Shipping immediately from Rappcats. Function Underground is Now-Again’s anthology of the Black and Brown American Rock underground of the early 70s.
The idea of “progressivism” that took over rock music after psychedelia’s heyday in the late 1960s belatedly spilled over to funk. In the early 1970s, as the underground/psychedelic fire burnt out in the white rock world, it roared to a blaze in the black musical community. Nearly every American city with a large black population boasted self-contained funk bands that didn’t consider themselves simply revues or backup groups, but rather fully-operational ensembles. In these bands, everything from composing, arranging, record production and distribution, was handled in house by band members. These are the bands whose music comprises this anthology, and while they’re all different, they’re unique in one way: they kept their ears open for new developments in funk and rock music.
Function Underground shines light on an important and overlooked part of rock n’ roll’s history and talented ensembles that toiled in the shadows, derided by their peers. While we don’t anticipate that we’ll ever find a definitive answer as to what these ensembles’ true goals were, then, we do know that they took their charges seriously. And they knew they were onto something different, something that, though only they and their immediate kin might recognize it, was more interesting than the status quo. 14 tracks by Jimi Macon, Black Maffia, Blacklites and more, many reissued for the first time.
Custom-made LP’s delivered once per quarter, presenting some of the rarest records in their respective genres in high quality LP format. Each release is produced with the direct participation of the artist.
Current release: German Oak – Down in the Bunker, 3/LP. Shipping July 15, 2017.
The most mysterious Krautrock album, German Oak’s Down in the Bunker has been fetishized and demonized, lauded and misunderstood for nearly four decades. In this definitive Reserve edition of the album, the German Oak trio – together again after 30 years apart – have approved the remastering of their 70s music; finally tell the story behind the creation of their dark, brooding album – and the occult-obsessed record collector behind the original album’s release and its myth – and they share previously unreleased music and photos. 2 LP with bonus 3rd LP available only to subscribers; 3 CD – included with the subscription – contains even more music.
Shipping immediately from Rappcats. Official street date February 17.
1LP in a chipboard jacket with WAV download card / 1CD in a 6-panel, eco-wallet case.
Tempo dos Mestres (Time of the Masters) is the second album from the tireless, young Brasilian guitarist Fabiano Do Nascimento. It finds its roots in the depths of the Amazon rain forest, passed down through generations of Native Brasilians, and is imbibed by the Afro-Brasilian culture that arose after Portuguese colonization. It is the third Brasilian album released on Now-Again, following Seu Jorge and Almaz and Do Nascimento’s debut Dança dos Tempos. Do Nascimento’s is joined on Tempo dos Mestres by his long time percussionist, Ricardo “Tiki” Pasillas on trap drums and percussion, and Sam Gendel on saxophone and flute. Vocals are performed by Thalma de Freitas and Carla Hasset.
The album was produced and mixed by Dança dos Tempos producer Luther Russell, who recorded Do Nascimento and his band directly to a 1/2″ Ampex tape machine with engineer Jason Hiller. It was sparingly mastered by Elysian Masters to focus on the subtleties of the performances. Do Nascimento’s fans include legendary percussionist Airto Moreira, who recorded Dança dos Tempos and can be found playing live with Do Nascimento. “He’s Brazilian but (his mind is) from a place in Brazil that is not common.” Moreira states. “Fortunately, we still have some musicians who like to play music and who like to touch the instrument and who like that energy!”
Just as the hippie era came to an end in America, a second 60s was beginning. In what is now Zimbabwe, young people created a rock and roll counterculture that drew inspiration from hippie ideals and the sounds of Hendrix and Deep Purple. The kids in the scene called their music “heavy,” because they could feel its impact, and it resonated from Zambia to Nigeria. (more…)
Now-Again presents a vinyl release of the full 33-minute, previously-unreleased, psychedelic funk jam session by Memphis rhythm kingpins the Bar-Kays, mixed directly from the original 2-inch tape. LP contains bonus rhythm section instrumental and booklet detailing the history of this never-before-heard version of one of Isaac Hayes’ most famous songs.
Hayes was already a cutting-edge funk master at Stax Records when he accepted the unprecedented assignment of creating a soundtrack for the 1971 action flick Shaft. At a time when R&B songs routinely timed out at three minutes and under, Hayes’ albums for Stax’s Enterprise imprint had been breaking new ground since 1969. His masterpiece Hot Buttered Soul consisted of only four tracks, two songs on The Isaac Hayes Movement clocked in at a hair under 12 minutes, and one selection on his …To Be Continued stretched to 15:33.
But his epic “Do Your Thing,” one of the cornerstones of the two-LP Shaft soundtrack, outdid them all. Occupying nearly the entire last side of the set, it concluded after 19-and-a-half grooving minutes with the overdubbed sound of a needle scratching violently across a piece of vinyl. No one knew that jarring ending masked the existence of another 13 minutes of “Do Your Thing.” Consigned to the vaults, those improvisatory extensions—somewhere in between free-jazz and psychedelic rock—were seemingly destined never to be heard.
Introducing: Johnny! Ghanaian Afro-Rock from German producer/composer JJ Whitefield and an international cast of top shelf musicians.
Limited edition of 1000. Not to be repressed. Comes with download card for wav files. Die-cut dress jacket and resealable “Japanese-style” sleeve.
Whitefield, who in the early ‘90s revived the gritty, analogue Funk sounds of the ‘60s and ‘70s with his Poets Of Rhythm, has been working with Now-Again Records for almost a decade, releasing a flock of acclaimed projects with Karl Hector & The Malcouns, Whitefield Brothers, Rodinia and the Original Raw Soul anthology.
He first started exploring African rhythms with the Whitefield Brothers in the late ‘90s, continuing in the ‘00s with Karl Hector & The Malcouns. He’s been instrumental in launching Ghanaian Afro Beat/Funk legend Ebo Taylor´s international career, decades after the maestro recorded the landmark albums that have inspired thousands. Whitefield recorded two new studio albums with Taylor and toured in his band between 2009 and 2013, where he met Taylor’s son Henry and percussionist/Singer Eric Owusu.
The trio now front the Johnny! band and find inspiration not only in Ghana’s hypnotic grooves, but also the full frontal fuzz guitar assault heard on the legion of 70s Zambian Zamrock albums recently reissued by Now-Again. Indeed, Whitefield credits his tours with Zamrock godfathers Rikki Ililonga and WITCH’s Jagari Chanda as instrumental in creating the Johnny’s sonic backdrop. The band is rounded out by Turkish drummer Bernd Oezsevim (Woima Collective, Rodinia) and Indonesian bassist/multi instrumentalist Tomi Simatupang (Whitefield Brothers).
This is Dance Rock at the core with the possibilities to stretch out and go into psychedelic realms. The results, spread out over three 7” singles and pressed in a run of 1000 units each, speak for themselves. Every record comes with a download card for WAV files of all six tracks (vocals and instrumentals from each release) and point at a new direction for the music inspired by the Great Continent. One that takes a direction once mocked as derivative and asserts its importance on the globe’s current musical stage.
One of the great psychedelic rock albums is finally back in print on vinyl in a band-licensed reissue. Its roots are in Puerto Rican teenage garage rockers; it was recorded in the Dominican Republic at the high-point of the flower power era; it was only ever pressed in a miniscule run in Mexico in 1969.
Now one of the most sought after rock artifacts on the planet, Kaleidoscope is remastered and reissued with an extensive, photo-filled booklet with the story of the band and their album by historian Enrique Rivas Viniegra.
P.S. If you dig trivia, Kaleidoscope’s “Let Me Try” was sampled for Beyonce’s “Freedom”
Australian guitarist/visionary Rob Thomsett’s collected works – two LPs – will be combined into one package as the fourth release in Now Again Reserve, shipping this fall. Stream the album below.
Originally privately pressed in tiny numbers in Canberra in the mid-‘70s, Yaraandoo & Hara have become sought after examples of the best in progressive jazz/rock.
“Taking in impressionistic hazy instrumental jazz … muscular fusion moves, solo Mellotron pieces as heavenly as anything Beethoven or Handel ever concocted, extremely loose-limbed ethno-fusion soundscapes of the Don Cherry/Pharoah Sanders variety, film soundtracks … and electronic experimentalism … hair-raising, soul-searching beauty – with an overall dreamy, hazy quality that perhaps could only be written by an Australian fully conversant with the “Dreamtime” cultural feel for the myths and legends of the Outback.” – Julian Cope’s Head Heritage.
Yaraandoo: The Legend of the Southern Cross
Baiame: In the Beginning, Biame the All-Father also known as the Sky-King walked upon the Earth.
Moulding of Red Earth: Out of the red earth, he fashioned with hands two men and a woman.
Nameless Children: They lived and Baiame was pleased. He showed them how to live off plants and roots.
Drought – Killing: But there came a terrible drought and the once fertile land became barren. As the plants were dying, the men and the woman began to starve. In desperation, one man killed a kangaroo rat and he and the woman began to eat its flesh.
New Life – Refusal: As they became stronger they called to the remaining man to join them. Not wishing to go against the wishes of Baiame, he refused. Very weak, he staggered off into the red desert.
Shadow of Yaraan: When they had finished eating, the man and the woman started searching for their companion. They found him lying beside Yaraan – the great white gum tree.
Yowi – The Spirit of Death: As they approached him they saw a huge, black figure with red eyes lift him gently and place him in the fork of the white gum tree.
Flight of Yaraan: With a clash like thunder, the tree left the ground and flew swiftly towards the southern skies. The man and the woman could still see the eyes of Yowi – and the eyes of their companion.
Endless Search: Uttering unearthly screeches, two Mooyi – yellow crested cockatoos – flew after the tree which had been their roosting place.
Entrance to Warrambool (Parts I and II): At last, the tree came to rest at the entrance to Warrambool – the Milky Way – the world of the Sky Gods. The tree slowly vanished but the four eyes remained staring down at the Earth and forever marking the entrance to the World of the Gods. Thus Yaraandoo – the Southern Cross – was formed and the North and South points are the faithful Mooyi who fly in vain after the great white tree.
Tears of Blood – Endless Weeping: Knowing that Death had come to the Earth, the gum trees wept tears of blood and the swamp trees forever moan their sad song.
Iranian rock Godfather Kourosh’s latest album, recorded 2003-2006. Banned in his country, released to the world at last with this release by Now-Again Records.
Words from Kourosh Yaghmaei:
Questions about the difficulties in and delay of releasing this album emphasize systematic censorship, cultural deletion and even cultural self-destruction, at a state level. They highlight the thoughts in the background of the media and a society hit by crisis, in which no voice of clear protest is heard in the world, not from human right organizations, let alone from the media inside Iran. No mention of this censorship, and torture on an artistic soul, along all social, technological and cultural transitions, in this current century, in a land where the world’s greatest [ancient] empire [in] Takhte Jamshid – The Gate of All Nations – or, as the Greeks called it, Persepolis was established 2500 ago.
It is impossible, in a few sentences, to explain the irreparable damages and the rubble of adversity that crumbled on me, my family and especially on my homeland in the past 37 years, with the occurrences of such cruelty – terrifying hell-like obstacles – that walking through them is not believable to others. This dark age of culture cannot be described in a few lines; there should be books written about it. Musicians were harassed and beaten in streets and their instruments were broken by boots. I, who was a leading popular artist in Iranian society, in just a few hours, was shown to be anti-culture, a perverted person. This was going on when my ability to earn any income for living expenses from my music was cut off. No light at the end of the tunnel. Iranian society was in awe watching all these horrific changes, in just a few hours.
People in Iran know me as the master, the pioneer and the king of modern and rock music, but to protest against this cultural deletion, this censorship, and the physical and mental tortures the government brings upon me, I am forced to decide not to release my works in my own homeland, for an unknown amount of time to come. This doesn’t mean I will stop working, and I will have a new album every a few years ready to present to my country.
In the end I must point that I only write these words to let the world know about this catastrophe, not to attract sympathy of others, which I hate. I believe in an unjust battle, to stand tall is better than to surrender.
In 2011, Now-Again Records released the anthology, Back From The Brink – Pre-Revolution Psychedelic Rock From Iran: 1973-1979. Here’s “Gole Yakh (Winter Sweet)” from that collection.
Shipping now. This is the first official reissue of this essential Zamrock album.
Peace was one of of Zamrock’s best bands, kick-started by groups The Boyfriends and WITCH from Chamboli Mine Township, Kitwe, Zambia. Black Power was their sole release, recorded at Malachite Film Studio circa 1973-74 and issued circa 1975, sounds like nothing else in the Zamrock canon: a lost message drifting from the flower power era, imbued with a fiery Zambian voice.