Nyami Nyami Announce Reissue of Rare LP by New Tutenkhamen

— News — Editor

Nyami Nyami Records — a Paris-based label specialising in music from Southern Africa – announced the reissue of New Tutenkhamen’s forgotten soul LP, I Wish You Were Here, this week. Recorded in the Zimbabwean city of Harare amidst the turbulence that preceded the Country’s independence, it contains a wondrous blend of soul and jazz styles, with ska, funk and traditional rhythmic elements also feeding into this sound.

The release is incredibly rare, despite a song from it being fairly well known in Zimbabwe. As label founder Charles Houdart explained to The Vinyl Factory this week, “People often spoke about the song ‘Joburg Bound’, but only few knew that an LP had been recorded, and absolutely no copy could be found. (There isn’t even an entry on Discogs for it)”.

The band were originally known as Tutenkhamen and are said to have started out playing in the Mushandirapamwe Hotel. They disbanded soon after, leading to the formation of New Tutenkhamen with vocalist Elisha Josamu fronting the seven-piece band.

Check out the album’s opening track below and find out more about the album here.

The Repeat Listen: Mark Lockheart – Days on Earth

Tasting Notes: Miles Davis – Sketches of Spain, Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra – Vula, Phronesis – The Behemoth, Don Ellis – Soaring, Pavel Blatny – Dialogy — Studie

Edition Records introduce Days On Earth as Mark Lockheart’s ‘most ambitious album to date,’ alluding to the existential theme and orchestral assembly behind its suite-like construct.

The record finds the tenor saxophonist and arranger writing for rhythm section and thirty-piece orchestra, as well as pondering his time on earth, which he breaks down into austere figures in the album’s accompanying text: ‘2,958 weeks, 680 months, 497,000 hours’ and so on. He applies that reflection to the album’s visual theme, but they also play on the character of the music. They appear to have reinforced his connection to his own lived experience, as he produces a collection of mature, emotive, vital and personal compositions, that are in his own words, a ‘culmination of many musical (and life) journeys’.

Lockheart’s arrangements on Days On Earth are a revelation. On opener A View From Above, the orchestration is rousing and bucolic, with the strings and woodwinds playing harmonies comparable to those crafted by David Ackles on his American Gothic epic, Montana. Then, on Brave World, they orchestration takes a more romantic turn, evoking a sense of golden age cinema, before a downturn in volume and dissonant shift plunges them into murky waters, pulling the sound closer that which a Herrmann or Morricone may harnessed during scenes of intrigue or peril.

From the album’s lusciously orchestrated beginnings emerges a groovier fusion element of the orchestral jazz dynamic. Party Animal is underpinned by Seb Rochford’s steady cross stick groove, taking on the sort of swagger present in Sonny Rollins’ score for Alfie or Quincy Jones’ early big band work. Believers builds upon that development: John Parricelli’s distorted guitar lick heralding rhythmic reinforcement from the piano and some staccato string playing, before the composition moves off into gripping jazz-rock big band territory.

Lockheart’s varied compositions, ranging from the romantic and luxuriant and intense and disquieting, showcases the breadth of his style and his great understanding of mood and texture. Commendable too are Steve Baker’s mix and Peter Beckman’s master, which on the opening cut particularly, balance impeccably nylon-stringed guitar, drums, orchestra and piano, weaving each element into a detailed and moving mix that spans the sonic spectrum and illuminates any environment in graces. Lockheart’s new work is ambitious and ultimately triumphant, showcasing each of his musical strengths.

New Sounds

Guitarist and songwriter Mdou Moctar has revealed the first single from his forthcoming album, Ilana: The Creator, courtesy of Sahel Sounds. Recorded in Detroit and representing the Niger-born artist’s first studio album proper, Ilana captures Moctar’s authentic take on rock music, a form he claims to have little understanding of, as he states, “I only know how to play my style.” Kamane Tarhanin is laden with off-beat hand claps, infectious pentatonic riffs and unison vocals – a deep and propulsive track that blows radio rock clean out of the water.

Liverpool-based saxophonist and composer Daniel Thorne uses minimal equipment on his forthcoming album for Erased Tapes, trusting that with a few saxophones, a bass synth and some effects processing, he can achieve bold results with efficiency. The Immix Ensemble founder, whose contemporary classical group have run three seasons of creative eventing in Liverpool, has crafted a startling piece of minimalism to open his forthcoming album, Lines of Sight. Pulsing saxophones layer with noise and synthesis for the first three gripping minutes, until a beautiful key change brings us down into a gentle mid-section, where panned sax lines rise and fall. A tremendously creative cut from the young instrumentalist and composer.

SEED ensemble, the London-based outfit fronted by saxophonist and composer Cassie Kinoshi, released the first cut from forthcoming album Driftglass this week. Afronaut features spoken word artist XANA and has already won the award for “jazz composition for large ensemble” at the 2018 British Composer Awards. It builds upon an energetic drum beat, with a horn riff that ricochets off the core rhythm.  

New Visuals

The dating game has Loyle Carner jaded in his excellent new video for You Don’t Know. Directed by Louis Bhose, it sees the young rapper waiting on and working the security shift in order to surveil his mother, Jean Coyle-Larner, as she meets a number of hopefuls, including one played by the poet and bandleader Benjamin Zephaniah. While Loyle’s bars pull focus, it’s clear the acting skills he honed as a teen haven’t deserted him!

Time Grove, the Tel Aviv-based outfit featuring members of Buttering Trio and Rejoicer, have produced a brilliant studio video for their track Roy the King. It captures the eight-piece ensemble cutting loose on the soul-jazz cut released next week, capturing the group’s energy and musicality.

Finally, Another Sky’s animated visual for Apple Tree is a beautiful piece of hand-crafted, stop motion artistry. Dann Parry created it, basing the narrative upon that of the song, which vocalist Catrin Vincent explained to CLASH is “the story of a boy I knew growing up who was bullied for talking to daffodils”.

Photo credits: Mark Lockheart by Dave Stapleton, New Tutenkham courtesy of Nyami Nyami Records

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