Transgressive Records Share Their Story with Newsbeat

— News — Editor

Transgressive Records, the London-based, independent label behind Marika Hackman, KOKOKO! and Songhoy Blues amongst others, shared details of their fifteen-year existence with BBC’s Newsbeat, this week. The fascinating article explores how founders Tim Dellow and Toby L began their endeavour with just £1,000 to play with, and how, alongside long-standing third member Lilas Bourboulon, they have navigated a tricky industry to become known as “good guys”: looking out for the mental health of their artists, giving honest feedback and pushing themselves to meet the needs of their acts. Read the full article here and explore their roster here.

New Sounds and Visuals

The astonishing voice of Sílvia Pérez Cruz continues to dazzle us in her new ‘Proyeco Drama’ piece, Grito Pelao. The new visual, created by Alex Rademakers, sees footage of Cruz performing intimately for an invited audience, cut with shots of children playing in the adjacent courtyard. Her remarkable tone, coupled with the dexterous accompaniment of guitarist Mario Mas, transports us to Catalonia in an instant.

We’ve always got time for a new tune from Baked a la Ska, especially when it’s a ghostly number in anticipation of Halloween! Calling All Ghosts is a jaunty number for late night skanking, complete with grubby saxophone, haunting organ and spine-chilling vocals. One shudders to think what we’d be without them.

The new Dakim cut Mellan consists of beautifully blended mid-range drum work, electronic processing and subtle synth work. The understated cut has a mellow, early hours vibe that will carry your mind elsewhere for a blissful moment. Listening in cans recommended.

The Repeat Listen: Levitation Orchestra – Inexpressible Infinity

Levitation Orchestra is one of the freshest ensembles in the expansive London jazz scene, so fresh in fact that only a select number of fortunate folks have had the opportunity to see them play live. The fourteen-piece group work in a cyclical fashion, composing collectively ‘in the spirit of communal ownership’, before rehearsing four times, gigging four times, and ultimately tracking their newly minted creations. Inexpressible Infinity is the outcome of their second cycle, and oozes depth and energy that would suggest each member is energised by the format and hip to its objective. 

Led by Cykada and Where Pathways Meet trumpeter Axel Kaner-Lidstrom, the group is home to a wide variety of instrumentalists: from drummer Harry Ling, who is a force throughout, to Lluis Domenech Plana and Marysia Osuchowska on flute and harp respectively, whose subtle contributions bring texture to ensemble passages and shine in moments of subtlety. 

The well-structured album begins with nine-minute piece Odyssey, which announces itself with a dark, balletic motif played by voices, horns and woodwinds. Through subtle pinched harp chords, or unfurls into a powerful big band variation on the initial motif, with descending lines cresting and diving above and into the dynamic underlying rhythm. Roella Oloro turns in a rhythmic keys solo, rich in its own licks and free expression, before sax and violins solos guide the track to its conclusion.

Mystical Yang is Odyssey’s equal in lyricism, dynamics and soloing; a second twisting and turning piece with a memorable head, which cues expressive sax solos and gives harpist Osuchowska space to interject with pad-like flourishes. Kaner-Lidstrom remains instrumental in the heavier passages, but refrains from muscling his way to the front, adding to the punch of the motifs and bright horn passages.

 MF One surges out of the blocks with an octave-spanning bass riff and choppy breakbeat, fading rapidly into Clairevoyance, a gentle, folkloric number, in which harp, flute and voices operate. 

The buoyant solo sax of A Small Truth bleeds smartly into the 5/4 intro of Twin Serpents, which features an inspired solo from violinist Saskia Horton. 

This digestible epic is a fine first statement from a bright young big band.

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