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Blues In Orbit'
Blues In OrbitImport
Duke Ellington is seen by many as one of the frontrunners of Jazz and as one of the greatest composers of the 20th century. He was a part of the Harlem Renaissance and many feel that because of him, Jazz gained recognition as a art form.
Many of his instrumental songs have become Jazz standards, and his distinctive style remains a shining beacon in music. Thanks to a stellar performance at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1957 there was a renewed interest in his music and his orchestra, and they performed all over the world.
Blues In Orbit was mostly recorded during one after-midnight session after they had returned from a run of shows in Europe. It presents a Big Band in full swing; there is true synergy at work here that could only come from a group of musicians that expect - and get - the best from each other. Free flowing improvisations and straightforward arrangements show a band that is kicking back, relaxing, and doing it nice 'n' easy.1. Three J's Blues
3. Pie Eye's Blues
4. Sweet and Pungent
5. C Jam Blues
6. In a Mellow Tone
7. Blues in Blueprint
8. The Swingers Get the Blues Too
9. The Swinger's Jump
10. Blues in Orbit
11. Villes Ville is the Place, Man$34.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Blues In OrbitRemastered By Bernie Grundman From The Original Analog Tapes
Gatefold Old-school Tip-On On Jacket By Stoughton Printing
Plated And Pressed At Quality Record Pressings
It's tempting for Blues in Orbit to be overlooked when Duke Ellington's best albums are discussed, but truly it's an undisputed gem. There are 14 tracks, none of them is longer than 4:50 and it is all good stuff. There are some familiar favorites such as In a Mellotone and C Jam Blues as well as less often heard gems like Blues in Blueprint and Sweet and Pungent. It is also in stereo, and the arrangements are superb.
The featured performers include Ellington stalwarts Johnnie Hodges, Ray Nance, Harry Carney and Jimmy Hamilton, as well as the less familiar Booty Wood and Matthew Gee. Johnnie, in particular is well showcased here, taking the lead not only in slow pieces like Brown Penny and Sentimental Lady, but also in the rousing, Smada.
The full Analogue Productions reissue treatment is at work on this smashing LP - famed mastering engineer Bernie Grundman handled the remastering from the original analog tapes. The lacquers were plated and pressed at Quality Record Pressings, maker of the world's finest-sounding LPs. Lastly we've stashed each super-silent 200-gram disc in a premium Stoughton Printing gatefold jacket.
All of the takes were recorded during after midnight sessions recorded over two nights starting on December 2, 1959 in New York at Columbia Record's studio on East 30th Street. Each night Duke's late dinner arrived at 2 a.m. - a sizzling steak, a pot of coffee with lemons in it, portions of American cheese, and grapefruits. After dinner, and a breather for the band, the sessions finished around dawn in a swinging fashion.
If you're just getting into jazz, this album is highly recommended as a great way to initiate your collection. The sound is incredible, with packaging to match. Another audiophile home run.
This title is not eligible for discount.1. Three J's Blues
3. Pie Eye's Blues
4. Sweet and Pungent
5. C Jam Blues
6. In A Mellow Tone
7. Blues In Blueprint
8. The Swinger's Get The Blues Too
9. The Swinger's Jump
10. Blues In Orbit
11. Villes Ville Is The Place, Man$34.99200 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
The GuardianLittle Howlin' Wolf is a street musician, bluesman, actor, storyteller and truth seeker. He is also a true outsider, whose wrenching soulfulness and fire-brained intensity have been captured in a breadcrumb trail of confounding and intentionally obscure self-released records. In the late 1960s Wolf -- born James Pobiega in 1950 -- was already a saxophone wailing fixture at the legendary Chicago hangout, Maxwell Street Market. By the mid-1980s he released nearly three dozen 45s. Those singles are sprawling journeys into Wolf's world vision, as told through his gravelly voice and an array of instruments in styles and influences not limited to: American Indian, Polish and gypsy folk musics, Voodoo, vocal chants, blues, calypso and avant jazz. Often, it's all filtered through overdubbed abstraction. Wolf issued two LPs collecting some of those singles -- The Guardian (1982) and Cool Truth (1985) -- both now reissued by Family Vineyard. The Guardian is a baffling, hyper-creative statement recorded between 1976 and 1982. It's also vastly sincere and some of Wolf's most accessible and deeply emotional songs, yet it orbits a universe known only by the likes of Captain Beefheart or Albert Ayler. This reissue features replicated LP jackets, with Wolf's original transcendent liner notes, and labels bearing the Solidarity Solidarnosc Records name; never before seen photos; and new essay by ethnomusicologist Ian Nagoski.1. The Guardian
2. Pain in My Heart
3. As I Cry
4. Get Down
5. Little Harlem Canto
6. Wolf Walked In
7. Ride in Your Car
8. Blue Eyed Sou
9. Main Fireworks Man on the South Side of Town
10. Dog on Down
11. Al Calle Lobo$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
These Are The JBsThe Unreleased Album By James Brown's Backing Band: The Bootsy Collins-lead JB's
Never-before-heard James Brown and J.B.'s originals and covers of Jimi Hendrix, Kool & the Gang, the Meters. Contains a 12-page booklet with full annotation, liner notes by Brown historian Alan Leeds and never-before-published photos.
This album is the Rosetta Stone of funk's dominant idioms, yet its existence has barely been a rumor. In 1970 James Brown perfectly captured a definitive moment in modern music when he ordered Bootsy Collins into the studio to record the tracks that would be test pressed on King Records as These Are The J.B.'s. This album is the epitome of funk music, Brown's innovation that influenced everything that came after it, from Afro-beat to disco to hip-hop. And if there is any funk ensemble as influential as Brown's, in the post-"Cold Sweat" musical landscape, it's the Parliament/Funkadelic contingent. Those two streams, as Grammy Winning James Brown historian Alan Leeds details in this album's liner notes, converged for the first time here.
This link between Brown's funk and all that followed features Bootsy and his young band running through twelve-minute instrumental take of Marva Whitney's "It's My Thing," replete with blues chord changes, alongside interpretations of the Meters, Kool and the Gang and none other than Jimi Hendrix. This is a young band's James Brown-turned-on-his-head style of funk that they nail in a one-minute vamp that pre-dates their obscure but important work as the Houseguests ensemble and embodies the essence of the psychedelic-flavored music that would propel them into the orbit of
George Clinton and his mothership, where they poked cosmic holes in funk's polyrhythmic ozone layer in the mid-1970s.
There are only two extant copies of the original King Records test press LP of These Are The J.B.'s. This, the first commercial issue of this album, was overseen by Now-Again's Egon alongside Leeds and Universal Music Group's James Brown expert Harry Weinger. It was mastered specifically for vinyl by Elysian Master's Dave Cooley from the original two-track stereo master that James Brown and his engineer Ron Lenhoff delivered to production forty-four years ago. It comes with a 12-page booklet with liner notes by Leeds and Egon and many unpublished photographs and ephemera.
This title is not eligible for discount.1. These Are The JBs (Part 1 & 2)
2. I'll Ze
3. The Grunt (Part 1 & 2)
4. When You Feel It, Grunt If You Can$24.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
WomanchildWhen CÉcile McLorin Salvant arrived at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC to compete in the finals of the 2010 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, she was not only the youngest finalist, but also a mystery woman with the most unusual background of any of the participants. When she walked away with first place in the jazz world's most prestigious contest, the buzz began almost immediately. If anything, it has intensified in the months leading up to the launch of her Mack Avenue Records debut, WomanChild.
"She has poise, elegance, soul, humor, sensuality, power, virtuosity, range, insight, intelligence, depth and grace," Wynton Marsalis asserts. "I've never heard a singer of her generation who has such a command of styles," remarks pianist Aaron Diehl. "She radiates authority," critic Ben Ratliff wrote in The New York Times in response to one of her post-competition performances, and a few weeks later his colleague Stephen Holden announced that "Ms. McLorin Salvant has it all.... If anyone can extend the lineage of the Big Three-Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald-it is this 23-year-old virtuoso."
Yet at almost every step of the way, McLorin Salvant has followed a different path from her peers. Born in Miami to a French mother and Haitian father, McLorin Salvant's first language was French. She immersed herself in the classical music tradition, long before she turned to jazz-starting on piano at age five and joining the Miami Choral Society at age eight. When it came time for college, McLorin Salvant bypassed all the US conservatories and jazz schools, heading instead to Aix-en-Provence in France, where she continued to develop as a singer, but with an emphasis on classical and baroque vocal music as well as jazz.
There, thousands of miles away from jazz's land of origin, McLorin Salvant entered into a fruitful partnership with reed player and teacher Jean-François Bonnel, first as a student and soon as a performer. Before returning to the US, she gave concerts in Paris, recorded with Bonnel's quintet, and immersed herself in the early jazz and blues vocal tradition. By the time she returned to her home country to take the stage in the Monk Competition, she had drawn on this unusual set of formative experiences in shaping a personal style of jazz singing, surprising and dramatic by turns, and very much in contrast to that of the other participants and McLorin Salvant's contemporaries.
In the aftermath of McLorin Salvant's triumph at the Monk Competition, the jazz world eagerly awaited the winner's first US recording. Answering that call with WomanChild, McLorin Salvant draws on songs spanning three centuries of American music. "I like to choose songs that are a little unknown or have been recorded very few times," McLorin Salvant notes. "While these songs aren't recognized as standards, many should be because they are so beautifully crafted."
On the album, her repertoire ranges from the 19th century ballad "John Henry," refreshed in a spirited up-to- date arrangement, to McLorin Salvant's own 21st century waltz "Le Front CachÉ Sur Tes Genoux" which draws on a poem by Haitian writer Ida Salomon Faubert for its lyric. She is joined by a world class band who share her concern for creating jazz of today by drawing on vibrant traditions of the past: pianist Aaron Diehl and bassist Rodney Whitaker (both of whom are Mack Avenue label mates), guitarist James Chirillo and master drummer Herlin Riley.
The old and new rub shoulders throughout this album, but this singer's attitude is neither beholden to the past nor trying to anticipate the trends of the future. Her captivating singing is immersed in the immediacy of the present moment. So much so, that those who have seen McLorin Salvant in concert marvel at how she radiates the confidence and poise of a mature artist even though she is just at the dawn of her own career.
McLorin Salvant may have the deepest roots of any singer of her generation. She knows the sounds and styles of modern jazz but also possesses complete command of the classic blues and early American vocal tradition. She has studied the entire recorded legacy of the great Bessie Smith (1894-1937), often called the Empress of the Blues, and also has deep familiarity with Valaida Snow, Bert Williams and other early masters of American music. For her, these musicians are exponents of living traditions that she has drawn into the orbit of her own work.
However, McLorin Salvant can't be pinned down as a jazz traditionalist. Alongside fellow Monk Competition winner Jacky Terrasson, she has recorded works by John Lennon/Yoko Ono and Erik Satie, and can sing in French, Spanish or English as the mood and situation warrant. Knowledgeable jazz fans will identify the influence and inspiration from some of the most distinctive modern jazz stylists, such as Betty Carter, Carmen McRae and Abbey Lincoln. She is also currently continuing her studies of the classical and baroque tradition. In short, McLorin Salvant is a seeker and a creative spirit who is determined to push ahead, even while she shows an extraordinary command of the tradition that has preceded her.
In his article in The New York Times, critic Stephen Holden listed some of the virtues of McLorin Salvant's singing: "perfect pitch and enunciation, a playful sense of humor, a rich and varied tonal palette, a supple sense of swing, exquisite taste in songs and phrasing, and a deep connection to lyrics." Her musical skills are considerable, but they are matched by an interpretive ability that is almost more akin to an actor's than a singer's. She draws out the story hidden inside the song, and can draw on the elements of her own personality and a full gamut of emotional stances-from the darkly troubling to the richly comic-in bringing lyrics to life.
"I want to get as close to the center of the song as I can," McLorin Salvant explains. "When I find something beautiful and touching I try to get close to it, and share that with the audience."
On WomanChild, McLorin Salvant gives music lovers the chance to hear why the illustrious judges at the Monk Competition gave her top honors. McLorin Salvant is still a bit of a mystery, but she will hardly be a secret any longer.1. St. Louis Gal
2. I Didn't Know What Time It Was
5. Prelude/There's A Lull In My Life
6. You Bring Out The Savage In Me
7. Baby Have Pity On Me
8. John Henry
9. Jitterbug Waltz
10. What A Little Moonlight Can Do
11. Deep Dark Blue$35.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
We Were WonderersWilliams Shift is a new project from Matthew Stone (Soporus, Saxon Shore) and Stephen Roessner (Saxon Shore, Small Signals). We Were Wonderers was recorded in various home studios, produced and mixed by Grammy award winning producer Roessner in conjunction with Stone, and features the vocalist Jill Purdy. Williams Shift comes to life as an outgrowth of the poppiest elements incorporated in songs recorded as members of the instrumental band Saxon Shore combined with the concept of the "Williams Shift" where defenders would align themselves to better field naturally pulled hits from Boston slugger Ted Williams. The band blends soaring synth pop influences with an ever-expanding and spiraling Williams mythology and weight of the Cosmos. Captivated by theories of human cryonic suspension and the cagey details post- Williams mortem, the band embraces an actively dreaming suspended head and an alternate future of Williams' awakening. His frozen head orbits the earth on a satellite with other cryonically frozen beings, a tragic Greek chorus echoing Williams' thoughts through Brian Wilson-esque (musician, not reliever) melodies. This is an ode to melody, love lost, remembrance, baseball, Ted Williams' legacy, and the universe with a hefty dose of artistic license and imagination and the resulting existential and philosophical ramifications. We Were Wonderers was predominantly conceived as a studio side-project, but Stone and Roessner have assembled a live band that is currently practicing and preparing Williams Shift tracks for live shows later in 2015. We Were Wonderers is available on both cd and 2xLP. The 2xLP features a 4th side etching from John Ringhofer (Halfhanded Cloud) representing some of the album's thematic elements. The vinyl is pressed on blue vinyl with white marble veins and white vinyl with blue marble veinsand presented in a gatefold jacket. Additionally, there is a limited edition cassette featuring the instrumental version of We Were Wonderers and released in conjunction with our good friends at Flannelgraph Records in Bloomington, IN.1. Permanent Glue
2. The Heads And The Bodies
4. Floating Heads
5. Dock Ellis Spirit Animal
6. Tuning Into You (A Love Song From Voyager)
7. Peace Is Our Profession
8. They All Can't Be As Right As Us
9. Einstein's Ghost
10. The Bodies And The Heads
11. And In The End, We Will Return To The Stars$18.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
The Cosmic Scene (Pure Pleasure)
Still riding the success of his triumphant concert at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival, Duke Ellington in 1958 decided to reduce his touring orchestra to a nonet dubbed the Spacemen, and recorded this lone project with them for the Columbia label. Perhaps inspired by the first orbiting satellites, Ellington is not taking cues from George Russell or Sun Ra, whose extraterrestrial inspirations led them to even more progressive paths. This large ensemble is playing mostly standards, but the arrangements and solos carve an integrated yet elasticized concept that allows for a more expanded role for the ensemble's trombonists Quentin 'Butter' Jackson, John Sanders, and Britt Woodman, and select soloists. One in the solo spotlight is Clark Terry on flugelhorn exclusively, putting his fabled trumpet aside. The classic material presented includes clarinetist Jimmy Hamilton's features Avalon and Early Autumn, the slinky stripper pole blues version of St. Louis Blues with Ellington's piano taking the lead, and a version of Body & Soul, with tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves completely extrapolating and re-harmonizing the tune. There's a modified Perdido, an animated and perky Midnight Sun that deviates from any other slow and lugubrious version of the ballad, and Jones a real good swinger. There are two originals; the blues bass of Jimmy Woode and the 'bones with plentiful piano from Duke infusing Bass-Ment, and one of the more delightful of all of Ellington's book, the poppin' and boppin' Spacemen, a bright happy horn chart led by Terry that is one of the more distinctive Ellington numbers of this time period. It comes highly recommended.
- Paul Gonsalves (tenor saxophone)
- Clark Terry (fluegel horn)
- Britt Woodman, John Sanders, Quentin Jackson (trombone)
- Jimmy Hamilton (clarinet)
- Duke Ellington (piano)
- Jimmy Wood (bass)
- Sam Woodyard (drums)
Recording: April 1958 at Columbia 30th Street Studio, New York
About Pure Pleasure
At the beginning of the 90s, in the early days of audiophile vinyl re-releases, the situation was fairly straightforward. Companies such as DCC, Mobile Fidelity, Classic Records and, of course, Pure Pleasure all maintained a mutual, unwritten ethical code: we would only use analogue tapes to manufacture records.
During the course of the present vinyl hype, many others have jumped on the bandwagon in the hope of securing a corner of the market. Very often they are not so ethical and use every imaginable source to master from: CDs, LPs, digital files, MP3s - or employed existent tools from the 80s and 90s for manufacturing.
A digital delay is gladly used when cutting a lacquer disc because tape machines with an analogue delay have become quite rare and are therefore expensive. When cutting the lacquer, the audio signal is delayed by one LP revolution against the signal, which controls the cutter head, and for this a digital delay is very often employed. Of course, the resultant sound signal is completely digital and thus only as good as this delay.
We should like to emphasize that Pure Pleasure Records on principle only uses the original master tape as the basis for the entirely analogue cutting of lacquer discs. In addition, the pressing tool is newly manufactured as a matter of principle.
We only employ existing tools for manufacturing if an improved result is not forthcoming, e.g. the title Elvis Is Back, which was mastered by Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray, or several titles from our Philips Classics series, which in any case Willem Makkee cut from the original masters at the Emil Berliner Studios in the 90s. It goes without saying that we only used the mother and that new tools were made for our production.
To put it in a nutshell: we can ensure you that our releases are free from any kind of digital effects and that the lacquer discs are newly cut.1. Avalon
2. Body And Soul
4. Early Autumn
7. St. Louis Blues
9. Midnight Sun
10. Take The A Train$34.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Cheap ThrillsRanked 338/500 on Rolling Stone Magazine's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Quintessential 1968 Record a Potent Mix of Psychedelia, Blues, Folk, and Rock: Janis Joplin Delivers Cathartic Vocal Performance on Major-Label Debut That Includes Powerhouse Piece of My Heart
Mobile Fidelity 45RPM Vinyl Pressing Touts Superb Spaciousness, Punchiness, Dynamics, and Texture: Cheap Thrills Sounds As Close to Live as Music Gets and Features Robert Crumb Artwork
In many facets, Big Brother and the Holding Company's Cheap Thrills is the quintessential album to spring from the outcome of the Summer of Love. Best known as Janis Joplin's major-label debut, the 1968 set arrived when the countercultural movement was in full swing and before co-optation, drugs, and violence signaled the fall of the era. Ranked #338 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, it puts a female singer in the prominent position traditionally given to a male and showcases a band pouring a potent cocktail of fiery psychedelic, blues, and folk sounds that informed the unfettered creativity of the San Francisco scene. Produced by John Simon, Cheap Thrills also features one of the most iconic and elaborate album covers in history. Now, thanks to Mobile Fidelity, the instantly identifiable effort also possesses sonics equivalent to its visual and musical status.
Cut at 45RPM and pressed on dead-quiet vinyl at RTI, the iconic audiophile label's analog reissue intensifies the quintet's storied sophomore effort. Due to the wider grooves, this pressing benefits from increased spaciousness, punchiness, energy, pacing, and dynamics. Joplin's hurricane-force singing reverberates with texture, grittiness, and volume. An arresting array of instrumental colors and tones comes on with clearer separation and depth. While previous pressings find the band and Joplin's voice in competition with one another for room, both emerge as distinct entities. Always noted for its rawness, Cheap Thrills sounds as close to live as it gets, an unadulterated portrait of nervy rock n' roll delivered with exuberant enthusiasm and all-out determination. This is music at is most visceral.
Having drawn national attention for their legendary performance at the Monterey International Pop Festival in 1967, Big Brother and Joplin faced huge expectations to deliver a studio set that would convey their onstage vibrancy and potency. Cheap Thrills does this and more, becoming one of 1968's most commercially successful releases that remained on the charts the week Joplin announced her separation from the ensemble. Contrary to popular belief, only one of the album's songs, Ball and Chain, was recorded live. Everything else owes to the unhinged, spirit-elevating performances and true collaboration between vocalist and band that manifests itself throughout the record's 37-minute-plus running time. Merging biker-babe ruggedness with wounded-bird poignancy, Joplin's expressive belting, mega-watt moaning, and sensitive crooning take center stage. Yet her bandmates match every step with explosive rhythms, heavy guitar-driven blues, and assertive solos that take inspiration from free-form jazz.
Indeed, Cheap Thrills still exhilarates not only due to Joplin's almighty singing but because of boundary-shredding arrangements that reflect the period's anything-is-possible mindset. More so than any other musicians Joplin encountered, the members of Big Brother pushed limits on convention via soirees into acid-dipped psychedelia and its orbiting sonic galaxies. Together, they aim and achieve an aural mythos that makes a permanent connection between artist and audience by way of eliminating traditional divisions. Such communal power is evident on the mind-bending version of Big Mama Thornton's Ball and Chain and insistent, sinewy I Need a Man to Love. It's also obvious during quieter moments, whether the tripped-out, twisted, and curvaceous contours of George and Ira Gershwin's Summertime or restrained, throwback acoustic blues of Turtle Blues.
Yes, Joplin presents - and rallies against - loneliness and desperation in a cathartic language few had heard before or since. What's even more significant is the fearlessness, toughness, synergy, and sexual danger pulsing through every song, including the take-on-all-comers challenge Piece of My Heart, which the collective attacks with career-making ferocity. Like Robert Crumb's daring pop-art illustrations that grace the cover, they simultaneously lure and dare the listener to enter a space where outsiders run free and where outlaws are heard above the mainstream din.
This title is not eligible for discount.1. Combination of the Two
2. I Need a Man to Love
4. Piece of My Heart
5. Turtle Blues
6. Oh, Sweet Mary
7. Ball and Chain$49.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP 45 RPM - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Five Pillars Of SoulThese are troubled times. Troubled enough, that you don't need us to talk about it. But if there was ever a time to make a break, or to find a way out, it is now. That is why we, John Wilkes Booze, are here with five stories of honest life scorching Soul, a starter plan if you will, that should set the fire in your feet to get up and move in all directions.
First off, John Wilkes Booze are six spirit fuelled, R&B players from South Central Indiana -- Bloomington to be exact. And by rhythm and blues, we are talking about Hoosier R&B: warbly and frantic falsetto vocals backed by electric bass, organ, drums, and dual guitars with the frequent ecstatic spurts of trumpet, saxophone and electronics. We come from the very soil that birthed JJ Johnson, MX-80 Sound, Phil Niblock, Dancing Cigarettes, and the Gizmos. Add it up, and we're there. As obsessive collectors of the raw and esoteric, we've taken our flotsam of films, books, and vinyl collections and transfused them into a sound not far from the orbits of our garage or El Saturn, nor from intellectual dissections and analysis of these modern times.1 Sweetback 's Gonna Make It
2 See Through Sound
3 Butcher's Tale (Western Front 1914)
4 White Guilt
5 Marc Bolan Makes Me Want to Fuck, Pt. 2
6 Watch Out
7 They Don't Like Me in This Town/Carpe Diem
8 People's Songbook
9 Academy Flight Song
10 Yoko Save Rock 'N' Roll
11 Meanwhile, At the Hideout
13 Until Your Head Is Gone$12.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
The Journey Man"In my music," says Goldie, "is everything I've learned, everyone I've met, everything I've experienced." And it's been an incredible trip. The maverick innovator - who rewrote the future of the jungle scene with landmark releases that still sound like they were kidnapped from tomorrow - has a unique story to tell. From children's homes in the West Midlands through stints in New York and Miami as one of the UK's most celebrated exponents of graffiti art to rubbing shoulders with an exceptional list of musical collaborators including David Bowie, Noel Gallagher and KRS-One, Goldie has defiantly, definitively, done it his own way. "I'm an alchemist," he likes to insist. "I practice the dark arts of messing with the form of something solid."
Though marriage and his passion for bikram yoga have, he says, proved a calming influence, these days he's just as full of inspired, out-there ideas as he was back in 1993 when he did his first cover interview for the rave magazine Generator. "My music is about fallout," he said then, "about the damage that has been done to the system." Today, in the office of one of his London-based contacts, the ideas are still sparking. "Drum'n'bass has done to electronic music what graffiti has done to the art world," he muses, before launching into a rapid-fire synthesis of art history, dancefloor evolution and his own hyperactive brand of self-actualization, which loosely translates as: "Why do something ordinary when you can do something extraordinary?"
It sums up the reason why, in 1994, music critic Simon Reynolds famously observed: "Goldie revolutionized jungle not once but three times. First, there was Terminator (pioneering the use of time stretching), then Angel (fusing Diane Charlemagne's live vocal with David Byrne/Brian Eno samples to prove that hardcore could be more conventionally musical), now there's Timeless, a 22-minute hardcore symphony." Each of these were moments that shaped the musical fabric of the decade and beyond, presaging Goldie's transition from the underground rave scene into the world of bona fide A- list superstars.
But it didn't start out like that. The boy who would become Goldie was born Clifford Price on 19 September 1965, just as The Rolling Stones hit the top of the charts with Satisfaction. His dad Clement, originally from Jamaica, had been plying his trade as a foundryman in Leeds. His mum Margaret, who had been born in Glasgow, was a popular singer in the pubs and clubs of the West Midlands. Barely more than a toddler, Goldie was just three when she placed him into foster care (though she kept his younger brother Melvin). He still remembers, he says, the day the social workers came to take him away.
Over the next 15 years, he bounced between a series of foster homes and local government institutions around the Walsall area. His eclectic musical taste was forged, he reckons, in those same local authority homes listening to the sonic tangle of other teenagers' record collections. "In one room," he says, "a kid would be playing Steel Pulse while through the wall someone else had a Japan record on and another guy would be spinning Human League." On rare visits to see his dad, he'd lie sprawled over the living room couch, listening to Jazz FM, marveling at the lavishly-tooled '80s productions of Miles Davis, Pat Metheny, David Sanborn and Michael Franks, adding further layers to his complex musicography.
Already developing the irresistible urge to excel that has marked his inimitable musical career, Goldie's first love was roller-hockey. He earned a place as goalkeeper in England's national squad before the lure of music overtook the lure of sport. After discovering electro and hip hop, he grew his hair - the "goldilocks" that won him his nickname - and joined a breakdance crew called the B-Boys in nearby Wolverhampton. He also discovered graffiti. "They called me 'the spray can king of the Midlands'," he says proudly. His talent was undeniable, bringing him to the attention not only of Britain's Arts Council but to Dick Fontaine, producer of a Channel 4 TV documentary on graffiti. Fontaine's 1987 film Bombin' captured a visit to the UK by New York artist Brim Fuentes. Brim met Goldie and his B-Boys crew in Wolverhampton's Heathtown before heading a dozen miles away to Birmingham's Handsworth, where the producer filmed the aftermath of rioting that had left four dead, 35 injured and dozens of stores burned out. Several months later, Fontaine reversed the process and took Goldie to New York, introducing him to hip-hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa. For Goldie, on his first trip abroad, never mind his first trip over the Atlantic, the Big Apple was love at first sight. Back in Britain, he begged, borrowed and saved until he had enough to fund a return trip to the Bronx.
"I started painting the trains and getting involved on the streets," he says, remembering his total immersion in what was still, at that point, an emerging culture. Art and music as symbiotic technologies. Rubbing shoulders with the Big Apple's best graffiti artists, his own distinctive style was accelerated and enriched. A move to Miami followed. He worked in the flea markets, he says, "painting trucks for drug dealers" and developing a sideline in gold jewelry that included the distinctive grills that became a trademark on his return to the UK. The magical properties of shaping, working and bending precious metals to his will - as close to alchemy as the modern world gets - became an analogue for the way he prefers to operate in the studio, chasing quicksilver dreams, mercury-fast rivulets of imagination into impossibly lush, breakbeat concertos. Back in Britain, Goldie found himself seduced by the sweetheart of the rave. Though it took him eight attempts to get entry into the club, at London's Rage in 1991 he marveled at the alternate sonic worlds being forged by Fabio and Grooverider behind the decks. "It really flipped me out," he remembers. Soon he found himself in the orbit of Dego McFarlane and Mark Clair. Their label Reinforced was in the vanguard of breakbeat, issuing astonishing records that stripped out boundaries and limits while setting the tone for the scene's sense of adventure. At first, he helped out doing artwork and a bit of A&R. But soon he was in Reinforced's Internal Affairs studio watching intently as Mark and Dego recorded tracks like Cookin' Up Ya Brain and Journey From The Light. "I was watching what they could do," says Goldie, "trying to gauge the possibilities of the technology." Soon he was getting involved. "I remember one session we did that lasted over three days," he says, "just experimenting, pushing the technology to its limits. We'd come up with mad ideas and then try to create them. We were sampling from ourselves and then resampling, twisting sounds around and pushing them into all sorts of places."
What followed was a series of inspired break-driven releases such as Killa Muffin, Dark Rider and Menace. Then Terminator, with its writhing drum loop, dropped and suddenly Goldie's name was on everyone's lips. He followed up with the equally revolutionary Angel, tilting the axis towards the lush, trippy textures that made 1995's debut album Timeless the drum'n'bass scene's first platinum album. Incredibly, given what was happening elsewhere in the scene at the time, the recording of the album's epic title track began as far back as 1993, when most other producers were still focused on the original sonic tropes of hardcore rave.
Timeless was a masterpiece - of production, of songwriting, of sonic perfection and breakbeat futurism. Even today, it still sounds as astonishingly new and inspired as it did back on those early pre-release cassettes circulated by London Records in the early months of 1995 when Goldie was still living on the 18th floor of a North London tower block.
By then, Goldie had already set up his own record label - Metalheadz - with his friends the DJ duo Kemistry and Storm. Along with studio collaborator, Rob Playford's Moving Shadow and LTJ Bukem's Looking Good imprint, Metalheadz helped to define drum'n'bass as a distinct musical format with singles by J Majik, Asylum and Goldie himself. Still bursting with energy, he then launched a legendary club night, Metalheadz Sunday Sessions, at London's Blue Note. The scene's best producers - among them revolutionary artists like Photek, Source Direct, Peshay and Dillinja - would compete to have their latest recordings debuted at the club and the scene's faithful came from far and wide to hear the best tunes before anyone else. "Those nights at the Blue Note were magical," he recalls. "It was an underground phenomenon that became an institution." David Bowie, who was making the drum'n'bass-influenced album Earthling at the time, fell in love with the place. "I remember popping out to take a break from all the madness inside the club," says Goldie. "He was outside having a cigarette, a bit of a breather. We chatted for a bit, looked at each other, grinned and then plunged back into it all. It was just that kind of place."
Goldie is one of only a handful of artists ever to co-write with Bowie - on the track Truth from the drum'n'bass pioneer's second album Saturnz Return. Released in 1998, the album also saw his vision become more expansive (the opening track, Mother, clocked in at just over an hour). The album's collaborative approach included guest spots from rap legend KRS-One, Sex Pistols manager and all-around provocateur Malcolm McLaren, super-producer Trevor Horn and Oasis main man Noel Gallagher (on the single Temper Temper).
Fuelled by the limitless creativity that has been the hallmark of his career to date, Goldie next turned to acting. He reunited with Bowie in Andrew Goth's 1999 thriller Everybody Loves Sunshine then took the part of Bullion in the 1999 James Bond movie The World Is Not Enough. Other box office smashes - including Guy Ritchie's crime heist caper Snatch - followed before he joined the cast of BBC1 soap opera EastEnders, playing the gangster Angel Hudson.
A series of blockbuster TV appearances - on shows such as Maestro (where he learned to conduct an orchestra), Classic Goldie (which saw him perform his own orchestral composition at the Royal Albert Hall in the summer of 2009) and Goldie's Band: By Royal Appointment.
The orchestral training proved useful. In 2014, he translated his original vision for Timeless into the stunning Timeless (Sine Tempore). Performed live with the Heritage Orchestra at the Wilderness Festival to suitably rapturous acclaim, the performance was repeated the following year as part of the Meltdown Festival at London's Royal Festival Hall. In between, he found time to unveil Fragments Of Gold, a piece inspired by medieval chants that he performed live in Glasgow Cathedral.
Drum'n'bass, of course, has remained a consistent passion, both through his Metalheadz label and his releases under the Rufige Kru moniker (2007's Malice In Wonderland and 2009's Memoirs Of An Afterlife). "Technologically," he says, "breakbeat has managed to surpass all other forms of music to date. There isn't a recording engineer alive who can tell me there's any other form of music that is more complex than the music we make." Goldie has also recently announced he will be releasing a brand new double album 'The Journey Man' this year. The album comprises two parts, 16 brand new tracks in total, all written and produced by Goldie. It also features a host of collaborators handpicked by Goldie to help realize his vision for the album.
"I often look at music not so much as a producer but like a director. You're drawing together engineers, performers and arrangers to create something special, something magical. It's like alchemy. The notes, the music, the lyrics, they're all in my head and each element has to be communicated and brought to life to create the finished track. I'm always inspired by great movie directors - people like Stanley Kubrick and PT Anderson - and, if you think about it, it's quite a similar approach. They start off with a vision and then they use that vision to deploy the actors and the cameramen and the editors in order to create the finished film."
Collaborators on 'The Journey Man' album include vocalist and songwriter Natalie Duncan, who was discovered when chosen in the three-part BBC series 'Goldie's Band By Royal Appointment' and later provided the vocals for Goldie's 2012 single 'Freedom'. Other featured vocalists on the album include Terri Walker, Tyler Lee Daly, Natalie Williams, JosÉ James, Naomi Pryor as well as Goldie's wife, Mika Wassenaar Price.
'The Journey Man' will be released through Cooking Vinyl and Goldie's own record label, Metalheadz.
Goldie's love affair with painting has remained consistent too and he continues to exhibit visual work that's just as dazzling as his sonic output. Beginning with Night Writers, the 1986 exhibition at Wolverhampton's art gallery that introduced Goldie and his Supreme Graffiti Team to the British Arts Council, his shows have defined a unique aesthetic that's all his own. And through them all, from 1987's Rockin' The City in Birmingham (where he exhibited alongside Massive Attack's Robert Del Naja) and the 1988 Crucial Creators exhibition in Walsall to more recent gallery events like 2007's Love Over Gold and 2012's Athleticizm collection (including portraits of London Olympics stars such as Victoria Pendleton, Tom Daley and Jessica Ennis), runs a consistent thread of energy, experimentalism and boundary-pushing. His 2013 collection, Lost Tribes, an innovative series of pieces fusing Goldie's style with the artistic expression of the ancient peoples of Africa, Asia and America was, he says, "my most important breakthrough".
And for the kid who lay awake, gazing at the stars, through the window of a children's home, growing up has brought some surprises. In 2012, he was selected as one of the BBC's New Elizabethans, 60 people - ranging from David Hockney to Roald Dahl, David Bowie and Tim Berners-Lee - who have helped shape British culture during the reign of Elizabeth II. Four years later, he was awarded the MBE in the Queen's New Year Honours. It's acceptance, of course, on a grand scale. But at heart, he's still the gatecrasher, amped-up on ideas, buzzing on nothing but love, hope and the certainty that, while his way might not be the easy way, it's very definitely the path of a true artist.
- Tim Barr, 2017LP 1
1. Horizons (feat. Terri Walker & Swindle)
5. The Mirrored River
1. I Adore You (w/ Ulterior Motive)
2. I Think of You
3. Truth (feat. Jose James)
1. Tu Viens Avec Moi?
2. The Ballad Celeste
3. This Is Not A Love Song
4. The River Mirrored (feat. Terri Walker)
6. Tomorrow's Not Today
7. Run Run Run$35.99Vinyl LP - 3 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Ultraista RemixesLIMITED EDITION OF 2,000 COPIES
Ultraísta Remixes compiles a year's worth of remixes from friends and collaborators within the ever-expanding Ultraísta orbit. Though some of these tracks have become social media sensations in their own right - collectively clocking more than two million plays on the band's Soundcloud and YouTube channels - Ultraísta Remixes has been perfectly sequenced to succeed as a stand-alone album (an alarmingly strong one, no less). Rarely do remix
albums have this level of quality control and seemingly infinite replay value.
Whereas Ultraísta's debut album commits to its palette with uncanny precision and devotion, Remixes explodes its individual parts and reveals the group to be equally compelling as techno powerhouse (Four Tet, FaltyDL, DC Sux), dark electro-pop (Zero 7, Zammuto, ERAAS, Canon Blue), experimental dance (Prefuse 73, Matthew Herbert), and even driving industrial rock (David Lynch in an inspired
NIN-meets-YYYs turn). The combination of all of these seemingly disparate parts makes for a surprisingly cohesive whole, and a remarkable companion to the original album.1. You're Out (Prefuse 73 Remix)
2. Smalltalk (Four Tet Remix)
3. Gold Dayzz (FaltyDL Remix)
4. Wash It Over (ERAAS Remix)
5. Party Line (Canon Blue Remix)
6. Easier (Zammuto Remix)
7. Static Light (Matthew Herbert Remix)
8. Bad Insect (DC Sux Remix)
9. Our Song (Zero 7 Remix)
10. Strange Formula (David Lynch Remix)$22.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now