG (cloud-to-ground). An important document of new music meets contemporary musicological research via Stephen O’Malley of SUNN O)))’s Ideologic Organ. The Indigenous flute used in this recording is made of cedar respective to the traditional woods used by the Kichesipirini and other tribes who live along the Ottawa & Saint Lawrence Rivers. To the Algonquin the flute (Pibigwan) is the wind maker or essence of the wind. Unlike other tribal nations whom the majority used the flute as a courting instrument, the Algonquin generally utilized the flute for more contemplative singular usage to mimic the sounds of nature or as a signaling device during times of conflict. When love songs were required, they were usually more plaintive in character expressing sadness, loneliness, or concerning the departure of a lover. The album intro begins with the shaking of a necklace of otter penis bone, fish spine, bear claw, elk teeth and deer hide, gifted from Algonquin Elder Ajawajawesi. It is meant to focus the listener’s attention before the flute pieces begin. The warble or multi-phonic oscillation prevalent in all the pieces traditionally represented the “throat rattling” vocalization of the tonic note, sometimes known as the horizon of which the melody floats from. Due to the repetition of multi-phonic oscillation the performer will breathe erratically creating an altered state correlating with similar traditional ceremonial practices.

D.R. Hooker - The Truth (Cobalt Vinyl LP)
D.R. Hooker - The Truth (Cobalt Vinyl LP)Numero Group
A real people music masterpiece, D.R. Hooker’s 1972 debut meets at the be-in of drug-addled hippy psychedelia and evangelical Christianity. Conjuring visions of an L.S.D.-damaged Frank Sinatra or Lou Reed playing the role of a divorced suburban dad, The Truth is a religious midlife crisis disguised as a private press LP. Forge your own chains, indeed.

Reverend Baron - Overpass Boy (Coke Bottle Clear LP)
Reverend Baron - Overpass Boy (Coke Bottle Clear LP)Karma Chief Records
Written with no big plan in mind, Reverend Baron's "Overpass Boy" becomes a Los Angeles meditation, an eight song prayer of poetic topography. The album gives the city its own sound, and its own songs to hum. Recorded in several different locations of LA, and loosely sketching the story of a young wanderer, the album is an easy current of observations and longings. Slices of soul and doo-wop emerge in stacked harmonies, while the percussion and grooves are the blooms that could only come from East LA. Garcia's investment to vocal tenderness and instrumental high style strikes our universal center. His soft serenade reconnects us to something misplaced. Playing almost every instrument on the album, Garcia's spirit is tailored into the sound, designing an amalgam of tones and frequencies as idiosyncratic as the singer himself. Traversing the alleys, passing the sous-chef's cigarette smoke, under the shaking bridges, behind a velvet curtain in a good suit, with a slide guitar in the rain, the titles quilt together for us: Every promise out here walks and waits in the little hours. Jackie and Jimmy drive away and we're left in that little valley, suspended.

Cocteau Twins And Harold Budd - The Moon and the Melodies (LP)Cocteau Twins And Harold Budd - The Moon and the Melodies (LP)
Cocteau Twins And Harold Budd - The Moon and the Melodies (LP)4AD

The Moon and the Melodies is a singular record within the Cocteau Twins’ catalog—unusually ethereal, even by their standards, and largely instrumental, guided by the free-form improvisations of Harold Budd, an ambient pioneer who had drifted into their orbit as if by divine intervention.  Building on the atmospheric bliss of Victorialand, released earlier the same year, it signaled a possible future for the trio, yet it was a path the Cocteau Twins would never take again.  Now, 28 years after it was first released, it has been reissued for the first time—remastered, from the original tapes, by Robin Guthrie himself.

The album was never actually meant to happen; no one can even recall exactly how it came about in the first place. As both Guthrie and Simon Raymonde remember it, the independent television station Channel 4 approached 4AD about a film project pairing musicians from different genres.  In interviews in the 1980s, however, Budd, who passed away in 2020, believed that his music publisher had linked him with the Cocteaus after the group had expressed interest in covering one of his songs.  In any case, the film never happened. “But we’d spoken to Harold, and we were all quite excited about it—in a very sort of downbeat Cocteau Twins way, where we were rarely excited about anything,” Raymonde recalls.  “We’re like, well, let’s carry on and do it anyway—you’ve already booked your flight, let’s just hang out in the studio and see what happens.”

“There was a lot of hilarity,” Guthrie says.  “It was strange to have an older man in our life, because Liz and I saw everybody around us—the contemporary bands, the people running record labels, the journalists—as grownups.  We were literally kids.  I thought, ‘Oh Christ, he’s going to be some pompous, you know, into his classical music,’ and he wasn’t.  He was just a big man-child. We clicked in that respect.”

The Cocteau Twins had recently built their own recording studio in North Acton, in West London.  It was the first time they’d had their own space, and they relished their newfound freedom.  “We were in this lovely little bubble of making our own music,” Raymonde says.  Budd fit right into their bubble world; all four musicians got on immediately.  Over pints at the pub, they talked about everything but music, and in the studio, Raymonde and Budd both say that very little, if anything, was discussed, save perhaps for questions of tempo or key.

“Harold would sit down at the piano and start playing something, and then maybe I’d pick up a bass and start playing along with him,” Raymonde says.  “They were very much noodles rather than songs.  That was the way we tended to work anyway.  Work out what kind of mood are we feeling, get a drum beat going, just a two-bar pattern; Guthrie would plug his guitar in, I would plug my bass in, and then we’d just jam for a few minutes and go, ‘Yeah, that was cool, let’s carry on doing that thing or that thing,’ really casually, and then all of a sudden we’d have a song.  I know that sounds ludicrous, but that is how we did it, and with Harold it was exactly the same.”

Budd played a Yamaha CP-70 electric grand, and the group came armed with a growing arsenal of gear, like the Yamaha Rev7 multi-effects processor and Lexicon PCM60, perhaps an Ensoniq Mirage.  Guthrie used an EBow on his guitars, along with a Gizmo, an electromechanical device invented by Godley and Creme.  Guthrie remembers endless experiments in search of new sounds: “Lots of messing around, tuning the guitar strings all the same, getting droney sorts of things—really big, loud, sort of Metallica-like feedback sounds, but then put in the mix so quietly you can hardly hear them the first time you listen.  All these psychoacoustic sort of tricks that I liked.  It’s all in there, you know.  Just being fearless—if it didn’t work out, it was never going to be a record anyway.”

The musicians’ contrasting approaches ended up shaping the album’s somewhat curious format—four instrumentals in Budd’s meandering style, more tone poems than actual songs, and four more structured pieces with verses, choruses, drum machine, and, of course, Elizabeth Fraser’s inimitable singing, as bold and inspired as anywhere in the band’s catalog.  There was no conscious decision to have Fraser only sing on four songs.  “That’s just what came out of the sessions,” Guthrie says.  “It was a lightweight atmosphere making it, because we didn’t actually feel that we were making a record at the time.  We were trying out some stuff in the studio, and it just evolved into what it did.  Which is, essentially, a recorded version of some people trying out some stuff in the studio.”

The sessions were over in two weeks, maybe three.  “And that was already getting a bit long,” Guthrie says, “because some of our earlier records had taken just a couple of days.”  They fleshed out the material, he adds, with one more song that the trio wrote in Budd’s absence, after they realized they didn’t have quite enough material for a full album.  (“Was I that drunk?” Budd asked, upon hearing the final version of the album, which included a song he had no recollection of making.)  As much as it may pain fans to hear it, there is no more extant material from the sessions—no outtakes, no rough drafts, no alternate versions. “For the 13 years I was in the band, we have no spare tracks at all,” Raymonde says.  “If after an hour or two a track wasn’t coming together, we’d just get rid of it.  If it wasn’t good now, our attitude was, it’ll never be any good.  So we’d think, tomorrow’s another day—let’s go to the cinema and come back tomorrow, and see how it goes.  Let’s go bowling.”

The other curious thing about the album—the fact that it was credited to all four players under their individual names—followed the same intuitive logic as everything else that went into the record.  “It’s because it wasn’t a Cocteau Twins album,” Guthrie says.  Raymonde concurs: “It was simple.  All four of us have gone into the studio and done something, but it isn’t a Cocteau Twins album.”  But perhaps the passage of time has changed matters.  These days, on streaming services, you’ll find the album filed chronologically alongside the rest of the band’s work.  “What’s interesting,” Guthrie adds, “is that I got the tape boxes from the studio, and guess what it says on it?  ‘Cocteau Twins plus Harold Budd.’”  Perhaps, he seems to suggest, the group got hung up on a detail that never really mattered.  In any case, Raymonde says, “The more credit that Harold gets for the work he did, the more people that find his music because it’s in the Cocteau environment, the better.”

Despite all its quirks, The Moon and the Melodies has attracted a passionate fan base over the years.  Its most atmospheric tracks routinely turn up in ambient DJ sets. 'Sea, Swallow Me' is one of the Cocteau Twins’ most streamed songs on Spotify, second only to Heaven or Las Vegas’ 'Cherry-coloured Funk'; it has also found new life on TikTok, where it serves as the soundtrack to innumerable expressions of hard-to-express melancholy.  For such a low-key affair, the album casts a long shadow—but Raymonde believes the record’s uniqueness stems directly from its humble, unpremeditated origins.  “It’s always about making something that’s pleasurable,” he says, “capturing a moment in time between friends that are enjoying making music together.  Really, that’s the essence of it—the music was just a reflection of how nice a time we were having in the studio.”

Floating Points - Cascade (Universal Sparkle Vinyl 2LP+Obi)Floating Points - Cascade (Universal Sparkle Vinyl 2LP+Obi)
Floating Points - Cascade (Universal Sparkle Vinyl 2LP+Obi)Ninja Tune

Sam Shepherd aka Floating Points has announced his new album Cascade will be released on 13 September via Ninja Tune. Along with the announcement Shepherd has shared lead single 'Key103' which comes with visuals continuing his ongoing collaboration with Tokyo based artist Akiko Nakayama.

Cascade is an eruption of unfinished business. In late 2022, Shepherd – renowned for drifting between genres as freely as his stage name implies – found himself in the Californian desert working on something new. Mere Mortals, his first ballet score, created with the San Francisco Ballet, was to be a collision of sound and dance exploring the ancient parable of Pandora through the prism of technology. "It was one of quite a few left turns I was taking around that time", recalls Shepherd. You can say that again: Promises, his multiple end-of-year-list-topping previous record, released in 2021, had seen him swap his typical modular synth tapestries and intricate drum patterns for airy dreamscapes, crafted with late legendary saxophonist Pharoah Sanders and the London Symphony Orchestra. It was a collaboration so popular, a Mercury Prize nomination and sold-out show at the Hollywood Bowl in September 2023 followed.
Between these projects and an upcoming anime score for Adult Swim - from the outside it might have seemed as though Shepherd was departing the dance floor for good. But as he wrote his ballet score by day, at night he found himself longing for the sweaty communion of a dance floor. For the pulse-racing abandon of electronic music.

Shepherd released Crush, his rave-reviewed second studio album, in November 2019. It was hailed as one of the albums of that year by Pitchfork, The Independent, Mixmag, Loud And Quiet and more – "but I never got to explore its ravey, experimental side live", laments the musician, whose world tour was cancelled due to lockdown. Cascade was devised as a follow-on from Crush that would allow him (and audiences) to experience Floating Points in its traditional form on a dancefloor once more: bursting with Buchla rhythms, glitching melodies bewitching a room full of heaving bodies. "It’s meant to be kind of a continuation", adds Shepherd. This explains Cascade’s artwork: another colourful sleeve, full of fluid imagery (created once more by Akiko Nakayama). It also explains its evocative title: like Crush, one word that implies movement, beauty and pressure. Most importantly, it explains its mesmerising sound: sumptuous sonic chasms to lose yourself in again and again.

Creating the album stripped Shepherd back. Not only in terms of his set-up – "I have a studio at home with all the gear I usually use, but I wasn’t there so I had to use my laptop, doing it all on headphones", he says – but in terms of his connection to electronic music, and to his home city where his love of music first flourished. "There’s something about Manchester that keeps coming back to me, and I think it’s partly to do with its record shops", says the producer, who found himself instinctively naming tracks after local landmarks and institutions. "As a kid, my school was around the corner from the Northern Quarter so at lunchtimes, I’d run out of the school gates and skip lunch altogether to go and listen to records. I’m sure I was a total pain in the arse constantly pulling records off the shelves", he laughs, "but it was amazing. I’d be listening to Autechre at Pelican Neck, Dilla at Fat City, David Morales mixes at the Factory Records shop… It gave me a parallel education in music to what I was being taught at school". This can be found in multiple tracks on the album including lead single 'Key103' - named after "an underground Manchester radio station I’d listen to religiously" that helped expand his music sensibilities beyond the classical composers he focused on in his academic work (Shepherd studied composition at Chetham's School of Music).

Other tracks took inspiration from the dust bowl surroundings off the Californian desert, but make no mistake: Cascade is a record forged in an adolescence spent in Manchester, discovering the mind-expanding (and emotion-purging) power of electronic music in all its forms. Though devised as a continuation of Crush, Cascade nonetheless pushes Floating Points’ sound forward into new places. The nine songs here are allowed to smoulder and spark for up to eight minutes at a time, allowing for more expansive exploration of sounds and grooves than before. Almost a decade on since Elaenia, his revered debut album, the composer has discovered ways to thread his experiments outside of club music seamlessly into his music designed for the dancefloor. "I’m just constantly chasing challenges", says Shepherd, explaining how this album fits into his ever-expanding web of creative projects, of which there are many. "I always want to keep things moving and go all in on things that excite me. Whether that’s working with a 100-piece orchestra on a ballet or on a laptop on my own", Shepherd grins. Cascade is the proof – when it comes to electronic innovation and simmering tracks that stand hairs on end, Floating Points will always, always have unfinished business. 

Butthole Surfers - Locust Abortion Technician (LP)Butthole Surfers - Locust Abortion Technician (LP)
Butthole Surfers - Locust Abortion Technician (LP)Matador Records

The second part of Matador’s reissues of the essential early records by Texas’s Butthole Surfers continues with three of their most insane slabs -- 1985’s ‘Cream Corn from the Socket of Davis,’ 1987’s ‘Locust Abortion Technician’ and 1988’s ‘Hairway to Steven.’

The period during which these records were first issued parallels the Buttholes’ transition from being weirdo Texas outcasts to becoming internationally recognized smut-kings of the American underground. In 1985 they were still the sole province of hallucingen-soaked punk rock freaks. By 1988 they had toured Europe, had records licensed internationally, and bought a house in Driftwood Texas to serve as their home base. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

‘Hairway to Steven’ is a blast, ranging from the blood-smeared guitar-overload of “Jimi” to the acoustic guitar-based sing-along sweetness of “I Saw an X-Ray of a Girl Passing Gas” to the Fugs-like ranting of “John E. Smokes.” Yet somehow, the album managed to get the straight media to actually notice. For all its strangeness, ‘Hairway’ got rave notices in places that had never paid the band any attention previously. It was the Buttholes’ last album of the ‘80s and marks the beginning of their ascendance into something akin to commercial success. Not that the band actually imagined anything at all like that occurring.

Butthole Surfers - Cream Corn from the Socket of Davis (12")Butthole Surfers - Cream Corn from the Socket of Davis (12")
Butthole Surfers - Cream Corn from the Socket of Davis (12")Matador Records

The second part of Matador’s reissues of the essential early records by Texas’s Butthole Surfers continues with three of their most insane slabs -- 1985’s ‘Cream Corn from the Socket of Davis,’ 1987’s ‘Locust Abortion Technician’ and 1988’s ‘Hairway to Steven.’

The period during which these records were first issued parallels the Buttholes’ transition from being weirdo Texas outcasts to becoming internationally recognized smut-kings of the American underground. In 1985 they were still the sole province of hallucingen-soaked punk rock freaks. By 1988 they had toured Europe, had records licensed internationally, and bought a house in Driftwood Texas to serve as their home base. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

‘Hairway to Steven’ is a blast, ranging from the blood-smeared guitar-overload of “Jimi” to the acoustic guitar-based sing-along sweetness of “I Saw an X-Ray of a Girl Passing Gas” to the Fugs-like ranting of “John E. Smokes.” Yet somehow, the album managed to get the straight media to actually notice. For all its strangeness, ‘Hairway’ got rave notices in places that had never paid the band any attention previously. It was the Buttholes’ last album of the ‘80s and marks the beginning of their ascendance into something akin to commercial success. Not that the band actually imagined anything at all like that occurring.

Butthole Surfers -  Hairway To Steven (LP)Butthole Surfers -  Hairway To Steven (LP)
Butthole Surfers - Hairway To Steven (LP)Matador Records

The second part of Matador’s reissues of the essential early records by Texas’s Butthole Surfers continues with three of their most insane slabs -- 1985’s ‘Cream Corn from the Socket of Davis,’ 1987’s ‘Locust Abortion Technician’ and 1988’s ‘Hairway to Steven.’

The period during which these records were first issued parallels the Buttholes’ transition from being weirdo Texas outcasts to becoming internationally recognized smut-kings of the American underground. In 1985 they were still the sole province of hallucingen-soaked punk rock freaks. By 1988 they had toured Europe, had records licensed internationally, and bought a house in Driftwood Texas to serve as their home base. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

‘Hairway to Steven’ is a blast, ranging from the blood-smeared guitar-overload of “Jimi” to the acoustic guitar-based sing-along sweetness of “I Saw an X-Ray of a Girl Passing Gas” to the Fugs-like ranting of “John E. Smokes.” Yet somehow, the album managed to get the straight media to actually notice. For all its strangeness, ‘Hairway’ got rave notices in places that had never paid the band any attention previously. It was the Buttholes’ last album of the ‘80s and marks the beginning of their ascendance into something akin to commercial success. Not that the band actually imagined anything at all like that occurring.

Hirokazu Tanaka - Lost Tapes 17 (LP)
Hirokazu Tanaka - Lost Tapes 17 (LP)Super Fuji Discs
Hirokazu Tanaka is one of the world's most well-known Japanese composers of video game music, including the "Metroid" and "Mother" series, as well as music for the animated TV series and movie "Pokemon. Hirokazu Tanaka is one of the world's most well-known Japanese composers. From the 400 private demo tapes he has recorded over the past 30 years since the 1980's, 17 ambient tracks have been carefully selected and recorded on CD. This CD contains 17 carefully selected ambient compositions from his 400 private demo tapes over 30 years since the 1980s, including 2 songs that have not yet been recorded on CD.
Svaneborg Kardyb - Superkilen (Black Limited Edition BioVinyl LP)Svaneborg Kardyb - Superkilen (Black Limited Edition BioVinyl LP)
Svaneborg Kardyb - Superkilen (Black Limited Edition BioVinyl LP)Gondwana Records
Svaneborg Kardyb are Nikolaj Svaneborg – Wurlitzer, Juno, piano and Jonas Kardyb – drums, percussion a multi award winning duo from Denmark, where they won two “grammys” at the Danish Music Awards Jazz 2019: New artist of the year and Composer of the year.
Drawing on Danish folk music and Scandinavian jazz influences, including Nils Frahm, Esbjörn Svennson and Jan Johansson’s landmark recording Jazz På Svenska, their music is an exquisite and joyful melding of beautiful melodies, delicate minimalism, catchy grooves, subtle electronica vibes, Nordic atmospheres and organic interplay, all underwritten by the sheer joy of playing together. Following on from their Gondwana Records debut 'Over Tage', 'Superkilen' their forthcoming album, is named after a public park in the ethnically diverse Nørrebro district of Copenhagen. This erstwhile strip of waste ground was repurposed by the Superflex art group in the early 2010’s to bring together immigrants and locals in a mood of tolerance and unity. Its title feels emblematic of their music, which, equally inventively, creates space and serenity as a tonic within the tense and cluttered environment of 2020’s living. In the same way that the regeneration project has transformed that neighbourhood, Svaneborg Kardyb have drawn on that positive energy to help instigate changes in their own music.
Illuvia - Earth Prism (Transparent Gatefold Vinyl 2LP)Illuvia - Earth Prism (Transparent Gatefold Vinyl 2LP)
Illuvia - Earth Prism (Transparent Gatefold Vinyl 2LP)A Strangely Isolated Place
Ludvig Cimbrelius returns with his third full-length album on ASIP under his illustrious ambient jungle/drum’n bass alias, Illuvia. Shifting focus from the stratospheric highs of 2021’s Iridescence Of Clouds, Ludvig now reflects on the meaning and spectrums of life on Earth. "According to my lifelong research, Earth appears to be a modulation of light. It is said that what the eyes receive are rays emitted by a star, whose flow of photons is invisible to the human eye until they are reflected and modulated by matter. Matter — the patterned dance of charged particles appearing out of nothing. Simultaneously, it is observable that light converts into matter. And matter converts into light. Logic tells me that they are one, appearing as two. And, as a consequence of their division and subsequent interaction, the spectrum of a world appears. Being a manifestation of something as ethereal and ephemeral as light modulated by the dance of charged particles, the world feels surprisingly solid. Less like a prism and more like a prison. That is what the surface tells us. Those who seek freedom look deeper." –Ludvig Cimbrelius (Illuvia) Earth Prism will be available on A Strangely Isolated Place on transparent vinyl, gatefold 2LP + digital formats from June 20th 2024. Mastered by Hollis Nolan, Lacquer cut by Andreas LUPO Lubich, featuring artwork by Noah M / Keep Adding. ***** “The rhythms are complex and riotous, but they feel like some elemental process taking place thousands of meters up (perhaps in the titular iridescent clouds), surrounded by layer upon layer of mist and radiance.” Joe Muggs (Bandcamp, Best Electronic Music, 2021) ***** “The typical Illuvia track is panoramic, majestic, and ethereal; packed with detail, the material engulfs like a blinding snowstorm.” - Textura, 2021 ***** “Forget liquid d’n’b, this is steam drum and bass” - Forestpunk, 2021 ***** “Full of pastel soundscapes and poignant melodies, Iridescence Of Clouds luxuriates in its gauzy aesthetic, weaving in kinetic percussion and rollicking Amen breaks that would likely be quite ferocious on their own; here, however, they’re largely kept in check.” - Shawn Reynaldo / First Floor, 2021 ***** “Creative mixers combined drum ‘n’ bass with ambience and a hint of dub, creating a hybrid that was simultaneously soothing and exciting; Iridescence of Clouds falls into this vein, an hour-long set that unfolds like a dream.” - A Closer Listen 2021

Theef - Sun & Smoke (Gatefold Transparent Black Smoke Vinyl 2LP)
Theef - Sun & Smoke (Gatefold Transparent Black Smoke Vinyl 2LP)A Strangely Isolated Place
‘Sun & Smoke’ is originally a 2-hour self-produced mix uploaded to Youtube and Soundcloud in 2018 by Greek artist, Theef. Consisting of unreleased productions, the set was uploaded as a safe space, with zero expectations of it ever gaining attention or release. After many late-night listening sessions, ASIP contacted Theef to discuss how a release might come to life. Originally consisting of 21 tracks in total –with two subsequently released on Morevi Records in 2022– ASIP had the honor of curating and sequencing an album from the remaining 19 unreleased productions, finally landing on those that best represented the intention of the original mix and the feelings it evoked upon those first moments of discovery. The appeal of Sun & Smoke can be found in its purity. Built with no intention or audience in mind, the album traverses core elements of deep techno, trance, and downtempo. Progressive atmosphere building, addictive underlying grooves, and expansive moments of euphoria; as a mixtape, Sun & Smoke is a zero-visibility haze of eyes-closed, body-moving, forward momentum. As an album, each track is now allowed the space to deliver on its own defining atmosphere. From the ambient beginnings of Sky Textures and the title track, Sun & Smoke, to the electro tinges of Primal Age, and the metallic swirls and glistening synths in Approaching Stars, the parts now have the chance to become greater than the sum of its original whole. Mastered by Giuseppe Tillieci (Neel / Voices From The Lake) with artwork photography by Juan Fernandez (edited by ASIP), Sun & Smoke is available on Transparent Red/Orange Smoke Gatefold 2LP + digital.
V.A. - Ska Shots (LP)V.A. - Ska Shots (LP)
V.A. - Ska Shots (LP)Pressure Sounds

On August 5th 1962, after 300 years of British rule, which had soaked the earth of the island in blood, Jamaica was finally independent. The country that the British left behind was certainly a place of widespread poverty and deep inequality, but there seems to have been a real burst of confidence that came with independence.
Newsreels of the day show well-dressed crowds reacting with enthusiasm and excitement, and the era found its perfect soundtrack in the boldness and exuberance of ska music, which was erupting all over the island.
This optimistic mood found probably its greatest artistic expression in the music of the Skatalites, who formed in June 1964 as a kind of Jamaican supergroup. Philip “Justin” Yap was a young, upcoming producer who had used members of the Skatalites for his first tunes, recorded either at RJR (Radio Jamaica and Redifussion) or at Federal studios. As Steve Barrow documented in the sleevenotes for Pressure Sounds’ reissue of the classic “Ska-Boo-Da-Ba” album, Justin had also befriended Clement “Coxsone” Dodd, and when Coxsone opened his own Studio One facility in December 1963, Justin immediately switched most of his production work to this new recording room. Studio One opened just in time to catch the formation of the Skatalites, and is where Justin recorded most of his classic Skatalites sides.
He also recorded lots of excellent instrumentals with a smaller brass section, still mainly using members of the Skatalites, but crediting instead the composer or arranger of the tune. Combined with Coxsone’s own recordings, these productions for Justin’s Top Deck and Tuneico labels really captured the members of the Skatalites at their magnificent best, in the unique atmosphere of Studio One.
From 2006, I had the huge pleasure of getting to know the great Jamaican
innovator Hedley Jones, who told me how he had designed and installed the original Studio One recording studio, responsible for most of the recordings on
this disc: ‘In 1963 (Coxsone) Dodd contacted me. I was doing a lot of recording work with him as a guitarist in 1961, ‘62 and ‘63, and in 1963 Dodd contacted me with the idea of building a studio of his own. The only equipment he could find himself was a record cutting head that he got from a pawn shop in Miami, but it was a 60 cycle machine. He brought that to Jamaica, and an Ampex reel to reel one track recorder – they was the only things he could find. The rest of the stuff is history because I had to design all the amplifiers, design the studio layout and everything, with the help of two of my sons, who did quite a bit of the laying of
the conduits, while I designed the amplifiers.’ Hedley Jones was an amazing polymath, and one of Jamaica’s greatest inventors.
He designed and built one of the world’s first solid body electric guitars, one of the world’s first double necked guitars, and a new traffic light system for the city of Kingston, all based on the knowledge he gained during World War 2, as a radar operator with the RAF. He called himself “an experimenter”: ‘So I built that studio for him between August and December of 1963. I built the mixing board myself – well I had to – everything in Coxsone’s studio was custom built by me, anything that had to do with amplification. As a matter of fact, I had to design circuits that would quiet his cooling equipment, his air conditioning, it was too noisy. I had a board in there that automatically switched off the air conditioning as soon as the recording started. As soon as you turn on the warning
light, saying that you’re starting recording, the cooling equipment switch off automatically. And all that was my design.
‘It was open in December, I think the week before Christmas. And after having a successful opening – I put together a band to test it – and after the first successful test, then of course the rest is history. I think the board I built for Coxsone had 4 or 5 inputs for microphones, but it was still only a single channel (tape) recorder.
One input (on the board) was for the band, one for the singer, and there was a central microphone hanging from the ceiling… so at least four or five input channels that were available on the console. Anything that you can think of in a modern studio was there. We had reverb – I built that and I used a circuit and I used a mechanical unit, a spring reverb, and then we amplify that and fed it into the circuits. Tape echo came later. That spring reverb for Coxsone was the only one I (ever) built.
‘The last thing I had to do with launching that studio was helping in the recording of Bob Marley’s recording “It Hurts To Be Alone”, that was done on a Sunday morning in April of 64, and Ernie Ranglin was the guitarist, and he used my double-necked guitar, which was also a first in the world.’
Other than building the first incarnation of Studio One, probably Hedley’s greatest historical impact came from the design and build of the Jones Sound 100 Watt tube amplifier of 1947, which powered the first recognisable Jamaican sound system for Tommy Wong, aka Tom the Great Sebastian, with the same amplifier driving the first systems for Duke Reid the Trojan, Clement “Coxsone” Dodd and Roy Johnston’s “House of Joy”.
‘I build the first sound, but I didn’t call it ‘sound system’… it’s Tommy Wong who call it sound system, he gave it the name. It was 100 watts amplifier, and I build one for Duke Reid and one for Coxsone, and it was a basic design but with those tubes you couldn’t exceed 100 watts or you’d be running into trouble. ‘I wasn’t interested in copyright or money at the time. All I was interested in was the technology. I had these ideas in my head and on paper that I wanted put out as a practical design. So that’s where I started the ball rolling, it was in design.
Anyway, I left Kingston in 1965 because I found that I was working for nothing. I was doing all this and getting no rewards. And everybody was like “oh Mr Jones, could you just do this” or “just do that”, so I left Kingston in January 65 feeling quite dejected, I picked up all my things and came to Montego Bay.’
So Hedley Jones had an epiphany, and left the competitive bustle of Kingston for the relative peace of Montego Bay. Of course, he carried on experimenting, building great telescopes whilst working as a journalist, schoolteacher and guitarist, and as president of the Jamaica Federation of Musicians. When I got to know him, he was turning 90 and finally getting some recognition from the Jamaican establishment, receiving the Order of Distinction from the government, and some favourable profiles in the newspapers.
Through Hedley, I also got to talk to Keith ‘Sticky’ Parke, who engineered many classic recordings, first at RJR, and later at Coxsone’s new Studio One facility. With Justin Yapp supplying food, drink and ganja, and also paying everyone double, a convivial and exuberant atmosphere certainly comes through in the recordings, many of which were captured by Sticky Parke: ‘I worked for RJR from 1958 to 1966. At RJR we had a big concert studio, and people would hire the hall, like producers like Chin Randy’s, and I did a nice job for Chin Randy’s with “Rico’s Special”, I recorded that at RJR. I’d say I got involved with Dodd in 1959 or 1960. I think I might have been the first engineer to do any recordings there. Hedley Jones, he built the studio. I worked at Studio One from when it was built, and I recorded the Skatalites and Bob Marley, all the great names I recorded there. I was still at RJR but I used to go down there after work
or when I have spare time to fit in Coxsone’s studio. I worked there until ‘66.’ Sticky remembered the technical side of recording the Skatalites at Studio One: ‘We had, let me see, we had piano, drums, bass, one for the horns and two tenors (saxes), we had about five or six mics. For the drums we used a big RCA44 BX (microphone) or something like that, and we used Neumann mics also. We’re going back 50 odd years and you’re picking my brain! When we started at Coxsone, he only had an Ampex 350 and another Ampex, but they were all single (mono) track. Coxsone started with the one track machine, so if somebody in the band made an error we had to record it all over again, it was not like today where
you could dub that back in. What we used to do was Coxsone also had a sound system, about 3 sound system in Jamaica at the time, so what we’d do is we’d record and we’d have several reels of many, many records, and on Saturday afternoon we’d transfer the tapes onto acetate disc, what we called soft wax (or dubplate), and then he would send them out to different sound systems, and sell some of them.’
Sticky remembered supplying the Skatalites with American jazz albums for
inspiration: ‘Most of the tunes the Skatalites played, it’s not their original. Most of it came from (for instance) Herbie Hancock music which, working at the radio station, I would borrow the record, tape it and take the tape down there (to Studio One). There’s a chap, but now he’s dead, God bless him, but one of the finest musicians we ever produced named Jackie Mittoo, and I would marvel, cos while I would play the tape from the control room down to him, he would be writing out the music and playing along. And then when the Skatalites get together they would make their
own arrangement of it. Jackie Mittoo was a dear friend of mine, but then all of those musicians was my friends, you know.’ Sticky described the relaxed arrangements for payment: ‘Well I never charged Coxsone a dime, but I was well taken care of. Like we had no set fee, like 5 pound a session or something, but he was quite generous to me.
And I never charge him but he was quite generous to me, he provided all the alcohol for my wedding and also the champagne, and I never had to ask him, like I liked to play the horses and he’d always stand me a couple of pounds so I never could complain.’

This earliest incarnation of the Studio One setup would have been used on mostof the tracks on this ‘Ska Shots’ compilation, but it was significantly rebuilt in 1965, probably just after the Skatalites split up. Hedley’s mixing board was replaced, along with the one track Ampex recorders, swapped for two track machines which allowed the overdubbing of extra tracks, so a vocal could be recorded after the backing track. Unlike Sticky, Hedley Jones was not entirely happy with his payments from Coxsone:
‘I don’t know what happened to that console, because he changed it for a
commercial console about two years after, when he had made enough money that he could buy commercial stuff – he didn’t even finish paying me for the original console. He still owes me some money and so I hope that when we meet in hell, he’ll pay me then!’

I lost contact with Keith “Sticky” Parke, who was living in New York in the early 2000s, but Hedley Jones stayed in touch. He died aged 99, but, until he was overtaken with blindness, he would still email me regularly with questions about the latest recording software, and advice for what he called “good daddying”, on how I should bring up my children as a new father. Reading the words of both of them today brings back a key moment in Jamaican cultural history, when the birth of the Studio One recording studio coincided with the formation of the mighty Skatalites.
Diggory Kenrick 

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