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ACTRESS – AZD LP

Photography by Tom D Morgan - www.tomdmorgan.com

There are people who thought Actress, otherwise known as Darren Cunningham, to friends as DAZ, had retired. They were a bit premature. He’s ready instead to return with a new album, now on Ninja Tune and a new music system called “AZD” (pronounced “Azid”), a chrome reflected journey into a parallel world. And to prepare you for what lies ahead here’s the album’s lead track, ‘X22RME’ (pronounced “Extreme”) which elegantly plays between the lines of Oriental classic rave and Balinese warehouse Techno machined in a Rotherhithe lock up welding the grooves into a seamless cracked joint. Read an interview via Dazed now

“I did fifty versions of the tune” Cunningham recalls. “Different parts were on tape, CD, different old computers and USB sticks, so it was quite intimidating to revisit and complete. The track was in the end built out of 3 hours of different passages”. The finished work is harsh and beautiful all at once, its incredible complexity never overwhelming its drive.

An artist who has always preferred to make music than to talk about it, in “AZD” he has achieved another remarkable landmark, one which is as resistant to interpretation as it is demanding of it. ‘X22RME’ is a key note example of the influence the Black artists James Hampton and Rammellzee had on the creation of the album – men who created art through “Sourcing castaway materials from their environment and reinterpreting them into absolute majesty given from the fourth dimension”.

As if the record itself isn’t enough, Cunningham is preparing a new show, to be debuted at Convergence, Village Underground on March 24th. Presented as AZD, Cunningham says it “will be a test frame for linking circuits using various forms of language — Midi globalised language, Lyrical language, Tikal Graffiti code and various other Synthesiser language — to create one intelligent musical instrument called AZD, if successful it will produce the first translucent, non-soluble communication sound pill synergised through impressionistic interpretations of technological equipment. This is the music vitamin of the Metropolis”.

The simplest you could say about “AZD” is that it’s art – the unique creation of a unique mind. There will be few more distinctive, brilliant or visionary suites of music released in 2017. Call him what you will, this is the year that Darren ‘Daz’ Cunningham – aka Actress, aka AZD – asserts more clearly than ever before his complete independence.

Watch the Dan Emmerson directed video now. “This quote from Darren was an inspiration, it’s also about the language of communication and interpretation: ‘translucent ambience coming from an incognito slightly on the edge but eternally fixed paradigm’.

Tracklist:
1. NIMBUS
2. UNTITLED 7
3. FANTASYNTH
4. BLUE WINDOW
5. CYN
6. X22RME
7. RUNNER
8. FALLING RIZLAS
9. DANCING IN THE SMOKE
10. FAURE IN CHROME
11. THERE’S AN ANGEL IN THE SHOWER
12. VISA

Nathan Fake – HoursDaysMonthsSeasons

“HoursDaysMonthsSeasons is a reference to the amount of time that kept passing that I hadn’t made music, or addressed problems and thoughts that I’d been having,” explains Nathan. “It’s about watching time slip away pointlessly, feeling a bit hopeless that you’re wasting your life… but it’s kind of a positive vibe too, the track builds up and has a bright ending, because there was an ending to feeling like that.”

Providence” is released on 10th March 2017 on vinyl, CD and digital formats. The “Providence” World Tour runs from 7th March through April and May 2017 – for more information / tickets see here, full list of dates below.

Listen to previous singles ‘DEGREELESSNESS (feat. Prurient)‘ and ‘RVK (feat. Raphaelle)‘ from Braids.

Album pre-order link:
https://nathanfake.lnk.to/providence/

Artist Social Links:
Facebook | Twitter | Spotify | Soundcloud

Nathan Fake Live – Tour dates:
http://nathanfake.com

Video: Bonobo – No Reason feat. Nick Murphy

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Last Friday saw Bonobo release his sixth studio album and one of his most personal works to date– Migration– an exquisitely delicate record that explores the relationship between transience and identity and one that has already received droves of praise from audiences and critics alike. Migration currently sits in the Top 4 in the official UK album midweek chart (reflected in 8 other countries). It has already secured a top 5 position in over 20 countries overall on iTunes and claimed #1 in their Electronic iTunes chart in 8 territories including the UK and US. Additionally, the album’s first two singles have had over 10 million Spotify streams to date. Reception from the press has been overwhelmingly positive, with reviews and features in from such lauded publications as The Guardian, Pitchfork, and The Wall Street Journal (not to mention a Mixmag cover feature), among many others.

Building on the record’s success comes the music video for recent single ‘No Reason’, featuring vocals by longtime friend and now collaborator Nick Murphy (formerly Chet Faker). Oscar Hudson (Pulse Films), the UK Music Video Awards’ ‘Best New Director’ winner, is the maestro behind the video’s bizarre trip. More akin to that of an art piece than a music video, the work takes subtle cues from such iconic films as ‘Alice in Wonderland’ & ‘Birdman’ as its character grows larger inside a Japanese house whose items shrink and expand through time. The video fits neatly into the albums themes of the transitory relationships to place and time, seen with Art Director Neil Krug’s distorted realties in the Mojave Desert for the art and “Break Apart” video and also Bison’s work on the Gemma Arterton featuring visuals for “Kerala”.

The music video was filmed entirely in real life, in-camera with no post work or VFX, to which the end result is an effortlessly fluid and visually mesmerizing experience.

Oscar Hudson said the following of the video…
“‘No Reason’ is such an evocative track and it was clear from the start that our video would need to reflect this potency. Simon/Bonobo mentioned the inspiration behind the new album came from his relationship to landscape and place whilst on tour. Whilst researching these themes I learnt about the Japanese phenomenon of the Hikikomori- young Japanese people who become so overwhelmed by the pressures of life that they retreat to their bedrooms for years at a time. This felt like a such a fascinating intersection of physical & psychological spaces, and so from this I set out to make a film that through an inventive physical concept tried to link environment directly to psychology. We achieved the film using only in-camera physical effects and we designed an entirely new way of moving our miniature camera to get it to fit through the tiny doorways. Doing this film with CGI would have been a thousand times easier, but for me, it’s physicality & imperfections are what make it different, and I hope better.”

Bonobo – No Reason feat. Nick Murphy

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After two recent singles showcasing the dynamic range of “Migration”, Bonobo returns with a song that perhaps exemplifies the record. ‘No Reason’ (premiered via NPR) features the vocals of Bonobo’s long time friend, and now collaborator, Nick Murphy (formerly Chet Faker) ‘No Reason’ is dance music at its deepest, a beautiful house song with fragile melodies underpinned by a tough-edged groove and razor-sharp arpeggio. The song came about when Simon Green (AKA Bonobo) and Nick were discussing a shared love of disco. Si played the instrumental of No Reason, and Nick instantly fell in love with it. After laying down demo vocals in that first session, the pair recorded the final version in NYC, Si’s former home, and Nick’s current one.

Migration, which is out this Friday, 13th January, has already yielded two songs to a rapturous reception. ‘Kerala’, which premiered via Pitchfork, hit #1 on the Spotify Global Viral Chart with over a million streams in its first week, and now over 4 .5 million total. The official video became the 4th most trending on YouTube. Next came ‘Break Apart’ featuring Rhye, which Vogue.com premiered alongside Spotify, who placed the track at the head of their New Indie Mix playlist. A hypnotic, drone-shot video by Neil Krug was unveiled by Creative Review (who have also gone deep on the album artwork today).

Teasers / Ghost Versions for album tracks ‘Second Sun’, ‘Ontario’, ‘Figures’, ‘Bambro Koyo Ganda’ and ‘Surface’ featuring Nicole Miglis of Hundred Waters have been made public over previous weeks.

In addition, Bonobo’s forthcoming live band show at Brixton Academy sold out in seconds, so quickly that another date was added and that too immediately sold out, as did every other UK date and many EU ones. The Bonobo band will play a twenty two date American tour in Spring, including a slot at the legendary Red Rocks Arena in Colorado (a co-headline with Nick Murphy) and dates at Coachella.

His 2013 album “The North Borders” went Top 30 in the UK and was number 1 in the electronic charts in both the US and UK. In support of that record, the 12-piece band Green fronts played 175 shows worldwide to over two million fans, including a sold out show at Alexandra Palace. Bonobo has built a large, loyal and engaged global fanbase: over half a million album sales and over one hundred and fifty million streams on Spotify point to the levels of success achieved by this quiet, self-effacing man.

The signs are all there: “Migration” will take Bonobo’s beautiful, emotive, intricate music to an even bigger audience. “My own personal idea of identity has played into this record and the theme of migration,” Green explains. “Is home where you are or where you are from, when you move around?” The personal, it seems, can also be universal.

Bonobo – Break Apart feat. Rhye

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Simon Green AKA Bonobo presents “Break Apart” featuring Rhye, the second track taken from his sixth album, Migration.

It’s a song which, in its very conception, illustrates the transitory nature of the album and also shows how deftly broad Bonobo’s dynamics are as a composer. The chord sequence to “Break Apart” (premiered in conjunction with Spotify & Vogue) was sketched out by Green on a flight, Michael Milosh (AKA Rhye) then recorded the verses in Berlin, horns were added in London, then Green did the final mix in his own LA studio. Over a harp device, Bonobo builds a shuffling, emotional drumbeat, those aforementioned horns, piano and bass, over which Rhye delivers a stand-out vocal performance—achingly sweet, full of longing, perfectly understated. It’s extremely beautiful and one of the highlights of an album full of highlights.

Rhye has said of the song:
“I’m so happy Simon asked me to work on this song with him. From the moment I heard the instrumental track it spoke to me more than I can express in words. Being able to work with an artist that continuously makes me envious, like Simon, is where I always want to be.”

The recent release of the single “Kerala” (which premiered via Pitchfork) has been rapturously received. It was #1 on the Spotify Global Viral Chart with over a million streams in its first week and the official video became the 4th most trending on YouTube. In addition, Bonobo’s forthcoming live band show at Brixton Academy sold out in seconds, so quickly that another date was added and that too immediately sold out, a pattern seen across many of the dates of his world tour.

His 2013 album The North Borders went Top 30 in the UK and was number 1 in the electronic charts in both the US and UK. In support of that record, the 12-piece band Green fronts played 175 shows worldwide to over two million fans, including a sold out show at Alexandra Palace. Bonobo has built a large, loyal and engaged global fanbase: over half a million album sales and over 150 million streams on Spotify point to the levels of success achieved by this quiet, self-effacing man.

The signs are all there: Migration, which also features Nick Murphy (FKA Chet Faker), Nicole Miglis of Hundred Waters and Moroccan band Innov Gnawa, will take Bonobo’s beautiful, emotive, intricate music to an even bigger audience. “My own personal idea of identity has played into this record and the theme of migration,” Green explains. “Is home where you are or where you are from, when you move around?” The personal, it seems, can also be universal.

Letherette – Last Night On The Planet LP

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Letherette’s “Last Night On The Planet” album was released 25th November 2016 on Ninja Tune.

“I’ve always had a fascination with being the last person on the planet – waking up one day and everyone is gone. I think it’s probably linked to watching the film “Quiet Earth” when I was a kid. With the album being called “Last Night On The Planet” I like to consider these tracks individually, each moment for a different person: the smokers, the headphone folk, the dancers etc.”

Ten tracks deep and running the gamut from hip-hop (featuring raps from Rejjie Snow and Stones Throw’s Pyramid Vritra), to straight-up four-to-the-floor house trax, uptempo ‘80s R&B-inspired dancefloor heaters, and deeper, introspective downtempo moments (blessed by Jed & Lucia of Ubiquity Records).

Video: Bonobo – Kerala

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New music from Simon Green aka Bonobo is always an event, but when it heralds the arrival of a whole new album (his first since 2013’s “The North Borders”), it’s really something to get excited about. The masterful, magisterial “Migration” is Green’s sixth album and it’s a record which cements his place in the very highest echelons of electronic music and beyond.

Lead track ‘Kerala’ was the first track Green recorded for the new record, putting together a rough version of it on the tour bus while DJing across the States in 2014. It’s both a classic piece of Bonobo music and a development, all arpeggiated, twisted, layered strings and shuffling dancefloor rhythm. The music gradually builds until his introduction of a sample from RnB singer Brandy, itself cut up and dealt with as a further texture, with the whole sitting in a sweet spot of uplifting euphoria that he’s so adept at finding. The hypnotic video, has been directed by Bison (Jon Hopkins/London Grammar/ Rosie Lowe). It compliments the shuffling arpeggios and beats perfectly by creating staggered loop effects where the lead Gemma Arterton (Quantum of Solace/Inside No. 9) battles through a mysterious, distorted reality with a meteor flying overhead.

In particular, there is a theme on the upcoming album of migration, eruditely put by Green as “The study of people and spaces,” he expands, “It’s interesting how one person will take an influence from one part of the world and move with that influence and affect another part of the world. Over time, the identities of places evolve.”

Indeed there is a “transitory nature” to the album, not only through its themes, but also through its guests and found sounds. Michael Milosh, from the LA group Rhye, for instance, is originally from Canada and recorded his affecting vocal on ‘Break Apart’ in a hotel room in Berlin. Green, meanwhile built the structure of the track during a transatlantic flight. Nick Murphy (formerly known as Chet Faker), on the other hand, is from Australia, but a shared love of disco brought the pair together for the hugely emotive ‘No Reason’. Nicole Miglis of Hundred Waters, originally from Florida, delivers a superbly understated vocal for the glistening textures of ‘Surface’, while Moroccan band Innov Gnawa, based in New York, provide the vocals, on ‘Bambro Koyo Ganda’. Additionally, Green has used a sampler (“but not in a big boomer, wearing a cagoule kind of way.”) and woven found sounds such as an elevator in Hong Kong airport, rain in Seattle, a tumble dryer in Atlanta and a fan boat engine in New Orleans into his intricate sonics.

Bonobo’s DJ shows cannot be underestimated in importance to the overall feel of “Migration”, his much loved Output DJ residencies in New York and his global ‘Outlier’ club curated series were where he road-tested tracks. The landscape of his new home in California has provided the artwork of the record, designed by Neil Krug (Boards of Canada/Lana Del Rey). All the desert locations pictured “are close to where I now live,” Green explains. “Part of the writing process was to drive up to these places and live with the tracks as I was making them. This was a new part of the world to me, where the landscape is quite alien and Martian.” The album cover art has been gradually appearing in London and Los Angeles as giant murals.

A contemporary of artists such as Four Tet, Jon Hopkins and Caribou, Bonobo also counts among his famous fans the likes of Wiz Khalifa, Skrillex, Disclosure, Diplo and Warpaint. His 2013 album “The North Borders” went Top 30 in the UK and was number 1 in the electronic charts in both the US and UK. In support of that record, the 12-piece band Green runs played 175 shows worldwide, including a sold out show at Alexandra Palace. Bonobo has built a large, loyal and engaged global fanbase: over half a million album sales and over one hundred and fifty million streams on Spotify point to the levels of success achieved by this quiet, self-effacing man.

It might be difficult to imagine it, but “Migration” will take his beautiful, emotive, intricate music to an even bigger audience. “My own personal idea of identity has played into this record and the theme of migration,” Green explains. “Is home where you are or where you are from, when you move around?” The personal, it seems, can also be universal.

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“MIGRATION” TRACKLISTING
Formats: Deluxe 2LP / 2LP / CD / Digital

1. Migration
2. Break Apart (feat. Rhye)
3. Outlier
4. Grains
5. Second Sun
6. Surface (feat. Nicole Miglis)
7. Bambro Koyo Ganda (feat. Innov Gnawa)
8. Kerala
9. Ontario
10. No Reason (feat. Nick Murphy)
11. 7th Sevens
12. Figures

Bonobo will be taking his band out on the road once again on the following dates (tickets/info here

The Cinematic Orchestra – To Believe feat. Moses Sumney

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Time to locate the hairs on the back of your neck – they will soon be standing to attention. The Cinematic Orchestra are back with the first single from their hugely anticipated forthcoming studio album and it’s everything you could hope for: an epic, heart-achingly sad, but beautiful and uplifting piece of music based on the simple idea that “the prerequisite of everything in life is belief”.

Original Cinematic Orchestra main-man Jason Swinscoe has now been joined on production duties by longtime friend and collaborator Dom Smith, and the result of this partnership is some of the most poised, ravishing music of this band’s stellar career.

On “To Believe”, Swinscoe and Smith collaborated with the much talked about LA based vocalist Moses Sumney, named one-to-watch by Pitchfork and the Fader, as well as artists including Beck, Sufjan Stevens, Solange and James Blake, and listening to his work with TCO, you can understand why. Building from simple acoustic guitar and voice to trademark TCO piano work and, eventually, full – and completely scintillating – strings, all held together by Sumney’s ghostly yet magnificent voice. It’s a piece that reaches back to the very roots of what The Cinematic Orchestra has always been while looking forward, drawing on new influences and production techniques to stay utterly contemporary. Moses Sumney will also join the band on their London dates to perform “To Believe”.

In celebration of this new single and previewing forthcoming material from next years studio album the band embark on a Europe wide tour (Dates below).

The Cinematic Orchestra were formed by Jason Swinscoe in 1999 and have become one of the most respected British acts of the last 17 years. Possessed of an emotional gravitas that transcends genre, they have sold out the Royal Albert Hall (twice) as well as the Sydney Opera House, and played countless international festivals the world over. Their famous track, “To Build A Home”, has been streamed well in excess of 60 million times and “Arrival of the Birds” closed out the end credits of the Oscar winning Stephen Hawking biopic, “Theory Of Everything”.

TOUR DATES
30 Oct – Rockhal, Luxembourg – LU
31 Oct – Les Docks, Lausanne – CH
1 Nov – Jazznojazz, Zurich – CH
3 Nov – The Sage, Gateshead – UK with Submotion Orchestra
4 Nov – O2 Academy, Glasgow – UK with Kathryn Joseph
5 Nov – Apollo, Manchester – UK with Submotion Orchestra & Mr Scruff
7 Nov – Colston Hall, Bristol – UK with Jameszoo
8 Nov – Rock City, Nottingham – UK with Submotion Orchestra
9 Nov – The Institute, Birmingham – UK with Submotion Orchestra
10 Nov – Eventim Apollo, London w/ Moses Sumney – UK with Thundercat & Gilles Peterson
11 Nov – Eventim Apollo, London w/ Moses Sumney – UK with Thundercat & Rival Consoles w/ Moses Sumney in band
12 Nov – άber Jazz Festival, Hamburg – DE
13 Nov – Schouwburg, Rotterdam – NL with Joep Beving
14 Nov – AB, Brussels – BE with Lefto

Flashback: 9 Lazy 9 – Black Jesus

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Back on October 1994, 9 Lazy 9 released “Black Jesus” on Ninja Tune, taken from their excellent “Paradise Blown” LP, one of the finest chill-out / trip-hop albums of all time. Watch a video for the track with footage from a 1950s industrial automation.

Illum Sphere – Glass LP

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photo by Vivek Vadoliya

Ryan Hunn, also known as producer and DJ Illum Sphere, returns to Ninja Tune with his second full-length,”Glass”. This follows 2014’s “Ghosts of Then and Now” LP, but sonically moves further in the direction hinted by his ‘Spectre Vex’ and ‘Second Sight’ 12”s and well-received mixes for fabriclive and Dekmantel. The reduction in output over this time a conscious decision to carefully signpost a change in direction. This same shift has also bled into his acclaimed DJ sets – that have previously won him fans in Thom Yorke andBen UFO – leaving him poised now more than ever to delve into a new phase. 

“I wanted to make an album very different to the first,” says the producer, “one with a different palette, pace and energy.”

A change in “situation and style,” as he describes it, replaces the sharp turns and drastic shifts in altitude of his earlier efforts. “Glass” is a record steeped in mechanical depth and a beating cohesiveness, reminiscent of contemporaries Helena Hauff and Kassem Mosse, and positioning the industry’s best kept secret—Illum Sphere—to have a breakout year all of his own.

Listen to first single ‘Thousand Yard Stare’ now:

Catch Illum Sphere’s monthly NTS show on the ‘2′ stream. “Glass” is released 4th November 2016 on Ninja Tune.

Tracklist
1. The Journey
2. Fall Into Water
3. Red Glass
4. Wounded
5. Oracle
6. Fuel The Fire
7. River
8. Thousand Yard Stare
9. Paradise

Pre-order: https://illum.lnk.to/glass