Flow Festival announces headliners

Flow Festival - Helsinki, Finland 7th - 11th August 2013Flow Festival – Helsinki, Finland 7th – 11th August 2013

The Guardian, August 2012 – “The now defunct Suvilahti power plant in Helsinki plays host to four days of new music in an impressive industrial landscape of gas cylinders and smoke stacks.”

Now in its tenth year, Finland’s biggest music festival have revealed its international headliners to their growing UK audience. Flow is synonymous with creating an exciting mishmash of musical talent, from old school legends to topical newcomers, Scandia’s finest and a whole host of international talent. This year is no exception. Flow will kick off its opening ceremony with elusive Swedish duo The Knife, ready to unleash their forthcoming album to a hyped festival crowd. Joining them will be Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Solange, Mykki Blanco, afro beat hero Ebo Taylor, Karenn (Blawan & Pariah), Azealia Banks, Finnish electro outfit Sarah Kivi & Non Orchestra and Rough Trade’s favourite Swedes, Goat, with many more acts still to be announced. Returning to the historic Suvilahti, a short walk away from the centre of Helsinki, the festival strikes an alluring setting for a few days of blissed-out festival escapism. Held in the shadows of a disused power station built at the turn of the century, the looming location is one of Helsinki’s most monumental architectural sites. Embracing its penchant for urban spaces and modern art, Flow’s venue sets it aside as one of the most exciting and innovative festivals of the summer. Beyond the music, Flow offers a warm embrace of the arts, offering art displays from Scandinavia and abroad as well as showcasing art house film, cinema, lectures and an exceptional array of world spanning cuisine. There’s easily enough to keep attendees occupied, if ever spending a summer weekend in culture hub Helsinki wasn’t enough. In honour of their landmark tenth anniversary, Flow has announced an exclusive 10% off UK ticket prices for adventurous festival-goers in search of something a little different. Flow Festival remains a unique music festival defined by its passions: award winning musical acts, pioneering arts and an ethical mindset. Prepare to be inspired, intrigued and delighted in unexpected ways this August.

Telegraph, 2012 – “This art-filled urban festival, on the site of an old power plant near the city center, is compact, but a lot of thought has gone into creating a variety of colourful entertainment places.”

Clash Magazine, 2012 – “it’s a relaxed and attractive place.”

Soosh to release debut album on Error Broadcast

Soosh - Colour is BreatheSoosh is the recording name of Soroosh Khavari, an electronic music producer born in Iran and raised in Scotland. After EP appearances on numerous labels, the artists’ debut long player ‘Colour is Breathe’ explores the folds that fuse textural ambience and humanised beats, whilst adding a euphoric pop-twist. Sooshs’ trademark low-swung hip hop beats and organic instrumentation is countered and enhanced by moments of dreamy and endearing delicacy. ‘Colour is Breathe’ is both intricate and intimate; its wispy notes and pastel melodies at times make the album a headphone affair. Equally, however, these are songs to be shared on discerning dance floors as slow, organic dance music.

The album can be pre-orderd here – http://errorbroadcast.bigcartel.com/product/soosh-colour-is-breathe-pre-order

Lazy Habits release music video and announce debut album

LazyhabitsThe album is a perfect emulation of the bands epic live credentials and translates their synonymous big band and hip hop sound. ‘Memory Banks’ is a memorable collaboration with the hypnotising songstress Babysol showing the softer side to Lazy Habits. Here her soulful lyrics compliment the jazzy brass section and splashy cymbals whilst creating a powerful juxtaposition to the outfit’s slick rhymes about modern life.

The infamous, ‘Starting Fires’ was controversially pulled from national radio playlists last year due to its untimely release marred by the London riots. This stand alone single fits seamlessly into the album with its infectious chorus, the band’s trademark lyrical wit and unique take on jazz and soul. Whilst ‘Bulletin’ grabs your attention from the start with frenetic brass and up-beat drums, MC Lazy’s accompanying vocals take centre stage. The song builds to panoramic proportions with cinematic strings working through the gaps lifting the live hip-hop beat.

Influenced by New Orleans jazz, soul and the Big Bands of the 50’s, Lazy Habits blast their sound into the 21st Century with hard hitting beats and slick lyrics about modern British culture and urban life. The band describes their sound as:

“Beats, Rhymes and Brass of the highest caliber.”

Formed in 2007 and originally the brainchild of one MC, the Hackney based outfit now stand as a full eight piece band whose onstage energy is a colossal live experience which has been sincerely replicated in their latest single.

Having notched up shows at legendary venues such as Shepherd’s Bush Empire, The Roundhouse, KOKO; supporting the likes of Mos Def, Soulwax, The Specials, Bonobo, Chali 2Na (Jurrasic5) and Beardyman, Lazy Habits have proven their worth on stage. Alongside Lazy Habits’ memorable live performances at Glastonbury, Bestival, Secret Garden Party and Electric Picnic the band are fast becoming a formidable and renowned international live act.

Lazy Habits’ debut, self-released EP ‘On the Wagon’ put the boys on taste-maker Huw Stephens’ radar, whilst also becoming respected within the underground scene, selling out on pre-orders alone. Their follow up single ‘Even Out’ introduced them to a wider audience, as it was used on commercially released cinema and TV productions both UK and Europe wide. It culminated in the band being invited onto BBC Radio 4’s Loose Ends, Craig Charles’ BBC 6 Music show, Soccer AM and contribute to an unforgettable sold out Jazz Café performance.

This is an album which truly is the sum of its parts; that in isolation no one but Lazy Habits would imagine could work, but their creativity and craftsmanship has forged something beautiful, frantic and unique.

THE SUN: ‘’The best house party your parents never wanted you to have.’’ BBC: ‘’Lazy Habits prove they are anything but on stage’

Dizraeli release ‘Never Mind’ and music video

Dizraeli and the Small Gods“Folk or hip hop? I don’t know, but Dizraeli and The Small Gods make me realise how wonderful it is to hear real English – fluent, witty and arresting”. The Times Saturday Review, March 2012

‘Never mind’ grabs you by the collar from the first bar of skittering folk guitars and vocal harmony, then pulls you into a stomping, headnod carnival of DJ Downlow’s twisting turntablism and Dizraeli’s elastic rap flow. The hook explodes into being like the Andrews Sisters on acid, led by Cate Ferris’ hypnotic voice and Bellatrix’s jaw dropping beatbox – it will turn in your mind for days. The track demonstrates all the humour, talent and genre fusion that makes this modern collective so great, and so very different.

The B side ‘The Little Things’ displays the darker, deeper side of this complex group; a perfect introduction to their forthcoming album. Diz’s honest, intelligent lyrical prowess is in full flood on this song dedicated to his nan.

Headed by award-winning rapper and multi-instrumentalist Dizraeli and featuring World Female Beatbox Champion Bellatrix, The Small Gods formed in autumn 2009 to tour Diz’s debut solo album ‘Engurland (City Shanties)’. Within a year the band had been invited to play on prestigious stages around the country, from Glastonbury to London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, and had collaborated with artists as diverse as Chris Wood (2x BBC ‘Folk Singer of the Year’) and Shlomo (beatboxer and World Loop Station Champion).

In 2012, with a fresh set of songs and a brand new album on the way Dizraeli and The Small Gods continue to rise. They’ve already have a German tour, shows at the Barbican and Southbank Centre, several sellout gigs and two BBC Introducing live sessions under their belts, as well as a host of European appearances, main stage shows at many UK festivals and a set at the notoriously picky WOMAD.

The new single is a taster of what is to come from Dizraeli. With an album ready for release in 2013 together with a full UK tour – the seven piece’s reinvention of hiphop will be hard to ignore.

The Independent stated: “Laura Marling is introduced as one of the biggest folk singers of all time… It’s Dizraeli and the Small Gods, however, telling touching, funny stories of riots, atheism and Englishness though folk, rap, spoken word and hymns, who embody 21st Century folk”.

Anstam releases ‘Stones and Woods’ on 50 Weapons

Anstam - Stones and Woods“If ‘Dispel Dances’ was the journey deep into the heart of Anstam – then ‘Stones and Woods’ is the diary of living there.” – Anstam 2012

In the beginning, within the pre-social media and over saturated digital information world we live in today Anstam stood “deeply inspired by the coolness of Steve Reich, the inapprehensible progressive nature of all the Frank Zappa stuff and the brutal epicness of Norwegian Black Metal.”

With a passion for composition and notes over hardware and pattern based Techno Anstam took the hard road in the mid 90’s composing on an Amiga 500 with 8 bit sample cartridges. Using the computer as his orchestra the focus was bringing the cold dead 1’s and 0’s alive giving them the musicality and elegance of a performance. Creativity thrives within restrictions, forcing limited technology past its boundaries and re-writing what was previously possible. Producers like: Experimental Audio Research, Mike Ink and Squarepusher all provided focus for the early days of Anstam and set the bench level of the possibilities within electronic music.

As time went on Anstams state of mind was coloured by his social surroundings. Through studying, exhibiting contemporary fine art, playing concerts and releasing music; the initial feelings of it being a personal journey, an experiment of isolation were lost. ‘Dispel Dances’ was all about entering the unknown once again embracing all the “good or evil it could bring.”

‘Stones and Woods’ has tracks for the dark heart of forward thinking dance floors all the way to thick spacious textures with all the foreboding of Demdike Stare playing in an abandoned church late at night. Set out like an 80’s pop record every song tells its own story, while being more introverted and emotional than previous material seeing a more fragile side to the Anstam sound. The album opens with hard organic percussion reminiscent of label mate Dave Huismans dark broken beats accompanied by a horror soundtrack moving into arpeggiated xylophones and warped melodies. This is music that defies explanation; it rather demands your attention and willingness to immerse yourself in its depths, letting it guide you through the industrial yet organic world.

Sometimes a challenge but always rewarding 50 Weapons’ “Prince of Darkness” steps up once more showing everyone what’s possible in the ever changing electronic music landscape.

ANSTAM // Stones and Woods // teaser from ANSTAM on Vimeo.

Prince Fatty takes on The Drunken Gambler

Prince-FattyMr Bongo is proud to announce the next instalment from the legendary producer Prince Fatty, ‘Prince Fatty Versus the Drunken Gambler’. The album has been described as a mix of hip hop fantasy and reggae reality and is set to drop this September. The concept album follows Prince Fatty’s Western-themed previous offering, ‘Prince Fatty meets The Mutant Hi-Fi in Return of the Gringo’.

A true tale of betrayal and revenge. When Prince Fatty discovers that his former master has indeed turned to the dark side, a broken oath releases 10 fatal strikes of Sound System Specials. Only Prince Fatty can stop the Drunken Gambler’s evil plan, but to do so, he must first battle the deadly team of “Disco Monks” that will stop at nothing in the service of their overlord.

No mercy is shown as Daddy Horseman strikes the blood stained swords of arch rivals and sworn enemies. Backed by the ‘Supersized’ assassins and the Mutant Hi-Fi, each having their unique kung fu style and weapons in an epic sound system battle lasting over 30 minutes. Featuring Studio One legend Winston Francis and George Dekker from the Pioneers as the invincible Twins of Fury, Hollie Cook as the deadly Angel of Vengeance and as special guest, the infamous Dennis Alcapone.

Renowned sound engineer and record producer Mike “Prince Fatty” Pelanconi has been a prominent member of the reggae and dub scene in the UK since the mid 90s. Finding himself frustrated by the tempos and mixes of certain records he loved, he set about recording his own versions with a supergroup of London’s finest reggae musicians.

“Of course we love Kung Fu, vintage public service announcements and Dub. With a mix of fantasy and reality I present Prince Fatty versus the Drunken Gambler.” Prince Fatty, 2012

Prince Fatty has consistently made waves with long term support from BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 2, BBC 6 Music, BBC 1Xtra, XFM, Kiss, Choice FM, culminating in joining Hollie Cook for a live Maida Vale session for Radio 1’s Huw Stephens and a Later… With Jools Holland performance on BBC 2.

Prince Fatty is playing a whole host of European summer dates with notable performances confirmed at Bestival, Camp Bestival, Womad and Reggaesunska. See the drama played out at Barfly, Camden on 16th August and at The Paradise, Kensal Rise for the album launch on 14th September.

Makoto to release Another Generation EP on Apollo Records

MakotoHaving worked with a veritable who’s who of the scene, with releases on Zinc’s Bingo Beats, Fabio’s Creative Source and numerous collaborations with DJ Marky, Makoto now releases his first EP on Apollo Records.

Having first come to prominence in 1999 when he was signed to LTJ Bukem’s Good Looking label, Makoto has steadily and consistently carved out his own groove in the world of Drum and Bass, with his trademark expansive jazz and soul-inflected workouts garnering critical praise from all corners.

Kicking off with ‘Another Generation’, Makoto launches straight into a shimmering, spacy soundscape which he subtly juxtaposes against a rooted, earthy bass line and snappy breakbeats, before taking us on a journey through a twisting cosmos of artfully crafted bubbling, resonating synths.

‘Summer Nights’ retains echoes of Theo Parrish at his most jazz like, and is full of the technical mastery which Makoto has developed through years of sonic experimentation, with an effortlessly light footed arrangement anchoring the dubby synths and funked out breaks and sounding for all the world like a future classic in the making.

On the flip, ‘73’ is a short study in arpeggios – opening up with a gentle, subtly shifting electric piano, which ebbs and flows as naturally as a river on a calm summers day and showcases Makoto at his reflective, meditative best.

Finishing off with ‘Skyline’, Makoto heads back to the floor of the nightclub – Again the track is led by arpeggios, this time crisp and colourfully synthetic and building to a pressurised peak before the drop of sub bass propels the piece into a more visceral, muscular proposition referencing 80s boogie as well as the work of melodic synth pioneers such as Jean Luc Ponty.

The EP is available on vinyl and digital formats from 13th August 2012.

Prince Fatty ‘Got Your Money’ debuted on CLASH

Prince Fatty, Hollie Cook & Norman JayIn anticipation to the release of Prince Fatty ‘Got Your Money’ on My Bongo records, CLASH magazine debuted the EP to their audience on Thursday 2nd August. The EP is released on Monday 6th August. His album ‘Prince Fatty And The Drunken Gambler’ will be released on 17th September.

Click here to read this article on Clash

Prince Fatty has tackled an ODB classic for his next single, re-working ‘Got Your Money’ in a reggae style.

Is Prince Fatty a long lost talent from the golden era of reggae culture? Or could he in fact be a highly experience British producer, with a penchant for the more mischievous side of Jamaican music?

Either way, Prince Fatty’s dubs have been keeping us entertained for years now. Signalling his return, the producer recently completed work on new album ‘Prince Fatty Versus The Drunken Gambler’.

Out in September, Prince Fatty will precede the full length with a quicky single. It’s a typically humorous affair, with the producer deciding to re-work Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s classic cut ‘Got Your Money’ in a reggae style.

It’s pure sunshine vibes from start to finish, with Hollie Cook adopting the role of Kelis while Mr Bongo’s very own Horseman re-styles ODB’s rhymes.

The flip? Well, that’s a cover of Max Romeo’s classic slice of reggae filth ‘Wet Dream’ – famously banned by Auntie Beeb.

(Words by Robin Murray / CLASH)

Outsight Report #1: Should bands work with brands?

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The surviving members of The Doors famously became embroiled in a dispute in 2002 over an offer of $15 million to use their song Break On Through (To The Other Side) in an advert. All were game except drummer John Densmore, and an agreement dating back to 1970 requiring unanimous decisions on any business deals relating to the band meant it couldn’t go ahead.

Justifying his decision, Densmore said that the band’s music was too important to their fans, and to him as well, to simply hand it over to some company. However, keyboard player Ray Manzarek was of an entirely opposing view, pointing out that, despite Densmore’s protestation that frontman Jim Morrison wouldn’t have approved, the singer always wanted his words to be heard by the largest number of people possible.

Although such deals are commonplace, some artists are still left wondering if they should take that money at all. Is it ‘selling out’?

Of course, the music industry of 1970 is very different to the music industry of 2012. As revenues from record sales fall, brands are increasingly stepping in to take up some of the slack through numerous partnerships with bands. Although such deals are commonplace, some artists are still left wondering if they should take that money at all. Is it ‘selling out’?

Ultimately the answer to this question lies entirely with each individual artist. However, if we re-examine the case of The Doors, the question is not necessarily ‘was Densmore right to refuse?’ but ‘were his bandmates pinning their hopes on the wrong deal?’

Bands (and brands too) just need to know that a partnership will be of benefit to them beyond the financial.

Densmore clearly feared that the Cadillac deal was weighted too heavily in the company’s favour. As a straight ad sync deal, The Doors would get a boost to their finances, but the brand would have gained an apparent endorsement from a well-known band, whose target audience are likely to also be Doors fans already. However, it is more than possible to work with a brand and retain your integrity. Bands (and brands too) just need to know that a partnership will be of benefit to them beyond the financial.

Record labels bring more to the table than that, and so can brands.

This should really be true of anything a band does – no band would ever sign a record deal stating that they’d receive nothing but a cut of record sales income. Record labels bring more to the table than that, and so can brands.

 

FIRST STEPS…

The first things a band should consider are the same that any brand does before approaching an artist – who are the audience for the partnership and will people believe that there’s a genuine appreciation on each side?

For a brand, a band’s fanbase is likely to be one of the attractive things about them, so would being heard by the brand’s customers be equally attractive?

This applies to straight sync and sponsorship deals, but increasingly brand partnerships are allowing new levels of creativity and innovation into the mix, which can be of huge benefit to the artist. Sticking with the car theme, Faithless’ 2010 partnership with Fiat saw the video for their track ‘Feeling Good’ double up as an advert for the car manufacturer’s Punto Evo, and was played in TV ad slots – in a world where music programming on terrestrial TV channels is rapidly shrinking, this was an invaluable opportunity to put a music video in front of a large, targeted audience.

 

Boiler-Room-FivesUMBRO X BOILER ROOM

More recently brands have helped to take projects in other new directions too. Boiler Room is a globally recognised name amongst dance music fans, an online radio show taking its cues from pirate radio and bringing DJ sets from a range of underground and more established electronic artists.

Umbro sponsored a five a side football tournament between some of the leading underground record labels, including Numbers, Young Turks, Hotflush and R&S Records. Named “FIVES” by the Boiler Room in 2011 this has since developed into “Boiler Room FC”, a new on and offline community for fans of football and music.

There’s a real balance in the benefit to both Boiler Room and Umbro here, with the former able to attract a broader audience for its core content and Umbro able to tap into Boiler Room’s committed fanbase. Also, there’s a pay-off for bands too, because Umbro’s investment in Boiler Room ultimately means that the site can continue to broadcast and promote DJ sets by some of the best rising artists out there.

 

Tiger Beer X HyperdubTIGER BEER X HYPERDUB

More simple, but similarly beneficial to all involved is Tiger Beer’s Hidden Depths project, in which it showcases some of the UK’s best record labels. In June the company celebrated Hyperdub with a live show at Koko in London, featuring a line-up including Kode 9, Laurel Halo, Cooly G, Scratch DVA, and DJ Rashad & Spinn. For the night it was ensured that Tiger Beer was the only beer available at the venue’s bars plus some branding around the building, but it’s still a fairly unobtrusive form of sponsorship.

It’s this balance that is key to successful brand partnerships, and what has fuelled artists’ increased willingness to get involved with them more frequently in recent years. If both sides know what they want and how they want to achieve it, such deals can provide hugely positive effects and uncover the new ways of working which may shape the future of the music industry.