Karl Hector and The Malcouns – Unstraight Ahead

Now-Again — June 17, 2014 | Comments (0)

ON SALE: KARL HECTOR & THE MALCOUNS – UNSTRAIGHT AHEAD Now-Again Records

Afrodelic Kraut Funk excursions featuring Members of Poets of Rhythm and Whitefield Brothers. Unstraight Ahead finds Karl Hector and his cohorts exploring territories outside of the already-expansive scope of their debut album Sahara Swing. On this album, the West African sounds of Ghana and Mali meet the East African sounds of Mulatu Astatke’s Ethiopian jazz and are tied together with the groove heavy experimentalism of The Malcouns’ 70s Krautrock godfathers: Can, of course, but also more obscure and equally adventurous groups like Agitation Free, Ibliss and Tomorrow’s Gift. It’s an album out of time, one that couldn’t have been made in the era its aural aesthetics reference, as its scope is so broad. But it’s an album focused by funk – and an ambition to expand funk’s reaches. The Malcouns – including Poets of Rhythm songwriter and vocalist Bo Baral – created their own instruments to fashion an album that stands alongside the great albums of its progenitors but charges Unstraight Ahead into a curious musical future.

2 LP comes with download card; CD packaged in a gatefold “eco-wallet.”

Madlib – Rock Konducta

Madlib — June 11, 2014 | Comments (11)

50+ track instrumental hip-hop album

LP, DIGITAL: ROCK KONDUCTA PT. 1
LP, DIGITAL: ROCK KONDUCTA PT. 2
CD: ROCK KONDUCTA PT. 1 & 2 DOUBLE CD

Madlib’s Rock Konducta – the blatantly titled, rock-inspired entries in the producer’s long-running Beat Konducta instrumental series – will be released July 15. It is the fifth installment in Madlib’s Beat Konducta series following Beat Konducta: Movie Scenes (2006), Beat Konducta in India (2007), A Tribute to J Dilla (2009) and Beat Konducta in Africa (2010).

Rock Konducta grabs its source material from various worldwide rock scenes from the 60s through the 80s, from American psychedelia to Germany’s Krautrock to acid-soaked Spanish prog to synthy, early-80s oddities.

Madlib announced his Rock Konducta album with a limited edition 45 made specifically for sale at the Zamrock Live! Madlib Medicine Show in San Francisco in early 2013. It was a fitting place to make the debut, as his previous Beat Konducta in Africa album was heavily inspired by Africa’s vibrant 70s rock scene, with a specific focus on Zambia’s Zamrock.

on iTunes: Madlib – Rock Konducta Pt. 1 | Madlib – Rock Konducta Pt. 2

Damon – Song of a Gypsy

Sixteen Things We Know About Damon is a short film by Andrew Gura: a voice and music driven story that uses animated archival stills, stock footage and typography, lo-fi textures, left-field sound design to tell the nearly impossible backstory behind Damon’s Song of a Gypsy

ON SALE: DAMON – SONG OF A GYPSY

Damon’s Song of a Gypsy, underground psychedelic rock from the late 60s – reissued album from Now-Again Records

Damon’s Song of a Gypsy is regarded as one of the finest privately-pressed psychedelic rock records ever made. It has, for over twenty years, been one of the most sought after late 60s rock artifacts in the world, with the scant original copies that exist exchanging hands for thousands of dollars. Bad bootlegs and scrappy reissues have spread the music a little but left Damon’s story untouched, leaving Song of a Gypsy high on its own plateau: out of reach and indescribable.

This edition investigates Song of a Gypsy’s seemingly impossible story – one that encapsulates the last bloom of the flower power movement before it decayed into the haze of the ‘70s underground. It traces the arch of a pop hopeful descending into chaos, becoming the tortured soul who would create an LP to file alongside works by other lost greats of the late ‘60s, from Shuggie Otis to Rodriguez.

Of course, juicy late ‘60s anecdotes abound: it was an acid trip that took Damon on a meandering journey to Big Sur’s Esalen Institute, where a chance meeting with Ravi Shankar and George Harrison turned everything around for him, as he nursed a five-string guitar back to spiritual health aside the maestros’ sitars under Big Sur’s endless sky.

This is an LA album – recorded in 1968 after Damon lead his musicians into a Hollywood studio to riff on Jefferson Airplane themes with a world-weary melancholy, to pay equal tribute to his idos Jim Morrison and Al Jolson with results that can only be described as sincere genius. Damon wrote with a childlike naiveté yet sang like a weathered old man, too exhausted to be anything but honest. There is no pretense to his Song of a Gypsy, just a transparent view into his churning soul.

The album Song Of A Gypsy was pressed in a run of five hundred copies. At some point, Damon’s master tapes disappeared. He only kept a 1⁄4” tape duped from a scratchy copy of the album.

Under the supervision of Now-Again’s Eothen “Egon” Alapatt and Damon, born David Del Conte, over the period of five years, Song of a Gypsy has been lovingly remastered and finally sees its definitive release, a beautiful listening experience, a reminder of the marvels man is capable of creating under even the most adverse circumstances.

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Deeper (video)

Freddie Gibbs, Madlib — June 3, 2014 | Comments (2)

New video from Freddie Gibbs & Madlib’s Piñata | Madlib releases Piñata Instrumentals

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib’s “Deeper” video, directed by Jonah Schwartz, forms a trilogy with the story begun with their two previous videos, “Thuggin’” and “Shame.” That is, a loose trilogy. Not as loose as the third Halloween movie when Michael Myers disappeared from the franchise, but there is definitely an untold piece of the story that lands Gangsta Gibbs in jail for a while. “Deeper” picks up from there.

Madlib has just released the instrumentals from the collaboration with Freddie Gibbs – Pinata Beats – out today from the Madlib Invazion label on double LP, CD, Digital.

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Pinata Beats – on iTunes

Meanwhile, Freddie Gibbs continues the Independent Grind tour, hitting Los Angeles this week the rest of the Southwest through June. If you missed him in Manhattan you can still catch him in Manhattan, Kansas.

03 June: Riverside Auditorium, Riverside CA
04 June: House of Blues, West Hollywood
05 June: House of Blues, San Diego
07 June: Marquee Theater, Tempe AZ
08 June: Rialto Theatre, Tucson
09 June: Hard Rock, Las Vegas
10 June: Great Saltair, Salt Lake City
11 June: Mesa Theatre, Grand Junction
12 June: Black Sheep, Colorado Springs
13 June: Aggie Theatre, Ft. Collins
15 June: Sunshine Theatre, Albuquerque
16 June: Tricky Falls, El Paso
17 June: Cactus Courtyard, Lubbock
18 June: Diamond Ballroom, Oklahoma City
19 June: Lucky Mule, Abilene TX
21 June: House of Blues, Houston
22 June: House of Blues, Dallas
24 June: Cain’s Ballroom, Tulsa
25 June: The Cotillion, Wichita
26 June: RC McGraw’s, Manhattan KS
27 June: Blue Note, Columbia MO
28 June: Arvest Bank Theatre, Kansas City MO

@Madlib | @FreddieGibbs

Dust & Grooves release party – LOS ANGELES

Los Angeles – Join us Thursday, June 5 at 7PM for an opening reception, an in-studio photo exhibit, and book launch party for Dust & Grooves at Sonos Studio. This event will feature rotating sets from DJs and collectors who are featured in the book (The Gaslamp Killer, Egon, Oliver Wang, Zach Cowie) as well as from book editor Sheila B. The Dust & Grooves book will be on sale at the event, and author Eilon Paz will host a book signing.

FREE EVENT – RSVP REQUIRED

The After-Party: Upstairs at Ace Hotel Downtown LA
Thursday June 5th, 11 PM | FREE
Ace Hotel Downtown LA, 921 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90015

June 7: Los Angeles Daytime Vinyl Hangout
Saturday June 7th, Noon-6PM | FREE
Sonos Studio, 145 N La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Dust & Grooves and Sonos Studio welcomes all to the Daytime Vinyl Hangout—an all-day event with vinyl pop-up stores, DJ sets by local collectors, vinyl-lovers, and DJs, giveaways from Dewar’s and Now-Again Records, and an open whiskey bar. This event will include a book signing by author Eilon Paz, and his Dust & Grooves book will be available for sale for the whole afternoon.

ON SALE: DUST & GROOVES – ADVENTURES IN RECORD COLLECTING

Madlib – Pinata Beats (Freddie Gibbs Instrumentals)

Madlib — May 28, 2014 | Comments (8)

ON SALE: MADLIB & FREDDIE GIBBS – PINATA BEATS

Instrumentals for Freddie Gibbs & Madlib’s Piñata.

There are few musicians – let alone beat–makers – whose output in its raw form provides his listener with a full on musical experience before anything is added. Madlib is one. Before a microphone is switched on, before a rhyme even uttered, a Madlib beat stands alone as a complete thing.

The album with Freddie Gibbs, Piñata – being hailed as contender for rap album of the year – was created between late 2011 and early 2013. But Gibbs also dipped back into Madlib’s archives going back as far as ten years for a few of the beats.

Double LP; CD with 8-page booklet; digital download.

Egon Mixtape on Gilles Peterson Worldwide

Egon — May 22, 2014 | Comments (1)

Egon recently visited Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood to offload some of his music knowledge with a mix and interview for Gilles’ syndicated Worldwide radio show.

On the web: gillespetersonworldwide.com

J Dilla – The Doe – produced by Supa Dave West

J DILLA “THE DOE” + INTERVIEW WITH SUPA DAVE WEST.

In 2001, J Dilla set out to record an album with his favorite hip-hop producers, one of these being Supa Dave West. Over a decade later, still in the long process of getting this full project released, we finally get to hear Dilla & West’s collaboration, mixed, mastered, and released on vinyl in the form of J Dilla’s “Give ‘Em What They Want” EP.

The EP contains three vocal tracks and two instrumentals. Of the three vocal tracks, “The Doe” and “No One’s Home” were produced by West and recorded December 2001, and the title track “Give ‘Em” is J Dilla’s own completely reworked version dating September 2002.

We spoke just yesterday with Supa Dave West about this collaboration.

Rappcats: How did you and Jay first meet?

Supa Dave West: I had a record deal at the time with Q-Tip’s Museum Music in ’97… I would go over Tips house to vibe, and we both started hearing about each other from that point. I met him sometime between then, when I started working with De La. We hung out a couple of times when he would come to NY for meetings. We both produced records for De La Soul. We talked a lot about our music philosophies. This was the pre-social media days. Everyone was just grinding… but we kept in touch.

In 2001 he told me about the project, working with his favorite dudes, producers that inspired him. He asked me to send him something. I sent him 36 beats and from those he picked 4.

What was your process like back then?

I worked on the ASR-10 and MPC 2000. These beats where made on MPC, needle dropping on melody spots in the record to a rythym and then looping it… one take usually… real art shit! I started doing that around ’98.

And then you worked together in person. Tell me about that.

Yeah, I would come though Detroit every year around Christmas, heading to Canada to make a huge beat tape for first quarter after the holidays. He picked me up where I was staying in Detroit in 2001… He eventually demo’d 4 joints but while I was there I dumped two beats and those ended up being “The Doe” and “No One’s Home”

“The Doe” was made before Jay’s version, “Give ‘Em What They Want”?

Yes. The “aahh” vocals on “Give em” was originally from “The Doe.”

We both respected each other as producers, but we talked about a lot of ways to realize the music, from a musicians point of view. That’s where I think he was coming from. I’m a drummer, and came up playing gospel. We connected in that way.

Jay did a lot of editing. He payed attention to detail in ways a lot of producers didn’t. He was heavily effecting his music and sound designing… that attention made the music special.

While these Dilla tracks from over 10 years ago finally see the light of day, what are you working on now?

Beat Boxing - an instrumental project, not with one ID to the next, but based on a whole storyboard… the companion, Spit Boxing with MC’s… and the third, Chop Sticks, a break beat record. I’m also in the studio working on De La’s next album, and doing something for Faith Evan’s next one… a song called “Miracles”.

www: Supa Dave West on Facebook | @SupaDaveWest

Stephen David Heitkotter – Black Orckid

Now-Again — May 19, 2014 | Comments (0)

ON SALE: STEPHEN DAVID HEITKOTTER – BLACK ORCKID

Deluxe reissue of a legendary ’70s California bedroom-made psychedelic album.

Restored/remastered transfer and never-before-heard demos. The CD/LP book contains dozens of unpublished photos and images and a thorough investigation into this exceedingly rare artifact.

Psychedelic rock record collectors have been repeating the name Heitkotter as if it were a mantra ever since the first copy of a hand-made demo LP turned up in a Los Angeles music publisher’s reject bin, with nothing more than that word scrawled across a plain white jacket (see it in the photos below).

The world has never heard something like Heitkotter – it is a unique piece of art unlike anything that came before or has come after it.

Now-Again Records embarked some years ago to find out more about Heitkotter’s music and his story, and in the process, visited the house where his album was recorded, found his musicians, rescued the demo-recordings that paved the way for this album, uncovered unpublished photos and paintings by the man behind the visionary album.

Stephen David Heitkotter was a Fresno, California kid who came of age in mid ’60s. He was the drummer for the Fresno garage wunderkinds the Road Runners, and even wrote a song for the band – “Pretty Me” – for one of their lauded 7-inch singles. Nobody really knows what happened after the band split up, becoming victims of the Vietnam War draft like many garage rock bands.

Stephen never made it to Vietnam – his meeting with the draft board is when he first started showing signs of mental illness. He stayed in Fresno and became a bedraggled post hippie who left the Age of Aquarius defiantly proclaiming that he would become a singer, songwriter and visual artist: Black Orckid.

The bizarre LP known as Heitkotter – recorded in around 1971 and pressed in a run of less than twenty five copies – was culmination of his artistic career. Ross Dwelle, Stephen’s childhood friend and the drummer on the record, describes the bedroom sessions in a handsome Craftsman home in Old Fresno as this young trio “trying to play five songs written by a man losing his mind … probably stoned the whole time.”

Stephen’s schizophrenia worsened in the ’70s. Towards the end of the decade, his parents – loving yet exhausted – institutionalized Stephen, and he has been the State of California’s ward ever since. His older brother William – who licensed Heitkotter for release on Now-Again – still sees his Stephen once a month, but he never mentions Heitkotter or its legend to him – Stephen himself is incapable of fathoming it in context, and it might tear him away from the fragile rope that still moors him to this earthly reality.

Heitkotter, this time issued as Black Orckid, as we assume Stephen would have wanted it – is too complicated to be written off as a symptom of a greater ill, or lionized by a few (and dismissed by the majority) as “outsider” art. It’s a rare and vital look at 60s and 70s American rock through the sad story – and incredible music – of an untethered soul. And as Now-Again shows in enlightening more of Stephen’s backstory, it can also be considered sweet, kind and optimistic. The Heitkotter tale is cautionary, but Stephen’s music is as close to the sublime as American rock has ever ventured.

Photos from the LP book showing Heitkotter’s photos, paintings, and original hand-signed album cover.

Badbadnotgood remixes Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Shame

ON SALE: BADBADNOTGOOD – III

Rappcats exclusive: BBNG has remixed Freddie Gibbs & Madlib’s “Shame” and with the approval of the MC and Producer, the MP3 is included here as a bonus track.

BADBADNOTGOOD is a trio of musicians – Matthew Tavares on keys, Chester Hansen on bass, and Alex Sowinski on drums. They formed at Toronto’s Humber College Music Performance program in 2011, and quickly started changing the rules of what an improvised jazz group should be, and what hip-hop music could sound like.

The group released two collections of music on the web – BBNG EP and BBNG 2 – and won praise from the four corners of the globe and collaborated with Frank Ocean, Earl Sweatshirt, MF Doom, Pharaoh Monch and RZA among many. They signed to Innovative Leisure last year, and now released their first full length of original material on III.

BBNG live this week in Europe:
Tue 6 – Boilerroom.tv
Tue 6 – Xoyo – London
Wed 7 – The Exchange – Bristol
Fri 9 – Brudenell Social Club – Leeds
Sat 10 – Deaf Institute – Manchester
Mon 12 – Botanique @ Orangerie – Brussels
Tue 13 – Point Ephemere – Paris