Monday, August 18, 2014



Mammal Hands are a trio of like-minded musicians: Nick Smart piano, Jesse Barrett drums and percussion, and Jordan Smart saxophones. Drawing on influences from Steve Reich to Bonobo and Pharoah Sanders to Cinematic Orchestra, alongside elements of North Indian and African music, they produce their own beautiful, inimitable music – at times wistful and melancholic and others raucous and catchy. They evoke a range of moods, from delicate and subtle to explosive and frantic, blending thoughtful compositions with spontaneity and interplay. On the road they have been wooing audiences from the Norwich Arts Centre to Mostly Jazz Birmingham, King’s Place London, Band On The Wall Manchester and most recently Love Supreme Glynde. Indeed it was at Mostly Jazz that the band were heard by Gondwana Records recording artists GoGo Penguin’s bassist Nick Blacka, who liking the band’s unique sound brought them to the attention of label boss Matthew Halsall, who immediately signed them to the label and has now produced their sublime debut album, Animalia, which is released on 15th September. Mammal Hands met in April 2012, while busking in Norwich. They gelled quickly, drawn to each other’s open approach to music making. The brothers Nick and Jordan were already playing together as an electronica duo but with drummer Jesse joining the band they developed a distinctive sound drawing on their love of electronic, contemporary classical, world and jazz music. Drummer Jesse’s knowledge and understanding of Indian Classical music brings a unique/distinctive approach to the rhythmic framework of the band’s tunes. His disciplined study with tabla maestro Sirishkumar has allowed him to develop the ability to explore intricate and complex rhythmic patterns and the freedom to explore time signatures and rhythmic patterns less commonly heard in the western world. Jordan brings a love of DJ culture as well as the influence of Pharoah Sanders to his playing whilst pianist Nick brings a knowledge of classical Jazz harmonies but also a deep interest in the minimalist composers (Terry Riley, Steve Reich) which has influenced his compositional approach, striving to create hypnotic, rhythmic patterns that can provide a foundation for Jordan and Jesse to build on. It is this unique combination of influences and their unusual baseless line-up that makes Mammal Hands’ sound so distinctive. 


Alborosie is again the artist to watch in 2014, with multiple projects as a singer, songwriter, producer and dub master hitting the market, his name and his stock are growing! Here is his double CD of combination tracks (duets) recorded over the past seven years, with many songs taken from 7Inch singles making their CD debut and including a number of unreleased songs. The tracks feature a big range of veteran reggae artists like Steel Pulse, Dennis Brown, Black Uhuru, Horace Andy, The Tamlins or Ranking Joe. The 90′s and current generation is represented by stars like Busy Signal, Etana, Jah Cure, Luciano, Kymani Marley, Gramps Morgan (Morgan Heritage) and Gentleman for sure, who is featured in the 2014 documentary film ‘Journey To Jah’ alongside Alborosie.


Championed by DJs from Mike Chadwick to Gilles Peterson and Jamie Cullum, it is GoGo Penguin’s skittering break-beats, telepathic interplay and a penchant for anthemic melody that contribute to a sound that’s wholly their own. Pianist Chris Illingworth’s yearning classical influenced melodies are filtered through the dance music energy of bassist Nick Blacka and drummer Rob Turner. But there is no leader, no global set of rules. Each member receives inspiration, ideas and information from each other. Their instrumentation might be the archetypal piano trio but while the melodic, harmonic and structural ideas are influenced by both classical and jazz the rhythms are drawn from left field electronica and it’s this meeting of opposites that makes their unique acoustic-electronica sound so exciting and creates such an interesting and emotionally rich palate for the listener. v2.0 is the opening salvo from the new GoGo Penguin. Nick Blacka (who played in an earlier trio with pianist Chris Illingworth) joined the band in late 2012 after founder member Grant Russell left to pursue other projects. He brought a new cohesiveness to the band’s sound and if their earlier breakthrough debut hit Fanfares offered a band prototype, then v2.0 is the wildly successful reboot. It’s the sound of a band increasingly comfortable in the sonic world they have created and a gloriously vibrant technicolor snap-shot of a band finding their own voice – as drawing on a heady brew of influences from Brian Eno, John Cage and Squarepusher to Manchester’s grey rain-streaked urban streets they create a brave new sound all their own.

No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...