Charlie Hunter and Carter McLean to Appear on BBC Radio 3’s ‘J to Z’

— News — Editor
An excerpt of Charlie Hunter and Carter McLean’s breathtaking performance here at Band on the Wall last month is to be broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s J to Z, tomorrow. If you missed the show, we highly recommend tuning in to hear Hunter’s uncanny, contrapuntal guitar playing style, which when unleashed upon a seven or eight string axe, allows him to play bass and lead lines simultaneously with mind-being accuracy. Host Jumoké Fashola also celebrates the vibrant Manchester jazz scene with a mix of classic tracks and recent releases. Tune in at 5pm tomorrow!



Moog Release their first new Polyphonic Analogue Synth in 35 Years


The analog polysynth has been an instrument family vital to the progression of electronic music. When models such as the Oberheim VFS-1 and Yamaha CS80 were introduced c. 1975, they enabled users to achieve polyphony (the simultaneous production of two or more notes) for the first time, meaning that more expressive musical ideas could be achieved with synthesized sound, rather than having to revert to pre-existing electric keyboards or pianos for more complex compositions. This at first enabled the likes of Vangelis, Prince and Edgar Froese to expressively use of synths in soundtrack, RnB and electronic music, but later appealed to the likes of 808 State and Peter Namlook, who reverted to the technology for its unique analogue character.


This week, Moog announced their first analog polysynth to be release in 35 years, sharing a mouth-watering meditation on listening, featuring Suzanne Cianni, Robert Glasper and Ryuichi Sakamoto among others. You’ll need a few spare pennies if you wish to bag a Moog One, but you can enjoy the cool 20-minute film about it for free! As Robert Glasper succinctly puts it, “normally the Moog is for the ‘other’ hand…but the Moog One is for both hands.”



The repeat listen: The Groundhogs – Blues Obituary



Tasting Notes: Captain Beefheart & his Magic Band – Safe As Milk, John Lee Hooker – Never Get Out of these Blues Alive, Edgar Broughton Band – Wasa Wasa, Fleetwood Mac – Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, Howlin’ Wolf – The Howlin’ Wolf Album


The Groundhogs’ 1968 debut LP was an unashamedly bluesy affair, cut from the same cloth as the beat-driven R&B LPs recorded by John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers and The Yardbirds a couple of years earlier. But their second record was to be a departure from that sound. It’s cover, a slice of macabre humour shot in Highgate Cemetery, depicts the trio as a priest and pall-bearers, metaphorically laying their blues sound to rest.


But in truth, the blues weren’t too far away from the heart of Blues Obituary. The Groundhogs’ sound had become punchier — each dynamic shift holding greater emphasis now that they were three, rather than four, members — but Chicago blues still underpinned their sound: the chord structure of Daze of the Weak, McPhee’s lead vocal on Mistreated containing that same boomy resonance that the literal giants of the blues could achieve. But with their riffs exploring devilish half-tone trills, their splashy, fill-heavy drums uninhibited in the right channel of the mix – they were edging ever closer to the early metal sound that Black Sabbath would realise with aplomb when they hit the studio four months later.


Blues Obituary is the sound of a band on the cusp of something new. Feeling for interesting ideas, following their hearts and having fun with their newfound freedom. This 50th anniversary release, put together by Fire records to contain single B-side Gasoline, conceals the initial cover in a clever di-cut sleeve. It’s also a good advert for stereo mixes of sixties material, considering that the drums on the mono version of B.D.D. appear to be stifled by phase issues, possessing a peculiar crunchiness that disappears altogether in stereo. The rest of the record sounds fantastic and shows The Groundhogs’ second offering to be one of free flowing ideas, mighty riffs and experimental flair.

New Sounds


Andrea Estella captures feelings of frustration and uncertainty on the powerfully candid new Mr Twin Sister cut, Tops and Bottoms. Pursuing a vibe that calls to mind Tom Tom Club and Erykah Badu among others, the genial production incorporates high-frequency synth sweeps, vocal manipulation and a locked in, liquid funk groove. Lyrics such as “End up wearing the same old top and bottoms / There are some men I don’t want lookin’ at my bottom” cut through the noise, their simplicity encapsulating a cocktail of complex emotions and issues. Check out the track below and head over to MTS radio ahead of the band’s album release, if you want to be guided through a curated listening experience.



We love an unexpected collaboration and were thrilled to hear the distinctive vibrato of James Blake on Connan Mockasin’s gentle new album cut, Momo’s. The Kiwi’s new record Jassbusters drops today and the collaborative track is one of its many highlights.



New Visuals


Jazz trio Phronesis shared a studio video for the final track of their new, We Are All, earlier in the week. The Tree Did Not Die was composed by drummer Anton Eger and is the only piece on the album to feature electronics. The subtle usage of rhodes and subtle electronic sound slots perfectly into their acoustic trio dynamic and their talent as players is once again captured in the up-close shots of this studio footage.



Having released an epic video of his own last week, Louis Cole features in the latest installment of Vulfpeck’s It Gets Funkier, an ongoing quest to see just how funky a jam can be. Cole’s open hand technique sets the tone for another funkbuster, with Cory Wong’s rhythm guitar and Jack Stratton’s unhinged clavinet work notable features.



Wargirl’s new video for Poison, a trippy disco cut brimming with psychedelic touches, is the perfect accompaniment for the band’s album opener. It’s DIY qualities and morphing backdrops make for an oddly hypnotic accompaniment to track, which beds itself deeper into your mind with every listen.


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