Wake Up You!

The first volume of Now-Again’s “Wake Up You! The Rise and Fall of Nigerian Rock, 1972-1977” was released on Record Store Day about two weeks ago, with a second volume set for a release in May.

Wake Up You! tells the story of this time, pays homage to these now-forgotten musicians and their struggle, and brings to light the funk and psychedelic fury they created as they wrested free of the ravages of the late 1960s and created thrilling, original Nigerian rock music throughout the 1970s.

Each volume is accompanied by a book by Nigerian writer, musicologist, researcher and disc-jockey Uchenna Ikonne, the man who put the name William Onyeabor on the musical map for a larger audience, and who also put together Luaka Bop’s compilation “Who Is William Onyeabor?

Wake Up You! The Rise and Fall of Nigerian Rock, 1972-1977

Vinyl heads take note that the first volume was a Record Store Day exclusive, so chances of getting remaining copies are highest at your local record store. The CD-version can be ordered from Rappcats, Boomkat, Sounds of the Universe or HHV.

Volume 2 is expected to be released on May 20th, 2016.

Recommended: Bass Culture, When Reggae Was King

Bass Culture – When Reggae Was King

My love for reggae, or dub in particular, dates back to my adolescence, the time when I emancipated myself from the listening behaviours of my peers at home and at school, the time when my musical interest was about to mature. Still, my relationship with Jamaican music remained superficial for the longest time. There were no specialist record shops anywhere near where I grew up, no radio stations with a reggae programme, and the internet was still unheard of. I caught a first glimpse of what dub was through No Protection, an album by a band from Bristol (Massive Attack) remixed by a Guyana-born, London-based producer (Mad Professor). In other words an entirely British affair, music produced about 7,500 kilometres (or 4,600 miles) from the motherland: Jamaica. While I got closer to that island over the years, I never was fully satisfied with what I got. Thankfully that was about to change after I reached out to my Twitter followers. This book by Lloyd Bradley was recommended to me by whoever operates the Hyperdub account on Twitter, and it’s what gave me an indepth education on Jamaican music.

On over 500 pages, Bradley writes down the history of Jamaican music since the 1950s. From early sound systems playing RnB records imported from the U.S., which eventually lead to the creation of ska and rocksteady, to the emancipation of Jamaican music through roots reggae, then later dub and dancehall. The book succeeds in putting all of that into a bigger picture, as it relates the the story of reggae to the history of the island. You will read about the politcal situation on the island, its independence, Marcus Garvey and Pan-Africanism, emperor Haile Selassie I., the role of rastafarianism, reggae conquering the UK, the Notting Hill race riots, Kool Herc bringing soundsystem culture to hip-hop – it’s all in the book.

Whether you can relate to what I said in the introduction text or simply want to broaden your horizon, Bass Culture is a book I can’t recommend enough!

Bass Culture, When Reggae Was King
Lloyd Bradley
Penguin Book
592 pages
ISBN 978-0140237634

Bass Culture on Goodreads, Amazon US, Amazon UK

Beat Box : A Drum Machine Obsession

Late last November, on Record Store Day, a new book on drum machines was published by Get On Down. Joe Mansfield’s 200-page “Beat Box: A Drum Machine Obsession” features 75 drum machines, photographed by Gary Land, and a foreword written by Dave Tompkins. Beside the standard coffee table book, a deluxe bundle with cassette and 7-inch was available for a short time.

Beat Box : A Drum Machine Obsession by Joe Mansfield

Available from the Stones Throw store!

Beat Box : A Drum Machine Obsession
Joe Mansfield
Hardcover edition, 315 x 260mm, 200 pages, 1.9 kg
ISBN unknown

Dust & Grooves Photo Book

New York-based photographer Eilon Paz has been documenting vinyl collectors from around the world for quite some time, long enough to think seriously about making a photography book. So far, he’s been running the Dust & Grooves website as a platform for his work, the next step is collecting enough money to make the book happen.

So far there have been enough people to back the project with almost half of the money required. On its Kickstarter page you can choose how to support the project, depending on what you want to get in return. Looks certainly interesting!

Jazz Covers Vol. 2

Jazz Covers Vol. 2

Back in November 2008, I wrote about Taschen’s Jazz Covers book, so I wanted to mention the publisher is now offering a follow-up. The book features a selection of top 10 favourite records by the likes of King Britt, Gilles Peterson, Rainer Trüby and others, as well as interview with Blue Note engineer Rudy Van Gelder, label founder Creed Taylor, producer Michael Cuscuna, designer Bob Ciano and Jazz Record Center owner Fred Cohen.

For a better impression, take a look at the images taken from the book over on the Taschen website. The book is 12-inch sized, has 560 pages and is available now for €39.99!

Jazz Covers Vol. 2
Joaquim Paulo, Julius Wiedemann
Hardcover, 2 vols. in slipcase, 30 x 30 cm, 560 pages, €39.99
ISBN 978-3-8365-2406-3

The Cover Art of Reinforced Records

For the 20th anniversary of Reinforced Records, Marc Mac of 4hero has compiled all of the label’s artwork and put it out in a self-published book. I have to say, I’m not all crazy about it design-wise, but it’s a nice document for those who grew up with the music.

Over 200 releases and more than 20 years of forward thinking electronic music; Reinforced Records present their history in the form of a collectors guide cover art book. 120 pages of full color artwork from the early cut and past techniques through to hand drawn and computer generated artworks.

Though the first record I ever bought was from the label, I wasn’t aware it was Goldie who designed their logo. Just one of those small facts I like about the book.

You can get yourself a copy of this book over at Blurb. It’s available in a hardcover edition with image wrap or as standard softcover.

Funk & Soul Covers

Funk & Soul Covers

Book Cover

Following the success of their Jazz Covers book, German publisher Taschen and Portuguese record collector Joaquim Paulo have teamed up again. In Funk & Soul Covers, they portray over 500 artworks from the likes of Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Earth, Wind & Fire, Prince, Michael Jackson and just about everybody else.

The book is spiced up with interviews with Larry Mizell, David Ritz and Daptone’s Gabriel Roth, as well as personal favourites by Danny Krivit, Steinski, Andy Smith, Egon (Stones Throw/Now-Again), Quantic and many others.

You can leaf through the book online or buy a copy, starting this September.

June 22, 2012 Taschen has started selling this book for a reduced price of only €14.99

Funk & Soul Covers
Joaquim Paulo, Julius Wiedemann
Softcover with flaps, 24 x 24 cm, 432 pages, € 29.99
ISBN: 978-3-8365-1986-1

Parra – a book full of it

Book Cover

A year after The Of Best Book came out, Parra returns with an all new publication.

For those unfamiliar with his work, Parra is an Amsterdam-based artist best known for his hand-drawn typography, his awkward character creations and his unique humour. Apart from running the clothing label Rockwell, he designed an exclusive collection for LA’s Stones Throw label.

The new book showcases some of his work on 80 pages and can now be ordered from the Rockwell shop.

Prestige Records: The Album Cover Collection

Book Cover

Book Cover

After mentioning Taschen’s Jazz Covers last year, I stumbled across a similar and potentially more interesting publication from Concord Editions today. Celebrating jazz label Prestige‘s 60th anniversary, the deluxe coffee table book Prestige Records: The Album Cover Collection gathers the best of their cover artworks.

Edited by Geoff Gans and featuring an introduction written by jazz historian and journalist Ira Gitler, who already wrote liner notes for many of Prestige’s records, the book’s 130 pages belong all to the vivid images from their rich history.

Also included is an exclusive bonus CD, here’s a look at the tracklist:01. Miles Davis – Bemsha Swing
02. Stan Getz – Lee
03. Sonny Rollins – Paradox
04. Jackie McLean – Contour
05. Moondog – Organ Rounds
06. John Coltrane – Theme For Ernie
07. Mose Allison – The Seventh Son
08. Eric Dolphy – Serene
09. Booker Ervin – Stella By Starlight
According to publisher Concord, the book will be available on September 14, while Amazon lists October 20 as date of release. Both list the book for a price of around $50, while Dusty Groove offers it for $34.99 only!

Weekly Bits 16/2009

My favourite free track this week comes from Greymatter, who reworked Azymuth‘s Carambola. The track was remixed by Mark Pritchard and Roc Hunter back in the year 2000 and this new version brings back some memories.

Jonny Miller was so kind to send me a copy of the latest Jus’Listen digital release. I had no time to review it, but can still recommend giving it a try. It features two tracks from Daco and Chimpo, the latter being a favourite!

For the last 10 years, Mark “Snowboy” Cotgrove has been working on a book about the Jazz Dance scene in the UK. On 300 pages, From Jazz Funk & Fusion to Acid Jazz features many interviews, photos and other documents from the seventies to the mid-nineties. The book is out now!

There are two more bits from the previous week I don’t want to leave unmentioned. Remix Magazine did an interview with Harmonic 313‘s Mark Pritchard, focusing on more techy things like the production process of the album When Machines Exceed Human Intelligence. Should be an interesting read for all you producers out there! Another interview comes from Evil Monito Magazine, who had the chance to speak to legendary DJ Bob Jones.

Machine, the Design of Kindred Spirits

Dutch label Kindred Spirits has been among my favourite labels ever since the first Rednose Disktrikt longplayer came out. It’s not only their versatile catalogue making them special, but also the beautiful artwork that comes with each and every of their releases. Responsible for these are Machine, two designers hailing from Amsterdam. If you call yourself owner of the records by Build an Ark, Jackson Conti, Kid Sublime, Legends of the Underground or  Dorian Concept, you already have a Machine design in your shelf.

Today, Machine answered the questions I sent them the night before, this is what they wrote:

Who is behind Machine?
Machine is Mark Klaverstijn (Amsterdam, 1973) & Paul du Bois-Reymond (Berlin, 1974). We started working together during our studies at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. We did a lot of stuff outside of school, our first flyers and shirts but also web and video experiments. Our first company was called DEPT, and since 2001 we work under the name ‘Machine’

What’s your relation with Kindred Spirits?
It has always been about the Love so to speak. It is to small a label to get involved for anything other than the love of music and design. We see KS as our very own Bluenote. We are in it for the long haul-it should be a constant that is very open to change, to experimentation. Working on the marriage of sound and visuals on album covers doesn’t get old somehow.

What’s your usual approach to making a cover?
The first decision is obviously the Music. Thats were it starts. That music, artist, atmosphere leads to the designs. Sometimes the artist or someone from the label has a certain angle or approach in mind. When this is workable we use it. Otherwise we lead the way.

Usually this works out. Sometimes it leads to drama. But we do claim a lot of freedom. We feel that an artist has to trust us on the visual side of the release. The guys at KS respect this, it’s even in the contract an artist signs. If it weren’t for this trust, we wouldn’t do the project. It has to remain a platform. It has to become an entity of it’s own. You put on the album, maybe roll a joint and listen to the tunes while disecting the artwork and track info. The whole thing becomes 4 dimensional. Thats more or less what we envision when doing the work.

Anything to look out for?
Yes. Next to some covers we just did for Dorian Concept and Carlos Nino, KS is sitting on something secret and new, so watch out for that at your local dealer. We just finished our book ‘Designed By Machine’, which is an overview of our studio and our history. Published by Black Cat, ISBN nr 978-90-810418-6-7 Check it out. Machine says Bye!

Designed by Machine

The book mentioned above will be available from Black Cat Publishing for 27,50 Euros. I’m conviced that Rush Hour will have copies once it’s available.

Mar 27, 2009 At last, the book is now available!

Parra – The Of Best Book

Amsterdam’s Parra is known for his unique illustrations, especially his use of color and typography. You have most likely seen his t-shirts for Rockwell and Stones Throw, his cover designs for Rednose Distrikt, or maybe his skateboards.

The Of Best Book

An underground star in Amsterdam where kids search the streets to tear down his club posters, Parra’s work is treasured by a generation of design fanatics. Living with his painter/sculptor father, he grew up surrounded by colours, oil paint, wood, weird looking pictures & Rubenesque paintings. Almost entirely self taught, Parra’s minimal colour palette, beautiful hand-drawn typography & esoteric character creation are reminiscent of screen printed poster designs of the 1960s & ’70s. –bigactive.com

Well, there is now a small book available with some of his best designs, you can pre-order your copy at Turntable Lab.

via Nalden

Update Streetwear Today has an interview with Parra in their last issue of 2008!

Jazz Covers

Book Cover

Book Cover

Christmas is not that far anymore, about time to have a look at potential presents for the music enthusiast in your circle of friends. German publisher Taschen recently released a book about Jazz Covers. On almost 500 pages Joaquim Paulo has collected LP covers from between the 1940s to the 1990s. Accompanied by a fact sheet listing performers, label or the designers behind the cover artworks, the book also features the top-10 favourite covers from the likes of Gilles Peterson, Mark de Clive-Lowe, Yoshihiro Okino, Ed Motta, King Britt or Rainer Trüby. Also featured are interviews with jazz personalities Rudy Van Gelder, Creed Taylor, Michael Cuscuna or Ashley Kahn.

You can flip through the Jazz Covers online or purchase it directly on the Taschen website. However, I recommend dropping by your local book store, where you can probably find the book for a bargain price.

Jazz Covers
Joaquim Paulo, Julius Wiedemann
Hardcover, 24 x 24 cm, 496 pages, €39.99
ISBN 978-3-8365-0378-5